Ten states produced more than half of the nation's 1988 emissions of carbon dioxide - the chief "greenhouse" gas - and utilities were the biggest contributors, a consumer group reported this week.

The non-profit consumer organization Citizen Action released the study in an attempt to influence the upcoming debate in Congress over future energy needs. The Bush administration is expected to weigh in early next year with its proposed National Energy Strategy."As the world's largest carbon dioxide polluter, as the world's largest oil consuming nation and the world's biggest debtor, we have a responsibility to take action" to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, said Edwin Rothschild, Citizen Action's energy policy director.

Carbon dioxide is released when power plants, factories and motor vehicles burn oil, natural gas and coal.

The report found power plants produced 36.2 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide, cars accounted for 29.2 percent and factories 22.9 percent. Homes and commercial operations accounted for the remaining 11.4 percent.

The top 10 carbon dioxide emission producing states were Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Michigan and Florida.