EIA: Petroleum and Natural Gas Will be the Most-Used Fuels in the United States Through 2050

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2022 reference case (which assumes current laws and regulations) projects that U.S. energy consumption will grow through 2050. According to the reference case, petroleum will retain the largest share of energy consumption throughout that period, followed by natural gas. Renewable energy is projected as the fastest-growing energy source through 2050.

EIA projects that transportation and industrial processes will continue to be the primary sources of petroleum consumption in the U.S. They also project that the industrial sector’s energy consumption will grow more than twice as fast as any other end-use sector from 2021 to 2050. Additionally, EIA projects that natural gas use will continue to grow, driven primarily by the chemical industries that use natural gas as a feedstock and heat-and-power consumption across multiple industries. Additionally, EIA’s reference case sees petroleum and other liquids (motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil) as the primary fuels consumed in the US. transportation sector. 

All of this is to say that the EIA does not project a major reduction in the use of petroleum and natural gas given the baseline public policy assumptions. That said, this does not mean that there are not barriers to growth for the petroleum and natural gas industries as the current administration has taken several steps to prevent the development of U.S. petroleum and natural gas resources.

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