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Covid-19 EIA Energy Consumption Forecast For 2020

June 11, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration published their Short-Term Energy Outlook on June 9th 2020. Here is a summary of their expected energy consumption during 2020 taking into account the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.

Consumption Sector Consumption Sector EIA U.S. 2019 Historical Retail Electricity Sales Compared to 2020 Forecast
Commercial 9.1% decrease
Industrial  6.7% decrease
Residential 1.5% decrease

Compared to 2019, EIA is expecting a 5.7% decrease in energy consumption in 2020 in the U.S. Although the seasonal weather is projected to be mild in 2020 resulting in less use of A/C technology, it is offset by work from home electricity use.

Natural Gas
In 2019 the industrial sector - which accounts for just over a quarter of the daily natural gas consumption - is expected to fall by around 1.83 Billion cubic feet per day in 2020. The reduced manufacturing activity contributes most to the expected overall decline of 3.6% in natural gas daily average usage in the U.S compared to 2019.

Liquid Fuels
Time Period EIA Forecast of U.S. liquid Fuel Consumption (Average)
Apr-Jun 2020 15.7 million b/d
Jul-Sep 2020 18.4 million b/d
Jan-Dec 2021 1.5 million b/d

The fall in consumption from the 2019 average of 20.5 million barrels per day is a result of COVID-19 lockdown protocols that set travel restrictions and reduced economic activity. The EIA expects the largest declines in U.S. oil consumption have already occurred and demand will generally rise during the next 18 months.

U.S. Liquid Fuel Type EIA 2Q19 Historical Consumption Compared to 2Q20 Forecast Consumption
Jet Fuel 64% decrease
Gasoline 26% decrease
Distillates 17% decrease

Overall energy consumption is expected to be lower in 2020 compared to 2019 due to lockdown rules set in place. However as protocols get loosened and we head towards 2021, consumption is set to increase, although perhaps not to levels as high as in 2019.

Reference: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/pdf/steo_text.pdf

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