WASHINGTON – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that gasoline consumption during the first quarter of 2012 was 124,000 bbl/d less than during the same period in 2011 but gas prices remained high. During the second quarter, gasoline consumption rose in April and May, though it was still less than during the same period in 2011.

U.S. gasoline consumption peaked in 2007 at 9.3 million bbl/d and fell by an average of 3.2% (300,000 bbl/d) in 2008 due to the recession and high gasoline prices, which topped $4 per gallon in June and July 2008.

Factors affecting gasoline consumption rates in addition to prices include current economic conditions, the fuel efficiency of the U.S. vehicle fleet. Although Real Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2012 was 2.4% higher than it was in the same period a year earlier, Real Personal Disposable Income, which affects gasoline consumption, has been growing at a lower rate in 2012, namely 0.1% during the first quarter.

The chart below shows U.S. gasoline consumption over the last five years.