|Energy: The 1970s are Back|
|Key Words||Conservation, cost, wholesale price, retail prices, consumers, buying patterns, demand|
Energy conservation is back. In the Northeast, home heating oil costs have passed the $1.50 per gallon mark. In the Midwest, where natural gas tends to be used more, the cost of heating a home between October and March is expected to increase 44 percent. In California, the wholesale price of electricity has risen 900 percent, causing utilities to plead to be allowed to raise retail prices.
As a result, consumers are changing their buying patterns. Energy-saving thermostats are selling strongly. They are improving technologically and becoming cheaper to produce. Some, especially in the Northeast, are switching to wood-burning stoves or coal-burning stoves. Firewood is consequently more in demand than usual. Weather-stripping is becoming more popular. Consumers are installing new windows and foam insulation, and are plugging cracks. In California, more people and businesses are considering solar energy panels and wind power. Across the country, when shopping for household appliances, consumers are choosing energy-efficient models.
(Updated February 1, 2001)
|Source||Greg Farrell, "Fuel prices prompt return to energy-saving strategies," USA Today, January 17, 2001.|
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