Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Trice Whitefield
(703) 516-2173
[email protected]

U.S. Reliance on Fossil Fuels Forecast to Continue
According to the Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels will supply 79 percent of energy demand in 2030.

Washington, DC — The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, today released its projections for America’s energy supply, demand, and prices in 2030. According to the agency’s projections, U.S. energy demand will be 11 percent higher in 2030 than in 2007, and fossil fuels will dominate supply, with petroleum contributing 34 percent, natural gas 22 percent, and coal 23 percent. Moreover, though growth is expected in the domestic production of the country’s oil and natural gas resources and in nuclear and renewable supplies, the United States will still need to import petroleum. Thus, unless lawmakers take action to encourage even greater exploration and development of our nation’s oil and natural gas resources, America will continue to rely on energy from unstable overseas regimes.

The EIA, assuming higher crude oil prices than it did in last year’s Annual Energy Outlook, now projects vehicle miles traveled by light-duty vehicles in 2030 to be 6 percent lower than it did in last year’s forecast and new light-duty vehicle efficiency improvements to be almost 4 percent higher, reaching an average of 37.9 miles per gallon. Assuming higher crude oil prices and additional off-shore access to oil resources results in predictions of domestic oil production in 2030 that are almost one-third higher than in last year’s forecast. While expectations for petroleum imports in 2030 are 28 percent lower than in last year’s forecast, and 25 percent lower than imports today, the United States will still need to rely on unstable suppliers abroad if current energy policies remain unchanged.

With U.S. energy security at stake, Congress should open access to our vast domestic petroleum supplies and encourage American industry to responsibly develop them. New research shows that increasing production from currently and previously restricted Federal lands would create 160,000 new jobs, generate an extra $1.7 trillion in tax revenue, and provide a major boost to a flagging national economy.

Assuming increased onshore natural gas reserves and additional off-shore access, the EIA now expects domestic natural gas production in 2030 to be 21 percent higher than it did in last year’s forecast. The higher production results in predictions of lower natural gas imports (44 percent lower) and higher natural gas demand (7 percent higher), providing additional supplies for electric generation, residential and commercial heating, and industrial uses. With the natural gas forecast up, coal demand in 2030 is now expected to be 12 percent lower than it was in last year’s forecast.

As the EIA’s report shows, fossil fuels meet 85 percent of America’s current energy demand and are expected to meet 79 percent of demand in 2030: heating homes, powering businesses, transporting people, and moving goods. Since these traditional fuels continue to be more efficient and cost-effective than any other energy source, our leaders on Capitol Hill should stop restricting access to abundant domestic energy supplies. Only then can we ensure an energy future that can fuel a growing economy and maintain the standard of living we expect for our children and grandchildren.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.

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