US drivers cut back – a little

Yesterday’s US government data on gasoline consumption gives the clearest picture yet of what is happening to US demand. The data compares the 4 weeks covering the July 4 Independence Day weekend, with the same period last year. And it shows gasoline demand was down just 2.1%, even though oil prices have doubled since last year. Demand still averaged 9.3 mbd, about equal to Saudi Arabia’s total oil exports. This tends to confirm the argument that US demand is relatively inelastic, in the absence of a major economic recession.

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