Friday, October 28, 2011

EIA: Recent Gasoline and Diesel Prices Track Brent and LLS, not WTI

Since the beginning of 2011, the spot price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, a traditional benchmark for the U.S. market, has trailed the spot price of other crude oils, including Brent, a global benchmark, and Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS), a Gulf Coast crude oil similar to crudes run by many U.S. refiners. Because few U.S. refiners have easy access to WTI crude oil, this price divergence has not directly translated to lower prices for U.S. refined petroleum products, such as gasoline and heating oil.

Instead, these product prices have more closely tracked the prices of Brent and LLS. Through October 25, the prices of Brent and LLS are up 20% and 18% in 2011, respectively; the prices of wholesale diesel fuel and gasoline on the U.S. Gulf coast are up 21% and 13%, respectively; meanwhile, the price of WTI is up just 2%.

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