Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows that rising energy prices have become a problem in recent years. But what exactly is causing this, and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.
The government’s response to the Covid-19 virus in 2020 sent shockwaves throughout the global economy. Around the world, federal agencies shut down businesses and schools while restricting travel, which caused a sharp drop in demand for energy. By early 2022, when countries began opening up their economies and allowing travel, this caused a sudden demand spike for the unprepared energy providers.
Russia’s War against Ukraine
Russia is a major energy producer and exporter, and much of the European Union’s energy comes from them. Research shows that the EU gets about 40 percent of natural gas and twenty-nine percent of oil from the Russians. In February of 2022, Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. In response, the West placed sanctions on Russian energy exports. The invasion has led to skyrocketing energy prices in the EU since many of these countries don’t have adequate substitutes for Russian supplies.
The Biden Administration Is Sending SPR Reserves to China and India
Within the United States, higher energy costs are mainly the result of President Joe Biden’s decision to send SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserves) to nations such as India and China rather than using it to lower prices domestically. Additionally, the Biden Administration is committed to a Green transition where they want to phase out carbon energy in favor of alternative energy sources such as wind, hydropower, and solar.
The problem is that much of the U.S. economy is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. And because the nation already has a national debt of over $30 trillion, no funds are available to modify the infrastructure to enable alternative energy sources to be used on a large scale.
Tips for Lowering Your Heating Bill This Coming Winter
It is a well-known adage in the energy industry that it costs more money to heat a building than cool it. While high energy prices might be an annoyance during summer, they will become an even bigger headache during winter. Below are some tips for controlling your costs:
- Prevent hot air from escaping: Ducts are one of the most common sources of heat loss within buildings, especially when insulated. You’ll want to check spaces such as the garage, attic, or basement and seal the ducts near the joints to prevent hot air from getting out. Apply mastic sealant or foil tape to seal the joints.
- Turn down your thermostat: Modifying and upgrading the thermostat can substantially lower your energy bill. In fact, studies show that lowering it by even ten degrees could help you save ten percent on your energy bill annually.
- Utilize ceiling fans if you have them: Most people associate ceiling fans with cooling rooms. However, during winter, they can circulate warm air around the building while reducing the heating bill, especially when they spin in reverse.
- Utilize your electric blanket: While they appear to be ordinary blankets upon first impression, they include heating elements that generate additional heat. Although the disadvantage is that they solely heat you, they use up significantly less electricity than standard heating systems, requiring between 100 and 150W to operate.
- Pay utility bills with your credit card: Some offer cash back benefits if you utilize your credit card to pay your energy bill each month. This means you may start putting money back into your pocket.
- Install dark window curtains: Install them on windows that face the sun because when the rays hit the curtains, they will heat up, and since the curtains are on the inside, the heat will radiate back to the room and not escape. It works similarly to a greenhouse and will keep your space warm without increasing your costs.