States’ energy use correlates with efficiency policies, new data suggest

Blog Post | September 12, 2018 - 9:59 am
By Emma Cooper, Research Analyst, State Policy

Energy use per capita varies widely by state, according to new data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The lowest is in Rhode Island, where people consume five times less energy than those in Louisiana, which has the highest rate.

Perhaps not surprisingly, we see correlation between per capita energy use and state policy. That becomes clear when you look at how EIA’s data compares with our State Scorecard rankings; the states with the lowest overall energy use per capita (Rhode Island, New York) typically rank among the highest in the State Scorecard rankings (3rd and 7th in the 2017 State Scorecard, respectively). Similarly, the states with the highest overall energy consumption per capita (Louisiana, Wyoming) typically rank in the lowest positions in the Scorecard (44th and 49th, respectively).

Soon, we’ll release the 2018 State Scorecard to reveal how states fared over the past year.

According to the EIA data, the industrial sector consumed more energy per capita than the transportation, residential, and commercial sectors. That helps explain why states like Louisiana, with energy-intensive activities and lower population densities, use so much energy per capita. Other factors include climate and geography. For example, Hawaii had the lowest per capita energy use in the residential sector because of its mild climate and mostly coastal population.

State policy also matters. That’s why publications like the State Scorecard that track actions states can (and do) take across all sectors are such important tools for policymakers. States have a variety of policy tools at their disposal to help control their energy consumption, even in energy-intensive sectors.

ACEEE has been tracking these efforts for 12 years, and every year there are new policy innovations that help states save energy. Will states like Louisiana and Wyoming, with high energy consumption per capita, move up in our rankings in 2018? Will Rhode Island and New York remain in our top tier?

Stay tuned for our 2018 State Scorecard!