Winter Storm Stella, a widespread blizzard across the mid-Atlantic and New England states on March 14, 2017, slashed gasoline and diesel demand as the inclement weather kept drivers off the road, according to Genscape Supply Side data. However, demand appeared to be boosted on March 12 and 13 by consumers filling up their tanks ahead of the winter-weather warnings.
The blizzard warning on March 14 spanned across New England and the mid-Atlantic, from Pennsylvania north to Maine. New York, Boston, and Philadelphia appeared to be spared from forecasted heavy snow, but parts of upstate New York recorded 30 inches of snow on March 14, and parts of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine saw 20 inches of snow, according to various news sources. The National Weather Service had blizzard warnings in effect for parts of New England until early morning on March 15 as the last of the snow persisted.
Total PADD 1A (New England) gasoline rack activity fell 69 percent and diesel rack activity fell 69 percent on March 14 from the previous day amid the winter storm, and PADD 1B (mid-Atlantic) rack demand dropped 65 percent on March 14 compared to the previous day. Diesel rack activity also declined in PADD 1B on March 14 from the previous day, down 75 percent from March 13.
When looking at individual states, rack activity for both gasoline and No. 2 diesel appeared to spike on March 12 and March 13 before dropping significantly amid the blizzard. For gasoline, Connecticut saw the largest jump in rack activity on March 13, up 46 percent from week-ago level to six million gallons. During the storm on March 14, Connecticut gasoline rack activity fell to just 820,000 gallons, nearly 81 percent below the previous Tuesday.
In New Jersey, gasoline rack demand jumped 30 percent on March 13 above the previous week to 14 million gallons, and fell almost 73 percent to the previous week during the storm to just 2.8 million gallons on March 14.
For No. 2 diesel, the largest week-on-week jump in rack activity prior to the winter storm was seen in New Hampshire, where activity rose nearly 117 percent on March 14 to over one million gallons. During the storm on March 14, the largest declines were seen in Connecticut and New Jersey. In Connecticut, diesel rack demand fell 94 percent from the previous week to just 140,000 gallons on March 14. In New Jersey, diesel rack activity dropped nearly 86 percent from the previous week to just 375,000 gallons during the winter storm.
Inclement weather, like a blizzard, can affect gasoline and diesel sales as driving demand declines due to hazardous conditions. By measuring refined products rack activity, Genscape’s Supply Side data shows the full market impact of weather events.
Genscape Supply Side data is derived from actual transactions at the rack level, where gasoline and diesel are distributed from secondary storage terminals to retail stations. On average, Genscape covers 72 percent of total gasoline rack activity and 68 percent of total diesel rack activity. This rack activity data can be used as an indicator or retail (or tertiary) refined products demand. To learn more or request a trial of the Supply Side data, please click here.