U.S. oil demand in May rose 1.9%, or 344,000 barrels a day, from a year earlier to 18.707 million barrels a day, revised government data released Monday show.
The gain, led by a 2.4% jump in gasoline demand amid sliding prices, was the first year-on-year rise in the world's biggest oil consumer since March 2011 and the largest since January 2011, data from the Energy Information Administration show.
Prior to the rise reported in the May data, U.S. oil demand had fallen by an average of nearly 550,000 barrels a day in the 13 months beginning in April 2011.
Total demand was the highest in any month since February and was up 424,000 barrels a day, or 2.3%, from the April level.
The revised May demand figure was 0.8%, or 142,000 barrels a day, above preliminary demand estimates for the month.
Demand for gasoline, the most widely used petroleum product, rose by 212,000 barrels a day from a year earlier, to 8.996 million barrels a day, the most in any month since June 2011 and 2% above the April level.
The year-on-year rise in gasoline use was the biggst since September 2009, EIA data show.
The jump in gasoline use at the start of the summer driving season followed a slim 0.6% year-on-year rise reported in April. Prior to April, gasoline use had fallen by an average of 260,000 barrels a day from the year-earlier level over the previous 13 straight months, a time when prices were rising sharply.
The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.732 a gallon in May, down 4.5% from a year ago, and the lowest monthly average since February.