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Michele Brooks, Luke Amirault

Westfield State University, Spring 2015


Trends in Carbon Dioxide Emissions from 1980 to 2012

Image Source: motherearthnews.com

Image Source: climate.nasa.gov

I.

Introduction
This report aims to answer the question: has there been a significant difference in the
amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced by sectors of economy and types of fuel in the
United States between the two years, 1980 and 2012? Currently, carbon dioxide is not included
as a criteria pollutant in the United States Clean Air Act (CAA). For years, states and
environmental organizations have argued against this and requested that the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) add reduction measures for greenhouse gases to the act upon the next
review of its standards.
The results of the statistical analysis contained in this report can be used to provide
evidence as to whether or not carbon dioxide should in fact be added to the Clean Air Act. It is
hypothesized that because carbon dioxide is not included in the CAA, the number of emissions
produced by each economic sector and fuel type in 2012 will have significantly increased in
comparison to 1980. The null hypothesis is that there will be no difference in the amount of
emissions produced in 1980 and in 2012.
The independent variables used to conduct this analysis include the five main economic
sectors that contribute emissions, as well as the three top fuel types that contribute emissions in
the United States. The five economic sectors are: residential, commercial, industrial,
transportation, and electric power. The three fuel types are: coal, petroleum, and natural
gas. The dependent variable is the total emissions for all fuel types. The data for amount of
emissions produced by each of the sectors and fuel types came from the Energy Information
Administration (EIA).

II.

Literature Review
One piece of literature that resonates with the research hypothesis of this study is the

article Defending Overstatement: The Symbolic Clean Air Act and Carbon Dioxide written by
Christopher T. Giovinazzo. Giovinazzo is the Editor and Chief of Harvard Environmental Law.
In this piece of literature, he criticizes the Clean Air Act (CAA) of its unattainable goals to
regulate clean air, and argues that Congress consciously chose to make these goals unrealistic to
be respected by regulators and regulated entities. Giovinazzo calls the CAA more symbolic
than functional (Giovinazzo 2006). The main example that he uses to justify this is the EPAs
decision to not include carbon dioxide emissions (CO ) as one of the criteria pollutants in the
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CAA. With the increased awareness of global warming, many people called for the EPA to
include CO emissions as a regulated pollutant. The EPA declared that carbon dioxide emissions
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are not subject to the Clean Air Act due to uncertainty, cost, congressional inaction, and the
inapplicability of the Clean Air Acts framework to regulate CO . Twelve states and many
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environmental groups challenged the EPAs decision, but the U.S Court of Appeals upheld the
EPAs decision not to regulate it in the case Massachusetts v EPA.
Giovinazzo argues the Court of Appeals made the wrong decision in this case, and
objects the EPAs reasons for not including CO as a criteria pollutant. He says, CO qualifies
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as an air pollutant because it is a physical and chemical substance emitted by the burning of
fossil fuels. Another one of the EPAs arguments is that CO emissions could not be regulated
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under the CAA because CO levels are globally uniform. Giovinazzo argues that the CAA could
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focus its regulations on industries and different fuel types being used in the United States. This
would result in a decrease in CO emissions. The article also addresses the EPAs decision that
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the CAA had no duty or responsibility to address global warming. Giovinazzo counters this by

explaining that global warming was not known about when the CAA passed in 1960, and now it
is the EPAs responsibility to include it with the CAA. He says, Yes it would be hard,
uncertain, expensive, and contentious. The CAA has a simple answer to those complaints: do
something anyway.
This piece of literature is related to the hypothesis that CO emissions will have increased
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since 1980 due to the gas not being included in the Clean Air Act. Although it does not include
any data which displays an increase of emissions over the years, it offers a good argument on
why the EPA needs to act upon addressing CO emissions through the CAA.
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Giovinazzo, Christopher T. "Defending Overstatement: The Symbolic Clean Air Act and Carbon Dioxide."
Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 30 (2006): 99.

A second article which supports the research hypothesis of this analysis is titled No
Reason to Wait: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through the Clean Air Act, written by
Kassie Siegel, Bill Snape, and Matt Vespa in June of 2009. This paper claims that the Clean Air
Act has a proven track record of effectively and efficiently reducing air pollution, and that reorganizing the Act to include greenhouse gases (ghg) to the list of criteria pollutants would be
relatively simple (Siegel et al. 2009). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the
authority under the Act to instate ghg emission reduction measures but they have neglected to do
so, in fear of political opposition from polluting industries. Opponents have asserted that
expanding the act to include greenhouse gases would be administratively burdensome,
economically costly, and will hurt small business. This article references studies that negate
that theory and provide evidence that the substantial improvements in air quality achieved
through the Act have not only resulted in enormous public health, ecological, and other benefits,
but have also been accomplished so efficiently that the economic value of the benefits exceeds
by many times the costs of the regulations.

After a decade of inaction on behalf of the government, the general public has come to
believe that the act is ill-suited to address greenhouse gas emissions which could not be further
from the truth according to this paper.
The EPA already has the necessary information to issue New Source Performance
Standards (NSPS) for the major greenhouse gas source categories. Under the NSPS Program,
the EPA sets baseline pollution reduction measures by emissions source, so that each type of
facility must meet the same minimum standards nationwide. The EPA has already issued NSPS
for about 80 categories of industrial sources including power plants, oil refineries, cement plants,
and nitric acid plants, all of which are sources of ghg emissions.
In 1999, environmental organizations across the country began petitioning the EPA to
regulate ghg emissions from automobiles, but under the Clinton and Bush administrations the
EPA refused. The EPA also refused to consider greenhouse gases in the Prevention Significant
Deterioration (PSD) permits for coal fired power plants under the Bush administration. President
Bush claimed that greenhouse gases did not qualify as air pollutants under the Acts
definition. However, in 2007 the Supreme Court ruled against this statement in Massachusetts v.
EPA.
In May of 2009, the Obama administration announced that it would issue a combined
proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles under the Clean Air Act and
increase fuel economy standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. It is thought
that if this proposal is finalized it will achieve the greatest increase in fuel economy and
decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. automobiles in over three decades.

The article concludes by stating that although greenhouse gases are globally well mixed
and emitted from a wider variety of sources than most traditional air pollutants, the notion that
they are unsuited for the CAA is unsupported (Siegel et al. 2009).
Snape, William, Kassie Siegel, and Matt Vespa. No Reason to Wait: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
through the Clean Air Act. Working Paper. San Francisco, CA: Center for Biological Diversity Climate
Law Institute, 2009.

III.

Statistical Tests
a. Descriptives
The results of the descriptive statistical tests run on the independent variables are

representative of the years 1980 and 2012, for all fifty states and Washington D.C. Therefore,
the sample size for these tests is 102. Of the five economic sectors, the electric power sector
contributed the highest average amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, and the
commercial sector contributed the lowest average amount. The electric power sector contributed
an average of 34.857 million metric tons (mmt) CO2 emissions, while the commercial sector
contributed an average of 4.408 mmt. (Table 1) Of the three fuel types, petroleum contributed
the highest average amount of emissions in the United States, and natural gas the lowest average
amount. Petroleum contributed an average of 43.033 mmt, and natural gas an average of 23.842
mmt. (Table 2)
Table 1: CO2 emissions from economic sectors

Table 2: CO2 emissions from fuels

b. Correlations
Next, a linear correlation test was run to describe the relationships between the
independent variables and the dependent variables. The results of this test prove that some of the
relationships between the variables are moderately strong, while others are very strong. Overall,
all of the variables can be considered strongly and significantly correlated because the R-values
are all larger than 0.01, and the p-values are all 0.00. (Tables 3 and 4)
The strongest relationship of the economic sector variables exists between the residential
and commercial sectors, and the strongest relationship of the fuel types exists between petroleum
and the emissions from all fuel types, which makes sense because the results of the descriptive
test indicate petroleum as producing the highest average amount of emissions.
Table 3: CO2 emissions from economic sectors

Table 4: CO2 emissions from fuels

c. Simple Scatter Plots


Simple Scatter plots were constructed to visually present these relationships.
(Figures 1 and 2) Figure 1 displays the strong positive correlation between the residential

and commercial sectors. Each of the individual dots on these scatter plots is a data point
representing an intersection between the two variables. The R-value of this graph is
0.937, which means that 93.7 percent of the data falls within the line of best fit. The pvalue of this graph is 0.00. Figure 2 displays the strong positive correlation between the
total petroleum emissions and the total emissions from all fuel types. The R-value of this
graph is 0.933, meaning that 93.3 percent of the data points fall along the line of best fit.
The p-value of this graph is also 0.00.
Figure 1: Relationship Between

Figure 2: Relationship Between

Residential and Commercial Sectors

Petroleum and All Fuels

d. Group Statistics and Independent Samples T-Tests


An independent samples t-test was conducted to test the statistical significance of the change
in carbon dioxide emissions produced by the economic sectors and fuel types between the years
1980, and 2012. The results of the test and the group statistics were divided into separate tables
for the sector emissions, fuel type emissions, and the total emissions of all fuels. Tables 5, 7,
and 9 contain the group statistics and Tables 6, 8, and 10 contain the t-test results.

Of the economic sectors, the average emissions produced by the residential, commercial,
and industrial sectors decreased in 2012 from the averages of 1980, and the average emissions
produced by the electric power and transportation sectors increased. However, no significant
differences exist between the mean emissions produced in 1980 and in 2012 because all of the pvalues produced by the t-test are much higher than 0.05 (Tables 5 and 6).
Table 5: CO2 emissions from economic sectors

Table 6: CO2 emissions from economic sectors

Of the fuel types, the average emissions produced by coal and natural gas increased in
2012 from the averages of 1980, and the average emissions produced by petroleum
decreased. Although the descriptives and correlation tests suggested that petroleum contributed
the highest average amount of emissions, the results of the t-test provide a more accurate answer
to the research question because the descriptives and correlations test included the data from both
years. Despite the changes between the mean emissions of the fuel types in 1980 and 2012, no
significant differences can be proven because the p-values are all much higher than
0.05. Because no significant differences exist between the emissions in 1980 and 2012 for any
of the fuel types, the all fuels emissions category also presents no significant differences. (Tables
7-10)

Table 7: CO2 emissions from fuels

Table 8: CO2 emissions from fuels

Table 9: CO2 emissions from all fuels

Table 10: CO2 emissions from all fuels

IV

Discussion
Upon an initial review of the data, it appears that dramatic differences have occurred in

the CO emissions from 1980 and 2012. The mean emissions from the residential, commercial,
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and industrial sectors all decreased, which could be a result of people reducing their energy use
in order to gain monetary benefits. However, the mean emissions of the transportation and
electric power sectors increased. The increase in emissions from the transportation sector could
be attributed to an increase in the U.S. population which leads to more drivers and more
registered vehicles on the road, as well as an increase in the use of other forms of transportation
such as bus, train, or plane. A larger population also involves more consumption, which leads to
an increase of goods being transported.
The data shows an increase in emissions from coal and natural gas between the years
1980 and 2012. The increase in CO emissions coming from coal could be explained by the
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dependence on coal fired powered power plants. The increase in emissions coming from natural
gas could be due to the growth of the hydraulic fracturing industry. Hydraulic fracturing extracts
natural gas from the ground and allows people to use it for energy. This method of obtaining
power has become much more common in the 21st century. The data shows a decrease in the
use of petroleum. An explanation for this may be that less drilling operations have occurred. It
could also be due to people in the U.S seeking to use cleaner forms of energy.
Although all of the variables were highly correlated and there were dramatic differences
in the CO emissions between 1980 and 2012, no significant differences exist between the
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emissions by sector or fuel type in the years 1980 and 2012. This might imply that although
carbon dioxide is not a criteria pollutant in the CAA, the passage of the act influenced American
residents and corporations to decrease their carbon footprint.
If data for a year prior to the ratification of the CAA existed, such as 1960, the results of
this study may have supported the research hypothesis. Looking at the year 1960 could present a
more accurate depiction of the effects that the Clean Air Act had on CO emissions. However,
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the last amendments made to the CAA were in 1990, so the data used from the year 1980 is still
valid.
The U.S has become more aware of the impacts of climate change and the reality of
global warming since the 1980s. The concept of sustainability has become increasingly popular
for environmental, health, and economic purposes. Although a significant difference could not be
proven between the levels of carbon dioxide emissions in 1980 and in 2012, this analysis does
display an increase in the average emissions produced by the transportation and electric power
sectors, and the natural gas and coal industries. One main reason for this could be due to the size
of the United States population in 2012 as compared to 1980. The U.S. population could have

been included as a variable in this analysis, and is one that should be used for further research
because an increase in population could counteract the efforts to reduce emissions.

Conclusion
The results of the t-test indicate that there is not enough evidence to support the research

hypothesis which states that the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States will
have increased significantly from 1980 to 2012. Therefore the null hypothesis which states that
there is no significant difference between the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced in
1980 and 2012 based on the contributing economic sectors and fuel types is accepted.

Works Cited
Giovinazzo, Christopher T. "Defending Overstatement: The Symbolic Clean Air Act and Carbon Dioxide." Harv.
Envtl. L. Rev. 30 (2006): 99.
Snape, William, Kassie Siegel, and Matt Vespa. No Reason to Wait: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through
the Clean Air Act. Working Paper. San Francisco, CA: Center for Biological Diversity Climate Law
Institute, 2009.
Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Image Sources: Mother Earth News, and NASA at the California Institute of Technology

Appendix A: United States Carbon Dioxide Emissions Data


State
Residential Commercial Industrial Transportation Electric_Power Coal Petroleum Natural_Gas All_Fuels_Total Year
Alabama
3.6
2.6
30.2
24.8
44.1 61.8
29
14.4
105.2
1
Alaska
0.9
1.2
6.7
6.4
2.3
0.4
9
8.2
17.6
1
Arizona
1.8
1.8
5.2
18.5
25.3
23
20.4
9.2
52.6
1
Arkansas
3
2.1
10.3
14.3
7.6
3.4
19.6
14.4
37.4
1
California
30.4
20.2
64.6
170.9
61.1
6.1
241
100.1
347.2
1
Colorado
5
3.9
10.5
17.7
20.8 23.2
21.8
13
57.9
1
Connecticut
7.7
3.1
6.1
13.2
10.7
0
36.8
3.9
40.7
1
Delaware
1.1
2.6
3.8
3.9
5.8
2.6
13.1
1.6
17.2
1
Washington_DC
1.1
1.2
0.3
1.9
0.8
0.3
3.5
1.5
5.3
1
Florida
2.2
4.5
18.4
68.2
64.5 21.1
119.3
17.4
157.8
1
Georgia
6
3.8
15
39.1
48 48.8
46
17
111.9
1
Hawaii
0
0.3
1.9
10.5
5.5
0
18.2
0
18.2
1
Idaho
0.7
0.9
3.7
5.9
0
0.9
7.6
2.7
11.2
1
Illinois
27.7
15
55.4
57.9
74.5
79
94.8
56.7
230.5
1
Indiana
12
6.3
65.1
31.3
68.7 108.3
49.6
25.5
183.4
1
Iowa
6.6
3.4
12.9
16.7
19.2 21.9
22.6
14.3
58.8
1
Kansas
5.1
3.4
16.8
18.9
22.8 17.9
23.7
25.5
67.1
1
Kentucky
5.7
4.2
16.4
22.7
52.6
60
30.9
10.5
101.5
1
Lousiana
4.3
9.4
116.3
46.1
27.5 -0.4
107.1
96.9
203.6
1
Maine
3
1.3
2.7
5.9
1.8
0.3
14.4
0.1
14.7
1
Maryland
7.9
3.5
14.8
22.8
18.5
22
36.9
8.5
67.5
1
Massachusetts
14.7
8.6
4.4
25.4
24.9
2.1
66.7
9
77.8
1
Michigan
25.9
12.7
40.1
43.7
56
71
61.3
46.1
178.5
1
Minnesota
8.8
4.5
12.9
23.4
21.4 22.7
33.3
15.1
71
1
Missouri
9.4
5.4
12.5
29.1
47.4 49.8
37
17
103.8
1
Mississippi
2.1
3
9
18.1
14.6
7
25.6
14.2
46.8
1
Montana
1.4
1
5.7
6.3
5.6
5.6
11.1
3.3
20
1
Nebraska
3.1
2.5
5.6
9.9
9
8.8
12.9
8.4
30.1
1
Nevada
0.9
0.8
1.1
8.3
11.3
8.7
10.2
3.3
22.2
1
New_Hampshire
2
0.9
1
4.1
4.9
2.7
9.6
0.5
12.9
1
New_Jersey
17.8
12.8
20
40.8
18.1 16.2
85.7
17.5
109.5
1
New_Mexico
1.9
1.9
7
11.8
22.2
19
13.5
12.2
44.8
1
New_York
35.5
28.7
33.4
71.7
53.7 29.3
154.1
39.7
223.1
1
North_Carolina
6.6
3.2
14.2
31.5
55.4 58.5
44.4
8
110.9
1
North_Dakota
1.2
1.3
3.2
5.2
14.4 15.3
8.7
1.3
25.2
1
Ohio
24
11.4
75.9
55.8
105.4 143
85.3
44.2
272.5
1
Oklahoma
4.5
2.9
20.6
21.5
27.8
10
28.1
39.2
77.2
1
Oregon
2
2.2
6.1
17
0.8
1.1
22.7
4.3
28.1
1
Pennsylvania
29.5
12.6
87.9
57.7
106.1 153.1
99.1
41.6
293.8
1
Rhode_Island
2.2
0.7
0.7
3.7
0.9
0
6.8
1.5
8.3
1
South_Carolina
2.6
2.1
10.5
17.7
20 22.9
22.6
7.4
52.8
1
South_Dakota
1.2
0.7
1.9
4.5
3.2
3.4
6.8
1.3
11.5
1
Tennessee
3.2
3.5
14.2
28.8
47.5 53.9
31.6
11.9
97.3
1
Texas
13.7
14.7
225.2
128.6
142.4 67.4
237.1
220.1
524.6
1
Utah
3.6
1.5
10.9
9
10.8 15.7
13.5
6.6
35.8
1
Vermont
1.2
0.5
0.5
2.4
0.1
0.1
4.4
0.2
4.7
1
Virginia
7.1
3.6
15.9
34.4
20.7 21.6
51.6
8.4
81.6
1
Washington
3.4
2.9
12.9
30
7.7
8.5
41.3
7.1
56.9
1
West_Virginia
3.5
1.7
20.9
10.2
65.1 80.3
13.6
7.5
101.4
1
Wisconsin
10.9
5.1
15.5
23.3
26.4 30.6
31.8
18.7
81.2
1
Wyoming
0.7
0.7
10.3
6.2
22.3 25.1
11.4
3.8
40.3
1

Appendix A (continued)
State
Residential Commercial Industrial Transportation Electric_Power Coal Petroleum Natural_Gas All_Fuels_Total Year
Alabama
1.8
1.8
20.8
30.6
66.5 51.5
33.9
36
121.4
2
Alaska
1.8
2.6
17.3
13.1
3.1 1.5
18
18.4
37.9
2
Arizona
2.1
2.3
4.4
29.5
51.3 39.7
32.1
17.9
89.7
2
Arkansas
1.6
2.5
8.3
18
34.6 28
21.2
15.9
65
2
California
27.4
15.9
63
190.7
48
4
211.6
129.3
344.9
2
Colorado
7
3.3
13.4
26.7
39.1 34.9
30.4
24.1
89.4
2
Connecticut
6.7
3.2
0.7
14.4
7.2 0.9
19.1
12.3
32.2
2
Delaware
0.8
0.7
2.8
4
4.6 1.6
5.8
5.4
12.8
2
Washington_DC
0.7
0.9
0
1
0
0
1
1.6
2.6
2
Florida
1.1
4.7
9.8
95.6
107 45.6
101.3
71.4
218.3
2
Georgia
6
3.6
12.6
55.3
55.7 41.1
59.2
32.9
133.2
2
Hawaii
0.1
0.3
1.6
9.7
7.1 1.6
17.2
0
18.7
2
Idaho
1.6
1.1
3.2
8.6
0.7 0.5
9.9
4.8
15.2
2
Illinois
20.3
10.9
34.9
60.9
85.3 91.4
71.8
49.1
212.3
2
Indiana
7
4.6
42.1
39.3
98.8 113
45.2
34.1
191.8
2
Iowa
3.6
3.8
16.6
19.2
34.3 39.9
23.8
13.9
77.5
2
Kansas
3.2
1.6
15.1
17.4
30.7 29
24.8
14.1
68
2
Kentucky
2.8
2
16.1
29.4
86.5 85.9
38.8
12.1
136.8
2
Lousiana
1.8
1.9
120.8
44.2
43.1 22.5
106.3
82.9
211.7
2
Maine
2.2
1.6
2.4
7.6
1.7 0.1
11.7
3.7
15.5
2
Maryland
5.2
4.4
3.2
26.8
19 18.2
29.1
11.4
58.6
2
Massachusetts
11.8
5.2
1.8
28.1
12.1 2.2
34.2
22.6
59
2
Michigan
16.8
8.7
17.1
44.7
62.9 58.6
49.3
42.4
150.3
2
Minnesota
7.3
5.3
16.9
30.3
25.4 24.3
38.3
22.6
85.2
2
Missouri
5.3
3.6
7.6
35.4
73 72.5
39
13.4
124.9
2
Mississippi
1.4
1.4
10.9
23.7
23.2 7.8
27.3
25.4
60.4
2
Montana
1.5
1.2
4.5
7.6
15.6 14.9
11.5
4
30.4
2
Nebraska
2.1
1.6
8.9
13
24.4 25.7
15.6
8.5
49.9
2
Nevada
2.2
1.8
2
13.3
14.7
5
14
14.9
33.9
2
New_Hampshire
1.9
1.2
0.6
6.3
4.1 1.3
8.9
3.9
14.2
2
New_Jersey
12.5
10.5
6.5
54.8
14.8 2.4
61.8
34.9
99.1
2
New_Mexico
2.1
1.6
8.5
13.2
28.9 24.8
16.1
13.3
54.2
2
New_York
30.2
21
5.2
65.7
32.2 6.7
81.6
66
154.3
2
North_Carolina
4.4
4.4
6.2
43.1
56.8 50.4
45.7
18.7
114.8
2
North_Dakota
0.9
1.1
15.7
8.8
29.4 38.3
13.8
3.8
55.9
2
Ohio
15.3
9.6
35
59
94.2 96.1
71.3
45.6
213.1
2
Oklahoma
3
2.4
21.8
29.8
47.1 30.9
35.5
37.8
104.1
2
Oregon
2.6
1.8
4.6
20.1
6.9 2.7
21.7
11.7
36
2
Pennsylvania
17.3
9.1
40.5
59.2
107.3 103
73.6
56.7
233.4
2
Rhode_Island
2
0.8
0.4
3.7
3.3
0
5.1
5.2
10.3
2
South_Carolina
1.5
1.6
7
28.2
33.4 28.2
30.4
13.1
71.7
2
South_Dakota
0.9
0.6
3.5
6.5
3.2 3.4
7.6
3.8
14.7
2
Tennessee
3.2
3.1
14.4
38.9
37.3 39.9
42.4
14.7
97
2
Texas
10.2
11.2
225.8
187.1
222.1 141
304.9
210.1
656.4
2
Utah
3.4
2.3
7.6
15.9
31.8 30.4
18.2
12.3
61
2
Vermont
1.1
0.6
0.5
3.1
0
0
4.9
0.4
5.3
2
Virginia
5.4
4.5
12
47.9
25.2 20.9
51.8
22.3
95.1
2
Washington
5.1
3.7
12.8
41.3
6.2
4
50.7
14.4
69.1
2
West_Virginia
1.5
1.5
9.8
11.1
66.9 71.7
11.8
7.3
90.8
2
Wisconsin
7.6
4.7
12
27
37.1 35.2
31.6
21.6
88.4
2
Wyoming
0.8
1
13
7.9
43.4 46.3
11.5
8.4
66.1
2