Most and Least Energy Efficient States in 2021

Most and Least Energy Efficient States in 2021

As the Environmental Protection Agency points out, there are many environmental, economic, and systemic benefits to increasing energy efficiency.

On an individual level, improving energy efficiency saves people and companies money by lowering utility bills without requiring the same type of sacrifices as conservation efforts.

Meanwhile, on a macro level, energy efficiency is a key tool in the efforts to slow and mitigate the effects of climate change. The practice helps reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change as well as water use.

Fighting climate change must be a collaborative effort. Unfortunately, there are still wide disparities in how energy efficient each of the 50 states are.

By looking at each state’s energy consumption, as well as their renewable energy policies and climate action plans, Expertise.com ranked the 50 states from most to least energy efficient. Read on for a closer look at which states are leading and which have room for improvement.

Key findings:

  • California is the most energy efficient state overall based on energy consumption and policies
  • Minnesota has the most climate friendly energy policies
  • Rhode Island consumes the least amount of energy per capita
  • North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming among the states that consume the most energy per capita and have the least progressive climate policies

Methodology

To create our list of the most and least energy efficient states, Expertise.com compared all 50 states based on nine metrics, including the state’s energy consumption and energy policies. The data used is from government and climate action agencies. We also factored in the state’s ACEEE score, which is an annual survey that ranks states on their energy efficiency policy and program efforts conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Each metric was graded on a 10-point scale and weighted based on importance. We determined each state’s weighted average, which was then used to calculate an overall rank as well as ranks for the two sub-categories

Below are the 9 metrics and their corresponding weights:

  • ACEEE Score (2) – Source: ACEEE.org 
  • Energy Consumption (1.5 each) – Source: EIA.gov
    • Residential Energy Consumption, Per Capita
    • Commercial Energy Consumption, Per Capita
    • Industrial Energy Consumption, Per Capita
    • Transportation Energy Consumption, Per Capita
  • Energy Policies (1 each) – Sources: USDA.gov, C2es.org, Dsireusa.org
    • Energy Efficiency Investments
    • Renewable Energy Incentives
    • Climate Action Plan
    • Decoupling/Lost Revenue Adjustment Policies

California tops list as the most energy efficient state

California has a long history of implementing ambitious energy and climate-related policies. The Golden State ranked number one overall as the most energy efficient state in the U.S., thanks in part to its ACEEE score of 43.5 out of 50.

California ranked number 4 in terms of overall energy consumption per capita. The state’s residential energy consumption per capita is second only to Hawaii’s.

Although energy consumption overall is lower in Rhode Island, the state did not score as high for renewable energy incentives and policies. California offers more renewable energy incentives than any other state, which helped boost it into the number one overall spot.

North Dakota is the least energy efficient state

At the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota came in last place in terms of energy efficiency.

North Dakota consumes the most energy per capita, and the state also ranked 49th in terms of energy efficient policies. Only West Virginia fared worse in terms of their lack of investments, incentives, and policies for energy efficiency.

Significant political divide on importance of energy efficiency

Climate change has become one of the most divisive political issues of our time, and that bears out in our rankings. All of the top 10 most energy efficient states went blue in the 2020 election, while the 10 least energy efficient states are solid red states. It’s also worth noting that none of these 10 Republican led states have a climate action plan.

18 states still lack a climate action plan

One of the metrics we used to determine a state’s energy efficiency is whether or not they have a climate action plan. According to the Institute for Local Government, “Climate action plans are comprehensive roadmaps that outline the specific activities that an agency will undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Goals for energy efficiency and renewable resources are often a key part of a state’s climate action plan.

According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 18 states do not have a climate action plan. All 10 of the least energy efficient states on our list currently do not have climate action plans. States with climate action plans are concentrated primarily in the Northeast, Southeast, and Western U.S., while most Midwest states lack climate action plans.

Use the map below to see if your state currently has a climate action plan.

Top 10 Most Energy Efficient States in the U.S.

With the exception of Colorado, all of the top 10 most energy efficient states in the U.S. are located on the coasts. Six out of the 10 states are located on the East Coast, while all three West Coast states – California, Oregon, and Washington, made it into the top 10.

 

#1. California

  • Overall Score: 12.66
  • ACEE Rank: 1
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, most recent version released in 2017
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 5.85
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 36.5 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 38.2 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 46.8 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 80.3 million BTU

 

#2. New York

  • Overall Score: 12.22
  • ACEE Rank: 5
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, updated in 2020
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 6.2
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 60.1 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 59 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 20.1 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 58.1 million BTU

 

#3. Rhode Island

  • Overall Score: 12.11
  • ACEE Rank: 4
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2016
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 4.05
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 60.9 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 45.2 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 21.7 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 58.7 million BTU

 

#4. Massachusetts

  • Overall Score: 12.07
  • ACEE Rank: 2
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2015
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 5.3
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 63 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 59.8 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 22 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 67.1 million BTU

 

#5. Oregon

  • Overall Score: 11.68
  • ACEE Rank: 9
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2020
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 6.4
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 59 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 46.9 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 61.1 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 75 million BTU

 

#6. Vermont

  • Overall Score: 11.43
  • ACEE Rank: 3
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2018
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 3.85
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 77.6 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 44.1 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 28.8 ,million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 72.3 million BTU

 

#7. Connecticut

  • Overall Score: 11.33
  • ACEE Rank: 7
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2018
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 4.85
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 69.6 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 54.1 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 21.8 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 65.3 million BTU

 

#8. Maryland

  • Overall Score: 11.13
  • ACEE Rank: 6
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, updated in 2020
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 5.45
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 68.8 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 68 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 17.2 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 71.5 million BTU

 

#9. Washington

  • Overall Score: 11.08
  • ACEE Rank: 11
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2014
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 7.35
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 63.7 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 50.1 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 72.1 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 90.4 million BTU

 

#10. Colorado

  • Overall Score: 10.96
  • ACEE Rank: 11
  • Climate Action Plan: Yes, released in 2019
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 6.55
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 63.3 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 51.5 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 74.6 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 76.5 million BTU

 

10 Least Energy Efficient States in the U.S

Southern and Midwestern states make up the majority of the least energy efficient states in the U.S.

 

#41. Oklahoma

  • Overall Score: 3.59
  • ACEE Rank: 37
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 1.75
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 77.9 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 65.4 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 167 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 122.8 million BTU

#42. Mississippi

  • Overall Score: 3.18
  • ACEE Rank: 48
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 2.05
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 67.4 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 52.7 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 137.9 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 142 million BTU

 

#43. Alaska

  • Overall Score: 3.08
  • ACEE Rank: 43
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 2.4
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 67.1 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 78 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 474.7 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 229.6 million BTU

 

#44. Louisiana

  • Overall Score: 3.05
  • ACEE Rank: 45
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 2.25
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 71.8 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 57.8 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 658.2 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 157.2 million BTU

 

#45. Nebraska

  • Overall Score: 2.97
  • ACEE Rank: 41
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 2.25
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 87.2 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 76.6 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 200.9 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 110.3 million BTU

#46. Kansas

  • Overall Score: 2.64
  • ACEE Rank: 47
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 2.25
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 80.3 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 76.1 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 135.6 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 97.7 million BTU

 

#47. South Dakota

  • Overall Score: 2.28
  • ACEE Rank: 45
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 1.95
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 83.5 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 74.6 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 179.9 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 113.7 million BTU

 

#48. West Virginia

  • Overall Score: 1.72
  • ACEE Rank: 48
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 1.05
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 90.7 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 63.6 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 200.5 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 106.8 million BTU

 

#49. Wyoming

  • Overall Score: 1.26
  • ACEE Rank: 51
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 2.55
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 89.1 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 102.5 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 571.9 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 203.6 million BTU

 

#50. North Dakota

  • Overall Score: .86
  • ACEE Rank: 48
  • Climate Action Plan: No
  • Energy Efficiency Policy Score: 1.1
  • Residential Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 99.8 million BTU
  • Commercial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 122.1 million BTU
  • Industrial Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 466.8 million BTU
  • Transportation Energy Consumption (Per Capita): 183.2 million BTU