We explore the energy intensity of sprawl versus compact living by analyzing the total energy requirements of U.S. households for the year 2003. The methods used are based on previous studies on energy cost of living. Total energy requirement is calculated as a function of individual energy intensities of goods and services derived from economic input–output analysis and expenditures for those goods and services. We use multivariate regression analysis to estimate patterns in household energy intensities. We define sprawl in terms of location in rural areas or in areas with low population size. We find that even though sprawl-related factors account for about 83% of the average household energy consumption, sprawl is only 17–19% more energy intensive than compact living based on how people actually lived. We observe that some of the advantages of reduced direct energy use by people living in high density urban centers are offset by their consumption of other non-energy products. A more detailed analysis reveals that lifestyle choices (household type, number of vehicles, and family size) that could be independent of location play a significant role in determining household energy intensity. We develop two models that offer opportunities for further analysis.