Comparing energy use by gender, age and income in some European countries
Differences in household total energy use in different countries have mainly been explained by levels of income/expenditure. However, studies of gender consumption patterns show that men eat more meat than women and drive longer distances, potentially leading to higher total energy use by men. This study examined the total energy use for men’s and women’s consumption patterns in four European countries (Germany, Norway, Greece and Sweden) by studying single households. Significant differences in total energy use were found in two countries, Greece and Sweden. Housing, food and transport constituted 61-76% of total energy consumption in the four countries, regardless of gender. The largest differences found between me n and women were for travel and restaurants, alcohol and tobacco, where me n used substantially more energy than women. Men consumed 70-80% more energy on transport than women in Germany and Norway, 100% more in Sweden and 350% more in Greece. These differences were mostly explained by men’s higher operating costs for cars, including fuel, repairs and spare parts. For items such as medicine, household textiles, furniture and food, women us ed more energy than men, but the differences between male and female households were rather small.