Fossil Fuels Account for Lowest Share of U.S. Energy Consumption in More than a Century

Fossil fuels supplied about 80 percent of the energy consumed in the United States in 2017, the lowest share since 1902, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy. Meanwhile, renewable energy accounted for more than 11 percent, its highest share over the same period, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The decline in 2017 marks the third consecutive annual drop in U.S. domestic fossil fuel consumption. The trend is driven partly by a decade-long decline in coal use — 40 percent  since 2005, and 2.5 percent in 2017 alone. Domestic natural gas consumption also declined last year by 1.4 percent. Petroleum consumption, comprised mostly of gasoline used for transportation, rose slightly last year, but is down 10 percent from its peak in 2005.

Renewables — which include hydroelectric, wind, solar, biomass, and other sources — accounted for 11.3 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2017. This is the highest share since the late 1910s, when biomass, largely wood, was still a major source of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which tracks energy trends as part of the Department of Energy.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review