Our Consumption of Energy in the United States
In terms of energy usage, the United States is the largest consumer. In 2005, the U.S. used 100 quadrillion BTU’s. That is three times the amount used in 1950. The sources of energy the U.S uses is fossil fuels,petroleum, coal, natural gasnuclear power and renewable resources. Fossil fuels were the most commonly used. 40 percent came from petroleum, 23 percent was from coal, 23 percent was from natural gas, 8.4 percent was from nuclear power and renewable energy only supplied 7.3 percent.

In the 1700’s, firewood was the main source of energy. The growth of railroads, the economy and urbanization, the usage of coal was increased. Coal is used more now for generating electricity. Now natural gas is used more for heating homes and businesses.

When it comes to energy consumption, there are four main areas to look at. Those are industrial, transportation, residential and commercial. The breakdown for industrial use for things such as producing and processing goods is 22% for chemical production, 16% for petroleum refining and 14% for metalsmelting or refining. The transportation usage for things such as air, water or ground vehicles consumed 61% for gasoline fuel, 21% for diesel fuel and 12% for aviation. Residential consumption was 32% for space heating, 13% for water heating, 12% for lighting, 11% for air conditioning, 8% for refrigeration, 5% for electronics and 5% wet-clean which was for clothes dryers mostly. The commercial consumption for things such as government offices and building was 25% for lighting, 13% for heating, 11% for cooling, 6% for refrigeration, 6% for water heating, 6% for ventilation and6% for electronics.

As you can see from the breakdown above, we very rarely rely on renewable resources for our energy needs. We need to try and get away from so much dependency of fossil fuels. The United States consumes a lot of energy. If there was more effort put into using things such as solar, wind or biomass power, we would be putting ourselves at a greater advantage. Right now we are working and living basically to pay for our energy consumption. Wouldn’t it be so nice to actually earn a paycheck and not have to spend over half of it for our energy needs? Yes, we will always need heating, dry clothes and lighting, but we can meet those same needs with the renewable resources that are available to use every day.