Poke the peak
Some things just won’t go away and we have to learn to deal with it. Trying to stand up and tell people there’s an end game to anything is a huge risk. Any of the teeming millions care to tell me who predicted $20 oil and exactly how that went? Don’t try to tell me about “close”, we’re far away from playing checkers and this isn’t exactly a game of hide the hand grenade. Trying to talk about “peak demand” is no different than talking about peak oil. Hey, how about that old “Golden Age of Refining” that went through the market back in 2008, how’s that for an interesting read about now?
The point I’m working with today is that despite what we see from gasoline inventories today (API +1.4mm), we’re only in April and coming off a holiday weekend. It’s usually the week’s numbers prior to the holiday that we see retailers pile up on inventory ahead of the weekend demand. What we’re also going to eye on the EIA numbers are the import and exports. Starting with the imports, we’re only averaging 512K b/d of gas imports so far this year. Last year’s 708K b/d average was the third straight year of increases after we set a low in 2014 of 552K. Here’s the kicker though, since 2014 we’ve been setting records for refinery run in America too. So not only are we importing higher volumes of gas, we’re producing more than ever. All of this and we’re going to see people talk about how high the inventories are above 230mm barrels. That would be interesting, but gasoline demand is already starting the year at 8.8mm b/d. That would only be behind last year’s record-setting pace of 9.0mm b/d. Considering the rise in imports already, the peak demand argument is only valid if you’re skipping over the economics of importing gasoline.