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EIA projects U.S. energy consumption will grow through 2050, driven by economic growth – Today in Energy

3 min read
March 3, 2022


Energy consumption will increase in the United States over the next 30 years across a variety of economic scenarios as population and economic growth outpace energy efficiency gains, according to our Annual Energy Outlook 2022 (AEO2022), which we will release later today.

You can register to attend the AEO2022 virtual release event, co-hosted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Bipartisan Policy Center, today at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. We will post the AEO2022 on our website following the event.

The AEO2022 Reference case includes our baseline assumptions about technology, policy, and the economy through 2050. The Reference case projects a future in which slowing growth in consumption in an increasingly energy-efficient U.S. economy contrasts with increasing energy supply because of technological progress in renewable sources and resource development of oil and natural gas.

The alternative cases released today explore a variety of assumptions regarding economic growth, commodity prices, resource availability, and technology costs compared with the Reference case. Other alternative cases will be released through the next year.

Some of the key findings from AEO2022 include:

Petroleum and natural gas remain the most-consumed sources of energy in the United States through 2050, but renewable energy is the fastest growing

We project that U.S. energy consumption will continue to grow through 2050 as population and economic growth outpace energy efficiency gains. Petroleum and other liquids will remain the most-consumed category of fuels through 2050 in the AEO2022 Reference case. The transportation sector will consume the majority of these fuels, particularly motor gasoline and diesel.

Nevertheless, in all of the AEO2022 cases we are releasing today, production of renewable energy will grow more quickly than any other fuel source through 2050. Consumption of natural gas will continue to grow as well over this period, maintaining the second-largest share of all fuel sources, driven by expectations that natural gas prices will remain lower than historical levels.

U.S. energy consumption by fuel source, AEO2022 reference case


Wind and solar incentives, along with falling technology costs, support robust competition with natural gas for electricity generation while the shares of coal and nuclear power decrease in the U.S. electricity mix

The share of generation from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, will rapidly increase over the next 30 years as state and federal policies continue to provide significant incentive to invest in renewable resources for electricity generation and transportation fuels. New technologies will continue to drive down the cost of wind and solar generators, further increasing their competitiveness in the electricity market, even as assumed policy effects lessen over time.

U.S. crude oil production reaches record highs, while natural gas production is increasingly driven by natural gas exports

In the Reference case, we project that U.S. natural gas exports will rise through 2050, primarily driven by increases in liquefied natural gas capacity, global natural gas consumption, and pipeline exports to Mexico and Canada.

From 2021 through 2050, we project that U.S. crude oil exports will remain near their projected peak and that they will remain mostly the same in both gross terms and as a percentage of total domestic crude oil production.

Principal contributor: Mala Kline

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=51478