Statistics and Facts on Energy Consumption in the U.S.
by Felix Richter
Energy consumption is a topic that has gained more and more significance over the past couple of years. As emerging countries continue to grow rapidly, the world’s total energy demand
keeps rising. The growing demand is largely covered by fossil fuels
, namely petroleum, coal and natural gas. Those fuels, however, are finite resources, and burning them emits large amounts of pollutants that contribute to climate change. Meanwhile, renewable energy sources are slowly becoming more efficient but are still far from able to cover the ever-growing global energy needs.
Total primary energy consumption in the United States
has been relatively constant for the past 10 years. Per capita energy consumption
has even been following a very slight downward trend in the past three years, although preliminary data suggests that non-commercial electricity consumption per U.S. customer
was higher in 2010 than it was in any of the preceding years.
The primary energy consumed in the United States comes from various sources
: In 2012, the U.S. consumed around 34.69 quadrillion British thermal units of petroleum, 25.95 quadrillion British thermal units of natural gas, 17.43 quadrillion British thermal units of coal and 8.05 quadrillion British thermal units of nuclear energy. It is expected that the amount of energy derived from renewable sources
will rise in the future, but it will likely take decades until renewable sources can replace fossil fuels to a considerable extent.