ABOUT ENERGY CONSUMERS EDGE
Energy Consumers Edge is about solutions to high gasoline and utility costs. It is also about winning a secure energy future.
Soon after retiring in 2003, I watched gasoline prices double. I watched my adult daughter, like so many, struggle with the price increases. And I watched my adult son, also like so many, go to war in Iraq.
Gasoline and energy price increases seemed out of proportion to supply/demand pressures. The fact that friends and family were struggling with those extraordinary price increases was, to say the least, troubling. I was also troubled by the fact that those high prices would affect all things economic, including a lifetime of investing.
Like a lot of other folks I also sensed that oil supplies were at least part of the reason for our (U.S and our Allies) military presence in the Middle East. That didn’t make it a bad fight, and oil was not the whole reason for the fight, but it certainly was part of it. And we had a strong suspicion that some foreign oil dollars were being used to support terrorist groups. For those reasons and more, a lot of us started looking for ways to fight against dependence on foreign oil.
The search started with a simple question.
WHAT REALLY DRIVES ENERGY PRICES?
Political concerns can affect energy prices. Political instability can drive already high energy prices even higher. And energy producers, like every money making concern, will do whatever they legally (usually) can to keep profits high.
But the primary force that moves energy prices is supply and demand. High supply and low demand means cheap prices. Low supply and high demand means high prices.
Other forces may seek to take advantage of tight supplies, but their influence is limited and depends mainly on the fundamental laws of economic supply and demand. In the case of energy, the supply/demand drivers are global, and far outside the control of any one government or industry.
That means that the solution to our current energy problem is going to be a free market solution.
Who is the free market? You are. Your neighbors are. We all are. So the solution to the problem of high energy prices lies in our hands.
But what is the solution?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Today, energy demand is high and growing, but available supply, using currently available technologies, is growing at a slower rate. In 2005 the global economy arrived at a point where even relatively minor restrictions in energy supplies caused huge increases in price. Further increases in demand will have a similar result.
It follows that either reduced demand, increased supply, or a combination of both will drive energy prices back down. And even a minor decrease in demand of a percent or two will result in a noticeable reduction in energy prices.
How do you reduce demand? Conservation is one important step and you will find numerous ways to reduce energy consumption right here. You will also find ways to save money at the gas pump, and on all aspects of owning and operating your car. Save both fuel and money and you start getting real power over gas prices.
But how can you help increase supply? You start by applying the gas saving and money saving strategies detailed on these pages. Then you use part of those savings for targeted energy and technology investments that can help reduce demand or increase supply.
The energy investing pages give you the opportunity to hedge against energy price swings, and the ability to help increase supply by investing in stunning new energy technologies. There is risk with investments, especially new technology investments. But you will see how to minimize those risks.
And you will see why doing nothing is the greatest risk of all.
A NOTE ABOUT ENERGY TECHNOLOGY INVESTING
In all probability we cannot conserve our way to energy independence. We import over half of our fuel oil. That means that conservation efforts would have to produce over a 50% reduction in consumption. Not likely, is it?
Conservation is important and you’ll find good energy conservation ideas at this site. But, as you will see, conservation is only part of the whole energy picture. To regain energy independence, we must push the right technologies forward (you’ll be stunned at how close we already are). Pushing them forward means investing in them.
Again, investment involves financial risk. And new technology investment can be extremely risky, but it can be rewarding as well. The right investments in the right technologies are key solutions that can and will bring fuel prices back down to what most of us view as reasonable, and maybe even cheap. It can happen, and it can happen soon. You can help make it happen. And you’ll find out how on these pages.
A NOTE ABOUT POLITICS:
While there are endless political intrigues attached to energy in general, it does little good, and wastes valuable space and time, to delve into the politics of energy. The worst thing about politics is that anything and everything anybody says will, in very short order, be countered by somebody else with an opposing opinion.
Energy Consumers Edge is about solutions. Politicians seem to never quite get to solutions.
We are also not going to waste space on conspiracy theories that are rampant in every communication media. Conspiracy theories are just that, theories. We deal in facts, facts that have a direct bearing on our current energy price situation.
We can deal with facts. We can react to them. We can have a positive influence on changing bad facts. We can’t do that with theories.
While we are discussing conspiracy theories you may as well know that some of our solutions to gas price problems involve investing with, gasp, big oil companies. Yep, we are talking about the same big oil companies that we love to hate.
As you will see on the investment pages many of those oil companies are investing in long term solutions that will, eventually, replace oil as a main energy source for mankind. Oil companies have already recognized that they are not so much in the business of providing oil to energy consumers, as they are in the business of providing energy – in a variety of forms.
Just to let you know that we aren't in bed with big oil, we will also help you find investments that will compete directly with the big oil companies. Some of those investments involve technologies that either produce energy, or help produce energy. Others involve technologies that reduce energy usage.
All of these technologies can help reduce the amount we spend on energy.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ECONOMICS, AND TECHNOLOGY
Our current gas price situation exists because humanity is ever inventive and always advancing civilization. The advancements go far beyond automobiles and into virtually every science and technology known including agriculture, construction, electrical and electronic engineering, and medicine.
World changing technologies that evolved over the last hundred or so years have had a direct bearing on current gas prices. They include:
Modern medicine greatly reduced infant mortality rates and allowed us to live much longer. That lead to an ever expanding global population.
Modern mechanized, science driven agriculture has greatly increased humanities ability to feed itself and further sustain and increase an ever-growing population.
Energy using technology advancements including architecture, electricity, steam power, and the automobile have given more people a higher standard of living than at any time in history. And nobody has any intention of giving any of it up.
Advancements in geology sciences and mining engineering have given us the means to exploit our natural resources, especially energy resources, in greater and greater volumes. Geological and mining engineering advancements have been so successful that we have consumed most of the easily reachable and cheaply recoverable energy resources.
From here on, as demand grows and it gets more difficult to find and harvest supplies, prices will have more of an upward pressure than ever - unless we do something about it.
The solutions will not be found in government regulations. They will come about by our actions, yours and mine. Or they will not happen at all.
Technology advancement caused this problem and technology advancement will fix it – permanently. In other words, we must move forward.
We are all part of the problem, and we are all part of the solution.
C. Bruce Lowery