WIT Press

Review of empirical evidence on households’ energy choices, consumption, behavioral tendencies and patterns across 32 countries


Free (open access)


Volume 6 (2021), Issue 1



Page Range

71 - 93

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Fulufhelo Licken Mukhadi, Machate Machate & Khomotso Semenya


Many households have restricted access to various energy types and, as a result, are faced with a daily challenge of having to make appropriate energy choices to meet their energy requirements. This paper aimed to review empirical studies on the households’ energy choices and consumption patterns to establish local, regional and global trends. Our findings revealed that fuelwood, electricity, kerosene, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), charcoal, dung cakes and crop residues are the most common fuel type options available to households. Fuelwood was the most common fuel type available to the majority of the households. Our paper indicates that a significant majority of the households tend to practice energy-stacking consumption patterns. Households mostly consume fuelwood, electricity, kerosene, LPG and charcoal for cooking, lighting, water and space heating. The use of fuelwood as a major fuel by the majority of households in relation to intermediate and cleaner fuels is associated with the demo-graphic characteristics of the households, economic status of the household, the biophysical condition of the area where the household is located and the energy supply characteristics. However, the relative importance of these factors in household energy choices varies across the globe, among regions and rural, urban and mixed settings. Our results seem to suggest that the majority of households that rely on fuelwood to meet their energy needs and requirements may relatively earn less income to afford cleaner fuels, are located closer to fuelwood resources, have larger family sizes, low level of education and possibly do not have adequate access to cleaner fuels. Our study indicates that there are weak correlations between the identified 12 factors, except in a few cases where there are moderate positive and negative and mostly significant linear relationships between some factors. The findings of this study have major implications for household energy use policies, plans and strategies.


determinants, energy sources, factors, fuel, fuel choices, fuel stacking, fuel types, households’ energy choices, household consumption patterns.