PURSUING SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION ENERGY
LONG DAYS + WARM
WEATHER = MORE MILES
The advent of spring means drivers consume more fuel.
BY JOHN EICHBERGER
Since 2000, consumers have xperienced an increase in gasoline pump prices during the spring — much more signif- icant than what occurred in the 1980s or 1990s. This increase has ranged from a low of $0.20 per gallon in 2003 to as much
as $1.13 per gallon in 2008. While a variety of reasons for this development can be pinpointed (crude
oil prices, the transition to cleaner burning summer
specification gasoline, etc.), a primary and consistent factor has been consumer demand for gasoline.
Longer days and warmer weather inspire consumers to spend more time away from home, resulting
in more miles driven and more fuel consumed.
In fact, since 2004 the demand for gasoline
has increased more than 5.7% from the end of
February through the end of June. While this may
not seem like a significant increase, it requires
an additional 452,000 barrels of gasoline, or 18. 9
million gallons, every day.
This spike in demand historically has contributed to the spring run-up in prices. Looking at the
average demand and fuel prices reported by the
U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
since 2004, there appears to be a direct correlation between demand and prices. During the same
time period, the average retail price for gasoline
Consumers seem to have grown to expect this
market dynamic. In the March 2014 NACS Consumer Fuels Survey, 68% of consumers reported that
fuel prices in their area were somewhat or much
higher than they were 30 days prior. In addition, 59%
suspect prices will continue to rise. This sentiment
comes on top of a market that started the year at the
highest ever average national price of $3.33.
Building upon that record starting price, the recent run-up has brought the national average price
to $3.51 as of mid-March, according to EIA. This
price point is beginning to approach trigger points
that could prompt a change in consumer behavior.
When asked at what price consumers would
GASOLINE DEMAND & PRICES
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
GASOLINE PRICE GASOLINE DEMAND