Monday, March 26, 2012

US Gasoline Demand Falls For 52 Straight Weeks But Prices Rise

US gasoline demand is steadily declining, but gasoline prices continue to rise, reaching last week a national average of $3.84 per gallon.

US gasoline demand has declined for 52 straight weeks, surpassing the 51 weeks of decline during 2008, when gasoline prices hit even higher levels than today's, according to the Associated Press.

The decline in demand results primarily from sustained high gasoline prices and more fuel efficient vehicles replacing gas guzzlers.  This blog has previously noted that the average new car gets 24 miles per gallon today, while a new car got 20 miles per gallon on average in 2008, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan.  

February car sales in the US were the strongest in years and were the equivalent of about selling 15 million cars per year.  New cars today often replace less fuel efficient vehicles that are 10 or more years old.  Moreover, new cars will continue to get more fuel efficient with every model year for approximately the next 13 years, as automakers comply with rising fuel efficiency standards.

To date, substituting natural gas and electricity for gasoline is a minor contributor to declining gasoline demand. If major substitution of gasoline with natural gas and electricity joins more fuel efficient vehicles, the decline in gasoline demand would accelerate over the next 10 years.

The nation's peak oil consumption year was 2007, and many experts believe that America will likely never use more oil than it did in that year.  The trends in gasoline consumption are one of the reasons for that view.

While US and European oil consumption have peaked, world oil consumption continues to rise.  Simply put, demand increases in China and India, with a third of the world's population, are straining the world oil market. 

No comments:

Post a Comment