US monthly oil demand plummets to 16-year low as gasoline use drops


NEW YORK -- US oil demand fell 1% in June to 18.727 million bpd, the lowest level for the month in 16 years, the American Petroleum Institute said Thursday.

In the second quarter, demand was 0.3% lower, at 18.593 million bpd.

Demand for gasoline, the most widely used petroleum product in the world's biggest oil consumer, fell 1.9% from a year earlier to a 12-year June low of 8.865 million bpd. Second-quarter gasoline use was 2% lower than in the same period in 2012, at 8.775 million bpd.

"The latest data continues to reflect the uncertainty visible in the broader economy," John Felmy, API's chief economist, said in a statement. "Domestic crude production reached a 22-year June high last month, but demand remains soft."

Demand for distillate fuel, the umbrella group for diesel fuel and heating oil, rose 5.5% from a year earlier, to 3.935 million bpd. Within that figure, demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, used to power trucks and trains, was 6.5% higher at 3.72 million bpd. Second-quarter distillate use was up 4.1% from a year earlier, at 3.878 million bpd.

Jet fuel use dropped 4.8% from a year earlier, to 1.47 million bpd in June, while heavy residual fuel oil, which is losing market share to cleaner-burning natural gas, saw record-low June demand of 317,000 bpd, down 14.7% from a year earlier, the API said.

US crude oil output climbed 15.3% from a year earlier to a 22-year June high of 7.221 million bpd. For the second quarter, crude oil production averaged 7.287 million bpd, up 15.6% from a year earlier, as new technology such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling unlocked oil deposits trapped in shale rock in several areas of the nation.

Higher domestic output continued to reduce the need for imported oil, the trade group said.

Crude oil imports fell 15.2% from a year earlier to a 19-year June low of 7.721 million bpd, the trade group said. Second-quarter crude imports were 12.2% below the same period in 2012, at 7.789 million bpd.

Refined products imports dropped 7.6% from June 2012, to 2.193 million bpd. In the second quarter, products imports were 1.2% above the year-earlier level, at 2.212 million barrels a day.

Total crude oil and refined products imports fell 13.6% from a year earlier to a 17-year June low of 9.839 million bpd.

Refinery inputs of crude oil and feedstocks averaged topped 16 million bpd for the first time since August 2011 and were 0.6% from a year earlier in June, at 16.078 million bpd. Distillate output set a June record of 4.8 million barrels a day in June, up 3.8% from a year earlier.

Exports of refined products averaged 3.072 million bpd in June, down 4.3% from a year earlier, but were 0.3% above a year earlier in the first half of the year, the API said.

Crude oil stocks at the end of June were 378.8 million bbl, down 2.5% from May and 1.9% below a year earlier. Gasoline stocks rose 8.1% year-on-year in June, to 224.6 million bbl and were 1.1% higher than at the end of May. Distillate stocks of 120.8 million bbl were down 0.8% from May, but up 0.6% from a year ago.

Dow Jones Newswires

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