Gas prices up? Time to remember remote work again

Rising prices at the pump inevitably prompt a flurry of interest in telecommuting as a short-term solution for commuters’ pain. Should we be thinking longer term, using remote work as a way to restructure our lives to take the sting out of gas prices for good?

A breakdown of gas costs per city [Infographic]

Here’s how much drivers across the U.S. have been spending on average to fill up their tanks per month, courtesy of online banking web startup Folks in Silicon Valley are spending the most, while New Yorkers spend the least.

How High Gas Prices Could Help Google

Google has shown a surprising interest in the future of energy, from investing in clean energy, to developing a plug-in vehicle project. But there’s another way that Google could be connected to energy through its search business: as gas prices rise, so do paid search clickthroughs.

Gas Prices: Another Reason to Adopt Web Working?

Between the continuing economic recovery and the political unrest throughout the Middle East, 2011 has seen oil prices continue to rise. It’s obvious raising the cost of commuting increases the appeal of web working, but have we already seen an increase in home-based work?

Daily Sprout

Quest for Corn-Free Gas: Some SUV and boat owners in Florida are more than willing to drive out of their way to fill up at stations that sell biofuel-free gasoline, looking for “the extra mpgs that come from ditching ethanol.”Autobloggreen, Florida Today

Co-Ops Strike Out Against Climate Bill: Some 930 rural customer-owned utilities that are more dependent on coal than many other generators have pitted themselves against supporters of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill and the Edison Electric Institute. — ClimateWire via NYT

Energy Prices in the Tank: Gasoline futures started falling midweek after a government report showed a huge surplus, showing some of the first signs that an extended rally in pump prices is nearing an end after 52 straight days on the rise. — Associated Press

Duke for Nuke: Duke Energy, Usec and other energy companies have teamed up to evaluate a Department of Energy site in Piketon, Ohio, as a potential location for a new nuclear power plant. — Press Release

Electrovaya on Deck: ExxonMobil has been working with Electrovaya on technology for electric cars, and next week the company Electrovaya will discuss its plans for the Maya 300, an all-electric vehicle slated for 2011. — Greentech Media

Daily Sprout

DOE Dole Too Slow, Says Chu: Energy Secretary Steven Chu says he’s “turning up the heat” on stimulus programs in areas including fossil energy and electricity transmission that “don’t feel the sense of urgency that they should feel” to get cash out the door quickly. — Associated Press

Second Look at Japan Climate Plan: On its face, Japan’s plan to cut emissions by 15 percent compared with 2005 levels by the end of the next decade seems modest, but “by some important measures, Japan’s target is more ambitious than that contemplated by either the United States or the European Union.” — NYT’s Green Inc.

Clunker vs. Clunker: The House and Senate are in the final stretch of shaping two versions of a cash for clunker bill — one that would require a major leap in fuel efficiency, and another that’s more concerned with clearing dealer lots of SUVs and pickups than boosting MPGs. — BusinessWeek

Cheap Oil Era Officially Over: For the first time, the Energy Information Administration appears to be joining with experts who have long argued that the era of cheap and plentiful oil is drawing to a close. — Grist

Gas Prices on the Brain: A new survey from Kelley Blue Book finds that for the last two months, rising gas prices have caused more than 60 percent of people shopping for a new car to either change their minds or consider vehicles they wouldn’t have otherwise. — Press Release

FollowUp iPhone Conversation Tracking


A recently released application for the iPhone exploits an interesting new market — tracking conversations and following up calls. FollowUp aims to provide a location for noting down the action you need to take after receiving or making a call, along with a due date.


As you’d expect, FollowUp integrates well with the Contacts application for noting down who you’ve called. The process involves opening FollowUp and noting down that you’ve had a conversation. You can enter the details of the person, date, call subject, associated notes and also set a follow-up date for when you should call them back.

conversationsIf you’re lagging behind, the app will flag up those conversations which are most urgent and warn you if the follow-up date has expired. You can also set your own priorities if preferred.

After returning the call, you mark the conversation as completed and the previously stored details are retained for future reference. You may also choose to follow-up immediately, storing the old conversation while simultaneously creating a new one. Read More about FollowUp iPhone Conversation Tracking

Daily Sprout

Brits Develop Carbon-Eating Cement: A new kind of cement based on magnesium silicates requires much less heating than the conventional stuff (which accounts for 5 percent of global carbon emissions) and absorbs large amounts of CO2 as it hardens. — The Guardian

Gimme a $2-a-Gallon Gas Tax, Says…Texas Oil Man?!: “There’s a reason that everybody in Europe drives roller skates and here we drive SUVs. It’s because Europe has a huge tax on gasoline.” — Fortune

Record Insurance Payouts, Courtesy of Climate Change: Adjusted for inflation, 2008 was the third most expensive year on record for the German reinsurer Munich Re. The company is now calling for an international plan to halve emissions by 2050. — NYT’s Green Inc.

2009 Forecast: Hot Hot Hot: UK climate scientists expect the 2009 to be among the five warmest years on record, indicating a rapid return of global temperature to a long-term warming trend and an increasing probability of record temperatures after 2009. — Green Car Congress

Climate Change Off Hook for Neanderthals’ Doom: Recent analysis of late-Pleistocene hominid habitation delivers a solid blow to the popular hypothesis that climate change did them in. Now it looks like they just couldn’t compete with modern humans. — Wired Science

How Hot Are Hybrids Globally?

In 2008, worldwide interest in hybrid cars began to spike at the beginning of the summer, just as gas prices began to skyrocket. At least that’s when Google’s (s GOOG) year-end Zeitgeist, released (and covered on GigaOM) today, shows a jump in searches for the term. Surely that’s just in the U.S., where “good weather and vacations” (according to the Energy Information Administration) cause demand to average about 5 percent higher in the summer, right? Funny you should ask. We did — and found that while U.S. Googlers have the strongest interest in hybrid cars, hybrid searchers from Malaysia, Canada, and Singapore are not far behind. From there, regional search volume drops off precipitously.

To be sure, Google presents an imperfect science for judging demand for hybrid-electric vehicles. In Malaysia, for example, Honda (s HMC) has made a big push for its hybrid-electrics there, but made hardly a dent in a market where some local manufacturers use “hybrid car” to describe dual-fuel-option (natural gas or gasoline) vehicles, according to CNET Asia. Still, the top 10, which is ranked according to Google’s search volume index, offers a glimpse of relative interest in the technology. The numbers represent the likelihood of users in each country searching for “hybrid car,” on a scale of 0-100. Google divides the total number of searches for each country by the number of searches for this particular term, and then normalizes the data based on the country’s traffic volume. Read More about How Hot Are Hybrids Globally?