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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: July 9, 2019  |  Next Release Date: August 6, 2019  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Petroleum Products

Gasoline prices: The front-month futures price of reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB, the petroleum component of gasoline used in many parts of the country) settled at $1.92 per gallon (gal) on July 3, up 18 cents/gal from June 3 (Figure 2). The RBOB–Brent crack spread (the difference between the price of RBOB and the price of Brent crude oil) increased by 11 cents/gal during the same period.

Figure 2: Historical RBOB front-month futures prices and crack spread

The RBOB–Brent crack spread averaged 28 cents/gal in June, the lowest for that month since 2011. However, the crack spread increased at the end of the month following explosions at, and subsequent planned closure of, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ refinery, the largest refinery by total operable capacity on the East Coast. From June 21, the date of the refinery’s most recent outage, to June 26, the date of the announcement of the refinery’s planned closure, the crack spread increased 8 cents/gal. The late-month increase brought the monthly average RBOB–Brent crack spread for June equal to the five-year (2014–18) average.

Ultra-low sulfur diesel prices: The ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) front-month futures price for delivery in New York Harbor settled at $1.90/gal on July 3, an increase of 9 cents/gal from June 3 (Figure 3). The ULSD–Brent crack spread (the difference between the price of ULSD and the price of Brent crude oil) increased by 3 cents/gal to settle at 38 cents/gal during the same period.

Figure 3: Brent-WTI futures price spread

ULSD–Brent crack spreads remained higher than the five-year average during June and higher than the 2018 average for the first time in three months. EIA estimates that U.S. distillate consumption in June 2019 was 4.0 million b/d, 84,000 b/d higher than the previous year. The higher consumption in June could indicate a return to seasonal levels from previous months of low demand; distillate consumption in the second quarter remained 156,000 b/d lower than in 2018, at 4.0 million b/d, as flooding in the Midwest delayed seasonal agricultural activity.

U.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids
  2017201820192020
Crude Oil prices (dollars per barrel)
WTI Spot Average 50.7965.0659.5863.00
Brent Spot Average 54.1571.1966.5167.00
Imported Average 48.9861.3858.0457.56
Refiner Average Acquisition Cost 50.6864.4858.6860.36
Retail prices including taxes (dollars per gallon)
Regular Gasoline 2.422.732.652.76
Diesel Fuel 2.653.183.103.28
Heating Oil 2.513.013.003.12
Production (million barrels per day)
Crude Oil 9.3510.9612.3613.26
Natural Gas Plant Liquids 3.784.354.985.35
Fuel Ethanol 1.041.051.031.05
Biodiesel 0.1040.1190.1300.145
Consumption (million barrels per day)
Motor Gasoline 9.339.329.329.34
Distillate Fuel Oil 3.934.134.134.17
Hydrocarbon Gas Liquids 2.642.993.283.41
Jet Fuel 1.681.711.781.83
Total Consumption 19.9620.4520.7020.91
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
U.S. Real GDP Growth 2.22.92.51.8
Heating Degree Days -1.311.70.2-2.8
Distillate-weighted Industrial Production 3.52.4-0.70.4

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