The Economy

Gas Demand Plunges Amid Virus Lockdowns

“The oil industry could take a sustained hit as people stay close to home and forgo typical commutes along with travel plans."
Matthew HellerMarch 27, 2020
Gas Demand Plunges Amid Virus Lockdowns

With coronavirus lockdowns keeping Americans home, U.S. weekly gasoline demand showed the largest decline last week since September 2019.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that for the week ended March 20, gasoline demand dropped by 859,000 barrels per day to just over 8.8 million bpd. Total fuel demand declined almost 2.1 million bpd.

“Gasoline is getting cheaper because of tanking crude oil prices, but drivers in the most car-loving country in the world cannot take advantage of these lower prices because they have to self-isolate at home,” OilPrice.com noted.

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The worse could be yet to come for the oil industry as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, possibly forcing an extension of the social distancing measures that prompted the drop in gasoline consumption.

“The oil industry could take a sustained hit as people stay close to home and forgo typical commutes along with travel plans,” analysts at IHS Markit said.

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