WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2016 - In November, U.S. gasoline inventories reached 226.1 million barrels, the highest level for this time of year since at least 1990, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is a 9.3 million barrel-increase from the same time last year.
Gasoline inventories have been elevated all year despite strong domestic consumption and exports. EIA says that high gasoline crack spreads – the difference in value between a gallon of gasoline and a gallon of crude oil – have encouraged continued high utilization of U.S. refining capacity.
The fall refinery maintenance season also had less down-time compared with last year, helping to further drive high levels of production and inventory, EIA notes.
Gasoline prices are closely linked to crude oil prices, the agency says, and both were relatively low compared with recent historical levels.
The Cushing, Oklahoma, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) spot price on Nov. 21 was $47.48 per barrel (b), above the November 2015 average of $42.44/b, the data show. However, EIA notes that this was well below the previous three-year (2013-2015) November average of $70.70/b.
U.S. gasoline prices follow a similar pattern. The price for regular gasoline was $2.15 per gallon as of Nov. 28, up 10 cents from the same time last year.
However, the agency points out that 2016 prices for U.S. regular gasoline are still relatively low compared with the November average of $2.77 per gallon for the previous three years.
The data show that in addition to strong domestic gasoline demand, exports have also been high.
September 2016 exports were 564,000 barrels per day, up 208,000 over the year-ago level. The Gulf Coast (Petroleum Administration for Defense District 3), accounted for 92 percent of total U.S. gasoline exports in September of this year. The bulk of U.S. exports go to Mexico, which alone accounted for 60 percent of total U.S. motor gasoline exports in September.
For more news, go to: www.Agri-Pulse.com