Non-Petroleum Share of Fuels Hits Highest Point Since 1954

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The sale of non-petroleum fuels accounted for 8.5 percent of the entire U.S. fuels market in 2014, its highest share since 1954, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Monthly Energy Review report released Monday.

The share of non-petroleum fuels sold in the United States was level at 4 percent for approximately 50 years, but began rising in the mid-2000s, culminating with the 8.5-percent figure reached last year, the EIA revealed. The blending of biomass-based fuels and the growing use of natural gas in the transportation sector were cited as the main reasons for the share increase.

Transportation use of natural gas reached a historic high of 946 trillion British thermal units (BTUs) last year, accounting for 3.5 percent of all natural gas used in the U.S., the report noted.

Ethanol sales have grown most rapidly in recent years, increasing by nearly one quadrillion BTUs a year from 2000 to 2014. Biodiesel sales also grew to more than 180 trillion BTUs in 2014.

Electricity retail sales to the transportation sector have grown as well, rising more than 40 percent from 2000 to 2014, although sales have declined since 2007, the EIA continued. This figure does not include consumption of electricity in electric-powered vehicles, as charging stations for these types of vehicles are often associated with meters on residential, commercial or industrial customer sites.

The last time non-petroleum sales were this high, in 1954, coal-fired steam locomotives were declining and automobile use was growing rapidly, according to the EIA.

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