U.S. Energy: Overview and Key Statistics [April 11, 2012]   [open pdf - 451KB]

"Energy supplies and prices are major economic factors in the United States, and energy markets are volatile and unpredictable. Thus, energy policy has been a recurring issue for Congress since the first major crisis in the 1970s. As an aid in policy making, this report presents a current and historical view of the supply and consumption of various forms of energy. The historical trends show petroleum as the major source of energy, rising from about 38% in 1950 to 45% in 1975, then declining to about 40% in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s. [...] Natural gas followed a long-term pattern of consumption similar to that of oil, at a lower level. Its share of total energy increased from about 17% in 1950 to more than 30% in 1970, then declined to about 20%. [...] Consumption of coal in 1950 was 35% of the total, almost equal to oil, but it declined to about 20% a decade later and has remained at about that proportion since then. [...] Nuclear power started coming online in significant amounts in the late 1960s. By 1975, in the midst of the oil crisis, it was supplying 9% of total electricity generation. However, increases in capital costs, construction delays, and public opposition to nuclear power following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 curtailed expansion of the technology, and many construction projects were cancelled. [...] The accident at Japan's Fukushima station following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami raised further questions about future construction of nuclear powerplants. [...] Renewable energy sources (except hydropower) continue to offer more potential than actual energy production, although fuel ethanol has become a significant factor in transportation fuel, and wind power has recently grown rapidly. Conservation and energy efficiency have shown significant gains over the past three decades and offer encouraging potential to relieve some of the dependence on oil imports."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40187
Public Domain
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