Energy costs seems to be a hot topic. You can hear most people openly talking about the rising cost and offering their thoughts on what they feel should be done.
How do you feel?
What are your thoughts?
How do the 2 presidential candidates stand on these issues?
Which one has views that are most closely aligned with your views?
I saw this article in Huffington Post and thought I would share it with you.
By Dan Shapley

 

The cost of oil peaked above $140 a barrel this summer, nearly double the price of a year earlier and 40% higher than worst-case scenarios discussed just months earlier. Gas prices followed suit, going well above $4 a gallon during peak driving season and sending drivers, carmakers and politicians into fits. Heating oil prices started climbing to record levels months before heating season.

The cost of coal, too, tripled in about a year’s time, leading electric power producers — who produce 50% of U.S. electricity by burning coal — to raise rates. Natural gas, also a major source of U.S. electricity, doubled in a year’s time before plummeting in July.

The increase in the price of energy, largely due to the global nature of the market and rising demand in China, India and other nations, has led to the first significant reductions in vehicle miles traveled, large cars bought and homes renovated for efficiency in a generation. As painful as higher prices are, some argue that they are precisely what the Untied States needs to embrace more efficient and alternative technologies that cost more up front, but pay themselves off by using less energy over time.

What’s a President to Do?

Most experts answer, when it comes to gas prices, “not much.” At least, not in the short term. Today’s president can often have more influence on energy prices a decade from now than prices next month.

Sen. John McCain’s Position on Energy Costs

John McCain tops his agenda with expanding domestic production of oil and natural gas, though experts criticize the idea because it would have no effect on prices for about a decade, and then only a small one. He would offer a $5,000 tax break to those who buy zero-carbon vehicles, which don’t now exist (McCain is counting on a hefty tax credit to create an incentive for carmakers to develop such cars) and a $300 million prize for anyone who develops a battery good enough to make electric cars feasible. He’d eliminate the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, which experts say would have a modest effect on price. He opposes a windfall profits tax on oil companies, which could presumably mean oil companies might pass record profits on to consumers in the form of lower prices, not that they’ve ever done that before.

McCain would focus on improving the energy efficiency of the federal government, the largest single power user in the U.S., which would save taxpayers some on energy costs and could drive down price by slackening demand. He would also try to deploy “SmartMeters” in households so individuals can better monitor their energy consumption and its cost, with the goal of inspiring people to use and spend less. He would create predictable tax incentives for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, thereby decreasing dependence on volatile fossil fuels.

Sen. Barack Obama’s Position on Energy Costs

Obama would also enact a windfall profits tax on oil companies and use the money to give families a $1,000 “Emergency Energy Rebate.” By investing in plug-in hybrid cars and boosting fuel economy, he would aim to reduce oil imports — and fuel consumed — dramatically through increasing efficiency. He would also take expensive grades of oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and swap it for cheaper grades, a scheme many experts have dismissed as pandering.

Obama has pledged to spend money generated by a cap-and-trade regulation designed to lower carbon emissions on projects to boost home energy efficiency, and to provide credits to people struggling to pay higher electricity bills. He would require local utilities to derive 25% of energy from renewable sources by 2025, thereby decreasing reliance on volatile fossil fuels. His $150 billion energy plan aims to transform the way America uses energy, which would no doubt cost more in the short term, but would likely cost much less than the status quo in the long term.

 

Let us know your thoughts?  Email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Excerpts from Bloomberg.com:

 

July 2 (Bloomberg) — Companies in the U.S. cut an estimated 79,000 jobs in June, a private survey based on payroll data showed.

The decrease was larger than forecast and followed a revised gain of 25,000 for the prior month that was less than previously estimated, the report from ADP Employer Services showed. Last month’s drop was ADP’s largest since November 2002.

 

The biggest housing recession in a quarter century and record oil prices are prompting an increase in firings as companies brace for falling demand. The government tomorrow may report that total private and government payrolls fell in June for a sixth decline this year, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

 

“Clearly, there is more weakness to come in the labor market,” said Anna Piretti, a senior economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “Risks are to the downside” for tomorrow’s jobs report.

 

Our perspective:

 

This morning, the NY Times reported that they see they see Deepening Cycle of Job Loss Seen Lasting Into ’09

Experts say the troubles dogging the economy will be stubborn, leaving in place a combination of tight credit and scant job opportunities perhaps well into next year.

That’s not good news.

Steps must be taken to start turning the tide. Strong leadership must come from one of the presidential candidates that will provide a vision saying “ I am going to take us out of this mess.” This will help to restore confidence. We saw that with FDR. He had a vision and he brought everyone together to rebuild America.

Now it is our turn. What are we doing to bring a better America to our children, the future rest in our hands?

Let us know your thoughts?

Email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

As reported by Reuters:

 

(Reuters) – With crude oil prices surging to record highs above $130 a barrel, energy and environmental issues like global warming have moved to the forefront of the U.S. presidential campaign.

 

Here is what Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, who claimed his party’s nomination on Tuesday, are saying about energy and the environment:

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Obama would cut carbon dioxide emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and require fuel suppliers to cut carbon content by 10 percent by 2020.

 

McCain favors a cap-and-trade CO2 approach. He sponsored legislation in 2007 to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2050.

 

GASOLINE PRICES

 

Obama would probe energy industry activities and stop filling the emergency oil reserve.

 

McCain wants to suspend the federal gasoline tax during the peak summer driving season and suspend filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile designed to ensure the United States has a cushion of crude oil to cope with major supply disruptions.

 

(On May 19, President George W. Bush signed a law to temporarily halt shipments to the reserve, which now holds almost 703 million barrels at four underground storage sites, until crude prices drop below $75 a barrel.) 

 

OIL USE

 

Obama would reduce overall U.S. oil consumption by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030 to offset imports from OPEC nations.

 

McCain has set no specific targets. He has said he will unveil a strategy to reduce reliance on foreign oil sources.

 

VEHICLE FUEL ECONOMY

 

Obama would double fuel economy standards in 18 years, give automakers tax credits to retool plants and invest in advanced lightweight materials and new engines

.

McCain has not specified Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets. He voted against energy amendments in 2003 that would have boosted CAFE to 40 mpg by 2015.

 

BIOFUELS

 

Obama would boost the renewable fuel standard to at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol by 2030, build the ethanol distribution infrastructure, mandate that all new vehicles be “flexfuel” by the end of 2012 and seek production of 2 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol from non-corn sources like switchgrass by 2013.

 

McCain favors ethanol incentives after opposing them in the past. He generally opposes subsidies and tariffs that distort the marketplace.

 

Our Perspective:

 

What are your feelings about the current energy issues?

 

Do you believe there is an issue or is this being fabricated by corporate greed?

 

You can probably find some truth on both sides of that statement.

 

In NJ, we are looking at a projected 1.5% increase in electric demand per year for the next 8-10 years. If something is not done to help the providers meet this demand we faces the possibility of rolling brownouts.

 

This oil crisis has been brewing for the last 35+ years. I remember being in college and we had  odd – even days gas rationing. At that time everyone was saying, never again.

 

Guess what? We were only paying about $.30 a gallon.

 

What happened?

 

Well here we are 35 years later and we are now paying $4.00 a gallon and the efficiencies of the auto have not increased.

 

What incentive does the auto manufacturers have when we were willing to buy SUV and Hummers?

 

The US government is even paying subsidies to the oil companies to help keep the price of gasoline lower than what other countries are now paying. That really worked!

 

What do we do now?

 

If we keep going with the business as usual mentality, we will be paying $12 – $15 per gallon in the next couple of years.

 

There is talk that we will probably be paying $5.00 a gallon by the end of the summer.

 

The subsidies must be taken away from the oil companies and they should be targeted to the auto manufactures. There is no reason why a car should not be getting 40 – 50 miles per gallon. There is also many alternative fuel / energy solutions available to wean ourselves off the oil fix and create true independence.

 

We have sent a man to the moon. We have found cures for many diseases that once haunted us. We must take the necessary steps to provide a long-term solution that will provide for our children a better tomorrow.

 

Let us know your thoughts. You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions

 

Creating Opportunities Today………Providing Savings for Tomorrow

 

An except as reported on Bloomberg.com

May 7 (Bloomberg) — U.S productivity unexpectedly accelerated in the first quarter, helping combat inflation, as job cuts meant the remaining employees did more work.

Productivity, a measure of worker efficiency, rose at a 2.2 percent annual rate after a 1.8 percent gain the prior quarter, the Labor Department said today in Washington. A separate report showed pending sales of existing homes fell for the fourth time in five months, signaling no end in sight to the housing recession.

Federal Reserve policy makers anticipate that the economic slowdown and weakening job market will contain consumer prices, and today’s figures may bolster their case. Companies trimmed staff hours by the most in five years last quarter as they tried to cope with the housing-led economic downturn, the data showed.

“Productivity is solid and labor costs are slowing and this will take the pressure off inflation and the Federal Reserve,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Unit labor costs have essentially come to a grinding halt and that should support corporate profits and allow businesses to hold the line on prices.”

Our Perspective:

Seems like there is always a silver lining!

Unemployment rates are up and the remaining forces are working harder because they are probably just as scared about losing their jobs.

The middle class squeeze!

We deserve better and we should be working to insure that everyone has an opportunity to make a good and fair wage. There is always a lot of rhetoric. It is time to take steps to correct the mistakes of the past and offer everyone the opportunity for a brighter future.

It is all within our grasp. We just have to change the way we view things and place ourselves in each situation.

Then what would be your next step?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Let us know your thoughts? You may email george@hbsadvantage.com