Top Five Stories in Energy This Week

In the wake of the devastating 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Americans are not only paying more at the pump; they are facing a higher overall cost of living. The uptick in fuel prices has finally broken through the low inflation period that the U.S. Federal Reserve has been closely following in recent years. As long as fuel prices continue to climb, economists believe that inflation will follow suit at a gradual pace, thereby prompting retailers and utilities to increase prices on goods and services.

As climate systems in the tropics begin to settle down and the cold fronts start to make their way across the Plains and throughout the United States, household heating bills are a concern, particularly since the price of heating fuels is expected to climb gradually this fall and winter; for this reason, many Americans are turning to the Nest Learning Thermostat system, which has been proven to reduce annual heating and cooling costs by an average of 30 percent. Depending on the furnace system, the Nest Learning Thermostat can be installed on a DIY basis.

Switching from a fuel-only car to a hybrid or electric vehicle is not within the reach of most American drivers. Fuel efficiency and ultra-low emissions come at cost; in terms of dollars and sense, it is cheaper for a small family to purchase a Toyota Yaris than a Toyota Prius. The enthusiasm projected by Tesla owners has not been as infectious as environmentalists would like; however, some analysts believe that more affordable electric cars are right around the corner. According to a recent CNBC report, automakers are preparing to lower manufacturing costs of electric vehicles for the purpose of passing on savings to car buyers by the year 2020.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nearly two dozen North Dakota landowners who alleged the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline and a consultant used deceit and fraud to acquire private land easements for the project. In North Dakota, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in a ruling dated Tuesday sided with a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners and Contract Land Staff, a land acquisition consulting business also based in that state. The two companies disputed that the landowners had any valid claims, and Hovland also found their arguments lacking.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt could help the U.S. make a significant dent in emissions of carbon dioxide if he were to start a sincere effort to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with a more modest regulation, experts say. Pruitt in announcing his intent to repeal the Clean Power Plan this week said the Obama administration had exceeded its legal authority in creating the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of former President Barack Obama’s plan to battle climate change.