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AAA Weekly Fuel Gauge: U.S. Demand Readings Looking More Like Spring

MADISON, Wis., (April 26, 2021) – At 9.1 million b/d, U.S. gasoline demand recorded its second highest measurement since mid-March 2020, indicating that motorists are filling up more often. This latest demand reading is the highest spring number released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in two years. In fact, it is only about 3% below the same week in 2019.

Both demand and supply have steadily increased in the past five weeks, but weekly gasoline supply builds are trending less substantial. On the week, supply only saw a 100,000 bbl build to 234.9 million bbl, most likely due to high consumer demand.

"The jump in demand to 9.1 million b/d combined with the small increase in supply pushed the national gas price average two cents more expensive on the week to $2.88," said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "This is the largest one-week national jump we've seen in five weeks."

Cheaper crude oil prices, which are mostly pricing at less than $63/bbl, and stable and strong refinery utilization (85%) are contributing factors keeping pump price jumps incremental. On the week, 35 state averages increased with the majority seeing only one to three cent jumps.

"Refineries struggled through much of February and early March, after harsh winter weather caused mass power outages. Those refineries are mostly back up to full operation. They're now pumping out gasoline at a rate not seen since autumn, continued Jarmusz."



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Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Friday's formal trading session, WTI increased by 71 cents to settle at $62.14. Although prices ended the day with an increase, supported by a weak dollar, the price of crude took a step back by approximately a dollar on the week. Growing market concern that surging coronavirus infection rates in Asia may derail expectations for crude demand recovery helped to reduce prices. Additionally, EIA's latest weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventory increased by 600,000 bbl to 493 million bbl, contributing to downward pressure on crude prices. If market concerns persist this week, crude prices could end the week lower again.

Gas Price Survey Methodology
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.GasPrices.AAA.com. Every day up to 130,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.

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