Cheap natural gas and energy-efficiency programs may mean low fuel costs for the growing sector of metal-based durable manufacturers, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The metal-based durables industry includes businesses that make electronics, appliances, machinery and transportation equipment such as aircraft engines.
The industry relies on natural gas and electricity for a greater percentage of its fuel than many other manufacturers –which often use other fossil fuels including coal and diesel — so it could stand to see more of a benefit if low gas prices continue and the push for energy-efficient buildings and processes keep costs low, the report states. Metal-based durables used 942 trillion British thermal units of energy in 2010, according to an EIA survey. That’s only about 7 percent of the wider industry’s total use, but a high percentage of the sector’s fuel was split between electricity and natural gas.