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Natural gas explained Use of natural gas

The United States used about 32.31 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2022, the equivalent of about 33.41 quadrillion British thermal units (quads). This usage was equal to about 33% of U.S. total primary energy consumption.

  • Natural gas use by U.S. consuming sectors by amount and percentage share of total U.S. natural gas consumption in 2022 was:1
  • electric power12.12 Tcf38%
  • industrial10.44 Tcf32%
  • residential4.99 Tcf15%
  • commercial3.52 Tcf11%
  • transportation1.24 Tcf4%

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Electricity generation and heating are the primary uses for natural gas in the United States

Most U.S. natural gas use is for generating electricity and for heating, but some consuming sectors have other uses for natural gas.

The electric power sector uses natural gas to generate electricity and produce useful thermal output. In 2022, the electric power sector accounted for about 38% of total U.S. natural gas consumption, and natural gas was the source of about 33% of the U.S. electric power sector's primary energy consumption.

Most of U.S. electric power sector electricity generation is sold to (purchased by) the energy end-use consuming sectors—commercial, industrial, residential, and transportation. The energy content of electricity sales is included in each sector’s end-use energy consumption.2 The industrial and commercial sectors also use natural gas to generate electricity, and they use nearly all of this electricity themselves as direct use. Natural gas accounted for about 40% of total utility-scale U.S. electricity generation by all sectors in 2022.

In 2022, the industrial sector accounted for about 32% of total U.S. natural gas consumption, and natural gas was the source of about 41% of the U.S. industrial sector's end-use energy consumption. Industry uses natural gas for many purposes, including as a feedstock (raw material) to make products and to generate electricity.

In 2022, the residential sector accounted for about 15% of total U.S. natural gas consumption, and natural gas was the source of about 42% of U.S. residential sector end-use energy consumption. About 60% of U.S. homes use natural gas for space and water heating, cooking, and drying clothes.

In 2022, the commercial sector accounted for about 11% of total U.S. natural gas consumption, and natural gas was the source of about 24% of the commercial sector end-use energy consumption. Natural gas is one of the primary sources of energy in U.S. commercial buildings. Some consumers in the commercial sector also use natural gas as a fuel to generate electricity and in combined heat and power systems.

In 2022, the transportation sector accounted for about 4% of total U.S. natural gas consumption, and natural gas accounted for about 5% of transportation sector total end-use energy consumption. About 96% of transportation sector natural gas consumption was to power compressors that move natural gas through transmission and distribution pipelines. Nearly all natural gas consumption in vehicles is by government and private vehicle fleets as compressed and liquefied natural gas.

Texas is the largest natural gas-consuming state

Natural gas is used throughout the United States, but five states accounted for about 39% of total U.S. natural gas consumption in 2021.4

  • The five largest natural gas-consuming states and their percentage shares of total U.S. natural gas consumption in 2021 were:4
  • Texas15.2%
  • California6.8%
  • Louisiana5.9%
  • Pennsylvania5.7%
  • Florida5.0%

1 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, Table 4.3, April 2023. Sum of shares may not equal 100% because of independent rounding. Data are preliminary.
2 End-use energy consumption is the end use sectors' (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation) consumption of primary energy plus electricity sales to ultimate customers. The energy associated with electrical system energy losses is not included.
3 Utility-scale includes electricity generation by power plants with at least one megawatt of electricity generation capacity.
4 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual, September 2022.

Last updated: April 28, 2023, with most recent data available; data for 2022 are preliminary.