U.S. energy production rose 8% to a record level of 96 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2018, from 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The rise exceeded the 4% increase in U.S. energy consumption, also a record high of 101 quads. U.S. energy exports rose 18% to a record level of 21 quads in 2018, and net energy imports fell to a 54-year low of 4 quads, or less than 4% of energy consumption.
Crude oil and natural gas accounted for 57% of all U.S. energy production, with crude oil production rising 17% and natural gas production up 12% in 2018, from 2017. Natural gas plant liquids production rose 14%. Energy production from renewable energy increased 4% from 2017, as a result of the following growth: 22% in solar, 8% in wind and 2% in biomass energy. Nuclear electric power production was flat in 2018. Coal production declined by 2%.
Petroleum had the largest gap between growth in production and growth in consumption in 2018. Crude oil consumption increased by 2%, and crude oil exports increased by 73%. Exports of petroleum products rose 6%. Exports of crude oil and petroleum accounted for 68% of all U.S. energy exports and the majority of the rise in total U.S. energy exports. Petroleum product exports rose to a record high of 10.2 quads, or 5.6 million barrels per day. Crude oil exports nearly doubled to a record high of 4.2 quads, or 2 million barrels per day, and surpassed coal and natural gas on an energy equivalent basis to become the second-highest U.S. energy export. Exports of natural gas and biomass energy, such as ethanol, rose to new records in 2018, and coal exports increased to the highest level since 2013.
U.S. energy imports fell 2% in 2018, from 2017, and combined net U.S. energy imports fell to their lowest levels since 1964. The United States was a net exporter of coal, coal coke, petroleum products, natural gas and biomass energy in 2018. The United States remained a net importer of crude oil, and this has been the case for every year since 1944. However, net imports of crude oil in 2018 reached the lowest levels since 1991.