Covid-19 has affected the world in ways we don’t often think about. One is energy usage. Globally, the energy market has seen the largest reduction in consumption in 70 years. In the first quarter of 2020, demand for energy fell by 3.8% compared to 2019. Lockdowns are the main reason for this decrease, although a mild winter in the United States might also have a small impact.
Coal and oil were the energy sources hardest hit by the decreased demand. Coal demand decreased by 8% around the world during the first quarter, as demands for electricity diminished. Working from home has meant fewer cars, meaning less need for gasoline. Drastically reduced numbers of people on airplanes has resulted in grounded fleets and closed airports, equating to drastic reductions in use of jet fuel.
The Energy Information Administration has estimated that in the U.S., energy consumption may not regain the ground lost until at least 2029, possibly even as far off as 2050. The estimate has such a wide range due to economic recovery, which is difficult to calculate, given the ongoing effects of the pandemic. According to the Acting Administrator of the EIA, Stephen Nalley, “The pace of economic recovery, advances in technology, changes in trade flows and energy incentives will determine how the United States produces and consumes energy in the future.”