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How does gas at $4 and higher impact you?

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    Probably has to do with the high cost of shipping Ethanol to the state. Fairbanks does get pretty bad in the Winter with all the cars running. I never noticed it bad in Anchorage. Of course I lived at the top of Rabbit Creek Rd. most of the time. And then way up the Eagle River valley for only a couple years. MTBE was only a problem when stored in underground tanks if memory serves. It got into the ground water and killed everyone in the vicinity. :shades:
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    Gee, too bad all the Delta barley farms went bust; they could have switched to corn and supplied it locally. :shades:

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    season is too short for corn. That is why they grew barley. You can make alcohol from barley. But what a waste putting it in your gas tank. :blush:
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    The $100 million joke on the taxpayer was that you couldn't grow barley either. Not one of Jay Hammond's better ideas.

    The latest blizzard (Nemo?) is bound to make gas prices jump even more. I knew I should have gassed up the other day.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    All ours are full. Not much chance of a blizzard. Though we are getting hail as I am typing. Snow just 1000 feet higher than I am. Our gas is always high because everything in CA is more expensive. Except oranges and avocados.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    edited February 2013
    Actually, you can grow barley, and pretty well at that, but the problem back in the 1980's is that they hadn't developed a strain of barley that was suited to the northern climate. Now, we have such a variety (Sunshine Barley), developed right here at UAF.

    As with corn, it isn't that barley couldn't be grown here, it's that it couldn't be grown reliably from year to year. An additional issue with Delta is that the bison herds, which are of the plains variety, love open areas (as opposed to forest, which is what is native to the Delta area) and they love barley. So, you can see where this is going.... :P

    Be that as it may, it would be a complete travesty to use any crop harvested in this state for something as inefficient as ethanol production. The growing season is short and food is a precious commodity.

    We get poor enough fuel economy in the winter as it is, the last thing we need is another hit by including ethanol in the fuel. The "smog" we see here in the winter months is primarily due to the temperature inversions, which can be quite severe at times, holding all of the emissions down low to the ground. The vast majority of the contributing emissions are from space heating devices (boilers, stoves, etc). Automobiles used to be a prime source, but emissions from them are vastly cleaner than even as recent as fifteen years ago.

    Fairbanks even ended its emissions testing program a few years ago, despite the ongoing winter air quality concerns.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    Still a lot of people heating with wood and oil I would imagine. That is not the cleanest form of heat. With our atrocious propane price here I use a lot of wood. Of course that is not cheap this time of year. I bought in the Summer at about half the current going price.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    Shoot, if I lived in that area, I'm not sure I would even heat!

    Yes, there's a lot of wood burning. Fortunately, the price of oil has encouraged many (most?) folks to keep their heating appliances in top shape, so oil particulates are pretty low. Wood burners are probably the biggest contributor to the air quality problem because it is so easy to burn wood inefficiently, and it is still inexpensive enough that many folks aren't willing to put in the extra up-front investment to increase the burn quality. The same can be said for coal, I suppose, but there is very little coal use here except in the power plants, which are equipped for their fuel source.

    We have limited access to gaseous fuels like propane or natural gas, and both are very expensive. There is some use, but it isn't wide spread outside of the city of Fairbanks.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    I remember the propane bills in Eagle River during the winter. Easy $500 per month to heat our big log home. I use a high end Avalon insert in my fireplace here. It is pretty efficient and sealed to keep the particulates out of the house. I would imagine you have hot water baseboard heat. Which is so much better than our forced air furnaces. We have needed heat here since November. At noon today it is 45 degrees at my house. A full 20 degrees below normal. Of course the liars at the NWS will post their in the sun figures. Our home is well insulated which helps. We have used the heat more this year than AC. I think we turned on the AC maybe 10 days all summer long. Which was the coldest July ever recorded.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    edited February 2013
    That's good for the summer... bad for the winter!

    I installed an in-floor hydronic system rather than using hydronic baseboards, but it's the same idea... just better executed. ;)

    I love it! I can't believe it took me eight years to get it hooked up, dealing with cold floors every winter. Next time, the heating system is the first thing I finish. Heck, I don't even need plumbing or electric first. Give me that in-floor heat! We start heating around the beginning to middle of September, whenever the temperature in the house drops under 56F during the day. Night-time outdoor temperatures are generally with 5 degrees of freezing (+ OR -) by then. From there, we heat until May 1, at which point I shut the system down and the family just has to deal with cold spells if the outdoor weather doesn't cooperate.

    Last year was my highest consumption winter, the first after which we had the boiler hydronic system installed for a full winter, and we used ~750 gallons of #1 heating oil (for 2400 square feet, which is really good this far north). This winter, based on current consumption, I expect to come in close to 600. We had a guy come out in late October and re-tune the unit, which has made an impressive difference.

    I was hoping we would use ~400 a year when I first built the house, which would give us 2.5 years from our 1,000 gallon tank, but that just wasn't realistic for the size of the space. I'd have to dump a mint into additional insulation to get us close to that, and I just don't think it's worth the effort or the money.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    Actually, you can grow barley, and pretty well at that,

    Just need a few subsidies now and then (KTVA). The self-reliant Michiganders who settled the farms around Palmer did okay, holding on long enough in most cases for the subdivision developers to buy them out. :shades:

    Gasoline prices hit record, pushed by bets that prices will rise (LA Times)

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  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    Hahaha; yeah, well, everyone loves an handout entitlement, right?

    Subsidies aren't necessary to succeed. Growing the right crops in the right mix is the best bet for success. Personally, I think potatoes, sunflowers, and peonies are the way to go. As a short day plant, sunflowers might seem like an odd choice, but we have a few northern-adapted varieties that are pretty consistent producers.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    Betting.... hah! There has to be chance involved to bet. The fact is that if you let people play these games with such a basic commodity, they will always win. Always.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    The in-floor heat is wonderful. We had that put into our big shop in Prudhoe when we built it. The building was the warmest of our complex. And far and away the cheapest to heat with Natural Gas. Our main building had electric heat. What are you paying for heating oil this year? Looks like your gas is cheaper than San Diego. And diesel about the same.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    I purchased my heating oil (750 gallons) in July of 2012, and it was, if I recall correctly, $3.57/gal.

    Right now, it's about $4/gal.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    We may have to change the name of this thread.

    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Gas prices in Southern California rose again on Monday, leaving some drivers paying over $5.00 per gallon.

    CBS2′s Amber Lee reports the average price of a gallon of gas in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area climbed for the 25th consecutive day to $4.29 – over 50 cents higher than last month, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

    One gas station in downtown Los Angeles was offering regular unleaded at $5.19 on Monday, prompting at least one potential customer to exit his vehicle, snap of a photo of the station’s prices – and then drive off in search of cheaper gas.


    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/02/18/5-gas-returns-to-southland/
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,279
    edited February 2013
    From the linked article:

    >Analysts – who noted that gas price increases don’t usually occur until March – blamed refinery maintenance issues for a reduced supply that has drive prices upward over the last few months.

    5-13 years ago the article would have had stories about the president and vice-president having been connected with the oil business implying they somehow jacked up the prices to benefit their friends in the industry. Now the articles blame whatever the Oil Industry press releases suggest is at fault.

    RUG here at $3.75. Hardly a month ago it was $3.29 in portions of the area, having been down to $3.19.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    edited February 2013
    Maybe we should just regulate them.

    Of course, lots of electric utilities are asking for permission to raise their rates due to less power being used (weak economy, more wind and solar). Maybe this is one last gouge before the number of hybrids, diesels and "ecoboost" higher mileage cars hit a significant percentage of cars on the road.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,279
    > permission to raise their rates due to less power being used (weak economy, more wind and solar).

    A major factor for some is that the EPA is requiring them to shut down coal-fired plants which are cheaper to operate.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,011
    I purchased my heating oil (750 gallons) in July of 2012, and it was, if I recall correctly, $3.57/gal.


    I made the decision to convert over to an all-electric heat pump back in the fall of '08, when home heating oil hit $5.62 per gallon. And, wouldn't you know it, as soon as it was finished, and it was time to start turning it on in the cold weather, fuel prices plummeted while electric rates soared! :sick:

    Things have leveled out since then though. I used to average about 450 gallons of oil per year, and the last time I checked, I think heating oil around here is a bit over $4/gal. So, at today's rates, I'd average around $1800-2000 per year in oil, plus the ~$300 service contract on the furnace. My electric bill is higher, to be sure, but not that much. I'd estimate maybe $500-600 more, thanks to the heat pump. It might actually save me a bit of money in the summer, because I used to run 3 window unit a/cs. Now I just run the heat pump, plus one window unit upstairs.

    I imagine though, that the further north you go, the more useless a heat pump is.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    There's some experimentation with various heat pump designs up here, but I don't think they have caught on in a wide-spread fashion.

    450 gallons a year that far south?! I think your home could benefit greatly from some thermal upgrades. ;)

    It is -20F here this morning. :(
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    edited February 2013
    In the Midwest maybe. (thestarpress.com). Funny how utility profits are higher there. (insideindianabusiness.com). :shades:

    "The national wholesale electric market is deeply depressed. The technique of fracking for natural gas has brought a large supply of inexpensive fuel to the market, which power companies in other states use to make cheap electricity to feed onto the grid." (registerguard.com)

    Natural gas prices are helping lower electricity rates in NJ. (mycentraljersey.com).

    And out in AZ, there's a recent rate increase, partly blamed on the utility's own energy conservation efforts that lowered consumption, irritating the very consumers who changed light bulbs and insulated their houses. The utility is so scared of not being able to pay their sunk costs, they are attacking solar. (cleantechnica.com). They'll really be hurting paying for the increased security and waste management costs of their nuke plants in the future. (Duke Power is having to spend something like $500 million just on better safety/security for one nuke plant).

    Looking at the CAFE targets for US passenger cars, if you were an oil company, would you want to put a lot of money toward building new refineries?

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    Several good points and questions.

    Natural gas fired generation has not done anything in CA to lower rates. The state is extorting money on their CO2 scam. Forcing 20% of our power to be generated by renewable energy. There are a lot of residential solar systems that raise the cost for everyone else. My neighbor with solar only pays $5 per month to be hooked up to the grid. He ended up with a surplus at the end of last year. Of course he will be paying for the solar for many years to come. Not sure if it is a good deal or not. I don't think you would get a permit for wind. It takes at least a couple years to get the Environmental impact study done for a wind farm. I don't see where NG produced from fracking is a better deal than clean coal.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    edited February 2013
    I think the emissions issues are easier (cheaper) to meet with natural gas though. And I think the NG plants are easier and faster to build.

    It's kind of funny though to consider that as mpg "doubles" so does your gas bill.

    I need a Volt and one of these gizmos. Actually an electric minivan so I could just pull over, lug it out, and recharge the batteries.

    There's certainly plenty of snow around this winter to reflect all that solar. :shades:

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,011
    450 gallons a year that far south?! I think your home could benefit greatly from some thermal upgrades.

    Oh, definitely! My house is about 97 years old, has been added onto over the decades in a somewhat slipshod fashion, and has almost no insulation. Thinking about it, I guess it's a miracle my oil bills (and electric bills) haven't been even higher than they are!

    As for temps, I think it got down to about +25F here last nite so yeah, pretty mild in comparison. I think about the worst we've seen so far this winter is 12-13F overnight. Worst temps I've seen that I can remember was back in early 1994 when we had lows of around -12F or so.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,512
    Oh, sheesh. I should know that (with all the photos you've posted over the years). We're looking to buy a little cottage in PA, built in 1910 or some odd, and I'm sure that place is similar in its lack of thermal attention.

    Being from the sub-arctic, I'm sure we'll make that a priority if we're able to get it.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    "Every year there comes a time when gas prices put hybrid and compact cars into focus, but it's not often we have them under the microscope this early."

    Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Run Short on Incentives in February (marketwatch.com)

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,028
    No good reason for the automakers to give incentives on cars that are selling well. I am hoping it will make dealing on a diesel SUV easier. If I can even find one. They are in short supply around here.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    From the March 1 Wall Street Journal, prices per gallon of gasoline in various cities:

    New York, $4.88

    Paris, 8.21

    London, 7.15

    Hong Kong, 8.10

    Sydney, 5.68

    I assume that's for regular, although the article didn't specify the grade. Also, New York is high priced for an American city. Most of us pay less than $4.00/gallon, so maybe we shouldn't complain.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,871
    And in Caracas, it's down to a penny a gallon (after adjusting for the exchange rate). (eluniversal.com)

    Looks like regular in Mexico City is running around $3.18 USD.

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