The 10 States That Use the Most Energy

 from 24/7

In 2010, the United States used roughly 97.7 quadrillion Btu of energy, up from roughly 95 quadrillion in 2009. To put that in perspective, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates global consumption at roughly 500 quadrillion Btu. Effectively, the U.S. population, which accounts for approximately 4.5% of the world’s population, uses a fifth of its energy.

The vast majority of U.S. consumption is from fossil fuels, mostly petroleum, followed by natural gas and coal. The remaining use comes from nuclear energy, at 8.6%, and renewable energy, at 8.2%. While the nation consumes an enormous amount of energy as a whole, some states consume much more energy than others. Based on EIA’s data for 2010, 24/7 Wall St.’s reviewed the 10 states that consume the most energy per capita.

Regions that produce the most energy also use the most and pay the least. Nine of the 10 states are among the top 20 producers of energy per capita. Combined, the 10 produced 33.2 quadrillion Btu, roughly a third of our total energy production. Meanwhile, they paid 8.3 cents per kWh on average, less than the national average of nearly 10 cents.

Energy prices in the states that consume the most energy per capita are among the cheapest in the country. This is due largely to the availability of locally produced energy, particularly petroleum. Eight of the 10 states with the highest energy use are among the third with the cheapest costs. Wyoming, the state with the highest consumption per capita in the country, also has the cheapest costs per capita, at just 8.7 cents per kWh. The U.S. average cost is nearly 10 cents, and in Hawaii, it is 25 cents per kWh.

In addition to using the most, many of these states tend to be among the greatest producers of energy relative to the size of their population. Some, including Louisiana, Texas and Wyoming, are also the greatest producers overall. Wyoming produces 10.5 quadrillion Btu of energy, roughly 14.5% of the nation’s production, despite being the least populous state in the country.

The reason these states are producing and using so much energy has much to do with their main industries. Most of these states, including North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Texas, are in the energy production industry, particularly oil production. Energy production requires a great deal of energy use. Industrial use, which includes manufacturing and energy production, is among the highest in these states. Every one of the top 10 states for energy industrial consumption is among the top 10 for overall energy consumption.

Residential consumption is also high in many of these states, but not nearly as high as industrial consumption. Of the 10 states that use the most energy per capita, five are among the top 15 for residential energy consumption per capita.

There are four major uses of energy in the country, and they divide up total share relatively evenly. Residential consumption, nationwide, is only 22.3% of total consumption, while industrial consumption accounts for 31%. The commercial industry accounts for 18.4% and transportation uses 28%.

24/7 Wall St. relied on U.S. Census 2010 population statistics and U.S. EIA 2010 energy consumption and production data to produce both consumption and production on a per capita basis. We also included costs per kilowatt hour and consumption for each of four major types: residential, industrial, commercial and transportation, from the EIA.

These are the 10 states that use the most energy

10. Indiana
>Consumption per capita: 442.3 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 89.2 million Btu (8th highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 198.2 million Btu (7th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 9.56 cents (17th least)
>Population: 6,516,922 (15th most)

Indiana ranks tenth for its consumption of energy per capita at 442.3 million Btu. That is the equivalent of almost 80 barrels of oil a person per year. Indiana also ranked fourth in consumption of energy for industrial purposes. The state is a huge consumer of coal for its energy, with slightly more than 50% of the state’s consumption coming from coal. Indiana produced the 20th-most energy among all states.

9. Kentucky
>Consumption per capita: 454.7 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 93.3 million Btu (3rd highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 190.2 million Btu (9th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 8.57 cents (4th least)
>Population: 4,369,356 (25th least)

Kentucky is one of four states on this list that produces more energy than it consumes. In fact, Kentucky was the sixth-largest producer of energy in the country. Coal accounted for 93% of all energy production in the state in 2009. And since energy production can be quite energy intensive industry, it is no surprise that the Bluegrass State came consumed the fifth-most energy in absolute terms. Kentucky enjoyed one of the lowest costs of energy in the country. The average price among all sectors in the state was 6.73 cents per kWh. The national average among all sectors was 9.83 cents. The state ranked third in residential consumption of energy per capita.

8. Nebraska
>Consumption per capita: 461.1 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 89.8 million Btu (7th highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 191.2 million Btu (8th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 8.94 cents (10th least)
>Population: 1,842,641 (13th least)

Nebraska consumed about twice the amount of energy the state produced in 2010. Nebraska ranked fifth in the country for its commercial consumption of energy on a per capita basis and seventh for its residential consumption of energy on a per capita basis. At 7.52 cents per kWh, the Cornhusker State paid the ninth-lowest price for energy on average across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Although the state was a net consumer of energy, it did rank second in the country in ethanol production behind Iowa. Nebraska has the potential to be a much larger producer of energy due to oil in the Niobrara shale and the state’s good conditions for wind energy.

7. South Dakota
>Consumption per capita: 464.9 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 86.6 million Btu (12th highest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 181.8 million Btu (10th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 8.97 cents (11th least)
>Population: 824,082 (5th least)

In 2011, 77% of the electricity generated in South Dakota was wind and hydroelectric power. South Dakota has some of the best wind resources in the country. The state has some of the lowest energy prices in the country. South Dakotans on average, across all sectors, paid 7.82 cents a kWh compared to 9.83 cents nationally. For transportation energy consumption per capita, South Dakota ranked sixth in the country. And for commercial energy consumption per capita, the state ranked seventh.

6. Texas
>Consumption per capita: 466.1 million Btu
>Residential consumption per capita: 65.8 million Btu (13th lowest)
>Industrial consumption per capita: 225.4 million Btu (6th highest)
>Residential price per kWh: 11.60 cents (18th most)
>Population: 25,674,681 (2nd most)

On an absolute basis, Texas produced and consumed more energy than any other state. In fact, it consumed nearly 12% of the energy America consumed. It also was responsible for more than 15% of America’s total energy production. Texas led the country in crude oil, natural gas and wind energy production. Texas ranked just 38th in residential energy consumption per capita. For transportation and industrial per capita usage, Texas ranked ninth and sixth, respectively.

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.

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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