A U.S. federal report finds gasoline demand masked by competing factors like fuel economy and the number of vehicles on the road. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
May 23 (UPI) -- Improved fuel economies for light-duty vehicles in the United States means gasoline demand could trend lower, a federal brief published Tuesday found.
A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said the number of miles logged by light-duty vehicles -- classified as passenger cars and light trucks -- set a record last year at 2.84 trillion miles. The agency said the number reflects more vehicles on the road rather than miles-per-trip.
"As the number of miles driven per vehicle has remained relatively steady at about 12,000 miles per vehicle, the recent increase in vehicle-miles traveled is more attributable to an increase in the number of vehicles in use," the EIA daily brief read.
Crude oil markets have responded to fluctuations in consumer demand for petroleum products. The transportation sector accounts for about 30 percent of all the energy used in the United States. Gasoline is the dominant transportation fuel and, despite an increase in the number of electric vehicles on the market, electricity provided less than 1 percent of the total energy used in transportation last year.
The EIA said gasoline consumption for light-duty vehicles is expected to decline more than 13 percent by 2025 to 7.5 million barrels per day.
"Based on the more stringent fuel economy standards covering model years through 2025 that have already been established, new on-road vehicle fuel economy for passenger cars is projected to increase 43 percent between 2015 and 2025, from 31 miles per gallon in 2015 to 45 miles per gallon," the EIA's brief read. "New on-road light truck fuel economy is projected to increase 46 percent over the same period, from 21 miles per gallon to 31 miles per gallon."
Lower crude oil prices have contributed to lower prices at the pump. Retail gasoline prices have edged up this week given the expected rise in demand for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.