Natural gas prices are terrible, due to waxing supply and waning demand. The U.S. Energy Information Administration just released its first energy consumption estimates from a 2006 survey of manufacturers, and since factories and electric power plants consume nearly 60% of the nation’s gas, I was curious to see which manufacturers relied most heavily on the vaporous fuel. U.S. manufacturing firms burned 14,428 trillion Btus of fuel in 2006, and natural gas was the largest single fuel source. It accounted for 32.8% of total energy consumed, followed distantly by electricity, at 19.6% of consumption. Other sources of manufacturing fuel included residual fuel oil, distillate fuel oil, LPG and NGL, coal and coke. So, as U.S. manufacturing goes, so goes natural gas demand. The sectors that used the most gas were chemicals and petroleum and coal products. Together, these sectors accounted for 43.8% of all gas used in U.S. manufacturing. Food manufacturers consumed 13.2% of the sector’s gas. The three categories of primary metals, fabricated metals and nonmetallic mineral products combined for 20.9% of gas use, and wood, paper and printing products took 10.1%. This back-of-the-envelope calculation leads me to believe that we must await a broad-based recovery to restore natural-gas demand. It is a fundamental fuel source for our factories, and these factories produce the basic building blocks of our modern lives. Click on this link to review the EIA table! EIA Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey --Peggy Williams, Senior Exploration Editor, Oil and Gas Investor Contact me at