Since 2012, solar panels installed by SolarCity, have caused seven fires on the roof tops of Walmart stores. In 2016, Tesla purchased SolarCity to expand its renewable energy business. The purchase of SolarCity has been controversial since the beginning as it was founded by cousins of Elon Musk, and Musk himself served as chairman of the board. SolarCity was plagued by debt issues at the time of purchase, and its revenues have not turned around since the Tesla purchase.
With an attempt to boost the shipbuilding industry in the U.S., the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act has been reintroduced with bipartisan support. It is being supported by Senator John Wicker (R-Mississippi) and Congressman John Garimendi (D-California). This act would require 15 percent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports be moved by U.S. crewed and built tankers by the year 2041. It also applies to 10 percent of seaborne crude exports by the year 2033. During this same time, the act would also require an additional 50 U.S. ships be built during the same time-frame. Wicker and Garimendi are supporters of the Jones Act – where cargo ships transporting goods between U.S. ports must be built, owned and operated by U.S citizens.
Gas prices for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend are lower than both Memorial Day 2019 and July 4, 2018 even when considering the newly implemented fuel excises taxes in twelve states and PES fire. “Since the June 21 blast halted operations at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ 335,000 barrel refinery, the national average for gasoline has risen by about 7 cents per gallon of unleaded to about $2.73 per gallon. The national average on the holiday weekend last year was $2.85 per gallon.” Lower fuel prices have travelers turning to road trips to celebrate the summer holiday.
Americans are expected to travel in record numbers starting today. AAA estimates that 48.9 million Americans will travel for the holiday weekend, an increase of 4.1% over the previous year. Most travelers – 41.4 million – plan to drive with the remainder using other means of transportation.
The delays nationwide are expected to increase by 9% with major cities impacted the most. AAA provides the worst time for travel in certain US cities:
Lower prices are not a constant for all aspects of summer travel. “Some of the savings travelers are enjoying from lower gas prices will go toward other travel costs this holiday, which are trending higher. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares on average are 10% more expensive compared with last Independence Day, while average car rental rates are 5% higher than last year, at $69 daily.”
The Fourth is also the most dangerous time of year to drive. This afternoon is predicted to be the heaviest of all commutes, but thunderstorms are also in the forecast nationwide to further complicate the day. “AAA expects to rescue nearly 367,000 motorists at the roadside this Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble.” Click here to find a checklist from USA Today of what to do before embarking on a summer road trip.
UPS has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 12% by the year 2025. The company is focusing on using biomethane, or renewable natural gas (RNG) as their fuel source. “By switching to renewable natural gas, UPS estimates its vehicles will reduce as much as 1.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through 2026. That's the equivalent of removing more than a quarter million vehicles from the road.” UPS operates a fleet of over 123,000 vehicles with more than 10,000 of those running off of alternative fuel or other technologies.
As natural gas production continues to increase through the Appalachian region, methane emissions are on the decline. As companies continue to produce, they are finding safer and more environmentally sound ways to get natural gas out of the ground. Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and if leaked into the atmosphere, absorbs the sun’s heat. It is considered a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases, once in the atmosphere, act like an insulator around the earth. The absorb heat while still letting light through.