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.
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.
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.