Summer Gasoline Demand in U.S. Drops Below Pandemic Levels

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Americans are officially driving less than they did in the summer of 2020, when pandemic travel restrictions all but halted movement.

The four-week average of US gasoline consumption—the best gauge for the country’s demand—is now more than 1 million barrels a day below pre-Covid seasonal norms, according to Energy Information Administration data.

Read more: High Gas Prices Are Discouraging Americans From Buying Cars Right Now

The drop suggests the glimmer of demand recovery seen last week was fleeting: Though pump prices have fallen for 50 straight days, it’s not enough to lure drivers back to the road with historic inflation constraining consumer budgets.

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The dip in demand caused gasoline futures to plunge as much as 11% in New York Wednesday. While that should pull retail prices even lower, the relief at the pump may come too late as the summer driving season nears its end.

Read more: Gas Prices May Be Rising But You’re Still Not Paying for the True Cost of Driving

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