Consumers feel their home energy costs would have to more than double before they had to use less or reduce other expenses to compensate, according to a new index created by the University of Michigan's Energy Institute and released today. The university's energy affordability indices are modeled on U-M's Survey of Consumers, and like their progenitor, the surveys ask questions of consumers about how much their own bills for things like gasoline, electricity, and home heating would have to rise before they became unaffordable. The energy surveys, which canvassed 3,400 Americans over two years, found that throughout the survey period, even consumers in the lower third of the income scale would have to see their home energy costs double before costs broke the bank. The survey also looked at gasoline prices and found that consumers would not find it unaffordable to fill their tanks unless pump prices more than doubled to $5.50 a gallon.
“It would be better if the Renewable Fuel Standard were simply repealed,” argues John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute and a former senior fellow at the Environmental Defense Fund.
Panel debate over emissions doesn't follow partisan lines
It was an unusual scenario, to say the least.
Republican lawmakers yesterday needled witnesses on the nuances and intricacies of carbon accounting for biofuels -- models created to showcase how well the fuels performed as a tool for averting climate change.
Energy Institute Research Professor John DeCicco testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, at a hearing titled: "Renewable Fuel Standard: A Ten Year Review of Costs and Benefits." Read the testimony here, or watch the full hearing:
Learning from others, Michigan considers best options for future fracking
With the rapid rise in hydraulic fracturing activity, numerous government, industry, academic and environmental organizations have rushed to examine the potential benefits and impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. In fact, one review of the available scientific peer-reviewed literature on the impacts of shale gas development found that the bulk, or 73%, of the studies have been published only since January 1 2013.
A readiness test: What if oil spewed into the Great Lakes? Detroit Free Press
Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge, the U.S. Coast Guard and several other federal, state and local agencies took to the waters of the Great Lakes Thursday in boats big and small, testing their preparedness and capabilities to contain what many consider as the worst of nightmare scenarios for the Great Lakes: a leak in Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline that runs along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.
ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan researchers today released the final version of a report analyzing policy options for the state of Michigan regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.
The final report of the U-M Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment consists of six chapters totaling nearly 200 pages. The two-part integrated assessment took three years to complete and is the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource on high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
This fall, Daniel Raimi joins the Energy Institute as a Research Specialist in Energy, Technology, Policy, and Economics, and a lecturer at the Ford School for Public Policy. He has worked on a range of energy policy issues including the public finance effects of unconventional oil and gas production, state fiscal policy design for oil and gas production, the climate implications of shale gas development, and federal climate policy design.
Energy policy has become a hot political topic again in the U.S., with issues surrounding oil and gas fracking, renewables, and environmental stewardship top-of-mind for a growing percentage of legislators, corporate interests and voters. And with energy issues come front groups paid for by energy companies. We hear messaging from front groups frequently during elections, but it may be hard to recognize them and even harder to know who is behind them these days.
This summer, in most parts of the country, average pump prices have been nearly a dollar per gallon lower than the previous three years. But the price of oil can be quite volatile, and so what do consumers say they'd do if gasoline became unaffordable?
Personal vehicles are a staple form of transportation for most U.S. consumers, whether for traveling to work or escaping to distant places. Moreover, cars have a long-standing symbolic link with Americans’ sense of independence. Not surprisingly, pressures to reduce car use often evoke psychological resistance.
Since its inception in October 2013, the University of Michigan Energy Survey has asked U.S. consumers, in an open-ended format, about what they would do differently to get around if gasoline prices reached a level that they thought would be personally unaffordable. Understanding consumers’ responses can shed light on this important energy-related aspect of decision making.
"Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said the EPA Clean Power Plan could significantly boost renewable energy in Michigan. But he said the state should aim for even loftier goals.
Earlier this year, the Energy Institute issued a report that outlined opportunities for significantly increasing electricity production from wind and solar sources, Barteau said.