Gasoline supplied, a proxy for demand, rose to 10 million barrels a day the week ended July 2, the highest in data going back to 1990, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Demand has regained its footing as vaccinations and easing economic restrictions propel more Americans to resume their pre-pandemic lifestyles. Oil prices have risen almost 50% this year as U.S. refineries run close to full-bore to keep up with fuel demand. While the U.S. recovery quickens, the world’s largest oil producers can’t agree on how to supply the market with Saudi Arabia advocating for tempered supply increases given the potential headwinds that still exist.
“Demand is bucking with the price spikes and summer driving, but with high gas prices and inflation, the picture in September may look different,” said Trisha Curtis, co-founder of PetroNerds.
The moving average for demand also climbed higher, reaching the most since late 2019. But on a seasonal basis the figure was still about 150,000 barrels a day short of July 2019, suggesting the market still has some room to recover.
U.S. motorists hit the road in large numbers despite contending with the highest gasoline prices since 2014. The average pump price Thursday was $3.14 a gallon, according to auto club AAA.