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Energy

Tracking Gasoline and Electric Energy Prices for the New Year

gasoline_pump_business_deskHappy New Year! Another year and an opportunity to observe, track, and analyze petrol (gasoline) prices here in the U.S. By now, I am guessing that most of you have seen the ExxonMobil commercial inviting television viewers to take The Energy Quiz. [Ref 1] The question asked in the commercial is what country does the United States get most of its energy? The answer, the United States, probably came as a surprise to many viewers.

As this blog evolves, so does its content and topics. While I will continue to periodically make spot checks of gasoline prices in the United States, I will be looking at the cost of other energy sources, and may also venture to look at international prices as well. This post takes a quick look at current U.S. gasoline prices as well as the cost of electric power for four different sectors: residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation.

Gasoline Prices

GasBuddy.com does a wonderful job of compiling gasoline price data for the 50 states. Average price ($/gallon) data for regular gasoline is reported in Table 1:

Table 1: Gasoline Price Data for Phoenix, AZ and United States

Statistics:                 Phoenix / United States

Today:                        $3.170 / $3.308

Yesterday:                   3.167 /   3.311

One Week Ago:          3.117 /   3.273

One Month Ago:          3.095 /   3.249  

One Year Ago:            3.003 /   3.269

Source: GasBuddy.com, January 2, 2014

As shown in the table above, gasoline prices in Phoenix, AZ where I live as well as the entire U.S. have risen about a nickel per gallon over the past month. Prices are assumed to be stable according to the energy analysts that track and report on these data.

Electricity Prices

transmissionlinesThe Energy Information Administration (EIA) does a great job of compiling state by state data for electricity prices. Table 2 show data for average retail prices of electricity in cents per Kilowatt-hour to customers in four end-use sectors for the State of Arizona and the United States. [Ref 3]

Table 2: Average Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Customers by End-Use Sector, October 2012 and 2013 (cents per Kilowatt-hour)

 

State of Arizona

United States

Sector

OCT 2012

OCT 2013

OCT 2012

OCT 2013

Residential

11.36

12.02

12.03

12.31

Commercial

9.72

9,93

10.08

10.30

Industrial

6.95

6.88

6.62

6.80

Transportation

—-

—-

10.13

10.41

All Sectors

9.89

10.12

9.74

10.01

Source: EIA

On average, there is a two-month delay in the collection and posting of retail electricity price data. It will be interested to see if the recent snow storms that have walloped many parts of the eastern United States, about one per week since the end of November 2013, will have an impact on electricity prices.

Eyes to the Future

EnergyOutlook_early-release-2014In its annual report, Annual Energy Outlook 2014 [Ref 4], EIA predicts that domestic oil and natural gas production will to continue growing through 2016 and 2040, respectively. Much of this growth will be fueled by the shale oil and gas booms.

However, one factor that is predicted to impact energy usage is behavioral changes that alter the way Americans use energy in this country.  As an example, energy consumption from light-duty vehicles (cars and small trucks) will continue to decline. This will mostly be reflected in increased fuel economy standards that are proposed to be raised to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025, and changes to how Americans conduct their daily travel. [Ref 4] After years of growing non-stop, it is predicted that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) will increase by less than 1% (0.9% to be exact) per year between now and 2040.

VMT has leveled off since 2008. Analysts and subject matter experts attribute this trend to the Great Recession and its lingering effects. Another fact: fewer Americans, especially young ones, are interested in driving! Attributing factors include the cost of gasoline, insurance and the price to purchase and maintain a vehicle.

As a teen who viewed getting a driver’s license as a sacred rite of passage to adulthood, I reserve further discussion on this topic for another post.

References:

  1. The Energy Quiz, http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/company/advertising-campaigns/energy-lives-here/quiz
  2. GasBuddy.com, http://www.gasbuddy.com/Gas_Prices/Arizona/index.aspx
  3. Electric Power Monthly, Data for October 2013, Release Date, December 20, 2013, http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a
  4. More Oil, More Gas and Less Driving: Predicting America’s Energy Future, Bryan Walsh, December 17, 2013, Time Magazine, Science & Space, http://science.time.com/2013/12/17/more-oil-more-gas-and-less-driving-predicting-americas-energy-future/

 

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About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.

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  1. Pingback: U.S. Gas Prices Inching Upward | BridgeBizSTEM - March 11, 2014

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