More than two years ago, the price of oil soared to over $100 dollars a barrel. Today, it's not nearly that high, but at a price of $88.21 in the U.S., oil is slowly creeping up, thanks in part to soaring fuel consumption that's linked to a rebounding economy.

According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), total deliveries of petroleum products, an accurate measure of overall demand, climbed 6.5 percent to 20 million barrels a day in November and consumption during the first 11 months of this year climbed 2.4 percent over 2009's reported numbers, reaching 19.2 million barrels a day.

On the gasoline front, deliveries increased 3.2 percent to 9.19 million barrels a day and consumption rose to an average of 9.06 million barrels a day, up 0.7 percent from 2009. Demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel skyrocketed 13 percent over last year's number, averaging 3.33 million barrels a day.

John Felmy, chief economist at the Washington-based API, issued this statement on the rising demand for petroleum products:
Fuel demand continues to strengthen, a positive sign for the economy. Gasoline deliveries are up three months in a row and distillate deliveries are up 10 months in a row.
Despite the fact that our fuel usage has risen compared to 2009 numbers, the U.S. still exports less oil than it did back in 2006 and experts seem to agree that – over the long term – our demand for gasoline will follow a downward sloping trend. How we square that with increased fuel demand being "a positive sign for the economy" will be tough to figure out.
[Source: American Petroleum Institute | Image: jkirkhart35 – C.C. License 2.0]


Increase in petroleum deliveries signals stronger economy: API

Increase in petroleum deliveries signals stronger economy: API WASHINGTON – Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) increased 6.5 percent in November compared with November 2009, evidence the nation's consumer and industrial sectors are recovering, according to API's Monthly Statistical Report. The step-up in fuel demand represented the largest year-to-year increase for any month in 2010.

Gasoline deliveries rose 3.2 percent this November from a year ago while distillate fuel deliveries jumped 13.5 percent. Ultra-low sulfur distillate deliveries – the diesel used in trucks – were up 13.2 percent. Jet fuel deliveries experienced a robust 16.7 percent increase.

"Fuel demand continues to strengthen, a positive sign for our economy. Gasoline deliveries are up three months in a row and distillate deliveries are up 10 months in a row over the same months in 2009," said API chief economist John Felmy. "Stronger fuel demand tells us a recovery is underway."

Domestic crude oil production stood at 5.44 million barrels per day in November up slightly from last year, down 1.3 percent from October, but the highest total for any November since 2003. Rig counts rose to their higher level for the year at 1,683, according to Baker Hughes, Inc.

November's 10.9 million barrels a day of crude oil and product imports were lower than November a year ago by 1.1 percent, driven by double digit declines in product imports. Crude oil imports were five percent higher than a year ago, averaging 9.1 million barrels a day. While the highest total for any November since 1987, domestic crude oil inventories were lower than last month. November gasoline stocks were down three percent and distillate stocks were 3.8 percent lower compared with October.

Refinery utilization reached 83.2 percent of capacity in November, higher than this past October and November 2009. The rate was 15 percentage points above the average utilization for all U.S. manufacturing (in October 2010), according to Federal Reserve Board data.

API represents more than 450 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technologydriven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports more than 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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