Editorial: That 3,000-Lb Gorilla in the Garage

September/October 2006
A version of this article appears in the September/October 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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September 11, 2006
        With high gasoline prices, one’s attention naturally turns to that thirsty, 3,000-lb gorilla in the garage: the car. But how does gasoline consumption compare to the energy used inside an average home? Five years ago, the average home budgeted almost exactly the same amount of money for household energy use (that is, electricity and natural gas) and vehicle fuel. Last year, the average car consumed 590 gallons, which cost the average driver about $1,800. But the typical household has approximately two vehicles, so per-household consumption is roughly $3,600/year. In contrast, the bill for a home consuming 10,000 kWh/year and 1,000 therms/year is much less—about $1,700 annually. Today, rising costs of gasoline continue to outstrip cost rises for electricity and natural gas, so an everincreasing portion of a consumer’s energy budget goes to fueling a car. It’s worth paying attention to the efficiency of that (very) large appliance in your garage. You may be surprised.

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