Fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas -- currently provide more than 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity, and virtually all of our transportation fuels. Moreover, it is likely that the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels to power an expanding economy will actually increase over at least the next two decades even with aggressive development and deployment of new renewable and nuclear technologies.
Because our economic health depends on the continued availability of reliable and affordable fossil fuels, the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy oversees two major fossil fuel efforts:
1) Emergency stockpiles of crude oil and heating oil
The Department is responsible for maintaining the readiness of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. In the event of a major supply interruption, the President could order emergency stocks from either of these two reserves to be released into the market.
2) Research and Development of future fossil energy technologies
Innovative technologies can make the future production and use of fossil fuels more efficient and environmentally cleaner. Energy’s Fossil Energy program, through the National Energy Technology Laboratory, is developing a full array of new technologies that can locate and produce oil and gas beyond the reach of today’s technologies, overcome the environmental challenges of using coal, and extract clean-burning hydrogen from fossil fuels.
In addition, the Office of Fossil Energy supports several initiatives to develop clean fuels from hydrogen and cleaner burning coal.
For statistical information relating to oil, natural gas, coal, and the electricity it produces, visit the Energy Information Administration.