The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), created by Congress in 1977, is a statistical, modeling, and analysis agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. It provides policy-independent data, forecasts, and analyses to promote policy making, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. The agency publishes information on prices, supply and demand for all major energy sources, including oil, natural gas, coal, electricity as well as renewable energy . Current and historical data for the U.S. is available in HTML, XLS, and PDF formats. Data on short-term (the next year or so) projections are made on a monthly basis, while longer term projections are available on an annual basis out through the next 25 to 30 years. Annual projections on carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are also available. Less detailed data are also available for the world in similar formats. Among its more notable publications are the Annual Energy Outlook which forecasts energy market condition 20-25 years out, the Annual Energy Review which includes historical data back to 1949, and the International Energy Annual. These data are available free of charge.
Products and services
The EIA has four types of information products: Energy data, analyses, forecasts, and descriptive information about their products. Many of the products, such as the Petroleum Supply Monthly, deal with specific industries. A broad range of customers look to products that contain data on all fuel types presented in an integrated manner. Some key releases of integrated information are the Monthly Energy Review, the Annual Energy Review, the Short-Term Energy Outlook, and the Annual Energy Outlook.
Most of the energy data actually are collected by EIA staff. EIA designs and sends its statistical surveys to energy producers, users, transporters, and certain other businesses. Companies and households report directly to the EIA, which also collects data from other sources, such as trade associations and other government agencies.
EIA's analysis products are technical reports and articles that analyze issues about energy including economics, technology, energy production, prices, distribution, storage, consumption, and environmental effects.
EIA's forecasts cover all energy types, and include forecasts of supply, consumption, prices, and other important factors. It does a short-term forecast that goes out 6 to 8 quarters in the future, and a midterm forecast that goes out 20 years. Some of EIA's forecasting models are available on the EIA web site.
Other products include directories of all EIA's survey forms, lists of its publications, electronic products and models, a guide to energy education resources, and complete list of energy data contacts (who to call if you have energy questions).
The Department of Energy Organization Act (Public Law 95-91) allows EIA's processes and products to be independent from review by Executive Branch officials; specifically, Section 205(d) says:
"The Administrator shall not be required to obtain the approval of any other officer or employee of the Department in connection with the collection or analysis of any information; nor shall the Administrator be required, prior to publication, to obtain the approval of any other officer or employee of the United States with respect to the substance of any statistical or forecasting technical reports which he has prepared in accordance with law."
Another law, the Paperwork Reduction Act, does require that any data collection proposed by a Federal agency be approved by the Office of Management and Budget. However, the Administrator does not need to get the review and approval of anyone before he publishes any energy report.
Since its beginning, EIA has been challenged by the duty to respect Congress' intent to prepare policy-neutral reports while fulfilling its role as an integrated office within the Department of Energy. EIA has found that complete transparency in the approach, methodology, and results of each of its products has gained the trust of its clients in the Department, the Congress, and elsewhere in the public. It is now recognized by its customers that EIA neither formulates nor advocates any policy conclusions, even though it often supports the Department with analyses and statistics.
To assure this message is explicit, all EIA products carry the following statement:
"This report was prepared by the Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. The information contained herein should be attributed to the Energy Information Administration and should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any policy of the Department of Energy or of any other organization."
Users of EIA Information
EIA’s data and analyses are used by Federal and state agencies, industry, media, researchers, consumers, and educators. All of EIA’s products can be accessed through its Web site which logs more than 2 million user sessions a month. The Nation’s leaders rely on EIA for timely and comprehensive information to formulate energy policy and programs. Industry looks to EIA for official estimates on energy demand, supply, prices, markets and financial indicators. Media and the general public rely on EIA for of current and historical data and information on all aspects of U.S. energy trends. The international community relies on EIA’s products for timely information on world energy supply and demand. The EIA Kid’s Page provides energy-related information and activities for primary and secondary schools.
Major Laws Affecting EIA
1974: Federal Energy Administration (FEA) Act (P.L. 93-275, 15 USC 761)
Created the FEA and mandated it to collect, assemble, evaluate, and analyze energy information; provide energy information and projections to the Federal Government, State Governments, and the public; and provide Congress with an annual report summarizing these activities. It also provided FEA with data collection enforcement authority for gathering data from energy producing and consuming firms.
1976: Energy Conservation and Production Act (P.L. 94-385, 15 USC 790)
Established within the FEA, the Office of Energy Information and Analysis (which later became the Energy Information Administration (EIA)). This office was to (1) operate a comprehensive National Energy Information System, (2) possess expertise in energy analysis and forecasting, (3) be subject to performance audits by a Professional Audit Review Team, (4) coordinate energy information activities with Federal agencies, (5) promptly provide upon request any energy information to any duly established committee of Congress, and (6) make periodic reports on the energy situation and trends to the Congress and the public.
1977: Department of Energy (DOE) Organization Act (P.L. 95-91, 42 USC 7135)
Established EIA as the single Federal Government authority for energy information. This Act gave EIA independence from the rest of DOE with respect to data collection, and from the whole U. S. Government with respect to the content of EIA reports. It also incorporated all the provisions of the Office of Energy Information and Analysis and established an annual survey to gather and report detailed energy industry financial data.
1992: Energy Policy Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-486, 42 USC 13385)
Required EIA to expand its data gathering and analysis in several areas, including energy consumption, alternative fuels and alternatively-fueled vehicles, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel transportation rates and distribution patterns, electricity production from renewable energy sources, and foreign purchases and imports of uranium.
2005: Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58, 42 USC 15801 note)
Required EIA to undertake several new activities in the renewable fuels area, including: an inventory of renewable fuels available for consumers and a projection of future inventories; a study of renewable fuel blending; and a monthly survey on renewable fuels production, blending, importation, demand, and prices.