Home » Energy » Energy Efficiency for All Sources Appears to Increase, But Does It Really?

Energy Efficiency for All Sources Appears to Increase, But Does It Really?


MO per GSP Current Dollars 1963-2010I have been discussing Missouri’s consumption of energy by source, on both a total consumption basis and on a per capita consumption basis. Here I discuss consumption of energy by source per unit of economic output.

The graph at right shows energy consumption in Missouri per dollar of economic output by source. It shows the data in current dollars, that is, not adjusted for inflation. The blue line on the top is coal, the red line is natural gas, the orange line is gasoline, and the green line is distillate fuel oil (includes diesel and heating oil). The purple line at the bottom is nuclear electric energy – it jumps up in 1984, the year the Callaway Nuclear Generating Station came on line.

Without adjusting for inflation, the amount of energy required to produce a unit of economic output appears to have plummeted. The decrease in natural gas is especially striking, but all of the major energy sources appear to have participated.

However, the effect of inflation means that a dollar purchases less economic output over time. Thus, during the early years of the graph, a dollar of economic output was more output than in the later years – the number of Btu required should decline, even if energy efficiency remained the same.

In my next post I will look at the amount of Btu required to produce a unit of economic output, adjusting for the effects of inflation.


For energy consumption: Table CT2. Primary Energy Consumption Estimates, Selected Years, 1960-2010, Missouri, Missouri State Profile and Energy Estimates, Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.gov/state/seds/seds-data-complete.cfm?sid=MO#Consumption.

For Gross State Product: GDP and Personal Income, Regional Data, Bureau of Economic Analysis, http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=70&step=1#reqid=70&step=1&isuri=1.

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