Gasoline Climbs as U.S. Supplies Drop Amid Rising Demand

Gasoline futures climbed to a two-week high as the Energy Information Administration reported that supplies of the motor fuel fell last week and demand grew.

Prices gained as much as 1.3 percent. Gasoline stockpiles fell 772,000 barrels to 212.4 million, the first drop in three weeks. A survey by Bloomberg projected an increase of 300,000 barrels. Demand climbed to the highest level since November. West Texas Intermediate crude reached a three-week high after supplies fell at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the futures contract.

“Inventories did fall, a pickup in demand helps and the products are being dragged up by crude,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

June-delivery gasoline rose 3.75 cents to $2.9677 a gallon at 12:32 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $2.9688, the highest level since April 30.

Demand increased 5.4 percent to 9.19 million barrels a day, and over the past four weeks was 3.2 percent above a year earlier.

Consumption traditionally rises as the U.S. nears the summer driving season that starts on the Memorial Day, which this year falls on May 26. Prices at the pump are the lowest in a month, according to AAA.

“This rebound in gasoline prices is because of where we are, leading into the Memorial Day weekend and the expectation of a further pickup in demand,” McGillian said.

Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI crude widened 89 cents to $22.26 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent, the European benchmark, gained 70 cents to $14.53.

Pump Prices

The average U.S. pump price fell 0.4 cent to $3.64 a gallon, the 16th consecutive decline, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA. Prices are 5.8 cents higher than a year ago.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for June delivery rose 2.38 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $2.9678 a gallon and touched $2.9689, the highest level since April 29.

Supplies of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, fell 1.12 million barrels to 112.9 million, EIA data show. The survey projected an increase of 500,000 barrels. Distillate demand declined 1.3 percent to 4.27 million barrels a day.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI crude climbed 24 cents to $22.18 a barrel while the motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude widened 4 cents to $14.45.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net David Marino, Margot Habiby

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