These are unusual times in oil and gasoline markets, but not really mysterious. Everyone has a role to play in the pandemic. My primary role – as my younger friends … Continue Reading Petro Questions and (Some) Answers
Two energy economists discuss supply, collusion, jobs, and the impact on gasoline prices. This week’s blog post is a podcast. Last Wednesday, I sat down (from a safe 2000 mile … Continue Reading The Policy and Politics of the COVID-19 Oil Market Crash
Economists can’t predict the future, but economics can help improve policy today. Oil markets aren’t the first thing that hardly anyone thinks about when reading updates on the novel coronavirus. … Continue Reading Oil Market Impacts of COVID-19
2019 was a record year for the Mystery Surcharge, which is bad news for drivers and the state’s economy. If the price of gasoline stays inexplicably high and the media … Continue Reading California’s Mystery Gasoline Surcharge Strikes Back
The best customer response depends on how much utilities can reduce their frequency. The rains have arrived in California and wildfire season has ended, temporarily. But fire risks will be … Continue Reading Preparing for Next Year’s Power Shutoffs
Converting an investor-owned utility to a non-profit is no silver bullet. Wildfires, possibly sparked by electrical lines, are still burning here in California, and there is no rain in the … Continue Reading Would Non-Profit Utilities Cure What Ails California Electricity?
It will still be a headache, but doing a few simple things now can help. It looks like PG&E is going to shut off power in large parts of the … Continue Reading Some Suggestions for Getting Through a Power Shutoff
It won’t reduce energy use much, but it can fundamentally alter where that energy comes from. A decade ago, there seemed to be a Kumbaya trend in climate policy. Politicians … Continue Reading What Can Carbon Pricing Do?
Many factors go into electricity rate setting, but the economic guidance is short-run marginal cost. Economists can be so judgy. We don’t just study how the world is, like scientists, … Continue Reading Pricing for the Short Run
Appeals to equity don’t salvage the argument for demand charges. In the past, I have said some pretty unkind things about demand charges in electricity tariffs. Demands charges are fees paid … Continue Reading Are Demand Charges Fair?
Californians have paid over $1800 per household. Now can we please find out why? California gas prices are over the dreaded $4 mark. That turns out to generate a lot … Continue Reading The Mystery Gasoline Surcharge Gets Some Respect
A GHG tax alone doesn’t solve the global need for low-cost alternative technologies Economists seldom discuss climate change without someone opining that it is simply an externality that can be … Continue Reading Pricing Carbon Isn’t Enough
You aren’t getting “green electrons”, but charging at the right times still lowers GHG emissions. I spent a fascinating few days at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) last month, … Continue Reading Charging With the Sun
Wildfire devastation mandates rethinking how electricity providers should be organized With pathbreaking policies in renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, California has been on the leading edge of climate … Continue Reading Stabilizing Utilities in an Unstable Climate
Restrictions targeted at the newest road users are unfair and inefficient For years, Bob has been driving around the city to get to work, run errands, and see friends. The … Continue Reading Lyft Doesn’t Cause Congestion, All Vehicles Do
This year, it will drain over $3 billion from the pockets of Californians. We need to find out why. I have written before on this blog about the mystery surcharge, … Continue Reading Trying to Unpack California’s Mystery Gasoline Surcharge