Fossil fuel energy primary consumption - United States by sector 1990-2018

This statistic illustrates the primary consumption of energy derived from fossil fuels in the United States between 1990 and 2018, with a breakdown by sector. In 2018, around 4.48 quadrillion British thermal units of energy were consumed in the U.S. commercial sector.

Consumption of fossil fuels in the United States

Recently, the transportation sector and electric power sector consumed more than half of the fossil fuel-produced energy in the United States, totaling 26.9 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and 23.3 quadrillion Btu, respectively. The popularity of fossil fuels skyrocketed during the Industrial Revolution, where coal was used to fuel steam locomotives due to a lack of firewood and charcoal. Since then, like many regions around the world, the United States has remained heavily reliant on energy derived from fossil fuels. Fossil fuel consumption has risen since 1985, from 66.09 quadrillion Btu to 81.16 quadrillion Btu in 2018.

However, the energy industry is experiencing the beginnings of a paradigm shift towards energy sources that can be replenished naturally. Renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind, are becoming cheaper and more advanced which has led to increased demands in the country. In 2018, some 2.6 quadrillion Btu of energy consumed by the industrial sector were from renewable sources.

The process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become more popular in the United States. Shale gas production has risen immensely from 0.3 trillion cubic feet in 2000 to 16.5 trillion cubic feet in 2017. However, this technique to obtain natural gas and petroleum has been heavily scrutinized by international communities due to its potential environmental and human health hazards.

Fossil fuel energy primary consumption in the U.S. from 1990 to 2018, by sector (in trillion British thermal units)*

Commercial sectorResidential sectorIndustrial sectorTransportation sectorElectric power sector
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Source

Release date

March 2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Natural gas excluding the estimated portion of supplemental gaseous fuels; for petroleum, product supplied is used as an approximation of petroleum consumption.

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Statistics on "Fossil fuel consumption in the United States"

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