The U.S. Energy Information Administration, an arm of the Department of Energy, is tasked with determining how much energy the United States uses and what it is used for. Wondering how much energy people use in their houses to stay warm? The EIA has that answer. Curious about fuel efficiency trends over time? Ask the EIA. Wondering how much oil America uses compared to how much it imports? Et cetera, et cetera.
Each year the agency puts together a massive report answering that question. Yesterday, it released the report for 2011. Here are some of the most interesting findings.
The big picture
Here’s how U.S. energy consumption and production have compared over time. You’ll notice that consumption has stayed flat recently, even declined slightly in the past five years — while production is spiking and imports dropping.
We produce and consume far more fossil fuels than other kinds of energy. And, as you can see, we have to import fossil fuels — specifically, oil.
We also export a lot of oil, and we’re increasingly exporting coal too.
What we produce has changed dramatically over time. Now, we produce more natural gas than anything — and crude oil production is rebounding.
Prices for traditional fossil fuel energies are rising — except natural gas.
We’re consistent in consuming a lot of oil.
As mentioned above, consumption has stayed flat, and is even declining.
On a per-person basis, Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana, and North Dakota use much more energy than any other state.
The government is the largest consumer of energy in the country. And who uses the most? The Department of Defense.
And much of that Defense energy use is jet fuel.
The industrial sector uses more energy than transportation. Commercial use is the smallest pie piece.
In residences, natural gas and electricity are the two most-used types of energy. But we waste twice as much electricity making and transmitting it as you end up using in your house.
Commercial buildings use most of their energy on lighting:
Fuel economy is rising overall — but only because of smaller cars.
And there you have it. About 2 percent of the EIA’s data on energy use in 2011. The good news is that tomorrow is the weekend, so you can really dive in. Or maybe catch a movie. Whatever floats your boat.