Energy is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the biggest household expenses for American consumers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. family spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities, with heating and cooling of spaces alone accounting for more than half the bill. In 2019, the average consumer spent another $2,094 on motor fuel and oil. This year, many Americans can expect their home energy costs to go up, considering the widespread closures of businesses and public places that took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residential electricity use has increased during the pandemic.
The Department of Energy estimates that adopting energy-efficient measures in the home could reduce a family’s utility costs by as much as 25 percent. It pays to conserve, especially during a time of increasingly warmer temperatures. As for transportation, the agency found that a more fuel-efficient vehicle could save the average driver about $545 per year.
In order to gauge the impact of doing more with less energy, WalletHub measured the efficiency of auto- and home-energy consumption in 48 U.S. states. Due to data limitations, Alaska and Hawaii were excluded from our analysis. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
Most & Least Energy-Efficient States
|Overall Rank*||State||Total Score||‘Home Energy Efficiency’ Rank||‘Auto Energy Efficiency’ Rank|
*No. 1 = Most Energy-Efficient
**Due to data limitations, Alaska and Hawaii were excluded from our analysis.
Environmentally conscious practices can help prevent costly damage to the planet — and one’s wallet. To help consumers and governments reduce their consumption and maximize their savings, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- What energy-efficient products for the home offer the best return on investment?
- What is the biggest mistake consumers make when trying to make their homes more energy-efficient?
- Since the pandemic started, the economic burden of energy costs has shifted to individuals. What are some tips for consumers to become more energy efficient, especially if they work from home?
- Should the government continue to incentivize consumers and businesses to invest in energy-efficient projects?
- What tips can you provide for building an energy-efficient home on a budget?
- What are the best strategies for financing solar panels for the home?
Ask the Experts
In order to determine which states are doing more with less energy, WalletHub compared 48 states across two key dimensions, “Home Energy Efficiency” and “Auto Energy Efficiency.” We obtained the former by calculating the ratio of total residential energy consumption to annual degree days. For the latter, we divided the annual vehicle miles driven by gallons of gasoline consumed to determine vehicle-fuel efficiency and measured annual vehicle miles driven per capita to determine transportation efficiency.
Each dimension was weighted proportionally to reflect national consumption patterns and graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing optimal energy efficiency.
Finally, we calculated the total score for each state and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. Due to data limitations, we were unable to include Alaska and Hawaii in our analysis.
Home Energy Efficiency – Total Points: 50
- Home Energy Efficiency = Total Residential Energy Consumption per Capita / Annual Degree Days
Auto Energy Efficiency – Total Points: 50
- Vehicle-Fuel Efficiency = Annual Vehicle Miles Driven / Gallons of Gasoline Consumed
- Transportation Efficiency = Annual Vehicle Miles Driven per Capita
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Climatic Data Center, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.