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How much do you spend on energy? Probably more than you think

Matthew Grocoff

November 4, 2014

By: Matthew Grocoff, Green Renovation Expert

In: Green Living

Just when you thought you were paying a lot for energy, the kind folks at the Energy Information Agency (EIA) comes along and adds it all up for us. Yes, you knew you were spending $70 to fill the SUV with gas. But, how much does every member of your family spend on all of the energy needed to run your lives every year? Think about it. How much energy does it take to heat and cool your home, drive your kids to soccer, drive to work, turn on the lights, do laundry, watch the Duck Dynasty Marathon Weekend on the big ol' flat screen, and perform all of the other daily fuel hogging tasks of modern life?

For the average American the grand total is $3,052 per year per person. And if you think living in an energy producing state helps reduce your cost . . . think again. Alaskans can brag about how much oil they suck from the earth. But, when it comes to paying the bills, each Alaskan pays a whopping $8,079 every year. Ouch! A family of four is literally burning through $32,000 per year.

According the EIA "In most states, the transportation costs far outstrip the residential costs. This is because petroleum prices are higher than the prices of electricity and heating from coal, natural gas, and renewable energy." But our homes take a good chunk of our energy dollar too. Homes account for almost a quarter of our energy budget.

The EIA tracks energy through the State Energy Data System (SEDS). Each year, EIA publishes stats that "explore energy production, consumption, prices, and expenditure, with historical figures and state-by-state breakdowns." Producing the energy maps and reports helps people understand just how much they are using on energy and how much others are using. It's kind of like having a personal accountant to look through your energy books and keep you honest about your budget.

Many people don't realize how much energy actually costs them or how volatile the prices are. Also surprisingly, as in oil-drilling Alaska, states that produce dirty fossil fuels have among the highest total per person cost for energy:

  • South Dakota (fracked natural gas): $5,719 per person
  • Kentucky (coal): $3505 per person
  • Wyoming (coal and fracked natural gas): $5,773
  • Louisiana: (oil from the Gulf and refineries): $3,909

On the other hand, California has only average total energy costs (even though their price per gallon or kilowatt is sometimes higher). California is encouraging energy efficiency at home and in cars. They are also making it easier for homeowners to own their own energy production through on-site renewable energy. Companies like Tesla and Solar City are creating renewable energy systems combined with battery storage that can power your entire home and your car without any fossil fuels.

How Much do You Spend on Energy? Here's a sneak peak of the fascinating map included in the link below:

Energy usage map

Check out this interactive map and find out how much people in your state spend on energy.

http://energy.gov/articles/how-much-do-you-spend

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