Today in Energy

May 26, 2017

Gasoline prices ahead of Memorial Day are higher than 2016, but second lowest since 2009

map of U.S. gasoline prices, as explained in the article text
Source: Provided by GasBuddy.com

Gasoline prices heading into Memorial Day weekend average $2.40 per gallon (gal) nationally, up from last year's price of $2.30/gal. Despite the year-over-year increase, 2017 marks the second-lowest price ahead of the Memorial Day weekend since 2009, when the national average price of retail regular gasoline was $2.31/gal. Relatively low crude oil spot prices, weaker year-over-year gasoline demand, and high gasoline inventories have contributed to relatively low gasoline prices.

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May 25, 2017

Energy storage and renewables beyond wind, hydro, solar make up 4% of U.S. power capacity

graph of U.S. utility-scale electric generating capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

Beyond the main sources of electricity generation capacity in the United States that have recently been discussed in a series of Today in Energy articles, additional amounts of utility-scale capacity are provided by technologies such as hydroelectric pumped storage, batteries, flywheels, and renewable fuels other than hydro, wind, and solar. These sources collectively accounted for 4% of the electricity generating capacity in the United States in 2016.

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May 24, 2017

Crossover utility vehicles blur distinction between passenger cars and light trucks

graph of light-duty vehicle on-road fuel economy versus vehicle footprint, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Note: Conventional-fueled vehicles only: gasoline, diesel, mild hybrids.

Light-duty vehicles are generally classified into two groups: passenger cars and light trucks. However, crossover utility vehicles (CUVs)—which appear similar to sport utility vehicles but share design attributes with passenger cars—are blurring the distinction between the two classifications.

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May 23, 2017

Fuel economy improvements are projected to reduce future gasoline use

graph of light-duty vehicle metrics in the AEO2017 Reference case, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2017

Anticipated changes in energy consumption by light-duty vehicles in the United States are based on two factors: the amount of travel and the fuel economy of the vehicles used. The Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case projects a decline in light-duty vehicle energy use between 2018 and 2040 as improvements in fuel economy more than offset increases in light-duty vehicle miles.

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May 22, 2017

Air conditioning and other appliances increase residential electricity use in the summer

graph of residential air conditioning equipment by climate region, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey

Residential electricity consumption rises and falls seasonally substantially more than commercial or industrial consumption, largely because of air conditioning use in the summer. According to the most recent data from EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. homes are air conditioned by central units, individual (window, wall, or portable) units, or both. Other activities, including use of fans, dehumidifiers, and pool pumps, also increase summer electricity use in homes.

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May 19, 2017

OPEC net oil revenues in 2016 were the lowest since 2004

graph of OPEC net oil export revenues, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) earned about $433 billion in net oil export revenues in 2016, the lowest since 2004. In real dollar terms, the 2016 revenue represents a 15% decline from the $509 billion earned in 2015, mainly because of the fall in average annual crude oil prices and, to a lesser extent, because of decreases in OPEC net oil exports.

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May 18, 2017

Large commercial buildings are more likely to use lighting control strategies

graph of lighting controls used in commercial buildings, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey

The most recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) collected new information about lighting control technologies and strategies in the United States in 2012. Compared with other investments in energy efficiency—such as upgrading heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems or replacing insulation—lighting controls are often relatively easy, accessible, and affordable changes. A new EIA report, Trends in Lighting in Commercial Buildings, details these strategies and provides information about lighting technologies in commercial buildings.

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May 17, 2017

California electricity mix in 2017 has involved more renewables, less natural gas

graph of CAISO electricity generation mix for selected fuels, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg

So far in 2017, increased hydroelectric generation and solar power generation in California have contributed to lower natural gas-fired power generation in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region, the electric system operator for much of the state. In a late April update to several state agencies responsible for planning and managing California’s energy reliability, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) outlined its views regarding several assumptions and challenges for safely and reliably serving its customers in Southern California over the coming summer and winter.

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May 16, 2017

Oil-fired power plants provide small amounts of U.S. electricity capacity and generation

graph of U.S. utilty-scale electric generating capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

Roughly 70% of petroleum-fired electric generating capacity that still exists today was constructed prior to 1980. Utility-scale generators that reported petroleum as their primary fuel comprised only 3% of total electric generating capacity at the end of 2016 and produced less than 1% of total electricity generation during 2016.

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May 15, 2017

Petroleum product exports from Central Atlantic states were unusually high in February

graph of Central Atlantic finished petroleum product exports, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: PADD is Petroleum Administration for Defense District. Finished petroleum products include asphalt and road oil, distillate, jet fuel, kerosene, lubricants, petroleum coke, residual fuel, special naphthas, and total motor gasoline.

Exports of finished petroleum products from the Central Atlantic region of the United States (Petroleum Administration of Defense District, or PADD 1B) reached a record high in February 2017. Increased exports were driven by lower prices for several petroleum products in the Central Atlantic region compared with prices in other regions in the Atlantic Basin. Distillate fuel and total motor gasoline, the two most-consumed petroleum products globally, were among the products that showed an increase in exports.

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