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Nearly 80% of EIA's website users come from outside the energy industry

graph of EIA website customers by segment, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, August 2013 customer survey
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

EIA's website, which provides independent and impartial energy information, has about 50,000 visitors each day. In August 2013 EIA conducted a voluntary customer survey that received almost 14,000 responses in one week. The largest single customer segment was business and industry (see chart above), accounting for a little more than 50%, as has been the case over many years of conducting EIA customer surveys.

Roughly three out of five (62%) business and industry respondents reported that they were not in the energy industry. Although EIA does not ask customers for their specific employer or field, some customers offered that information in the open-ended questions. Business roles mentioned in addition to the energy industry include commercial real estate appraisers, global logistics managers, pharmaceutical industry shippers, truckers, certified public accountants, and economics bloggers. Several respondents commented that their business depends on EIA information and that the analysis and reporting done by EIA is helpful to their work.

Taken together, non-business users represent almost half of EIA's website customers—they are researchers and consultants, teachers and students, bankers and financial analysts, government employees at many levels, reporters and writers, and private citizens, among others.

graph of survey results, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, August 2013 customer survey
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

A total of 69% of the customer survey respondents said they easily found what they were looking for on the EIA website, and an additional 16% said they found what they were looking for with some effort. Of the people who found what they were looking for, 86% said EIA's website had the right level of detail. A few people said they could not find the information they needed, possibly a combination of problems with website navigation, terminology, and the level of detail in the available data, but in some cases it might have been because EIA does not actually collect or provide the information they wanted.

graph of survey results, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, August 2013 customer survey
Note: Survey respondents were allowed to choose as many tasks as applicable, therefore percentages will not add up to 100.

Visitors to EIA's website came for a variety of reasons. The most common tasks they reported included researching a topic, making a business decision, writing a report or article, educating themselves about energy, and making a forecast about energy. Many other visitors came for other reasons too, including getting weekly gasoline and diesel prices to calculate fuel surcharges.

graph of survey results, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, August 2013 customer survey
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

More demographic results from the survey include the following:

  • 78% of respondents live in the United States and 22% do not.
  • 58% of respondents came to EIA's website weekly, and 9% came daily.
  • Only 9% were first-time users. Of those, 68% said they were likely or somewhat likely to come back.

Overall, EIA's customers said they are satisfied with the quality of the information on the EIA website. A total of 92% said they were satisfied or very satisfied, and 32% gave EIA a score of 10 out of 10.

EIA also received many suggestions and recommendations for improvement, all of which are being read and studied. Readers can send feedback at any time to infoctr@eia.gov. You can also send feedback and suggestions for Today in Energy stories to todayinenergy@eia.gov.

Principal contributor: Colleen Blessing

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