According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), despite rising fuel costs, total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) marked a robust 4.4 percent increase in February over the same month a year ago. At 19.7 million barrels per day, they were at a three-year high for the month. Gasoline deliveries, at 9.0 million barrels per day, rose by 4.2 percent, posting a record high for any February.
Deliveries of ultra-low sulfur distillates increased by 17.6 percent, and high-sulfur distillates were up by 30.6 percent, reflecting increased demand for truck fuel and home heating oil. Total distillate fuel deliveries, at 4.0 million barrels per day, were higher than any previous February since 2008. Jet fuel deliveries rose by 7.1 percent from the prior February and were at a three-year high for the month.
“The boost in deliveries reflects an economy gaining strength,” said API chief economist John Felmy. “The Federal Reserve survey indicates an expansion in business and manufacturing. So it’s no surprise we’re seeing growth in petroleum deliveries. It’s welcome news for fuel producers and for the economy.”
While refinery maintenance and turnarounds reduced total inputs to crude distillation units, gasoline and distillate production achieved record highs for any February. Gasoline production averaged 9.2 million barrels per day; distillate production averaged 4.3 million barrels per day.
Imports of crude oil and refined products decreased a combined 5.2 percent in February compared with February a year ago, with product imports falling by 22.6 percent.
Domestic crude oil production fell by 1.6 percent to 5.4 million barrels per day from February 2010.
Crude stocks were at the second-highest February level in the past ten years, just behind 2009. Inventories of motor gasoline fell from January 2011 and were also less than February 2010.