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Falling Oil Prices and US Economic Activity

Weak demand and abundant supply are behind the recent trend in oil prices, which have fallen by more than $50 per barrel since June. This event is not unprecedented—in fact, the conditions associated with the 2014 crude price drop are very similar to those surrounding a similar drop during 1985 and 1986. In both cases, oil conservation […]

Fracking in Focus: A Look at Voluntary Environmental Information Disclosure and Firm Size

The potential environmental risks posed by fracturing fluids—usually some mixture of chemicals and water—make hydraulic fracturing a highly controversial industrial process. These risks have prompted many stakeholders to request chemical disclosure reports on the fluids used by well operators. The oil and gas industry has responded by creating a fracturing chemical registry website—www.FracFocus.org—that allows operators […]

Where Falling Oil Prices May Take Us Next

The world economy has seen a 40 percent drop in oil prices since mid-June, partly because of a recent Saudi Arabia decision to not cut oil production in the face of global oversupply.  This price drop, should it last more than a few months, raises the issue: Will low prices end or seriously diminish the […]

Resources Magazine: Can Product Labels Nudge Energy Efficient Behavior?

By Richard Newell and Juha Siikamäki. To minimize costs, consumers looking to purchase a new appliance should give equal weight to the purchase price and the discounted operating cost over the appliance lifetime—that is, they should be willing to pay $1 in increased purchase cost for each dollar of reduced lifetime operating cost of the […]

Resources Magazine: Utilities and the US Energy Revolution: Confronting a Shifting Landscape

In an excerpt from his remarks at an RFF Policy Leadership Forum, Chris Crane, president and CEO of Exelon, shares his thoughts on how the electricity industry is responding to major changes in how energy is produced, delivered, and consumed. On the Natural Gas Boom The advent of shale gas, as we all know, has […]

Alternative Compliance Payments under the Clean Power Plan

This is the ninth in a series of questions that highlights RFF’s Expert Forum on EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Readers are invited to submit their own comments to the questions and/or the responses using the “Leave a Comment” box below. See all of the questions to date here. RFF asks the experts: Could an alternative compliance payment […]

Reconsidering the Rebound Effect

The rebound effect from improving energy efficiency has been widely discussed—from the pages of the New York Times and New Yorker to the halls of policy and to a voluminous academic literature. It’s been known for over a century and, on the surface, is simple to understand. Buy a more fuel-efficient car, drive more. Invent […]

Lifting the Oil Export Ban: A Staged Approach

In the debates surrounding a lifting of the oil export ban, what is sometimes missed is that exceptions—some big, some small—to permit exports have been made for decades.  President Reagan issued a finding in 1985 that exports to Canada for consumption in Canada would be in the national interest and such exports began to be […]

Resources Magazine: EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Breaking Down the Building Blocks

In June, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Using its authority under the Clean Air Act, EPA set state-specific targets for emissions rates reductions (Figure 1). However, many questioned how this proposed plan would impact actual emissions from the electricity sector and […]

Canada–Renewable Energy: Implications for WTO Law on Green and Not-So-Green Subsidies

In the Canada–Renewable Energy/Feed-In Tariff case of 2013, the European Union (EU) and Japan brought a case to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Canada, questioning the validity of Ontario’s decision to combine a generous feed-in tariff (FIT) with a local content requirement (LCR) promoting the growth of renewable energy-related manufacturing. Under this LCR, the […]