Gas prices in Los Angeles and Orange Counties continue to climb, leading to a new record for New Year’s Day. Prices reached $3.694 per gallon, surpassing the previous record of $3.655 per gallon in 2012. However, AAA projects that drivers will have lower fueling costs in 2014, with AAA attributing the price decreases to increased oil production within the United States. Indeed, said production increase is already producing economic results as oil import decreases drive the national trade deficit to a 4-year low.
Despite this development, columnist Andrew Korfhage warns that the advent of climate change must expedite our exit from dependency on this energy source. While smaller governments enact their own projects to combat climate change, the federal government remains indifferent to the looming problem. In light of this, Korfhage suggests individuals take matters into their own hands. Specifically, the author believes financiers at all levels should divest from companies directly or tangentially linked to the fossil fuel industry and instead invest in those that produce clean energy products.
One such local initiative has taken effect across the ports of California. The state is enforcing a new mandate requiring ships to use energy from portside electric sources instead of their own engines. Shore power, or cold ironing as this method is also known, was developed by the Navy with the explicit purpose of reducing fuel consumption. However, port officials are implementing the technology to improve the health of residents in surrounding neighborhoods who must otherwise grapple with the effects of port pollution. Proponents cite that ships connected to electrical sources at the ports while docked reduce emissions by as much as 95%. However, officials have yet to find long-term power sources for the new mandate and must also communicate the changes to international shippers.