Supply Chain News Bites - Only from SCDigest

-March 24, 2009


Supply Chain Graphic of the Week: Where Does US Energy Usage Come from and Go to?

  New Report from Stanford Details the Facts; US Actually Produces Vast Majority of its Own Energy - but not for Transportation  

By SCDigest Editorial Staff


With all the focus on energy policy, sustainability, carbon emissions, etc., do many of us really understand where our energy comes from and where it goes?

We sure didn't, which is why we were glad to find a recent report from a trio of researchers at Stanford University that looks at, in detail, US energy production and foreign oil dependence. The paper includes the two graphics below, adopted from the US Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Review 2007.

The first chart shows the big picture of all US energy supplies and consumption, analyzed in terms of "BTUs" (British Thermal Units). Of course, it's a little challenging to use BTUs as the metric, more associated with heating and industrial use than cars and trucking, but some metric had to be picked to normalize the analysis. That chart shows overall, for example, that the US actually produces 71.71 quadrillion BTUs internally, versus imports of 34.6 quadrillion. Interestingly, industry actually used more BTUs (32.32 quadrillion) than did transportation (29.10 quadrillion).

The second chart below is more specific to oil. Surprising to us, it shows that in 2007 at least, the US actually produced about half of the level of oil it imported. Not surprisingly, transportation consumes the vast majority of oil usage, at about 14 million barrels a day. All other uses account for about six million barrels a day. People need to remember that much of the industrial use is not for energy but as a raw material for plastics, ec.


With a growing number of supply chain professionals involved in sustainability efforts, having these facts at the ready may come in handy. The full Stanford report is available at: "U.S. Dependence on Oil in 2008: Facts, Figures and Context," Andrew S. Grove, Robert A. Burgelman, and Debra Schifrin, 2008, Stanford Research Paper Series #1997.

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