Has Gas Use Peaked?

Joanna Schroeder

It appears as if two things peaked in 2007…our economy and our thirst for driving. According to an article in McClatchy Newspapers, U.S. gasoline consumption peaked in 2007 and has not only not recovered, but never will – even after the recession ends. According to Steve Everly, the author of the article, there are several reasons why.

1) Federally mandated fuel economy increases.

2) The number of vehicles on the road will hit a plateau. Get this. There are 4-5 cars on the road for each person in the U.S. including children who can’t legally drive.

3) There will be enough alternative fuels to cover increased fuel needs (which up until 2007 grew each year since we discovered our love for driving using petroleum).

“We’re on a slow but inexorable path away from petroleum,” said James Williams, an analyst with WTRG Economics, an oil and gas consultancy. “This is a big deal.”

While this is good news for consumer pocketbooks, this is not such good news for oil companies who will lose billions of dollars each year from declining gas sales. According to the article, many oil companies are looking at adjusting their refinery capabilities, including the possibility of shutting some of them down. But this doesn’t mean petroleum will disappear. The Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2035, petroleum still will provide 88 percent of the fuel for cars and light trucks.

I’ll let you decide if this is good or bad news.

biofuels, Commentary, Energy