19+ Illuminating Stats About US Energy Production by Source You Have to Know

Updated · May 03, 2022

Even though it’s not the industrial powerhouse it once was, the US continues to be the world’s foremost economy.

The achievements from the 20th century, coupled with China’s rise as the “global factory,” led to a well-known trend—the US, Japan, and the EU are now developed 21st-century countries that export high-quality products and import crude materials and cheap goods from newly-emerged powerhouses such as China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc.

All the same, energy was and continues to be an essential topic as all countries strive to achieve energy independence.

Today, this is what we’ll discuss—what’s the US energy production by source, the primary drivers of the world’s principal economy, how the American energy independence stands to the ever-changing global economy, etc.

Hang onto your hats, and let’s get started!

Electrifying Facts About The Primary Energy Sources in The US (Editor’s Choice):

  • The US produces around 96 quadrillions BTU (British thermal units) per year.
  • America imports 7.8 million barrels of oil daily.
  • Natural gas accounts for 36% of energy in America, while petroleum covers 32%.
  • 73% of Kentucky’s electricity comes from coal.
  • America spent $1.2 trillion on energy generation in 2019.
  • In 2016, natural gas replaced coal as the major electric power source.
  • 83% of US power comes from non-renewable sources.
  • Electricity accounts for less than 40% of total energy production in the US.

Energy Production in The US

Let’s start by covering some basic stats about US energy production.

Here, we’ll learn more about its total production output and import/export and later compare it with other key countries around the world.

1. The total yearly energy production in the United States is 95.74 quadrillion BTU.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

You don’t hear that word often—quadrillion. It certainly proves the US is one of the world’s primary energy producers, right after China and its 110 quadrillion BTU per year.

What’s interesting is that the country’s consumption equals 92.94 quadrillions BTU. Likewise, the US energy imports and exports value is pretty similar—126 as opposed to 123 billion dollars (2020).

If we compare these with China’s numbers, we’d see the US energy independence is far more significant—in 2017, China produced 110 quadrillions BTU and consumed a whooping 139 quadrillion BTU. This is also manifested in China’s import/export ratio—the country imports more than 80% of its coal.

2. The US’s leading energy export partner is Mexico ($23 billion).

(Source: United States International Trade Commission)

Unsurprisingly, the next major US partner is Canada, which welcomes $17 billion worth of American energy.

On a global scale, the States come third (8%) concerning oil exports, right behind Russia (11%) and Saudi Arabia, accounting for 15% of the global oil exports.

3. The US imports 7.8 million barrels of crude oil and oil products per day.

(Source: Statista)

The US adds up to its energy mix by importing large amounts of crude oil, then refined and consumed.

Did you know that crude oil accounts for a majority of US oil imports?

4. America spent $1.2 trillion on energy in 2019.

(Source: Center for Sustainable Systems)

This amounts to 5.7% of the country’s GDP. If we were to divide the $1.2 trillion energy expenditure across the whole population, it would mean that each American citizen spent $3,728 on power in 2019.

United States Energy Source

Where does US energy come from?

How are Americans consuming the energy produced?

What are the 10 major energy sources in the US? All critical questions we’re going to provide the answers for.

Read on!

5. 36% of US energy comes from natural gas.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

What is the US’ main source of energy? Natural gas, most surely.

Keep in mind these are stats about the energy production in the United States, not the country’s consumption (though, as we’re about to see, the latter closely follows the former). So it’s important to note that not all US-produced energy is consumed by American citizens.

What are the most important gas-producing states?

  1. Texas comes first with 23.9% of production
  2. Pennsylvania (21.1%)
  3. Louisiana (9.5%)
  4. Oklahoma (7.6%)
  5. West Virginia (7.1%)

So there are two main regions of gas exploitation—Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana in the south, and Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the north. The five states account for around 69% of the natural gas output. The total amount equals 33.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), making for approximately 91.5 billion Tcf per day.

6. Petroleum amounts to 32% of the US-produced energy.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Energy production in the US focuses on crude oil and related products, such as diesel. Here’s a breakdown of petroleum production by state:

  1. Texas (42.7%)
  2. New Mexico (11.3%)
  3. North Dakota (9.6%)
  4. Alaska (3.9%)
  5. Colorado (3.5%).

Once again, Texas tops the list—probably why some Texans wish for independence!

Of course, since the US is mainly dependent on the energy coming from Texas, these intentions aren’t welcomed, making them sort of a taboo topic. The five states together account for 71% of the total petroleum output of the country.

Additionally, 15.2% of petroleum production comes from offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

America is the world’s top crude oil producer (15% of the global production), followed by Russia with 13%, Saudi Arabia—12%, Canada—6%, and Iraq—5%.

7. Coal accounts for 11% of US energy.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

The US energy mix includes coal, even though all efforts are to eliminate it as fast as possible. Around 535 million tons of it are produced yearly in the country.

The main coal production comes from the following states:

  1. Wyoming (41%)
  2. West Virginia (13%)
  3. Pennsylvania (7%)
  4. Illinois (6%)
  5. North Dakota (5%)

The US coal comes from the three main regions—Appalachian, Internal, and Western. Did you know the North Antelope Rochelle and Black Thunder mines, both found in Wyoming, account for 22% of the total output?

These are two gigantic mines, indeed!

8. Renewable energy accounts for 12% of US energy output.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

What are the primary sources of renewable energy? At the top are biomass—wood and waste (22%) along with biofuels (17%), followed by wind (26%), hydropower (22%), and solar (11%).

Biomass is the most important renewable source for US energy production. But what is biomass? This too wide of a term may include, though it isn’t confined to, the following:

  • Wood biomass (pellets, wood chips, pulp, residues from lumber, black liquor—a sort of residue of paper, pulp, and cardboard production)
  • Ethanol (made from corn) and biodiesel (made from grain oils and animal fat)
  • Solid waste biomass (leaves, leather, paper, cardboard, etc.) and biogas (usually methane)

9. 9% of US energy comes from nuclear plants.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

The US produces around 810 billion kilowatt-hours each year through nuclear power plants. That’s more than any other country in the world. Did you know that the US has 92 nuclear reactors, 62 of which are pressurized-water ones?

10. 35% of the energy consumed by US citizens comes from petroleum.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Here’s the breakdown of other major sources of consumed energy:

  1. Natural gas (34%)
  2. Renewable energy (12%)
  3. Coal (10%)
  4. Nuclear electric power (9%)

Remember that “energy produced and “energy consumed are two different concepts. The US exports a portion of its energy output—we’re now seeing a high demand for natural gas, and it’s only natural that the US should fill this gap.

On the other hand, America also imports energy, though this is a slightly different topic from the focus of our current article.

Let’s see where all that energy goes.

Power in The United States

It’s time we delved deeper into the specifics of energy use in the US and focused on how all this energy is consumed.

As we’ll see, America has a huge energy demand, and a lot of it comes from the lifestyle of its citizens.

11. 35% of consumed energy in the US is used for transportation.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

It’s no wonder that 90% of this 35% comes from petroleum. The road coverage per capita is by far the highest among US citizens (14,000 km per year), significantly above Australia (10,800 km) and Canada (8,500 km)—also countries with vast open spaces. So the US population runs on petrol.

Did you know that the US price of petroleum is one of the lowest worldwide? And while Australia and Canada also offer relatively cheap petrol, but people are still driving far less there.

The convenience of driving everywhere, the low price of gasoline, the vastness of the country, and the lifestyle Americans lead—these and other important factors are turning out to be the combustible combination encouraging more driving and higher consumption of fuel.

“Fun” fact: China is often mentioned as the world’s biggest polluter (true), whereas the US is by far the primary oil consumer per capita.

12. The US fosters its energy independence by reducing energy imports.

(Source: Reuters)

To put things into perspective—in 2016, the United States imported 10 million barrels per day, compared to 7.8 million barrels in 2020.

However, we have to be careful when talking about energy independence. Directly or not, every country depends on others regarding energy sources or prices. Producing enough energy means this specific country won’t suffer from a power shortage. Though, this doesn’t mean that external factors won’t play a role in the product’s price.

Surely, the huge amounts of energy produced by America make it one of the leading countries in the world and an international state of affairs center. Whether it’d be import, internal use, or export, the US is a crucial player in the global energy market.

13. The US consumes 20 million barrels of petroleum per day.

(Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration)

It’s safe to say that the US runs on energy produced by petrol.

We’ve already covered the correlation between the US’ vast distances, big cars, and the American lifestyle, all requiring large amounts of gasoline. Consider that China consumes a measly 12 million barrels per day.

It’s true that China, although a large country, is much more centralized than the US (when it comes to population density) and has an excellent public transport network. But still, the Chinese population is 1,4 billion compared to the US 329 million.

14. Coal consumption in the US is 6,201 cubic feet daily per capita.

(Source: Worldometers)

Although the coal power percentage in the US energy mix isn’t that prominent, the US, with its insatiable appetite for energy, still consumes a lot of coal. When broken down across the whole population, the consumption equals two cubic meters, which amounts to a lot of heat production.

Where Does Electricity Come From?

The electricity we all use daily can be generated in many, many different ways. Let’s see how America makes the most of these options and what exactly is the US electricity generation by source:

15. 39% of US electricity comes from natural gas.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Natural gas is the leading power source in the US

Usually, we associate electricity generation with hydropower or nuclear plants. So here’s a quick breakdown of all the other ways how electricity is produced in America:

  • Coal—22%
  • Renewables—20% (wind 9%, hydro 6%, solar 2,8%, biomass 1,3%, and geothermal 0.4%)
  • Nuclear—19%
  • Petroleum—5%

Several takeaways can be made from this list of US electricity generation by source.

First, the country is still largely dependent on fossil fuels and power sources with high emission rates. However, it does have energetic diversity, meaning it’s not reliant on a single source too much. For comparison, France depends on nuclear power for 75% of its electricity. Any perturbation in the functioning of France’s nuclear power plants will have drastic effects on the country.

Generally speaking, countries producing a lot of natural gas (such as America and Russia) also use it to produce electricity—it’s somewhat safer for the environment compared to its alternatives (such as coal) and more affordable. The European Commission, which is becoming increasingly “greener,” considers natural gas as a source of “green energy.”

16. Grand Coulee is the most productive electric power plant in the US, with 21 billion kilowatt-hours produced yearly.

(Source: US Bureau of Reclamation)

Grand Coulee is a dam built on the Columbia River. Here are some facts to help you imagine just how immense it is—it’s the largest hydropower and electric power plant in the US; it’s a solid structure consisting of 12 million cubic yards of concrete; it has a total generating capacity of 6,809 megawatts.

17. Palo Verde, with 4,000 megawatts output, is the US' second-largest power plant.

(Source: Arizona Emergency Information Network)

Such US energy production by source stats clearly states nuclear power’s importance, especially when generating electricity. America’s second-largest power plant is in Arizona, 50 miles away from Phoenix, and contributes 4,000 megawatts output.

18. West County Energy Center takes third place in this paramount list.

(Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection)

West County Energy Center is a natural gas power plant located in Florida. Its capacity is 3,750 megawatts.

19. In terms of electric power, natural gas first surpassed coal in 2016.

(Source: Statista)

In 2010, coal still accounted for most American electric power. Soon after, the environmental policies stepped in and slightly “greened” the situation. As we now know, natural gas is the current primary source of electric energy. However, 83% of US electric energy still comes from non-renewable sources, as natural gas is a green but non-renewable power source.

Wrap-up

Now that we’ve considered just about every energy source utilized by the United States, it’s time we jumped to some conclusions.

Our collection of stats about US energy production by source clearly states America’s dependence on petroleum (for transport) and natural gas (for electricity and heating). What characterizes US energy production the most, though, is diversity—the country doesn’t depend too much on one or two energy sources.

American energy independence, however, is an entirely different topic, as it’s hard for any country to be unswayed or absent from the global energy market.

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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.