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Use of energy explained Energy use in industry

The industrial sector consists of all facilities and equipment used for producing, processing, or assembling goods. The industrial sector includes manufacturing, agriculture (farming), construction, fishing, forestry, and mining (which includes oil and natural gas extraction).

In 2018, manufacturing accounted for about 78% of total U.S. industrial sector end-use energy consumption. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) conducts the Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS) to collect detailed information on energy use and expenditures and other data by U.S. manufacturing establishments.

Natural gas accounts for the largest share of U.S. manufacturing energy consumption

According to the 2018 MECS1, natural gas accounted for about 38% of total energy consumption as fuel and as nonfuel (feedstock) by manufacturers to make products. As a fuel, natural gas accounted for 41% of total manufacturing fuel use in 2018, and as a feedstock, for 16% of total manufacturing energy use as feedstocks. Nearly all (98%) of hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) use by manufacturers is as feedstocks. Use of coal, coke, and breeze and of fuel oils for fuel and as feedstocks declined in each MECS from 2002 to 2018. In 2018, coal, coke, and breeze accounted for 6% of manufacturing energy consumption, of which 62% was used as fuel and 38% was used as feedstocks. Fuel oils (distillate and residual fuels) combined accounted for 3% of manufacturing energy use in 2018 with 92% used as a fuel. Biomass use is nearly all as a fuel and nearly all by the wood and paper products industries.

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Electricity use and generation by manufacturers

The amount of electricity used by U.S. manufacturers has varied somewhat from the 2002 MECS to the 2018 MECS. However, electricity's percentage share of annual energy use (excluding nonfuel/feedstock uses for energy) by manufacturers has been fairly consistent at about 14%. Most of the electricity consumed by manufacturers is purchased, but some manufacturers generate their own electricity onsite (at the location of their facilities). Onsite electricity generation by U.S. manufacturers was equal to about 15% of manufacturing electricity use in 2018.

In 2018, about 96% of the electricity generated onsite by manufacturers was from combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which is about the same proportion as in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Natural gas accounted for 90% and coal for 9% of fuel use in manufacturer’s CHP systems in 2018.

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1 2018 is the most recent year for which MECS data are available as of the date when this page was last reviewed.

Last reviewed: July 7, 2023.