US gasoline demand during the peak summer driving season, which runs from June through August, was at its lowest since 2008, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Monthly Statistical Report for August. At 9.22 million bpd, summer 2010 gasoline deliveries were 0.25% lower than 2009, but 1% higher than 2008. The previous summer low was 8.8 million bpd in 2000.
Ultra low sulfur diesel demand, which closely mirrors economic activity because it reflects the movement of goods on the nation’s highways, also was lower than last year. August deliveries averaged 2.898 million bpd, down 0.1% from August 2008. Overall, August US petroleum deliveries experienced a year to year increase, but only 0.4%, the smallest this year, with the exception of January.
‘The August data continue to indicate a struggling economy,’ observed API Chief Economist John Felmy. ‘The lower summer driving demand shows a lack of consumer confidence, as fewer Americans took to the road for summer vacations. The downtick in August in ultra low sulfur diesel indicates lower demand for goods, another sign of economic stagnation.’
August refinery inputs were up by 1.1% from the corresponding month a year ago. Production for the month was higher for all products with the exception of residual fuel oils, which saw imports surge 64% compared with August 2009.
Crude oil inventories continued to increase in August and were higher compared with prior year and prior month. End of August US crude stock levels, excluding supplied held in the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, were at the highest level for any August since 1990.
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