The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Power Consumption of the United States

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
"Energy." World Almanac and Book of Facts. Manwah, NJ: World Almanac Educational Group, 1999. [see below] 1.47–3.23 TW [terawatts]
"No.945. Energy Consumption by End Use Sector: 1970 to 1999." Statistical Abstract of United States. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau, 2000: 285. [see below] 2.27–3.23 TW [terawatts]
US Energy Overview, 1960-99 (in quadrillion BTU)
  1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 1998 1999
Consumption 43.8 52.68 66.43 70.55 75.96 73.98 84.09 90.85 94.57 96.67
No. 945. Energy Consumption by End-Use Sector: 1970 to 1999
Year Total Consumption
(quadrillion BTU)
1970 67.86
1975 72.04
1980 78.43
1985 76.78
1990 84.19
1995 90.94
1999 96.60

Power. Without this United Stated will come to a complete halt. The US economy depends on power to use its energy to run millions of vehicles a day, and electricity for its machinery and our common household appliances. The energy commonly used comes from petroleum, natural gas, and coal. The nation's transportation systems as well as heating home are almost entirely run by petroleum. It consumes 39 percent of the total energy.

Though the US population is less than 5 percent of the world's population, they consume more power than any other nation. This is mostly due to the fact that the US produces a huge percentage in the world's output of goods and services. The population is spread over a larger area than any other industrialized nation, causing a greater use in automobiles, trains, trucks, and planes. Looking back at the power consumption in 1960s, 1.5 trillion watts or even in recent preceding years there is an obvious noticeable increase year after year. The growing use of power to run the nation needs enormous amounts of energy that is getting harder and harder to meet the demands.

In 1999 the power consumed by the US was 3.23 TW (terawatts), all this power contributes greatly to as much as 20 percent of the global emissions of greenhouse gases.

BTU, British thermal unit, is a commonly used unit of measure for energy. In order to convert energy to power, BTU must first be converted to joules [J]. (1 BTU = 1055.056 J). Power is equal to energy divide by time (total seconds in a year). See the following calculations.

For example: 96.6 quadrillion BTU

Energy = (96.6 × 1015 BTU)·(1055.056 J/BTU)
Energy = 1.02 × 1020 J

Power = Energy/Time
Power = (1.02 × 1020 J)/(31,536,000 s)
Power = 3.23 TW

Katy Ho -- 2001