Energy efficiency: "The Fifth Fuel"



Senior Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment


We advocate for affordable, clean energy to power our homes and our vehicles.

By jlebkowsky on Friday, September 17th, 2010

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL).
Image credit: UCLA Sustainability – Pledge to Action

Pop quiz—what’s the cheapest source of electric power? Coal, natural gas, nuclear or renewables? Actually, the answer is energy efficiency. Increasing efficiency in energy usage can be as valuable as producing energy, and it’s a lot cheaper. By reducing our energy usage, we can save money and harmful emissions both directly and by reducing the need to build expensive new power plants.

California has long recognized that efficiency presents a huge opportunity for consumers to save money, reduce pollution, and ease pressure on the electric grid. California consistently drives improvements in national fuel economy standards and its updated Clean Cars program will go even further to cut emissions, slash gasoline bills, and reduce reliance on foreign oil. California’s building and appliance efficiency standards have saved more than $56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs since 1978, and will save another additional $23 billion by 2013. And there’s still lots of room for improvement and savings.

Consumers Union supports California’s efforts to improve efficiency standards for appliances, buildings, electronics, lighting, heating and cooling, and vehicles. Strong minimum standards will make sure efficient products are on the market in a mass-scale, lowering the price so all consumers can become more energy efficient.

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