Definition of Energy Economics

Image by, courtesy of Kevin Dooley

Economists study the ways in which societies allocate limited resources to meet unlimited wants. Because most energy production involves the use of finite, non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels, energy economics is an important economic specialty.


Energy economics studies energy resources and their allocation within society, especially to power society’s productive abilities.


Energy is an ideal field for economic study, given that industrial society depends on finite sources, such as oil, to meet energy needs.



Energy economics studies the government and market forces that motivate the use of energy sources by consumers and industries.



The emergence of China and India as economic powers has intensified global competition for existing oil sources, mostly in the Middle East and Russia. This competition contributes to rising oil prices.



Rising oil prices and pressure from many governments may lead to greater use of cleaner, renewable energy sources. Cleaner energy and the economic effects will be important study topics for energy economists.




About the Author

Shane Hall is a writer and research analyst with more than 20 years of experience. His work has appeared in "Brookings Papers on Education Policy," "Population and Development" and various Texas newspapers. Hall has a Doctor of Philosophy in political economy and is a former college instructor of economics and political science.

Photo Credits

  • Image by, courtesy of Kevin Dooley