The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Gasoline Demand Dips in May

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 18, 2010

May 2010 gasoline deliveries (an indication of demand) fell 0.4 percent from the same month last year to an average of 9.05 barrels per day. API's Monthly Statistical Report says this was the lowest level for May since 2003.

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Average regular-grade gasoline prices were 57 cents per gallon higher last month as compared with May 2009. (EIA) API Chief Economist John Felmy said the demand dip shows "gasoline demand is more sensitive to higher prices and to the effects of the sluggish economic recovery than distillate and jet fuels, which both saw increased demand in May..."

Demand for distillate, which includes diesel fuel used for highway travel as well as other modes of transportation, surged 7.8 percent last month from May 2009. This was the second consecutive month that demand improved on a year-to-year basis, following 29 months of declines since 2007.

Also, the U.S refinery utilization rate climbed above 86 percent in May, climbing to the highest level since July 2009. Gasoline production was the highest for any May on record, and distillate production was the second highest with the exception of May 2008.

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