U.S. oil demand up in June for 5th straight month: EIA

A person fills up a vehicle with fuel at a Haffner's gas station in Lowell, Massachusetts December 15, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. total oil demand rose in June on a year-over-year basis for the fifth straight month, as record gasoline demand offset stale distillate sales, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

U.S. oil demand in June rose by 1.2 percent, or 242,000 barrels per day (bpd), from a year ago to 19.833 million bpd, the data showed.

It was the seventh year-over-year increase in the past 11 months, EIA data shows.

The demand growth was led once again by gasoline, which rose by 2.8 percent, or 270,000 bpd, from a year ago to 9.66 million bpd, according to the EIA’s petroleum supply monthly report.

Gasoline demand in June was the highest ever, according to the EIA, which began tracking gasoline demand in 1945.

U.S. gasoline demand is expected to be historic for this summer’s driving season, which unofficially ends this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Despite steady demand, U.S. refiners are still battling weak margins due to stubbornly high gasoline inventories.

The gasoline demand numbers were strong enough to overcome flat demand for distillates, which was relatively unchanged in June at 3.85 million bpd compared with last year, EIA data showed.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio