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How Does Vermont Rank For Energy Efficiency? First, Says WalletHub

Sterling College
A solar tracker at Sterling College, in Craftsbury, exemplifies green energy efforts in Vermont.

Solar panels and electric cars are becoming more prevalent across the state. But with lengthy commutes from rural residences and long and cold heating seasons, can Vermont really be the most energy efficient state? According to the finance website WalletHub, it is.

Here's WalletHub's interactive map showing its rankings:


The website created the list in October recognition of National Energy Awareness Month. The list maker analyzed the energy efficiency of cars and homes in 48 states, noting there was insufficient data for Alaska, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

WalletHub makes a lot of lists, using publicly available statistics and weighting the data. For its 2014 list of  Most and Least Energy Efficient States, the site gleaned data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Climatic Data Center, the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Federal Highway Administration.

Here's how WalletHub explains its methodology:

To identify the most energy-efficient states, WalletHub analyzed 48 states based on two key dimensions, including “home-related energy efficiency” and “car-related energy efficiency.” We obtained the former by calculating the ratio between the total residential energy consumption and annual degree days. For the latter, we divided the annual vehicle miles driven by the gallons of gasoline consumed. Each dimension was weighted proportionally to reflect national consumption patterns.

By calculating the home energy use based on annual degree days, WalletHub essentially evened the playing field, taking Vermont's cold winters and long heating season out of the "home-related energy efficiency" equation. Likewise, by dividing vehicle miles by gallons of gas used, commute length is not a factor is the "car-related energy efficiency" result.

WalletHub gave a little more weight to home-related energy efficiency than car-related energy efficiency in its ranking. Broken down, Vermont placed second in home efficiency and fourth in vehicle efficiency, which was good enough to place the state first overall. New York came in second and Wisconsin was third. Massachusetts and New Hampshire placed 13th and 14th respectively. South Carolina ranked last.

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