From Calculated Risk:
The EIA estimate shows that energy consumption as a percent of GDP was 8.4% in 2005, slightly higher than the 8.0% in 1971. However, in case no one noticed, energy prices have increased since 2005.
In 2005, petroleum prices were in the $50 per barrel range, now spot prices are over $140 per barrel. In 2005, the average well head price for natural gas prices spiked to over $7.00 per million Btu because of the hurricanes in the gulf, and then declined slightly in 2006. However wellhead prices have spiked again to over $10.00 per MMBtu.
Even coal prices, after years of comparatively minor price changes, have risen significantly in 2008.
Using the EIA price data, and making a few assumptions (no increase in energy consumption in 2008, and an energy mix of 40% petroleum, 23% coal, 23% natural gas, and 14% nuclear and renewables), we can estimate that energy consumption as a percent of U.S. GDP will set a record in 2008 of over 14%.
This estimate could be too high. Prices might fall, and the energy mix in 2008 might change, but clearly energy as percent of GDP will be close to the record high this year.
Click for a clear chart of US energy consumption as a percentage of GDP.
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