The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), a consumer advocacy group, has published a study that provides further evidence in favor of energy efficiency as a way for homes and businesses to save substantial amounts of money. The CFA found by studying the results of several other reports that American energy consumers could save up to $1,000 per year simply by becoming more efficient in their power and transportation usage and habits.
U.S. households spend an average of $4,600 a year on energy, much more than they spend on food, entertainment or clothing. But the CFA reports that this is much higher than what it calls the "optimum level," at which Americans are using only as much energy as they actually need. The report attributes this disparity between actual consumption and ideal consumption to market inefficiencies.
"Some analysts doubt the money-saving potential of energy efficiency standards because they assume that energy markets work perfectly and automatically push consumers toward money-saving, energy-efficient options," Mark Cooper, Director of Research for CFA, said in a press release. "But that's not how the real world works."
Something that should be noted is that policy proposals such as cap-and-trade and a carbon tax have been proposed, which would go a long way toward correcting market inefficiencies. At present, the price of fossil fuels does not reflect the externalized cost of consuming such goods, namely climate change. Quantifying those costs and passing them on to the consumer would make efficiency measures even more enticing for both homeowners and businesses while spurring growth in the renewable energy industry.