The global economy continues to limp along as it struggles to emerge from recession. The International Council of Shipping Centers said in a recent report that the "retail landscape turned more volatile over the past four weeks."
The American Petroleum Institute said gasoline demand fell 1.3 percent to a 10-year low for September. That level was 2 percent lower year-on-year compared with 2010.
"The U.S. economy is still struggling," said API Chief Economist John Felmy.
"Retail sales are weak and we're seeing a reflection of that in the gasoline demand numbers."
API said that despite the drop in demand, U.S. refinery production of gasoline was up 0.6 percent from August 2010. The total imports of petroleum products, meanwhile, were down by 11 percent to a 14-year low for August, the API added.
API expressed support for a measure passed in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to assess the economic impact of its pending regulations for gasoline.
The EPA wants to reduce sulfur levels in gasoline. High levels of sulfur are associated with acid rain. The API said it's not convinced the EPA has proved spending more money to cut sulfur levels in gasoline even further is worth the environmental benefits.