Here’s a chart based on the weekly
update from the Department of Energy with an overlay of Light Crude. Gasoline prices at the pump are up eleven cents from last week — the highest price since September 2008. Year-to-date, the average price for regular has risen 74 cents.
As I write this, GasBuddy.com shows four states with the average
of regular above $4: Hawaii, California, Alaska and Illinois.
Today, however, the price of oil dropped dramatically. West Texas Light Crude closed the day down 3.19% and Bloomberg.com shows Brent Crude futures off 2.42%. The explanation, according to Bloomberg, was a response to a cut in growth forecast for the U.S. by the International Monetary Fund (more here). It will be interesting to see if this was a knee-jerk market reaction or if oil prices will continue to fall with subsequent relief at the gas pump.
The price increases in crude oil and gasoline were reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index data for February and more recently in Personal Consumption Expenditures. For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the Consumer Price Index, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.
The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).