The United States consumed more energy than ever in 2018, but also produced more energy than in any previous year. The United States consumed 4 percent more energy in 2018 than in 2017, and produced 8 percent more energy in 2018 than in the previous twelve months. Both 2018 levels were the highest totals ever recorded, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Also in 2018, U.S. energy exports increased 18% to another record high, reducing net energy imports into the United States to a 54-year low of less than 4% of U.S. energy consumption.
In 2018, crude oil and natural gas accounted for 57% of all U.S. energy production, with crude oil production seeing an increase of 17% and natural gas an increase of 12% from 2017. Energy production from renewable energy increased 4% from 2017, mostly from growth in solar (22%), wind (8%), and biomass energy (2%). Nuclear electric power production remained virtually unchanged in 2018. Coal production decreased in 2018, falling 2% from 2017.
The oil and gas producing states of Texas and Louisiana lead the United States in energy consumption, according to recent federal statistics. Based on data from 2015, the U.S. Energy Information Agency determined that Texas consumed more energy than any other state, but that Louisiana led the nation in per capita consumption of energy. In 2015, Texas accounted for about 13% of total U.S. energy consumption. Texas has consumed the more energy than any other state in every year since 1960, the earliest year for which EIA has data. California ranked second in energy use in 2015, accounting for about 8% of U.S. total energy use. Louisiana ranked third in total energy use, although it ranked first in per capita consumption. According to the EIA, the high energy consumption rate in Louisiana and most high per capita consumption states is largely attributable to industrial sector energy consumption, led by consumption in the energy-intensive fossil fuel industry. Vermont posted the lowest energy consumption of any state in 2015, although New York ranked last in per capita consumption. Overall, total U.S. energy consumption in 2015 was about 97 quadrillion Btu, a decrease of about 1% from 2014.
Fossil fuels -- petroleum, natural gas, and coal -- accounted for 81% of U.S. energy consumption in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That's actually the lowest percentage in the last 100 years. Renewable energy sources, primarily solar and wind power, added 10.5%, the most significant share for these sources since the 1930s. The decline in consumption of fossil fuels resulted primarily from the decline in coal consumption. U.S. coal consumption fell nearly 9% in 2016, following a 14% drop in 2015. Overall, U.S. coal consumption has declined almost 38% since 2005. Petroleum, which encompasses nearly all transportation fuels and several petroleum-based fuels used in homes, businesses, and industries, continues to be the largest source of energy consumption in the United States. Petroleum consumption has increased in each of the past four years. Consumption of natural gas has risen in 9 of the past 10 years. As recently as 2006, the United States consumed more coal than natural gas (in energy-equivalent terms), but as natural gas consumption has increased—particularly in the electric power sector—natural gas use in 2016 was about twice that of coal.
Natural gas now supplies more fuel for generating electricity than coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Natural gas fueled 34% of total electricity generation in 2016, marking the first time natural gas led coal on an annual basis. Natural gas first beat coal as the most common electricity fuel on a monthly basis in April 2015. The use of coal to generate electricity has tumbled 35 percent since 2008. Most coal consumed in the United States, 93 percent, goes to generate electricity.
As the use of coal declines, so have the jobs associated with coal. Coal mining jobs have fallen from a high of almost 90,000 in November 2011, to about 51,000 today, according the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The rise in the share of natural gas used to generate electricity resulted from more competitive prices for natural gas, and expanded capacity to utilize natural gas. Between 2000 and 2008, coal was significantly less expensive than natural gas, and coal supplied about 50% of total U.S. electricity generation. However, beginning in 2009, the gap between coal and natural gas prices narrowed, as large amounts of natural gas was produced from shale formations. Further, more natural gas plants have come online; now, every state except Vermont has at least one natural gas plant. The Energy Information Administration also indicates that environmental regulations affecting power plants have played a secondary role in driving coal's declining generation share over the past decade
The United States produced more oil and gas in 2016 than any other nation in the world, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Even though production declined in 2015, the U.S. led the world in oil and gas production for the fifth straight year. The U.S. produced more petroleum products than even Saudi Arabia. Russia actually ranks as the second largest oil and gas producer. The United States has been the world's top producer of natural gas since 2009, when U.S. natural gas production surpassed that of Russia, and it has been the world's top producer of petroleum hydrocarbons since 2013, when its production exceeded Saudi Arabia’s. For the United States and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas production is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas, while Saudi Arabia's production heavily favors petroleum.
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