News & Events

Energy Economics Weekly Briefings

Energy Economics Weekly Briefings, by Senior Economist Dr. Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, will feature an economist’s look at the national transportation, energy, economic, and environmental landscape.

Hughes-Cromwick recently completed an appointment as Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Obama Administration. At the Department of Commerce, Hughes-Cromwick worked on several administration initiatives to improve data quality, measure the digital economy, and expand manufacturing, trade and investment.  She assisted Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on global macroeconomic matters in support of her commercial diplomacy, trade, and foreign direct investment initiatives. Hughes-Cromwick also supported the development of the Obama Administration’s economic forecast.

Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, Hughes-Cromwick was chief global economist at Ford Motor Company and an Adjunct Professor at U-M’s Ross School of Business. She led Ford’s global corporate economics group with major responsibility for the Company’s global economic, financial, and automotive industry forecasts used to support business strategy, finance, and planning.

  • 10/18/18

    Energy Price Developments

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    In case you missed it, something snuck in the back door:  A gradual, but persistent increase in oil and natural gas prices.  Take a look at West Texas crude oil quotes from the CME Group in the chart below. Crude oil prices bottomed in February 2016 at $31 per barrel. …

  • 10/02/18

    China New Energy: Trip Report

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: A weeklong visit to China allowed for an updated view of China’s progress toward shifting energy use in the mobility sector. There are reportedly 130+ new energy vehicle companies, all competing for an increasing market share of electrified vehicles. A surge in EV sales is spurred by product…

  • 09/13/18

    Shining a Light on Coal Consumption

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: Coal used to produce electric power varies widely by state. Adjusted for population, California is truly the “outlier” with near eradication of coal use for electric power. Since 2010, the cost of renewables and natural gas to produce electric power fell, resulting in substitution away from coal. “Based…

  • 08/31/18

    Halftime Report on Electrified Vehicles

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: Global demand for electrified vehicles was robust in the first half of 2018. Policy incentives, whether they are purchasing subsidies or registration exemptions among many tools, have contributed to the growth trend. As product availability grows and battery costs decline, the “demand pull” without incentives could intensify. Whether…

  • 08/16/18

    Global Central Banks and Climate Change

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: Central banks in our global economy are analyzing the impacts of climate change on long-term economic growth and inflation. Policymakers deem this as essential to quantify in order to pursue their objectives of price and financial market stability. The Bank of England has been at the forefront with…

  • 08/07/18

    Fuel Economy Proposal is Bad and Wrong

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: No one said that fuel economy regulations are optimal. Data and economic analysis conclude that a carbon tax or cap and trade schemes work the best. But absent that type of evidence-based policymaking, fuel economy rules are the behavioral nudge that incentivizes capital investment in a capital stock…

  • 07/31/18

    Surge in Oil Demand Growth

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: The leading indicators of the global economy suggest that growth is robust going into the second half of this year, fostering a rise in energy demand, particularly for oil. So far this year, oil demand is growing at an annual rate of nearly 2 million barrels per day….

  • 07/25/18

    Tariffs and Energy

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: A trade war has ignited, led by rhetoric and then implementation of U.S. import tariffs on solar panels, washing machines, steel, aluminum, and a host of products; most, if not all, from China. Next up was a broader implementation of U.S. import tariffs on goods from China. There…

  • 07/24/18

    Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets: Recent Published Research Sheds Light

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: Research published last month provides a macro look at winners and losers when fossil fuels become stranded, i.e., not worth the walk to lift out of the ground. Energy efficiency, cost competitiveness of renewables, and policies designed to limit CO2 emissions combine to increase these strands. Projections of…

  • 06/19/18

    Stranded: UK Pension Funds May Get Green Light to Divest

    Written by: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick

    Key Takeaways: Early this week, the UK government issued a report seeking comment on discussion to allow UK government pension funds to divest of fossil fuel related financial assets. This effort is not new, but the UK government may be ahead of other countries in their call to allow portfolio…