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Will US Gasoline Demand Hit a Record This Summer?

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Jul. 12 2017, Published 9:32 a.m. ET

US gasoline demand 

The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) estimates that weekly US gasoline demand rose by 167,000 bpd (barrels per day) to 9,705,000 bpd on June 23–30, 2017. Gasoline demand rose 1.8% week-over-week but fell 0.5% year-over-year.

Changes in gasoline demand impact gasoline and crude oil (IXC) (IYE) (ERX) prices. Moves in gasoline and crude oil prices impact refiners and oil producers like Stone Energy (SGY), Sanchez Energy (SN), Tesoro (TSO), and Valero (VLO).

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Gasoline prices 

US gasoline futures rose 1.2% and closed at $1.51 per gallon on July 11, 2017. Likewise, US crude oil prices rose on the same day. Gasoline and crude oil prices usually move together. For more on crude oil prices, read Part 1 of this series.

Gasoline production and imports 

US gasoline production rose by 31,000 bpd to 10,365,000 bpd on June 23–30, 2017. Production rose 0.3% week-over-week but fell 3.5% year-over-year.

US gasoline imports rose by 168,000 bpd to 739,000 bpd on June 23–30, 2017. Imports rose 29% week-over-week but fell 4% year-over-year.

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US gasoline consumption estimates 

On July 11, 2017, the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) released its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook report. It estimates that US gasoline consumption will average 9,340,000 bpd in 2017—the same as previous estimates. The EIA estimates that US gasoline consumption is expected to average 9,390,000 bpd in 2018—0.2% higher than previous estimates. Gasoline consumption averaged 9,330,000 bpd in 2016.

Gasoline demand drivers 

A record number of US travelers this summer would drive gasoline demand. As a result, gasoline demand might hit a record in 2017 and 2018. It would support crude oil and gasoline prices.

In the next part, we’ll discuss India and China’s crude oil imports.

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