Because Once a Year Is Not Enough: EIA Introduces Monthly Reporting on Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions

For over a decade, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has published annual data on greenhouse gas emissions. EIA typically publishes its inventory report, Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States (EGGUS) 11 months after the end of the year for which data is reported. A flash (preliminary) estimate of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions --which account for over 80 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions--is available about 6 months earlier. EGGUS is EIA's most comprehensive emissions report and covers all greenhouse gases from all sources by fuel and by sector.

In response to growing demand for monthly emissions data to better understand seasonal emissions patterns and provide a more timely indicator of emissions trends, EIA recently initiated monthly reporting on CO2 emissions in both the Monthly Energy Review (MER), Table 1.11, Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Fossil Fuel Consumption by Source, and the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), Table 9a. U.S. Macroeconomic Energy Indicators. The STEO also provides CO2 emissions projections through the end of the next calendar year, which are updated on a monthly basis. Long-term projections of CO2 emissions continue to be available in the EIA Annual Energy Outlook

According to the 2008 EGGUS report, about 98 percent of CO2 emissions in the United States are energy-related. Changes in these emissions reflect short-term fluctuations in energy use created by weather patterns affecting heating and cooling needs, as well as changes in the electricity generation mix and responses to changes in economic activity, energy prices, penetration of energy efficient technologies, and policies and regulations (see Figure 1).

The August 2009 STEO expects that the economic downturn, combined with a significant switch from coal to natural gas as a source of electricity generation in some U.S. regions, will lead to a 5-percent decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2009. In 2010, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are forecast to increase by 0.7 percent, due to an improving economy (see Figure 2).

EIA expects the new monthly CO2 data and forecasts will be of widespread interest to both the energy and environmental communities, as a complement to the existing annual data series and projections that EIA will continue to publish.

Retail Gasoline Price Dips
Falling for the third straight week, the U.S. average price for regular gasoline dropped one and a half cents to settle at $2.61 per gallon. The national average was $1.07 below the year-ago price. On the East Coast, the average slipped a penny to $2.60 per gallon. The price in the Midwest dropped almost three cents to $2.52 per gallon. The average price on the Gulf Coast remained the lowest of any region, dropping nearly three cents to $2.46 per gallon. The Rocky Mountain region's average price joined the downward trend after four weeks of increases, although its drop to $2.61 per gallon amounted to no more than a fraction of a cent decrease. The price was $1.20 below the region's year-ago price, the largest one-year drop among the regions. The average price on the West Coast regained the penny it had lost the previous week, making it the only major region to post a price gain, settling at $2.96 per gallon. The average price in California rose about a penny to $3.04 per gallon.

The national average price for diesel went up for the sixth consecutive week, although by less than one cent, to $2.67 per gallon. Despite a cumulative increase over the past six weeks of 18 cents, the average price was $1.45 below the price last year. After three weeks in a row of increased average prices in all regions, the East Coast and Gulf Coast each saw reductions of less than one cent. On the East Coast, after five weeks of increases, the fraction of a cent decrease left the price at $2.69 per gallon, $1.48 below the price a year ago. In the Midwest, the price was up one cent to $2.65 per gallon, while the Gulf Coast price dropped slightly to settle at $2.62 per gallon, remaining the lowest average price of any region. The largest price increase took place in the Rocky Mountains, up two cents from last week and up almost 16 cents over the past four weeks to end at $2.69 per gallon. On the West Coast, the price increased almost two cents to $2.80 per gallon, and in California the average moved up a penny to $2.89 per gallon.

Propane Inventories Experience Counter-seasonal Draw
Propane inventories fell last week by over 1.5 million barrels bringing total stocks down to 69.1 million barrels. This was the first reduction in stocks since mid-March. The Midwest region inventories fell by 1.3 million barrels, while the East Coast region decreased by 0.5 million barrels. The Gulf Coast region added 0.3 million barrels of inventories and the Rocky Mountain/West Coast region grew slightly. Propylene non-fuel use inventories increased the share of total propane/propylene inventories to 2.8 percent.