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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise to Six-Month High
by Tom Moeller  May 3, 2016

Regular gasoline prices increased to $2.24 per gallon last week (-15.9% y/y) after rising to $2.16 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices were at the highest level since October. The price compares to a low of $1.72 in February, but remained down from 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 $2.13 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices eased w/w to $1.45, but remained up from a low of $0.89 in early February.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $44.29 per barrel last week (-23.6% y/y) after increasing to $41.84 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices rose further to $44.78 per barrel, but remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $46.60 per barrel, then eased to $45.88 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas remained little changed at $1.91 per mmbtu last week (-25.6% y/y), and remained at $1.91 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 5.6% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 4.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.1% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 6.8% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 0.2% 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.

Lower Oil Prices and U.S. Economic Activity from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.

Weekly Energy Prices 05/02/16 4/25/16 04/18/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.24 2.16 2.14 -15.9 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 44.29 41.84 41.25 -23.6 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.91 1.90 1.89 -25.6 2.62 4.37 3.73
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