EIA expects 7% increase in US energy-sector CO2 emissions as economic activity increases during 2021
Increased economic activity and a changing fuel mix in the electric power sector in 2021 will lead to a significant increase in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions this year, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) August Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). After decreasing by 11% in 2020, US energy-related CO2 emissions will increase by 7% to reach 4.9 billion metric tons this year.
EIA forecasts coal-related CO2 emissions will increase by 17% in 2021 because the share of US electricity generated by coal has increased significantly this year.
Despite significant growth in energy-related CO2 emissions as the U.S. economy opens up, we don’t see these emissions returning to pre-pandemic levels, at least in the short term.—EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley
EIA expects overall energy-related CO2 emissions to increase an additional 1% in 2022, and emissions from coal to decrease 7%.
Other highlights of the STEO include:
US consumption of natural gas will decrease 1.0% in 2021, largely due to less electricity generated from natural gas. EIA forecasts an 87% increase this year in delivered natural gas prices for the electric power sector, and these higher prices will make natural gas a less competitive electricity source.
Gasoline prices averaged $3.14 per gallon in July, the highest monthly average since October 2014. EIA expects prices to average $3.12 per gallon in August and $2.82 per gallon for the last quarter of 2021.
EIA expects that US consumption of gasoline will average 9.0 million barrels per day in the second half of 2021, which remains below the 2019 average of 9.3 million barrels per day.