Fossil fuel consumption in the UK - Statistics & facts

Fossil fuels are fuels formed over millions of years by decomposition and compression of dead plant and animal matter. They are deemed non-renewable due to the timespan needed for each fuel type to be formed. Petroleum, coal, and natural gas are the most commonly used fossil fuels and also the main source of primary energy consumed. In the United Kingdom, the share of fossil fuels, particularly coal, used for energy production has fallen in recent years. However, their application is still deemed indispensable in many industries.

In 2019, the UK ranked fourteenth in a list of countries with highest primary energy consumption, at some 7.84 exajoules. This was the lowest consumption volume the UK had seen for many decades and indicative of a wider trend in reduced fossil fuel usage and greater production efficiency. It was also the result of a continued strive by the government to decrease coal consumption, which fell to 0.26 exajoules that same year. As Europe’s second largest oil producer, the UK mainly relied on indigenous production for its supply of petroleum. This was despite decreasing volumes in recent years. Norway is the greatest exporter of both crude oil and natural gas to the UK, thanks in part to a robust pipeline network.

Consumers have been confronted with ever increasing prices for electricity, gas, and other fuels. In January 2019, a price cap was introduced by the government to ensure a ceiling on tariffs. However, that year still saw the consumer index grow to 111.7 relative to the base year 2015. Meanwhile, the average price of oil bought by major power producers had decreased for the second year straight, with coal the cheapest option out of all fossil fuels.

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Fossil fuel consumption in the UK

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