Stories tagged energy conservation


Bright news: Due to a variety of new technological advances, electrical use in the U.S. has declined for the third straight year.
Bright news: Due to a variety of new technological advances, electrical use in the U.S. has declined for the third straight year.Courtesy Ramjar
So often, the headlines are filled with gloom and doom when reporting on energy usage, climate change and such matters. But here's some bright news.

U.S. electrical consumption has dropped down to the lowest levels since 2001. And that comes as we're using more electrical devices than ever. Here are the full details. It's the third-straight year U.S. electrical consumption has gone down.

Quickly summarizing, there are several factors for this significant drop in power use. Many major appliances have been re-engineered to be more efficient and use less electricity. Homes and buildings are better insulated and designed to keep air conditioning inside in the summer and cold out in the winter. More people are using compact fluorescent bulbs and LED lighting that consume much less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

And the trend looks to continue this year with another 1 percent drop in electrical juice consumption.

Last year, the entire Las Vegas Strip did it. More than 30 governor's mansions across the U.S. are planning to do it this year. Are you on board? What I'm talking about is Earth Hour 2010. For one hour Saturday night (8:30 p.m. local time), participants will shut off all non-essential electricity use for one hour in recognition of energy conservation efforts. This year, the faces on Mount Rushmore will go dark and will only be lit for one hour a night through the rest of the tourist season, reducing energy consumption there by 60 percent. What do you plan to do to reduce your energy use Saturday night and beyond?

Want to do your little part to raise awareness of Earth's energy crisis? Turn out all your lights Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. A rolling global blackout will be taking place to mark Earth Hour 2009, the third year such an observance is being made. Among the celebrity endorses of the power-free hour is the band Coldplay, which I assume will be playing an acoustic set if it's on stage during those hours. More than one billion people are expected to cut their lights for an hour around the world Saturday.


The Congressional Budget Office has released its biannual report on budget options – 374 riveting pages of proposed changes to tax law and spending priorities. Fortunately, we have bloggers interested in this kind of stuff. Greg Mankiw notes that revenue option #48 calls for a $1 per gallon increase in gasoline tax, and, at the same time, a 2% decrease in income tax and other taxes. The net effect would be about even – what you spend in higher gas taxes you'd get back in lower income taxes.

Other bloggers think this is a cool idea. Governments have long used taxes to discourage people from spending money on things that have a negative impact on society. Making gasoline more expensive may boost energy conservation. People who drive less, or buy more efficient cars, could see some real savings.

What do you think? Should the government use taxes to encourage conservation? Leave a message.