This Week in Petroleum (TWIP) 12-27-2007

A bullish TWIP report just out. DOE reported Crude, motor gas and distillate complex down 5.4 million barrels. API had complex down 4.3 million barrels. As the below chart shows, this is quite the drop in oil inventories from this summer. Front month crude (feb) trading up $1.50. Details and breakdown below the fold:

Dept of Energy Crude oil Inventories (Thanks to Johnson Rice and Co.)

Here was a Bloomberg survey of expectations for this mornings oil report (Note: this is the 'core' crude component which many look at as more stable than total commercial which includes, propane, residuals, etc.)

Crude oil: Down 1.6 million barrels
Motor gas: Up 1.6 million barrels
Distillates: Down 0.9 million barrels
Complex: Down 1.0 million barrels

Here were the actual numbers:

Crude oil: Down 3.3 million barrels
Motor gas: Up 0.6 million barrels
Distillates: Down 2.8 million barrels
Complex Down 5.4 million barrels

Crude oil: Up 0.9 million barrels
Motor gas: Down 2.4 million barrels
Distillates: Down 2.7 million barrels
Complex: Down 4.3 million barrels

From Daniel Burke at Johnson Rice:

We view today’s DOE stats as bullish; total commercial stocks declined by 10.5 million barrels, while 4-wk trailing average total implied demand is up a healthy (weather-aided) 1.6% y-y. We would cast a slightly cautionary eye to this report though, as yearend reports can reflect inventory management/somewhat spotty reporting. Looking into early 2008, we see the potential for less supportive weekly reports: we expect rising crude stocks (due to an expected increase in crude imports), rising gasoline stocks (typically the case during January), and if weather moderates somewhat, less meaningful distillate stock draws.

One notable, fundamentally bullish aspect of recent reports that has contributed to the tight domestic stocks position has been a pronounced decline in distillate imports. Distillate imports dropped to 143,000 bpd last week, and have trended well below yearago and 5-yr averages (see chart below). We believe this reflects a tight global distillate market. U.S. distillate stocks dropped by 2.8 million barrels and now total 127 million barrels, vs. last year’s 134 million barrels and the 5-yr average of 127 million barrels.

Crude stocks declined by 3.3 million barrels as imports remained relatively depressed. Imports averaged 9.8mmbpd, up from the prior week’s unusually low 9.1 mmbpd, but still below the 10 mmbpd threshold. Most of the sequential increase in imports was seen on the East and West Coasts; Gulf Coast crude stocks continue to decline and have reached a 3-yr low. U.S. crude stocks have declined by 60 million barrels over the 2H07 and now total 294 million barrels, vs. 321 million barrels last year and the 5-yr average of 300 million barrels. Cushing stocks continue to inch upwards, reaching 17.5 million barrels (vs. 17.4 million barrels last week).

Gasoline stocks increased by a reported 0.6 million barrels to 206 million barrels. Stocks built despite relatively low gasoline yield, as refiners remain firmly in max distillate mode. Imports remain healthy at 1.0 mmbpd.

(thanks to equity research firm Johnson Rice)

The innards of the report are here, with a detailed explanation coming at 1:30 EST.

Robert, PG and I are traveling, so please deposit any relevant graphics, analysis, and commentary on this report below:

What I can't work out is its fairly obvious from the data that we hit a phase change at the tail end of 2006. Since then its been drifting into another mode - yet whenever the price of oil goes up we get the same old "its due to Iran tensions" or some such old system reasoning.

Why is nobody in the media pointing to the elephant in the room?

Maybe there are too many elephants. Media can't choose one...or maybe their guns were designed for squirrels and rabbits?

The media seems to be limited to reporting "AAA gas prices" or gas price forecasts. Anything beyond that goes over their heads (and most of their viewers' heads).

A message to the MSM journalists: "It's the geology, stupid"

Actually, I think it's - 'the alternatives can't keep up with the geology'!

Looking at Khebab's charts, the alternatives have been ramping up for a number of years - while the rate of change was low all was well.

The $100/bbl bet. Hollywood couldn't have scripted it any better for cliffhanger status.

Ritterbusch & Associates quoted on Bloomberg:
"It's clear we are off to the races and will probably test the record tomorrow."

Oil nears new record

Oil prices rose over $1 a barrel Thursday, putting crude about $2 from its all-time high, after the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories.

...Although nuclear-armed Pakistan has little oil, traders fear any instability could spread to neighboring states. Pakistan borders Iran, the world's fourth-largest exporter of crude, and also lies near the oil-rich Central Asian states.

One analyst said the situation in Pakistan is bound to get worse before it gets better.

"The rioting is just beginning, and there's talk of retaliatory terrorist attacks," said John Kilduff, an energy analyst at MF Global in New York.

Looking at NYMEX over the past few hours I wonder who has started selling big about 1,5hrs ago. Any idea how we can get that information overhere?

Pieter, are you trying to blame someone for the drop in oil prices earlier? Oil is just volatile. No one trader is responsible. Fear and greed rule, there are no conspiracies here. If you watch it every day on an hour by hour, minute by minute basis, you will see far greater changes than than you saw this morning.

Ron Patterson

I'm not trying to blame anyone. I'm trying to figure out how these fast corrections happen. 1-2hrs -ish after an incident you see this 'flattening' of the price curve. I noticed it after Turkey moved into Iraq recently and I'm seeing it again now. I wonder whether this is short term profit taking or another mechanism. I don't think we have 'Bernanke boys' on the market like on Wall Street.

today was odd
crude was up about $1.5 - half of this move happened at 830 when Bhuto assasination hit tape -the other half at 10:30 when weekly supply numbers came out. nat gas was down all day - over 20 cents - then at 1:50 or so, it spiked and closed up on day - no apparent news that im aware of, unless it was leak of tomorrows report....cold as hell here, but my socks are wet - im sure there is some physical property to explain this...

The NG January contract expired today, so that probably caused some volatility.

Wow, I'm sorry to read of the assassination of Ms Bhutto; IMO that will have about the same effect in Pakistan as the bombing of the Mosque of the Golden Dome did in Iraq. A civil war in a nuclear-armed state is certainly an 'above ground factor'.

Errol in Miami

I don't know - there is and will be some rioting, but I don't see a civil war. Her supporters were not the extremists, and they have been under martial law. I see it more along the lines of the Hariri assassination.

Jeez: I would have thought all those stranded tankers out in the gulf waiting for the fog to clear would have off loaded by now.

good one, Dip. Ya got to remember....this is VERY special fog.

I was thinking, what if oil is just another input? we hear how dependent on oil we are that we take it as fact. how much oil do we really need? I know I sound like a heretic, but hear me out. is oil so precious that we can't live without it or will peak oil just allow us to realize the usefulness of oil? peak oil will just make the price go up and will create conservation and demand destruction that will allow oil to be used only where it is most needed- as determined by the market. we use oil in almost everything only because it's useful and because the cost is low. the higher the cost the less oil is used and the more substitutes will be found.

our throwaway and consumer spending could certainly use less oil. one of the biggest uses is transportation. we can use the electricity grid for that.

what do we absolutely need oil for that can't be substituted eventually with something else?

Hi John,

Oil is not just another input. It is a source of energy. Roughly 1/3 of all energy used by the human species. So even to replace the energy we would require another source to grow really fast to replace it.

And as a transportation fuel, oil products are unparalleled. They work over an amazing range of temperatures and have astonishing energy density to weight. The vehicles they power can be manufactured inexpensively. Essentially any switch will result in an economic decline as more resources are diverted into transportation. And some forms of transportation cannot be powered via the grid (air travel).

Check out all the FAQs at the top of the oil drum page. Read up on EROI especially (a difficult concept but critical to understanding oil shale and ethanol arguments etc). Cheers.

why can't we use PHEVs or EVs for much of our transportation?

energy density (oil is extraordinary in it's density), energy storage issues (there aren't good cheap batteries in common use that will make EV's practical), the overburdened electrical grid (we are burning coal and warming the globe rapidly already, how will we provide MORE electricity without even greater damage to the environment?) - the lack of actual existing phev's or ev's on the scale to begin replacement of ff (fossil fuel) vehicles, the cost of attempting to replace the ff fleet - and all this as costs for everything will continue to rise in the face of ever-increasing energy costs

and let's not forget the entrenched interests of the ff industry, the automobile industry and of course media which makes it's $ from the advertising of those.

I think that too many branches of the human tree have born fruit, and the gardener is going to end up doing some rather heavy pruning.....

using the technology we have now, EVs aren't practical but who is to say that won't change in response to peak oil? enormous profits would be made. studies show we could use the electricity grids for a major portion of our car fleet if we went PHEV. higher oil prices mean more PHEVs and hybrids because they can compete on costs.

remember Rumsfeld's famous quote about the military? You don't fight the wars with the equipment you want, you fight with what you have? Well, the problem of declining oil production is happening now, so we get to use the technology we have now - and the infrastructure we have now. US hybrids so far have been a joke - Toyota dominates - but even Toyota has put off a PHEV - mostly because of battery issues I believe? - this is an example of trying to hope for a techno fix to come along

and we are ADDING coal and natural gas plants because of need for more electricity demand now - so again, how would we start plugging our cars in all the time without even greater reliance on fossil fuels?

Deus ex machina is not something that I am sitting and counting on to save us all... "and then, suddenly, the bloated lazy consumers in the US figured it all out, in the midst of a collapsing banking and housing industry all these out-of-work and deeply-in-debt citizens woke up, traded in their cars for EV's or PHEV's, threw solar panels on their roofs, started biking and walking, put on sweaters, demanded their (expensive) military be brought home and it all turned out ok...."

count me as doubtful

"this is an example of trying to hope for a techno fix to come along"

are you a capitalist? I am. when gas prices go through the roof it will be enormously profitable to use oil more efficiently. ask yourself this question? is the way we use gasoline the most efficient way to move a car? no. in fact, the ICE is about as inefficient and old-fashioned as the 100 year-old light bulb many still use. the most efficient and feasible way right now is a PHEV. the NRDC did a study and said we could power a large part of our transportation needs by plugging in our PHEVs at night.

we don't need a techno-fix, we need to better use the technology we have now. electric motors aren't new. there are already cars on the drawing board that get 100+ MPG. calcars has a 100MPG prius. PHEV.

what does being a capitalist have to do with anything?

I am a realist, a person who tries to study what exists, and doesn't base my hopes on what doesn't

you tell me there are "cars on the drawing board...."
that's great, and when they are cheaply available and our consumer society hasn't collapsed, I would be happy to drive one....

there are fusion reactors on the drawing boards too - and when they start producing sustained reactions that can stay running for a while and producing electricity "too cheap to meter" - I will be applauding the efforts of those who designed and built them - but if it doesn't happen QUICKLY, our society, which is largely based on cheap fossil fuels, might fall apart before these things ever get off the drawing board - and when I look at the US's response to our energy problems, I see military action in the middle-east and a defense of the status quo

I don't WANT the future to look like Frontlines: Fuel of War - I just think it probably will

PHEVs are extraordinarily close. china has a $25,000 100MPG PHEV. there is little infrastructure needed.

be careful with the "if the consumer society hasn't collapsed" because how much oil will we need in a collapsing economic situation?

And in a collapsing economic situation, how many people will want to, or be able to afford to, change their car for a plug-in hybrid?

During WWII they ran cars on coal and wood. There are circumstances where we will do the same. These circumstances may come sooner than you think, and the only cars still moving will be pickup trucks with gasifiers in the back.

It's an example of trying to hope for a techno fix because the techno fix, if it works (a big "if" on the scale and time frames needed, not to mention the resources needed), is simply addressing once aspect of the problems we face and addressing it in such a way as to try and keep the whole economic edifice intact. Technofixes always assume a perfect transition and so are likely wishful thinking but, in the end, are no strategy for the plethora of problems that confront our global society.

However, even the phev technofix won't work, even for the single aspect of an alternative to transport fuels because it needs oil (and, if a timely transition to phevs is miraculously made, it will eventually need oil in increasing amounts) and leaves out air/sea travel/freight.

"traded in their cars for EV's or PHEV's, threw solar panels on their roofs, started biking and walking, put on sweaters, demanded their (expensive) military be brought home and it all turned out ok...."

if the price is right, yes. if you can't afford a car, you can't use oil. if you can't afford consumer goods, you don't consume the oil used to make them. people who owned 3 homes would never have given them up if it were not for the falling housing market. the reality of market prices changes behavior.

if gas is $7/gal, suddenly hybrids and PHEVs can almost pay for themselves as with solar. geothermal, solar, wind, wave and other energy sources become more viable the higher the oil price gets.

That "higher price" reflects the more difficult and energy intensive task of getting energy from those more diffuse sources.

That "higher price" is the whole point, if you want to insist on looking at it in dollars. All the higher price means is that it's harder to get at, and that is the whole point. Dollars don't mean anything in the end, it all comes down to available energy.

You might imagine we can get by with less but when you really start to think what that entails, I think you're lying to yourself if you believe that you can predict what sort of outcome that might mean. Can this system of perpetual growth continue to function with declining energy inputs?

I'd be surprised to ever see battery like technology approach the energy density of a chemical bond.

Actually, EVs are practical with current technology, at least for some purposes. Several companies are using them, e.g UPS.

They may not be widely used yet, but they are usable.

Why Oil ? (Is A Trojan Horse) :

Consider fuel as solid vs. liquid/gas = slow vs. EXPLOSIVE burn, or rate of energy release.

It all comes down to rate of energy-release, or slow burn vs. EXPLOSIVE burn.

Consider ENERGY, for example, as coal vs. oil:

Coal works slowly and indirectly, via a steam intermediate, to yield EXPLOSIVE expansion; led to steam ENGINE development [Industrial Age]

Petroleum as Oil or Gas works directly via atomization to yield EXPLOSIVE expansion [internal-combustion ENGINE], a most useful RATE of WORK produced relative to any other commodity fuel, especially as liquid it is a uniquely MOBILE fuel, requiring only pumps and valves to manipulate [e.g. easily automated process-control] or efficiently move and store great quantities in simple containers, safely.

Cars and planes cannot work on coal, wood, etc without an intermediate [e.g. steam] to produce the required EXPLOSIVE rate of energy release, and so are impractical; a boiler is required to achieve the high rate of energy release. Even NUCLEAR requires a boiler to create the EXPLOSIVE expansion of steam which is then modulated or throttled to to do work.

The ICE was designed to use the EXPLOSVE rate of energy release of petroleum and some other fuels, like alcohol. Petroleum dominated because of low cost, abundance and availability. No other practical and scaleable ENGINES have been developed to work solely and directly on heat/radiation, due to portability/mobility and energy-density problems. There are possibilities such as thermo-electric, ion-electric, photo electric,wind, etc.

As for portability and energy-density, there can be great, future development if electic distribution grid is used, fed by wind, solar, etc. along with development of storage, as batteries. Aircraft engines can use alcohol and other alternates.]

DickCheney's 1999 speech* quotes:
Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in [its] nature.
Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy.
The degree of government involvement also makes oil a unique commodity.
Oil remains fundamentally a government business.
It is the basic, fundamental building block of the world's economy.
It is unlike any other commodity.
The Middle East with two-thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies
The Middle East and Africa have over one hundred year’s supply of gas reserves at current low usage levels and the former Soviet Union and Latin America have gas reserve-to-production ratios which should last over seventy years.
[..].estimates there will be an average of 2% annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a 3% natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional 50,000,000 barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?

* London, at Institute of Petroleum; full text at

nothing if we had 25-30 years to prepare, change our infrastructure to more local, reduce population and reduce conspicuous consumption

just about everything that is based on just in time inventory for essential goods that need liquid fuels for transportation.

basically the difference between theory and reality.

"nothing if we had 25-30 years to prepare"

we have decades, maybe even a hundred plus years of infrastruture. we have rails that are underused. amtrak is underused. the Erie Canal is used mainly for recreation. we might be 2-3 years past the peak of oil and what are the bad effects so far? people are paying $3 plus per gallon and they still aren't changing their behavior, so how bad is peak oil if people aren't changing their ways? the only changes we've seen is people aren't buying as many trucks and SUVs, but that could be as much a symptom of the housing bust as high oil prices.

Record corn prices, record heating costs for some, record gas prices, etc... are having serious effects on our economy. Inflation has hit and the R word is mentioned daily.

I read a story that the average price of an automobile will go up by 2K next year -- that's incredible and what happens in 2012 when oil prices are $300 dollars a barrel? There is no way we will be producing enough EVs by then to mitigate the effects.

We can't produce electric cars because we don't have enough lead to make enough batteries for all the electric cars. Or any electric cars except demonstration models. Building electric cars starts with exploring for lead deposits and building mines and smelters, a long time before you start messing with molding bumpers for those electric cars.
Figure that about five years after the price of gasoline goes to ten dollars a gallon, we will start building electric cars. And ten years after we will have enough to make a difference.

"change our infrastructure to more local, reduce population and reduce conspicuous consumption"

market forces will do that. I don't think we have to reduce population.

per capita Europe uses half the oil we do, I think we could do that.

do you see any signs we will? do you see any of the Presidential candidates talking about a reduction in our use of oil by half? Do you see an energy bill that cut tax breaks to oil companies and provided funding for clean alternative energy?

Or do you see candidates who fall over each other assuring us all that we are in the middle-east with our military for the long haul? And an energy bill that funds the ethanol scam and keeps those tax breaks for oil companies? a US auto industry that keeps promising giant trucks, SUV's and muscle cars?

Do you see Americans on a large scale who are WILLING to change their lifestyles? Sacrifice in the US? I don't see it.

It's never been a question of whether (at the very least) there are things we could attempt to prevent disaster, it's whether we will, whether politicians can even attempt to and whether the US populace will accept the needed changes

the housing market shows that things will change when the price dynamics change. the more doom the scenario(as in higher prices) the quicker that happens. the grid in the US and Iceland used more oil to get electricity than it does today. that was in response to higher oil prices of the 1970 era. price changes everything.

"Do you see Americans on a large scale who are WILLING to change their lifestyles? Sacrifice in the US? I don't see it."

that will be accomplished through higher oil prices brought on by peak oil.

oil was priced incorrectly by the free markets as are all nonrenewable sources -- the fundamentals are short-term supply and demand which is a very short-sighted approach. Now, rationing will come into play so food can be fertilized and harvested, so fire departments and police departments can answer calls, etc... if you don't ration it, then somebody in Hummer drives around while the others starve which is the free market solution. free markets only work with infinite resources.

rationing will not work in the long-run. anything but a market solution(sure there will be some incentives to conserve and other measures) will be worse than the market.

what makes you so sure that in the future the fire dept will use gas?

there are many scenarios -- the most likely one is that markets will fall apart and society will collapse -- in the "future", i have no doubt these issues will be solved by technology, i just don't think it is going to happen fast enough to save 4 billion folks from starvation. i'll digress and suggest that somewhere in the future we will figure out how to keep regenerating tissue and become immortal but that doesn't have anything to do with the next 50 years.

we already have PHEVS and solar tractors. why don't we use those? oil is still cheap. the switch is already happening.

Markets rely on stable social structures to function. American society will not remain stable if basic social services vanish.

Rationing is the only thing that could work in the long run. In a declining energy world, declining rations would bring some fairness and certainty.

sorry -i can't summarize 3 years of writing/reading in a few sentences easily!!

we live on a finite planet - there is a certain amount of 'interest' from the sun but we primarily are dependent on the 'principal' from fossil fuels.

The market has an enormous lag time for embedded systems. google Robert Hirsch to read on the time needed for market to adequately supply liquid fuels with no shortfall - his analysis, commissioned by DOE, was optimistic, in that he did not include net energy nor environmental externalities.

Start reading old posts here - this might be a good parable to understand declines in net energy impact on a society - I will have several more posts on net energy coming in net 2 months, based on papers from Charlie Hall.

Good luck - keep asking questions - make your own decisions and interpolations.

why do you believe so powerfully that oil is the last energy source? what makes you come to that conclusion?

never said its the last - its just the best. 'best' defined as what our society has most embedded. if we ran our society on horses and had no trains, trucks or cars, then horse feed my be the best.

here is good overview on energy transitions

If it makes you feel any better John I'm with you. Oil is the best source of energy for transport we have right now. Hell we were using coal and wood before we knew about oil and at the time we thought coal and wood were the best things possible for energy. The point is its very possible that the thing that powers our vehicles/lives in the next century may very well be something we don't even know about yet!!

I've seen the future.

PHEVs Already Exist

"we won't have to build new power plants for cars that charge at night. And we're gratified that General Motors recognizes this study as validation of its decision to evolve to the electrification of transportation."

a chinese car maker is building a PHEV and working on an EV.

Hmmm how much fossil fuel is used in the construction of these vechicles? Also if population increases will there be a net energy use decrease even with more efficient use of energy?

"Hmmm how much fossil fuel is used in the construction of these vechicles?"

I don't know how much oil they use to construct them but the savings from the oil it won't use will probably more than make up for it.

We will have to build power plants for cars that charge at night. The natural gas peaking power plants we use for day time are already using all our natural gas available after heating and chemicals. So we will not merely have to build more power plants, we will have to build more coal mines to feed them.
If we took the whole world's production of solar cells and used them all for concentrating solar photovoltaic, we could use the peaking power gas plants to charge all those electric cars at night.

There was a post here, some time ago, from a guy in the electrical generation business, who calculated that IF we all switched to electric vehicles overnight and charged them only at night, we'd still need to increase electricity generation by a significant amount (I think the figure was something like a third) to cope. There were many reasons why one can't simply take the slack capacity at night and use it all. I wish I could find that post again.

Then we would have to figure in economic growth.

Well to follow why did this magical energy sources not show up for the thousands of years humans existed on this planet prior to the utilization of oil? I mean if we are so smart why did we wait all this time to discover something other than oil? It would have been profitable 50 years ago as well to have something better than oil but it hasn't come around yet.

I don't think batteries or electric motors are magical, my guess is that gasoline won out because it was cheaper. when gasoline isn't as cheap anymore, we switch to something else or use it more efficiently. PHEVs seem to fit the bill.

Bingo. We aren't running out of energy, we're running out of cheap energy. More of our economy is going to have to to toward generating energy, which means less will be available for other things.

I've no doubt some people will be driving PHEVs. But all of us who currently have cars? I dunno. And a billion Chinese and Indians who want cars but don't currently have them? Not likely.

my guess is that gasoline won out because it was cheaper

There's also the matter of performance. Gasoline (and other liquid hydrocarbons) are unmatched in their energy density, in joules/kg or joules/m^3. This makes them far superior to batteries for medium- or long-range automobile transportation and really just about the only fuel for air transport. Batteries may get better but to date they have been the weak link in electric car technology.

Hi John15,

Your questions are all valid, I'm sure most long time readers of TOD used to think and understand the world like you.

But, if you lurk here for long enough, and look back through the TOD archives if you have the time, you will find that the world doesn't work as you, or indeed most people in the world, think. I warn you though, this takes a huge amount of effort and thought to start to understand how the various elements of our world interlink.

The world is a complex place, but there are several basic underlying interlinked truths - many will turn out to be quite inconvienient. What seem like obvious solutions to the world's many problems are actually not solutions at all when you understand them in detail.

You are viewing the world from a very '1st world' perspective - that is not how most of the people on the planet live now, or will live in the future.

The prime underlying truth is that growth in a closed system, such as the Earth, is always unsustainable eventually. The exponential growth that we see today (and think is normal) is in fact completely abnormal and especially unsustainable.

Beware, it is very unlikely you will predict what the future will be in any detail - but you may be able to work out what it can't be. It is not change that is the problem but rate of change.

Well said xeroid, well said. Lurking and digging around here for a year and a half or so has radically changed a lot of my assumptions about the world we live in. Prior to discovering TOD, my engineering background and basic thermodynamics suggested to me that we were probably headed for trouble, but now I'm sure beyond a doubt.

My feelings of comprehension have been good in some ways as I've begun some preparations for a different future, but I have to admit that its been a somewhat depressing awakening all in all.

The WSJ has an article (behind a paywall at the moment) claiming the falling inventories are tax-related.

Analysts said the big drop in U.S. crude stocks, which was the 20th in 25 weeks, may not prove as price supportive as it appears in the longer term, and is in a big part due to companies in Gulf Coast states trying to lessen taxes on end-of-year inventory.

"This time of year you tend to see Gulf Coast inventories draw down as much as possible as companies try to minimize their exposure to tax," said John Duff, an analyst with the DOE's Energy Information Administration in Washington. "I suspect we'll start to see inventories rebuild at the start of 2008."

Oil companies are taxed on their inventories at the end of the year, based on what they paid for oil. This means that with oil prices up more than 50% so far this year, companies want to reduce any additions to stockpiles they had made. Gulf Coast states such as Texas and Louisiana have higher taxes on inventory than many other states.

Did they change the tax situation end of last year? Because if they didn't then it has little connection to the shape of those graphs above.

Since the end of last year, oil companies are being taxed on $100 oil instead of $50 oil. Not that I know what's going on or anything.

I read where it takes about 90 barrels for a new vehicle. I don't know if that is big small or in between.