Today in Energy

Oct 31, 2014

Crude exports and re-exports continue to rise; some volumes sent to Europe and Asia

graph of U.S. crude exports, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

The United States exported 401,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil in July 2014, the highest level of exports in 57 years and the second highest monthly export volume since 1920, when EIA's published data starts. Recent crude oil exports are also noteworthy for both their origins and destinations. As a result of existing U.S. crude oil export restrictions, most U.S. crude exports are sourced domestically and are sent only to Canada. However, since April, crude exports have included modest amounts of Canadian-produced barrels that were moved through the United States and then re-exported to Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Singapore.

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Oct 30, 2014

Colder weather drives forecast of 2014 energy-related CO2 emissions 1.1% above 2013 level

graph of change in heating demand and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (October 2014)

In the long term, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are driven by economic and efficiency trends and changes in the fuel mix. But weather fluctuations, which drive the level of energy use for both heating and cooling, are a very significant factor affecting year-to-year variation in fossil fuel consumption and their resulting emissions.

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Oct 29, 2014

Nuclear Regulatory Commission resumes license renewals for nuclear power plants

graph of license expiration dates for operating U.S. nuclear reactors, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Following a two-year hiatus, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has resumed issuing license renewals for nuclear power plants. On October 20, the NRC renewed the operating licenses for Limerick Generating Station Units 1 and 2, located northwest of Philadelphia, extending their license expiration dates by 20 years, to 2044 and 2049, respectively. With this action, the NRC has granted license renewals providing a 20-year extension to a total of 74 of the 100 operating reactors in the United States. Nuclear power accounted for 20% of total power sector electricity generation in 2013.

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Oct 28, 2014

Benchmarks play an important role in pricing crude oil

graph of oxygenate content of gasoline and energy content of gasoline, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, from Bloomberg
Note: Dubai/Oman price calculated by taking the average of Dubai and Oman spot prices.

When energy analysts and the media discuss the price of crude oil, they are typically referring to one of a small group of specific types of crude oil that are widely and actively bought and sold. The use of such benchmark crudes makes it easier for buyers and sellers to price the variety of crudes that are produced around the world.

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Oct 27, 2014

Increasing ethanol use has reduced the average energy content of retail motor gasoline

graph of oxygenate content of gasoline and energy content of gasoline, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

EIA has adjusted its estimates of the energy content of retail motor gasoline in the Monthly Energy Review (MER) to reflect its changing composition. Ethanol and other oxygenates, which have lower energy content than petroleum-based gasoline components, have seen their share of total gasoline volumes increase from 2% in 1993 to nearly 10% in 2013. As a result, EIA's estimate of motor gasoline's average energy content per gallon has declined by about 3% over this 20-year period.

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Oct 24, 2014

Electricity distribution investments rose over the past two decades

graph of electricity distribution system additions in the U.S., as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Investment by U.S. investor-owned utilities in the electricity distribution system has increased over the past two decades. While down from a peak of $20 billion in 2012, 2013 levels remain higher than spending in the 1990s and early 2000s. Increased investment in the electricity distribution system has occurred even as U.S. electricity sales have decreased.

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Oct 23, 2014

Lower electricity-related CO2 emissions reflect lower carbon intensity and electricity use

graph of U.S. electric power carbon dioxide emissions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual CO2 Analysis

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) have declined in five of the past eight years. This trend has been led by emissions reductions in the electric power sector. Electricity demand growth has been lower than in the past and at the same time the power sector has become less carbon intensive (measured as CO2 emitted per kilowatthour of generation). Total emissions from the electric power sector in 2013 totaled 2,053 million metric tons (MMmt), about 15% below their 2005 level.

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Oct 22, 2014

Weather-driven energy intensity increase led to higher energy-related emissions in 2013

graph of factors affecting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual CO2 Analysis; Census Bureau; Bureau of Economic Analysis
Note: Growth rates reflect annual changes.

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased in 2013 by 129 million metric tons (2.5%), the largest increase since 2010 and the fourth-largest increase since 1990. Emissions trends reflect a combination of economic factors (population multiplied by per capita output [GDP/population]), energy intensity (energy use per dollar of GDP), and carbon intensity (carbon emissions per unit of energy consumed).

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Oct 21, 2014

Consumer energy expenditures are roughly 5% of disposable income, below long-term average

graph of consumer energy expenditures' share of disposable income, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bureau of Economic Analysis

Total U.S. household energy consumption expenditures have generally declined relative to disposable income since 1960, although during periods of high energy prices, consumers devote increasing shares of their income to energy. Energy expenditures ranged between 4% and 8% of disposable income since 1960. Consumer energy expenditures today are a lower percentage of disposable income than the average from 1960 to present (5.5% average).

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Oct 20, 2014

North Dakota aims to reduce natural gas flaring

graph of natural gas flared in North Dakota, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on North Dakota Industrial Commission

About one-third of the natural gas North Dakota has produced in recent years has been flared rather than sold to customers or consumed on-site. The rapid growth in North Dakota oil production, which rose from more than 230,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in January 2010 to more than 1,130,000 bbl/d in August 2014, has led to increased volumes of associated gas, or natural gas that comes from oil reservoirs. These increased volumes require additional infrastructure to gather, process, and transport gas volumes instead of flaring them. These additions can take time to build, and well operators are often reluctant to delay production. In an effort to reduce the amount of natural gas flared, North Dakota's Industrial Commission (NDIC) established targets that decrease the amount of flared gas over the next several years.

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