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The higher direct energy requirements (associated with high transport and heating costs) of rural households have been identified as a key issue for the Scottish Government, especially in the context of the policy goal of achieving more sustainable low-carbon lifestyles. However, patterns of direct energy consumption can mask more complex patterns of total energy requirements where the latter takes into account the indirect or embodied energy associated with consumption. An extended SAM multiplier model is used to compare the total energy requirements of rural and urban households in Scotland where households are disaggregated by income level. The results confirm the higher direct and total energy requirements of low income households compared to higher income households but do reveal differences across fuel types and locations. The findings have implications for policies aimed at encouraging low carbon economies, suggesting those targeted only at direct energy consumption may fail to address the high indirect energy consumption of certain households types. Instead they suggest the case for policies aimed at reducing the level of energy embodied within final consumption goods (for example, reducing the energy costs associated with the transportation of goods and services).


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