Today in Energy

Jul 22, 2014

Fuel economy and average vehicle cost vary significantly across vehicle types

graph of midsize passenger vehicle cost and miles per gallon by fuel type, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2014
Note: Years represent vehicle availability in the midsize passenger car size class.

Vehicle price and fueling costs are important factors consumers take into account when deciding to purchase a new light-duty vehicle. While vehicle purchase is influenced by cost and fuel economy, other important factors such as environmental concerns, performance, and style also play a part. Comparison of the fuel savings and incremental vehicle cost among various vehicle fuel types sheds light on how at least some consumers may perceive the value of purchasing a given vehicle fuel type relative to another.

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Jul 21, 2014

Recent improvements in petroleum trade balance mitigate U.S. trade deficit

graph of merchandise trade deficits by quarter, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) balance of payments adjustments to Census Foreign Trade data
Note: Petroleum and products includes crude oil, fuel oil, other petroleum products, natural gas liquids, and manufactured gas. The articles from February 2014 used monthly Census payment data that did not include the BEA adjustments.

Since the mid-1970s, the United States has run a deficit in merchandise trade, meaning that payments for imports exceeded receipts for exports. This large and growing deficit on the merchandise trade balance reached a maximum of $883 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

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Jul 18, 2014

Light-duty vehicles’ share of transportation energy use is projected to fall

graph of light-duty vehicles' share of transportation energy use, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2014

Transportation energy consumption, including energy demand from light-duty vehicles, heavy-duty vehicles, aircraft, marine vessels, rail, and other sources, reached 13.8 million barrels per day oil equivalent (boe/d) in 2012 (28% of all energy consumption in the United States), down from a peak of 14.6 million boe/d in 2007. In EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Reference case, light-duty vehicle energy consumption made up 63% of all transportation consumption in 2012, but its share is projected to drop to 51% in 2040. Heavy-duty vehicle energy consumption is projected to rise from 18% in 2012 to 28% of the total 13.1 million boe/d transportation energy consumption in 2040. The declining share of light-duty vehicles in transportation energy use over time is mainly the result of improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency.

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Jul 17, 2014

Oil and natural gas resource categories reflect varying degrees of certainty

graph of oil and natural gas resource categories, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: Resource categories are not drawn to scale relative to the actual size of each resource category. The graphic shown above is applicable only to oil and natural gas resources.

Crude oil and natural gas resources are the estimated oil and natural gas volumes that might be produced at some time in the future. The volumes of oil and natural gas that ultimately will be produced cannot be known ahead of time. Resource estimates change as extraction technologies improve, as markets evolve, and as oil and natural gas are produced. Consequently, the oil and gas industry, researchers, and government agencies spend considerable time and effort defining and quantifying oil and natural gas resources.

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Jul 16, 2014

EIA projects modest needs for new electric generation capacity

graph of electric generating capacity additions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, and Annual Energy Outlook 2014

The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case projects 351 gigawatts (GW) of new electric generating additions between 2013 and 2040, in both the electric power sector and end-use sectors. Projected future capacity additions are well below the average annual levels observed in recent history, and natural gas is the primary fuel source of the projected added capacity. Near-term additions (through 2016) average 16 GW per year, followed by additions of less than 9 GW per year through 2022, as the existing generating fleet will be sufficient to meet expected demand growth in most regions. From 2025 to 2040, annual additions increase to an average 14 GW per year, but remain below recent levels.

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Jul 15, 2014

Significant fuel economy improvement options exist for light-duty gasoline vehicles

image of selected fuel economy improving technologies available for passenger cars, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, modified from

Although light-duty vehicle types such as diesel, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and plug-in electric have garnered significant attention in recent years as ways to reduce petroleum consumption and lower consumer fuel costs, standard gasoline vehicles, including those that use micro and mild hybridization, are projected to retain nearly 80% of new sales in 2025 and 78% in 2040 in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Reference case.

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Jul 14, 2014

Flickr page and other tools make EIA data more accessible

Image of EIA's Flickr page, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

EIA's recently launched Flickr page provides users with another avenue to view graphs, charts, maps, and other images produced using EIA's data and analysis.

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Tags: energy , states

Jul 11, 2014

Fuel economy improvements show diminishing returns in fuel savings

graph of annual fuel savings and fuel cost savings by miles per gallon, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2014
Note: Calculations in graphic assume a fuel price of $3.50 per gallon and annual travel of 12,000 miles per vehicle.

Fuel costs, which depend on vehicle fuel economy, miles driven, and fuel price, are an important factor in vehicle purchasing decisions. However, fuel economy improvement exhibits diminishing returns in fuel savings. For example, switching from a 10-mile-per-gallon (mpg) vehicle to a 15-mpg vehicle saves more fuel and results in greater fuel cost savings than switching from a 25-mpg vehicle to a 75-mpg vehicle. The fuel and cost savings of improving fuel economy from 12 mpg to 15 mpg are the same as increasing from 30 mpg to 60 mpg.

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Jul 10, 2014

EIA projections show hydro growth limited by economics not resources

graph of conventional hydropower capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, EIA-860, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Note: Capacity values prior to 1989 are estimates. Existing capacity includes conventional hydroelectric and pumped storage. New stream-reach developments are stream segments without an existing dam. Expansions add power to existing dams. Some expansions are included in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 projections.

A recent study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the U.S. Department of Energy, the New Stream-reach Development Resource Assessment, finds that 61 gigawatts (GW) of hydroelectric power potential exists at waterways without existing dams or diversion facilities. This value excludes Alaska, Hawaii, and federally protected lands. ORNL's hydropower resource estimates contrast with the 2 GW of additional hydropower capacity projected to be added through 2040 in EIA's latest Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2014) Reference case. The difference in the two sets of numbers represents the significant gap between technical potential on the one hand and economic and operational potential on the other hand.

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Jul 9, 2014

Six formations are responsible for surge in Permian Basin crude oil production

graph of crude oil production from six selected  formations in the Permian Basin, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration calculations, based on data from Drillinginfo
Note: Production through December 2013 is reported. Production from January 2014 through May 2014 is estimated. Glorieta and Yeso are separate formations combined for this article. Additional amounts of Permian production come from other formations not included in this graph.

The Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is the nation's most prolific oil producing area. Six formations within the basin have provided the bulk of Permian's 60% increase in oil output since 2007. Crude oil production in the Permian Basin has increased from a low point of 850,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2007 to 1,350,000 bbl/d in 2013.

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