August has come and gone and the American Petroleum Institute (API) has released the U.S. gasoline demand for the month. For the month of August gasoline demand for the U.S. dropped 1.3% –a ten year low for the month of August.
API chief economist, John Felmy said,
“The U.S. economy is still struggling. Retail sales are weak, and we’re seeing a reflection of that in the gasoline demand numbers. The rise in distillate demand accords with data that suggest modest growth in manufacturing, but consumers remain cautious.”
Yes, it’s the economy and this is not great news. It is not as if Americans all ran out and bought a new plug in electric vehicle or hybrid car to replace their SUV. The reality is the economy in the United States is in such a slump and gas prices remain high, so people simply are not driving or filling up as much as they used to. Overall on a year to date basis, demand for gas is two percent lower than in 2010.
High gas prices cause other prices to increase and some that raise a few eyebrows. Compact, fuel efficient cars found on used car lots have all of a sudden seemingly increased in value. A three-year-old Honda Accord has soared in value by 24% since last September, as well as a used Civic and Sentra. Does this mean you can get a great deal on a used SUV—nope on many lots their prices have remained the same.
There is a silver lining however. Given the economic restraints it does seem that Americans are now trying to conserve gasoline. This not only helps environmentally but it is a paradigm shift away from America’s disposable minded society. In a way it has become “cool” to “go green”, just look at all of those movie stars driving a Prius.
Despite the dip in gas demand, U.S. refinery production of gasoline was up 0.6% over August 2010 and hit a record high for the first eight months of the year. Production of diesel fuel set a record for the month of August with industry demand for diesel fuel shooting up by 10.8%.
Interestingly, with the low demand of gasoline, total petroleum imports for the U.S. fell by 11% for the month of August. API sights that figure as a whopping 14-year low. So that is okay, less demand for foreign oil is good, but sadly the reason for the 14 year low is because Americans just cannot afford it.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.