Today in Energy

May 22, 2015

U.S. retail gasoline prices lowest since 2009 heading into Memorial Day weekend

map of national gasoline prices by county, as explained in the article text
Source: Provided by GasBuddy.com

On May 18, the U.S. average retail price for gasoline was $2.74 per gallon ($/gal), or 92¢ per gallon (¢/gal) lower than at the same time last year. This is the lowest average price heading into the Memorial Day weekend—the traditional start of the summer driving season—since 2009. Lower gasoline prices reflect lower crude oil prices, with the spot price of North Sea Brent crude oil at more than $45 per barrel ($/b) lower than the same time last year, despite having increased more than $10/b since the beginning of February.

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May 21, 2015

Net imports of natural gas fall to lowest level since 1987

graph of annual U.S. natural gas trade, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy

U.S. net imports of natural gas decreased 9% in 2014, continuing an eight-year decline. As U.S. dry natural gas production has reached record highs, lower domestic prices have helped to displace natural gas imports. Net natural gas imports (imports minus exports) totaled 1,171 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2014, the lowest level since 1987.

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May 20, 2015

Low crude oil prices, increased gasoline demand lead to high refiner margins

graph of monthly average gasoline crack spreads, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, from Bloomberg, L.P., Thomson Reuters
Note: Dubai/Oman crude oil spot price is the average spot price of Dubai crude oil and Oman crude oil.

Gasoline crack spreads in the United States, especially on the U.S. East Coast, have reached several-year highs in recent months. Crack spreads, which reflect the difference between wholesale product prices and crude oil prices, are a good indicator of refiner profitability.

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May 19, 2015

EIA launches redesigned International Energy Portal

image of International Energy Portal, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Portal

On May 18, EIA launched a beta version of a redesigned International Energy Portal designed to help users access international energy data and to provide new and expanded tools and capabilities to examine trends in global energy markets.

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May 18, 2015

Nonpetroleum share of transportation energy at highest level since 1954

graph of energy consumption in the transportation sector, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Republished May 18, 2015, 9:30 a.m. to correct an error in the graph

In the United States, petroleum is by far the most-consumed transportation fuel. But recently the share of fuels other than petroleum for U.S. transportation has increased to its highest level since 1954, a time when the use of coal-fired steam locomotives was declining and automobile use was growing rapidly. The recent increase can be mostly attributed to increased blending of biomass-based fuels with traditional vehicle fuels and growing use of natural gas in the transportation sector.

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May 15, 2015

U.S. power sector CO2 emissions expected to increase through 2040

graph of carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2015

Although U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with electricity generation have fallen from the 2005 level, they are projected to increase in the coming decades, based on analysis in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) that reflects current laws and regulations, and therefore does not include proposed rules such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

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May 14, 2015

Power generation from coal and natural gas expected to temporarily converge this spring

graph of U.S. net electricity generation by energy source, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Short-Term Energy Outlook

Republished May 14, 2015, 2:00 p.m. to correct an error in the graph

EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts that the amount of electricity generation fueled by natural gas in April and May will total just 3.5% less than the projected amount of coal-fired generation. This convergence has occurred only once before, in April 2012, when natural gas fueled just 1.5% less generation than coal. Power generation from the two fuels is expected to rise at similar rates over the next couple months, and then diverge again later in the summer as demand rises and coal unit capacity utilization continues to rise.

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May 13, 2015

Corn ethanol yields continue to improve

graph of ethanol industry corn utilization and average yield, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review
Note: Ethanol volumes do not include gasoline that must be added to denature ethanol, rendering it undrinkable and therefore taxable as fuel rather than as beverage alcohol.

In 2014, U.S. fuel ethanol production reached 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol fuel, the highest level ever. The growth in U.S. fuel ethanol production has outpaced growth in corn consumed as feedstock—as the industry has grown, it has become more efficient, using fewer bushels of corn to produce a gallon of ethanol.

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May 12, 2015

New supply patterns and additional disruptions push California gasoline prices higher

graph of retail prices, regular gasoline, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update

Republished May 12, 2015, 11:30 a.m., to correct an error in the text.

Supply disruptions in the tightly balanced and relatively isolated California gasoline market have increased wholesale and retail gasoline prices over the past several weeks. This comes after markets had adjusted to compensate for lost production following the February explosion and fire at ExxonMobil's refinery in Torrance, California. Average retail prices for regular gasoline in California as a whole, and in Los Angeles specifically, have increased by 57¢ per gallon (¢/gal), and 63¢/gal, respectively, in the past three weeks, while U.S. average retail gasoline prices have increased by 20¢/gal.

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May 11, 2015

Projected electric capacity additions are below recent historical levels

graph of additions to electricity generating capacity in the AEO2015 reference case, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2015 Reference Case and Annual Electric Generator Report (Form EIA-860)
Note: Other includes hydropower, geothermal, biomass, municipal solid waste, and other gaseous fuels used in end-use sectors.

In the coming decades, additions to U.S. electricity generation capacity are expected to be lower than in the recent past. In EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 Reference case, which reflects current laws and policies and does not include EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan, total generating capacity (including end-use generators like rooftop solar panels) increases from 1,065 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 1,261 GW in 2040. The amount of capacity added is more than three times the amount that is expected to retire, with 287 GW added and 90 GW retired.

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