Gas tanker at gas station

Steadily rising fuel costs during the first three months of 2011 have had virtually no impact on total U.S. petroleum deliveries, says the American Petroleum Institute (API). First-quarter deliveries rose by 5.5 percent, compared to the same period in 2010. For March, deliveries surged by 7.3 percent over the same month in 2010, hitting a whopping 20.5 million barrels per day. API chief economist John Felmy said in a statement that the culprit here is the rebounding economy:
Strong deliveries continue to indicate growth in the economy. The increase is consistent with expansion in the manufacturing sector reported by the government, although that was relatively modest. The increase is especially significant given the potentially depressing effect of rising prices on fuel demand and amid some prognostications that forward growth in the economy may be more modest than hoped.
The petroleum increase made its way to our pumps. During the first quarter of 2011, gasoline deliveries jumped by 4.1 percent, compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, U.S. refinery production of gasoline rose by 4.9 percent in March, compared to February, leading to record highs in both the month of March and the first quarter of 2011.

[Source: American Petroleum Institute | Image: Rennett Stowe – C.C. License 2.0]
Show full PR text
Petroleum demand surges in March, first quarter: API

WASHINGTON, April 21, 2011 – Steadily rising fuel costs during the first quarter of 2011 appear to have had little impact on total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand). First quarter deliveries rose by 5.5 percent compared with the first quarter in 2010, led by a 7.3 percent surge in March 2011 (to 20.5 million barrels per day) over the same month in 2010.

"Strong deliveries continue to indicate growth in the economy," said API chief economist John Felmy. "The increase is consistent with expansion in the manufacturing sector reported by the government, although that was relatively modest. The increase is especially significant given the potentially depressing effect of rising prices on fuel demand and amid some prognostications that forward growth in the economy may be more modest than hoped."

For the first quarter over the same period a year ago, deliveries of gasoline were up 4.1 percent, distillates were up 8.0 percent, and ultra-low sulfur distillates were up 12.6 percent. For March, deliveries for gasoline were up 6.1 percent; distillates were up 11.3 percent, and ultra-low sulfur distillates were up 21.1 percent compared with March 2010.

Crude oil production in March 2011 reversed the prior month's year-over-year declines, moving higher by 0.3 percent compared with March 2010, although the dips in January and February offset any gains in March, dragging first quarter volumes lower by 0.2 percent compared with the prior year.

Refinery production of gasoline and distillates were higher by 4.9 percent and 22.1 percent respectively in March, leading to record highs in total downstream production for March and for the first quarter.

Product imports continued their year-over-year declines for the third month in a row, down by 19.4 percent in March. Total imports of crude oil and petroleum products were down by 2.5 percent in March. Crude stocks were at their second-highest March level in the past ten years (only below March 2009) while March gasoline stocks were lower than in February and lower than March a year ago.
API represents more than 470 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports more than 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

Updated:April 21, 2011