Today in Energy

Nov 26, 2014

U.S. gasoline prices this Thanksgiving are the lowest since 2009

map of U.S. retail gasoline prices, as explained in the article text
Source: Provided by

U.S. retail regular-grade gasoline prices continue to decline, averaging $2.82 per gallon (gal) as of November 24. This average is 47 cents lower than a year ago, and the lowest price heading into a Thanksgiving holiday since 2009. Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most traveled times of the year in the United States, and much of that travel is by car. AAA estimates that during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend (November 26-30), 41.3 million people in the United States will travel more than 50 miles from home by car. This level of travel, 4.3% higher than the same time last year, is the highest number of travelers by car for Thanksgiving in seven years and the third highest since AAA began publishing the data in 2000.

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Nov 25, 2014

Shale gas provides largest share of U.S. natural gas production in 2013

graph of U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals by well type, as explained in the article text
Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-895, "Annual Quantity and Value of Natural Gas Production Report"; Form EIA-914, "Monthly Natural Gas Production Report"; the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and predecessor agencies; state agencies; LCI; DI; Ventyx; BENTEK Energy; and EIA estimates based on historical data

Republished November 25, 2014, 10:15 a.m. to clarify graph title.

Total U.S. natural gas gross withdrawals reached a new high at 82 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2013, with shale gas wells becoming the largest source of total natural gas production. Natural gas gross withdrawals are a measure of full well stream production including all natural gas plant liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases after oil, lease condensate, and water have been removed. According to the Natural Gas Annual, gross withdrawals from shale gas wells increased from 5 Bcf/d in 2007 to 33 Bcf/d in 2013, representing 40% of total natural gas production, and surpassing production from nonshale natural gas wells. New technology has enabled producers to shift production to resources that are now easier to reach and have lower drilling costs. These trends have been reflected in a lower market price of natural gas.

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Nov 24, 2014

Boston, New York City winter natural gas prices expected to remain high

graph of winter natural gas spot and forward prices at Henry Hub, New York City, and Boston, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg
Note: November through March are considered winter months. Forward prices for 2014-15 and 2015-16 are as of 10/29/2014.

Despite expectations of a milder winter for 2014, marketers anticipate high prices for natural gas in Boston and New York City. Natural gas prices are expected to be lower than last winter, but higher than the average of previous winters, particularly in Boston.

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Nov 21, 2014

EIA releases new online tool to track crude oil imports

image of crude oil import tracking tool, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

EIA's recently released U.S. Crude Oil Import Tracking Tool, designed to analyze crude oil imports in response to growing domestic production, allows users to sort and display imports by month or year, density (i.e., light, medium, heavy), country of origin, port of entry, processing company, processing refinery, and more. The tool features graphing and mapping capabilities and a built-in help function.

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Nov 20, 2014

Oil and currency markets reflect expectations for lower global economic growth

graph of Brent front month price and U.S. dollar index value, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg
Note: The U.S. dollar index measures the value of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six currencies' exchange rates: the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, and Swedish krona. An increase in the index means the dollar is appreciating against these currencies. March 1973=100. Front month = the near-month contract for Brent crude oil energy futures prices.

Since August, both crude oil and currency markets have been influenced by lower economic growth expectations in countries outside the United States. Prices in both markets recently broke out of established trading ranges, driven by concerns about weaker future global demand. The current situation, with the dollar index and oil prices moving in opposite directions, presents a sharp contrast to one in which crude oil supply disruptions or geopolitical risks would cause both the dollar index and crude prices to rise.

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Nov 19, 2014

Solar photovoltaic output depends on orientation, tilt, and tracking

graph of simulated energy production of a one kilowatt of solar PV capacity in Los Angeles, CA, as explained in the article text
Source: EIA, based on National Renewable Energy Laboratory's PVWatts, using default input values except as noted
Note: Tilted systems are assumed to be mounted with a 20-degree tilt from horizontal. The assumed system size is one kilowatt of direct current, with output in watthours of alternating current.

Financial incentives, renewable portfolio standards, cost declines, and system performance improvements have led to more customer-sited solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, especially in states such as California. Because PV panels are able to capture more solar energy when they are pointed directly at the sun, installers may configure systems to optimize output by adjusting the orientation and tilt of a system, or by using mechanisms that track the sun as it traverses the sky.

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Nov 18, 2014

European residential electricity prices increasing faster than prices in United States

graph of change in average residential electricity prices in Europe and the United States, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and Eurostat
Note: European Union average consists of 27 member countries in 2006, 28 member countries for all other years.

European residential electricity prices have historically exceeded U.S. prices, and the gap has widened in recent years. In 2013, average residential electricity rates in European Union (EU) countries were more than double rates in the United States. Regulatory structures—including taxes and other user fees, investment in renewable energy technologies, and the mix and cost of fuels—all influence electricity prices.

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Nov 17, 2014

Crude oil and lease condensate production at highest volume since 1986

map of U.S. crude oil and lease condensate production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, DrillingInfo, Inc., Illinois State Geological Survey, Indiana Geological Survey
Note: Click to enlarge.

Crude oil and lease condensate production in the United States exceeded 8.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in August, a production volume not observed since July 1986, according to EIA's latest Petroleum Supply Monthly.

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Nov 14, 2014

Natural gas is the dominant heating fuel in colder parts of the country

graph of projected winter 2014-15 residential consumption and heating degree days, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Natural gas consumption varies widely by region of the country. The majority of households that heat with natural gas are located in the Midwest and Northeast. In the upcoming winter months, homes in the East North Central Census division are expected to consume the most natural gas, but not as much as last winter. Extreme cold weather in natural gas-intensive regions caused unexpectedly high consumption during the winter of 2013-14.

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Nov 13, 2014

Rail shipments of oil and petroleum products through October up 13% over year-ago period

graph of changes in rail carloads of select commodities, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Association of American Railroads
Note: These carloadings do not include intermodal traffic.

U.S. rail traffic, including carloadings of all commodity types, has increased 4.5% through October 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. Crude oil and petroleum products had the second-biggest increase in carloadings through the first 10 months of this year, with these shipments occurring in parts of the country where there is also strong demand to move coal and grain by rail. In response to shipper concerns over the slow movement of crude oil, coal, grain, ethanol, and propane, federal regulators are closely tracking service among the major U.S. freight railroad companies.

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