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NEW YORK, AP – The world’s once-insatiable demand for petrol is unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels, a report from the International Energy Agency says.

Petrol use cratered during the pandemic as cities shut down and many people began working from home, a trend that will likely continue as the COVID-19 crisis eases. Many governments also have been pushing for low-carbon alternatives.

Oil demand, meanwhile, is expected to continue rising as developing countries with growing populations use more of the fuel. But it is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, according to the Paris-based intergovernmental agency.

Petrol demand is unlikely to fully return because increased demand in the developing world will be offset by consumers shifting to electric vehicles, manufacturers improving fuel efficiency and businesses increasing telework while decreasing travel, the report released on Wednesday says.

Meanwhile, US petrol prices have surged. Americans are paying 14 per cent more for a gallon of regular than they did in February, and 29 per cent more than a year ago.

That spike has been caused in part by Texas storms that knocked out power to millions of residents and took several oil refineries offline. The price of petrol has also been boosted by oil prices that have risen along with expectations of economic recovery as coronavirus vaccines are distributed.

Market analysis and insights from Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi