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MARKET OUTLOOK: Energy prices remain a major concern

November 7, 2005

Wall Street just closed out its second straight week of substantial gains that helped erase the memory of a truly scary October, and investor sentiment remains high. But long-term economic problems remain, and that has traders wondering whether the market has enough going for it to keep fueling the rally.

Several reports showed last week that the economy entering the fourth quarter had weathered the disruptions caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita far better than expected. That doesn't mean economic growth won't slow -- most folks on Wall Street believe it will. It's just that it'll be slowing from a much better place than people thought.

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Amid Soaring Gas Prices, Energy Efficiency Spells Relief for Manufacturers

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2005

Today's record-high prices for natural gas and other fuels are forcing U.S. manufacturers to pursue energy-efficient technologies and practices. Manufacturers are cutting their energy waste -- and thereby energy costs -- in an economical and cost-effective manner, according to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE).

In fact, says ASE director of industrial programs Christopher Russell, manufacturers can cost-effectively avoid energy waste equivalent to about 21% of their total energy use with efficiency measures.

Until today's high fuel prices made energy efficiency such an urgent need, many manufacturers ignored recommended energy improvements due to the perceived risks involved or reluctance to make the up-front investments.

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As fuel prices rise, schools turn to wood


Biomass: The Forest Service cuts the brush from forests to prevent fires, and it's used to keep t
he students warm

COUNCIL, Idaho - The tiny Council School District used to pour thousands of dollars into outmoded oil and electric heaters. Nearby, the Forest Service burned brush piles on the mountainsides to keep the brush from fueling forest fires in dry summers.
Looking for some savings, Council Superintendent Murray Dalgleish developed Idaho's first public school biomass heating system - a project that's expected to save Council $1 million on fuel over the next 15 years.

''We're surrounded by the Payette National Forest,'' said Dalgleish. ''We're the Saudi Arabia of wood.''
Biomass is plant or animal waste that can be burned as fuel. Modern biomass furnaces burn such matter - wood, manure or crop waste, for example - at very high temperatures, reducing pollution to levels acceptable under federal air quality standards.
''We're at a fraction of what our oil boiler used to stink up the air with,'' Dalgleish said.

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Heating prices loom as problem this winter

9/13/2005 2:19 PM

By Sue Kirchhoff, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers could still face higher energy bills ahead despite recent declines in energy prices as gulf producers continued to rebound from Hurricane Katrina's pounding.
The average nationwide retail gasoline price Monday fell to $2.967 a gallon for regular unleaded from $3.018 the day before, according to AAA.

Gasoline futures prices have dropped by about a third since the end of August.

Crude oil prices dropped to $63.34 a barrel, down 9% from the record close of $69.81 in late August.

Natural gas futures were down more than 23 cents in New York trading, to $11.03 per million British thermal units, compared with a record $11.76 on Sept. 1.

Still, energy experts say consumers will feel the impact of Katrina for months. Natural gas prices will be a big challenge this winter.

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Economy

Storms Could Force Home Heating Prices Higher

Weekend Edition - Sunday, September 25, 2005

Beyond their many oil refineries, Texas and Louisiana also host major natural gas facilities. Storm damage and disruption could lead to high prices for home heating this winter. Mike Zenker, a natural gas specialist with Cambridge Energy Research Associates, offers his insights.

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Hurricane Season

Hurricanes Likely to Have Ripple Effect on Economy

Morning Edition, November 8, 2005

Heating bills will leap this winter thanks to the effects of hurricanes on fuel production in the Gulf of Mexico; but that's not all. Many consumer goods prices will likely rise as well, since natural gas is the raw material for everything from shampoo to car tires.

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