One of the few bright spots in what has been a dreary six months
for the U.S. economy is the plummeting price of oil. At press time,
prices are around $40 per barrel, so it can be easy to forget oil
was selling for more than $100 per barrel only a few months ago.
Beyond the obvious benefit at the pump, we also should anticipate
reduced prices for petroleum-based raw materials
and—ultimately—finished goods, freight charges and
But there is a downside to this situation: The financial
motivation to adopt energy-efficient practices decreases with
falling oil prices. The investment return from additional thermal
insulation, high-performance heating systems, energy-efficient
windows, etc., is different when oil trades at $38 per barrel
versus $120 per barrel.
However, you should avoid basing your business decisions solely
on the market price of oil. Expanding the basis on which you assess
investment returns and payback periods can benefit your
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