July 31, 2017 / 7:22 PM / 18 days ago

U.S. gasoline demand rises for second straight month in May: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand rose year-over-year for the second consecutive month in May, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data released Monday, reversing signs of bearish consumer appetite seen at the outset of the year.

The gasoline figures combined with strong distillate demand numbers helped push overall oil demand up 4.3 percent to 20.21 million barrels-per-day (bpd), EIA data showed.

U.S. gasoline demand rose in May by 1.5 percent to 9.59 million bpd versus last year, following a more modest 0.4 rise in April, EIA data showed. April represented the first year-over-year increase since December.

The gasoline figures support those who dismissed the early bearish signals and predicted that gasoline demand was destined to pick up, thanks to relatively cheap gasoline and strong economic numbers.

U.S. gasoline demand, which accounts for 10 percent of global consumption, has risen each year since 2012, hitting record figures last year.

U.S. distillate demand rose by 6 percent year-over-year in May to 3.97 million bpd, EIA data showed.

Motorists logged 2.2 percent more miles on U.S. roads and highways in May compared with the same month last year, according to government data released earlier this month, keeping 2017 mileage on track to break last year's record.

Motorists have traveled 1.3 trillion miles on U.S. roads and highways this year through May, a 1.7 percent increase over the same stretch last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. [L1N1KF14P]

Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Frances Kerry

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