What Data Can And Can’t Tell Us About Our Winter Energy Consumption

It was a bad winter, full of polar vortices and an endless march of blizzards. And according to data from the Energy Information Administration, Americans spent more on heat this winter than last winter: $14.0 billion more, a 4.4% jump.  Here’s what this data tells us:

As consumers, we spent more on energy as a whole this winter than last. We spent a little less (3%) on transportation. We spent 10% more on electricity.

Where Does Your Electricity Come From, And What Does It Look Like?

An average American household uses 903 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per month, enough energy to put your Volkswagen bug into space (if you were incredibly motivated). Where does that electricity come from? In the U.S., 37% of our electricity is generated from coal and 30% from natural gas. The rest comes from nuclear and renewables (hydro, wind, solar). These energy sources vary widely from region to region.

What Can You Do With A Month’s Worth of Electricity?

An average American household uses 903 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity each month. That’s enough to power your household appliances and electronics, but what else can you do with 903 kWh? Here are some unusual ideas:

You could use it to run your standard conventional oven on cleaning mode for the entire month. Or, converting kWh into food calories, it would be the equivalent of eating a stick of butter every 41 minutes. For the whole month.

How Much Electricity Do You Use Each Month?

When you look at your monthly electricity bill, you probably focus on the number with a dollar sign in front of it. But there’s another value listed: how much energy you actually used. If you are a perfectly average American living in a perfectly average household, your monthly electricity bill will read 911 kilowatt hours (kWh), which costs $114. But most of us don’t live in perfectly average households. (The state that comes closest to matching the average monthly electricity usage is Ohio).