Washington ranked No. 11 most energy efficient state in the nation

Washington just missed making WalletHub’s list of the top 10 most energy efficient states in the nation, according to new data analysis by WalletHub.

The personal finance website examined home and vehicle energy consumption data from government sources for its analysis. Results do not include the noncontiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii due to data limitations.

“Energy is expensive,” the WalletHub analysis states. “In fact, it’s one of the biggest household expenses for American consumers. The average U.S. family spends at least $2,000 per year on utilities, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, with heating and cooling of spaces alone accounting for more than half the bill. In 2021, the average consumer spent another $2,148 on motor fuel oil.”

It doesn’t appear things will get any better this winter.

“We forecast that wholesale electricity prices at major power trading hubs will be about 20-60% higher on average this winter,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday in its short-term energy outlook.

The outlook goes on to say, “We forecast the U.S. residential price of electricity will average 14.9 cents per kilowatthour in 2022, up 8% from 2021. Higher retail electricity prices largely reflect an increase in wholesale power prices, which are driven by higher natural gas prices.”

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez delved into factors accounting for the Evergreen State’s near top-10 finish.

“Washington is the 11th most energy-efficient state,” she said in an email to The Center Square. “It ranks high in terms of auto energy efficiency. This is mostly due to its transportation efficiency, as it has one of the smallest amounts of annual vehicle miles driven per capita.”

The state’s auto energy efficiency, however, turns out to be something of a double-edged sword, Gonzalez pointed out.

“Despite this, the state lacks vehicle fuel efficiency because of its high gasoline consumption,” she explained. “This leads to the conclusion that the vehicles driven by Washington residents are what kept the state from making it into the top 10.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee, whose signature issue is climate change, said Washington will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered automobiles in the state by 2035.

Inslee made the announcement on Twitter, noting that by the end of the year the state would adopt California’s rules requiring 35% of new cars sold in the state to be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2026, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

Meanwhile, a proposal by the Washington State Building Code Council to mandate heat pumps in all new residential construction is being considered.

Earlier this year, the council mandated that new commercial and multi-family construction be outfitted with all-electric space heating and hot water systems.

Washington state fared better than its Pacific Northwest neighbors Oregon and Idaho, which WalletHub ranked No. 22 and No. 25, respectively.

The 10 most energy efficient states in the nation:

1. Massachusetts

2. New York

3. Rhode Island

4. Utah

5. Vermont

6. California

7. Minnesota

8. Colorado

9. Connecticut

10. Wisconsin

The 10 least energy efficient states in the nation:

48. South Carolina

47. Alabama

46. West Virginia

45. Arkansas

44. Mississippi

43. Oklahoma

42. Tennessee

41. Louisiana

40. Wyoming

39. Georgia

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