Consumption of gasoline and all-liquid fuels has been significantly reduced this year by consumer reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Mike O’Brien, vice president of market development at Growth Energy, in a normal year (2016-2019), U.S. consumers use approximately 142 billion gallons of gasoline annually and 14.5 billion gallons of ethanol. With COVID, Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates for the year indicate the U.S. will consume just 127 billion gallons of gasoline and 12.8 billion gallons of ethanol. In projections for 2021, EIA expects consumption to increase but not quite to pre-COVID levels, with gasoline consumption at 139 billion gallons and ethanol at just over 14 billion gallons.

“Longer term, EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook forecasts a steady decline in gasoline consumption down to 116 billion gallons by 2040 because of increasing stringency of fuel economy standards for vehicles,” O’Brien says.