In 2016, U.S. Energy Expenditures Per Unit GDP Were the Lowest Since at Least 1970

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.

Total U.S. GDP is calculated as the total value of goods and services produced in the United States including energy, and was $18.6 trillion in 2016, 1.5% (in real terms) higher than 2015 levels. U.S. GDP has grown every year since 2010, and 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…


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