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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices and Crude Oil Costs Ease
by Tom Moeller  August 13, 2018

Retail gasoline prices slipped to $2.84 per gallon last week from $2.85 during the prior period, but remained up 19.3% y/y. Haver Analytics constructs factors to adjust for the marked seasonal variation in prices. The seasonally-adjusted gasoline price also eased one penny to $2.78 per gallon, but remained up versus $2.60 late last year.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices declined to $67.91 per barrel (+38.3% y/y) last week from $69.46 in the previous week. WTI prices remained lower than the $73.71 peak early in July. Though prices were at the lowest level in seven weeks, they remained up by roughly one-third y/y. Brent crude oil prices declined to $71.42 per barrel last week (+37.5% y/y) from $78.75 in the middle of May.

Natural gas prices increased last week to $2.93/mmbtu (3.6% y/y), the highest level since late-June.

In the four-weeks ending August 3, gasoline demand eased 0.7% y/y; total petroleum product demand slipped 0.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories increased 1.2% y/y, but inventories of all petroleum products fell 6.1% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 0.3% y/y in the last four weeks.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 08/13/18 08/06/18 07/30/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price) 2.84 2.85 2.85 19.3 2.47 2.31 2.03
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 67.91 69.46 70.01 38.3 50.87 43.22 48.90
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.93 2.80 2.75 3.6 2.96 2.49 2.62
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