The system of energy intensity indicators for total energy covers the U.S. economy as a whole and each of the major end-use sectors — transportation, industry, commercial, and residential, as well as the electric power sector.
Energy Intensity Index
The EERE energy intensity index is designed to be a more accurate measure of underlying energy efficiency change because it excludes a variety of factors unrelated to energy efficiency. The (EERE) economywide energy intensity index is based upon an energy-weighted average for four major end-use sectors.
The weights are based on shares of source energy and vary over time.
(As discussed in the 2014 comprehensive report, the weights reflect shares for specific years, and so the percentages for earlier years would be slightly different—generally there have been increasing shares for both the commercial and transportation sectors at the expense of the industrial sector).
National System of Energy Intensity Indexes
The national system of energy intensity indicators presented on this website is intended to reflect to the degree possible underlying changes in energy efficiency throughout the U.S. economy.
As part of that effort, the system also seeks to measure the changes in energy intensity that are the result of other explanatory factors unrelated to efficiency improvement.
One example of such an explanatory factor is the shift from steel to electronics manufacturing that influences the aggregate energy intensity for manufacturing, but is not indicative of improvements in energy efficiency.
An often-used measure of improvement in energy efficiency in the entire economy is to compute the ratio of energy use to gross domestic product (GDP). This indicator has serious shortcomings as it incorporates myriad factors unrelated to energy efficiency changes, as well as the fact that a major portion of energy use in the economy—that used by residential household—does not have a corresponding measure of output included in GDP.
As a consequence, the system of energy intensity indicators here provides a more robust measure of changes in energy intensity that are associated with improvements in the efficient use of energy.
While this new indicator of energy intensity for the economy as a whole is not a perfect measure of how energy efficiency has improved, it comes much closer to capturing the influence of efficiency changes than does a measure based only upon a simple ratio of energy to overall GDP.
Sector-Specific Energy Intensity Data
Energy intensity data is available for U.S. sectors including transportation, industrial (manufacturing and non-manufacturing), residential buildings, commercial buildings, and electricity. Highlights of the latest sector-specific data are shown in the graphics, and full data and analysis is available for download below.