This article was published by the US Energy Information Administration on July 12, 2022.
By Kaili Diamond, Matthew Sanders, Carolyn Hronis
In 2020, 26 per cent of U.S. households used electricity as the only source of energy (32.25 million out of 123.53 million homes), according to our 2020 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). Most U.S. homes use electricity and at least one other fuel, such as natural gas, fuel oil, propane, or wood.
The states with the largest share of all-electric homes in 2020 were Florida, at 77 per cent of homes (6.2 million), and Hawaii, at 72 per cent (0.34 million). Typically, states with the smallest shares of all-electric homes were in colder climates, where space heating and water heating equipment tend to use natural gas, fuel oil, or propane. For example, 7 per cent of homes in both New York (0.56 million) and Michigan (0.26 million) were all-electric.
Although space heating considerations can account for some variation in the number of all-electric homes, other factors—especially fuel infrastructure and availability—also affect the type of energy used in homes. For example, although California has a mild climate, only 8 per cent (1.1 million) of California homes were all-electric in 2020, which is comparable to states like New York and Michigan that have cold climates. Homes in California predominantly use natural gas because of California’s expansive natural gas infrastructure: in 2020, 72 per cent of California households used natural gas for space heating, 79 per cent for water heating, and 73 per cent for cooking.
In 2020, almost two-thirds of U.S. households used electricity and one other type of energy. The most common fuel combination was natural gas and electricity, which were used exclusively (that is, with no use of fuel oil, propane, or wood) in 55 per cent of U.S. households. Other combinations had far smaller percentages nationwide: 5 per cent of homes used only electricity and propane, 3 per cent used only wood and electricity, and 2 per cent used only fuel oil and electricity. About 9 per cent of U.S. homes used three or more types of energy in 2020. Our fuel-use categories do not include outdoor grills and fire pits.
We collected the 2020 RECS household energy-use data from 18,496 households, which is the largest responding sample in the program’s history. Respondents completed the survey using self-administered web or mail questionnaires during late 2020 and early 2021. For the first time in RECS program history, these data are available at the state level for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For certain data values, however, we have withheld the data for statistical reasons. We withhold data if the relative standard errors are greater than 50 per cent or if the data values are based on a small sample size (fewer than 10 households).