U.S. gasoline demand in August fell to a 10-year low for the month as consumer sentiment remained stalled but industry demand for diesel fuel continued to rise, an industry trade group said Friday.
The latest fuel demand data from the American Petroleum Institute again shows a split U.S. economy as high unemployment continues to weigh on consumer spending even as industrial activity revs up. In all, U.S. fuel demand grew by 0.3% year over year as increased sales of diesel, jet fuel and other industrial fuels offset a steep decline in gasoline demand, the API said.
Gasoline deliveries fell to 9.1 million barrels a day, down by 1.3% from a year ago; deliveries of diesel, jet fuel and other distillates reached 4.2 million barrels a day, or 10.8% from August 2010, according to the API data.
"U.S. consumer activity and industrial activity traced divergent paths in August," the API said in releasing the latest statistics.
Manufacturing increased as businesses recovered from severe summertime flooding in the Midwest and hurricanes in the Northeast, the API said. Distillate demand also benefited from exports, which grew in August to 2.5 million barrels a day, up by 2% from the same month last year.
Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil production was 5.1 million barrels a day in August, a three-year low despite Alaskan oil field production having increased 2% year over year, the API said.