Gasoline demand may never recover from pandemic, says IEA

LONDON (Reuters) - Gasoline demand may never recover to pre-pandemic levels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, with increased use in developing countries offset by rising fuel efficiency and a switch to electric vehicles in wealthy nations.

FILE PHOTO: Fuel nozzles with new European labels to standardise pumps in the EU zone are seen at a petrol station in Madrid, Spain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

In last year’s five-year outlook before the COVID-19 pandemic’s full force was felt in Western countries, the IEA said that gasoline demand was approaching a plateau and kept its demand outlook figure steady from 2024 to 2025.

Graphic: Gasoline's future -

However, remote working during the pandemic has helped to hollow out demand, the IEA said on Wednesday, and commuting is likely to remain curtailed in 2021 and in the coming years.

“Global gasoline consumption is unlikely to ever return to its 2019 level,” the IEA said on Wednesday in its Oil 2021 five-year outlook. “Strong growth in developing countries is no longer enough to offset declines within the OECD, where fuel efficiency improvements are making an impact.

“Consumption should continue to rise strongly in 2022 ... narrowing the gap with pre-pandemic levels. However, beyond that, gasoline demand is likely to stagnate for several years.”

Graphic: Car fleet consumption -

Graphic: Oil demand grows stalls -

Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by David Goodman