Facts About Energy Use

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Hotline, Winter 2003

Summarized by Marilyn Skolnick, GASP Board Member, from the Transportation Energy Data Book

The Center for Transportation Analysis, Oak Ridge Laboratory, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, publishes the Transportation Energy Data Book annually. This publication was first created in 1976 with the purpose of producing a comprehensive document of transportation data from a variety of published sources. Because of our country’s heavy reliance on petroleum, the following facts were chosen from the 22nd edition of the Transportation Energy Data Book as being particularly interesting to our readers.

  • The United States has accounted for approximately one-quarter of the world’s petroleum consumption for the last two decades.
  • In 2001, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) accounted for 41% of world oil production. Responding to low oil prices in early 2000, Mexico, Norway, Russia,and Oman joined OPEC in cutting production. OPEC and these countries currently account for more than 62% of world oil production.
  • The U.S. relies heavily on imported petroleum, which accounted for 55% of U.S. petroleum consumption in 2001.
  • The U.S. was responsible for 10.4% of the world’s petroleum production in 2001, but only 8.5% of the world’s crude oil production.
  • Most of the petroleum imported by the U.S. is in the form of crude oil. The U.S. does export small amounts of petroleum products which go to Canada and Mexico.
  • Estimates of 1996 military expenditures for defending oil supplies in the Middle East range from $6 billion to $60 billion per year. This wide range in estimates reflects the difficulty in assigning a precise figure to the military cost of defending the U.S. interests in the Middle East for two reasons: 1) the Department of Defense does not divide the budget into regional defense sectors and 2) it is difficult to determine how much of the cost is attributable to defending the Persian Gulf.
  • Transportation accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. petroleum use.
  • The transportation oil gap is the difference between the amount of petroleum the U.S. produces and the amount of petroleum used by the transportation sector. This gap has been getting wider, not only due to increasing transportation demand, but also due to decreasing U.S. petroleum production.
  • The highway sector is by far the largest part of transportation energy use. Light truck energy use has increased at the greatest rate, due to the increased use of light trucks as personal passenger vehicles. Light trucks include pick-ups, minivans, sport-utility vehicles and vans.
  • About 22% of transportation energy use is for non-highway modes. Air travel accounts for nearly half of the non-highway use.
  • Most U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from petroleum fuels (98%). Motor gasoline has been responsible for about 60% of U.S. CO2 emissions over the last twenty years.
  • Transportation accounts for the majority of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, accounting for more than three-fourths of the nation’s CO emissions and over half of the nation’s NOx emissions in 1999. Highway vehicles are responsible for the largest share of these transportation emissions.
  • Heavy diesel-powered vehicles were responsible for one-third of highway vehicle NOx emissions in 1999, while light gasoline vehicles were responsible for nearly two-thirds.
  • The transportation sector accounted for over 45% of the nation’s volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in 1999, with the majority coming from highway vehicles.
  • Gasoline-powered vehicles are responsible for 95% of highway vehicle emissions of VOC.
  • The transportation sector accounted for only 3% of the nation’s particulate matter (PM 10) emissions in 1999.
  • Since 1980, diesel-powered vehicles have been responsible for more than half of highway vehicle emissions of particulate matter (PM 10). Heavy vehicles are the main source.
  • Diesel vehicles are responsible for the majority of highway vehicle PM 2.5 emissions. More than 70% of the highway vehicles’ PM 2.5 emissions are from heavy diesel.

If you are interested in downloading the Transportation Energy Data Book or requesting a hard copy, please visit http://www-cta.ornl.gov/data.