EIA now provides weekly estimates of U.S. total gasoline stocks by type of storage facility (bulk terminals, pipelines, and refineries). This information is a temporary addition to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR) in order to help stakeholders assess gasoline market conditions. We will report recent weekly gasoline stock levels and historical monthly stock levels. We will also compare current weekly stock levels with historical stock levels interpolated from monthly data for the same week for the previous three years. We will report gasoline stocks by type of facility for the United States in total, by PADD, and by sub-PADD for the East Coast (PADD 1).
Monthly and weekly U.S. and regional stocks of total gasoline by type of facility XLS - Release date: September 15, 2021
Operators of oil refineries produce gasoline by processing crude oil and other feedstocks and by blending. Importers supply gasoline produced outside the United States at U.S. ports of entry. Operators of pipelines, tankers, and barges transport gasoline from oil refineries to bulk terminal storage facilities. Operators of bulk terminals receive, store, and ship gasoline and other products in bulk quantities, blend gasoline components and biofuels to produce finished gasoline, and load trucks that transport gasoline to retail outlets.
Pipeline stocks of gasoline and other products usually refer to the product volume stored in pipelines during transport. Barrels stored to fill pipelines are not available supply because pipelines typically need to remain full in order to operate. Refinery stocks include barrels that will be transported by pipeline, tanker, barge, or rail to bulk terminals for blending and later will be distributed to retail outlets by truck. We count barrels distributed from bulk terminals to retail outlets as demand measured as product supplied. Therefore, we consider stock levels at bulk terminals to be a key measure for assessing gasoline supplies and markets. Usually, bulk terminal stock levels rise and fall for largely operational reasons, and stocks provide a means for gasoline suppliers to balance normal variations in throughput and demand rates. Trends in bulk terminal stocks provide a key indicator of the balance between throughput and demand for gasoline and other products. A downward trend in bulk terminal stock levels likely indicates demand greater than throughput, while an upward trend of bulk terminal stocks likely indicates that demand is less than throughput.
Suppliers of gasoline and other petroleum products use bulk terminal stocks and other stocks to balance throughput and demand rates within certain limits. When stocks increase to near the levels of working storage capacity, then suppliers may need to reduce barrels received because they have limited space to store incoming barrels. Stock levels that approach storage capacity can lead to upstream slowdowns of supply activity at refineries and ports. When stocks decrease to near observed minimum levels, then suppliers have limited flexibility to respond rapidly to either increased short-term demand or reduced throughput such as due to an event that reduced upstream supplies available from refineries or imports. Supply limiting events include those that directly affect refineries or ports of entry, but they can also affect transportation links between regions where supply exceeds demand and regions where demand exceeds supply. Regardless, stocks provide a balancing mechanism within the limits described above.