The United States uses more energy than any other country on earth, and it’s also the top producer of energy in the world. To power our homes, businesses, infrastructure, and transportation networks, the U.S. consumes an incredible sum of energy each year.
As of 2016, Americans consumed 97.4 quadrillion British thermal units, or Btu (that’s 10 to the power of 15, or one thousand trillion), a year. So where does all of that energy come from?
Energy Comparison: the Top 5 Sources of Power in the United States
The most recent data is from May 2017. Today, American electricity comes from five primary sources:
- Natural gas: 33%
- Petroleum (oil): 28%
- Coal: 17%
- Renewable energy: 12%
- Nuclear energy: 10%
Some of these energy sources are growing fast, while others are fading away. For instance, according to the EIA, coal consumption numbers have been declining since their peak in 2008.
“Coal production in 2016 was about the same as production was in 1977. The primary reason for the general decline in coal production in recent years is the decrease in coal consumption for electricity generation.”
Meanwhile, alternative energy sources such as solar power have made up a larger and larger share of energy production with each passing year. Our electric utility company in Temple, TX relies on solar panels to provide our customers with cheap electricity. Not only is solar power better for the environment, it’s also endlessly renewable and saves conumers money.
Today, about 22% of all electricity produced in the United States is used for lighting, and with solar panels, you can save an average $84 per month on energy bills, or more than $1,000.
What Is All That Electricity Used For?
While our commercial electricity service provides homes and businesses with affordable electricity in Temple, TX, the entire country depends on reliable sources of power. In fact, most people can no longer imagine life without steady electricity from their local power company.
The EIA reports that the U.S. industrial sector accounts for 22% of all energy consumption. The transportation industry uses up another 29% of energy. However, while there are a number of different sources of power, the type of energy used by different parts of the economy also vary widely. For instance, despite the availability of electric cars, 92% of the transportation industry relies on petroleum products. In the residential sector, a much wider variety of fuels are used, including solar, nuclear (depending on where you live), coal, and natural gas.
As we head into 2018, it’s difficult to predict how these trends will change. However, when conducting an energy comparison, there is one prediction you can make with certainty: renewable energy sources are here to stay.