Traffic on European highways and in major cities has increased in recent weeks as economies reopen, suggesting a rebound in demand for fuel for road transport.

Motorway traffic in Spain and France, one of Europe’s largest auto markets, is now only slightly below pre-COVID 2019 levels, according to data from motorway operators cited by Bloomberg.

Many European countries have gradually reopened their doors over the past month, as rising vaccination rates prompt more people to travel on the roads. This is optimistic news for gasoline and diesel demand, which is expected to be the first to return to pre-pandemic levels, especially in relation to lagging aviation fuel demand.

Traffic in European capitals is also increasing, with traffic in 15 capital cities reaching the busiest this year, according to data from location technology company TomTom NV cited by Bloomberg.

UK fuel sales have jumped this month to their highest level since the first blockage in March last year, suggesting that the reopening that began in April is already translating into demand for oil higher and economic growth.

With the loosening of national restrictions, many European countries are now working to reopen to overseas tourists in time for the summer vacation.

From Sunday, Italy allows tourists on “COVID-free flights” where passengers are tested before departure and upon arrival, whether or not they have received a vaccine. Most importantly, these travelers, including those from the United States, Canada and Japan, are not subject to quarantine upon arrival in Italy.

This week, the ambassadors to the EU of its 27 member states approved the European Commission proposal that the European Union open its borders to vaccinated tourists. The ambassadors decided that tourists should show vaccination certificates that they received a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency.

The EU was also to negotiate Thursday, the potential use of COVID certificates to open tourism during the summer season.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for OilUSD

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