Map (and Energy) Dorkery!
I am on plenty of energy efficiency mailing lists, and one of them recently pointed to the 2009 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, put out by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), and other groups:
In 2009, energy efficiency has risen to a new level of recognition in the U.S. We present here a comprehensive state energy efficiency scorecard to document best practices and recognize leadership among the states. The Scorecard examines six energy efficiency policy areas: (1) utility-sector and public benefits programs and policies; (2) transportation policies; (3) building energy codes; (4) combined heat and power; (5) state government initiatives; and (6) appliance efficiency standards. States can earn up to 50 points in these categories.
The “top ten” states in this year’s Scorecard are: California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Vermont, Washington, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Maine.
Note that the categories above are weighted by potential impact on overall energy savings. They map out their results in a color-coded map; note that actual ranking is not nearly as important as distribution in bins (i.e., #4 vs. #5, compared with top group vs. second-to-top group).
I just found it amusing that this metric maps pretty darn well to, "states where I would not mind living" (although not necessarily one-to-one). And is anyone surprised that Cheney is from Wyoming? But it also shows that some of the states that are doing the worst are the classic poverty-ridden ones (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virgina).
Similarly, there is a ranking of per-capita energy consumption by state, from the Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Review 2007 (Figure 1.6 State-Level Energy Consumption and Consumption per Person, 2005).
Again, this maps similar to where I would want to live. Though I do wonder... are some of the high and low users due to industrial energy consumption, rather than personal energy consumption? I.e., the oil is refined and produced in Texas, but consumed in all states.
But before any of us feel too smug about living in low-per-capita energy use states, I would point out that there are also statistics for world consumption patterns, by country. Most New England states are in the 250 million Btu per capita range. Much of Europe is in the 100-180 million Btu range/capita (145 million average); Asia's average is 43 (although that's a huge range--Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are all in the 200 range); Africa's average is 16. And China is at 56; India is at 16. Insert typical commentary on "What will happen when a 1.3 billion Chinese and 1.1 billion Indians try to raise their standard of living to first world levels."