Outlook: Natural gas use to offset diesel growth

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Updated Dec 20, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy projects that the use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles will offset growth in diesel consumption during the next few decades, eventually displacing a predicted 700,000 barrels of oil per day by 2040, according to the 2013 edition of the Annual Energy Outlook released this week by the DOE’s Energy Information Administration. 

According to a press release from the EIA, “the improved economics of natural gas results in an increase in the use of liquified natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles that offsets a portion of diesle fuel consumption,” and natural gas vehicles will use 1.7 trillion cubic feet a year by 2040. For comparison, 0.03 billion cubic feet of natural gas was consumed in vehicles in 2011, according to the EIA.

The AEO also predicts that the U.S. will become a larger exporter than anticipated in the 2012 AEO, saying that U.S. production will outpace U.S. consumption by 2020, at which point the U.S. will start exporting.