Energy costs more, but we use less


Thanks to gains in efficiency and cutbacks in consumption, the U.S. is on pace to use 7 percent fewer BTUs of energy in 2012 than four years ago. Slightly higher prices for gasoline, heating oil, and electricity have eaten into those savings. Consumers are likely to spend $641 billion on energy in 2012, down about 2 percent from 2008.


It costs about a third of a penny more per kilowatt hour to keep the lights on than it did four years ago.


Through the first six months of 2012, the U.S. consumed 20 percent more renewable energy than it did during the first half of 2008.


The share of U.S. electricity produced at nuclear power plants has held steady over the last four years at about 20 percent.


Americans paid on average $3.72 for a gallon of gasoline in the first three quarters of 2012, compared with $3.62 in the same 2008 period. In between, prices peaked at $4.16 a gallon and fell as low as $1.67. We’re also using an average of 257,000 fewer barrels per day than in 2008.


The country is on pace to consume 10 percent less energy generated by fossil fuels than in 2008.


Coal consumption is being displaced by cheaper, cleaner natural gas and is set to decline 27 percent this year from 2008.


The cost of heating a home has seen huge swings since 2008. Home heating oil peaked at $3.80 a gallon in June 2008 and bottomed at $1.27 in March 2009. So far this year, the price has averaged $3 a gallon, up 15¢ from 2008.


In four years, natural gas prices crashed 85 percent, from $13.38 per million BTUs in July 2008 to $1.95 this spring, the lowest in a decade.

SOURCE U.S. Energy Information Administration


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