Brimming stockpiles of refined petroleum products have raised concerns about near-term demand for crude oil. Now, data suggests gasoline consumption in recent months wasn't as strong as expected, according to Michael Cohen, head of energy commodities research at Barclays.
"Essentially what happened is the expectation for a very strong summer driving season missed the mark," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
That adds another headwind for crude oil, which fell below $40 this week on concerns that a glut of gasoline and other products would cause refiners to reduce crude runs.
To be sure, the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects average annual U.S. gasoline consumption to rise to the highest level on record in 2016, up 1.5 percent to 9.29 million barrels per day.
But Cohen said Wednesday preliminary indicators ahead of the summer suggested that gasoline demand in the United States would rise 4 to 5 percent from last year.
When final monthly data from EIA came out this week, however, it showed the pace of gains were roughly half those initial projections, he added. The data for June and July suggest that trend will hold, he said.