Using the example from above, which requires stocks to fall by 1 million bbl/d, assume that the following week (Week 2) refinery crude runs remain at 16 million bbl/d, domestic crude oil production remains at 7 million bbl/d, while net crude imports rise by 700,000 bbl/d and now total 8.7 million bbl/d (Figure 3). Crude supply (production plus net imports) is now 15.7 million bbl/d, which is still 300,000 bbl/d less than refinery runs. Thus, even though net imports increased by 700,000 bbl/d in week 2, crude stocks will still need to fall by 300,000 bbl/d, or roughly 2 million barrels for the week, in order to balance the market.
The change of the change in stocks reflects the weekly increase in import volumes by showing a much smaller decline in crude inventories than the prior week, but the supply-demand balance still requires a draw in stocks to satisfy weekly refinery input demand in this example. Casual observers are often puzzled by a weekly stock draw during a week when crude imports have risen, which is why understanding the change in the stock change is crucial to properly analyzing weekly petroleum supply and consumption data.
Gasoline and diesel fuel prices both decrease again
The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline decreased five cents to $3.50 per gallon as of September 23, 2013, 33 cents lower than last year at this time, and the lowest price since July 8. Prices were down in all regions of the nation, with both the East and Gulf Coast prices dropping seven cents, to $3.46 per gallon and $3.23 per gallon, respectively.The Midwest price was $3.46 per gallon, the Rocky Mountain price $3.59 per gallon, and the West Coast price $3.87 per gallon, all three cents lower than last week.
The national average diesel fuel price decreased three cents to $3.95 per gallon, 14 cents lower than last year at this time. The Rocky Mountain price increased less than a penny to remain at $3.94 per gallon, while prices in all other regions decreased. The East Coast price was $3.96 per gallon, two cents lower than last week. The Midwest, Gulf and West Coast prices all decreased three cents, to $3.93 per gallon, $3.86 per gallon, and $4.11 per gallon, respectively.