The latest US monthly data for August 2014 implied a yearly increase in oil demand of around 0.17 mb/d, or 0.9%, the first monthly increase since April 2014. This somehow ‘smooths’ the downward trend in oil demand observed since the beginning of 2014. Motor gasoline and distillate requirements have grown, while residual fuel oil and propane/propylene have fallen strongly. Gains refer to the transportation and industrial sectors, while losses are mainly the result of fuel substitution, predominantly with natural gas. The available data for ten months in 2014 – monthly data through August, and preliminary weekly data for September and October – show US oil demand growing by around 0.1 mb/d, with distillates taking the largest share in gains and flat gasoline demand compared to the previous year. Sharp declines are observed in demand for residual fuel oil and propane/propylene.
The overall risk for the development of next year’s US oil demand can be seen as balanced, with the upside risks related to the anticipated healthy growth of the economy, while the downside risks caused by fuel substitution and vehicle efficiencies.