One of the more complicated measurements in the entire economic structure is the price of energy. Energy itself is a nebulous commodity, and can come in a variety of shapes and forms. It’s produced through many different methods, some controversial, others requiring little to no effort at all. There are fortunes made and lost by speculating on the future of energy production, and billions upon billions of dollars spent to build up infrastructure with which to transport it from areas of high concentration to those with very little.
You could say that energy is probably the most important commodity in the world today. Wars are fought over it, as seen in the Middle East over the past several decades. There are also hot-button domestic issues with the advent of hydraulic fracturing, deep-sea drilling, and other risky extraction methods becoming mainstream methods for energy production. One example of a current issue facing government regulators is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would funnel large amounts of valuable oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, creating an economic boom in terms of employment and profit, but also come with significant risk to the environment. With all of the inherent risk that energy production poses to the environment and to citizens’ health, there are also rewards in the form of lower prices and large profits.
Energy is required to accomplish almost everything, from commercial activity for small and large businesses, to leisure and recreational activities for everyone around the world. America is an extraordinarily wealthy country, with a lot of purchasing power that helps bring in energy from foreign producers to help sustain everyday life for domestic activity. Throughout the years, the U.S. has relied heavily on oil imports from places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, creating all kinds of political strife and instability. Increased production domestically is looking to change that, as Americans are putting an emphasis on self-reliance like never before.
States across the nation are experimenting with different methods of energy production, and using a variety of regulatory and tax incentives to launch new ventures. Solar energy is starting to pick up serious traction, and wind and tidal turbines are popping up all over the place. Natural gas and domestic oil production are also gaining a lot of headway, and fracking — albeit incredibly controversial — has lead to a new age of cheap and widespread extraction.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has taken many variables into account, and tracked the prices of energy in all states for a long time running. They’ve put together a list of the ten states where energy prices are the lowest, ranked in dollars per million BTUs, which stands for the British Thermal Unit. A BTU is a calculation of the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The BTU measurement allows for an easy energy equivalent for comparison across the many different energy forms.
Here are the ten states where energy prices are the lowest, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.