The commercial sector consists of nonmanufacturing business establishments. Included are hotels, motels, restaurants, wholesale businesses, retail stores, laundries, and other service enterprises; health, social, and educational institutions; and federal, state, and local governments. Streetlights, pumps, bridges, and public services are also included. Fuel used in motor vehicles for commercial purposes is included in the transportation sector. Examples of common uses of energy in the commercial sector include space heating, water heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, and cooking.
Using an equivalent measure of million British thermal units (Btu), the graph below compares the prices of fuel. The prices are also in nominal dollars to provide a better comparison. In 2011, the highest price was for kerosene at $28.35 per million Btu followed by motor gasoline at $28.19, diesel fuel at $23.99, electricity at $23.40, and propane at $21.65. Natural gas was $6.62, wood and waste was $6.19, and coal and residual fuel had no reported prices. Since the commercial sector's residual fuel consumption was zero or small enough to round to zero for the years 2002, 2007, and 2011, residual fuel's price is shown as $0 for those years. Likewise, since the commercial sector's coal consumption was small enough to round to zero for the years 1999, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, coal's price is shown as $0.
The price for ethanol is not tracked, and there are no direct fuel costs for hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic, or solar thermal energy, so no prices are reported.