IE Questions: Fossil Fuel Primer

“Fossil fuel” is not exactly an obscure term. Most people have the basic understanding that fossil fuels–coal, oil and natural gas–were formed from the buried remains of ancient plants and animals, submerged under heat and pressure for hundreds of millions of years. But, just because they’re formed by the same process, doesn’t mean they are all one and the same.

IE Questions: What Is Peak Oil? (Part 1)

Remember 2005? In the middle of a Bush presidency, Terri Schiavo and her feeding tube captured national attention, Lance Armstrong was still winning Tour de France titles, and Arianna Huffington launched a new website. Perhaps it was the shock of Hurricane Katrina, or the post-Y2K lull, but we needed of a new apocalyptic obsession and we found one in peak oil. Public interest in peak oil – as judged by Google searches, at least – peaked in August 2005 and coincided with Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, we were experiencing peak “peak oil.”

IE Questions: Now We’re “Cooking With Gas”

I don’t usually care much about the etymology of phrases or words;  my apologies to the word-obsessed out there.  But I happened to be listening to the public radio show A Way With Words on a long drive the other day (through a region where my only other option was country rock), and I heard a fascinating explanation of the origins of the phrase, “cooking with gas.” Because we are Inside Energy, and because natural gas is very much our topic area, I have to share:

“Now we’re cooking with gas” originated in the late 1930’s or early 40s as a slogan thought up by the natural gas industry to convince people to use gas, rather than electricity, on their new-fangled stoves.  This was the era where there was a widespread transition from wood-fueled stoves, and electric and natural gas stoves were in competition with each other. The gas industry wanted to imprint the idea in people’s minds that cooking with gas was the most effective way to get the hot food on the table.