You have to feel for your automobile. Prices at the pump are soaring and there appears to be no relief in sight. The energy crunch doesn't end there. Natural gas prices have nearly doubled over the past year and if you ask California residents how they feel about rolling blackouts, you're bound to get an earful.
Energy has become more of a luxury than a commodity lately. After years of being ignored in favor of growth sectors with higher octane, energy stocks are back -- pumped and primed with a vengeance. Last quarter, ExxonMobil
A lot of the bottom-line kick has come from the cost savings implemented as a result of sector consolidation. Just as BP
With engines revved, the fuel giants look like they will continue to flourish over a summer filled with road trips and commuters who are too proud to carpool. While the energy markets all face some degree of regulation, they are ultimately supply and demand dependent. Tight inventory reserves are keeping costs high and the markups even higher.
Eventually, fossil fuel alternatives like hydrogen cells will propel a company like Ballard Power
The alternative energy field is filled with great stories but even greater risks. Yes, there are major options for home energy consumption on the horizon. Many of them are publicly traded. However, they are not for the timid. Ballard has grown to become a $5 billion company. Last year's revenues? Just $55.8 million. Over the last five years the company has generated operating losses of $133.3 million. Ballard's cells might eventually make combustion engines that burn non-renewable fuels obsolete, but the company will likely burn even more cash along the way.
Right now, the California energy crisis has been a temporary boon for the cleaner fuel cell promises of Plug Power
For now, the attention is aimed at the power brokers like Dynegy
That's energy for you -- powering the big and small.
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