Energy Index

The Washington & Jefferson College Energy Index

The First Public and Unbiased Benchmark That Measures the United States’ Progress Toward Energy Independence and Energy Security

Measuring U.S. Energy Independence

• The basic measurement is the share of energy consumed by the U.S. that is produced domestically

• Applies a proprietary algorithm to publicly available data on energy development, imports and consumption

• Uses a scale of 1-100, with 100 equaling total independence ( meaning the U.S. produces all of the energy it consumes) and 0 equaling total dependence ( meaning the U.S. imports all of the energy it consumes)

• Measures energy independence as it relates to the aggregate of fuel sources and to individual fuel sources, e.g. petroleum or coal

• Includes a regional view of energy independence

• Supports historical analysis (1949 to present) and predictive analysis (of trends).

In 2012, the Energy Index for U.S. Energy Independence is 74

Assessing U.S. Energy Security

• The Energy Index also analyzes U.S. energy security

• Measures the density, or diversity, of U.S. import partners to determine if we import fuel sources from many, or only a few, countries

• Assesses the political risks and stability of each import country

• This measurement allows the U.S. to diversify its import partners and to minimize imports from countries whose political views pose a risk to the U.S. public

Providing Regional Views of Energy Independence

• Measures how much of the energy consumed in each U.S. region (Northeast, South, Midwest and West) is produced in that region

• Helps the public to recognize regional changes in energy production and consumption and to understand the consequences of those changes

• For example, a region that develops and uses a local energy source, such as natural gas, may be able to lower its electricity costs and increase regional employment opportunities.

Responding to Current Events

• The Energy Index can help to explain current energy events, such as escalating gasoline prices

• Historically, U.S. gasoline prices decreased when we imported more petroleum and increased when we imported less, reflecting a basic supply and demand relationship

• Beginning in 2001, this relationship began to reverse itself – the U.S. increased its petroleum independence, but prices rose

• There may be many reasons for the change, but the fact that the change coincides with China’s growing energy consumption suggests that global energy demand now controls U.S. gasoline prices


Download the full W&J Energy Index (PDF) or read the Center for Energy Policy and Management Executive Summary (PDF). You can also download a user-friendly infographic translating the W&J Energy Index.