Winter comes quickly to Maine
We’ve already passed the longest day of the year, and that means the race to get ready for cold weather has already started. This year is especially important, because the price for #2 heating fuel is predicted to climb to as high as $5.60 per gallon or more. Already at an average of $4.60 or so at the time of this writing, people are stockpiling fuel in as many forms as they can to be ready. I’ve heard that some cordwood dealers are already backordered by several cords, and the growing scarcity coupled with the early demand is pushing the price of even that fuel upwards to record heights.
And then there are those that say “it’ll be all right, Obama’s going to be elected and that will solve the problem that nasty old George Bush caused.” ALOC to that theory I say. George Bush didn’t cause the problem. Arrogant politicians pandering to party line politics and Left winged theory is what caused the problem. And even though I fully support our drilling on the coastal shelves and up in ANWR, it’ll take quite some time before that crude will be at the pumps transformed into usable product. We should have started drilling several years ago. But noooo, we can’t offend the environmentalists and their global warming mantra. Think of the political donations it would cost the leftist candidates. So will it get better anytime soon? No way.
A Reuters article quoted OPEC President Chakib Khelil as saying he “ruled out on Sunday an eventual oil price fall in view of strong Chinese and Indian demand, adding geopolitics and a weak dollar were behind the current spike,” This is coming from a major supplier of crude, citing the increasing demand against available and projected supplies. Another article from Bloomberg points out that the growing demand for diesel fuel, which requires a lower sulfur content, in the US is also a contributing factor in the price increases we are seeing for fuel.
Things really aren’t going to get any better, either. A NY Times article says that polls show that over 90% of the American public believe things will get worse, instead of better. That same article points out that warnings have been made since the 70’s that this type of crisis was looming on the horizon, but politicians failed to heed the warnings and act while time was on our side.
So what are you going to do? Unfortunately, I have no control over my own situation beyond lowering the thermostat and wearing sweats and long johns. But there’s lots of stuff one can do to their own house to reduce energy needs. For starters, take a look at your car. Is everything up to snuff on the old gal? The car, not the wife. Studies show that if you keep the tires properly inflated and the oil change current, you can increase your mileage, saving you even more money today. Spending a few dollars on one of those little DC powered compressors will more than pay for it in a short while at today’s gas prices. And shop around for the best price in town. If a station has a price a couple of cents cheaper than your usual place, it may be worth switching, provide the cost benefit is there.
You can do a lot to your house as well. Before you panic and get yourself into a hole by switching an entire heating system, make a careful study of the cost/benefit picture of the change. Is it worth changing a system if you can make your home more energy efficient, thereby saving fuel on your current system? What about re-caulking your windows? How about installing plastic over your windows, inside and out? Insulating around doors?
A lot of heat tends to be wasted in most people’s homes, especially older ones. Installing a new heating system may not necessarily be the best choice. A poorly insulated home will diminish any results you expect to obtain with a new heating system, and that should be the first thing you look into, before making a decision on that new pellet stove or natural gas furnace.
Over the next few months, I’m going to be looking into all of the available choices of heating systems here in Maine, and I’ll also be reporting on tips and tricks to improve the energy efficiency of your vehicle, and your home
Check back frequently for more.