September 28, 2005
The Price We Pay
This is just a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it looks as though the state of Washington is on track to spend about $9 billion this year on crude oil and natural gas. That's about $25 million per day; or, over the course of the year, about $1,400 for every man, woman, and child in the state.
For the energy geeks out there -- this is based on spot prices for Alaskan crude through June; an estimate of price increases through yesterday based on price trends for Texas light crude (see crude oil spot prices here); and natural gas sales and prices at the city gate, in 2004 and 2005 through May. The latest figures I could find for total petroleum consumption were from 2001; I assumed we'll use about the same amount this year as 4 years ago.
And note that this is only tip of the iceberg for energy spending. We spend still more on refining crude oil into gasoline and diesel; on fuel taxes; on delivering energy to our homes and workplaces; on converting natural gas into electricity; and so on. But Washington -- like Oregon and Idaho -- produces not even a drop of petroleum, nor a whiff of natural gas, so every dollar that we spend on crude and natural gas gets shipped immediately out of the state. Which means that oil and gas spending siphons off, oh, about 3.5 percent of the state's total economic output.
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