Using United States petroleum deliveries as a measure of oil demand, the American Petroleum Institute found that demand dropped by 1.2 million barrels per day to 19.4 million barrels per day in 2008, which is a 6 percent drop.
Oil demand fell because the demand for fuels dropped, with gasoline deliveries sliding by 3.3 percent, distillate fuel oil deliveries — which include diesel fuel — decreasing by 5.8 percent, jet fuel deliveries dropping by 6.1 percent, and residual fuel oil deliveries falling by 14 percent.
Coincidentally, United States crude oil production was also down, as lower oil production in Alaska and hurricane-related shut-ins in the Gulf of Mexico pushed production below 5 million barrels per day for the first time since 1946.
Despite the drop in production, the imports of crude oil and petroleum products also decreased by more than 5 percent to 12.9 million barrels per day, the lowest level in five years.
Production of one petroleum product increased in the United States, however: The refinery output of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel increased by more than 10 percent to 3.1 million barrels per day.
Reprinted from EERE Network News, a free newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy.