Gasoline fell following reports that U.S. inventories rose last week and that demand at the pump is weakening as retail prices increase.
Futures retreated after the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday that stockpiles of the motor fuel advanced by 1.18 million barrels and crude oil supplies increased 6.8 million barrels. The Energy Department reduced its demand forecast for 2012 and 2013 amid higher pump prices.
“Refiners will be coming off maintenance soon and, with a lot of crude sitting around, they will have no choice but to make a lot of gasoline,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “More and more people are believing that gasoline has peaked.”
Gasoline for May delivery declined 1.02 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $3.2394 a gallon at 9:33 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Energy Department is scheduled to report last week’s inventories at 10:30 a.m. today in Washington. The report is expected to show a 1.38 million-barrel decline in gasoline, according to the median of 10 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Demand will average 8.65 million barrels a day in 2012, down from 8.74 million in 2011, the department’s Energy Information Administration said yesterday in its monthly Short- Term Energy Outlook. That’s 20,000 barrels a day below last month’s projection of 8.67 million.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.7 cent yesterday to $3.915 a gallon, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring club.
May-delivery heating oil rose 0.19 cent to $3.0976 a gallon on the exchange.
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