Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed a machine learning model that could help predict the impact pandemics such as COVID-19 have on fuel demand in the United States.
Called the Pandemic Oil Demand Analysis, or PODA, this model compared mobility patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, analyzing historical weekly motor travel trends and projecting future usage.
“We developed this machine learning-based model by studying trip activities and corresponding fuel usage,” ORNL’s Shiqi (Shawn) Ou said. “The PODA analysis can serve as a useful tool to understand the impact of travel quarantine on fuel demand.”
In a Nature Energy study sponsored by Aramco Research Center, researchers focusing on mid-May until August determined that average fuel demand is not likely to reach pre-pandemic levels before October 2020. However, while a continued quarantine would have a negative impact on fuel demand temporarily, demand would likely recover to normal levels quicker.
PODA data could help inform economic and energy planning.
Learn more about ORNL research in the fight against COVID-19.