The overall petroleum demand in the United States continued to decline in October amid high unemployment and modest economic growth, said a leading industry group in a report on Friday.
The total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, fell 2.3 percent to 18.412 million barrels per day in October from a year ago, but gained 1.3 percent from the previous month, 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 10 months of 2012 by 2.1 percent compared with the same period in 2011.
In October, gasoline deliveries edged down to about 8.627 million barrels per day, 0.2 percent less than a year ago. For the first 10 months, gasoline deliveries reached the lowest level since 2001.
"For many months, we've seen variation on the same theme: weak demand versus a year ago and some of the weaker demand numbers over the past decade," said API chief economist John Felmy. "The simple fact is that unemployment remains high and economic growth has been extremely modest. Petroleum demand is reflecting that."
Last month, U.S. domestic crude oil production rose to 6.652 million barrels per day, the highest October level since 1994.
In addition, imports of crude oil and refined products fell by 4.5 percent to average 10.119 million barrels per day, with their share of total domestic petroleum deliveries down to 54.9 percent from 58.3 percent a year ago.
The report also said in October crude oil stocks at 371.7 million barrels, which exclude strategic petroleum reserve, were up 9.8 percent from last year and up 2.1 percent from September.
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.