Story at a glance
- South Carolina was ranked as the least energy-efficient state, with Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi rounding out the bottom five.
- The WalletHub report comes amid a growing movement among states and companies to phase out fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency.
- Rankings were based on calculations of home energy efficiency, vehicle-fuel efficiency and transportation efficiency.
A new WalletHub analysis ranked Massachusetts as the most energy-efficient state in the country, followed by New York, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont, respectively.
The top 10 slots were rounded out by California, Minnesota, Colorado, Connecticut and Wisconsin.
South Carolina was ranked as the least energy-efficient state, with Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi following suit.
The upcoming 2022 midterm election has brought United States energy costs and reforms to the forefront of the national conversation, especially as inflation continues to drive up prices for everyday goods.
Energy marks one of the biggest household expenses for Americans, with the average family spending around $2,000 annually on utilities. About half of this total goes toward heating and cooling, while spending on motor oil and fuel further raises costs.
However, certain energy-efficient practices like conserving power or switching to fuel-efficient vehicles can help reduce bills and combat climate change.
In 2022, 22 percent of the country’s entire electricity generation is expected to come from renewable resources, marking a 12 percent increase from 2010.
To rank how well states have adopted energy-efficient measures, WalletHub assessed home energy efficiency, vehicle-fuel efficiency and transportation efficiency for all states except Hawaii and Alaska. Data were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Energy Information Administration and other federal agencies.
When it comes to the best ways to increase home energy efficiency, numerous factors have to be taken into account, including the age of the home and the type of climate it is situated in, explained Heather E. Payne, an associate professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Law.
But every consumer can switch to LED light bulbs for a start, while homeowners can often receive free or low-cost energy assessments from utility companies. Drawing the shades during the summer months to reduce demand for air conditioning and installing solar panels can also help cut down on energy costs.
“The best thing people can do is start being cognizant of their energy use, and then determine what the best way is to reduce that use — whether it is by installing energy efficient appliances like a heat pump water heater or space heater, making their home more airtight with caulking and weather stripping, or taking on larger projects like insulation,” Payne said.
The WalletHub report comes amid a growing movement to phase out natural gas-powered appliances throughout the country. States and car manufacturers are also spearheading the transition toward renewable energy by cutting down on reliance on fossil fuels.