Answer: Cement. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the industrial category, which encompasses manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and construction, accounted for almost a third of total U.S. energy use in 2012. Energy-intensive manufacturing comprised a little more than half of total industrial energy use.
While the cement industry used only one-quarter of one percent of total U.S. energy, it is the most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries, with a share of national energy use roughly 10 times its share of the nation’s GNP. On average, other energy intensive industries’ share of energy use is roughly twice their share of gross output. Cement is also unique in its heavy reliance on coal and petroleum coke for its production.
Over the long term, EIA projections show an increasing share of energy consumption for the manufacture of cement as well as increasing share of total gross output of GNP. Cement output is strongly tied to various types of construction, so as the economy recovers and construction increases, look for the cement business to grab a growing share of energy usage.