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Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook

Release Date: October 7, 2014  |  Next Release Date: November 12, 2014  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

U.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids

Liquid Fuels Consumption

Total U.S. liquid fuels consumption rose by 470,000 bbl/d (2.5%) in 2013, the largest increase since 2004. Consumption of all the major liquid fuels rose, except residual fuel oil. Consumption of hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) registered the largest gain, increasing by 190,000 bbl/d (8.5%). In 2014, total liquid fuels consumption is expected to fall by 40,000 bbl/d (0.2%), with declines in the consumption of motor gasoline, HGL, residual fuel oil, and other oils offsetting increases in distillate fuel and unfinished oils consumption. Total consumption grows by 170,000 bbl/d in 2015, with HGL consumption accounting for three-fourths of the increase.

Motor gasoline consumption grew by 160,000 bbl/d (1.9%) in 2013, the largest increase since 2004. But consumption of that fuel falls by 20,000 bbl/d (0.2%) in 2014 and by a further 20,000 bbl/d in 2015 as improving fuel economy in new vehicles offsets highway travel growth. Distillate fuel consumption increases by 150,000 bbl/d (3.9%) in 2014, reflecting colder-than-average first-quarter weather and economic growth. Consumption of that fuel rises by a more moderate 70,000 bbl/d (1.9%) in 2015 under assumptions of normal winter weather.

Liquid Fuels Supply

The forecast for total U.S. crude oil production increases from 7.4 million bbl/d in 2013 to 8.5 million bbl/d in 2014 and 9.5 million bbl/d in 2015. The highest previous annual average U.S. production level was 9.6 million bbl/d in 1970. Oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is expected to increase from 1.3 million bbl/d in 2013 to 1.6 million bbl/d in 2015, with 11 projects starting this year. Six projects began production in the first half of 2014: Na Kika Phase 3, Mars B, Dalmatian, Entrada, Atlantis Phase 2, and Tubular Bells. Additional wells are expected to come online in the fourth quarter of 2014 from the Cardamom Deep, South Deimos/West Boreas, Hadrian South, Jack/St. Malo, and Lucius projects.

HGL production at natural gas liquids plants is projected to increase from 2.6 million bbl/d in 2013 to 3.2 million bbl/d in 2015. Most of this growth is expected to come from additional ethane and propane production that will meet growing demand associated with expanding domestic ethylene and propylene production and export capacity.

The growth in domestic production has contributed to a significant decline in petroleum imports. The share of total U.S. liquid fuels consumption met by net imports fell from 60% in 2005 to an average of 33% in 2013. EIA expects the net import share to decline to 20% in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1968.

Petroleum Product Prices

Monthly average regular gasoline retail prices fell from $3.69/gal in June to $3.41/gal in September. EIA expects average regular gasoline retail prices to continue falling to $3.14/gal in December. The U.S. annual average regular gasoline retail price, which averaged $3.51/gal in 2013, is projected to average $3.45/gal in 2014 and $3.38/gal in 2015. Diesel fuel prices, which averaged $3.92/gal in 2013, are projected to fall to an average of $3.85/gal in 2014 and $3.80/gal in 2015. Daily and weekly national average prices can differ significantly from monthly and seasonal averages, and there are also significant differences across regions, with monthly average prices in some areas falling above or below the national average price by $0.30/gal or more.

U.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Crude Oil prices (dollars per barrel)
WTI Spot Average 94.12 97.91 97.72 94.58
Brent Spot Average 111.65 108.64 104.42 101.67
Imported Average 101.09 98.12 93.42 91.14
Refiner Average Acquisition Cost 100.82 100.46 96.07 93.63
Retail prices including taxes (dollars per gallon)
Regular Gasoline 3.63 3.51 3.45 3.38
Diesel Fuel 3.97 3.92 3.85 3.80
Heating Oil 3.79 3.78 3.79 3.65
Production (million barrels per day)
Crude Oil 6.50 7.44 8.54 9.50
Natural Gas Plant Liquids 2.41 2.61 2.94 3.21
Fuel Ethanol 0.86 0.87 0.93 0.93
Biodiesel 0.064 0.089 0.081 0.084
Consumption (million barrels per day)
Motor Gasoline 8.68 8.84 8.82 8.80
Distillate Fuel Oil 3.74 3.83 3.98 4.05
Jet Fuel 1.40 1.43 1.45 1.45
Total Consumption 18.49 18.96 18.92 19.10
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
U.S. Real GDP Growth 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.9
Heating Degree Days -12.6 18.5 1.6 -7.3
Distillate-weighted Industrial Production 2.9 2.9 3.5 4.2

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