Key Learning Points: Lesson 1
Energy consumption in the United States takes many forms. The traditional “fossil fuels,” such as coal, oil, natural gas, gasoline and other refined products and, natural gas liquids, do not have a limitless supply.
Renewables, however, such as hydro, wind, solar, biomass, biodiesel and geothermal, are self-replenishing.
Alternative fuels comprise the non-traditional energy sources and include nuclear and fossil fuels. Alternative fuels represent the smallest amount of energy consumed in the US and are not expected to expand greatly over the next 20-25 years. And, for many alternative fuels, government subsidies are essential for them to be produced economically.
In the interim, fossil fuels such as natural gas and crude oil will continue to grow in usage and importance. Their supply, demand, and pricing will have a great impact on the US economy for decades to come.
Now that we have examined production and consumption in the United States as well as the energy “mix,” we will focus on the fuel sources that comprise over 57% of the energy used in this country. Crude oil, with refined products, and natural gas and related natural gas liquids (NGLs), make-up this large sector. The factors that influence their supply and demand are varied and ever-changing. Besides the obvious impact of weather, the economy, the US dollar, and the global geopolitical conditions can all influence energy commodities and affect their prices.
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