29 February 2012 16:57 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US consumption of finished motor gasoline fell last week for the first time in February, as indicated by government statistics released on Wednesday.
Finished gasoline consumption dropped by 265,000 bbl/day to hit 8.363m bbl/day for the week ended 24 February, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Gasoline retail prices were at seasonal record highs for the week ended 24 February, following the rise in crude oil prices. Tensions in Iran, along with sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil in Europe, provoked panic buying for crude oil and boosted prices.
The seasonal record high prices lessened gasoline consumption for that week. Finished motor gasoline consumption had previously risen week on week since 3 February.
An increase of 147,000 bbl/day in gasoline production was not enough to curtail the drop in both gasoline consumption and inventories for the week ended 24 February. Inventories dropped by 1.6m bbl to reach 229.9m bbl, according to the EIA.
Analysts had predicted inventories would increase on lower consumption.
Lower finished gasoline imports led to the fall in inventories as imports fell to 599,000 bbl/day, a drop of 246,000 bbl/day from the week ended 24 February.
Finished motor gasoline refers to the stage of gasoline in the supply chain where it has reached primary sources, such as blenders and terminals, before delivery to the retail stations.
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