Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of stories in which we look back at key issues and events of 2014 and why they will continue to make headlines in 2015.
Road tripping used to feel like it broke the bank, with gasoline prices in many places hovering above $3.50 per gallon or higher. Today, filling up for more than $2 per gallon in some places feels jarring.
Crude oil prices tumbled into an unexpected free fall in 2014, pushing gasoline prices down with them. Solar power prices continued their dive, too, helping usher in a new gold rush in renewables worldwide and predictions that rooftop solar could assist in a major transformation of the U.S. electric power grids in just a few short years.
2014 set the scene for a major turning point in energy in 2015. We’ll see how those free-falling oil prices affect how people drive, and if that, in turn, will stunt use of public transportation and development of vehicles running on alternative fuels. The future of coal may be determined, just as solar power may start to spread outside California and Arizona and more deeply into places where the sun doesn’t shine every day, thanks to falling prices and new technology.