• Apr 19th 2010 at 9:38AM
  • 41
Apparently the slew of hybrids and a handful of electric vehicles on the roads here have had little, if any, impact on gasoline consumption. The numbers for March show that we are more thirsty for the stuff than ever. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), our refineries produced more than 9.3 million barrels of gas per day in March, more than any other single month in U.S. history.
Of those 9.3 million barrels, 9.2 million were delivered (maybe the rest got lost somewhere). This number of delivered barrels is a record for any March on the books and just shy of the highest record of barrels delivered, 9.6 million per day, set back in July of 2007. API chief economist John Felmy spoke about the record-breaking month noting that it's:
Abundantly clear that supply is not an issue with the higher gasoline prices we've seen. Sharply higher crude oil prices are driving that, and they continue to put upward pressure on the price at the pump.
What is apparent from the recent trend is that gasoline consumption won't fall off anytime soon and higher prices rarely lead to lower demand. And remember, these numbers are for March, and peak summer gasoline usage is still months away. We could be in for a long, record-shattering summer.

[Source: American Petroleum Institute via Green Car Advisor | Image: BradleyPJohnson - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not at all surprised. As I reported a few months ago on here, most of the families I know bought an SUV in the last few months. Three of them are now two-SUV families, one is a minivan and SUV family. Now the families make good money and can afford to pay for the fuel to run these SUVs, even if gas goes to $5 or $6. But still, this does indicate to me people are buying bigger, more gas guzzling cars again, and that is going to drive demand and prices up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Indeed . . . the used market of gas guzzlers is going to become a buyer's market when gas prices resume their inevitable rise. I suspect their regret those SUV purchases.

        Even if you can afford $5 to $6 per gallon, why would people want to do this? You are shoveling a lot of money out of this country which hurts our economy, helps fund terrorists, makes us MORE dependent on foreign oil, costs a lot of unnecessary post-tax money, and pollutes your own neighborhood. It is a lose, lose, lose. Is all that really worth driving kids & groceries in an over-sized tank?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dave R
        2:49PM (4/19/2010)
        "Any idea why those families bought SUVs instead of family sedans?

        A 2 SUV household is just pointless."

        Dave, soccer moms like to sit up high when driving. They can see the road better. Higher is better to them but the coefficient drag is a bear.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @David Martin

        I'm in college, and as such drive a slightly banged up 2001 Suzuki Swift (or Geo Metro, if you prefer, but mine's got the Suzuki badge). Not the prettiest car ever made, especially in the condition it's in, but damn is it good on gas. Anyway, in the summer of 2007 people were FOLLOWING ME HOME in their trucks and SUVs to ask me if my car was for sale. I will never forget that, and I REALLY hope I don't get a fan parade like that this summer.

        Basically, I think you're right, the depreciation of guzzlers will be their biggest problem, but there will definitely be more fighting over the little cars again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If oil goes up as much as I and many observers expect, then it is not paying for the petrol which is going to hit people like that hardest.
        It will be huge depreciation on their SUV, just as happened when oil prices spiked at $147/barrel.
        That's assuming none of them loose their jobs or get their credit cut back as the banks retrench.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Any idea why those families bought SUVs instead of family sedans?

        A 2 SUV household is just pointless.

        • 5 Years Ago
        What the h... are you griping about? In Germany they're paying 1,50 € per liter and that for quite some time. $1.36 for a € =s $2.04 / ltr or $8,08 / gallon. Now that is current and not coming. That would be something to gripe and bitch about.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does this mean that less than half the gasoline used in the US is actually refined here??? We blow through over 20 million barrels a day (many, many sources)...so how can we only be refining a little over 9 million barrels a day???

      Does this mean even MORE money is flowing out of the US economy because we're not only paying for the oil but paying someone else to refine it for us???
        • 8 Months Ago
        David, the sad part is that some idiot will suggest it one day if things get really bad. I can see it now: "With the drug wars and Mexico's inability to step in with the decline of the world economy, we have no choice but to liberate Mexicans everywhere from the totalitarian regime that is suppressing their human rights (and standing on some oil we want). And my god, think of those poor Canadians, they live in a socialist state! We've got to save them from themselves.

        Hey, we do it everywhere else, why would we ignore our neighbors when they are so close and convenient? lol
        • 8 Months Ago
        I tend to agree that the biggest cause for the price fluctuations is the speculators involved. The variations are way too large to be accounted for by changes in the base price of crude.

        The part that is criminal about this are the number of Wall Street banks involved in this. Goldman Sachs paid their top trader a $100MILLION bonus for trades he made during all of the fiascos last year. And where is Wall Street getting that money to speculate with and drive up oil prices? They are using bailout money or even their normal money to do that instead of making loans to smaller banks or anything else that gets to "Main Street". They are taking the money we gave them and not loaning it out to help our economy.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The biggest exporters to the US are Canada and Mexico, who likely refine it before sending it across the border.
        Unless of course the US is intending a 'shock and awe' against Canada! ;-)
        • 8 Months Ago
        The CIA World Factbook estimate is 19.5 million barrels per day of *crude oil*, not refined gasoline. I don't know how much yield is possible in terms of refined products output: on this page, some sources say 60-70%. http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99288.htm

        I note that the API's press release says 'Total imports of crude oil and products fell in March compared with the same month a year ago. Crude oil imports slipped 1.2 percent; product imports fell 31.0 percent.' Reading between the lines I think that means that refining moved back on-shore in the US rather than importing refined products, rather than that the overall amount of fuel consumed increased (which I doubt).

        The quote from the API's Chief Economist is basically saying 'it's not our fault prices are high', which is true. It's Wall Street selling futures to people who have no business being in that market.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not sure where all this fuel is going, because the US DoT Federal Highway Administration shows another drop in vehicle mileage, year on year, for February 2010 (the latest figures that are available). 2010 is now down on 2008, the previous lowest year for travel since 2004.

      Follow the 'Traffic Volume Trends' data at:


      The 'Moving 12-Month Total on All Highways' chart is good viewing:

      • 5 Years Ago
      "higher prices rarely lead to lower demand"

      Wow. What planet are you from? Here on planet earth, high gas prices have caused major drops in US oil consumption.

      U.S. sees oil use down on weak economy and high prices
      Tue May 6, 2008

      "The price of U.S. crude hit a record $122.73 a barrel on Tuesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange, as the national price for regular, self-service gasoline set a new of record $3.61 a gallon this week.

      High fuel costs, along with a sputtering economy, will take an even bigger bite out of gasoline consumption, which was already forecast to decline from last summer's levels.

      "The gasoline (situation) we're facing here in the U.S. is not something we've seen in 20 years, where we have these high prices on top of a weak economy," said EIA analyst Tancred Lidderdale. "Both are unquestionably taking their toll."

      The EIA said it expected total petroleum demand, which includes gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel, in the current quarter to be 90,000 barrels a day less than last month's forecast and down 170,000 barrels a day compared to the second quarter of last year.

      Petroleum consumption in the upcoming third quarter was revised down by 100,000 barrels a day, increasing just 10,000 barrels per day from the third quarter of 2007, the EIA said.

      For all of 2008, demand will decline by 190,000 barrels a day, 90,000 barrels per day more than the agency said in last month's forecast."

      ABG needs some better writers.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Smoke 'em while you got 'em. These next few years may be the last of cheap gasoline so if you have ever wanted to do a big road trip, I'd recommend doing it soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe this is a result of how much of a PIA it is to fly commercial these days (TSA, delays and baggage fees).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like the US economy has recovered and $4.00 gasoline is right around the corner.

      This time there is no housing bust and bank crisis to go along with $4.00 gasoline. I suspect our economy will be able to support $4.00 per gallon this time around.

      Don't expect prices to fall back to $1.50 any time soon....
        • 5 Years Ago
        "This time there is no housing bust and bank crisis to go along with $4.00 gasoline."

        Umm yeah about that. The banks are no more solvent than they were on October 2008, next bust will in commercial real estate, and there has been no increase in US wages that would enable Americans to support the extra cost without cutting other expenses. The US economy is very far off from safe and sound.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @polo "The banks are no more solvent than they were on October 2008"

        Absolutely untrue. The so-called "bank stress test" in April 2009 forced large banks to raise more capital, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supervisory_Capital_Assessment_Program#Results_and_consequences
        They did so (diluting shareholder value, so there was *some* consequence for their destructive behavior), confidence in big banks improved, inter-bank lending started up, huge profits ensued.

        (The Obama administration and specifically Timothy Geithner don't get any credit from a public with short attention spans and zero memory, but there seems to be agreement among the majority of economists that their flexible, non-ideological, responsive policy measures were as a whole a damn good response to impending complete financial collapse.)

        What difference does a bust in commercial real estate make? Not a rhetorical question, I can't figure out who gets hurt besides some developers who don't employ many people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Polo speaks the truth.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't expect $1.5/gallon gasoline EVER again.
        • 8 Months Ago
        David Martin, it seems you have a good grasp of our current banking system. I imagine because much the same is going on in England. Our banks are lobbying congress to the tune of 1 million dollars a day right now. Once again using our own money against us. There is no reason that a bank be as big as Morgan/Chase valued at 2.2 trillion dollars. Studies show there are no advantages to a bank being valued larger than 100 billion. So Morgan/Chase alone should be broken up into 10 different banks. The CEO's of large banks love there bonuses and they would not be nearly as big when valued at 100 billion.

        Paul Volker was a adviser to Obama when campaigning for the presidency and at that time he was all fore dividing the banks and making them smaller. Now that Volker is part of the administration he recommends the banks be no larger than they are now. Wonder if the lobbying got to him also.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The banks are hanging on by a wing and a prayer, or more accurately courtesy of free money given them by allowing them to print money for free, then loan it to the Treasury to buy bonds at 4%, all courtesy of the taxpayer, and a lie, courtesy of mark to fantasy accounts which allows them to keep assets on their books for what they paid for them, even though if sold now they average around 33%.

        What the Government and the connected rich are trying to do is 'save the system' ie socialize all their losses on to the taxpayer and keep the giant ponzi scheme which is the housing market and the highly leverages financial system, where all the banks are in fact bust, from reality.
        Modoff was a bit player, this is the trillion dollar heist.

        If CRE goes, then the house of cards will likely blow away.

        Unfortunately, just as in the depression, it is not the bankers and politicians that will miss any meals, but the people who will suffer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This doesn't make sense. Just a few weeks ago, we were told that oil consumption was down. Opec cut back. Refineries were running at partial capacity.

      Now we're at record levels?

      Were they lying then or are they lying now?
      • 5 Years Ago
      We are slaves to the "Oil Kingdom". Whatever the price is we have to pay it. We have no choice. Either pay it or walk.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP6DhKGDzek (part 1)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1t4ue-WmlU (part 2)

      This very disturbing news. Thanks to automakers who would rather maximize profits, as defined by the the EV1 story, (GM isn't the only culprit) than provide alternative fueled vehicles for a more secure country. We now have oil companies that discovered that if they create artificial shortages, they make more money. And it's legal.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I believe Russia exports more oil than Saudi Arabia right now . . . but the Saudis are definitely the Kings as they have massive reserves. But fortunately for us, they are our friends. (Democracy in the mid-East . . . Yeah, sure. LOL!) But they'll sell to the highest bidder . . . and that may be China. These days, oil has become a zero-sum game . . . conventional crude has plateaued. But non conventional Canadian tar sands are filling the gap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not only has Saudi got massive OFFICIAL reserves - it has got exactly the same amount, down to the barrel, as before they pumped out billions of barrels!
        Of course, since the reserves are a state secret and no-one else can check the books, the OFFICIAL reserves are whatever they say they are.
        Russia, incidentally, is much more transparent, and 'coincidentally' reserves have gone down more, although there are also some very large reserves in very difficult climates even by Siberian standards.
        OPEC allocates voting power according to country's declared reserves, so unsurprisingly many declare very large reserves, as no-one checks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        David Martin, the Saudis have 260 billion barrels in the ground and say that there are 260 barrels yet undiscovered. DEC,2008

        The Saudi oil minister is right. Where would we be without oil. Oil has made our standard of living period. Oil has had a great run but it is time for something different. What? The oil minister does not want us to use EV's, that is preposterous. They are good global citizens meeting the needs of the world. Fear is what drove prices up in 2008. Can you imagine if someone bombed the command center for oil in Saudi Arabia, there would be serious carnage in the world. It only cost 2 dollars per barell to get it out of the ground, even though they are spending 60 billion dollars in 5 years for their latest oil extraction facility. Their oil command center cost 700 billion dollars and keeps track of every drop of oil coming out of the ground in Saudi Arabia. The oil minister says 75 dollars per barell is a good price for them as they need $55 per barrel to run the country.
        In Iran for every dollar increase per barell of oil they receive .9 billion dollars extra to put toward acquiring nukes, Hamas and Hezbollah. Maybe it was .9 million I can't remember.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I blame CARB for that more-so than the automakers. Besides, it's not like Toyota didn't make the Prius...
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is very clear there needs to be a $4-$5/gallon floor on the price of gas .
      • 5 Years Ago
      Back in 2002 the U.S. EPA estimated that if one-third of all vehicles in the U.S. were clean diesel, we could eliminate oil imports from Saudi Arabia. This still holds true. Until we get to the point when everyone is driving some sort of electric drive, we really should be trying to reduce our fuel consumption every way possible with existing technology:


      • 5 Years Ago
      This, and the U.S. Military predicting peak oil in 2012, with significant shortages by 2015:


      Good grief.
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