A billion dollars per day

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Sunday, January 06, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

The United States spends almost one billion dollars every day on imported crude oil and petroleum products. I disabled the Energy Use widget shortly after the New Year -- after seeing 10 digit values on the 2nd day I figured I had an arithmetic error of some kind in the code. I couldn't imagine that we actually send that much money overseas every day of the year so I assumed the code was wrong.

I went back to the official numbers from the US Department of Energy and confirmed that we indeed spent $900,000 every day on imported petroleum and petroleum products. I've changed the code a little (removed some extraneous calculations and slowed the timer interval to ease the burden on your computer), but other than that the arithmetic is unchanged from before.

To put the energy widget on your own website, click here. Some other sites that now use this widget include Bello Velo, Bicycle Musings and Slowmotion Revolution.

While we're talking dollars, did anybody hear this news that the U.S. dollar is no longer accepted for payment at many tourist sites in India, including the Taj Mahal? Supermodel Gisele Bundchen also won't accept her pay in dollars, preferring her pay in euros instead.

On a happier note for American business, the weak dollar means foreign tourists are flocking to U.S. destinations. I already knew this -- every ex-pat Dane I've met in the USA immediately buys or leases the biggest American SUV available and gets a huge home in the suburbs -- but it turns out those stylish and morally superior bike-riding Danish people really like to drive when they visit the United States.

The weak dollar also makes American exports less expensive, encouraging exports of American products. If you're an American missionary dependent on American dollars for your support, however, you're kind of hosed economically.

Photo: Cycling Manual Chapter 1 by Scott Mucci in Cupertino. He has lots of other cool Bay Area cyclocross and road racing action photos on his blog -- check it out.

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