Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Uncle Sam Reduces His Oil Addiction: US Oil Consumption Falls to 1995 Levels, Even As Production Is Highest In 20 Years

Uncle Sam may be breaking his addiction to oil.  Last year, US oil consumption fell to 1995 levels.
http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec1_7.pdf.  That's a remarkable decline, especially considering the US population was 262 million in 1995 or about 50 million less than today!

The decline in US oil consumption contributes to the fall in total US energy consumption to 1999 levels.  The drop in oil consumption results both from rising efficiency in oil usage and from increasingly successful oil substitutes like natural gas, electricity, and biofuels.

Paradoxically, as America uses less oil, it produces more than it has since 1992, with daily production now above 7 million barrels.  The powerful combination of falling demand and rising domestic production is slashing US oil imports and making the US a net exporter of refined petroleum products like gasoline.

Falling US demand and surging domestic production, however, is not powerful enough to lower oil prices that are the product of global demand and production.  The good news in America is not enough to offset booming global demand that is straining global supplies.  As a result, Americans paid in nominal dollars record gasoline prices in 2012 and about 4% of median income.

Despite the progress made in reducing demand for oil, oil remains the single largest source of energy for America.  Americans consumed about 35 quadrillion BTUs of oil in 2012 or about twice as much oil as coal.
Though more needs to be done, by cutting consumption to 1995 levels, America is headed toward freeing itself from the dangers of its still too heavy reliance on oil.

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