Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Aug. 10, 2021 at 1:02 p.m. ET
U.S. gasoline consumption rose to an average of 8.6 million barrels a day in the first half of 2021 from 8.3 million barrels a day in the last six months of 2020, the Energy Information Administration said Tuesday in its monthly Short-term Energy Outlook, but remained below the 9.3 million barrel-a-day pace seen in the second half of 2019. Consumption in the May-to-July period was stronger than expected, with growth in employment and a pickup in mobility leading to rising demand so far in 2021, the report said.
The July report forecast U.S. gasoline consumption to average 8.8 million barrels a day in 2021, up from 8 million barrels a day in 2020. "We expect the trend of rising employment and mobility to continue into next year, and as a result, we forecast gasoline consumption to average almost 9.0 million b/d in 2022.
However, our assumption that a relatively high share of the workforce will continue working from home next year compared with before the pandemic keeps our forecast gasoline consumption below the 2019 level of 9.3 million b/d," they said. Retail gasoline prices averaged $3.14 a gallon in July, the highest since October 2014, the EIA said, reflecting "rising crude oil prices and rising wholesale gasoline margins, amid relatively low gasoline inventories." EIA said it expects prices to average $3.12 a gallon in August before falling to $2.82 a gallon, on average, in the fourth quarter.