Washington, D.C. – Demand for gasoline in the U.S. dropped 0.6 per cent in the first half of 2010, when compared with the first half of 2009, averaging 8.88 million barrels a day. The American Petroleum Institute (API), which issued the report, said that the drop reflects the ongoing sluggish economic recovery.

June deliveries of 9.18 million barrels per day (bpd) were the lowest level for any June since 2004, and were 0.5 per cent lower than June 2009 deliveries.

“The listless economic recovery continues to take a bite out of gasoline demand,” said John Felmy, API chief economist. “It’s clear from the gasoline deliveries data that consumer confidence in the economy remains shaky. This certainly supports API’s position that increased taxes or other anti-job policies by Congress or the administration could increase unemployment and harm our economic recovery.”

Despite the lack of demand for gasoline, distillate demand improved in both the first half of the year and in June. Total U.S. crude oil production averaged 5.47 million bpd in the first half of 2010, up 3.5 per cent from the 5.29 million bpd in 2009.

In June, crude production in the lower 48 states rose 3.9 per cent to 4.8 million bpd, while production in Alaska fell 2.6 per cent to 556,000 bpd after some North Slope operators reduced production in the middle of the month. Historically, production drops in the summer in Alaska due to maintenance work and lower operational efficiency in warmer weather.

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