According to the American Petroleum Institute's (API) Monthly Statistical Report, U.S. gasoline deliveries for the first half of 2010 averaged 8.88 million barrels per day, 0.6 percent lower than the corresponding period a year ago. Though the drop in demand is minuscule, it does provide us with an indication that despite low gas prices and a rebounding economy, U.S. demand for gas continues to wane.

The numbers for the month of June paint a more vivid picture of our declining need for gas. June gasoline deliveries of 9.18 million barrel per day were the lowest level for any June on record since 2004 and were 0.5 percent lower than June 2009 deliveries. To gain a better understanding of the numbers, gasoline prices in 2004 barely cracked $2, whereas prices now sit at a nationwide average just north of $2.70.

API chief economist John Felmy offered additional insight into the declining demand for gas:
The listless economic recovery continues to take a bite out of gasoline demand. It's clear from the gasoline deliveries data that consumer confidence in the economy remains shaky. This certainly supports API's position that increased taxes or other anti-jobs policies by Congress or the administration could increase unemployment and harm our economic recovery.
While economists like to attribute decreased demand for gasoline to our shaky economical situation, we like to believe that advancements in fuel-saving technologies lead to a dwindling need for gas. Follow the jump for more info from the API.

[Source: American Petroleum Institute]


PRESS RELEASE

First-half U.S. gasoline demand 0.6% lower than last year: API


WASHINGTON, July 23, 2010 – Reflecting the ongoing sluggish economic recovery, U.S. gasoline deliveries for the first half of 2010 averaged 8.88 million barrels per day, 0.6 percent lower than the corresponding period a year ago, according to the American Petroleum Institute's Monthly Statistical Report for June.

June gasoline deliveries of 9.18 million barrel per day were the lowest level for any June since 2004 and were 0.5 percent lower than June 2009 deliveries, the report noted.

"The listless economic recovery continues to take a bite out of gasoline demand," observed API Chief Economist John Felmy. "It's clear from the gasoline deliveries data that consumer confidence in the economy remains shaky. This certainly supports API's position that increased taxes or other anti-jobs policies by Congress or the administration could increase unemployment and harm our economic recovery."

Even as gasoline demand remained depressed, distillate demand-which tends to track economic output closely-improved in both the first half of the year and for June. First-half low sulfur distillate deliveries jumped 2.1 percent from 2009 to average 3.29 million barrels per day in 2010; June low-sulfur distillate deliveries surged 12.3 percent from last year to average 3.51 million barrels per day for June 2010.

Total U.S. crude oil production averaged 5.47 million barrels per day in the first half of 2010, 3.5 percent higher than last year's 5.29 million barrels per day. For June, crude production in the Lower 48 states rose 3.9 percent to 4.8 million barrels per day, while Alaskan production dipped 2.6 percent to 556,000 barrels per day after some North Slope operators reduced production in the middle of the month. Historically, production wanes in the summer in Alaska due to maintenance work and lower operational efficiency in warmer weather.

U.S. refinery operations continued to improve in June relative to May this year, with production of all products, except residential fuel oil, improving in June. Inputs to crude distillate units averaged 15.3 million barrels per day, a 0.6 increase from May, and the fifth consecutive monthly increase. For the first half of 2010, refinery inputs of 14.84 million barrels per day were 1.3 percent higher this year than last.