Photo: Getty Images / Alexandra Beier
Everyone knows America’s first girlfriend was France, who helped us beat up the British. But lots of people forget that we also had a side-thing going with Germany at our founding, in the form of General Von Steuben.
And a new White House report on the challenges facing America in balancing energy and climate concerns shows the Executive branch has fallen in love with Germany all over again.
It starts out with the following chart comparing energy intensities — the amount of energy needed to generate a dollar’s worth of goods and services — among developed countries:
Photo: White House
We’re doing OK, the White House says.
But Germany is looking pretty good these days, thanks to their huge … building codes:
U.S. energy intensity is still one-third higher than that of Germany…in part because Germany… [has] automobiles and building codes that are more energy efficient, as well as smaller homes set more densely.
But that’s not even the best thing Germany has going for it. Even as they use less fuel, they’re making way more stuff than we are:
In neither Germany nor Japan is the lower energy intensity due to having less manufacturing than the United States. In fact, manufacturing (an energy-intensive sector) is almost twice as high as a share of GDP in Germany as it is in the United States.
The White House ends up concluding that the best strategy to improve energy intensity and reduce CO2 emissions is to focus on services with inelastic demand. That why, the report argues, short-term price increases can more predictably yield longer-term energy savings.
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