Saving fuel makes sense, regardless of price

Monday, March 9, 2009

A glance at the gas pump provides a lesson in free market forces -- or does it?

The average U.S. price of gasoline is $1.96 a gallon, according to the national Lundberg Survey of fuel prices. That's better than the $3.20 we were paying a year ago, and a whole lot more palatable than the record $4.11 we were paying last July, but it's still uncomfortably close to $2 a gallon.

That same month, crude oil was selling at $147.27 a barrel, more than three times the current prices.

Drilling rigs that went into action during last summer's peak have gone silent again, thanks to the lower prices crude oil is bringing.

At the same time, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has reduced its output by 13 percent since September, and is expected to cut production even more when it meets this weekend.

It's a see-saw formula, with consumers paying more when demand is greater than supply, and enjoying lower prices when supply overruns demand.

That demand, in turn, is down because we are entering what is being called the first worldwide recession since World War II.

So what are the lessons to be learned?

For one, we shouldn't be lulled into our old energy-wasting habits just because the price of gasoline is easier to stomach. Instead, we should limit our travel in good times and bad, putting away the surplus from good times to ease the pain of the bad.

For another, anything we can do to broaden our sources of energy -- solar, wind, nuclear, biofuels -- and get us off the OPEC teeter-totter is a step in the right direction.

Moving toward energy independence makes long-term sense even when that foreign energy is cheaper than the domestic sources.

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  • Ah, yes, but, considering the cost 'per barrel,' we are still paying too high a price per gallon.

    I agree with the conservation aspect, but that is a hard nut to crack, for most people.

    I do find it interesting that the energy choices: solar, wind, and nuclear, are mentioned with automobiles. There are, basically, few methods of fueling an automobile, and they are 'Gasoline,' or, electric (hard to go far with), or Hydrogen (best choice), since we have all this water, made up of hydrogen and oxygen. Separate the Hydrogen, as fuel, and also bottle the oxygen for other services, and we have an excellent, if not explosive, source of mobile type fuel.

    I considered a wind blade system for my car, but decided that the tall tower would make my car top-heavy. Ha.

    Good article, but please consider the apples with apples, and the oranges with the oranges.

    Fuel consciousness imperative. Arley Steinhour

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Mon, Mar 9, 2009, at 7:48 PM
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