WASHINGTON - In 2008, demand in the United States for petroleum dropped to its lowest level since 2003, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). Using U.S. petroleum deliveries as a measure of oil demand, API found that demand dropped by 1.2 million barrels per day, a 6 percent drop, to 19.4 million barrels per day. Oil demand fell because the demand for fuels dropped, with gasoline deliveries sliding by 3.3 percent; distillate fuel oil deliveries, which includes diesel fuel, decreasing by 5.8 percent; jet fuel deliveries dropping by 6.1 percent, and residual fuel oil deliveries falling by 14 percent.

Coincidentally, U.S. crude oil production was also down, as lower oil production in Alaska and hurricane-related shut-ins in the Gulf of Mexico pushed production below 5 million barrels per day for the first time since 1946. Despite the drop in production, imports of crude oil and petroleum products also decreased by more than 5 percent to 12.9 million barrels per day, the lowest level in five years.

Publication date:02/09/2009