Thursday, August 18, 2005

Global cooling won't help energy shortages

Climate change for the better won't do much to ease energy woes:

After a summer of soaring gasoline costs, people should not expect cooler weather in autumn to end their energy woes. Prices at the gas pump probably will stay high and record heating bills in the winter are almost certain to follow.

The Energy Department predicts that heating costs for homes using natural gas or fuel oil could be 16 percent to 25 percent higher than last year. That estimate came before the latest price spike in crude oil and natural gas.

Already, drivers are reeling from gasoline prices that are approaching $3 a gallon in some areas and averaging $2.55 a gallon nationwide. Prices are expected to ease after Labor Day, but not by much, analysts predict, as crude oil prices remain above $60 a barrel.

Utilities are warning customers that their bills will be high this winter, says Chris McGill of the American Gas Association, which represents the natural gas retailers.

Wholesale prices for natural gas have soared along with crude oil and gasoline.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that natural gas could cost more than $10 per thousand cubic feet by January, about 30 percent more it did this summer.

Only building critical energy infrastructure seems to be the solution!