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Global Gasoline Demand Could Flatten As Delta Variant Spreads

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Resurging COVID infections in many major oil-consuming markets, including the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia, could stagnate the recovery in road fuel consumption globally in the coming weeks, analysts tell Reuters.

Estimates from the United States point to record gasoline consumption for 2021 this past week, but analysts fear that the rising number of Delta variant infections could put the brakes on the demand rebound well before the summer travel season ends.

According to GasBuddy data, weekly U.S. gasoline demand in the week to July 18 set a new 2021 record. American gasoline demand jumped by 2.3 percent from the prior week and was up by 3.1 percent compared to the four-week average. U.S. weekly demand to July 18 was 0.6 percent higher than the week ahead of July 4, the week of June 27, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

U.S. gasoline demand on July 26 was the second-highest gasoline demand Monday of 2021, rising 1.4 percent from the prior Monday and at 1.3 percent above the average of the last four Mondays. It was 3.5 percent below July 5, the Monday many Americans returned from the July 4 weekend, De Haan noted.

While U.S. gasoline demand holds for now, signs are emerging it is flattening, as is demand in Europe.

In Southeast Asia, cases are surging in Indonesia, the biggest importer of gasoline in Asia, as well as in Malaysia and Thailand. Indonesia has extended its restrictions on mobility to early August.  

“We’re still very much actively dealing with new cases here in the U.S. and also abroad, and that is putting greater pull on demand and what was originally anticipated for this recovery process in the middle of the summer for this year,” Devin Gladden, manager of federal affairs at American Automobile Association, told Reuters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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