U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
How much coal, natural gas, or petroleum is used to generate a kilowatthour of electricity?
The amount of fuel used to generate electricity depends on the efficiency or heat rate of the generator (or power plant) and the heat content of the fuel. Power plant efficiencies (heat rates) vary by types of generators, power plant emission controls, and other factors. Fuel heat contents also vary.
Two formulas can be used to calculate the amount of fuel used to generate a kilowatthour (kWh) of electricity:
- Amount of fuel used per kWh = Heat rate (in British Thermal Units (Btu) per kWh) divided by Fuel heat content (in Btu per physical unit)
- Kilowatthour generated per unit of fuel used = Fuel heat content (in Btu per physical unit) divided by Heat rate (in Btu per kWh)
Data sources for the calculations:
- Table 7.3. Average Quality of Fossil Fuel Receipts for the Electric Power Industry ( xls )
- Table 8.1. Average Operating Heat Rate for Selected Energy Sources ( xls )
- Table 8.2 Average Tested Heat Rates by Prime Mover and Energy Source ( xls )
You can calculate the average amounts of fuels used to generate electricity in the United States, in each state, and at individual power plants using
- Data on total U.S. electricity generation (Table(s) 7.2 ) and fuel consumption for electricity generation (Table(s) 7.3)
- State-level historical electricity data files with annual and monthly electricity generation and fuel consumption
- Data on fuel consumption and electricity generation by fuel/energy source at U.S. power plants
Last updated: March 3, 2017
Other FAQs about Natural Gas
- Does EIA have county-level energy production data?
- Does EIA have energy consumption and price data for cities, counties, or by zip code?
- Does EIA have maps or information on the location of U.S. natural gas and oil pipelines?
- Does EIA have projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- Does EIA publish shale gas and coal bed methane production and reserves data?
- How does EIA calculate the year-ago and five-year averages in the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report?
- How many gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel are made from one barrel of oil?
- How much coal, natural gas, or petroleum is used to generate a kilowatthour of electricity?
- Which states consume and produce the most natural gas?
- Why am I being charged more for propane than the price on EIA's website?
- How much natural gas does the United States have, and how long will it last?
- How much natural gas is consumed in the United States?
- How much shale gas is produced in the United States?
- What are Ccf, Mcf, Btu, and therms? How do I convert natural gas prices in dollars per Ccf or Mcf to dollars per Btu or therm?
- What are the major factors affecting natural gas prices?
- What can I expect to pay for heating this winter?
- What is the average price of natural gas for U.S. electric power producers?
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?
- What is the volume of world natural gas reserves?
- What types and amounts of energy are produced in each state?