Fact #948: October 24, 2016 Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Transportation Exceeded those from the Electric Power Sector for the First Time in 38 Years

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Beginning in 1978, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electric power sector remained higher than the CO2 emissions produced in the transportation sector (based on 12-month running totals) until February 2016 when transportation was responsible for more emissions. There are several factors that have led to this change. On the transportation side, the recent rise in vehicle miles of travel has led to an increase in fuel consumption and subsequent rise in CO2 emissions. Within the electric power sector, there was a decrease in CO2 emissions from a high of 2,434 million metric tons (MMT) in 2008 to 1,810 MMT in May of 2016, about a 25% reduction. The decline in CO2 emissions in the electric power sector is largely attributable to the decreasing use of coal for power generation.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector, 12-month Running Totals, December 1973 – May 2016

Graph showing carbon dioxide emissions by sector, 12-month running totals from December 1973 to May 2016.

Note: Although the data labels are annual, the data graphed are monthly data, ending with May 2016.

Fact #948 Dataset

Supporting Information

Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector, 12-month Running Totals, December 1973 – May 2016

Month-YearResidential SectorCommercial SectorIndustrial SectorTransportation SectorElectric Power Sector
12-month Running Totals
(Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide)
Dec-19734722751,3891,3131,286
Jan-19744652731,3841,3081,280
Feb-19744582681,3841,3011,275
Mar-19744532661,3821,2951,274
Apr-19744542671,3751,2951,273
May-19744512661,3651,2901,276
Jun-19744512651,3601,2891,270
Jul-19744522651,3581,2891,270
Aug-19744502641,3561,2861,262
Sep-19744502641,3571,2821,252
Oct-19744522651,3561,2821,247
Nov-19744472631,3461,2771,246
Dec-19744492641,3321,2791,251
Jan-19754442591,3391,2871,255
Feb-19754452581,3281,2881,258
Mar-19754492571,3231,2911,258
Apr-19754562591,3071,2941,258
May-19754572591,2891,2931,252
Jun-19754562581,2751,2931,252
Jul-19754562581,2611,2921,248
Aug-19754562571,2441,2891,251
Sep-19754562571,2301,2911,251
Oct-19754532541,2171,2911,247
Nov-19754492511,2051,2871,243
Dec-19754492491,2081,2891,244
Jan-19764572551,1981,2891,253
Feb-19764582561,1961,2931,260
Mar-19764532551,1891,2991,269
Apr-19764432511,1971,3051,278
May-19764422521,2081,3061,285
Jun-19764442531,2151,3121,293
Jul-19764452541,2241,3191,299
Aug-19764452541,2301,3231,303
Sep-19764442541,2341,3291,310
Oct-19764462551,2441,3311,319
Nov-19764602631,2541,3431,336
Dec-19764712691,2641,3521,351
Jan-19774812741,2671,3551,367
Feb-19774892771,2631,3631,375
Mar-19774882761,2701,3671,380
Apr-19774852751,2731,3711,382
May-19774822741,2751,3751,393
Jun-19774802741,2821,3801,403
Jul-19774792741,2821,3811,421
Aug-19774792751,2861,3891,433
Sep-19774782751,2921,3931,445
Oct-19774772751,2881,3981,448
Nov-19774662691,2861,4021,444
Dec-19774572651,2791,4041,442
Jan-19784412571,2821,4091,438
Feb-19784392571,2881,4121,443
Mar-19784482631,2801,4201,443
Apr-19784502641,2821,4221,443
May-19784532661,2841,4341,440
Jun-19784532661,2781,4391,439
Jul-19784532651,2801,4431,432
Aug-19784542661,2781,4491,434
Sep-19784552661,2701,4501,437
Oct-19784562671,2671,4551,440
Nov-19784572681,2671,4601,443
Dec-19784552661,2671,4611,448
Jan-19794562701,2731,4681,456
Feb-19794572721,2801,4741,464
Mar-19794512711,2921,4791,469
Apr-19794512731,2911,4781,476
May-19794472721,2941,4751,484
Jun-19794442711,3001,4701,488
Jul-19794432711,3001,4661,494
Aug-19794402701,3061,4621,495
Sep-19794372681,3101,4601,493
Oct-19794332681,3161,4601,499
Nov-19794302681,3181,4551,504
Dec-19794222661,3201,4521,505
Jan-19804102611,3131,4481,502
Feb-19803982561,3111,4451,508
Mar-19803952541,3091,4351,517
Apr-19803922521,3041,4371,516
May-19803892511,2921,4311,511
Jun-19803882501,2781,4251,509
Jul-19803862491,2621,4241,520
Aug-19803832481,2411,4141,530
Sep-19803812471,2301,4111,538
Oct-19803802471,2191,4071,536
Nov-19803802481,2071,4001,538
Dec-19803822501,1971,3981,544
Jan-19813892531,1861,3991,549
Feb-19813852491,1691,3911,541
Mar-19813772451,1601,3871,540
Apr-19813712411,1521,3811,546
May-19813692401,1481,3781,553
Jun-19813662381,1441,3821,563
Jul-19813652381,1471,3841,564
Aug-19813652381,1521,3871,557
Sep-19813642381,1491,3871,553
Oct-19813652381,1421,3821,558
Nov-19813622361,1311,3831,555
Dec-19813572321,1231,3831,551
Jan-19823532301,1191,3731,552
Feb-19823532311,1161,3721,553
Mar-19823562331,1071,3711,548
Apr-19823642381,1021,3751,542
May-19823642391,0871,3741,537
Jun-19823642381,0761,3711,521
Jul-19823632381,0611,3661,511
Aug-19823632381,0481,3631,507
Sep-19823652391,0321,3601,502
Oct-19823612371,0171,3561,493
Nov-19823582351,0081,3581,490
Dec-19823552339851,3521,481
Jan-19833532319661,3481,465
Feb-19833462299591,3391,454
Mar-19833442299511,3421,450
Apr-19833422289471,3341,447
May-19833432299481,3351,444
Jun-19833432309451,3371,447
Jul-19833432319441,3381,456
Aug-19833442329391,3431,475
Sep-19833412319381,3471,488
Oct-19833382319331,3501,495
Nov-19833362329291,3501,501
Dec-19833362339311,3571,521
Jan-19843422369501,3641,537
Feb-19843442379631,3721,548
Mar-19843482399771,3691,562
Apr-19843492399901,3751,568
May-19843512411,0011,3801,578
Jun-19843522411,0081,3821,593
Jul-19843532421,0151,3861,592
Aug-19843542421,0221,3901,589
Sep-19843562431,0251,3881,585
Oct-19843582441,0311,3911,593
Nov-19843602441,0321,3931,600
Dec-19843602431,0351,3871,588
Jan-19853512361,0281,3891,592
Feb-19853612391,0241,3901,598
Mar-19853572361,0151,3931,595
Apr-19853522321,0071,3971,601
May-19853482291,0011,4001,607
Jun-19853472279971,3991,604
Jul-19853472269931,4021,609
Aug-19853472259911,4051,605
Sep-19853472239861,4061,609
Oct-19853492239831,4091,607
Nov-19853482229791,4111,604
Dec-19853562249831,4181,619
Jan-19863582279831,4191,617
Feb-19863502249841,4201,614
Mar-19863522269901,4241,614
Apr-19863502269881,4271,609
May-19863532279871,4301,606
Jun-19863522279871,4351,611
Jul-19863522279801,4421,624
Aug-19863522279741,4461,622
Sep-19863522279711,4521,623
Oct-19863512279641,4571,622
Nov-19863532279601,4611,623
Dec-19863472249541,4691,613
Jan-19873442229561,4731,611
Feb-19873422219551,4811,610
Mar-19873422219461,4831,613
Apr-19873452229471,4871,619
May-19873442219441,4911,628
Jun-19873452219461,4961,638
Jul-19873462229551,5001,642
Aug-19873452229611,5001,659
Sep-19873462239671,5081,663
Oct-19873502259761,5131,668
Nov-19873522269821,5151,673
Dec-19873532279901,5161,680
Jan-19883602299861,5231,692
Feb-19883652329911,5331,707
Mar-19883672331,0051,5441,715
Apr-19883672331,0051,5491,718
May-19883692341,0111,5501,716
Jun-19883692351,0131,5551,718
Jul-19883692361,0141,5541,720
Aug-19883712381,0211,5581,733
Sep-19883702381,0251,5611,736
Oct-19883702371,0311,5631,742
Nov-19883722381,0381,5711,747
Dec-19883742381,0391,5761,758
Jan-19893672341,0391,5761,756
Feb-19893652321,0351,5721,766
Mar-19893672331,0321,5721,781
Apr-19893682331,0351,5701,793
May-19893682321,0381,5731,803
Jun-19893692331,0421,5751,804
Jul-19893682321,0441,5761,801
Aug-19893692311,0431,5801,789
Sep-19893702311,0431,5781,797
Oct-19893692301,0411,5821,802
Nov-19893702301,0411,5831,807
Dec-19893802351,0411,5881,826
Jan-19903792351,0461,5911,824
Feb-19903722321,0451,5951,807
Mar-19903632291,0441,5941,800
Apr-19903622291,0471,5951,802
May-19903612291,0501,5981,805
Jun-19903602301,0511,5941,814
Jul-19903602311,0541,5961,821
Aug-19903592311,0581,6001,831
Sep-19903582321,0601,5981,841
Oct-19903562331,0621,5951,850
Nov-19903532321,0611,5941,848
Dec-19903402271,0571,5841,831
Jan-19913442301,0551,5811,841
Feb-19913452311,0491,5741,843
Mar-19913462311,0431,5701,840
Apr-19913452301,0371,5681,834
May-19913432291,0291,5631,840
Jun-19913432281,0221,5641,838
Jul-19913432281,0201,5641,838
Aug-19913422271,0161,5591,835
Sep-19913412261,0181,5621,829
Oct-19913412261,0191,5631,824
Nov-19913452271,0221,5611,832
Dec-19913472281,0231,5651,830
Jan-19923442261,0251,5671,825
Feb-19923462261,0321,5741,831
Mar-19923472261,0401,5751,840
Apr-19923512271,0461,5791,848
May-19923522281,0541,5821,842
Jun-19923522281,0601,5811,838
Jul-19923522271,0651,5821,842
Aug-19923522261,0681,5811,836
Sep-19923532271,0661,5811,840
Oct-19923542271,0661,5831,841
Nov-19923532271,0661,5841,838
Dec-19923572291,0691,5881,843
Jan-19933592281,0651,5841,843
Feb-19933632301,0671,5811,849
Mar-19933722341,0681,5841,857
Apr-19933732341,0661,5851,854
May-19933732331,0611,5871,849
Jun-19933732331,0601,5901,857
Jul-19933742331,0571,5901,870
Aug-19933752321,0541,5911,893
Sep-19933742311,0561,5971,896
Oct-19933742301,0591,5971,903
Nov-19933742291,0621,6031,911
Dec-19933722261,0631,6041,919
Jan-19943802311,0711,6101,940
Feb-19943852331,0751,6151,945
Mar-19943792311,0711,6161,943
Apr-19943752301,0741,6201,948
May-19943762301,0771,6221,959
Jun-19943742301,0801,6271,976
Jul-19943732301,0801,6301,972
Aug-19943722301,0841,6391,964
Sep-19943712301,0851,6401,963
Oct-19943712301,0841,6421,962
Nov-19943682291,0801,6421,953
Dec-19943642291,0811,6441,944
Jan-19953552241,0781,6491,927
Feb-19953502231,0751,6491,923
Mar-19953482211,0791,6551,918
Apr-19953502231,0791,6541,914
May-19953512231,0811,6581,914
Jun-19953512231,0831,6641,901
Jul-19953502221,0851,6651,909
Aug-19953492221,0851,6641,934
Sep-19953492221,0881,6691,940
Oct-19953482221,0871,6731,941
Nov-19953542261,0901,6791,950
Dec-19953612311,0921,6781,960
Jan-19963692351,0971,6821,973
Feb-19963742371,1011,6891,983
Mar-19963812401,1061,6901,990
Apr-19963842411,1101,6961,993
May-19963842411,1111,7012,004
Jun-19963852411,1131,7002,014
Jul-19963852411,1151,7082,013
Aug-19963852411,1171,7142,001
Sep-19963862411,1151,7122,006
Oct-19963892411,1231,7212,017
Nov-19963912421,1251,7222,028
Dec-19963892401,1251,7222,033
Jan-19973882401,1261,7222,039
Feb-19973832381,1221,7202,033
Mar-19973772361,1201,7212,034
Apr-19973752351,1241,7262,041
May-19973752361,1251,7272,041
Jun-19973752371,1251,7302,042
Jul-19973762391,1281,7352,057
Aug-19973762401,1301,7322,061
Sep-19973762411,1301,7362,075
Oct-19973752411,1281,7342,088
Nov-19973722401,1271,7362,090
Dec-19973712401,1301,7412,101
Jan-19983642371,1271,7452,100
Feb-19983592351,1251,7452,104
Mar-19983622351,1221,7472,115
Apr-19983592341,1181,7532,121
May-19983572331,1151,7522,140
Jun-19983562321,1131,7542,163
Jul-19983562311,1121,7582,175
Aug-19983552311,1131,7622,196
Sep-19983532301,1141,7672,207
Oct-19983522291,1101,7712,203
Nov-19983462261,1061,7742,197
Dec-19983392231,1031,7792,192
Jan-19993452251,1011,7792,199
Feb-19993472261,0981,7812,204
Mar-19993492271,0971,7872,208
Apr-19993502271,0931,7842,221
May-19993502271,0881,7912,219
Jun-19993512271,0841,7952,213
Jul-19993512261,0781,7962,220
Aug-19993522251,0761,8022,219
Sep-19993542251,0771,8042,208
Oct-19993562261,0761,8092,208
Nov-19993562251,0761,8132,209
Dec-19993602261,0731,8252,204
Jan-20003582251,0711,8262,215
Feb-20003632261,0741,8382,232
Mar-20003562241,0711,8412,236
Apr-20003552241,0681,8442,231
May-20003552251,0761,8482,242
Jun-20003552251,0781,8522,252
Jul-20003552261,0791,8572,239
Aug-20003562271,0801,8632,246
Sep-20003572281,0781,8672,255
Oct-20003582291,0751,8702,265
Nov-20003642321,0721,8732,283
Dec-20003802391,0701,8692,310
Jan-20013872421,0721,8732,318
Feb-20013872421,0691,8672,314
Mar-20013952451,0731,8682,318
Apr-20013962451,0761,8692,323
May-20013952441,0711,8712,317
Jun-20013942441,0651,8682,310
Jul-20013952441,0621,8692,314
Aug-20013942421,0571,8672,316
Sep-20013932421,0501,8632,309
Oct-20013932421,0511,8602,303
Nov-20013862381,0501,8582,291
Dec-20013672301,0431,8482,273
Jan-20023572251,0421,8502,253
Feb-20023522231,0361,8512,245
Mar-20023502221,0311,8532,240
Apr-20023492221,0301,8562,241
May-20023522231,0281,8592,237
Jun-20023522231,0291,8642,239
Jul-20023512231,0321,8642,246
Aug-20023512231,0321,8672,241
Sep-20023502231,0321,8712,255
Oct-20023512231,0291,8722,264
Nov-20023582271,0311,8782,276
Dec-20023672311,0291,8892,288
Jan-20033772371,0261,8882,309
Feb-20033882431,0321,8892,325
Mar-20033902451,0311,8882,329
Apr-20033912451,0301,8862,326
May-20033902451,0271,8832,325
Jun-20033902451,0241,8802,319
Jul-20033912451,0221,8802,315
Aug-20033912451,0191,8822,319
Sep-20033922461,0181,8852,314
Oct-20033912451,0181,8882,312
Nov-20033872431,0151,8882,314
Dec-20033852411,0201,8882,319
Jan-20043852401,0221,8932,320
Feb-20043832401,0241,9042,326
Mar-20043772381,0271,9112,325
Apr-20043752371,0291,9172,327
May-20043732371,0371,9222,340
Jun-20043732371,0431,9282,348
Jul-20043732371,0451,9342,348
Aug-20043732371,0491,9352,337
Sep-20043722361,0511,9402,342
Oct-20043702351,0531,9452,343
Nov-20043712361,0571,9502,345
Dec-20043712381,0571,9542,350
Jan-20053672351,0551,9582,350
Feb-20053612311,0501,9552,342
Mar-20053662321,0501,9582,352
Apr-20053652311,0461,9602,352
May-20053672311,0411,9652,344
Jun-20053682311,0381,9672,356
Jul-20053682311,0321,9702,371
Aug-20053682311,0261,9752,393
Sep-20053672311,0201,9752,405
Oct-20053662291,0131,9752,412
Nov-20053642281,0081,9772,411
Dec-20053642271,0061,9812,416
Jan-20063522221,0041,9852,398
Feb-20063482201,0011,9862,398
Mar-20063452199971,9892,393
Apr-20063432179941,9922,390
May-20063392169901,9922,394
Jun-20063372159911,9962,387
Jul-20063352149901,9992,388
Aug-20063332129952,0022,386
Sep-20063322121,0022,0052,370
Oct-20063332131,0092,0092,369
Nov-20063332131,0112,0082,370
Dec-20063232081,0122,0092,358
Jan-20073282091,0132,0082,373
Feb-20073382141,0182,0102,386
Mar-20073382131,0172,0082,386
Apr-20073402151,0202,0092,394
May-20073392141,0242,0132,395
Jun-20073382141,0202,0152,399
Jul-20073382141,0192,0162,391
Aug-20073382131,0162,0172,399
Sep-20073372131,0122,0182,413
Oct-20073342121,0062,0172,416
Nov-20073352121,0032,0202,418
Dec-20073442179992,0162,425
Jan-20083502211,0002,0092,432
Feb-20083482219992,0042,432
Mar-20083502229971,9982,434
Apr-20083502229961,9922,434
May-20083522239911,9842,429
Jun-20083532249891,9722,429
Jul-20083542249871,9602,430
Aug-20083542249811,9452,407
Sep-20083532249701,9272,396
Oct-20083552259731,9182,383
Nov-20083552259691,9042,379
Dec-20083572269601,8932,373
Jan-20093582289501,8872,363
Feb-20093522259381,8772,338
Mar-20093472249251,8712,318
Apr-20093462249101,8632,297
May-20093442238951,8512,278
Jun-20093422228851,8472,254
Jul-20093422228741,8402,225
Aug-20093412238651,8372,211
Sep-20093422248641,8372,191
Oct-20093442248501,8312,178
Nov-20093402238411,8282,161
Dec-20093382238391,8272,158
Jan-20103382228351,8232,160
Feb-20103402248361,8202,172
Mar-20103382228451,8202,177
Apr-20103322198541,8212,178
May-20103322198611,8252,191
Jun-20103332198681,8272,211
Jul-20103322188751,8312,238
Aug-20103312188861,8342,258
Sep-20103302178941,8412,270
Oct-20103272168981,8422,265
Nov-20103312189041,8452,266
Dec-20103362219111,8442,270
Jan-20113362219181,8452,266
Feb-20113332209171,8472,252
Mar-20113342219181,8472,245
Apr-20113352229171,8432,246
May-20113342229181,8392,240
Jun-20113332219181,8392,231
Jul-20113322219181,8342,228
Aug-20113332239181,8302,220
Sep-20113342249151,8252,212
Oct-20113362259181,8202,208
Nov-20113352269211,8172,198
Dec-20113252219151,8132,170
Jan-20123152179161,8082,138
Feb-20123092139231,8102,126
Mar-20122982089191,8042,106
Apr-20122942069191,8002,087
May-20122922069211,7992,079
Jun-20122922069231,7952,064
Jul-20122912059251,7942,056
Aug-20122912059251,7942,041
Sep-20122902049241,7892,032
Oct-20122892039271,7872,031
Nov-20122902039281,7842,037
Dec-20122862019341,7762,034
Jan-20132922039361,7782,041
Feb-20132982069321,7712,044
Mar-20133142149321,7732,065
Apr-20133202179321,7742,073
May-20133222189351,7752,066
Jun-20133212189351,7752,065
Jul-20133212189381,7792,050
Aug-20133212179371,7812,043
Sep-20133212179431,7862,046
Oct-20133202169451,7912,044
Nov-20133222189491,7972,038
Dec-20133332239521,8032,050
Jan-20143412279551,8042,072
Feb-20143462309571,8072,089
Mar-20143482319571,8072,092
Apr-20143462309621,8102,087
May-20143472319591,8112,088
Jun-20143482329591,8132,087
Jul-20143482329601,8142,081
Aug-20143482329601,8162,080
Sep-20143492339601,8162,075
Oct-20143502349601,8192,070
Nov-20143532369571,8202,068
Dec-20143472349531,8282,050
Jan-20153422329521,8322,026
Feb-20153452339541,8332,017
Mar-20153402319581,8401,998
Apr-20153392309561,8401,986
May-20153372299571,8441,978
Jun-20153362279601,8481,978
Jul-20153352279611,8521,980
Aug-20153352279621,8561,974
Sep-20153322259581,8621,973
Oct-20153322259501,8621,965
Nov-20153262219421,8631,944
Dec-20153192189381,8641,918
Jan-20163182179341,8641,905
Feb-20163082129361,8721,874
Mar-20162982089331,8771,842
Apr-20163002099291,8811,828
May-20163022119221,8851,810

Note: To avoid double-counting, the "Industrial Share of Electric Power Sector CO2 Emissions" were subtracted from the Industrial Total, the “Residential Share of Electric Power Sector CO2 Emissions” were subtracted from the Residential Total, and so on for Commercial and Transportation sectors.

Source: Energy Information Administration, August 2016 Monthly Energy Review, Tables 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, and 12.6.

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