DrumBeat: May 25, 2007

Gut Check America: Share your stories

Are you worried or outraged by something in your neighborhood, in our government or across the nation? What gnaws at you but seems to go unmentioned in the national political campaigns?

This is your chance to drive the conversation about what really matters in America.

Here’s how it works: You tell us about the specific issues that are most important to you and explain how they affect your daily life. We also want to hear how you would solve the problem.

Why not tell them about The Oil Drum while you're at it!

A pipe dream? have faith

In their haste to shut down a leak of information they didn't control, the federal Tories may be slamming the door on the only option that could keep the Mackenzie Gas Project from being mothballed.

Yet there's a strong case to be made that the option is sound from a market, consumer, public policy and political perspective: an Arctic pipeline built by a pipeline company such as TransCanada Corp., perhaps with one or more partners, perhaps with a degree of temporary government backing including loan guarantees, that would be open to everyone producing natural gas in the Northwest Territories.

The main and obvious option, of course, is the one that has been before us for seven years, a pipeline built by a partnership of oil companies headed by Imperial Oil Ltd.

Yet it's becoming increasingly apparent that this option is unrealistic on the oil companies' terms, which includes heavy government subsidies as a way to reduce their risk.

Oil prices forecast to hit $80

Global oil prices could easily rally to record levels above $80 a barrel this summer, analysts forecast on Thursday, due to Middle East tensions, red hot Chinese growth and a reluctant OPEC.

But record high prices will not have the same impact on oil demand as in the past few years since consumers have grown accustomed to it.

Gas station shuts down pumps to protest oil prices; motorists cheer

Motorists pulled in to Harvey Pollack’s gas station today, honked and gave him a thumbs-up — because he wasn’t selling any fuel.

The owner of Towne Market Mobil in this suburb north of Milwaukee shut down his pumps for 24 hours, hoping to start a movement aimed at convincing oil companies to lower their prices.

“Somebody out there is making money at these prices, but not me,” said Pollack, 57. “So I just thought: What can I do to help the consumer?”

Weak gasoline inventories send oil prices higher

The market has been preoccupied with gasoline prices ahead of the peak demand season from the end of this month when Americans take to the roads on holiday.

"The report was very weak for crude oil and very bullish for gasoline. Even though gasoline inventories have increased, demand is very strong and the situation is not really improving much," Mitsui Bussan Futures chief commodities strategist, Tetsu Emori, said from Tokyo.

Global Insight analyst Simon Wardell said gasoline stocks should be rising more sharply in May and June but refinery outages in the United States have hit inventories.

US lawmaker queries BP on US refinery outages

A senior U.S. senator on Thursday asked BP Plc's (BP.L: Quote, Profile , Research) top U.S. executive to explain why two of the oil company's biggest refineries were operating at half capacity right before the start of the peak U.S. summer driving season.

Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, asked BP America Chief Executive Bob Malone to explain why two giant BP refineries -- one in Texas City, Texas, and the other in Whiting, Indiana - were running at half capacity.

The peak oil crisis: The minimum operating level

As gasoline is largely delivered by pipeline, barge and coastal tankers these days, a lot of gasoline is tied up in transit. Thus the amount of gasoline “trapped” in transport is substantial. This “trapped” gasoline is known as the “minimum operating level.”

The Department of Energy used to publish this number, but stopped doing so a few years ago on the grounds they were not confident that it was accurate. This week, however, the old number for the minimum operating level surfaced in a 3-year-old government report and it turned out to be 185 million barrels – very close to the 197 million in the inventory. It really does not matter what the actual minimum level is, for any figure remotely close to 197 million is cause for concern. If stockpiles – on either coast – drop much more, we are going to find out, the hard way, exactly where the minimal operating level is, for that will be the day the shortages develop.

Oil executive responds to outcry

The country is short of refining capacity. That is a direct outflow of a business that, say, in 2003 and 2004 had an average return of 6 percent or lower.

So there has not been a lot of margin in refining over the years, and there hasn't been a huge incentive for refiners to invest. Now, all of the sudden, you find yourself in a situation where demand has caught up with production capacity, and the pressure is on.

For a while we were able to compensate with imports from Europe, and that is still happening. But obviously we're in a different world right now ... With refineries running close to 100 percent capacity, any little thing that happens has an impact. It is a matter of enough capacity. In order to build that capacity, you need four to five years. So we'll have to wait till that catches up.

Tipping-Point Shock

Even with high gas prices causing financial hardship for many Americans, most motorists still plan to stick to the roads at least until pump prices climb another dollar, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll found that nearly six in 10 Americans say that near-record gasoline prices are a hardship, but only 11 percent said that soaring prices would curtail their driving habits in the coming weeks. Three in 10 said they might skip a summer road trip.

The average price that drivers said would compel them to significantly cut back on their driving was $4.38 a gallon. In the western United States, where gasoline prices are typically higher than in the rest of the country, the average respondent said the price would have to hit $5.12 a gallon.

Refinery's impact assessment won't look at emissions

The proposed new Irving oil refinery for Saint John will not undergo a full environmental impact assessment, and one New Brunswick environmental group is shocked.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced Thursday the proposed scope of the EIA would be restricted to the environmental impact of constructing a pier and breakwater on the site.

A spokesperson for the agency said an examination of air emissions as part of the EIA is unnecessary, because the refinery project would already be subject to strict federal law on greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. lawmakers weigh using coal as transport fuel

A U.S. Senate panel on Thursday weighed plans to turn plentiful U.S. coal supplies into transport fuels, but some experts warned that building "coal-to-liquids" plants will boost greenhouse gas emissions.

Policymakers are looking at America's 250-year supply of coal as a way to fuel vehicles while reducing dependence on crude oil imports, which meet about 60 percent of daily needs.

Countries like South Africa already use a process commercialized by Germany in World War II to turn coal into fuel for use in cars, trucks and airplanes. China also is eyeing ways to boost its coal-conversion capacity.

Iran's decision to raise gas prices exposes economic vulnerability

Experts warn of the popular backlash that other countries have faced when dealing with the same need to raise long-subsidized staple prices. At the same time, they doubt the 25 percent price hike imposed this week on Iran's gasoline will do very much, on its own, to solve the country's underlying economic problems.

Even after Tuesday's decision to raise gasoline prices from 800 rials per liter to 1,000 rials per liter (0.059 euros/liter to 0.074 euros/liter, 30 cents/gallon to 38 U.S. cents/gallon), Iran has some of the lowest gas prices in the world. Those rock-bottom prices have led to unnaturally high demand and have saddled the government with fuel subsidies that cost billions of dollars a year.

The demand also forces Iran to import more than 50 percent of the gasoline it consumes because it lacks the refinery capacity to keep up — a glaring vulnerability as the U.S. and its allies look for ways to pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program.

East China Sea talks test warming China-Japan ties

Today's resumption of China and Japan's attempts to resolve their dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea will test the two countries' dramatic ice-thawing talks in Tokyo last month.

The Beijing meeting to draw up a joint development proposal is rich with potential for the newly minted "strategic relationship of mutual benefit".

Pakistan seeks foreign, private investment to resolve power crisis

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf on Thursday invited the private sector and foreign investors to set up power plants in the country to help meet its energy requirements.

Pakistan was facing serious shortage in energy sector, and offered lucrative returns to investors as the power needs were going up at the rate of 10 percent per annum, said Musharraf at a power plant foundation-laying ceremony near southern city Karachi, quoted by state media.

Musharraf said Pakistani government was working on a short, medium and long-term strategy to meet power shortage and said he was looking for all sorts of sources for power generation including water, gas, coal, alternative and nuclear energy.

The government was removing all bottlenecks to facilitate investors in the power sector, and had created investor-friendly policies by implementing liberalization and deregulation, Associated Press of Pakistan quoted the president as saying.

Latin America: Beating The Oil Curse

Pemex is Mexico's piñata. Politicians are so accustomed to the steady flow of cash from the company that they've never mustered the discipline to cut government spending or carry out major tax reform. Now, after years of underinvesting in exploration, Pemex is watching helplessly as output from its biggest oil field, Cantarell, declines by 20% a year. At current production rates, Mexico's oil reserves will last less than 10 years, meaning the world's sixth-largest oil-producing country runs the risk of becoming an oil importer.

Contrast Pemex's woes with the situation in Brazil. At the time of the price shocks of the 1970s, Brazil imported all its crude and the economy nearly collapsed. Since then, state oil company Petróleo Brásileiro (PBR ) (Petrobras) has been driven with a missionary zeal that led the country to become self-sufficient in oil last year. The richest deposits were offshore, at depths that hadn't been attempted even by Big Oil multinationals. But Petrobras' engineers developed innovative techniques and equipment that allowed them to pump crude in more than 6,000 feet of water—a record at the time and still among the deepest operations worldwide.

Brazil's Petrobras to build ethanol export pipeline

Brazil's state-owned oil and gas company Petrobras announced on Tuesday that it would begin building ethanol export pipelines following the completion of a feasibility study.

Construction of the pipelines, known as the Ethanol Export Corridor, will begin within a few months and the network will be ready for use in 2010 or 2011, said Marcelino Guedes Gomes, director of ducts and terminals at Petrobras transportation subsidiary Transpetro.

The project will build pipelines linking the western central regions that produce sugar, the main ethanol ingredient in Brazil,to the ports of Santos and Paranagua, in the coastal states of SaoPaulo and Parana.

BP's Russian gas licence 'to be revoked'

TNK-BP's subsidiary working the field, Rusia Petroleum, has gone to the courts to clarify the terms of its Kovytka licence, a process that could take several weeks. But yesterday, Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, said "the likelihood" of TNK-BP's licence being revoked was "100pc".

The relatively under-developed Kovytka field has the potential to be a massive revenue-earner for BP, but the company's Russian operation is accused of breaching its licence by not extracting gas fast enough. TNK-BP was expected to produce 9bn cubic metres of gas annually, but Mr Mitvol says only 33.9m came out of the ground last year.

TNK-BP says that the government's failure to invest in infrastructure means that even if more gas was produced it could not be transported to customers.

Anti-trust body suspends $4 bln deal to sell Yukos offices

Russia's anti-monopoly service has postponed until August 2 a deal worth nearly $4 billion to sell former Yukos offices to Prana, saying it needs more information on the company's owners, a Russian business daily said Wednesday.

Kommersant said the delay could reflect Russian authorities' uncertainty over who stood to benefit from the May 11 deal, when the previously unknown company offered nearly five times more than the opening price for the bankrupt oil firm's 22-story office building in Moscow, outstripping state-backed oil giant Rosneft.

Originally, the Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) threatened to block the deal if Prana failed to clarify its ownership structure within 14 days following the auction, and refused to approve the purchase of other Yukos assets by a company apparently affiliated with independent oil giant LUKoil two weeks ago over "lack of transparency," the daily said.

Austrian deal will extend Gazprom grip on European energy market

Gazprom is poised to strengthen its grip over the European energy market with the purchase of a stake in a strategic Austrian gas hub that would give it a powerful lever over an EU project to bring in non-Russian supplies of fuel from Central Asia and the Middle East.

Shortage fuels speculation

The mystery over the shortage of petrol and diesel at filling stations across Qatar is deepening.
Suppliers say there are no production or distribution glitches. But many filling stations told The Peninsula that diesel and ‘Super’ petrol were in short supply as Woqod (Qatar Fuel) distribution had been infrequent.

GE invests in renewable energy in British Columbia

General Electric Co.'s GE Energy Financial Services unit announced three renewable energy projects Thursday including investments in a wind farm in Texas and a hydropower project in British Columbia.

GE Energy Financial Services said it would double its renewable energy investments by 2010 as part of GE's "ecomagination" program.

Costa Rica Aims to Win "Carbon Neutral" Nation Race

Green trail-blazer Costa Rica is drawing up plans to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero before 2030, the government said on Thursday, and aims to be the first nation to offset all its carbon.

Environment Minister Roberto Dobles said the tiny, jungle-cloaked Central American nation would clean up its fossil fuel-fired power plants, promote hybrid vehicles and increase tree planting to balance its emissions.
"The goal is to be carbon neutral," Dobles told Reuters. "We'd like to do it in the next 20 years." He said Costa Rica would also eliminate net emissions of other greenhouse gases.

Iraq Oil Law in Limbo

Hassan Jumaa Awad, president of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, an umbrella group representing more than 26,000 workers, said their complaints with the law rest primarily on the fear foreign companies will have too much access to -- and possibly ownership of -- Iraq's oil.
"First of all, we are against the production sharing agreements," Awad said.

PSAs are deals whereby a company provides capital investment in the project, sells enough of the first oil produced to recoup its costs, and then splits the rest of the oil with the government. Companies can "book" their reserves, bolstering their portfolios.

"These kinds of contracts ... we don't like it at all," Awad, speaking via a translator, told United Press International from a mobile phone in Rome. He's on a speaking tour to generate support and spread information about the law.

Partnership courts Gazprom for Quebec LNG plant

Rabaska is a partnership of Montreal's Gaz Métro LP, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc. and the French energy company Gaz de France. It is one of dozens of energy companies that are planning to build LNG terminals around North America to offset expected declines in conventional natural gas production in both the United States and Canada. But there are more buyers of liquefied natural gas in the world than there are sellers, and the analysts have raised doubts about the viability of many of the projects, based on lack of assured gas supply.

Petrocan and its partner, TransCanada Corp., are planning to build an LNG terminal farther down the St. Lawrence at Gros-Cacouna, Que., and Petrocan has been engaged in long-running negotiations with Gazprom to participate in the Baltic project in order to secure a steady supply of gas.

In return, Gazprom is demanding a stake in the Gros-Cacouna plant; Gazprom executives have said any partner in the Baltic should expect to either sell it downstream assets or allow it to become a partner in projects.

Miller to announce hybrid-conversion project

Fresh off an international meeting of mayors that focused on municipal climate change initiatives, Mayor David Miller is set to announce a plan to convert hybrid vehicles to plug-in models that can be charged at any wall socket and are powered primarily by electricity.

Conventional hybrids are powered by gasoline engines assisted by an electric motor. But Miller is out to prove that when equipped with larger batteries that can be plugged in and recharged, hybrids can operate in a city setting on a single charge for more than 50 kilometres, while using little or no gasoline.

The initiative -- as reported Thursday by The Toronto Star -- is called the Toronto Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Pilot Project and is set to be announced by Miller on Thursday.

BMO calls in lawyers

Bank of Montreal has engaged a top New York law firm to unravel "irregularities" related to two of the bank's former commodity traders and a brokerage firm that are at the centre of the $680-million the bank lost betting on the natural-gas market.

Lawyers at Sullivan and Cromwell LLP have been asked to investigate the losses that were covered up because the bank's book of natural-gas trades was valued wrongly based on data provided by New York-based Optionable Inc.

Peace talks on the brink of trade war

The issues are the same as they have been for several years. China's industrial revolution has turned it into a low-cost manufacturing centre and flooded the world with low-cost goods, in the process creating a $232bn (£118bn) trade deficit for the US with China. Defenders of US manufacturing say an artificially low currency gives Chinese companies an unfair cost advantage that is turfing thousands of Americans out of their jobs. Meanwhile, US businesses are under huge restrictions if they want to operate in China, and all the while China is refusing to respect intellectual property rights and - in the shrillest commentators words - stealing overseas designs to further their own economic progress. The Bush administration has already referred China to the World Trade Organisation for alleged breaches of WTO rules and imposed unilateral tariffs to punish the country for DVD counterfeiting.

China, for its part, is trying to move to something akin to a market economy, without provoking instability. As recently as last week it offered new concessions, allowing the yuan to float and appreciate a little more quickly against the dollar and promising it would invest increasing amounts of its government reserves in US assets. In a particularly dramatic gesture, it paid $3bn for a stake in the US private equity firm Blackstone.

Yangtze flood alert as Tibetan glaciers melt

Melting Tibetan glaciers could cause the worst flooding on the Yangtze since 1998, when more than 3,000 people were killed as China's longest river overflowed, state media said Thursday.

"Meteorological and hydrological features in the Yangtze River valley this year are similar to those in 1998," said Cai Qihua, deputy chief of the Yangtze River Flood Control Headquarters, according to the China Daily.
"We should be vigilant for a comparatively big flood on the Yangtze," she was quoted as saying.

Vast amounts of snow have melted on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, where the Yangtze originates, the paper said, attributing the unusually warm winter to El Nino, the abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern Pacific.

The big thaw

From the high mountains to the vast polar ice sheets, the world is losing its ice faster than anyone thought possible. Even scientists who had monitored Chacaltaya since 1991 thought it would hold out for a few more years. It's no surprise that glaciers are melting as emissions from cars and industry warm the climate. But lately, the ice loss has outstripped the upward creep of global temperatures.

Scientists are finding that glaciers and ice sheets are surprisingly touchy. Instead of melting steadily, like an ice cube on a summer day, they are prone to feedbacks, when melting begets more melting and the ice shrinks precipitously. At Chacaltaya, for instance, the shrinking glacier exposed dark rocks, which sped up its demise by soaking up heat from the sun. Other feedbacks are shriveling bigger mountain glaciers ahead of schedule and sending polar ice sheets slipping into the ocean.

Report says cities, towns can fight climate change better than feds

Canadians eager to push the government for action on the environment and climate change should stop wasting their time on federal and provincial politicians - who are delivering little more than "green rhetoric" - and focus on local leaders who have the power to get things done, says a new report obtained by The Canadian Press.

The report, by the environmental organization Sierra Legal, cites Calgary, East Hawkesbury, Ont., Hudson, Que., Montreal, Okotoks, Alta., Richmond, B.C., Toronto, Vancouver, and Whitehorse as examples of municipalities that took the initiative to address concerns about the environment rather than wait for help from federal or provincial officials.

Why a Chinese monetary tightening could be followed by a global depression

As the worlds largest holder of dollars, the Peoples Bank of China is now the worlds de facto central bank. Thats a scary thought because China is a nouveau riche nation that is not ready for a principal role in global economy. But in 1929, the United States was similarly a parvenu, a country that held 50% of the worlds monetary reserves (in the form of gold) even though its central bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States (or Fed for short), was all of sixteen years old; this adolescent outfit had been created only in 1913 after the passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.

More carry-trade unwind possible

The OECD said it was difficult to gauge the extent of the carry-trade from statistics on cross-border flows, which generally do not point to a recent upturn of outflows from Japan.

It added that most carry-trades were undertaken through fast growing over-the-counter derivatives markets. Outstanding notional positions that involved one half of the trade in yen and Swiss franc amounted to roughly US$4 trillion and US$1trillion respectively in June 2006, the OECD said.

It said there was some evidence pointing to large short positions in yen put options, reflecting insurance sold to those engaged in the carry-trade, with many market participants assuming these short positions are held by Japanese banks. The need to cover these short positions in the event of a sharp yen appreciation could strongly amplify such currency moves, it said.

Still, it warned of the potential fallout from a more sudden unwind of the global carry-trade.

A large amount of outstanding carry-trades implies that any shift in expectations could lead to fairly large, and potentially disruptive, exchange rate swings, with increased volatility feeding into higher interest rates and reduced liquidity, it said.

Regional currency to replace dollar in Argentina-Brazil trade

Argentina and Brazil, South America's two largest economies, will drop the U.S. dollar in favor of a regional currency in their bilateral trade starting in October 2007, Argentine Economics Minister Felisa Miceli said.

The countries' transition to a new currency, as yet unnamed, is part of a pilot project by the South American continent's major trade alliance, Mercosur, to replace the U.S. currency in internal transactions with money of its own, Miceli said.

World Population Becomes More Urban Than Rural

Cities refine and process rural goods for urban and rural consumers. But if either cities or rural areas had to sustain themselves without the other, Wimberley says, few would bet on the cities.

“As long as cities exist, they will need rural resources – including the rural people and communities that help provide urban necessities,” he said. “Clean air, water, food, fiber, forest products and minerals all have their sources in rural areas. Cities cannot stand alone; rural natural resources can. Cities must depend on rural resources.”

Change the Rules, Change the Future

But times change. Ten years later, it's increasingly clear that it will be more costly not to act on global warming than to act. Clean, renewable, efficient energy will not be a burden but a boon -- the next in a series of revolutions, beginning with telecom and digital that have invigorated our economy with new ideas, new industries, and new jobs.

Voters, investors, activists, business leaders, and policy experts are pushing for clean energy to create jobs, limit climate change, and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. And yet, progress is slow: oil imports and carbon emissions continue to rise. Why?

Because the rules of the game -- the laws, regulations, subsidies, and tax credits that shape the energy market and the way it acts -- continue to make fossil fuels a less expensive, more convenient choice for consumers.

Coal subsidies maintained until 2010

Europe's coal industry has been declining since the 1950s, as prices for imported coal decreased and local extraction costs increased. With the expiry of the European Coal and Steel treaty in 2002, the EU adopted the Coal Regulation in order "to allow for the continued restructuring of the coal industry". Under the regulation, continued state aid is allowed on the condition that it follows a "downward trend".

Coal subsidies are a controversial issue, and the EU has been criticised for continuing to subsidise what is widely considered a "dirty" source of energy. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen have been at odds over how to balance environmental concerns with competitiveness, particularly with respect to the allocation of funds to traditional industries such as coal.

European Commission proposes to keep coal subsidies intact

The EU coal industry has been subject to special state aid rules since the European Coal and Steel treaty, which established the EU's predecessor the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, expired in 2002.

The rules provide an exception to the general prohibition of state aid in order to allow for the continued restructuring of the coal industry, which has been unprofitable for many years in most member states. But the special arrangement will end by 2010. There are important differences in the competitive situation of coal mines in Europe. Mines in Germany, Spain, and Hungary have production costs of more than twice the world market price for coal, and are therefore dependent on operating aid, while mines in the Czech Republic, Poland, Britain and Slovakia are more or less competitive on the world market, which receive either no subsidies at all or limited subsidies.

(OK, I will throw 1 story in there - RR)

Oil Industry Says Biofuel Push May Hurt at Pump

“If the national policy of the country is to push for dramatic increases in the biofuels industry, this is a disincentive for those making investment decisions on expanding capacity in oil products and refining,” said John D. Hofmeister, the president of the Shell Oil Company. “Industrywide, this will have an impact.”

Very nice mix in the Drumbeat today. I was going to add to it, but I think you have it covered.

One thing I will say: It is, without a doubt, going to be a monster quarter for oil companies. Refining is going to have a big quarter due to gasoline prices, and upstream is going to have a big quarter because oil is still at $60 and natural gas - due to high demand from ethanol plants - is at $7.50.

Note that I do not point this out as in "Woo-hoo, we are rolling in cash!" I am just making the observation, because I think this will put the public and the politicians in a frenzy. I think when profits do start to get released, the pressure on congress to do something is going to be intense. This quarter may tip them over the edge.

As I wrote on my blog this morning:

The best thing for all parties would be to come to terms with the fact that the days of cheap oil and gasoline are over. That era is finished. Start planning for the next one.

But what congress will undoubtedly do is pass laws that attempt to extend those days of cheap gasoline. Dealing with the issue in this way will only make things worse for consumers.

If you have political power you use it to get what you want. That's been going on for decades. If enough voters can get their representatives to legislate cheap gas, that's the way it is.

Corporations use the exact same process to get tax breaks and subsidies all the time.

Basic common sense. If more of us had some, we would all be libertarian.

Err, I think I have heard pretty much the same from everybody who is totally convinced their ideology is "the correct one"! :)

One thing I find confusing is how different terms are used for ideologies here in Europe and over there in America. For instance, the French word "libertaire" is, or at least was until recently, pretty much synonymous with "anarchiste", and if I'm not totally mistaken most anarchists have historically considered themselves socialist and very much part of the working class movement. As for socialist, very few people use that in America; there the usual word would appear to be "progressive". In Europe, on the other hand, socialists are very much in the mainstream and "progressive" doesn't really mean anything at all.

So my question is: what exactly do you mean by libertarian? Is Ron Paul, for instance, a libertarian? To me he seems like an honest and intelligent person, but from a European perspective, I think if he ran the US the gap between the rich and the poor would certainly not be any smaller than it is today. Am I mistaken if I think that the sort of libertarianism you buy into wouldn't involve any redistribution of wealth, other than perhaps through the charity of the well-off?

Here in Scandinavia (I'm Finnish) it is pretty much taken for granted that the government has a duty to look after those in need; that is a requisite for social peace. There is not a single party in Finland that openly opposes this sort of redistribution of wealth, the right and the left just disagree on how it should be done, basically.

I, with probably the vast majority of Scandinavians, am quite fond of John Rawls' Theory of Justice, and if I were put in the situation he hypothesized (that you should choose a political system into which you would prefer to be born if you had no chance of knowing the social position of your parents) I would certainly prefer the Scandinavian model to a "libertarian" model. To me it makes sense, that basic common sense...

Post PO, this sort of system may become impossible, but I personally will never vote for anybody who would be willing to give it up.


Liberals want more restrictions on business and less on individuals.

Conservatives want more restrictions on individuals and less on business.

Libertarians want less restrictions on business and individuals.

Authoritarians want more restriction on business and individuals.

Those are excellent definitions in the abstract.

But hiding behind all those labels are the interests of the individual. The real battle over the last 27 years has been between those who believe that more inequality is a good thing and those who believe that more equality is a good thing. The former group does not dare speak this view in public, but since it naturally gravitates towards business & property, it is full of people who are skilled in advertising, so it lies its ass off. And it's won overwhelmingly.

Sometimes a crack shows in the anti-equality armor. During the early Reagan era I found a book by a Christian conservative backing far-right policies, but also arguing that taxes should be LOWER on rich people than poor people because the rich are clearly superior decision-makers and thus their spending is good for the economy and the spending of inferiors is bad for the economy. Now that is grotesque. But look at the subsequent effort by the Right, both "conservative" and "libertarian", to bring about exactly this state of affairs. They have moved heaven and earth to convince the ordinary American that his well-being entirely depends on the upper several % of citizens getting power over everything that matters.

Now to me the interesting division is between those who feel that capitalism is properly concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the "right" people, and those supporters of inequality who are shocked to discover that capitalism concentrates wealth and power in the hands of those they consider subhuman: Jewish bankers, black rappers, gay actors, etc, etc. That latter group is the dirty secret of American politics. They worship property as long as they have enough that they can piss on some lower caste. They assume that God is the Invisible Hand of the marketplace, ergo if they worship Him and persecute His enemies they will magically get nicer houses than Jews. And when they find that they are on the wrong end of the wealth-polarization process, they have no rational place to turn their wrath.

Yeah, Germany had 'em too.

Since many of these bullies are natural cops, prison guards and soldiers, it's natural that their version of capitalism supports gigantic military budgets, Patriot Acts and Duke Cunninghams. How else do they elevate themselves to their proper place over those faggy Harvard MBAs?

So yeah, Bush's less-affluent supporters are authoritarians, but it's important to see why. And why they're pouring their spare cash into an institution that violates all separation between Church, State and Business: the evangelical Protestant movement. The Falwells and Robertsons can re-define the failure of capitalism to raise the incomes of "good" Americans as actually being caused by a moral perversion of urban liberal elites - exactly Hitler's tack. Since a religion does not have to reward its average follower with rewards in this lifetime, these holy bastards can continue the polarization of American wealth, make fortunes on Wall Street, and then turn the rage of their impoverished followers on scapegoats, first at home, then abroad. You can make your own guess on how peak oil will amplify this.

This will not end in 2008.

It's way more complex than that. [US Only] Consider, why is Tom Friedman a liberal? Why is Hillary a liberal? Saying they want more restrictions on business and less on individuals is just wrong. And obviously so. "Liberalism" is a free market creed based on growth - in particular, that a rising tide (economic growth) will improve everyone's lot so there is no need to address distribution. There are those who think liberalism means pluralism; that's about the same as having Wal-Mart in your *local* Chamber of Commerce, and somehow thinking that, gee, what a nice ally....

Conservatives are either close to extinct or co-opted by the thugs ala Wal-Mart above. Given the triumph of economic liberalism and its adoption by what most people consider the conservative movement, it's hard to find a distinct thread. I'd hazard a guess that the Green Party, as in the sense of the European Greens, is probable the heir to this. But that will take the die-off of a generation that still thinks the Republicans represent their cause. John Dean writes about conservatives in several books - quite good books. Lakoff discusses the conservative personality in his fat book, Moral Politics; that's a good resource too, not his poppy shorter books.

There are analyses that show that libertarians aren't a true species. After all, what does one make of an anarchist that submits to authority when it make sense? They are really authoritarians in disguise.

Nor do authoritarians want more restrictions on business and individuals. It depends on the WHO gets restricted and on who gets to decide - chain of command, class, "the best people". A better distinction might be "rule of law" or "rule of man". A little story: I'm one of the people on the complaint list in Maine taking Verizon to court for wiretapping illegally with NSA - something President Bush has admitted is illegal but says he will continue anyway. The defense, by the US DOJ, is nothing but an affidavit from General Alexander, head of NSA, that there is nothing illegal. Never mind that the President admits it is illegal, the DOJ advanced that defense and the court - also a Bush appointee - accepted it. Authoritarianism.

Authoritarianism is much more than that. Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor is a good place to start. Or Catch-22 if you want to go at it from the other side. Just remember, when people are fearful, they seek authority.

cfm in Gray, ME

On issues of Justice:
A Liberal is a Conservative who has been arrested.

A Conservative is a Liberal who has been mugged.

On issues of taxation and profit:

As George Will once said, "America is a system that privatizes gains but socializes risk". If I hit it big, I keep the money. If I lose big, the public shares the loss.
"In America, everyone wants lower taxes, but everyone wants the benefits of government spending and programs. In this respect, all Americans are half Conservative." George Will.

Roger Conner jr.
Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

That's just bollox posing as political analysis

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Americans have long been sold on the Horatio Alger myth, "As long as you work hard, anyone can rise up from poverty and become rich and successful." This makes it easy to not worry about the less fortunate. If they would just work harder, they could be rich too!

Socialism in this country is associated with the "losers" of the cold war. Since the US prevailed in the cold war, it is obvious to many Americans that unbridled capitalism is the best economic system around and we have the largest economy in the world to prove it!

The fact that we spend 15% of our GDP on health care, have the most overweight people in the world, use (or waste) the most natural resources per capita, and carry a huge amount of debt is something we'd rather not think about.


... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

Two of my favorite Vonnegut quotes:

"And I tell you, we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different."

I have never found anyone that can come up with an argument to that, certainly not me.

"Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We're dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go do something."
[Gets up and dances a jig.]

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., interview in Inc. Technology January 1996, Vol.17, No. 17

Just let me get into my asbestos suit.

Ron Paul? Opposes the income tax, any traces of the "welfare state", advocates hard currency (gold). Apparently, like for many glibertarians, the US circa 1890 is the gold standard here. No Federal control of anything except an imperialist military. Paul may be honest and even intelligent, but I would not want live in his world.

Libertarianism is an ideology where the building block of society is the private family, living in a fenced compound somewhere in the hills. That's also the extent of society - anybody coming close to My Private Property risks lead poisoning. Like Somalia, only without the positive social cohesion of the clan system.

Somehow libertarians think all the rest of the hard won fruits of civilization (public roads, sanitation) are superfluous. They also think they themselves would magically be the ones making decisions in such a society, that somehow they would not be the unfortunate ones under the heel of the local warlord. Funny how that works.

"Progressive" has a long history in the States: think Theodore Roosevelt. It has been reclaimed on the left, partly for the ideological lineage, and partly because "liberal" has been turned into an epithet by the Right.

In general, when faced with catastrophe (peak oil, year 2000), the American Doomer tends to run for the hills with his rifle and his pony and his sack of beans, not engage in local community building. Which is why I don't have high hopes for post-oil civilization in America - except for spots where people like Alan from Big Easy hold sway. Lesson from human history: the nomads and the villagers fought for centuries - the villagers won.

("Scotty, can you please keep us on topic?" "Aye Aye Sir, back on topic, sir!")

Apparently, like for many glibertarians, the US circa 1890 is the gold standard here.

Considering that peak oil and dealing with global warming at the same time are susposed to push us back to 1890 (at least) isn't it appropriate to have a leader that is stuck in that time?

You touched a nerve. You framed the left / right issue to portray the left leaning totalitarian light types [liberals or "progressives"] as being on a higher moral plain than the right leaning totalitarian light types [big business Republicans and policitally militant Bible Thumpers.] The pest on both groups.

A whole lot of what the U.S. Government does isn't Constitutional. Read the Tenth Amendment. Tell me where progressives line up the Constitution. Show me someone who believes in a "living breathing constitution" and I'll show you an advocate for their version of authoritarianism based on their unwritten rules [that more like guidelines] which they believe they have the right to change as their moods change.

Do the same thing with the right except for the libertarians. You will find that there are a few "conservatives" who believe in the Constitution ... but not many.

BTW, as I see it, Ron Paul is unique. 534 "nays" for Constitutional Government [some profoundly so -- some almost tolerable] with one "yea" -- Ron Paul.

Libertarianism is an ideology where the building block of society is the private family, living in a fenced compound somewhere in the hills. That's also the extent of society - anybody coming close to My Private Property risks lead poisoning. Like Somalia, only without the positive social cohesion of the clan system.

An interesting description with no basis. Casually inflicting "lead poisoning" as a libertarian ideal? BTW, the family is IMO the basis for a healthy society. If kids don't get the right guidance and the appropriate social interaction, the odds aren't good. [Full disclosure: I am single which is not a good thing for the society as a whole -- but it seems to work for me -- and to best of my knowledge I have fathered no children.]

Somehow libertarians think all the rest of the hard won fruits of civilization (public roads, sanitation) are superfluous. They also think they themselves would magically be the ones making decisions in such a society, that somehow they would not be the unfortunate ones under the heel of the local warlord. Funny how that works.

Hardly, the states and local Government can handle local infrastructure and the Commerce Clause as origninally intended can pretty much handle the rest. Note that there are references to "post roads" and perhap other public works in the Constitution. Warlords? Where did that come from?

Privatize all public works? I honestly don't see the point, but if you do don't let the Government stand behind them with rules that guarantee monoply status and a lack of accountability.

BTW, imperialism isn't in the Constitution either ... and Ron Paul is an outspoken critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq in particular and foreing military adventures in general unlike progressive like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, LBJ and [your are going to hate this] George W. Bush [a proponent of the Medicare drug benefit, the current illegal immigration amnesty in lockstep with Ted Kennedy, and all maner of political pork.]

Finally, Ron Paul may oppose the income tax, but it is Constitutional ... explictly so as an amemndent to the U.S. Constituion [leaving aside some ratification controversies that probably don't have much merit].

Very well put!

I sometimes wish that Libertarians would get their way and establish their own state. It wouldn't take long for them to realise that "the government thingy" might be a good idea after all...

Incidentally, there's a hacker proverb that says "Those who don't know Unix are doomed to reinvent it; poorly". Substitute "Unix" by "government" and you get equally wise words.

I happen to live in Ron Paul's Congressional district, curtosey of that great American Tom Delay (thats sarcasm, you humorless SOB's). So I follow his politics closely.
In the redistricting Delay coveted the Clear Lake area and wanted to torpedo Paul, so he gave the island nation of Galveston to Ron Paul. We have a lesbian mayor and vote democratic.
I seriously considered voting for Paul, but ended up voting for his opponent, an old-fashioned conservative democrat. Paul had the courage of his convictions on a lot of things, but he caucused with the Neocon Republicans, and therefore is responsible for their rough treatment of our civil liberties.
The guy is nuts. He's the Dennis Kucinich of the Republican Party-sounds great but has no influence. An abortionist in their caucus?
Get real.

Dennis Kucinich has a huge influence. The short vegan with the big ears and that weird history of being right to support a muni utility vs the banks. He carries the flag for at least 25% of the activists in the Democratic party right now and for a bunch of others that have abandoned it. He brings up the Iraqi oil law and an amendment to strip it from the benchmarks that the powers that be don't allow on the floor. Impeachment, because if we don't, we might as well elect a criminal. Yeah, a nut case. What are you going to tell me, that he's not presenting the case so that it will be accessible to the mainstream? Ayuh.

cfm in Gray, ME

There's an article on Ron Paul's republican opposition in his congressional district at galvnews.com, the Galveston Daily News website. A Friendswood City Councilman has announced against him for the Republican primary next year because "he doesn't reflect our values".

American socialists call themselves progressives because socialist has come to mean pedophile rapist alien.
Libertarian does not mean anything specific. Perhaps it means you smoke a pipe. More often it means you abhor the socialistic side of Adolf Hitler. But most often it means nothing at all.

No - the conservatives would still be conservative, justifying their prejudices by torturing their beliefs, liberals would still be liberals doing the same, as do libertarians...

...such labels are meaningless, but they do lend a certain smug self-satisfaction to those of us that think our self-appointed label to be virtuous.

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Ah Yes-- There is no left-right-libertarian, it is meaningless---
When ever I hear this, I look for the sharp right turn (it always happens)----
As in, slow people keep to the right----

RR: Question: Wasn't it less than a year ago that Vinod Khosla was debating you re ethanol? As a non-expert, it seemed to me that his argument was that corn ethanol would become more competitive as gasoline prices rose. Now that US gasoline prices have risen dramatically, one would expect to see the likes of Khosla trumpeting the advantages of ethanol (now more than ever). The ethanol prices appear to be rising in lockstep with the gasoline prices. Where is the TRAJECTORY?

He did make that argument. And I showed him this graph:


Never in the past 25 years, with all the ups and downs of the gasoline markets, has the annual spot price of ethanol been cheaper than gasoline. Those familiar with the EROI problem understand why this is. Khosla did not (and this graph was news to him).

Its hardly a surprise that the price of ethanol stays roughly $0.50 above that of gasoline. As long as the blender can sell it at the same price as gasoline it will stay that way. His income from selling ethanol is determined by the price of gasoline. His costs are the price of ethanol - $0.50.

Assuming the same profit you get this equation:
Price(gasoline) = Price(ethanol) - $0.50

Rearrange and you have
Price(ethanol) = Price(gasoline) + $0.50

I suspect this is why ethanol producers want the the credit to go to the producer instead of the blender, the way things are currently set up provides their opponents with free ammunition.

I refute your point by indicating that the subsidy was started in $yearwhatever and the indication is that for 25 years ethanol has been more expensive. I postulate that ethanol is more expensive because the EROEI is less than gas.

Well then it might be a surprise to you that ethanol prices are NOT currently $0.51 higher than gasoline prices. Check the numbers - CBOT ethanol price $2.20/gal, NYH gasoline $2.40/gal. Thats, uh, -$.20 versus your 'hardly a surprise ' +$.51

"The future is bright. There's plenty of oil. No peak for at least 15 years"
--EIA, IEA, Exxon et. al.

Sounds like it is a good time for the oil companies to load up on "one-time" charges. Even though earnings are usually stated both with and without one-time charges, it would help them to get the public to believe that it isn't as excessive as it appears (even if it is).

I'm not sure what charges they could take care of now. Many times these are due to payout packages for early retirement. Given the skilled labor shortage in the oil industry, that one is probably out. Perhaps restructuring charges, if they do provide some sort of structural improvement in the company.

No matter how you look at it, regardless of if the oil companies make record profits or losses, the public is still going to be enraged over losing their perceived right to cheap petro.

"one-time" charges

With oil going from $20 to over $50 why haven't profit margins *already* gone nuts? Hedging? Cost inflation?

Sounds like it is a good time for the oil companies to load up on "one-time" charges. Even though earnings are usually stated both with and without one-time charges, it would help them to get the public to believe that it isn't as excessive as it appears (even if it is).

I'm not sure what charges they could take care of now. Many times these are due to payout packages for early retirement. Given the skilled labor shortage in the oil industry, that one is probably out. Perhaps restructuring charges, if they do provide some sort of structural improvement in the company.

They could buyout one of the big 3 auto makers, plenty of writeoffs they could find there. That would be a marriage made somewhere, though probably not in heaven.

Sounds like it is a good time for the oil companies to load up on "one-time" charges.

I actually suggesting something like that (internally) following Katrina. In that quarter, I knew that our profits would be big, and that there would be a lot of venom spewed our way. So, I wanted to accelerate debt payments and go ahead and buy some things that we knew were coming. But, we didn't.


If the refineries need to use Sweet NG for cracking the sour crude. What effect will that have on the draw of supplies in the US. How much more NG will they need to produce from the lower grades of crude to make gasoline. This will make the costs go up because of that price it seems, not counting on drawing down the dwindling supplies in the US of NG.

From reading the descriptions here about the process, it appears to me from that basic info, this could have an impact on price. Any idea the amounts needed to process. Of course power plants use huge quantities, but how much more volume of NG will all the refineries need as they start producing more sour grades.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The demand for natural gas is going up due to the need to process heavy oil (when a hydrocracker is used), sour oil (in a hydrotreater), and for ethanol production (natural gas for fertilizer and the distillation process).

Thanks Robert, but what about the volume needed to do this if you know. Just curious. As NG goes up how will this effect the price of the refined product. With NG on a cliff for depletion could the amount needed for gasoline production become an above ground event.

From the brief read on a another thread, it seems like a good deal of NG is needed. Then it is either burned off or frozen. What about reclamation of this for other uses, what is left after the process.

What happens when NG goes back to 14bucks.

Im not looking to hammer the oil industry Robert. I understand about the other industries, Fertilizer needs NG, but other methods could be used to make Ethanol if needed. But Crude needs the NG from my read.

Robert et all. Im not a newbie to PO. I've been on to this for a very long time. An example. When I started you could search Peak oil and maybe get a few hits. I started doing my own research and was about to put up a website for reference. After about a year or so I went back and did my google and a new site had popped up I hadn't seen. That site was LATOC. Matt had put up everything I had a found and some more. Then it really started to take off. I don't know the industry, put the problem and the "science". I know.

I wrote Matt an email after viewing his site asking if he would consider toning it down a bit. Heck I knew most of this stuff and the way he presented it, I knew it was going to scare people and perhaps panic, which I am sure it did in some cases. Matt didn't LOL, and I still send people to it, but advice them to visit all the others too. Though like most, I don't talk to many anymore. Even now, they just don't want to hear it. Why some of us get PO and 99 percent of population doesn't, it is an interesting question.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Thanks Robert, but what about the volume needed to do this if you know. Just curious. As NG goes up how will this effect the price of the refined product. With NG on a cliff for depletion could the amount needed for gasoline production become an above ground event.

The hydrogen feed rate varies greatly, but a rough number would be 500-1,000 scf/bbl of processed crude for a hydrotreater, and twice that for a hydrocracker (however, if you have a coker, you actually produce natural gas). From there, you can back out the natural gas (used to make the hydrogen in a reformer). The natural gas usage for ethanol is equivalent to about 75% of the BTU value in the ethanol.

I forgot to mention that ULSD and ULSG are also consuming natural gas. Those specs are new, but they require more hydrogen to get the sulfur down to those very low levels.

What happens when NG goes back to 14bucks.

I will give you a hint without coming right out and revealing too much. The idea that natural gas was going to be much more expensive was the reason behind this transaction:


The analysts thought it was a bad deal. Natural gas at $7.50 has had them reconsidering. I think the handwriting is on the wall for natural gas. The oil companies' actions suggest that they believe the price is going much higher.

Thanks for the info. Jeez, the govt says NG is going to be 5 bucks in the future, and even in the face of that powerful forecast they decided to still buy them. So far the weather is not a factor. Hurricanes in the Gulf, and lots of AC use in the NE and Winter will be more than interesting. Someone from Boston either here or another board posted that a TV news show said Black outs could happen, of course the reason was "vague".

Squeeze play, all around (baseball ref)

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Hello PrisonerX,

Your Quote: "Why some of us get PO and 99 percent of population doesn't, it is an interesting question."

My very simplified theory is that we have an inherited genetic component that elevates our 'predator and habitat awareness' compared to most other people. When our ancestors were out foraging, they were the ones to first spot and possibly warn others where bears, wolves, and tigers might attack from. They were the first to become aware of drought and seasonal changes, then use this info for advantage.

So our noticing today's dangerous changes is a logical survival result of our ancestors' greater ability to elude the sabertooth and longer timeframe habitat disruptions. But we are mostly genetic mutants compared to the 99% that no longer have this orientation or instantly suppress these incoming sensations with denial. Overshooters wildly outnumber those urging caution.

Thus, successful PO + GW Outreach will be an enormous task. It is akin to asking every human to wiggle their ancient vestigial tailbone like a dog, cat, or monkey. That is why the scientists say we can expect a dieoff.

We would have been much better off as a species if we always wanted numerous predators to improve Darwinian fitness. If we always had only a 60% chance of a successful sprint from vehicle to grocery store and back: then our grossly inflated Overshoot would have been much harder to occur.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I think another part of this is that humans are very poor at evaluating threats correctly. Sensational news stories about shark attacks make people scared to go to the beach. The fact that they are more likely to die from an auto accident on the way to the beach, drowning in the water or skin cancer doesn't sink in for most folks.

After 9/11, people were afraid to fly because of the terrorism threat so they chose to drive instead. The fact that you only need to drive about 11 miles to run the same risk of death as flying never seems to catch on.

... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

Hmmm, maybe thats why I drive a Tracker LOL>

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Mr. Rapier,

Don't know what oil company you work for, but I thought you might find this interesting....suppression of large format NiMH batteries as used in the EV1 and RAV, by Chevron, who owns the patents.


This is the kind of crap that gives oil companies a bad name, not to mention record profits, monopoly power, and 400 milliion dollar retirement packages, and 3rd world environmental devastation.

The good news is that patents are only valid for 20 years, so the ones that apply to these batteries should have run out or will do soon ... so you are saved! ... that is if there's enough nickel in the world !!!


Ah, but then you've lost many many years of a crucial stepping stone technology. They may not be the solution, but they could have provided a pathway. As it is now, we've been standing on the first stepping stone waiting (too long) for the next one to appear. In the meantime basically no infrastructure has been built and very little knowledge or acceptance garnered of electric automobiles. Imagine how much closer we'd be to mass production EV's if we'd built 150,000 practical and desirable ones by now.

In the meantime basically no infrastructure has been built...

And imagine if we had built new Urban and Electrified Inter-City Rail systems at the same rate as the French.

In 2006, Mulhouse France (pop 110,359) got the first of 3 tram lines (all by 2012). That is how far down the list France has gotten for new Urban Rail systems.

With the completion of TGV East (first 300 km of 406 km scheduled to open in two weeks), the high speed inter-city rail network will be essentially complete except for some cross-border connections.

Best Hopes for making up for lost time,


The average price that drivers said would compel them to significantly cut back on their driving was $4.38 a gallon. In the western United States, where gasoline prices are typically higher than in the rest of the country, the average respondent said the price would have to hit $5.12 a gallon.

Well, that gives some indication of where prices are headed if the inventory situation doesn't improve soon.

That's just talk, I'm inclined to discount that a bit. My gut feeling is that $5 is a magic number. At that point people on minimum wage need to work around an hour to come up with the after tax $5 for one gallon. At that point, a gallon of gas costs more than lunch at a fast food joint. At that point, a single tank refill starts to exceed the cost of a week's groceries for some people. At that point, most SUV, truck & van owners are looking at >$100 tank refills. $5 is halfway to $10, and I suspect most people subconsciously view double digit gas prices as apocalyptic.

At $5, it is not just driving behaviors that really start to change -- moods and attitudes and rhetoric start to change too.

Naw, Law of Receeding Horizons, the price of the fast food lunch will increase.

cfm in Gray, ME

No, people will stop super-sizing first.

Just need to remind people that they can super-size a pair of pants for free.

I suspect when resturants (fast food or other) record lower sales then we'll start to see the an early sign of a recession/collapse beginning. I continue to see people paying exhorbant prices for food at the airports all the time, including dropping the change in to the tip jar. So far, (as much as I can see) the tip jar has not been running low! This is just an observation!

I'll keep you posted, if I detect changes in the tip jar.

>My gut feeling is that $5 is a magic number. At that point people on minimum wage need to work around an hour to come up with the after tax $5 for one gallon. At that point, a gallon of gas costs more than lunch at a fast food joint.

When gas costs $5/gallon, the price of a fast food meal will also be much higher. Since the economy is dependent upon energy to operate, prices of goods and services rise to adjust to rising energy prices. If the rise is slow, wages usually have time to adjust to rising energy prices, as long as supply does not decline.

>At $5, it is not just driving behaviors that really start to change -- moods and attitudes and rhetoric start to change too.

I would speculate that other economic factors will chime in before the price reaches $5. For instance the US GDP for Q1 2007 rose a mere 1.3%. There is a very high chance that the US economy will fall into a recession this fall, unless something significant occurs such as the fed dropping rates. Its obvious that a significant of americans are whinning about high gas prices, which probably means its affecting the way the spend thier discretionary income. Credit Card debt is rising which could mean consumers are financing higher energy prices using CC debt. I have personally noticed that most people these days are using Credit cards at the pump instead of Debt cards.

Even if I am wrong and the US avoids a recession this fall, eventually higher energy prices will take a toll on economic activity.

The question remaining, is whether energy prices continue to rise despite declining consumption caused by a recession. There is a chance that oil and gas production declines could outpace declining consumption.

Most likely people are using CC's for the rewards/miles. Also some debit cards charge per transaction fees. My discover card gives me 5% on the first $1200 in gas i buy each year.

I doubt demand will drop off enough at lower than $5 to significantly affect consumption. Just my opinion.


Robert, as I said yesterday, these poll numbers signify nothing, merely reflecting cheap sentiment. Pollsters are intruders, so if one talks to them at all, the thing to do is to blow them off as quickly as possible.

The quickest answer here is to name a price one doesn't expect to be reached really soon. Otherwise one might be tempted to stop and think, slowing down the process of getting the damned pollster off the phone. Which may be a reason why we've passed umpteen of these magic numbers with little effect.

The opera will be over when the fat lady sings. When there is a sustained statistically significant drop in driving, then we will know the price. To count, the drop will need to be somewhat major, as the numbers are noisy. After all, DOT statistics on VMT seem to be somewhat wild guesses based in part on polling samples, which suffer from the problems I just griped about. In addition, people randomly underestimate time and distance - when somebody tells me it takes an hour to get somewhere, I often need to allow an hour and a half. Meanwhile, gasoline statistics are contaminated by ethanol, which causes ever more retail gallons to be sold for the same number of miles driven.

When it is finally reached, the actual price will shock everyone, simply because the alternatives to driving are hideously expensive. Vide the monumental traffic jams of London and Paris. In the USA at least, decades of government policy designed to prop up "property values" artificially have made city housing completely unaffordable. Bus transit is utter rubbish, slow, unreliable, and tardy, hugely time-consuming, often slower than walking - and often serving only the weekday day-shift. Rail transit is better but hardly ever happens to go where and when one needs to go, and hardly ever serves anything but the weekday day-shift. Cycling is often socially unacceptable because of the sweat-and-odor factor, and because of problems storing the bicycle, or with bringing expensive items like headlights inside, at the destination, given today's mindless hysteria over "security".

[rant] Alternatively, Congress will please The Great Shiftless Moron Mass by meddling in ways that cause serious physical shortages, as per the MoveOn petition. But no, on second thought that's not an alternative, just an addition, since the demand inelasticity and the percentage of imports are such that the price is not set domestically any longer. Anyway, once the shortages occur, I don't know how the morons who are rooting for them expect to get to work! [/rant]

One thing that will certainly happen is a great reshuffling of jobs. Right now there are lots of people that are driving an extra 10-20 miles per day just to work at a job that pays an extra $0.25-$1.00/hour more than what they could get closer to home. A lot of those people will eventually figure out that they can take lower paid employment without the commute and come out ahead.

This suggests that we are about to enter a transitional period when a lot of our standard economic statistics are going to become suspect. For example, if someone that has been working in a $10/hr job shifts to a $9/hr job closer to home, the statistics would suggest that this is a 10% drop in earnings. Repeat this pattern a millionfold, and red lights and sirens should go off! However, the worker might actually be better off, after taxes and commuting costs, than if they had stayed in their old job. Our standard statistics presently fail to capture that nuance. Thus, expect the government to make some wrong moves based upon incomplete and misleading information.

The good news is that a lot of the necessary demand destruction (over the next few years at least) will happen, thanks to the above. Better for people to just have to accept a downsized paycheck than to be out of work altogether.

A long term Peak Oil aware friend is going to still be a bind (just not as tight as others).

He has a sustainable mini-farm (sort of) outside Searcy AR. He is increasing his plantings of fruit & nut trees (after earlier trial plantings a decade ago, he now knows what works well). Small garden that he is preparing to expand as needed.

He drives a 40 mpg Yaris (every other week, he carpools) down to Little Rock for a high paying job as a computerized numerical machine tool programmer at Falcon Jet.

He built an extremely well insulated house with an efficient wood stove for heat.

He is saving and investing in his property bit by bit. He sees the tidal wave coming but is still "unprepared" in his mind. He does not see his neighbors as being useful or helpful but a potential problem that is TOO close since they are rural commuters in gas guzzlers that live an exurban lifestyle.(he is often asked why, with a good paying job, he drives such a small car. He answers that it is one step to prepare for the coming energy crisis. This has branded him an oddball).

I have suggested doing what the Mormons do, store enough food to last a year and rotate it. And buy two almost identical bicycles (for spares and his wife) and some common spares (tires, chains) and a bike trailer (or make one).

Any other suggestions for him ?

Best Hopes for Friends,


If I am not mistaken, His electricity is from a Nuclear plant isn't it. Anyway you didn't mention solar or anything for electricity. When the grid starts to fail, and lay offs etc happen, you have to wonder how an above ground system is going to be economical with natural disasters (usual) etc. Ice storms in that neck of the woods would not be uncommon.

I don't know if he wants to be prepared, what he wants is to know what is coming so he can be prepared. That no one seems to have a handle on. Cover the bases, heat, food, shelter, which he has done. Everything else is comfort.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

You may find this strange but it makes sense from a tactical point of view.

Even if you friend lives in a relatively closed/isolated community and despite his efforts can not convince anyone else, then he has a big problem.

When TSHTF there are no neutral people, they either with you or against you.
In a rural setting they may not cut his head off, but he will be forced to share with everyone, so in fact he is taking on the financial burden for the whole community.

You either convince a good number of people to work with you on a common goal, or do it in such a way that no one has any effing idea of what you are doing.

I think you are absolutely correct. "Reasonable" behavior will be situational. Starving people will not think twice fighting with you. I think you friend should become armed and trained in how to use the weapons he chooses.

Hi musashi,

re: "so in fact he is taking on the financial burden for the whole community."

Which might be a reason to think about whether it's possible to form more of a community there, (time to mention http://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=541), or perhaps moving to a place where he finds people he can relate to? (Slightly different version of what you're saying.)

Any high-paying jobs for someone w. his background in Alan's neighborhood?

Way I see it that's one of the options, in other words one either convinces a significant majority of ones immediate community, goes totally underground or relocates to a viable community.

Since most civilians wouldn't do very well underground, there are only two options left.
I have already convinced two of my three daughters to move to Oregon and they are happy there, and at this point I think the third will also go up there as soon as she finishes her internship.

As far as his commuting problem is concerned (as long as his employer stays in business & he has a job), the obvious answer is to not commute daily, but weekly. Find a cheap place to rent near the employer. If absolute worse comes to worse, he should be able to pick up a used RV REAL CHEAP once gasoline doubles in price, and then he just needs to find a cheap place to park it with electric, water & sewer hookups. Whichever way he goes, he needs to be able to bring food with him and fix his own meals while away at home, eating 15 restaurant meals/week will be too expensive.

Not an ideal situation, I know, but if he really needs the money, that is one way to keep the cash flow up for a while. Hundreds of thousands of people are going to have to be doing the same thing, so he had best line up his options early. I am assuming that his wife would be able to tend to the essential daily mini-farm chores while he is at work.

He might also start talking with his employer about telecommuting. It is likely that he won't be the only employee with a problem, employers everywhere are going to have to start getting more realistic and flexible or they will soon find that they are already past "peak skilled employees".

I have little advice with regard to the security problem. I have given this a lot of of thought and realized that all of us are pretty much surrounded by fifty million Bubbas with guns. If things collapse beyond a certain point, I cannot come up with any strategy that assures survivability. I can't figure out how to survive thermonuclear wars or asteroid impacts either, so I have just decided to not worry about them. I fully realize that the worst might happen, but I also realize that my odds of dying of something are 100% anyway. Better to concentrate attention on scenarios that are bad but possibly survivable.

I would suggest that your friend pretty much adopt a low profile and forget about peak oil outreach. By all means be engaged in the community in a constructive way, and be friendly with the neighbors. But "prophet" is usually a pretty unrewarding career path, especially when your message is "Bad News For Modern Man". They'll find out soon enough, in their own way. Better your friend just be seen as a quiet, friendly, useful, hard-working member of the community -- just like them - that has happened to make some good, sensible lifestyle decisions, rather than being seen as "Mr. Peak Oil Resource."

I would suggest installing real working wood shutters on all house windows that can be secured from the inside, and very good sturdy doors with deadbolt locks. I would also suggest that he consider either planting a hedge or putting up a fence around as much of his production area as he can, right now. A hedge would be better, it is less obvious that you are hiding something. Something with both thorns and edible berries for jam would be ideal - pyracantha? He needs to avoid reminding the neighbors of what all he has there. If it is out of sight now, they will have forgotten about it within a couple of years.

fifty million Bubbas with guns

The mad max scenario, we're all toast.

Not a week ago, someone over in Idaho got fed up, shot his wife, then decided to have a couple beers, shoot some pool at a local hall. Left there and took a position above the cop shop, and blew out all the windows to flush 'em into the street. When they flushed, he shot 2 and a good sam. Retreated to a church, where he shot the caretaker and himself. Killed 4 including himself. In a quiet little town. Imagine WTSHTF.

Re: The Mormons (I am not one)
Not only emergency food to last a year, but all the other things that you need to survive for a year - Water, clothes, first aid supplies, medicines, feminine care products, toilet paper, paper towels, fuel to heat your home, emergency transportation fuel, sheets, towels, etc.......
You might not make a full year on all things, but that should be the goal.

>One thing that will certainly happen is a great reshuffling of jobs. Right now there are lots of people that are driving an extra 10-20 miles per day just to work at a job that pays an extra $0.25-$1.00/hour more than what they could get closer to home. A lot of those people will eventually figure out that they can take lower paid employment without the commute and come out ahead.

Jobs are likely to disappear before people have time to change jobs. I believe most people will cut back on discretionary spending before they switch jobs to save on commuting costs. There are many regions where people live in homes distant from there jobs because they simply can't afford to live in a neighborhood where jobs are located. In my region people are also forced to commute long distances because, they can't afford to live near employment centers, and they can't afford to live in thier homes with local jobs because the housing prices soared and they are stuck with jumbo mortgage payments. Most of the jobs in residential areas are low wage retail jobs. They simply would not be able to make their mortgage payments with retail jobs.

>The good news is that a lot of the necessary demand destruction (over the next few years at least) will happen, thanks to the above. Better for people to just have to accept a downsized paycheck than to be out of work altogether.

Unfortunately the real world doesn't work that way. People cut back on discretionary spending first. This results in declining business revenues which leads to layoffs. Retail and manufacturing jobs are usually on the front line of layoffs as people stop eating out and stop mall shopping. Often higher paying jobs are the last to go, because companies can often squeeze out higher productivity from skilled jobs (especially when workers are worried about their jobs). It much more difficult to increase productivity in retail and manufacturing jobs. Also, its often easier for companies to get wage reductions from skilled jobs since workers are less likely to be unionized.

As local manufacturing and retail jobs disapear local workers will probably be forced to increase their commuting distances as they seek employment elsewhere.

Its likely that the lower the pay the farther the worker is forced to commute. High wage earners can afford a premium on housing, and lower wage earners are forced to seek housing where its the lowest. In most situation high paying jobs are located next to high cost housing, as the wealthy snap up the best real estate.

Most people fail to recognize the primary driver behind sprawl, it has a lot to do with the cost of housing. Most people would choose to live close to work, but the high cost of housing prevents they from doing so.

I would agree with you Paul that the poll results mean very little, but for a slightly different reason. I don't think it's so much saying any old thing to get the pollster off the phone. I think it's them just quoting a price that seems like a lot of money to them at the moment.

Prior to Katrina if you had asked the same question, my guess it the result would be that people would claim to change their driving habits at $3 a gallon or less. But now that we have seen $3 a few times and are used to the idea, $4+ is what seems like would be too much to bear.

When it's $5, then they'll think $7 would be the price that will force them to change their habits. At some point it will actually start to happen to a significant extent, but I don't think polls are going to be able to predict what the price will be that will cause it.

The way you force Americans to drive less is to inconvenience them.

You'll never convince them, if the price goes up they just charge it, but if there were a good chance of shortages during a long holiday trip they would be quite likely to avoid the trip.

Even locally, long gas lines would be much more of a deterrent then even $10.00 gas. Only problem is that you would need 3 times the National Guard.

"Only problem is that you would need 3 times the National Guard."

That won't help at all - they'd just be sent to Iraq.

Just form a "little English prince equivalent" National Guard. Then they never will send them anywhere.

Wait a minute. Maybe only Beverly Hills will be safe. :-)

Cycling is often socially unacceptable because of the sweat-and-odor factor, and because of problems storing the bicycle, or with bringing expensive items like headlights inside, at the destination, given today's mindless hysteria over "security".

Around here, given the traffic situation, cycling is suicidal too. Come to think of it, driving a small and light car can seem suicidal as well--even if the vehicle is "very safe" you will be bullied off the road because people might think they can run over you with minimal consequence.

hear hear...it is a grotesque tragedy that you risk life and limb simply by using the public roads in a manner inconsistent with that of your fellow citizens and their gigantic vehicles.

If gasoline prices go much higher, will we be forced to re-negotiate our way of life? I thought the American way of life was non-negotiable.

Well...in reality...Peak Oil is non-negotiable...Climate Change is non-negotiable...and therefore..."way of life" will adjust to whatever PO and CC decide to slap us upside our heads with.

If gasoline prices go much higher, will we be forced to re-negotiate our way of life? I thought the American way of life was non-negotiable.

I think it is more accurate to say that negotiations have broken down.

I am not sure inventories are going to improve. Matt Simmons posted this over on EB a few days ago and it sums up the situation well:

By Matthew R. Simmons

Here is a quick run down on the possible disaster we face this summer as we head into Memorial Day with the lowest beginning-of-driving-season stocks in US history. It would have been convenient had someone found out exactly what Minimum Operating Levels* really have become. I suspect we will answer this riddle this summer.

Minimum Operating Levels of petroleum inventories are when all cushions have been used up and the system is now starting to “rob Peter to pay Paul." At this stage, the risk of shortages starting to crop up is Red Alert. Sadly, the last serious study of where this invisible line of minimum stocks is was a NPC study done in 1988.

The reality of gasoline demand is that it will rise during July and August unless we have some roads blocked off to stem demand. Rising late-summer demand has happened almost every year, even as prices rose from $1/gallon to over $3!

To supply this market, several things have to work in unison.

1. Refineries need to crank up to over 16 million b/d instead of current 15 as they struggle to get into compliance from too little maintenance for too long.

2. Imports need to average well over 1 million b/d, and probably need to hit 1.5 million b/d, matching the all-time record set last year.

3. No hurricanes can hit the Gulf producing region.

4. Stock draws are the last plug in the dike.

From the looks of things as we view Memorial Day weekend starting in just over a week, we fail on all four counts.

The burning question is how much lower stocks can drop before shortages sweep our fragile gasoline supply system. Historically, it has been critically important that we build up gasoline stocks during the spring shoulder season (April-May) so that they can be liquidated during peak demand to prevent shortages. We seem to have run out the clock to fix the problem this summer.

I did some quick inventory numbers this morning [May 10]. At the end of February (which is the latest data we have on the location within five PAD districts) we had 116 million barrels of finished product and 99 million barrels of blending stocks (that are now far trickier to blend than when we had RFG) in inventory.

In the course of the next 10 weeks to May 4, we dropped 13.5 million barrels of finished stock and 10.3 million barrels of blending components.

But almost all of the drop probably came from Bulk Terminals as stocks at refineries are essentially works in process and stocks in pipelines and barges are steady flows.

If this is the case, bulk terminal drops were 30% for blending components and 27% for finished products.

The painful last 13 weeks ran out our USA gasoline clock. We must be right at the edge of genuine "minimum operating supplies" in at least a handful of states.

I am certainly glad I drive a diesel where the stock pool or inventory is tight but not nearly as tight as MOGAS [motor gasoline].

This could get really ugly real fast.

On that cheery note....

Matthew R. Simmons is founder and currently Chairman of Simmons & Company International, an independent investment bank specializing in the entire spectrum of the energy industry.

EB Note: A description of this Minimum Operating level clipped from an EIA publication follows. “…maintaining minimum operating levels (e.g., gasoline must be present in the pipeline at all times to push product further through the pipe. When actual inventories drop below minimum operating levels, the system effectively may be running on empty. EIA reported that PADD II inventory levels in May and June 2000 were at or near minimum operating levels).

Informal poll found over at AOL:

Which do you blame most for high gas prices?
Oil companies 64%
The government 35%
Gas stations 1%
Total Votes: 17,634

Note, there is no "the people" or "Damned SUV's" option to choose here.

Note, there is no "the people" or "Damned SUV's" option to choose here.

That is amazing. It is incredible just how little credit for the price rise people are willing to ascribe to behavior. It must be someone else's fault that it now costs $100 to fill up my SUV.

I would also bet that within the block that voted "Government", a lot of those believe it's because government doesn't exert enough control over the oil companies. In other words, they say government, but they really mean "oil companies" as well.

Re: Note, there is no "the people" or "Damned SUV's" option to choose here

Yes. Here's what I said.

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer driving season as gasoline prices skyrocket. In the near term, demand is unlikely to soften if Americans follow their vacation plans. Dangerously low inventories make spot shortages and sudden, large price increases real possibilities. As they gas up their cars, Americans gripe about the costs and look for scapegoats. For now, people are filling up the tank anyway, and do not blame themselves. They are largely unaware of the risks, but most sense the truth — the days of happy motoring are gone.

I also discussed SUV purchases, which are still robust compared with overall sales.

Sure, because heavy SUV's are favored by the tax code and that saves much more then gas would ever cost if you only keep the vehicle a year or two, which is also encouraged by the tax code.

Especially when millions of families have established businesses in strip malls all over America for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the tax laws.

Also explains the small business creation statistics. ROFLMAO
They just never mention that they would all be losers if they were tax neutral.

You don't really think it's just the big guys doing the scamming???

Last spring, a bag of cement (40kg) went from $7 to $10, but I got quotes at $13 for a pallet (40 bags). I managed to pick some up for $8. Some of that was shortage of cement input products, but a major part of that was shipping cost. Even at $10/bag, how far would you haul 40 bags (1600 kg, 3500 lbs) for $400 retail with $0.90/L diesel? Drywall, OSB sheathing and anything heavy jumped 30% after Katrina and never came back down.

The small grain elevator and local spur are gone in Western Canada. Grain from the farm gets moved a long way by truck before it gets to an inland terminal. Besides the seeding/harvest fuel cost, just getting the grain to market is substantial with $0.90/L diesel. The farmer soaks up the increased fuel price and the consumer doesn't see it immediately. On the finished food product side, increased shipping cost is apparent to the consumer immediately.

Diesel hasn't climbed with gas here as bad as it did after Katrina (now $0.90/L and gas is $1.25/L), but I think the media heat is going to come off of oil companies and the shock of increased shipping cost is going to become the media event.

People can always cut back on their driving, especially summer vacation driving. The "everything else" is going to be the shock. $2/bu corn for the last 15 years was based on cheap petroleum, adjusted for inflation from the 1973 $3/bu. it has a long way to go past the current $3.50/bu. Corn ethanol is no longer feasible at $4/bu. it's a non-issue in the food supply unless there are increased government subsidies. A major crop failure in North America would be very serious. It froze here last night, not a good start.

In the Great Depression in Canada when they couldn't afford gasoline, they ripped the engines out of cars to lower the weight and hitched up horses to use them as a carriage. They called them "Bennett Buggies" after R.B Bennett the prime minister at the time.

A SUV being pulled by a horse in 2007: "Bush Buggie"

I would think the mileage/bu of corn fed to a horse beats ethanol from corn in an ICE hands down. MTV's Pimp My Ride would probably put a video monitor and sub-woofers on the horse's butt.

They called them "Bennett Buggies" after R.B Bennett the prime minister at the time.

In the US they were called "Hoover Carts". I remember my Dad talking about about them.

Ron Patterson

The small grain elevator and local spur are gone in Western Canada. Grain from the farm gets moved a long way by truck before it gets to an inland terminal. Besides the seeding/harvest fuel cost, just getting the grain to market is substantial with $0.90/L diesel. The farmer soaks up the increased fuel price and the consumer doesn't see it immediately. On the finished food product side, increased shipping cost is apparent to the consumer immediately.

It used to be that the raising of livestock and the raising of grain to feed the livestock took place on the same farm. There were several good reasons for this, and the difficulty and cost in transporting feed was a big one. It has only been in the era of cheap petroleum that it has become economical to separate out crop farming and livestock farming, allowing farmers to specialize in one or the other. That era is now ending. It is thus likely that over the next few decades we will see a reversion to the earlier pattern (actually, "earlier" goes all the way back to neolithic -- it is the past half century or so that has been the sole exception). It only makes sense really; fattening up livestock on the farm with your own grain adds a lot of value to that grain, and should yield a better profit for the farmer. That's how most farmers have made a living in most times and places; they trade the highest value-added product they can raise for whatever they can't produce on the farm. It has really been hard even in the best of times for a farmer to make any money just selling raw grain, and what we are about to enter will not in any sense be the best of times.

I think that in the 19th century the highest value, most transportable product, wasn't meat---but whiskey.

Hey, we're already back to the ethanol future!

Flex-output ethanol refineries?

Talk about putting a 'tiger in your tank'.

If you can't afford to drive, at least you can forget about your problems for a while!

Hello Mbkennel and fellow TODers,

On that note:

Just a gentle reminder again--Please don't forget to shout out PEAKOIL when your favorite "Nectar of the Gods" glass reaches half-empty!!!

I am trying to make this become the universal cultural response to facilitate Peakoil Outreach.

Nobody likes the idea of crying tears into our beers.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

You know, Bob, I'm thinking (after a beer myself; Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball) how about a billboard with just the words Peak Oil? (with question mark...). Wouldn't that be intriguing enough to get people interested, since they never actually hear the phrase (at least not here they don't)?

Hello Seadragon,

Sounds good to me, then directly underneath it: TheOilDrum.com, Dieoff.org

I still hope the huddled masses have sufficient working memories to remember a simple 3-item list.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I always thought merely stating "Google Peak Oil" would be enough to get the uneducated started. They would eventually find all those other sites.

If Peak Oil had big boobs it would be a slam dunk.

Hi t/Bob,

Well, as of 2001, 46.1% of the population did not use the internet at all. (I didn't spend much time looking for more recent stats. These are interesting, though.)

And, it seems to me this segment of the population is perhaps in some ways more amenable to making the kinds of changes we foresee (or perhaps less need to change, eg., already take the bus.)

It used to be that the raising of livestock and the raising of grain to feed the livestock took place on the same farm.

I read a great quote from Wendell Berry about this somewhere recently. Paraphrasing (probably badly), it was to the effect of when you raise feed and livestock on the same land, you feed the output of the land to the livestock, and vice versa, and the cycle works great. But when you separate the two activities (i.e. moving cattle to feedlots), you create two problems: you have to produce (& transport) fertilizer to grow the grain, and then you have to deal with the livestock's waste. Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" (which may be where I saw the Berry quote) contains a description of a modern industrial feedlot, and tells how the waste that collects in pits there is too toxic even to be used as fertilizer.

Really, the number and magnitude of the messes we've created for ourselves with this whole fossil-fuel thing is just staggering... though thinking about it a bit, I see fossil fuels as more of an enabler than an actual cause. The real root cause is shortsighted unthinking consumption, and the relentless drive for more/ bigger/ better/ cheaper, without much pause to think about the consequences. This seems to me more pronounced here in the US than other countries I've been to, which is why I see us in the US as having a much tougher row to hoe (so to speak) over the next few decades, as opposed to, say, Germany (where I used to live) or Sweden (where we have family). Both those places look to me like they're way ahead of the US in their willingness to take the long view, and act accordingly...

Very nice post, Mike C. Have you viewed Dr. Bartlett's presentation on Arithmetic, Population and Energy?

Thats an interesting idea - the efficiency of horse-drawn (grain fed) transport versus grain ethanol... anyone have the data to (dis)prove the idea?

Remember, animals have to be fed every day whether you are using them or not. Mechanical devices can be parked for extended times without having any inputs, but are ready to go when ever needed.
Mechanical devices can work for extended periods without needing to be rested like animals. Mechanical devices don't (ususally) overheat when working in the summer sun.
Mechanical devices can be repaired much more easily and cheaply than animals.
Mechanical devices last much longer when working than animals. There are lots of 3 century old (19th century) mechanical machines still in service doing regular work.
As long as technology knowledge exists we will never go back to using animals in large numbers.

can we assume that you are "bullish" on mechanical devices ?

*clap* *clap*

Construction materials did jump after Katrina. But it wasn't to rebuild New Orleans.

all those building materials were being shipped to Iraq for construction of numerous military bases and other projects.

Huge boom is new homes.

yesterday I went to the Home Depot. Last summer the parking lot and the store showed lots of activity. yesteday and from what I notice in my last few trips there over the last few months. Business is way off. all the guys with trailers doing home renovations, building fences, etc. They aren't in the store anymore. Not home owners, the independents. Then aren't there and each month it seems less and less. yesterday, the lot was almost deserted. I was shocked,

Sack of quickcrete 2.38 I think. don't know how that compares to concrete.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Probably the poll-maker is a heavy SUV user - so this option never struck his mind...

He/she is not able to see these sophisticated links before there is nothing left ... just like yeast

There's absolutely no reason to conserve if you believe there are endless supplies of everything. Who has told the people the truth? The gov't? The oil cos? The politicians? No. It's a total copout to blame the people.

What is true is that the people will have to awaken from their slumbers and demand the truth. But that's the last thing in the world the gov't (or the oil cos) want.

Not to be too harsh, TOD (including RR, despite being overly protective of the oil cos) is playing an important role in getting the word out (and making sure the word is more or less right).

Not to be too harsh, TOD (including RR, despite being overly protective of the oil cos)

I try to correct misinformation when it crops up, and to let people know about what it is really like on the inside. When most of the public hates you, you tend to be on the defensive.

But I don't ever want anyone to think that I believe some criticisms aren't warranted. They are. The whole "there's plenty of oil" meme is a big one.

Confession: I worked for an oil co, a really, really big one, in the 80s - but as a computer jock, not an oil guy. Didn't learn a damn thing about energy until deep into my retirement.

I also used to work for an oilco - Shell. In fact I worked in their "expro" (exploration and production) division in London. I even visited N. Cormorant, a N. Sea production platform.

As an accountant I also didn't learn a damned thing about oil until I started reading TOD! Thanks guys!

Wrong. If one has sufficient training in engineering or some of the applied sciences most of what is explained here is fairly obvious.

Diminishing returns are known to everyone in every industry. To save money(engineering anlysis) you determine your largest energy losses, the capital($$+raw materials) required to fix it, and the value of labour it will require.

Using an algorithm or formula which sums up the previous factors according to weighting factors the best bang-for-buck can be determined. You attack the largest ROI first and work your way down, gaining the fastest savings possible, but with reducing savings every step.

It is possible to produce ALL the oil in the planet, given an INFINITE source of ENERGY. But where does this energy come from? Not oil because with an increasing energy cost to extract and a decreasing energy recapture crossover is reached at some point and become infeasible.

I liken it to trying to buy more beer with returned cans/bottles. It's possible for some time, if you have a large enough amount of beer cans/bottles but it rapidly runs out. Very rapidly.

The fault lies with CNN who probably made a deliberate decision to leave out "my SUV" as a question.

That question would not fit with the Political posturing that congress is about to indulge in.

As someone who averages one gallon per day I do think it's someone else's fault. I also believe there is little most people can do in the short term to cut their fuel use more than 10%. They can't just scrap that SUV that they still owe 22 more payments on. They can't all walk away from those suburban homes and move closer to work. They can't all quit their jobs and find another close to home. For the most part they will not buy something else so they can buy gas no matter what the price is.
When thinking about recommending a course of action I try to think of what if everybody did that?

You make a very good point here. People cant move because there is no where to move to. Its not like there is a vacant ring around our cities that people in the suburbs can just relocate to! All spaces are filled! The poor are already living in the city, pretty close to their work. The good-credit poor are living in condos and suburbs. And the well-offs are living in the hills or some other place well outside of town. We have sprawl because we have too many people that need places to live. It's that damn elephant in the room we cant talk about. Population.

There is enormous amounts of infill land available near city centers.

Two blocks from my home a former parking lot is getting a home built on it (21' wide, 50' long, 24' high to 2nd floor ceiling, 30' to roof peak).

Density can be increased dramatically. I live in one of 5 apartments cut out of a two family home (fairly well-to-do) built in 1890 (second wave of building, first was circa 1840).

Perhaps, just build on parking spots and block off some city streets for even more construction (leave 12' alleyway).

Cars take up 50% of the land area in modern American development. Cut that to 20% and increase density and many more peopel can live in cities.

Best Hopes for Space for People, Not Cars,


There is enormous amounts of infill land available near city centers.

I see infill development, conversion of single family homes into duplex & multi-family units, energy efficiency retrofits, and demolition & salvage of abandoned suburban housing as being the only viable sources of work in the residential constrution industry for the next generation or two. There will be plenty of work to do just with those things.

Actually, for a lot of those poor folks in the city their workplace is out in the suburbs; meanwhile, some out those well-to-do out in the periphery commute to downtown offices. Pretty absurd, really.

My experience as a bus driver showed that few people even the poor live near their jobs. The poor generally live in a ring around downtown or in subsidised apartments in nearby suburbs. The well paid downtown workers, mostly bankers, lawyers, and insurance agents live in outlying suburbs and rural areas. Downtown workers though only amount to roughly a few percent of the total metro workforce. Most commutes are between suburbs.

That depends upon the city.

There is substantial sprawl in the outlying post WW II suburbs, and some people commute across the 24 mile causeway bridge. But there is also a strong job center in the CBD and French Quarter with nearby residences.

One Shell Square, at 51 stories the tallest building in town, was built between the tracks of the St. Charles Streetcar Line. Neighbors (husband & wife) work there and walk 1 mile to work on nice day and take tehe streetcar on other days.

One VERY nice thing about Urban Rail is that is pulls jobs and residences in close to it's stations. The indirect savings from changes to a more energy efficient Urban form exceed the direct savings.

Best Hopes,


In the first decade, EVERYONE does not have to take significant, life style altering changes.

About 1/3 or 30% of Americans want to live in TOD type environs. Build for them, have them move in (just a response to market demand) in the next ten years, and let market forces complete the change.

It took twenty years (1950-1970) to destroy our downtowns and many established neighborhoods. It will likely take as long to empty much (but not all) of suburbia.

We did it once, we can do it again !

Best Hopes for Rapid Changes in Urban Form,


1. Many, maybe most, could try to carpool. We now have internet sites to facilitate finding people to share rides with - something we didn't have in the 70s.

2. As I mentioned on another post, some people may just have to find cheap living arrangements near their workplace and commute weekly instead of daily. My wife and I have each had to do this for a spell in the past, and I suspect that most of the old oilpatch guys on this board have had to as well. Not ideal, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

3. As I've also mentioned in other posts, people need to figure out whether it continues to make sense to commute to their present job, or whether it might not make more sense to take a closer job even if it pays less. It is not the size of the paycheck that matters, but the pay net of taxes AND commuting costs. Some people may find that taking a pay cut to work closer to home makes sense. There will be a huge reshuffle as this works its way out.

4. Everyone can consolidate trips. Maybe neighbors could team up and two or three families do their shopping together -- a great way to strengthen neighborliness & build community.

5. While everyone doesn't have access to mass transit or a safe, short walking or bicycling route to work, some DO. Those that DO, COULD.

6. Of course, the same advice drones over and over again -- maintain your car & keep the tires inflated, no jackrabbit starts, drive at or slightly under the speed limit, etc.

If these 6 steps were implemented to the extent that they reaonably can be (only #6 could be 100%), I bet it would make a very big difference -- at least enough of a difference to buy a lot of households some time to change our their cars for something more energy efficient.

Observer, I would like to add to your #6: take your foot off the gas when you see a red light ahead. I am so tired of people whipping around me as we approach a red light, just to arrive at a stop 30 seconds before I do. They would save gas and money on brake pads if they would drop the false urgency.

Jackrabbit starts may not be as bad as you think. But racing to the stoplight will kill. What's really fun is if you know the light well enough to time it, as you slowly cruise up to the light (after the other person has whizzed by you just to stop at it) it turns green and you go flying by them. Both saving fuel and whizzing by them.

Jackrabbit starts

I am unfamiliar with that concept.

Best Hopes for Old Mercedes Diesels,


Is that why they have a calendar instead of a clock on the instrument cluster?? :-)

We prefer the term "gathering momentum" rather than acceleration :-)


Hi Thomas, I agree with everything you say. However, you make it sound as if there is a degree of personal choice in all of this. There isn't.

Change is coming and the ramifications are non-negotiable as the inimitable JH Knustler would no doubt tell you.

Sell the SUV, hopefully with a little equity remaining. Sell the MacMansion. Rent a low rise apartment near mass transit. Do it now, cos doing it later will be more difficult and more expensive.

Yes, a few other categories would have been in order.

Fast food
The auto companies
Whoever killed the electric car
Economic growth
George Bush

If I were to be fair, I would throw in environmentalists, but I am not.

As the resident gadfly, I suggest you are looking at this statement from a non economic viewpoint as taught in schools these days.

"Note, there is no "the people" or "Damned SUV's" option to choose here."

Prices are high, demand is high therefore by the laws of economics more gas and oil should come to market.

That is a non negotiable statement taught in business school. Yes, demand could soften briefly while supply lags. But economics 101 says high prices and demand shall result in more supply being created. The higher the price (without drop in demand) the more incentive to increase supply. Our current economic models say that the only reason we have scrcities is that people are not willing to pay high enough to increase supply.

I know, as most posters here know, that this doesn't work with a non renewable resource. But economic theory being taught today doesn't accept limits on supply, only price as being too low to bring it to market. Even CERA keeps saying this about oil sands and shales. Until that mindset gets changed we aren't going to do anything substantial about reducing demand.

Short Term Pain Versus Long Term Gain

The problem with implementing the ELP plan, other than the psychological blow of voluntarily downsizing, is that in a lot of cases it causes some short term pain, in an expectation of a long term gain.

For example, assume that you have two large leased SUV's that you and your spouse drive on long commutes to and from a large 5,000 square foot mortgage. Let's further assume that getting rid of the two SUV's and the large mortgage would force you to write checks to get rid of the obligations--even if you wanted to downsize to a small two bedroom energy housing unit along a mass transit line.

As NC outlined above, historically energy price increases have caused demand destruction and efforts to increase production--ultimately leading to increased energy supplies and thus lower prices. That is true on an aggregate basis, but it is not true on a regional basis, e.g., the decline in Lower 48 oil production while oil prices went up by about 1,000% from 1970 to 1980.

Based on HL models, the world is now where the Lower 48 was at in the Seventies--and we are seeing lower crude oil production worldwide in response to higher crude oil prices, exactly what we saw in the Lower 48 in the Seventies.

However, our historically based expectation of lower energy prices ahead is reinforced by pronouncements by ExxonMobil and CERA, et al, that Peak Oil is decades away.

IMO, in the vast majority of cases the response by Americans to high energy prices will be to cut down on their discretionary spending and (more likely) go further into debt in order to hold on to their SUV/suburban lifestyles. As more and more people become members of the "FWO" (Formerly Well Off) Club, and as they see their SUV's repossessed and their homes foreclosed upon, they are not going to be happy campers.

If the pronouncements by XOM , CERA et all suggest to the general public that PO is decades away, then They are hoisted by their own petard:

General public hears Peak is decades away and is reassured in to continuing the current way of life.

Gas ramps in price. But if PO is decades away then Oil Cos MUST be gouging.

Up steps Uncle Sam and taxes and / or breaks up the large oil companies.

So XOM etc would have been better off telling the truth in the first place...

Is this what is meant by blow back?


You have the minset of the country pegged. "If the gas companies have been lying to us about being able to increase supply than take the remaining oil away from them and don't let them profit."

I also agree with Westexas on ELP but it flies in the face of conventional wisdom on how to leverage money.

Well it will soon be the same here in the UK.

lOOKS LIKE £1.00 per liter in the summer coming shortly.

lOOKS LIKE £1.00 per liter in the summer coming shortly.

Damned Americans. :-)

I am glad I go 6 weeks without filling up.

The problem they will have is that they have grown way too soft and slow to survive on the street.

They depend on oil more then they know, because without "plastic" they are history.

All my ex wives and children are in this category and no matter how hard you try they will not listen.

Hi mus,

May I offer what amounts to a suggestion?

Whether they *appear to* take in your words - or not, your children need you. Forget age - theirs or yours. When they get together, (or even if they only socialize w. friends), you are the topic of their conversation, more often than you may realize. (In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say, you are the most important person in their world. Present or absent.)

The way to have them hear, is to first listen. (My 2 cents. Supporting materials at www.gordontraining.com, www.cnvc.org, www.walkyourtalk.org, www.newconversations.net - it works.)

Listening is a skill. In fact, it may be categorized as a survival skill, though few realize it.

"A man is needed so long as he lives."

-Lao Tsu.

Like I mentioned in the other post, at least in some ways they are coming around.
They just need a month or two of specialized boot camp. :-)

Of course more resources will be tapped as the price increases. That's why the graph to the right of the peak is a curve and not a cliff.

As we all know, though, all of the cheap and easy stuff is gone. From here on out it is only the increasingly difficult and expensive stuff that is left. We DO NEED those prices to go up, that is the only way that a lot of that stuff is ever going to be economical enough to be extracted.

If too much were extracted at one time and exceeded demand, the price would go down and the extraction rate would ease up, cutting supplies and driving prices back up again. It is a feedback loop that will keep things in equilibrium and result in ever-increasing prices.

The big challenge is the huge capital costs and long timelines involved. If the curve is bumpy, those bumps will mostly be due to sub-optimum actions with regard to capital investment (or more likely, due to geopolitical events that result in sub-optimum investment decisions).

Who's to blame?

Scapegoating and ignorance go hand in hand, but they are supplemented by circumstance.

Directed anger levels will rise reflecting how pressured the individual is by locked in consumption and inability economically to afford change. Higher price, higher pressure, higher blame, higher anger.... bad juju.

Folks can be 'locked in' to their opinions by either finances and/or a conspicuous consumption lifesyle, ie. WT's FWOs (formerly well offs). Either way they are more likley to scapegoat and be difficult to make PO aware.

When this long emergency becomes ongoing it is going to become more important to see what could motivate people to anger and violence and what steps can be taken to redirect that energy. And it's literally a race to save ourselves from a belief in entitlement and limitless resources.

Our best antidote is peak oil awareness. Blaming government and oil companies is symptomatic not conclusive. (and yes it's high time they better BOTH come clean) People who understand consumption vs. finite geology have usually made or thought about (ELP) changes and are less likely to show up with a gun at a home or office near you and me.
MVHO off.

I am TRYING to pre-position worthwhile alternatives in front of people, so when they get desperate, SOME of that anger and energy will be directly in productive directions.




Best Hopes for Productive Anger,


And your efforts are making a difference. I'll bet everyone who responded to MSNBC today said something about electrified light rail. Know I did.

Then your putting the bug in the ear of the API was great. They had an interesting response via (corn) ethanol taking up rail cars.

Many of us are talking to friends and others about rail issues. I wrote the regional BNSF co-ordinator about our rails going away here locally. It's going to happen but many have thought differently in the interim.

(gas is $4 in some Chicago stations today) I was riding the 'L' the other day past all the traffic and thinking how good those light rail projects of yours are going to look as an alternative to anger and despertion when this peak crude/gasoline price & infrastructure system begins to fail us.

Keep it up Alan! We are getting the message. As you know it is exactly what we need.

If Congress asseses windfall profits, what about an exemption for any funds invested in light rail projects? (wind, solar)

Thanks !

However, (and I am doing this just for accuracy, and because it makes my transit friends cringe), I use "Urban Rail" for all urban types and electrified rail when I include my hopes for inter-city rail.

I should probably do a "definitions" post soon.

A short (too short for experts) definition is:

Subway/Rapid Rail - Grade separated, high volume, stops every mile or so. 3 m (10') wide rail cars. always electric

Light rail - a mix of grade separated, at grade and even limited in street running. 2.65 m wide rail cars, stops every mile or so, medium volume, almost always electric

Streetcars/Trams - At grade, often in street with traffic, 8.5' wide, stops every few blocks, always electric

Commuter/Regional Passenger Rail - Uses freight railroad tracks (or can), usually loco (diesel or electric), always high boarding, heavy Amtrak style cars, stops every few miles

All good, and a synthesis of types is often best !

Hopes this helps :-)


Yes thanks. They were still building out BART when I left Cali. I do remember those electric busses though!

..... and the question about trying to get an amendment to any proposed oil windfall profits to help fund Urban Rail projects? Is it feasible?

I once saw a Washington Metro truck that had been converted to run on its rails to get its personnel around on the system quickly.

Someone must have suggested this to you before, Alan, but if we had to mass-convert vehicles from tires to rail wheels and electric power to rapidly increase passenger capacity, which vehicles would you recommend? That's given the limits of a rail system's ability to handle traffic.

1. Vans
2. Sport utility vehicles
3. City buses
4. anything smaller

I'm personally and vindictively voting for the SUVs, just out of hope that in an energy catastrophe the government tries to confiscate them to use as railcars. In fact, I would actually go to work for the government confiscating the SUVs, at gunpoint, so I could see the looks on the owners' faces when I said "Bush sent me."

For some reason, I have seen a number of Union Pacific pick-up trucks with rail wheels & rubber tires (lower rail wheels when needed).

I have seen photos and descriptions of bamboo frame "rail flat cars" locals built in Cambodia and the Philippines. Small wheels and small generator adapted to locomotion, these operated carried people and produce over little used or abandoned rail lines.

When two meet, the crew and passengers of both lift the lighter one off the tracks, let the other go past, and then lift the second one back one.

A problem with Hummers and Escalades !

Operating rail track switches would be problematic without a proper adaptation.

In US reality, we will need to move as much as possible (pax + freight) on existing rail lines and expand those rail lines ASAP. Proper equipment seems the best way to maximize throughput. Who wants an 900 pax train or a 300 container (= 300 trucks) train held up by a broken down old Hummer ?

Best Hopes,


"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you!"

Why does this suprise anyone? Personal responsibility was replaced by the lawyers in need of cash cows. Now we're stuck with arrogance such as our local baseball bad boy's dad suing everyone under the sun who "contributed" to the death of Josh Hancock. WTFever people.


Ridiculous. He involuntarily drank? You mean he DROVE to the bar without the intent to drink? WTFever. Is it so horrible to wish this degenerated country into the next depression? I really don't care. Priorities need to be managed and we don't have to at the present time.

He should also sue the person who sold his son the pot that he smoked. And the auto manufacturer for building a vehicle that allowed him to drive faster than the speed limit. He should also sue the cell phone company for having a product that allowed him to talk and drive at the same time. And for that matter, why not sue the lady he was talking to on the phone at the time of the crash? I would also sue the Cardinals for paying him so much money that he could afford all of these things. Sheesh!

... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

Hi tate,

re: "...arrogance..."

Another possibility: it could be grief, and the lawyers seem to be the only ones offering an out.

Oil Industry Says Biofuel Push May Hurt at Pump

I am going to call BS on this one. If the oil companies believed that it was actually possible for biofuels to displace 20% of gasoline, they would be investing billions in biofuels. Instead, I see this as more of a scapegoat in case refinery expansions don't happen as planned. I have no love lost for the (corn) ethanol industry, but this time I don't think the criticism is warranted.

RR, maybe in the wonderful world of politics this is the only way they can prevent being forced into the wrong solution. aka Ron Wyden - you are not investing.

I hadn't thought of that but apparently George Bush and many politicians believe that we can actually make a significiant dent by using ethanol. Or, if they are lying, the oil companies are right in calling their bluff. Ok, Mr. Ethnanol man, they say, since you are so sure we are going to cut demand for gasoline by using ethanol, we are not going to expand anymore.

On the other hand, if the oil companies don't really believe in ethanol, should we expect further expansion?

Also, there is also the issue of higher CAFE standards. With all the rumblings in congress about cutting energy consumption, shouldn't the oil companies fear demand reduction? Or should they be seeing through all this as a cynical ploy to make the U.S. citizen believe something is actually happening?

Another interesting possibility might be that some of these oil companies secretly believe in peak oil.

All in all, would you be an investor in additional refinery capacity at this point in time if you were an oil company or an independent refiner?

O crap, my head hurts. Ploys within ploys within ploys.

Do you know any policians who are coming out and saying wait a minute, I thought this was the new era where we finally get it on global warming. Why are we hassling the oil companies while we are simultaneously telling me we are going to do something about cutting greenhouse emissions? Does not compute.

Also, there is also the issue of higher CAFE standards. With all the rumblings in congress about cutting energy consumption, shouldn't the oil companies fear demand reduction? Or should they be seeing through all this as a cynical ploy to make the U.S. citizen believe something is actually happening?

The new CAFE standards just trade in one set of loopholes for another. Instead of seeing station wagons getting jacked up off the ground so they get "light truck" status, you will be seeing every vehicle's wheelbase widened and lengthened to get another vehicle size class as defined by the new CAFE.

I would LOVE for you to show me 1 quote from someone in the ETOH sector who said we are going to cut gasoline demand with ethanol.

Next, I would ask you to reflect on just who exactly is pocketing that $0.51c ethanol refining credit.

And lastly, considering the fact that the White House is taking their talking points on ethanol production potential from NREL and the DOE EERE offices, rest assured there is no bluffing.

Implementation, Expediency and Priority however, are key variables.

BTW... the Majors know.

The context was politicians, not the ethanol sector. On the other hand, isn't it really the point that this ethanol should be doing something to decrease our reliance on oil and gasoline?

The WHOLE point of the ethanol thing is to have something, ANYTHING, that can be made available at the pump to fill automobile fuel tanks so that our non-negotiable way of life can keep on running. Energy efficiency or economic sense or GHG mitigation has nothing to do with it.

Next, I would ask you to reflect on just who exactly is pocketing that $0.51c ethanol refining credit.

So lame. You can see who benefits from the credit by who is lobbying to keep it. It isn't oil companies or congressman representing districts with oil.

RR: It was my understanding that the medium term plan was for massive ethanol imports from Brazil.I agree, there is probably no way to replace 20% of gasoline.

I agree that the oil industry is merely trying to deflect criticism stemming from high gas prices.

The oil industry already is investing in alternative energy. Just this morning, in fact, I read an article about Shell investing in a local start-up, Virent Energy Systems, that aims to develop a commercial process for producing hydrogen (and other "synfuels") from a variety of biomass feedstocks.

Interestingly, I remember hearing a comment not too long ago from a fellow at Virent who said that in the near term, the real money would come not from producing hydrogen for transportation fuel (issues related to fuel cell cars currently being commercially impractical), but from producing hydrogen for industrial purposes.

HAH! I was waiting for this one =]

WRT the price of gas and the energy crisis there remains one very glaring fact and that is that the OIL COMPANIES are not telling the truth about the situation.

The situation meaning how much oil is left. How much reserves do we or the world have?

It was clear from the conference with API that they are still in denial. It is clear from what others say that when they mention PO that the other employees look at them with dismissal. Even RR states this. That they actually do not believe it. That to me is very very hard to beleive. That someone mines a product but has no real handle on what is left of it.

I refuse to believe that they are actually ignorant of this. How could they be? This is their livelhood, they have the knowledge and information to know exactly what the reserves are yet they play this game of pretending that we have massive reserves.

Ok...now you can parse my text and make your own denials about what I am saying but IMO they are purposely lying.

This to me means that millions of the worlds population will have died needlessly due to inability to have had the time to bring alternate methods online.

Sure we are in population overshoot. But if we didn't have all the illegals flooding into this country would the USA be in overshoot? My belief is no.

So the question is...did they lie and are they still lying?

I think the answer is yes.

A very very simple observation I believe yet one that has huge implications. Implications we will have to now live with.

If KSA has or is tanking then we know what will happen. Many have said so.....Robert Baer said...as Ghawar goes so goes SA and with it you can kiss your ass(lifestyle) goodbye.

One simple question is what it boils down to...Are they not telling us the truth. The ones who have sooooo many engineers and geologists. Why is it not being SCREAMED from the rooftops? Why are they hunkered down.

Airdale-Did I miss something here?

Edit to add:
Mexico(Pemex) appears to be telling the truth. I suspect the game is obviously up with them and what else can they do now?
They see that shitstorm on the horizon and are now in the early kaka phase.

Airdale, It is everywhere. Look at the housing chart at Calculated Risk
spicifically this one...

This is being reported as "housing rises 16.5% largest in @4 years". Look for yourself, BS is everywhere! I think you would be better off chucking TV and most papers imho.

Good chart... but the one I'd really like to see is not housing units sold... but total dollars transacted. There's no way to distort that one. Even better if indexed.

It would be fascinating to see several years of monthly sales data indexed to ounces of gold, for example. Might even be an eye opener...

I read and heard that "housing rises 16.5%" so many times yesterday, and I kept waiting for the rest of the sentence - you know, the part that adds "from....". But it never came. I had to guess:

Housing rises 16.5% over the cost of ice cream?

Housing rises 16.5% more than weight of the average chicken?

Housing rises 16.5% higher than the average intelligence of the people who write these "news" reports?

Housing rises 16.5% more than last month?

Housing rises 16.5% more than the same month last year?

Then it hit me - Housing rises 16.5% more than whatever arbitrary point we can find to paint the happiest face on this corpse. That people accept this tripe as if it meant anything is so depressing.

Reports like this are important in one sense - the lies show the level of desperation in the reality hiding behind.

Thanks for the link to the graph by the way!

My wife and I heard the same thing on NPR. "Great News... housing rises 16%..." and we waited and waited and waited for the compared to. It never came.

What will come is the revision down. Guaranteed.

Hi Airdale,
I always enjoy your comments. They help me think more clearly about the situation.
I don't want to seem like an apologist for Big Oil. IMHO they have the most brain dead public relations of any major industry the world, with the possible exception of nuclear power. Their executives don't tell everything they know and totally bend the truth.
Nobody can tell you the exact world reserves of oil, because they depend on two variables-how much will be produced at an economically affordable price and how much can we afford to pay. And those are in a calculus that no one can figure, because we are entering into a brave new world that changes so quickly its impossible to predict with any accuracy. We can't even agree on the definition of oil-is it all liquids or crude plus condensate?
Exxon-Mobil claims in its Annual Report that there is 3 trillion barrels of oil left, but it includes the tar sands and shale oil, both of marginal or negative costs. I know you've read the various keyposts and comments that cover the issue. it includes oil in areas that are technicially unfeasable and many that are politicially impossible for the big oil companies to produce. And it doesn't include environmental costs-in the US alone Big Oil can't explore for oil in about 3/4ths of the ocean and much of the land.
A more realistic answer is that there is about 250 billion 500 billion barrels left at a reasonable cost. But, if Exxon-Mobil tells us the truth, then their reserves have become a liquidating asset and the stockprice will change to reflect only their economicially produceable reserves. And the upper management stock options and bonuses will be worth much less. So, they fund CERA and other cornucopians. And if we produce all the bitumen and kerogen and upgrade it the climate will be destroyed.
I want you to notice their exploration and production in North America , because watching where they spend their money is the most reliable barometer of their thought. XOM isn't investing in North American oil, or bitumen (oil sands), or kerogen (shale oil), but instead in natural gas, the key ingredient in producing the "alternative" liquids. It is also less likely to be hit with punitive taxation.
So, is this a f**khead policy? I think so as a citizen, but as a stockholder I see their logic. Its truly a public relations nightmare, and they are walking through a minefield.


Thanks for the reply and your thoughts BUT>>>>>>

"Its truly a public relations nightmare, and they are walking through a minefield." ...You said....

And I reply BUUUTTT We(the population of the world) are traipsing thru a possibility of the end of civilization as we know it.. We are looking at millions of possible deaths. Horrors beyond measure ....AND 'they' are looking at the
frigging BOTTOM LINE? That and the Execs financial packages?

Excuse me for I thought I just saw an enormous disconnect here.

As a 'stockholder' you will be as much roadkill as anyone else. As a 'stockholder' I have found , you have absolutely ZERO power to do anything except a free ticket to an annual stockholders meeting where its difficult to even make a statement. Oh you get a vote..but your totally trumped by the fund mgrs and those other huge block votes.

IBM used to issue dividends. I got their stock at a reduced employee price and sold it just as fast for the dividends were not that much. Soon they even quit giving dividends and let you make money(to their thinking) on the stock runup in price....and thats where the devil entered the picture. Along with daytraders and computer trading. It became a gamble instead of investment. No one can time the market, IMO. I tried and made a few bucks and was lucky.

I sold all my $500 valued IBM shares long long long ago and never garnered another share afterwards. I remember the day very well when IBM hit $25 per share. 1993 I believe it was.

So..its thus..they protect their azzes and burn our azzes.

I know I am letting a lot of the history go by the wayside BUT at this late stage of the game they are still doing the corporate chicken dance.

Has it not been fairly convincing that those here who put in long hours analyzing data that is somewhat available pretty much all (SS,WT,FF..et al) come to the conclusion that we are past peak or extremely close and published reserves numbers are a joke?

The joke has some pearly white teeth dear and it will rip us a new arsehole. So long live corporate oil companies and may their BODs eat ashpones while kneeling by the firepit.

In closing I think when Amurkhans (those rowdy ignorant folk) do awaken to the fact that it was all a lie then their anger will not be assuaged easily. I think they will begin to take things apart. They will look for someone to blame.
Yes it won't be pretty. If not this year then the next. We may scrape past this year. I would like to see one last White Christmas before it all gets burned down.

I hope their PR campaigners are up for this. I hope they have a well packed 'bugout pack'.


I came away from that API conference call convinced that the participants from the oil industry believed what they were saying. Speaking for myself, I can say I didn't get the feeling that they were 100% congruent and sensed that they did have underlying uneasy feelings. Still, the very idea that there might be a real paradigm change was outside of the scope of what they could consider. Warning: this is just my sense of the vibes and without the audio, only a reflection of my feeling about it.

The typical humanoid isn't going to question the whole structure of the universe, esp when his paycheck depends on it being a certain way. It's bigger than denial though; there are elements of religious faith that most people cannot question - a fundamentalist mindset of markets, progress, technology and, frankly, American exceptionalism. Toxic. But for the typical Joe, there is nothing to replace it. You and I have Wendell Berry. :-)

cfm in Gray, ME

From reading the transcript I got the distinct impression that some of the oil industry folks' support for (corn)ethanol is faltering or was never strong. Comments as to the maxing out of rail capacity and other logistical concenrs seemed not to be robustly defended.

Was this an example of underlying uneasy feelings?

My agenda is that running close to MOL (corn) ethanol is really a pain to them in that it does not push product through the pipe, demands many different blends to potentailly go short (your question I think), and ties up trucks and rail cars that could otherwise be moving product with a better EROI. My calc says it is potentially 7 1/2 Mb of the MOL.

Exxon is a major oil sands investor thru their majority owned Imperial Oil which in turn has a 25% stake in Syncrude as well as significant additional oil sands reserves. They also provide consulting services to Syncrude and an Exxon refinery manager was recently named the new Syncrude chief executive

"I refuse to believe that they are actually ignorant of this. How could they be? This is their livelhood, they have the knowledge and information to know exactly what the reserves are yet they play this game of pretending that we have massive reserves."

I think we had ample evidence that they know the score earlier this month when KPMG released the results of an April survey of 553 financial executives from oil & gas companies.

"These executives are deeply concerned about declining oil reserves, a situation they see as irreversible and worsening," said Bill Kimble, National Line of Business Leader, Industrial Markets for KPMG LLP. "They see renewable energy sources as a lifeline but our survey shows that the execs recognize they cannot count on them as a solution in the short-term. Consequently, oil and gas companies are sending a clear signal to the government that intervention is needed."


Sixty percent of the executives believe that the trend of declining oil reserves is irreversible. And, when asked about the impact of emerging markets, such as China, will have on declining oil reserves, almost 70 percent of the executives said that it would lead the situation to worsen.

The executives also clearly see that there are steps that individuals can take to alleviate the issue of declining oil reserves.

"One-third of oil and gas executives questioned said that the next time they are purchasing a family car they would consider one that consumes less gasoline, such as a hybrid," said Kimble. "They clearly see demand-side as part of the solution to declining oil reserves."

In another Drumbeat there was some discussion of sustainable personal food production. Therein Todd spoke of his methods of gardening and I spoke of using water conservatively. A likely diminishing resource in the future.

Todd used a method he calls Todd's Black Gold method. Todd is likely a very very good gardener and judging from his postings I would say its working very well for him.

My situation is somewhat different and climates as well as soil types and available assets vary so here is part of my method.

I have available a lot of woodlands on my farm. I sold my neighbor some adjoining land and he runs cattle on it. Right near to my garden in fact. Cattle like to lay around in the shade if possible and under this canopy of trees is some soil that has never since time began, been tilled or farmed.

I trolley my wheelbarrow or a 5 gal bucket over to these wooded areas and find the cattle have layed a huge amount of dung over the top of some of the richest imaginable dirt I have ever touched. I scoop some of this up and truck it over to my garden where I dig holes for my vegetable and put a few shovel fulls in each hole.

I watch as the new seedling plants start to put their roots down into this extremely rich area and you can see the visible results. The leaves become a very rich green and the plants begin to grow with much vigor.

Over time my gardens tilth and richness increase. I use waste hay and straw plus other detritus to continue this regime as well as all my wood ashes from my wood heater.

The soil here is underlaid with a lot of gravel and sand. Brought here by the rivers that are in this area and the many creeks nearby. This I believe enlivens the soil with the minerals it requires and so I also 'subsoil' my garden on ocassion. This is a large single bladed 'ripper' that can cut down to almost 2 feet into the soil and break it up.

Also plants with extremely long root systems may do the same. I let hairy vetch take over when I have no crops at the time. Hairy vetch is a great fixer of nitrogen in the soil. The seeds are everywhere and it comes up volunteer fashion on its own. You can see its neighbor,crown vetch, planted on some highway right of ways.

Hairy vetch was used by the old time farmers to plant as a cover crop on their tobacco beds. When I first brought my farm some of the 'setaside' land was covered with a huge growth of hairy vetch , so high that you could not even walk thru it and so dense that you couldn't bush hog it until it died in the fall. Where it had grown for several years the soil was immensely rich and dark in color due to its adding its detritus over the years plus the nitrogen.

Thats some of my method which allows me to not have to use chemical fertilizers. This spring and summer I will use perhaps only 10 pounds of ammonia nitrate since this is new ground I am making this garden in.

Airdale--now back to your regularly scheduled topics and I am going to leave the sustainable gardening topic alone in the future(unless others bring it up).Many other sites(backwoodsmagazine for one) exist and cover it well.

Hi Airdale,

I think that long rooted crops "mine" deeper soils and clay and help to bring bring virgin mineral micronutrients to the surface. Crops often operate well in "guilds" of different crops which go togetherand complement. e.g. corn,beans,squashes. Wouldn't surprise me if some guilds work well because one of their members has a long tap root or deep root structure and mines subsoil minerals.
I guess this is one way soil regenerates after it has been mineral depleted.

A few of us here are trying to learn local food production in a hurry.

Carbon - Coventry UK

Plant alfalfa/brome grass and mow it for a few years, don't take the hay off. Alfalfa loves potash, but it's nitrogen producing and the deep root system pulls deeper water/nutrients.

Thanks Robert.
I'll tell my group about the alfalfa. We are using hungarian rye grass as a live mulch on some of our beds, it's working well at keeping the weeds down, We have cut some hay from it and I think we can just dig the rest in if we want to.

Carbon, Coventry UK

Talking about water, my well pump developed a dead short the day before yesterday. Problem is it is 450' down and you need a rig to pull it. Our local drilling company which installed it says their rig is broken and won't be ready until the middle of June and everyone else has gone out of the pump setting bussiness.

Fortunately, we store water but it's not going to last THAT long so we'll have to truck water in eventually. It would be bad enough if it was just us but our well supplies a rental house and, of course, our garden.

I may bring in an excavator and try to pull it that way. Bummer.

Todd; a Realist with a pump problem

My well is 250 ft down and I think cased with 4 " pvc and hooked to the pump with maybe 1 or 2 " pvc but I have been led to understand that I could pull it by hand. I would like need a way to stopper it off at intervals as I pulled it though. Of course I would likely have to destroy the pvc connected to the pump(a 1 hp pump and not tooo heavy).

I watched several years back as the driller pulled mine and replaced the bad pump ,which has a broken link from the motor to the pumphead,which he said was a known defect(too small diameter link). He still charged me about $1500 for the work and a new pump.

I will have to ask him for sure about pulling it for when the grid goes down for good and no fuel for a generator then I will have to pull it for sure. I have enough rockclimbing nylong rope to draw water after I pull it and rig a method to do so. Pulley,whatever.

Good luck. A ag plastic chemical tank sold at farm supply stores usually works good on a pickup to haul water. Be careful starting and stopping with the water sloshing around.


You might want to think about going ahead and buying a hand pump to keep around "just in case". Either that, or set up a small PV panel to power your pump (and again, get a spare pump to keep on hand). Hand drawing water by the 4" bucketfull will get old REAL quick!

"Hand drawing water"

I lived in a cabin long ago were I carried water from a spring. Tired of that real quick.

A small stream was closer, so I sunk a reservior off channel, with a three foot sand barrier for filter. Then put in a pipe up to a tank in the house. Pushed it up with a hand tranfer pump, like for fuel from a gas barrel, mounted at the stream reservior. Regular "pitcher pump" couldn't pull that far and high. It was an improvement, but I couldn't guess how much. Keeps your forearms in shape though.

As for 250 feet of vertical lift.....

"You [Todd] might want to think about going ahead and buying a hand pump to keep around "just in case"."

"Regular "pitcher pump" couldn't pull that far and high."

For Todd's situation, even if he had a hand pump he'd still be up feces creek because it's theoretically impossible to draw water more than about 33 feet vertical(in practice, usually less). The problem is, is that there is no such thing as "suction." As the saying goes "Physics doesn't suck, it pushes." When you've got a pump situated at the top of the well, it's actually the atmosphere pushing the water up the pipe. The pump's job is to create the pressure differential that will allow the atmosphere to push the water up the pipe. A pump situated at the bottom of a well as Todds is, is not subject to the same height limitations since it is indeed the pump pushing the water up and not atmospheric pressure.

Oh, you're right. I had just done a quick skim and didn't notice that his well was that deep. Small PV panel to power the pump would be quite feasible, though, may such are already installed and in use. Probably combine it with a storage tank so you refill the tank during the day while the sun is out.

I'm seeing a pole tripod and a come-along in my mind's eye. not a harber freight come along, a real one, the pneumatic chain types. or maybe the wench on one of the locals jeep. just a thought. good luck

Hi Earl,

Well, I considered that. I can get a 5 ton chain come-along from a neighbor (The initial weight of the pump, pipe and water in the pipe will be well over a ton). The problem is that each pipe length is 21' long so I need, in essence, a 22' or so high tripod. That's not too practical.

I have considered having a friend bring in his excavator. That too has problems. The pipe has to remain centered in the well casing (6") and I'm not sure he could maintain the kind of tolerences needed not to break the pipe. I'm still thinking about this though.

The joy of the country.


if a pulley has a large a large enough diameter, say 12", you could off set the tripod by 6" and get one length in two 11' pulls. this would obviously only work with a truck wench.
here's another thought for the chain come along
I seem to recall you have experience with timber framing, so this would be right up your alley. off set the tripod, run one of the legs a little closer to diagonal out over the well. next determine the off set of the come along, plumb bob up from the center of the well and you're there. again, one length in two 11' pulls
I hope this makes sense, I don"t communicate to well with these word things


i got our -much shorter - 45ft. well pipe & jet out w/ the tower/tripod system. the key in my situation for stopping off the pipe at the short intervals was a prussic climbing knot ( a knot that can be slid on a rope for climbing the rope-weight locks the knot in place) i used which allowed me to stop at anyplace.

the knot can be made to 'grab' more by adding extra loops. i was taking out 1 1/2 galvanized pipe so mine was all a 500 lb. hand hoist could handle.

i ended using i think 3 prussic knots/loops( one to pull with ,2 to stop off the pipe& get a new place to hoist from) as dropping it would be -maybe very very expensive. i found a small chain worked as the 'rope' for one prussic knot loop.gave more confidence than the nylon rope.

good luck.

I have a tripod over my deep well. Each leg is a 16' piece of 1 1/2" square aluminum. I can pull the well pump by hand (200' deep) because it is immersed in water to 90'. The tripod is to sleeve the 20' sections of PVC pipe, to keep them straight and hold them while I break them apart. When I raised and lowered the motor last year, I used a few half-hitches to hold the pipe. It would be easier if I had a pulley to a safety rope on the motor I guess. Or flexible black-plastic.

Not that hard.

cfm in Gray, ME

Todd, google - air lift pump. Interesting 315' of lift 1-30 gpm.

450 feet-that's some ancient water. What brand pump-I've had poor luck with Red Jacket 10 yrs ago. Grundphos-probable sp error-worked good. Esp in high tds, corrosive wells. It took 1700 feet of pipe, but I'm now on gravity.

I suppose you've considered cisterns, ponds.

If you have a minute, I'd like to hear your thoughts on charcaol for fert, nutrient stabiliztion. Do you see results, or too early to tell.

"you don't miss your water, till your well goes dry"

thoughts on charcaol for fert, nutrient stabiliztion.

You mean Terra Preta?

Its been mentioned on more than one drum beat. I guess I'll add that to my bio page in addition to the quote already there from someone who is making biochar .

It does seem to work, the only question is is it worth the effort VS the yield change.

Yes terra preta, and it has been knocked around a bit. The last I saw was a study that was unable to demonstrate results in temperate climates, only the tropics. Hence, looking for other sources and or experiences not tropically oriented.

The quote is from The Byrds, off a piece on their Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

The last I saw was a study that was unable to demonstrate results in temperate climates,

I'm seeing results in temperate areas with the ability to get certain kinds of fungi to grow (which is why I'm now looking at it for the fungi operation) Bio-charing pine needles as an example, work better than trying to compost 'em.

Todd's method has so many other variables that the char he's adding may be masked by other agents.

I've been growing in these beds for over 25 years. In the past I've cover cropped (a high organic soil-building mix of oats, vetch, cow peas and fava beans). Cover crops don't break down fast enough in spring with my weather so I switched to mulching about 5 years ago. I also made (and used) tons of compost when we were growing certified organic food many years ago. Making compost even with the loader on my tractor got old. No, the only new variable is the charcoal.

Todd; a former certified organic farmer

No, the only new variable is the charcoal.

Alas, no.

Seed Genetics, water, sunlight, variation in the compost quality all change things.

The people who want to 'prove' bio-char want to see all the variables controlled for.

And how do you say 'yes the quality is improved'? BRIX readings? Or just 'this seems better' measurements?

eric, it's simple
take 20 tomato plants, all from the same seed lot, all started in the same medium. take twenty 5 gallon buckets, apply same drainage solution to each. (three or four .5" holes)
in ten of them place your top soil and compost, put one tomato plant in each bucket.
in five buckets place same soil, compost mixture to a point half way up the five gallon bucket, fill the rest with charcoal, mix, add tomato plant.
in the next five buckets add the same soil compost mix to 3/4 of the bucket fill the rest with charcoal, stir well add tomato plants.
thru your growing season apply the same amount of water to each plant, the water must come from the same source for each
blah blah blah
if it works it works
you seem to just want to argue

eric, it's simple a simple experiment deleted

But that is not what Todd is doing He just says he's seeing better growth.

Alot of work is bing done on this, and more will be done in the future, as good experiments (with far more plants that you have cited) are done.

Doug, I'm not an expert on this, but I will repeat what I was told about biochar in the tropics by a local expert.

It seems that here in the tropics, the lack of frost favors microrganisms that consume humus, resulting in soils that contain almost no organic matter. As a result, tropical plants typically have most of their root mass in the litter on the ground surface.

It's his contention that finely divided, porous charcoal can serve some of the moisture and nutrient holding, and anti-compaction functions served by humus in the temperate zone.

Errol in Miami

Sorry to hear about your well problem, and the associated problems that go along with it being down. I might suggest that you get prepared for the future to pull it yourself, because by the next time there just might not be a well repair person around. What I did when I had my well drilled was to put a concrete base around it and set 4 anchor bolts to hold a tilt up antenna base,for a Rohn 25G tower. I have several sections of 25G tower and a 2ft section made for a single mast type antenna. I built a " T " type structure out of 2 inch pipe to go in the top of it, and have a Pully arrangement plus 60ft of 3/8 cable. You can purchase this type of tower at most hamfests and sometimes there will also be a base to go along with it. If you would like more information on my set up here you can e-mail me just click on my screen name here and take out the spam protected parts. for more info. on hamfests in your area go here.
http://www.arrl.org/hamfests.html and fill in the blanks.

Old Hermit,

That's not a bad idea. We've been on this land since '79 and have had to have it pulled several times. The last was two years ago when we replaced the galvanized down pipe with plastic and put in a new pump. That all should have been good for 15 years based on past experience. I'll be 83 in 15 years so I thought I had a sure thing since it's unlikely I'll be around then. I'm also happy it wasn't winter (we've been snowed in for up to three weeks). One time the pump went out in winter when we only had a little snow. We still had to have a CAT drag the well truck to the well.

But, at least we have 4,700 gallons of storage capacity. I just hate to pay for the water to be trucked in.


Hi Airdale,
Thanks for that mention of Todds Black gold that drumbeat has lots of good stuff by yourself as well as Todd also a comment scientific from Leanan...missed that drumbeat and it is a good one.

BTW, how about you giving some time for my favorite farm animal the Garden Worm, those cultivators extraordinaire.

the Garden Worm

Why would you think Airdale - who knows that vinegar gives you hangovers - would know a damn thing about vemiculture?

Clive Edwards's work would be considered 'authoritative'


And Looking for Sir Howard:

I found one I don't remember reading:

All one needs to remember about growing earthworms is this:
They (and their food) need Oxygen. So whatever you do, you need to make sure they have O2. The Worm Gin is the best method for meeting the O2 goal.

Here's WHY O2 matters:
When you go anerobic - the 200+ toxins kill your worms.

Jerry over at http://www.jetcompost.com used to sell The Worm Gin and hosts the web site of the gent who held the patent. http://www.jetcompost.com/burrow/

But to discuss worms visit:

Challenge (Show your Worm Knowledge):
Years ago I read a claim about a patch of land in Canada that had Lub. Rubellus added and got a 'large' yield increase in corn. I'm still looking for that study,

Bill is trying to deliver on that claimed research.
And his old site:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the links, will read the first when I put it into hard copy looks interesting but much too long for now. About that vinegar item, I have always seemed to have woke up with the dreadfuls whenever I drank anything with the taste of vinegar but who knows I could have been wrong I am often pretty stupid in the morning. Then there are some scientists who not only know that vinegar doesn't give headaches but as well believe that the green revolution did other than drive farmers off the land into slums and ghettos and crumby jobs to make the world safe for the likes of Monsanto. I think I will take my whiskey neat and listen first to neat people like Airdale who have their hands in the earth and not in my pocket book.

Thanks again for the links. There doubtless will be some good information there even if they lack that essential to lifethat 'the Airdales of the world give... Poetry.

Here is my wormy contribution:


About that vinegar item, I have always seemed to have woke up with the dreadfuls whenever I drank anything with the taste of vinegar

If Acetic Acid was the reason (as per the wacko-claim) then pickles, vinegar and oil salad dressings, and many other foods would cause hangovers.

Thanks again for the links.

You are welcome.

There doubtless will be some good information

Yes. And they will mostly lack myths/lies/misstatements. Esp. Clive Edwards.

there even if they lack that essential to lifethat 'the Airdales of the world give...

Ahhh, that's why the political/management/sales staffs are able to survive - people who make up stuff are called 'essential life'!


Ya sure ya didn't mis-type "lacking reality"?


My 'views' on earthworms? Only one thought about it.

When I brought this farm way back it had been under 'no till' production for quite some time. The HEL(highly erodable land) portions were starting to gully becuase the 'operators' who had been farming it(and still were) used very poor techniques and NO grassy waterways. They were simply using up the organic matter and returning little back.

I started then to build my pole barn while commuting every weekend from Lexington,Ky where I worked. I put a 6 ft PTO auger on the back of the tractor and started digging 5 foot holes for the poles.

Not one single earthworm did I see while digging 14 5' holes. Not one. I then realized that the farming operation had totally eliminated all of them. Perhaps their techniques or use of chemical sprays.

A few years later I threw them off the farm and sowed it down in orchard grass mixed with Kenland Red Clover.

Now I find a lot of earthworms in my soil. End of story.

I do notice one further item. I cut my lawn and leave the clippings for mulch on the lawn. If they pile up it apparently shades the soil underneath and worms or other soil lifeforms seek out this cooler soil areas. Next comes the moles to prey on the worms or whatever. It only takes 4 or 5 days and everywhere the thatch was is now mole destruction.

My response was a couple of Jack Russels. Sometimes they catch one every day. They rip the yard up but its better than mole tunnels everywhere. Mice and frogs take up residence in the old tunnels and then the snakes come to eat the frogs. The Jacks leave the snakes alone.

My last observation and now back to Eric Blair,who appears to be the consumate goggle master but observer of naught.

My issue with using sugar for making ethanol(whether moonshine or whatever) was from having been told by those who produced it that the acetic acid can cause hangovers. No respectable moonshiner will use sugar. They malt the corn, grind the malt,mix it with ground corn and let it ferment to a beer mash. At the proper time they cook this off of course. Bad runs of moonshine can kill you. The fusel oils(known as bardy oil) is not pleasant. I have watched as whiskey was being made both in Missouri and N. Carolina. Its a long slow process.

There are many skills involved in making 'white liquor' and drinking just anyones product is not a good idea. Acetic acid or not.

I have made quite a lot of homebrew beer. Some good and some bad. I have never tried moonshine but there are still many around that do it right and sometimes I get a few swallows after I am satisfied as to its quality.

I will say this then. Well made moonshine is far superior to any store brought whiskey I have drank and I drink a lot of whiskey. My liquor cabinet right now is pretty well topped up. My last purchase was Edradour, which is a prime prime scotch and very very hard to find in stock. It cost me $58 over the counter and yet I would savor a quart of well made moonshine to it any day.

Airdale-just my opinion and nothing more..I don't post from googling data...shit anyone can do that...what interests me is personal life experiences and opinions...If I wanted the pure facts I would just read encyclopedias

Blair might not know that Kentucky is the main producer of fine bourbon and whiskey..I lived in a county near Lexington that had 5 or 6 distilleries. One less than a mile from my farm(Old Joe Distillery-now Four Roses). Another(Wild Turkey) on Hwy 62 just west of the Kentucky River past Versailles. Several others that were there back then but now might have disappeared. In fact I rented an apartment in a refurbished distillery in Midway , Ky for 6 months while I was waiting for my retirement to start.

My last observation and now back to Eric Blair,who appears to be the consumate goggle master but observer of naught.

Is that supposed to be an insult? Weak, like your demonstrated grasp of science.

I don't post from googling data.

Neither do I. I use links to back up what I say and point to people who are FAR more experienced than I.

The worm knowledge comes from having spent time at soilandhealth (and journytoforever), having spent time chatting with Bill K about his encapsulation tech, chatting with ex-lawyer Frank Teuton, Seeing Kelly Slocum crash and burn, Watching the B&B pyramid scheme exploding (Like many of the other worm scams. The tax code treats worm farms differently just because of the past history of scams), seeing oldgrowth's forum come and go, hearing about how Jay would actively airate his bins, seeing how Jerry Guinn can tell you how to compost a sheep, et la.

Oh and my work with Epigeic worms.

And your reaction Airdale? A weak attempt at being insulting because YOU lack even the knowledge to know what to input into a search engine. Or be able to back up your claims.

bunch of crap about 'moonshine' Including about how no respecting distiller would use sugar

I'm not gonna waste MY time trying to invalidate your 'knowledge' about a tax evading activity. I'll just point the readers to people who actually have a demonstrated knowledge of the physics

http://homedistiller.org/forums/ (dead)
http://homedistiller.org/wiki/ (Damn still dead)

http://www.permaculture.com/alcohol/index.shtml for a book on the matter that complies with US laws.

Oh, and on the topic of sugar
http://www.distillery-yeast.com/turboyeast_faq.htm (Oh, look a whole section of home brewers dedicated to using sugar. And pointing out how sugar-based versions need actual nutrients.)

what interests me is personal life experiences and opinions.

And its a good thing others are willing to call BULL when you post crap. Like Hydrinos, soil erosion, making hydrogen gas via Al-water reactions, the inability of acetic acid making it into 'shine due to vapor separation.

Now we know you are un-encumbered by facts at least.

Hiyah Eric,

Read your:

I use links to back up what I say and point to people who are FAR more experienced than I

so I just knew I would get really deep science and I was not disappointed with your link to this...

Alls ah can say is bring on those science hand puppets this is much beyond Bill Nye, Beakman and even Mr. Wizard!

And yet this does a FAR better job than trying to tell airdale that Yeast have 2 modes - aerobic and anaerobic. And Vinegar production needs O2. So to get his headache making Acetic Acid, you need to have had fermentation THEN exposure to O2.

Which has not a thing to do with his claim about sugar.

In case ya don't believe me:

(I can lead a poster to the truth, but I can't make him believe)

Now, old hangnail, you were supposed to leave a chastened but wiser Eric Blair but still you persist with your hootings and tootings about acetic acid, never addressing the problems inherent in the statement; that expert moonshiners felt that acetic acid had some relationship to the bain of human existence, to wit the hangover. Now the lifeblood of true science, is, in my murky view, supposition and therefrom postulation. Would you not agree? If so go further and suppose you were to grow a long black beard and hie unto the bush and bramble joining the moon shinning fraternity in mashing distilling and of course, as you so rightly mention, tax avoiding. Now going ever further, that every time you made a batch it would taste of vinegar and every time it tasted of vinegar you would be beaten badly by your customers. Confrères of course would chortle at amateurism exemplified. Now what would you think of that? Would it push the envelope of your disbelief?

Now we have acetic acid which is somewhat similar to the stuff your liver, that which that little darling of an organ, produces as precursor to agony. We also have people who swear that a daily shot of apple cider vinegar cures them of migraine showing that vinegar is not without effect upon the old brain and stem. Stir in a few congeners with the acetic acid (catalyst or more?) add alcohol and what have you got old eric old prune? Damned if I know but I don't think either of us wants to be around when all that stuff starts wheezing an honking. I think I'll take Airdales advise drink the pure moonshine and leave those other guys alone.

BTW: I don't think a requirement of this site is to be encyclopedic in ones postings and that musings and the experiential as well as original research are allowed.

chastened but wiser Eric Blair
chas·ten Pronunciation (chsn)
tr.v. chas·tened, chas·ten·ing, chas·tens
1. take to task.

For Airdale to 'chasten', he'd have to be correct.

He's not.

mashing distilling and of course, as you so rightly mention, tax avoiding. Now going ever further, that every time you made a batch it would taste of vinegar and every time it tasted of vinegar you would be beaten badly by your customers.

It would not happen because Acetic acid has a higher boiling point than ethyl alcohol.

But don't let facts get in your way! You keep shining on you crazy diamond.

Now we have acetic acid which is somewhat similar to the stuff your liver, that which that little darling of an organ, produces as precursor to agony.

WTF are you talking about? If you have a point, make it.

which is partly due to the dehydration|dehydrating effect of ethanol. Hangover symptoms include dry mouth, headache, nausea and light sensitivity. These symptoms are partly due to the toxic acetaldehyde produced from alcohol by alcohol dehydrogenase, and partly due to general dehydration.

Plenty of people use sugar for their wash:
Finally, the history of Rum is USING sugar to make their brew.

BTW: I don't think a requirement of this site is to be encyclopedic in ones postings and that musings and the experiential as well as original research are allowed.

All that is really needed is an e-mail address.

Mature people can accept when they are wrong. Airdale's reaction has been to scoff when data is presented showing he's wrong.

But don't let facts get in your way! You keep shining on you crazy diamond.

Thet's why.

But don't let facts get in your way! You keep shining on you crazy diamond.

Facts can be the refuge of minds desperate for the security of belief.

Thanks for all the fish.

Bourbon Whiskey was invented next to Royal Springs in Georgetown Kentucky by a Baptist preacher Elijah Craig.

Other Kentucky counties, less devoted to the truth, claim that they invented Bourbon whiskey.

Best Hopes for Biological consumption of ethanol,


For people who want real data:

Alfalfa roots and why here:

(In fact the collection of books/data at soil and health is always a good read )

Harry vetch and wheat in no-till (Got the concrete roller, just no time this year to work the land)

http://www.newfarm.org/depts/notill/roller_gallery/index.shtml (Roller porn)



This is my first post here.

I attended a Conversation On Energy Sponsored by ConocoPhillips two days ago in Lakewood Colorado. The company plans about 35 of these "town hall meetings" around the U.S. Anyway, the key points made were: Surveys of the U.S. public indicate that oil companies are held in less esteem than tobacco companies, and that oil companies are the problem, not the solution, to higher oil prices.

The main ConcocPhillips executive said in the U.S. Energy independence is not available, but energy security is. I don't know precisely what this means.

Also, he said that Energy comservation is essential to solving our problems. And that they, ConocoPhillips, do not have all the answers. No mention was made of Peak Oil, nor were any of the Questions from the public particularily insightful, IMO. This was a stormy night, and I assume that only concerned citizens turned out. I thought the turn out was good.

They are coming to a town near you, in the U.S. anyway. I thought that their effort was noteworthy, and usefu. IMO, nothing that was said was inconsistant with Peak Oil occuring now or in the near future.

hello NewWorldMan

Also, he said that Energy comservation is essential to solving our problems.... says ConocoPhillips....

Conservation WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM - it will ONLY EASE THE PROBLEM ! A vital difference.

The Hydrocarbons are fading away as we speak .... ONE day in a few decades - it is gone for all practical uses !

IMO, nothing that was said was inconsistant with Peak Oil occuring now or in the near future.

First of all, welcome to TOD. Second, he believes we are a long ways from peaking. I have discussed this with him during a small private meeting.

The bottom line for why these guys think there is plenty of oil is that they believe what the Saudis say about their reserves, and they believe the Yergins and Lynchs of the world.

I just got an invite to one of these..

what was the ratio of speech to discussion?

I didn't stay till the very end so I don't know how long it was in total. The first 40 minutes contained short speeches by 5 individuals, including 2 from Conocophillips. About the next 40 minutes that I was there were Q and As taken from the audience.

hello all.
An new McKinsey report has surfaced. The report looks at the "economic energy efficiency savings" in the world from now to 2020. The report can be downloaded here for free if you register.
Title: Curbing Global Energy Demand Growth: The Energy Productivity Opportunity
The report is very detailed ( 290 pages) with numerous implications for the US and the world in general.
Citation from the introduction transcript.

"There is one thing, however, that would make a very big difference to the picture going forward, and that is what we call energy productivity. In fact, we could reduce the base case of 613 quad Btu by 2020 by 135 quad."

The savings are realized with an internal rate of return of >10 % ! the 135 Quad saved annually are approximately 30% more than the present US energy use. The major saving areas are residential energy use, transport and industry.


Lately I have wondering, almost hoping, for gasoline prices to become high enough for the US congress to something stupid, which might cause one of the oil companies to spill the beans in outrage.

Like, "You fools, the prices are high because there isn't enough oil to go around anymore",


"Don't blame us for overconsumption of a extremely finite resource, time to get rid of those SUVs"

or even simply, in front of a committee,

" Don't ask me, ask G*D, we are at Peak Oil production".

Ok, just my Friday morning denial of reality and delusion.

But there always is hope.

Dont you get it PeakTO ? :-)

...its Henry Fords fault all of it ... he invented the principles of the assembly-line.

The source-problem to PO you can spot here - as the hard nail H. Ford is not paying attention ....

– The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903.

"The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty —a fad."

“On January 9, 1914, speaking from New York's Hotel Belmont, the mercurial [Henry] Ford told swarms of reporters about his plan to mass-produce Edison-powered electric vehicles selling as cheaply as $500 to $700."” http://internalcombustionbook.com/Chapter1.php


But suppose it were to double again, to $7/gallon, over the next few years. $20/bbl oil translates to $0.40/gallon gasoline. $40/bbl oil in the 1970s translated to $1.25/gallon gasoline. Now $60/bbl oil is translating to $3.50/gallon gasoline.

Do a regression line through these relative rates and we can project the following:

  • $80/bbl oil will translate to $5.50/gallon gasoline
  • $100/bbl oil will translate to $8.50/gallon gasoline
  • $120/bbl oil will translate to $12.50/gallon gasoline

The bottom line is that, while $3.50/gallon gasoline was a cakewalk (just a catch-up after decades of after-inflation price decreases), $7/gallon gasoline will be nightmarish. Not because we can't afford to pay $140 to fill our gas tank, but because we can't afford to pay twice as much for the oil we eat, the oil we wear, the oil that drives our entire economy. And our economy is stretched so tight, and is so over-extended and over-leveraged, we have no room to manoeuver.

This is the incredible bind we've gotten ourselves into: Coping with global warming and the End of Oil (before the nightmare outlined in The Long Emergency befalls us) demands a large increase is the price of energy to dampen our appetite for it. But that large increase could easily plunge the world into another Great Depression.

There is no way out of this mess. This is what happens when you crank economic systems to their fragile limit and find yourself with no resilience, no room to maneuver. A responsible response would be to own up to our recklessness, launch a major austerity and conservation program (including limiting corporate mark-ups and ROIs to levels commensurate with risk), and invest mightily in public transportation and renewable energy.

The Bush & Harper doctrine is instead to publicly deny global warming and Peak Oil, privately acknowledge we're fucked, and shove the whole massive problem into the laps of future generations.

So the real problem is not that gasoline prices are too high, or that they are too low, it's that we think the price of gasoline is the real problem, and that changing that price will solve it.

Greetings from increasingly less cool, still colorful Colorado.

More bad news about melting glaciers. The future apocolypse is here now. After the last glacier is melted, what will we warn people about? Happy motoring, the vast majority of you who said that higher gas prices wouldn't affect your behavior over the next couple of weeks.

Here where I live, disappearing snow capped mountains, hotter weather, disappering tundra, disappearing species, et. al. are are not good for bidness. For all of you who thought bidness was more important than global warming, you won't get your better bidness anyway.

There are days when I wish I had been my father. He died before all the shit hit the fan.

This is the snowiest spring on Pikes Peak in more than a decade. Barr Camp recorded 231 inches of snow this winter. (It only saw 50 inches in 2006.)

Hikers venturing above treeline will find that the peak is more wintry this May than it usually is in January, and they should be prepared.

“The snow is still waist-deep in places, and we just got more today,” Taylor, the caretaker at Barr Camp, said Wednesday. Every day, she warns people that the trail is buried.

Mose in Midland

And we had slush here near Rocky Mountain National Park in March. I have never experienced that kind of warmth and meltoff this early in the year. We had snow two days ago for that matter, but it means absolutely nothing, since it melted off the next day. And we had rain in February and March. And I see the snow disappear here earlier every year. Are you trying to make the point that global warming does not apply to Colorado because of this recent experience on Pikes Peak. Being "wintry" while just referring to recent snows says nothing about long term trends in temperature.

Were you backpacking in the rockies in the summer 30 years ago, twenty years ago, ten years ago? If you were you might have noticed that backpacking at 10 or 11,000 feet is no longer a cold experinence in the summer.

Double Post

Hello Tstreet,

do you have a list of all the melting glaciers in CO. How many are growing, or have any new glaciers been discovered forming in CO recently. I think three new forming glaciers were just found in CO. Am I wrong.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Check out this web site for a review and an analysis of what is happening to our mountain parks throughout the west, including Colorado. http://www.rockymountainclimate.org/

I have not hear about these new glaciers you refer to, but would be interested in seeing a refernce. Also, please give me a link about the growing glaciers.

Here is a story its from 2001, Geologists Unexpectedly Find
100 Glaciers in Colorado

Geologists exploring Colorado's Rocky Mountain Park say that they
discovered more than 100 additional glaciers here in a single summer,
said Verrengia.

Officials previously believed the park, which is 60 miles northwest of Denver, included 20 permanent ice and snow features, including six named glaciers. The new survey, conducted by geologist Jonathan Achuff, shows there are as many as 120 features.

"Comparisons with historical photos suggest that at least some of the glaciers are expanding," say park officials. "Subtle climate changes may be helping the formation of glaciers or at least reducing their retreat."

"Glaciers are barometers of climate change," researchers said. "The survey results here contradict global warming trends. While precipitation hasn't changed much, temperatures have been slightly cooler in the past
several years."

``We're not running quite in synch with global warming here,'' park spokeswoman Judy Visty said.

This article appeared in the Hawaii Tribune Herald on 7 Oct 2001, by Joseph B. Verrengia. AP-NY-10-04-01)

Note at the time of this article Drought was not a problem and lack of snow. The article you posted said Drought was the cause, not warming.

I haven't found the article on the three new glaciers, I think it was CO. I read it about a month or so. Could have been another state, but I think it was in CO. I'll check further as time permits tonight.

Note this article also says that several are expanding based on historical evidence.

Other glaciers growing. There are plenty


You may not agree with his theory, but his list is based on reports.

did ya here about the freak huge snowstorm in China recently, in May.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I thought you would probably reference the ice age now site. Yeh, I can't wait. Meanwhile, the temperatures keep rising, which is generally true throughout the globe, especially the western United , and most especially the mountains. Where I live, spring comes earlier every year and winter comes later. I see zero credibility to any site that claims things are getting cooler.

Discovering more glaciers is not the same thing as new glaciers being formed. We discover new species every day too, but that doesn't mean those species just popped up yesterday.

Can't remeber this being mentioned in previous drum beats, but then this is such a common occurance these days;

Gunmen kidnap Nigeria oil workers

Gunmen have kidnapped at least seven foreign workers in oil-rich southern Nigeria, sources in the region say.
The seven were reportedly in a boat laying pipelines off the Bayelsa State coast when they were attacked.

UK officials have confirmed that four of those seized are British. Three Americans were also reportedly taken.

I am amazed at the growing skills of these guerrillas. They're overrunning rigs, ships, you name it. They may be the most competent institution in Nigeria. Unfortunately I read an interview with their leader and when he got to ideology he seemed to degenerate into the usual Pentecostal mutant crap you see from Uganda to Myanmar these days. They don't have a plan for solving the problem of artificial colonial boundaries that make legitimate nation-states impossible. Damn shame.

They may be the most competent institution in Nigeria.

Then you must not get a dozen of these every day:

Dear Friend,

I wish to approach you with a request that would be of immense benefit to both of us. I am an attorney based in Scotland United Kingdom. I want you and I to make some fortune out of a situation that I am obviously left
with no other better option.

Yadda, yadda, there is a fortune and everyone involved has died, I need help getting these funds out of the country, and I know you can help me. Here's how much is involved:

I have complete information of his bank account details with an outstanding balance of $48,550,000.00USD ($48.550 Million USD).

That is quite a business they have going. I just can't believe that in this day people are still sending them millions of dollars.

Oh, I know. I have read through those archives lots of time. Funny stuff.

Apologies if this item has already been seen.

U.S. biofuel push seen lifting gasoline prices

[...] some oil executives are now warning the current shortages could become a long-term problem, leading to stubbornly higher prices at the pump. And they point to a surprising culprit: uncertainty created by the government's push to increase the supply of biofuels like ethanol in coming years.

In his State of the Union address in January, President George W. Bush called for a sharp increase in the use of biofuels, along with some improvement in automobile fuel efficiency to reduce America's use of gasoline by 20 percent within 10 years. The Congress is considering legislation calling for a nearly fivefold increase in the use of ethanol. That has led many oil companies to reconsider or scale back their plans for constructing new refinery capacity.

In hearings before Congress last year, they outlined plans to increase fuel production by expanding their existing refineries. Those plans would add capacity of 1.6 million barrels a day to 1.8 million barrels a day over the next five years, for an increase in 10 percent, according to the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. But those plans have since been scaled back to more than one million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the U.S. government.

"If the national policy of the country is to push for dramatic increases in the biofuels industry, this is a disincentive for those making investment decisions on expanding capacity in oil products and refining," said John Hofmeister, the president of Shell Oil Co. "Industry-wide, this will have an impact."

The concerns were echoed in a recent report by Barclays Capital, which said the uncertainty about the ethanol growth "will do little to accelerate desperately needed investment in complex United States refining units. Indeed, it is likely to deter and further delay investment, if not rule out many refinery investments completely."

As any reader at this site knows, American corn actually takes a lot of oil to produce. How could these execs not know that more ethanol means using more diesel and more natural gas (which diverts gas from being used to replace fuel oil elsewhere)? And the government is proposing massive increases in ethanol because even that increase, IN ADDITION to what the oil companies were planning, won't be enough to meet projected demand. And how could this exec really believe that those increases will occur on schedule given the problems discussed here?

But the Saudis are using the same lie, so it's not surprising.

Superman390 and ur stmt "American corn actually takes a lot of oil to produce"

Mhhhh well the native americans did raise corn without any oil.

What the real problem is ,,is that the type and method of corn production used by modern ag does require a lot of 'inputs'.

However in my garden and in the past we always grew corn but didn't plant it with the close seed placement and the narrow rows like today. We also didn't expect 150 bushel corn.

We grew enough to feed the stock. A mule or horse cannot work and live on pasture. He just can't consume enough with a small stomach. A horse on pasture eats a bit..fools around,eats a bit more and so on and on.

So with draft animals(horses and mules) you feed them a high protein food such as corn while in the stall. They can then fill up with a high energy food and work all day. Feed again at nightfall and water them well. Ready to go the next day.

Without grain a horse or mule can't do much work. Not built that way(step in here Eric Blair with your googles whenever u see the need).

We hardly ever ate the corn ourselves in the kernel stage. We just ground some for meal to use in the kitchen as needed. Never grew wheat here btw.

So our corn we grew WITHOUT chemical inputs and never did get those yields they seek today. Yet corn was a very very important part of what we grew and used.

A lot of times a field was just allowed to lie fallow. Farming back then was not a hustle and bustle affair as I remember it. You did what the weather (and the signs in my grandpas manner) allowed one to do. When the time was right then you did work hard but that was sporadic. Every day and night you had chores but to me is was pleasant. Milking the cows,feeding, etc. Then you went and had a cold supper and later bedtime,then up at sunrise and start all over.

We gathered the corn with a team and wagon. Put it in the corn crib.

Sorry to get offtrack but I wanted to point out that corn was not grown the same back then,,and won't be in the chaotic ,back to the past, future we will face if the shitstorm does come rolling in.

Corn is precious to me. I won't let a year go by without some corn in the ground. Not killer crops. Just what I need.

A lot different that what is done today with GMO and RR corn. Huge inputs because the ground is lacking and not given good husbanding by the farmers. They grow for the MARKET and not themselves and the animals of course.

Different paradigm ,very different.

Airdale-sorry for dragging this out..the bourbon made me do it!!!!

Oil executive responds to outcry: He calls on Americans to cut demand

Americans, too, must "back off" on their gasoline consumption or energy costs will only keep rising, said Routs, a Dutch native who lives in The Hague and was in The Woodlands on Thursday for a conference.

Thanks Leanan - I put this link up at the top.

No way...taint my problem...It them Oil Execs...Gougin' me and Billybob here...taint fair.

Can't help yourself, can you...even on vacation.

I rarely post here, you folks get the topics pretty well thrashed out by the time I get on-line. Today however, there is an opportunity to help get the msm focused on PO. MSNBC is running a story/poll/public input piece titled "Gut Check America". I put in my bit about peak oil (without using the term). If you would like to try and get the media on this, here is the link:



Yes...I was going to post this too...way to go.


Red-level emergency...get over to this site and input as may PO-related issues as possible.

It is an unique opportunity to get visibility in the MSM.

I headlined the link.

I posted. Please take a minute away from TOD and post your thoughts to MSNBC.
Tom A-B

It would be nice to see how many of us post something.

So later, if we get a large number of posts, we can see if they are completely ignoring the topic, instead choosing to go the "poor consumer is being gouged route".

Maybe we could post here so we can keep count. Based on previous digg counts, we could get 50 or so, without too much trouble from our regular readers.

I posted!

I posted...

Dug it.

I tried it, but when I hit send I got an error message. Good luck!

Same here. I saved mine first cause of your warning. Try again later.

Seriously, what good can come of this? I only see a greater chance of public panic.

This raises an interesting question.

If you think mentioning Peak Oil will cause public panic now, then when can we mention it?

Ever? The sooner it soaks into the psyche of the public the more likely some needed measures may take place.

That's all I think any of us can hope for.

I have started leaning towards thinking a fast hard fall is best, as i think there is no mitigation, and a slow decline will drain all resources leaving nothing for the future.

So I am leaning towards not bothering to wake up the masses any more... though i flipflop on this weekly...

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Hi Crystal,

Thanks for your response. I'm curious:

re: "...as i think there is no mitigation,"

Can you explain?

No mitigation possible...? Because...?

Was that directed to me - I am not Crystal but you quoted me so I will respond.

I think that ultimately the sort of mitigation efforts necessary are of such grand scale that they would require huge levels of centralized (governmental) activity in the right direction and/or awareness and action on the kind of scale unprecedented in history.

Neither of this is possible, I don't believe in the US - and if the US collapses it will take the rest of the world down with it.

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

and who's crystal?

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

It's an interesting idea - I'm on the fence about submitting anything though...

Why the hell do they need to know all that personal background information ? Not that I'm hiding anything but I just don't understand that part of it - should I be afraid of saying the wrong thing or straying to close to "sensitive" issues ?

Or is my tin foil wound a bit too tight these days ?

If y'all say it's safe then I'll go ahead and post something - I trust the judgment of my fellow TODers...


You don't have to give them the real info, now do you. Create an email that you use just for these purposes. Create an online identity for such purposes. You are under no obligation to provide them real info, they use that info for profit motives in numerous ways.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The page is broken now: the form control where one is supposed to enter one's year of birth won't show any choices (I've tried it under three different browsers on two major operating systems, including Windows 2000). Guess they were getting a little too much Peak Oil info... I've submitted a problem report, but don't expect to see anything come of it in a timely manner on a holiday weekend.

So Brazil is going to "pipe" ethanol for export? I thought ethanol was unstable and wil fractionate under such transport. Just a question from a frequent reader and inquiring mind. John

If it's just ethanol by itself, it can be piped if the metallurgy of the pipe is the right type. It just can't be piped with gasoline, because it picks up water and causes it to disperse into the gasoline. Also, the gasoline pipelines are not the right metallury (need something more resistant to corrosion).

Ethanol is an azeotropic substance at 95.6% ethanol to 4.4% water by weight, (89.9 ethanol to 10.1 h2O molar ratio). To get higher values of ethanol; benzene? liquid/liquid extraction is used.(not sure on the second thought)

I am unsure if ethanol at the azetropic state which is exposed to atmospheres at slightly higher humidities than the 9:1 (11%) ratio will result a strong hydrophile outcome.

And anyways, the pipes could be filled with co2 because rusting requires an oxidizer and oxygen.

I saw a piece on CNN yesterday morning that was a test of mileage between E85 and gasoline. The vehicle used looked like a Chevy Tahoe. The guy making the test said when the E85 was being used (laughing) you could literally see the gas gauge moving down as you drove. He said somewhere aaround 30% less mileage than gasoline.
Knowledge of the ethanol problem is beginning to slowly leak (no pun intended) into the media it appears.

There is some loss of mileage with E85 in MOST cars. 30 percent in a big car like a Tahoe, that could be close, seems high.

Most cars are not made to really run on E85. They can but at a mileage loss. It has to design of the motors. If the motors were designed to use E85 then the mileage in most cases would be about the same. The shape of the pistons is one reason. They are not shaped to take effect of the higher octane rating and the slower burn of E85. This is where most of the loss is I believe. The flat headed piston works for high explosive gasoline, but not as well for E85.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The best published number, achieved by the Saab BioPower built specifically for E85, showed a 12.5% drop in gas mileage as compared to the typical 20-30% drop. But it was still a drop.

In principle, one should be able to design an engine in which E85 actually gets better mileage than gasoline, but nobody has managed to do it. (Vinod Khosla told me this was something I should do; I shot back at him that he is the one with the funds to do something like that).

I can't find the link now but maybe someone can. I read something that suggested that a diesel/ethanol solution worked very well. I'm finding a lot of info on blends but this story seemed to be about almost pure or pure ethanol in a diesel engine.

Ahh found a similar one.


If a mixed fuel strait soybean/ethanol engine is doable thats pretty interesting. Longer term I think a solid oxide fuel cell coupled with batteries is the best solution.



I suspect we can get these to eventually run on anything.

A primary use might be a efficient fuel cell powered plane.

The best published number, achieved by the Saab BioPower built specifically for E85, showed a 12.5% drop in gas mileage as compared to the typical 20-30% drop. But it was still a drop.

In principle, one should be able to design an engine in which E85 actually gets better mileage than gasoline, but nobody has managed to do it. (Vinod Khosla told me this was something I should do; I shot back at him that he is the one with the funds to do something like that).

A well designed low RPM, high torque, high compression motor (like an aircraft engine) should be capable of closing the gap - On a gallon basis, that is. A 12.5% drop where there should be a 20-30% drop is still a BTU mileage increase.

Ha ha!
I just got curious enough to go over to the saab website and found this:

Fuel it with bioethanol (E 85) and maximum power output rises from 150 to 175 bhp. Torque is increased from 240 to 265 Nm. So while you do nature a favour, you can also count on even faster engine response for more fun and quicker overtaking.

"Well, there's your problem!" ;) - Once again, the advance goes towards performance and not fuel economy.

Also found this beauty:

* Performance figures with E85 fuel. Economy figures are based on using unleaded petrol.

Special note: I am not a fan of ethanol, just trying to keep things straight.

Since E85 has a relatively high octane compared to gasoline, then using it in a 'flex-fuel' car without a turbocharged engine is a waste of money. I don't believe any flex-fuel cars sold in the US right now are turbocharged.

I've read ethanol is basically 1/3 less energy measured in joules or btu's than an equivalent volume of gasoline. We've been working on ICE engines for how long and we've got to where we're at now. How are we going to bring in a new fuel and suddenly it's better when the basic problem is starting off with less energy to begin with?

The basic problem was because the govt subsidized the E85 and the lower price made it competitive with gasoline. So people accepted it, now that gap is narrowing and people take notice. Like most until it demands their attention they ignore it. They react they don't anticipate.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Until alcohol is magically given more BTU's than gasoline has BTU's you will always get more power or better milage from a gasoline powered engine assuming that both the E-85 and gasoline engines are both designed and tuned properly.
It's called the law of thermodynamics?

whoops, looks like i posted before reading!

Until alcohol is magically given more BTU's than gasoline has BTU's you will always get more power or better milage from a gasoline powered engine assuming that both the E-85 and gasoline engines are both designed and tuned properly.

There is more to it than that. You can get more useful work with higher compression ratios. That's why diesel contains 10% more energy than gasoline, yet diesels get 35% better fuel efficiency.

THERE MUST BE A LOSS IN MILAGE FOR ALL CARS USING ETHANOL BLENDS. IF the energy content of the tank decreases you need MORE tank to store the same energy.

Unless the ethanol can be combusted at significanly higher temperatures without causing undue hardships on the engine, Ethanol will lose.

Remember ethanol has 3/4 the energy of regular gasoline!


I've been trying this. See if you think it's any good...

Typical Idiot I Work With (TIIWW): "The Oil Companies are screwing us!!"

Sunspot: "But the Oil Companies don't control the worldwide wholesale price, it's a bidding system, kinda like EBay."

TIIWW: "But they do control the supply!"

SS: "Private Oil Companies control less than 25% of the world's oil supply. Over 75% of the world's remaining (!) oil is owned by countries."

TIIWW: (blank stare)

SS: And when you don't control price, and you don't control supply, you have no control. US Oil Companies are just along for the ride like the rest of us."

TIIWW: (grunt)

end of "conversation"....

I try to recommend TOD occasionally. Batting zero as far as I know.

I feel like I'm watching boiling frogs...

I had a conversation similar to yours on thurday. We can suggest TOD to these folks, but I find that alot of people don't care to see the truth, they prefer complaint. They also don't want to be bothered to see the truth, because they would have to change their life style, and like our idiot V.P. has said, " The American way of life is non-negotiable. "

Been there done that...

Over a BBQ a while back, I got into a discussion about oil with my neighbors. They were generally receptive, I thought...Not so much!

The next week - 2 of them bought V8 SUVs.

Even when people are told, they will still only HEAR what they want.

Sucks to be them thou. They are already complaining about the price to fill them up. (Why I don't know, if they could afford the 80K to buy them, what's a $120 bucks a tank)

You should have walked over and handed them two dum dum suckers.

Ever try frog's legs? They're delicious.

Keep at it, add a little humor. Eventually it will click, and they'll come running, wondering what to do.

It'll be interesting to see if they "come running" when these things become painfully obvious. It might work out that the problems will somehow be blamed on "people like me", as illogical as that is. Casting about for who to blame for everything seems to be the only level of "understanding" most people can achieve.

The other attitude I've caught on to recently is the concept that the people who warn that "bad things are going to happen" are people who WANT the bad things to happen just so they can say "See, I was Right!". Which is bizarre, isn't it? As if my life's mission would be fulfilled if I could see the flash of a nuke and whirl to my neighbor and say "Told Ya!" before I vaporized.

So for once, let me state: I do not want bad things to happen. I like my life, just the way it is. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to live their lives. I call that freedom. Unfortunately, reality dictates that there will have to be, as Kunstler says, some adjustments...

Ever try frog's legs? They're delicious.

Depends on your perspective. If you eat them at a restaurant every great once in a while, they are a delicacy and delicious. If you grew up poor and they were a staple of your diet because you were pretty good at gigging them, then they were "OK". :-)

Hi Sunspot,

A frustrating time, sounds like.

To play "devil's advocate" (once again), you know...if one assumes the supply to be near-infinite (unquestioned assumption, and not entirely without merit, as it's the experience of, what - 5 generations?), then it makes perfect sense that the ones who control are the only ones in a position to do the, um,...to be the problem.

I'd be curious about a slightly different tack. Not that it would "work", just that I'd be curious.

Only ask questions, don't give answers. Just keep asking...where did you learn that/why do you think that/...do you know where oil comes from?/what would we do without it?

Another thought along these lines: My guess is the concept "remaining oil" is meaningless. That might be one place to begin the conversation.
PS Anyway, OCs do control supply, in the sense that if they control a fraction, that's the fraction that might make the difference.

Another thought...you know, that sense of being "had"...in a way, if we just take the emotion, it's valid. Perhaps understandable, in that forces outside one's control are operating. "Something's happening here..."

Perhaps scary, not to understand. Not to have some control.
(Just my thoughts.)

I wonder what the emotion is that accompanies him/her saying what he/she did.

I wonder if a different conversation might start, if one identifies the emotion, first.

U.S. slashes forecast for Mexican oil output

The Energy Information Administration said in its 2007 International Energy Outlook that Mexican oil production will decline to 3 million barrels per day by 2012 before gradually rebounding to reach 3.5 million bpd by 2030.

Mexico pumped 3.185 million bpd in April, down from the average 3.256 million bpd produced in 2006, state oil company Pemex said on Monday.

The EIA had projected in its 2006 Outlook that Mexican oil production would hit 4 million bpd by 2010 and 5.1 million bpd by 2030 as resources in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico were brought into production.

Okay, they produced 3.185 mb/d in April and the EIA expects that number to decline to 3 mb/d by 2012 then rebound to 3.5 mb/d by 2030.

According to this chart in http://images.pennnet.com/articles/ogj/cap/cap_070507ogj_4601.gif
">The Oil & Gas Journal Mexico has 14.8 billion barrels of reserves. However if they are pumping over 3 mb/d today and ramp that up to 3.5 mb/d over the next 23 years, that comes to over 27 billion barrels of oil pumped between now ant 2030. And of course if they are pumping 3.5 mb/d in 2030, meaning they will have not even then peaked, then they must have, in 2030, at least half their current reserves still left in the ground. That means that now they must have, both discovered and undiscovered, at least 54 billion barrels of oil left in the ground.

Somehow I just doubt that. The EIA is, as usual, completely unrealistic.

Ron Patterson

The IEA Outlook report is garbage.

I do not know how they get away with it. They should be fired.

From the article about the gas station not selling gas:

Maria McClory, 38, drove 10 miles out of her way to buy a diet soda from Pollack’s station after seeing local television coverage of the protest.

Uh... Isn't this what got us into the situation in the first place? Driving 10 miles for a diet soda?

Uh... Isn't this what got us into the situation in the first place? Driving 10 miles for a diet soda?

Now, that made me laugh out loud. Right you are.

In the “You can’t make this stuff up category” (sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit)

Able-Bodied Tourists in Las Vegas Take Scooters to Get Around ...
The Ledger, FL - 4 hours ago

In increasing numbers, Las Vegas tourists exhausted by the four miles of gluttony laid out before them are getting around on electric "mobility scooters."

Don't think trendy Vespa motorbikes. Think updated wheelchair.

Forking over about $40 a day and their pride, perfectly healthy tourists are cruising around Las Vegas casinos in transportation intended for the infirm.

You don't have to take a step. You don't even have to put your drink down.

"It was all the walking," 27-year-old Simon Lezama said on his red Merits Pioneer 3. Lezama, a trim and fit-looking restaurant manager from Odessa, Texas, rented it on day three of his five-day vacation, "and now I can drink and drive, be responsible and save my feet."

Good grief, Jeffery Brown! I do believe I'm going to hurl now...

ACK! That reminds me of the picture of the woman walking her dog from her SUV. I can't find the picture but think someone uses it as an avatar over at peakoil.com.

Are these like the scooters George Costanza started riding around on in one of the Seinfeld episodes ?


There was a similar article around six months ago about able bodied people using the scooters at Wal-Mart and other big box stores to get around while shopping.

The funny thing is that Mad Magazine predicted exactly this decades ago. I'm thinking about buying the collection on DVD just so I can find the article from way back (early 70s I think). In it stores kept getting bigger while Americans got lazyier so they were filled with obese people riding around huge warehouse sized stores on scooters. It's amazing how well they nailed it thirty years ago.

What did the next page predict? Well, there was an illustration of the Chinese taking over the US by pushing us all over like weeble-wobbles. Doesn't sound that unlikely anymore.

I totally remember that article... I have the collection, maybe I'll see if I can find it. I think it was from the early 70s?

I remember this Mad or Cracked magazine thing on "Food Crisis" from the mid '70's. They had this farmer in bib-alls being interviewed and they were asking him if all 3 of his silos were full of corn.

He said, "No, sorry to say, 2 are filled with money."

As a farm kid this left an impression on me. It never did work out that way, but I guess we aren't done eating yet.


"All the lights, all the slots, all the air conditioning - if they lose the electricity, they're dead in the water," says Keith Lozeau, sales manager at Cashman Power Solutions in Las Vegas, which provides the generators for 80% of emergency power systems on the Las Vegas Strip. "And that's not counting lost revenue." This is why the 7 million-ft.2 Venetian complex-casino - comprising 3,000 luxury hotel suites, high-end retail shops, the Sands Expo Convention Center, and a network of canals that mimic the real thing in the city the hotel was named for - has installed five 2,000-kW Caterpillar 3516B diesel generators (2,934 hp).


That's right sports fan, the Venetian hotel has 10 MW of backup power. Are they using a comparable amount of power on a daily basis? Today the temp is around 100 degrees so I'm sure the AC's are cranking steadily. The Venetian is only one of many of the "Mega" hotel/casinos found on the Strip. Compared with the amount of energy used to transport people through McCarran Airport, 40 million per year, and the amount of energy used to power lights, AC, gambling devices, etc. on the Strip, able-bodied people on mobility scooters seem like the least of our worries.

... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

Good article from June issue of The Atlantic Monthly called "The Army We Have":

It needs 80,000 new soldiers this year and must find them in a populace that is in many ways less willing and less able to serve than earlier generations were. Young people are fatter and weaker. They eat more junk food, watch more television, play more video games, and exercise less.
. . .
But in reality, the numbers game is stacked against recruiters. In the prime age group for recruitment (17 to 24 years old), 7 in 10 are ineligible for military service, Army officials say. More than half the members of this youth cohort are disqualified for moral, mental, or medical reasons: They have had too many run-ins with the law, or they have gang-related or extremist tattoos; they have had psychiatric treatment for severe mental problems or antisocial behavior; or they have been diagnosed with one or more of a staggering list of medical conditions, from heart murmurs to obesity.

For every potential soldier a recruiter sends to training, he’ll talk to 150 to 250 people. He’ll find them by making hundreds of cold calls, visiting high schools, and walking through malls. Of these contacts, the recruiter will conduct 20 face-to-face interviews. Four of those applicants will take the Army aptitude test and physical exam. Just over half will score in the top half on the aptitude test. Fewer than half will pass the physical.

This is only a problem because we have an imperial army. When recruiting mercenaries, of course you want to be selective.

If we got out of the empire business, and went back to having a department of DEFENSE instead of a department of OFFENSE, then we could go to a Swiss-style citizen militia with universal national service. We could work with the people not up to acceptable standards, and at the least find postings for them that would keep them from being a danger to themselves and to others.

The founding fathers believed that standing professional armies were the death of republics.

Come on China . . . Drink the Kool-Aid and join us.

This was a mostly-unnoticed exchange in yesterday's presidential press conference

Q Good morning, Mr. President. A lot of lawmakers in Congress are saying that China has not done enough to allow its currency to appreciate, and they're talking about things like duties. What is your view about that, and are you prepared to do more to encourage the appreciation of the yuan?

THE PRESIDENT: Thanks, Ed. I spoke to Madam Wu Yi today, as a matter of fact, had her into the Oval Office; wanted to thank her for bringing her delegation in, and also to ask her to pass on a message to Hu Jintao that I appreciate his willingness to work in a strategic -- with strategic dialogues in order to put in place the type of measures that reflect a complex relationship -- in other words, the ability to discuss issues such as beef, or intellectual property rights.

snip . . .

Another way to address it is for them to help convert their economy from one of savers to consumers. And that's why Secretary Paulson worked very assiduously with this strategic dialogue group to encourage openness for capital markets; that China must open its capital markets to allow for different financial institutions from around the world to go into the country. It not only will be beneficial to the United States, but we happen to think it will be beneficial to the Chinese economy, for the consumers to have different options when it comes to savings and purchases.

snip . . .

Anyway, this is a complex relationship. There's a lot of areas we're working together, and there's areas where there's friction. And we've just got to work through the friction. One area where I've been disappointed is beef. They need to be eating U.S. beef. It's good for them. They'll like it. And so we're working hard to get that beef market opened up.

Does anyone else see a problem with this? Or rather, a couple of problems?

One area where I've been disappointed is beef. They need to be eating U.S. beef. It's good for them. They'll like it. And so we're working hard to get that beef market opened up.

Great, he's worried about beef.

We're all screwed!

Not only that, but our fearless leader seems to think that it's unfair of the Chinese to save their money and maintain a healthy currency. Who do they think they are?

No worries, they have all the little guys in China buying into the stock market.
As soon as they think that almost all of the money is in they pull the rug out from under them.

You Chinese need to find a country that'll lend you some money so you can consume like us!

They hardly seem to use money. Try the new National Geographic for the story on China's instant cities.

They cut corners-business plan and factory blueprints on a scrap of paper. Worker dorms above, on promise of pay. This from saved family resources, "the priceless capital of native instinct" and the thought they'll outgrow it in a year or so.

They say goodbye to architects, sub contractors, concrete pumping, parking, a nearly endless list.

Nat Geo is great isn't it. What I find so interesting is after I became PO aware is that Nat Geo has related stories almost every month.
How about those guy with the buckets of concrete going up stairs $.40 an hour. Who wouldn't rule almost any industry with labor so cheap.

Resident Bush

....Another way to address it is for them to help convert their economy from one of savers to consumers.

There it is.

Another way to address it is for them to help convert their economy from one of savers to consumers.

That is pathetic. I do not begin to comprehend that mentality.

President Bush is echoing what many economists are telling him.

You can find several recent articles on this topic here:

See many of the recent papers there, that address this issue of getting China to be more "consumers" in their thinking. There is also a paper there on China's energy issues by Rosen and Houser.

Hi Robert,

It may be...the man in question doesn't listen to himself. There are words, but no concepts. (Because there aren't any in there.) If you flipped "consumers" and "savers", it would make the same amount of sense.

Just sounds like more of the same arrogant bullsh*t that thinks we have "our" oil under those islalmofascist's sands.

All our problems, whether it's oil or the economy, are someone else's fault.

Energy and oil from France :

A magazine called "courrier international", a most leftist oriented but widely sold monthly newspaper devoted to international issues and diplomacy has its may issue running its front page article on biofuels. The title is "biofuels are a scam". It cites palm oil (on which leannan has already provided a lot of links), a negative analysis of the ethanol industry in Brazil, the risk of food scarcity, and so on.

We have had a presidential election in France in May. Right wing Nicolas Sarkozy is now the new president. He is fully in line (or almost) with Washington and the neocons. Officialy he is against the war in Iraq but has apointed Bernard Kouchner as his foreign minister. B. Kouchner has always supported the war in Iraq and supports a tough stance on Iran.

During the campaign, energy questions were merely discussed. The left wing heralded biofuels as "the" solution. The right wing didn't herald anything. 1 week before the election, there was a debate on television between Nicolas Sarkozy and his leftist challenger Ségolène Royal. 4 minutes from 2 hours were devoted to energy questions. Both candidates were way of the mark (really way of) in this discussion which was merely about nuclear. No one could correctly evoke the correct distribution in energy sources (N. Sarkozy said 50% nuclear in electricity generation, S. Royal said 18% nuclear in electricity generation in France, while the correct number is 80% in France ...). I really asked myself is this incompetence is real or staged. In either case the implication is clear : the industry has to take care of this, the politicians are not going to make the necessary choices. Not that they are not messing up some things, since a great part of the political sphere has opposed the merger suez-gaz de france, which no one talks about any more. The doors are now wide open for Gazprom and consort.

And since I'm here, todays gasoline prices, cheapest and most expensive today in my town (Bourg en Bresse) expressed in US dollars per US wet gallon, based on EURO/DOLLAR=1.34 :

Diesel : 5.22-5.98
Unleaded 95 Octane : 6.46-7.35
Unleade 98 Octane : 6.54-7.51

Feel better ?

A magazine called "courrier international", a most leftist oriented but widely sold monthly newspaper..

A weekly newspaper, actually. And highly recommended, for anyone in and around France.

I have been following the building of tram lines in France, and no towns of less than 100,000 seem to get one (Mulhouse pop 112,000 (from memory) got the first of 3 in 2006, well equipped by 2012). Bourg en Bresse is less than half that.

You are some distance from the nearest TGV station (>100 km I think) but you have SCNF service.

Grenoble is a model of a smaller city combining new tram lines with bicycles to create a non-oil transportation system.

What plans, if any, are being made for non-oil transportation in your small corner of France ?

Best Hopes,


Right wing Nicolas Sarkozy is now the new president. He is fully in line (or almost) with Washington and the neocons. Officialy he is against the war in Iraq but has apointed Bernard Kouchner as his foreign minister. B. Kouchner has always supported the war in Iraq and supports a tough stance on Iran.

For some reason there seems to be a sudden increase in military movements in our area of France (Planes, helicopters, convoys, etc.). Might be nothing or it might mean they're preparing for something. I also saw something which looked military moving by rail (flat beds covered with hoops and green tarpaulins), shortly afterwards I saw a passenger train halted in a siding and all the passengers killing time around the train. Unscheduled rail movement of something heavy? Maybe nothing, but it all just seems unusual, out of place.

I was also surprised a month or so back to find there is a French aircraft carrier in the Gulf. Escalation? Lebanon? Iran? Someone going to do something really dumb? Or just normal activity?

I've suspected that Tony Blair has been hanging on for something, some reason. I find it strange that he finally gives up the premiership straight after Sarkozy gets elected. Passes the baton so to speak.

Perhaps I'm just becoming paranoid :(

The lead article on the future of the Mackenzie pipeline has perhaps a much larger impact on the US energy scene than it would seem. Though the article appears to be written by a tyro in the field, the meat of it all is that it will take considerable time to get the various levels of government and the various stakeholders all on the same page. Then the thing will have to be built. Until the actual pipes start going in, nobody will start to drill holes. If we were realistic about the supply of 'clean burning natural gas' - which only puts out 5/6ths as much carbon, whoopee - we should have this thing connected by now.

On top of that is the semi covert plan to put in a nuke plant or three or whatever to power the 'oilsands' plus some other schemes on the drawing boards. The problem is that the customers are in the US and the politics is Canadian. Given the GW component, the political process will proceed at a snail's pace until the crisis becomes so big that immediate action must be taken, notwithstanding and all that.

Crisis, + ten years to get it all up and running. Natural gas, even in it's current slump?? is still five times the price of less than a decade ago. Decline rates are typically much steeper than oil so that being ahead of the situation is much more important. On the other hand there is the realization that there is no 'next' after this one, so the real future lies in other types of investment. Welcome to the undulating plateau which may produce a far nastier shock in natgas than in easily transportable oil.

Despite being an Al Gore fan and in favor of solar thermal and such, this thing should have been built by now just to maintain supply while the alternatives sort themselves out. The price will still be high regardless. The consequences of not building it - it has been on the drawing boards since about 1975 - will be ugly. Remember, it's natural gas that heats Kunstler's suburbia, even if we're going back and forth in electric scooters. January in Chicago 2015.

Interesting article that may not have been posted here from

Darfur: Forget genocide, there's oil
Forget the handwringing over "genocide" in Darfur. What's happening in southern Sudan is enmeshed in a fight to control Sub-Saharan Africa's oil riches - a fight in which China and the United States are going head to head. Welcome to the real world. - F William Engdahl (May 24, '07)

Yes. There's no doubt large number of people are dying, but it is less than in the Congo, and less than in Iraq, but only Darfur is called genocide. I would love to know the funding sources for the Save Darfur campaign. I would rename it: Let's Pretend We Care. As far as some individuals are concerned, that's too harsh, but not in terms of who's behind it.

Hi Dave,

Thanks and...

re: "...in terms of who's behind it."

Who do you suppose is behind it?

And, are you sure about the numbers comparison? Just curious.

financialsense.com has these kinds of articles for days before they make it to the MSM. I think that's been up since early this week incase you want to get this type of info asap.

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Not really a response to anything today... more that driving around Houston at the moment is a depressing experience. All I see is pointless construction of highways and roadside accoutrements that will never see a future where they live out the potential for which they have been so wastefully built.

And echoing through my mind as I drove Beltway 8 yesterday was the poem I recall from my schooldays by Percy Bysshe Shelley, probably familiar to most here:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

That's been my favourite poem ever since grade 12 English class.

My favorite poem from and American poet, Wilfred Owen.


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets, just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie;
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
(It is sweet and right to die for your country.)

... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

Not to quibble when you are giving props to one of my favourites, but Wilfred Owen is quite famously English. In fact the work he and Sassoon did was quite revolutionary at a time when Poetry was really in its element filling a role that no other medium was doing in its reality-based view of the war.

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Regarding the story about the man who closed his gas station:

So by shutting down his station, he’s creating more inconvenience for drivers who need to drive longer distances for their fuel, thus increasing demand. CLUELESS!

I like how the consumer in her sport utility vehicle driving 100miles a day is just as clueless as the gas station owner.


This is somewhat dated but eh what the heck:

Seven Steps Toward Ecological Eating

Great ,reasonably priced, sustainable, healthy, storable post peak diet.
Oh yeah we are post peak.

Good advice.

Over at the mortgage disaster front, Tanta too knows her classics:

All Your Access to Money Are Belong To Us

I have argued that if a mortgage broker isn't acting in a fiduciary capacity, I don't see the point of hiring a broker. It appears I fail to understand this business. From the Wall Street Journal, "Mortgage Brokers: Friends or Foes":

Borrowers often see mortgage brokers as their allies, searching far and wide for just the right home loan at an attractively low price. But many brokers are making it clear they don't see things that way. They are fighting efforts by federal and state politicians to impose a fiduciary duty on them to put their customers' interests first, as lawyers, real-estate agents and financial planners generally are required to do with their clients.

"The mortgage broker does not represent the borrower," says Chris Holbert, president of the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association. "We sell access to money."

I had the idea that "we sell access to money, so you can't sue us" probably didn't make for a winning mission statement, so I wandered over to NAMB's website:

A typical broker has a working relationship with numerous banks and other lenders and provides the consumer with access to hundreds of options when it comes to financing a home. This allows mortgage brokers to provide consumers the most efficient and cost-effective method of obtaining a mortgage that fits the consumer's financial goals and circumstances. Mortgage brokers have helped many consumers, including low-to-moderate income borrowers with less than perfect credit histories, enjoy the benefits of homeownership.

How odd. If you read NAMB's Mission Statement rather carelessly, you'd get the impression that the broker works for the consumer.

Not sure if this link has already been posted:


China's April Oil Imports From Sudan Rise Sixfold
"China's crude oil imports rose 23 percent to a record for a second successive month in April, climbing to 3.6 million barrels a day, as domestic producers strained to meet demand in the world's fastest-growing major economy".

Hey, that is almost 700.000 b/d more than last year

This is unfortunate. China has(had?) the opportunity to build their infrastructure entirely on renewable and alternative energies. Unfortunately, they seem determined to follow the US's irrational slurping behavior.

The breakdown of the import numbers for China in April is here.

There are some surprising figures. Oil imports from Saudi Arabia were up 15.9% in April - 631,000 bpd against 544,000 bpd last year. Imports from KSA so far this year are up 3.4% vs 2006. Makes you wonder whether China is paying some sort of premium for supply, possibly to fill their strategic reserve.

Chinese imports from Russia, while up 1% for the year, fell 15.7% in April. Just at the time when the IEA is forecasting an impending strong build in demand for crude, all the signs are there that Russia will be cutting back on exports. Wholesale gasoline prices in Russia rose 4.3% in March and 12.1% in April, and oil export duty is being raised from June which will encourage supply to be kept at home rather than shipped abroad.

If Russian exports decline, then as we go through the summer the calls on OPEC to open the taps are going to become shrill. Will they be able to respond? My guess is that they will (to an extent), though not because they have any great excess capacity. No, as Frank Herbert would put it, what we're seeing this year from OPEC (and KSA in particular) is feints within feints within feints.

Crude Oil plus finished products for April 2007 come to about 4.6 million barrels a day imported by China.

Almost all the increase was in Crude though.

It has to be coming from somewhere??


My wife and I bought a house last year and first tried a mortgage broker. He found us a deal and we went home to think it over. After researching for 10 minutes on the internet I found a significantly better program available to us through a state program for teachers (my wife teaches.) This broker made a big deal out of how much he knew... apparently not enough is what I told him when I called to cancel the deal.

The Americans and their mortgages... a long story. Have you ever started to discuss to buy a house with Cash? I would never want to "own" a house, where the broker / bank has a 50% to 90% ownership. think again.

That's a tough one for a lot of people. Homes are priced on the assumption that people will get a mortgage. Not that many people have enough cash on hand to buy the whole thing. You could argue that they perhaps spend too much on other stuff, and in at least some cases you would have a valid point....

Have you ever started to discuss to buy a house with Cash?

Yes. They would only take a 'money order'. The bank asked why I wanted to withdraw the money, some kind of drug-dealer law at work. I kept saying "I intend to spend it on drugs, hookers and blow" and kept being asked 'no, really why are you making the withdraw'.

When you make a $5000 earnst money payment on the house offer - that gets your broker all confused...seems he was not used to such a large payment.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have made my earnest money the offer amount (and dropped the offer amount lower)

The demand also forces Iran to import more than 50 percent of the gasoline it consumes because it lacks the refinery capacity to keep up — a glaring vulnerability as the U.S. and its allies look for ways to pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program.

The Daily Reckoning reported on Thursday May 24, 2007

Oil climbed back above $70 today. The Iranians, apparently, rebooted their uranium enrichment program, sending jitters up the collective geopolitical spine.

"Iran is never going to give up their nuclear program," Strategic Investment's Dan Amoss tells us.

Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad keeps telling everyone that the program is strictly for the peaceful generation of electricity - and most think he's lying through his teeth.

"That kind of thinking makes perfect sense," continues Dan. "After all, if you're sitting on some of the world's biggest oil reserves, why do you need nuclear power? Therefore, the thinking goes, he must be trying to build nuclear weapons."

"Whether he is or not one thing is certain: Iran does need nuclear energy to keep its economy going. Because Iran's oil reserves are running out - fast.

"The dirty little secret Ahmadinejad is sitting on is that his country's oil industry is struggling day after day after day to keep its oil production somewhere between 3-3.5 million barrels per day.

"So…we know that Ahmadinejad is being straight with the world when he says his country needs nuclear energy. That brings us to the question of whether he's being straight when he says his country's nuclear program is for only peaceful purposes - or whether at the same time he's pursuing atomic weapons.

"I'm going to tell you right now - it doesn't matter."

Read the rest of this story here:

The World's Biggest Oil Field - Fading Fast

We're a bit concerned about our friends.

Hello BillP,

Thxs for your posting. I wonder to what extent the Iranian leadership tried to mitigatively defuse internal petrol-price anger and increase mental acceptance towards greater FF price-elasticity by the early provisioning of biosolar alternatives?

I news-googled: Iran + wheelbarrows, then Iran + bicycle imports, and next, Iran + bicycle sales--> Nothing popped up. Iran + mass transit--> Zilch, and the same for Iran + imported buses. Iran + photovoltaics--> Nada.

I guess the ruling Mullahs are too busy to read TOD. I have posted many times:
If a FF-exporting country trades their FFs for the real assets of long-lasting biosolar goods, then long-term advantages will accrue.

I sure hope North America someday realizes that the best way to defuse our rising petrol-anger is to have lots of bicycles, wheelbarrows, RR + TOD [go Alan Drake!], and other biosolar goods ready to go. Recall my earlier posting where a $200 bicycle jumps to $4,000 in a short timeframe. That can only add to youngster anger, disillusionment, and generational blowback.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

A girl enjoys the sunshine in London's Trafalgar Square, which has been grassed over for two days to promote the city as one of the greenest capitals in the world.


The turf, 40 tons worth, was dug up in Yorkshire and flown to London overnight.

That's pretty cool to look at as long as you don't actually, you know, think about it.

Today's (Fri) WSJ had lot's of interesting stuff:

1) "What Will We Do When Gallium Runs Out?" (B6) on the peaking of various minerals.

2) "Why OPEC Idles as Gas Prices Reach New Highs", (A1) speaks for itself, kinda.

3) My favorite "Pipeline Thefts Cripple Iraqi Oil Production". I can't help commenting: when German invaded Poland (or Czechoslovkia, or X) and the natives stole something back, how do we look that? But beyond that, as has been mooted here before, who is really the most liklely suspect? I mean, what was the whole invasion about? There was talk here of a Saudi-Iraq pipeline. No mention of any of these possiblities.

Got into the thread late and didn't read all -- sorry if this repeats anything.

"What Will We Do When Gallium Runs Out?" (B6) on the peaking of various minerals.

That professor from Purdue is gonna be heartbroken to know that his precious gallium won't be around to make aluminum pellets for on the go hydrogen production.

Tom A-B

What did happen to the discussion of the Saudi-Iraq pipeline? I thought someone was going to try and research that? Anyone remember who?

Personally I think it would be cool if someone with a lot of money just hired an individual to walk over to it some night and check it out. It's just some pipe buried under a little bit of sand in the desert, right? How hard would that be? (sorry, maybe I am showing my complete ignorance of pipelines and such)

"Personally I think it would be cool if someone with a lot of money just hired an individual to walk over to it some night and check it out."

yeah, or better yet, walk up to the front door of the Gold Vault in Ft. Knox and knock real hard with a big hammer, and tell them you want to actually see a bar of gold for yourself...

Why don't somebody give it the "google earth" treatment. Building a piple line through the desert and across a hostile frontier under full war conditions must have moved a bit of sand around, and there must be maintainence and pumping stations along the route right....gee, would they need any protection from insurgent attacks?

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Could you please post a link or text of the gallium story? 1) above. looks interesting.

I posted a comment to MSNBC.

I'm new to the site although have lurked for a couple of weeks. I just wanted you to know that I too went to the MSNBC site and posted my concerns about Peak Oil. Don't know how many will do that but hopefully it will raise the issue a little bit.

Not seeing any obvious Peak Oil messages up on msnbc's Gut Check America yet. Hope they post some of them at least and not censoring the whole batch.

Bit of a glitch getting loaded in the server for a bit. Saved comments. Will keep trying.

Xburb, are you referring to the msnbc comments poll.

Just curious, I wonder if they are reading the Oil drum cookie from the link and that is putting up a "not allowed" so to speak from the poll.

could be a way to keep people from loading the poll. Its in my memory of reading about this being implemented some time back to keep DOS attacks down also.

Don't click the link here, copy and paste, go to another site or two, then load in and see if that changes things.

Seems like to many people here not getting in. I have done plenty of msnbc things and never had a server problem.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria


Yeah I'd tried that too but anyway got it done (thanks!). (forgot theoildrum tag but spudw fixed it thanks!) Something like this.

"Of fossil fuels, lifestyle, and food production. There are 10 Kcal of fossil fuel input to each 1 Kcal of food energy we consume in America.

Our sources of cheap crude oil FF's like Saudi Arabia's Ghawar and Mexico's Cantarell are in terminal decline. America imports 60% of it's oil. A global bidding war for the final cheap crude is ongoing and will intensify.

In addition to countless direct costs to liquid transportation fuels there are implications for employment, tax revenues, commerce, retail markets and all transportation industries. FF energy inputs are paramount to most forms of manufacturing. Fossil fuels are the feedstock for plastics, fertilizers and pesticides. They are the building blocks of our civilization and the cheap sources are drying up.

$5 and more per gallon will mean food and all consumer goods will become more dear. Net exports of FF's will become increasingly difficult as exporters reserve more for their own populations.

Well it probably will become apparent to most Americans in the near term that part of their solution will be to economize, localize and produce. Many of the more wasteful, energy intensive, and unsustainable industries will fail. The sure bets are local food production and reasonable alternative energy. Some opportunity exist to promote more hydro, wind and solar power. Quite a few good electrified light rail projects are ready and need fast tracking.

Stop making SUV's, the world will probably not need one more. Get US car manufactures to produce a great low cost electric car. The list can go on and on....Exempt oil companies from windfall profits if they agree to build wind solar and light rail. Foster education programs on energy constraint in schools. Lower speed limits. Provide more ped and bike access. Halt suburban sprawl. R&D biodiesel.

Tax Guzzlers and incentivize Hybrids, EVs and NEV. We will have to do all this and more to maintain a decent standard of living in the future. It's this or prepare to spend every last dollar and more on FF energy and FF based food production."

Since posting classics and econ gets thumbs up;

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

William Shakespeare, "Hamlet", Act 1 scene 3
Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)

This is my favorite!

I wonder whether schools have stopped teaching this, now that debt is considered such a good idea.

As I witness the varied responses globally to Post Peak Oil, I find myself more and more concerned about the ethical treatment of our fellow men in a time of profit and scarcity. Throughout history are examples where the lure of profit has led to atrocities against large segments of populations. These have not just happened in small African or South Asian countries. The West holds no ethical high ground in these matters. Nor are these occurrences in the far past or 'beyond us' now.

Exports of food during the Irish Potato Famine


The Highland Clearances in Scotland come to mind.


As well as the decimation of American Indian populations to fulfill America's 'Manifest Destiny'.


Also, Stalin's push for industrialization.


It is easy to rationalize any position that profits oneself and to discount arguments against. Every journey begins with a single small step, even ones that lead to atrocities.

We must seek to recognize the ramifications of our policies and positions with regards to their effects on our fellow men. Markets and political decisions do not exist in a vacuum.

I strongly urge the reassessment of the issue of Ethanol and the food supply. I truly believe this is a journey that will not end well.






But the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee said higher food prices aren't all bad.

"Frankly, we have been underpricing our food in this country," said Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. "What this fuel thing is going to do is cause us to re-price our food to some extent. So consumers are going to pay more, and in my opinion, they should be, because we've been subsidizing them."


Do you feel you have been paying too little for food?

The first step on that journey has already begun.

Hello TODers,

Ukraine on verge of Civil War:


If this gets out of hand: this won't be much fun for Europe if the transiting FF pipelines are blown up. Time will tell.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I've been trying to get my head around what is the true elasticity of gasoline for some time now, mostly for the US but elsewhere too... lots of papers, most of them old a few new, all of which indicate what we know intuitively but of little use in predicting the future.

Making the rounds today is a bloglink (courtesy of Instapundit):
which says the following:

You can do a simple inflation-factor multiplication — how many of today’s dollars buy a widget today compared to how many did in 1962 or 1972. But that ignores the wealth effect, namely that even if today’s gas is more expensive that it was then, almost every one of us has (even in real terms) a lot more money to spend on gas than we did then. Will people who spend $20 for a music CD, $50 for ticket to the ballgame or $25 for a haircut really drive less just because a tank of gas costs $45 instead of $35 or $30?

I don’t know about you, but the thought never occurs to me.

Note that the emphasis on never is in the original.

While it is popular for the US MSM to run articles complaining about high gasoline prices, I've concluded all of that noise is just more Rosie vs. Donald fluff... it is mostly synthesized angst, created for the sake of raising attention. Americans ranting about high gasoline prices to a news reporter serves as a brief catharsis, before jumping in the car and running off to the ball park to buy $50 tickets...

This relates to all of you who think putting a small tax on gasoline is the way to go (for various reasons, whether you are a green hawk or worried about AGW or simply anti-suburbia). I propose that there is little reason to believe a gasoline tax of even $1/gallon would make much of a (gasoline) consumption difference. If the elasticity of gasoline is -.1, then a $1 tax on top of todays price of $3.10/gal would lead to roughly a 3% decline in consumption - barely enough to fend off the annual increase in population driven increases.

However, there is a possibility that raising taxes would lead to overall consumption declines, in other goods, thus possibly inducing a recession (or perhaps deepening one already underway), which in turn might lead to less driving, and thus an additional decrease in gasoline (and diesel) demand.


Yes. like in never trust what they say. Watch what they do.

What other consumer commodity has its price displayed right out on the street? I think that is a lot of it right there.

What other consumer commodity has its price displayed right out on the street ?

Boiled crawfish :-)

Best Hopes for a Great Greek Festival tomorrow,


About the proposed Argentina/Brazil(Mercosur) currency. I wonder who they are going to trust to print the money? Maybe they'll use gold :). That would be good payback for the IMF screwing them over in 2001.

Giesecke und Devrient.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

262 comments and nobody mentioned minimum operating level. 197 minus 185 leaves 12 mmbbl about one day's gasoline use. You might have gas for going to granny's for the long weekend but will there be gas for the trip back?

Put simply Thomas, there is apparently no new data on this subject. My post above about gasoline elasticity is an attempt to get some people here to notice how irrelevant the current price increases are to portions of the US populace.... notice that the bloggist never thinks about the small increases in price for him to fill up his tank.

And for people like him the only thing that will get his attention is when he goes to fill up... but finds there are no gas stations open.

Consider it as a real time experiment by the American consumer - let us test the system and determine MOL empirically....

I'm staying local this weekend...baseball and BBQ in KC. Next weekend, however, I'm taking the family on their first train ride vacation to St. Louis straight from Lee's Summit (we have an Amtak stop). I want to show my kids how many in America used to get around the country 30-40 years ago.

Thanks to Alan for inspiring me to scout out the plan for the railside adventure. I'll give a report back on the status of Amtrak accomodations and service in the Midwest when we return.

In St. Louis, check out their light rail system.

The new spur (5 miles from memory) made a controversial decision. They chose the more expensive option of greater grade separation, cutting run times by about 10 minutes at double the cost.

Since several additions can spur out from the terminus, I think that this was the right decision long term, but at a significant cost.

St. Louis built their first section "on the cheap" and some platforms cannot be extended cheaply or easily today, when they need longer trains during rush hour.

Somethings to look for.

Best Hopes for a delightful vacation :-)


Hello TODers,

Venezuelan Military Moves Into Caracas as TV Closure Looms

I don't know if this will lead to civil war or not, but I would expect USA FF-prices to rapidly escalate if production and exporting is halted or drastically curtailed.

Got a scooter and bicycle ready?

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Fascinating how these sort of things get ignored by the popular media outlets. From the news headlines today I know:

    Who won American Idol;
    Rosie won't be back on that morning talk show;
    Obama doesn't know his "flack" from "flak";
    ad naseum

However, that one of the US's most important oil sources is moving relentlessly towards total dictatorship and that there is a mounting objection among its populace, possibly leading soon to a violent clash... is basically ignored.

BTW, the Senate resolution was cosponsored by 12 senators, of which no less than 4 (Clinton, Dodd, McCain, Obama) are running for US President:

Hello TODers,

From EnergyBulletin:

60 percent of oil and gas execs believe trend of declining reserves is irreversible

Gee, only 51 years + approx. 4 billion additional detritovores after M. King Hubbert's warning.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Right, on a positive note this fine day why not examine what options we do have for oil? A massive thrust forward needs to be done at quickly getting this oil shale challenge solved. Currently examining a new idea as we speak on a couple of matters will share where applicable.

Interesting crossroads is US$ this week vis-a-vis some currencies; in particular Oz, Kiwi and Loonie against yen. Will these next week be a catalyst on yen strength for a crude correction for commercials, big traders and hedge funds to unwind on Brent or Nymex? A bit of a contrarian here and think storm season will not be as brutal as weeks follow.

Toronto mayor unveils hybrid-conversion project

Unfortunately the Toronto mayor doesn't really understand how hybrids work. What he proposes isn't going to make these cars achieve a much higher gas-mileage. This is why.

The Prius and other hybrid vehicles run indeed on gas exclusively, as gas is being used to recharge the (relatively small) electric batteries.

However, the savings come primarily from the type of gas engine used. Most cars have an engine that is far bigger than necessary. The bigger engine offers faster acceleration, but most of the time, while the car is driving at constant speed, the engine is operating just barely above idle.

Such operation cannot possibly be energy-efficient. While idling, the car still consumes gas without producing any power. Operating just above idle, the car primarily works to cover the idle power. In order to make your car more energy-efficient, you need to operate it closer to its maximum power.

For this reasons, cars with smaller engines achieve a better gas-mileage, because they operate the car closer to its capacity.

What the electric motor in a Prius does is to supplement the gas engine in providing the power needed for acceleration, i.e., the car "feels" much stronger than it would be when using the gas engine exclusively.

While the car is running at constant speed, the gas engine runs a little faster (and a little more efficiently) than it would need to in order to recharge the batteries for the electric engine. It will do so until the batteries are full, at which time the gas engine will reduce its power to the level needed to provide the desired locomotion.

Converting such a car to a plug-in hybrid will not really make all that much of a difference, because the engine controller of the car is designed to drive mostly on the gas engine, and use the electric engine only to boost the car's power during acceleration.