U.S. drivers are burning gasoline at a record pace as they take advantage of the lowest prices at the pump in more than a decade this summer.
Consumption has risen 3.9 percent from a year ago, while the average retail price for the motor fuel has tumbled 17 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration and AAA. The country typically sees its highest demand from motorists between Memorial Day in late May and Labor Day in early September, a period known as summer driving season.
“Low cost has incentivized demand,” said John Auers, executive vice president at Turner Mason & Co., a Dallas-based energy consultancy. Consumers are “making decisions to respond to that.”
Fuel use averaged 9.72 million barrels a day in the four weeks ending June 17, the highest level in weekly government data compiled since 1991. Prices at the pump haven’t been this low in June since 2005, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group. They slid to $2.321 a gallon Tuesday from a peak of $2.379 on June 10.