As the nation again becomes more energy conscious because of the Persian Gulf war and dependence on foreign oil, a study says Utahns are among the nation's energy hogs.

But they are not the piggiest of hogs, merely about average.They rank 20th worst among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a state-by-state study by the Public Citizen Critical Mass Energy Project, a group started by consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

Using information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the group ranked each state according to its per-capita use of oil, its use of all energy and its use of renewable energy sources (such as hydroelectric power). It added up ranks in these categories to create an Energy Hog Index.

Utahns fared fairly well in the amount of oil they use, based on 1988 figures.

The state used a total of 772 million gallons of gasoline during the year. That comes out to 452 gallons per person (the 36th most of any state). That was just under the national average of 458 gallons per person.

Combined with other uses of petroleum in the state - from diesel to motor oil, for example - Utahns each used 661.5 gallons, or 21 barrels, of oil. That was the 34th most per capita of any state.

The best jurisdictions for limited use of gasoline were the District of Columbia (305 gallons per person) and New York (314 gallons per person) - where subway and bus systems are used heavily.

The biggest per capita hog of gasoline was Wyoming - which uses 666 gallons per person per year. But Alaska residents - who depend on petroleum more for heating in their cold climate - use the most oil per person: 2,237 gallons.

In the next major category - total per-person energy consumption from all sources - Utahns did less well, but still barely above average.

They use 312.6 million British thermal units of energy each per year, the equivalent of 1,701 gallons of oil. That was under the national average of 323.1 million Btu. That made the state rank 26th worst.

The final category really hurt Utah's overall "Energy Hog Index." It showed Utahns have a relatively low percentage of their energy come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wood.

The study said only 3.18 percent of the state's energy comes from such sources - much lower than the 10.8 percent average nationwide. The states best in that category are Washington (53.54 percent) and Oregon (47.46 percent), which are heavy users of hydroelectric power.

Utah's Energy Hog Index number - where the lower the number, the bigger the energy hog - was 75, or 20th worst. Texas was the worst with an index number of 10, gained from finishing fourth in per-capita total energy use, fourth in oil use and second worst in percentage of renewable sources used.

Another interesting statistic in the study was that even though in 1989 Utah produced the 11th most crude oil of any state, it didn't even come close to producing enough to meet its own needs without importation.

The study said Utah produced 28,416 barrels that year (895,104 gallons). But it used 40,803 barrels, meaning it had to import 12,387 barrels just to meet its own needs.

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Utah's energy appetite

Using 1988 statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Public Citizen Critical Mass Energy Project ranked each state according to its per-capita use of oil, its use of all energy and its use of renewable energy sources (such as hydroelectric power). It added up ranks in those three categories to create an overall Energy Hog Index. Here's how Utah fared among the 50 states:

1 worst -------- Best 50

Overall Energy Hog Index 20

Utah had a rating of 75. Texas was worst with a rating of 10.

Use of oil 34

Including all types of petroleum, Utahns each used 21 barrels of oil in 1988.

Use of all energy 26

Utahns used 312.6 million Btu of energy each in 1988 or 1,701 gallons of oil.

Use of renewable energy 15

Only 3.18 percent of Utah's energy comes from sources like wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wood. That's much lower than the 10.8 percent average nationwide.