By DAVID BIRD
NEW YORK -- US oil demand
fell 3.3% in November from a year earlier, to 18.5 million bpd,
the American Petroleum Institute said Friday.
The world's biggest petroleum consumer used the lowest
volume of oil in 17 years in November, the trade group said.
With the exception of May, US oil use has fallen year-on-year
in each month so far in 2012.
Eleven-month demand is down 2.1%, or around 400,000 bpd, from
the same period a year earlier.
John Felmy, API's chief economist, said the economy has
shown "modest improvement" this year, "but the fundamentals of
fuel demand fail to indicate a strengthening recovery is
He noted that demand for diesel fuel, "which is critical to
shipping just about everything in our economy," was down 4.5%
in November from a year earlier. Year-to-date diesel use was
off 1.4% from the same period in 2011.
Demand for gasoline, the most widely used petroleum product
in the country, fell 0.3% from a year earlier, to 8.5 million
bpd. Year-to-date gasoline use is the lowest since 2001, at 8.7
million bpd, off 0.4% from the year-earlier period.
November demand for distillate fuel (heating oil/diesel
combined) was 6.3% below the year-earlier level, at 3.85
million bpd. Year-to-date demand through November, at 3.75
million bpd, was down 3.9% from the same period in 2011.
Demand for jet fuel and residual fuel, used in industrial boilers and for power generation,
also dropped from a year earlier.
Refiners cut crude oil processing in November by 2.2% from a
year earlier, to a seven-month low of 15.1 million bpd. Crude
oil runs were flat year-to-date at 15.3 million bpd, the trade
Gasoline output fell 3.1% year-on-year in November, to near
8.9 million bpd. Despite a year-on-year drop of 2.3% from
January through November, output was still the third highest on
record for the first 11 months of the year.
Output of gasoline, distillates and residual fuel exceeded
demand, resulting in exports. Year-to-date products exports
topped 3.1 million bpd, up 6.2% from the same period in 2011,
while US imports of refined petroleum products dropped 19% in
the period, to 1.9 million bpd.
Domestic oil output, thanks to rising flows from shale-oil
fields, continued to climb and hit the highest monthly level
since February 1995. Output gained 2% from October and was up
13.3%, or 800,000 bpd, from November 2011, at 6.8 million bpd.
Year-to-date output was 12.7% higher than the same time in
2011, averaging 6.3 million bpd.
Higher US output continued to slash crude-oil import
volumes. November crude imports averaged 8.2 million bpd, down
6.1% from a year earlier and down 3.8% year to date.
Crude oil stocks gained 10.2% on a year-on-year basis in
November, while stocks of all major products were down.
Gasoline stocks fell 5.4% year-on-year, while distillate stocks
were down 19.5%.
Dow Jones Newswires