May 29, 2020 - Energy & Environment

National mobility keeps rising as more states reopen economies

Data: Descartes Labs; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Descartes Labs; Chart: Axios Visuals

Driving keeps going back up as more states reopen their economies, according to the latest data from Descartes Labs.

How it works: Descartes Labs has created a "mobility index" based on geolocation data derived from phones and other devices reporting throughout the day, calculating the maximum distance moved from the first reported location.

Flashback: The index two weeks ago was at 44.

Why it matters: How quickly people resume driving — and flying — will influence how quickly and robustly the oil industry recovers from its historic collapse in April.

  • Longer-term trends, such as how permanent working from home and flying less becomes, will naturally take more time to suss out.

One level deeper: Energy Department data published Thursday also shows gasoline demand going back up.

  • However, the biggest news of that release was the arrival of a bunch of Saudi Arabian oil, which sent crude inventories jumping, as seen in this chart by Bloomberg's Javier Blas.
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