Today in Energy

December 5, 2012

EIA projections show U.S. energy production growing faster than consumption through 2040

Image of the 2013 AEO, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

EIA has just issued its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case, which highlights a growth in total U.S. energy production that exceeds growth in total U.S. energy consumption through 2040.

"EIA's updated Reference case shows how evolving consumer preferences, improved technology, and economic changes are pushing the nation toward more domestic energy production, greater vehicle efficiency, greater use of clean energy, and reduced energy imports," said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.

"This combination has markedly reduced projected energy-related carbon dioxide emissions," said Mr. Sieminski.

AEO2013 offers a number of key findings, including:

Crude oil production, especially from tight oil plays, rises sharply over the next decade. Domestic oil production will rise to 7.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up from less than 6 million bpd in 2011.

Motor gasoline consumption will be less than previously estimated. Compared with the last AEO, the AEO2013 shows lower gasoline use, reflecting the introduction of more stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Growth in diesel fuel consumption will be moderated by the increased use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles.

The United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas earlier than estimated a year ago. Because quickly rising natural gas production outpaces domestic consumption, the United States will become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2016 and a net exporter of total natural gas (including via pipelines) in 2020.

Renewable fuel use grows at a much faster rate than fossil fuel use. The share of electricity generation from renewables grows to 16 percent in 2040 from 13 percent in 2011.

Net imports of energy decline. The decline reflects increased domestic production of both petroleum and natural gas, increased use of biofuels, and lower demand resulting from the adoption of new vehicle fuel efficiency standards and rising energy prices. The net import share of total U.S. energy consumption falls to 9 percent in 2040 from 19 percent in 2011.

The AEO2013 Reference case focuses on the drivers that shape U.S. energy markets under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain generally unchanged throughout the projection period. The complete AEO2013, to be released in early 2013, will include many alternative cases in recognition of the uncertainty inherent in making projections about energy markets, which in part arises from assumptions about policies and other market drivers such as trends in prices and economic growth.

Key updates made for the AEO2013 Reference case include the following:

  • Extension of the projection period through 2040, an additional 5 years beyond AEO2012.
  • A revised outlook for industrial production to reflect the impacts of increased shale gas production and lower natural gas prices, which result in faster growth for industrial production and energy consumption. The industries affected include, in particular, bulk chemicals and primary metals.
  • Adoption of final model year 2017 to 2025 greenhouse gas emissions and CAFE standards for light-duty vehicles (LDVs), which increases the projected combined fuel economy of new LDVs to 47.3 mpg in 2025.
  • Updated modeling of LNG export potential.
  • Updated power generation unit costs that capture recent cost declines for some renewable technologies, which tend to lead to greater use of renewable generation, particularly solar technologies.

Details of the AEO2013 Reference case are available at