U.S. Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector 2007

Posted on July 30th, 2008 in Energy, Energy Charts by PerotCharts

U.S. Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector 2007

This chart shows primary energy sources and where that energy is consumed for the United States as a whole. The chart is expressed in terms of BTUs (British Thermal Units)8 which is a measure of the heat value (energy content) of fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy uses the measurement in this situation to make an apples-to-apples comparison between five categories of energy sources. For example, one pound of uranium will produce much more energy than one pound of coal. So, to make sources of energy equivalent to one another for this chart, each category is expressed in terms of the number of BTUs that it produced in the United States during 2007.
Several conclusions can be drawn from studying the chart. We believe the three most significant conclsuions are as follows:
The largest supply of energy—Petroleum (39.3%)—is the largest source of energy (70%) for the second largest category of consumption—Transportation (28.5%)—in the United States. If we want to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, we need to: (a) produce more oil domestically; (b) develop more fuel-efficient forms of transportation; and (c) develop new and existing forms of alternative energy.

If it were not for the abundant domestic supply of coal—which supplies over one half of the fuel for electricity generation in the United States—we would be in much worse shape than we are already in.

Nuclear Power is used exclusively for Electric Power. Increasing our nuclear generation capacity reduces our dependency on coal and natural gas but does very little, directly, to reduce demand for petroleum.

Serious consideration needs to be given to the idea now being promoted by T. Boone Pickens to switching from gasoline to liquified natural gas as a substitute or partial substitute for automotive transportation. To do this, alternative energy sources, including both nuclear power and renewable energy need to be developed to take the place of natural gas as a fuel for Industrial applications, Residential and Commercial uses, and Electric Power generation.

Sum of components may not equal 100 percent due to independent rounding.
Sources: Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review 2007, Tables 1.3, 2.1b-2.1f and 10.3.

1Does not include 0.6 quadrillion Btu of fuel ethanol, which is included in “Renewable Energy.”
2Excludes supplemental gaseous fuels.
3Includes less than 0.1 quadrillion Btu of coal coke net imports.
4Conventional hydroelectric power, geothermal, solar/PV, wind, and biomass.
5Includes industrial combined-heat-and-power (CHP) and industrial electricity-only plants.
6Includes commercial combined-heat-and-power (CHP) and commercial electricity-only plants.
7Electricity-only and combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plants whose primary business is to sell electricity, or electricity and heat, to the public.
8A BTU is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Farenheit.

12 Responses to “U.S. Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector 2007”

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  1. 11
    amyc Says:

    I understand from a few truckers working here in the Us say that oil drilled here is put on boats taken out to international waters and left a few days brought back in and the oil companies get to charge more for that oil then just keeping it here. What is up with that? We are wasting fuel in ships to carry oil out to charge more for it.

  2. 12
    Narwhal Says:


    Re: Comments from Bruce Barnes, Steveo, and Domite….

    First, Barnes’ enthusiasm for ethanol is way out of proportion given its limited potential and the scientific FACTS.

    First as Steveo points out there is a net energy loss for ethanol produced from MOST crops (especially corn). Steveo’s sources do not mention ethanol produced from sugar cane which is 10 (TEN) times more efficient than corn. Brazilians producers claim that there is a small net energy gain in sugar cane sourced ethanol.

    Secondly, there simply is not enough land for ethanol to make a large contribution to reducing gasoline consumption outside of the cane producing countries.

    Steveo’s point that the ethanol subsidy is a scam is absolutely true. The subsidy goes to agribusiness and not to farmers (needy or not). Moreover, production of corn for ethanol competes with food production artificially raising food prices and could lead to shortages.


    The other side of this scam is the HUGE protective tariff on imported ethanol.


    Domite has some mis-information on ethanol use in Brazil; Ethanol produced from sugar cane was introduced in the 70’s to reduce use of gasoline during the Arab boycott. It was never hidden. In fact it was(is) mandated by the government with the current proportion mixed with gasoline around 20% . Perhaps Domite is referring to the practice of some dishonest gas station owners adding used industrial solvents to gasoline and water to the alcohol to cheat the user. This also happens in the US.

    For the past 4 years or so Brazilian car factories produce cars with so-called “Flex” engines which operate on and proportion of gasoline/ethanol. My Brazilian car is a Chevrolet Astra 2 ½ years old and runs just fine on any mix of gasoline or ethanol. I even have a little chart showing which fuel is more economical based on the pump prices.

    As stated above the potential for reduction of gasoline by use of sugar cane ethanol is small due to the land limitation but it should not be ignored. We should import as much as the producing countries wish to export without protective tariffs. If the energy equation is negative they (producing countries) not the US will be taking the economic loss.

    Much larger economies of gasoline use can be immediately achieved by all of YOU simply junking YOUR SUV’s (Note: I don’t have an SUV)

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