U.S. Energy Information Administration logo
Skip to sub-navigation
December 12, 2012

Energy Perspectives: The United States has a varied and complex energy flow chart

Image of U.S. energy flow, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review.
Note: Click to enlarge

Note: This is the first of several Today in Energy articles that will run over the next week and a half focusing on EIA's Energy Perspectives, a graphical overview of energy history in the United States.

The United States flow of energy from supply to demand is complex. Petroleum, natural gas, and coal together account for about 82% of our energy use, with renewable and nuclear energy providing the rest of our energy use. The United States is both an importer and exporter of energy.

From production on the left to consumption on the right, the four main components of the U.S. energy flow are:

  • Domestic production (78.10 quadrillion Btu). Of the roughly 78 quadrillion Btu (quads) of domestic production in 2011, approximately 61 quads came from nonrenewable fossil fuels: coal, natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas plant liquids. Another 8 quads came from nuclear electric power, while renewable sources including hydroelectric power, biomass, geothermal, solar-photovoltaic, and wind provided an additional 9 quads.
  • Imports (28.59 quadrillion Btu). Over 85% of U.S. energy imports are crude oil and petroleum products. The remaining imports include natural gas, coal, coal coke, biofuels, and electricity.
  • Exports (10.36 quadrillion Btu). About 57% of U.S. energy exports are crude oil and petroleum products. Similar to imports, other exported products include natural gas, coal, coal coke, biofuels, and electricity.
  • Consumption (97.30 quadrillion Btu). In 2011, the industrial sector consumed 31 quads, the most energy of the four sectors. The transportation sector consumed about 27 quads, while the buildings sectors—residential and commercial—consumed about 22 quads and 18 quads, respectively. These consumption totals include electrical systems energy losses associated with generation of the electricity that is used in each sector.

Subsequent Today in Energy articles will focus more on each component of the U.S. national energy flows as well as their environmental implications. Additional historical information about these energy-related concepts can be found in EIA's Annual Energy Review.