Charts of petroleum usage show signs of an economic downturn starting in April or May of 2011 says my friend Tim Wallace who writes …

Hello Mish

Attached are two charts from my Petroleum Distillates Distribution Demand file. The first chart shows year-over-year demand from peak levels. As we have discussed before, the peak for USA usage was 2007, so everything looks back to that year to see how we are “recovering”.

As can be easily seen on the chart “Historic Growth Levels Off Peak Data” distillates usage plunged in 2008 then went into the abyss in 2009. There was moderate growth in both 2010 and 2011.

“Shovel ready” stimulus, accounts for some of that growth and it is fading. There is no long term growth effect, just unsustainable spending.

The second “month-by-month” chart shows a definite economic downturn starting full bore in the April/May time period. Usage is now falling and is well below 2010 levels and approaching 2009. I attribute a significant amount of the initial strength in 2011 to cold weather.

It will be very interesting to see what August and September bring. Historic data for these months suggests a surge as people get in the end of summer vacations and go back-to-school.

Historic Growth Levels Off Peak Data



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Petroleum Month-by-Month Since 2008

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Thanks again to Tim Wallace for these updates.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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