Natural gas occurs deep beneath the earth’s surface. It consists mainly of methane, a compound with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Natural gas also contains small amounts of hydrocarbon gas liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases. Natural gas is used as a fuel and to make materials and chemicals.
Natural gas prices are mainly a function of market supply and demand. Because there are limited short-term alternatives to natural gas as a fuel for heating and electricity generation during peak demand periods, changes in supply or demand over a short period may result in large price changes. Prices themselves often act to balance supply and demand.
Notes: Prices are in nominal dollars. Gas volumes delivered for use as vehicle fuel are included in the State annual totals through 2009 but not in the State monthly components. Through 2001, electric power price data are for regulated electric utilities only; beginning in 2002, data also include nonregulated members of the electric power sector. For 2015, electric power data are preliminary and shown as of the September 2016 Electric Power Monthly.