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. Dollars spent on fuel used in motor vehicles for commercial purposes is included in the transportation sector. Examples of common expenditures of energy in the commercial sector include space heating, water heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, and cooking.
Total commercial sector expenditures on energy decreased less than one percent (0.7 percent) to $990.5 million from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, the commercial sector spent $773.9 million for electricity, $164.1 million for natural gas, $29.4 million for diesel fuel, $10.5 million for propane, $11.2 million for motor gasoline, and $1.5 million for wood and waste. If any fuel had consumption low enough to round to zero, the expenditure is shown as $0. Also, the Energy Information Administration rounded all expenditures to one decimal so a fuel expenditure less than $0.05 million dollars would be shown as $0.0 million dollars in the table below. Expenditures on ethanol were not tracked. There are no direct fuel costs for hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic, or solar thermal energy.
Electricity expenditures were over three–fourths (78 percent) of the total money spent in the commercial sector on energy in 2012 with expenditures on natural gas comprising nearly a fifth (17 percent) of the total. Expenditures on each of the other fuels were less than three percent.
The expenditures are in nominal dollars to provide a better comparison.