Considering the generally high cost of air conditioning, the fact that New Mexico has the lowest average monthly energy bill of any state may come as a surprise.
But perhaps more surprising is that its trick isn’t living by candlelight or killing the cooling system. It’s living by coal.
In fact, the state’s primary energy source is a common factor among the nation’s three lowest bill payers. New Mexico averages a mere $76, while Utah averages $83 and Colorado $84.
The United States Of Coal
Despite pushback by environmentalists and threats levied by solar competitors, coal companies appear to be holding ground in the sector. Companies like Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU), Arch Coal, Inc. Class A (NYSE: ARCH) and Cloud Peak Energy Inc. (NYSE: CLD) provide the primary energy source in 19 states.
In the first quarter of 2017, the United States generated more energy using coal (292.5 million megawatt-hours) than any other resource, including natural gas (262.5 million megawatt-hours) and nuclear (202.3 million megawatt-hours), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The sector has swelled under the Trump administration, which takes credit for a coal mining workforce expansion of 1,000 between January and May.
Meanwhile, Market Vectors-Coal ETF (NYSE: KOL) is up 21.4 percent year-to-date, while United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSE: USO) and United States Gasoline Fund, LP (NYSE: UGA) are down 14.2 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.
With an average monthly bill of $103 across its 19 reliant states, coal is certainly appealing relative to other options.
Natural gas and nuclear support the states with the most expensive energy bills, with Alabama paying $146 and Connecticut $142 on natural gas, and South Carolina paying $143 and Maryland $141 on nuclear.
Those particular resources are associated with higher costs across the board, with only petroleum liquid correlated with higher spending.
- Other renewables: 1 state averaging $86.
- Hydroelectric: 5 states averaging $97.40.
- Natural gas: 20 states averaging $118.90.
- Nuclear: 5 states averaging $121.20.
- Petroleum liquid: 1 state averaging $139.
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