October 21, 2011

The Politics of Energy Efficiency: Blue States Lead the Red States

After the American Century

What a surprise. These are the states that are the most energy efficient: Massachusetts (1), California (2), followed by New York, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Maryland. This information comes from The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). To give a sense of what this means, in Maryland, number 10 on the list, "Marylanders have already saved over 700,000 MWh of electricity and over $91 million dollars since 2009." These are savings that can be spent or saved, every year.

Not a single state in the American South is in the top ten.  Was this an accident? Consider the bottom group, states with the highest per capia use of energy:  North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, Alabama, and South Dakota.  These are all in the South and trans-Mississippi West. The citizens of these states are spending more on gasoline and heat and air conditioning than the efficient states, which are investing in alternative energies, giving tax incentives to improve insulation, and investing in energy efficiency projects. Illinois alone has invested $600 million, creating jobs and saving energy at the same time.

The ACEEE study shows that Republican-dominated states have a poor record. Look at the Presidential election of 2008.

All ten of the most energy-efficient states voted Democratic.
All ten of the least energy-efficient states voted Republican.

This is not a coincidence. It tracks the repeated Republican denials of global warming and their heavy financial support from the oil, gas, and coal industries.