By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
gasoline demand jumped last week to the highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic started, with demand this past Sunday up by 18.2 percent compared to the previous Sunday, according to GasBuddy data.
According to final numbers from Sunday, Pay with GasBuddy showed that U.S. gasoline demand rose by 18.2 percent versus the prior Sunday, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, tweeted on Tuesday.
Sunday’s gasoline demand was 5.7 percent higher than the previously highest Sunday since the pandemic started, which was October 18, 2020.
U.S. gasoline demand is still off its ‘normal’ pre-COVID level, but the GasBuddy data shows encouraging signs about gasoline consumption in the United States.
“According to Pay with GasBuddy data, last week’s total gasoline demand soared to the highest level since the pandemic began as COVD-19 cases continue to drop and Americans are filling up more,” De Haan said on Monday.
The national average price of gasoline has now increased for the eighth consecutive week, rising 7.5 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.72 as of Monday, data compiled by GasBuddy showed.
Although the Texas Freeze and the resulting shut refining capacity were the major drivers of gasoline price spikes over the past two weeks, increased overall U.S. gasoline demand is also driving prices higher, GasBuddy’s De Haan said.
“On the supply side, the number of oil rigs active in the U.S. stands nearly 50% lower than a year ago, which is a large factor driving prices up. To put it simply, demand is recovering much much faster than oil production levels, which is why oil prices have soared,” he added.
The OPEC+ meeting later this week could set the trend for oil prices this month and going into the second quarter as the group will decide how much of oil supply to return to the market as of April.