There are a lot of policymakers and pundits hanging plans on the idea that the nation is facing a “new normal” rooted in ostensibly unprecedented behaviors exhibited by Millennials. Since that generation is now and will be for decades the largest share of the population, how they behave impacts everything going forward, especially for energy forecasters.
Nearly one-half of America’s total energy consumption is associated with just two things: homes and cars. We’re told that Millennials would rather bike and rideshare than own a car, and that they rather AirBnB or share a tiny urban apartment than buy a suburban house. If true, it’s a big deal not just for energy markets but also retailers and manufacturers; a permanent behavioral shift like that would give credence to the new trope of “peak demand.”