The American Petroleum Institute also reported that U.S. crude oil supply fell by 6.1 million barrels, a very supportive number. Of course traders suspect that they are really just catching up to the Energy Information Administration numbers. Today we get the Energy Information Administration’s version and if they report a big drawdown in supply, oil could break out higher. If not, there is major resistance in this for both WTI and Brent. Perhaps the talks from Iran may give the bears false hopes.
Despite the fact that gas prices have increased, it seems that demand is rising as well. Bloomberg News reports that U.S. gasoline demand rose 1.9% last week as prices at the pump jumped to a 13-week high, according to data from MasterCard Inc. Drivers bought 8.97 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Aug. 17, up from 8.81 million the prior week, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report showed. That’s the highest level since June 29. Gasoline consumption in the week ended Aug. 10 fell 0.7% from the seven days ended Aug. 3. MasterCard releases weekly data every two weeks. The average pump price rose 6¢ in the past week to $3.71 a gallon, the highest since May 18. Prices reached a year- to-date peak of $3.94 on April 6. The average has jumped 38¢ in six weeks and drivers are paying 12¢ more than a year earlier. The highest prices were on the West Coast, where the average rose 17¢ to $3.95 a gallon. The lowest average was on the Gulf Coast, where a gallon gained 5¢ to $3.51. Fuel consumption last week was 2.3% below the year- earlier level, the 51st straight drop in that measure. Year-to- date gasoline demand is 4.4% below 2011. Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 2.7% below the same period in 2011, a record 74th consecutive drop in that measure. The report from Purchase, New York-based MasterCard is assembled by MasterCard Advisors, the company’s consulting arm. The information is based on credit-card swipes and cash and check payments at about 140,000 U.S. gasoline stations. Visa Inc. is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.
In Chicago more bad luck. Bloomberg News reported that BP Plc reduced rates on a crude oil pipeline running to the Whiting refinery in Indiana from the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub, by 84% to 29,000 barrels a day, according to a report by Genscape, an energy-information provider.