Snapshot of U.S. Natural Gas Consumption (2008)
Natural gas is used in 61 percent of American homes for 64 million natural gas customers. American Gas Associationʼs (AGAʼs) 202 local energy utility companies deliver natural gas to more than 64 million homes, businesses and industries throughout the United States. A total of 69 million residential, commercial and industrial customers receive natural gas in the United States, and AGAʼs members deliver 92 percent of all natural gas provided by the nationʼs natural gas utilities. Natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United Statesʼ energy needs. In homes that are heated, natural gas is the most popular heating fuel (with 51 percent of the home-heat market share). The popularity of natural gas is even more pronounced in new single-family homes, in which 62 percent feature natural gas heat, far surpassing electricity (35 percent) and heating oil (1 percent). Approximately 22 percent of the natural gas used in the United States is consumed in the residential sector.
About 14 percent of U.S. natural gas consumption is in hospitals, schools, office buildings, restaurants, stores and other commercial establishments. In commercial settings, uses of natural gas include space-heating, water-heating, cooking, air conditioning, dehumidification and even onsite power generation.
Factories, manufacturing plants and other industrial customers use more natural gas than any other sector. The industrial sector consumes approximately 33 percent of the natural gas used in the United States. Industries use natural gas in manufacturing, processing and storing a wide range of products, including food, paper, plastics, chemicals, glass, metals and machinery.
ELECTRIC POWER GENERATION
More than half of the electricity generated in the United States is made from coal. Natural gas currently generates approximately 31 percent of total U.S. electricity. Natural gas is the dominant fuel of choice for new electric power generation plants because it is efficient and cleaner burning.Also, natural gas combined-cycle plants can be built more quickly and less expensively than coal or nuclear facilities.
Nearly 130,000 transit buses, refuse trucks, school buses, taxi cabs, package-delivery trucks and other vehicles on U.S. roads are fueled with cleaner-burning natural gas, according to the NGVAmerica—the national trade association for the natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry. For example, more than one of every 10 transit buses on the road in the United States today is fueled with natural gas, according to the American Public Transit Association. In 2007, about 31 BCF of natural gas was used to displace 250 million gallons of petroleum in transportation. The number of NGVs is expected to grow significantly as America works to reduce foreign oil use and greenhouse gases and as cities and suburbs continue to fight air pollution and smog.