WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Carbon dioxide emissions from energy production in the United States fell to 5.29 billion metric tons in 2012 - its lowest level since 1994 - despite a growing economy and rising population, according to government data released on Monday.
The Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy, said there was a 3.8 percent drop from the previous year.
That marked the largest decline in a non-recession year since EIA started tracking the data.
The latest decline came amid a large drop in energy intensity, the amount of energy consumed relative to GDP.
"The emissions decline was the largest in a year with positive growth in per capita output and the only year to show a decline where per capita output increased 2 percent or more," the EIA said.
Energy consumption fell 2.4 percent in 2012 from 2011 while GDP rose 2.8 percent.
In addition to reduced energy intensity, carbon dioxide emissions reflected lower residential sector demand for heating after a warmer-than-usual winter in 2012.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny and Leslie Gevirtz)