Natural Gas: Fueling Pennsylvania’s Economy and Climate Progress

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Natural gas has been transformative for Pennsylvania’s economy, positioning the state as a global energy leader and providing a reliable and affordable energy source for homeowners and businesses alike. As we head into another election season, lawmakers and voters need to understand the negative impact that policies seeking to limit energy production can have on our economy, consumer prices, and the stability of our energy supply.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest natural-gas-producing state, and we are home to some of the nation’s leading energy producers. The Keystone State has long reaped the benefits of promoting natural gas to power our economy and communities.

In-state energy production saves consumers money. The average annual savings of a Pennsylvania household using natural gas range from $1,100 to $2,200, and the average natural gas price for customers is down as much as 76% since 2008. That means more money in people’s pockets and more capital that Pennsylvania businesses can invest in their communities or pay their employees.

Natural gas also directly fuels Pennsylvania’s manufacturing economy. From the Kimberly Clark paper mill in Chester to the Shell cracker plant in Beaver County to the Procter & Gamble plant in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania’s industrial renaissance would not be possible without natural gas powering the manufacturing lines or being used as a feedstock for countless everyday products.

Pennsylvania’s unique alternative to a severance tax is the impact fee that it imposes on natural gas production, a levy that helps support many affected areas. In 2023, the impact fee generated record revenues of $279 million, providing funding that will be critical for projects in all 67 counties. These projects include environmental advancements, infrastructure improvements, and program investments for those in need, such as the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund that supports affordable housing across the Commonwealth.

The natural gas industry directly employs more than 120,000 workers and provides good-paying careers to state residents. These jobs allow local workers to remain in state instead of seeking advancement opportunities elsewhere. Jobs range from blue-collar, family-sustaining technical careers in the trades to positions that require advanced degrees, enabling Pennsylvanians to pursue careers in a stable industry that powers our state, our country, and the world.  

Additionally, the industry drove more than $41 billion in economic activity in 2022 alone, boosting the state’s GDP by nearly $25 billion and yielding more than $3,150 in economic activity per resident, which does not include the savings generated for each family and business. Natural gas production and use have provided life-changing investments, leading to revitalized local communities and new revenue streams for schools, infrastructure, and community programs that would otherwise have been lost.

The importance of these economic impacts and consumer benefits cannot be overstated.

Most important, Pennsylvania has proven that natural gas production and responsible environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. Natural gas continues to be the most effective energy source for making tangible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania and across the country. Between 2005 and 2020, greenhouse gas emissions shrunk 44% as natural gas use increased across the state. Additionally, power generation saw a 39% decline in CO2 emissions.

Commonwealth producers are often cited as a national industry standard, going above and beyond the targets set by regulators. Pennsylvania companies are implementing methods across their operations that limit unintended methane leaks and are also protecting the environment through the capping of previously uncapped wells. From on-the-ground monitoring to satellite imaging and third-party certifications, the natural gas industry is working to ensure that communities and the environment are protected.

American energy security is essential to our broader national security. For decades, Pennsylvania has led the nation in supplying stable, reliable, and affordable energy, and the state will continue to play a vital role in the evolving energy transition. We should all recognize the significant benefits that natural gas production and utilization generate.

Pennsylvania is poised to continue its energy leadership, but policymakers and voters need to remember the essential role that natural gas production plays in our economy. We should not put up roadblocks that hinder industry innovation and investment.

From the stoves we cook on to the lights we rely on, from the heat that warms us to the products that fuel our work and daily life, natural gas is essential to everything we do – all while remaining affordable and environmentally friendly. That’s the natural advantage of natural gas.

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