US motor fuel purchases decrease

US gas consumption is falling. Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian consumption is likely to follow suit after government's there all recently reigned in on subsidies, passing some of the recnt surge in oil prices onto consumers there.

It would seem like the only way to curb rising oil prices is to reduce demand, and it finally seems to be happening.

U.S. motor-fuel purchases fell for a ninth straight week as record prices crimped demand, a MasterCard Inc. report showed yesterday. Further evidence that even our gas-guzzling chums across the pond are feeling the pinch with pump prices over $4/gallon.

Once the effect of reduced demand from India and the Far East filters through into the market following their recent price-hikes, surely a little bit of civil unrest in corrupt-as-hell Nigeria isn't going to make a lot of difference?

But not according to our old chums Goldman Sachs. Oh, no. They seem hell-bent on riding this gravy train all the way.

Arjun N. Murti, the Goldman Sachs analyst who last month said oil may rise to between $150 and $200 a barrel within two years, has increased his price forecasts because he says production is failing to keep up with demand.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil may average $118 a barrel this year, higher than an earlier forecast of $108 on May 5, Goldman analysts led by Murti wrote in a June 18 report. Oil futures in New York have averaged $110.31 a barrel so far this year. The price was also raised for 2009 to $140 from $110, and for 2010 to $150 from $120, they said.