I decided to estimate the energy used by the typical Ohio family. There are many estimates of typical energy use, but there are problematical for two reasons:
1. Many estimates use per capita energy, which includes items families have no control over, such as industrial usage.
2. Energy usage depends heavily on climate because of the demands of heating and cooling. I wanted to make an Ohio specific estimate.
The results are given in the table below, with references for the reader to translate the results to other states. The table has two clear points:
1. Cars use over a third of the household energy and half of the cost.
2. Electricity is the major cost within the house because natural gas is relatively cheap
Estimated Energy Usage and Cost for Ohio Households
Technology Energy Monthly
kWh/yr % Cost, $ %
Car (1) 19,000 37 154 49
House Gas (2) 21,000 41 53 17
House, electric (3) 11,000 22 105 34
House Total 32,000 63 158 51
Grand Total 51,000 100 312 100
Notes: Car data are national averages; house data are Ohio averages. To compare house and car, I have calculated the energy content of gasoline and natural gas..
(1) Data from the Center for Transportation Analysis; http://cta.ornl.gov/data/chapter4.shtml.
Conversion of gallons to kWh from U. of WA; http://www.ocean.washington.edu/courses/envir215/energynumbers.pdf:
Assumed gasoline price is $3.50/gal.
(2) Consumption from EIA, http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_cons_sum_dcu_SOH_a.htm; number of households from Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html, conversion of ccf to kWh from DJC McKay “Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air”, (2009) p. 334 ; price from EIA,