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Tags: energy prices | transportation industry

US Fuel Demand Surges to a Record, as Americans Return to Traveling

crowded train station
(Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 15 December 2021 12:55 PM

U.S. implied consumer petroleum demand surged to an all-time high last week on the back of holiday demand and travel -- even as the Omicron variant of coronavirus threatens to dent oil consumption in coming months.

Overall crude stockpiles fell due to rising exports, and inventories for gasoline and distillates were also down, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.

Product supplied by refineries, a proxy for demand, surged in the most recent week to 23.2 million barrels per day (bpd), due to gains in gasoline, diesel and other refined products. The less volatile four-week average was 21.3 million bpd, ahead of pre-pandemic levels, and the strongest in December since 2018.

Both supplies of gasoline and distillate - which includes diesel fuel - were exceeding 2019 levels as refiners have boosted output. Analysts said the rise reflects both expectations for a surge of people traveling for the holidays and the loosening of supply chain bottlenecks that has more trucks on the road delivering goods.

'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'

"It's planes, trains and automobiles season," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. "People are trying to claim their lives back. Strong economics, strong employment coincides with strong gasoline demand -- no matter what the [the prices are at the] pump."

Auto and air travel are expected to rise 34% from last year's holiday season, according to the American Automobile Association, with about 109.5 million people on the move, though that figure is still short of 2019 levels.

Distillate demand rose sharply in the most recent week, up more than 1.3 million bpd in the most recent week, while the four-week average is now 8% higher than comparable 2019 levels. Gasoline demand, as measured by product supplied, is in line with 2019.

Andrew Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston warned that the volatility in the figures could mean next week's numbers will drop off sharply. The Omicron coronavirus variant is also expected to cut demand in coming months.

© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


StreetTalk
U.S. implied consumer petroleum demand surged to an all-time high last week on the back of holiday demand and travel -- even as the Omicron variant of coronavirus threatens to dent oil consumption in coming months.
energy prices, transportation industry
331
2021-55-15
Wednesday, 15 December 2021 12:55 PM
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