Today in Energy

Apr 17, 2015

New maps highlight geologic characteristics of U.S. tight oil, shale plays

Map of lower 48 states shale plays, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from various published studies
Note: Click to enlarge.

EIA is currently in the process of updating maps of major tight oil and shale gas plays, including the Eagle Ford and Marcellus plays, which will help to better characterize the geology of key areas of production in the United States. EIA's most recent maps focus on shale and tight oil plays, and characterize plays based on geologic characteristics, including rock type and age. Understanding geologic history and processes helps exploration and production companies reduce the risk of drilling dry, nonproducing wells and better understand hydrocarbon resource potentials.

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Apr 16, 2015

Households with more vehicles travel more

graph of average annual vehicle miles traveled per household, as explained in the article text
Source: Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey 2009

Based on data from the National Household Travel Survey, households with more vehicles not only travel more, but often put more miles on their most-used vehicle compared to households with fewer vehicles. Households with just one vehicle drove an average of 10,600 miles per year, while households with six or more vehicles traveled a total of 57,700 miles. Sixty-eight percent of households have either one or two cars.

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Apr 15, 2015

U.S. energy imports and exports to come into balance for first time since 1950s

graph of U.S. net energy trade in four cases, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (interactive table viewer)

Projections in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015), released April 14, show the potential to eliminate net U.S. energy imports sometime between 2020 and 2030. This reflects changes in both supply and demand, as continued growth in oil and natural gas production and the use of renewables combine with demand-side efficiencies to moderate demand growth. The United States has been a net importer of energy since the 1950s.

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Apr 14, 2015

EIA's Annual Energy Outlook will be released later today

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

At 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, EIA will release the Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015), which presents long-term projections of energy supply, demand, and prices through 2040. The analysis in AEO2015 focuses on six cases: Reference, Low and High Economic Growth, Low and High Oil Price, and High Oil and Gas Resource.

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Tags: energy , forecast

Apr 13, 2015

Household spending on gasoline and public transit varies by region, income

graph of selected consumer transportation expenditures by region, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey 2003-13

Households in different regions of the United States have similar average combined spending on gasoline and public transit, but the composition of that spending varies significantly across regions. In 2013, the most recent year of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), the average household spent $3,148 annually on gasoline and public transit, with only about a $200 difference between geographic regions with the highest and lowest travel expenditures. Differences across income levels are much greater, as households in the highest-income brackets spent almost four times as much on recurring travel expenditures as those in the lowest-income bracket.

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Apr 10, 2015

U.S. household gasoline expenditures expected to fall in 2015

graph of average annual household expenditures on gasoline, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Expenditures Survey 2003-2013 and EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook, March 2015
Note: Gasoline expenditures include spending on motor oil.

The average U.S. household expenditure on motor gasoline in 2015 is expected to be about $1,817, the lowest level in more than a decade. This level is about $700 less than average household gasoline expenditures in 2014. Actual spending can vary based on driving-related factors (number of vehicles, annual distance driven), some of which depend on demographic considerations (location, income, size of household). As one might expect, households with more people tend to spend more on gasoline in a year.

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Apr 9, 2015

California’s continued drought, reduced snowpack mean lower hydropower output

Map of California drought, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor; National Drought Mitigation Center

Updated at 9:20 a.m. to include the most recent drought information from California, released this morning.

Earlier this month, California Governor Jerry Brown enacted mandatory water restrictions for the first time in the state's history. While the executive order doesn't directly address hydropower generation and instead focuses on water use in cities and towns, the drought that began in 2011 has had a noticeable effect on hydropower. Furthermore, reduced levels of snowpack likely mean that hydropower output will be low throughout the summer.

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Apr 8, 2015

Summer gasoline prices to be down more than $1 from last summer

graph of regular-grade gasoline retail price and summer average, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook

U.S. drivers are projected to pay an average of $2.45/gallon (gal) for regular grade gasoline this summer (April through September), according to EIA's Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook released yesterday. This year's projected average summer price is down from a $3.59/gal average during summer 2014.

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Apr 7, 2015

U.S. remained world's largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2014

graph of estimated U.S., Russia, and Saudi Arabia petroleum and natural gas production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: Petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, refinery processing gain, and other liquids, including biofuels. Barrels per day oil equivalent were calculated using a conversion factor of 1 barrel oil equivalent = 5.55 million British thermal units (Btu).

The United States remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2014, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. U.S. hydrocarbon production continues to exceed that of both Russia and Saudi Arabia, the second- and third-largest producers, respectively. For the United States and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production, in energy content terms, is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas. Saudi Arabia's production, on the other hand, heavily favors petroleum.

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Apr 6, 2015

EIA assesses options for processing additional U.S. light tight oil production

graph of electric power sector storage capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: Copyright BP, p.l.c. Used with permission

Republished April 7, 2015, 11:20 a.m., text was modified.

With the growth in U.S. production of light tight oil (LTO) in recent years, petroleum refiners in the United States have been processing greater volumes of LTO. To date, increased volumes of domestic LTO have mainly been accommodated with no- and low-cost options such as reducing light crude oil imports, increasing refinery utilization rates, making incremental efficiency improvements (crude unit debottlenecking), and displacing medium crude oil imports. A new EIA report reviews a range of additional options that U.S. refiners may consider to expand LTO processing capacity. The costs of these generic options vary according to each facility size, complexity, location, and a number of other factors:

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