Green Technology

U.S. Inflation-Adjusted Energy Spending Increased 25% In 2021

annual U.S. energy expenditures by select measures

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Data System Note: GDP=gross domestic product

In 2021, the amount U.S. consumers spent on energy (energy expenditures) grew to over $1.3 trillion when adjusted for inflation, a 25% increase from 2020, according to our State Energy Data System (SEDS). Rising petroleum consumption in 2021 following 2020 lows induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and higher average energy prices contributed to the increase in expenditures.

Inflation-adjusted per capita U.S. energy expenditures increased by 25% in 2021 from 2020 to $3,967 per capita, on par with 2019 per capita expenditures. Inflation-adjusted per capita expenditures increased in every state in 2021. Per capita expenditures in Connecticut rose the least (13%), and they rose the most in Louisiana (43%).

U.S. energy expenditures accounted for 5.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021, an increase from 4.8% in 2020. Despite this increase, energy expenditures in 2021 were the third lowest in our data series, which dates back to 1970. Energy expenditures as a share of GDP compares the total amount of money spent on end-use energy in the United States to the value of all goods and services in the U.S. economy.

Petroleum products: Motor gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel accounted for $757 billion of end-use energy expenditures in 2021, a 44% increase from 2020. Petroleum products made up the largest share (57%) of 2021 U.S. energy expenditures.

Electricity: Electricity accounted for $419 billion of end-use energy expenditures in 2021, a 3% increase from 2020. The electricity expenditures estimate we publish includes the amount of money spent on electricity by end-use customers, such as businesses and homes. We remove the expenditures for primary energy sources (natural gas, coal, nuclear, renewables, and petroleum) the electric power sector uses to generate electricity so that we can avoid double counting expenditures.

Natural gas: Natural gas used for purposes other than generating electricity, such as heating and cooling homes and buildings, accounted for about 10% ($133 billion) of the nation’s total energy expenditures.

Coal: Coal used for purposes other than generating electricity, such as metal manufacturing, made up less than 1% ($4 billion) of the nation’s total.

Principal contributor: Brett Marohl

Originally published on the U.S. EIA’s Today In Energy blog.


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