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September 9, 2021

In 2019, U.S. inflation-adjusted energy expenditures fell 5%

U.S. energy expenditures
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Data System and Monthly Energy Review

U.S. energy expenditures, or the amount of money spent by consumers to purchase energy, fell to $1.2 trillion in 2019, down 5% in real terms compared with 2018, according to the latest data in our State Energy Data System (SEDS). From 2018 to 2019, total energy consumption in the United States fell 1%, and average total energy prices, adjusted for inflation, fell 5%, contributing to the decline in total energy expenditures.

U.S. per capita energy expenditures were $3,728 in 2019, a 6% decline from 2018. This amount represents the money spent on all of the energy used in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors. California was the only state in which per capita energy expenditures increased from 2018 to 2019.

The share of U.S. energy expenditures per real dollar of gross domestic product (GDP), which compares the amount of money spent on end-use energy to the value of all goods and services in the entire U.S. economy, was 5.7% in 2019, one of the lowest values in our data series that date back to 1970.

U.S. energy expenditures by source
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Data System

Petroleum products, such as motor gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and hydrocarbon gas liquids, account for the largest share of end-use energy expenditures in the United States. In 2019, end-use expenditures on petroleum products totaled $699 billion, a 7% decrease from 2018. Petroleum accounted for 57% of total energy expenditures in 2019, and petroleum has made up at least 44% of end-use energy expenditures every year since 1970.

Retail sales of electricity were the second-largest source of U.S. end-use energy expenditures in 2019 at $399 billion, or about 33% of the nation’s total. EIA’s retail sales of electricity expenditures estimate the amount of money spent by end-use customers such as businesses and homes. We remove the expenditures of primary energy sources (natural gas, coal, nuclear, renewables, and petroleum) used by the electric power sector to generate electricity to avoid double counting expenditures.

Natural gas used for purposes other than in the electric power sector, such as heating homes and buildings, accounted for $117 billion, about 10% of total end-use energy expenditures. Although most coal is used for electricity generation, coal used for other purposes, such as metal manufacturing, accounted for $4 billion of expenditures, or less than 1% of the nation’s total.

Additional state-level analysis for all types of energy is available in our State Energy Portal.

Principal contributor: Brett Marohl