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How much carbon dioxide does your state produce?

See which sector produces the largest amount of emissions where you live

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Well, so is its carbon footprint, according to the August Choose Energy analysis of the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Texas produces about 12.9 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide, according to the numbers.

The Lone Star State’s 684 million metric tons of carbon dioxide produced in 2018 was more than double the amount emitted in California, the second-largest producer.

Following are the states that produced the most carbon dioxide emissions (in million metric tons):

Following are the states that produced the least carbon dioxide:

Following is a state-by-state look at the amount of carbon dioxide produced during 2018 and the previous year, as well as the percentage increase or decrease from the year 2000 and the percentage increase or decrease from 2017:

Another way of measuring carbon emissions

Because some states are more populous, they produce greater amounts of carbon dioxide. We control for this by measuring the carbon dioxide per capita – metric tons of emissions per person in each state. Following are the 10 states with the lowest per capita carbon emissions:

Following are the 10 states with the highest emissions per capita:

Which states are improving their carbon footprint? Which aren’t?

Nationally, carbon dioxide emissions have fallen 0.1 percent compared with 2000 levels. However, emissions have risen 2.9 percent across the country since 2017.

The state where levels have fallen the greatest since 2000 is Maine. Following are the 20 states where levels decreased by the greatest amounts since 2000.

Unfortunately, levels haven’t gone down in every state. Following are states where carbon dioxide emissions have increased since 2000:

There are four states that have experienced a double-digit percentage increase in carbon dioxide emissions since 2017 – Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Arkansas.

Only a few states showed a meaningful decrease in emissions since 2017. The top states for decreased carbon emissions were New Mexico, Maine, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Where does the carbon dioxide originate?

Nationally, transportation is responsible for the largest chunk of carbon dioxide emissions, 36.5 percent. But the generation of electricity is the second-largest offender, with 33.1 percent.

Following is a percentage breakdown by sector for each state’s carbon dioxide emissions:

Where does your state rank among the largest producers?

While generating electricity produces the highest percentage of carbon dioxide emissions in most states, West Virginia sees that to the extreme because of its reliance on coal. Louisiana generates more than half of its CO2 from industrial uses. See where your state ranks among the largest producers in each sector:

Commercial uses

Generating electricity

Residential uses

Industrial uses


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Photo credit: Shutterstock

(Last updated August 13, 2021)