The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

U.S. Refineries Set Gasoline Production Record

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 16, 2010

U.S. refineries produced more gasoline in March --9.3 million barrels a day--than in any month since API began keeping records. Furthermore, March gasoline deliveries (a key measure of gasoline demand) were higher than in any previous March.

As reported in API's Monthly Statistical Report released this morning, total deliveries of petroleum products--gasoline, distillate (heating oil and diesel fuel), kerosine-jet fuel and residual fuel oil--rose 3.5 percent from the same month a year ago.

API Chief Economist John Felmy says the statistics indicate that supplies are ample:

"U.S. refineries are doing yeoman's work meeting consumer demand. Moreover, the record gasoline production in March makes it abundantly clear that supply is not an issue with the higher gasoline prices we've seen. Sharply higher crude oil prices are driving that, and they continue to put upward pressure on the price at the pump."

Distillate deliveries were slightly below the level set in March 2009, but the decrease was much less than the monthly declines in January and February this year. Distillate deliveries correlate closely with overall U.S. economic activity.

Also in March, domestic crude oil production stood at 5.5 million barrels a day, the same as in February. Baker Hughes reported the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating in the United States climbed to 1,419--a hike of 69 from 1,350 reported in February.

Imports of oil products were down 31.0 percent, and crude oil imports slipped 1.2 percent compared with the same month a year ago.

Except for March 2009, crude oil stocks were at the highest level for any March since 1990.