U.S. demand for petroleum and liquid fuels is expected to remain below the 2019 average from before the COVID-crisis until August 2021, despite the uptick in consumption in recent weeks, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday.  

Total demand for motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, and jet fuel crashed in March and April due to the stay-at-home orders and reduced travel as states were trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Demand has increased since the lows in April, and will continue to rise in the second half of this year as economic activity picks up. Yet, total demand levels will continue to trail the pre-crisis levels until August next year, the EIA has estimated.

In April, U.S. consumption of liquid fuels reached its all-time monthly low since the early 1980s at an average of 14.7 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the administration.  

The oil demand crash in April, when most of America was under stay-at-home orders, resulted in the biggest monthly inventory jump in U.S. commercial crude oil inventories in data going back to 1920, the EIA said earlier this month. 

In terms of volumes, nearly half of the plunge in fuel consumption in 2020 has come from low gasoline use. This year, gasoline demand is expected to average 8.3 million bpd, down by 1.0 million bpd – or 10 percent – from 2019. Next year, with rising employment, gasoline consumption is set to increase to 9.1 million bpd, or to be some 2 percent less than its 2019 average.

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All liquid fuels consumption in the United States this year is set to average 18.3 million bpd in 2020, down by 2.1 million bpd from 2019, according to EIA’s July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

Next year, U.S. liquid fuels consumption will average 19.9 million bpd, still below the 2019 average of 20.5 million bpd, according to the EIA.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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