Gasoline demand in the United States reached the highest level on record in August this year, at 9.77 million bpd, or up by 83,000 bpd from August 2016. That’s according to the Energy Information Agency, which added that this was the fourth monthly increase in demand in the past five months.
The increase is rather modest, however, and the next few months could see declines, as the last quarter of the year is a traditionally weak period for gasoline demand. Prices for the most popular fuel rose palpably in September, following the demand disruptions during this year’s hurricane season. These hit a two-year high of US$2.69 per gallon in early September, but later fell to US$2.57 a gallon in early October.
The EIA expects gasoline prices to average US$2.49 per gallon in October and continue falling, to reach US$2.33 per gallon in December. U.S. gasoline demand accounts for a tenth of global demand, Reuters notes, and has been growing consistently since 2012.
Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute estimated that gasoline inventories had fallen by as much as 7.697 million barrels in the week to October 27, versus much more modest expectations of a 1.7-million-barrel to 2.5-million-barrel draw.
Crude oil demand was down in August, the EIA also said, by 114,000 bpd to 20.16 million bpd, despite the increase in gasoline demand. According to experts, fuel efficiency has a lot to do with the modest increase in gasoline demand, although the increase in miles driven in August was also modest, at 0.8 percent on an annual basis.
Crude oil production averaged 9.2 million bpd in August, down slightly from 9.23 million bpd in July, the EIA also said. In its last Short-Term Energy Outlook, the authority forecast September crude production to have risen from August to 9.3 million bpd, and average 2017 production to stand at 9.2 million bpd, rising to 9.9 million bpd next year.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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