According the latest monthly statistics report from the American Petroleum Institute, US petroleum demand in August, led by motor gasoline, distillate, and refinery feedstocks, increased to 20.8 million b/d, up 250,000 b/d from July. This was the strongest demand for any month since August 2007 and reflected solid economic growth, industrial activity, and consumer confidence, API said.
Year-to-date through August, petroleum demand averaged 20.3 million b/d. This was an increase of nearly 500,000 b/d over the first 8 months of 2017.
US gasoline, distillate fuel
Consumer gasoline demand, as measured by total motor gasoline deliveries, was 9.7 million b/d in August. This was 0.8% below that of August 2017 but the third-highest demand for the month of August on record since 1945.
“The two highest years were 2016 and 2017, which suggests the increase in crude oil and gasoline prices this year may have suppressed some demand growth despite the strong economy,” API said.
The average price of regular-grade gasoline was $2.91/gal in August, which was down by 1.4¢/gal from July, but up by 42¢/gal compared with August 2017 and 63¢/gal vs. August 2016.
In August, distillate deliveries of 4.1 million b/d increased by 3.4% from July and 2% from August 2017. This was the highest distillate demand since 2007, both for the month of August and cumulatively through the first 8 months of the year.
About 96% of distillate demand in August was for ultralow-sulfur distillate (ULSD), which is driven by road freight transportation activity. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index for freight trucking increased 8.4% year-over-year in August at the same time as discussion has increased about America’s shortage of truck drivers.