Americans’ demand for gasoline declining- permanently

americans demand for gasoline declining permanently burtynsky oil fields 19b

The nature of America and its dependence on oil is well documented, exceedingly so. It is the blood that flows through the veins of our nation. It is the power that defines our identity and the fuel that powers the world. It is also one of the greatest source of anxiety for the future of humanity, as the fossil fuel reserves dwindle.

If you head online to your search engine of choice and type in the keywords “oil”, “consumption” and “America”, you will quickly be inundated with results. Dozens, even hundreds of news stories will appear at your fingertips from agencies all over the world. But one type of news will be extremely hard to find in that list- good news. Well here is to bucking that trend.

A new report from the out of the Associated Press confirms that American demand for gasoline and oil reached its peak in 2006, and is now locked in a permanent decline.

Currently Americans are burning 8.2 million barrels (344 million gallons) of gasoline per day. That represent an 8-percent drop from 2006, and that percentage should increase over the years. One analyst, Paul Sankey from the Deutsch Bank, is predicting that by 2030, Americans will use closer to 5.4 million barrels a day, which would put us at a level of consumption that hasn’t been seen since 1969.

Other analysts suggest that the 2030 number will be closer to 6.6 million barrels per day, but all agree that the demand and consumption are on the decline. Both figures are based on the current information, of course. Future innovations and unforeseen economic factors might further lower the demand, just as they have in the last four years.

The reasons for the decline in demand are varied and widespread. The most obvious reason is the recession which came after gas prices had reached record highs in the U.S. The results were obvious. People began to look to save money, and avoiding costly fillips at the pump were an obvious first step, as were taking increasingly costly road trips for fun. But as the economy slowly begins to claw its way back up, that mentality appears to have had a permanent effect on the country.

Along with the financial necessity to look for better fuel economy in our vehicles, came a new set of government regulations that will be mandatory in 2012, which will require all cars to average 30.1 mpg, up from 27.5 mpg. By 2016, all cars will need to reach 35.5 mpg, and beginning next year SUVs and minivans will no longer be able to avoid fuel regulations, when they will legally be classified as passenger vehicles rather than trucks, which are subject to different rules.

Beyond just the governmental pressure, most carmakers are aware of the demand from customers on cars with better fuel efficiency, and more and more cars will begin to hit the streets that are partially or totally electric. The government is also offering billions of dollars in subsidies to encourage this and help sales.

Another law coming soon is regarding the actual composition of the fuel we use. By 2022, America’s fuel mix must include at least 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels, an increase of the 2011 requirements of 14 billion gallons. Of course, oil companies are currently spending billions on alternative forms of fuel, which could push the efficiency of bio-fuels as well. The oil companies know full well the way the wind is blowing, and most know that the next financial war will be fought through these biofuels and other alternative energy sources. Never underestimate the power and innovation of a corporations’ desire to make money. But even at the current rate of progression, by 2022, one in every four gallons of fuel will be an ethanol or biofuel substitute.

There are also several key factors that are related to age, demographics and lifestyles. The baby boomer generation is entering an age where they will drive less, the surge of women entering the workforce over the last few decades has evened out, and according to the report, people are becoming less likely to accept lengthy commutes into work—vehicle miles traveled per licensed driver has decreased as evidence. More efficient and further reaching public transportation also plays a factor in this.

With the shift to more efficient fuels also come the benefits associated with it beyond just the consumption decrease. As we use less oil, our lessening dependence on foreign sources for that oil can only be beneficial, but a more measureable result will be the decrease of carbon dioxide emissions.

By 2020 the National Resources Defense Council estimates that improved fuel economy and the move away from unregulated SUVs could lower carbon dioxide emissions by 400 billion pounds. Even with the estimated increase of 27 million more cars on the road (which would make the total number of cars 254 million), the effects would be equivalent to taking 32 million cars off the road today.

The decline of demand is surprising, but great news for environmentalists, who originally expected the demand on oil to increase at a rate of 1-2 percent per year indefinitely.

There are still factors that could change the equation though. If oil prices face a massive drop and the cost of automobiles also sinks to record lows, then a rush of new cars could tip the balance and increase demand, but it would require a significant series of events.

There is also China, and the rest of the world to consider. While America still consumes more than twice the oil that China—the second largest oil consumer in the world—the Chinese demand is increasing exponentially.

Still, the growth of China, India and several other emerging nations was expected, while the decrease in American needs was not. The cost of oil per barrel might drop as American demand drops, but it should quickly even out as other countries increase their usage. But for the first time in a long time, the future of American oil consumption can be viewed with optimism.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Home Theater

Apple Music completes its Amazon migration, is now available on Fire TV

Amazon's popular Fire TV devices are now compatible with the most popular on-demand music streaming service in the United States, thanks to a new integration with Apple Music that has finally hit Fire TV devices.
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Cars

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.