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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Weaken; Crude Oil Costs Continue to Rise
by Tom Moeller  September 26, 2017

Regular gasoline prices at the pump declined to $2.58 per gallon last week (+16.1% y/y), the lowest level in four weeks. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. The seasonally adjusted gasoline price slipped to $2.53 per gallon. 

WTI crude oil prices moved the other way and rose to $50.21 per barrel last week (12.5% y/y), the highest level since late-May. Prices continued to strengthen yesterday with a move to $52.22 per barrel. The two-month futures contract price was higher a $52.52. Brent crude oil prices increased to $56.00 per barrel last week, then rose to $58.99 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices rose to $3.09/mmbtu last week (0.5% y/y) and were $2.97 yesterday.

In the week ended September 15, gasoline demand eased 0.3% y/y, while total petroleum product demand gained 0.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 4.0% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products declined 3.5% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries fell 8.1% y/y in the last four weeks, compared to sharp y/y improvement earlier this year.

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 09/25/17 09/18/17 09/11/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.58 2.63 2.69 16.1 2.31 2.03 2.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 50.21 49.07 48.58 12.5 43.22 48.90 93.64
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.09 2.95 2.88 0.5 2.49 2.62 4.37
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