by Amy Lignor
With everything that Mother Nature has thrown about this winter (and knowing there is far more to come), gas and propane prices have become a darker horror story than anything even ‘Stephen King’ could produce.
Just getting on the telephone and listening to family members talk about how $700.00 shipments of gas/or oil have been needed every two weeks and another $400.00 or more for propane during the same time, makes one sick. Not sick enough to move back to the frozen tundra of Connecticut from the eighty degree weather of New Mexico but, still…sick.
99% of the people on this planet can not afford this crisis. Not to mention, the world can not afford to have oil, gas and propane still be the end all and be all of energy sources that keep the world from getting greener and the people from gaining any financial success whatsoever
As everyone knows, gas markets, oil and propane fluctuate constantly. The demand grows higher and higher in a winter that simply won’t quit, and the need for cleaner burning (which is, of course, more expensive) summer-grade fuel, is also ruled and regulated to death. Demand is far outweighing supply. Heck, even state of emergencies were declared with the last storm when various states announced they had no salt or sand left for the roads. Everything affects the prices of everything else when it comes to the need for energy to be supplied.
OPEC, also, will slow down production levels to help maintain whatever global crude oil price they want at any given time. Seeing as that a huge piece of that market is controlled by OPEC, the output narrows, and the prices rise. Perhaps it doesn’t matter at the moment, seeing as that millions can’t even get on the road, so buying gas is not an option at all.
Not only are the budgets of cities and states going south, as far as finding the money to deploy extra plows and buy extra sand and salt, but it is the individual homeowner who is really getting the burden of the polar vortex placed on their shoulders.
Statistics are high and getting higher with each new storm. More than 14 million families across the U.S. use propane to fuel their furnaces; this fact ended up having many states declaring energy emergencies one right after the other. Residents are being asked to cut down as much as possible because supplies are limited, and customers are being begged by their state and town leaders to use everything wisely in the coming weeks and not to waste energy.
The Midwest already had a propane deficiency before the winter even came upon them, and in the middle of January, before Pax and a few others hit hard, the average propane prices were 58 cents per gallon higher than last year. The wallets of those whose wallets are already on empty are being emptied out even more. And that’s if they can even GET shipments to their homes.
Winter-weather budgets of major cities have had to be slashed. Chicago is only one that dealt with this problem, cutting their budget by more than half during January’s very first storm.
People want the streets safe, yes, but they want their homes warm so that they and their children don’t freeze. Without the energy sources available, not to mention the cash, 2014 has started on a very negative note.
Wind chills of minus-twenty degrees or even lower have been a daily weather event. For homes that are older and less insulated, the wind chills have destroyed any idea of coming home to a nice, warm house after work. When prices go up, when money is tight, when the house is cold – these are all issues that bring about depression, as well as new aches and pains never before experienced.
As far as the future of energy is concerned, the government leaders, the states, the businesses and the 1%, will have to find new ways to supply new energy sources ASAP. After all, even when this winter comes to a close there’s no telling whether or not 2015 will usher in yet another polar vortex horror story.