Decline in U.S. summer gas use expected for first time in 17 years

Photo by X-eyedblonde. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

What do high gas prices and a sluggish economy mean for summer gas use in the U.S.? Down, down, down. Well, at least one down.

For the first time in almost two decades, the federal Energy Information Administration is predicting that summer gas demand will decrease. Specifically, the EIA says it'll be down by 0.4 percent in 2008 compared to 2007. That's not much in terms of percentage points, but it does mean that America will (likely) use 36,000 fewer barrels of oil each day. Reuters reports that expected average gas prices will be $3.54 a gallon from April until September (that's 61 cents more than last year). Do a little math and we see that a gasoline price increase of about a fifth leads to just a 0.4 percent drop in use. We may drive somewhat less this summer, but we're still quite willing (or required) to use a lot of pricey fuel.

[Source: Reuters]

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