The API Briefing: Free Federal Energy and Economic Information Delivered Straight to Your Spreadsheet

Mar 25, 2015
Bulb with business background

Back in November 2014, I wrote about the Federal Reserve of St. Louis’ FRED® (Federal Reserve Economic Data) API. A user can access 238,000 economic trends through FRED® through a website and mobile apps. What is unique about FRED® is that a user can pull economic data directly into an Excel spreadsheet.

Now, the FRED® Excel plugin is joined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Excel plugin. The tool, which launched on March 18, incorporates both energy data from the EIA API and economic data from FRED®. A user can then utilize Excel’s charting and analytic capabilities to present the data in charts and analyze connections between energy trends and economic trends. The data is easily updated by just clicking the “Get Data” button.

The EIA Excel plugin gives the user the following categories of energy data:

What I especially like about these plugins is that other applications can read Excel spreadsheets. Excel spreadsheets can be imported into Google Docs for easy sharing or into R for more sophisticated data analysis. Excel spreadsheets can be exported to any number of databases that support APIs. I hope that we can see more agencies with rich data sources build Excel or similar plugins.

Disclaimer: All references to specific brands, products, and/or companies are used only for illustrative purposes and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. federal government or any federal government agency.

*API – Application Programming Interface; how software programs and databases share data and functions with each other. Check out APIs in Government for more information.

Each week, “The API Briefing” will showcase government APIs and the latest API news and trends. Visit this column every week to learn how government APIs are transforming government and improving government services for the American people. If you have ideas for a topic or have questions about APIs, please contact me via email. All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of the USDA and GSA.