Home » Energy » Per Capita Energy Consumption by Source

Per Capita Energy Consumption by Source


In my previous post, I reported that energy consumption in Missouri more than doubled between 1960 and 2010, with energy consumption from coal more than quadrupling. However, between 1960 and 2010, Missouri’s population increased from 4,326,000 to 5,996,231, and increase of 39%. Thus, energy consumption in Missouri would have increased even if each individual used the same amount. Thus, it might be useful to look at per capita energy consumption, to see how that has changed over the years.

MO Per Cap Energy Consumpt by Source 1960-2010Overall, per capita energy consumption grew from 204.85 million Btu in 1960 to 320.43 million Btu in 2010, an increase of 56%. The graph at right shows per capita energy consumption by source. The blue line at the top represents coal, the dark orange line represents gasoline, the red line represents natural gas, and the green line represents distillate fuel oil (including diesel and heating oil).

More energy from coal is consumed in Missouri than from any other source. The amount consumed per capita has grown from 39.51 million Btu per person in 1960 to 133.72 million Btu per person, a 238% increase.

In contrast, per capita consumption of energy from gasoline grew from 49.41 million Btu in 1960 to 72.99 million Btu in 1978, but has declined since then, to 63.19 million Btu in 2010, overall an increase of 27%.

Similarly, per capita consumption of energy from natural gas grew from 65.33 million Btu in 1960 to 92.47 million Btu in 1970, but has declined since then to 47.05 million Btu in 2010, overall a decrease of 28%.

Per capita distillate fuel oil, which includes diesel and heating oil, increased from 17.20 million Btu in 1960 to 38.75 million Btu in 1998, but has since declined to 29.94 million Btu, overall an increase of 74%.

The purple line near the bottom represents nuclear electric energy. The Callaway Nuclear Generating Plant came on-line in 1984.

The use of distillate fuel oil does not seem to be increasing for residential heating. Its use may be increasing for industrial or other purposes, but I would guess that the increased consumption mostly represents increased use of diesel fuel in vehicles and off-road equipment. The size of the increase is almost the same as for gasoline.

The dramatic increase in the per capita consumption of energy from coal, and a decrease in the consumption of energy from natural gas, are probably the most obvious trends in this graph. Is electrical energy replacing natural gas, or are the trends due to different societal changes? This data does not provide the answer.

It should be noted that per unit of energy, coal releases substantially more GHG (and other pollutants) than does natural gas. Thus, from an environmental perspective, it is probably an unfortunate trend.


For the energy data: Missouri State Profile and Energy Estimates, Table CT2. Primary energy Consumption Estimates, Selected Years, 19600-2010, Missouri, Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.gov/state/seds/data.cfm?incfile=/state/seds/sep_use/total/use_tot_MOcb.html&sid=MO.

For population: Historical Population, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/data/historical/index.html.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s