Publications: Notes at the Margin

US Gasoline Consumption: Probably Drastically Overstated (April 4, 2016)


"Thirst for Gasoline Fuels Oil Rally" reads a March 30 Wall Street Journal headline. "Falling oil prices have been a boon for drivers," the story begins. "Now, the thirst for gasoline is revving up the oil market." The article indicates that use for the four weeks ending March 25 averaged 9.4 million barrels per day compared to roughly 8.8 million barrels per day for the same period in 2014 and 2015. US gasoline consumption has not increased six hundred thousand barrels per day from 8.8 to 9.4 million barrels per day. The actual rise is probably around one hundred fifty thousand barrels per day. In other words, the EIA data the WSJ author relied on are almost certainly overstated. This week's report goes into more detail on this subject and then goes on to discuss the growing crude oil storage capacity, the upcoming meeting of oil producers in Doha, and the effect of low oil prices on political instability.


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