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From Grist Magazine, 2001

12,133 — per capita annual electricity consumption (kilowatt-hours) in the U.S. in 1997

1,381 — per capita annual electricity consumption (kilowatt-hours) in the rest of the world in 1997

21.5 — percentage increase in U.S. electricity consumption from 1990 to 1999

43 — percentage decrease in utility funding for energy efficiency from 1993 to 1998

90 — percentage of total U.S. coal consumption used to generate electricity in 1998

33 — percentage of all mercury emissions in the U.S. that came from coal power plants in 1999

30,000 — number of lives cut short in the U.S. each year due to pollution from electric utilities

37 million — number of cars necessary to produce the amount of smog-forming pollution that comes from U.S. coal power plants each year

7.5 — percentage of total U.S. energy consumption from renewable sources in 1998

94 — percentage of total U.S. renewable energy consumption from hydropower and bio-mass (trash and wood incinerators)

$216.7 billion — revenue of the U.S. electric utility industry in 1999

$124 billion — approximate combined revenues of all the governments in Africa

90 — percentage of total electricity used by a standard incandescent lightbulb that is wasted as heat

1,000 — reduction in pounds of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by replacing one incandescent lightbulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, over the bulb’s lifetime.


  1. Calculated by dividing U.S. consumption in 1997 by the 1997 U.S. population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Calculated by dividing world consumption (minus U.S.) in 1997 by the 1997 world population (minus U.S.) at the U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Annual Report, Volume 1.
  4. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, State Scorecard on Utility Energy Efficiency Programs 2000.
  5. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “U.S. Coal Supply and Demand: 1998 Review.”
  6. Clean Air Network, “Mercury Sources Factsheet (pdf),” Aug 1999.
  7. ABT Associates, “The Particulate-Related Health Benefits of Reducing Power Plant Emissions (pdf),” Oct 1999.
  8. Environmental Working Group, “Up In Smoke“, Jul 1999.
  9. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “ U.S. Renewable Energy Consumption,” Mar 2000.
  10. Edison Electric Institute, “1999 Year in Review (pdf).”
  11. Central Intelligence Agency, “World Factbook 2000.
  12. U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Star: Compact Fluorescent Lights.
  13. U.S. EPA, How you can prevent pollution prevention in your home, Aug 1998.