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Monday, November 03, 2014

U.S. gasoline prices move with Brent rather than WTI crude oil

The EIA (Energy Information Administration, an agency of the US Government) reports that U.S. gasoline prices move with Brent rather than WTI crude oil:
Recent increases in U.S. crude oil production have sparked discussion on how this increase in supply will be used by U.S. refiners given current limitations on exporting domestic crude. On October 30, EIA released a study that explored the relationships between crude oil and gasoline prices.

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • Prices of Brent crude oil, an international benchmark, are more important than the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), a domestic benchmark, for determining gasoline prices in all four U.S. regions studied, including the Midwest.
  • The effect that a relaxation of current limitations on U.S. crude oil exports would have on U.S. gasoline prices depends on its effect on international crude prices, such as Brent, rather than its effect on domestic crude prices.
  • Gasoline is a globally traded commodity, and prices are highly correlated across global spot markets.
  • Gasoline supply, demand, and trade in various regions are changing; one effect is that U.S. Gulf Coast and Chicago spot gasoline prices, which are closely linked, are now often the lowest in the world during fall and winter months.