Large-scale Gasoline Demand Destruction Hits Sky-High Prices in Peak Driving Season: Gasoline Consumption Drops to July 1999 Level | Wolf Street

The spike in gasoline prices motivated Americans to go on buyers’ strike. The phenomenon of a price shock reducing demand for that product is called “demand destruction” in economics. It can reverse when the price falls to such a low level that demand returns. Demand destruction has now turned into a crescendo during peak driving season, including the 4th of July holiday weekend.

In the week through July 8, gasoline consumption plunged by 9.7% to 8.73 million barrels per day, on a four-week moving average, according to EIA data. The EIA measures gasoline consumption in terms of barrels supplied to the market by refiners, blenders, etc., and not by retail sales at gas stations. This was the steepest decline yet so far this year.

The average price of gasoline, all grades combined, after spiking by 63% year-over-year to $5.00 a gallon on June 13, has now dipped for the fourth week in a row, to $4.65 as of Monday, according to EIA data. Between 2015 and 2021, the price ranged between $2 and $3 mostly. It was a shock to suddenly see $5. In lots of places, folks saw over $6 for regular.

Large-scale Gasoline Demand Destruction Hits Sky-High Prices in Peak Driving Season: Gasoline Consumption Drops to July 1999 Level | Wolf Street