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U.S. Oil Demand Declined in February, API Says

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. oil demand in February fell to the lowest level for the month in 20 years as gasoline rose to the highest price for the time of year, the American Petroleum Institute reported.

Total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, dropped 4.1 percent from a year earlier to 18 million barrels a day, the lowest February level since 1993, the industry-funded group said in a monthly report today. The retail price for regular gasoline, averaged nationwide, rose to $3.786 a gallon on Feb. 26, the highest for the month in AAA data going back to 2004.

“There is the price effect,” said John Felmy, chief economist at the API. “Consumers are being very cautious.”

February gasoline deliveries were 8.36 million barrels a day, down 3.1 percent from a year earlier and the lowest demand for the month since 2001, the API said.

Use of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, slid 7.3 percent from a year earlier to 3.69 million barrels a day. Demand for ultra-low-sulfur diesel, the type used by the trucking industry, fell 6.1 percent to 3.21 million.

Jet fuel consumption decreased 8.7 percent from a year earlier to 1.23 million barrels a day.

U.S. crude-oil production jumped 14 percent from a year earlier to 7.09 million barrels a day, the highest February output in 21 years. Output rose 15 percent in the lower 48 states to 6.51 million barrels a day and decreased 0.2 percent to 581,000 in Alaska.

To contact the reporter on this story: Moming Zhou in New York at mzhou29@bloomberg.net

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

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