Europe City Traffic Hits 2019 Level for First Time in 15 Months

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Traffic in 15 European cities was as busy as in 2019 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to data from TomTom NV.

The figures, which showed congestion was on average equal to levels from the year prior to the pandemic last week, were the strongest since March 2020. It compares with a drop of 15% a month ago and a decline of as much as 34% in the most recent wave of virus infections in the region.

Europe City Traffic Hits 2019 Level for First Time in 15 Months

With vaccination rates ticking up and economies reopening, drivers have been using their cars more and more. In the Western world there have been steady signs that an improvement in oil consumption in the U.S. was being hotly followed by the U.K. and the rest of Europe as mobility restrictions ease. Bank of America reiterated its call on Monday that demand is set to see a record recovery this year.

Still, while there’s an optimistic trend emerging in the west, the oil demand picture isn’t without its blemishes. Consumption remains challenged in some parts of Asia where the virus is spreading, while jet fuel demand globally remains far below normal. Similarly, city congestion figures can often be more positive than real-world gasoline demand data, as longer journeys may be overlooked, among other factors.

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