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Email: Al Gore's Energy Usage Exceeds U.S. Average

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Forwarded email claims global warming crusader Al Gore's personal energy consumption far exceeds that of the average American household.

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Feb. 2007
Status: True, with spin (see details below)

Example:
Email text contributed by JLZ, Feb. 28, 2007:

Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own "Inconvenient Truth"

Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh - more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh - guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use," said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

###

­­­­­­The Tennessee Center for Policy Research is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization committed to achieving a freer, more prosperous Tennessee through free market policy solutions.


Analysis: The text of this forwarded message comes from a press release issued in 2007 by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a self-described "independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization" whose political agenda is actually quite unabashedly conservative. That doesn't in itself discredit the text, but it does call into question the group's claim to "nonpartisanship." Al Gore is unabashedly liberal.

Checking the facts and figures

The TCPR hasn't revealed how it obtained the usage figures attributed to Gore's household (the press release claims the information originated from the Nashville Electric Service, which denies it). So how accurate are the figures? Associated Press conducted its own examination of Al Gore's 2006 utility bills and found the TCPR's numbers to be slightly inflated, though the documents do confirm that the Gore family consumes far more electricity per year than the average American household.

The correct amounts, as reported by AP, are as follows:

  • Al Gore's average monthly electric bill in 2006: $1,200 (source: AP).
  • Al Gore's total electric consumption in 2006: 191,000 kilowatt hours (source: AP).
  • Average annual electric consumption per U.S. household (in 2001): 10,656 kilowatt hours (source: EIA).

Based on the above, it would appear Al Gore consumed roughly 18 times the national household average in kWh of electricity last year — a differential at least partially mitigated by the following:

  • The stated national household average, while accurate when calculated, is six years old as of this writing.
  • Average usage varies widely by region. In Nashville, for example, where Gore lives, the average consumption per household is 15,600 kilowatt hours per year, almost 50% higher than the national average (source: AP).
  • At 10,000 square feet, the Gore residence, which also houses the former vice-president's office, is more than four times larger than the average new home built last year in the U.S. (source: AP).

Even taking the above into account, Al Gore's power usage remains significantly higher than that of the typical U.S. household.

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