* U.S. December oil demand down 4.4 pct from prior estimate
* Gasoline demand in 2012 at lowest level since 2001
* Distillate demand down 4 pct yr/yr in 2012
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, Feb 27 U.S. oil consumption posted an
unexpected drop in December, pulling total demand for 2012 to the lowest
annual level since 1996, the U.S government said on Wednesday.
The decline is the latest chapter in a years-long stretch of tepid
oil demand in the United States, reflecting a weak economy and high
unemployment, growing vehicle efficiency and high fuel prices that have
cut into usage.
The Energy Information Administration said in its monthly petroleum
supply report that oil demand in the world's top consumer dipped to 18.13
million barrels per day in December, down 4.4 percent or 835,000 bpd from
a projection last week.
Oil demand for the year was at 18.56 million bpd, down 2.08 percent
compared with 2011, with petroleum use falling in every month in 2012
The downward revision for December placed oil demand down 673,000
bpd, or 3.4 percent from the 18.8 million bpd posted for the same month
in 2011. The EIA had initially forecast a 0.9 percent increase
The EIA's demand figure for December was lower than the 18.41 million
bpd reported by the American Petroleum Institute for the month. The API
said oil demand fell 2.1 percent from a year earlier.
Overall, API also said that oil demand during 2012 was at its lowest
annual level since 1996.
Demand for gasoline in December fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier.
Gasoline consumption during 2012 dropped to 8.7 million bpd, the lowest
level since 2001.
Distillate fuel consumption in December dropped 8.4 percent
year-on-year, with total demand for 2012 down 4 percent year-on-year at
3.74 million bpd.
Demand for jet fuel during 2012 dipped 1.8 percent year-on-year to
1.4 million bpd.
EIA Monthly Demand Data
Product December Prior Prev Est Yr Ago Yr ago Pct
Forecast Pct Change Change
Gasoline 8.378 8.49 -1.32% 8.683 -3.51%
Distillate 3.529 3.6 -1.97% 3.853 -8.41%
Jet Fuel 1.373 1.436 -4.39% 1.353 1.48%
Residual 0.19 0.332 -42.77% 0.519 -63.39%
Total 18.13 18.965 -4.40% 18.803 -3.58%
-This chart compares the latest monthly EIA petroleum supply report
with the previous weekly report and final year-ago numbers. The EIA's
monthly report always differs from the weekly report as the monthly
reflects data supplied from all U.S. energy companies, while the weekly
report surveys the biggest companies representing about 90 percent of
the market. The total demand number reflects many petroleum products
beyond gasoline, distillate, jet fuel and residual fuel listed in the
U.S. year-on-year oil demand changes:
Nov 2012 -2.49 pct
Oct 2012 -0.65 pct
Sept 2012 -3.81 pct
Aug 2012 -0.97 pct
July 2012 -0.94 pct
June 2012 -1.76 pct
May 2012 1.23 pct
April 2012 -1.72 pct
March 2012 -5.77 pct
Feb 2012 -0.6 pct