End use energy

End use energy is the energy directly consumed by the user, as opposed to primary energy which is the energy that is harvested directly from natural resources. End use energy includes electricity, gasoline, and natural gas. Primary energy has energy that is usually in a form that is difficult for a consumer to extract, so energy conversion technology is used to change the form of the energy. When looking at energy use by sector, some organizations report end use energy and some report primary energy, for a detailed discussion please see primary vs end use accounting.

A country's complete profile of end use energy is often called total final consumption. This is usually a compilation of how much each of the following are used:

Figure 1. This diagram[1] shows how Total Primary Energy Supply (the primary energy) becomes Total Final Consumption (end use energy). Various primary energy sources combine are changed with energy conversion technologies like power plants and refineries to energy currencies.


Electricity is the clearest example of how end use energy and primary energy differ. Primary energy is the energy that goes in to electricity production, while end use energy is the amount of electricity that we use. These are two very different numbers. A typical power plant runs at about 33% efficiency. This means that power plants consume three times as much energy in fuel (like coal) as the amount of energy produced as electricity.


The distinction between primary energy and end use energy is more subtle with transportation fuels. The amount of energy available is fairly similar in both types because comparatively little energy is lost converting crude oil to transportation fuels, so transportation makes up a small portion of primary energy. In other words, gasoline, diesel and kerosene have roughly the same amount of chemical energy that the oil (or bitumen fed into the system. Chemically, there are differences in the structure of the molecules for these secondary fuels vs. the original oil.

Interactive data visualization

The data visualization below shows the end use energy for different countries. Notice how different countries use more or less electricity, or oil products (like gasoline or diesel).


  1. Created internally by a member of the Energy Education team.

Authors and Editors

James Jenden, Jason Donev
Last updated: April 14, 2018
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