Why Suburban Residents Pay More for Energy
Many people believe that “life,” begins behind a white picket fence with a house and family in the suburbs. What most people don’t consider is that such a life is not going to pay for itself. Especially when it comes to energy. In fact, many suburbanites end up paying more for their energy costs than their city dweller counterparts.
Energy Burden 101
An, “energy burden,” is the percentage of personal income that is solely dedicated to paying for energy bills. The national energy burden average for most homeowners is about 3.3%. However, the average national energy burden for most suburban and rural homeowners is 4.4%. Such homeowners who live in suburban or rural Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, or Tennessee pay a 5.1% energy burden.
Let’s take a look at the average energy bills that American homeowners pay in each state. Even though homeowners in states with large cities, like California and New York, do not pay cheap monthly energy bills, they are lower than their suburban counterparts. In California, the average energy bill is $101. New York homeowners pay $103. In the District of Columbia and Illinois, the average is about $100.
Homeowners in Missouri, South Dakota, and Kansas pay about $115. Suburban residents in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi pay an average of $125 a month for their home energy needs. In West Virginia, the cost is about $120. Amazingly, the monthly energy costs in South Carolina is about $140 a month.
Causes of Energy Cost Disparities
Even though large cities have high populations, these populations tend to have smaller carbon footprints and emissions as they grow. City dwellers live in small apartment units in relatively better insulated buildings. Even though most city dwellers have cars, most use public transportation to save money which also cuts down on emissions.
Also, almost all large electronic home appliances sold in cities are energy efficient. The populations of suburbs are less densely congregated than cities. They also live in relatively remote locations. So, it costs more for rural-based energy companies to deliver energy to their customers. Additionally, such companies usually don’t have a lot of updated, energy efficient equipment.
Suburban and rural residences are usually not constructed with energy efficient materials, may have air leaks in the structure, and inappropriate insulation.
Upgrade Your Home’s Energy Efficiency Standards
It’s a fact. If you live in the suburbs, then you are more likely to pay more money for your energy needs than people in large cities. However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do to remedy the situation. There are many things that you can do to decrease your home energy expenditures.
For one thing, have your home regularly inspected by energy efficiency and insulation contractors. They can give you recommendations on weatherizing, insulating, and sealing any air leaks in your home to save money. Adding and/or upgrading your insulation as needed and sealing all air leaks can decrease your overall energy burden by as much as 25% overall.
Additionally, effecting such energy efficiency upgrades could save you over $400 on your energy bills every year. It also helps to only buy energy efficient household appliances too. If you own a home in the suburbs it will always be in your best financial interests to stay on top of energy efficiency upgrades as needed.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.