3.1 What kind of energy do we consume in the EU?

Out of the total energy available in the EU, around two thirds are consumed by end users, for example EU citizens, industry, transport etc. The difference – around one third – is mainly lost during electricity generation and distribution, used to support energy production processes or in non-energy uses (like asphalt or bitumen).

To properly interpret energy statistics, it is necessary to distinguish between primary and secondary energy products. A primary energy product is extracted or captured directly from natural resources, such as crude oil, firewood, natural gas or coal. Secondary energy products (such as electricity or motor gasoline) are produced as a result of a transformation process, either from a primary or from a different secondary energy product.

Flow of energy products from production to final consumption

Flow of energy products from production to final consumption

Petroleum products are the most consumed

In the EU in 2018, petroleum products (such as heating oil, petrol, diesel fuel), which represent 41 % of final energy consumption were the most consumed, followed by natural gas and electricity (both 21 %) and direct use of renewables (not transformed into electricity, e.g. wood, solar thermal, geothermal or biogas for space heating or hot water production) (10 %), derived heat (such as district heating) (4 %) and solid fossil fuels (mostly coal) (3 %). The real consumption of renewable energy is higher than 10 %, because other renewable sources are included in electricity (e.g. hydropower, wind power or solar photovoltaic).

Within the EU Member States, the final energy consumption pattern varies considerably. Petroleum products reach 60 % or over of final energy consumption in Cyprus and Luxembourg, while gas accounts for almost 30 % or over in the Netherlands, Hungary and Italy. Renewable energies reach over 20 % in Latvia, Finland and Sweden, while the consumption of electricity in Malta and Sweden accounts for over 30 % of their final energy consumption.

The transport sector consumes a third of the final energy consumption in the EU

Energy is consumed by different sectors of the economy: households (i.e. energy consumed in citizen’s dwellings), transport (e.g. rail, road, domestic aviation or inland shipping), industry, services (including commercial and public services) and agriculture & forestry.

Looking at which sectors in the EU consume the most energy, the industry sector (32 % of final energy consumption) consumes the most energy, followed by the transport sector (28 %), households (24 %), services (13 %) and agriculture & forestry (3 %).

Share of energy products in total final energy consumption

Share of energy from renewable energy sources in the EU member states