--Total US oil demand slips 0.3% in April vs year earlier
--Gasoline output at record April level
--US April oil output up 6.6% vs year ago
By David Bird
U.S. gasoline deliveries, a measure of demand, rose 0.9% in April from the same month a year ago, to 8.8 million barrels a day, the American Petroleum Institute said Friday.
Total oil demand slipped 0.3% from a year ago, to 18.549 million barrels a day on lower jet fuel and residual fuel demand. Distillate fuel (diesel/heating oil) rose 1.3% to 3.738 million barrels a day.
"The mixed demand picture reflects an improving but relatively weak economy," said John Felmy, API chief economist.
Total demand in the first four months of 2012 was off 1.8%, at 18.635 million barrels a day, while demand for gasoline, the most widely used petroleum product, was up 0.3%.
U.S. gasoline production set an April record of 9.129 million barrels a day and was 2.2% above April 2011. Distillate fuel production at 4.27 million barrels a day was up 2% from a year ago. Refiners ran at 83.1% of capacity, unchanged from April 2011.
U.S. refinery production outpaced domestic demand for petroleum products, API said, and exports of refined products increased 1.7% from a year ago, to 2.954 million barrels a day.
April crude imports rose 2.1% from a year ago, to 8.9 million barrels a day. Combined imports of crude oil and refined products fell in April by 9.2% to average 10.4 million barrels a day.
Domestic crude oil production rose 6.6% from a year earlier to average 5.963 million barrels a day.
Crude oil stocks ended April at 374.8 million barrels, up 1.5% from last year and 3.8% higher than at the end of March. Gasoline stocks were up 2.6% from April 2011 but down 5.4% from March.
-By David Bird, Dow Jones Newswires, 1-212-416-2141; firstname.lastname@example.org