In the last month, oil prices have been over $80 a barrel — prices were over $86 twice, fell, and are now back on their way up.
Gasoline prices are around $2.80/gallon, up from around $2.00/gallon a year ago and rising a little each week over the last month.
Heating oil cost has risen over the year from $1.40/gallon to around $2.20/gallon.
Natural gas is also up year over year, rising from around $3.50/MMBTU to around $4.00, and volatile, closing over $7 for a few days in the winter.
However, domestic US Coal prices are about even, down a little, this year (from $2.21/MMBTU to $2.14) — I guess the energy we produce at home can be less expensive. Too bad burning coal releases about 2x the CO2 of natural gas (and a great deal more than wind and solar).
How We Respond To Energy Price Changes
But it appears that only energy prices drive our behaviors. We tend to over-react in some ways (markets, producers, consumers), yet have remarkably short memories, and seemingly weak abilities to identify coming changes.
I do understand that many people are negatively affected (more…)
Also Available in White
I got a call from a long-time business associate yesterday. He was excited. He should be, as he’s working with a new company
that distributes “Mag-Wind” roof-mounted wind turbines that claim to be about twice as efficient as others of similar design. They figured out how to design a very low-friction bearing using the same principles as “mag-lev” trains. The product has been in development and testing for ten years by Enviro Energies
Their primary market is commercial real estate, corporate installations, and agriculture, but if your house is in even an ok location, it sounds like ROI could be pretty quick. Ed Begley (Living with Ed) is putting one on his house. Based on what I understand, the cost outlay for a house is pretty modest.
So if you are thinking about something for your house, or business, property (or billboard!) check them out: Arc Renewable Energies. (more…)
In a sea of bad economic news, it’s good to see that there are jobs coming — the stimulus to states is beginning, and the New York Times published a list of stimulus projects, by state. It pretty cool to see how many of these are repairs and improvements to public facilities. When I pay my taxes, I do like to think that this is the kind of thing I am paying for. Even cooler still, many of the projects I saw on the list for my home state of Massachusetts (pdf) improve energy efficiency.
I am sure there will be graft, corruption and frivolous projects done as part of this. But judging from those on the list for my state, they are mostly just “things that were on the list to get done” but didn’t make it. And, on the radio this morning, I heard that even high-priced law firms are laying off lawyers and (gasp) reducing their billing rates. So perhaps there will be work for the poor lawyers, too.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has a new project: they are creating a map of the actual companies having green jobs. Click a state, and you’ll see pins identifying the location of companies producing renewable energy or energy conservation productions. You can apply several filters by city and district. Each company is listed with a link to their website. Pretty slick. Currently, they have data for 12 states, but they are soliciting input from everywhere.
Do you work for, or know of such a company? Get it listed!