As the Cascadia Scorecard points out, Northwesterners are world-class energy consumers. Residents of the U.S. Northwest consume nearly as much energy, in the form of highway fuels and home and commercial electricity, as do Texans.
But leaving electricity aside, we don’t use all that much gasoline, at least compared to other parts of the U.S. Among the 50 states, Washington and Oregon rank 39th and 40th, respectively, in per capita gas consumption. (Idaho’s consumption is slightly above the U.S. average.)
And even more encouraging, Washington and Oregon are among just 7 states in which average gas consumption declined between 1990 and 2000. Rapidly urbanizing Nevada led the U.S., with a 55 gallon per person decline over the decade. (Again, Idaho bucked the Northwest trend, with an 8% increase in gas consumption per capita).
Oregon’s and Washington’s declines are almost certainly due to increased urbanization, not to improvements in auto fuel efficiency. And, even if encouraging, the declines are tiny, in the range of a few percentage points. Northwesterners still use half again as much gasoline as do residents of New York state, and about 3 times as much as Germans.