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EIA forecasts US petroleum demand to remain below 2019 levels

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,


Consumption of US liquid fuels fell in March and April 2020 as a result of reduced travel related to COVID-19 and its mitigation measures. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts that US consumption of total petroleum and other liquid fuels will continue increasing in the second half of 2020 as economic activity increases, but levels will remain lower than the 2019 average until August 2021.

In April, consumption of liquid fuels in the US (as measured by product supplied) reached its all-time monthly low since the early 1980s at an average of 14.7 million bpd. Weekly data show consumption of petroleum products has increased as states have relaxed restrictions.

Volumetrically, almost half of the decrease in US consumption of liquid fuels in 2020 has come from reduced motor gasoline use. EIA expects motor gasoline consumption will average 8.3 million bpd in 2020, down 1.0 million bpd (10%) from 2019. In the second half of 2020, a forecast increase in employment leads to an increase in gasoline consumption. EIA assumes employment levels will continue to grow in 2021, and gasoline consumption will increase to 9.1 million bpd, or to about 2% less than its 2019 average.

EIA expects US jet fuel consumption in 2020 to be 31% lower than its 2019 average, a much larger percentage change than gasoline (down 10%) and distillate (also down 10%). US jet fuel consumption fell to an estimated 660 000 bpd in the 2Q20, and EIA expects it to rise to 1.4 million bpd in the fourth quarter of this year. EIA expects jet fuel consumption to continue rising in 2021 and average 1.5 million bpd, or about 12% lower than its 2019 average.

During peak stay-at-home orders, distillate consumption was relatively less affected by COVID-19 mitigation efforts than gasoline or jet fuel consumption. Distillate consumption in the US is driven by economic activity and is more likely affected by slowing economic growth than by travel restrictions. Distillate fuel is also used in activities that are not as directly affected by restrictions, such as by diesel engines in heavy construction equipment and as heating oil both for space heating in buildings and industrial heating.

More information is available in EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook.


Principal contributor: Matt French

Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/refining/21072020/eia-forecasts-us-petroleum-demand-to-remain-below-2019-levels/

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