Samstag, 9. Mai 2009

Germany's Oil Consumption

How much is Germany's oil consumption affected by the crisis?

To analyze this question, we need to break down Germany's overall oil consumption into its main components. Based on analysis I did a year ago using 2006/07 data, this is a rough outline:

1. 30 % gasoline used by cars
2. 20 % gasoline used by trucks
3. 6 % airplanes
4. 3 % shipping
5. 13 % heating of private residences
6. 15 % petrochemical industry
7. 15 % other industrial use (heating/energy/asphalt/lubrication)

Let's go through it one by one:

ad 1: gasoline used by cars

Roughly 1/3 is commuting to work. The number of jobs has so far hardly decreased, though shorter hours and mandatory holidays have been introduced by some manufacturers. Decline in commuting-related car-use should be moderate (1-2 %)

The rest is private use. As overall private consumption has been stable, I would assume that private car use hasn't declined either. So let's assume no change here.

ad 2: gasoline used by trucks

The volume of transported goods has contracted sharply, though domestic transport was far less affected than international. Let's assume a 5-10 % reduction of total truck use.

ad 3: Airplanes

Airplane passenger traffic is down 10 % yoy, though the number of flights has decreased less (load factors went down instead). Air cargo is down much more, but is comparatively less important. Let's assume 5-10 % total reduction.

ad 4: Shipping

International shipping volumes are down sharply, possibly as much as 20 %. Domestic shipping is less affected, but rather unimportant. Let's assume 15 % reduction.

ad 5: Heating of private residences

Presumably unchanged. Based on anecdotal evidence, it seems that many people are filling up their tanks more than they usually would, to make use of low prices. But not sure if that translates into a significant inventory build-up. Let's assume constant use.

ad 6: Petrochemical industry

Plastics are mainly used for/by packaging (33 %), construction (25 %), car industry (9 %), electronics industry (7 %), furniture/household goods (8 %). A significant part of German production (more than 1/4) is exported. I understand that the big chemical companies (BASF, Bayer, etc.) have significantly cut back production, though consumer-goods packaging and the construction industry aren't affected particularly badly so far. Let's assume an overall reduction of 10-15 %.

ad 7: Other industrial use

Considering the sharp drop in overall manufacturing, a reduction of 10-15 % sounds appropriate.

=> So what does this all add up to?

Quite a large number: A massive 4.8 - 7.8 % reduction in total German oil consumption compared to pre-crisis level.

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