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EIA: US refineries running at record levels; gasoline demand; exports up

Gross inputs to US refineries exceeded 17 million barrels per day (b/d) in each of the past four weeks, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA)—a level not previously reached since EIA began publishing weekly data in 1990. The rolling four-week average of US gross refinery inputs has been above the previous five-year range (2010-14) every week so far this year. The record high gross inputs reflect both higher refinery capacity and higher utilization rates.

Main

Lower crude oil prices and strong demand for petroleum products, primarily gasoline, both in the United States and globally, have led to favorable margins that encourage refinery investment and high refinery runs. Refinery margins are currently supported by high gasoline crack spreads (the difference between the price of crude oil and the price of specific petroleum products extracted from it) that reached a peak of 66 cents per gallon (gal) on 8 July, a level not reached since September 2008.

For the past several years, distillate crack spreads have consistently exceeded those for gasoline, but since May, this trend has reversed.

From 2011 to 2014, distillate crack spreads (calculated using Gulf Coast spot prices for Light Louisiana Sweet crude oil, conventional gasoline, and ultra-low sulfur distillate) averaged a 24 cents/gal premium over gasoline crack spreads. Since May 20, Gulf Coast gasoline crack spreads have averaged 17 cents/gal higher than for distillate crack spreads.

Higher demand for gasoline is supporting these margins, according to the EIA. Total US motor gasoline product supplied is up 2.9% through the first five months of 2015, and trade press reports indicate that demand is also higher in major world markets such as Europe and India so far this year compared with 2014. Total US petroleum product supplied (a proxy for demand) is up 2.5% through the first five months of the year compared with 2014. Much of the refinery output is reaching global markets, as net exports are 19% higher this year through May.

US refinery runs tend to peak in the second and third quarters of the year when demand for gasoline is greater because of increased driving in the summer. In its July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA estimated that refinery runs will average 16.7 million b/d from April through September and then decline slightly in the fourth quarter to 16.2 million b/d before falling further to 15.8 million b/d in the first quarter of 2016. Following the winter period of lower demand and refinery maintenance, EIA’s STEO expects US refinery runs will reach new highs next summer, averaging 16.9 million b/d in third quarter of 2016.

Comments

HarveyD

Cheaper gas, higher employment = increased oil/gas consumption?

Higher wages would add even more?

gorr

Gasoline consumption is too high because there is a lot of coward folks that are afraid of running in small cars so they buy big suvs. It's the result of crash testing that was exaggerated for suvs. There is as much danger in suvs because people drive them too fast and these truck are unstable and roll over,ially in winter on snow and ice. Also bevs are not popular so gas consumption is high.

These crooked refineries must work together and limit capacities and there is surrelly bad regulations limiting refine products importation. All in all everything is too costly and the richs are taking all the money and not paying income tax. I thus bought the cheapest amall car there is and im driving it slow to max out fuel economy.

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