Total petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) slipped
1.3% in March compared with March 2011, though gasoline
deliveries were up 3%, according to monthly data from the
American Petroleum Institute (API) trade group.
This marked the second month in a row gasoline demand
increased while total petroleum demand declined, the API
distillate demand was up very slightly over a year ago to
almost 4 million bpd, driven by a 5.5% rise in demand for
ultra-low sulfur diesel used by trucks.
The mixed demand picture shows the economy is still
laboring to move forward, reflecting relatively weak employment
conditions, said API chief economist John Felmy.
However, the rise in gasoline demand occurred in spite
of higher gasoline prices, which actually pushed down demand
for reformulated gasoline used in urban areas and encouraged
more use of public transit, he added.
Supplies of refined products remained ample, with US
gasoline production of 9.3 million bpd setting a record for any
March and for any comparable year-to-date period, the API said.
Distillate fuel production at 4.4 million bpd also set March
and year-to-date records.
Refinery utilization increased in
March, compared with March a year ago. Total refinery inputs rose 2.3% in
With US refinery production at high levels
and overall domestic demand falling, exports of refined
petroleum products increased by 2.6%, according to the API.
Imports of crude oil and refined products fell in March by
6.6% to average 10.6 million bpd. Canadian crude imports rose
by 1.9% to average almost 2.16 million bpd.
Higher domestic crude oil production in March offset lower
crude import levels. Crude oil production rose by 4.7% to
average almost 5.9 million bpd.
Rising North Dakota production at 551,000 bpd in March
continued to close in on declining Alaska production of 591,000
bpd, the API said.
The number of oil and gas rigs fell from 1,990 in February
to 1,979 in March, according to the latest reports from
In March, crude oil stocks at 361.2 million barrels were
down 0.4% from March 2011 and up 4.5% from February of this
Gasoline stocks were up from March 2011 but down slightly
from February 2012.