(Adds demand figures numbers and more details)
By Jarrett Renshaw
NEW YORK, March 15 Motorists traveled 242.3
billion miles (390 billion km) on U.S. roads and highways in
January, a 2.2 percent increase over the same period last year,
according to U.S. Department of Transportation figures released
The strong driving numbers undercut preliminary estimates
from the Energy Information Administration that demand for
gasoline was fading after a record surge in 2016.
U.S. demand for gasoline hit record levels last year,
averaging 9.326 million barrels per day, surpassing 2007 levels,
according to the EIA. But the agency said the four-week average
hit 8.2 million barrels a day, the lowest since February 2012,
stoking fears among refiners that fuel margins could be
Analysts said the EIA numbers, which are preliminary
estimates, underestimated U.S. consumption and overestimated
exports. The EIA will provide more reliable monthly numbers for
January later this year.
U.S. gasoline demand is closely watched by traders since it
accounts for roughly 10 percent of global consumption.
Motorists drove a record 3.22 trillion miles (5.2 trillion
km) on U.S. roads last year, a 2.8 percent rise from 2015 and
the fifth consecutive year of year-over-year increases, federal
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by G Crosse and Peter