The average price per gallon of gasoline in the United States is now $2.901; that’s almost double what it was in 2003 (Wolfram|Alpha, 5/1/2010).
The average price per kilowatt hour for electricity in the United States in January 2010 was 10.54 cents. That’s up from 8.2 cents per kilowatt hour in 2003 (U.S. Energy Information Administration).
Of course, this is nothing compared to Europe, where gas is often sold for $7-8 per gallon (due to heavy taxes), and Ireland, where electricity was going for about 22 cents per kilowatt hour in 2008 (also including taxes).
But what’s the REAL cost of this energy use? I’ve read that if you account for associated environmental and health costs, gasoline costs us about $12 per gallon. That’s from a 1998 report by the International Center for Technology Assessment, so I’m not sure how that translates to 2010, but it gives you an idea. It’s similar to the method the CDC used to calculate the associated costs of cigarette smoking.
I don’t think that takes all of the human costs into account, either. How about:
29 coal miners killed at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia.
Two more miners killed in Kentucky last month.
104,674 total coal mining fatalities from 1900 to 2009.
11 people killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, burned, and sank.
105 offshore drilling fatalities from 1996-2009.
A huge oil spill, yet to be capped, effects yet to be determined.
We’re paying in human lives in order to have gasoline, heat, electricity, plastics, cheap food and more.
And no, I haven’t stopped driving altogether, gone off the grid, and started producing all of our own food. So I’m complicit too.