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An Empirical Analysis of Energy Intensity and Its Determinants at the State Level

Abstract:
Aggregate energy intensity in the United States has been declining steadily since the mid-1970s and the first oil shock. Energy intensity can be reduced by improving efficiency in the use of energy or by moving away from energy-intensive activities. At the national level, I show that roughly three-quarters of the improvements in U.S. energy intensity since 1970 results from efficiency improvements. This should reduce concerns that the United States is off-shoring its carbon emissions. A state-level analysis shows that rising per capita income and higher energy prices have played an important part in lowering energy intensity. Price and income predominantly influence intensity through changes in energy efficiency rather than through changes in economic activity. In addition, the empirical analysis suggests that little policy intervention will be needed to achieve the Bush Administration goal of an 18 percent reduction in carbon intensity by the end of this decade.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Modeling – Energy Data, Modeling, and Policy Analysis

JEL Codes:
E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

Keywords: Energy intensity, decomposition, US, energy policy

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol29-No3-1


Published in Volume 29, Number 3 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.