(Un)expected United States Energy Statistics to Muse Over

Updated · Apr 27, 2022

The economy of the United States is one of the biggest in the world.

For it to function properly, a lot of energy is needed daily. In this article, we are about to explore the most recent facts about US energy consumption.

Join us to learn the unexpected!

Enlightening US Energy Consumption Facts (Editor’s Choice):

  • The US uses around 23% of global energy.
  • The industrial sector of the US accounts for 36% of energy usage.
  • US residents are responsible for the use of 17% of energy.
  • 77% of US citizens believe it’s more important for their country to develop alternative energy sources than to produce more coal.
  • 80% of US energy comes from fossil fuels, 10% from nuclear, and 10% from renewables.
  • The transportation sector used 2% less energy in 2020 as opposed to in 2019.
  • Energy consumption in the US doubles every 20 years.

US Electricity Usage

Electricity is among the most used forms of energy.

However, it is considered a secondary energy source because it has to be produced from primary energy sources (e.g., fossil fuels that are then turned into electrical power).

Let’s see how high the United States' electrical consumption is!

1. In 2021, the US electricity consumption totaled 4,157 terawatt-hours.

(Source: Our World In Data)

That was around 117 terawatt-hours increase from 2020. It’s still a bit higher than pre-pandemic levels (in 2019, the US power consumption was 4,155 terawatt-hours).

2. In 2020, the most used energy source in the US was petroleum.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Petroleum accounted for 35% of the total energy use in the US. Right after it, with only 1% difference came natural gas. Renewable energy was third, and nuclear electric power was used the least.

Petroleum has been the source with the highest usage in the US since 1950. Therefore, we expect that the US energy consumption by source in 2022 will still put petroleum on top. Do you also share this opinion?

3. The United States annual energy consumption was around 93 quadrillion BTU (British thermal units) in 2020.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the total energy consumption in the US somewhat decreased in 2020. This comes as no surprise since it was a phenomenon, observed on a global level.

4. The average energy consumption per person in the US was 73,677 kilowatt hours.

(Source: Our World In Data)

The same year saw an average of almost 74,000 kilowatt hours of energy consumption per US citizen! This number includes a wide variety of usage areas such as electricity, transport, heating, and cooking. The highest was in 1973 when it equaled 94,234 kilowatt hours. It has been slightly decreasing ever since.

5. America uses 12.1 kilowatt hours of energy per day per person.

(Source: Center for Sustainable Systems—University of Michigan)

The daily consumption per capita includes 2.3 gallons of oil, 7.89 pounds of coal and 252 cubic feet of natural gas. The energy used in the US is considered quite high, especially considering that less than 5% of the population lives in the country but it uses almost 16% of the global energy. This makes the United States energy consumption the second biggest after that of China.

Energy Use By Sector

Now that we know that the US uses quite a lot of energy, let’s answer some questions about it. For example, where does it go and what for? To do that, we’d need to look at the energy consumption by industry!

6. In 2020, the industrial sector consumed 32.4% of energy in the US.

(Source: Center for Sustainable Systems—University of Michigan)

The energy use for transportation was second in the list with 26.1%. The sectors with less energy consumed were the Residential (22.4%) and the Commercial (18%).

7. The US energy demands may reach 108.68 quadrillion BTU (British thermal units) by 2050.

(Source: Statista)

Experts predict a gradual increase in both consumption and production of energy. The estimation is that they would reach around 10 quadrillion BTU for the next 20 years. Production is expected to rise from 101.02 quadrillion in 2021 to 118.59 quadrillion in 2050.

8. 41.3% of US electricity consumption was for clothes washes and dryers, stoves, and other miscellaneous appliances.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

15.7% were used for space cooling, 14.2% for space heating, and 11.8% for water heating. The residential sector used the least amount of energy (1.7%) for computers and related equipment.

Energy Production in the US

We have already mentioned that US energy production is projected to keep increasing. So are the major sources of energy in the US going to remain the same? Or will there be a wind of change? Keep on reading to learn the answers!

9. The US energy production by source has increased in every field, except for coal.

(Source: Statista)

Natural gas became the main energy source in the United States used for electricity generation, dethroning coal in the late 20th century. Renewable energy production has also been increasing ever since the global Paris Climate Agreement from 2016—it reached 12.3 quadrillions BTU in 2021.

10. Petroleum and other liquids are projected to be the most used energy sources in 2050.

(Source: CNBC)

The consumption of renewable energy is set to increase drastically, almost reaching petroleum levels in 2050. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) also predicts a 50% increase in global energy consumption between 2020 and 2050. The latter will be due to the growing population.

Bitcoin Energy Usage in the US

The mining of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a hot topic when it comes to energy consumption. Since most Bitcoin mining occurs in the US, it is interesting to see how much power is used for it.

11. The US Bitcoin miners doubled their energy usage between April – August 2021.

(Source: QUARTZ)

The power used for Bitcoin mining in the US increased from 17% to 35%. This happened after China’s government banned cryptocurrency. Consequently, the electricity consumed by the miners also doubled and reached 35 terawatt hours per year.

Wrap Up

As expected, the US economy uses a big part of the world's energy (around 16%, to be precise). Most of it is consumed by the industrial sector.

Just as any other, the US energy consumption is expected to keep increasing in the next few decades, reaching 108.68 quadrillion BTU by 2050.

With such a fast-growing economy and population, the need for eco-energy sources is pressing.

So will there be substantial growth in the renewable energy production sector in the next couple of years… you know, enough to save us from an impending doom? Fingers crossed!

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Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.