The Demand for Gasoline is Downward Sloping, How About That?

Lynne Kiesling

Another rollercoaster day on oil markets … here’s an interesting observation from a Bloomberg article on the topic:

“Refiners are managing the crude supply they have on hand because they are worried about weak product demand,” said Tim Evans, an energy analyst for Citi Futures Perspective in New York. “Both gasoline and distillate demand over the last four weeks are down from a year ago.”

Fuel consumption averaged 20.4 million barrels a day in the four weeks ended June 6, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier, the department said.

U.S. gasoline demand increases during the summer, when Americans take to the highways for vacations. The peak- consumption period lasts from the Memorial Day weekend in late May to Labor Day in early September.

On a related note, I am glad to see more and more analysis and discussion about the interaction of the weak dollar and higher commodity prices (including oil, metals, and food). One reason commodity markets are so unsettled right now is that interaction, and while I’m not expert enough to comment on it, I’m glad to see it discussed (in, for example, Steve Hanke’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on rice prices).