In the five years that the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has ranked states’ efforts at energy efficiency, California has come out on top–until this year.

For the first time, Massachusetts came in at No. 1 on ACEEE’s 2011 State Energy Scorecard, which measures states’ efforts in areas such as utility programs, building and appliance standards, and transportation policies.

Rounding out the list: California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Maryland (which was also cited as a most-improved state).

What put Massachusetts over the top? In a press conference Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick credited the state’s investment in clean technology and legislation such as the Green Communities Act of 2008, which gave a significant boost to renewable energy.

The report showed some encouraging signs for state efforts on energy efficiency: Despite a weak economy, budgets for electricity efficiency increased in 2010 to $4.5 billion, a boost of more than 30 percent from 2009.

The report was not all congratulatory: The 10 lowest-ranking states were highlighted as well, with North Dakota residing at the very bottom. The ACEEE also noted that more than half of states have “minimal or no policies” to promote efficiency in the transportation sector, such as incentives for buying fuel-efficient vehicles. That’s a huge area of opportunity, considering that cars in the United States account for about 12 percent of global oil consumption.

(Related: Better Road Building Paves Way for Energy Savings)

You can see more about the report and its rankings here.


  1. tc
    Albuquerque, NM
    October 24, 2011, 11:17 pm

    Lets see what it takes to be deemed the most energy efficient:
    High electricity costs.
    High fuel costs
    Toll roads/bridges
    Lots of heavily subsidized public transportation
    High taxes on energy
    Lots of regulation
    Requirements for more costly renewables
    Typically high cost of living
    Typically high taxes period
    Typically states with shrinking population/slow growth
    States with typically higher unemployment

    Philadelphia PA
    October 24, 2011, 4:29 pm

    I would just like to go ahead and point out that there are three #5 as well as two #8 , three #12, four #17, two #22, three #27, two #38, two #40, and two #44. There cannot possibly be that many ties, and if there are, it should be specified. This map is misleading.

  3. Anon
    October 24, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Washington DC has its own renewable portfolio standard. Assume that’s why it is broken out.

  4. Alex L
    October 24, 2011, 3:47 am

    It says North Dakota is ranked 51 in the list of most energy-efficient states, last I checked we had 50 states. Washington DC isn’t a state.