AEO2014 Early Release Overview
Projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case focus on the factors that shape U.S. energy markets through 2040, under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain generally unchanged throughout the projection period. The early release provides a basis for the examination and discussion of energy market trends and serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in U.S. energy policies, rules, or regulations or possible technology breakthroughs. Readers are encouraged to review the full range of cases that will be presented when the complete AEO2014 is released in 2014, exploring key uncertainties in the Reference case.
Major highlights of the AEO2014 Reference case include:
Growing domestic production of natural gas and crude oil continues to reshape the U.S. energy economy, with crude oil production approaching the historical high achieved in 1970 of 9.6 million barrels per day Ongoing improvements in advanced technologies for crude oil and natural gas production continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy. Domestic production of crude oil (including lease condensate) increases sharply in the AEO2014 Reference case, with annual growth averaging 0.8 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) through 2016, when it totals 9.5 MMbbl/d (Figure 1). While domestic crude oil production is expected to level off and then slowly decline after 2020 in the Reference case, natural gas production grows steadily, with a 56% increase between 2012 and 2040, when production reaches 37.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).The full AEO2014 will include cases that represent alternative oil and natural gas resource and technology assumptions. Low natural gas prices boost natural gas-intensive industries Industrial shipments grow at a 3.0% annual rate over the first 10 years of the projection and then slow to 1.6% annual growth for the rest of the projection. Bulk chemicals and metals-based durables account for much of the increased growth in industrial shipments in AEO2014. Industrial shipments of bulk chemicals, which benefit from an increased supply of natural gas liquids, grow by 3.4% per year from 2012 to 2025 in AEO2014, as compared with 1.9% in the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case. The projection assumes growing competition from abroad that flattens output growth in energy-intensive industries after 2030. The higher level of industrial shipments leads to more natural gas consumption (including lease and plant fuel) in the U.S. industrial sector, increasing from 8.7 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2012 to 10.6 quadrillion Btu in 2025 in AEO2014, compared to 9.8 quadrillion Btu in 2025 in AEO2013.
Light-duty vehicle energy use declines sharply, reflecting slow growth in vehicle miles traveled and accelerated improvement in vehicle efficiency
AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated U.S. Census Bureau projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the AEO2014 Reference case average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year in AEO2013 over the same period. The rising fuel economy of LDVs more than offsets the modest growth in VMT, and LDV energy consumption declines in the AEO2014 Reference case from 16.0 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 12.1 quadrillion Btu in 2040, as compared with the AEO2013 total of 13.0 quadrillion Btu in 2040 (Figure 2). The full AEO2014 will include an Issues in Focus discussion of VMT projections that addresses the implications of alternative VMT scenarios.
Figure 1. U.S. petroleum and other liquid fuels supply
by source, 1970-2040 (million barrels per day)
Net petroleum and
biofuel imports 32%
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