The four-week average of U.S. gross refinery inputs surpassed 18 million barrels per day for the first time, for the week ending July 6, 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Refineries have been running at record levels as a result of domestic and international demand for motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil.
The four-week average reached nearly 18 million barrels per day in the week ending Aug. 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey made landfall the following week, and many refineries closed along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Refinery runs have risen as refinery capacity has increased. U.S. refinery capacity rose by 862,000 barrels per day between Jan. 1, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2018. The Gulf Coast and Midwest regions have driven the record levels of U.S. refinery inputs as the regions have the most refinery capacity in the United States. The Gulf Coast region has more than half of all U.S. refinery capacity. For the week ending July 6, the four-week average gross refinery inputs in the region increased to 9.5 million barrels per day, a record input level. In the Midwest region, the four-week average gross refinery inputs increased to 4.1 million barrels per day for the week ending June 1, and was a record high.
The four-week average of finished motor gasoline product supplied is expected to match the levels reached in 2016 and 2017, the two highest years on record, at 9.8 million barrels per day, according to the EIA. As of Aug. 3, 2018, the four-week average was 9.7 million barrels per day.
Over the past four weeks, U.S. distillate consumption has averaged 4 million barrels per day and is 64,000 barrels per day lower than the five-year average for this time of the year. U.S. exports of distillate have increased to a four-week average of 1.2 million barrels per day as of Aug. 3, 2018.
U.S. refinery runs are expected to average 16.9 million barrels per day and 17 milion barrels per day in 2018 and 2019, respectively, according to the EIA. Both levels, if achieved, would be record highs and surpass the 2017 annual average of 16.6 million barrels per day.