Energy Consumption: California vs. Texas 1

The two states are ranked #1 and #2 in population. Texas has an area of 269,000 square miles and a population density of 98 people per square mile while California has an area of 163,000 square miles and a population density of 242 per square mile.

Is population density a sufficient explanation for the differing rates of energy consumption? Texas consumed 456 mbtus per person in 2009, compared to 217 mbtus per person in California.

I don’t know the answer. Any ideas from commenters? Los Angeles is the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the country, with almost 13 million people, but Dallas/Ft.Worth/ Arlington is 4th and Houston 6th, and taken together they equal Los Angeles.

I really don’t know and I really would like to know. Why does Texas use twice as much energy per person as California?

California uses more gas for transportation than Texas (17 billion gallons vs. 12 billion). The geography and climate have similar extremes in terms of deserts and temperatures. The average square footage of homes in Texas was 2,168 sq ft in 2005, 500 more than the 1,607 in California. However, the average annual energy consumption per square foot was higher in California (41.7 thousand BTUs) than  in Texas (37.6). California has 6.88 million single family detached homes, compared to Texas’ total of 5.17 million.

California’s median household income in 2010 was $58,931 compared to Texas’ median HHI of $48,259.

Help me out here, please. If population density is the single most important factor, that’s pretty important information. And yet I don’t recall reading much about population density and its effects on energy consumption.

(I should note that New York City consumes 1% of the country’s energy. However it has 3% of the country’s population….)

Original Article on 3000 Quads

Previous ArticleNext Article

1 Comment

  1. Wouldn’t this be explained in part by the fact that people in California do not, generally, live in the areas with the most extreme temperatures? I just pulled up average temperatures for Dallas and LA, and Dallas is colder in the winter and (much) hotter in the summer. Texans in every major city are pumping air conditioning from April through September – and probably longer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *