Over the past six months, excess U.S. crude oil and product inventories have declined from their surplus at the start of the summer of 2020. Petroleum inventories have been slowly falling and are now at just single-digit-percent surpluses over five-year averages, compared to 20-30 percent excess over five-year seasonal averages last summer. Demand for gasoline and other petroleum products in the United States has recovered from multi-year lows in April and May, but the last leg of the recovery to pre-pandemic levels proves to be the most difficult and seems to have stalled at the end of 2020. Sure, consumption has recovered from the spring of 2020, and the excess of inventories has been shrinking. This has come, however, at the expense of significantly reduced refinery utilization and crude oil processing since oil prices and demand crashed in March. Refiners are still processing crude at levels below normal, with […]