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DOE Study Finds that Low-Income Families Continue to Pay Disproportionate Energy Costs
In a five-year review of household energy costs, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed that those who can least afford it feel a disproportionate impact of energy costs. The 2003 DOE study shows that the average American household spent $2,985 on energy-related costs. These expenditures were divided almost equally between motor vehicle (transportation) and residential energy costs.

Those households fortunate to earn over $50,000 per year spent a relatively small percentage of their household income on energy-related costs. These families saw their energy cost burdens decrease slightly from a similar 1997 DOE survey, spending only about 3.7% of their income on energy expenditures.

But those American households earning less than $50,000 per year fare much worse.

Working families with annual household incomes between $10,000 and $25,000 per year (about 20% of American households) used about 13 percent of their income to cover energy costs. Further, the energy outlay burden is greatest on the poorest households. About nine percent of American households earn less than $10,000 per year, and these families spend about 30% of their total household budget to cover energy costs.

ABEC President Steve Miller said that the DOE survey continues to prove the importance of low-cost energy to millions of Americans.

?Not only does access to affordable power help create and maintain jobs for American workers, but it also helps reduce the burden on working families already struggling to make ends meet,? said Miller.

The next time you board an airplane, you may hear the flight attendant say something like coffee, tea or electricity from coal. During the month of June, travelers on United Airlines flights could watch a short subject video produced by ABEC that discusses coals role in providing reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean electricity for American homes, schools, and businesses. The segment, filmed at the Power System Design Facility located in Wilsonville, Alabama, airs a part of a MSNBC news feature hosted by Matt Lauer.

Watch the Video



© 2003 Americans for Balanced Energy Choices