Gasoline Falls on Concern Fed Policy Shows Struggling Economy

Gasoline fell on concern that the Federal Reserve’s decision to leave intact its level of bond buying indicates the U.S. economy will continue to struggle, reducing fuel consumption.

Futures sank as much as 0.8 percent. The Fed said it wanted to see evidence that economic gains could be sustained before reducing the pace of asset purchases. Prices also fell on speculation that a jump in wholesale gasoline deliveries last week were caused by exports that were higher than estimated by the Energy Information Administration and aren’t an indication of stronger demand.

“If things look really bad, how does that show better demand for energy?” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. ‘People are writing off the demand increase as either a one-week anomaly or basic export demand and not domestic demand.’’

Gasoline for October delivery fell 1.94 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.7227 a gallon at 10:15 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 19 percent above the 100-day average.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said yesterday he was “somewhat concerned” by the impact of rising bond yields on the economy and wanted to “wait a bit longer and to try to get confirming evidence” that the economy is showing signs of lasting improvement.

Weaker Economy

“If the economy is weaker than we think, that’s going to hurt demand,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Yesterday’s announcement was a double-edged sword. It said the economy is not strong enough and that the Fed has got your back.”

The Energy Information Administration reported that gasoline consumption jumped 4.9 percent to 9.02 million barrels a day, after sliding 5.4 percent the prior week. Demand over four weeks was 0.5 percent above a year earlier. Gasoline inventories dropped for the fifth time in six weeks in the week ended Sept. 13.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude narrowed 56 cents to $6.54 a barrel. The fuel’s premium over Brent gained 10 cents to $4.03.

Pump prices, averaged nationwide, fell 1.2 cents to $3.494 a gallon, 36 cents below a year ago, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 17 consecutive days to the lowest level since July 8.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for October delivery fell 0.91 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $3.0314 a gallon on trading volume that was 0.3 percent above the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus WTI slipped 8 cents to $19.55 a barrel. The premium over Brent rose 63 cents to $17.77.

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

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

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