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US Gasoline Demand Could Fall and Pressure Crude Oil Prices

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US gasoline demand  

The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) estimates that weekly US gasoline demand fell by 281,000 bpd (barrels per day) to 9.2 MMbpd (million barrels per day) on September 22–29, 2017. Gasoline demand fell 3% week-over-week and 149,000 bpd or 1.6% from the same period in 2016. Weekly gasoline demand is at a five-week low. A fall in the gasoline demand could have a negative impact on gasoline (UGA) and crude oil (OIL) (DTO) prices.

Lower gasoline prices have a bearish impact on US refiners (CRAK) like Alon USA Energy (ALJ), Phillips 66 (PSX), CVR Energy (CVI), and Northern Tier Energy (NTI).

Similarly, lower oil (UWT) (DWT) prices have a negative impact on oil exploration and production companies (OIH) (FENY) like Stone Energy (SGY) and Triangle Petroleum (TPLM).

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US gasoline consumption estimates  

The EIA released its STEO (Short-Term Energy Outlook) report on October 11, 2017. It estimates that US gasoline consumption will average 9.32 MMbpd in 2017. It’s 0.2% lower than the estimates from the September STEO report. The EIA also estimates that US gasoline consumption will average 9.37 MMbpd in 2018. It’s 0.1% lower than the estimates from the September STEO report. Consumption averaged a record 9.32 MMbpd in 2016.

Impact 

According to the EIA, US gasoline demand could hit an annual record in 2018. Record gasoline demand will have a bullish impact on gasoline prices and even crude oil (USO) (OIL) prices.

In the next part, we’ll discuss how geopolitical risks in Iraq impact crude oil prices.

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