By Fred Mayes
This article was published by the US Energy Information Administration on July 25, 2019.
The U.S. federal government consumed 915 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy during the 2017 fiscal year (FY), or 20 per cent less than a decade before. The slight decline in FY 2017 marks the fifth consecutive decline in annual federal government consumption.
Consumption by defense agencies accounted for more than 75 per cent of total government energy consumption, according to data compiled by the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).
Defense agency energy consumption declined 0.2 per cent from FY 2016 to FY 2017, while civilian agency energy consumption declined 0.4 per cent during the same period. In the past decade, defense agency energy consumption has fallen 18 per cent (compared with FY 2007), and civilian agency energy consumption has fallen 8 per cent.
Over the years, several Executive Orders (for example, EO 13834) directed federal agencies to improve the energy and environmental performance of government buildings, vehicles, and overall operations.
Most of the federal government’s energy use is for vehicles and equipment, which accounted for 568 trillion Btu, or 62 per cent of total energy consumption, in FY 2017. The jet fuel that defense agencies use is the primary driver of government vehicle and equipment energy consumption. The 509 trillion Btu of fuel consumed by defense agencies represents 90 per cent of total government vehicle fuel consumption.
Among civilian agencies, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) consumed the most energy in FY 2017, at 44 trillion Btu. More than half of the energy USPS consumed was for vehicle fuel. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Energy ranked second and third, respectively, each consuming about 29 trillion Btu.
Government expenditures for energy in FY 2017 totalled $15.6 billion. Similar to their energy consumption share, defense agencies accounted for more than 75 per cent of government energy expenditures. Defense agency energy spending is mostly for vehicles and equipment ($8.6 billion of the $11.9 billion total), and civilian agency energy spending is mostly for buildings and other uses ($2.7 billion of the $3.7 billion total).