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Diesel, jet fuel demand drops in February

February diesel demand plunged 12 percent and jet fuel demand dropped 6.6 percent from a year ago, according to the American Petroleum Institute's Monthly Statistical Report.

It appears that for now, the troubled economy has had a greater impact on the demand for diesel and jet fuel than for gasoline," said Ron Planting, API statistics manager.

Gasoline demand (measured as deliveries) ticked up two percent for February. Overall, total oil-product demand fell three percent from a year ago, marking the lowest demand for a February since 1999.

With demand off, refinery inputs fell (by 2.9 percent from a year ago) to their lowest February level since 2002. Even so, industry gasoline production averaged over 8.8 million barrels per day, the highest ever for February, and distillate production reached an all-time February high of 4.25 million barrels per day.

Refinery production of both jet fuel and residual fuel oil dropped from a year ago.

United States crude oil production surpassed 5.3 million barrels per day for the first time since hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. The 5.5 percent increase over last February output level reflects the return of Gulf facilities that had been shut last year by hurricanes Ike and Gustav as well as additional output from BP’s Thunder Horse platform, which is being ramped up.

Lower 48 production in February rose 6.3 percent from a year ago, while Alaskan production rose by 0.7 percent.

With weak demand and an increase in domestic production, February’s imports fell 1.8 percent from a year ago, largely reflecting a nearly 5 percent drop in crude oil imports. Refined products imports rose 8.2 percent over year-ago levels.

Among the major products, gasoline imports rose more than 13 percent from a year ago to 1.14 million barrels per day, the highest for February in three years. Distillate imports rose by about 10 percent from last year’s recent February low of 272,000 barrels per day. Residual imports nearly doubled – to 591,000 barrels per day – their highest level since late 2005.

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