Abundance Driving Affordability
Throughout the last decade, domestic development of natural gas increased by 36 percent, enabling the U.S. to become the world’s leading producer. But how did the nation increase its production so drastically in only 10 years? It is a revolution fueled entirely by two factors – innovation and shale. Breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), horizontal drilling and other well stimulation technologies are unlocking natural gas that was trapped in shale and other tight rock formations for millions of years. The U.S. can now access more energy resources efficiently, safely, and ultimately cost effectively.
This newfound energy abundance at home translates into real benefits for the American consumer and the entire economy. The surge in natural gas caused prices to drop dramatically. Since 2008 alone, the average national price of natural gas delivered to residential consumers decreased by almost three dollars per thousand cubic feet of natural gas.
More Money in Your Pocket
Natural gas is now the nation’s largest fuel source for electricity generation, providing more than 31 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017. And because innovations have made it a more affordable energy option, Americans across the country see the savings in their utility bill each month. In fact, today, energy accounts for only 6.6 percent of a family’s monthly spending.
With less money spent keeping the lights on and the homes warm, families have more money for essential household expenses ranging from childcare to groceries to rent. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), falling natural gas and oil prices directly reduced Americans’ cost of living.
Powering U.S. Industry
Abundant natural gas not only saves consumers on home electricity, but it also has a positive ripple effect for American manufacturers. A strong supply is helping to cut prices in energy intensive industries across the value chain, from producers of raw materials to finished products. These energy intensive manufacturers include producers of steel, chemicals, refined fuels, plastics, fertilizers and numerous consumer products.
Affordable energy, for the industries that rely on it the most, brings jobs back to our shores and attracts investment. Industrial electricity prices in 2015 were 30 to 50 percent lower than those of foreign competitors – and are likely to remain lower. And these lower energy costs translate into lower manufacturing costs. The total cost to manufacture goods in the U.S. was 10 to 20 percent lower than in Europe in 2015.
In addition to strengthening the economy, reduced manufacturing costs for U.S. industries make goods more affordable for consumers, once again helping families save on their daily living expenses.
Natural gas is revolutionizing energy supplies, and the tangible savings for the nation and consumers cannot be overstated. Energy is essential to modern living and when it’s affordable, we all reap the benefits.