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Northwest gasoline use down, overall energy use flat

For the past three years the Sightline Institute of Seattle has been compiling a Cascadia Scorecard that analyzes various trends in the Northwest States. The scorecard examines items like energy use, urban sprawl, pollution, health, economic conditions, population and wildlife. For comparison they also look at the Canadian province of British Columbia which borders Washington to the North.

The study found that energy use was the worst performing of all the categories with per-capita energy use equivalent to 2.1 gallons per person per day, almost twice as much energy as used by Germans. While energy is comparable to where it was in the mid-1960s, it is down significantly from it's peak in the mid 1970s. While total per-capita energy consumption has remained relatively flat in recent years, gasoline consumption has actually for seven straight years while electricity and diesel use has gone up.

Rising gas prices in the region have caused sales of vehicles with higher gas consumption to fall while transit ridership has increased. As the chart above shows gasoline consumption is still significantly higher than in BC where gas prices are also significantly higher than in the US. What this shows is that higher energy prices are a very effective means of prompting people to buy more efficient vehicles, probably much more effective than fuel economy regulations.

[Source: Sightline Institute]

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