Full Title: U.S. Natural Gas: Overview of Markets and Uses
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Publisher(s): Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Publication Date: 5/2012
Language: English
Length: 9 pages, PDF



Natural gas is a naturally occurring fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane and small amounts of impurities such as carbon dioxide (CO2). It may also contain heavier liquids that can be processed into valuable byproducts including propane, butane and pentane. Natural gas plays a vital role in the U.S. economy, constituting 25 percent of total U.S. energy consumption—second only to oil—and roughly one fifth of all U.S. electricity generation. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas plays an important role in almost every sector, in applications including generating electricity, providing heat and power to industry, buildings, homes and vehicles, and as a feedstock in the manufacture of products such as fertilizers. Natural gas is responsible for approximately percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually, most of which (90 percent) are associated with combustion, with the remainder from venting and other fugitive methane releases (8 percent) and from removing CO2 during processing (2 percent). Combustion of natural gas produces substantially less CO2 and far fewer pollutants per unit of energy delivered than coal and oil.