The United States is one of the primary energy consumers and producers in the world,
It’s important to know how much energy they produce and consumer, and where this energy comes from.
In this guide we do an overview of that, and look at where energy trends might be going in the future.
Summary – Energy Use & Production In The United States
- The US is currently the second biggest energy user and producer in the world (behind China)
- Fossil fuels accounted for 77.6% of primary energy production in the US in 2017
- In 2017, the energy split for the US for primary energy production was Natural gas—31.8%, Petroleum (crude oil and natural gas plant liquids)—28.0%, Coal—17.8%, Renewable energy—12.7%, and Nuclear electric power—9.6%.
- The sectors that used the most energy in the US in 2017 were the electricity sector (38.1%), followed by transport, industrial, residential and commercial
- The US has a far smaller reliance on coal than China currently does (who are at about 60 to 65% energy from coal)
Types Of Energy Sources
The United States uses and produces many different types and sources of energy, which can be grouped into general categories such as primary and secondary, renewable and nonrenewable, and fossil fuels.
Primary energy sources include fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal), nuclear energy, and renewable sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated (produced) from primary energy sources.
How Energy Is Measured
Energy sources are measured in different physical units: liquid fuels in barrels or gallons, natural gas in cubic feet, coal in short tons, and electricity in kilowatts and kilowatt hours. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu), a measure of heat energy, is commonly used for comparing different types of energy to each other.
How Much Energy The United States Uses/Consumes
In 2017, total U.S. primary energy consumption was equal to about 97.7 quadrillion (97,728,000,000,000,000) Btu.
The total consumption of energy in the US is 3,911.00 billion kWh of electric energy per year. Per capita this is an average of 12,007 kWh.
You can find a total overview of energy consumption at https://www.worlddata.info/america/usa/energy-consumption.php
Energy Use By Sector In The United States
There are five major primary energy consuming sectors. Their shares of total primary energy consumption in 2017 were:
- Electric power—38.1%
(The electric power sector generates most of the electricity in the United States, and the other four sectors consume most of that electricity.)
- The industrial sector [32% of all energy consumption, including electricity] includes facilities and equipment used for manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and construction.
- The transportation sector [29% of all energy consumption, including electricity] includes vehicles that transport people or goods, such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, aircraft, boats, barges, and ships.
- The residential sector [21% of all energy consumption, including electricity] consists of homes and apartments.
- The commercial sector [19% of all energy consumption, including electricity] includes offices, malls, stores, schools, hospitals, hotels, warehouses, restaurants, and places of worship and public assembly.
- The electric power sector consumes primary energy to generate most of the electricity consumed by the other four sectors.”
You can see a breakdown of which sectors use what % of each energy source at https://www.e-education.psu.edu/egee102/node/1930
How Much Energy The United States Produces
In 2017, the amount of energy produced in the United States was equal to about 87.5 quadrillion Btu, and this was equal to about 89.6% of U.S. energy consumption. The difference between the amount of total primary energy consumption and total primary energy production was mainly the energy content of net imports of crude oil.
Energy Production By Energy Sources In The United States
In 2012, an energy sources breakdown was:
- Oil 35%
- Natural gas 25%
- Coal 20%
- Nuclear 8%
- Renewable Energy 9%
You can view a further breakdown at https://www.infoplease.com/science-health/energy/us-energy-consumption-energy-source-2002-2012
The pattern of fuel use varies widely by sector though. For example, petroleum provides about 92% of the energy used for transportation, but only 1% of the energy used to generate electricity.
The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—combined accounted for about 77.6% of the U.S. primary energy production in 2017:
- Natural gas—31.8%
- Petroleum (crude oil and natural gas plant liquids)—28.0%
- Renewable energy—12.7%
- Nuclear electric power—9.6%
How The United States Compares To The Rest Of The World In Energy Consumption & Production
Recent Trends, & Where Energy Production & Consumption Is Heading In The Future For The United States
In general, up to 2017:
- Coal use has been decreasing
- Natural Gas use has been increasing
- Crude oil was decreasing but has been increasing recently
- Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) have been increasing
- Renewable energy sources have been increasing (solar, wind especially). You can view a usage of renewable energy graphs from 1990 to 2015 at https://www.worlddata.info/america/usa/energy-consumption.php
You can see a graph and statistics on the US’s energy source history, current trends and future outlook at https://www.e-education.psu.edu/egee102/node/1930
You can read more about the US’s future for energy use and renewable energy use in these resources:
US Vehicle Fuel Consumption
You can view a history of the US’s vehicle fuel and oil consumption at https://www.e-education.psu.edu/egee102/node/1930
US Electricity Consumption
US electricity generation is expected to grow from 3.7 trillion kilowatthours in 2015 to 4558 kilowatthours in 2035.