Fossil Fuels Have Been 80% of Energy Since 1900
Ever since they began replacing wood around 1850, fossil fuels have been our major source of energy, approaching 90 percent in the first half of the 20th century and only recently declining back toward 80 percent. Coal peaked around 1910 when it was 80 percent of our energy all by itself. The introduction of petroleum in the auto sector and natural gas in home heating gradually pushed coal back to 20 percent by the 1960s. Since then the introduction of nuclear has pushed down reliance on fossil fuels. Hydroelectricity has offered a slim, steady contribution of about 5 percent since the early part of the 20th century. Renewables have recently offered another 5 percent. Altogether, however, the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels remains dominant.