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U.S. Diesel Demand to Decline Come 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Better vehicle efficiency and increased use of compressed natural gas by heavy-duty vehicles will more than offset an increase in the number of diesel-powered light-duty vehicles, leading to a decline in U.S. diesel fuel demand beginning in 2016, according to a report released Wednesday.

U.S. diesel demand is expected to drop 12.5 percent from a peak of nearly 4 million barrels per day in 2015 to 3.5 million barrels per day in 2030, stated An Assessment of the Diesel Fuel Market: Demand, Supply, Trade and Key Drivers. The 32-page report was developed by PIRA Energy Group, commissioned by NACS' The Fuels Institute and funded by the NATSO Foundation.

“Changing consumer demand for diesel fuel will have a significant effect on fuel retailers and the U.S. economy,” said NATSO Foundation President Lisa Mullings. “This report will help truck stops and travel plazas develop a sound strategy for optimizing these market changes to lead the fuel retailing industry into the future.” 

Although diesel demand is expected to decline in the United States for many years, this will not be the case in other countries. Global diesel demand is expected to increase to 6 million barrels per day from 2013 to 2030, driven by industrialization in emerging markets and an increased use of diesel in global shipping fuels.

Hence, the U.S. will export more diesel fuel in the coming years, the report predicted.

“The U.S. is very well positioned to supply its own domestic fuel needs, while also playing a growing role as a global product exporter. The expected significant increase in light-duty vehicle demand for diesel fuel should not affect overall domestic diesel or gasoline supplies, nor compromise the nation’s ability to contribute to the international market. This is good news for fuel consumers as it indicates this shift in consumption patterns should not create economic imbalances,” noted John Eichberger, executive director of The Fuels Institute.

NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, founded The Fuels Institute in 2013 as a nonprofit, research-oriented think tank.

The NATSO Foundation is the research, education and public outreach subsidiary of NATSO Inc., the trade association of America's travel plaza and truck stop industry.

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