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Energy demand

Global energy demand will continue to rise through 2040, reflecting its fundamental link to growing prosperity and better living standards for an increasing population worldwide.

Energy demand projections

Energy efficiency improvements will help curb the growth in global energy demand to about 25 percent over the period to 2040, while global economic output nearly doubles. To put this in perspective, if world energy demand grew as fast as estimated GDP, energy demand growth could be about four times the projected amount.

Emerging markets in non-OECD nations will account for essentially all energy demand growth, led by the expanding economies in the Asia Pacific region.

Continuing urbanization and a significant expansion of the middle class, particularly in China and India, will help drive this trend, highlighted by greater access to modern energy in homes, rising industrial demand, and significant increases in personal and commercial transportation needs.

Electrification and gradual decarbonization continue as significant global trends. Energy demand for power generation accounts for about 50 percent of global demand growth. Energy sources shift toward cleaner fuels such as natural gas, renewables and nuclear.

Global energy demand varies by sector

Energy demand shifts toward non-OECD

Global energy mix shifts to lower carbon fuels

Transportation energy projections

Advancements in transportation have shrunk our world, while opening up new vistas and possibilities. One consequence of billions of people joining the global middle class in the next quarter century is that it will lead to greater travel, additional cars on the road and increased commercial activity.

Global transportation-related energy demand is projected to increase by close to 30 percent. At the same time, total miles traveled per year by cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and light trucks will increase about 60 percent, reaching about 14 trillion in 2040. As personal mobility increases, average new-car fuel economy (including SUVs and light trucks) will improve as well, rising from about 30 miles per gallon now to close to 50 miles per gallon in 2040.

The growth in transportation energy demand is expected to account for about 60 percent of the growth in liquids fuel demand. Liquids demand for light-duty vehicles is expected to be relatively flat to 2040, reflecting better fleet fuel economy and significant growth in electric cars.

Transportation energy demand growth driven by commerce

Global transportation energy demand relative to GDP

Commercial transportation grows in all aspects

Access to personal mobility increases

Efficiency mitigates light duty demand growth

Electric vehicles grow rapidly

Liquids demand trajectory uncertain but resilient

Residential and commercial energy projections

As populations grow and prosperity rises around the world, we will need more energy to power homes, offices, schools, shopping centers and hospitals. Combined residential and commercial energy demand is projected to rise by more than 20 percent through 2040. About 90 percent of this demand growth will be met by electricity. Led by the growing economies of non-OECD nations, average worldwide household electricity use will rise about 30 percent between 2016 and 2040.

Energy efficiency plays a big role within the residential and commercial sectors as modern appliances, advanced materials and policies shape the future.

Residential and commercial demand shifts to non-OECD

Residential energy use reflects efficiency gains

Electricity demand surges

Household electricity up in non OECD

Industry energy projections

Energy and industry have a long history together, and their future remains intertwined. Energy fuels industries of all kinds, from microchip manufacturing to skyscraper construction, food processing to pharmaceuticals, agriculture to zero-emission vehicle production. Consumer demand for the many and varied products that industries offer has provided the impetus to unlock new sources of energy supply from the industrial revolution to the shale revolution.

As global prosperity continues to expand, industrial energy demand will increase. Most of the growth occurs in emerging markets. The chemicals industry is the industrial sub-sector with the highest rate of growth, as demand for plastics and other petrochemical products outpaces GDP in many regions.

Industrial energy demand growth would be much higher if not for the persistent pursuit of energy efficiency improvements. The Outlook anticipates technology advances, as well as the increasing shift toward cleaner-burning fuels such as electricity and natural gas.

Industry undergirds global economic expansion

Oil gas and electricity fuel industrial growth

Heavy industry migrates to emerging markets

Heavy industry energy evolves toward cleaner fuels

Consumer demand propels chemicals growth

Rising prosperity lifts chemicals energy demand

Chemicals production relies on oil and natural gas

Electricity and power generation projections

Demand for electricity continues to rise as it is the energy used in powering wide applications ranging from lighting to home appliances to global e-commerce and digital services. Power generation uses the broadest array of fuels: coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables such as hydroelectricity, solar and wind.

As electricity use rises, the types of fuels used to generate electricity will shift, globally and regionally. Policies seeking to address climate change and air quality will influence the choice of sources, with wind and solar, natural gas, and nuclear fueling growth in power generation.

Electricity sources shift

Natural gas and renewables dominate growth

Renewables penetration increases across all regions

Electricity generation highlights regional diversity

Natural gas is a key fuel for reliable electricity generation

Different policy or technology choices can impact outcome