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Today in Energy

Aug 21, 2018

U.S. households are holding on to their vehicles longer

U.S. household vehicle age distribution
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, National Household Travel Survey

The turnover of household vehicles has slowed since 2009, based on U.S. Department of Transportation surveys of household vehicle travel. The 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reported that households held on to their cars, trucks, and vans longer. The average vehicle age has increased from 9.3 years in 2009 to 10.5 years in 2017, suggesting that many households have delayed the purchase of a new vehicle and continuing a trend of U.S. households operating vehicles longer.

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Aug 20, 2018

The port district of Houston-Galveston became a net exporter of crude oil in April

crude oil imports and exports through the port district of Houston-Galveston, Texas
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and U.S. Census Bureau
Note: Not included in the map are the Houston Intercontinental Airport and the Sugar Land Regional Airport, which are also ports within the Houston-Galveston port district.

The U.S. port district of Houston-Galveston in Texas recently began exporting more crude oil than it imported for the first time on record. Crude oil exports from the Houston-Galveston port district have increased since the restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports were lifted at the end of 2015. In April 2018, crude oil exports from Houston-Galveston surpassed crude oil imports by 15,000 barrels per day (b/d). In May 2018, the difference between crude oil exports and imports increased substantially to 470,000 b/d.

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Aug 17, 2018

Electric power sector coal inventories are expected to remain relatively low through 2019

U.S. electric power sector coal inventories
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, August 2018

In May 2018, coal inventories, or stockpiles, in the electric power sector totaled 128 million short tons (MMst), 34 MMst (21%) lower than in May 2017, and the lowest at that time of year since 2014. Stockpiles have averaged 35 MMst (22%) lower during the first five months of 2018 compared with 2017.

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Aug 16, 2018

PURPA-qualifying capacity increases, but it's still a small portion of added renewables

U.S. solar photovoltaic and onshore wind capacity additions
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generator Report

Between 2008 and 2017, more than 103 gigawatts (GW) of renewable generating capacity entered service in the United States, of which only 14 GW is certified to have qualifying facility small power producer status under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plants—those that have a capacity of one megawatt (MW) and higher—account for more than 8 GW of the added qualifying capacity, followed by onshore wind at 4 GW. During the past decade, PURPA-qualifying facilities have accounted for 31% of solar PV capacity, 5% of onshore wind capacity, and 6% of total electric generating capacity across all technologies in the United States.

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Aug 15, 2018

Six states account for more than 70% of U.S. fuel ethanol production

fuel ethanol production by state
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Data System

Six states accounted for 72% of U.S. fuel ethanol production in 2016, according to the most recent estimates from EIA’s State Energy Data System. Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and South Dakota collectively produced 265 million barrels of fuel ethanol out of the U.S. total of 367 million barrels. All 6 states are among the top 10 U.S. producers of corn, the primary feedstock for ethanol plants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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Aug 14, 2018

Offshore discoveries in the Mediterranean could increase Egypt’s natural gas production

Egypt natural gas fields and select infrastructure
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on IHS Markit, Middle East Economic Survey, and company press releases

Natural gas production in Egypt has been in decline, falling from a 2009 peak of 5.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 3.9 Bcf/d in 2016, based on estimates in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. The startup of a number of natural gas development projects located offshore in the eastern Mediterranean Sea near Egypt’s northern coast has significantly altered the outlook for the region’s natural gas markets. Production from these projects could offset the growing need for natural gas imports to meet domestic demand, according to the Egyptian government.

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Aug 13, 2018

U.S. refineries running at near-record highs

U.S. gross refinery inputs
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Petroleum Status Report

For the week ending July 6, 2018, the four-week average of U.S. gross refinery inputs surpassed 18 million barrels per day (b/d) for the first time on record. U.S. refineries are running at record levels in response to robust domestic and international demand for motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil.

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Aug 10, 2018

Natural gas pipeline capacity to South Central region and export markets increases in 2018

natural gas pipeline capacity into the South Central United States
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. natural gas pipeline state-to-state capacity

By the end of 2018, EIA expects natural gas pipeline capacity into the South Central region of the United States to reach almost 19 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). The region has shifted from being a source of natural gas supply to a source of growing demand, reversing the historical flows of natural gas in the Lower 48 states. Natural gas pipeline projects scheduled to come online in 2018 will bring additional supply to the Gulf Coast and support growing export markets.

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Aug 9, 2018

Higher economic growth in Africa could lead to more energy use, especially in industry

Africa GDP and energy consumption
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2018
Note: PPP is purchasing power parity.

Africa, with its wealth of natural resources and fast-growing population, may have a significant impact on international energy markets over the next 25 years. The International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018) analyzed uncertainty associated with future energy demand growth in Africa by examining a sensitivity case in which a faster rate of economic growth in Africa—compared with the IEO2018 Reference case—results in greater energy consumption and a larger manufacturing sector through 2040.

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Aug 8, 2018

Average U.S. construction costs for solar and wind continued to fall in 2016

capacity-weighted average construction costs
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Electric Generator Construction Costs

Based on 2016 EIA data for newly constructed utility-scale electric generators (those with a capacity greater than one megawatt) in the United States, annual capacity-weighted average construction costs for solar photovoltaic systems and onshore wind turbines declined, while construction costs for natural gas generators increased slightly. These three technologies accounted for about 93% of total electric generating capacity added in 2016. Across the United States, investment in electric generating capacity in 2016 increased more than 50% from 2015.

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