Editor’s note: This article is by Lou Varricchio, editor of The Sun. It is republished here with permission.
A new online WalletHub study ranks Vermont among the top 15 most expensive energy states in the U.S.
The personal finance website’s report, titled “2021’s Most and Least Energy-Expensive States,” places Vermont as the 14th most expensive energy state among the 50 states and District of Columbia. And while the state’s heating oil costs are high, monthly natural gas costs ($17) are low enough now to make it a growing, competitive home heating option.
Vermont was among the hungriest of the home heating oil-per-consumer states.
Despite being a state where fossil fuels such as heating oil are eschewed by many elected officials and green activists, Vermont placed third highest in heating oil consumption right after two other New England states, Maine and New Hampshire.
The report’s reported monthly heating oil cost for Vermont consumers is $74 per month.
The Green Mountain State’s monthly electricity cost of $118 (ranked 33), while somewhat high, is lower than most other New England states; Connecticut was placed among the top-five-highest-monthly electric states in the nation.
Overall, Connecticut was number one by being the most “energy-expensive” state in the nation. Nebraska was the least “energy-expensive” state in the nation.
Among the New England states, Massachusetts has the lowest electricity consumption per consumer followed by Rhode Island.
Dr. Mark Alan Hughes, a professor at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of Wallet Hub’s outside experts involved in preparing the report explained why the overall averages place Vermont in the top 15 most expensive states when it comes to energy.
“In addition to obvious differences among states in their endowments of energy sources like fossil fuel deposits and sunshine, there are important differences among states in energy and energy-adjacent public policies,” Hughes said.
“Examples include the extent of cooperation offered by utilities in connected household energy resources to the grid, the extent to which local governments promote the permitting and other aspects of household energy conservation and generation, the extent that states fund incentive programs that facilitate adoption in new technologies like electric vehicles and help drive down costs for later adopters, and the extent to which regulators and utilities maintain adequate infrastructure to avoid costly and dangerous disruptions in energy services to households, businesses, and institutions. These and many other direct and indirect energy policies contribute to a ‘net’ energy cost that variable among states and matters as much as the nominal prices of electricity and gasoline.”
View the “2021’s Most and Least Energy-Expensive States” report online.
CORRECTION: Vermont’s monthly average electricity cost is $118 according to the study, not $33, as incorrectly stated in the original version of the story.