Gasoline Falls as Fuel Demand Declines, U.S. Dollar Strengthens

Gasoline declined after a government report showed that demand for the fuel sank from a year earlier and a stronger dollar reduced the investment appeal of commodities.

Futures fell after the Energy Department said that gasoline demand over the four weeks ended March 9 was 8.42 million barrels a day, 7.2 percent below a year earlier. The dollar widened gains over the euro and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated from a four-year high.

“When dollar remained up on the day, the market started to drift back lower and now equities are down,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

Gasoline for April delivery fell 0.84 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $3.3462 a gallon at 2:21 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after touching $3.3809 when the report was released at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.

The S&P 500 sank 0.4 percent at 2:22 p.m. in New York, after rising as much as 0.3 percent. The dollar gained 0.5 percent against the euro, curbing the appeal of commodities to investors.

Total fuel use over the past four weeks was 5.4 percent below a year earlier.

“Domestic demand is just terrible,” said Sander Cohan, a global transportation fuels analyst and principal with Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Heating oil for April delivery fell 0.77 cent to $3.2635 a gallon on the exchange.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.6 cent to $3.811 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group. Prices have gained 16 percent this year and are 7.1 percent higher than a year ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara J Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

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

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