U.S. Energy Consumption in April 2020 Fell to Its Lowest Level in More Than 30 Years


EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts that U.S. total energy consumption will increase from its low point in April but remain lower than 2019 levels for the rest of 2020.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) most recent Monthly Energy Review, the United States consumed 6.5 quadrillion British thermal units of energy in April 2020, the lowest monthly energy consumption since September 1989. Energy consumption in April 2020 was 14% lower than in April 2019, the largest year-over-year decrease in EIA’s monthly total energy consumption, a data series that dates back to 1973.

Before April 2020, the largest year-over-year change in U.S. total energy consumption occurred between December 2000 and December 2001, when consumption decreased by about 10% because of economic and weather-related factors. The third-largest decrease was between March 2019 and March 2020.

April is a month with relatively low energy consumption in the United States: in 14 of the past 20 years, April has been the month with the lowest total energy consumption in the year. April’s typically mild temperatures reduce energy demand for heating and cooling. In 2020, April was the height of stay-at-home measures enacted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which caused a large drop in transportation, industrial, and commercial sector energy consumption.

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