WASHINGTON -- Total petroleum deliveries in March moved up 0.2% from March 2016 to average nearly 19.7 MMbpd. These were the highest March deliveries in nine years, since 2008. For the first quarter of 2017, total domestic petroleum deliveries, a measure of U.S. petroleum demand, were up 0.4% compared with the first quarter of 2016 to average 19.5 MMbpd. These were the highest first quarter deliveries since 2008. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) April 7, 2017 report, the U.S. added 98,000 jobs in March. In addition, the unemployment rate (4.5%) and the number of unemployed persons (7.2 million) were down from prior month and the prior year.
Gasoline deliveries, a measure of consumer gasoline demand, in March were up from the prior month, but down from the prior year, and the prior first quarter. Total motor gasoline deliveries increased 4.3% from February, but were down 1.7% from March 2016 to average 9.2 MMbpd. These were the second highest March deliveries ever recorded.
“The strong steady demand for fuel expanded economic activity in the manufacturing sector last month and the overall economy grew for the 94th consecutive month. Good news for workers and the economy,” said Chief Economist Erica Bowman.
U.S. crude oil production increased for the third month straight in 2017 by 1.4%, but posted declines compared to the prior year, and the prior first quarter levels. At an average of 9.2 MMbpd, U.S. crude oil production decreased 0.2% from March 2016, and was down 1.8% from the first quarter of 2016. Natural gas liquids (NGL) production, a co-product of natural gas production, was up from the prior month and the prior first quarter, but was down from the prior year. NGL production in March averaged 3.4 MMbpd, which was the second highest level for the month on record. This was 0.4% above February’s output and 0.8% higher than the first quarter of 2016.
U.S. total petroleum imports in March averaged nearly 10.0 MMbpd. This was the second highest March total petroleum imports level in five years, since 2012. Total petroleum imports were down 3.8% from the prior month, and down 0.1% compared with the prior year. For the first quarter of 2017, total petroleum imports were up 4.4% compared with the first quarter of 2016.