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U.S. Manufacturing Using Significantly Less Fuel to Produce Goods

U.S. Manufacturing Using Significantly Less Fuel to Produce Goods
Image via Flickr by Official U.S. Navy Imagery

According to newly released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration in its 2010 Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey, U.S. manufacturing facilities are producing about the same amount of goods while lowering their energy costs and consumption tremendously. According to the report, the U.S. manufacturing sector decreased its energy consumption by 17 percent from 2002 to 2012, even while output of these facilities fell only three percent.

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This represents a “significant decline” in the amount of energy manufacturers are using to produce a single unit of product, according to report analysts. The manufacturing industry consumed 14 quadrillion BTUs as fuel in the year 2010, 13 percent less than in 2002.

Eighty one percent of all fuel consumed by the manufacturing industry was used by the five most energy intensive sectors: chemical production, aluminum, iron and steel, paper and wood, and coal and petroleum. According to the report, the lowest energy consumers among U.S. manufacturing sectors are textile production, leather, apparel, furniture, machinery, and electrical equipment production.

Even though the overall energy consumption by U.S. manufacturers fell during this time, the two most energy intensive sectors increased consumption by 3.5 percent. These sectors are petroleum/coal and food production. The report also determined that the number of employees in these two industries fell (petroleum/coal lost 6,000 workers and the food production industry lost 115,000 workers), yet these industries increased their overall output. This means manufacturers in these sectors are learning ways to increase production with fewer employees.

The use of fuel by manufacturers is broken into two categories: the energy consumed for fuel to produce heat and power, and feedstock, which is fuel materials put into creating a final product. The complete report is available on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website. It was not immediately clear how much of the energy consumption reduction related to green initiatives and how much could be attributed to other factors. [/show_to]

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