Natural Gas Facts

Natural Gas Survey

Natural Gas Customers

  • Natural gas serves nearly 67 million homes; 5 million businesses like hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools and supermarkets; 190,000 factories; and 1,900 electric generating units. On a daily basis, the average U.S. home uses 193 cubic feet of natural gas.
  • Natural gas comprises almost one-fourth of all primary energy used in the U.S. and is directly linked to jobs and economic health. The natural gas industry supports the employment of nearly 3 million Americans in all 50 states.
  • Residential space heating and water heating costs show that natural gas costs less to use than other major home energy sources. Households that use natural gas appliances for heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying spend an average of $653 less per year than homes using electric appliances.
  • Fertilizer used to grow crops is composed almost entirely of natural gas components, so U.S. agricultural producers rely on an affordable, stable supply of natural gas.
  • Natural gas utilities do not earn a profit on the natural gas they deliver. They earn their revenues from the service and delivery fees they charge customers to transport the natural gas to them. This fee is directly linked to the volume of natural gas consumed, rather than the price of natural gas being delivered.

Environmental Benefits

  • Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel on the market today because it produces much lower emissions than other fossil fuels like coal or oil. It is also extraordinarily efficient.
  • Natural gas systems accounted for 75 percent of decline in U.S. methane emissions from 2007-2011.
  • Due to the higher efficiency of natural gas combined cycle generation compared with coal-fired boilers, natural gas emits 52 to 56 percent less GHG than coal for the same amount of electricity.
  • Less than 0.3 percent of natural gas is emitted from systems operated by local natural gas utilities. Continued efforts to upgrade and modernize the natural gas pipeline network to enhance safety are lowering those emissions even further.

Efficiency

  • The journey of natural gas from point of production to customer use is extraordinarily efficient, with 92 percent energy efficiency from the point of production to delivery to the consumer.
  • The average American home consumes 40 percent less natural gas than it did 40 years ago. By funding natural gas efficiency programs, natural gas utilities helped customers save 136 trillion Btu of energy and offset 7.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2012.

Domestically Abundant

  • Domestic gas production accounts for about 93 percent of all natural gas consumed in the United States and shale gas production now accounts for more than 40 percent of gas produced.
  • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Potential Gas Committee, the U.S. estimated future supply of natural gas stood at 2,718 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at year end 2012 – enough to meet America’s energy needs for more than 100 years.

Safe and Reliable

  • According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, pipelines are the safest form of energy transportation. Safety is the number one priority for America’s natural gas utilities.
  • There are more than 2.4 million miles of pipeline that transport natural gas to more than 177 million Americans throughout the U.S.
  • Natural gas utilities spend more than $19 billion annually to help enhance the safety of natural gas distribution and transmission systems.
  • The dedicated efforts of natural gas utilities over the past three decades have led to a nearly 90 percent decline in serious pipeline incidents.
  • There are nearly 1.3 million miles of plastic pipe – the leading edge of advanced utility pipeline materials. In the past decade, natural gas utilities have installed updated plastic lines at a rate of 30,000 miles per year.

[statistics via American Gas Association online newsroom]