Wall Street Journal article by Raymund Flandez and Kelly K. Spors

With oil well over $100 a barrel and gas hurtling past $4 a gallon, small-business owners are firing up their entrepreneurial spirit and finding low-cost, creative solutions to save energy. Some are using software that maps out shorter delivery routes to save on gas. Others are switching to energy-efficient hardware, such as new light bulbs. Others hold meetings on the Web instead of flying far-flung employees to conferences. And a handful are making even more drastic changes, such as installing solar panels to power their equipment.

Of course, lots of large companies are also using these measures. But they have some advantages small firms don't. It's easier for them to shift some of their higher energy costs to customers, for instance. And they can use their size to get leverage on energy costs. A recent study by the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy found that small businesses in the commercial sector, for instance, paid 30% more for electricity and 20% more for natural gas than the bigger guys.

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