Gasoline Demand Could Pressure Crude Oil Prices

US crude oil futures

February WTI crude oil (UCO) (DBO) futures contracts fell 0.05% and were trading at $63.7 per barrel at 1:10 AM EST on January 17, 2018. Moves in oil (USO) prices impact the iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE), which fell 1.2% to 41.8 on January 16, 2018.

Meanwhile, E-Mini S&P 500 (SPY) futures contracts for March delivery rose 0.01% to 2,782.5 at 1:10 AM EST on January 17, 2018.

Gasoline Demand Could Pressure Crude Oil Prices

US gasoline demand 

The EIA estimated that the four-week average US gasoline demand fell by 69,000 bpd (barrels per day) to 9,094,000 bpd between December 29, 2017, and January 5, 2018. However, gasoline demand increased by 223,000 bpd or 2.5% from a year ago.

The year-over-year increase in gasoline demand will have a positive impact on gasoline and oil (USO) (SCO) prices. Higher gasoline (UGA) prices favor US refining companies (CRAK) like Phillips 66 (PSX), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), and Valero (VLO).

WTI oil (OIL) prices are near the highest level since December 2014. Higher oil prices favor energy companies (XLE) (PXI) like Gastar Exploration (GST), Sanchez Energy (SN), and Approach Resources (AREX).

US gasoline demand peak and low

US gasoline demand hit 9,776,000 bpd in August 2016—the highest level ever. On the other hand, demand hit 8,222,000 bpd in January 2017—the lowest level since February 2012.

US gasoline consumption estimates

US gasoline consumption averaged 9,320,000 bpd in 2016 and 9,300,000 bpd in 2017. Consumption hit a record in 2016. The EIA estimates that US gasoline consumption will average 9,330,000 bpd in 2018 and 9,390,000 bpd in 2019. Gasoline demand could hit a record in 2018 and 2019.

Impact 

The EIA will release US gasoline data on January 18, 2018, for the week ending January 12, 2018. Any rise in US gasoline demand is bullish for gasoline and oil (DBO) prices.

Next, we’ll discuss how the US dollar influences oil prices.