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Industry data dump shows U.S. energy dynamics even

Market watchers trying to determine if supply-side pressures are fading away.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Industry data dump shows U.S. energy dynamics even
industry data show some degree of balance in the U.S. energy market, though gasoline demand is soaring on low fuel prices. Photo by Christian Lagerek

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Market dynamics for petroleum and petroleum products in the United States show a degree of balance as demand weighed against inputs, industry data show.

The American Petroleum Institute published data for July that show total deliveries for motor gasoline, an indication of demand, increased 2.4 percent from the previous month to 9.7 million barrels per day.

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"Gasoline deliveries, a measure of consumer demand, hit their highest level on record in July," Erica Bowman, a chief economist at the API, said in a statement. "With this indication of increased demand, it's clear that consumers have continued to benefit from lower gasoline prices at the pump."

The average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in July was around $2.24, about 20 percent less than July 2015. Ahead of the July 4th holiday in the United States, motor club AAA predicted a record volume of road travel because of lower retail fuel prices.

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For July, API reported total gasoline production of 10.2 million bpd was a 1.3 percent increase from June and the highest level for any month on record. So far this year, gasoline production is up 1.9 percent from the same period in 2015.

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For total petroleum deliveries, a broader metric for U.S. demand, the average 20.1 million bpd in July was the highest for the month in nine years, but only a 0.1 percent increase from June.

With lower crude oil prices pressuring energy company's ability to invest in future operations, API reported total crude oil production down 1.9 percent from June to 8.5 million bpd, the lowest since March 2014. Total petroleum imports into the United States, meanwhile, moved up 6.8 percent to 10.5 million bpd, an increase of 9.9 percent from last year.

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Investors are watching the market to determine if some of the surplus that pulled oil prices below $30 per barrel in early 2016 has vanished as the gap between supply and demand narrows. Last week, the International Energy Agency, based in Paris, found the amount of products running through global refineries should lag behind what's expected in terms of demand growth, "eroding some of the product stock cushion built up since mid-2015."

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