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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Remain Mixed, Reverse Moderately
by Carol Stone, CBE  September 27, 2022

• Gasoline prices turn modestly higher.

• But crude oil prices turned down.

• Natural gas prices also declined.

Retail gasoline prices increased last week to $3.71 per gallon (+16.9% y/y), 6 cents higher than the week before and the first weekly increase since mid-June. That mid-June peak price was $5.01.

By contrast, crude oil prices fell last week, with West Texas Intermediate declining to $83.20 per barrel (15.3% y/y) on average in the week ended September 23. During the prior week, prices had risen to $87.03 from $85.03 in the week ended September 9. These prices are down from a high of $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $76.71 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil decreased to $88.54 per barrel (17.6% y/y) after rising to $91.41 in the previous week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $82.55 per barrel.

The price of natural gas also decreased last week, reaching $7.69/mmbtu (52.9% y/y) from $8.42/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices peaked at $9.56/mmbtu in the last week of August but remained up from a low of $3.56/mmbtu in the last week of December. Yesterday, the price was $6.75/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended September 16, gasoline demand was down 7.7% from a year earlier, somewhat less weak than the 9.0% decline in the September 9 week, but markedly less than the 15.2% y/y growth at the end of last year. Demand for all petroleum products was down 6.7% y/y in the latest four-week period in contrast to the 14.4% growth at the end of 2021. Crude oil input to refineries increased 7.6% y/y, up from 6.2% last week and again the quickest growth since early April.

Gasoline inventories fell 3.2% y/y in the week of September 16, while crude oil inventories declined 17.0% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended September 16 rose to 25.1 days from 24.9 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil was steady with the week before at 26.7 days and remained 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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