Peak Oil

The Big Mac Index of Energy Costs

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 29, 2007

Treehugger scoops a graphic from the Toronto Star comparing the price of electricity in various countries by plotting how many Big Macs can be purchased for the price of a megawatt-hour of electricity.

Feeding an appetite for electricity: How many 'Big Macs' could be bought for the cost of one megawatt-hour of electricity (Image Credit: Toronto Star via Trehugger)
Feeding an appetite for electricity: How many 'Big Macs' could be bought for the cost of one megawatt-hour of electricity (Image Credit: Toronto Star via Trehugger)

As Treehugger explains:

[Tyler Hamilton of Clean Break] notes that we don't pay very much for electricity here compared to other countries like Denmark. Applying the Economist's famous Big Mac purchasing power parity index to the price of power, Danish electricity is three times as expensive as ours (or their Big Mac's are really cheap!).

Yet their economy is booming and their poverty rate is half that of Canada. The fact is, if you price electricity at what it costs to produce clean energy, there are enough bucks to buy turbines and photovoltaics and there is lots of incentive to use less energy and run houses and businesses more efficiently.

In short: improved energy effiency and cleaner, more diverse power generation offset the higher energy costs. The economy benefits from new investment in renewable power and quality of life improves from cleaner air.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By bjarke bonke (anonymous) | Posted September 07, 2010 at 17:43:16

hi. i am a danish machine engineer.
i think some thing is wrong with your model her
because the price of 1 mW/h in Denmark ik 1.75dkkr ($0.40)
and the price for a big mac is 32dkkr ($6)
!?
that means tha the price of a big mac, you can buy 18.28 mW/h !

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