May 14, 2020
Last three weeks of April saw consecutive increases in gallons purchased as states opened non essential businesses.
BOSTON – According to the latest fuel demand data from GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app that is used by more North American drivers to save money on gas, COVID-19 continued to affect United States fuel demand in April, with gallons purchased on its worst day, April 12, down 62% compared to the best day of 2020 on March 13. Yet as various states have since re-opened non-essential businesses, demand in the last week of April rebounded 22% from the lowest overall week of gasoline demand in 2020 (April 5 - 11).
GasBuddy examined fuel transactions from Pay with GasBuddy, the first-of-its-kind fuel savings program that gives drivers a discount on virtually every gallon of gas they will ever pump, used by more than 750,000 Americans.
“Fuel demand is a significant economic indicator,” says Sarah McCrary, CEO of GasBuddy. “While April fuel demand was down compared to March, we saw consecutive weekly increases in gallons purchased and the number of active cardholders as the month progressed. We will continue to watch Pay with GasBuddy transactional data in the months ahead as states continue to reopen and the summer months begin.”
DEMAND REBOUNDS AS STATES REOPEN
Fuel demand typically increases throughout the months of March and April as more drivers hit the road with the warmer weather. Year-over-year benchmarked fuel demand* shows that COVID-19 influenced a peak drop of 41% the week of March 29 compared to the same week last year. Even as April fuel demand was down significantly compared to pre-coronavirus levels, gallons purchased in the last three weeks of the month saw benchmarked demand inch closer towards 2019’s seasonal rise, down only 31% from last year.
Select states that reopened saw even greater increases in gallons purchased than at the national level. The week of April 12 saw nominal demand percent increases ranging from 12-19% across Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, paving the way for higher fuel demand for the remainder of the month.
FUEL DEMAND IN MAY PROJECTED TO INCREASE
As states continue to reopen, employees return to work, and some travelers even embark on summer road trips, demand could continue to see a steady increase throughout the summer.
“The increase in fuel demand will heavily rely on how quickly additional states reopen,” says Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Given that gas prices will continue to be affordable, we could continue to see weekly single digit increases throughout the month of May, with a significant increase possible if the situation improves more rapidly.”
According to GasBuddy's recently released 2020 Summer Travel Study, 18% of Americans are not planning on taking a road trip this summer, while 51% remain undecided and 31% are taking at least one road trip.
For budget-minded drivers, GasBuddy is the travel and navigation app that is used by more North American drivers to save money on gas than any other. Unlike fuel retailer apps, as well as newer apps focused on fuel savings, GasBuddy covers 150,000+ gas stations in North America, giving drivers 27 ways to save on fuel. That’s why GasBuddy has been downloaded nearly 90mm times – more than any other travel and navigation app focused on gas savings. GasBuddy’s publishing and software businesses enable the world’s leading fuel, convenience, QSR and CPG companies to shorten the distance between the North American fueling public and their brands. For more information, visit www.gasbuddy.com.
*Benchmark YoY Fuel demand calculated taking gallons purchased for each year divided by week one of each respective year.