Falling US gasoline demand balanced by rising global diesel demand

12 January 2012 22:46  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Climbing global diesel demand will balance falling US gasoline consumption caused by more fuel efficient cars, an energy consultant said on Thursday.

US diesel exports hit a record high in 2011, with shipments to Europe and South America, said consultancy Purvin & Gertz  vice president Kurt Barron.

Europe’s driving sector relies on diesel fuel, and rapid developments in emerging economies resulted in a surge in demand, he said at a Southwest Chemical Association luncheon.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Wednesday exports of distillates, including diesel oil and heating oil, averaged 1.072m bbl/day for the week ended 6 January.

Gasoline demand for America hit record volumes in 2006-2007, averaging more than 10.5m bbl/day for 2006, according to the EIA.

Consumption slipped during the recession, made a slight increase in 2010, and then began a downward trend in 2011, falling by 240,000 bbl/day, according to the EIA.

Consumption of finished gasoline during the week of 6 January fell by 377,000 bbl/day from 8.179m bbl/day during the prior week, to a near nine–year low. For the week ended 7 February 2003, the EIA reported consumption of 8.106m bbl/day.

Barron said consumption is expected to fall in the next five years as Americans move toward more fuel efficient vehicles.

The average life of a vehicle is 10 years, so many Americans are still on the road with less fuel efficient vehicles. Accordingly, the move toward more fuel-efficient vehicles on the roads in ongoing as vehicles wear out and Americans look to buy more fuel efficient autos, said Barron.

The EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook said consumption for motor gasoline is expected to drop by 20,000 bbl/day in 2012 and another 20,000 bbl/day in 2013.

Barron said weak demand for gasoline will be balanced in the years ahead by the growing demand for diesel fuel.

By: Sheena Martin
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