Summer driving boost won't stop U.S. gasoline demand decline: IEA

LONDON (Reuters) - The seasonal rise in U.S. gasoline demand for summer driving will not arrest falling consumption on an annual basis, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

"Given recent signs of recovery in U.S. gasoline demand growth, coupled with the comparative strengthening seen in the U.S. macroeconomic backdrop... seasonal factors are forecast to boost gasoline demand by 0.3 million barrels per day (bpd) this summer," the IEA said in its monthly report.

Summer will however "not be enough to stop average U.S. gasoline demand from edging down in 2013," it said, as it is forecast to contract by 0.1 percent to around 8.1 million bpd.

U.S. gasoline consumption accounted for nearly 10 percent of global oil demand in 2012 at 9.3 million bpd, the report said.

Demand for gasoline has steadily declined in recent years following the 2008 financial crisis and due to higher vehicle efficiency.

Gasoline inventories in the United States fell unexpectedly last week by 366,000 barrels, but were up 18.6 million barrels from a year earlier at nearly 219 million barrels.

The IEA said in its report that modest economic growth was limiting oil demand worldwide and some developed economies would see absolute declines in oil consumption in 2013. [ID:nL9E7H900H][ID:nL5N0EO0Y4]

(Reporting by Ron Bousso, editing by William Hardy)