Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Electrification of US Energy Consumption

As can be seen in this graph, there has been a steady increase in the % of energy that is consumed as electricity in the commercial, residential and industrial sectors in the US from 1949-2006. Transportation on the other hand has completely missed out on this, actually decreasing from 1.38% to .29%. I believe this century will see transportation follow the other three sectors and finally become electrified.

Total electricity usage by sector: commercial 18%, residential 21%, industrial 32%, and transportation 29%.

I should note that I included electrical energy system loses as part of electricity %. The loses are typically twice as high as the actual electricity consumed, so only 1/3 of the energy is actually consumed by end users as electricity. It also doesn't take into account the % of energy in a car that is converted to electricity by hybrids, or by the alternator to run air conditioning, the radio and all other electronic gizmos in the car.

The EIA has a similar graph showing major sources of energy consumption.

Data from the EIA and graph generated from this Google Doc spreadsheet.


Rebelfish said...

Losses as in the fact that power plants are 40% efficient, or losses like transmission losses? I'd find it hard to believe the latter.

Fat Knowledge said...


Yes, like plants are 40% efficient. I think there is about 10% of losses due to distribution, but the majority of the losses are in the power plant as lost heat.

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