Special Report

The 10 States That Use the Most Energy

Mike Sauter

5. Iowa
>Consumption per capita: 489.3 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 79.7 million Btu (24th highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 239.5 million Btu (5th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 10.42 cents (22nd least)
>Population: 3,062,309 (21st least)

Iowa’s large consumption of energy per capita was driven by the residential and commercial reliance on liquified petroleum gas, which has a lower energy density than fuel oil or petrol. Iowans also used a great deal of wind power, which amounted to 19% of its generated electricity. Iowa consumed more than twice the amount of energy it produced in 2011. Still, it was the largest producer of ethanol in the country, producing 27% of the nation’s fuel ethanol in 2011. The Hawkeye State ranked fifth for its consumption of energy for industrial purposes per capita.

4. North Dakota
>Consumption per capita: 712.6 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 97.8 million Btu (the highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 365.5 million Btu (4th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 8.13 cents (3rd least)
>Population: 683,932 (3rd least)

Like many of the states on this list, North Dakota is sparsely populated. So, although the state consumed the ninth-lowest amount of energy in the country, on a per capita basis it was the fourth-largest amount of energy. The heating costs of long, cold winters plays a large role in this. The Roughrider State ranked first in the country for consumption of energy for residential purposes per capita. North Dakotans paid some of the lowest average prices for their electricity. Across all sectors, residential, commercial and industrial, the average price of a kWh of electricity was 7.11 cents, much lower than the U.S. average of 9.83 cents. The state was the 15th-largest producer of energy in the country and has the ability to become an even larger producer in the future due to new rock fracking techniques in the Bakken formation and the sixth-best wind energy potential in the country.

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3. Louisiana
>Consumption per capita: 894.4 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 84.2 million Btu (17th highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 591.1 million Btu (the highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 8.98 cents (12th least)
>Population: 4,574,836 (25th most)

Louisiana comes in third for the amount of energy consumed per capita, but it comes in first in the country for the energy consumed per dollar of gross domestic product. The state consumed more than 20,800 Btu per dollar of GDP. This is almost three times the national average and 33% more than Wyoming, the state that consumed the second-most amount of energy per dollar of GDP. Much of this is due to the heavy, energy-intensive industries that are the backbone of Louisiana’s economy. The industrial sector in Louisiana accounted for over 66% of the state’s energy consumption — the highest proportion in the country. The state was one of the largest producers of energy in the country and had the second most number of refineries. Most of the energy produced was crude oil and natural gas.

2. Alaska
>Consumption per capita: 898.5 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 72.1 million Btu (20th lowest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 432.7 million Btu (3rd highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 16.26 cents (6th most)
>Population: 722,718 (4th least)

Alaska ranks second for the amount of energy consumed per capita. Alaska is unique in that many residents are not linked to a grid infrastructure but rather receive their power from diesel generators. Use of generators is energy intensive and therefore expensive, and for this reason Alaskans paid some of the highest prices for electricity in the country. Due to the vastness of the state, people travel great distances to and from places. It comes as no surprise that Alaskans’ consumption of energy for transportation per capita was 291 million Btu per person, almost 35% more than the next state, Wyoming. Alaska was also one of the largest producers of energy in the country and sits behind Texas in second place for the amount of crude oil production.

1. Wyoming
>Consumption per capita: 948.1 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 85.2 million Btu (15th highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 528.2 million Btu (2nd highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 8.77 (6th least)
>Population: 568,158 (the least)

Wyoming consumed more energy per person than any other state. Its per capita consumption was 948.1 million Btu — the equivalent of almost 171 barrels of oil per person per year, or 7,182 gallons per person a year. Most of this was not the result of residential consumption but of consumption for transportation, industrial and commercial sectors where Wyoming ranked second, second and first respectively in the country. Wyoming has the smallest population in the country, but ranked second for the largest amount of energy produced in the United States, with more than 14% of the country’s production. In 2011, the state produced 40% of the coal mined in the U.S., while in 2010 it had almost 12% of the country’s dry natural gas reserves. The average cost of electricity among all sectors of users in Wyoming was the lowest in the country at 6.2 cents per kWh.

Michael B. Sauter

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