U.S. Gasoline Demand May Have Peaked for Good
by Jonathan Fahey (AP/Salt Lake City Tribune) … After seven decades of mostly uninterrupted growth, U.S. gasoline demand is at the start of a long-term decline. By 2030, Americans will burn at least 20 percent less gasoline than today, experts say, even as millions of more cars clog the roads.
The country’s thirst for gasoline is shrinking as cars and trucks become more fuel-efficient, the government mandates the use of more ethanol and people drive less.
…Government and industry officials — including the CEO of Exxon Mobil — say U.S. gasoline demand has peaked for good. It has declined four years in a row and will not reach the 2006 level again, even when the economy fully recovers.
…(D)ecline is expected to accelerate for several reasons.
• Starting with the 2012 model year, cars will have to hit a higher fuel economy target for the first time since 1990….
• By 2022, the country’s fuel mix must include 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels, up from 14 billion gallons in 2011. Put another way, biofuels will account for roughly one of every four gallons sold at the pump. …
• Gasoline prices are forecast to stay high as developing economies in Asia and the Middle East use more oil. READ MORE