Report ranks Texas as among least expensive states for energy

If you live in Texas, you're paying less than residents in almost every other state. Photo via Getty Images

A new report analyzed energy costs across the United States to find out what states had the highest energy prices. Turns out, Texas falls rather low on that list.

The study from WalletHub ranked Texas as No. 49 on the list of the 2023 Most Energy-Expensive States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost a third (27 percent) of the country report having difficulty meeting the energy needs of their household.

"To better understand the impact of energy on our finances relative to our location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the total monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia," reads the report. "Our analysis uses a special formula that accounts for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil."

The report ranked states based on their total monthly energy cost, but also identified the following:

  • Monthly electricity cost
  • Monthly natural-gas cost
  • Monthly motor-fuel cost
  • Monthly home heating-oil cost
Texas households' total monthly energy cost was reportedly $378, which is only beat by New Mexico ($373) and DC ($274). The top five most expensive states for monthly energy cost is as follows.
  1. Wyoming at $845
  2. North Dakota at $645
  3. Alaska at $613
  4. Connecticut at $593
  5. Massachusetts at $589
When comparing to other states, Texas monthly electricity costs are relatively high. At $153 a month, the Lone Star State ranks No. 11 in that category. Meanwhile, when it comes to monthly home heating-oil cost, Texans pay an average of $0 a month, as do Mississippi residents.
Fuel prices are also cheaper in Texas, as the state ranks No. 49 with only Louisiana and Mississippi with lower costs, respectively.

While Texans can find some comfort in the lower-than-average energy costs, the whole country is expected to see some prices increase, one of the report's experts says.

"Most likely, energy prices will continue to rise in 2023, although perhaps more slowly than at times in the past," writes Peter C. Burns, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame. "The war in Ukraine continues to create uncertainty in energy supplies in Europe, while pledges to reduce oil production in the interests of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also contribute to increasing prices."

Source: WalletHub

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A View From HETI

A View From UH

A Rice University professor studied the Earth's carbon cycle in the Rio Madre de Dios to shed light on current climate conditions. Photo courtesy of Mark Torres/Rice University

Carbon cycles through Earth, its inhabitants, and its atmosphere on a regular basis, but not much research has been done on that process and qualifying it — until now.

In a recent study of a river system extending from the Peruvian Andes to the Amazon floodplains, Rice University’s Mark Torres and collaborators from five institutions proved that that high rates of carbon breakdown persist from mountaintop to floodplain.

“The purpose of this research was to quantify the rate at which Earth naturally releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and find out whether this process varies across different geographic locations,” Torres says in a news release.

Torres published his findings in a study published in PNAS, explaining how they used rhenium — a silvery-gray, heavy transition metal — as a proxy for carbon. The research into the Earth’s natural, pre-anthropogenic carbon cycle stands to benefit humanity by providing valuable insight to current climate challenges.

“This research used a newly-developed technique pioneered by Robert Hilton and Mathieu Dellinger that relies on a trace element — rhenium — that’s incorporated in fossil organic matter,” Torres says. “As plankton die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, that dead carbon becomes chemically reactive in a way that adds rhenium to it.”

The research was done in the Rio Madre de Dios basin and supported by funding from a European Research Council Starting Grant, the European Union COFUND/Durham Junior Research Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation.

“I’m very excited about this tool,” Torres said. “Rice students have deployed this same method in our lab here, so now we can make this kind of measurement and apply it at other sites. In fact, as part of current research funded by the National Science Foundation, we are applying this technique in Southern California to learn how tectonics and climate influence the breakdown of fossil carbon.”

Torres also received a three-year grant from the Department of Energy to study soil for carbon storage earlier this year.

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