The city of New York contains the most patient, suffering population in the world. Their rulers, every public chartered company, every city contractor, and every speculator favored by these rulers, enjoy the most delectable privilege ofgetting the greatest amount of money out of the "dear people." The taxes of New York City are muchhigher than those of any city in the world, and no city is so poorly served. The citizens of New York pay $3 for every 1,000 cubic feet of gas they use, and the gas companies sell all the coke, (the refuse of the gas retorts,) for $3,50 per ton. We do not know how much the gas companies pay now for their coal ; we know that they charged $7 per 1,000 feet ofgas made from resin five years ago, and we presume the raw materials now used for making gas are much cheaper. The coal, we believe, comes from Liverpool, and may cost $12 per tona most extravagant price. Well let us see what a ton of the best cannel coal will do and then we will have some idea of profit and loss what gas can be made for, and what citizens should pay for it. A ton of the Scotch cannel coal produces 11,850 cubic feet of gas, and about 44 per cent. of coke, which at $3 for 1,000 cubic feet of gas will make $35,55, and allowing the coke to be 44 per cent., (sold at $3,50 per ton) it will amount to $1'54+35'55 =-$37'09 for the product of one ton of coal at $12, consequently, for the simple expenditures and profits connected with one ton of coal made into gas and supplied to our citizens, the gas companies of our city have the exceedingly favorable balance of $25,9. It is our opinion that good cannel coal can be obtained from Virginia for as low a price as $7 or $6 per ton, and if cannel coal was taken from Glasgow instead of purchasing the inferior Liverpool coal, a great saving in that quarter would be effectad. As we said before, we do not know exactly what our gas companies pay for their coal; we have put it at a high figure and have shown the results, and we can give chapter and verse for the alleged gas product of good coal, and none other shonld ever be used. The price of gas, we think, might be safely reduced to $2 per 1,060 cubic feet. If reduced in price, almost every private family would use it in place of oil, camphene, 'c. We hope our gas companies will see to this ; it would be the means of preventing many of the casualties which are constantly occurring from the use of volatile hydro- carbon fluids, and be a blessing to both rich and poor. Coke for Fhel.The gas companies in this city could sell twice the amount of eoke which they make. Orders have to stand for a month before they can be filled ; and we presume that if coke could always be furnished for the price mentioned, not a single family would use any other kind of fuel; anthracite would find but a poor market here, for the coke is much pleasanter, cleaner, more easily ignited, and has none of that offensive smell peculiar to bituminous and anthracite coals. Every person with whom we have conversed, who laas used coke, likes it, and would burn nothing else, if it could be got as easily as coal. We look forward to the time when the volatile products of our bituminous coals, will, in the west, be distilled for many useful purposes, and the coke sent forward to the east and north at reasonable prices for family use.
This article was originally published with the title "Give us Cheap Gas" in Scientific American 8, 13, 101 (December 1852)