American demand for gas, big cars begins to wane
March 3, 2008
With crude oil today setting an inflation-adjusted record high, the Wall Street Journal reports that Americans are cutting back on gasoline consumption.
Crude oil imports by country of origin, thousand barrels per day – 2005. Source: DOE/EIA. Click to enlarge.
Graph showing domestic crude production versus crude oil imports, thousand barrels per day – 1920-2005. Source: DOE/EIA. Click to enlarge.
In the past six weeks, weekly government data shows a 1.1 percent drop in gasoline consumption from year-earlier levels — the largest sustained drop in demand in at least 16 years.
Gasoline inventories have been rising for the past four months and now stand at their highest levels since February 1994. Still prices at the pump are at near record-levels due to climbing crude oil prices.
Wall Street Journal says analysts expect a further slow down in demand should economic conditions continue to worsen.
Car dealerships are seeing the effect of Americans’ new-found interest in fuel efficiency: “sales of large cars dropped by 2.6 percent in 2006, by 10.5 percent in 2007, and 26.5 percent in January 2008 relative to a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp.
Ana Campoy. “Americans Start to Curb Their Thirst for Gasoline.” Wall Street Journal March 3, 2008; Page A1