Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Speculators are driving up gas prices - Opinion - Mar. 21, 2012

Speculators are driving up gas prices - Opinion - Mar. 21, 2012:

So apparently there's a pretty large premium for commodities like OIL because of all the speculation investors.

If everyone wants some long options on oil, or everyone wants an ETF with oil or other commodities, there there will be upward pressure on oil. Unfortunately those same forces should result in a similar downward pressure when they all sell off and the option traders move to short positions.

Unfortunately, if this is correct, the trading in oil might move like it die in 2008 with the drop from ~$150 to $35 per barrel.


Double ouch.
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Saving Time - Saving Time, Saving Energy... EE Efficiency...

Daylight Saving Time - Saving Time, Saving Energy:

Remember to move your clocks forward an hour today. Your laptops and cell phones should give you the right time. But, while you are at it, PONDER THIS....

This is actually a pretty good play on energy efficiency and smart(er) energy policy.

The idea is that spending more wake time when the sun shines will result less energy usage. The greenest possible killowatt is the KW saved.

Although Daylight Savings Time was first mentioned by Ben Franklin it was a century later that it fully got its start:

"Though mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, the modern idea of daylight saving was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson [8] and it was first implemented during the First World War. Many countries have used it at various times since then; details vary by location. " (Daylight savings time, 2012, para. 2).

The savings turns out to be somewhat sporadic and not conclusive. But it ranges from 0% to about 4% for residential savings of electricity use. A California study showed only a modest savings of electricity (.4% to .2% for winter and summer) but a significant savings of money because of the peak-time shift in usage (California Energy Commission, 2011). The Department of Energy study in 2008 (related to prior years) estimated 0.5% savings. (But this study has several limitations.)

With about 2.5% of the US GDP devoted to electricity, the savings over a year would be somewhere between $2B and $20B savings per year.  The back-of-the-envelope computations are shown in the following table.

Electricity as % of GDP:

Growth in US GDP:
($T) US 
Est. Elect
DST Savings
DST Savings
DST Savings
DST Savings
Usage $B
10-yrs Savings

The 10 year savings is between $21B and about $200B savings for the US. Multiply that times all the northernmost and southernmost countries in the world, and the savings could add up.

Of course this is a paltry amount of savings compared to something like switching away from incandescent light bulbs.

TIP: When changing all the clocks in the house, it is advised to check/change the batteries in smoke detectors and pressure in fire extinguishers. Also, while at it, check all the electricity use appliances and replace the most frequently used incandescent lights with compact fluorescents… or even better with some of the new LED lights that use a fraction of the electricity.

But let’s take our savings wherever we can get them.

DST does help many retailers, so arguably it helps the economy in that respect if in no other!-)

Shop ‘til you drop, starting when the sun comes up.!

California Energy Commission. (2011). Saving time, saving energy: daylight savings time: Its history and the reason we use it. Retrieved March 11, 2012 from:

Daylight saving time. (2012, March 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:31, March 11, 2012, from

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