LLNL’s findings suggest that 2012 was the most energy-wasteful year in over 10 years AND the third most wasteful year since the 1970s. Calculations suggest that the amount of energy wasted in the US annually has stayed between 50-58% during the last 10 years, but suddenly in 2012 the waste calculation shot up to 61%.
The US economy’s energy waste derives from inefficient power plans generating electricity and the volume of inefficient and polluting automobiles on the road.
Some experts believe that cars, trains, and planes average 21% efficiency, down from the 25% originally thought. US household energy uses – heating, cooling, and lighting average 65% efficiency, rather than the 80% originally calculated. These lowered estimates still might be overly optimistic since they don’t reflect behavior-related energy inefficiencies, like leaving the clothes dryer on too long or cooling an unoccupied house.
All experts agree, 39% energy efficiency is abysmal, and many of them argue that even 39% efficiency is painting an overly optimistic picture.
In fact, if we define energy as the capacity to do useful work and don’t limit it to merely a commodity, physicist Robert Ayres estimate that the country’s true energy efficiency is hovering somewhere around 14%.