DrumBeat: June 20, 2007

Panel Supports Tax Breaks for Coal and Non-Oil Fuel

The Senate Finance Committee approved $28 billion in tax breaks on Tuesday to underwrite renewable fuels and “clean coal” technology, all at the expense of the oil industry.

The coal industry would reap substantial benefits from the committee package, which is to be attached to a broader energy bill being debated on the Senate floor.

But the industry suffered an unexpected defeat when the full Senate rejected two measures in the overall energy bill aimed at vastly expanding the production of diesel fuel made from coal.

Driving small doesn’t mean you’re less safe

Today, small cars feature an array of impressive technologies and thoughtful design touches aimed at maximizing their safety, including front and side airbags. High-strength steel withstands blows with less intrusion into the cabin, and electronic driver aids such as antilock brakes and electronic stability control help reduce crashes.

These factors produce cars that are dramatically safer than the little cars of yore. Additionally, today’s small cars are much bigger and heavier than those of the past. Consider that a 1984 Honda Civic hatchback weighed 1,830 pounds. The lightest version of today’s hot-selling version of the Civic tips the scales at 2,628 pounds, and the Si version weighs 2,945 pounds, more than half a ton heavier than the 1984 model.

Hybrid vs. diesel vs. flex-fuel

Which will do the most for the environment, fuel supplies and your bank account.

World Clean Energy Awards Highlight Best Energy Projects

he very first World Clean Energy Awards have been presented (via GreenBiz). The Swiss transatlantic21 association drew up the program for the World Clean Energy Awards. The following individuals were honoured at the 2007 ceremony...

Red hot energy prices ignite acquisition fever in Canada's oil patch

With world oil prices hovering at near nine-month highs and global energy firms flush with cash, analysts are predicting that control of Canada's booming oil sands sector could soon fall into foreign hands.

Colombia to Create Oil Price Stabilization Fund

Colombia's government is creating an oil price stabilization fund (FEPC) that will be used to cushion domestic oil prices from unexpected rises on international markets, government news agency SNE reported.

As glaciers melt and rivers dry up, coal-fired power stations multiply

China is well aware of its impact on climate change. Its Himalayan glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate, its deserts are encroaching on cities in the north-west, and rivers are drying up as a result of temperature rises and over-exploitation. According to the Worldwatch Institute thinktank in Washington, Chinese air pollution from coal-burning cost its economy more than $63bn (£31bn) in 2004, or roughly 3% of GDP.

But China argues that even with its surging economy, it is a relatively minor villain. The carbon footprint of the average Chinese last year was only a quarter of an American, or half that of a Briton.

Research president discusses the economic threat of peak oil (transcript and video)

The price of oil reached a 10 month high yesterday making a debate about the realities of peak oil timely. Peak oil is when the world's oil production literally peaks before going into terminal decline with dramatic ramifications for global economy. Just when that time will come is the subject of intense debate, though the issue receives far less coverage than the related focus on climate change. One man who's urging global action is Dr Roger Bezdek, president of the Washington-based research firm Management Information Systems. He's written two reports for the US Department of Energy on how to mitigate the possible effects of peak oil and he's spending the next two weeks in Australia talking to Government and industry leaders.

NRDC Report Ranks States Most Vulnerable to Rising Gas Prices

The report, Addicted to Oil: Ranking States’ Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change (pdf) ranks all 50 states based on the hit drivers take to their wallets, showing that while oil dependence affects all states, some are hit harder economically than others. Generally, the most vulnerable states are in the South and the least vulnerable are in the Northeast.

Once Seen As Elusive, $70 Crude Looks Increasingly Likely

Crude oil futures have their eye on the $70 mark again.

Benchmark futures in New York set a fresh nine and half month high of more than $69 a barrel Tuesday but fell back after failing to take out the psychologically significant $70.00 a barrel mark. But a breach, which has proved elusive all year, now looks increasingly within reach, as traders face fresh supply worries, from tight gasoline supplies at the start of the U.S. summer peak driving season to renewed violence in oil-rich Nigeria.

PEMEX Cries out for Investment

Mexico's PEMEX oil company needs an annual investment of about 15 billion dollars to prospect for new deepwater oilfields.

The company requires such an investment to be able to maintain a daily production of 3.1 million barrels of oil and six billion cubic feet of gas, the director of the prospecting and production branch, Carlos Morales, said.

What's creating a buzz in oilsands circles

Canada's oil and gas producers told their stories to hundreds of institutional investors from across the globe yesterday during the first day of an investment symposium organized by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in Calgary. Following are some of the points of interest that were creating a buzz...

Brazil: Petrobras to Expand Oil Production by Nearly 500K bpd

State-owned Petrobras said on Monday that it plans to add 480,000 oil barrels per day (bpd) to its current production by mid-2008.

Clock Ticking On Global Oil Supply

The debate over how much readily accessible oil remains on Earth has been revived with the release of a new report that suggests there is enough to last about 40 years.

But critics say British Petroleum's 2007 "Statistical Review Of World Energy," released this month, is far too optimistic.

Power shortage adding to Musharraf’s woes

Pakistan’s worst electricity shortage in memory has sent rioters onto the streets of several cities and poses a fresh headache for embattled President Pervez Musharraf, officials say.

Regular power cuts lasting from two to 12 hours increased the resentment of a population amid a blistering heatwave that claimed the lives of at least 100 people in the past fortnight.

Taxpayers face massive R400bn nuclear bill

South African taxpayers will have to fork out a massive R400- billion to pay for Eskom‘s planned nuclear programme, an independent study has revealed.

And the cost of decommissioning the proposed nuclear power stations at the end of their lives will add on several hundred billion rands.

This massive expenditure is not going to solve South Africa‘s present energy crisis, as the proposed nuclear power plants will be unlikely to make any significant contributions to the national grid before 2020, the study has found.

Philippines: No nuclear power plant until 2022, says expert

"Under the 25-year development plan formulated under President Fidel Ramos, nuclear power will be considered for the period after 2022," Danilo Sedilla, vice president of Napocor Geothermal Generations, said during the Seminar-Workshop on Nuclear Power held in Traders Hotel, Manila.

"It will take an estimated 15 years to train experts, study, decide and implement this option," he noted, adding that many technical developments have taken place and a new study practically needs to be made.

Radical Engines, Quirky Designs Refuel Quest for Car of Future

Where will the car of the future come from? Detroit, which fumbled the electric automobile and let Japan grab the lead in hybrids?

Not likely. Instead, try NASA, MIT's Media Lab or Silicon Valley, where the sizzling, battery-powered Tesla Roadster debuted last summer. New technology that promises to revolutionize the automobile as we know it is emerging from research institutions and startups -- and these innovations won't set you back $100,000 like a Tesla will.

Google's future is green

Google announced this week that it will give $1 million in grants to promote use of plug-in hybrids -- vehicles that run primarily on electricity but also use gas, and which can get as much as 100 miles per gallon.

The company also said it's dedicating an additional $10 million to developing this technology and, on Monday, activated the largest solar-power installation on a U.S. corporate campus, capable of generating enough juice to meet about a third of the power needed for Google's headquarters.

Aramco Plans Further Expansion

Saudi Aramco adopts a strategy of expanding its activities such as refining crude oil, manufacturing petrochemicals and value-added products, as the company aims at diversification of Saudi economic sources.

Pay Attention To the Oil Price Naysayers

The folks over at The Oil Drum are a persistent bunch. As the years go by and it continues to look as though Steve Forbes' post-Katrina prediction of $35 oil will forever fail to materialize, the forecasts by the crew at TOD appear increasingly likely to prove more accurate than predictions from most Wall Street types and nearly every big oil company and energy agency.

The Oil Drum (and other sites like it) in 2007 may turn out to be kind of like the housing bubble blogs back in 2005 when they screamed to the rest of the world that there was a problem but no one wanted to listen. The screaming at TOD is markedly less shrill than what's found on many housing bubble blogs, but not heeding their warnings will likely be even more disastrous than ignoring the housing naysayers a couple years ago.

Senate OKs plan to sue OPEC for price-fixing

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved a plan that would enable the federal government to sue OPEC for price manipulation, but the White House has threatened to veto the measure and opponents warned OPEC members could retaliate by turning off the taps.

Crunch Time on Energy

The Senate will tell us this week whether it really wants to do something about oil dependency and global warming or if it is just fooling around.

...Here are important points of contention and some thoughts about how they should be resolved in a way that moves this country toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future...

Militia leader halts attacks in Nigeria

A top militant leader freed on bail said Tuesday that armed groups in Nigeria's restive south will halt attacks on oil installations to give the new government a chance to deal with the region's problems.

But he warned there would not be an immediate end to the seizure of foreign workers.

As glaciers melt and rivers dry up, coal-fired power stations multiply

On a bad day - which can be hundreds in a year - the ancient city of Linfen in the northern province of Shanxi is environmental hell. Named by the World Bank last year as having the worst air quality on Earth, its 3.5 million people more often than not choke on coal dust; its soil and its rivers are covered with soot, and its Buddhas are blackened and shrouded in a toxic mist.

The cause is Linfen's 196 iron foundries, its 153 coking plants, its unregulated coalmines, tar factories, steelworks and domestic homes, all of which burn cheap, easily accessible brown coal.

Senate OKs plan to sue OPEC for price-fixing

...is there anything to add ? Now even the Senate has lost it !

My perception is that every country is responsible for their own actions - regarding all political actions taken - concerning whatever -

Its not the OPEC which forces the US to propell itsef on 1/4 of all fossile fuel in the world - or is it ? Where do I go wrong ...?

To ballance this (and to be rude and crude) its not US fault that the tortillas in Mexico are having extraordinary pricehikes - due to the bio-fuel stunts done in the US. That is shortsigthed political planning in Mexico - period.

Moral is : if you are having any problems - look around yourself to sort out your problem - dont blame your neighbour, or some folks 100000 miles a-bloody-way .......

It's kind of ironic. I thought they priced fixed at around $20.00 a barrel for nearly twenty years. :)

So sue them!:>)

Big oil has been in bed with OPEC since Moby Dick was a sardine. We can count on the current big oil administration to stop any suits against OPEC. Besides, its ok for governments to join cartels, just not individuals...unless you are seeking to be charged with the felony of 'running a continuing criminal enterprise.'...the RICO act.

According to Greg Palast's book, Armed Madhouse, there were two factions with designs on Iraqi oil: The neo cons wanted to sell off the oil to many producers in order to flood the market and bust OPEC, big oil stepped in and stopped the neo cons and demanded that Iraqi oil be placed under the Iraqi Oil Ministry because 'it is the only way an OPEC country can insure adherence to OPEC quotas.' Neo cons are dropping like flies around DC, big oil is getting its way, as usual. We can choose to believe, or not, the assertions by Palast but the events on the ground so far seem to back what he put forth in his book.

I hate to bicker, but Palast just doesn't know what he is talking about about. He is not a thorough journalist, and lacks integrity in his writing on this topic. To me he is a partisan political hack, he's just trying to rile up the Left--and he does a huge disservice to it with his conspiratorial thinking about Big Oil and da-big-bad neocons. He talks to Alex Jones, yet he contradictorily criticizes all the wacky PO conspiracy theorizing on the internet. If you don't like conspiracy theories Greg, then why do you mix them up with basic geology? He should have his facts straight on what peak oil is before he goes on about how "I know Lewis Lapham and since he comes from old money that started the oil industry and he's my friend I know everything there is to know about that stuff that flies me from NY to London and powers me around as I drive to and fro diligently investigating but forgetting to find out the truth.... yippee!" Instead of pursuing facts he wanders off in the direction of that familiar mental delirium that most Americans, or wishful thinkers, rush to when talk begins of oil depletion.

I don't trust a concept that comes out of Mr. Palast's head when it comes to the oil industry, it is that simple.

Palast is just another incorrect liberal who whines "aghghh they're gouging us, they're gouging us!" *whimper* *cry* *whimper* ... That's what capitalism is Greg, get used to it!

Someone call a senator or a member of the house! Surely the congress can do something... *sigh*

But -- It is a conspiracy. A geological conspiracy! The rocks are against us! The rocks are against us! ^_^

I was a big fan of Palast's work in other areas, until I read his stories on peak oil. When I applied the same error offsets to his political reporting, I was terribly disappointed.

Our world is a big monkey conspiracy! =]

See, these here monkeys create "entities" known as corporations. Time passes and the monkeys conspire to make money.

I purposefully left out Palast's comments on PO because I think he is wrong about PO. I also know Palast likes to stir the pot. That said, if you follow his scenario about the battle over Iraqi oil between the neo cons and big oil, the facts on the ground, so far, fit his scenario. That is the statement that I made in my original post. Because Palast is wrong about some subjects does not necessarily mean that he is wrong about all subjects. logic 101...or, for the logically impared 'even a blind hog finds an acorn on occasion.'

Perhaps you are right and Palast can find an acorn, but he couldn't find a truffle if his life depended on it!

Please advise when your new best seller concerning PO hits the stands, I dont want to miss it.

I would like to point out something I learned in economics.

Inelastic supply and inelastic demand make for very high price swings. As neither the consumer or the supplier has real control price goes all over the place.

Suppliers, once the oil is tapped, it is coming out. Standard oil knew this and used it to bankrupt many other oil companies.

Consumers, once you build up your life around oil, when it goes you are screwed.

This is what gave OPEC power, being able to control supply, and therefore prices very keenly. Hopefully now oil is more elastic than before. (even though i have seen articles saying its more inelastic.)

The conventional wisdom is that oil demand is highly inelastic, but I wonder to what extent that is really true. A huge amount of what we use oil for directly or indirectly really falls into what could be classified as discretionary rather than indiscretionary expenditures.

My guess is that most people SAY they cannot and will not cut back regardless of price, but if the price actually did go high enough, they would indeed cut back their consumption, albeit while complaining to high heaven.

For example, all that commuter mileage is supposedly inelastic demand. However, if prices got high enough, or rationing were imposed, people would start carpooling. They did it in WWII, they did it in the late 70s, so they would do it again -- if fuel prices were high enough to provide enough inventive to do so.


Thanks for your comment, and let's hope there's some room to lower consumption (i.e., relatively painlessly).

re: "...what could be classified as discretionary rather than indiscretionary expenditures."

Q: Is it not the case, though, that we begin to see a problem when the providers of "discretionary" services/products (or, we might call these folks, "recipients of discretionary dollars") do not receive the income they "need" (ie., rely upon) for their livlihoods (i.e., necessities) - ? (question mark?)

That said, I like your suggestion of things people might do when the prices get high enough.

Q: Will this be enough to offset the loss?

Q: What about as the supply declines and the decline continues on...?

Q: Do you see any way to bring about these "elastic" changes now, in an effort to use the energy we have for preparing for future/alternative sources, or etc.?

Q: Is it not the case, though, that we begin to see a problem when the providers of "discretionary" services/products (or, we might call these folks, "recipients of discretionary dollars") do not receive the income they "need" (ie., rely upon) for their livlihoods (i.e., necessities) - ?

Yes, there will be a lot of jobs that will be made redundant. That is why WT says in his ELP plan "Get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy."

Q: Will this be enough to offset the loss?

Supply and demand will adjust to each other to stay in equilibrium, albeit a constantly changing equilibrium. Shrinkage and elimination of the discretionary side of the economy will obviously be a big part of it. I suspect that our definition of discretionary and non-discretionary, luxury and essential will change with time.

Q: What about as the supply declines and the decline continues on...?

See above. While some of our past experiences (Great Depression, WWII, 70s Energy Crisis) offer some useful lessons and templates, this time around things will be different. In the Great Depression, there was a 3 1/2 year economic collapse, and then the slow recovery; WWII lasted a few years and then was over; The energy crisis lasted a few years, and then the spigots were opened and oil prices plunged. This time, energy price increases will just keep going up and up and up for decade after decade, without relief. There are not many precedents for such a long term, unrelenting crisis.

Q: Do you see any way to bring about these "elastic" changes now, in an effort to use the energy we have for preparing for future/alternative sources, or etc.?

Individuals can always make their own lifestyle choices. Anything society wide is going to have to take a massive government intervention. I'm not so pessimistic as to think that nothing will be done, but I am realistic enough to recognize that what is done will mostly be too little, too late, and sometimes not even the right thing.

Suppose the U.S. actually DOES sue OPEC for price-fixing.

What could/would the OPEC nations do about it?

1. Stop selling oil in dollars, switching to Euro/Yens or (for the ultimate dig), Rubles.

2. Sell their oil to some third world nation that would then re-market the oil as a "surplus" commodity on the spot market.

3. Sell U.S. bonds and other dollar denominated assets and drive U.S. interest rates up, resulting in a recession/depression.

4. Laugh all the way to the bank.

5. All of the above.

E. Swanson

More stellar legislation by our new improved Democratic led house. What a collection of pandering morons!

Yeah, I wish they would all smarten up and move to Kansas.

hi black-dog - you say

Suppose the U.S. actually DOES sue OPEC for price-fixing

well for one -I've heard they (the US that is) will go after OPEC assets in the US.If that happens - anything from your proposals may kick in, and it will not be for the better of the US- thats for sure.

I think we need to add a 7th point to your list, and by chance the number 7 - is sort of magic in this regard ...

7) has God stopped blessing America?

God bless THE world

The discovery phase of the lawsuit would be interesting.

We went for a little driving holiday a few years back. While in a small town in Idaho we saw a sign on the local McDonald's:

God Bless America ... Please

It was kind of sad.

Imagine if you will---

The US, in a fit of megalomaniacal pique, does in fact sue and win. What happens then? We seize their assets in the US. Does anyone have any idea how much money the Saudis have in the markets? What would happen if they suddenly, pre-seizure, pulled out of the markets?


Cats and dogs sleeping with one another!!!


6. Number four above by doing this: Put on a "lawsuit settlement payment surcharge" onto fuel exported to anybody who sues them. And then add in a "Saudi Aramco pre-nationalization compensation surcharge."

6. None of the above. Not one of the actions you list would be practical, effective or beneficial to the OPEC countries.

First, there doesn't seem to be any evidence at all that OPEC countries sell oil in dollars. It is clear that they price oil in dollars, but that is only a measurement. I have asked many times for evidence that Euro nations, say France, changes Euro into dollars then use those dollars to buy oil. I'm still waiting.

It is far more likely that France buys x barrels of oil and pays in Euros at the rate of x * oil price in dollars * dollar/Euro exchange rate. This is the way it is with every product in the world. You can only set a price in one currency, but can settle in whatever way is mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Sure, OPEC countries could sell US assets (bonds, etc.). Yes, this would hurt the US badly and cause the dollar to fall. It is the long term holdings of dollar assets, not the oil price that supports the value of the dollar.

But it is much more complex than that. First start with why OPEC countries hold these assets in the first place: because it is beneficial for them. So inherently any other use of their capital is a second best choice. If they sold dollar assets, they would have to buy an enormous amount of assets in Euros. Since the Euro market is less deep this would not be easy. Yen would be even harder and there are no where near enough assets available in other currencies, nor are they liquid enough.

The OPEC countries would also lose a fortune in transaction costs moving from one currency to another. Then the Euro would shoot up, making European exports expensive and damaging their economies. Also a huge number of investors would gladly sell expensive Euro assets and use those profits to buy now deflated US assets. The net results would be that OPEC countries lose money on the transactions, wind up with an unbalanced investment portfolio and destroy the economies of their customers.

Those that bought from them, sold to them or earned fees on the transactions would be very, very happy. Since I would be in that group, I wish your idea made sense. But it doesn't.

What sort of evidence are you waiting for? A bank statement?

If the petrodollar pricing was as simplistic as you imagine, there would be little incentive to go to war over a change to euro...


"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

Let me put this in perspective for you. Implicit in America's self-appointed role as "Leader of the Free World" is a belief in the righteousness of the "American Way of Life" and the need for the rest of the world to play by "the rules" -- rules that, of course, we decide upon. The underlying message is that if everyone would play by our rules, the planet would become one big, blissful humming capitalist machine with everyone having more than enough to fill their tummies and their gas tanks.

Of course, the truth is that there isn't enough plunder on the planet for 6+ billion souls to live like the average American lives. But to admit that to ourselves would be to admit that America's trumpeting of "free trade" and "democracy" were just cover-ups for our need to gain access to other people's resources. After all, what in our history would indicate that we were that kind of people?

So, what do we do? We sue OPEC; because it's easier to convince ourselves that it's the anti-competitive practices of those crummy ragheads -- not the West's relentless procurement of other peoples resources at fire-sale prices -- that is depriving the majority of the planet a standard of living that would match ours.

This comment by PeakOil Tarzan should be broadcast on every TV station, printed in every newspaper and magazine and taught verbatim to every school child in the western world. It is a perfect summation of the situation.

(Maybe the word "ragheads" needs toning down somewhat athough I appreciate it was used in irony)

I agree, its a very good and timely comment, but there are too much wax in the ears of them MSM-executives and too much noize from the gas-guzzlers they drive - for the message to be filtered out from the white-noize -

This comment by PeakOil Tarzan should be broadcast on every TV station, printed in every newspaper and magazine and taught verbatim to every school child in the western world....


I agree, its a very good and timely comment, but there are too much wax in the ears of them MSM-executives and too much noize from the gas-guzzlers they drive - for the message to be filtered out from the white-noize -

Actually it is their JOB to Ensure that the message DOESN'T get to Joe Average.

That's why they have spent the last 30 years consolidating control over ALL MSM outlets. (Also why they hate the Internet and counting it's days until control).


Look how the PO message is getting out. Over the last 4 years it has been coming out in a very controlled manner.

Holding off enlightenment untill the end game is nailed down.

Almost there.

Here's a good thing to keep in front of you when thinking on how information and news is handled.

25 Rules of Disinformation: How to Fight Back
8 Traits of The Disinformationalist:
What to Look For


I believe that Darth Cheney summed it up in one sentence...'The American way of life is not negotiable.'

Once the great silent majority figures out that they were not meant to be cut into the profit, all these "neo's" are going to have the surprise of a lifetime, and it isn't going to be pretty.

bush and his family with be in pereagua(spelling?) in that ranch of theirs that they bought before that happens.

Some American behaviours, like those of the aforementioned senators, remind me of the following quote from the little kid in 1999's movie The Sixth Sense.

"Walking around like regular people... They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead"

That's kind of true for everyone, though.

Happy birthday, 'cognitive dissonance'

We experience unpleasant emotions whenever life forces us to choose a course of action, but we are not fully convinced it's the right course. Or put another way, when we make an important commitment, the mind instinctively seeks out proof that we've done the smart thing.

...What if you make a choice that is really bad and you can't hide from it? What is the mind's strategy for dealing with a colossal mistake? Well, as Tavris and Aronson note, public figures from Henry Kissinger to Ronald Reagan to Scooter Libby and Alberto Gonzales have opted for a simple phrase that deflects all responsibility: mistakes were made. But just as commonly, people who don't want to own up to a mistake become even more entrenched in their belief once it is proven wrong. They throw good money after bad in the market, grab for straws in a dying relationship or send yet more troops to fight a misbegotten war.

True, but when we mistakes its with our dime. When the politicians and staffers you named make a mistake, its with our dime. What is wrong with this picture?

Actually didn't you know, John Stossel knows far more about economics, history and world geopolitcs than Bill Gates?

Gates spoke at Harvard recently, urging graduating students to take on the "world's deepest inequities [including] world hunger ... the scarcity of clean water ... children who die from diseases we can cure". All of us want those problems solved, and through their charitable foundation, Gates and his wife, Melinda, have certainly put their money where their mouths are. But Gates seems unaware that these problems can't be eliminated in the simplistic way he advocates.

He told the grads, "The market did not reward saving the lives of these children [in poor countries], and governments did not subsidize it. So the children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in the market and no voice in the system."

What is Gates talking about?

Can he name one poor country that permits the free market to operate? The problem is not that the market doesn't make it profitable to save lives -- it most certainly does. The problem is that Third World countries have overbearing, corrupt governments that are obstacles to private property and freedom. That's why the children's parents have no voice or power.

Stossel smarter than Gates? Give me a break...

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

What you are pointing out is called 'the Carter doctrine' and has been US policy since FDR visited the royalty of SA after WW2. Carter simply said (paraphrase) that any action by any foreign government that would interfere with oil supplies from the mid east reaching America would be considered aggression against the US. The earlier FDR agreement between SA and the US was an agreement that SA would only accept USDs in exchange for their oil and in return we would guarantee their sovereignty from without and within. After WW2 the Brits were still the protectors of the mid east oil untill 1968 when they could no longer get it done. Then it was turn for our watch to begin. Nothing changed much untill the current idealogues decided to change Americas foreign policy from one of containment and balancing of powers in the mid east to one of 'democratizing Iraq and in succession other axis of evil states in the mid east.' That decision set down in a document called the 'project for a new American century' has led to the situation as it exists in the mid east today.

I wonder what Robert Hirsch is thinking right now. I'd say that TPTB are going to generate as much smoke and mirror as they can. I think this is a political stunt to appear to be appeasing the nations suffering at the pump.

Those dish-dashed millionaires will be silently chuckling under their beards at this one.


Hirsch is probably thinking that the U.S. post-peak coal stampede is now officially underway with efforts to provide massive tax breaks to the coal industry at the expense of big oil.

I actually have nothing against coal as long as 1) the land is regenerated afterwards and 2)Carbon sequestration takes place; but caveat no2 really eats into the EROEI.

After seeing the recent staggering article about China building 2 new coal fires power stations each week I can't se many other developed majors making any concessions on CO2 emmsions.

I think there will be tax breaks to both at the expense of social welfare.


In what court would this suit be tried? What force would have the jurisdiction to enforce the verdict?

This is just as much about testing demonstrating the authority of american courts (and undermining the authority of the world court) as about oil prices.

If the result is only that OPEC assets in the U.S. are confiscated, while OPEC can still charge world prices and invest petro$ elsewhere, that will be the end of exports to the U.S. and even politicians understand this.

half full
- it will be tried in one of them new courts i Disney-Land where Donald D. Bush will judge alongside Micky M Cheney and Daisyleesa Rice - and the verdict ?

Welcome to the graceful court of looneytown - the place where justice is served - so help me ....


Well, they learned exceptionalism from their masters well, now they are trying to sell it the best way they know how.

Sorry, I can't wait the millions of years for the senators who voted for this bill to become crude oil themselves.

history shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men

Trading partners argue, fight, sue, and even have trade wars all the time. The world doesn't end.

i wonder if the senate has the same legal advisor as the white house - howdy doody (alberto gonzalas)

An interesting post I found on a Yahoo discussion group about Toronto Transit.

First is that power consumption has been greatly reduced in downtown Toronto with hydrothermal cooling.

Concern had been expressed that there would not be enough power to convert the Lakeshore line to electric operation. Many of the office towers in downtown Toronto are now use hydrothermal cooling for air conditioning. Intake pipes run 5 kilometers (3 miles) into Lake Ontario to a depth of 83 metres where the water is a constant 4 degrees C all the time. The water is piped to a filtration plant and then to a heat-transfer station on the mainland. There the "chill" is transferred to a loop of smaller pipes that supply the financial district.

The first buildings converted were three of the Toronto- Dominion Centre towers and the final two will come on line this summer. Total power saving at the TD Centre is 10 megawatts of electricity. Currently there are 36 CBD buildings connected to the hydrothermal cooling system and a further 16 have signed to join the system. This would reduce the city's energy needs by 61 megawatts.

Incidentally Chicago, New York and Tokyo have looked at similar cooling systems, but at both New York and Chicago the water body bottom is not low enough to make hydrothermal cooling feasible.

For more info see the June 9-15 issue of The Economist.

The second point is that present GO trains use only eight wheels on the locomotive to power the train. All diesel locomotives today are diesel-electric which use diesel fuel to power generators that feed electric motors. If you do not know how this works you can go to Expo Rail near Montreal and walk inside a diesel locomotive and see all the various components.

With electric multiple unit operation all or most cars would be powered. The all or most would be determined by the number of trailers GO may choose to operate. With EMU all (or most) axles are powered. Acceleration is quicker because there are more axles propelling the train. Making the trip faster increases the capacity of the line.

For AlanfromBigEasy

Hello Alan,

You seem to have your finger on the pulse of New Orleans so I have a question for you. Is there ever any local discussion about the Atchafalaya River and its inevitable dire impact on the future of N.O? Yhe Missisippi wants to switch to the Atchafalaya distributary but the Corp. has so far put it off with the Old River dam. As good as they are, they cannot make the Mississippi run "uphill" for ever. I know the gate at the Old River was almost lost back in the 70's during a massive flood and as I recall the drop from the Miss to the Atchafalaya is about 25' or so, pretty impressive.

If I was a terrorist and wanted to cripple the US economy in one stroke, blowing up the dam at the Old River would just about do it (I only hope the feds are aware of this). That would leave N.O. high and dry with Morgan City the new outlet. The effects on shipping and industry would be dire to say the least.

So what (if any) is the buzz?

Mose in Midland

It was talked about in Clive Cusslers fiction book. Its fiction but rather interesting none the less. The book is Flood Tide.

Here is a non-fiction book on the subject by one of my favorite authors John McPhee. I read this several years back and he goes into great detail about the ramifications.


Mose in Midland

I suspect that more than a few people were holding their breath wrt this scenario during Katrina -- and will be again with each major hurricane and flood.

Most of what I know is in regards to the Louisiana Hydroelectric Plant.


Eight 9.x meter turbines.

This harnesses the water diverted down the Atchafalaya Basin (river is a little misleading IMHO), set at 1/3rd of the average Mississippi River flow.

The 25' delta is only during once a decade floods AND if no diversion is made. 8' is a more common annual peak delta with diversion. Water builds up on the other side when you let 1/3rd of the Mississippi River through !

Earth tilt in historic times is a few inches. Water always leaked from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya. After the Great Flood of 1927 and the US Army being given the responsibility to prevent flooding of New Orleans in 1928, they built two "pressure relief valves". Old River and Bonne Carre (every ten years, water is diverted directly into Lake Pontchartrain).

They decided to cap the natural ratio of 1/3 : 2/3rd in 1930 "forever". In large floods. more than 67% of the Mississippi River is diverted before New Orleans.

The problems of the 1970s are supposedly cured, with the Louisiana Hydroelectric Plant being a major part of the solution. Any terrorist would have to hit during a spring flood that was a "1 in 10 year event" to have a chance.

At the moment we are MUCH more concerned about the US Army FINALLY fulfilling the promises made in 1968 about Cat 3 hurricane protection (and not buying bad pumps from a Republican connected maker; the bids came streight from their catalog, including misspellings)). Flood protection is a tertiary concern ATM.

Best Hopes for the US Army getting it right the second time,


I've been lurking for a couple of months now and just wanted to say I am extremely impressed with the quality of discussion and level of knowledge here. It has certainly opened my eyes to the problems we are facing in the all-to-near future.

Living in downtown Toronto, I thought I'd chime in with a link to the deep lake cooling project:


I also happen to live right by Union station looking towards the lake. It's an interesting view of the past, present and hopefully future of transportation. In the foreground are the train lines, busy with commuter GO trains in morning and evening rush hours but otherwise rather quiet. Just beyond that is the Gardiner Expressway, a hideous elevated highway dating back to the time those things were the way of the future, now crumbling and in need of constant repair, but (so far) not being torn down in spite of years of proposals and counterproposals. In morning and evening rush hours the expressway is completely jammed with traffic. Beyond that is the waterfront, long neglected abandoned industrial land now finally being renovated into a pedestrian and bike friendly area. Finally, beyond that is the lake and the Toronto Islands, a car-free haven of greenery a short ferry ride away, for walking and biking (and unfortunately a small airport.) It's a great city for living car-free, I haven't had a car for 10 years now and can walk and take transit almost everywhere I need to get downtown. Still got a way to go in some areas, but appears to be moving in the right direction.

The survey here recently mentioned a lot of people here have tech or computer backgrounds. I'm another in that group. I wonder if the reason is that we understand the power of the exponential function better than most. I have a meeting with Intel later today to discuss future hardware plans, and in those plans the power of the exponential is all too evident when extrapolated forward a few years.

Anyway, enough rambling, just wanted to say hello and thanks to all the posters and contributors here for making this a great site and for raising awareness. You may think nobody out there is listening, but some of us are - I've certainly been convinced based on articles and comments posted here.


Hi Alan...
Off Topic: I am originally from Bossier City, though I havent lived there since a teen. Are you from NO?

No, I have lived here only 14 (soon 15) years :-)

I could live in a number of places around the world (I even have a TEOTWAWKI alternative that I chose NOT to move to) but chose to live here instead.

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


I wonder if I am the only one who wonders if it is such a good idea to put an effective 61 megawatt heater in Lake Ontario.
Has anyone studied what the continued long term effects of pouring this much heat into the lake might be?

That 61 megawatts of power displaced by the hydrothermal system is electrical power. The power plants (probably fossil fueled) that produce the electricity would produce waste heat at about 120 megawatts, which presumably is already heating Lake Ontario. I think hydrothermal is then about a 60 megawatt improvement for heating the lake.
Also, those plants probably release CO2, which over decades will contribute 1000's of megawatts of heating to the environment. The hydrothermal approach releases much less CO2.

The warmed water is not returned to Lake Ontario (well, not directly). It is used as an input to the municipal water system

from http://www.enwave.com/enwave/dlwc/

I imagine that with eventual flow to sewage systems, runoff and so on, much of it does make it back to the lake. Eventually. At that point, I doubt any heat differential will be noticeable.

There is no really appropriate place to put this, so I'm putting it here. I have heard, Alan, WT extol your "plan" for post-peak electrified rail transportation many a time here. However, I have never seen anything that looks like a coherent plan or outline or anything, and I would very much like to. I was out for a while (months), so maybe something like this has been posted to TOD before. Have you collected your ideas in one place? Thanks very much.

Search for "Saudi Arabia has Peaked" about April 5, 2007 for a broad brush of "emergency policies".

I have detailed "Step One" in Urban Rail by building "what is on the shelf, ready to go to 12 to 36 months"


Creating that list of existing plans (at various stages, and of various ages) was a "non-trivial" task that Lyndon Henry helped me with.

And electrifying freight railroads could start by blowing dust off 1970's studies abandoned in the Oil Crash of the 1980s.


Other steps would be creating a Strategic Railcar Reserve for existing rail lines, allowing for rapid growth and promoting bicycling and electric Trolley Buses.


More can be done, but the question is a policy one. I could spend $40 billion in 2008 and $100 billion/year in 2009-2018 if I started RIGHT now. Odds of getting that ? Very close to zero ATM.

Basically look at what Ontario is planning to do around Toronto (see the list a couple of days ago on Drumbeat, $17.5 billion over 12 years) and do something quite similar across the USA, but "step it up" a notch after we get going.

Adopt French methods to build from hand waving to ribbon cutting a light rail or streetcar line in 3 years and a few months.

I hope this helps,


Regarding the Ontario plan - it's right here (map, project list). An interesting "blog" discussing it can be found here.

Thanks very much, Alan and Zaphod (*wink*). I will take a close look at these.

Former accountant, eh? Mind if I ask how old you were when you made the switch and what prompted it?

Former accountant, eh? Mind if I ask how old you were when you made the switch and what prompted it ?

A story I have told to very few. But I cannot be sued for libel (Mr. Lowe is dead now, and he WAS vindictive).

I was working at H.J. Lowe & Co. CPAs when Mr. Lowe was chairman of the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs). We had a branch in a building he owned personally, a former dry cleaning establishment.

Heavy rains in Baton Rouge forced chemical fumes into the building and made people sick. I went into his office and told him that he needed to either close the office and clean it up or contact DEQ (Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality). He said that he would let everyone go home early that day but nothing more. I told him if he would not clean it up, I would report it to DEQ. He did not, I did.

Lost my job 5 weeks later. No possibility of another public accounting job and VERY limited private accounting possibilities (when the Chairman of the profession has it out for you, and bad references for the last job) so I switched careers.

Happier now :-)

Best Hopes for my future career(s),


I have been chided on ego stroking!!

But... Cudos Euan on getting some good crit on yahoo biz!!

Maybe we should go to our Mr Alex Salmond with a plan of action?


Not chided. I just pointed out that expecting "credit" for good works was unrealistic. Nice when it does occur :-)

Best Hopes for Doing Good Rgeardless of Reward,


I recommend the Irish doc Futureshock to everyone.


A real eye opener. The stats are astounding.

They have more than doubled their autos in 10 years.

They drive more than US drivers. WOW

Puts the Global demand issue in to perspective.

[Edit] - sorry, I guess this was already addressed in yesterdays beat. but still...

Thank You Mr. souperman2

I was looking around - just fast- yesterday to try to locate this doc.... but didnt know where to look, so thx again :)

The Irish drive more than the US? Those buggers are burning up our gasoline! (diesel?) Maybe we should sue them too!

Global Warming on Mars Update


Since the end of the most recent Ice Age about 11,000 B.P. there has been a shift in the climate. There were once grasslands and grain cultivated in the Egyptian Sahara. There were boreal forests in Europe where there are now hardwood forests. Global climate change is not C02 based alone. There have been studies of past climates indicating that sudden changes in the earth's climate have occurred throughout the earth's history without industrial/residential pollutants.

The job of the climatoligist is to sort or the anthropogenic component from natural climate variability whilst also factoring in one-off (pre)historic cataclysmic events. Not an easy task!!

... and the latest IPCC report puts the anthropogenic part at about 80% of total warming.

Correct me if i'm wrong but I thought it was the PROBABILITY of the current warming trend (not the proportion) that had the percentage put on it, and was it not round about the 90% mark, quote from washington times:

""it is 90 percent certain that human-generated greenhouse gases account for most of the global rise in temperatures over the past half-century.""

It did not say what percentage of the rise in temperature was due to human activity. A subtle but important difference.

To reply to myself, our anthropogenic component could actually be far worse than we think if just now for example natural variability had climate heading towards lower global temps and we are still seeing worrying increases in global temps!

A 90% probabillity that >50% of the warming is anthropogenic, 80% probability that >60% is, etc.
There's a better than even chance that at least 80% is, that's what I read from somebody's summary of the IPCC report, but you're absolutely right that it's masked by variability, and it's probably an irrelevant exercise to attempt to quantify it to this degree anyway.

The IPCC report simply does not reflect the current state of climate science. It should be ignored. Things are clearly far worse than what they portray.

It did not say what percentage of the rise in temperature was due to human activity

Yes they did, "most".

More than 50%.

Elsewhere, I have seen credible estimates than humans cause a minimum of 5/6s of GW and possibly more (all).

However, if natural causes are heating this planet, this means we need to QUADRUPLE our efforts to control GW ! For we cannot afford to speed up a terrible natural disaster in process.

Else we will end up like the 1930s DustBowl; a natural drought made far worse by human activity. The 1950s drought was as bad, but human activity changed and there was no epic Dust Bowl with migrant Okies and Texans desperately searching for a meal. A sight we will likely see again unfortunately.

Best Hoeps for SERIOUS efforts on GW,


I sort of agree with you but from inference they are also saying that there is a 10% chance that most of the current warming is NOT manmade - albeit a much lower chance of this being the case!

I'd be surprised if any serious climate scientists would say there was anything like a 10% chance that our activities were having 0 impact on long-term warming. Remember you have to allow for a small chance that our activities are actually having a net-cooling influence, due to aerosol pollution and land-clearing etc. So, just to make up some possible numbers, there could be:

2% chance human activities are creating a net cooling effect
1% chance human activities are having zero net impact
2% chance human activities are responsible for less than 25% of observed warming
5% chance human activities are responsible for 25%-50% of observed warming

So that the total probability of all other scenarios (humans responsible for more than 50% of observed warming) is 90%. The numbers could even extend further...

10% chance we're responsible for 50%-60% of observed warming
30% chance we're responsible for 60%-70% of observed warming
20% chance we're responsible for 70%-80% of observed warming
15% chance we're responsible for 80%-90% of observed warming
10% chance we're responsible for 90%-100% of observed warming
5% chance we're responsible for all of observed warming and then some, with a natural cooling cycle offsetting this.

Completely made up numbers of course, but not completely without basis.

Of course. That is the whole point about probability.

Thought you might find this interesting (Poll of American's on climate change):


PDF but give it a chance.


Since you asked for correction,

The IPCC consensus report set the likelihood that human activity was the main cause of warming at greater than 90%. In other words, many investigators likely believe the probability is yet higher. And the report treats 90% as the minimum probability.

One starting point would be:

For dissection of silly press confusion of the 90% question:
(scroll to second half of page)

Thats more like a hair split than a correction. I said around 90% you say IPCC said over 90%. What practical difference does that make?

I appreciate you liking me some info but it is tantamount to showing your high school math teacher the 2 times table.

In case you wonder where I stand on the matter I believe it is worth heading off the risk of climate change so I do my bit. eg trying to push my mileage below 6000 (from 12000 last year). Much energy saving around the house etc... But i'll be honest and say I believe i'm mitigating peak oil, not saving the planet. (Same thing!??).

I've posted this before but.....I started studying climate change years ago. It led me down the "what happened before in prehistory path", hence my posts above. I keep an open mind and believe the science of climate change is still in it's infancy. Hence I do something to help just in case.

We have a lot to learn still about the climate. People like myself are just trying to play devils advocate. As an engineer I try to be as analytical and as impartial as I can be. This is a subject that draws up strong emotion - which I try to avoid as it seems to cloud reason.


Yes, there has been natural climate change but there has been a lot of climate modifing actions by humans long before the industrial age began. The Spaniards are largely to blame for the deforrestation of Spain. They turned their trees into Spanish fleets to fight wars and transport loot back from the new world. One can travel around the Med and see the results of deforrestation. Lebanon cedar was shipped to the Egyptian Pharohs, etc. In most of the countries around the Med the only thing currently growing are weeds, hardy olive trees, and goats grazing on what appears at first glance to be dirt. Many are quick to point at the Easter Islanders as the biggest dummies for population overshoot and destruction of their environment but stupidity is not uncommon among humans, regardless of where they live. 'Experience runs an expensive school but fools will learn in no other.' Franklin.

This is a bit off-topic in regards to the DrumBeat, but I didn't want to start a thread in a more specific forum about above-ground factors, etc, etc.

People here tend to trash James Howard Kunstler from time to time. Normally I haven't heard many specifics, but just general pooh-poohing of him. So, what's the deal? Why don't you like him? Or if you do, why?

I'm currently halfway through his book, "The Long Emergency" and while I would certainly classify him as a doomer with his perspective of "nothing can save us" I can't say I dislike the guy. Is it the lack of espousing potential solutions?

Thank you in advance to your replies. :)


I enjoy Kunstler, and he has been a black crow warning about things for a long time, but he also is human, gets into pants one leg at a time and from time to time like us all, gets both legs in one pant leg. Read the following article posted on drumbeat on the 18th and See what you think.


Thanks CrystalRadio for this link. I had missed this essay by Kunstler. But I just loved this paragraph:

Every time somebody blames the politicians for this predicament, I'm reminded that the politicians are actually doing a fine job of representing what their constituents want. What they want is to not change their behavior. Not even the science and technology folks want to think about changing our behavior. They just want to find new ways to continue the old behavior. They're invested in the triumphal effort to come up with a happy motoring rescue remedy. Their techno-cred is on the line. They all want to be the first kid in their housing subdivision to run a car on dark matter.

I happen to agree with Kunstler on just about everything. There is, and will be, no techno-fix for the peak oil problem. Yet many, even on this list, continue to believe that a techno-fix will enable us to continue our lifestyle infinitely into the future.

Oa a "dumbass scale" from 1 to 10, those who believe oil will never peak would rate a 10, while those who believe a techno-fix will fix everything would only be about an 8.5 on that dumbass scale.

Ron Patterson

I don't believe that a technofix will fix everything. I do beleive that there are a lot of smallish technofixes (some quite low-tech appropriate technologies) that will fix (or at least make tolerable) a lot of small sub-problems. TOD is a good place to learn about those.

Our lifestyles WILL have to change. Dick Cheney only thinks that the US lifestyle is non-negotiable, but Mother Nature has had billions of years of experience, holds all the cards, and is a much tougher negotiator than Cheney can even imagine; furthermore, she gets the final word. Some TOD posters have had some insights about lifestyle change, and those have been useful as well.

A bigger challenge is dealing with the implications and consequences of the resistance to change of so many people around us. That is what is really making a bad technical problem into a catastrophic social problem. I'm not sure that any of us have come up with a solution to this problem; perhaps there is none. But there are coping strategies one can try, and again there have been some useful posts along those lines.

Correct that it is not all the politicians fault -- "We have met the enemy and they is us." But the politicians do bear responsibility for rigging and maintaining a system that is so dysfunctional as to be no longer capable of doing what needs to be done, even if the continued survival of our nation is at stake (which it is). Again, I'm not sure any of us knows how to change this situation, but we need to cope with it.

I have not said this before, but my GUESS is that a severe and prolonged Depression will change attitudes (and the Urban Form).

Reduced economic activity is the "default decision" to make demand = supply, given our otherwise inelastic demand curve.

Cutting oil demand by 5% - 6% every good year (see HL and ELM) and more in bad years will likely require this.

Reduced food stamp allotments (to cover more people affordably) and shelter "catch as can" for most will have people desperately searching for a new paradigm.

As Westexas has noted, the FWO (formerly well off) will be PI$$ED ! But after a few years, attitudes will evolve. (Squatting w/o utilities, walking everywhere in worn out shoes and living off food stamps for XX months will "adjust expectations").

A good bicycle (electric assist no less !) with a 630 sq ft condo (AND a 250 sq ft garden :-) within 5 blocks of a transit stop in a "good neighborhood" with a steady job making something useful could become the "New American Dream" ! Or a 40 acre minifarm.

Not everyone can climb that high, but many can, and will !

Best Hopes for a Change in Desires,


That kind of matches my rough working model: 2012-2020 will look and feel a lot like 1973-1980, 2020-2030 will look and feel a lot like 1930-1940. I hope 2030-2035 isn't a replay of 1940-1945, but it may be. The actuarial tables suggest that I may not be around much longer by then even under good circumstances, so I'm not going to worry that much about it.

Thinking through my model:

The energy crisis of the 1970s was not totally unforseen, but absolutely nothing was done in advance to mitigate it. When it hit, the government did do some things, almost all of them the wrong things. It took a few years of analysis and digesting before some really serious programs started happening, and even then it was less than what could or should have been done. Therefore, I don't think it we are going to see a totally laissez-faire, let the market handle it paradigm. Eventually we will start to see some serious government interventions -- but probably not before 2012, and maybe not even before 2016. Much too little, much too late. Many of these things are likely to be the wrong things, too. But the government will manage to get a few things right in spite of itself.

Not enough to mitigate the inevitable decline and its consequences, however. If the next decade is the decline, the 2020s is the plunge. Your comments above describe a best case scenario, the dieoff doomers a worst case. I lean somewhat closer to your end of the spectrum, but I believe that it is going to be an extremely traumatic and painful experience.


Thanks and I'm very curious - though perhaps no one is posting or reading any more on this thread.

What do you see as the wrong things the gov't. did (in the 1970's) ?

What do you see as the "right things" the gov't should do for "peak"?

I don't dislike Kunstler, nor do I disagree with many of his causes (I do think he's too soft on Israel), but his presentation is acerbic. Perhaps he's trying to stir the pot, or perhaps that's just his nature, but I think it turns some people off.

I suspect that I have spent more time with Jim than almost anyone here, and I think that he has provided an invaluable service in at least trying to alert Americans as to what is coming. I can't think of anyone else who has so clearly expressed the disaster of the American suburban nightmare.

I read an article in Outside Magazine about Kunstler's trip to Dallas/Fort Worth. Perhaps this is where he and WesTexas met up?

Anyway, the article fascinated me with the idea that we may some day run out of oil. I had heard about Peak Oil before reading the article but I thought the ramifications of PO were that we wouldn't have anymore plastic bottles (ha!).

I checked "The Long Emergency" out at the library and read it on a business trip. I remember finishing the book and taking a walk around the strip mall near my hotel. One of the stores nearby was Gander Mountain. I went in and for the first time in my life I had a real appreciation for the fact that EVERYTHING around us is reliant on oil.

To say the least, Kunstler framed the story of Peak Oil in a way that makes it very accessible and real. I read his blog weekly and always find it interesting. I can see how he could be a guy people love to hate, but I'll echo something I read recently on the Drumbeat. Kunstler's doing an important job in a unique way. No one has stepped up to play this role better.

Another thing about Kunstler is that he's someone I can relate to. He's not formally educated in geology or economics, and yet he understands what the parameters of Peak Oil are. He's smart and does his homework. His predictions are one part educated guess and one part shock jock. Perhaps people don't like him because he's a bit cocksure, but I'm not sure you could play the role he's playing by being anything but.

Tom A-B

I actually first met Jim in 2004, when he spoke to the Greater Dallas Planning Council.

As I have previously described, in 2005 I literally begged my daughter to come over from Fort Worth and have dinner with Jim, and meet Matt Simmons and Boone Pickens. My daughter had cause to regret her decision when one of her favorite professors later raved about Jim Kunstler's work. Would have been very cool to say that she had met JHK, plus Simmons & Pickens.

Thanks for saying what I have been saying for the last few days. Flawed or not, he's the one who is being heard. His means of getting attention may be somewhat dubious, but it seems to be working. It looks as though the majority of the infrastructure both public and private is designed for an enery paradigm which will be drawing to a close; thus our current sunk costs are , well, sunk, and further investment in an inevitably short lived system should be rethought immediately.

The rest of what he is saying you can take or leave. Whether invading Iraq was a good idea or not will never be knowable due to the dubious nature of the justification and the subsequent botching of the occupation. We fixed Y2K before the event so JHK was wrong? We made, according to what seems to be the majority of the public and intelligentsia, a hash of the Iraq operation and again he's wrong.

Recently he spoke to the assembled town planners of our province - which I would never have even considered a possibility a year or two ago. I didn't attend, but many of the 'subjects' seemed rather shaken afterwards. The message is getting through, however crudely. And if we do all the appropriate things and stave off a collapse JHK will be wrong again.

When a kick in the ass is sorely needed argueing about the shape of the boot...

Just as a criticism of the book, I don't know where he gets his numbers for the amount of water used per person in the US-average numbers per household (ERU) in Florida is 350 gallons per day. Maybe he's including industrial use of water as well.

I'm constantly amazed at how much water is used by a household. My spouse and I have an average of close to 100 gal/day in spite of general conservation efforts. Hard to forgo those hot showers!

PS. I believe, based on experimentation, that intelligent use of a dishwasher saves water and electricity.

I believe that number is skewed a little because of the irrigation used by most newer homes here.

But you're right, the numbers are high everywhere, 100 GPD for 2 people is quite low compared to the average. Imagine having to go out to a well and pump 100 gallons per day (or 833 pounds of it if you prefer to look at it that way)!

But anyway JHK uses a very high number in T.L.E., much higher than I've ever seen reported. I'll have to check tonight.

I like Kunstler, but I can see why others do not.

He is abrasive. The very name of his blog gets it blocked by net filters. I bought The End of Suburbia, but his "colorful" language means I can't show it to my parents.

He is controversial. He's a doomer, and even many who believe in peak oil do not buy into his dark vision of the future, and think he may be doing more harm than good. He's gone out on many a limb in the past, predicting imminent stock market crashes and Y2K meltdowns, only to be proven wrong.

He's political, in way that alienates both sides. Conservatives don't want to hear that their gas-guzzling lifestyle is unsustainable. Liberals get ballistic because of his support of the invasion of Iraq and generally neo-con outlook.

As to the Y2K meltdown and similar things not happening, one has to remember that if it were not for people shouting about it long before it happens so that action is taken to eliminate or mitigate the problem, it might very well have happened!
If we scream about Peak Oil long enough and loud enough so that action is taken to prevent the catstrophy, people will say we were wrong. But in fact we were right; it's just that becasue of our noise that it was prevented.
When ever you hear that someone is/was wrong about a prediction in the past, look long and hard at the possibility the they would have been right if they had not been vocal enough to cause the event predicted to be changed

"He is abrasive. The very name of his blog gets it blocked by net filters. I bought The End of Suburbia, but his "colorful" language means I can't show it to my parents. "

THat's not true. EOS has an option to view X rated version, or PG rating (omitting Jim's ClusterF.. statement).

So you CAN show End of Suburbia to your parents. They would love the beginning talking about the 40's and 50's.


I like Kunstler. He does a lot of good.

He can reach a lot of connected PC people because he has a non threatening presence and the ability to communicate in flowery keywords.

I like what Kunstler has to say about both Peak Oil and suburbia. And I think his criticism of suburbia really irritates a lot of people. It predates his interest in PO - the latter is to some degree yet another reason to dislike suburbia, though I think PO is to him now the most important reason.

Most people in this country value suburban life highly and have a serious antipathy for a denser built environment. These attitudes are very deeply embedded in the culture for a number reasons and are closely tied to America's well known love affair with the car. Thus he is really hitting two core cultural values at once.

And he is abrasive. Here's a quote that captures a lot of his arguments, and he doesn't pull any punches:

Of course, the single worst impediment to clear thinking among most individuals and organizations in America today is the obsession with keeping the cars running at all costs. Even the environmental community is guilty of this. The esteemed Rocky Mountain Institute ran a project for a decade to design and develop a “hyper-car” capable of getting supernaturally fabulous mileage, in the belief that this would be an ecological benefit. The short-sightedness of this venture? It only promoted the idea that we could continue to be a car-dependent society; the project barely gave nodding recognition to the value of walkable communities and public transit.

He is a bit of a doomer because he thinks America's built environment has trapped the country into using large amounts of energy forever. I agree with his point about the built environment, but I think there is a chance that if a lot of effort and innovation some kind of solution is possible. I'm just not confident enough effort will be made. For instance, every time I read about the CAFE debate I shake my head. It's better than nothing, but it is a poor excuse for real action.

Major pieces of that built environment will eventually just have to be abandoned. A tour of ancient ruins and archaeological digs around the world will reveal that this is not an unprecedented phenomenon.

Abandonded suburban buildings will be torn down by salvage teams and the used building materials recycled. The streets and driveways will be mined for their asphalt -- America's tar sands. Eventually the former farm land will be reclaimed as farmland again. Thousands of years from now it is possible that archaeologists will not even be able to find evidence on the ground that our precious suburbs ever existed.

Kunstler is a "bit of a doomer" in the same way that Osama bin Laden is a "bit anti-American." But I agree he's an important voice for why suburban sprawl is a huge impediment to a sustainable future.

Durandal, it's my perception that people "twang" on Kunstler (to use his term) for a couple of reasons.

He tends to get snarky from time to time. I enjoy reading it myself.

He happens to live in upstate New York and seems to be elitist; ie that's the best place in the country, with the best people.

Just my perception


Errol in Miami

The Oil Drum owes a big debt to Kunstler, without his popularizing peak oil this website might not exist.

I certainly disagree with many of JHK's positions, especially about Israel, but he is performing the role of social gadfly admirably. Even when he is wrong, raising the issues will at least shock a few people out of somnolence.

My son and I both read The Long Emergency and both have a less pessimistic outlook. From my training as a mechanical/civil engineer focusing on building energy, I know JHK sometimes makes technical errors and underestimates the energy savings available from building design. But he is the best town-crier we have right now.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 15, 2007

With an increase in imports and a decline in refinery inputs, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) jumped 6.9 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 349.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels last week, but remain well below the lower end of the average range. All of the increase was due to a build in gasoline blending components. Distillate fuel inventories inched higher by 0.1 million barrels per day, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/ propylene inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 9.9 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

"All of the increase was due to a build in gasoline blending components."

This is where having R^2 around really helps. Unfortunately he's taking some time off. What is/are "blending components?" Does a build in blending components mean nothing since we need gasoline to blend it with? Or is it a legitimate rise?

I think "blending components" includes ethanol.

I don't think so, Leanan.

Ethanol is included in the finished gasoline production figure, but doesn't form part of the gasoline blending components inventory (it's included in the 'Other Oils' category).

Here's the EIA definition of gasoline blending components:

Naphthas (e.g., straight-run gasoline, alkylate, reformate, benzene, toluene, xylene) used for blending or compounding into finished motor gasoline. These components include reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) but exclude oxygenates (alcohols, ethers), butane, and pentanes plus.

What is/are "blending components?

This was not so difficult:

Motor gasoline blending components: Naphthas (e.g., straight-run gasoline, alkylate, reformate, benzene, toluene, xylene) used for blending or compounding into finished motor gasoline. These components include reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) but exclude oxygenates (alcohols, ethers), butane, and pentanes plus. Note: Oxygenates are reported as individual components and are included in the total for other hydrocarbons, hydrogens, and oxygenates.

(from: http://www.eia.doe.gov/glossary/glossary_m.htm)

So now that we know what "blending components" are, the next question has to be why all the blending components?

Is this a summer gas thing?

Or was this a case of these components being the only thing available, so lets buy them to beef up our gasoline stocks?

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 15, 2007



Refineries operated at 87.6 percent of their operable capacity last week.

I guess we will just keep importing as much as possible.

I read the Yahoo news feed on the report this morning first thing, and my scratched my head. Gas way up, utilization down. Beginning to doubt the actual validity of the report.

[ok...put on your sarcasm hat]

Ah c'mon...this is the Energy Information Administration - Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government.

Are you implying a conspiracy to not report accurate statistics on weekly petroleum processes?

What reason would our government have for doing this?

[still have the hat on?]

If, and I stress "if", official statistics were being manipulated in some way, what chance would a grassroots effort have to "get the word" out about what they see as the reality of the Peak Oil situation in the world.

Pretty much none until it was obvious at each and every corner gas station.

Nah, hat's cloth, not tin.

And I'm not implying conspiracy. Honest errors don't constitute conspiracy, if that is what is happening. Beginning to doubt is just that-these reports have pulled a couple unexpected results over the last month.

It was put up here I believe that the Memorial Day surprises were perhaps a backlog of data catching up; certainly not many expected refinery utilization down last week.

"Pretty much none until it was obvious at each and every corner gas station."

That comment hits the nail on the head.

Why do we, at The Oil Drum, immediately pump up some vast conspiracy to explain everything? It would take a ridiculous conspiracy on the level of 9/11 to do what they are doing. While the global market is very opaque, the US market is more like amber: you can see the parts that matter the most.

The fact is, its virtually impossible to lie about numbers like these due to the fact that we are so close to the MOL as it is. If our gas inventories are truly being misreported, then based on the utilization, we could expect to see several million barrels of draw down occur over the past 3 weeks. Seeing as how would most likely have been enough to cause systemic gasoline shortages, it would be easy to state that they are lying. Unfortunately, aside from a few sporadic gas shortages that occur every single year, things seem to be continuing very much the same as they have in years past, albeit with much less gas in the pipes so to speak.

However, what people seem to forget is that like it or love it, ethanol is displacing an increasingly larger proportion of our gasoline usage every year. it's unfortunate that we are sacrificing our long term farmlands and water supply for this short term gain.

The bottom line is we would already know today: right now, at this very instance, if the EIA has been misreporting the oil and gasoline inventories. Due to the constraints of the MOL, its impossible to 'gloss' over the bigger picture in the manner you are suggesting. Lets give it a rest shall we?

You are incredibly naive. The Federal Government massages most all of their statistics in one manner or another. A perfect example is Core Inflation. By excluding food and energy they can make inflation appear not to be a problem. Same with Unemployment. Only represents those currently eligible to recieve unemployment benefits. When benefits are exhausted, even if they have not found work, they drop out of the statistic. If they are unemployed but do not recieve unemployment the are never included in the statistic. Only purpose of the figure that I can see is to hide the real problem. They know the MSM will accept and report these figures without question or comprehension.

So, because the US government massages the Core Inflation figures, it's IRREFUTABLE PROOF that they are also massaging the oil inventory reports? How would you like to apply this to the fact that we would, if you are correct, be at or below the MOL at this very instant based on gasoline production from similar refinery utilization rates? I think you're jumping the gun a tad TOO early.

I posted this further down, but here is an interesting article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070620/ap_on_bi_ge/oil_prices;_ylt=Au8shTUq...

You are incredibly naive.

Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn't make them naive, stupid or evil.

Please try to refute the argument, don't insult people.

The vast majority of these debates we have are legitimate disagreements with very smart and honest people on both sides. Sometimes, people listen to an opposing point and change their minds.

What is so difficult in believing that entities within federal government would lie?

When the NFL football star Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, the DOD originally reported that he was killed by enemy fire. After two years of investigations and congressional inquiries, the truth finally came out that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, even though the Army knew this information immediately after the incident.

Here's Bagdhad Bob (my new nickname for Whitehouse press Secretary Tony Snow) lying to the White House press corps.

Remember the the famous line by President Bush. "I will fire anyone in my administration who committed a crime" refering to the leak of Valerie Plame's identity. It is difficult for me to not interpret this as a lie, as surely the President knew where the leak came from, and ultimately did not fire Scooter Libby, but rather let him resign.

And what is the crime that Libby has recently been convicted and sentenced to 30 months for? Why that would be lying to the grand jury investigating the leak of Plame's identity.

Lest you come to the conclusion that I only think that Republicans lie, what was it that President Clinton say as he wagged his finger into the camera? Oh yes, I believe it was, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"

The Attorney General, the chief law enforcment officer of the federal government, Alberto Gonzales has lied under oath in front of the Senate.

If the AG and President can lie to the American people, why would it difficult to envision some faceless bureaucrat in the DOE or EIA or wherever presenting data that was less than reliable? The CIA, FBI, DOD, all have long histories of misleading the American people for the sake of "National Security".

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

Nothing in my comment implies that governments or other entities wouldn't or don't lie, cheat, and conspire. Of course they do. That doesn't mean that all assertions of government lies or conspiracies are inherently true.

I think it is very reasonable that people here point out where they think such lies and conspiracies are occuring. It is equally reasonable that others ask for evidence.

Maybe, for the convenience of TOD you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either naive or paranoid. However, for me it is more complicated. Sometimes we suspect things, sometimes believe others sometimes not. Sometimes we are right, sometimes we are wrong.

Why should I have to believe that everything the media says is wrong but everything Cid Yama says is right?

Maybe, for the convenience of TOD you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either naive or paranoid.

Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean their not out to get you :-)

I see many paranoid assertions made here, but I also see many that I consider to be naive. I was not saying that it has to be one way or another, merely providing evidence for the lies that are shelled out by our government on a regular basis.

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

Dragonfly41, Cid Yama, others,

If the EIA was attempting to misrepresent the data then why did they specifically point out that the increase was entirely due to blending components in the weekly summary? -- in the very next sentence after the 1.8m figure. -- which would immediately draw attention to this fact!

I'd hesitate to say that the report is being manipulated in some way, but I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that there is too much inconsistency in the WPSR for anyone to draw any meaningful conclusions. It does seem strange however that in the past few weeks the usual relationships we've become accustomed to in the numbers have broken down.

For example, let's compare production stats from a few weeks ago when refinery utilization (and hence crude input to refineries) was almost identical:

Refinery Utilization
  Apr 20 Jun 15
Crude Inputs 15.086 15.022
Utilization 87.8% 87.6%
Gasoline 8.536 9.328
Distillates 4.117 3.991
Jet Fuel 1.273 1.420
Propane 1.076 1.120
Resid Fuel 0.638 0.652
Total 15.640 16.511

(Figures are million barrels per day)

I'm sure the EIA could give any number of reasons why the figures differ so much. Gasoline blending components no doubt play a part (although imports weren't so far apart in those two weeks), and of course we don't know what contribution ethanol is making to the final figures because the report is opaque on this.

In short, too many unknowns.

The chart is very interesting.

How can lower inputs & lower utilization be reconciled with nearly a million barrels greater output?

I did some digging around on the internet and found this article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070620/ap_on_bi_ge/oil_prices;_ylt=Au8shTUq...

The EIA report was bearish for the energy market for several reasons, Evans explained. First, with oil inventories at a level not seen since May 1998, there is a glut of crude on the market. Second, despite the fact that refineries were processing less crude last week, gasoline inventories rose. That suggests that refiners are doing just fine with less capacity, and are getting more gasoline out of each barrel of oil, Evans said.

This to me says two things, neither of which is good.

1. The market really does appear to be in balance, which is terrible as far as predictions are concerned: it might lead to another bout of 'you were wrong AGAIN'.

2. We are making more gasoline at the cost of what? Diesel? Asphalt? The general cost of moving goods and maintaining our roads is going to increase even more, which adds yet more of a drain on local communities, even if prices of OIL remain relatively constant as they have over the last couple of months.

A slow squeeze indeed :(

First, It's always useful to keep in mind the areas of the world not covered by US and OECD petroleum statistics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:OECD-memberstates.png

Second, prior to the SPR, the US oil industry used to keep much large stocks of crude oil on hand, relative to demand. For example, in June, 1983, we had 30 Days of Supply on hand, versus about 23 days now.

Third, there is still the lingering question of what percentage of crude oil inventories consists of heavy/sour versus light/sweet. We do know that the spread between Mexican Maya heavy crude and Brent was widened from the historical norm of about $5 per barrel to about $13 now.

According to the SPR web site from Dec 2006, there is currently 688 mill bbls in the reserve roughly split 40% sweet 60% sour..

US refining capacity 16.5 mill bbls per day = 41 days of stocks for refinery throughput.


The number that we keep wondering about is the split between heavy/sour and light/sweet in commercial stocks, which is what I was referencing. The price spread certainly suggests that light/sweet supplies are harder to come by than heavy/sour.

My point about the SPR was that prior to the SPR, refiners felt it prudent to keep much larger commercial inventories of crude on hand.

I thought that Robert has repeatedly pointed out that our oil isn't any more 'sour' today than it was back in the early part of the decade. Are we to assume then that the US is importing the majority of the worlds 'sweat' crude, while everyone else is making due with the dirty 'sour' blends?

Stocks in general would have been higher several years ago for a couple of reasons. Consolidation between the oil companies has meant less need for higher stocks, Exxon/Mobil will keep less stocks than if they were individual entities, add together the mergers, BP/Amoco, Chev/Tex, Conoco/Philips etc and no doubt the volume of stock reduction would be significant. Moreover the amount of working capital tied up in stocks would be significantly less at $20 than $70 per bbl the higher prices encouraging companies to lower MOL of crude stocks.

It is reasonable to assume the the slate has been getting steadily sourer evidenced by the capital expenditure on refineries to re configure and upgrade to run heavier sour crude.

See my above post. Robert has stated numerous times that our Oil is not any more 'sour' today than it was at the beginning of the decade. More than likely, the refineries are adding 'cookers' to produce more gasoline and less asphalt, hence why we can produce the needed gasoline with a lower refinery utilization.

And refinery upgrades do not provide any evidence of deterioration in crude quality. Adding complexity to a refinery increases the "value" that the facilitynis able to add to a given crude, producing higher value products fromj the same input and increasing operating margins.

It is safe to say that a huge amount of upgrading would have taken place regardless of available crude stock.

The thing that stands out the most to me is the fact that commercial crude stocks in the US alone are at the highest level they have been in a decade, and all of this is occurring despite a 2%+ decline in exports form the top 3 exporting countries that you are reporting on. Not only that, but total OECD stocks are near their all time high, under the same circumstances.

Perhaps you need to broadening the scope of what you are reporting on to include some of the up and coming 'tigers' in the oil producing world? And the countries that make up the OECD may not look like much of the world in a geographic sense, but I bet they consume >70% of the exports and >60% of the crude the world uses.

Could someone with a bit more time on their hands provide some exact usage figures? I have to get back to work :(

Edit: According to http://www.nef1.org/ea/eastats.html , OECD oil consumption was approximately 2100 MTOE out of 3400, or roughly 62% back in 1999. I have to assume based on increasing demand in the US alone, this percentage is still roughly in the ballpark. Just how big of a statistical sample do we need?

If we want to get down right 'amoral' about the issue, this same block, + Russia and China and India, account for nearly all of of the global goods produced. If we aren't doing anything more then 'grumbling at the pump' so to speak, why should we care that those 'outside' the box are suffering? From a purely selfish standpoint, wouldn't we WANT to see a population reduction in the overpopulated third world NOW rather than 30 years from now when there are 3 billion more mouths to feed? It's a terrible question, I know, but someone had to ask it.

Again, let's check out the areas not covered by US and OECD petroleum statistics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:OECD-memberstates.png

And we are looking at variations of one to two days supply of crude oil, relative to consumption in US inventories, as the price of Brent crude oil is presently about 87% higher than the average price in the 20 months preceding 5/05.

What is keeping oil flowing--for now--to the US and to other OECD countries is high prices.

In regard to commercial crude oil inventories, I have never seen a breakdown of heavy/sour/ versus light/sweet.

Anyone know of better data? Crude inputs by sulfur content, API gravity, and PADD has the current and historical info. But yeah inputs not inventories ,eventually one becomes the other?

It's labeled input quality and clearly shows a general trend. The quality is slipping ,maybe not rapidly, course we know from here what it's costing to keep up that quality.

No wonder the market gets jittery when the Bonny Light is threatened.

Graph of above data. (5 month centered average to reduce noise)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The trend toward heavier inputs (lower API gravity) has reversed in the last couple of years

Yes that's much better. While the quality came up a little the price was going up a lot.

It looks as though most of the 'good stuff' Tapis,($76 today) Bonny Light, Brent, has just about doubled in price in the last three years.

Opec Basket Price

Yeah and probably the 'not so good' stuff too. Now we'll probably see the quality continue on down the trend line while the price heads on up. (Just like Khebab's caviar :-)

From a purely selfish standpoint, wouldn't we WANT to see a population reduction in the overpopulated third world NOW rather than 30 years from now when there are 3 billion more mouths to feed? It's a terrible question, I know, but someone had to ask it.

You are right, it is a terrible question. Maybe we should start consuming less before we "WANT" to see a "population reduction" in the "overpopulated third world NOW".
I can guarantee that if someone starts to "reduce" the "population" that you belong to, starting with you, that you will find plenty of reasons to disagree.
The developed world has so many options to painlessly conserve that asking others to die so we can delay conservation is not just "amoral", but immoral.

Crude stocks being high isn't necessarily anomalous.

Firstly stocks are pretty small compared to total flow per year I believe, and if prices are in persistent contango (i.e. future dates more expensive than near term dates), as they have been for a few years, it is more profitable to run tanks towards the maximum capacity than the minimum.

Wow. Very odd, hard to know what numbers are accurate.

What was the gasoline imports number? The utilization must be offset with at least an above average input...don't ya think?

So, on April 20th, refinery gains caused production to be roughly 3% higher than inputs. But on June 15th, refinery gains caused production to be 10% higher than inputs.

Can someone please give a coherent explanation for this wide variation in refinery gains?

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

The table I posted is somewhat misleading in this regard. The EIA production figures aren't simply refinery production but include (for example) ethanol that's blended with unfinished gasoline at blending terminals. Some imported blending components can also bypass the refineries and still end up in the production figures.

The point is though that all this production has to come from somewhere, and if it's not from refinery production then it's either via imports, or the drawdown of blending component stocks, or it's something that we have no numbers for such as ethanol. Imports don't look as though they could account for the disparity, but without access to more detailed data there's no way of knowing why one week was so different from the other.

If most of the rise is from blending components, would not that indicate a glut of blending components due to the lack of refinery utilization to use them up. Blending components are not any good without gasoline. Seems odd they see this as a good thing. This would seem to indicate perhaps that the makers of the components made product according to need, but the downtime of the refineries etc, have not gone up, and the backlog of components is building. This would perhaps be more bad news.

The numbers from the govt and the spin are interesting, and the market sees this as good.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Currently the stock of gasoline blending components stands at 91.4 mb vs 91.1 mb last year. Finished gasoline is 111.9 mb vs 122.3 mb. So, the current low inventory is entirely related to finished gasoline. However, I'm not sure the present low refinery utilization is much of an issue in this regard. A good proportion of U.S. finished gasoline 'production' takes place at blending terminals which have no refining capability.

Perhaps more problematic is the actual breakdown of the blending components inventory. Barring a miracle, 91.4 mb of components won't produce 91.4 mb of finished product. In this sense, on a geographical basis some of the blending components are probably little better than raw crude until they have a matched additive.

Is it possible that ethanol production has kicked up so much that we actually do need to utilize our refineries less to provide the same liquid fuel supply? I honestly cant imagine how they would be able to fabricate a report like this, when people around the world can independently verify its accuracy. But still, thats one hell of a demand destruction to give us those numbers!!

Party Guy, explain how one would go about verifying these numbers as you claim. Perhaps the way the numbers are calculated are changed. The govt. does this. Is the info listed as to how the numbers came about, and what is and what is not inlcuded in the numbers, any enron techniques on reporting numbers used now, etc.

The inflation report has been massaged by such techniques for a long time. Who gets to ask the departments to calculate using a new method. Is this info transmitted to the general public, and if so when and how. You seem to be an expert. Help us out.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

BBC world service just ran this feature story:

In Business Daily today, gas-guzzling America or clean-up-its-act America? Law makers are debating new regulations to save energy and also to cut global-warming pollution. The lobbyists are working over-time. How's the argument shaping up? The car-makers and the green campaigners debate the issues.


Driving small doesn’t mean you’re less safe
Additionally, today’s small cars are much bigger and heavier than those of the past. Consider that a 1984 Honda Civic hatchback weighed 1,830 pounds. The lightest version of today’s hot-selling version of the Civic tips the scales at 2,628 pounds...

What a gas! Shouldn't the headline be:

Driving small doesn’t quite exist any more

since part of the story is self-evidently that the really small cars barely exist because they could not be considered roadworthy any more?

Yeah, definitely a "good news, bad news" kind of article.

Consider the 1974 Honda Civic - not much more than a 4-wheeled motor cycle surrounded by a shell. Those things were truly tiny.

True. One of my teachers had one of those. We used to tease him, saying it wasn't a car, it was a pregnant roller skate. The high schoolers used to pick it up and move it around the parking lot, so when he came out, he couldn't find his car.

There is probably still demand for cars that size in other countries.

I remember the Subaru 360, dealership 4 blocks from our high school. No one I know bought one. It made a Civic look big :-)

My wife and I had a used Subaru FF1 sedan in the 70'. Got it with over 200K miles, wouldn't die. After the hood blew back and destroyed the windshield, we still ran it all over the farm.

There is probably still demand for cars that size in other countries

Actually, there is growing demand for cars even smaller than that even in the US -- check out NEVs like the GEM:


There are a couple of GEMs in my neighborhood and I want to get a photo of another one in Mid City when a streetcar passes by.

In a small compact city, where 95%-99% of trips are <5 miles/8 km a GEM makes sense.

Best Hopes for TOD,


Who says an electric can't be sporty. I'm already on the pre-reservation mailing list.


Range: 200 - 240 miles
Acceleration: 0 to 60 < 4.5 secs with 200HP's
Top Speed: 120 mph
Charge Rate: 30 minutes for 20 - 50 miles
Full Charge: 2 hrs (fast), 5 hrs (normal)

Estimated retail price is $59,000.
The car is not yet available. They can't tell you when it will be available. The first version will likely have many problems.

Too little, too late.

Yea, but it sure is pretty.

Forbes wrote an expose' article on Zap recently (June 18, page 50).

some quotes:

A small electric vehicle company stays alive by promising wonderful things--just around the corner.

Last year this company issued $4.1 million in stock-based compensation to employees and $4.7 million in stock to "consultants", including family members.

In January of this year Zap repriced 22 million warrants issued to employees and extended their expiration five years.

Zap's latest big claim came this April: It received a $79 million order for its electric vehicles, the "largest order in history." The stock rose 14% on the day of the announcement. The "order," however, came from a new electric vehicle distributor set up by a pair of hedge funds. These hedge funds own stakes in Zap.

I put my name on Phoenix Motorcars list. Check them out. Their vehicles actually exist, and should be done with crash testing very soon (disclosure: I am indirectly invested in Phoenix).


Ever drive one of these?



We used to roll the Isetta's on purpose and see who could roll the most times.

Met someone who drove an Isetta when I lived in Pleasant Hill, CA about 15 yrs ago.

Rolled my '76 on a freeway once (cut off by a Ford PU) but I got out and tipped it upright again. It was fun new, but practically rusted away in 3 years despite Ziebart. I know alot of TODers report great endurance from their Asian-made vehicles but that goes directly against my experience. The quality, thickness and use of the sheet metal(where clearly forged parts should have been used) and the bizarre electrical problems I encountered convinced me to never purchase another.

I had a 72 Datsun 1200 in 1988 that was in mint condition. I lives in Pt. Richmond, CA at the time. It was the easiest car to work on I ever had.

This is like the new sizes in clothing. We now have 'relaxed fit' sizes that are actually a size or so larger than the same nominal size used to be. Seems fooling the public is pretty easy.

Opposite is happening with food packaging. What used to be gallon containers are now 3 qts. What used to be 1 lb packages are now 14 oz. etc. Jeez! How is a supersized XXXXXXXL American supposed to maintain all that flab if the food packages keep getting smaller!?

"Driving small" is still a relative term, for although the small ones have gotten heavier, the big'uns have become huge.
The key message is that a relatively large vehicle doesn't increase your safety. I have no link, and to my knowledge it was never available on line, but several years ago I read in the New Yorker a fascinating demographic and statistical analysis of Americans' car habits, and it showed that the safest vehicles on the road were the Jetta and the Camry. The worst? The Ford F150! All the SUV's had higher driver death rates per mile than passenger cars.
To be sure, a big SUV increases your chances of killing somebody else in a collision, but their nasty tendency to roll over more than outweighs their advantage in a theoretical one-on-one head-on.
The NY article also said that SUV/pickup drivers tended to be insecure, considered themselves below-average drivers, and had marital problems! Not a stunning endorsement of the style, to say the least.

To be fair, big cars have gotten safer, too. They are less prone to rollover, due to changes the manufacturers have made because of stories like the one you're talking aout.

Also, road design has changed to accommodate SUVs and trucks. For example, they used to vault right over the guard rail meant for passenger cars. So the federal standards were changed, and guard rail is now designed for higher vehicles.

Most of the fuel consumed by an automobile is for acceleration of mass. Once the vehicle is up to speed fuel consumption drops dramatically. So, if you have small auto like the old VW bug that was light and a 2007 small auto that weighs twice as much, where is the fuel savings? Does anyone here know formula for determining how much more energy it takes to accelerate an auto if you double its weight? It is a fact that the new internal combustion engines are more efficient but there is also a price to pay for the new efficiency. The new engines run at higher temperatures and therefore are more likely to create sludge in the engine and destroy the it(as pointed out in yesterdays list of poor choices for used auto shoppers). How much energy does it take to make a new engine to replace the one that has been destroyed? Hint, acceleration of mass is like wind force. If you double the speed of the wind the force doesnt double, it quadruples. It is great to have safety features on autos like air bags, etc, but at some point autos are going to have to shed some pounds if they are going to get great milage.

Your understanding of physics is a bit off.

Kinetic energy is proportional to mass. It is not proportional to the square of the mass. Acceleration of mass is not "like wind force"; F=ma. If you double the mass, you must double the force to achieve the same acceleration.

While I agree that obese cars (and people) are energy wasters, it isn't nearly as simple as you make it sound. Your first statement "once the vehicle is up to speed fuel consumption drops dramatically" is false, unless you are referring to rapid acceleration which suddenly cuts off. The force required to keep a car moving at constant speed is exactly equal to all the frictional forces experienced at that speed. The main forces are rolling friction, which is proportional to mass, and air resistance (parasitic drag). As you point out, air resistance is proportional to the square of the speed. However, air resistance is completely independent of mass. At high enough speeds the influence of mass on the force required to maintain a constant speed becomes quite small, as air resistance overwhelms rolling resistance.

I just thought of a good example to help convince those who seem obsessed on the whole mass issue. A highway coach weighs on the order of 10 tonnes empty. With a full load of, say, 47 passengers each weighing an average of 85 kg (baggage included), the bus weighs almost 14 tonnes. If mass were a significant factor in fuel economy you'd expect a big difference in fuel consumed when deadheading versus when full, right? Ask any intercity bus driver what actually happens. Fuel consumption is only marginally affected. It is certainly nowhere close to a 40% difference, which is what you'd expect if it was proportional to mass. If it was, as you claim, proportional to the square of mass, you'd expect to require double the fuel! It just ain't so.

(This observation does not hold for aircraft, because aircraft pay a very significant penalty in lift-induced drag for carrying extra fuel.)

Great example! A city bus that does nothing but accelerate and stop accelerate and stop. Why do autos use more fuel in town than on the road? I am not talking about city buses, I am talking about autos. You are comparing apples and oranges. If what you say were true a Rolls would use the same amount of fuel as a Rabbit. They do not of course because the Rolls weighs far more than the Rabbit, wind resistance aside, your contention that an auto on flat ground doing a continuous speed of 50 mph uses the same amount of fuel per time as the acceleration of that auto to 50 mph is even more rediculous. If you dont believe me talk to any guy running a fast vehicle in quarter mile drags. They know that it takes four times the hp to cut their quarter mile time in half. They also know that it is far easier to lighten the vehicle than it is to quardruple the hp.

I didn't say a city bus, I specifically said a "highway coach". My point was not to compare a bus's fuel economy with a car's, it was to illustrate a point about mass not being a big factor in fuel usage, especially at highway speeds. It is a factor, but not an overriding factor.

Why do autos use more fuel "in town"? Not all of them do. Think about why a Toyota Prius gets worse fuel economy at highway speeds. "Conventional" cars waste energy through friction brakes (mass is a factor there, as kinetic energy is proportional to mass), but they also are less efficient "in town" because internal combustion engines are inefficient when operated over a range of speeds.

I don't know where you got "an auto on flat ground doing a continuous speed of 50 mph uses the same amount of fuel per time as the acceleration of that auto to 50 mph". WHAT? Where did I say that?

So, a Rolls consumes more fuel simply because it weighs more than a Rabbit? Well, no, that's only one of the factors, I would bet that the largest factor is that it has an internal combustion engine with much greater internal losses than the Rabbit's. A Rolls-Royce is not exactly the most aerodynamically efficient vehicle in the world, either.

Never mind. Make up whatever you like, including words like "rediculous". Your ignorance is showing.

Why do autos use more fuel in town than on the road?

Part of it is acceleration energy, but another big part is torque converter losses.  In cruise the converter is usually locked up and the losses are eliminated.

If we could manage to time lights and train drivers to get rid of stop/start driving we could eliminate a lot of fuel use, but the increase in average speed would also encourage people to drive more.

You usually don't make silly mistakes but this is one...manual transmissions don't have torque converters!

There are multiple reasons why you get worse mileage in town in any car. Acceleration obviously uses more gas per unit of distance traveled over steady state, but it's really what you do with momentum once you have it that matters. In town you're always bloody stepping on the brake - just turning all that momentum into heat time and time again, having to re-accelerate and get it back, then turning it into heat again. Gearing - you never reach your highest gear, so you're turning your engine more...more revolutions per mile covered, more frictional and pumping losses. Idling - getting 0 mpg doesn't help much.

Now that that's over with, onto the Rolls vs. Rabbit and weight issue on the highway:
Four things: Weight with respect to rolling resistance, Coefficient of drag, frontal area, Engine pumping losses and friction.

The Rolls suffers problems with all four, but the last three, Cd,frontal area, and engine losses are the biggies. Though the Rabbit is no coefficient of drag award winner (it's a brick), it does have a pretty small frontal area compared to a Rolls. The engine is vastly larger in the Rolls than the Rabbit. If you loaded the rabbit with 3,000 pounds of crap (if it didn't fold in on itself) it still wouldn't get nearly as poor of fuel economy as a Rolls.

When you're on the highway the drag from the engine is HUGE. It needs a lot of fuel just to overcome its own internal friction and pumping losses. You can see this empirically by the driving technique called "Pump and Dump" or "Pulse and Glide." You can witness it yourself if you have a manual transmission...find a nice flat spot and speed up to say 4,000RPM in first gear and then let off the gas. It'll feel like you've hit the brake, and indeed when you down shift it's generally referred to as "engine braking." You're fighting that ALL THE TIME, and using gasoline to fight it. See how far you glide with the engine engaged, now try speeding up to 4,000RPM again, but this time throw it into neutral and see how much farther you get...it'll be significant. The bigger the engine, the bigger the effect and the Rolls uses a much bigger engine.

Very few cars sold in the USA have manual transmissions any more.

I am quite familiar with friction/pumping losses, and drive "boost and coast" all the time.  I can increase my trip-average MPG by several tenths by just pushing to 75 MPH over the crest of a hill (from my usual 65 MPH cruise) and coasting down in neutral.  I have also descended quite a few mountains with only brief use of the wheel brakes (keeps 'em nice and cool, and they last a looong time).

i saw a hummeresque vehicle on the road today, a nisson armada ! i wonder if nisson could think of a more offensive name for a vehicle. there is a certain generation of americans who i am sure would find it offensive (that would be those tortured by the jxxx in ww2)

The whole idea of one or two people speeding along a ribbon of pavement at 70+mph surrounded by a ton or two of metal plus a tank of highly flamable liquid, within inches of other similar vehicles doing the same plus huge behemoth trucks weighing many more tons -- it amazes me that everyone just sort of takes this for granted and never stops to think: "Are we all insane?! Why on earth are we all doing such an inherently dangerous thing?"

Heck, try it on a motorcycle surrounded by sleeping soccer moms or stockbrokers in Expeditions sipping a Starbucks and a cellphone up their arse.

When your number is up, your number is up. They can go by slipping on a banana peel and cracking their head on a curb too.

musashi, you are absolutely correct. When one climbs on a bike the first thing that they need to put on, before the helment and gloves, is a state of heightened awareness, a little extra adreneline. On a bike there are times that acceleration is a life saver, times that brakes are a lifesaver, and times that lots of experience are a lifesaver but being totally aware of what is going on ahead, behind and beside is the most important factor. If all the people that drive cages were put on bikes for a couple of weeks the problem of PO would receed somewhat for most would be in morgues or hospitals in short order. Watch out for MCs, they are everywhere and they are saving fuel for you to put in your cage...

yes the freeway entrance ramps are the worst. they drive on like they own the fricken road, expecting you to get out of the way. well, sometimes it is not possible to get out of their big assed suv driving starbucks sipping cellphone talking way.

Speaking of not-so-theoretical one-on-one head-ons...back in May there was an SUV (explorer, I believe) that crossed the centerline and hit a car (Camry, again I believe) head on. Killed the driver of the SUV, and seriously banged up the driver of the car. The SUV didn't even roll over.

Last night, Leanan, reacting to Airdale's plea for "more reality" wrote the following comment, and I thought I'd take her up on that this morning. Nothing personal, at all (I ain't fightin' no crazy ex-wife), but relevant nonetheless.

Leanan: "Maybe we should concentrate our outreach on the scientific establishment, rather than the masses."

Airdale: If we have learned anything that avenue is useless.

Leanan: I think we all agree the odds are long.

But it worked for global warming. At least in raising awareness. I think that's the model many peak oilers are looking to.

Well, Leanan, then the peak oilers should take a long hard look at where the global warming issue has been transported since it hit high frequency waves. The preferential US term these days would probably be "where it's being "disappeared". Or better yet: "renditioned" (read Seymour Hersh on more Ghraib yet?).

The awareness is a total illusion, people are merely receiving the anti-depressant overdosed message that they don't have to worry, as long as they fork over and support the American killing project.

The proud G8 final statement: 50% emissions reductions by 2050. Yeah, that's when all the decision makers will be dead. They might as well sign a post dated check for $1 million for every American in 2050. Not that there's any true plans for 2050, but then none of us had planned nothing anyway, so no protest there.

But there's nothing happening tomorrow. Except for more meetings. And then to reinforce the deafening roar of soothing sermons, the IPCC releases reports that are but diluted blatant lies. We'll save the planet by growing the economy, and we have decades left to do it.

That imaginary awareness has hurt the climate change issue more than anything else ever could have. That's how our media work. They distort. Think it's such a grand idea to have Wolf Blitzer cover Peak Oil? You wouldn't recognize your own mother, once he's done with her.

Awareness? Awareness of what, exactly?

You can feel smart for seeing that the magician holds a hat in his finely manicured hands, but being aware of the hat is not what it's about. Focus on the hat, and he's got you where he wants you.

It's the rabbit inside the hat that counts, the one that looks like this:

Ban Ki-Moon:
"For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out."

James Hansen:
The Earth today stands in imminent peril

Sharon Astyk:
Elegy in Fragments


Permit me to post the whole comment:
"I did not say that."

This is what you said:
"Maybe we should concentrate our outreach on the scientific establishment, rather than the masses."

and then you mentioned the political debate.

I sorta left it at that point. If we have learned anything that avenue is useless. Hell they can't even stop SPAM for crying out loud.

Ok..there it is up above. Two approaches for TOD , according to Leanan, the scientific(which I relate to as the technology aspect) and the political aspect.

I said I "sorta left it at that point". Yes I did.

Now I would like to expound up on this further. I have slept on the issue and came to some thoughts about it which I would like to share but I am not trying to be confrontational nor angry, though I did consider briefly an angry reply but dropped that as non-productive.

To expound: -in a round about manner so bear with me-

Two images are stuck firmly in my mind. One from about 2 years ago and another from 2 days ago. These images will tell you (and myself) much about my attitudes regarding modern day life and the future. About our culture as well and what we have become as a society.

One of a winter day , back a few years , when I was driving out of town and about 3 miles past town to a desolate part of the two land state highway and over a long low bridge covering some wetlands area. I saw a small thin coated dog which appeared to be a chihuahua or part mix. It was forlonly standing by the far edge of the abutement and staring down at the passing vehicles. Someone had dropped this dog out of a passing car. They love to take their unwanted pets out to the farm land and dump them there. I could size up the situation in a flash for I had seen it many times before. The dog was waiting for the car to return, Looking at each as it passed but had given up and was shivering and freezing as the snow was whipped up by passing vehicles and blowing grit in its eyes. It was very cold out,below freezing. As I watched it lowered its tail, turned and began to walk towards a copse of woods nearby. It was going there to freeze and die. It was once prized because it looked like the chihuahua in the Taco John ads,the talking dog ad. Some child had wanted one and then when it snapped at him to protect its small body and thin legs it was now destined to the trash heap , out here in the country. I just had that image of the swirling snow,the dog with its head down and tail between its legs and walking away from any supposed rescue. I felt a twinge of pity for the creature as I realized all this a few miles down the road further. To go back and rescue it was a hopeless cause for these animals are legion here abouts where they are dumped. A faithful friend of man, a domesticated dog and now dumped in the middle of a snow storm to die and be forgotten.

Two days ago I was driving up interstate 57 thru Illinois on personal business. It was a similiar scene but this was a hen turkey. She was sitting upright on the shoulder. Its head about 6 inches from the high speed traffic,resting on its lower body as though nesting. It had been hit by a vehicle and was immobile , just sitting there and nothing else it could do. Its head was upright and cocked as they carry them and being buffeted by the passing windstream of traffic. Shortly a vehicle would be over the fogline and hit it dead on, mercifully killing it. This is the time of season when hen turkeys are about with their hatched out broods for I saw two hen turkeys with 4 young in tow pass in front of my jeep just a mile from my house. They had exited out of a combined wheat field where they were gleaning up wheat seeds for fodder. I also assumed that this hen may have had a brood on young in tow but if so had already been pulverized by the traffic.

Since the extreme freezes of April had killed all the nut crops and mast they were surviving on the combines 'reel losses'of the combines for the scattered wheat berries. A brood is usually far larger than 4 but I suppose lack of forage or predators had reduced them but usually they are quite large for that reason(predation).

But the one stranded on the interstate was going to be just a ruffle of feathers blowing in the wind shortly. The image in my mind is off the birds last outlook on the world. Its having given up on life it was now waiting for the death stroke. An innocent animal life among many to die in this manner yet we hardly ever see them alive and squirming out the last dregs energy as they perish on the roads. I did see a possum's eyes glowing the other nite on a blacktop as it slowly died. I did see last summer a possum with its back crushed yet moving its body along with its two front legs trying to reach the refuge of some trees along the road,a mile from my farm. A pickup had just blown by with a young teenager who was swevring around the road and had apparently just ran over the possum deliberately, and it seemed the young female in the seat was looking at him with a smile at her studly boyfriend and his skills in driving to spike a possum and save the world from a ratlike creature. Brave young man all full of himself. There was no other traffic you see. Just him and me and the wretched possum dragging its hindquarters along to go die in the brush.

So where does this lead? To the 'masses' is where. We are the masses. We are the possum , dog and hen turkey. We are waiting for the stroke to fall. Do you see the parallel? I did quite plainly but not at the time. Only by recall and letting it slowly coalesce in my mind did I see what we are becoming and what a possible future holds.

It leads to me having fully embraced 'technology' , given to us by the scientific crowd, embraced it in the past and worked totally within it.

As to the political aspect? I have watched it all keenly. The elections in Florida vote counting. The supreme court and its actions. All the political arena I have observed and even visited my elected representative in DC.

I then look at what Leanan states as the possible desired direction of TOD. The twin peaks of the technological and the political. And then I read the statement that the 'survivalists' are embarrassing to the staff of TOD.

I am not going to debate nor argue these points. They speak loudly and have not been refuted by the staff(not sure just who the staff). Therefore for me they stand as stated and I am chagrined by them....for...

For I thought I had found a worthwhile website, a place where problems were openly discussed and where thoughts could be shared. A place where at long last the technology of the internet was being fully utilized correctly and with possibly worthy outcomes or at least tried anyway.

Now with the understanding that those areas that have done little, nay have pushed up headlong into what we are now experiencing with the dearth of technology having robbed out the earth's energy and used in very badly , are now to be given as the last resorts of effort? The ones to be looked for as a resource to save us from what they have allowed or helped cause to be let loose upon our 'masses'?

This I cannot deal with. This reminds me of the dog, possum and turkey. This to me is giving up on the masses. The ones who will die at the sides of the roadways. The ones who in other countries are already slaughtering the last animals, be it ocean life or elephants and species in the jungles. The ones who walk for miles to get a drink of foul water.

They will become us in the future. Our politicians and scientists have let us down. Have not lead us away from the brink. Have turned blind eyes and sought instead ego and profit.

Now comes climate change as already farmers are looking at signs of reduced yields. We look at the huge heartland of our planted crops and see that scientifically genetically altered seeds to be harvested are dead and infertile and incapable of reproducing themselves.

We have consumed the 'seed corn' and all at the alter of technology, science and our elected leaders.

We have sown the whirlwind and now we will reap its bitter fruit.

I am not sure I will ever post here again given what I now understand.

To those many who have sent me emails expressing fears and trepidations I have little to say in return. I am not going to be able to now return replies to the many and apologize for that. My time is limited and I must use it wisely.

If the proposed website that Durdanal speaks of can occur then I will meet you there , if you so wish. Otherwise I will not be a full participating member any further of TOD.
I will have nothing to add to that discourse and avenue of action. My observations are just personal after all.Not scientific or of political value. I am just one voter of the 'masses'.

I will not be an embarrassment but I will be a survivor. The two do not seem synonymous on TOD to me as per the posts on Drumbeats of the last two days.

The direction of TOD is not one I can agree with. I see individual,family and small community self-help groups as the only viable alternative to the future.
The only salvation of which man can be assured is that which he will take upon his own back.

There is no message. There is not panacea. We must now 'survive'. We must keep life alive and not waste it at the sides of the road, in our rushes to nowhere. The JIT trucks will render you as a permanent part of the road surface, to be melded into the asphalt. JIT..a madness if ever there was one. Hauling useless trinkets at high speed for questionable use from other countries ,having abdicated all our industry to third world slave labor and in so doing visited pain upon them as well. China will soon enough learn the lesson. When we stop buying their cheesy trinkets they will fall on hard times and the slaves there will be left to scrounge the roadsides for morsels of roadkill.


Some excerpts:

"To be blunt, I think many of TOD staff members are kind of embarrassed by the survivalist stuff, and see it as something that undermines what they are trying to do, by making us look like kooks."

"They think the right political action and the right technology can solve the peak oil problem. That is sort of the reason for the site."

"We want to do outreach, but we're a bunch of engineering geeks who speak Fortan better than English. Maybe we should leave the outreach to EB or LATOC. Then again, our scientific bent might carry more weight with scientists and congressional types. Maybe we should concentrate our outreach on the scientific establishment, rather than the masses."

> They think...the right technology can solve the peak oil problem

The technology has already been invented. Check out Phoenix Motorcars battery electric vehicles. Zero oil is used to run these. (Disclosure: I am indirectly invested in Phoenix).

Hi Airdale,

I appreciate your writing and hope you will keep posting, and also let us (i.e., me, please) know if and when you decide to move to another place (virtual place).

re: "I am not sure I will ever post here again given what I now understand."

Well, I'm not so sure Leanan speaks for every single editor or contributor. Does she (really speak for everyone)?

And even if so, are we - (meaning the "TOD staff" and/or any of us)- going to stop the conversation, i.e., stop inquiring and sharing, assuming we understand another human being on a deep level? Or, stop because of some images of each other? I hope not.

Also, I would say these terms "political", "scientific" are general and can mean many different things.

For example, some people see "re-localization" as "political". Grassroots democracy as political.

I would disagree - to leave outreach to EB or LATOC. Bob Shaw does outreach and talks about it. I've talked a little about my efforts, as have others. Look at Gail's work.

It's always seemed to me there's more we (here) can do. I haven't quite known how to organize this conversation and/or action. I have thought about it.

I do not see this as antagonistic to what you do or want to do.

I agree with not abandoning anyone.

re: What Leanan said about TOD members "being embarassed by survivalist stuff...making us look like kooks."

We know we have to look at different things, even if only to consider them.

It's always a kind of funny thing to imagine what other people think or feel. People do this, but it's not always accurate - perhaps not even mostly accurate. People spend little time listening and inquiring about other's thoughts and feelings, as a generality.

The labels - any kind of labels - often get in the way of understanding another human being or group of humans.

Labels like "survivalists", etc.

The lack of labels in your writing is part of what makes it strong and worth my time. The details and description, and honesty of your feelings and thoughts. And this goes for things I might not enjoy or necessarily agree with. I tried to share this with you after your post on religion back when; I don't know if you saw it. The impression I got from your work is of someone who is prepared to face things and search and struggle for what is real and true.

For me, this is valuable.

i asked this question last week, but no one replied. i see an API inventory statistic that is released each wednesday that often disagrees substantially from that of the DOE. my general impression is that the DOE tends to report higher levels of inventory than API. my experience with other government economic releases is that they are flawed to the point of suggesting malfeasance. see john williams' shadowstats for a detailed discussion. is a similar dynamic at play with the inventory data?

I would say both statistics are flawed. People seem to trust the DOE ones more. They're supposed to be more complete, or something like that.

There was some discussion of this over at PO.com. Someone said the DOE stats are gathered via phone call. They call people up and ask what their inventory is, and the answer is often just a guess. Four times a year, they actually count it all, and recalibrate the stats. There is often a large change in the numbers those weeks, and traders will respond more strongly, knowing the numbers are more accurate.

I also believe API stock figures are voluntary whilst the DOE's are compulsory....In any event weekly stats should never be taken in isolation, 3 or 4 weeks aggregated together smooth out the weekly 'noise'.

This week was a good example we have 6 million bbl crude build in the gulf coast since there have been approx 10 v's playing floating storage which are now being discharged because the contango play is no longer there. So we potentially have another 12-15 million bbls still to hit the stocks in the coming weeks, offset of course by increasing refineries runs if they happen, but also taking place of some of the the crude that would have otherwise been imported. The point is it is a very fluid environment with many moving parts, taking 1 weeks stats in isolation can be misleading.

New age town in U.S. embraces dollar alternative

"I just love the feel of using a local currency," said Trice Atchison, 43, a teacher who used BerkShares to buy a snack at a cafe in Great Barrington, a town of about 7,400 people. "It keeps the profit within the community."

There are about 844,000 BerkShares in circulation, worth $759,600 at the fixed exchange rate of 1 BerkShare to 90 U.S. cents, according to program organizers. The paper scrip is available in denominations of one, five, 10, 20 and 50.

In their 10 months of circulation, they've become a regular feature of the local economy. Businesses that accept BerkShares treat them interchangeably with dollars: a $1 cup of coffee sells for 1 BerkShare, a 10 percent discount for people paying in BerkShares.

Reminds me of the "Baby Bonds" used in Louisiana during Reconstruction:


Where is Great Barrington? Sounds like GB, but could be anywhere. Are the BerkShares printed on a sophisticated press and paper or could one run them off on a home printer? See how my mind works?

Leanan, yesterday you said that you have friends that moved to Belize? or somewhere in the Carribean? The wife and I considered Belize about 20 years ago but after thinking it over rejected the idea for a number of reasons. Many in Florida that keep up with the climate change news are becoming alarmed about potential sea level rise. Ice at the poles seems to be melting much faster than predicted just a few years ago and even faster than the recent IPCC Report indicated. In fact, just a few years ago the possibility of Antartic ice melt was not even considered in sea level rise estimates, since it was thought to be an unlikely occurance. Now it is happening and temps at the poles are climbing much faster than those nearer the equator. Floridians and all living near sea level are beginning to get the message. When the message becomes unmistakeably clear just think what will happen to waterfront property values among a host of realities that will affect the economies of the world. Beautiful places like Belize will no longer seem attractive. Some hillside at about 300 feet above current sea level that is now almost worthless will suddenly become the 'new waterfront.' I suspect that some forward thinkers are looking for the places that are going to be the new harbors with river access for investment potential.

Great Barrington is in western Massachusetts, near the border with New York. People go there to ski in the winter.

If sea level increases 10 meters, then all of ENC is under water. I doubt that our state government has even began to come to grips with the ramifications of that scenario.

Maybe Florida needs to pray that the eminent Reid Bryson is right. Florida used to be a sparsely populated backwater, as without A/C it was a malarial swamp too miserably hot and humid for a sane person to want to live there. It certainly was not habitable by, nor filled with, retirees taking medications that destroy the body's thermoregulation.

If the more lurid versions of GW turn out to be right, then either (1) we react with Draconian measures that shut off the A/C or at least make it too unreliable to be the life-support mechanism that it is now, or (2) chunks of Florida flood permanently, or (3) both. In any of these cases, those properties don't really matter, because Florida as we know it becomes an impossibility.

Does the IRS still go out of their way to crack down on this sort of thing? As far as they're concerned it probably fits their definition of "barter ring".


Tata Motors of India introduced a passenger van with a capacity of up to 7. It is based on their ACE mini-truck line.

It uses a two-cylinder 700cc diesel engine. Maximum speed of 64 kmph (40 mph). Fuel economy is 6 liters per 100 km, or about 40mpg.

That fuel economy might drop slightly with 8 Indians clinging to the roof frame, 4 matresses tied to the back and a bail of hay to feed the cow tied to the front bumper.

I suppose it will get more people miles though.

LOL Similar experience in Africa. My Land Rover couldn't go until there were only 3 fingers of clearance betwixt body and tire. Goats, charcoal, people, plantain....

Yeah I mentioned the TATA 'tourer' the other day too. Here's a little workup on the dozens of electric vehicles coming out of China and elsewhere. The Flybo,
the Lin, Jinan and so on link below.

Do these reactions represent a softening of attitudes toward more realistic transport solutions?

"This thing is a good start, a step in the right direction. 40 MPH would cover a lot of people's needs in the U.S., and cut the American selfish thirst for petro fuels. Bring it on! I've been to China and toured the "sweatshops". Trust me, these workers would rather be working in a factory than starving to death as they were under pure communism. Be careful trying to judge their needs and wants through our spoiled western eyes."


"This is a cool little car, and with some tweeking, I bet it could run much faster and further. I would like to buy one without the batteries and put my own in."

"Why not make electrical cars mandatory for inner cities, historical centers etc, that would boost EV development and cut pollution!"

Bumping around this site you will find cars, motorbikes, a 20 pass sightseeing car, and a bus
all electric.

Some of the bikes have some pretty serious range and speed specs. Like over 100km and 1500watts 70+kph.

There has been occasional talk about Farmers' options with Transp Fuels, so to tag onto this EV theme, here is a Solar Electric Tractor Retrofit that I was looking at for my own research today. We've tossed around ideas about having charging stations near the fields, having Battery Trays that can 'Roll-on, Roll-off' these honkin' forklift batts.. well of course there are farmers out there already doing this stuff! You can find ANYTHING out there!

"We didn't bolt the panels to the top of the tractor because we wanted both sets of panels to charge our two tractors. We are often using one or the other tractor. So... we could leave one tractor charging while we used the other."

"Converting an Allis-Chalmers "G" Cultivating Tractor into an Electric Vehicle"

Bob Fiske

That is awesome!

I showed that to my wife. I think we may have found our next project. You till the field in the bacground of the one picture?

Maybe I could put the 'charging station' on the house since all our 'ground' is real nearby.

Encourage everyone to have a look at your setup!! Not sure they're doing this in China yet. Maybe. What is your latitude?

In case I misrepresented myself, this isn't my website, I just found it. I'm also eager to set up a useful work-vehicle for some land we just got up in the White Mts. in Maine. Don't know how much it'll be for crops or for moving rocks and trees (small ones anyway).. and as another EV-tractor guy said, using the tractor batts at the site to power other tools, too. An inverter can be your alternate PTO (power-take-off) for an Electric Tractor! Tho' this guy also put a small 12volt hydraulic motor onto his Allis-Chalmers 'G' rig. Lots of possibilities!

Here is a link to Pete Seeger's electric Pickup truck, from Homepower mag. He runs around a hilly property (at 80 yrs young!), and runs the electric chainsaw from the truck batts, before hauling the wood with the truck. $10k conversion, roughly, IIRC

'Can we build it? Yes we can!'
Bob, the conditionally-cornucopian builder

Bob, the conditionally-cornucopian builder;

I kinda get(resemble)that. Lot's of good websites including the scematic of Pete Seeger's solar system. Thanks.

Yeah I enjoy thinking about this stuff and occaisionally get around to actually doing some of it. Big range of possibilities.

Like the inverter/PTO angle. Was thinking about a elec bucket winch for a loader on the tractor. Did that on a snowplow I built once.

In some ways using electricity for much of what we do now with oil could make us more directly involved in the production. Like hunting for dinner rather than picking it out of the cold case at Safeway. Lot smaller moves ...plenty of adjustment...be sorta liberating though. xburb

The bigger picture issue is that both China and India are just now really entering (or trying to enter) the happy motoring era. This makes it unlikely that there will be any significant global decline in demand w/o some serious increases in prices.


Great, I get better then 40 mpg with the Nissan I already have.

The secret to fuel mileage (and the most effective anti theft device in the US) is a manual gearbox.

Put an automatic on that thing and it loses 10 mpg and 10 mph.

the most effective anti-theft device in the US is a manual gearbox

I went one better. I put on a wooden shift knob without the pattern imprinted. Reverse is {UP} and towards the NW. A thief will have to guess and work through that one >:-)

Of course stealing a VERY nice 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D (diesel is another theft deterrent) is not high on most lists. Their ability to "gather momentum" is well known. And mine would attract attention.

I get 30 to 31 mpg in the city.

Most durable and reliable car M-B ever built.

Best Hopes for older cars,


No AC in the desert is my second line of defense. :-)

List on this thing was like 13K something and I gave the dealer 7500 brand new after it sat on the lot for a year or so.

Actually I didn't even give him the money, just a 7 mpg 4WD truck.
Good thing it was a couple years ago, I suspect they may not go for it these days.

...the most effective anti theft device in the US is a manual gearbox

Apparently so: Manual gearbox foils car thieves

Science, Censored

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report concluding that three federal agencies that conduct scientific research, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the latter of which is the home of much of the nation’s climate research, do a darn good job of preventing government scientists from telling the public what they’ve discovered.

Since it’s the public that pays for the research, this is kind of like hiring a roofer to tell you what’s going on with your flashing and having him clam up on you.

Imports: latest EIA weekly stats:

  • 12.32 Mbpd YTD 2007
  • 12.25 Mbpd YTD 2006
  • increase +0.5%

If there's an export crisis, there's certainly no import crisis (for the rich USA that is).

If you track the price of gasoline circa 2000 at maybe $1.50 a gallon versus a national debt of about 4 trillion, to today's $3.00 a gallon and 8 trillion national debt, the thing that hasn't kept up is wages. Housing has as have many commodities and also to an extent the stock market. Oil has yet to really depart from the general relationship and it is the discontinuity of wage rates that is the outlier.

so the debt was 2.6 trillion gallons of gas in '00 and 2.6 trillion gallons today ?

actually the debt is $ 8.817 trillion

using your figures as representative of the rate of inflation , that averages to over 10% per yr. probably not far off.

the debt was about 58% of annual gdp in '00 and is over 70% of annual gdp today. great conservative leadership by el' befuddleoso.

speaking of which he, el' befuddleoso, named james nussle as director of omb. and that folksy fellow of fiscal fiascos (that would be charles grassley) said he knew that we could count on (jim) to continue the budgetary policies of the bush administration. great ! we can look forward to $ 10 trillion debt before the reign of the befuddled one is over.

read in your neocon playbook el'flatuoso (that would be cheney) said "debt don't matter"

Petrosaurus is actually correct -- the national debt is really in the $4T range, not $8T. About half of the $8T figure is just accounting for Social Security money that was spent, so this is an "unfunded liability", not conventional debt.

If you were to borrow money out of your 401k plan, and spend it on a vacation home, then you "owe" your retirement account that money -- you "owe" the money to yourself, this is not "debt" in the normal sense of the word.

you have made that bogus claim before. a debt is an obligation to repay(period). conventional sense or unconventional sense, it doesnt matter. and the debt is not owed to the government as you claim, it is owed to the workers (and their employers) who have paid their ss taxes.

are you further claiming that because part of the money is OWED to the ss "trust fund", that this is sound fiscal policy ? that seems to be what you are implying. the ss trust fund is around $ 2 trillion. i know not where the other $ 2 or so trillion is hidden and apparently niether do you.

incidentally petrosaurus claims the debt is $ 8 trillion. and i pointed out that the debt is $ 8.7 trillion($ 8,700,000,000,000) rounded to the nearest $ 100 billion of course. so how do you figure "petrosaurus is actually correct" ?

It's not "bogus" in the sense that that's what the Treasury department says on their website. And in a more practical sense, the Treasury doesn't make payments on this unfunded liability either. Of course, total unfunded liabilities are supposed to be $30T or $40T or something. Why stop at $4T?

Further, in two important cases, Helvering v. Davis and Flemming v. Nestor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Social Security taxes are simply taxes and convey no property or contractual rights to Social Security benefits.

well the treasury, up until a few weeks ago, didnt list any such thing as "interagency debt" whatever that means. just the total debt outstanding, alledgedly to the penny. and apparently that includes money "borrowed" or as you claim "lifted" from the ss trust fund. so i suppose what i am claiming is that it is the bush lead treasury that is bogus.

i think you are mistaken if you are claiming that there is no "obligation to repay" (and thus debt) . i will acknowledge that there may not be a legal contract to repay, but there is an obligation. i did read somewhere that the ss iou's were "special" treasury notes.

following your line of reasoning the government doesnt have an obligation to "provide the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessing of life,liberty and.......whatever". and if that is the case then there is no constitutional guarantees, no constitution and no supreme court.

Here it is again on Treasury's website:

"The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It"
( Debt Held by the Public vs. Intragovernmental Holdings ) 06/20/2007
$4,968,047,472,798.54 Debt Held by the Public
$3,845,716,929,387.86 Intragovernmental Holdings
$8,813,764,402,186.40 Total


So Treasury knows the difference, the Supreme Court knows the difference, and be assured the Congress knows the difference -- of who MUST be paid (to avoid default) and who can be stiffed when necessary.

The "special" notes are also known as "unmarketable securities" -- i.e. "cannot be sold" or "IOUs". The SS system has NO (i.e. zero) assets. It's all been spent. It's "obligation" is also called "contingent liabilities" -- or liabilities that may or may not be incurred.

The Supreme Court is merely saying that Congress has the full power to tax/spend/budget etc without contractual obligation to anyone in particular and without obligation to whatever a prior Congress has promised or said. It's OUR government to elect to do whatever we want -- those 535 chin-waggers have the power to change the direction of this ship (economically) and is virtually unlimited by the Constitution.

Hello Airdale,
I didnt see your post with questions on yesterdays DB untill this morning. To answer your questions:
I curently have three bikes, 2000 cop Road King that I have changed considerably, 2002 Fat Boy that I have changed considerably, 2000 W 650 Kawasaki that is box stock. The Kawi gets the best milage at about 60mpg at 75mph and close to 70mpg at 60mph. The Kawi is a vertical twin and looks very similar to a 68 Triumph Bonny that I once owned. The engine in the Kawi is pretty sophisticated with Desmo shaft drive to the overhead cams driven off the crank like a Ducati and sophisticated fuel injection that looks similar to Amal carbs. It has kick and electric start. Kawasaki introduced the W650 to the American market in 2000 but it didnt sell so they stopped importing it in 2002 and a total of 660 bikes were sold in America. I bought mine new and have turned down several offers for it. It is still in production and selling well in GB, Japan, and everywhere else. More proof that Americans dont know a good thing when they see it. If I ride the Harleys the speed limit they get close to 50 mpg but the way I ride they get about 44mpg overall. The Road King is a bit heavier than the FB but its fuel injection seems to make up for the extra weight. The FB is carburated with a two into one Hooker Header and bigger jugs, Crane cams, etc. The FB has the counterbalanced engine and is very smooth even at idle but the counterbalancer eats up about 5 hp according to Harley mechanics that I know. It will snatch the front end up higher than you want it to be going into second.
I will be leaving here going up to Manchester NH in mid July, a trip I have made many times when going to Laconia. I usually avoid all interstates but I-81 to the Taconic Pkwy in NY and then over Hog Back Mtn in Vermont and into NH. After the wedding (Smitty is getting married, unbelievable) a bunch of us will ride up to Colebrook/Pittsburg NH and stay on Colebrook pond in some log cabins. At nite we will use the woodstove even in July unless the weather is unusually warm. At nite there is the 'Buck Rub Pub' for entertainment. Cell phones, tv, etc, do not work there. The 25 mile ride from Pittsburg to the Canadian border is through 'The Great Northwoods' and its desolate and beautiful. The road follows the chain of four Connecticut Lakes. I have stopped many times to let Moose get out of the road and if they are in the rut they can challenge a biker with a charge. I always stop well short of Moose.
Have you seen the Honda 'Big Rukus' scooter? Its 250cc and looks a lot like the old Cushman Highlander (the version that was built for the Army Airborne and was parachuted to earth with the paratroopers) but its a lot lighter and has a sophisticated engine/trans. If I get rid of some woodworking equipment in the garage I might be able to squeeze a Rukus in beside the table saw. Hell, my wife wont know the difference, she has never even ridden on a motorcycle. Opposites attract.

W650 is BEVEL cam drive like the old Duck's but it isn't a desmo, it is conventional shim/bucket/spring.

I know Musashi but I used the example of a Duck to paint a picture that would be easily understood...but thanks.


Does this mean the end of the world as we know it holds until after the Cincinnatti Reds win the world series? :-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

N O !!

The End of the World As You Know It can happen ANY time after the New Orleans Saints win the Super Bowl :-)

The World as "We" Know It ended 21.7 months ago,


The Reds aren't going to win the World Series. The Red Sox are.

Alan Greenspan is working as a consultant for PIMCO, his thoughts were expressed by Bill Gross in the MAY/JUNE 2007 Investment Outlook:

Importantly, special consultant to PIMCO Alan Greenspan has pointed out that the process of transitioning hundreds of millions of workers from planned economies to a market environment may peak in the next 2-3 years in terms of its rate of growth, reducing the disinflationary impact.

I believe that he's talking about workers from ALL(?)of the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India and China. This peaking could be many things I suppose, ie. aggregate consumer demand from the US disintigrating due to a continuously falling housing market. Or is Greenspan talking about energy supply? I don't know...

I can only speculate on what he means but this strikes me as a typically carefully worded "Greenspanish" warning that inflationary pressures are building. I'm no macroeconomist, but, much as westexas has warned that rising incomes in the developing world will make it tougher on oil importing countries to get the oil that they have come to take for granted, I expect that the same rising standard of living will increase inflationary pressures everywhere.

From an American perspective, the first phase of globalization was felt as stagnating to declining wages for the average worker, offset somewhat by the flood of cheap and increasingly high-quality goods from overseas -- in particular from China. The second phase is going to be felt as runaway inflation, as increasingly affluent workers in other countries bid up the price of labor and commodities. PO will be fuel to the fire.

Hello TODers,

Mexico City maybe headed for a self-created imitation of NOLA:

Mexico drainage tunnel could fail, causing floods

MEXICO CITY (AP) - There is a ''high possibility'' a huge underground drainage tunnel could soon fail, flooding parts of this mountain-ringed metropolis 5 meters (yards) deep in sewage, the national water agency said Tuesday.

Officials have been puzzled for years by the gradual decrease in capacity of the 6.5-meter-wide (7-yard-wide) tunnel built in the 1970s to drain waste water from the valley, which is home to 20 million people and has no natural outlet. They have speculated that the tunnel may be partially clogged or that its walls could be decaying.

But because it is constantly filled with water, officials have not been able to travel through the structure to inspect it - or perform much-needed maintenance.
I have posted much on Mexico before: not enough potable water, not enough sewage treatment, massive losses through leakage of old pipes, depleting or seawater-intrusion into aquifers, world class-leading desertification and deforestation, ongoing drought, but still building golf courses, etc, etc.

Add in the problems of bad governance, corruption, and Pemex: IMO, Mexico is rapidly becoming the 'Zimbabwe' for the US.

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

Hi Totoneila,

Thanks for your thought provoking posts.

In my experience Mexico is several countries and cultures overlayed upon each other.

Especially in the southern provinces, the main influences are religious and communal. The central government figures only in the rare cases in which it is visible. Mexico city could be on another planet.

So for example, for chunks of Oaxaca and Chiapas, people would rather have nothing to do with Mexico city. Many are subsistence farmers now, and will remain so. Many risk cholera now and will have it later. They think nothing of walking 10 miles to visit someone today, and will not think much of it tomorrow. They grow maize now and will do so later.

Mexico City seems likely to get a little Katrina going, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money on the rest of the provinces, especially the really poor indigenous ones, following suit. In many cases they're just waiting for the Mestizos to leave already.


p.s., Do humans have better conversations than yeast?

Hello NervousRex,

Thxs for responding. An interesting dynamic is evolving in Mexican society:

Mexico: Soldiers Fleeing For Cartels

The most ruthless gang of drug-cartel hit men in Mexico are deserters from the army's elite. But the Zetas, as the ex-soldiers are known, may not be the only troops who abandoned their posts to work for the cartels. In the eight years since the Zetas were organized, more than 120,000 Mexican soldiers have deserted the army, according to the government's records. -Houston Chronicle
I haven't decided yet whether these guys will be the future Mexican Earthmarines or a future subsidiary mercenary branch of Blackwater, Inc. It is currently very hard to tell how much the global bankers, CIA, Govt. leaders, and other topdogs are wired into this system, although Mike Ruppert and others have documented much evidence. My decision depends alot on whether SuperNAFTA goes through or not.

IMO, in the meantime, it only makes sense for the topdogs to promote the growth of this army-cartel dynamic for maximizing their personal profits thereby increasing their personal security, and whittling down the numbers of the underclass. The postive blowbacks only help cause further US emigration so the topdogs can rinse, lather, and repeat in countless ways with similar dynamics here in the US in the future.

Elephants could care less on how many ants they trample. Otherwise, we would have all been taught, then required to follow the 1798 Malthus writings and the other subsequent Overshoot warnings. Planetary stewardship would have been the dominant meme instead of the 'last man standing, infinite growth' negative sum game.

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

Guess where the Zetas were trained.

Ft. Benning, GA

I honestly must laugh at this situation.

Drugs really harm nobody (and by definition are victimless crimes because one cannot truely be a victim of his own concious deeds) It's almost like making suicide illegal!

The USA says "Drugs Illegal",
*USA twists country1 to country99's arm and they agree*

Country1 is Mexico, and the sheer value of drugs flowing across to America is enough to nearly collapse the govnernment. Drugs which are quite inexpensive.

Same with the Congo. I am always blathered by the sheer amount of money going into "The War on Drugs", the zero amount going into treatment, and how black market trade to one country is enough to destabilize tens more.

Legalizing drugs would probably end peak oil, by the sheer number of people who no longer have to put up with bullshit and find new jobs.

/the last paragraph isn't my true belief, but it makes for a nice hyperbole.

We're # 2

China overtakes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter

China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year.

But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China's recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those from the US already. It says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes.


Hello TODers,

I still have not figured out whether SuperNAFTA is going to be a done deal by the topdogs or not. It makes sense to combine the three NA countries to continue the infinite growth syndrome, but, IMO, it makes no sense from an Overshoot perspective. Anyhow, this book advocates for combining:

“Annexing Mexico: Solving the Border Problem Through Annexation and Assimilation” by nationally-recognized columnist and author Erik Rush has been named a 2007 Honorable Mention winner in The New York Book Festival’s Nonfiction category.

“Annexing Mexico” is a well-researched proposal suggesting that the United States annex its southern neighbor in order to solve the border crisis that’s dominated the news media of late, and detailing a win-win plan as to how this might be achieved.

“The number of illegal aliens flooding into the US this year will total 3 million,” Rush says in his book, “enough to fill 22,000 Boeing 737-700 aircraft with attendees to the largest fiesta any nation has ever thrown. In fact, more people emigrate to the US (legally and illegally) than emigrate to all of the rest of the countries in the world combined.
If Peakoil Outreach ever becomes successful: the US would quickly make emigration = zero. Even the legal Mexicans in the US would help keep anyone else from coming across the border to help prevent the Overshoot from getting worse.

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

I have never heard of Erik Rush and obviously Erik has never heard of the US Constitution. It seems obvious that Erik is a mouthpiece for big biz. If the US decided to close the border with Mexico it could be done easily. Big biz doesnt want that to happen.

On another topic Bob, read your info on HA gas stations and responded but my post was never posted. Your biz model would work if rule of law doesnt collapse. If the cops disappear TS is going to HTF. Few have a business model that would last in such a situation.

Hello TODers,

Are the Mexican Topdogs preparing their poor citizens for the coming internal DIEOFF?

Mexico introduces euthanasia legislation

The legislation stipulates that there will be juridical protection for doctors willing to permit death to occur by withholding basic necessities, such as food and water.

"Euthanasia is one thing," the cardinal said, "dying well is another."
Drying up wells makes dying well by dehydration and/or starvation a rather painful and prolonged experience. Mother Nature could care less how much your nervous system totally wracks your body with overwhelming agony.

EDIT: I think this cardinal is not understanding the gravity of the developing situation. Plop his eminence 30 miles from nowhere in the 115F blazing Sonoran desert--he would be begging for someone to 'put him down' in short order as the dehydration kicked in. I have been to the ER twice in my life for extreme dehydration: if there had been no hope for me, I gladly would have accepted my head being smashed by a big rock to put me out of my misery.


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

Venezuela has cut 195.000 Bpd.

"Following the OPEC agreements to cut..."

The funny thing is that some time ago Ramirez, the oil minister, claimed that the cuts were of 138.000 bpd

And that the bulk of the cuts have been in the Orinoco Belt.

Hello TODers,

I long ago sent a email to Zimbabwe asking them to go to full Peakoil Outreach--No reply, as usual.

Thus, I am not surprised by this latest newslink:

Zimbabwe: Desist From Wanton Cutting Down of Trees, Says Minister

Zimbabweans should desist from indiscriminate cutting down of trees as the country risks desertification and climate change, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cde Francis Nhema, said yesterday.

Cde Nhema said he had noted with serious concern the way people were recklessly cutting down trees for sale in urban centres over the last few years.
IF these urban trees are harvested by hand: this is very hard work as anyone who has ever wielded an axe or handsaw can attest. They are doing this because of urban fuel shortages and Olduvai Gorge electrical shortages.

IF the US never does Peakoil mitigation: we can expect the same here. The cherry trees in Washington, D.C. will be chopped down to heat the houses of our Congressional warlord reps.

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

one of the biggest peak oil problems will be not a large enough dieoff quickly enough.

If it takes too long, there will be nothing left to salvage. The economies of the world will have canniabalized everything of value.

Otherwise known as Catabolic Collapse.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.


Will Russia's Middle East policy be a success?


The Gulf today is going through a gradual power shift in which the US has lost considerable ground while domestic forces, Iran and other major non-regional powers such as China, India, Russia and Turkey are on the rise.


Russia is returning to the region with a visage that bears hardly any resemblance to the Soviet era. Russia today is vastly leaner, more agile, resourceful and imaginative than previously, as Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in February 2007 demonstrated, projecting Moscow as a bridge between the West and the Middle East. Moscow is wading into a power vacuum resulting from the loss of US influence in the region. And it is forging links with the Islamic world as a partner ready to make promises and willing to listen to Muslim opinion with respect. Unlike Washington, Moscow’s policy is well balanced. While building relations with Arab regimes, Russia is also maintaining a strategic partnership with Iran and a high level of relations with Israel. Russia is no longer seeking alliances, but is content with partnerships, including via arms sales. In plain terms Russia’s Middle East policy is not a geopolitical extravaganza: it is cost-effective and “self-financing,” not a strain on Russian resources -- a vital lesson learnt from the Soviet era.

It remains to be seen.

In order to project power over time (as opposed to just blow things up) takes a economy with an income. Russia will likely have that.

Not sure if the link to a Turkish publication has any significance. Turkey has issues that may have a significant effect on how things play out and they have been totally blacked out in the US media.

Maybe Kunstler should change "nation" to "world".

Dogbert the Green Consultant

I thought this was good. “You can’t save the earth unless you are willing to make other people sacrifice.”

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Great cartoon--LOL!

Recall all the French youth burning and wrecking cars across France. Without full-on Peakoil Outreach and understanding: I expect this to be a common postPeak event worldwide. Pakistan and Bangladesh offer excellent flaming examples too.

The current Murkin youth expects a lifetime of easy-motoring ahead: when they finally realize that they will be denied--we will see them quickly apply the principle of 'Misery Loves Company'. Tires knifed, keyjobs on paint, kicks to body panels, expensive headlights and tail lights hammered, gastanks drilled to steal the fuel, sand added to the motor, etc, etc. The cops will be too busy chasing psychopathic snipers and bankrobbers to have the time to prevent this vandalism.

Even if you are fairly well off: you can't afford these repairs over and over again for very long. IMO, we can soon expect the insurance companies to insulate themselves from these losses by raising the standard deductible to $5,000 to $10,000, or even more. Even WT's rusty, old, lime-green Volvo will be a youth target. As a fast-crash realist: I expect the current national fleet to go to the junkyards, much faster than most other TODers expect, due to this youthful blowback effect.

The faster the current fleet is retired by force, the quicker we can hopefully ramp up Alan Drake's ideas before we don't have the energy and resources to do so. Thus, the youth are incentivized to quickly wreck the personal auto lifestyle. IMO, since the youth are more computer savvy: a higher percentage will see the benefits of this plan faster than the older, non-savvy, wealthier generation.

That is partly why I think a lot of the rich will be relocating to NYC and other cities with good mass-transit. They seem highly reluctant to bicycle/motorcycle due to the risk involved, but walking to work, dressed-down to not attract attention, seems a safe bet. The last thing they will want to do is live in the suburbs, then have countless rocks coming through their windshields on the drive into work.

Take my Asphalt Wonderland. With no current evidence of PO mitigation, and with no mass-transit system, woeful shortages of buses, and most of the obese and lazy youth refusing to pedal bicycles in 115F heat--if they cannot afford cheap scooters, motorcycles, or batt-bikes, I expect them postPeak to just go totally Wild & Crazy when they encounter someone in a car. Especially if hardly anyone can afford home A/C anymore. The roadrage and carnage we see now on Phx's streets will be nothing compared to when nobody gets a good night's sleep due to the suffocating summer heat.

I even notice on TOD that many refuse to get their knees in the breeze. Bikers like Airdale, River, Beggar, and I accept the risk that we may be doing a personal imitation of a ketchup package under the tires of a 18-wheeler, but we do our best to prevent this from occurring by assuming we are invisible to vehicle drivers, and carefully choosing the riding routes, time, length, road conditions, traffic positioning, and other controllables.

Recall in my earlier postings how I expect some punk kid to maim/kill me for my little scooter. No postPeak way to anticipate that event, but it will definitely spoil my day.

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

Bob, no way am I going to roll over for a bunch of morons that attempt wanton destruction on me or my loved ones. Prepare to hunker down for a few weeks while they knock each other off. After they sort themselves out some sort of order will slowly return even if its only vigilanty order. If you can form strong bonds with your neighbors it will be a big help. The streets are going to be a very dangerous place to be and I doubt that anyone in NY or anywhere else will be walking or riding to work for a while. One of the keys is having enough stuff to get you through the worst period and dont let your curosity get you out to look around. Stay down, low profile, let the worst blow over.

You seem to think that wtshtf there will be people still going to work. I dont think so. What will be their incentive to go to work? Money will be worthless and besides they will be busy scouring the area for water and something to eat. Governments will collapse. If you leave your dwelling to go to work there will probably be zip there when you return. I dont think you have really thought this situation through. Start with the premis that there are no cops left and think it trough from there. Think chaos without cops. Think about what you will do to defend yourself and your property. Dont leave your bike or anything else outside. Dont be a target. If you possibly can, get out of that desert and to a place that has lots of fresh water. Good luck.

Hello River,

Thxs for responding. To further add to your comments on how quickly things can go haywire [from LATOC]:

Britain's Year 2000 Fuel Protests Offer Chilling Look Into Our Future

Question is, can the kids throw laptops full auto?

Click on the link
and then on "hauling oil....."
Will we see this again??

I go by pedal power when I have the energy (been sick the last 2.5 weeks since getting home).  Got a bike trailer at a thrift store in Kansas, and after I get the hitch fixed I intend to try shopping with it.

One thing I need for this is a flag and a BRIGHT flasher.  Because of the local street layout, there is no route to the grocery which doesn't require riding some distance over a 45 MPH road (what passes for city planning here should put the people responsible in jail).  The trailer is too wide to ride near the curb and let traffic go by, so I'm going to have to make sure nobody can avoid seeing me.

Byron King has a new write-up from his trip to Alaska:

His summary:

Looking at things more broadly, I do not think that, at any time over its entire history, mankind has ever done anything remotely similar in scope to what is going to occur up in the frozen north over the next few generations. As I stated near the beginning of this article, I am simply humbled at the measure of the task. I am awestruck.

An interesting read.

Just Heard "There's Only So Much Oil in the Ground" by Tower of Power on the radio. That's the way to get the message out.

Hello TODers,

State [of AZ] won't share electricity with California

Arizona regulators reject utility's plan to build power lines to California

California wants to drop a giant extension chord in Arizona and draw our power. Arizona's energy future is at issue in this case. -- Commissioner Kris Mayes

"I don't want to be an energy farm for California - that's my bottom line," Arizona Corporation Commission member Bill Mundell said, questioning whether California has done enough to meet the energy needs of itself and the region.

The commission voted 5-0 against the application by Southern California Edison, a utility that serves most of southern California.

The commission said the project would benefit California utility customers at the expense of their Arizona counterparts while hampering Arizona's ability to meet its own energy needs. Also, the project would harm the environment, particularly the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, the commission said.
This will be fascinating to watch further developments as we go postPeak and further into drought and Overshoot. I would expect CA to legally or politically escalate this somehow. Recall that entire legal careers have been spent arguing over re-adjusting CA's unnatural Colorado River water alotment. Recall the tremendous difficulty in trying to get secured crude oil supplies across CA to the long proposed AZ refinery.

The zero-sum game over finite resources will eventually bring back the Wild, Wild West.

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

The sugar found in fruit such as apples and oranges can be converted into a new type of low carbon fuel for cars, US scientists have said:


What next? “SUVs to run on caviar”? The fructose can be converted into dimethyl furan which is 40% more energy dense than ethanol. For me, it doesn’t alter the nonsense of turning food into auto fuel when world food stocks are plummeting.