U.S. Liquid Fuels Consumption. Total consumption of liquid fuels in 2010 grew by about 410 thousand bbl/d, or 2.2 percent, the highest rate of growth since 2004 (U.S. Liquid Fuels Consumption Chart). In contrast, projected total U.S. liquid fuels consumption in 2011 falls by 230 thousand bbl/d (1.2 percent), revised downward from the previous Outlook's 170 thousand bbl/d (0.9 percent) decline as the 2011 U.S. real GDP growth forecast has been lowered for the seventh consecutive month. Motor gasoline consumption accounts for much of the projected decline for the year.
EIA expects total liquid fuels consumption to increase by 90 thousand bbl/d (0.5 percent) to 19.1 million bbl/d in 2012. Projected motor gasoline consumption rises by 40 thousand bbl/d (0.5 percent) as highway travel increases modestly, and distillate fuel consumption increases by 30 thousand bbl/d (0.7 percent) as growth in industrial activity and non-petroleum imports continues to slow as a result of continuing weak economic growth.
U.S. Liquid Fuels Supply and Imports. Domestic crude oil production, which increased by 110 thousand bbl/d in 2010 to 5.5 million bbl/d, increases by a further 180 thousand bbl/d in 2011 and by 70 thousand bbl/d in 2012 (U.S. Crude Oil and Liquid Fuels Production Chart), driven by increased oil-directed drilling activity, particularly in unconventional shale formations.
The rapid growth in U.S. ethanol production since the mid-2000s is projected to slow with total production averaging 900 thousand bbl/d in 2011 and 910 thousand bbl/d in 2012. Assuming ethanol net exports average roughly 40 thousand bbl/d next year, EIA expects that 870 thousand bbl/d of ethanol will be blended into gasoline in 2012, which is sufficient to meet the requirements of the renewable fuels standard (RFS). The expiration of the Federal motor fuels excise tax credit for ethanol blending is expected to have little effect on ethanol blending levels, as ethanol producers do not currently appear to be capturing much of the value of the credit.
Liquid fuel net imports (including both crude oil and refined products) fell from 57 percent of total U.S. consumption in 2008 to 49 percent in 2010 because of rising domestic production and the decline in consumption during the economic downturn. EIA forecasts that liquid fuel net imports' share of total consumption will decline further to 46 percent in 2011 before rising slightly to 47 percent in 2012.