US gasoline deliveries for May dipped 0.4% from last year to average 9.05 million barrels per day, the lowest May level since 2003, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report.
This downward movement compared with year-on-year increases for both March 2010 and April 2010 indicates that gasoline demand is more sensitive to higher prices and to the effects of the sluggish economic recovery than distillate and jet fuels, which both saw increased demand in May, compared with previous months.
—API Chief Economist John Felmy
Average regular-grade gasoline prices were 57 cents per gallon higher in May 2010, compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
May distillate deliveries surged 7.8% from May 2009, supported by a jump in ultra low sulfur distillate. This was the second consecutive month that distillate deliveries showed upward movement on a year-to-year basis, following 29 months of declines since 2007. Even though May deliveries were up from last year, they averaged just 3.7 million barrels per day, which marked the second lowest May since 2003.
Jet fuel deliveries averaged 1.4 million barrels per day for May, an 8% bump from a year ago and 2.6% higher than April, thanks in part to airline travel demand during the Memorial Day holiday. January-through-May jet fuel deliveries were up 1.6 percent in 2010 relative to 2009.
Meanwhile, the average US refinery utilization rate for April climbed above 86% for the first time this year, moving to the highest level since July 2009. Total motor gasoline production in May was at 9.1 million barrels per day—the highest level for any May, and a continuation of gasoline production trends seen for all five months of this year. With the exception of May 2008 when distillate production stood at 4.5 million barrels per day, May 2010 distillate production of 4.2 million barrels per day was the highest for any May.