Human Ecology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 459-471

First online:

Reducing Energy Inputs in the US Food System

  • David PimentelAffiliated withCornell University Email author 
  • , Sean WilliamsonAffiliated withCornell University
  • , Courtney E. AlexanderAffiliated withCornell University
  • , Omar Gonzalez-PaganAffiliated withCornell University
  • , Caitlin KontakAffiliated withCornell University
  • , Steven E. MulkeyAffiliated withCornell University

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Petroleum and natural gas are the primary fuels in the US food system. Both fuels are now in short supply and significant quantities are being imported into the USA from various nations. An investigation documented that fossil energy use in the food system could be reduced by about 50% by appropriate technology changes in food production, processing, packaging, transportation, and consumption. The results suggest that overall, farmers benefit as well as consumers.


Agriculture Energy conservation Food packaging Food system Food transport Land resources Nutrients USA