U.S. Petroleum Demand Dropped 6% in 2008, Says Oil Industry

February 4, 2009

In 2008, the U.S. demand for petroleum dropped to its lowest level since 2003, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). Using U.S. petroleum deliveries as a measure of oil demand, API found that demand dropped by 1.2 million barrels per day, a 6% drop, to 19.4 million barrels per day. Oil demand fell because the demand for fuels dropped, with gasoline deliveries sliding by 3.3%; distillate fuel oil deliveries, which includes diesel fuel, decreasing by 5.8%; jet fuel deliveries dropping by 6.1%, and residual fuel oil deliveries falling by 14%. Coincidentally, U.S. crude oil production was also down, as lower oil production in Alaska and hurricane-related shut-ins in the Gulf of Mexico pushed production below 5 million barrels per day for the first time since 1946. Despite the drop in production, the imports of crude oil and petroleum products also decreased by more than 5% to 12.9 million barrels per day, the lowest level in five years. U.S. production of one petroleum product increased, however: the refinery output of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel increased by more than 10%, to 3.1 million barrels per day. See the API press release.