Wow: America’s Total Energy Use Dropped in 2008

America, as a whole, actually used less energy in 2008 than in 2007, according to a new report: The United States used 99.2 quadrillion BTUs,...

America, as a whole, actually used less energy in 2008 than in 2007, according to a new report:The United States used 99.2 quadrillion BTUs, or "quads" of energy in 2008, down from 101.5 quads in 2007, according to the report.Use of energy in the transport and industrial sectors of the economy fell slightly, while residential and business usage climbed slightly.In the chart below, you can see how our total energy use broke down for 2007. We used less in 2008 because those middle two rows-industrial and transportation energy use-got smaller. The financial collapse had a lot to do with this, of course, but it's still kind of exciting to know it's even possible to put this thing in reverse.

And what of the renewables? They're still a pretty small factor, but they're growing. Hydroelectric was the biggest renewable energy source, but only accounted for 2.4 of the 99.2 quads of the energy we used in 2008. Solar accounted for only 0.091 quads. And coal use was up from 23.5 in 2007 to 23.9 quads in 2008. So we've got some work to do.Here's the whole picture of how we generated and used energy in 2008.

Click here for a big, legible version.
via Michael Belanger / Flickr

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