U.S. emissions generally lower last year

Federal data show that the transportation sector was the only one without declines last year.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  April 10, 2017 at 9:12 AM
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April 10 (UPI) -- The only U.S. sector where emissions of carbon dioxide increased last year was in the transportation sector, an Energy Department division reported.

A daily brief from the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported CO2 emissions from the transportation sector increased 1.9 percent from 2015 levels. Emissions directly from motor gasoline increased 1.8 percent and the overall sector emissions were higher than for the power sector, a trend the administration expects will continue until at least 2040.

"Both oil and natural gas consumption were higher in 2016 than in 2015, while coal consumption was significantly lower," the EIA's report read. "Consistent with changes in fuel consumption, energy-related CO2 emissions in 2016 from petroleum and natural gas increased 1.1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, while coal-related emissions decreased 8.6 percent."

Recent market reports find U.S. crude oil production and foreign imports are leading to buildups in domestic inventory levels. In a sign of a tightening market, however, gasoline stocks have declined in recent weeks.

Motor club AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.39 for Monday, about 15 percent higher than this date last year. U.S. gasoline prices, however, peaked at $4.11 per gallon in July 2008, showing consumers are driving on some of the cheapest gas prices in nearly a decade.

Elsewhere, the EIA reported energy-related CO2 emissions last year were down 1.7 percent from 2015 levels, consistent with a decade-long trend. The trend comes as power comes less from coal and more from cleaner-burning natural gas and renewable power sources.

U.S. President Donald Trump has unveiled policies aimed at boosting the fossil fuels industry, including coal. A recent decision to allow construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada was criticized by environmental groups who say the type of oil found in Canada is more carbon-intensive than lighter grades.

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