U.S. gasoline output is soaring, but demand is still low

(Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

U.S. gasoline production broke records in 2014, despite anemic demand that has persisted for more than six years.

For the week ended Dec. 19, gasoline output totaled 9.92 million barrels per day, the most ever, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That beat the previous record set in June of 9.84 million barrels per day, and a jump of 460,000 barrels per day since the first week of December.

Since 1982, total U.S. gasoline output has only averaged more than 9.6 million barrels 11 times; eight of those times were in the last year.

us gas production

A glut of crude oil has pushed gasoline production to its record-breaking pace, even as refining margins have shrunk and the price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped to its lowest level in five years. Prices averaged $2.35 per gallon in the U.S. on Tuesday, according to AAA.

The Associated Press tracked gasoline price and demand data over the last decade to show that Americans’ driving habits have changed since the recession of 2007. In the middle of 2008, demand for gasoline plummeted, and hasn’t recovered much since.

Part of the reason is because Americans are driving less overall. More people are living closer to urban centers, reducing commutes. Millenials are putting off buying cars. More Baby Boomers are retiring and getting off the road.

Click here to see more AP interactives on gasoline and driving trends.