Energy Americans use today for heating, driving, lighting, cooking, entertainment and other needs comes from a broad variety of sources. Market of fuels is very diversified, and it applies to both power generation industry and residential heating.

Petroleum is America’s leading source of energy, and according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) it had a 35% stake in total energy consumption for 2014.  Petroleum stands for all oil and natural gas plant liquids such as propane or butane. The second largest source of total energy consumed in US is natural gas, followed by coal, nuclear energy and renewable sources. Leading renewable source of energy is hydroelectric, followed by wood and bio-diesel. Renewable energy accounts to just 10% of total US energy, but engineers are trying hard to develop new ways of harnessing it, and it’s clear that its stake will be on the rise in future.


Around 90% of all energy consumed in the US originates from domestic sources. Remaining 10% consists mainly of imported petroleum products, primarily crude oil.


Households can also buy various fuels to heat their homes. There are many fuel options, which all have their pros and cons. Some are cheap to consume but the initial cost of equipment is expensive, and vice versa. Some fuels are more dangerous than others and some are delivered steadily through pipelines or wires while others can only be delivered by truck. So it is largely upon one’s own preferences which fuel to use. Fuel preferences also vary across the country, and while gas and heating oil are leading sources of home heat in colder areas such as the Northwest and Midwest, warmer places like Texas and Florida prefer electric heating, as the total energy consumption required is much lower there.

energy use by state

Natural gas is most commonly used for home heating nationwide. People who use it praise its ease of use, relatively low and predictable costs, and ability to use it for cooking or air conditioning. However, most complaints related to gas is risk of suffocation if leaks and dependence on only one source, which put consumers at risk of inevitable price hikes and cut of heating due to breakage in pipe systems.

Electricity is also widely used, but mostly in southern areas where costs to chill the home during summer is greater than cost of heating it over winter. Many people in such areas don’t need burners, an air conditioner with inverter can perfectly play a burner role. However, it’s not practical to use it in areas with cold winters due to high costs per every British Thermal Unit (BTU) of heat delivered.

Heating oil is actually diesel fuel which is dyed in specific color (usually red) to tell it from diesel fuel used to power vehicles. While it is usually somewhat pricier than natural gas, it has the lowest initial equipment costs. With a proper maintenance oil heating systems may last 15 years and beyond, but it requires frequent maintenance. Heating oil is among the safest sources of energy, as there’s no risk from suffocation, nor fire (if the tank is properly positioned). However, it may require you to learn some basic maintenance skills.