High gas prices have us gasping for breath and they are not going to be going down anytime soon, if ever. it will affect everything that is transported that we consume. Families are scouring their budget for any way to cut expenses. here are a few ideas to save on gas. each one by themselves may not make a huge difference but if you try to incorporate as many as you can, you should see a noticeable difference. every extra mile counts.
1. When driving, Roll up windows on highway. While many people think they’re saving money by turning off the air-conditioner, it actually creates a strong drag if you are driving fast with the windows down, and is worse for your fuel economy. if you are driving slowly around town, turn off the air-conditioner and roll down the windows but roll them up on the highway.
2. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. your car’s air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine. Fuel Economy can benefit up to 10%. A low restriction air filter may add another 10% benefit.
3. Replace spark plugs and wires. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4.1 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. if you replace a faulty oxygen sensor on your car, your gas mileage may improve as much as 40 percent. Pay attention to those check engine lights.
4. Remove Excess Weight. Clean out the trunk and other spaces in the vehicle to reduce the vehicle’s weight. this added weight puts a higher load on the engine reducing fuel economy.
5. keep Tires Properly Inflated. You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
6. consider buying a moped or scooter. Don’t laugh. if all you really need is something to buzz around town on, the average 50cc moped is capable to run at 100 miles per gallon, but in most cases only able to reach top speeds of 35 miles per hour. some 50cc models are capable of even better fuel efficiency. As you go up the ladder the speed increases, but the fuel efficiency goes down. Average mopeds at 150cc can crest at 60 miles per hour, but their fuel efficiency goes down to about 75-90 miles per gallon. at average mopeds at 250cc can reach higher speeds (nearly 80 miles per hour), but their fuel efficiency goes down to 60 miles per gallon.
Now that we have become accustomed to rapidly rising gas prices the oil industry knows that they have us where they want us. Ironically, at the moment there is no shortage of supply, nor is there a heavy seasonal demand. Oil companies are able to charge higher prices in the overseas markets and so they demand higher prices here. the oil company profits are secure but the rest of us are rapidly sinking into financial quicksand as we see everything made of petroleum or transported by it increase in price.
Rising gas prices affect the small contractor because the public becomes cautious in spending money for services that they otherwise would consider essential. Many begin to fear that their savings, what little they may have in an economic recession, will dwindle or vanish completely. So they begin paring their expenses to the bone, letting the faucet drip and masking the crack in the bedroom window with duct tape.
Service contractors are hit from two directions, less work and rising costs. the phone rings less often and even when it does the public often now claims poverty and demands the lowest price possible. no one can blame them. the contractor travels from job to job and the rising cost of fuel adds to the cost of the work. not only does the cost of travel increase but the materials to do the job cost more; someone has to pay the additional freight and that gets handed down to the contractor as higher prices. seeing profits fall and prices raise there is no choice for the contractor except to raise prices to make up the difference in income.
This is a vicious circle. Left unchecked this cycle leads to less income for nearly everyone with the exception of the oil companies, who continue to profit during this downturn. it also leads to fewer jobs.
As a small business owner the best that I can do, the best that any contractor can do, is to try to absorb the increased costs without passing them on to my customers. This is only an interim solution. no one can face rising costs and diminishing returns for long without finally raising their own prices. it would be financial suicide to continue to absorb these increases. Keeping prices low is not wholly altruistic. since the public is pinching pennies, contractors who raise prices quickly may find themselves at home, trying to think of new ways to drum up customers or waxing political, instead of working.
The employees of contractors are suffering, too. Many contractors have had to scale back and reduce the size of their workforce. Those unemployed plumbers, carpenters, and electricians are grabbing work where they can, acting as odd jobbers. There is no question that they can do the job for less. they do not have the overhead of an established business. If they have no contractor’s license they are not paying worker’s compensation, business insurance, or an accountant. they are not like the greedy politicians handing out entitlements like candy to gain votes or the corporations who will do nearly anything to increase their profits. they are trying to feed their families. they are trying to survive.
With the economy in such a muddle what should the concerned consumer do when their water heater begins leaking or water starts leaking from the slab in their kitchen? now more than ever you should look to a licensed, bonded contractor with an excellent track record of service. If they have been around for decades then they have been through economic downturns before and have survival skills. it is a good bet that they will not want to lose their contractor’s license and that they want to leave their bond untouched. Turn to the established business for help. when these businesses see their workload increase they will begin hiring again. That’s the way to end the vicious cycle and to get the tradespeople back off the unemployment line.
Americans in bygone days stood together in difficult economic times and we can do it again. by supporting established businesses and calling on them for our service needs we can do our part to stem the tide of unemployment and protect our own investments at the same time. it is a simple principle. when small businesses thrive the engine of capitalism starts moving, employment rises, cash starts flowing and the consumer starts buying again. That’s always been the key to our economy and the American way.
Natural Gas Powers Texas
The US Dept. of Energy cites Texas as producing and consuming more electricity than any other state. Texas is the largest natural gas producer in the nation, suppying one quarter of that total output; storing and supplying natural gas via pipeline for all regions of the country. yet while Texas has large reserves of low grade coal, most of what is burned in its coal-fired plants is brought in via train from Wyoming and Montana.
So, it makes sense for Texas electric power generators to rely more on the supply of natural gas in our back yard rather than waiting for the next 10,000 tons of coal to roll in from Wyoming. Over half of Texas’ energy comes from natural gas-powered generation plants. It burns cleaner than coal and does not leave behind large amounts of cinder and ash that require proper disposal.
Natural gas and oil have been twin commodities that helped build Texas. Natural gas pipelines stretch in all directions from Texas and it has long been used throughout the US for heat, light, and electrical generation. so, it’s little wonder that in this country its price has long been bound to oil, a commodity in a very volatile market where prices are often shaped by world events. For this reason, power generating companies have paid more for natural gas than coal, nuclear, and wind. because it is the most expensive and so heavily relied upon in Texas, the price of natural gas determines the price of Texas electricity.
Comparing 2009 Natural Gas with 2010
You have probably noticed that the summer of 2010 was warmer than 2009. according to the EIA’s the use of natural gas for electric power generation surged this year because of the 23 percent increase in U.S. cooling degree days, resulting in an over 300 Bcf (11 percent) increase in natural gas consumption in the power generation sector over the last 4 months compared with the same period last year.
In spite of hot weather driving electrical demand, large surpluses are still in storage. the August 27th working natural gas inventory was 3,106 billion cubic feet (Bcf). While this is 169 Bcf more than the 2005-2009 average, it was still 208 Bcf less than the record levels of 2009. June, July, and August also witnessed hurricane threats that shut-in 7.9 Bcf and slowed production. the EIA originally predicted 57.4 Bcf produced for this period. New deep-sea gas wells were also shelved as part of the drilling moratorium following the historic BP oil spill in the Gulf on April 20, 2010. An official recommendation about when to end the moratorium might be released by the end of September.
Horizontal drilling for shale gas and liquefied natural gas technologies both came of age when natural gas prices were high. Drilling companies were able to take on lots of debt to bore new wells into vast untapped US shale gas plays. An interesting example is the Kardell Gas Unit 1H which is pumping in the Haynesville Shale in San Augustine County, Texas. Back in October, 2009, this well achieved a continuous 24 hour flow rate of 30.7 million cubic feet (Mcf) with a flow pressure of 6,824 psi. Unfortunately, numbers have surfaced showing that shale gas wells are very short term producers, yielding enormous amounts in their first year but dwindling quickly over the following few years. how this factor will affects the industry in the long term has yet to be clearly addressed.
Unfortunately for the industry, profits seemed to be dwindle from their wells just as quickly. It’s prices dropped in in late 2008/early 2009 and remained low throughout 2010. Liquefied natural gas imports (both via pipe and ship) into the US have dropped from 56,410 Million Cubic feet (Mcf) in January 2010 to 32, 521 Mcf in July, 2010. whether it was to just stay in business or maintain drilling rights to acreages, drilling companies drilled more wells and produced more gas -which drove prices down further. Dave Pursell, managing director and head of macro research for Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities inc, characterizes the shale gas rush by stating, This industry is drunk on shale liquor and can’t get sober fast enough to avoid a low-commodity-price hangover..
Over the course of 2012, the EIA predicts natural gas production falling by 1.2 Bcf (1.9 percent) as low commodity prices apply the brakes to drilling rigs. Some of this can be attributed to major US gas producers, Chesapeake Energy and EOG Resources. they announced that they will be reducing their shale gas operations and switching to developing natural gas liquids operations. Natural gas liquids are extracted in conjunction with natural gas at the surface in gas processing or cycling plants and include propane, ethane, butane, pentane and natural gasoline.
Troubled Waters: Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses water, sand, and chemicals at very high pressure to crack shale rock formations and enable the natural gas in the shale deposits to migrate to the well head for collections. While most of this is done at depths most experts have argued are below water tables, there has been evidence in 6 states showing the process is fraught with documented instances of methane contaminating aquifiers and exploding drinking water wells. the issue has been made all the more controversial in the public eye by Josh Fox’s film, Gasland.
In answer to public concerns, the US EPA plans on beginning a new study in 2011.
The EIA expects near-normal summer weather conditions for 2011. the reason being that the strong El Nino effects of 2009 will have played themselves out. the National Weather Service predicts the winter for December, 2010 through February, 2011 as drier with above normal temps in Texas and the southwestern US with the bulk of country likely to experience equal chances of normal conditions. the same weather pattern is expected through April and into the summer with higher temperatures moving solidly into the southwest.
As a consequnce, the EIA projects flat consumption through 2011 with the bulk being used by expansion in the electrical generation and industrial sectors – lending some credence to a recovering economy.
2011 Solutions for the Texas Energy Consumer
In May, the EIA reported that the average price of Texas electricity was 11.6 cents/kwh and would rise to 11.9 cents/kwh in 2011. since May, the real average price has dropped to just over 10 cents/kwh. This is partly a factor of natural gas prices dipping lower during the fall due to moderate temperatures throughout the country.
It is cheap right now but is expected to trend upwards as the winter heating season gets underway. EIA pegs that amount at $4.76/MMbtu. For the Texas electricity consumer, this means it is still a buyer’s market for a little while. On Sept. 21, mid-afternoon prices for October delivery at the Henry Hub were $3.82/ MMbtu. yet it is still an uncertain world. Later in the day, the price rose 9 cents to $3.91 as the National Hurricane Center announced that an Atlantic storm was potentially threatening gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Even still, it’s great time to shop around for a fixed energy plan that can save you money.
If you sign on to a two year plan now, you can lock in the current low fall 2010 rate through fall 2012. Switching now when rates are low could save you hundreds of dollars over the next two years. Why? because you can take advantage of a long-term fixed-rate energy plan that locks in the current low energy price. While the EIA projects that prices will be flat in 2011, prices are likely to gradually rise towards the end of the year as large gas-producing companies, like Chesapeake Energy (which produces 2 Bcf/day), migrate their attention to more profitable natural gas products. the record surplus natural gas in storage will gradually be used up and not immediately replaced by producers. Another factor influencing the nature gas market will be the EPA’s report on fracking which may adversely impact future production costs in shale gas plays.
Consider the September 21 price of $3.91/MMbtu and the EIA prediction of natural gas rising to $4.76/MMbtu in 2011. That’s an increase of 21%. right now, if your energy plan is locked in at 10.4 /kWh for 1500 kWh per month, you’re paying about $156/month. but in 2011 given a possible minimum increase of 21% in natural gas, your bill could jump by that much to $188.76/month. That’s a difference of $32.76/month or $393.12 for the year.
Don’t worry. Now is exactly the right time maximize your savings for these next two years to take advantage of the current low prices.
Nervousness over Iran’s nuclear program is boosting gasoline prices, even in this well supplied market. but if Iran is attacked, gas prices could shoot above $5.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Tensions with Iran are adding at least 30 cents to a gallon of gasoline in the United States, and experts say gas prices have only just begun to rise.
Gasoline prices have surged over 10% in the last two months, largely tracking the runup in oil prices, which have increased by a similar amount and are now at a 9-month high.
Several factors have caused oil prices to rise, including the sense that the economy is improving and supply disruptions in a handful of minor oil producing nations.
But the biggest factor by far, say analysts, is fear that tensions with Iran will lead to an all-out war that causes a disruption in oil supplies.
"The market right now is fairly well supplied," said John Kingston, director of oil, at the analytics firm Platts. "You’ve just got a significant fear factor that things could get worse."
Kingston noted that OPEC is actually producing more oil right now than is needed to keep pace with global demand. as such, stockpiles are rising.
And thanks to the recession and better fuel efficiency, gasoline demand in the United States, the world’s largest consumer, is actually the lowest it’s been in a decade, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Yet gas and oil prices continue to climb.
The fear is that Iran’s 2.2 million barrels a day in exports could be cut off. Iranian oil is already being sanctioned, but so far most is still finding its way to market, just at lower prices.
Worse, there’s fear the 17 million barrels a day that flow through the Strait of Hormuz, one fifth of the world’s total production, could be disrupted by an Israeli attack.
That’s a big reason why gasoline prices in the United States averaged $3.37 in January, the highest for any January ever, according to AAA.
"It’s a market that’s caught fire," said Ben Brockwell, an analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, which collects data for AAA. "And it doesn’t look like there’s any circuit breakers to stop it."
Indeed, Brockwell noted that while retail prices are up 36 cents a gallon in the last two months, futures prices have risen even higher — 82 cents over the same time period.
Unless the situation with Iran cools off and future prices decline, consumers will likely see that 35-cent-a-gallon difference in the form of a similarly paired price hike at the pump in a matter of weeks.
"I definitely think the market is psyching itself up for a new record," he said, referring to the previous average high price for gasoline, which was $4.11 a gallon set in the summer of 2008. "probably before memorial day."
That possibility has got a lot of people freaked out. Everyone from the Obama administrations to the American Petroleum Institute has been trying to talk down prices in the last few days.
Many economists say gasoline prices sustained above $4 a gallon could stunt the growth of the fragile worldwide economy — a fact which diplomats shuttling to Israel must be well aware.
It’s thought the Israelis are considering an attack on Iran as a means to disrupt its nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes but many suspect is intended to produce a bomb.
But if Israel can’t be persuaded to hold off an attack, $4 gas will look cheap.
"If Israel does hit Iran, all bets are off," said Mike Fitzpatrick, editor-in-chief of Kilduff Report’s Energy Overview. "$150 [oil] is the first marker we’ll hit."
Oil at $150 a barrel could translate into over $5 a gallon at the pump.
First Published: February 23, 2012: 5:11 AM ET
14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, OwensboroStudy says local gas prices likely to increase sharply
INDIANA (WFIE) –
Prices have spiked this week and there are predictions that gas could reach $4 a gallon or higher by summer.
14 News found gas prices on Evansville's West Side to be pretty consistant, $3.69 at a Thornton's station. a little ways down the Lloyd, prices were also $3.69 at a Marathon and Country Mark station.
Once you cross the river and drive down the strip in Henderson, where many expect the prices to be lower, 14 News found drivers could save a few pennies. Prices there range from $3.65 to $3.61 a gallon.
The lowest price 14 News found was not on the strip in Henderson, but further down south at a Swifty on South Green Street, where it's at $3.49 a gallon.
“It's kind of ridiculous when $3.49 is considered cheap. That's really kind of bad,” said driver Craig Daniel.
IndianaGasPrices.com, operated by Gasbuddy.com, has released their finding saying “Drivers should be aware of the likelihood of a sharp rise in gasoline prices in the next few days and through the weekend in Indiana.
“I expect stations to increase prices as much as 5 to 20 cents per gallon by the conclusion of the weekend with some stations starting to raise prices immediately,” says Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst. It's bad for those who practically works out of his car and has to furnish his own gas, like Daniel .
“I am a pizza delivery driver, by job. So, that really kind of puts us in a bad spot or everybody who does that kind of job where you have to watch your pennies and pinch them as much as you possibly can,” said Daniel.
“I limit my driving some when gas starts going up like $3.60, stuff like that,” said driver Thomas Onan.
Onan has been keeping an eye on these numbers and is filling up, before they go up even more.
“Hopefully, we'll find some kind of solution to this, where we can do some off shore drilling or somehow to bring the prices back down,” said Onan.
DeHaan warns that a refinery fire in Washington state is boosting prices significantly throughout the entire West Coast region, and rising spot prices in great Lakes area is boosting prices 30 to 45 cents per gallon today in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky. Prices have also been reportedly rising fast in new England, Florida, and areas of the East Coast. Gregg Laskoski, Petroleum Analyst also cites the refinery fire in Washington for an expected jump in California, saying 'prices across the State of California already made significant advances in the prior seven days, and with the refinery fire, motorists should expect prices to rise in similar fashion as last February when the Libyan situation unfolded.'” ”GasBuddy” operates IndianaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. in addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.
Gas prices have never been so high. However, it will only grow worse. each day, we come across a sudden rise in the oil prices that causes the cost of living to mount up to an unexpected level. the rise in these prices are primarily responsible for the increase in food prices. It also affects the complete transportation system.
Commuters are the ones, who suffer a great amount of loss. therefore, most of the commuters prefer walking to office rather than taking a public transport. However, it is impossible for many to walk towards their destination. as a result, they have no option other than public transportation. This leaves you penniless. worst of all, it is suspected that the gas prices will only rise up high in future.
If we drive to get to our destination, we need to keep a note of a couple of things. You need to curtail on the amount of fuel that you burn in order to get from one place to another. now the question mind is as how do we do it? Try to look out for some modifications for your car that will help to save some amount of fuel. This will definitely make a lot of difference.
As the weather gets cooler, the refineries switch on to a winter blend of gasoline. This is one of the primary reasons for a sudden rise in these prices. as these refineries go through this change, the prices rise up for a short span of time till they get started with full production. the best thing is that the winter gasoline is cheaper.
Due to the constant variation in gas prices, you need to look out for various alternative sources of fuel. This will help in saving a great amount of money. It will definitely help in controlling the gas prices of today, as well as of the future.
How much is enough? how much profit from the sales of gasoline to the consumer is enough? the unparalleled profits of the major oil companies is at a staggering amount. the Oil companies have found the means to close the market so there is no price competition for gasoline, diesel or heating oil. the only logical answer? There seems to be collusion, and possibly a violation of the Sherman anti-trust act.
On March 5, 2008 MSNBC reported that the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would maintain current production levels because crude supplies are plentiful and demand is expected to weaken in the second quarter.
Recently, in our local newspaper (March 9, 2008) it was reported that OPEC President Chakib Kehelil is quoted as saying the global market is well supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their 5 year average. the article continued to say that Today’s prices do not reflect market fundamentals. If the prices are high, definitely they are not due to a lack of crude. They are due to what’s happening in the U.S., Kehelil said. There is sufficient supply. There’s plenty of oil there.
On their website, OPEC claimed the G8 nations, the USA, England, Germany, France and a few others make more money in taxes on the OPEC petroleum than they make themselves. in Europe some countries have several dollars per gallon tax. a few years ago an Exxon Mobil spokesperson said they made a large amount of money because they are a large company. in researching this on the internet, I was able to find some data that raises some questions to their claims. a better measure of a companies size than income or profits is the number of employees they have.
WAL*MART, by number of employees is about seventeen times larger than Exxon Mobil but they make less money. I divided net income for the two companies by the number of their employees. for 2005 it was: Exxon Mobile net income $331,192.00 per employee and WAL*MART net income $6,222.00 per employee. WAL*MART has been a very profitable company for a very long time. They have been criticized and they have been called Greedy for not providing more to their employees.
This disparity of profits seems to hold for the other major oil companies as well.
Is Exxon Mobil operating in a different Universe? the oil industry managers cannot be doing what they are to all Americans without the protection of both political parties. Even the press seems to be cowed by oil money and influence, where are the voices being raised in protest?
America is famously a Free Market Economy but when hurricane Katrina did so much damage in the Gulf of Mexico some oil companies suffered severe damage to oil rigs and refineries and others did not.
The argument for raising gas prices then was to repair and replace damaged equipment. in a free market, companies that can provide products to the customer for less do so to enlarge their customer base. in a fixed market suppliers charge the same. which American cities has had prices that differed by 50 cents or more over a long period of time because some companies had no Katrina damage to make up? Why was there no competition for the customer? There was no competitive pricing. All oil companies raised their prices the same
EP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon-Mobil, and Shell are some of the integrated oil companies. that means the same company that owns and operates the oil field also owns and operates the refinery. They buy crude oil from themselves
Everyone in the media addressing the prices of crude oil cites prices from the New York Mercantile Exchange. who buys and sells there, and why? Why pay over $100 per barrel of oil, when you can pump your own for what? $10 or maybe $20? a west Texas article written not so long ago claimed that the cost of extracting crude oil in fields there varied from $4.00 to $8.00, depending on the field. West Texas oil fields are largely depleted and they use expensive means to extract oil that major fields around the world do not require.
How much crude oil is actually sold at the New York Mercantile Exchange? on their website on March 14 of this year they stated, although less than 1% of the commodities traded are actually bought or sold through the Exchange. Giving market participants the alternative of delivering through the Exchange , however, ensures that the future prices will reflect the under-lying market.
I question why is crude oil sold over the exchange at all if not to push the price higher than a competitive but honest free market could manage?
Unfortunately I was not able to find the cost to the oil companies of extracting crude oil from their own operations around the world. If like Texas, exploration, drilling and extraction costs amount to $10 a barrel and the host countries get $10 and company profits are $10 (50% profit seems exceedingly high but lets use it anyway), that would be $30 per barrel of crude oil to the market.
According to some well known analysts, the difference in price of a gallon of crude oil and a gallon of regular gasoline at the pump has historically been 85 cents, including refining, taxes, marketing and distribution. that means the markup is $1.15 when gas is $2 a gallon at the pump.
If the difference between a gallon of crude and a gallon of retail gasoline has been 85 cents historically, then a 42 gallon barrel of crude selling at $30 a barrel should result in a price for gasoline of $1.56 at the pump.
Now if my findings are close to the real world oil company costs (closer than the Mercantile Exchange price) we are being defrauded on a scale that is almost unimaginable. the USA uses approximately 410 million gallons of gasoline per day. the excess profits per day for the industry selling gasoline at $3.30 per gallon over even $2 gas is over $6,108.00 per second, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. that is over 22 Million dollars per hour
If your OPEC, and you see ample supplies and questionable demand, Clearly the Law of Supply and Demand are being set aside in favor of certain very wealthy and powerful people for reasons we are not being told.