A customer refuels a vehicle at a gas station in Peoria, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. gasoline demand is nearing normal levels as Americans took to the streets again amid the economic recovery and the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Demand is almost at the normal March level and continues to rise according to the latest data from GasBuddy. Thursday demand was 17.5% higher than the average for the four previous Thursdays.
"There has been an impressive rebound in demand over the past few weeks and I continue to be surprised every day," noted Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy.
Except for one Sunday, every day since February 20th has seen positive percentage growth. There are, of course, many factors that drive gas demand. One of them could be people driving long distances for Covid-19 vaccines. The spring break could also be a driving force.
Nevertheless, the trend shows an upward trend.
"It's still March, which means the economy is recovering and we're approaching summer. All the signs point to higher demand than I think almost everyone expected just a few months ago," added De Haan.
The graph above shows the recovery in demand. It compares daily gasoline consumption to February 2020, just before the US was banned.
The data showed that demand last Thursday was 1.8% higher than last Thursday before the Covid lockdown took effect in 2020. However, the data is not seasonally adjusted and February tends to be the weakest month for gas demand .
More consumers on the street combined with a decline in gasoline supplies have pushed prices up.
"On average, Americans pay 14% more to refuel than in February," said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokeswoman, in a statement on Monday. "Given the increased demand and the tighter gasoline supply, we expect more expensive pump prices with little relief in the coming weeks."
On Friday, the national average for a gallon of gasoline, according to the AAA, was $ 2.886, up 69 cents or 31.4% year over year.