motorists logged 232.2 billion miles, the most for any February
and up 5.6 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of
Transportation said. The increase was the largest year-over-year
bump since at least 1991, it added.
The data suggest that the slowdown caused by a late-January
snowstorm which stranded millions in the U.S. Northeast was
unusual. Traders had worried that the decline in gasoline
demand, the first in 14 months, signaled waning long-term
"Lots of people couldn't drive, so when the snow thawed and the
weather warmed up in a bit in February, people were stir crazy
and made up for lost time," Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price
Futures Group, said.
The February numbers are a good sign that gasoline demand will
remain strong in the summer driving season that starts next
month, he said. "I think it's here to stay."
The United States has experienced a sustained surge in driving,
fueled in large part by cheaper gas and low unemployment. The
average U.S. gas price was $2.14 per gallon on Monday, down from
$2.52 a year ago, according to the website of motorists'
advocacy group AAA.
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Paul Simao and Richard
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