Gas prices are going up, but demand for petroleum is going down in the U.S. The Associated Presssays that demand for petroleum fuel in 2010 is down 8% from its peak back in 2006. Will this downward trend continue?
The year isn’t quite over yet, but AP says that Americans used on average 344 million gallons of gasoline per day, a little more than a 1.1 gallons per day, per person (there are now over 308,745,538 people in the U.S. according to the 2010 Census). That is 8% less than the peak of U.S. demand in 2006, when America used about 374 million gallons of gas every day. So America really is using less fuel, and while it’s a gradual decline (about 2% a year), it’s certainly better than nothing. This decline has taken place without the glut of hybrid and electric cars destined to hit showrooms in the next two or three years, so a big drop off could be coming. And while I still think it is too early to call, America could be on its way to a permanent decline in gas usage. At the very least, Americans are trying to curb their usage, either to keep more money in their pocket or more emissions out of the air.
Then again, even as demand for gas in the U.S. declines, developing nations like China and India are bursting at the seams with new money ready to buy a car. China alone could start seeing car sales exceed 50 million vehicles a year as early as 2030. Maybe they won’t make the same mistakes and ignore infrastructure in favor of personal transportation, but as somebody who loves cars, I know the appeal and allure of a car purchase all too well. Will there be enough to go around?
A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, Chris can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.