U.S. gasoline demand fell in April for the time in three months as high pump prices and expensive grocery bills took their toll on drivers, the American Petroleum Institute said on Friday.
However, total U.S. crude oil and petroleum product consumption jumped 5.2 percent in April from a year earlier to 19.886 million barrels per day, according to the API's monthly supply and demand report.
Growth in product demand was mixed as the U.S. economy struggled to gain momentum, said API chief economist John Felmy. Gasoline demand was still up for the year to date over a year ago, but recent higher gasoline and food prices appear to have encouraged consumers to cut back in their driving.
Deliveries, which are a good indicator of demand, are calculated by API to reflect petroleum products moved from refineries and bulk storage to wholesale and retail suppliers.
API's total oil demand for April was much higher than the U.S. Energy Information Administration's preliminary estimate of fuel consumption at 19.050 million bpd for the month. The EIA issues its revised April demand number at the end of June.
U.S. gasoline demand for April fell 2.2 percent to 8.906 million bpd, as a 24-cent increase in the pump price during the month kept some drivers off the roads. Gasoline use was still up 0.8 percent during the first fourth months of this year.
Gasoline production at U.S. refineries in April also declined for the first time this year, but was still the second highest for the month over the past 10 years.
The following summarizes key data from API's monthly report:
(Reporting by Tom Doggett, additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Neil Stempleman)