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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Increase
by Tom Moeller  March 8, 2016

Regular gasoline prices continued to move higher to $1.84 per gallon last week (-26.0% y/y) from $1.78 in the prior week. It was the highest price in six weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price rose to $1.85 per gallon. The spot market price of gasoline fell to $1.07 per gallon (-37.5% y/y) from $1.12.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $34.46 per barrel last week (-31.6% y/y) from $32.02 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices continued to strengthen to $37.90 per barrel, the highest level since late-November. Prices remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $37.24 per barrel and rose further to $40.83 yesterday, up from $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas continued to decline last week to $1.56 per mmbtu (-48.6% y/y), and were $1.52 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand strengthened 6.9% y/y last week, but demand for all petroleum products declined 1.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories improved 6.2% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 9.0% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 2.5% y/y during the last four weeks.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The petroleum demand and inventory figures are from the Oil & Gas Journal Weekly. These data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and greater detail on prices, demand and production, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 03/07/16 02/29/16 02/22/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 1.84 1.78 1.73 -26.0 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 34.46 32.02 30.02 -31.6 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.56 1.77 1.88 -48.6 2.62 4.37 3.73
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