Some of the stuff they use to make fluorescent bulbs light up is called Rare Earth Phosphor. It's a key part of the white film on the inside of the bulb. Technical term, I know, but it’s an important one since it’s going to drive the costs up on all fluorescent light bulbs over the next several months. And, sadly, the price increases will be high. So, what happened to cause this situation?
Basically, the only place Rare Earth Metals are mined right now is in China, which gives them a lot of leverage on how much everyone has to pay for them. In 2011, the government there has severely cut back the amount of materials they are allowing to be mined and sold. It would be like having the world’s oil supply cut by 50% or more in a matter of a few months. Can you imagine what would happen to the price of gas and oil? Yikes!
Well, even though the costs of the fluorescent and CFL light bulbs are going up, the amount of energy and money they save you (when compared to incandescent bulbs) is still more than enough to pay for the bulbs many times over. A lovely silver lining to a dark cloud. ;) I’ve included a “Buy Online” link here so you can see if the price of your fluorescent bulb has gone up or not. If you need linear fluorescent bulbs, get them now before the price gets even higher. (We have been notified by all manufacturers & all brands that more increases will be following)
One final note: Other nations (including the United States) are ramping up production of Rare Earth Metals, which will lead to lower prices. This will start having an effect on the market in 2-3 years, according to industry experts. Hopefully, it’s a lesson learned. Don’t allow any one country to hold a monopoly on any type of material, if it can be helped.