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One Sign Americans Are Hitting the Road Again: A Gasoline Rally

Jeffrey Bair

(Bloomberg) -- In a sign that U.S. fuel demand is improving, gasoline futures are once again rallying when massive oil refineries shut down.

Houston gasoline on Monday climbed to a three-month high after Motiva Enterprises LLC shut a key gasoline-making unit at the largest U.S. refinery, in Port Arthur, Texas. Earlier, New York gasoline rose to the highest since February after an issue at Phillips 66’s plant in Bayway, New Jersey, affected output there.

The price moves signal that fuel markets are rebounding from the depths of pandemic-led demand destruction. Just a few months ago, U.S. fuel demand cratered due to widespread lockdowns, causing stockpiles to swell. Amid that havoc, regional supply disruptions barely moved prices. Now, diesel and jet fuel are climbing, and refinery profit margins have been rising.

Yet, the buzz in the markets may soon peter out on fears of a second wave of the coronavirus in parts of the U.S., and additional travel restrictions.

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