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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Here are six ways we have slashed US energy use by a fifth

By Steven Nadel, Executive Director

Major energy efficiency policies slashed US energy use by about 20% in 2017, saving a whopping 25 quads of energy —the amount used in California, Texas, and Florida combined.

Two US policies now at risk accounted for the majority of these savings. Vehicle fuel economy standards and appliance efficiency standards saved 14.3 quadrillion Btus, about 60% of the total savings and about 14% of all US energy use. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is proposing to roll them back (see here and here).

Savings from six key efficiency policies increased more than 15% since 2014, when we last compiled our estimates. Savings in 2017 (listed in the table below) give a sense of the scale of efficiency’s impacts. Note that the estimate for each policy uses a different methodology, so the savings may not be fully comparable.

The figures total 26 quads, but I round down to 25 quads to allow for some overlap in savings estimates. These estimates, though, do not include savings from many other, mostly smaller, energy efficiency policies…

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