The most energy-efficient states, and what drives California’s success? (1 of 2)

So i was listening to Science Friday’s 5/11 podcast about the US electricity grid (and what sounds like a cool book The Grid by physicist, writer and playwright Philip F. Schewe), and at one point they were talking about why California was one of the most energy-efficient states? On top of that, a caller mentioned that it could be because of CA’s moderate climate…

So as a relative newcomer to Cali and to learning about energy use, I wondered what is our energy usage, and what really drives it?

To start, I wanted to get an overview of how each state ranks out. Below are charts of the top 10 and bottom 10 most efficient energy users (based on total energy consumption per capita; for simplicity, I’ve excluded energy inflows/outflows (which makes the totals slightly different by state)).



The top 10 states’ efficiency is driven by an overall slimming down of their use, and not use of alternative sources per se. Also, the most efficient states aren’t necessarily in very moderate climes (consider the A/C use of FL, or the heating needs of NY or MA).

From a quick scope of other articles, it seems that CA’s key drivers of energy efficiency are: moderate climate, rigorous efficiency standards, incentives for alternative fuels. I’m starving so dinner calls… I’ll post thoughts on 2 of 2 soon… In the meantime, does anyone have links to more info on the drivers of Cali’s energy efficiency? I’m especially curious to see evidence that, for instance, in regulated sectors, dramatic gains have been realized pre- versus post-setting of standards.


  • Since I can’t post Excel files thru WordPress, I’ll link to my xls with the raw data & calcs on another site.  until then, feel free to email me for the data (culled from EIA’s 2003 energy data and 2003 census data)
  • background / related post from Allan Chen at the Berkeley Lab

One comment

  1. Idetrorce · · Reply

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you


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