In the time it takes you to read this blog post (which, we’ll point out, is shorter than most of our posts), residents of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon will send more than $10,000 out of the regional economy to pay for oil and natural gas. That’s about $30 million a day and more than $10 billion a year.

Don’t believe us? See the dollars drain out of the region yourself with an energy counter we created as a real-time tally of how much our dependence on expensive, imported fuels is costing us in 2005.

**Please add your comments below to a discussion about how the Northwest can reshape its energy system and keep more money circulating close to home.

P.S. – As Clark pointed out yesterday, if oil prices stay high, the tally may rise to $34 million a day for oil alone—money that, if it were used for just about anything else, would be far less likely to skip town.

P.P.S – Read more about this subject in Cascadia Scorecard 2005: Focus on Energy, and in our 1999 book Green-Collar Jobs(pdf, go to p.67), where we use Bend, Oregon, as a case study in the impact of energy spending on the local economy.