American Drivers Guzzled a Tiny Bit Less Gasoline Last Year

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. gasoline consumption fell for the first time since 2012 last year. By a little.

Americans consumed 0.006 percent less gasoline than they did in the prior year, government data show. Demand shrank the most year-over-year during the first quarter as prices were stronger and undocumented immigrants started driving less after President Donald Trump’s administration took over with harsh rhetoric on immigration.

American Drivers Guzzled a Tiny Bit Less Gasoline Last Year

Part of the slow-down in sales comes from higher prices: regular unleaded gasoline averaged $2.39 a gallon last year versus $2.12 in 2016, according to AAA data compiled by Bloomberg.

Demand is expected to perk back up in 2018. Consumption will grow slightly to 9.33 million barrels a day this year and 9.4 million in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook. But longer term, fuel-economy measures will reduce gasoline use by 31 percent through 2050, the agency said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.