Division of Energy
Missouri Fossil Fuel Use at a Glance
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Increase in Consumption of Fossil Fuels in Missouri, 1989-2009.
Missourians rely heavily on fossil fuels– coal, petroleum and natural gas – for energy use. Of the 1,817 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy consumed in Missouri in 2009, about 94 percent came from fossil fuels (see Figure 1). Between 1989 and 2009 the total per capita energy consumption by Missourians increased by 0.2%, from 302 million BTUs per person in 1989 to 304 million BTUs per person in 2009. This small increase reflects the reduction in per capita energy consumption between 2008 and 2009. In 2008, per capita energy consumption was 326 million BTU per person. All types of energy consumption in Missouri fell between 2008 and 2009, due to both a cooler summer in 2009, compared to 2008, and the effects of the 2008-2009 recession.
Missouri has very limited fossil fuel resources. Nearly all the coal, petroleum and natural gas used in Missouri are imported from out of state.
In 2009, Missourians used about 0.60 percent more fossil fuel than in 1989, essentially matching the 0.55 percent increase in Missouri’s population over those years. Figure 1 shows the general rate of increase in energy use from fossil fuels along with the general rate of increase in energy use. Overall energy use peaked in 2008 and is slightly lower in 2009.
Between 1989 and 2009 natural gas use increased 0.55 percent and petroleum use increased 0.44 percent but coal use increased 1.27 percent. Prior to 2000, petroleum use accounted for the highest proportion of fossil fuel use. After 2000, coal use accounted for the highest proportion of fossil fuel use (see Figure 2).
Expenditures for fossil fuels increased about 3 percent between 1989 and 2009, from $6.1 billion to $15.3 billion. Between 2008 and 2009, expenditures on fossil fuels were reduced by 29.5 percent. The trend lines in Figures 3 and 4 show these differences. During these years, fossil fuel consumption showed a compound annual growth rate of 0.6 percent. Coal consumption increased at a compound average annual growth rate of 1.1 percent, followed by petroleum at 0.3 percent and natural gas at 0.2 percent.
What are BTUs?
A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measure that allow us to compare the energy content of different fuels. It’s possible to compare the energy in a gallon of gasoline, a cubic foot of natural gas and a quarter ton of coal by converting each to BTUs.
A BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water (at or near 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by one degree Fahrenheit. One BTU is approximately equal to the energy released in the burning of a wood match.
How Missourians Used Fossil Fuels in 2009
Pie Chart Segment Descriptions
Figure 5 shows how Missourians used fossil fuels in 2009.
Transportation Usage - Blue segment
The blue segment on the pie chart indicates fossil fuels used for transportation in 2009. Petroleum fuels such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel accounted for 560 trillion BTU, or 99 percent of energy use for transportation. About 80 percent of petroleum consumed in Missouri is for transportation use.
Natural Gas Usage - Orange segment
The orange segment indicates natural gas use in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Forty-five percent of Missouri’s natural gas is used in residential and commercial buildings, for applications such as space and water heating. Industry accounts for about 27 percent of natural gas use in Missouri. The remaining one third of natural gas is used for electric power generation (26%) and transportation (2%).
Other Usage - Red segment
The red segment indicates other categories of fossil fuel use, primarily petroleum, that are described in the Energy Information Administration's State Energy Data Report 2009. PDF
Electricity Usage - Yellow segment
The yellow segment on the pie chart indicates fossil fuel used to generate electricity. In 2009, Missouri power plants burned about 744 trillion BTU of coal and other fossil fuels and produced about 87 percent of the electricity generated in the state. Coal accounted for about 94 percent of generation from fossil fuels.
More about generation from coal
Coal-fired power plants are major sources of Missouri's sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions. They are also the source of a substantial share of the state’s carbon dioxide and mercury emissions. For more information about emissions from fossil-fired plants visit our Energy Statistics page.
When coal is burned to generate electricity, about a third of the coal’s energy is captured as electricity. The remaining two thirds is lost as waste heat. By comparison, combined cycle natural gas fired facilities can achieve about 50 percent efficiency in converting fossil fuel energy into electricity. Capturing the waste heat from generation as usable steam in a combined heat and power, or CHP, operation can drive these efficiencies higher. The U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association provides links to Web-based sources of information about CHP.
More about generation from natural gas
Natural gas has become an increasingly important source for electricity generation in Missouri. Missouri’s electric utilities used about 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2009. In 1989, about 2 percent of electricity generated in Missouri came from gas-fired plants; in 2009, this share was about 5 percent.
More about electricity exports
The smallest slice of the yellow segment indicates fossil energy used to generate power that was sold out of state. Since the mid-70s, Missouri power plants have generated more power than Missouri consumers have used. Net exports of electricity to other states equaled 7.1 percent in 2009.
More about non-fossil generation
The yellow segment does not include Missouri’s main sources for non-fossil generation - nuclear and hydroelectric plants, and other renewable energy generation sources. The combination of all of Missouri’s renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, solar, wind and wood and waste) provided 2.4 percent of Missouri’s electrical power, with hydroelectric power providing virtually all of this power. Missouri’s single nuclear plant provided about 5.6 percent of total generation in 2009. Like fossil fuels, nuclear power relies on a non-renewable energy resource that must be imported into Missouri.
Data sources: The primary sources for data used in this overview are the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Census Bureau.