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Texas is the 9th Least Energy Efficient State, Here’s Why

Featured, Lifestyle

Visual depiction of energy efficiency with a light bulb. | Image by Khanisorn Chaokla

According to a new study by WalletHub, Texas is among 2021’s least energy-efficient states because of its energy consumption, creating high costs for its residents.

WalletHub found that the Lone Star state has a high number of annual vehicle miles driven and high amount of gasoline consumed while also being the second lowest in vehicle fuel efficiency.

“To improve, Texas residents should drive less and use up less gasoline,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “While this may seem difficult since Texas is a very large state, it could be done by carpooling or using alternative means of transportation such as bikes and electric cars.”

Scoring for the study was based on the amount of energy used, not on the energy source.

“Being low on car fuel efficiency impacts the environment more than the economy. Because gasoline is cheap in Texas, the impact on the economy is minimal,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “Electric and hybrid vehicles would definitely improve the state’s overall car fuel efficiency.”

While U.S. energy consumption declined 7% last year, the average American household spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities and another $1,568 on motor fuel and oil.

“The lack of energy efficiency has a higher impact on the finances of households than the economy as a whole,” Gonzalez told Dallas Express. “Energy is one of the biggest household expenses for American consumers, and the less efficient a state is, the more residents spend on utilities.”

Utah, a much smaller state, stole the top spot as the most energy-efficient followed by New York and Massachusetts.

“New York and Massachusetts simply have a lower number of vehicle miles driven per capita, which is directly connected to the fact that these states are smaller in size,” Gonzalez said in an interview.

Utah had the seventh-lowest total residential energy consumption per capita, the highest home energy efficiency, and ranked high in vehicle fuel efficiency as well as auto energy efficiency. Vehicle fuel efficiency is calculated by dividing annual vehicle miles driven by the quantity of gasoline consumed.

“Texas would need to increase its home energy efficiency by lowering the total residential energy consumption per capita,” Gonzalez said. “The state also needs to increase its auto energy efficiency.”

Energy-efficient housing is typically built with alternative energy sources such as solar panels.

“There are several appliances that have energy-efficient options on the market,” Gonzalez said. “These include refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines, or fans. People could also look into buying a smart thermostat they can program to heat or cool their homes only when necessary.”

In addition to energy and vehicle fuel efficiency, the study measured transportation efficiency based on the annual vehicle miles driven per capita.

“Texas ranked 17th for transportation efficiency because it has the 17th lowest number of annual vehicle miles driven per capita, which was just under 10,199,” Gonzalez added. “Utah actually ranks lower than Texas in terms of transportation efficiency. The fact that Texas has a high number of annual vehicle miles driven per capita doesn’t really impact the state’s economy in a direct way.”