Written by Catherine Reheis-Boyd
One thing that’s been abundantly clear since early March is just how connected the health of the economy – and our lives – are to driving. When the roads are open and people and businesses are free to move in their cars and trucks, society and the economy thrive.
It was a sobering experience earlier this year to witness empty roads during the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19. While the oil and gas industry was proud to continue providing fuel and energy to keep essential workers and supplies moving, recreational and business commuting essentially came to a standstill. It has been extremely encouraging in recent months to see a steady uptick in cars on the road – both as people safely return to work and feel more comfortable hitting the roads for responsible travel.
Each year, August tends to be the busiest driving month in the United States. While summer vacations may look a little different this year, consumers everywhere are feeling more comfortable traveling in their cars. As air travel continues to recover, we’ve seen the “return of the road trip” as the preferred method for family travel and vacation during COVID-19.
Recent data from Apple Maps has shown a steady increase in driving routes and direction requests since the early start of the pandemic. This is news we should all feel really good about. Not only are people responsibly returning to commutes as needed and leisure driving, but it means our industry, which powers the vast majority of all driving, is showing signs of strength and resilience as well.
The freedom and comfort to hit the road is not just good for the economy, it’s a sign of a return to some manner of normalcy in a tough year. Cars can offer peace of mind to families who are ready for a small break or trip, but not yet ready to brave an airport. The driving data from August is a hopeful sign that America is regaining its confidence.
The oil and gas industry truly drives both the economy and society. It provides safe, efficient and reliable energy to power the driving that gets us to work and to play. As we all safely return to the roads, please continue to be responsible and cautious, and remember the hard-working men and women from our industry who make your daily commute and family road trip possible!
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