(Reuters) – Pandemic restrictions in 2020 reduced the European Union’s oil and petroleum consumption in energy use to its lowest in 30 years, the bloc’s statistics office said on Friday.
Eurostat said the final consumption of oil and petroleum products across the region registered its sharpest drop ever, falling by about 10% to 310 megatonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in only one year.
In March 2020 EU governments began to limit people’s movements to curb the spread of COVID-19, leading to a significant decline in consumption of transport fuels such as diesel and gasoline.
The use of kerosene-type jet fuel in aviation, which in 2019 reached an absolute high at 48.2 Mtoe, slumped more than 56% in 2020 as travel restrictions forced airlines to cancel flights.
Luxembourg registered the largest decrease in oil and petroleum products consumption in energy and non-energy use, down 21% from 2019.
As member states increasingly turn to wind, solar and other clean energy sources in their efforts to meet the bloc’s net-zero ambition by 2050, the EU tapped renewables for 22% of its energy consumption in 2020.
The two-year lag on the data is because Eurostat processes comparable data collected by statistical authorities using harmonised methodology.
(Reporting by Juliette Portala; Editing by Milla Nissi and David Goodman)