Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

U.S. Fuel Demand Hits Highest Level in a Decade for August

  • Total fuel demand rose 1.3% to 20.5 million barrels a day: API
  • Distillate consumption rises 6.5%; gasoline demand slips 1.5%

U.S. fuel consumption to its highest level in a decade for the month of August, driven by a rise in distillate demand, as gasoline deliveries fell, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, climbed 1.3 percent from a year earlier to average 20.5 million barrels per day, according to a monthly report Thursday from the industry-funded group. Distillate deliveries rose 6.5 percent to 4.13 million barrels a day, the best August in 10 years.

Gasoline demand slipped 1.5 percent in August from the year earlier to 9.55 million barrels a day, even though it was the peak of the traditional summer driving season.

At the end of August, Hurricane Harvey struck the the Gulf Coast and stymied Texas oil refiners. Nonetheless, strong economic fundamentals throughout the course of the month was seen as boosting overall refined products demand.

“Strong economic growth is boosting petroleum demand,” Hazem Arafa, director of statistics at the API in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement. “Meanwhile domestic production remains high allowing consumers and businesses to continue to enjoy relatively low fuel costs.”

U.S. crude oil production reached 9.3 million barrels per day in August, its second highest tally for the month in 45 years. It marked the seventh-straight month during which daily output topped 9 million barrels.

U.S. crude oil imports dropped 7 percent from August 2016 to 7.46 million barrels per day in August, while refined product imports decreased 6.4 percent. Both were the lowest imports since November 2015.

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