A reader requests that we update some of the charts we’ve used to track U.S. energy expenditures.
The above graph is an adaptation of Steve Kopits’ portrayal of the rough monthly value of U.S. crude oil purchases as a percentage of GDP. We came near what Steve suggests is a critical 4% threshold in the spring, but oil price declines since then have brought the share back down a bit.
U.S. retail gasoline prices have also eased somewhat from their April peak.
Another measure I look at is consumption expenditures on energy goods and services as a percentage of total personal consumption spending. Here is an update of that graph that includes figures for May.
My view when I reviewed these data last April was that oil prices were exerting a moderate drag on the economy, but would not be enough to derail the recovery, and that is how I continue to see the situation. I expect disappointing, but nonetheless still positive, real GDP growth for the second half of 2010.