US gasoline inventories climb on drop in fuel consumption

05 January 2012 21:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Gasoline inventories jumped by 2.5m bbl for the last week of 2011, largely because of a drop in fuel consumption, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.

Motor gasoline stockpiles measured 220.2m bbl for the week of 30 December, compared with 217.7m bbl the week of 23 December, the EIA reported.

Consumption of finished gasoline slipped by 368,000 bbl/day, or 2.576m bbl for the week, for total consumption of 8.556m bbl/day for the week of Christmas Eve through 30 December.

Consumption includes the movement of gasoline from primary sources, but it does not include gasoline purchases at the pump, said EIA spokesman Jonathan Cogan.

EIA spokesman Tancred Lidderdale said higher consumption in the week of 23 December before most likely reflected deliveries to terminals and gas stations ahead of Christmas in preparation for expected retail demand.

Consumption the weeks approaching Christmas was less than in 2010. Consumption for the 3-30 December was at 8.756m bbl/day, 4.9% lower than consumption during the same period in 2010 of 9.204m bbl/day.

US automobile group AAA had forecasted travel volume during the 2011-2012 holiday season to be the second highest in the past decade.

AAA forecasted 91.9m Americans would travel at least 50 miles (80km) from home during the travel period of 23 December to 2 January, an increase of 1.4% year on year.

The low demand for fuel is still prevalent, an east coast trader said. Gasoline cargoes expected at the east coast mid-January have seen little interest in the market, he said.

Production fell for the week of 30 December to 8.655m bbl/day, compared with 9.360m bbl/day the prior week.

By: Sheena Martin
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