I don’t know how Crabtree will get with the idea, but it’s a fair piece to go just for a coffee for my money. Besides, what if he plans on hires nothing but gay men as waitpersons? To each his own, as they say, but if the wait staff is topless, how would they themselves get service when on break? After all, isn’t the state law, no shoes, no shirt, no service, or something like that?
Back to reality, and the now rising gas prices. I had mentioned previously of some goings on in the world of politics and the environment, and one thing that will really drive the cost up is this new regional agreement being hammered out between 11 eastern states over controls regarding carbon content of fuels. Apparently, the states are trying to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. An article in the LA Times says that “Refiners would be forced to reduce the carbon content of their gasoline and diesel. Proponents hope to speed adoption of alternative fuels and clean vehicles in what would become a huge new market for such technology.”
Funny that I had to find the largest article on the subject so far on the Left Coast. What this means to our prices is that wholesalers will have to put more effort into blending, and that will drive the cost even higher than it would be. Mass energy Secretary Ian Bowles was quoted as saying “Working together, the 11 states from Maine to Delaware will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, spur the development of clean energy technologies like advanced bio-fuels and electric cars, and reduce our dependence on petroleum,”
Seems to me that if we really wanted to reduce consumption we would be looking at improving the entire transportation system. Maybe start developing a regional electric train system for commuters and travelers. Make it less convenient to drive around in the first place maybe?
But at any rate, we’ve bounced off the bottom of the deep end of the gas price pool, and prices are indeed on their way back up. Light sweet crude settled in at $48.58 per barrel for February delivery. The lowest price I could find was at a Gulf station inPortland for $1.559 per gallon, and the highest was a c-store in Dixmont at $1.999 per gallon.
It seems as if the only thing keeping the prices from skyrocketing over the Gaza situation is the fact that the US just keeps dishing out more bad economic news. With the volatility and fluctuations of the market these last few weeks, it’s hard to tell for sure what’s going on, except for the fact that it will be a very long year, financially.
In other energy news, Joe Kennedy’s good buddy Hugo Chavez has suspended donations to the Citizens Energy low income heating assistance program, reportedly due to money problems. I thought we were supposed to be reducing our dependence upon foreign oil. Kennedy says he’s trying to find help elsewhere, but it looks like just Mass. is going to get that line of assistance this heating season.
In other big news, at least in some minds, is the decision by Plum Creek to back out of the deal with the US Forestry Service to pave over logging roads over FS lands in Montana that lead to some or all of the Plum Creek developments in that area. A Washington Post article quotes PC’s Kathy Budnick as saying “When we heard about the concern for further input, we said, ‘Well, that makes sense,’ and we apologized and set up some [public] meetings,” It’s tough to decide which tipped the boiling pot over at this juncture. Rey tried to push the change in the lease agreements through as one of Bush’s last pieces of paperwork, and it certainly looked like it was going to be signed, so what happened? Perhaps the pressure is working?
And speaking of the Plum Creek/Moosehead issue, I have nearly completed my book, ‘Is Plum Creek Right for ME?’ Be watching here for more details later this month!
In a turn for the good, it looks like the US dollar is still gaining against the Yen and Euro, presumably due to the optimism created by the Great B.O.’s forthcoming stimulus package. Think the news is good now, wait till the tax bill comes in the mail. Somebody’s got to pay for those 600,000 new employees Obama wants the federal government to hire.
Perhaps housing will be the biggest issue here in Maine over the next eighteen months, since most people either own one or rent one here in Maine. Sales are down, and with it comes lower prices. Bad for the sellers, great for the buyers. But eventually things will even out and the prices will go back up again. This next piece from Wisconsin tells the story pretty well, although the numbers are different there than they are here in Maine.
Up or down, in or out, the economy is going to be a hard row to hoe for everyone. Here in Maine I do believe it will get worse before it gets better. Especially given the fact that our elected representatives do not appear to care squat for the taxpayers that voted in this last election. We really ought to let them know what we think about their tax and spend habits.
That’s Dan’s Maine View for today, January 6th.