Gasoline Advances as Crude Tops $100,Fuel Demand Climbs

Gasoline rose the most in four weeks as West Texas Intermediate crude jumped above $100 a barrel and demand for the motor fuel increased before the summer driving season begins.

Futures gained 1.1 percent. WTI climbed 1.3 percent as inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point for the contract were the lowest in more than five years. Gasoline supplies rose 1.61 million barrels to 213.2 million, the second straight increase and largest since the week ended Jan. 17. Gasoline demand increased 0.3 percent to 8.72 million barrels a day, a four-week high.

“Cushing stocks are super low and that’s what is supporting the complex,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil market strategist at Energy Aspects Ltd., a research company in London. “Near-term fundamentals for gasoline aren’t that strong. Today’s move is probably a crude-driven move.”

June-delivery gasoline rose 3.24 cents to settle at $2.9182 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was 54 percent above the 100-day average ad of 3:30 p.m. WTI for June delivery rose $1.27 to $100.77 a barrel.

Gulf Coast crude stockpiles fell from the highest level since EIA data for the region started in 1990.

“We saw another big draw in Cushing and the Gulf Coast draw helps,” said David Pursell, a managing director at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. LLC in Houston.

Higher Demand

Consumption of the motor fuel over the past four weeks was 1.4 percent above a year earlier.

“Gasoline demand is pretty good even though prices at the pump are relatively high,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI crude rose 9 cents to $21.79 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude widened 29 cents to $14.43.

The average U.S. pump price fell 0.1 cent to $3.666 a gallon, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA today. Prices are 14.1 cents higher than a year ago.

Supplies of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, fell 447,000 barrels to 114 million, EIA data show. The survey projected an increase of 750,000 barrels. Distillate demand jumped 11 percent to 4.33 million barrels a day. Over four weeks, demand was 12 percent higher than a year earlier.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for June delivery rose 3.98 cents, or 1.4 percent to $2.9275 a gallon on volume that was 0.2 percent above average.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI crude increased 40 cents to $22.19 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude climbed 60 cents to $14.83.

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