Energy prices pull in all directions

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By John Bartlit

Ideas about energy prices differ as widely as religious camps. Effects of energy prices are as far-spreading as wild mushrooms. Their nature is as fickle.

Real effects of energy prices are so disparate that anyone can easily produce a “proof” for their side of “economic reality.”

Handpicked proofs clutter the news.

National proposals are now afoot that would raise the price of energy from fossil fuels, by far our most-used source.

What would be the end result? As practice, I lay out a cross section of facts to stir thinking.

Principles begin simply. When people use less energy, the price goes down.

As the weather warms each spring, we all use less natural gas to heat our homes and the price of gas falls.

Today’s worldwide economic downturn shows the same action. Less manufacturing and shipping of products cut oil consumption, which lowered the world price.

The action brews its own reaction. A lower fuel price boosts the chance that producers and shippers in other sectors can turn a profit and hire workers. Energy prices are busy pulling in all directions.

One part of the energy system is tangled with other economics. It moves in a direction opposite to market trends. This is the delivery system and its parts – the oil tankers, pipelines and power lines.

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