• EIA Shows Rare August-to-September Increase in US Gasoline Demand

  • EIA Shows Rare August-to-September Increase in US Gasoline Demand

    One has to go back 29 years to find September featuring higher gasoline demand
    than August, but Energy Information Administration data recorded Monday
    suggested a final September demand number of 8.545 million b/d, up 36,000 b/d
    from August.

    This is the first time since 1981 that September gasoline demand in the U.S.
    exceeded August demand. Back in 1981, it advanced from 6.637 million b/d to
    6.662 million b/d.

    August is quite often a peak month for gasoline demand, so the report points
    toward a continued and somewhat contraseasonal recovery in travel in
    theCOVID-19 era. The final September number was fairly close to what EIA
    reported in its Weekly Statistical Bulletins that bracketed the month. Those
    weeklies implied a number of 8.556 million b/d, so the downward revision of a
    mere11,000 b/d was the smallest change in recent memory.

    It still represented the weakest September for motor fuel demand since 2008,
    when financial markets were rocked by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The
    year-on-year drop of 653,000 b/d from September 2019 was one of the smaller
    drops since the pandemic began.

    Chain retailers spoken to by OPIS suspect that the demand recovery peaked in
    October. But the corollary to that angle holds that deterioration accelerated
    in November, with some of the poorest demand weeks since June.

    OPIS next week will have final demand numbers for November, but comments from
    retailers suggest a year-on-year decline of about 18% to November 2019.

    Additionally, anecdotal comments from large chains suggest that Thanksgiving
    week saw the most rugged stretch of gasoline demand since late
    spring.Thanksgiving itself isn't a brisk day for sales, but the call for
    suspension of family gatherings because of COVID-19 was heeded by many
    motorists.

    --Reporting by Tom Kloza, tkloza@opisnet.com; Editing by Barbara Chuck,
    bchuck@opisnet.com



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