Gas prices are on the rise again. The national average gasoline price rose to $3.79 per gallon last Sunday, just over $0.25 below its record price of $4.05 per gallon, set in 2008. Repeated price rises are beginning to confirm what many industry experts have known for decades, that global oil production will not increase forever. When global oil production reaches its maximum capacity, high energy prices will routinely afflict U.S. citizens.
Rising gas prices don’t just impact politics and the national economy - they also affect the day-to day lives of consumers, who must dig deeper into their wallets to fill up the tank. Many consumers react by driving less or by replacing gas-guzzlers with fuel-efficient hybrids. Reactionary measures soften the financial blow of high gas prices, but you might be interested in preemptive actions you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to energy price fluctuations and at the same time help our nation prepare for a future in which energy is more expensive.
Here are some suggestions to make your household and the nation more sustainable and protect against high energy prices.
Install photovoltaic solar panels
PV solar panels will allow you to be a net contributor to the grid, meaning that you won’t have to pay your utility company for electricity. Some utilities will even pay you for the extra electricity you produce. Monthly payments under a $0 down solar system lease will probably be similar to your current monthly electricity bill but will probably be much lower than your electricity bill ten years from now.
Install a thermal system to complement your PV panels
If you are considering having PV solar installed, take the next step and go for hybrid PV/thermal panels. Hybrid panels increase the efficiency of PV panels by cooling them and use extra thermal energy (that would normally be lost) to heat your home and water. Taking a hot shower will no longer increase your gas bill!
Support efforts to develop renewable energy resources
Contact your legislators and ask them to support a sustainable long-term national energy strategy. Support local and state initiatives to develop renewables. This will develop long-term economic stability by weaning our energy infrastructure from fossil fuels. It will save money ten years from now for you and for your neighbors who didn’t read this blog!
Buy renewable energy certificates
Renewable energy certificates represent the environmental benefits of the production of one megawatt of renewable energy generation. When you buy a renewable energy certificate, your money directly supports the development and expansion of renewable energy facilities. You can get your electricity from solar panels without putting them on your roof!
Take the subway
Using public transit in place of personal vehicles whenever possible will support growth of public transit systems. In ten years it will be even more expensive to drive and an established, extensive public transit system will be essential to reducing local economic stress. Relax and watch a movie, read the paper, or listen to music during your commute.
Install energy efficient appliances
Whenever you replace a lightbulb, replace it with a CFL bulb or better yet, an LED bulb - they last longer and use less energy. If you need to buy a new washing machine, buy an energy efficient one- they use less water and less energy. Ten years from now, renewable energy sources will account for a much greater proportion of energy production and all your household energy savings will help your utility company meet your needs without having to burn fossil fuels. And reducing demand will, once again, also help your neighbors who didn’t read this article!