First Tunisia. Now Egypt. Many are concerned about instability moving to other areas. Unrest in the Middle East is adding uncertainty in oil markets–and higher prices. Prices jumped a few percent on Friday. Talk radio this morning had a couple predictions of oil moving as high as $150/barrel in the next couple of months. That seems like pure speculation to me, but I don’t think it’s crazy to expect oil prices to climb. They nosed up to near $100/barrel already today in London.
This is certain to increase talks of energy policy in Washington. I got “news” for homeowners, though. We’re not going to drill ourselves out of this one. That may help, but by itself, it’s not a solution. And if you’re a homeowner who heats with fuel oil (like many in the Northeast or Upper Midwest in particular), a decision to start drilling in every possible location in the U.S. probably doesn’t help you for at least a couple of years if at all. It won’t take a lot of perturbation in the market to see fuel oil price to spike to $4-5/gallon. And that could devastate homeowners, with monthly energy bill perhaps even exceeding mortgage payments.
I may sound like a broken record on this, but your household’s security is tied to energy-efficiency. Collectively, so is our national security. You should take a hard look at making improvements right now. Don’t panic. But take the right steps, make smart investments in air-sealing, insulation, furnace, boilers, etc. and protect yourself and your family from instability in the world markets.