U.S. Fuel Demand Increased in April as Economy Grew, API Says

U.S. fuel demand rose in April as economic growth bolstered consumption of diesel by truckers, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, climbed 5.2 percent to 19.9 million barrels a day last month from a year earlier, the industry-funded group said today in a report.

“Product demand is growing, led by distillate,” John Felmy, chief economist with the Washington-based API, said in a telephone interview. “Trucking tonnage is clearly up and that’s led to a big increase in diesel demand. Growth varies by sector, because this is an uneven recovery.”

Total demand for distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, rose 15 percent to 4.27 million barrels a day. Consumption of ultra-low sulfur diesel, the type used on highways, climbed 26 percent to average 3.42 million barrels a day, the report showed. Heating-oil use surged 96 percent to 741,000 barrels a day.

Gasoline pump prices were up 6.6 percent in April from the prior month, the report showed. Demand for the motor fuel declined 2.2 percent to 8.91 million barrels a day from the same month last year.

“Higher gasoline prices are damping demand,” Felmy said. “This is just a price reaction.”

Jet-fuel use climbed 1.9 percent to an average 1.42 million barrels a day last month compared with the same period in 2010.

U.S. crude-oil production slipped 0.5 percent to an average 5.47 million barrels a day. Output in the lower 48 states dropped 0.6 percent to 4.83 million barrels a day. Alaskan production increased 0.2 percent to 641,000 barrels a day.

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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