This edition of the Energy Security Fact Pack explores the effects of lower oil prices on American consumers, whose spending on gasoline this year could fall by approximately 30 percent versus 2014. Of course, this good news should be welcomed with caution, as global oil market price volatility has returned to levels not seen since 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis.
The first quarter of 2015 marked the first significant consumer response to lower gasoline prices, as increases in the average fuel economy rating of new light-duty vehicles weakened and light-duty trucks increased market share in first-quarter sales figures. U.S. demand for petroleum fuels has in fact been growing steadily since 2013, though it still remains 8 percent below its pre-recession peak. In addition, Americans are driving more, with total vehicle miles traveled growing by 280 million miles year-over-year in Q1, the largest increase since 2000.
On the international stage, while global oil supply outages increased only incrementally quarter-over-quarter, geopolitical tensions in and around oil-producing countries continue to threaten oil supplies and transit chokepoints. This includes the proxy war in Yemen between Saudi Arabia and Iran, plus conflict in Iraq, both of which continue to dominate headlines.
The Fact Pack also contains new data on electric vehicle market penetration and sales, refueling infrastructure, and broader trends in light-duty vehicle fuel economy. Sales of plug-in electric vehicles in Q1 were essentially the same year-over-year. Nevertheless, automotive manufacturers continue to announce plans to deliver more plug-in electric vehicle models to consumers.
Download the complete Fact Pack for a complete visual breakdown of these trends and much more, and join the conversation by following @securing_energy and using the hashtag #SAFEenergyfacts.
1111 19th Street, NW #406, Washington, DC 20036