The latest numbers on gasoline consumption are in from the American Petroleum Institute, and to no one’s surprise overall demand is down nearly 1% in the first six months of this year. Demand for the month of June is lower by 0.5%, marking the lowest demand in the month of June since 2004. As Autoblog points out, gas was selling for an average of $2.00 a gallon back then, compared to $2.70 per gallon today. There have been higher spikes in pricing with no corresponding drop in demand, but that was back in the days when the economy was relatively healthy and people had jobs.
Chief economist for the API, John Felmy, added his interpretation to the reported numbers:
“The listless economic recovery continues to take a bite out of gasoline demand. It’s clear from the gasoline deliveries data that consumer confidence in the economy remains shaky. This certainly supports API’s position that increased taxes or other anti-jobs policies by Congress or the administration could increase unemployment and harm our economic recovery.”
Politics aside, one thing is clear: the decrease in demand is not due to Americans converting to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. From where I sit, it’s simple economics – if you don’t have to drive, and you need to save money, cutting back on the use of a car is one place to start. I know far too many good people who are still unemployed to believe the whole “economic recovery” fairy tale that the news media is trying to propagate, and I really hope things start to turn around soon.