U.K. Road Traffic Tops Pre-Covid Levels as Reopening Accelerates


Drivers in the U.K. celebrated a sunny long weekend by hitting the roads in larger numbers than at any time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Total vehicle use was 1% higher than pre-pandemic levels in the week through May 30, according to government data. That was driven by a surge on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a national holiday on the Monday that followed.

The steady reopening is providing a boon to fuel demand, with the U.K. one of the leaders in the Western world’s recovery in consumption. More than half of the country’s adult population has now received a vaccine, leading to expectations in the oil market that demand will jump higher in the coming months. Brent crude on Tuesday was trading above $70 a barrel, near its highest level since March.

U.K. Road Traffic Tops Pre-Covid Levels as Reopening Accelerates

There was a similar surge in gasoline demand in the U.S. last week, which hit the highest since the pandemic began, according to Descartes Labs. That adds further evidence to stronger levels of oil use in the West after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said there had been clear signs of improvement in consumption.

Before the holiday weekend in the U.K., the RAC motoring organization said that 11 million leisure trips were likely to take place by car. The group said only 11% of drivers weren’t planning any leisure trips over the weekend, compared with 18% and 25% in the two prior holidays this year.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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