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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: January 12, 2021  |  Forecast Completed: January 7, 2021  |  Next Release Date: February 9, 2021  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

U.S. Economic Assumptions and Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions

The STEO is based on macroeconomic forecasts by IHS Markit for the United States. EIA used the December 2020 version of the IHS Markit macroeconomic model with EIA's energy price forecasts as model assumptions to develop the economic forecasts in the STEO.

Using the IHS Markit model, EIA assumes U.S. real GDP declined by 3.5% in 2020 and that it will grow by 4.2% in 2021 and by 3.8% in 2022. This compares with 2.2% annual growth in 2019. EIA assumes that total industrial production decreased 6.9% in 2020, and EIA expects that it will increase 4.0% in 2021 and will grow by 4.5% in 2022. This growth compares with 0.9% annual growth in 2019. In the forecast, U.S. nonfarm employment, which grew by 1.4% in 2019, decreased by 5.7% in 2020, will increase by 2.8% in 2021, and will increase by 3.5% in 2022.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, fell by 11.1% in 2020 relative to 2019. CO2 emissions are expected to rise by 4.7% in 2021 and by 3.2% in 2022. EIA forecasts an increase in coal CO2 emissions and a decrease in natural gas CO2 emissions because of higher natural gas prices. EIA expects CO2 emissions from coal to rise by 12.5% in 2021 and by 8.0% in 2022, almost returning to 2019 levels. EIA expects CO2 emissions from natural gas to fall by 3.0% from 2020 to 2021 and by 2.1% from 2021 to 2022. Petroleum-related CO2 emissions increase 7.8% in 2021 and 5.0% in 2022 as transportation patterns begin to return to normal. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, energy prices, and fuel mix.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions growth

Macroeconomics & CO2 Emissions Summary
  2019202020212022
aIncludes electric power sector use of geothermal energy and non-biomass waste
Primary Assumptions (percent change from previous year)
Real DIsposable Personal Income 2.26.0-1.91.1
Manufacturing Production Index 0.0-6.74.54.1
Cooling Degree Days -5.21.5-6.10.1
Heating Degree Days 0.6-9.86.4-0.1
Number of Households 0.80.21.51.3
Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Fuel (million metric tons)
Petroleum and Other Liquid Fuels 2,3652,0322,1912,301
Natural Gas 1,6941,6571,6071,573
Coal 1,0768749831,062
Total Energya 5,1464,5744,7924,947

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Related Figures
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions growth XLSX PNG
U.S. annual energy expenditures share of gross domestic product XLSX PNG