IER keeps you updated daily with the latest in domestic and global energy industry trends and policy. But how does policy and production determine energy affordability right in your home state?
Alabama has lower energy prices than the national average. Its gasoline price is the 12th lowest among the states and 5 percent below the national average. The state’s lower gasoline prices are due in large measure to the state’s numerous oil refineries and its proximity to the major oil producing and refining operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Its electricity prices are over 7 percent lower than the nation’s average electricity price due to its generation from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power sources. The state has considerable conventional and unconventional natural gas reserves, substantial deposits of coal, and numerous rivers capable of hydroelectric generation. Its oil production increased over 35 percent in just the last 2 years.
Alaska has some of the highest electricity and gasoline prices in the country, which is not surprising because Alaska is large, remote, and sparsely populated. These factors lead to high costs for both gasoline and electricity. Even though Alaska has vast coal reserves, natural gas produces the majority of the state’s electricity. Alaska’s rivers and mountains make it well-suited for hydropower, which produces a fifth of Alaska’s electricity. Alaska produces a higher percentage of its electricity from petroleum liquids than almost any other state because many remote rural communities use diesel to generate electricity. Though Alaska is considered to have substantial wind energy potential, wind contributes minimally to the state’s current electricity supply. The oil and gas industry dominates the Alaskan economy, and production activities drive the state’s energy demand. Although Alaska has a low total energy demand compared to the U.S. average, its per capita energy consumption is one of the highest in the country.
Arkansas has some of the lowest energy prices in the country. It has the 7th lowest electricity prices, almost 25 percent lower than the nation’s average electricity price. Its gasoline price is the 12th lowest among the states. It is also a producer of oil and natural gas. Its natural gas production has quadrupled since 2008 due to hydraulic fracturing and its oil production increased over 10 percent in just the last year.
California is rich in both conventional and renewable energy resources. It is the country’s most populous state and has the second largest energy consumption in the nation, second only to Texas. California has large energy resources, but also one of the lowest per capita energy consumption rates in the country. The state is frequently hailed as a leader on energy policy and California’s policies are leading to higher energy prices.
Colorado has substantial conventional fossil fuel resources in the Sand Walsh, Piceance, Paradox, and San Juan basins in the west, and the Denver and Raton basins in the east. It ranks seventh among the states in total energy production, ninth in oil production, fifth in natural gas production, and eleventh in coal production. Colorado has enormous potential oil production through its deposits of oil shale rock, which can be processed and converted into refined petroleum products. The Green River Formation, a group of basins in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, holds the largest known oil shale deposits in the world, holding about 1 trillion barrels of oil shale.
Hawaii, in addition to being President Obama’s first U.S. state to call home, has the most expensive energy in the country. Because it is isolated from the U.S. mainland and it does not have oil, natural gas, or coal reserves of its own, its energy infrastructure and consumption are unique among the states. Because oil, natural gas, and coal are transportable, Hawaii depends heavily on these imported fuels to meet energy demand.
Kentucky is the third largest coal producing state in the nation. It produces 10 percent of the nation’s coal with major coal deposits in the eastern Central Appalachian Basin and in the western Illinois Basin. These basins also hold minor reserves of oil and natural gas. Kentucky generates the vast majority of its electricity (92 percent) from coal, and is second only to West Virginia in this regard. As a result, it has the fifth lowest electricity prices in the nation. Coal production and jobs, however, are disappearing rapidly from Kentucky.
Louisiana has lower energy prices than the national average. Its gasoline price is the 5th lowest among the states and 9 percent below the national average. The state’s lower gasoline prices are due in large measure to the state’s numerous oil refineries and its oil producing and refining operations in and near the Gulf of Mexico. Its electricity prices are 30 percent lower than the nation’s average electricity price due to its generation mainly from natural gas, coal and nuclear power and lack of regulatory policies and mandates that have increased prices in other states. The state is rich in crude oil and natural gas resources. Oil and gas deposits are found both onshore and offshore in state-owned waters. Due to its large industrial sector that includes chemical manufacturing and petroleum refining industries, per capita energy consumption in Louisiana ranks among the highest in the nation.
Maine does not have fossil fuel reserves of its own, but it has vast renewable energy potential. Because of its substantial use of wood as fuel, the state has the highest percentage of non-hydroelectric renewable energy use in the country. Maine produces more electricity from burning wood and wood waste than any other state, as these resources provide over a quarter of the state’s electricity.
North Carolina does not produce oil and natural gas, even though there are potential offshore natural gas plays and the potential for onshore shale gas plays. Instead of producing some of its own energy resources, North Carolina imports oil and gas supplies from other states and overseas. The same is true for the coal that supplies the state’s coal-fired generating units. North Carolina primarily uses coal from West Virginia and Kentucky.
New York has oil and gas resources, including part of the Marcellus shale formation in the southwestern part of the state, but instead of developing its oil and natural gas resources the state relies principally on oil and gas supplies from other states, Canada, and overseas. Despite years of study, New York State still has a ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing—the technology that created the great increase in oil and natural gas production around the country.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ohio was the largest oil producer in the United States. With the Appalachian Basin, which crosses the eastern part of Ohio, the state may return being a large oil and natural gas producer. The Basin’s Marcellus shale formation contains shale gas and the Utica shale formation contains both shale oil and gas. While production is just beginning in these shale formations in Ohio, it is expected to increase substantially by 2015. Currently, the shale wells account for less than 1 percent of the almost 51,000 gas and oil wells in the state. However, their output in 2012 represented 12 percent of the state’s total oil production and 16 percent of the state’s total gas production.
Would you like to live in a state with low unemployment and low energy prices? If so, Oklahoma may be the state for you. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is less than 5 percent, while the nation’s is at 8.2 percent. Oklahoma’s average gasoline price is the12th lowest in the United States, 4 percent less than the nation’s average gasoline price, and its electricity prices are the 10th lowest, 22 percent lower than the average electricity price in the nation.
The Keystone State is experiencing record production for natural gas, largely due to a welcoming regulatory environment for hydraulic fracturing technologies that are unlocking vast reserves previously untouched in the Marcellus Shale. Meanwhile, however, the state’s coal industry has been suffering and the refining sectors have felt the strain of Washington regulations that are designed to cripple fossil energy producers.
Texas leads the nation in oil and natural gas reserves and production. In just 2-1/2 years, Texas has doubled its oil production with large quantities coming from the Eagle Ford Shale formation. A recent new shale oil find at the Wolfcamp Shale formation is expected to be the largest oil field in the United States and the second largest field in the world.
West Virginia is among the poorest states in the nation, with a median household income of just under $40,000, about $13,000 less than the national median. Compared to its neighboring states, its median household income is more than $20,000 less than that of Virginia and more than $30,000 less than Maryland. Coal mining jobs in West Virginia are some of the highest paying jobs in the state, at more than twice the average wage of all industries, but due to the Obama Administration’s regulations, these jobs are imperiled.
Wyoming has the smallest population of any state–only Alaska has fewer residents per square mile. The state is the largest coal producer in the nation and also produces natural gas and petroleum. Wyoming supplies more energy to the nation and has more producing federal oil and gas leases than any other state. The largest industry in Wyoming is energy extraction. Fossil fuels are produced in 22 of Wyoming’s 23 counties. Mineral royalties, severance, and related taxes typically provide a substantial portion of the state’s revenues.