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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Slip; Crude Oil Costs Improve
by Tom Moeller  December 5, 2017

Retail gasoline prices fell last week to $2.50 per gallon (+13.2% y/y) following a fall to $2.53 in the prior week. These prices were below the peak of $2.59 in the second week of November. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in gasoline pump prices. At $2.71 per gallon, the seasonally adjusted gasoline pump price has been fairly steady for three week, near the highest level since December 2014.

WTI crude oil prices increased to $57.82 per barrel last week (15.9% y/y) from $55.47 in the prior week. Prices eased to $57.47 per barrel yesterday. Brent crude oil prices increased to $63.73 per barrel last week and were $63.45 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined last week to $2.91/mmbtu (-9.3% y/y and were $2.90 yesterday.

In the week ended November 24, gasoline demand rose 0.9% y/y, while total petroleum product demand also gained 0.9% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 5.3% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products declined 5.8% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries improved 3.3% y/y in 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 12/04/17 11/27/17 11/20/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.50 2.53 2.57 13.2 2.31 2.03 2.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 57.82 57.47 55.90 15.9 43.22 48.90 93.64
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.91 3.01 3.08 -9.3 2.49 2.62 4.37
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