Topic: Severin Borenstein
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Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon and oil prices are above $100 a barrel, leading politicians in Washington and statehouses to propose a flurry of legislation. Some proposals strive to quell voter angst while others might balance budgets by raising gas prices. Meanwhile, wind, biofuel, nuclear, and oil industries are lobbying Congress to support more domestic energy production. Many of the proposals are longer-range and thus unlikely to affect short-term gas prices, energy economists say.
From the first spark of Middle East unrest in Tunisia in December until the violent suppression of protests in Libya in late February, the price of a barrel of crude oil rose from $88 a barrel to more than $100. But rising demand – from oil-hungry China and other fast-growing nations – was pushing prices up even before the turmoil. How much prices rise depends largely on whether supplies flow unimpeded from the Middle East. Here’s a rundown on oil supply-price issues affecting the US.
Columbia University is pioneering the use of hybrid solar cells to produce heat and electricity simultaneously.