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Unpublished Paper
An Income-based Analysis of Historical US Energy Consumption
  • Harry D. Saunders

This paper introduces a new decomposition of energy consumption to reveal the effects of consumer income levels on energy use. It concludes that the great bulk of energy consumption in the US is embedded in goods and services purchased by consumers and that this component of energy demand is growing more rapidly than direct use of energy by households owing to the preferences of high-income consumers. Significantly, this embedded component of energy demand has historically experienced large rebound magnitudes. The analysis also concludes that energy consumption is driven by more than just income level, with the lowest-income consumers using more energy in 2002 than they did in 1987, despite significant energy use efficiency gains. Finally, the complexities revealed in the energy/income relationship, when thusly decomposed, reveal that energy consumption forecasts cannot reliably use simple extrapolations of energy intensity trends.

  • rebound,
  • embedded energy,
  • energy by income,
  • low income energy use
Publication Date
April, 2011
Citation Information
Harry D. Saunders. "An Income-based Analysis of Historical US Energy Consumption" (2011)
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