The United States used about 27.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2015, the equivalent of 28.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and 29% of total U.S. energy consumption.1
Natural gas use by U.S. consuming sectors in 2015:
- Electric power—9.7 Tcf
- Industrial—9.1 Tcf
- Residential—4.6 Tcf
- Commercial—3.2 Tcf
- Transportation—0.9 Tcf
How natural gas is used
Most U.S. natural gas is used to heat buildings and to generate electricity, but some consuming sectors have other uses for natural gas.
The electric power sector uses natural gas to generate electricity. In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 26% of U.S. electric power sector energy consumption. (Other consuming sectors also use natural gas to generate electricity.)
The industrial sector uses natural gas as a fuel for process heating and for combined heat and power systems and as a raw material (feedstock) to produce chemicals, fertilizer, and hydrogen. In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 30% of U.S. industrial sector energy consumption.
The residential sector uses natural gas to heat buildings and water, to cook, and to dry clothes. About half of the homes in the United States use natural gas for these purposes. In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 23% of U.S. residential sector energy consumption.
The commercial sector uses natural gas to heat buildings and water, to operate refrigeration and cooling equipment, to cook, to dry clothes, and to provide outdoor lighting. Some consumers in the commercial sector also use natural gas as a fuel in combined heat and power systems. In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 18% of U.S. commercial sector energy consumption.
The transportation sector uses natural gas as a fuel to operate compressors that move natural gas through pipelines. A relatively small amount of natural gas is used as vehicle fuel in the form of compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas. Nearly all vehicles that use natural gas as a fuel are in government and private vehicle fleets. In 2015, natural gas was the source of about 3% of U.S. transportation sector energy consumption, of which 97% was for natural gas pipeline and distribution operations.
Where natural gas is used
Natural gas is used throughout the United States, but five states accounted for about 39% of total U.S. natural gas consumption in 2015:
- New York—5.3%
1Preliminary data for 2015.