oil http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9627/all en-US 8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cows_000066842465.jpg" alt="Everyone learning things about commodities markets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's common in the investment world to hear a lot about commodities. These are things like oil, soybeans, gold, and even cattle, which can be bought and sold on exchanges, similar to stocks.</p> <p>The price of commodities plays a big role in our economy, from how much it costs to fuel our cars, to the price of a gallon of milk. It's possible to earn money trying to predict how the price of these commodities will move, although it can be risky.</p> <p>Investing in commodities is not for beginners, but it's helpful to know some of the basics of how they work and how they may impact other parts of your portfolio &mdash; and even your day-to-day life.</p> <h2>1. There Are Four (or Three) Basic Groups of Commodities</h2> <p>Commodities can be lumped together in an infinite number of ways, but are generally placed in four groups:</p> <ul> <li>Energy (Things like oil and natural gas)</li> <li>Metals (Gold, silver, platinum, zinc, etc.)</li> <li>Livestock and meat (Cattle, pork bellies, hogs, etc.)</li> <li>Agricultural (Corn, soybeans, coffee, and so forth)</li> </ul> <p>Some people like to group agricultural and livestock together. But no matter how they are categorized, it's possible to invest in certain groups of commodities through funds and ETFs that track specific commodity exchanges.</p> <h2>2. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Is the Place</h2> <p>We all know the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ as the places to buy and sell traditional stocks. But for commodities, the world's largest exchange is the Chicago Merc or CME, located on Wacker Drive. About 80% of the trades on the CME are done electronically, but a portion still come from &quot;open outcry&quot; in which traders stand in a &quot;pit&quot; and call out orders, prices, and quantities.</p> <h2>3. They Are Volatile</h2> <p>If you're looking for slow and steady growth, commodities aren't for you. In fact, volatility is pretty much the norm, and it's gotten worse in recent years. A report from consulting firm Deloitte said that several commodity groups including oil, natural gas, coffee, and copper, have seen price increases of 30% to 60% over a three to six month period. And between 1997 and 2012, there were far more extreme price changes than the previous 15 years.</p> <h2>4. Commodities Are Impacted by the Dollar</h2> <p>Just about every aspect of the world economy is impacted by currency values in some way, but commodity prices are especially sensitive. That's because commodities are often priced in dollars around the world due to faith in the American economy. In the U.S., a strong dollar usually means low prices for commodities. And the inverse is true; it will take more dollars to buy commodities when the value of the dollar goes down, so commodity prices go up as well.</p> <h2>5. Weather and World Events Can Affect Commodity Prices</h2> <p>Commodity investors often find themselves becoming experts in meteorology and world affairs, because of the various things that can impact commodity prices. Maybe it's a drought in the Southeast United States that has taken out soybean crops. Or perhaps the threat of a hurricane that could temporarily shut down oil refineries. Everything from floods to flies to civil war can impact the supply of certain goods, thus impacting prices.</p> <h2>6. It's Okay for Your Portfolio to Have Commodities, But Not Too Many</h2> <p>Many financial advisers suggest holding commodities along with stocks, bonds, and real estate as part of a diverse portfolio, particularly if your nest egg is large. But keep in mind that commodities don't pay dividends or interest, and very few have a terrific track record of gains over the long term. Charles Rotblut of the American Association of Individual Investors told the Wall Street Journal that most investors should only consider investing in commodities after having the basic allocations down. In the same publication, Rick Ferri, an advocate of low-cost index fund and ETF investing, called commodities &quot;dead money&quot; and said most people would be better off without them.</p> <h2>7. You Can Invest in the Future With Commodities (Sort Of)</h2> <p>Investors who want to avoid some of the risk of commodity price fluctuations can buy something called a &quot;futures contract,&quot; which is essentially an agreement to buy or sell a commodity at a certain price at a certain date. Investors who are sellers get to lock in prices this way. Investing with commodities futures is not for inexperienced investors, as it requires a certain amount of cash up front and often involves the borrowing of money, or leverage. It is easy to lose a lot of money in a short amount of time this way.</p> <h2>8. It's Possible to Have Commodities Exposure Without Owning Commodities</h2> <p>If you don't feel comfortable trading commodities futures or owning commodity ETFs, you can buy shares of stock in companies that work with those commodities. For instance, an investor can buy shares of a company involved in gold mining, or in producing equipment for oil fields. By going this route, it's possible to diversify your portfolio with exposure to commodities, but avoid some of the volatility.</p> <p><em>Are there any commodities in your portfolio?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-your-retirement-by-avoiding-these-10-risky-investments">Save Your Retirement by Avoiding These 10 Risky Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-weirdest-etfs-you-can-buy">The 10 Weirdest ETFs You Can Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-investing-in-frontier-markets">A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Frontier Markets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment agriculture commodities ETFs Food futures gold oil stock market volatility Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:01:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1687440 at http://www.wisebread.com Cheap Oil is Hurting These People -- Will It Hurt You, Too? http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gas-station-pump-Dollarphotoclub_37447291.jpg" alt="gas station pump" title="gas station pump" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The economic effects of the precipitous decline in oil prices could mean tough times for some Americans. The last time the U.S. was hit this hard by an oil crisis was in the mid-80s; a five month period referred to as the 1980s Oil Glut that left oil prices staggering to recover for nearly two decades. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/profit-on-the-oil-bust-with-these-10-cheap-energy-stocks?ref=seealso">Profit on the Oil Bust With These 10 Cheap Energy Stocks</a>)</p> <p>For now, most Americans are happy to save at the pump and to heat their homes more affordably. But some of us will feel the pain of lower oil prices.</p> <h2>1. Locals in Oil Rich Cities and Regions</h2> <p>The economic forecast looks grim for residents of oil-centric cities if oil prices continue to hover around $50 a barrel. Places like Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, Odessa, and Baton Rouge could feel spillover effects in their local economies. Towns in Wyoming and the Dakotas could also feel the pinch. Since oil is such an important part of these cities' economies, you don't have to personally work in the energy industry to feel the pain. Slowing construction, layoffs, and sluggish growth could impact these towns' broader economies.</p> <h2>2. Oil and Gas Industry Executives and Laborers</h2> <p>Already, major oil and gas companies have announced capital spending cuts leading to layoffs and the closing of plant facilities and oil rigs this year. Analysts say as many as <a href="http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/12/17/more-than-500-rigs-may-shut-down-as-oil-slides-analysts-say/">550 oil rigs could close</a> in 2015. General Electric [GE], Halliburton [HAL], Apache Corp. [APA], Baker Hughes [BHI], and Civeo [CEVO], among others, have already announced significant job cuts. Thousands more are expected to lose jobs in Texas, alone.</p> <h2>3. Home Builders and Landlords</h2> <p>One effect of oil-related layoffs is a slow down in the housing market. Credit Suisse forecasts a 20% decline in the construction of new homes in Texas, and many of the largest homebuilders, like Lennar [LEN], are heavily vested in Texas cities. Sales for these companies are expected to drop. Analysts also predict higher-than-usual vacancy rates as workers move away due to job losses, which can pose a problem for rental properties.</p> <h2>4. Investors</h2> <p>Some investment banks have slapped a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/23/investing/oil-texas-housing-houston/">&quot;sell&quot; rating</a> on home builder funds with high exposure to oil markets. But, before having a knee-jerk reaction and pulling your money out of the market, work with your financial advisor to devise a plan to weather the storm. Some analysts predict oil will trade at $70-$80 a barrel by year end. Now may be the right time to buy, rather than sell.</p> <p><em>How have you been impacted by falling oil prices?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-oil-is-hurting-these-people-will-it-hurt-you-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-the-rich-get-richer">5 Surprising Ways the Rich Get Richer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-wake-up-richer-tomorrow-than-you-are-today">12 Easy Ways to Wake Up Richer Tomorrow Than You Are Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance cheap gas cheap oil energy investing oil oil bust Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:00:14 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1309101 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stained_shirt2.jpg" alt="Cleaning a stain off a shirt." title="Cleaning a stain off a shirt." class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Oil is a worry in more ways than one. Not only is it rapidly rising in price and taking more each week from our budgets, oil is also the source of one of the toughest stains to remove from clothing, fabrics, concrete, and more. But it doesn&rsquo;t have to be.</p> <p>Armed with these handy tips, you can at least bring down the oil stain in a fight. Bringing down oil prices, well that&rsquo;s another matter entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dropping-the-price-of-gas-to-250-a-gallon-in-a-week">Dropping the Price of Gas to $2.50 a Gallon in a Week</a>)</p> <p>Note: The key to all of these tips is to treat the stain as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it, the tougher it is to remove.</p> <h3>1. Cornstarch and Dish Soap &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>Lay your item of clothing on a flat surface and liberally sprinkle cornstarch over the stain. Let that soak in for at least 30 minutes, but one hour is preferable.</p> <p>Next, rub dish soap into the stain (use a nail brush if you want to get into the fibers). Finally, wash using the directions on the care label. Air dry.</p> <h3>2. Hair Spray &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>I have no use for hair spray on my head, but for years I have used it as a cheap fixative for charcoal drawings. However, it&rsquo;s also a fine stain-removal tool. Spray the oil or grease stain liberally with hair spray; it should take quite a lot of it out instantly. Then, wash and air dry.</p> <h3>3. Cheez Whiz &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>Really? Yes indeed. I saw this one on &quot;The View,&quot; and the stain guru swore by it.</p> <p>You don&rsquo;t even need to let this one sit. Just apply some of the goopy Cheez Whiz (or a generic version) onto the oil or grease stain and smear it in. Then throw your garment in the wash, and it should take the grease right out.</p> <h3>4. Shampoo &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>It makes sense. Shampoo is designed to get grease and natural oils out of your hair. So why not your clothing? Just grab a little of your usual shampoo (or go out and buy some for greasy hair if you, like me, don&rsquo;t have any hair) and rub it into the stain like a pre-treatment. Then wash as directed. It should work like a charm.</p> <h3>5. WD-40 &mdash; Fabric and Concrete</h3> <p>Among the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">thousands of uses for WD-40</a>, stain removal is up there as a very effective use for this versatile product. And most of us have it in the garage, a place where oil is more likely to get on our clothing.</p> <p>Just spray the stain with WD-40 and let it soak for around 30 minutes. Then rub in a little dish soap and wash as directed.</p> <h3>6. Cornstarch and Dry-Cleaning Solvent &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>Once again, lay your item of clothing on a flat surface and liberally sprinkle cornstarch over the stain. Let that soak in for at least 30 minutes to one hour.</p> <p>Next, place some kitchen towels on a counter, and place the item of clothing, stain-side down, on the towels. Proceed to blot or pat the back of the stain with a rag soaked in dry-cleaning solvent. Replace the paper towels frequently as they absorb the oil.</p> <p>When you have removed as much of the stain as you can, apply a little laundry pre-treatment solution. Then wash as directed, and air dry.</p> <h3>7. Waterless Mechanics' Soap &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>There are several brands available, including Kutol, Gojo, and good old Lava.</p> <p>Rub the stain with the dry soap for several minutes, allowing it to penetrate the whole stain. The grease-cutting properties of the soap will help to break down the oil stain. Leave it for 30 minutes, then repeat. Finally, wash as directed and air dry. Simple Green is also good for this.</p> <h3>8. Coca-Cola &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>I have covered <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">the many uses of Coca Cola</a> before, and stain removal is a great one. There is actually some caramel food coloring in Coke, but not enough to do any staining damage. At least, not if it&rsquo;s left on for just a few hours.</p> <p>Simply pour some Coke onto the stain and let it soak for an hour or two. Then wash as directed and air dry. Your oil or grease stain should be completely destroyed, and there will be no sign of the Coke, either.</p> <h3>9. Coca-Cola &mdash; Concrete</h3> <p>The first step is to soak up as much oil as you can. Use old shop towels, rags, holey tees, or socks you plan to throw in the garbage; it&rsquo;s all good.</p> <p>Next, take a 2-liter bottle of room-temperature Coke and pour it all over the stain. If the stain is well-covered and there&rsquo;s plenty of Coke left, save the rest for another day. Now let the Coke sit on the stain overnight, at least 8&ndash;10 hours. The acidic properties will help eat away the oil stain.</p> <p>Soak up the Coke with more towels, and use pressure with a blotting movement to help pull the oil from the concrete. Then, using a stiff-bristled brush, apply some dish soap and hot water to the stain.</p> <p>Now, rinse with warm water. The stain should be history.</p> <p>(By the way, it doesn&rsquo;t have to be Coke. I&rsquo;m not a brand loyalist if I&rsquo;m pouring it all over my floor, and the basic properties are the same.)</p> <h3>10. Lestoil &mdash; Fabric and Concrete</h3> <p>Oil to fight oil? Absolutely! Manufactured by Clorox, Lestoil is used to fight grease and oil stains on contact. It&rsquo;s usually found in hardware stores and has a very strong smell, not unlike paraffin. Simply pour Lestoil onto the stain and let it soak for 20 minutes before washing. Or, if you&rsquo;re washing a huge greasy load, add some to the wash. It&rsquo;s also good for removing stains from fabric on sofas, chairs, carpets, and concrete driveways. As always, test in an inconspicuous spot before applying to a place in full view.</p> <h3>11. Aloe Vera Gel &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>Let it soothe away your stain-removal headaches. Soak your soiled clothing in water, then vigorously rub aloe vera gel into the stain. Wash as directed, and air dry.</p> <h3>12. Dishwashing Detergent &mdash; Fabric</h3> <p>You see ads all the time boasting the grease-fighting power of dishwashing detergents. From the tablets to regular liquids, they are formulated to cut through the grease and get your dishes and cutlery free from stains and residues.</p> <p>So take some dishwater detergent to the stain, rubbing in the liquid or powder. You can also add a tablet to your wash; this is very effective for oily mechanics' clothing.</p> <h3>13. Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) &mdash; Concrete</h3> <p>You can find this at any good hardware store. It&rsquo;s a chemical, so please use gloves and safety glasses (although believe it or not, TSP is an approved food additive).</p> <p>Mix 1 oz. of TSP with &frac12; cup of talcum powder and 1 cup of warm water. This will make a good paste, which you should apply to the oil stain with a trowel or other spreading tool. Wait for the paste to harden, then brush it away. If the stain is still there, repeat with a diluted TSP mixture of 1 gallon of to warm water with 1 cup of TSP. Scrub it into the stain, let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.</p> <h3>14. Pressure Washer &mdash; Concrete</h3> <p>If all else fails, a good solution is a high-pressure washer. These can be expensive, but there are alternatives. There are nozzles you can buy for regular hoses that convert them to high-pressure sprayers, but these will never be as effective as a washer with air compression.</p> <p>So, consider renting one from a local hardware store. They are cheap, and you can get a lot done with them, including removing other dirt and stains around the home.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-laundry-stain-removers">The 5 Best Laundry Stain Removers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/52-uses-for-rubber-bands">52 Uses for Rubber Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-bed-for-cheap-and-look-good-doing-it">Build a Bed for Cheap (and Look Good Doing It)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips Home garage grease laundry oil stain remover Thu, 05 May 2011 10:36:44 +0000 Paul Michael 536493 at http://www.wisebread.com What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon? http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2718963080_ee27f67027.jpg" alt="Gas is so cheap" title="Gas is so cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Several months ago, <a href="/what-will-you-do-when-gas-hits-4-per-gallon">I wrote an article </a> asking what you would do when gas prices skyrocketed. Now, the price of gasoline is in freefall. It’s already dipped below $2/gallon in some parts of my state, and I’ve heard it has already gone as low $1.67 in some parts of the country. The question is, will this change anything for you?</p> <p>When I arrived in the states, a gallon of gas was just over $1. So, the difference between filling a 12-gallon tank or a 25-gallon tank once a week was clearly no big deal for most people.</p> <p>Coming from the UK, I was surprised at how many massive vehicles were on the roads here: Hummers; Suburbans; F-150s; Escalades. The list of low MPG tankers with huge fuel tanks staggered me. But hey, in America it’s everyone’s right to drive whatever they want. Hybrid technology was laughed at and electric cars were dinky little toys that could never be taken seriously. </p> <p>Fast-forward to the middle of 2008 and gasoline jumps over the $4/gallon mark. The 25- gallon tank now costs $100 to fill. Car dealerships can’t sell SUVs and trucks without offering enormous discounts and free gas for a year. Drivers are on waiting lists for Hybrid cars. People are embracing ride-share and public transportation (they’re even starting to walk more and ride bicycles). A new word called “hyper-miling” became all the rage. The signs were all pointing to the end of an era; SUVs and trucks would now only be bought as a necessity, not a fashion statement. </p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u17/Picture_1_12.png" alt="gas chart" title="gas chart" width="500" height="241" /></p> <p>But as you all know, the economy encountered a small hiccup in September. Did I say hiccup? I’m sorry, I meant heart attack. A big one. And as our stocks and 401Ks plummeted, so did the price of gasoline; a very thin silver lining in a big, bad, dark cloud. For the first time in years, gasoline is once again becoming <a href="/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">one of the cheapest liquids we can buy</a> . You can see drivers smiling as they fill up the tank. Truck owners no longer have that eye-twitch as they pull into a gas station. But what will this mean long-term?</p> <p>Will the dip in gas prices affect you? Are you no longer considering a Hybrid vehicle, or are you at least putting off the purchase for a few more years? Are you driving more? Is the morning commute now made in your own car rather than a bus or train? </p> <p>Personally, I am staying on the same path. That old saying of “once bitten, twice shy” seems quite apt right now. Too many people that I know bought gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks only to see their weekly gas expenses quadruple over the last eight years. And just because we’re experiencing a delightful dip in prices, it doesn’t mean the energy problem has vanished. </p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u17/2659581587_484b033660.jpg" alt="the future?" title="the future?" width="500" height="333" /></p> <p>Fossil fuels are limited. Oil is becoming more expensive to extract and refine. We need to look to a future that does not need gasoline like a junkie needs his next fix. I will continue to hyper-mile and drive only when I need to. I will never buy a gas-guzzling truck or SUV. And our next family car will almost certainly have Hybrid technology and get great MPG. This is no time to forget the troubles of the last few years. We may have been given a little time to catch our breath, but we cannot afford to be seduced by the lull in gas prices. Sooner or later (and probably sooner) they will rise again. Be prepared. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-wisebread-helped-me-get-45mpg-out-of-my-28mpg-car">How Wisebread helped me get 45mpg out of my 28mpg car.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-gasoline-thieves-4">How To Protect Yourself From Gasoline Thieves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs fuel gas prices gasoline Hybrid oil SUV truck Tue, 11 Nov 2008 18:15:04 +0000 Paul Michael 2578 at http://www.wisebread.com Opt-out of the wasteful $26 billion phone directory industry http://www.wisebread.com/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2200696844_3e434151f7.jpg" alt="yellow pages in the dumpster" title="yellow pages in the dumpster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In this day and age of the internet, free Google 411 and a host of other paperless directory services, what use do the big, fat phone directories serve? I don’t know about you, but when I get those large plastic bags filled with 3lb phone books, I usually put them straight in the recycling bin. We never use them. Now a website similar to the National No-Call registry is asking you to sign up and stop receiving these archaic books. </p> <p>The facts speak loud and clear; the massive amount of money and resources the phone directory industry sucks up is phenomenal. This, from <a href="http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/">YellowPagesGoesGreen.org</a> : <ul> <li>540 million directories are printed annually in the United States.</li> <li>The average weight of each directory is 3.62 lbs.</li> <li>1.79 directories are printed for every man, woman and child in the US. </li> <li>The phone directory industry is worth over $13 billion in the US (that figure doubles to $26 billion worldwide).</li> <li>It takes 24 trees to make 1 ton of paper.</li> <li>It takes over 19 million trees to make half a trillion directories.</li> <li>It takes 380 gallons of oil to produce that ton of paper (over 7.2 billion barrels per 500,000,000 books).</li> <li>3 cubic yards of waste are taken up by one ton of paper (that equates to 1.6 billion lbs per 500,000,000 books).</li> <li>Over 270,000 cubic yards of landfill are taken up per 500,000,000 </li> <li>7,000 gallons of water go into the production of one ton of paper.</li> <li>4,000 kilowatts of energy are also needed to make that ton of paper (3.2 billion KW hours/500,000,000 books).</li> </ul> <p>As a frugal shopper, I deplore waste (the main image at the top of this article came from someone who spotted DOZENS of yellow pages in their apartment building&#39;s dumpster). And the idea that these millions and millions of directories are being printed so that at least 90% of us can just put them into the recycling bin, well, that just burns me up. So much money, so many resources, all for nothing.</p> <p>Decades ago, there was a need for phone directories. But that industry needs to face one hard fact; it is going the way of the dinosaur. And continually producing these books is merely prolonging the inevitable, but wasting precious time and money in the process. However, if we all do something about it, maybe we can speed that process up.</p> <p>Simply <a href="http://www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org/stop-yellow-pages/">click on this link</a> and you’ll be directed to the opt-out page at YellowPagesGoesGreen.org, where you can opt out of both the yellow and white pages. The website’s mission statement is both clear and admirable:</p> <blockquote><p><em>Yellowpagesgoesgreen.org is an organization working to educate consumers and promote the green movement to eliminate the unsolicited delivery of Yellow and White Pages books. This site is aimed at starting a national movement to solicit the White/Yellow Pages industry to proactively stop the delivery of books or to begin moving legislation to mandate the stoppage of this activity. This movement should be similar to the National No-Call Registry that have stopped and/or decreased the number of unwanted solicitations telephone calls to consumers.</em></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><em>A college student who was renting a house in Liberty, Missouri founded Yellowpagesgoesgreen.org. The number of telephone books delivered to the house was overwhelming and the work required to recycle them was daunting. When he spoke with his neighbors they all told him they just threw them away. Due to the use of technology, he felt these books were now outdated. However, he understood that some people may still want them and felt the best way to limit this tremendous waste was to mimic the National No-Call Directory. Additionally, he wanted this site to serve as a depository for information and educational issues concerning the green movement.</em></p></blockquote> <p>I put my name down this morning; and unless you have a real need for these books, like in the video below from <a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1752127">collegehumor.com</a> , or maybe propping up a young child at the table, so that they can reach their chicken soup, I urge you to do the same. It&#39;s time to put the phone directories out of their misery.</p> <p><em>Note: There&#39;s a tiny bit of &quot;colorful&quot; language in the vid...turn down the volume if you&#39;re at work or around young ones.</em></p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3U9YAwuN5lA&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3U9YAwuN5lA&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object></p> <p><em>Thanks to <a href="http://thedenveregotist.com/article/2494/enough-with-the-yellow-pages-already">The Denver Egotist</a> (via <a href="http://lifehacker.com/400663/yellowpagesgoesgreen-like-do-not-call-list-for-giant-wastes-of-paper">LifeHacker)</a> for bringing this subject to my attention.</em> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opt-out-of-the-wasteful-26-billion-phone-directory-industry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-coffee-cup-revolution-lets-take-a-stand">The Coffee Cup Revolution: Let&#039;s Take a Stand!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-spare-a-square-5-quick-tips-on-toilet-paper-usage">&quot;Can you spare a square?&quot; 5 quick tips on toilet paper usage.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-the-courtesy-flush-dead">Is the courtesy flush dead?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral">Times Are Tough; Would You Consider A DIY Funeral?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs Green Living 411 directory energy oil phone telephone waste yellow pages Thu, 21 Aug 2008 20:00:32 +0000 Paul Michael 2353 at http://www.wisebread.com