EIA 2013 Outlook Forecasts Gas Consumption Decline

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. crude oil production will rise, gasoline consumption will fall, natural gas production will outpace demand and net imports of energy will decline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2013.

More specifically, the EIA report predicts that U.S. crude oil production will rise to 7.5 million barrels per day by 2019, a significant increase from just under 6 million barrels per day in 2011. This means the United States will become more self-sufficient and less reliant on foreign oil imports in the future.

The outlook also noted that gasoline consumption will drop in the future, but not due to weaker demand. Instead, it will be due to more stringent corporate average fuel economy standards set forth by the government via its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In addition, the report forecasts that growth in diesel fuel consumption will be moderated by the increased use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles.

Also on the topic of natural gas, the EIA report predicts that rising U.S. natural gas production will outpace domestic consumption, allowing the United States to become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas in 2016 and a net exporter of all natural gases in 2020.

Other findings of the report include that the share of electricity generation from renewable fuels will increase to 16 percent in 2040 from 13 percent in 2011; and as a whole, net energy imports are expected to decline to 9 percent in 2040 from 19 percent in 2011.

"EIA's [outlook] shows how evolving consumer preferences, improved technology and economic changes are pushing the nation toward more domestic energy production, greater vehicle efficiency, greater use of clean energy and reduced energy imports," noted EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, which represents the producers and supporters of ethanol, responded to the EIA report by stating that the renewable fuels industry can meet the volume goal of 36 billion gallons as set forth by the RFS, "but scaling the blend wall and increased market access is the key."

"Growth Energy and the biofuels industry will continue to work with retailers and consumers to educate them on higher blends, such as E15, and continue to garner the support necessary to break through the blend wall, providing additional choices and savings for the consumer."

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