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US gasoline demand 0.6% lower than last year

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Reflecting the ongoing sluggish economic recovery, US gasoline deliveries for the first half of 2010 averaged 8.88 million bpd, 0.6% lower than the corresponding period a year ago, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report for June.

June gasoline deliveries of 9.18 million bpd were the lowest level for any June since 2004 and were 0.5% lower than June 2009 deliveries, the report noted.

‘The listless economic recovery continues to take a bite out of gasoline demand,’ observed API Chief Economist John Felmy. ‘It’s clear from the gasoline deliveries data that consumer confidence in the economy remains shaky. This certainly supports API’s position that increased taxes or other anti-jobs policies by Congress or the administration could increase unemployment and harm our economic recovery.’

Improvements in distillate demand, total crude oil production and refinery operations

Even as gasoline demand remained depressed, distillate demand (which tends to track economic output closely) improved in both the first half of the year and for June. First half low sulfur distillate deliveries jumped 2.1% from 2009 to average 3.29 million bpd in 2010; June low sulfur distillate deliveries surged 12.3% from last year to average 3.51 million bpd for June 2010.

Total US crude oil production averaged 5.47 million bpd in the first half of 2010, 3.5% higher than last year’s 5.29 million bpd. For June, crude production in the Lower 48 states rose 3.9% to 4.8 million bpd, while Alaskan production dipped 2.6% to 556 000 bpd after some North Slope operators reduced production in the middle of the month. Historically, production wanes in the summer in Alaska due to maintenance work and lower operational efficiency in warmer weather.

US refinery operations continued to improve in June relative to May this year, with production of all products, except residential fuel oil, improving in June. Inputs to crude distillate units averaged 15.3 million bpd, a 0.6 increase from May, and the fifth consecutive monthly increase. For the first half of 2010, refinery inputs of 14.84 million bpd were 1.3% higher this year than last.

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