In case you missed it, here were the top five energy stories that we read this week.
Just a couple of weeks before the Fourth of July celebration, average gas prices across the United States fell to levels lower than the previous year. On June 11, the national average price of gasoline at the pump fell to $2.35 per gallon, which marks the first time this year that fuel prices dropped below low levels seen in 2016. Oil analysts believe that the low prices can be attributed to very high output at refineries that supply the American market. The current outlook is for prices to stay low during the summer, and this could mean that drivers could pay less than they did in 2004.
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, funding for federal research and development projects related to clean energy production has fallen by more than 80 percent. This situation has prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to launch a campaign to attract American scientists to his country so that they can continue their energy and climate projects. France is offering up to $1.5 million euros in grant money plus relocation assistance to U.S. researchers whose projects deal with renewable energy production. The completed projects would first provide a benefit to France before they are presented to the international community.
The U.S. enjoys the largest natural gas reserves in the world, but a dip in production in the month of June has resulted in an uptick of futures. Domestic demand is increasing as expected, but there is speculation about American producers of natural gas increasing their output and preparing to become more involved in the export market. Climate change patterns may result in temperatures staying warm a little longer this year, which could lead to higher inventories and a greater need to export. For the time being, American consumers should not expect a price increase.
The latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggests that the investments made into renewable energy generation are paying off faster than expected. Wind and solar energy firms are feeling more comfortable with their production and marketing, which is prompting them to lower electricity rates. Even though the Trump administration is betting on the return of coal mining, energy investors are more interested in continuing to squeeze profits out of solar panels and wind turbines already in place or scheduled to be installed.
Manufacturers of LED light bulbs have been perfecting their processes for nearly a decade, and the results are very pleasant on the wallet. According to research conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, an American household that switches to LED light bulbs today could save up to $1,000 in electricity consumption over the next 10 years. In 2015, LED bulbs had been installed in nearly 78,000 American homes, but that number is expected to increase even more from now until 2020. Although incandescent bulbs are still cheaper, LED options are more attractive not only because of savings but also because the technology has improved considerably and can be purchased for less than $5 each.