By MARK SHENK
US fuel consumption increased in March to the highest level
for the month in three years, the American Petroleum
Institute (API) said.
Total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand,
climbed 0.4% from a year earlier to 18.6 million bpd, the
industry-funded group said Thursday. It was the highest level
for March since 2011.
Gasoline consumption rose 2.3% to 8.81 million bpd. Demand
for distillate fuel, the category that includes diesel and
heating oil, increased 2.4% to 3.86 million bbl. Heating oil
use surged 26% to 453,000 bpd, while diesel demand slipped
0.1% to 3.41 million.
March brought strong demand for both gasoline and
distillate fuel, but refinery
outstripped demand for all four major products, John
Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in the
report. Fortunately, the rest of the world is also
eager to buy the output of US refineries.
Production of gasoline and distillates reached record highs
for the month, the API said, with distillates up 12% to 4.79
million bpd and gasoline gaining 4.7% to 9.32 million. Fuel
exports rose 28% to 3.99 million bbl in March compared with a
year earlier. This was the first time exports dipped below 4
million in four months.
US crude oil output increased 13% to 8.07 million bpd. Output
of natural gas liquids, a byproduct of gas drilling, climbed
7.6% to 2.66 million.
Total oil and fuel imports rose 0.4% in March to 9.49 million
bpd, the second-lowest import total in 18 years.
Jet fuel consumption dropped 1.6% to 1.35 million bpd last
month. Demand for residual oil, used for commercial and
industrial heating, electricity generation and ship
propulsion, dropped 29% to 306,000 bpd, a record low for