To meet that rapidly increasing demand, prices are likely to grow respectively. The report estimates that oil will cost $163 a barrel in inflation-adjusted dollars in 2040.
Like any 30-year projection, the report includes several caveats. One such variable has to do with conservation. The report points out that policy changes and high energy costs could slow the demand growth.
“High sustained oil prices can affect consumer demand for liquid fuels, encouraging the use of less energy or alternative forms of energy, but also encouraging more efficient use of energy,” the report stated.
It found natural gas to be the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the mix, adding 1.7 percent per year and pushing natural gas demand to 185 trillion cubic feet in 2040, up 64 percent from 113 trillion cubic feet in 2010.
The report also found that with increased use of fossil fuels, global carbon dioxide emissions also would increase, adding 46 percent to 45 billion metric tons in 2040.