WASHINGTON - The drop in energy demand in the United States caused by high oil prices earlier this year and a slumping economy in the fourth quarter is projected to cause a 5.4 percent drop in demand for petroleum products in 2008, or about 1.1 million barrels per day below the 2007 average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA). The decline is expected to continue in 2009, with petroleum demand dropping another 1.3 percent.

Global oil demand will probably end up rising by only 100,000 barrels per day in 2008 and is expected to remain essentially level in 2009, with growth in developing countries offset by declines in industrialized countries.

Although it’s hard to find a silver lining in today’s economic crisis,The NEWSnoted last week that reduced energy demand has led to reduced prices for gasoline and diesel fuel as well as for heating oil. In addition, the EIA points out that the drop in petroleum demand will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and other industrialized countries, and it will also help to reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports.

Publication date:11/24/2008