One of the big concerns right now is that we might be in a recession. And one of the worries is that oil prices may put us there. There are several other factors, of course, but the fact that fossil fuels remain our main source of energy is worrying. And not just from an environmental standpoint. Alternative energy can have a very real impact on your personal finances.
When you think in terms of the big picture, and the long run, it becomes apparent that fossil fuels are costly. They:
- aren’t terribly cost-efficient overall
- cause respiratory health problems (mainly from pollution) that lead to higher health care costs
- represent safety issues (there are costs associated with coal mine cave-ins and refinery explosions)
- continue to rise in price.
Alternative energy, on the other hand, reduces most of these problems. While technology is still developing to increase efficiency, alternative energy (I refer mainly to wind and solar energy) is already cleaner and safer. And the costs of accessing it are falling.
Consider: It will take 10 years to even get started in Alaska on the wildlife refuge and cost billions of dollars. What if that time and money were spent — instead of trying to dredge up the fuel of the past — on developing the alternative energy technology we already have to bring our fuel supply into the 21st Century?
In the long term, alternative energy saves money. If you buy solar panels now, you save money over the long run — and become more energy independent. Even Exxon Mobil (XOM) is on the bandwagon, developing a hybrid car battery. Choosing now to encourage an alternative energy future can mean a more stable economy later. And it might help your personal finances as well.