U.S. Fuel Demand Climbed in February as Economy Grew, API Says

U.S. fuel demand rose in February as economic growth bolstered gasoline and diesel use, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, climbed 4.4 percent to 19.7 million barrels a day last month from a year earlier, the highest February total in three years, the industry-funded group said today in a report.

Gasoline consumption increased 4.2 percent to 9.01 million barrels a day from the same month last year.

“It looks like we’ve turned a corner, and it’s showing up in fuel deliveries,” John Felmy, chief economist with the Washington-based API, said in a telephone interview. “The gasoline number is especially encouraging because it’s closely tied to retail sales. We also continue to see strong demand for low-sulfur distillate and jet fuel.”

Total demand for distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, rose 3.8 percent to 4 million barrels a day. Consumption of ultra-low sulfur diesel, the type used on highways, surged 18 percent to average 3.2 million barrels a day, the report showed.

Heating oil consumption surged 31 percent to 775,000 barrels a day.

“The only negative in the report is the fact that people were spending a lot more on heating oil,” Felmy said. “It’s been a real cold winter.”

Jet-fuel use climbed 7.1 percent to an average 1.44 million barrels a day last month compared with the same period in 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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