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U.S. Fuel Demand Highest for January Since 2008, API Says

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. fuel consumption increased in January to the highest level for the month in six years as cold weather bolstered demand, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, rose 3 percent from a year earlier to 19.2 million barrels a day, the industry-funded group said today. It was the highest level for January since 2008.

Consumption of distillate fuel, the category that includes diesel and heating oil, gained 0.5 percent to 4.07 million barrels a day last month, the report showed. Heating oil demand surged 12 percent to 553,000 barrels a day in January

“Last month’s cold weather created high demand for propane and heating oil,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in the report. “Domestic crude production remains strong, and both gasoline and distillate production reached record highs for the month of January.”

Increased demand for propane helped bolster consumption of “other oils” such as petroleum feedstock, naphtha and gasoil. Consumption of those fuels climbed 10 percent to 5.19 million barrels a day from the previous January.

Diesel demand slipped 1.2 percent to 3.52 million barrels a day. Use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fell 0.7 percent to 3.51 million. Gasoline demand rose 1.1 percent to 8.31 million. Consumption of jet fuel surged 7.6 percent to 1.4 million.

Fuel Production

Production of both gasoline and distillates reached all-time January highs, the API said, with distillates up 7.2 percent to 4.8 million barrels a day and gasoline gaining 4.5 percent to 9.02 million.

U.S. crude oil output increased 15 percent to 8.09 million barrels a day in January, the highest level for the month in 26 years. Output of natural gas liquids, a byproduct of gas drilling, climbed 17 percent to a record 2.75 million.

Total oil and fuel imports dropped 7.9 percent in January to 9.25 million barrels a day, a 17-year low. Fuel exports climbed 36 percent from a year earlier to 3.93 million barrels a day, the highest January level ever and 70,000 short of the all-time high reached in December.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net

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

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