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Numbers: Taking a Second Look at Efficiency Rankings
Posted at 5:03 p.m. on July 17, 2014
A ranking by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released Thursday finds that the United States lags behind other industrialized nations in terms of energy efficiency, ranked at 13th place.
The report details how the group used 31 matrices to assess energy use and policy among various economies, but the results are a bit surprising. China tops the U.S. coming in at fourth place. The group used the complex parameters in an attempt to normalize differences that exist between countries.
Arguably, the efficiency of an economy is simply the amount of energy needed per dollar of gross domestic product, shown in the above chart using data in the report. By that parameter, China falls with Russia and India to the least efficient end of the spectrum while the United States is middle of the pack, trailing European nations.
While countries produce goods, they also sustain people. Slicing the data to show energy use per person shows a very different ranking, with the U.S. using more energy per person than most of the other assessed nations.
“There’s really no excuse for the U.S. lagging behind other nations on energy efficiency,” said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., in a statement on the report. Welch has supported efficiency bills the House has passed, though a related measure has stalled in the Senate. He hoped the assessment would be “a wakeup call that it’s time for America to step-up and lead on energy efficiency.”