Despite concerns, gasoline consumption in Canada has not only shown resilience but is now peaking past pre-pandemic levels.
How much people drive is a key variable for the automotive aftermarket, indicating long-term health for the industry, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants observed in a recent report.
It noted that while gasoline consumption dipped during the start of the pandemic and again as COVID-19 surged later on, numbers have more than recovered. Summer 2023 numbers surpassed numbers seen in the summer of 2019.
The story is much the same in the United States. While projections showed miles travelled would drop this year, that hasn’t happened, reported Todd Campau, aftermarket practice leader at S&P Global Mobility. Through the first three quarters of the year, miles travelled is looking to be flat or even up slightly.
“So there may be some upside on miles travelled this year if the last quarter continues as strong as the first three quarters, which is really surprising to me,” he said at AAPEX 2023.
This is surprising because drivers on both sides of the border are going through periods of economic uncertainty, high inflation, elevated interest rates — everything around them is costing more.
“When the cost of goods and services are higher, we typically see people pull back on vehicle miles travelled. And we’re really still not seeing that, at least not to a significant level,” Campau said during the session, Trends Impacting the North American Aftermarket.
Overall, that’s good news for the automotive aftermarket, he noted.
“Because those are the factors that contribute to our businesses — the number of vehicles on the road and the amount of miles they’re travelling each year,” Campau said. “So I’m actually hopeful that our projections were wrong and we continue to see growth in vehicle miles travelled. And all signs do point to that being the case. So very good news there.”