Skip to content
Subscriber Only

China’s Robust Oil Demand Recovery Underpinned By Gasoline Surge

  • May gasoline consumption higher than 2019; diesel flat: survey
  • Estimates give rare glimpse into opaque market; rebound intact
General Views of Financial District in Beijing
Photographer: Yan Cong/Bloomberg

China’s meteoric rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic has been a source of strength for global oil demand, and a close look at domestic trends reveals that cars have underpinned the recovery.

Gasoline demand in May was 5% higher than the same period in 2019, according to the median of five estimates from the nation’s top oil companies including China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., better known as Sinopec, and China National Petroleum Corp, as well as industry analysts. Diesel use wasn’t as robust, with most respondents seeing flat consumption last month.