U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fall in 2012

Residential consumers were responsible for half of the overall drop in energy-related emissions, while the transportation sector contributed to 22 percent of the decline.

The report also credited the natural gas surge for providing a substitute to coal-fired generation, which has a higher carbon output.

"Innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have helped make the U.S. the biggest developer of natural gas in the world, and these technologies are a great example of how we can grow the economy, create jobs and clean the air," Howard Feldman of the American Petroleum Institute said in a statement on EIA's report.

EIA said it is too early to determine the effects of the decline on future emissions due to the 2012 year leading off with warm temperatures in the first quarter.