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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  August 2, 2022

• Gasoline prices off sharply from mid-June peak.

• Crude oil price reverses earlier improvement.

• Natural gas prices strengthen.

Retail gasoline prices declined to $4.19 per gallon (+32.7% y/y) last week after declining to $4.33 per gallon in the prior week. Prices have declined for seven consecutive weeks and were at the lowest level since the first week of May, down 16.3% from a record $5.01 per gallon in the second week of June.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices fell to $97.97 per barrel last week and reversed the prior week's increase to $101.38 per barrel. The price reached a peak $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June, but the latest level was the lowest since the last week of February. Yesterday, the price was $93.89 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil declined to $109.28 per barrel (+44.3% y/y) from $113.53 per barrel in the prior week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $106.09 per barrel.

The price of natural gas strengthened to $8.74/mmbtu (115.3% y/y) in the week of July 29 from $7.76/mmbtu in the previous week. The latest was the highest price in seven weeks, up from a low of $3.56/mmbtu in the last week of December. Yesterday, the price was $8.20/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended July 22, gasoline demand fell 7.1% y/y compared to 15.2% y/y growth at the end of last year. Demand for all petroleum products weakened 2.9% y/y, off from 14.4% growth at the end of 2021. Crude oil input to refineries increased a lessened 2.1% y/y.

Gasoline inventories decreased 3.9% y/y in the week of July 22 while crude oil inventories declined 15.2% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended July 22 fell to 25.6 days. The supply of crude oil held steady at 25.8 days, down from 41.8 days in early-March of last year.

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 WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data are in USENERGY.

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