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Confused by Green Energy Options? Let Congress Sort It Out for You

What if everyone, not just environmentalists or those who can afford it, could switch to wind- and solar-powered electricity?


One of the most effective ways to live a more environmentally friendly life is to start paying for clean electricity. But it’s complicated: Choosing an electricity provider that sources from wind or solar generally costs more than buying into the energy mix most utilities provide, and not everyone can afford to take the hit on their electricity bill month after month. Those who can then must choose which option they like: 100 percent wind? 50-50 wind and natural gas? This solar-loving company or that one?

Last spring in New York City, I was visiting an innovation-focused festival with a friend when a man waved us over to his booth in an effort to convince us to switch our bills over to his wind-based electricity company. My friend explained that she’d already switched, but the salesman kept pressing her: Which company? Oh, that one? They’re not entirely honest, you know. We’re much better. By the time we escaped, both of us were confused, a little disturbed, and ready to jump back into the waiting arms of ConEdison’s default electricity option. Wouldn’t it be better, we agreed, if we didn’t have to worry about where our electricity came from?

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Jeff Bingaman Is the Only Politician Speaking Truth About Gas Prices

The New Mexico senator is the only one in Washington, D.C. who will tell the uncomfortable truth about gas prices and oil supply and demand.


Gasoline prices have everything to do with the international price of crude oil, and pretty much nothing to do with with our domestic policy. (We have only 2 percent of the world's total reserves.) That doesn't stop plenty of politicians and other know-nothings from crowing on about how Democrats and U.S. environmentalists are to blame for the current high (relatively) gasoline prices. Except Jeff Bingaman, the Democratic Senator from New Mexico, who delivered some honest-to-goodness truth about oil supply and demand in a speech last week.

But what can Congress do to help ease the burden of high prices for U.S. consumers, when oil prices are determined mostly outside our borders? I think a realistic, responsible answer has to be focused on becoming less vulnerable to oil price changes over the medium- and long-term. And we become less vulnerable by using less oil.

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