EIA: US gasoline demand hits record high in August

NEW YORK (Reuters) — US gasoline demand hit a record in August, delivering a strong end to the summer driving season, according to data released on Tuesday by the US Energy Information Administration.

US gasoline demand rose by a modest 0.9%, or 83,000 bpd to 9.77 MMbpd in August compared to the same month last year, the data showed. The level was the highest on record, according to the EIA's data.

It was the fourth increase in the past five months, EIA data showed.

The strong demand came ahead of much of the historic hurricane activity this year.

Overall, US gasoline demand January through August was relatively flat compared with the same stretch last year, largely due to a poor first quarter, but it could decline in the months ahead as data is released that takes into account the demand decline from the series of hurricanes that hit the United States.

US gasoline demand, which accounts for 10% of global consumption and hit a record high last year, has risen each year since 2012.

US crude oil output fell slightly in the month to 9.20 MMbpd in August from 9.23 MMbpd in July, according to the data. Production has been in a range of 9.07 MMbpd to 9.23 MMbpd since February, according to the data.

US distillate demand remained strong, rising 2.9% year-on-year to 3.99 MMbpd in August, the data showed.

Total oil demand was down 0.6% year-on-year, or 114,000 bpd, to 20.16 MMbpd in August, the data showed.

Motor travel data suggests strong driving numbers, but experts have said greater fuel efficiency has taken hold and helped tamp down gasoline demand.

US motorists logged 0.8% more miles on the road in July than they did in the year-ago month, keeping 2017 on pace to break last year's record of total miles driven, according to US Department of Transportation data.

Motorists drove 1.5% more miles on US roads through July than in the same period last year, the data shows. August numbers will be released later this month.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Peter Cooney and Chris Reese

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