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December 2006

Price and expenditure measures of petroleum products: a comparison

Abby Duly, Jeffrey A. Harris, Ara M. Khatchadourian, Rozi T. Ulics, Melissa C. Wolter

Reliable information is important in the face of volatile crude-oil and petroleum product prices. This article is a survey of petroleum data produced by four BLS programs: the International Price Program (IPP), Producer Price Index (PPI), Consumer Price Index (CPI), and Consumer Expenditures Survey (CE). The petroleum data compiled by the four programs are described, the methodology underlying the various crude-oil and gasoline surveys is explained, and historical comparisons of price data across the programs are provided. Although the scope and the measurement and survey methods of the programs differ, price changes of petroleum products generally show a high correlation between price indexes and are ultimately reflected in consumer expenditure data.

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