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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Rise Further
by Tom Moeller  May 24, 2022

• Gasoline prices jump to another record high.

• Crude oil prices strengthen.

• Natural gas prices rise to highest level since February 2021.

Retail gasoline prices increased to $4.59 per gallon in the week ended May 23 (52.1% y/y) after rising to $4.49 per gallon in the prior week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose six cents to $4.52 per gallon. These series date back to January 1991.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil surged to $112.28 per barrel (75.0% y/y) in the week ended May 20 after slipping to $105.04 per barrel in the prior week. This compares to a high of $113.33 averaged in the fourth week of March. Yesterday, the price rose to $110.29 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil increased to $111.76 per barrel (66.3%) from $106.96 the prior week. It was the highest price since the end of March. The price was $112.76 per barrel yesterday.

The price of natural gas surged in the week ended May 20 to $8.21/mmbtu (182.1% y/y) and more-than-recovered the prior week's decline to $7.47. The price has risen from a low of $1.52/mmbtu averaged in the third week of June 2020. Yesterday, the price was $8.16/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended May 13, gasoline demand fell 1.2% y/y. Demand for all petroleum products rose a greatly lessened 1.7% y/y. Growth in crude oil input to refineries held at 3.9% y/y.

Gasoline inventories decreased 6.0% y/y while crude oil inventories declined 14.1% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ended May 13 was 24.9 days, down from 30.4 days at the end of January. The supply of crude oil was a steady 26.8 days.

These data are reported by the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLYand DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data are in USENERGY.

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