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Americans Struggling To Pay Skyrocketing Energy Bills

A summer of record-breaking heat has dramatically increased electricity consumption for Americans with many now struggling to keep up with their skyrocketing electric bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average household spends about $262 a year on air conditioning, with costs going as high as $525 in the hot and humid Southeast. 

Close to 90% of U.S. households use air conditioning (AC), with two-thirds of U.S. households using central AC or a central heat pump as their main AC equipment. In 2020, the Midwest Census Region and South Census Region had the highest percentages of households using AC, at 92% and 93%, respectively. The lowest percentage of households using AC was 73% in the West Census Region, a census region that includes households in several climate areas, such as the marine climate region along the Pacific Coast, where residential AC use was 49%.

Extreme weather records have been dominating the news, with meteorologists and scientists warning this could become more frequent as climate change accelerates. Indeed, it’s now official that July 2023 was Earth's hottest month on record, by a wide margin.

According to Copernicus Climate Change Service, July’s global average temperature clocked in at 16.95 degrees Celsius (62.51 degrees Fahrenheit), a third of a degree Celsius (six tenths of a degree Fahrenheit) higher than the previous record set in 2019.

Normally, global temperature records are broken by hundredths or a tenth of a degree, so this increase is much bigger than usual. The scorching heat has left a trail of destruction, with the latest incidence being devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii where the official death toll has now reached 93. The U.S. Fire Administrator said the Lahaina fire is now the deadliest in over 100 years. According to Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, around 2,200 structures have been destroyed or damaged with the losses approaching $6 billion.

By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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