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Total Energy

Energy Perspectives 1949–2011

September 2012  PDF | previous editions
Release Date: September 27, 2012


Energy Perspectives is a graphical overview of energy history in the United States. The 42 graphs shown here reveal sweeping trends related to the Nation's production, consumption, and trade of energy from 1949 through 2011.


Energy Flow, 2011 (Quadrillion Btu)

Total Energy Flow diagram image

For footnotes see here.

Energy can be grouped into three broad categories. First, and by far the largest, is the fossil fuels–coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Fossil fuels have stored the sun's energy over millennia past, and it is primarily that captured energy that we are drawing on today to fuel the activities of the modern economy. Use of the individual fossil fuels changed at different rates over the decades but all three major forms have been essential to meeting the Nation's energy requirements. In 1949, fossil fuel consumption in the United States totaled 29 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu); in 2011, the total was 80 quadrillion Btu.

The second major category of energy is nuclear power, which is a relative newcomer in the energy business. The nuclear electric power industry got its start in this country in 1957, when the Shippingport, Pennsylvania, nuclear electric power plant came on line. By 2011, the industry had expanded to supply 19 percent of the Nation's electrical output and 8 percent of all primary energy.


Renewable Energy as Share of Total Primary Energy Consumption, 2011

Renewable Energy by Source diagram image

The third category is renewable energy. Unlike fossil fuels, which are finite in supply, renewable energy is essentially inexhaustible because it is naturally replenished. Renewable energy includes conventional hydroelectric power, which is power derived from flowing water; biomass such as wood, waste, and biofuels; geothermal; solar; and wind. Before the great expansion in fossil fuel use that began with coal in the late 1800s, wood was the primary fuel used in this country. Today, we are looking again at renewable resources to find new ways to help meet our energy needs. In 2011, all forms of renewable energy together accounted for 9 percent of U.S. primary energy consumption.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration invites you to study the trends appearing in this update of Energy Perspectives. For greater detail of data and illustrations, please see the main report, the Annual Energy Review 2011. For the most current data for many of the time series, see the Monthly Energy Review.

Energy Perspective charts

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Related articles

Total Energy
1. F0101aU.S. Primary Energy Production, Consumption, Imports, and Exports, 1949-2011
2. F0105dU.S. Primary Energy Consumption per Capita, 1949-2011
3. F0105cU.S. Primary Energy Consumption per Real Dollar of Gross Domestic Product, 1949-2011
4. P_05U.S. Primary Energy Consumption Estimates by Major Source, 1949-2011
5. P_06U.S. Primary Energy Consumption Estimates by Source, 1775-2011
6. F0201aaU.S. Total Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, 1949-2011
7. P_08U.S. Residential and Commercial Sector Total Energy Consumption Estimates by Major Source, 1949-2011
8. F0201bcU.S. Industrial Sector Total Energy Consumption Estimates by Major Source, 1949-2011
9. P_10U.S. Transportation Sector Total Energy Consumption Estimates by Major Source, 1949-2011
10. F0102bU.S. Primary Energy Production by Major Source, 1949-2011
Petroleum and Other Liquids
11. F0501baU.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids Production, Estimated Consumption, and Net Imports, 1949-2011
12. F0502c48 States and Alaskan Crude Oil Production, 1954-2011
13. F0513aaU.S. Petroleum Consumption Estimates by Sector, 1949-2011
14. F0511aU.S. Petroleum Consumption Estimates by Selected Product, 1949-2011
15. F0521bU.S. Refiner Acquisition Cost of Crude Oil, 1968-2011
16. F0524aMotor Gasoline Retail Prices, U.S. City Average, 1978-2011
17. F0501bdU.S. Petroleum Imports and Exports, 1949-2011
18. F0504aU.S. Petroleum Imports From OPEC and Non-OPEC Countries, 1960-2011
19. F0504cU.S. Petroleum Imports From Selected OPEC Countries, 1960-2011
20. F0504dU.S. Petroleum Imports From Canada and Mexico, 1960-2011
21. F0517dU.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Stocks as Days of Petroleum Net Imports, 1977-2011
22. F0208aU.S. Motor Vehicle Indicators, 1949-2010
Natural Gas
23. F0601aU.S. Natural Gas Production, Consumption, and Net Imports, 1949-2011
24. F0605aU.S. Natural Gas Consumption by Sector, 1949-2011
25. F0608aU.S. Natural Gas Real Prices by Sector, 1967-2011
26. F0701aU.S. Coal Production, Consumption, and Net Exports, 1949-2011
27. F0703aU.S. Coal Consumption by Sector, 1949-2011
28. F0706bU.S. Coal Mining Productivity, 1949-2011
29. F0702cU.S. Coal Production by Mining Method, 1949-2011
30. F0702dU.S. Coal Production by Location, 1949-2011
31. F0802aaU.S. Electricity Net Generation by the Electric Power and Commercial and Industrial Sectors, 1949-2011
32. P_44U.S. Electricity Net Generation by Source, 1949-2011
33. P_45U.S. Electric Net Summer Capacity by Source, 1989-2011
34. F0810dU.S. Average Retail Prices of Electricity by Sector, 1960-2011
35. F0809cU.S. Electricity Retail Sales by Sector, 1949-2011
36. F0901aU.S. Operable Nuclear Units, 1957-2011
Renewable Energy
37. F1001bU.S. Renewable Energy Consumption by Major Source, 1949-2011
38. P_42U.S. Renewable Energy Consumption by Sector, 1949-2011
39. F1202cEstimated U.S. Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Energy Consumption by End-Use Sector, 1949-2011
40. F1207cEstimated U.S. Carbon Dioxide1 Emissions From Energy Consumption by Major Source, 1949-2011
41. F1207dEstimated U.S. Sulfur Dioxide Emissions From Energy Consumption, 1989-2010
42. F1207eEstimated U.S. Nitrogen Oxide Emissions From Energy Consumption, 1989-2010

Energy Graphs

Total Energy graph image