United States energy usage: just the facts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes a Monthly Energy Review that delves deep into energy trends within the second largest energy consuming nation in the world.

Their June 2017 review highlighted some interesting energy usage statistics, and took a look back at some of the data and trends leading up to the end of 2016.

EIA data

Image credit EIA

Here are the highlights:

  • 2016 saw the highest renewable share of energy mix since the 1930s
  • But fossil fuels still dominate the energy landscape in 2016, with 81 percent of total energy consumption
  • In 2016, the renewable share of energy consumption in the United States was 10.5%
  • When renewables provided a higher percentage of the U.S. energy mix in the 1930s, energy consumption was significantly lower and wood burning (biomass) was relatively high
  • Solar and wind saw the greatest growth in the renewables sector over the last ten years
  • Increased ethanol mixing into gasoline (liquid biofuel) also contributed to renewables growth
  • Petroleum consumption grew in each of the previous four years and continues to be the largest source of fuel for transportation
  • Natural gas use has risen in 9 of the 10 past years
  • Much of the growth in natural gas consumption is due to power generation
  • Natural gas consumption is nearly double coal
  • Coal use fell almost 9 percent in 2016, which was less of a drop than the 14 percent decline in 2015
  • Since 2005, U.S. coal usage has dropped almost 38 percent
  • Over 90 percent of U.S. coal consumption is for power production

The pace of progress in energy consumption

Is the shift to renewable energy happening too fast or too slow? You decide.

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