Researchers have long considered factors related to residential energy consumption. We contribute to this genre of work by exploring how residential location (rural-urban) and race are related to residential natural gas consumption. We also consider whether these relationships, if they exist, are functions of differences in housing characteristics, investment in energy efficiency, and weather conditions. Analyzing four waves of the Residential Energy Consumption Surveys, we find that natural gas consumption differs by residential location only to the extent that investment in energy efficiency and weather conditions are not taken into consideration. We also find race differences in natural gas consumption, with African-Americans consuming more per year than whites. African-Americans’ higher natural gas consumption persists even after the effects of housing characteristics, investment in energy efficiency, weather conditions, and other critical covariates of energy consumption are statistically held constant. More work, especially field research, is needed to understand why African-Americans consume more natural gas than other groups.

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