Today in Energy

May 27, 2015

Under the proposed Clean Power Plan, natural gas, then renewables, gain generation share

graph of electric power sector generation by fuel, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan

EIA's recently released analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan rule shows it would result in major changes in the fuel mix used to generate electricity in the United States.

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May 26, 2015

Proposed Clean Power Plan rule cuts power sector CO2 emissions to lowest level since 1980s

graph of carbon dioxide emission from the electric power sector, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan

In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. EIA's newly released analysis of the proposed rule shows power sector CO2 emissions falling to about 1,500 million metric tons per year by 2025, a level not seen since the early 1980s, in the Base Policy case.

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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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