API says demand suggests slow economy

March 22, 2013 at 6:26 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- U.S. petroleum deliveries for February were at their lowest monthly levels since 1993, a sign of slow economic recovery, the American Petroleum Institute said.

Trade group API reported total U.S. petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, were down 4.1 percent for February year-on-year. That's the lowest level for the month since 1993.

"Declining numbers for most of the key products isn't consistent with a robust recovery," API Chief Economist John Felmy said in a statement. "Although there's been some encouraging news on employment and manufacturing, fuel demand is an important indicator of where the economy is and it's headed in a different direction."

The U.S. economy grew at an average rate of 2.2 percent during the past three years, compared to a 2.5 percent average growth rate from 1989-2009. Bloomberg News reports it's unclear if growth was linked directly to government debt burdens.

API reports crude oil production increased in February for the 17th consecutive month and is around 7.1 million barrels per day. Gasoline production was up 0.8 percent though deliveries were down year-on-year by 3.1 percent.

U.S. consumers this year paid higher-than-average prices for retail gasoline earlier in the year because of refinery issues, complications from late-season hurricanes and market factors.

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