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Gasoline Demand Declines For 4 Straight Weeks

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For the week ending Dec. 4, demand for gasoline measured at 7.6 million barrels per day.

Central Illinois demand for gasoline has softened since the beginning of November, declining for four consecutive weeks. Prices also are down, and usually that’d be great for holiday travelers. But this year it makes no difference because fewer people are going places.

AAA reports the numbers are similar to May, when many states were locked down.

When gas prices go down, it usually means Americans tend to go on an adventure and take road trips. Not this time.

“With this pandemic, many things have changed and people are not (traveling) because the state and local government have different restrictions and guidelines,” said AAA spokesperson Molly Hart. “They’re filling up less as states re-introduce travel restrictions and the pandemic lingers.”

According to the Mobility Market Outlook, the global revenue for the travel and tourism industry will be nearly $400 billion in 2020. This is a decrease of around 42.1% from 2019. This also is significantly lower than the original 2020 forecast of around $712 billion.

“Amid the low gasoline demand, high gasoline inventory and the resurgence of coronavirus cases, gas prices are not likely to see a large increase. Many people are adhering to guidelines the CDC has put forth. So this is a large reason for the low gasoline demand,” said Hart. “Gasoline demand is down 14% year-over-year.”

The national gas price average has held steady at $2.16. That is 4 cents less than last month, and 40 cents cheaper than this time last year.

Average gasoline prices in Peoria and Bloomington-Normal are down about 36 cents per gallon versus this time last year. That's slightly less than the average nationwide decline.

AAA said positive news about Americans receiving the coronavirus vaccine will likely bolster the domestic price of crude oil this week.

“We certainly encourage those who are going to travel, it is a personal decision, to be smart and safe and following all the CDC, state and local restrictions,” said Hart. 

The ACG is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories.

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