The March issue of American Gas magazine titled, Uncovering the U.S. Commercial Sector, features a new American Gas Association (AGA) report, which highlights the diversity within the commercial segment of the natural gas market and the range of consumers, technologies and end uses that serve as the backbone to the U.S. economy.
The commercial sector represents businesses and public services including education, health care, public order and safety, service facilities, offices, food sales and service, lodging, retail and public assembly. There are more than 5.4 million “commercial customers” of natural gas in the United States and that 99 percent of all natural gas volumes sold to the commercial sector flow through local distribution company pipes.
In 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration conducted a survey of building owners, managers and energy providers to better understand the characteristics of the commercial sector and how it has changed over time. AGA took a deep dive into the findings of the survey and a few key conclusions include:
- The share of buildings that use natural gas has remained relatively constant across the entire commercial building fleet. This suggests commercial natural gas growth has reflected an expansion of the entire market, of which natural gas has maintained a consistent share.
- Natural gas use in the commercial building sector has grown 10 percent during the last decade, a result of growth in the overall commercial market. Natural gas consumption in the U.S. commercial sector exceeded 3.5 trillion cubic feet in 2014.
- In 2015, a commercial customer’s natural gas bill reached a new low of $405 on average, which is the lowest since AGA began collecting data in 2003.
Businesses across the country are paying less for natural gas now than at any time since the Ford Administration. In fact, commercial utility bills are the lowest since the AGA began collecting data early last decade. AGA sees a bright future for the commercial use of natural gas. As the economy grows, so will the commercial sector. At a low-cost, reliable fuel, natural gas will help that sector maintain its competitiveness that helps drive our economy. The efficient use of commercial-scale natural gas applications lower costs for businesses and helps increase jobs.
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