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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Down Again
by Tom Moeller December 23, 2008

Regular gasoline prices were roughly unchanged last week at $1.65 per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy survey. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell sharply to $0.88 per gallon.

Weekly gasoline prices can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. Daily prices are in the DAILY database.

Though gasoline prices are down, that has done little to drive up product demand. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that the demand for gasoline fell by 3.5% y/y, nearly the fastest rate of decline since late-1995 (the latest four weeks versus the same four weeks last year). The demand for all petroleum products also fell 4.9% y/y.

These DOE figures are available in Haver's OILWKLY database.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell last week by five dollars from the prior week's average to $39.65 per barrel, down by two-thirds since the peak in July of $145.66. In futures trading yesterday, the one-month price for crude oil was $39.91.

Last week, prices for natural gas were unchanged w/w at $5.67 per mmbtu (-20.7% y/y). The latest average price was 50% below natural gas prices in early-July of $13.19/mmbtu.

The Yield Curve from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is available here.

Weekly Prices 12/22/08 12/15/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon) 1.65 1.66 -44.5% 2.80 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 39.65 44.71 -56.6% 72.25 66.12 56.60
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