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Today in Energy

April 3, 2023

U.S. energy consumption increases between 0% and 15% by 2050

total energy consumption by end-use sectors
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2023 (AEO2023)

Consumption of all forms of energy increases in the United States between 0% and 15% from 2022 to 2050 in our Annual Energy Outlook 2023 (AEO2023). Our projection of growth in U.S. energy consumption is the result of the effects of economic growth, population growth, and increased travel offsetting continued energy efficiency improvements.

In the AEO2023, we explore long-term energy trends in the United States and present an outlook for energy markets through 2050. We use different scenarios, or cases, to understand how varying assumptions affect energy trends. The AEO2023 Reference case serves as a baseline, or benchmark, case, reflecting laws and regulations adopted through mid-November 2022, including the Inflation Reduction Act.

Combined energy consumption in four U.S. end-use sectors—industrial, transportation, residential, and commercial—includes primary energy consumption, electricity use, and electricity-related losses. Energy consumption in the industrial and transportation sectors are the most sensitive to changes in assumptions across cases, in percentage terms. In the industrial sector, energy consumption increases between 5% and 32% between 2022 and 2050. In the transportation sector, energy consumption ranges from a decrease of 10% between 2022 and 2050 to an increase of 8%. Both sectors are heavily influenced by assumptions of economic growth; as the economy grows, they consume more energy.

Increasing energy consumption, improving end-use and electric power sector technology and efficiency, and declining costs for zero-carbon generation technologies leads to cheaper electricity, which drives increased electrification in the end-use sectors in the AEO2023 Reference case and all side cases.

The share of U.S. electricity consumed in the residential and transportation sectors increases the most as demand for space cooling increases and electric vehicles gain a larger market share. Households in the U.S. residential sector purchased 5.1 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of electricity in 2022. Our projections of residential consumption of purchased electricity increase between about 14% and 22% from 2022 to 2050 across all cases, reaching between 5.9 quads and 6.3 quads. In 2022, electric vehicles made up about a 6%–7% share of the U.S. vehicle market. As we project adoption of EVs to increase, electricity purchased for transportation reaches between about 0.6 quads and 1.3 quads in 2050, from 0.1 quads of purchased electricity in 2022, about an 900% to 2,000% increase across all cases.

Our projection of electricity purchased in the industrial sector is most influenced by economic growth assumptions, increasing by about 3% (from 3.5 quads in 2022 to about 3.6 quads in 2050) in low economic growth cases and by about 36% to 38% (to about 4.7 quads) in high economic growth cases.

Principal contributor: EIA Staff