Monday, July 11, 2011
The above graph shows US weekly petroleum products supplied (EIA) along with a nine week centered moving average to try to smooth out the noise a bit. Data begin in 2000 and go through the week of July 1st 2011. You can see that the high prices since the beginning of 2011 were causing a contraction in oil consumed (and I assume this was important in the economic slowdown in Q2 of 2011).
Since the end of April, when prices peaked, consumption has started to rise again. Here's a closer-in graph just showing 2009-2011, along with prices:
Absent other developments*, I'd expect that a continuation of this trend will lead to an improvement in the US economy in the second half, which in turn will lead to higher oil prices again.
*This is a caveat wide enough to drive a truck through when it comes to the oil markets.