The US the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
And last years’ spike comes despite a decline in coal-fired power plants; a record number were retired last year, according to the report.
The researchers note that 2019 will probably not repeat such an increase, but the findings underscore the country’s challenges in reducing greenhouse gas output.
In the 2015 climate accord, then President Barack Obama committed to reducing US emissions to at least 26% under 2005 levels by 2025.
Now, that means the US will need to drop “energy-related carbon missions by 2.6% on average over the next seven years” – and possibly even faster – to meet that goal.
“That’s more than twice the pace the US achieved between 2005 and 2017 and significantly faster than any seven-year average in US history,” the report states.
“It is certainly feasible, but will likely require a fairly significant change in policy in the very near future and/or extremely favourable market and technological conditions. “
What’s behind the rise?
Analysis by Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, BBC News
There are a number of factors behind the rise in US emissions in 2018, some natural, mostly economic.
Prolonged cold spells in a number of regions drove up demand for energy in the winter, while a hot summer in many parts led to more air conditioning, again pushing up electricity use.
However economic activity is the key reason for the overall rise in CO2 emissions. Industries are moving more goods by trucks powered by diesel, while consumers are travelling more by air.
In the US this led to a 3% increase in diesel and jet fuel use last year, a similar rate of growth to that seen in the EU in the same period.
All this presents something of a problem for the Trump administration which has been happy to point to declining US emissions as a reason to roll back many of the environmental protection regulations put in place by his predecessor.
The figures also show that the President’s efforts to boost demand for coal have not succeeded yet, with electricity generated from this fossil fuel continuing to decline.
Despite this, there is little to cheer in the US data for those concerned with climate change on a global scale.
Many had hoped that carbon cutting actions at state or city level could in some way keep the US on track to meet its commitments made under the Paris climate agreement.
The latest emissions data indicate that this is unlikely to happen.
What has changed in the US?
The last time the US saw such an increase in emissions was in 2010, as the country recovered from its longest recession in decades.
Part of last year’s spike is also the result of economic growth, but new policies have exacerbated the effects of increased industry production.
Mr Trump has rolled back a number of his predecessor’s environmental regulations since taking office, appointing climate change sceptics and industry leaders to head US environmental agencies.
As a part of undoing what he called a “war on coal”, in 2017, Mr Trump rescinded the Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions to meet US commitments under the Paris accord.
In December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pressed ahead with plans to lift restrictions for carbon emissions from new coal plants and asked for public comment on redefining the phrase “causes or contributes significantly to” air pollution.
Under Mr Trump’s administration, the federal government has also opened up once-protected lands for oil and gas drilling across the US and has proposed ending regulations on fuel standards for cars and trucks after 2021.
“The big takeaway for me is that we haven’t yet successfully decoupled US emissions growth from economic growth,” Rhodium climate and energy analyst Trevor Houser told the New York Times.