Wednesday, November 2, 2011

US Oil Consumption

It's been a while since we've checked in on US oil consumption.  The above graph shows the EIA's data since 2000 - both the weekly and the monthly series.  The monthly series is believed to be more accurate, but the weekly series is more up to date - going through the week before last, versus August for the monthly series.

In any cases, both series tell more-or-less the same story: after growing in the recovery following the great recession, US consumption is generally declining in 2011 in the face of a weak economy and fairly high oil prices.


KLR said...

This inspired me to update my spreadsheet to see how the US was doing YOY, things have been down overall since late May - Libyan premium? Gasoline and "Other" contracted in late April, note. Gasoline had been resolutely up YOY for almost a year at that point, barring two weeks in December 2010. I forget, was there a Snowpocalypse that year? ;) Product Supplied makes for a nice canary of the coal mine of economic well-being.

tubaplayer said...

HUGE double dip recession coming?

Joe said...

I have seen, on other websites, a graph detailing labor force participation rates and total jobs numbers. These two graphs look alike. I wonder how much of one can be explained by the other?

Also, I am beginning to think that oil prices are the new fed funds rate for the economy: since interest rates cannot go lower, the effective constraint on growth is the price of oil and other inputs tied closely to oil prices.

If this were the case, then the only effective stimulus for the economy would be one which (a) increased jobs and spending and (b) which operated to reduce oil consumption more than it increased it.

Other stimuli would likely work in the very short term, but only until the slack fell out of the oil markets, and prices started a climb again.

Nick G said...

There are clearly two different underlying things going on:

1) consumption related to economic activity, which rises and falls with the economy, and

2) a long-term reasonably sharp decline of oil consumption and oil:GDP intensity. The decline in oil consumption started in 2005 when prices rose, well before the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, US production is rising, so net imports have dropped 25% from their peak.

I find all this somewhat encouraging.