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Report: Rural N.H. Residents Spend High Percentage Of Their Income On Energy

Michael Kappel via Flickr CC

A new study says rural residents in New Hampshire and the Northeast spend more of their income on energy than almost anywhere else in the country.

The study from the advocacy group American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that people living outside metropolitan areas in the Northeast and central Southeast had the nation's highest energy burdens.

It says rural New Englanders spend a median of 5.1%, and sometimes more than9%, of their income on energy. For urban residents, that figure is less than 4%.

New England also has the highest electric rates in the country, but the report says that's not necessarily driving the higher energy burdens.

The report says higher housing prices and energy use create bigger problems for rural residents. And it says efficiency upgrades can ease those residents' energy burdens by hundreds of dollars a year.

The study notes that New England’s manufactured homes spent the biggest part of their income on energy. Those homes make up 6 percent of New Hampshire's housing stock.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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