He noted that U.S. oil inventories are "more than ample" and a further drop in demand would add to pressure on prices.
EIA data for the week ended July 22 show combined demand for gasoline and distillate fuel (diesel/heating oil) in the past four weeks is lagging the year-earlier level by 3.4%. Those products account for two-thirds of U.S. oil demand.
Tropical Storm Don, which is expected to make a rainy landfall in the Texas refining region late Friday or early Saturday, appeared less of a threat than previously thought. On its current forecast path, the storm should pass well to the south of the cluster of oil refineries in the Houston area, but could still affect refineries around Corpus Christi with a combined capacity of 827,000 barrels a day. Companies were returning workers to offshore rigs that had been evacuated in recent days as a precaution and were beginning to restart some shut-in oil and natural gas output.
August-delivery reformulated gasoline expired down 0.47 cent at $3.1129 a gallon, while August heating oil went off the board at $3.0962 a gallon, down 0.9 cent.