Putting the “E” in EVs…

Starting point: How much energy do we consume now?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some ballpark estimates of how much additional electricity would be consumed in the U.S. if Biden’s “incredible transition” materialized and all of us were driving shiny new EVs.

My conclusion: A full “incredible transition” to EVs would increase consumer / residential electricity demand in the U.S. by at least 50% (640 billion kWh / 1.34 trillion kWh)

For details see: Update: What if Oprah gave all of us EVs?

At the time I asked for ideas re: sources of (1) “hard” numbers re: electricity generated and consumed, (2) analyses of how much EVs will add to electricity consumption and (3) “real” plans to bolster U.S. energy production and distribution (i.e. “the grid”).

A couple of you pointed me to some info sources … THANKS!

So, let’s work the numbers, starting with electricity consumption


According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)….

Total U.S. electricity consumption in 2021 was about 3.93 trillion kWh.

Of that total, the 3.8 trillion kWh is classified by the EIA as “retail sales”.

Of that total, “residential retail sales” account for almost 1.5 trillion kWh about 40% of total “retail sales of electricity”.

For reference: We previously ballparked total residential electrical consumption at about 1.34 trillion kWh (10,715 kWh per household x 125 million U.S. Households)



Drilling down further

Between 1/3 and 1/2 of residential electricity consumption is driven by home HVAC systems (air conditioners and furnaces) … hot water heaters (14%) and washers & dryers (13%) push the cumulative total to almost 75% or residential use. Source




Rounding up a bit for simplicity:

  • The U.S. currently consumes about 4 trillion kWh of electricity per year
  • About 1.5 trillion kWh (about 40% of the total) is consumed in residential use
  • The majority of residential use attributable to HVAC systems and hot water heaters.

Important: Note that only a scant amount of electricity is currently being consumed for “transportation” … and, practically all of that is used by public transit systems.

Said differently, the electricity consumed by EVs is currently rounding error.

But, that will change…


Next up: How much electricity will Es consume?

One Response to “Putting the “E” in EVs…”

  1. Bob Heflin Says:

    Great post again!
    US does not have the power to absorb a huge amount of EVs. Power plants have to be built. I don’t hear Joe doing anything about it. Joe says he’ll put charging stations every 50 miles on expressways. Not so easy. Have to have 3 different types at each stop for quick charge. Tesla Supercharger only charges Tesla, Nissan and Mitsubishi use CHAdeMO while everyone else uses CCS. He can put a 220 plug to work on all but the charging is slow- get about 25 miles of charge in an hour- if the battery is low you have to charge 2 hours to get to the next station. Wow! Joe you are creating another disaster to add to all the ones you’ve already created.

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