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Using & saving energy

Energy use basics

We use a lot of energy in our homes, in businesses, in industry, and for personal travel and transporting goods.

How the United States uses energy

Americans use a lot of energy in homes, in businesses, and in industry, and to travel and transport goods. There are five energy-use sectors:

  • The industrial sector includes facilities and equipment used for manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and construction.
  • The transportation sector includes vehicles that transport people or goods, such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, aircraft, boats, barges, and ships.
  • The residential sector includes homes and apartments.
  • The commercial sector includes offices, malls, stores, schools, hospitals, hotels, warehouses, restaurants, and places of worship and public assembly.
  • The electric power sector consumes primary energy to generate most of the electricity to sell to the other four sectors.

The energy used by the electric power sector can be distributed among the four energy end-use sectors—industrial, transportation, residential, and commercial—according to the amount of electricity sold to (purchased by) the end-use sectors.

Total annual U.S. energy consumption reached a record high of about 101 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2018. Consumption decreased in 2019, largely because of mild winter weather in most regions of the country. The COVID-19 pandemic that began in the United States during the spring of 2020 contributed to a decline is U.S. energy use by about 7.5% from 2019. Before 2020, the largest recorded annual decrease in U.S. energy consumption occurred between 2008 and 2009, when consumption decreased by about 4.9% during the economic recession. Other large annual decreases in U.S. energy consumption occurred during economic recessions in the early 1980s and in 2001.

In 2022, total U.S. energy consumption was about 100 quads, about a 2.6% increase from 2021 as the economy continued to recover from the effects of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Total energy use by each of the end-use sectors increased in 2022, but the commercial and industrial sectors experienced the largest annual increases in total energy consumption of about 4.2% and 3.9%, respectively.

Here is a list of graphics related to U.S. annual energy supply and distribution for the most recent year total annual data are available: