US energy consumption is expected to grow at 0.3 percent per year through 2040 and is not expected to return to the growth rates seen in the second half of the 20th century, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Reference case projections in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) indicate that US business and industry are the only sectors that will experience energy consumption growth. Energy used in homes is essentially flat, and transportation consumption will decline slightly.
Sustained production of high levels of dry natural gas and natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) at prices that are attractive to industry will contribute the growth of industrial energy consumption over the 2013–2040 period. Improved technologies will allow industrial and commercial enterprises to increase output more rapidly. While energy intensity is projected to decline during the projection period, overall industrial energy consumption is projected to rise by 0.7 percent per year through 2040, and commercial consumption is expected to rise 0.5 percent per year based on the AEO2015 reference case.
Reductions in home energy use through 2040 can be attributed to a number of factors. In addition to the adoption of energy efficient technologies, the United States has reached a period in which most appliances in homes and apartments meet energy-efficiency standards. The population has also shifted toward warmer climates, reducing the need for space heating. The corresponding increase in energy for space cooling is much less than energy for heating, thus reducing overall residential energy consumption.
Energy use declines in the transportation sector are largely due to policy. Corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles have been in place since the late 1970s, and similar standards for heavy-duty vehicles and trucks have been in place since the early 1980s. These standards, combined with less travel in response to technological and social factors, are resulting in reduced energy consumption. Transportation consumption is expected to be flat in the coming decades. Gasoline consumption is expected to be 21 percent lower in 2040 than it was in 2013, while other fuels, such as diesel and jet fuel, are expected to increase slightly.
According to the EIA, over the next three decades, China and India will drive global energy use.