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Fossil fuels continue to dominate US energy consumption

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Overall energy consumption in the US reached a record high in 2018 at 101 quadrillion Btu, of which more than 81 quadrillion Btu were from fossil fuels. Despite the increase, the fossil fuel share of total US energy consumption in 2018 increased only slightly from 2017 and was the second-lowest share since 1902, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The increase in fossil fuel consumption in 2018 was driven by increases in petroleum and natural gas consumption. Coal consumption fell by 4.3% in 2018, the fifth consecutive annual decline.

Natural gas consumption increased in 2018, reaching a new record consumption level of 82.1 billion ft3/d. Natural gas consumption has increased in 8 of the past 10 years. Growth in natural gas consumption has largely been driven by increased consumption in the electric power sector. Overall, US consumption of natural gas has increased by 37% since 2005.

Petroleum consumption also increased in 2018 as petroleum product supplied reached the equivalent of 20.5 million bpd. Despite the increase in 2018, US petroleum consumption remains lower than its peak consumption level set in 2005. Petroleum has been the largest source of energy consumption in the US since surpassing coal in 1950.

The renewable share of energy consumption in 2018, which includes hydroelectricity, biomass, and other renewables, such as wind and solar, was 11.4%, slightly less than its 2017 share. The largest growth in renewables over the past decade has been in solar and wind electricity generation.

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