Since many motorists stayed off the road during the Thanksgiving holiday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, gasoline sales in the United States during the holiday week fell to its lowest level since 1997.
According to an IHS Markit Oil Price Information Service survey (OPIS), gas consumption fell 8.4%, or about 185 million gallons, from the previous week ending Nov. 28.
Demand for motor fuel was down 19.3% compared to 2019, OPIS said. IHS Markit executive director Tom Kloza warns that the market could still get worse by year’s end as more and more Americans decide to reduce holiday travel due to COVID-19.
“We’re heading toward a 90-day period where gasoline demand gets further crimped by winter weather and post-holiday cocooning,” Kloza said in a press release. “By January, we may regularly see demand numbers not witnessed since the last century.”
OPIS said some regions saw gasoline sales decline by more than 20% last year during Thanksgiving week.
Gasoline sales in the Midwest were down 23.3% compared to last year, while New Jersey was the hardest-hit state, with gasoline volumes plunging almost 30% from 2019, OPIS said.