For the last several years, as the economies of countries like India, China and Brazil have boomed, projections of worldwide energy demand have indicated an increase of 70 percent over the next two decades. That demand curve hit a big speed bump in the United States in 2008 as prices for oil spiked, and were then followed by the global economy tanking in the second half of the year. Demand for petroleum products in particular had the biggest drop since 1980, falling six percent to just 19.4 million barrels a day. That's the lowest demand in this country since 2003. Domestic oil production also hit its lowest level since 1946, as Gulf of Mexico supplies were disrupted by hurricanes and Alaskan production declined as well. Imports of both crude oil and finished products like gasoline also dropped by 2.2 and 10.6 percent respectively. This downward trend is likely to continue for at least the next year or two as global trade declines. Once the economy recovers, the upward trend will probably resume - at least for the next decade when alternatives (should) really start to take hold.

[Source: American Petroleum Institute]

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