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U.S. Fuel Consumption Edged Higher in January, API Report Shows

U.S. fuel consumption edged higher in January from a year earlier, as winter storms curbed demand growth, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, climbed 1.7 percent to 18.8 million barrels a day last month, the second-lowest January total in 10 years, the industry-funded group said today in a report.

“Total demand was up from the weak levels a year ago,” John Felmy, chief economist with the Washington-based API, said in a telephone interview. “Gasoline deliveries were weak because of winter storms.”

Gasoline consumption increased 0.9 percent to 8.6 million barrels a day in January from the same month last year, the report showed.

Heating oil consumption surged 41 percent to 882,000 barrels a day, the report showed. It was the second-biggest one-month gain since 1995, Felmy said.

“There was a big increase in heating-oil consumption because of the cold weather,” Felmy said. “This has become a relatively small market in recent years so big changes aren’t that unusual.”

Total demand for distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, rose 9.6 percent to 4 million barrels a day. Consumption of ultra-low sulfur diesel, the type used on highways, climbed 3.2 percent to average 3.13 million barrels a day, the report showed.

Jet-fuel use climbed 4.6 percent to an average 1.43 million barrels a day last month, compared with the same period in 2010.

U.S. crude-oil production slipped 3.7 percent to an average 5.24 million barrels a day in January. Output in the lower 48 states increased 0.3 percent to 4.76 million barrels a day. Alaskan production slipped 31 percent to 481,000 barrels a day.

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