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US Petroleum Demand Jumps with Loosening of Travel Restrictions

According to the EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR), overall petrol demand increased by 3.5 percent week over week for the week ending May 21, after rising by 10% the week before, boosted by rising gasoline demand surge in jet fuel use. Last week, gasoline demand grew by 3% over the previous week, while demand for jet fuel jumped by 18%.

Last week, oil refinery inputs in the United States averaged 15.2 million barrels per day. This was a 123,000-b/d increase over the previous week. Last week, refineries ran at 87 percent of their available capacity, similar to the last week and up from 71 percent a year before. According to official data, the increases come as coronavirus vaccination programs expand – approximately half of the American people are now fully immunized – and travel restrictions are eased.

The upward trend is expected to continue, say analysts. Over the preceding four weeks, total Petroleum products supplied – EIA’s nomenclature for demand – averaged 19.1 million b/d, up 18 percent from the same period last year. According to the WSPR, gasoline consumption climbed by 29% year over year, while demand for jet fuel more than doubled.

Meanwhile, commercial oil stockpiles in the United States fell by 1.7 million barrels last week, excluding those held in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Crude inventories in the United States are 2% lower than the five-year average, at 484.3 million barrels. The weekly drop was attributed to increased demand. Import prices were also a role. Last week, oil imports averaged 6.3 million barrels per day, down 138,000 barrels per day from the prior week.

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