Tracking Ups And Downs Of Global Oil Demand

When demand for oil rises, so does the price — which leads many people to try to go without, bringing the price back down. John Kingston, director of oil at Platts, which publishes Oilgram News and other periodicals geared toward energy industry insiders, says the decreased demand for oil in the U.S. has helped bring global oil prices down.

Kingston tells Steve Inskeep that people in the U.S. are driving slower, driving less, downsizing their cars, joining carpools — and those efforts add up to cut demand and affect the price of oil globally.

Oil demand dropped in the U.S. by an estimated 2 percent to 3 percent, he says, and diesel demand appears to have dropped about the same amount. "A 2 to 3 percent drop is, on the margin, not insignificant," he says.

In China, on the other hand, a report showed that fuel demand in June was the highest ever. Kingston says one reason is that China is stockpiling diesel for generators as a safeguard as it hosts the Olympic Games. India's demand doesn't show any signs of decline, either.

But while demand has slowed recently in Western Europe and Japan in addition to the U.S., Kingston says, "I've seen nothing to indicate that the long-term trends in demand globally are doing anything but going up."

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