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How The Average American Uses Energy

In the United States, we take light switches and electrical sockets for granted. But how many of us know how much electricity we're using throughout the day, the week, or even the year? Or even where it comes from?

American use of energy

Energy Consumption Stats:

Today, everybody's talking about green energy, aka renewable energy that doesn't require the burning of a finite resource. In 2004, the total world's energy came from the following sources:

  • geothermal, solar, wind, and wood energy make up 1%
  • nuclear 6%
  • hydroelectric 6%
  • coal 26%
  • gas 23%
  • oil 38%
  • solar photovoltaic .04%
  • biofuels .2%
  • geothermal .2%
  • wind .3%
  • solar heat .5%

The US uses 100 quadrillion BTUs (105 exajoules) per year, 3x its consumption in 1950.

  • 37.14% of the US energy comes from petroleum
  • 22.42% from coal
  • 23.84% from natural gas
  • 8.46% nuclear
  • 7.30% renewable (mainly hydroelectric dams)
  • Energy consumption has increased at a faster rate than energy production, so the difference is met through imports.

Electricity:

  • 48.2% of US electricity comes from coal
  • 19.6% comes from nuclear
  • 3.7% comes from solar, wind, and geothermal
  • 21.4% comes from natural gas
  • 1.1% comes from oil
  • 6% comes from hydroelectric
  • Average energy consumption per year per US person: 335.9 million BTUs
  • World per person average: 72.4 million BTUs

At Home:

  • 41% of energy is used for space heating
  • 20% for water heating
  • 26% for lighting and appliances
  • 8% for air conditioning
  • 5% for refrigeration

Emissions from Electric Utilities:

  • Sulfur dioxide SO2 — 7,830 thousand metric tons
  • Nitrogen Oxides NOx —  3,330 thousand metric tons
  • Carbo Dioxide CO2 — 2,477,213 thousand metric tons

Single Family Dwellings:

  • For heating:
  • 56% use natural gas
  • 26% use electricity
  • 7% use fuel oil
  • 6% use liquefied petroleum gasses
  • 1% use kerosene

For Appliances:

  • 95% have a clothes washer
  • 92% have a clothes dryer
  • 74% have a personal computer
  • 84% have AC

Gasoline Stats:

  • A little over a gallon of gasoline per day per person is used in America
  • Average American drives a little over 12,000 miles per year
  • Average MPG in America is 19.8