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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Energy Information Administration (EIA) updated its short-term forecast of gasoline consumption and the news is good for fuel retailers.
The latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) projects 2014 gasoline consumption to be 135.2 billion gallons, 2 billion gallons higher than what the EIA forecasted last November. The STEO gasoline consumption estimates include the volumes of ethanol contained in all gasoline-ethanol mixtures, including E10 and higher blends.
According to EIA, its forecast of 2014 gasoline consumption was generally declining between January 2013 and September 2013, but has risen over the past year. The outlook estimates are used by the industry as an indicator of market conditions and provide the starting point for EIA's longer term projections.
Gasoline prices, economic and employment trends, weather, demographics, changes in consumer behavior patterns, as well as new data on actual consumption, all played a role in the improved gasoline consumption forecast, EIA explained.
While a comparison of the current STEO to the September 2013 edition shows only a 3-cent-per-gallon difference in the forecast for average gasoline prices, this latest forecast puts the average unemployment rate for 2014 at 6.3 percent, well below the 7.3 percent year-ago forecast. In addition, the forecast for average non-farm employment in 2014 increased by 1 million over the same interval.
Still, according to EIA, the general outlook for motor gasoline is for consumption to decline as average new-vehicle fuel economy continues to improve.
Washington, D.C.-based EIA collects, analyzes and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.