WASHINGTON - A weak economy and continued high prices for crude oil and petroleum products are expected to cut petroleum demand in the United States by nearly 500,000 barrels per day on average for 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook notes that the decline in U.S. oil consumption for the first half of the year was the largest in the past 26 years.

Petroleum consumption dipped strongly for the first five months of 2008, falling 900,000 barrels per day below the consumption levels during the same period in 2007, but the consumption drop narrowed to 400,000 barrels per day in June and July. The EIA expects U.S. oil consumption to continue falling in 2009, dropping 120,000 barrels per day below the 2008 average.

The EIA also notes that the average monthly U.S. petroleum consumption has been lower than the year before for 12 consecutive months, a trend not seen since August 1991, when a struggling economy dampened petroleum demand.

Publication date:08/25/2008