June 2012 CEA Newsletter
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
The falling prices at the pump have been a welcome relief to motorists and businesses, many of whom have faced difficult budget decisions as gas prices began rising last year. Looking at the headlines over the few weeks, the drop in prices has made an impact. According to AAA, over 30 million Americans traveled by car this Memorial Day weekend, a half million more persons than last year. AAA attributes this modest, but promising, increase to lower than expected fuel costs.
Despite the price decrease, we must remember that in 2011 the average cost for a gallon of gasoline was $3.52 a gallon, which cost average American households $4,155. This represented about 8.4% of a median family income and was the highest percentage spent on fuel since 1981. Today’s national average is $3.58, down over twenty cents from last month. Clearly, fuel costs will continue to be a significant drain on family incomes, notwithstanding slight decreases in price. In speaking with your average trucker, farmer, commuter or small business owner, few would argue that $3.58 is a low price for fuel.
During this election season, a twenty-cent decrease in the price of gasoline should be no means move the discussion on the campaign trail away from energy policy. Of course the urgency of the matter will dissipate; it’s hard to keep Washington’s focus on anything for too long. For this exact reason, Consumer Energy Alliance advocates year-round for policies that influence long-term stability in energy prices and works with consumer-advocates like you to keep Americans engaged in the discussion.
Your voice is critical. Gasoline shouldn’t have to spike to $4 a gallon to grab the attention of our elected officials. Consumers need long-term assurances that energy prices will be affordable. Therefore, policymakers must be aggressive now to purse an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that harnesses domestic energy resources with the understanding that actions now will help promote stability in the long-run.
Oil prices will continue to fluctuate dramatically in the absence of a sound, long-term energy plan. As oil prices go, so goes gasoline and diesel prices. As difficult as it may be to maintain the candidates’ focus on energy policy in the absence of $4 a gallon gasoline, history proves that making bold decisions now will lay a solid foundation for the future and mitigate the impact of the next oil price crisis.
Speak out now. Visit CEA’s Call to Action page to demand sensible energy policy. Further, express your thoughts on the direction of our nation’s energy policy at a townhall or campaign event in your hometown this summer.
Allow Energy Access in the Alaskan Petroleum Reserve
We don’t know how to explain this without sounding downright silly. Right now, Americans need to fight Washington for its rights to maintain the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska as a – wait for it – a petroleum reserve! The federal Bureau of Land Management has drafted a new management plan for the reserve in which many of the alternatives would prohibit producers from accessing abundant energy resources.
Act now! Tell the federal government to allow oil & gas leasing and infrastructure development in the petroleum reserve. Sign the letter here by the June 15th deadline!
Urge Washington to Stop Delaying – Allow Energy Development in the Atlantic
Offshore energy development is a vital component of our nation’s energy and economic strategy. But, as of now, only part of America’s expansive offshore areas is open to oil & gas development. The Mid- and South- Atlantic Ocean – from Delaware on down to Florida – could hold up to 7 billion barrels of oil and 66 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and thus
Right now, the agency is accepting input on how it should proceed with assessing the potential for oil & gas development and for offshore wind energy in the Atlantic.
Act Now: Sign the letter here by July 2, 2012. If you want more information on the comment period, feel free to visit the Bureau’s site on this comment period. Or, visit this page for more information from CEA.
Looking Forward to Energy Day 2012
Energy Day 2012 will take place at Hermann Square, City Hall in Downtown Houston, Texas on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The FREE festival will feature live music, food, contests and interactive exhibits showcasing all forms of energy.
Upcoming Energy Day Contests
Later this summer, Consumer Energy Alliance is partnering with Houston Geological Society and Houston Museum of Natural Science Wiess Energy Hall’s Energy & Conservation Club to host our second annual art, essay and media contest. These Energy Day challenges invite children of all ages to compete for prizes ranging from $50-$250.
Winning students will be recognized and receive awards at Energy Day and will be invited to display their projects at Energy Day on October 20, 2012.
Help Spread the Word for Energy Day 2012
CEA has undertaken many new initiatives to help spread the word on Energy Day, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help to make the public more aware of this fantastic FREE festival. Please take time to look at our Energy Day Facebook and Twitter (@EnergyDayFest) and get our message out on your own Twitter and Facebook pages.
CEA has also partnered with NASA’s Third Rock Radio to help spread the word. THIRD ROCK is an online radio station, broadcasting live 24/7 with a mission of New Rock Discovery, and a passion for the excitement of what’s happening at NASA. Take some time and give Third Rock a listen. You will hear great music and a few advertisements for Energy Day!
For more information on Energy Day 2012 or the 2012 EDAP events, please contact Kathleen Koehler at KKoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org.
Beat High Energy Prices This Summer!
Here at CEA, we are always looking for ways consumers can save money on energy costs. Whether you own a business or a house, higher summer energy costs affect us all.
For those of you who are business owners, please take a second to look at the American Trucking Associations’ Fuel Crisis Survival Kit, which includes tips for conserving energy and getting the most mileage out of your fuel.
To keep the utility bills in check, check-out some tips from quickandsimple.com on how to keep your home cool while maintaining optimum efficiency:
1. Keep Lamps and TVs Far from the Thermostat
Sure, they provide light to read by, but they also exude heat, causing your AC to run overtime. Plant the standing lamps and television across the room if you can and consider switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, which generate less heat, last longer and use less energy than incandescent bulbs.
2. Insulate Intelligently
You know the feeling: somehow, it always seems 10 degrees hotter upstairs than it does in your living room. Reduce the effect of the sun’s sizzling rays by insulating your attic. This will prevent the heat that builds up on top from filtering down into the rest of the house.
3. Get Window Wise
During those scorching days, close your curtains and blinds to prevent the sun from beating down into the rooms and needlessly warming your home. Bonus: It will reduce fading of upholstery and rugs.
4. Make Use of Your Microwave
Prepping dinner? Not only is it quicker and a lot more convenient, but four minutes in the microwave requires much less power than a half hour in the oven.
5. Plant a Tree
Plant deciduous trees (those that shed their leaves in the winter, like a maple) by the south and west sides of your home to shade windows from heat. In the winter, their bare branches will allow sunlight to stream into your home for added warmth. Also consider planting trees or shrubs near your AC unit. It will use less electricity when operating under the shade.