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Primary US energy consumption: Liquid fuel is the largest source of energy consumption in America
US energy consumption spans three end-uses, totaling approximately 100 quadrillion Btus per year:
- Electricity – 40 quadrillion Btus per year are consumed in the US for the purpose of generating electricity. Approximately 50% of that total is supplied by coal as the fuel source.
- Thermal – 32 quadrillion Btus are consumed each year in the US for thermal use, with natural gas and liquid fuel making up the largest fraction at 15 quadrillion and 12 quadrillion Btus per year respectively.
- Transportation – Made up almost entirely of liquid fuel, the transportation end-use of energy is approximately 28 quadrillion Btus. Of the three end-uses of energy, no other fuel source contributes more energy to its end use, on both an absolute and relative basis, than liquid fuel.
For the three end-uses of energy, five primary fuel sources provide the approximate 100 quadrillion Btus of energy consumed per year in the US:
- Liquid fuel – 41 quadrillion Btus of liquid fuel are consumed per year in the US, making it the largest single source of energy consumption in America. Of the three end-uses of energy, namely, thermal, transportation, and electricity, no other fuel source contributes more energy to its end-use than liquid fuel does to transportation. Approximately 28 quadrillion Btus are consumed per year for transportation, supplied almost entirely by liquid fuel.
- Natural gas – 22 quadrillion Btus of natural gas are consumed each year in the US, 15 quadrillion of which are used to provide heat. 6 quadrillion of the 22 quadrillion Btus of natural gas consumed each year are used for power generation.
- Coal – 22 quadrillion Btus of coal are used in the US each year. At 20 quadrillion Btus per year, power generation is the dominant end-use for coal. 2 quadrillion Btus per year of coal are used for thermal purposes.
- Nuclear – 8 quadrillion Btus of nuclear energy is consumed per year, with 100% of it used for electricity.
- Renewables – 6 quadrillion Btus of energy are derived from renewables, with approximately 3.5 quadrillion Btus consumed as electricity and the remainder used to provide heat.
Source: DOE, “Annual Energy Outlook 2008,” June 2008.
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