RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: The International Energy Forum (IEF) today issued a report indicating that global oil consumption from transportation fuels in March was still 5.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) below where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report entitled "Alternative Metrics for Real-Time Assessment of Energy Demand" analyzed data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), Google's Community Mobility Tracker and Oxford's COVID-19 Government Response Tracker to estimate the recovery of demand after the 25 percent drop in oil demand caused by the pandemic in April last year.
"The ensuing recovery has been equally spectacular, but the 'last mile' has been slow and uneven," said Joseph McMonigle, Secretary General of the IEF, during a webinar to present the findings.
Gasoline and diesel demand rebounded to about 93 percent of pre-COVID levels in March from about 87 percent in January this year, the report showed. About one third of this volume gain was driven by the US and India. Mobility in many European countries lags 20-40 percent below the January 2020 baseline, the report showed.
In China, the IEF report looked at Oxford's COVID-19 Government Response "Stringency" Tracker to estimate the recovery in the absence of mobility data. This fell in March 2021 below summer 2020 levels, implying a serious pick-up in transportation demand, after passenger traffic declined 45 percent last year.
The lion's share of missing transportation fuel demand is jet fuel, which is expected to remain at 5.5-5.7 mb/d during the first half of this year, versus 7.9 mb/d in 2019, the report showed.
"The increasing disparity between regions and countries in terms of effectiveness of government response means that domestic and regional flights are picking up only slowly," said Dr Leila R. Benali, Chief Economist of the IEF.
"Current data suggests a stagnant last mile demand recovery in 2021. But we will continue monitoring these different metrics during the rest of the year, particularly in relation to Ramadan and summer vacation travel patterns," she added.