Will raising the minimum bid in federal oil and gas lease auctions boost auction revenue?

The short answer to the title question is probably not. In the Department of the Interior’s rulemaking docket concerning the financial terms governing oil and gas leasing on federal lands, a handful of comments endorsed the idea of raising the minimum bid in lease auctions as a way to increase federal revenues. But, as explained … More Will raising the minimum bid in federal oil and gas lease auctions boost auction revenue?

ABBACUS report highlights benefits of retail electric markets

On Tuesday the Distributed Energy Financial Group released its 2015 report, Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS). The report provides an excellent overview of the current state of retail electricity markets in the 18 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada that permit at least some degree of retail competition. The … More ABBACUS report highlights benefits of retail electric markets

DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it had launched an investigation into possible “unfair practices (e.g., price gouging) affecting air travel during the period of time that Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was delayed or suspended as a result of the May 12th derailment.” Five airlines received letters from the agency seeking … More DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

Dallas Morning News on competitive retail power market fees and rate designs in Texas

At the Dallas Morning News James Osborne reports on the controversy over minimum use fees in the competitive retail power market that includes most Texas households. As discussed here at Knowledge Problem last week, retail suppliers sometimes design contract offers to be especially cheap for consumers using 1000 kWh per month. The state’s powertochoose.org website … More Dallas Morning News on competitive retail power market fees and rate designs in Texas

Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website

To help provide consumer information on competitive retail offers in the Texas electric power market, the Public Utility Commission of Texas maintains a website at http://www.powertochoose.org. Enter your zip code, click a button, and it will display the top ten (out of nearly 300) offers. Because the table shows the lowest priced offers first, with the average … More Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website

Technological change, culture, and a “social license to operate”

Technological change is disruptive, and in the long sweep of human history, that disruption is one of the fundamental sources of economic growth and what Deirdre McCloskey calls the Great Enrichment: In 1800 the average income per person…all over the planet was…an average of $3 a day. Imagine living in present-day Rio or Athens or … More Technological change, culture, and a “social license to operate”