WASHINGTON, Pa. (July 3, 2012)—Independence Day is upon us and, according to the Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) Energy Index, the U.S. is becoming less dependent on other countries for its energy.
Along with this independence, however, has come an increase in gas prices.
In 1966, the Energy Index was at 90, meaning all but 10 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. came from domestic sources. The index hit a record low of just over 68 percent in 2005. The number today is at 74 and moving upward. Of course, gas prices have also continued to increase over the years.
According to W&J’s Center for Energy Policy and Management (CEPM), research shows that in 1966, a trip in a Ford Mustang traveling the 2,450 miles of Route 66, with gas at 32 cents a gallon, would have cost the consumer $43.50. Today, with gas prices at $3.50 a gallon, the same trip would cost $467.58, a difference of $433.08.
The CEPM is led by Diana Stares, an experienced attorney who previously served as regional counsel at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), overseeing all of the legal work performed from the Pittsburgh office of the DEP.
“Using the W&J Energy Index, we will be able to determine how world events, energy supply, and changes in consumer activity impact energy independence,” she said. “We can also see that as we have become more energy independent, gas prices have increased.”
W&J established the CEPM in April to provide an opportunity for the free exchange of ideas and information, encouraging civil discourse in the energy debate.
Among CEPM’s initiatives are to foster the use of compressed natural gas as a vehicle fuel, convene a group to evaluate the mechanics and economics of converting existing gasoline-powered vehicles, and establish fueling stations to support those vehicles.