WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. overall petroleum demand continued to decline in August amid weak hiring and poor economic growth, a leading industry group said in a report on Friday.
The total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, fell 4.3 percent to 18.573 million barrels per day in August compared with a year ago. This was the lowest August level in 15 years, said the American Petroleum Institute (API) in its monthly statistical report.
It extended the declining trend of petroleum demand and helped push down the demand in the first 8 months of 2012 by 2.6 percent compared with the same period in 2011.
In August, gasoline deliveries went down to 8.893 million barrels per day, 0.4 percent less than a year ago. For the first 8 eight months, it was 0.9 percent below the same period last year.
"Given the nation's weak employment situation, it's no surprise petroleum demand was off," said API chief economist John Felmy. " Contraction in the manufacturing sector probably also reflects the slipping numbers.
Meanwhile, supplies also declined due to storms in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. domestic crude oil production in August fell 2.8 percent from the previous month to 6.049 million barrels per day, the lowest level this year.
In August, imports of crude oil and refined products fell by 4. 6 percent to average 10.508 million barrels per day. Imports as a percentage of total domestic petroleum deliveries inched down to 56.6 percent from 56.7 a year ago.
In August, crude oil stocks at 358.8 million barrels, excluding strategic petroleum reserve, were up 2.7 percent from last year and down 1.9 percent from July, said the report.
API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies, which supplies most of the U.S. energy and supports 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy.