Which Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity

Some sectors, industries, and activities use a lot more energy or electricity than others.

In this guide, we list those sectors and industries.


Summary – Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity

The specific sectors and industries that use the most electricity and energy can differ from country to country – and especially between developed and developing countries.

For example, read about energy use in the different sectors in China in this guide, or energy use in the different sectors in the US in this guide

But, globally in 2012, the industrial sector (composed of agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction) by far used the most energy at 54%.

This was followed by transportation, residential and then the commercial sector

Taking a look at the two biggest energy producing and consuming countries in the world as examples …

China is the world’s biggest user and producer of energy.

In the industrial sector in China, six industries – electricity generation, steel, non-ferrous metals, construction materials, oil processing and chemicals – account for nearly 70% of energy use.

The US is the second biggest user and producer of energy right now.

The US in 2017 had an energy split of industrial – 32%, transportation – 29%, residential – 20%, and commercial – 18%.

Just with China and the US we can see that there is a difference in industry based energy use, with both countries being at different levels of economic growth and industrialization

The type of economy a country has has an impact on where energy is used

Using another few examples …

The UK by far used most of it’s energy in transportation

Australia uses most of it’s energy in electricity supply and transportation, with manufacturing a distant third



Different sectors can be split into sub industries e.g. electricity generation is an industry by itself, but other sectors such as material production, manufacturing, and households (just to name a few) depend on electricity to function.

Transportation is an example of an industry that can be split into different forms of transport.

Another note is that there are different energy sources (coal, natural gas, oil, etc), and energy systems (gasoline vs electric cars for example)

So, energy and electricity use can become very specific.


Which Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity Worldwide

Global energy use (end use of energy) by sector, in 2012, was:

Sector 1015Btu (British Thermal Units) Petawatt-hours Percentage
Residential 53.0 15.5 13
Commercial 29.3 8.6 7
Industrial 222.3 65.1 54
Transportation 104.2 30.5 26
Total* 408.9 119.8 100

The sectors can be described as or might include:

Residential (heating, lighting, and appliances)

Commercial (lighting, heating and cooling of commercial buildings, and provision of water and sewer services)

Industrial users (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction)

Transportation (passenger, freight, and pipeline)

– wikipedia.org


The EIA has some good data at EIA.gov on US and International energy consumption:

Browse ‘Energy Consumption By Sector’

There’s also an outlooks and forecasts section

There’s also an international section for other countries such as China, India, Russia etc.


Which Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity In China

The industrial sectors (comprised of other industries) and power production quite clearly make up most of China’s energy use:


In 2015, most of China’s energy and coal use came from the industrial sector, with 67.9 percent of the country’s energy use and 54.2 percent of its coal use due to manufacturing, agriculture, and construction.

An additional 41.8 percent of China’s coal consumption came from power production activities.

– chinapower.csis.org


In the industrial sector, six industries – electricity generation, steel, non-ferrous metals, construction materials, oil processing and chemicals – account for nearly 70% of energy use.

In the construction materials sector, China produced about 44% of the world’s cement in 2006. 

Cement production produces more carbon emissions than any other industrial process, accounting for around 4% of global carbon emissions.

– wikipedia.org


Which Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity In The United States

The industrial (composed of manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and construction) and transportation sectors quite clearly use the most energy in the US:


The total energy use in the US in 2017 was 97.7 quadrillion British Thermal Units.

The % of energy use by end use sectors in 2017 was:

Industrial – 32%

Transportation – 29%

Residential – 20%

Commercial – 18%

These sectors can be described to include:

The industrial sector includes facilities and equipment used for manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and construction.

The transportation sector includes vehicles that transport people or goods, such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, aircraft, boats, barges, and ships.

The residential sector includes homes and apartments.

The commercial sector includes offices, malls, stores, schools, hospitals, hotels, warehouses, restaurants, and places of worship and public assembly.

The electric power sector consumes primary energy to generate most of the electricity the other four sectors consume.

– eia.gov


Which Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity In The UK

In 2016, the UK consumed 140,668 ktoe of energy.

Breakdown of energy consumption by general sectors was:

Transport – 40%

Domestic – 29%

Industry – 17%

Services – 14%

In Goods & Services, the energy consumption breakdown is:

65% for commercial businesses, 29% for public administration, 6% for agriculture

21% in the health sector, 18% in offices, 17% in retail, 13% in hospital, 11% in education, 9% in community, art and leisure, 9% in storage, 6% in agriculture, 3% in emergency services, 2% in military

In Manufacturing & Industrial, the energy consumption breakdown is:

28% from other industries, 14.3% from chemicals, 12% from food, drink and tobacco, 10.4% from mineral products, 9.8% from paper, printing and publishing, 6% from vehicles, 4.5% from mechanical engineering, 3.9% from iron and steel, 3.4% from electrical engineering, 2.8% from textiles and clothing, 2.5% from construction, and 2.4% from non ferrous metals

In business, the energy consumption breakdown is:

Private offices – 3,539 ktoe

Chemical manufacturing –2,874 ktoe

Hospitality – 2,458 ktoe

Food products manufacturing – 2,242 ktoe

Hospitals – 2,237 ktoe

Non-metallic mineral manufacturing – 1,924 ktoe

Basic metals manufacturing – 1,489 ktoe

Rubber and plastic manufacturing – 1,442 ktoe

Small shops – 1,376 ktoe

Paper products manufacturing – 1,297 ktoe

– gazprom-energy.co.uk

*ktoe stands for Kilotonne of Oil Equivalent (a measurement unit of energy consumption)


Which Sectors & Industries Use The Most Energy & Electricity In Australia

In 2015-15, Australia’s energy consumption by industry was:

Electricity Supply – 1,755.7 PJ, or 28.5 % of total energy consumption

Transport – 1,642.8 PJ, or 27.1%

Manufacturing – 1,114.4 PJ, or 18.4%

Mining – 610.0 PJ, or 10.1%

Residential – 457.4 PJ, or 7.5%

Commercial – 321.5 PJ, or 5.6%

Agriculture – 110.3 PJ, or 1.8%

Construction – 23.4 PJ, or 0.4%

Other – 30.5 PJ, or 0.7%

Total – 6,065.9 PJ

*PJ stands for Petajoules. One PJ is 278 gigawatt hours, or about the equivalent energy used by 19,000 homes per year.

– energy.gov.au



1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_policy_of_China

3. https://chinapower.csis.org/energy-footprint/

4. https://www.energy.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3411/f/energy-update-report-2017.pdf

5. https://www.gazprom-energy.co.uk/blog/which-businesses-use-the-most-energy/

6. https://www.eia.gov/outlooks

7. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.php?page=us_energy_use

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