Fuel, Scrap Metal, and What it Means for You

Social IssuesEnvironment

  • Author Mark Montoya
  • Published January 12, 2012
  • Word count 473

It’s a collective economic gripe in our nation—something that virtually everybody has a problem budgeting because of its fluctuations in price and usage; something that you will see at least 3 stories about on a week of nightly news—gas prices. The sharp sigh as we watch the meter on the pump run up is becoming a one-note national anthem. Our foreign policy and importation of oil is such an involved issue that the average American has little chance to understand it without devoting large amounts of time to reading news articles dedicated to the subject, so what is there to do? We take the hit and move on. However, we seem to forget that the economy of oil does not exist in a vacuum. No matter what sort of mystical significance we assign to this one commodity, there are always other commodities that will respond to it in a predictable way, and that you can use to your advantage to offset fuel costs in your household. For the brevity of this article, I’ll be talking only about one such avenue: scrap metal prices.

Economics is largely a balancing act; companies weigh their costs against their revenue, and try to wind up with the largest slice of profit they can. While this is an oversimplification, there’s no denial that it rings true in a lot of ways; take the example of scrap metal. Scrap metal has value because it can often be repurposed into new, comparably effective products. Companies would just as soon use virgin metal, if not for the fact that it costs more fuel to produce, and therefore costs them more to buy. Fuel is just as expensive to these companies as it is to everybody else in America, and you have something lying around your house that they need fuel to procure and repurpose. By selling your scrap metal at the peak of oil prices, you’re maximizing your return on it, and effectively cashing in on the oil boom in your own way.

In fact, you can even enhance your price a little bit more by just paying a small amount of attention to what commodities effect scrap metal prices, and watch what these related commodities are doing in the market. For example, everyone knows that there’s been a housing crunch over the past few years, resulting in less new homes getting built. However, our country is beginning to crawl out of its mini-depression, bringing the real-estate market with it. As houses and buildings start to work their way out of this slump, watch what it does to the price of copper. With just the tiny bit of knowledge that every house needs copper wire, you can plan to sell any excess you might have from home improvements—whenever you think the price is right.

Written by Mark Montoya+, an industry writer for a metal recycling company.

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