EIA data show increase in biofuel consumption

By Erin Voegele | November 14, 2011

Data released by the U.S. DOE’s Energy Information Administration demonstrate that the use of biofuels has increased significantly over the past decade. According to information released by the administration on Nov. 9, biofuel consumption increased by eight-fold—or 800 percent—from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, the U.S. consumed more than 235 trillion Btu of biofuel. By 2010, that number had risen to almost 2 quadrillion Btu.

The EIA recently issued its Annual Energy Review, which outlines the consumption of renewable energy in the U.S. from 1949 to 2010. According to data published in the Annual Energy Review, the U.S. reached an all-time high level of biodiesel consumption in 2007 with 46 trillion Btu. That level fell to 40 trillion Btu in 2008 and 2009, before dropping off to 28 trillion Btu in 2010.

The EIA also offers a more comprehensive breakdown of biodiesel production, exports, imports and consumption over the past decade. The administration estimates that approximately 9 million gallons of biodiesel was produced in the U.S. in 2001. That number peaked in 2008, with 678 million gallons, before falling to a low of 311 million gallons in 2010.

Over the same period of time, the U.S. imported more biodiesel than it exported during 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2006. U.S. exports of the fuel reached a new high in 2008 with 16 million barrels (672 million gallons). In 2010, the U.S. is estimated to have exported only 2.5 million barrels.

The latest numbers published by the EIA showed biodiesel production continuing to trend higher as 2011 comes to a close. While only 31 million gallons of the fuel was produced in January 2011, 78 million gallons was produced in July. The total for the first seven months of 2011 is estimated to be 377 million gallons, which is already significantly higher than the 309 million gallons the EIA estimates were produced in all of 2010. Consumption has also trended higher since the beginning of the year, increasing steadily from 21 million gallons in January to 73 million gallons in July.

The Nov. 9 EIA release also notes that when taken together, biomass sources—including biofuels, wood, and organic waste—represents the single largest source of renewable fuel in the U.S. Statistics representing all renewable energy consumption in 2010 show that the U.S. consumed approximately 2.5 quadrillion Btu of hydroelectric energy, 109 trillion Btu of solar energy, 924 trillion Btu of wind energy, 2 quadrillion Btu of wood energy, 1.9 quadrillion Btu of biofuel energy, and an additional 666 trillion Btu from other renewable energy sources.  


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