US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased 0.9 percent in 2014, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s online analysis, released today. Fossil fuel consumption accounted for 5,406 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2014, an increase of 1 percent from the 2013 level. The increase was influenced by gross domestic product growth combined with an overall decline in the carbon intensity of the US economy. US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remain about 10 percent below the 2005 level.
The analysis found that carbon dioxide emissions by fuel exhibit different patterns over time. Emissions from petroleum and other liquids plateaued from 2004 to 2007, decreased through 2012 and increased slightly thereafter. While coal emissions have declined since 2008, natural gas emissions have generally increased.
The largest absolute increase in 2014 energy-related CO2 emissions was from the transportation sector. Price decreases in gasoline and other fuels from 2013 to 2014, along with the continued economic recovery, has resulted in higher fuel consumption. Transportation-related CO2 emissions increased by 24 million metric tons (1.3 percent) in 2014, or 47 percent of the total emissions increase from 2013. Even with the increase, total transportation sector CO2 emissions are more than 9 percent below their 2007 level.
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the commercial sector increased by over 2 percent in 2014. The increase in commercial sector CO2 emissions accounts for 38 percent of the total increase in emissions.
The industrial sector’s CO2 emissions, which fell by 11 million metric tons (0.7 percent) in 2014, have remained largely flat in recent years despite increasing output. Continuing growth in less energy-intensive output (such as computers) has helped to stabilize emissions.
Natural gas emissions have risen every year since 2009. Because it is the least carbon-intensive fuel, substitution of natural gas for other fossil fuel inputs has served to mitigate overall CO2 growth in the industrial sector.