Energy & Infrastructure

In 2016, U.S. energy expenditures were the lowest since 1970

Staff Reports

calculator, cash, stove top burnerThe U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a report that finds average U.S. energy costs fell 34 percent from 2008 to 2016, dropping from record-high levels to a “record-low energy expenditure share” in less than a decade.

From the report:

“U.S. energy expenditures declined for the fifth consecutive year, reaching $1.0 trillion in 2016, a 9% decrease in real terms from 2015. Adjusted for inflation, total energy expenditures in 2016 were the lowest since 2003. Expressed as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP), total energy expenditures were 5.6% in 2016, the lowest since at least 1970.”

The report notes that U.S. total energy expenditures, which is the amount of money spent to consume energy in the United States, has decreased each year since 2011, leading to the record-low energy expenditure share.

“The decrease in total U.S. energy expenditures in 2016 was entirely attributable to lower energy prices, as total energy consumption has remained virtually unchanged since 2013.”

The U.S. average energy price was $15.92 per million British thermal units (Btu) in 2016, down 9% from 2015, and the lowest since 2003, when adjusted for inflation. Average energy prices reached their highest point on record in 2008, when they averaged $24.13 per million Btu.

Advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have driven U.S. energy costs to record lows and facilitated greater energy efficiency by opening vast reserves of previously unreachable oil and natural gas at a time in which many believed domestic production was in an irreversible decline.

Read the full EIA report here.