Update on the WTF Collapse of Gasoline & Jet Fuel Consumption: The Holiday Period

Long-term structural issues have long dogged these fuels. Then came the Pandemic.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

During the holiday shopping and travel period in December and early January, ten months into the Pandemic, gasoline consumption in the US was down about 12% from a year ago, jet fuel consumption was down 38% from a year ago, but distillate consumption – diesel, heating oil, fuel oil – was about flat with a year ago. Consumption of all three combined, under the impact of long-term structural issues and then the Pandemic, were down to levels first seen in the mid-1990s.

As of the latest four-week period through January 1, gasoline consumption fell to 7.89 million barrels per day (mb/d), according to EIA data. This was below where it had been over the same period at the end of 1994 (8.04 mb/d). The chart also shows the long-term structural demand issues, where in the 12 years before the Pandemic, gasoline consumption, after a big drop during the Great Recession and then a recovery, had gone nowhere. This dynamic then got whacked by the changes in driving patterns during the Pandemic:

The EIA tracks consumption of fuel in terms of product supplied by refineries, blenders, etc., and not by retail sales at gas stations.

In March, demand for gasoline had collapsed as millions of people lost their jobs, and therefore didn’t commute, and as others switched to work-from-home and therefore didn’t commute either. In the four-week period ended April 24, average gasoline consumption plunged by 44% year-over-year, to 5.3 million mb/d, by far the lowest in the EIA’s data going back to 1991.

Consumption in the latest four-week period through January 1 was still down 12% from a year ago. Since July, consumption has been down between 8% and 13% year-over-year:

There are several factors entering into the gasoline equation that pull in different directions:

Transit authorities have reported massive declines in the use of buses and trains, as people have switched to driving, which boosted gasoline consumption. But other people are working from home, and nearly 10 million jobs have disappeared since February, which diminished gasoline consumption. Then there’s the whole dynamic of people driving instead of flying to avoid airports and planes, which shifts consumption from jet fuel to gasoline. The boom in ecommerce is sending last-mile delivery vehicles through neighborhoods. And given that consumers have been loading up on goods, including a record pile of durable goods, instead of buying services, there is a sudden boom in trucking.

On net, vehicle miles driven by all types of motor vehicles, from passenger cars to highway trucks, at 259 billion miles in October, according to the latest data available from the Department of Transportation, were still down by 8.8% from a year earlier:

Jet fuel.

The airlines are struggling to hang on. Ten months into the Pandemic, the four-week moving average of consumption of kerosene-type jet fuel fell to 1.12 mb/d. Before the Pandemic, this would have been the lowest in the data going back to 1991:

The chart above also shows the prior two big drops: The years following 9/11; and the years following the Financial Crisis. It took 17 years for jet fuel demand to return to the pre-9/11 peaks in 2000 and 2001.

But passenger volume recovered after about three years from 9/11 and after about four years from the Financial Crisis. This long-term hit to jet fuel consumption was in part caused by the greater fuel efficiencies of the new planes that replaced the old planes that had been massively retired during each of those slumps, and those more efficient planes exerted downward pressure on fuel demand, even as traffic was recovering.

This dynamic is also playing out now, with the oldest least fuel-efficient planes being massively sent off to retirement.

Compared to the same period last year, consumption of jet fuel was down by 37.6% during the four-week period over the holidays, another sign that the industry is still in a catastrophic condition:

Traffic is down even more than jet fuel consumption. TSA checkpoint screenings of the number of passengers that enter airport security zones every day were down 55.7% year-over-year, based on the seven-day moving average through January 7:

Distillate.

A broad range of fuels fall into this category, including diesel for trucks, locomotives, and all kinds of equipment; and fuel oils for heating and utility-scale power generation. The four-week moving average of consumption has been approximately flat for the past few weeks, at 3.68 mb/d, after sharp declines during the spring and summer, when consumption fell by as much as 20% year-over-year. But peak distillate consumption was in the years before 2008:

Gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate combined.

During the four-week period through January 1, consumption of gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate combined, at 12.69 mb/d, was down 12.1% from a year ago, and was back where it had been in 1997, under the dual impact of long-term structural issues and the Pandemic:

A note on the impact of EVs.

EVs are causing a shift from consumption of gasoline to the consumption of electricity, and thereby in the US away from petroleum since liquid hydrocarbons are little used for power generation in the US, where most of the power is generated by, in that order, natural gas, renewables, coal, and nuclear.

This shift is very gradual, given that there are 260 million or so ICE vehicles in the US fleet today, and the vast majority of vehicles sold today are ICE vehicles, and next year, the vast majority will be ICE vehicles, and they will continue to be on the road for a long time. But this is happening. And it will eventually show up as a visible down-trend in the consumption of gasoline. The time frame is many, many years.

Electric utilities, which have been stuck in a no-growth industry for over a decade, are eagerly awaiting that increase in sales of electricity, which is how they make their money, however gradual it may be. From 2008 through 2019, electricity sales have ticked up just 2.3%, and demand from EVs cannot come soon enough, but utilities will have to be very patient:

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  120 comments for “Update on the WTF Collapse of Gasoline & Jet Fuel Consumption: The Holiday Period

  1. Mr. House says:

    “gasoline consumption in the US was down about 12% from a year ago”

    For that much demand destruction, the gas station down the street from me never went below 2.40 or above 2.50

    So much for supply and demand

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Supply has been cut. Dozens of oil companies in the US filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Production is way down. Supply and demand are both down.

      • Tom says:

        Wolf – believe typo here – update 2009 to 2019

        From 2008 through 2009, electricity sales have ticked up just 2.3%, and demand from EVs cannot come soon enough, but utilities will have to be very patient:

        • Joe Saba says:

          problem with gas demand falling is that every barrel of oil needed to produce diesel/other products comes with 43% being gas

          with no demand for gas – companies are gonna have to dump gas like they did originally when oil was found in 1800’s
          they would make kerosene, other stuff and literally dump gas in rivers

        • char says:

          They crack oil to make more gasoline, and you can mix some of the gasoline production into diesel etc. So the problem is not near, but will be there in the future. But changing to gasoline for all the burning uses is a posibility

      • Khowdung Flunghi says:

        Shell shut down an entire refinery in Convent, La in the middle of December. Primary product was jet fuel.

      • Mr. House says:

        This didn’t occur in 2008 when prices fell under 2.00 from a high of 4.00 something here? This time is different?

    • Javert Chip says:

      Mr House

      I doubt state & federal tax rates have changed.

    • c1ue says:

      Supply and Demand isn’t a myth, but it is nonsense in the sense that short term shifts make any difference.
      The lie is on par with the “efficient markets” thesis – i.e. that some small percentage change in supply or demand will affect prices significantly.
      Veblen spoke to this at length: there are some products for which supply and demand balances matter – principally luxury/status goods, but for everyday stuff – producer prices and market presence, particularly monopoly/oligopoly/regulation matters far more.

      • Implicit says:

        True that, Especially with the petor dollar connection

      • NBay says:

        Veblen also coined the “conspicuous consumption and leisure” terms, and to this Reisman added the term “other directed” people.

        There used to be a lot of sumptuary law to actually enforce who’s who.

        My favorites are two Greek laws that say very roughly, “A woman of a certain status cannot appear in public with two slaves unless she is drunk”, (as opposed to her usual one), and “a man of a certain status cannot appear in public wearing certain cloth unless he is bent on adultery”.
        Actual written Greek law, I forget exactly when and where.

    • NBay says:

      “Electric utilities eagerly awaiting the increase in sales”

      I don’t see much going on in the way of getting ready for that increased amperage. Especially if Wolf’s “bay mud flats sculpture” of a power pole is any major indication.

      All I see is fixing existing stuff so it won’t start fires.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        NBay,

        The irony of my infamous 100-year-old power pole is this: When a new condo complex was built in 2019 at the other end of the block, down the hill on the other side of the same street, PG&E dug a trench on the other side of the street and ran a brand new conduit with power cable under the street, from the underground main line to a brand-spanking new transformer under the sidewalk right in front of the condo complex.

        That’s an “investment” that will generate future revenues. And so they had no trouble funding this along with other investments by issuing long-term bonds.

        At the same time, our rotting power line doesn’t generate growth in revenues. So any work on it is just “maintenance” — which is an expense unlike an “investment.” And as you know, no money gets spent on maintenance until something blows up or burns down.

        But when people start plugging in EVs in their garages, then suddenly there is an increase in electricity sales, and voilà, investment in new equipment and an underground power line will materialize, funded by bonds. The “investment” will be put on PG&E’s balance sheet as an asset, rather than hit its income statement as maintenance “expense.”

        This is a really important concept for utilities. That’s how they operate.

        • NBay says:

          Thanks for the Econ aspect of it.

          You mentioned you have a hybrid. I took a class in those plus pure EV’s (but we worked mainly on a Prius and it’s parts) and they seem to be a good interim compromise. But it didn’t have a home plug in which would be a good thing to maybe force this issue.

          Again, Regenerative Braking is the real key to this approach, once drivers get used to the feel of it, and of course smaller and lighter vehicles (even low speed around town), once people will accept them.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          NBay,

          Our hybrid is not a “plug-in” hybrid. It’s the type that generates power only through regenerative braking to charge up the battery. Then it uses battery power to add to the torque of the gasoline engine. In stop-and-go traffic, it runs just on battery and the ICE shuts off. If you cruise downhill, the ICE shuts off, and if you need to slow the car, it charges the battery. It’s really slick. It’s very relaxing to drive. I like it a lot. The ICE engine never charges up the battery. It’s not designed that way. It’s the biggest car we’ve ever owned, and its gets around 40 mpg in city driving, but LESS on long highway trips :-]

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Wolf-probably an autocorrect fault, but ‘braking’, please! ‘Regenerative breaking’ sounds a lot like ‘creative destruction’…

          may we all find a better day.

        • NBay says:

          OK, a parallel hybrid. I guess the battery pack isn’t big enough to be worth the wiring and charger (car and home) needed to be charged up or topped off at night.

          There is a lot of ways to set these things up, but if you are happy with it that’s the bottom line. 40mpg in SF is pretty darn good.

  2. Realist says:

    Would be intressant to see statistics over consumption of lubricants, both for use in veichles, industry and agriculture.

    • Realist says:

      interesting not intressant. Autocorrecting sucks ….

      • The Count says:

        There’s a solution for that. Its called proof reading. :)

        • polecat says:

          I try my damnedest to proof-read before hitting the ‘Post’ actuator .. but what often happens is, is that momentary instantaneous scramble of ‘auto-correxit’ .. and “PooF”.. what you thought you typed, is no more!

          Like a Six-Gun, they’ll embarrass you every time …

        • Zantetsu says:

          There’s a solution that works much better for the way most people use computers: it’s called an edit button.

        • Javert Chip says:

          The Count

          Which does not explain why you used “its” when you should have used “it’s”.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Javert Chip,

          Hilarious. And this under an article that I published with at least one big-fat typo in it (2009 instead of 2019), and two readers instantly nailed me on it. I had proofread it, and I had listened to it as I always do to see if it makes sense if you just listen to it, and I still missed it. And I couldn’t even blame auto-connect for it ? ?❤?

        • Anthony A. says:

          Wolf, after writing technical engineering reports for most of my career, you learn you can’t proof your work with 100% accuracy. It’s just the way it is!

        • c1ue says:

          @Wolf
          You might be interested to note that people’s minds fill in a lot of what they see and consider to be “normal”.
          For example: Galileo’s notes on moons of other planets was enabled by better telescopes, but some people still couldn’t see the planets when looking through them. The apocryphal stories about Central American Indians not being able to see Spanish ships moored offshore may be another example.
          That’s why social engineering and phishing attacks work: the human brain is a very expensive organ and it is evolutionarily engineering to take shortcuts it thinks are safe. Leapords and wolves don’t do cyber attacks.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          c1ue-illustrating and reinforcing a reality that a serious motorcyclist must ALWAYS assume that someone in another vehicle doesn’t see them (even someone on another bike-don’t ask me how i know this…).

          may we all find a better day.

        • polecat says:

          They surely would if they had thumbs, however ….

          Oh wait! We call those the FANGS … now with ‘hyper T’s’, for added ‘richness’.

        • NBay says:

          c1ue-

          There is one hell of a lot of social significance in your second to last sentence.
          Everyone develops their own mental “shorthand” and few re-examine it, or modify or add to it.

        • NBay says:

          91B20-
          As a long time rider like you, evidently, (with 4-5 broken bones) I’d like to add to your rider mental shorthand, “If you ride a bike, you WILL crash”

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          NBay-exactly. As i’ve told many would-be riders over the years, ‘…it’s not a question of IF, but WHEN you’ll go down. Best not to start unless one can mentally come to terms with, and best prepare for, the consequences of that truth…’. (Kinda like getting into the stock market, nay?).

          (No bones busted, but a pretty good pavement impact concussion from a headon contact with the right-hand cylinder of the RS1100 in my lane on the far side of a blind left-hander…thank you, Shoei!).

          may we all find a better day.

        • NBay says:

          Yeah, I was pushing it on a right hand divided highway curve, the radius tightened on me while I was passing a car and I broke loose and the last thing I remember was curb close up. Woke up on the gurney. Collar bone, and without helmet, left ear would be shaved off, and I’d be more of a nutcase than I am.

      • Panamabob says:

        ” intressant”
        Realist, does your wife speak Swedish and changed your auto-correct to her language?

        • Paulo says:

          Actually, it is just the way it is. I read a study quite a few years ago about how our minds auto correct the mistakes we see on screen. We gloss over the mistake and see it in our mind’s eye as correct. However, after posting, when we reread the comment the mistake(s) slap us in the face.

          If I am writing something important I like to put is aside for a day before I look at it. Then, “I wrote this crap”?

      • CRV says:

        Ha ha. In my language, Dutch, you were almost correct. It would be interessant.

  3. Nameless says:

    Yet Brent is at $56 plus, should be much lower than the 2016 (close to a recession but not a recession), this is the corruption that will cause a massive collapse, stocks a hyper bubble, a bubble on top of a bubble, wheat a bubble, corn a bubble, soy a bubble, oil a bubble, gold & silver bubbles, property bubble, bitcoin worth zero at 40k, this administration of grifters took it a whole new level, these prices are destroying the economy, as economies shrink prices collapse giving the consumers additional funds to pull the economy back, it’s really sad to see, when this collapses it will take two decades to get back.

    • Nameless says:

      Brent should be less than $20, soon it will collapse to $5, everything will collapse, that’s what it will take to get the economy cleared and allow for future growth, unavoidable no matter how much they try to manipulate.

      • Anthony A. says:

        I don’t know where you get Brent crude at $5, but unless you are head of OPEC posting here, please provide your thesis on a total world collapse of oil markets (and economies)

        • Nameless says:

          It went to $17 in April, it could go a lot lower, the world is awash with oil, read the article, it might only last a day or so but an average price below $20 is where it should be right now if fundamentals are considered, oil producers are going bankrupt drowning in debt, all it takes is their manipulation of supply to crumble, how long can they curtail supply, with this covid it could easily drop and stay below $10, I doubt very mush the vaccines will work with so many mutation, no vaccine ever worked for the flu & this is worse, imagine the money companies could make from a flu vaccine patent, you say it like some far fetched theory when it the most likely outcome in my opinion, the world is already in a collapse, like Einstein says ” The last thing to collapse is the surface”, well the surface is delusions of recovery, that things will return to normal in 2021, governments are literally bankrupt, no one is paying their debts, rent, loans, you get the picture.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Futures trader’s speculation on crude purchases/deliveries have no meaningful effect on the world wide price of oil. Cartels control the pricing and the swing production necessary to maintain supply to where they make profits. I’ve been in the oil business for 35+ years and have seen worse than last April.

        • Nameless says:

          Semantics, I’m talking about the price of Brent in that form, that’s how most people quote the price, I don’t doubt you have experience but your comment is strange, I said what I think & anyone reading it would understand, oil should be sub $20, even sub $10, no need for a thesis to describe why I think that, I think it’s obvious, everything is in a bubble as I said when you look at fundamentals, you talk about head of OPEC like they are smart or know much, they don’t know much cuz if they did they would realise people can’t pay what they do not have, so what I say is an opinion but your comment is strange, WTI went negative -$37, obviously companies were not selling at that price it was a contract who’s holder couldn’t take delivery, it still went to -$37, WTI went to $11, I could have bought at that level at made 5x. The point is your comment makes no sense, it’s an easy concept, oil is expensive given the economy

        • Nameless says:

          Yeah I’m a bot, is that your get out of clause when ya have no answer. What’s wrong?? Bored, maybe you should find something better to do, get a girlfriend perhaps, or boyfriend is ya that way inclined, trying to sound smart correcting people when ya have no clue what ya talking about, everyone understand what oil prices are but ya a genius cuz ya wasted 35 years of ya life drowning in oil

      • David Hall says:

        The collapse of petroleum products consumption has bankrupted oil companies. A bankrupt company can not drill. US oil production is down. As people start to drive, that may cause supply to become more valuable. This stuff is not easy to get. Unconventional oil production is in rock formations with low permeability. They needed to frack or crack the rock to get the oil out. It is capital intensive. This industry is cyclical. Brazil increased oil production through the pandemic. US production fell.

        • char says:

          Brazil is offshore which takes years between decision and production. That Brazil increased its production is not surprising

      • Nacho Libre says:

        OPEC cartel will make sure real price is never reflected. It’s as anti free market as it can get.

        Saudi Arabia unilaterally cut production to support price levels.

        • Nmeless says:

          Saudi Arabia are going bankrupt, soon they will realise they need to pump at max or they will end up riding camels again, with cost of a barrel for them less than $10 they will try take over market share, Iraq is drowning in debt, Russia also getting hurt by covid, this 7-8 million barrel monthly cut wont last long, it’s either they all drown or one breaks out & takes market share, this covid will get a lot worse, 300k cases a day in the US today, 4k deaths a day, such a sad situation, all because money came before life, a disciplined lock down & ban on flights would have saved so many lives & destruction of the economy, but Trump only cared about winning an election & he lost, the price is still coming when markets wake up & collapse

      • Yaun says:

        I don’t know where you pull your numbers from but they don’t make much sense. Short term demand/supply imbalances and cartel interventions can always pull the price into extremes one way or the other but the intrinsic oil price is the all inclusive production cost. And there are no fields which can produce at 5$, and very few that can produce at $20.

      • Paulo says:

        Not likely. Petroleum companies aren’t making it at $56. As for Shale, the truism is “Companies can’t make a profit at $100, and consumers can’t afford $100”.

        The cheap easy stuff at $5 was produced and burned 40 years ago.

      • c1ue says:

        Not going to happen.
        You have no idea about areas which supply and demand does matter – oil is one of them.
        The massive decline in demand is accompanied by a possibly larger decline in fracking supply in the US.

    • Charlie says:

      Whoa there pardner. Grains are responding to world supply and demand. Soy is from HUGE Chinese demand as they rebuild their hog herd from ASF a couple years ago. Then put that alongside supply concerns in S. American soybean production. Corn the same thing is happening, big world demand in the face of declining S. American production. Then you have weather cycles shifting to La Nina meaning drier than normal in the U.S. after 5 years of wetter than normal for grain production here. Wheat ditto, lowest planted acres in the U.S. in recent history because producers could not make money growing wheat. Agriculture has always been a supply demand market that I’ve lived through for 40 years. Now add to that money flowing into passive index funds as they see the same S&D info too. Please don’t make comments you know little about and those that have little to do with this administration.

      • Nameless says:

        I disagree, plenty of agg, the prices went up like a rocket & nothing has changed in 6 months, speculation & massive Dollar shorting, people speculating on inflation, one thing everyone is missing is this happened in 2007 just before the financial collapse, same now, they flood into agg cuz people always need food, check the charts from 2007, a financial crises is about to start and they hide their wealth in agg, none of what you say is true, just excuses to hide the truth, agg was depressed 6 months ago, of course bubbles & speculation always have an excuse, look at the collapse of gold & silver today, someone is broke trying to raise cash, a massive financial crises is about to start.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Are you a bot? A mass of words with no sentence structure, periods, or paragraphs? Something is wrong here.

        • c1ue says:

          @Nameless @Charlie
          I agree with Nameless.
          The disruption is more to do with restaurant/school/workplace vs. home supply chains.
          In the US, these chains are largely completely separate. Oversupply due to mass restaurant closures due to lockdown isn’t easy to switch over the home/retail even as home/retail consumption jumped 20% to 30%.
          Rather, I expect a lot of food is getting dumped on one side.
          I have also seen stories where secondary supply items are getting hit.
          No restaurants = huge fall in steak demand.
          Huge fall in steak demand = less cows slaughtered because those prime cuts comprise a very large percentage of the overall cow’s retail value.
          Barbecue outfits are suffering because the normally cheaper, low grade cuts are simply much less available due to the lower amount of slaughter: brisket and what not.
          I was told by a butcher at Safeway in SF that he had been grinding up far better cuts of meat for the ground beef sold vs. the normal 10lb tubes they come from.

    • Chris Herbert says:

      Michael Hudson has been predicting a ‘debt deflation’ cycle because
      too much private debt and consequently, a lack of disposable income, will crash prices. Who knows. I just watch the market but don’t invest any longer. Keynes “When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

    • Kurtismayfield says:

      When you trade oil in dollars, you include the inflation of the dollar in it.

  4. MonkeyBusiness says:

    It does not matter. Biden has promised “trillions”.

    A plane for everyone. That should drive gasoline usage way up.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Do you get tired of beating that drum? I know I’m getting tired of it.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Why would one get tired of speaking the truth. Ok, so not everyone will get a plane. That part was obviously me being sarcastic, but that old man is on record today saying he’ll print trillions. Dems have control of everything, and there’s lots of expectations.

        • RightNYer says:

          The real problem is most Americans clamoring for this stuff are so ignorant on economics and markets that they actually think printing trillions of dollars every year will not destroy the dollar.

        • c1ue says:

          Biden’s trillions are no different than the first Trump stimulus.
          As for the dollar: show me a country that ISN’T printing like crazy.

        • NBay says:

          “Truth” ?????? You speak in “truth”?

          As Indiana Jones said, “We just deal in facts. If you want truth the philosophy department is just down the hall”.

          Biden has a hell of a mess to try to deal with and so does this country…..2021 may be fine for the top 5-10%, maybe, but the rest, not so good.

          But then I’m a Green New Industry guy, and I frankly don’t care who loses their “hard earned money” to get it. In fact I’d like to see a max net wealth….say $10M. Plenty of incentive. If you continue doing your thing anyway, then maybe a name on a wall in DC, or statue in some National Park.

          My bias? I think we are kind of a cool species that came up with almost impossible odds against us for even being here for several million years, and it would be nice if we could just squeak out another 13-15K years of our present “civilization” era.

    • MCH says:

      Ever play Command and Conquer Generals?

      So, there are these cute little tag lines you can get for upgrades to your units. One of the funny one when you upgrade the GLA (Global Liberation Army – portrayed as Arabs) “mob” units with rifles is a shout: “AK-47s for everrryoneeee.” See the link in sig.

      I sometimes wonder if there are people in their places of power secretly setting up stuff so they can shout at there screens “insert your favorite phrase here” FOR EVERYONE.

      • Paulo says:

        Many here getting short and cranky today. Maybe it’s the news; record deaths, infections, and an attempted coup.

        I think the collapse of fuel consumption is an obvious result. It goes well with declining employment, wealth disparity, and general dysfunction/decline. Just put a pandemic and attempted coup on top for general icing, and you have a real shit cake to ponder.

        Ideology ain’t gonna fix this mess.

        England started real decline after WW1 and never recovered after WW2. Yet, 100 years ago they ruled the World. Today it is the same for the US. Covid and debt will end the myth. It won’t be the end, it just will never be the same. Best to move on and make personal plans to adapt.

        • Old School says:

          Just read Patrick Byrne the founder of (Overstock. Com) story on his Twitter account. Smart guy, Phd. Hi IQ. He put up a couple of stories there about his experience working with the Feds in taking down 100 people about a decade ago on naked short selling. People tried to destroy him and his company. Second story was more interesting working with Feds regarding Maria B. the red headed Russian possible agent. Not sure what to make of it all except DC is a very dirty town. He seems like a good guy trying to make the world a better place.

        • c1ue says:

          Patrick Byrne is a nut.

        • polecat says:

          Ah, c1ue …

          Your nut might be My shell, and vice-versa. The irony of it all, is that we both will still meet the crusher – right now in the guise of ‘$iliCON knows Bestest!’

          Enjoy your tasty wheat if you can – those coppertops not included .. so far.

        • MCH says:

          Paulo,

          Agree wholeheartedly on your statement about adaptation. Did you play the clip on YouTube, it was one of those fun RTS games in the early 2000s with all of the standard troupes. Highly entertaining… and would make most people today wince at its lack of sensitivity…

        • c1ue says:

          @polecat
          Read about more areas he talks about. He is clearly a nut.

    • WyleeEconomist says:

      So maybe… Just maybe… the GOP should have taken the pandemic seriously. You know not encouraged reckless behavior that has resulted in the most deaths and infections world wide.

      I know… I know… More of the usual, GOP causes a massive problem… Then queues Faux outrage when being asked to take their literal medicine for the crisis they caused…

      The classic example being the deficit…. Sure let’s give the top .1% trillions in new tax cuts, and spend trillions on pointless wars, and implement Medicare part D without funding it… Now when a democrat takes office we will blame them for the deficit we put into law.

      • Anthony A. says:

        There’s been lots of Democrats in office over the years that helped get us to the verge of becoming a 3rd world nation. It’s been a combined two-party effort.

      • MCH says:

        The problem with one party rule is just that… the last time this country had practical one party rule, it didn’t really end well. In fact, it ended with the Republicans coming into existence as a party. The rest became history.

        The problem is that today, the marginal differences between the two sides has been leveraged to benefit those in power at both sides and set up to ensure that the present power structure remains in place while the populace become essentially sheep to be fed lies by one side or the other. In turn the value of their labor is slowly siphoned away in the name of justice, the common good, or whatever virtuous phrase of the day happens to be.

        Oddly, it took a charlatan to get people to realize how unfair the system was en mass. But not to worry, control of the media ensures that division will continue and we get back to “normalcy.” After all, good will triumph over the war mongering, narcissistic, selfish, Russian stooge that tried to incite a rebellion against the founding principle of the country. The best part about that last statement is that there are more a few kernels of truth in that statement mixed in with the lies. The end result is the same.

        Let’s see how long the facade lasts with this new feel good time we are about to enter into.

    • billytrip says:

      Well it would be a refreshing change for “trillions” to get printed for the workers instead of to bail out criminal banksters.

  5. yort says:

    Wolf, it is soooo simple my friend!

    Take the Fed Blue Pill (Plug into the Matrix):

    The Fed will create more inflation via printing money in order to prevent inflation from driving interest rates up.

    Such genius is so simple even a homosapien with 99% chimpanzee dna, AKA us, can see this is a circular argument logical fallacy…

    Blue Pill side effects may include uncontrollable inequality, sporatic anarchy, and erratic Fed-speak diarrhea

    Take the Fed Red Pill (unplug from the Matrix):

    WTF times infinity!

    Red Pill side effects may include present WTF, past WTF, and future WTF thoughts and behaviors.

    For best results, alternate between the red and blue Fed pills on a daily basis as needed, and need them you will…

    • Old School says:

      I feel like world is in more trouble than we know. Stock market hitting new highs when economy is living off of government handouts. Pandemic. Political strife. Elon Musk richest person losing money on making 500K cars. Bitcoin. What’s a person to do except look to history for what happens next?

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Look at Weimer Germany to see what happens next. Middle class gets wiped out and some Psychopath gets up there and says he will fix everything. The 1st part is already happening.

        • NBay says:

          Sadly the times are ripe for that scenario.

        • Candyman says:

          So true…how does Biden think he can solve these problems ? And why does half the country below him?

        • NBay says:

          Candy-

          Are “below Biden” people kinda like Hill-dog’s deplorables?

          But then I think both parties are controlled by big money and Corps, and thus right wing, so my political snark is just very weak talk….just an attempt at humor based on your error ;)

  6. Beardawg says:

    WOLF

    Great article !! You may have explained the inconsistency between jet fuel usage (down approx 40% YOY) vs passenger traffic (down approx 60% YOY).

    Is this because Amazon and UPS jets are increasing consumption, thus explaining why fuel consumption has dropped much less than passenger traffic?

    • MarMar says:

      I’d guess it’s because planes are not as full these days.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Add to that most are not flying as frequently as in the good old days before Covid19.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          It was never good old days with these airlines. They should all go out of business and be regulated like public utilities.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Swampy, they airlines were doing real well when they figured out they could charge us passengers for all kinds of things beyond the price of the ticket. Baggage fees, premium seat fees, snack fees etc, etc.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Anthony-they took that cue from the banking ‘industry’…

          may we all find a better day.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      AA let the cat out of the box when I complained about their pathetic passenger service, they told me that carrying freight was much more profitable than carrying passengers. They were going the same way as the railroads, where passenger service declined in favor of freight service. I saw this coming 30 years ago.

      • Beardawg says:

        SWAMPY

        That would seem to explain the variant between jet fuel usage (only -40%) vs passenger service (-60%). Thanks for the clarification. I am surprised AA would tell you that.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          It was some low level employee that told me that, after they lost my luggage.

    • c1ue says:

      Probably more package deliveries is part of it.
      But part of it, for a while, was that planes were getting flown literally empty so as to not lose their prime time slots in airports.
      Another part is that planes would fly, on average, 85%+ full in 2019 but were flying far, far less full in 2020.
      So even though routes are seeing smaller planes on many/most routes, these planes still consume fuel and have lower load factors to boot.

  7. Office building consumption is quite a bit higher than equivalent home heating, or cooling costs. Office space must accomodate banks of servers, high ceilings, and should the office be correctly spaced for covid it would be even less energy efficient. Just saying natural gas has been making new lows with a polar vortex sitting over the NE. Also helps energy consumption when your street is snowed in and the power is off. West coast is high and dry, but everybody in LA has covid.

    • ocop says:

      Overall electricity usage is down but anecdotally extreme heating/cooling days are producing higher than pre-covid expectation loads. Locationally dependent, of course.

      My working theory is that many (but clearly not all) of those office spaces and factories are still being heated/cooled, servers maintained, etc. But mom and dad are at home working/teaching and are cranking the thermostat.

  8. Martha Careful says:

    Thank God that B.1.1.7 is just another virus hoax — and oil will soon be screaming higher!

    However, imagine if America were forced to make a choice between helping hospitals remaining somewhat functional by shutting down the economy — or totally opening up the economy so that more people can help spread a virus that’s at least 50% more efficient [(than the hoax from last year) (and help shut down Americas healthcare networks)].

    It’s a real knee slapper that 50 million people will support doing the wrong thing, thus this trend in energy prices is most likely just the first leg down. At this point, who cares?

  9. John says:

    Wolf,
    Thanks , I have read a few refineries have shut down. One I remember was Shell’s refinery in Louisianna. They were trying to sell it with no buyers. A refinery in Austrailia belonging to BP was shut down also, now to be used as a shipping port. Windmills? I don’t know if there is much windoff shore there, you would probably know that. Windmills by GE being built off Mass. by Equinor and Bp.

  10. DR DOOM says:

    No problemo. The new administration announced today through its spokesman OWJ that trillions will be available in brand spanking new fiat to pay me to stay at home or drive around in circles in order to consume. Show me the money andbI will comply. I am a team player. Moderation Test Packet Uno-Uno 1.

    • Yort says:

      “The Earth has been spinning faster lately”…per Physics dot org

      Glass half fuel take….perhaps less fuel and oil usage will slow the planet warming, as the planetary spin has hit a record speed this year. Scientist think it has to do with the high altitude snow cap melting. Scientist are actually thinking of adding a “negative leap second” per year to compensate.

      So if you wonder if infinite Fed printing over decades will have any long term impact beyond a complete economic reset, think about the fact that the Fed is at the very least speeding up climate shifts as we are now never allowed to have a recession, along with the resulting lower energy consumption, lower pollution from burning fossil fuels, etc. I’m not a tree hugger myself as I have done my fair share of logging actually as a kid and adult, yet printing infinite amounts of money will not be helpful to advance society to a higher state of being unless that money is put towards more substainable uses, like the fusion reactors that work like stars and burn hydrogen with very limited waste or radiation risks. The irony is we have only spent a few billion on the tokamak fusion reactor over the last few decades…yet we will print and spend trillions on China made trinkets in two short years.

      And we consider ourselves an intelligent species???

      • Martha Careful says:

        Re: “The Earth has been spinning faster lately”

        Faster spinning mean greater oil demand, prices accelerate, good for market!

      • MarMar says:

        Hmm, interesting. In general, when ice caps at the poles melt, the water ends up bulging at the equator, slowing the Earth down. But if the ice is at high elevations away from the poles, I could see its melting speeding up the Earth’s rotation.

        The slight reduction in CO2 is good … but in order to have a decent climate for today’s kids, we need to get all of the numbers in this article down to more or less zero. Perhaps some jet fuels can be made from algae, but I wouldn’t count on it.

        Wolf says the EV transition will take many, many years. Yes, if we leave it to market forces. We must accelerate it.

        • Anthony A. says:

          “We must accelerate it.”

          MarMar…..it’s all about the batteries.

          Remember when the word was “Plastics”? Well, now it’s “Batteries”.

        • Makes sense, water near the equator provides extra centrifugal force. If earth is speeding up what does that do to the magnetic field? Some hold industrial RF energy is changing human thought patterns, and that really is an insignificant amount. Could this be a bigger story than global warming? A few more inches of ocean, que sera, but mass insanity is a far bigger threat?

        • Implicit says:

          Buy nat. futures in the future!. It is and will be the largest resource for making electricity for EVs

        • NBay says:

          AB-
          Pretty sure the N/S poles have even flip flopped in the past. Lotta molten iron swirling near the core. That EMF is another fluke that has made terrestrial life possible…Van Allen Belts, etc.

    • polecat says:

      Oh, and indeed – something to muse, as you circle the Covid drain .. all Musk Melons have been deemed absolutely ‘safe’ – All systems goo…

      The NHSTA gives it the thumbs up, So There!

      No steely gravity action need be applied ..

  11. Joe in LA says:

    If Biden pumps out huge new spending (debt), will the Fed have any choice other WWII-style yield control? It seems like the borrowing costs would quickly get prohibitive without yield control.

    If that’s correct, then savers get to eat yet more inflation, and stocks just keeping going up with an eternal Fed put?

  12. MCH says:

    Woohooo, everyone rejoice, CO2 emissions is down fractionally, may be we can keep this pandemic going for a while, it would certainly help “save the Earth.”

    That and give Congress another reason to periodically send out $2K checks.

    • c1ue says:

      Yes, let’s shut down huge sectors of the economy for a 7% drop in CO2 emissions.
      2020 proved that zero emissions is a myth with either present or near future technology.

  13. JK says:

    Distallate? Hmmm, does that include the 18 year old Scotch that I’m chugging down? That seems to be in constant demand!

    Joking aside, I was discussing this with a trading buddy recently. The next power suppliers to look at are going to be the electricity producing companies. Nice if you can provide information on who you think the big players will be in the future.

  14. urblintz says:

    Okay, I don’t drive much to begin with but still… I just refilled my (2006) GTI for the first time in 8 months and that’s gotta be a record. And the high octane was cheaper for sure

  15. Ron says:

    Consumers can control prices ride a bicycle walk he’ll get a horse when oil runs out back to primitive structure

  16. CreditGB says:

    Not sure what the mystery is.

    Gasoline: Folks are hunkered down, less pointless travel.
    Jet Fuel: Airlines cut back, mothballed some routes.
    Diesel: Goods of every type still have to get to stores and plants etc.

    Now, lets get back to the REAL issue, Wolf’s proof reading!! (A smile face here).

  17. Shiloh1 says:

    If it’s Boeing I’m not going.

    • polecat says:

      If it’s Brown, shut it down!

      *and no, I’m not trying to be crude …. not too much, anyway.
      ‘;]

  18. Sierra7 says:

    The US (and global) “systems” need a good dose of Castor Oil….a sure purgative!
    May we see better days!

    • Anthony A. says:

      Thanks Sierra7, this (^^^^^^) should be nominated as the best post in this thread!

  19. Brian Reilly says:

    Look for a much faster retirement of the internal combustion powered private automobile. Much, much faster. Mandated, and sudden. With the full support of auto companies and refiners. THe people at the c-stores will be out of work.

    We really are living in Clownworld.

  20. Swamp Creature says:

    I lived under the flight pattern for National Airport for many years, (since moved, and that was one of the reasons). They routinely would dump their fuel into the air just before landing to avoid being fined for being overweight. They were carrying huge amounts of freight in their cargo department to make money in addition to a full load of passengers all to boost their bottom line profits. I would go into my front yard and smell the toxic gasoline that was dumped midair. Made numerous complaints to my Congressman and local officials and never even received a response. Congress is in the pockets of the Airlines big time.

  21. Gerry says:

    A Boeing 737 (non-Max8) crashed into the sea by Indonesia over 12 hours ago, according to the Daily Mirror. That news won’t do Boeing or the jet fuel suppliers much good. Which may be why this crash news has being suppressed by our controlled press. I just came across the news story now. Drudge Report has a link to the story buried on its site.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Gerry, et alia:
      Suggest that if you want to know at least most of what is happening and available to the public, you MUST read widely around the entire world.
      Started reading SCMP a couple years ago for the excellent daily cartoon, and, at least at that time, found that it was not any kind of official mouthpiece of CCP; obviously that is very likely to be changing fast.
      Learning from that, started looking for news from other nations local and global reporting, and found a ton of information/news of USA of which no mention at all, or back and behind pages, etc., in USA news sources.
      All of these various and sundry controls and subsequent challenges to constitutionally clear freedoms, controls formerly mostly hidden and now including blatant/overt censorship, etc., appear to be right in line with the predictions of many folks, on all sides of aisles, beginning (for me at least )back in the early 1950s era, and continuing today and continuing to increase/expand.
      What’s going to happen next decade or so is going to be very interesting and likely challenging for many of us older folks to watch; worst part is the very clear limits on and eliminations of behaviours of youth that were wild, some even illegal, but not really harmful and are now felonies enforced unequally.

  22. CreditGB says:

    If fuel dumping before routine landings occurs regularly, they are literally peeing away profits, or increasing losses. This would represent gross mismanagement of basic flight planning at the very least. Most airlines look for any way to save fuel costs. Dumping hundreds of pounds it to save a fine just adds to the lousy planning.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      I don’t give a crap about their profits. I care about the air I have to breath. Screw the airlines.

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