In a few portions of the Northeast, the skyrocketing expense of oil could cause winter heating bills that are residential to climb as high Petroleum reached $145 a barrel and numerous analysts are forecasting $150-200 per barrel oil within a couple of years. Add upward that to electricity invoices, some municipalities are switching to four-day work weeks, and going sharply into renewable energy & energy efficiency.
Headlines were made by Utah in July by becoming the first to put most state employees on a four-day week of 10-hour days. About one-third of the state’s 3,000 government buildings will be closed on Fridays, with estimated savings on heat and air conditioning to hit $ 3 million a year. Commuters will also save on gas. Utah’s Governor Jon Huntsman said, “The reaction in the public continues to be very much a readiness to give this a go.”
Energy efficiency is happening in most sectors. Behavior is changing fast in light of higher costs; SUV and light truck sales have dipped 30-60% (with regards to the brand) over the last year. Little auto sales are up. Overall “vehicle miles traveled” dipped for the very first time since 1979.
The difference this time is that fundamental supply and demand problems prompts mostly higher prices. Peak oil production is either here, or will be sometime between 2010-2015 at the latest. Prices will likely be far higher than today’s when global peak oil production is reached.
To be able to lessen our reliance on oil, and keep our economy moving, energy efficiency is important. This past July, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman met with the energy ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries, plus China, India and South Korea, to discuss methods to enhance international energy security while simultaneously fighting global climate change. The G8, which comprises Canada, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the US, established the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). It states that energy efficiency is one of the quickest, most eco-friendly and most cost-effective methods to deal with climate change and energy security while ensuring economic growth.
Meanwhile, financial support for the national assistance “weatherization” program within the US, which helps low income families be more energy efficient, has dramatically declined. A Energy Dept spending bill before the Senate, would provide $201 million for the fiscal year starting in October ($40 million less than was supplied in 2007), while winter heating prices have soared. Bush, and GOP presidential nominee John McCain, and Republicans in Congress have touted drilling to increasing energy costs as the main short-term solution, despite the fact gas prices wouldn’t be lowered by opening offshore regions to production until about 2030 — if it does at all.