Southern states are lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The ACEEE ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to utilities' efficiency programs, transportation, state initiatives, building codes and appliance efficiency. The results, which can be seen clearly in this cool map, reveal a distinct divide on energy efficiency is the country.

The divide is largely a geographic one. The South and the much of the Great Plains states fared particularly worse than the West Coast states and the Northeastern states. All but one Southeastern state, North Carolina, was ranked in the bottom half. Mississippi was ranked fiftieth. The Great Plains states didn’t fare any better, as North Dakota was ranked dead last at 51. Wyoming (which is more of a Rocky Mountain state that a Great Plains state) Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma all ranked just a bit better than North Dakota.

But let’s not just focus on the negatives. California leads the nation in this ranking, followed by Massachusetts. Oregon, New York, Vermont, and Washington rounded out the top six. But not all the highly ranked states have access to the ocean. Perhaps the most interesting part of this ranking is the area that includes Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, who all ranked between 10-20.

Now, of course, this is just one organization’s view of energy efficiency, but it is certainly worth some thought. Over the next few weeks most will be characterizing states as either red or blue, but it’s important to consider how green they are as well.

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