Specifically, EIA notes that although the global liquid fuels demand will average 101.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2020, meaning 1.0 million b/d more than the 2019 average, it will be 378,000 b/d less than what was forecast in the January 2020 edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).

This change is caused by a combination of lower-than-expected heating fuel consumption caused by the Northern Hemisphere’s warmer-than-expected winter, an expected slowing of economic growth in general, and the particular economic effects of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

Moreover, EIA estimates that the coronavirus will decrease China's total petroleum and liquid fuels demand by an average of 190,000 b/d in 2020, based on three components:

  1. The reduction in demand for petroleum and liquid fuels caused by the general decline in Chinese economic activity as measured by gross domestic product (GDP);
  2. The volume of foregone jet fuel consumption in China caused by flight cancellations;
  3. The additional impact on China’s demand for other transportation fuels.

The Administration highlights that the estimations expressed above include a number of uncertainties and limitations, as this forecast is sensitive to the duration of the demand disruption following the outbreak.

EIA assumes that the timing of COVID-19’s impact on petroleum demand will follow a similar path as the 2003 SARS coronavirus outbreak: demand reductions will intensify in February, peak in March, and steadily decline during April, May, and June. GDP-induced impacts will linger through December.

It is highlighted that the 2003 SARS coronavirus and COVID-19 have different rates of transmission, detection, and mortality. Therefore, EIA based its considerations on the example of the 2003 SARS coronavirus outbreak when estimating duration and peak of the demand impacts, but it did not consider it when estimating the levels of petroleum demand reductions.


COVID-19 has made news headlines after the first incident was reported in Wuhan, China, in December and the virus spread rapidly in the globe.

Common signs of the Coronavirus include

  • respiratory symptoms,
  • fever,
  • cough,
  • shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.