(Bloomberg) -- U.S. oil consumption is rushing back much faster from the pandemic slump than first predicted as Americans are hitting the road, unleashing a burst of pent-up travel demand.

Consumption is so strong that the federal Energy Information Administration on Friday pegged May’s demand for U.S. oil products at 20.094 million barrels a day, or almost 7% higher than its original estimate.

The demand, which the EIA classifies as product supplied, still remains below where it was in 2019, before the coronavirus interrupted travel for millions. But surprisingly, it’s within spitting distance of the May 2019 figure of 20.387 million barrels a day.

U.S. fuel demand has been watched around the world as proxy for the economic recovery. Gasoline has led the way, with consumption by motorists hitting a record earlier this summer. The fuel represents about half of all U.S. oil products demand.

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