US Crude Oil Refiners to Boost Fuel Output Beyond 90% Capacity for Summer

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jun 01, 2024 07:01 AM EDT

US crude oil refiners are reportedly preparing to increase their operations above 90% capacity following the completion of planned maintenance as summer driving season starts. 

US Crude Oil Refiners Will Operate Above 90% Capacity

According to Reuters, the motorist group AAA reported that strong spring production has kept retail gasoline prices comparable to last year. On Friday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.559, almost matching the $3.576 of last year.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US refineries operated at an average of 86% of their total capacity of 18.1 million barrels per day during the first two months of the year.

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Refinery Oil Industry

(Photo : Talpa from Pixabay)

Reasonable Estimate

Matthew Blair, a downstream research director at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., told Reuters that 90% could be a reasonable estimate for refinery capacity utilization in the second quarter of 2024. 

Blair noted that refineries increased production in May after finishing maintenance in April. EIA said the 90% target slightly falls short of the industry's 93% capacity recorded in the second quarter of 2023.

Top refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp. aims to operate its refineries at 94% capacity in the second quarter, an increase from 82% during the first quarter's maintenance. Similarly, Valero Energy Corp. plans to operate its refineries as high as 95% of its combined total production capacity.

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