“Energy Currents” is an attempt, in a short and concise way, to provide relevant information on current energy and environmental issues.
Market Rates and Trends: The earthquake and tsunami in Japan may have an impact on world energy prices including natural gas over the next six months. Fossil fuels will be needed to replace the nuclear energy generation losses. The additional demand may have an impact over the next year and prices are expected to increase. We are closely monitoring the situation.
We have all noticed the price of filling our cars or trucks has increased significantly. This is due to the issues in the Middle East. And while oil prices have increased significantly, oil pricing has yet to have a direct effect on the price of electricity. Natural gas pricing is the factor that most effects the price of electricity.
The current price for natural gas is at record ten-year lows. In 2002, the price was $0.78 per therm. The price in March 2011 is $0.638 per therm. The projected price increase for electricity for the next 12-months is 4.6%. The data at this time does not indicate major increases in electricity rates based on the issues in the Middle East.
-Join buyers clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club which offer lower prices.
-Enroll in shopping discount card programs like the plan offered by Giant Food & Shell Gasoline. For every $100 spent the shopper receives at least $.10 cents off per gallon. Near the end of the month the discounts can increase to $.30 cents off per gallon.
-Keep your speed steady without having to accelerate. While in heavy traffic this is the most efficient way to save gas and can easily get you 10% – 20% better gas mileage.
-Using cruise control when appropriate improves efficiency.
-Shift into neutral when the car is standing still for long periods of time.
-To reduce the ‘mass’ of your car – empty out the trunk and remove heavy items.
-Inflate your tires to the specified levels. Steel-belted radial tires increase gas mileage up to 10%.
- Remove ski, bicycle or luggage-racks when not needed. Believe it or not, this will save quite a bit of gasoline.
-Choosing the correct grade of oil for your car is important as the wrong grade of oil may increase the friction in your engine. -Replace the air filter at recommended cycles.
-Do not fill up unless you are on empty.
-The first gas station you encounter after a long, thirsty stretch is almost never the cheapest. Drive a little further to find a cheaper station.
-Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes.