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Today in Energy

March 28, 2012

On a euro basis, Brent crude oil spot price surpasses prior record high

graph of Brent crude oil spot price, January 2, 2007 - March 26, 2012, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg.

On a euro basis, the spot price for Brent crude oil, a global benchmark, has surpassed its prior record high and set a new record high of 96.53 euros per barrel on March 13, 2012, as the currency exchange rate has declined (see chart above). The prior record of 92.76 euros per barrel was set on July 3, 2008. However, on a U.S. dollar basis, the spot price for Brent crude oil remains under the prior record high of $145.66 per barrel, which was set on July 3, 2008. On March 13, 2012, the Brent crude oil spot price was $126.30 per barrel.

From January 3, 2012 to March 26, 2012, the spot price for Brent crude oil in euros rose from 85.66 euros per barrel to 94.61 euros per barrel, or 10.4%. During the same period, the spot price for Brent crude oil in U.S. dollars increased from $111.79 per barrel to $126.39 per barrel, or 13.1%. Several factors underpin the increase in global crude oil benchmarks since the start of the year.

Although the price of crude oil increased by more than 10% since the beginning of the year, the retail prices of petroleum products in Europe rose only about 4% to 7% because of the inclusion of duties and taxes, which are typically a much more significant share of the retail pump price of motor fuels in Europe than in the United States. From January 9, 2012 to March 19, 2012, the European Union-weighted retail gasoline price rose from 1.55 euros per liter to 1.65 euros per liter, or 6.5%, according to data from the European Commission Oil Bulletin. During the same period, the European Union-weighted retail diesel price rose from 1.46 euros per liter to 1.53 euros per liter, or 4.3%.