US energy consumption fell to historic lows; transport included in decline

Source: EIA.

Data from the United States government announced new lows in energy consumption in 2020.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

WASHINGTON — According to the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2020 saw the most significant decline in energy consumption in both percentage and absolute terms via the agency’s consumption data dating back to 1949.

Nationwide, energy consumption fell to 93 quadrillion British thermal units (quads), which is down 7 percent from 2019. As expected, the EIA attributed this decline to the economic impacts and responses to the opening days of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The largest recorded annual decrease in nationwide energy consumption occurred during the Great Recession of 2008. That is when consumption decreased by 5 percent due to the recession during the beginning years of the Obama administration’s eight-year tenure. Other large annual decreases in energy consumption also occurred during other economic recessions.

Source: US Energy Information Administration.

On the front of transportation, the sector’s energy consumption fell by 15 percent.

That is due almost entirely to a decreased petrol usage for travel. Travel restrictions between countries during 2020 also contributed to this decline, including major consumption slumps in overall petrol demand, motor gas, diesel, and (of course) maritime fuels.

Transport saw an overall decline greater than other sectors like commercial and residential. Industrial consumption also slumped.

Source: US Energy Information Administration.
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