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9 amazing energy 'believe it or not' numbers from 2012

Posting in Cities

Some of Opower's facts are more believable than others. But certain ones indicate that the world's energy ship could run aground, if we're not careful.

Did you know that it costs only $0.41 a year to charge a new iPhone?

I'm not sure I believe that. But that's what energy consulting firm Opower says, as part of a list that the Arlington, Va.-based company calls 10 energy numbers to remember from 2012.

Here are 9 of them, number-for-number and word-for-word as Opower describes them in a U.S. centric compilation of 2012 findings from various sources. The 10th is an advertisement for Opower, as you'll notice if you click through the link in the previous paragraph, where you'll also find some interesting elaboration on these numerical head scratchers:

1. 96 percent. The increase in electricity generation from natural gas power plants in the U.S. between 2000 and 2012.

2. $0.41. How much it costs per year to charge an iPhone 5.

3. 2017. Year in which the U.S. will become the world's largest oil producer.

4. Number 1. 2012's rank in the list of the warmest years ever recorded in the contiguous United States.

5. 23.8 miles per gallon. The average fuel efficiency of new cars sold in the U.S. during the first half of 2012 (a record high).

6. 1 in 3. Proportion of U.S. households that now have a smart meter.

7. 2. Number of nuclear reactors in the U.S. that were licensed in 2012 for new construction - the first licenses granted by federal regulators since 1978,

8. 50. Number of nuclear reactors that Japan has announced it plans to close by 2040.

9. 56.2 percent. Percentage of energy that is wasted by the U.S. economy each year.

Photo of Ripley's Believe it or Not "Odditorium" in Panama City, Fla., by  Joseph Klemen via Wikimedia.

Some SmartPlanet links to help you believe - or not:

— By on December 23, 2012, 7:38 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure