DrumBeat: May 6, 2008

Oil records shattered as price spike extends

NEW YORK (AFP) - Oil prices spiked to new highs Tuesday in the latest frenzied trade driven by concerns over violence in key producer Nigeria and the weak US currency.

New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, leapt as high as 122.73 dollars per barrel, an all-time intraday high, before settling to a closing record high of 121.84 dollars, up 1.87 dollars.

London's Brent North Sea crude for June also reached an all-time high at 120.99 dollars a barrel, before slipping back to settle at a new high of 120.31 dollars for a gain of 2.32 dollars.

Runaway oil prices have almost doubled in the past year and have surged by more than 20 dollars since the start of 2008.

Corn futures approach record on oil's rise, weather concerns

NEW YORK - Corn futures surged near a record high Tuesday after crude oil spiked above $122 a barrel and forecasts for more rain in the U.S. corn belt threatened to put farmers further behind in their planting schedule.

No Respite from Dearer Oil

Oil prices look set to continue higher for some months yet threatening weakened western economies.

Obama is wrong about the gas tax

Think Clinton's plan to suspend the gas tax temporarily is a bad idea? A similar measure in Illinois -- which Obama backed -- seems to have helped consumers.

Grease bandits strike as biofuel demand rises

San Jose, Calif. - Mark Rosenzweig watched with suspicion as a tanker truck sidled up to a local Burger King's grease bin last month. The driver plunged a hose into the 300-gallon tub of used French-fry grease and slurped it into his tank.

Mr. Rosenzweig called the police, patiently citing legal codes to convince them that, yes, grease theft is a crime. He should know. As a legitimate grease collector, he has his livelihood stolen four to five times a month these days.

In March, grease bandits in South Bend, Ind., broke bin locks to get to their oozy booty. One collector, Griffin Industries Inc., has two detectives working cases in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and against an entire grease gang in northern Arkansas.

Grease is a traded commodity like gold or pork bellies, and its price has tripled in the past two years – leading to increased theft. The reason: Grease can be used to make bio-diesel and has seen the same price spike as corn and other biofuel inputs.

OPEC to pump 32 mn BPD in 2008: EIA

WASHINGTON: OPEC is expected to pump 32 million barrels per day of oil in 2008, the US Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday, down 50,000 BPD from the agency's prior forecast in April.

The agency also lowered its forecast for non-OPEC oil production to 49.74 million BPD from the April forecast of 49.83 million BPD.

Energy economics

To the annals of market manias and regulatory follies, a new chapter is being added: The Great Ethanol Bubble of 2008. It is possible that someday a fuel made from a cheap, abundant, renewable crop may replace oil. But it won't be food-based ethanol. It's time not only to stop subsidizing the stuff but to revamp the chaotic, politicized and wasteful system of subsidies for alternative energy.

France to raise rates to access gas grid by 5.6 pct

PARIS: France's energy regulator CRE on Tuesday said rates for gas companies to access the gas grid owned by Gaz de France would rise by 5.6 percent from July 1, 2008 until 2012. The CRE proposed the hike in rates to the government in March, but the proposal became effective as the state did not rule within the two months it had to decide.

U.S. signs civilian nuclear pact with Russia

MOSCOW - Russia and the U.S. signed a key agreement on civilian nuclear power Tuesday that will give Washington access to Moscow's nuclear technology and potentially hand Russia lucrative deals on storing spent nuclear fuel.

Fighting Global Warming Block by Block

SEATTLE -- King County Executive Ron Sims has a simple test for every new public works project, building plan or government land purchase: Will it increase the region's total greenhouse-gas emissions, or reduce them?

'Zero Mile Diet' Blooms in BC

Against a backdrop of global food shortages and the spectre of five dollar lettuce at the checkout, there are signs that more Western Canadians are tearing up their lawns this spring to plant vegetable gardens.

The Lost Supermarket: A Breed in Need of Replenishment

A continuing decline in the number of neighborhood supermarkets has made it harder for millions of New Yorkers to find fresh and affordable food within walking distance of their homes, according to a recent city study. The dearth of nearby supermarkets is most severe in minority and poor neighborhoods already beset by obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

New Zealand: Emissions debate heating up

When a greenhouse gas emissions trading system was announced last September, it was generally well received. Energy Minister David Parker had taken his time consulting the interested sectors and the scheme was much as expected. Seven months later it is being assailed from all sides.

Think gas hurts? Try diesel

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Rising diesel prices have slammed the trucking industry and hurt independent truck drivers, and Congress is looking for solutions.

Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Tuesday took up the rising diesel prices that have hampered the trucking industry.

David Strahan: How do you solve a problem like jet fuel?

Say what you like about Sir Richard Branson, but you cannot fault his willingness to suffer in the cause of a photo-opportunity. At the launch of a recent Virgin Atlantic test flight to demonstrate a jet fuel made from coconut and babassu oil, the Virgin boss took a swig of the new biofuel from a coconut shell to drive home his message that aviation could be “truly sustainable” and endured the consequences, burping biofuel, for the rest of the event.

But then desperate times require desperate measures, and aviation is in a fix.

On Quenching Our "Big Thirst" for Oil

First, peak oil is no longer just the "view of a small band of skeptics." It is firmly based on science and is now accepted by a growing number of mainstream economists, politicians and media in Europe and the US. More importantly, however, the previous argument seems to ignore a crucial fact: the key factor in meeting the US and worldwide demand is not the amount of oil reserves, but the rate at which the oil from these reserves can be produced. Therefore, it is not enough to claim that "…there are still enough oil reserves, both discovered and undiscovered, to last at least until the middle of the century…" With the existing fields of most oil producing countries already in decline, we must know if we can discover and produce the oil from these undiscovered reserves fast enough to meet our growing needs.

Goldman's Murti Says Oil `Likely' to Reach $150-$200

(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil may rise to between $150 and $200 a barrel within two years as growth in supply fails to keep pace with increased demand from developing nations, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts led by Arjun N. Murti said in a report.

New York-based Murti first wrote of a ``super spike'' in March 2005, when he said oil prices could range between $50 and $105 a barrel through 2009.

Q&A: Why oil prices keep rising

At $120 a barrel, the world's oil bill will account for 8 per cent of global economic output, twice what it was in 2006.

New Report from Raymond James: No Chance Oil Supply Will Grow Faster Than Demand; More Crude Price Rises Loom

With oil production in non-OPEC countries “permanently” peaking in five years or less, and with OPEC “struggling to bring fresh capacity online,” there is no chance the world will build an oil supply “cushion” in the foreseeable future, thus “even minor supply disruptions are bound to have a large impact on prices.”

Brazil to turn off oil-fired power plants

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil will turn off thermoelectric power plants working on fuel oil and diesel, which were brought on stream at the end of last year to prevent power supply problems, the energy ministry said on Monday.

A total of 2,600 megawatts of thermoelectric capacity will be removed from the grid to reduce costs, a ministry spokesman said. Natural gas-fired plants will continue operating.

Mexico's Calderon less popular amid energy debate

MEXICO CITY, May 5 (Reuters) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon's popularity has slipped in the past two months amid fierce opposition by leftists to his energy reform proposal.

Taxing oil profits: Proceed with caution

Politicians are dying to get at more of Big Oil's billions, but analysts are torn about what that will do to prices or future energy sources.

Wisconsin AG secretary upset with plan to eliminate ethanol subsidies

Wisconsin’s agriculture secretary is lashing out at a GOP proposal to halt the mandatory expansion of corn-based ethanol.

Malaysia: Ban soon on taking rice out of country

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreigners may be banned from taking rice out of the country.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the Government was mulling the idea as a move to end fears of a food shortage in the country due to the current global food crisis.

On food stamps and still hungry

The maximum food stamp benefit no longer covers the cost of the "thrifty food plan," the menu of food items the government uses to calculate its allotment. In March, it cost $567.20 to buy the items in the plan for a family of four, compared to $542.10 last June, when the inflation adjustment was set.

Monbiot: If there is a God, he's not green. Otherwise airships would take off

Many will cite the Hindenburg, but flying without harming the planet is possible. These craft are worth developing.

Myanmar bamboo village resists cyclone's wrath

In the village, roofs had been ripped off about one in ten of the houses, simple bamboo structures with roofs made of leaves and walls of rush matting.

But in most cases, they simply shook violently and bent before the force of the blast, before springing back up when the storm passed, residents said.

A Crude Game: Paying For Our Own Destruction

Like the 1973/74 event, the 1979 oil crisis was a hoax, designed to expand the role of the spot market as a way of jacking up the price of oil. In the U.S., we were inundated with the idea that oil was in short supply, creating serious shortages of gasoline. The TV broadcasts showed videos of long lines at the gas pumps, but it soon became apparent to careful viewers that the locations were changing every week, that the oil companies were putting on a traveling roadshow. This author, then in Houston and working for Shell, remembers how there were no shortages in Houston until the roadshow came to town—it was our week to be on the news—and then the show moved on, and things returned to normal. At about the same time, a local reporter interviewed the chief of the Shell refinery, who said that his refinery had all the oil it could process, and had tankers waiting in line to unload. The shortage was manipulated, a complete hoax.

$100 trillion needed to rebuild energy infrastructure

HOUSTON -- The oil and gas industry will need to invest $50-100 trillion to rebuild its ageing infrastructure within the next 7 years and stave off a serious drop in oil and gas production, Matt Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Co. International, told OGJ May 5 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.

In a worst-case scenario, Simmons said, oil and gas output could fall by 10-20% by 2013 if industry does not replace its rusting, corroded assets. Spare capacity also has run out because formerly cheap prices for oil and gas precluded upgrading and construction of new facilities .

Marshall Plan for 'rusty' infrastructure required within a year: Simmons

Some $50-100 trillion will be needed over the next seven years to rebuild the world energy industry’s aging and rusting infrastructure, Matt Simmons, chairman of investment bankers Simmons & Company International, has warned.

Simmons called for the establishment of an energy czar within the next year to kick start the rebuilding process.

Saudi Fears Of High Oil Prices Fade With Demand

Interpreting Saudi Arabia's strategy is challenging, in part because Naimi and other top petroleum officials don't often speak publicly and choose their words carefully when they do. Saudi oil ministry officials declined to comment for this article.

Still, some leading energy and Middle East experts perceive a Saudi shift towards greater acceptance of high prices amid surging demand from China and other developing economies. Next to these new sources of demand there is diminished concern about high prices creating greater incentives for competing sources of energy.

Arctic ice: big thaw on the way?

It’s hard to imagine how big some of the cracks are on this link to satellite images of the Arctic ice during winter – dark lines hundreds of miles (km) long abruptly appear off the Canadian islands at the bottom right of the picture as the ice swirls through the winter.

At the top right, vast amounts of ice are flowing out of the Arctic basin southwards along the coast of Greenland.

Hillary Clinton throws economists off the bus

Anyone who pays attention to the intersection of politics and economics knows that economists hardly have a stranglehold on any such a thing as absolute truth. They may be united as never before on the subject of the stupidity of the gas tax holiday, but they are certainly not infallible. But her associated slam, "We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans," reveals another group that Clinton is deciding not to join hands with: peak oilers.

It's time to wake up from the American Dream

Not that you'll hear any of the three major candidates talking about the rationing of grain, nor about peak oil or any of the environmental daggers pointed at the heart of our lifestyle by global climate change.

And if they do speak about it all, they espouse the naïve belief that technology and free markets will ultimately save us from ourselves.

...My fear is that most Americans, even those in the know on these issues, have given up on political solutions. And down here, that means stockpiling guns and grains for the coming Armageddon.

Oil hits record above $121 on supply woes

VIENNA, Austria - Oil futures surpassed $121 a barrel for the first time Tuesday, the spike fueled by worries about threats to supply and a weakening of the U.S. dollar.

The surge in oil prices was also fueled by hopes that the U.S. economy will be spared a sharp downturn after the release of data Monday showing an unexpected expansion in the U.S. service sector in April, analysts said.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery rose to a record $121.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. The contract later retreated to $121.30 a barrel, up $1.33 from Monday's close.

Thoughts on Global Weather, Food Supplies and Inflation

In the good old days, with Agrarian lifestyles, 20-30% of the crop went to feed farm animals helping to work the land, etc. while another 30% of the land lie in fallow. At any given time, 50% of farmland was essentially off limits for open markets. Of the 50% land remaining, consider the farmer requires to save 10-15% of the harvest for future crops. So, the energy input to bring 1 calorie to the table lied somewhere between 0.5-0.6 calories, along with much sweat and toiled labour (compare this to the 20 fold increase for bringing food to the table today). Without oil, crop output with 2% of the population producing food (this number was around 70% at the turn of the century) would decline by 90%. Reduce 6 billion people by 90% and there are 600 million people. Population curves that top out the way humankind presently is can see reductions swing beyond this, often to 95%. So, when there is talk of Peak Oil, cooler weather or warmer weather (cooler weather is actually worse because the growing seasons are reduced), take into consideration that food shortages “will”, not “if” become an issue in the coming 2-5 years, if not sooner.

Oil and energy – Berkshire bosses weigh in

Mr. Buffett jumped in and stated “that over time an energy source will be found that is cleaner and offers what coal does.” Whether peak oil happens in five years or 20 – it will and the world will just adjust, he added. “There’s nothing short-term that will wean the world off oil”.

In his usual blunt style, Mr. Munger commented that we [America] should have bought up all the cheap foreign oil in the 30s and 40s, put it on tankers and brought it home and buried it in our ground.

Demand is slowing but still there are risks

Peak oil or not, there is a rising concern about energy security in all continents. The price movement is out of control and we all got used to read “Oil price records” news everyday.

Paul Craig Roberts: What the Iraq war is all about

Why does the Bush regime want to rule Iraq? Some speculate that it is a matter of "peak oil." Oil supplies are said to be declining even as demand for oil multiplies from developing countries such as China. According to this argument, the U.S. decided to seize Iraq to ensure its own oil supply.

This explanation is problematic. Most U.S. oil comes from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. The best way for the U.S. to ensure its oil supplies would be to protect the dollar's role as world reserve currency. Moreover, $3-5 trillion would have purchased a tremendous amount of oil. Prior to the U.S. invasions, the U.S. oil import bill was running less than $100 billion per year. Even in 2006 total U.S. imports from OPEC countries was $145 billion, and the U.S. trade deficit with OPEC totaled $106 billion. Three trillion dollars could have paid for U.S. oil imports for 30 years; $5 trillion could pay the U.S. oil bill for a half century had the Bush regime preserved a sound dollar.

Hillary ‘Big Govt.’ Clinton Wants America to Sue OPEC

Hillary Clinton is taking on OPEC in her campaign to get to the White House. She introduced a new plan yesterday to hold OPEC accountable to American consumers. Her website explains that, "Hillary is calling on the President to engage in immediate negotiations with OPEC members and, if no progress is made, file a formal complaint against OPEC countries at the WTO."

City waits for committee look at oil task force

BELLINGHAM — Approval of a task force to study the effects of potentially declining oil supplies and increasing fuel prices on the area hasn’t hit its own peak for City Council members just yet.

Officials decided Monday night to hold off on approving a resolution creating an 18- member peak oil task force because some council members were concerned that the proposal had been introduced the same night.

City of Swiss-style hill villages envisioned here

METRO VANCOUVER - Sky-high fuel and food prices will eventually make Metro Vancouver's current planning model of suburban communities linked by gas-guzzling highways economically obsolete.

So says Vancouver architect Richard Balfour who believes the region's future should resemble Switzerland rather than Los Angeles.

The final countdown

When does having a bug-out bag packed and ready to go "just in case" stop being the preserve of cranks and start being a sensible precaution? Well, judging by the sudden rush of reports about a surge of interest in survivalism (in G2 last Friday, but also here, here and here) that time might be now.

Indonesia considers quitting OPEC

JAKARTA, Indonesia - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday that Indonesia was considering quitting the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries because it was no longer a net oil exporter.

"Our wells are drying," he said in the nationally televised speech, adding that the country needed to concentrate on increasing domestic production, which has dropped to less than a million barrels a day even as consumption rises.

$5 gas near, 78% of Americans say

A vast majority of consumers expect to shell out $4 and even $5 a gallon this year, according to a recent poll.

Big Oil’s Friends in the Senate

Listen to almost any politician, President Bush included, and you’ll hear that the fight against global warming cannot be won without cleaner technologies that will ease dependence on fossil fuels. Yet these same politicians are on the verge of allowing modest but vital tax credits to expire that are crucial to the future of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

BHP hopeful for Neptune platform startup after repairs

BHP Billiton, Australia's biggest oil and gas producer, said it is reinforcing parts of the hull of the Neptune oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico to enable the delayed project to start up.

The repairs are under way and the $1.1 billion project may start production by the end of the second quarter, Melbourne-based BHP said today in an e-mailed statement. That's about six months later than the original commencement date.

New Study: Offshore EOR Crucial to Sustaining Future Oil Supply

Offshore fields have been the main source of growth for world oil production in recent years, as onshore oil output has been essentially flat during the last two decades, he noted. But less than a fourth of the world's ultimate recoverable oil reserves in offshore fields has been produced to date. That opens the door for a big EOR push to extract the remaining technically recoverable oil offshore. Sandrea also contends that EOR is a more cost-effective way to add reserves than is exploration or acquisition.

Exxon to test new technology to remove CO2 from gas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp said on Monday it plans to spend more than $100 million to test a technology that could allow it to affordably remove carbon dioxide and other substances from natural gas.

Bomb OPEC: What’s the next dumb economic idea in this race?

The policy likely to appeal most to Congress, and proposed by both Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama, is to levy a “windfall tax” on oil-company profits to punish them for the high price of oil. No matter that this might simply be passed on to consumers in the form of even higher prices at the pump, there are several other reasons why most economists think windfall taxes are a bad idea.

Africa's biggest oil producer goes green

LAGOS (AFP) - In his office in Lagos, Alain Salleras, a Frenchman of about 50 for whom biofuels are something of a crusade, is working away at his pet project -- producing ethanol from sweet sorghum in Nigeria.

Asia tries to get a grip on inflation

JAKARTA: Asia grappled with a response to inflation on Tuesday in an era of $120-a-barrel oil and record commodity prices, with Indonesia raising rates and other countries saying that they hoped the problem would soon be under control.

India: Reliance shuts 1,432 petrol pumps

NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries has shut all of its 1,432 petrol pumps in the country after sales dropped to almost nil as it could not match the subsidised price offered by public sector competition.

Growth forecast for UK economy will be hit by rising oil price

The influential Ernst & Young Item Club warned that rising oil prices may force it to slash its growth forecast for next year dramatically, and could cause inflation to as much as double. It came as crude prices passed through the $120 mark yesterday for the first time on record, amid fears about disruptions to the supply in Nigeria and Iraq.

Thailand drops plan for rice cartel

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thailand is dropping plans to create a Southeast Asian rice cartel that would have fixed the price of the skyrocketing commodity over food security concerns, the country's foreign minister said today.

Dr. Nansen G. Saleri Joins Baker Institute Fellow and Hunton Energy Officer at Rice University to discuss Peak Oil and the Future of Energy

n a panel discussion today at Rice University's Earth Science department, Dr. Nansen G. Saleri, president and CEO of Quantum Reservoir Impact and the former head of reservoir management at Saudi Aramco, elaborated on the subject of "peak oil" and the technologies and forces which will change the oil industry in the foreseeable future.

12 steps of Peak Oil

The 12 Steps of Oil Anon

(With a tip o’ the hat to Alcoholics Anonymous)

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction to oil—that our lives had become unsustainable.

The End of Cheap Oil is Now

Never underestimate a politician's ability to pander. With gasoline prices nearing $4 a gallon and the summer driving season approaching, presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton have responded by calling for a consumer holiday from the federal gasoline tax. But both McCain and Clinton must know that blaming taxes for soaring gasoline prices is absurd. The tax hasn't changed. What has changed is the price of crude oil, which hit a record $119 a barrel in April.

Fermi's Paradox and the End of Cheap Oil

What if the answer to Fermi's paradox is not the absence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, but merely the absence of high technology? The movie makes the case that the extraordinary flowering of our society has been driven by our profligate use of oil as an incredibly cheap energy resource -- and one that won't last.

Volcano in 1600 Caused Global Disruption, Study Suggests

Here is what the geologists found: In Russia, the period from 1601 to 1603 brought the worst famine in the country's history, leading to the overthrow of the czar. Records from Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia mention the exceptionally cold winters from 1600 to 1602. The 1601 wine harvest in France was late and wine production collapsed in Germany and colonial Peru.

In China, peach trees bloomed late, while in Japan, Lake Suwa had one of its earliest freezing dates in 500 years.

French scientists tweak carbon-storing powder

PARIS (AFP) - French-led technologists said they had beefed up the performance of a nano-powder that stores carbon dioxide (CO2) in what could be a step forward in tackling global warming caused by road traffic.

How to Fight Global Warming at Dinner

Substituting chicken, fish or vegetables for red meat can help combat climate change, a new study suggests.

In fact, putting these foods on the dinner table does more to reduce carbon emissions than eating locally grown food, researchers report in the May 15 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

China to 'actively join' climate talks along with Japan

TOKYO (AFP) - China will pledge to "actively join" a post-Kyoto Protocol deal on tackling global warming, in a planned joint statement with Japan during President Hu Jintao's visit here starting Tuesday, officials said.

Multilateral negotiations are underway for completing a pact by the end of next year to follow the landmark Kyoto Protocol, which requires rich nations to slash greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change.

Scientists: Warming may greatest threat to tropical species

WASHINGTON - While global warming is expected to be strongest at the poles, it may be an even greater threat to species living in the tropics, scientists say.

Tropical species are accustomed to living in a small temperature range and thus may be unable to cope with changes of even a few degrees, according to an analysis in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Airline emissions 'far higher than previous estimates'

The aviation industry's failure to curb its soaring carbon emissions could lead to the "worst case scenario" for climate change, as envisaged by the United Nations.

An unpublished study by the world's leading experts has revealed that airlines are pumping 20 per cent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than estimates suggest, with total emissions set to reach between 1.2 billion and 1.5 billion tonnes annually by 2025.

Amy Goodman interviewed Kevin Phillips at the 40 minute mark of Democracy Now this morning. The conversation was about our precarious economic situation... how the government has been cooking the books to make things look better than they are. He also spoke for some time about peak oil.

Good truth telling - no it ain't pretty, but I think most on this list prefer reality over fiction.

Mt. Shasta

Speaking of "reality over fiction": Matt Simmons (top links) is saying 100 trillion dollars to rebuild energy infrastructure? Is that number right? Wouldn't that surpass suburbia as the greatest misallocation of capital ever? I'm floored. What is the "worth" of all human infrastructure on the planet?

cfm in Gray, ME

Simmons has been saying that for awhile, he mentions several times in Twilight in the Desert that there aren't enough rigs for the amount of drilling that will take place as depletion sets in using what happened in Texas as an example. (At least, I think so, maybe I'm misremembering.)

Regarding this:

Crude oil may rise to between $150 and $200 a barrel within two years as growth in supply fails to keep pace with increased demand from developing nations, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts led by Arjun N. Murti said in a report.

If this is true, it looks like Simmons just might win his bet. I was skeptical he would but he's on track just now it looks like:

and the post by Tierney:


States Get In on Calls for a Gas Tax Holiday

If the world is indeed at Peak Oil, then the price of oil and it's products, including gasoline, must rise to reflect the resulting shortage. What will it take for these guys to get the message that gasoline is too cheap?

E. Swanson

It gets worse. Hillary Clinton has decided to browbeat OPEC to produce more...or else:
"We’re going to go right at OPEC. They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at.

"That’s not a market. That’s a monopoly."

Clinton at a campaign stop in Merrillville, IN.

Julian Delasantellis in Asia Times this morning described her attempts to appeal to white blue collar voters saying, "The once patrician Clinton, a woman now so committed to identifying with the American working class that she will undoubtedly soon be photographed ripping lug nuts off pickup trucks with her teeth."

the more I hear from Hillary (and Mc Cain) the more hilarious they look (in my eyes).

It looks a lot less funny from here in the US.

Yeah - it really would be funny if I didn't have to live with the results, and could just observe from the outside. I think if it wasn't real, I would advocate for GWB to be eligible for re-election, just to see if it was truly possible to destroy such a great civilization and to see what such an epic collapse would look like.

Unfortunately, I do live here, so I'm voting for Obama.

The US system of government is hopelessly and terminally dysfunctional. It is only a matter of time before it is replaced.

That jingle keeps playing in my mind: "Sooner or later, you'll have Generals"

"Sooner or later, you'll have Generals" What do you think Obama's change message is all about? Of course, he'll change everything........ to a dictatorship. We'll all be serfs in the lands that our forefathers conquered.

A Cherokee or a Navajo would undoubtedly see a certain rough justice in that.

You mean you aren't already?

I think that consumerism is the glue that holds us together, without it we have no economy and no common purpose.

Great insight Futureseeker. Professor Jack Lessinger, a researcher on multigenerational changes in the commonly accepted American Dream stated something very similiar. His theory (which is very persuasive is that the standard American Dream radically changes every few generations as the old dream gets so overblown and destructive that a opposite American Dream arises to defeat and replace the old.

He calls the American Dream one we have been in since around 1900 the "Little King" for it's focus of "get it all - get it now", it's individualist focus, it's bond with cars and suburbia (every man's little kingdom), and it's focus on the short-term. Fortunately it has run way past it's prime (about 1960) and is now rapidly being replaced by a new American Dream. The new one is called the "Responsible Villager" and it is pretty much the opposite of the Little King.

His first book "Schizomania" focused on his theory and the rising Responsible Villager as a culture. You can still find it at:

The latest book is called "Transformations" and again explains the theory well but focuses more on new business people (called Responsible Capitalists) and their part in creating the new Responsible Villager american dream. You can see his site and book at: http://www.jacklessinger.com/

Below is an entry from his blog that fits your point....

Our Consumer Economy has run its course

The 20th century ignited an accelerating consumer binge we can no longer sustain. Overconsumption shackles us to immoderate consumer debts, Federal deficits, trade imbalances, inequality of income and wealth, runaway speculation in real estate and stocks, insecure social security, plunging business ethics and environmental degradation. The pursuit of immediate gratification plays a role in rampant obesity and uncontrollable medical costs. And as we burn oceans of oil and mountains of coal, global warming imperils the planet.

In the 21st century, the consumer’s rallying call “what’s in it for me” is increasingly overshadowed by “what’s in it for us.” Unbridled materialism is slowly yielding to the satisfactions of defending the community—assuring full employment, preventing global warming, protecting the environment. A new society and economy is emerging. Call it the Responsible Capitalist. When We the People seek redemption from evils of excess, we search for new meaning and direction. A paradigm shift changes our society and economy.

After 1790, the first paradigm shift in U.S. history (from what’s in it for us to what’s in it for me) sent dirt-poor farmers to nearly free land in the Mississippi Basin. The paradigm was clear. Take care of Number One. Own your very own piece of Valley land—no matter how small. Stay out of big cities. Prize your independence.

After 1845, the second paradigm shift (from me to us) introduced a new vision. In a world mad with nationalistic ambitions, Americans now sought to make the nation the foremost industrial power. Us power. Millions migrated to rapidly growing cities surrounding Chicago.

After 1900, and especially after World War II, the third paradigm shift (from us to me) opposed further industrialization and launched the Consumer Economy. The new paradigm reprogrammed attitudes from saving to spending, from waiting and sacrificing to consuming. Our elders well remember the sexy young women, smiling from the billboards, urging strait-laced and penurious citizens to save less and spend more. Buy, buy, buy, screamed the advertisers. Buy Coca Cola and be happy. Buy Dentine gum and be kissable. Buy Camels and be manly. The Consumer Economy blossomed. Houses grew bigger and more lavish, cars roomier, faster, more comfortable. What a great time to be alive.

Emerging since the 1960s, the fourth paradigm shift is turning us away from consumer appetites to concern for the community—from me to us.

A great divide separates 2007 from the values and beliefs of only three years earlier. In 2004, a Gallup Poll editor reported that the public is “practically dozing” on global warming (April 20, 2007, Lydia Saad). Three years later, in 2007, polls showed that 88 % of Americans now believe that global warming threatens future generations and 75 % recommend taking immediate action to help the environment. (TIME magazine/ABC News/Stanford University, June 2007.)

The facts didn’t change. We did.

I wish I could believe that. But people seem to be more materialistic than ever to me. Sure, they talk about climate change, but most don't do anything. Maybe the most committed will "shop green" - when the real solution is to shop less.

Consumerism as bad strikes me as one of those elitist value judgements that don't actually address any problems.

Thanks for the response Greg. You should check out "The Century of Self" which is by the BBC, here is the google video link to part 1: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8953172273825999151 . It explains how the theories of freud were used to control the mob by turning them into consumers and thereby neutering them politically. It is a really fascinating and pertinent documentary.

With Mexico likely to export 200,000 b/d less each year until it stops being a net exporter i,e, 2011-12, we should stop treating OPEC so shabbily. We will be more dependent on OPEC in the near future. Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola plus KSA and other Mid East countries will have to be relied upon to replace the loss of Mexican oil and our own 2% depletion rate. As all of these countries use more and subsidize their own domestic oil consumption, it will be difficult enough for them to like and respect the US. If on the other hand they feel misused or not respected, as is the case now, well other growing economies will certainly step up and take all the oil for themselves and thank their good luck that the US has such poor leadership. Go Obama

I agree.

In the short term, my strategy would be to be as accomodating to KSA as I could be. Although, in Hillary's defense, I'm sure KSA knows she's BSing to get votes, and won't actually do anything about it.

In the long run, we need to be aggressive on demand; there's just no way around it.

I agree with being aggressive on demand. I think there is a lot of low hanging fruit to be had to reduce demand. Somehow we need to get the country on board...telling the truth wouldn't hurt. And as Leanan has said..Dubya the lame duck is the perfect person to tell the truth

I wouldn't count on it.
From big oil he came, to big oil he will return.

Don't expect the voice of the lord to come from that particular bush.

There is plenty of scope for energy saving in the US though, precisely because it is so inefficient.

European levels of energy use would reduce the US count by 50%.

Japan uses about 8 barrels per capita as opposed to ours and Canada's 27 barrels. It is not about inventing the wheel, it is more about getting out of the denial stage and getting to work.

And Harper has the same genes, unfortunately for Canadians.

Have you seen some of the green stuff at his ranch?


I'll second that. However, even my 10 year old son found this comic very funny. We get a good chuckle anytime we hear Hillary or anyone in the media use the word 'elite' now.


My household staff concurs!

That's a funny one.

Maybe we all need a bleeding lapel pin like McCain's?

(Except this one will be of a skull, an oil barrel below, and two guns crossed behind.
Our motto will be:
"Give me oil, Or give me death! --It don't make no difference to me.")

The problem is that many in this country are uneducated and hear what Hillary and John say and they eat it right up. The more I hear Hillary speak about OPEC and oil, the more frightened I get. With Bush being in office for the last 7 1/2 years, we have already gotten ourselves pretty lost in the woods. Hillary could potentially lead us down a different path but further in the wrong direction AND it's starting to get dark in the woods.

"The blind leading the blind" - that pretty much sums up the US political scene today.

When will America learn that national politics is a race to the lowest common denominator? Or is the puerile schlep strategically released to the "never have read a book in my life" populace is inversely proportional to the average intelligence.

Idiocracy, here we come!!!

Her First Laddie (Mr. Bill) knows all about Peak Oil. He's spoken openly about it on CSPAN. Except he said that it was not a "voting issue", meaning the general public just doesn't get it and won't change their vote over it.

agreed Shaun, the hilariousness of hers boarders real hysteria for the future. And if memory serves, she mentioned the NOPEC-law the other day ... !

You laugh. NOPEC passed 345-72 in the House. The Senate vote was 70-23. That is really lopsided. It has broad support from Democrats and Republicans.

It's just like it was back in the '70s, when people thought "lower the price of oil or no more food for OPEC" was a good idea.

"lower the price of oil or no more food for OPEC" was a good idea" Still is.

Except it wouldn't work.

The NOPEC is no different in its policy "logic" from the ongoing economic war against Iran and the 17 year war against Iraq--all three are insane actions that keep digging the hole deeper. US domestic oil extraction as shown in yesterday's drumbeat is now at the level of 1950, and then we were already a net oil importer. Somehow, the US must face the fact that it needs to radically decrease its consumption to those same 1950 levels in some planned, rational manner before the decrease gets done for us by other unplanned, more painful actions.

We need to throw people with mindsets like Clinton and McCain "off the bus" as it's clear they're wedded to maintianing the elite's status quo at almost any cost to the vast majority.

Yeah, but are any other politicians any different? Obama, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot...they are no different. Who is going to tell us we have to lower our standard of living?

No politician will ever tell you that you will have to lower your standard of living, but that is not the point. The point is, which one will take actions that will lead to your standard of living being lowered the least?

Obama is far from perfect (he was still defending ethanol on Meet the Press this Sunday); but I think he is more willing to tell at least parts of the truth and more importantly, make decisions that are in our long term interests (rather than just continuing the party).

I think he's no better than any other politician. And when that becomes obvious, the backlash will be brutal, because people's expectations are so high.

The key word here is "politician." WHY must we depend on them?!? Our dependence on them and their associates at the Minisrty of Truth is just as bad as our dependence on fossil fuels. Blogs like theoildrum.com have done a lot to wean us from this dependence, but that "us" is a tiny percentage of the populace. Polls show the populace understands some aspect of the problem in their anticipation of gas going onwards and beyond $5. My local town politicos, in response to a very wideranging survey of the citizenry, approach the peak oil problem from the POV of sustainability and have said so to their constituents through the medium of the monthly town newsletter that gets mailed to everyone. Of course, this is in the radical, communalistic Lincoln County of Oregon.

I think the solution is to drive national policy change from the local, congressional district level, as House members face re-election every two years. Voters in each district must put their candidate's feet to the fire regarding their wholesale dissatisfaction with federal policy regarding energy and war--which are intertwined, as most anyone can see. In 2006, I suggested to TOD members that we run for congress or other political office and was laughed at. How many of you are going to laugh at me now?

I agree that grassroots is the way to go. Probably lower than congressional level to start.

Start at the city council levels. If you aren't on a first name basis with your own city councilmen (or women) you need to get out more.

National politics is a dead-end and most of the people on TOD know it!

Leanan you say "I agree that grassroots is the way to go" and may I add "critical mass" ?
I have a feeling that this mass is growing daily "over there" seen from "over here" ...

To quote the late great Dr. Seuss:

UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

Those words, as well as those of my father who would always tell people "if you don't like it, run for office," have always motivated me. While Canada's got loads of problems, I've yet to hear anything but silence when I ask my fellow Canucks where they'd rather live.

I have plenty of reason to be jaded about politics since they destroyed my father's mental and financial health. Also, his best friend, one of the organizers of the Rio Earth Summit, committed suicide 10yrs ago in large part due to his frustration with the 'system.'

In spite of all that, I still believe that grassroots political action is (one of) the best way(s) to affect real change. Given that my city council and mayor are criminally incompetent, my sister and I are seriously thinking about having a go at it. Admittedly, she's the far more credible/experienced between the two of us, but I figure it's more productive use of my time than pulling my hair out.

One of my pet projects of late has been biking around town and taking pictures of the myriad could-be community garden sites within city limits with the intent of convincing the city to make productive use of these fields (which they inexplicably mow). We have a fair number of community gardens here, but most of them need to be driven to. I figure with the locavore movement and gardening being very 'in' it has a hope in hell of working... and besides, my gardening ambition has long since dwarfed my humble garden space.

*I make it no secret that The Lorax by the good doctor is my favourite book of all time. And really, it's no big leap to go from that book to the oil drum.

The key word here is "politician." WHY must we depend on them?!?

Because of the size of government and its relative control of resources and the economy. It's called power.

Sure, local solutions will work in areas with local strengths. That is what we see with Renewable Portfolio Standards. However, there is little chance of a federal energy policy that addresses the problems anytime soon.

Most MoC's are in safe districts, 92% of them won re-election last year. Change will take forever because of the nature of campaign finance and incumbency.

"Because of the size of government and its relative control of resources and the economy. It's called power."

While this is true, it doesn't relate to the context wherein I asked the question WHY? That context had to do with getting the message out, what the poster consumer said: "No politician will ever tell you that you will have to lower your standard of living, but that is not the point. The point is, which one will take actions that will lead to your standard of living being lowered the least?" That we all, especially yourself for providing the platform in the first place, are busilly trying to get this very important point across to our fellows--that we will have to do more with less, an admittedly doublethink position I think possible as it's clear the Europeans can so why can't we? Sure, in my position it was easy to Power Down, but I deliberately chose to do so having the knowledge of future trends.

Future trends--$5 and more gasoline. Polls show the public gets it. The public mind seems open to suggestion--Change. But no politico is being specific about Change, if even mentioning it. So there's a vacuum within the political dialog that can be filled by those like us who have the knowledge of future trends that MUST be accomodated. At every SolFest for the past decade, this is the message, for example. And it's reached an ever growing and concerned audience.

Thanks for your post Prof. Goose; I needed to finish my point.


In 1950 we were the world's largest oil exporter, IIRC.

"the more I hear from Hillary (and Mc Cain) the more hilarious they look (in my eyes)."

In mine, Hillary's signals are fast turning from hilarious to outrageous.

Her visit today to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the ultimate sign that she is, at the very best, in complete detachment with physical reality. With the world oil production at or very near Hubbert's Peak, ending energy waste is and will become an ever stronger imperative. Yet she has chosen to show up at the sanctuary of the most conspicuous way of energy waste, car racing, and coddle its practitioners. And if that was not enough:


"She seemed genuinely impressed with the small race car — especially the high tech steering wheel and the fact that it runs entirely on ethanol, a fact that led her to exchange a high-five with Fisher."

Yes, Mrs Clinton, "full speed ahead" with corn ethanol, especially when it's burned for such vital purposes as car racing.

Go Speed Racer, GO.

Me thinks there is a new animated movie coming out this week, touting the glory of racing and violence to the young.

(Click on image for more info --including trailer.)

"It gets worse. Hillary Clinton has decided to browbeat OPEC to produce more...or else:
"We’re going to go right at OPEC. They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly..."

Actually her thinking is off, because there is non-opec and opec, therefore it is an ologopoly, but not a monopoly (econ 102). And since US anti monopoly laws do not apply internationally, then the US has no power to enforce any rule over OPEC. Also, OPEC's reserve estimates are wildly exaggerated and what they are pumping is probably what they can pump without losing pressure from opening the valves too wide.

Hillary Clinton really needs to sit down with people that understand the subject before spouting off in a desperate attempt to nab a few more votes.

The only good thing that could come out of this is that an actual investigation carried out by peak-aware people will conclude that the problem is that OPEC states genuinely can't pump much faster without damaging their reservoirs, and total oil production must decline one day OPEC or no OPEC.

But what's the chance of that happening?

Meanwhile, non-OPEC Russia must be salivating at the prospect of the US and OPEC getting into a destructive trade war, since the US can't threaten Russia with food blackmail.

To a bit this debate seems surreal. A country where politians actually listen to the concerns of the electorate is a wonder to behold. Here they would never dream of doing that. I envy American democracy.

If you think that we get our concerns listned to in the U.S. you are sorely mistaken. They allow us to "vent" here. They could care less if you yell it from the mountaintop. Just don't try and do anything about it. Send a letter to a congressman and you get back a form letter. What a country!

Congressional Politics: One week it's saving Terry Shaivo the next it's gay marraige or protecting the unborn. This week they are grandstanding about high gas prices. Big deal!

Do you wonder why Reverend Wright gets so much attention in the press. Answer: Because it is trivial and entertaining. We are mollified by cartoons and tabloid journalism.

Somebody once said you can never go broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans.

Living Large In A Nation Of Nitwits

LoveOregon - Hey Thanks!

Mencken heaped scorn not only on the public officials he disliked, but also on the contemporary state of American democracy itself: in 1931, the Arkansas legislature passed a motion to pray for Mencken's soul after he had called the state the "apex of moronia".

I like this guy.

My favorite Menckenism:

"The American people know what they want and they deserve to get it good and hard."

My favorite is:

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
- H.L. Mencken

You've come pretty close to that prediction with Dubya


Don't think we haven't noticed.

Well, she has to make up for all the oil she will take off the market when she nukes Iran.

I too have followed Hillary's comments on oil, gas prices and OPEC. I am now convinced that she is an unprincipled liar who, like a junkyard dog, will say and do anything to win the White House. America has suffered through at least two corporate raiders (Mr. Clinton and GWB); why, oh, why are we screaming for another?

Her husband claims to have read books by Richard Heinberg. The Clintons have tried in the past to cast themselves as proper left-leaning Democrats. Yet Billy pushed for the ratification of NAFTA and Hillary is pushing for the ratification of CAFTA. I'm sure they both know about Peak Oil; yet this silly woman spouts off about how "OPEC is afraid of her being elected, since they know that they'll have to reduce their prices instantly because of all the clean energy investments she will mandate", or how she is going to break up a free association between other countries, which is what OPEC is. That's as asinine as some foriegn country saying that they will break up NAFTA or NATO or the WTO!

I don't claim that Obama is any kind of savior, even though I'm voting for him. But truly it seems that both McCain and Hillary are basing their campaigns on the hope that most Americans are stupid. Heaven save us all from this liar who uses even tabloids like the National Enquirer as campaign tools!

But truly it seems that both McCain and Hillary are basing their campaigns on the hope that most Americans are stupid.

Yeah, so?

That should read "on the knowledge that most Americans are stupid."

What does all this matter? It is far too late. It was late 2 years ago when you were all calling us doomers. What did we say then that has not already begun to come to pass.

The die-off has already commenced in the 3rd world. Take a look at satellite pictures of the planet at night. Much of it is now dark.

Coups, rebellions, covert actions and outright wars are taking place planetwide all with energy resources at the heart of the matter.

Grassroot revolutionaries from Colombia, to Mexico, to Nigeria, to Iraq, have already figured out it is practically impossible to protect the pipelines and they are the West's most vunerable and effective target.

Will we be able to keep the majority warm this winter in the Northern Hemisphere? Already the Southern Hemisphere is looking at dismal prospects with that regard.

What about food deliveries? Diesel prices are putting independent truckers out of business. What will you eat when the grocery shelves are bare?

Those that fed the poor in the United States have run out of money. They will not lie in the streets and die, I assure you that. Will the locks on your door keep them out?

Look at what's going on in much of the world and imagine it happening outside your window, because it will, gauranteed.

We are already passing the threshold. The time for debate, the time for action have both passed.

The bed has been made and all that's left is the lying.

Exactly! That is why I find Leanan's dismissive contention that "they are all the same" so troubling. While there is political pressure on candidates to soft pedal issues that are unpopular, refusing to acknowledge the fact that some candidates are willing to forgo blatant pandering (despite the fact that it might not be popular to do so) only reinforces the tendency to disingenuously tell people what they want to hear. Maybe, just maybe, we could elect a real leader - after all it HAS happened once or twice before.

Heh. WNC thinks I'm not cynical enough. Well, I'm cynical enough to believe that it's not a matter of pandering vs. not pandering for a politician, it's just a question of choosing to pander to one group vs. another.

Obama's done his share of pandering. His solution to the energy crisis was CTL...when his "audience" was a coal-producing state. Then when his audience was national, he backed off coal and supported ethanol. Now that everyone's screaming about food prices (and Iowa is in the rear view mirror), he's backing off that, too.

At least in this case of the "gas tax holiday" Senator Obama has shown understanding that this is a bad idea.


I think he is less encumbered by previous stands and thus more able to embrace the radical policies needed in the near future. We need to send the best candidate forward, not the one that we think is least distasteful to others.

At this point of time, in this political establishment, the best we can hope for any presidental candidate is not to make things worse than they already are. So that we don't get the crisis as acute as it seems poised to be. So that we don't generals or mustached dictators in the end.

Right now, Clinton and McCain seem to be determined to make things even worse than Bush did. At least to me Obama looks like the least evil. Definitely not the leader capable of getting us out of this, but the best we can get for now.

I think this is an important point. A lot of people tune out of politics, because they say it's just picking between the lesser of evils, so who cares? Choosing the least of two evils is very important!

If you have the choice between being punched in the arm or kicked in the nuts, are you going to say "it doesn't matter, both will hurt - why bother picking between two unpleasant options?"

I don't think the president is really going to be able to do anything about energy. But I want a Democrat, if only because a Democratic president won't veto environmental laws passed by the Congress. (Once the Congress gives up on the environment, it won't do much good, but I figure postponing the drilling of ANWR, etc., would be a good thing, if only because we'll need it more in the future than we do now.) And for the Supreme Court appointments, of course.

I'm afraid Obama is going to lose to McCain in November. The press has been giving him a free pass, enamored of the "post-racial" society he represented....but it won't last. The rightwing spin machine will make sure of that. I think he's in danger of being another McGovern.

Hillary's not ideal, either, but I think she has a better chance than Obama.

I agree with Susan Estrich. This was the year for a safe, white man.

You may very well be right. However, I voted for John Kerry in the 2004 primary because I thought 2004 was the year for the "safe war hero". That didn't turn out so well.

That's exactly why I fear what the general election will do to Obama. If they could turn a war hero into a flip-flopper, imagine the fun they'll have with Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko, and whatever else crawls out from under a rock between now and November.

It is debatable who has less chance against McCain. The same people that will not vote for Obama because of racial prejudices will tend to reject Clinton because of sexual ones. I think votes influenced by racial or gender considerations will tend to cancel out in the end. In the end the candidate which is more appealing to the moderate and undecided majority will have more chances.

From my observations Obama is the saner and more moderate one, which would appeal to the traditional liberal democratic voter, while Clinton feels more like Republican lite. Yes he is a populist, but they all are by necessity esp. prior elections.

I think Republican lite may win this election.

And McCain has that market cornered.

The sad thing about a "Democracy", half of the people voting are of below average intelligence...

The amount of intelligence required to understand the various crises we're facing is pretty minimal. On the other hand, the guys who created our financial mess are extremely intelligent, as were the guys at Enron, many of the Nazis, and even a decent number of Republicans. Intelligence is not what the American voter lacks.

Exactly. With decent information, we would be pushing past this nonsense.

"Average Intelligence" is a pretty arbitrary concept, anyway. Most adults in this society can operate an automobile at highway speeds.. not perfectly, mind you.. but that accomplishment alone is worth gauging the 'basic capacity' of Americans to function. But they are kept as deluded, distracted and addicted as possible.

Don't forget before the war a lot of intellectuals were four square behind Joe Stalin. Enough said.

Except that even more were behind Hitler.

But thankfully, even more were behind Roosevelt.

Yeah, then they switched sides and foisted Truman on us.

I think the US has become some sort of anti Lake Wobegon, where (almost) all the people are well below average.

All you need to know about Bill Clinton is what happened to him when he was Governor of Arkansas and tried to stand up to the powerful poultry industry by enforcing health standards. They ran him out of office, then he "triangulated" with them and became governor again. Ever since then he's shown the same pattern; when the bad guys truly threaten his political survival he always caves in and becomes their useful tool in moving the country further to the Right. I don't see any evidence that Hillary is any different, she just makes fewer stupid mistakes to get blackmailed with.

Hi klee,

Hillarious Clinton browbeating OPEC is a bit of subterfuge. OPEC, KSA, and fellow members, I think, are mucho big clients of US military-industrial complex, no? If they clenched up and gave us the bird, and bought defense services from another entity, I'm talking services, not just hardware, but pilots, programmers, etc., Haliburton looses. Blackwater looses (even though it's a mere boutique merc business).

Sure we're a big customer of OPEC, and by a marginally opaque default US calls some shots, but that can't account for what's going on. You don't have to be an Alex Jones to see there is most likely a bit of collusion here. I have begun, thanks to this site, to consider not what is said, but what is not said.

America first? Nope, that horse was put down when it crossed the finish line a few years ago. US clout post WW2 is now an empty box on a cobweb covered shelf. Globalism is the vogue. For now, but not for long. Globalism cannot thrive without cheap ff, and if depletion is truely the case, and I kinda think it is, whether the ptb like it or not, we will revert back to nationalism, not the hysterical kind, used by ptb to influence events meant to bennefit a select few, but localized nationalism. I think my children will grow up in a very localized world, more like tribalized.

Good bye oil, hello physical labor.

The current crop of pres. wanna beez is an act. Bullsh*t extrodinare.


The price of gas is constant chatter these days. Whenever I hear someone discussing it, I always say, "Just wait until gas is $17 per gallon." You can watch the gears turning as the person processes the implications of this. One woman simply said, "I hope I'm dead by then."

I tell folks it's $8/gallon right now in the UK, which is number that they can verify and helps bolster my credibility in these discussions.

Most of that is tax, but we do drive smaller cars - mine does 45mpg

Friends and family are asking, "should I buy a hybrid?"

If he or she is wanting to save money, I say that at this point in time, the answer is probably "no." Is this the consensus here?

The new Polo form Volkswagen gets around 45mpg.
That is around the same as a Prius, so until plug-in hybrids hit the streets in financial terms you are better off buying an economical small car.
Diesels do still more, but cost more and here in the UK the fuel is more expensive.

I did not use the correct mileage figure as I converted erroneously to UK gallons, not the smaller US gallon.
For 45mpg read around 37mpg for the US gallon.

so until plug-in hybrids hit the streets...

I totally agree. Maybe I'll just suggest that they hold off a while.

Long time reader, first time poster here :)


I just purchased a 2008 Toyota Yaris 5spd liftback. I weighed it against the Prius heavily, and the economics just aren't there yet, even with gas at 3.50-4/gallon. The Yaris was $11,900 after rebate (BASE model) and has been netting me 36-39mpg in mixed driving. My coworkers Prius is getting 40-42 mixed if the computer screen on it is accurate. I can't speak for how she drives, but when I rode with her she seemed to not be "hot rodding" on it.

I sat down and calculated that it would take a pretty long time for a Prius to make up that $8-9,000 price premium. Perhaps if you were really savvy you could convert the Prius to plug-in, but thus the price goes up even further.

Just my opinion on the subject.

40-42 is pretty low for a Prius. We were getting low 50s highway, a little better in stop-and-go, until I replaced the tires with with high-traction all-season radials. We're now down to 45-ish highway. I don't think we'd have any trouble keeping it over 50, if I bought tires with lower rolling friction and my wife would keep her speed down on the drive to work.

Now, I'm not saying you made a bad decision. But any Prius in good working order should be getting substantially more than 40 mpg.

If you drive like the average ADHD-addled American, you will indeed get only something in the low 40s in a Prius. If you think a bit, drive smoothly, plan further ahead than the next 100 yards, then you can keep it above 60MPG.

Right now I'd say don't "invest" in any car you can't live in, and whatever you DO get, try to arrange your life so you can get around without it. Use a bike, the bus, your feet, etc. for getting to work and so on, and save the car for large loads, rainy days, etc. And sleeping in when you lose your job and house because these things WILL happen.

I agree that people changing HOW they drive can make a huge difference without necessarily changing WHAT they drive. In my neighbourhood there's a stretch of road with two stop signs about 300 ft apart and it always amazes me how nearly everybody floors it to get from one stop sign to the next. That's obviously only a simple example, but that behaviour is repeated in all driving situations with major consequences for fuel economy.

I think the people who have studied the issue figure foolish driving costs 20-30%. Of course that won't be enough to save the guy who's budget can barely survive $4 gas, get by when it is $8. Only drastic changes of vehicles, and/or miles driven can accommodate that large a change.

Hi fleam

"Right now I'd say don't "invest" in any car you can't live in, and whatever you DO get, try to arrange your life so you can get around without it. Use a bike, the bus, your feet, etc. for getting to work and so on, and save the car for large loads, rainy days, etc. And sleeping in when you lose your job and house because these things WILL happen."

Yeah, I believe that paragraph is most emblematic of how things will surely be. Pragmatism is a painful lesson, and refusal to learn that lesson ensures hardship, at varying levels. You'll do well in the upcoming sh*tstorm. We've received the message, what-a-we do with the info?

I have actually been successful bringing to bare, and shedding light on what we are about to face, amongst my local fellows. Around here in northwest Ohio, we've had firsthand experience at globalistic adjustment, and knowledge of, the REALITY of globalism and it's concommitant loss and relocalisation. Our whole way of life got yanked. There's nothing here any more with any capital, or capitol. We're barely holding on. We're F*cked. However, we do have the biggest fresh water source in the whole world. In a few years hence, we may have the last laugh. I just wish it wasn't a matter of having a laugh at all, first or last.


Where in the world are you getting $11,900 for an actual Yaris at a dealer? Here in Houston I was shopping last month for cars with automatic transmissions and found:

Smallest KIA: $13,000
Smallest Hyundai: $14,000
2006 Chevy Aveo, no warranty: $11,000

I had to get a new Ford Focus, because there was a $3000 rebate on the $15,500 price. Though it's a bigger car than those and has a bigger engine, it gets the same fuel economy. The problem with these Korean cars is that their engines seem to be primitive and inefficient compared to the Japanese cars.

Now I don't know how much Toyota charges for an automatic, but the Koreans seem to tack on close to $2000 for the privilege, and I saw no evidence of any Japanese car genuinely costing less than $15,000 once our local dealers get through loading them up.

I also got $3000 back by using Texas' car-crusher voucher: you trade in a car more than 10 years old to the dealer, who sends the voucher with proof that he destroyed the car, and he gives you trade-in value on a 2005 or later car. The state program is running low on cash, and I want to get the word out to anyone in the counties where it's available to use it or lose it.

you trade in a car more than 10 years old to the dealer, who sends the voucher with proof that he destroyed the car

[Looking out at my 1982 M-B 240D, manual transmission, 30-31 mpg in city, last refuel in January and shuddering at the thought of other old M-B diesels being crushed before their time]

Best Hopes for Bankrupt Texas,


But think about all the midsize gas burners from the 80's and 90's that will be caught up by this.

I personally think it is an excellent way to accelerate change in the rolling stock going forward.

Well don't look at me, I turned in my late grandparents' 1990 Sedan de Ville, which alas had only 45,000 miles on it. But then Texas' diesel Mercedes-to-Detroit gas hog ratio is very low.

Alan, the last time you made these mileage claims I did some Googling and it looks like you're exaggerating (probably a cultural thing, as one of the New Orleans residents in my company has the tendency to do the same thing). Pleeeeaaase!


I run Mobil 1 5w40 synthetic oil in the engine, Mercedes own ($17/liter) synthetic ATF in the transmission, 75w90 Mobil 1 in the differential, Mobil 1 wheel grease, Valvoline synthetic power steering fluid, segmented belts (slightly less loss than belts without gaps on inside), LED side and dash lights (less electricity to run), I keep "parasitic weight" to a minimum, valves adjusted, fuel filters clean, wheels aligned, car clean and waxed and I drive on New Orleans streets (speed limit 25 or 35 mph).

I add a bit of cetane improver & cleaner to the fuel (supposed to improve mileage). Optima battery (lower internal resistance reduces charging losses a bit, lower weight), modern glow plugs (Bosch sells a retrofit kit) that stay half on for a couple of minutes after start-up for smoother running, better fuel economy.

The engine is in the lowest 1% in miles driven (economy drops a bit with wear).

I do not have low rolling resistance tires, I prefer good handling/braking instead (safety).

That said, New Orleans lacks much Germanic influence and the related unnecessary (and boring) devotion to literal truth :-)

Best Hopes for at least 30 mpg on next fill-up,


I suspect that car will last longer than you! The 240D does have a well deserved reputation for extreme longevity.

Baring major accidents, I expect this to be my last car :-)

Perfect car for bio-fuel conversion if needed. And if I stay at <60 gallons of diesel/year (last refuel in January), yes, the car should well outlast me. I do expect parts to become less available in 15 or so years as most other W123 diesels get more miles than mine. 1950s M-B diesels can get common parts, but not too many model specific parts.

Best Hopes for Durability & Economy,


PS: I am at the top end of reported mileage on W123 forums, but only 10% sold in USA had manual transmissions and in top few % for condition/care. I did see a low mileage EU gray market 240D on eBay w/ manual tranny and w/o air conditioning. THAT car will get fantastic mileage if taken care of :-)

30 mpg, heck, I get upset when my Jetta tdi drops below 50!

50 mpg in the city ?

My old Isuzu I-Mark diesel got 47 to 53 mpg on the highway but never better than 40 mpg in the city.

Increasing my mpg to 50 mpg would save less than 24 gallons of diesel this year. Hard to offset the energy cost of building a new car (or $ cost) with those savings.

I quite deliberately chose my target car (almost went M-B 190D with manual) but reliability and durability steered me to a 1981-1983 240D despite the lower fuel economy.

Best Hopes,


I never really do "city" driving, most of my driving is on semi-rural secondary roads at 40-60mph with stop signs and stoplights fairly frequently. 50 mpg is my usual overall average, I've gotten as high as 56mpg on a long, flat trip to the beach and back, and as low as 44 when doing a lot of short trips. I've lost 2mpg on average since the intro of the ULSD took place.
By the way, I wasn't knocking your car choice, the 240D is an awesome piece of German engineering, I was just messin with ya.

Hi there, I realize this is old and you'll most likely never see it...

My Yaris is a very base model hatch, 5 spd. It was $13,400 out the door and then Toyota had a $500 rebate on top of that. You can find even better deals out there if you're willing to travel a bit. In Florida some of the dealers were doing the $500 rebate and THEN another $500 "internet discount" on top of that.

I just figured it would be a wash by the time I bought a ticket/gas.

The 8k premium is one reason that demand is so inelastic in the short term. One still has to run through the investment already made in their current vehicle(s).

It also only makes sense if you drive a lot of miles to begin with, to recapture the MPG spread. A hybrid doesn't make economic sense if you drive 2,000 miles a year. It seems strange to me that around Sacramento, we allow the use of hybrids in HOV lanes with only the one driver. I don't think they run from the electrics at freeway speeds, nor would you expect someone using the HOV lanes to be driving locally. This is a stange policy that probably only induces more sprawl, and does nothing to reduce vehicle miles traveled.

Thats really an apples to oranges comparison, the Prius is a much fancier car than the Yaris. I doubt your co-worker is an efficient driver. Most TOD readers would figure it out, I'm averaging around 55 -though the reported average driver is supposedly getting 46. If you are looking for a cheap and efficient vehicle, my Indian co-worker claims the Tata Nano will be exported to the US. It was supposed to get get 54mpg, and cost $2500. I think the dollar to rupee ratio is going down though, so it will probably cost more than that.

Personally, I drive very few miles, so for me no new car makes sense.

But I would argue that hybrids make economic and environmental sense for many people. The Prius has retained a higher resale market value than almost any other car, so the combined low gas costs and low depreciation result in a low total cost of ownership for many people.
Given what most here expect for future gas costs, it is reasonable to expect that hybrids will have even better resale value in the future. Add in the tax credits and I think hybrids do make sense for people with high miles driven per year.

Two more potential arguments for the Prius:

1. Interior space comparable to a mid-sized sedan.

2. It may prove in the long run that the hybrid drivetrain will be very durable. The intent is to keep the engine running in a narrow RPM band, like an industrial generator engine, and to use the motors to help out the brakes. Ni-MH batteries seem to be holding up well in service.

Of course, a pure electric might be incredibly durable except for the batteries. All these wingnut Prius-bashers who claim that patriotic, Godly Hummers are better for the environment use rigged numbers on how long the stupid thing will last before it gets scrapped versus a Prius. In fact, since the era of Al Sloan, GM has not been in the business of making cars that last for too long. An electric car that runs for decades would destroy the entire Detroit business model.

According to both Altairnano and 123, their batter technolgies should be good for many thousands of discharges and many years of life, whist conventional lead acid batteries when coupled with ultra-capacitors to minimise deep discharge problems should also last a long, long time at far less cost:

AeroVironment's findings appear to confirm Altairnano's claims that the battery should be good for tens of thousands of cycles equivalent to 500,000 miles of vehicle travel.


They are also much hardier than conventional lithium-ion batteries: A123 predicts that they will last longer than the typical lifetime of a car.


UltraBattery hybrid car that has lasted over 100,000 miles.

If you don't fancy any of those, there is also Firefly, a Caterpiller spin-off company, which is producing a lead-acid battery which uses a foam of lead rather thus reducing rate and improving other capabilities:
The Energy Blog: Firefly Truck Battery to be Available for Evaluation in First Quarter 2008

This product technology delivers to battery markets a performance associated with advanced battery chemistries (Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium), but for one fifth the cost, and can be both manufactured as well as recycled within the existing lead acid battery industry’s vast infrastructure.

If used in a series hybrid or better yet an all-electric vehicle you should have something which will last donkey's years with almost no maintenance.
On top of that carbon fibre is better than metal for the body, as it is far lighter, hence rust should be a thing of the past.
There is not much doubt why Detroit has been less than enthusiastic about electric cars!

The Prius IS an excellent car, and DOES make sense if you drive a lot. I loved mine!

All the same, now I wish I'd gotten a Volvo 240 wagon, driven it less, even with financing by Rocky & Vito I'd have had it paid off in a year or so, and I'd still have it now.

If I'd just had to go new, why didn't I get a Honda Element? Made to camp out in, and would have been great for traveling from place to place, living in it, and drawing folks' pictures, or doing crafts, or whatever.

The Prius was not worth fighting to keep up the payments because I could not live in it.

You guys/gals had better be preparing for a future in a Tent City, or some other Joad-like existence, because while you think the Depression may not affect you, it will. And a decent, live-in-able vehicle can hose you or at least cushion the blow of homelessness or a nomadic existence for a while.

Leanan posted a couple of Drumbeats ago:

Auto Industry Working Hard to Make an Electric Vehicle Battery

They are having significant problems with energy density in batteries. Even our best hopeful designs on the drawing boards do not even come close to the energy densities we presently enjoy with petrochemical fuels.


"An electric car that runs for decades would destroy the entire Detroit business model."

It seems Detroit will be able to destroy itself without the help of an electric car. I expect whatever remains of Ford, GM, and Chrysler to be bought by Toyota or Honda before the end of the decade.

The Japanese will not touch such trash, unless they're still trying to sell pickup trucks when gas hits $8 a gallon. Expect Chinese and Indian companies to buy up our brands as disguises. Heck, now Hyundai is building a big V-8 sedan, so maybe it will buy the Mercury or Dodge label - not like they're being used much now.

Meanwhile, European Ford and GM are still great companies. In a just world they'd buy out their stupid American relatives and line them up for execution.

Exactly. Let Survive the fit.. Good riddance to the old models and retool the factories.

If gasoline really skyrockets within the usable lifetime of the Prius, the electric drive train is good enough to enable a battery upgrade to a plugin. Admittedly the ICE will probably cut in for more than moderate acceleration even with a fully charged battery, but you should be able to go in about 90% electric mode until the charge wears off. The current plugin kit for A123 is supposed to cost $10K, so unless the price comes down a lot, or gas up up a lot it doesn't make sense. But it is nice to know you can save your investment if gas prices really skyrocket.

If you're in the USA, the Prius is still the best and safest way to move 5 people and luggage on roads crowded with psychotic SUV commuters and desperate big-rig truckers. In Europe, you would have many lightweight diesel options and fewer big things to hit you.

Somehow I don't think you have seen European roads, or Europeans driving on them - say a Frenchman in a bad mood at the wheel of a truck! :-0

I'm going to emphasize safety and interior space next time I talk to them -- thanks for bringing these points up.

With the recent increase in gas prices, these concerns were not being taken into account. I suppose they were being discounted for the more (perceived) immediate financial rewards.

Friends and family are asking, "should I buy a hybrid?"

A Prius hybrid might be a decent interim strategy on the way to total localization. Cheaper than selling out and moving somewhere closer in if there is no alternative like rail or bikes. We bike short and car long.

If gasoline is rationed to say 10 gallons a fill up you can fill up and go 500 miles. (with good conditions) One day we will have to consider which fuel will go 'short' first. I'm guessing diesel but having a small diesel vehicle in addition might be wise.

It's not a truck, it's not a bus, it's not a tank, but it can haul ,transport and protect well enough today to do the swiss-army-knife thing. Not exactly the right tool (but sufficient) for most jobs.

As of now it is upgradable and resellable.

On the question of buying a new hybrid or keeping a vehicle.

My answer is no. Drive what you have LESS and use it less for longer. Don't send a good vehicle on to someone who will drive it more. And don't create a market for more new vehicles.

FYI, here are some petrol (gas:-) prices in some Western European countries converted to Euros as per the UK Automobile Association in February:

France 1.32, Sweden 1.35, Germany 1.37, Portugal 1.37, Italy 1.38, Britain 1.39, Finland 1.40, Denmark 1.41, Belgium 1.44, Netherlands 1.54, Norway 1.55.

There are 3.785 litres per US gallon.

The average commute to work for Americans is 33 miles. The average commute for UK workers is 8.5 miles.

I have a simple one liner... "Next year these prices will look cheap".

I was getting a propane bottle filled yesterday, and used it as an opportunity to check out the opinions of the dude filling my tank. During our conversation he made a startling comment. "I am afraid the days of cheap energy are behind us." It shocked me because it is usually what I say. I guess people are "getting it", but most feel powerless about what to do about it.

Interesting times...


On the current rate of rise you'll see $6 gas in the US next year - all that's needed is a continuation of the same.

See how that quieten them down.

Frankly the way to do it is to suggest you are telling them something on the QT, then tell them to ditch the SUV as quickly as possible before the floor really drops out of the market. Then hit them with the expected cost of gas next year. Finish off with telling them not to let on to anyone - to be sure they pass it on.

Memetic engineering.

Gasoline is already $6/gal here in Japan. (160 yen/liter) the roads hardly show a decline in car usage (I think) but shops are having some trouble selling their merchandise. People won't give up their cars. I think they'll go without proper food before they stop putting gas in their cars!! They'll stop buying shoes and socks, clothes and newspapers, fruit, bread, restaurant meals, shirts, jackets, vacations, haircuts etc. BEFORE they'll give up on gasoline. There will be lots of thin, malnourished, grungy looking poor people with barefeet and wearing rags hunched over the wheels of their cars, stepping on the gas, the last thrill left to them.............ahh, the life of an addict!!!!

This is how it was in the last Great Depression in the US. People would go without a lot of stuff before they'd go without their cars.

The "R" word rears its ugly head, from the people who correctly called the $105/bbl forecast three years ago.

Super Spike

An oil price "super-spike" to $150-$200 a barrel is increasingly likely within the next six to 24 months, Goldman Sachs says.

"We believe the current energy crisis may be coming to a head, as a lack of adequate supply growth is becoming apparent and resulting in needed demand rationing in the OECD areas in particular the United States," Goldman Sachs analysts said in a research note Monday.

Good gravy. What kind of capitalists are they?

Heh. You can bet they are working OT to figure out how to profit from this.


could you get a map of Myanmar's oil/gas fields?

"Currently, 13 foreign oil companies, mainly from Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia, are involved in oil and gas projects in Myanmar, according to official sources.

Copyright (C) 2008 Xinhua."

"The Shwe field holds a gas reserve of 4 to 6 trillion cubic- feet (TCF) or 113.2 to 170 billion cubic-meters (BCM), while the Shwephyu 5 TCF and the Mya 2 TCF with a combined proven reserve of 5.7 to 10 TCF of gas being estimated by experts."

UNOCAL, an energy firm with headquarters in California, owns 28% of the Yadana Field Consortium, formed to explore and develop the offshore Yadana natural gas field 60 km. south of the Irrawaddy River delta; a subsidiary of Total, a French oil and gas parastatal, is the consortium’s operating partner and owns 31%. Thailand’s hydrocarbons parastatal, PTT, owns 26% of this consortium, and Burma’s hydrocarbons parastatal, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprises (MOGE) owns 15%. The Yadana field has certified reserves of about 5.7 trillion cubic feet (150 billion cubic meters) of natural gas.



What kind of capitalists are they?

The kind that understand how markets function in our society.

Pay attention boys and girls.

The impact of $5 - $10 gas on US society generally will be less than expected here. And Americans, Canadians etc will hasten their move away from oil.

The "Cold Dead Hands" theory of consumer behaviour will be proven wrong!!!

The "Cold Dead Hands" theory of consumer behaviour will be proven wrong!!!

Not if the "rationing" they are calling for comes to pass.

That's a normal market mechanism.

George, I don't think the problem is with the "cold dead hands" folks. Those people are out there and, indeed, you will not get their SUVs without a fight. And those folks -- unlike many -- have money to burn.

The real issue here is how costly can gas, diesel and heating oil become before a large portion of the poor and lower-middle classes just go under. My guess is not much higher. A lot of people are "friggin' broke." A little anecdote: I work in a place that does a bit of retail business. In the last couple of weeks, I've lost track of how many customers have had credit cards declined. Another anecdote: In my state, record numbers of utility customers are in danger of being cut off for non-payment (state law won't allow them to be cut off in the winter for survival reasons).

George, you need to get out more. You are out of touch with "the masses."

Anecdotal eveidence that the tipping point is close for many was provided in the print version of the Eugene, OR Register Guard in a front page above the fold artcle about the rising gas price and the inability of people to sell their Silverado trucks, etc. so they can buy someting with better economy. In most cases, these folks have jobs in construction, but their paychecks are being eaten by gas prices to the point where it almost makes no sense to go to work; very much like the case for the truckers who have their thin margins erased by rising fuel cost.

And it's not just Criminal George who needs to get out more; it's also the propaganda ministry that continues to perpetuate the myth that all is well and good since people are flocking to the Playoffs in New Orleans and Detroit, and so forth and so on.....

The problem is, fans in Detroit riot when they're happy. Imagine what they will do when they can't afford their cars, and their employers can't afford them.

I just did some musing on this at another blog, but concentrated on the northeastern megalopolis, and upthread, I commented on your comment regarding Detroit's future. There is a disconect from reality as the NYSE breaks through 13,000 again while oil breaks through $122 for the first time. I recall the undulations prior to October 1929. Large segments of the US populace--the bottom 20%--are already in Depression, with real unemployment getting close to 15% and real inflation over 10%. Rates like these that are climbing cannot be hidden for long. Schools will soon be out with little prospects for summer jobs. The rising social bitterness Obama got slammed for will continue to rise and will soon blowback on those same slammers.

The discussion about Obama's electibility as a Black man in a still quite racist country has some validity, but only he is advocating Change, while arguments for maintianing the status quo are too easilly defeated. Economic conditions are likely to provide the motivation for the largest election turnout in decades, with the one underlying factor being change. And all electoral races will be affected by this. A lot of people are already hurting; many more will join them as we march toward November.

I don't think it's just that he's a black man, though certainly that will be an issue. It's that he has that liberal, elite, intellectual air that's been a loser for Dems, well, since after Kennedy. It doesn't matter whether or not he was poor growing up. Bush comes across as a good ol' boy, even though he's a prep school elite. (I would be rich and retired to my peak oil hideaway if I had a dollar for every dittohead who thinks Bush went to public school, unlike Ivy League elites Clinton and Kerry.) Obama doesn't. And that hasn't really mattered, because 1) the press was giving him a free pass and 2) the elite intellectual thing doesn't really hurt you in a Democratic primary. But in the general election, it will matter.

Obama doesn't like crackers, not that I blame him for that as I would certainly not do so in his position, but that is a fatal handicap to a politician once it is detected.
In the early primaries before his 'bitter' and 'guns' comments, there was little sign that poorer white people were not prepared to vote for him on the grounds of his race.
Since then it is clear that he has been outed, and people simply do not vote for people who do not like them.
Hilary has spotted this, that is why she is pulling here hillbilly act.

There was a post not long ago citing as evidence the difference between news mentions and internet searches as recorded by Google Trends. This is the result I just got for the three candidates, and this for just Obama and Clinton. As shown, interest in Obama remains higher than the others. By way of contrast, here we have the results for peak oil and gasoline price. Many other comparisons can be made, but as the name suggests, we are talking trends. My point is the economy, and those forces driving it, is the main trend and will increase in importance with all demographics as we near November. The fact remains that Obama's campaign focused on Change and the Economy sooner and with much more emphasis than did his other remaining opponents. And most every other issue can be included under the very large umbrella of those two items--Change and Economy.

Oddly, CNN is currently talking about how Hillary is doing so well because she owns the economy issue.

And I think they're right. Obama owns change, but Hillary owns the economy. She's done better among people who are concerned about the economy just about everywhere.

Actually, when it comes to performance in office, I expect any of the three to fail miserably. The only future salvation made possible by the election will come from the new balance to arise in Congress.

I expect any of the three to fail miserably.

Same here. And when that happens...if Hillary's president, people will think, "That's what we get for electing a girl." If Obama is president, people will think, "That what we get for electing a black guy." Nobody's going to think "That's what we get for electing a white guy" if McCain flames out. But maybe they'll think, "That's what we get for electing a Republican."

I don't see a new balance in Congress, unless it swings GOP. People vote against the incumbents when times are bad...and if the economy really sucks this fall, I fear it's the Democratic congress that will suffer.

Regardless of who is elected President, I predict 58 or 59 D Senators (out of 100 for non-US readers) and a 58 to 72 seat D majority in the House.

I imagine Mr. Congeniality Pres. McCain faced with such a Congress. The War in Iraq will expand into DC.


I don't know L, there's a breaking point in any system where thing breakdown, and rules as usual (rau) no longer apply, We are there I think. Or quickly approaching.

God help us all if we don't find a different approach.

God or not, what's coming is coming with no deterent.

Since you introduced me to Taintor, I find no other way to view our impending future. It's a good future, if you're a Luddite, it's a bad future if you're an optimist. Darwin help us all.

:^) Jeff

Could be, but even Tainter found that collapse was slow, taking place over decades or centuries. A big system like ours has a lot of inertia.

I've been active in the peak oil community for five years now, and most of the alarmist predictions have not come to pass. Dubya has not suspended the 22nd Amendment and declared himself president for life. We did have elections in 2004, and no, there was no "October surprise." Oil is at $120/barrel, and yes, people are hurting, but there are no zombie hordes...not even in Zimbabwe.

I think collapse is going to be so slow that most people don't notice it's happening.

The "Cold Dead Hands" theory of consumer behaviour will be proven wrong!!!

It's amazing how quickly some people change their tune. Yesterday it was "You Can Have My New SUV When You Peel My Cold, Dead Hands Off Its Leather Steering Wheel," and today it's "I don't need this much space. It just seems ridiculous."

Frustrated owners try to unload their guzzlers

After paying $75 to fill his black Dodge Ram pickup truck for the third time in a week, Douglas Chrystall couldn't take it anymore.

Feeling pinched at the pump, and guilty as well, Chrystall, a 39-year-old father from Wellesley, is putting ads online to sell the truck, and the family's other gas-guzzler, a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He knows it will be tough to unload them because he is one of a growing number of consumers downsizing to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

"The SUV craze was a bubble and now it is bursting," said George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University whose research focuses on the automotive industry. "It's an irrational vehicle. It'll never come back."

Peak SUVs?

Big burly truck driver who delivers my dry goods just told me he traded in his F250 club cab for a Kia 2 door.

Took a hit but said he was glad to be out from under that gas guzzler.

Yes, I have been talking to him. Every week.


can't picture him in a Kia though.

Ha, I know a guy who did the exact same thing. He had this monster Dodge Ram 2500 that he put loads of money into buying all sorts of custom 'accoutrements' and what not.

While it was pretty low mileage and well maintained, the Kia dealer gave him next to nothing for it since it's resale potential is pretty well non-existent.

Hi Calorie,

It can be said that by the time Chrysler catches the wave, it's already crashed on shore. In 1970, Chrysler introduced a couple of pony cars (the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Cuda) in response to the wildly popular Ford Mustang and Chevy Camero, just as the market for these cars was being snuffed-out by higher insurance rates. The first energy crisis of '73 dealt the final blow and these two cars limped off-stage the following year.

Like its North American competition, Chrysler made BIG cars back in the early '70s and, furthermore, was damn proud of it; one senior executive reportedly sniffed "Chrysler will never make a small car". Of the "Big 3", it was the slowest to respond to higher gas prices and without the Valiant and Dart would have been toast (in fairness, it was also the weakest of the three and wouldn't have had the financial resources of the other two to respond more quickly). Fortunately for Chrysler, after its original knee-jerk reaction, the marketplace adjusted to higher fuel costs. By the mid '70s, the van craze was in full swing -- just about everyone wanted their own fake fur "sin bin" (*). Here too, Chrysler was late to the party, ramping up production just in time for the second major oil shock. In addition, the company spent a lot of its resources revamping its full-size line-up and in 1979 introduced its new, bigger-than-the-Queen-Mary New Yorker, Newport, Dodge St. Regis and Plymouth Grand Fury models. Needless to say, customers ran screaming from the showrooms.

Under the direction of "General Lee" and having survived yet another near-death experience, Chrysler began spitting out a succession of fuel efficient if somewhat bland offerings derived from their 4-banger K-car platform. Unfortunately, by this point, the gas shocks of the late '70s and early '80s were a distant memory and the world was awash with crude oil. In the meantime, GM and Ford were quietly eating their lunch. Again, slow to respond to the most recent truck and SUV craze, Chrysler began to pump out such abominations as the Aspen (the SUV, not the ungodly replacement to the Dart) just in time to see that market collapse under its feet.

Frankly, this is a company that has a hard time figuring out its left shoe from its right. I've stayed loyal to Chrysler for some thirty years, but sometimes I feel like a parent whose child constantly screws-up. My 300M Special turned six this April and I'll be looking for a replacement in the next couple of years (I generally keep my vehicles for ten to tweleve years and this one has been an outstanding performer). I'm hoping my next vehicle will be a plug-in hybrid but I suspect I'll have to go elsewhere to find one.


(*) For those who miss(ed) the cheezy '70s van craze, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsV48ReyKoo

Well, at least Chrysler will be the first American car company to put its name on Chinese junk. I'm hoping they call it the "Cricket" for those who recall their disastrous attempt to import British cars.

The very first story I heard about a possible Chrysler-Mercedes breakup claimed that the conflict was caused by Chrysler's desire to import Chinese cars and Mercedes' refusal to be associated with such a product.

Best joke of all, by going first this time Chrysler will get the worst Chinese cars we will ever see; the Chery Company will study the resulting mess, engineer a better car, and come back in under its own name. Never buy a country's first attempt.

Hi super,

Ah yes, the Plymouth Cricket... how soon we forget (not soon enough).

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbeJ9TJirLU and http://www.allpar.com/model/cricket.html

It will be interesting to see what will ultimately come out of the Chrysler-Chery alliance, if anything. Latest news here: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=126105


The car age has had it's moments.

"The Yugo's first stop after the showroom was the service department"

Upon looking one over in the showroom the salesman told me 'no way' their dealership would honor the warranty.

edit; Having searched over 3 million listings not one left for sale.

Paul, since you are in Canada, buy a Japanese Kei car. Gas powered, most all-wheel drive, 45 to 50 mpg. They are 15 years old with low km. Various dealers in the Vancouver area. Japanoid.com one of the best for Kei vehicles.

Ya, you may all laugh now, but in five years we'll see who laughs last!!

Hi BC,

I work from home and walk just about everywhere I need to go. I might have driven a total of 1,500 to 2,000 kms last year, if that. In fact, I use my car so infrequently my battery would constantly go flat, to the point where it would no longer hold a charge (I replaced it last month and have to make a point to trickle charge it from time to time).

As for the Kei, I have to confess I'm getting soft in my old age... there's something rather nice about heated leather seats when it's -20C outside.... or listening to St. Saen's G minor concerto on an eleven speaker, 360-watt Infinity sound system. ;-)


Goldman's clearly referring to demand rationing through the mechanism of higher and higher gas prices. I'm sure they're against the gas tax holiday too.

One must be careful interpreting Goldman Sach's comment about "demand rationing". They may be referring to the economic concept of "rationing by price", that is, higher prices are one way which the "invisible hand" of the economy adjusts to conditions in which supplies are less than projected demand. The other method by which the apparent shortage can be addressed is thru actual government allocation, i.e., the traditional rationing with coupons or other sales limits, such as odd-even purchases.

As we've seen pointed out before, once Peak Oil is reached, the difference between projected demand and actual supply will widen with each passing year. That scenario presents a situation in which prices would tend toward continued increase each year, with resulting horrendous inflationary pressures such as that seen in the "Stagflation" of the 1970's and early 1980's.

As I've suggested several times before, the only remedy to this problem will be a government imposed allocation, that is, set rations for each individual. Rationing could work if there were a "white market" set up for trading between those with more than they needed so that others who needed more might be able to obtain at least some of their requirements. The white market would also function to set a price premium on the extra consumption, which would provide a powerful incentive for folks to reduce their consumption.

It's worth noting that this scheme is very much like the cap and trade proposals for CO2 emissions being considered for industrial emitters. The difference is that the final consumer (that's you and me) would have a hand in the choices made concerning the ultimate use of the fuel. I envision that all users of oil and it's products would need to be included in such a system. Ultimately, all fossil fuels might be included, if the need to limit CO2 emissions becomes an urgent priority, as the scientists are now telling us.

E. Swanson

That's my post-peak plan. I'm going to get rich, selling my gasoline rations to those hapless suburban SUV drivers. ;-)

IMO, ration cards with a resale market is one of the least regressive ways to deal with soaring gasoline prices. I think rationing would work, but only if the people believe there is a real emergency. Because that would mean an end to happy talk and the Tinker Bell economy, it ain't gonna happen till TSHTF (not to mention that being "least regressive" is a pretty much a show stopper for TPTB).

Not sure about this, but I think a national emergency has to be declared first.

I wonder if they would do a Costco-style rice rationing for gas - limit purchases to x gallons a week, without an emergency delared.

The US *always* chooses the most regressive way to solve things...

For instance, the stimulus checks. Well, I'm a few levels too low to hope for one, you see, the bottom 20% are not getting them.

If you really want to stimulate the economy, double the Food Stamp money you get, and enable people to buy fast food with it. Get the lowest most miserable segment of the population more free-spending. As for fast food, I have to often spend MORE, on something cold, from the market for $4 or $5 when I'd really rather get a McDonald's egg mcmuffin for $1.09. Anyway, get money into the hands of the poorest, who will run right out and spend it.

Gas rationing can be handled the same way as EBT aka Food Stamps. You get a card, with a PIN. Most gas pumps have card readers in them, and almost all gas stations have all kinds of readers at the cash desk.

And yeah, I'd sell my ration.

I wonder if they would do a Costco-style rice rationing for gas

say, just as a by-the-way note, I was in costco today (waipio, oahu) and noted that (a) there were huge numbers of piled rice bags and nobody buying them (great way to stop a run is to display enormity of excess), and there were multiple signs noting that the Costco policy is that they had instigated limits on rice buying based upon members' historic buys. Apparently, only those who used to buy a lot of rice can now buy a lot of rice. Interesting to see their computerized records used that way. You could actually ask for a supervisor to query the computer for you and tell you "your" rice ration limit.

That's my post-peak plan. I'm going to get rich, selling my gasoline rations to those hapless suburban SUV drivers.

That will only work until the rich elites get annoyed at having to deal with us commoners for something they need, and resent ordinary people making money at their expense. Then they'll lean on the FedGov to cut rations for everyone that has a surplus to sell, and reconfigure the rules to increase the allocation for people like themselves.

Your problem, Leanan, is that you are not cynical enough. We are living in a truly corrupt society, rotten to the core.

No, I don't think so. I doubt the rich would even have to deal with the commoners. They have other ways of getting what they want. And it would be peanuts to them, anyway. It's the middle class (or former middle class), who have to buy rather than sell, who'd pitch a fit.

Rich will get what rich wants.

There was a joke about Marie Antionette the first time she had sex with her cousin Louis.

Marie : Do the peasants do this also?
Louis: But of course!
Marie: It's too good for them.

The black market would make a big comeback. Remember John Denver the "environmentalist" during the previous 79' gas crunch had a personal tanker installed on his property in anticipation of rationing (never happened). Most celebrities are not Ed begley types.

A modern rationing system would not use physical coupons, instead using electronic accounts and debit cards. The allocation would probably be temporary, that is, any fuel credits remaining would automatically revert to the white market in exchange for the cash equivalent of buying those credits. That way, there might be less incentive for hoarding, I think. If the system is as corrupt as you suggest, then it's only a matter of time until the bullets start to fly. If there's not enough gas to get to work, there would be no money to buy food or pay the rent. What would you do to survive? Would the Army or National Guard actually start shooting at their friends and neighbors or start knocking off the rich bastards in their Cads and Hummers?

A personal note. My sister was still driving my mother's 79 Olds until someone stole it a while back. It was recovered minus the Rally Wheels. We already have seen reports of people stealing catalytic converters from cars and SUV's as well as reports of drive offs without paying from gas stations. If someone will steal a car for the wheels, why not steal for the gas in the tank? How long before people living in the far distant exurbs awake to find that there's no gas in their SUV tank when they start their daily commute?

E. Swanson

I don't know what the future holds, but I do fear that things could start getting real ugly, real quick.

"That's my post-peak plan. I'm going to get rich, selling my gasoline rations to those hapless suburban SUV drivers. "

Suburban SUV drivers are alot more resiliant than you think, all those suburbans will make a pretty comfy mini-bus.

Good. After all, they are my customers. I need them to do well. :-D

Car-pooling will be good practice for the time when they have to ration-pool. Then ammo-pool.

As we've seen pointed out before, once Peak Oil is reached, the difference between projected demand and actual supply will widen with each passing year.

I disagree. In coming years, demand projection will conform more closely to a better understanding of supply growth. At some point recessionary projections will have a significant impact on demand growth projection. Oil demand isn't so inelastic that it can defy slowing economic growth forever, particularly if the price of oil is a big part of what's contributing to slowing economic growth.

One must be careful interpreting Goldman Sach's comment about "demand rationing". They may be referring to the economic concept of "rationing by price", that is, higher prices are one way which the "invisible hand" of the economy adjusts to conditions in which supplies are less than projected demand.

Iraqi society has undergone domestic demand rationing over the past few years. And by pure coincidence, "our" hand is now on the oil spigot. Thank goodness it's invisible!

Not sure about this, but I think a national emergency has to be declared first.

Are those by definition Catastrophic?

www.oilempire.us/graphics/bush1984.jpg for fullsize. My new doubleplusgood desktop wallpaper.

New legislation signed on May 9, 2007, declares that in the event of a "catastrophic event", the President can take total control over the government and the country, bypassing all other levels of government at the state, federal, local, territorial and tribal levels, and thus ensuring total unprecedented dictatorial power.

The National Security and Homeland Security Directive leaves it up to the Decider.

Just what we need, FEMA in charge of our energy and food. That'll work. But not for me.

cfm in Gray, ME

Hi Dryki,

Q: What is the legislation you refer to in your block quote above? (I just didn't follow this.)

Is the "Security Directive" - it's a "order", right? Not legislation - ?
Can it be overturned by Congress? How is it this is legal? Does it have to be challenged in the courts in order to be rendered void? Is anyone or are any groups attempting to challenge it?
If you don't mind explaining this to me. Thank you.

I do believe that we will have motor fuel rationing, but I also believe that the FedGov will be VERY very slow in deciding to do it. I really doubt that we'll see it much before 2012-13, although I do expect that we'll desperately be in need of it by then. When rationing is finally implemented, it will be about one or two years too late to prevent really severe pain and suffering for a large percentage of the poorest slice of the population. Pretty much like the FedGov response after Katrina.

I got an email about "Lehman Bros. Report: Oil Bust in the Cards".

Michael Waldron, Lehman's oil strategist states "Supply is outpacing demand growth". He estimates that oil will drop to $83 in 2009 and further to $70 in 2010. One of his arguments is about speculators driving up the price $20 to $30. He thinks these are MIDDLE EASTERN SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUNDS.

My question: is the bulk of the "speculation" coming from these funds? Makes sense to me. They would be driving up the value of something that is produced indirectly by them (could Saudi Aramco be involved?) and creating MORE money to be invested. When they get out, the price would plunge - but I don't think they would want to !!! not in a big way at least. Does anyone know or think they know who these speculators are?


Several weeks ago, I put forth the notion that the SWFs might have some impact on prices. However, the evidence points to their using their funds to buy up other hard assets. Plus, you would have to also argue that they are also behind the run up of Natgas price. Then, of course, why not add food prices as well? Further, the "fleeing the dollar" argument no longer holds water as both the dollar and oil are escalating.

What would oil price be if Iraq was freed from the "Genocidal Sanctions" and Iran freed from the economic war being waged against it by the "West"? Would OPEC have upped Iraq's and Iran's quotas to supply the rapid increase in demand by 5-6Mbpd? Remember, OPEC said it was satisfied at oil price prior to March 2003.

My view is we have a combination of below ground fundamentals and above ground policy insanity to arrive at current oil price, with some speculators coming along for the ride.

In reference to 12 step program:

Nothing about reducing oil consumption. Kind of like Al Gore talking about global warming and then hopping on his private jet for the next stop.

Or bush admitting we are addicted to oil.

Yeah. Now what?

Not a word on MSM.

There is a plan, but the bottom 81% aren't going to like it.

"“In plain words,” Pimentel explained, “it takes 1.29 gallons of petroleum or petroleum equivalents to produce one gallon of ethanol.”


If this holds, there's no way this economy holds.

Hi mcgowanmc , have you any link to this claim?

Cornell ecologist's study finds that producing ethanol and biodiesel from corn and other crops is not worth the energy

In terms of energy output compared with energy input for ethanol production, the study found that:

* corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced;
* switch grass requires 45 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced; and
* wood biomass requires 57 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

In terms of energy output compared with the energy input for biodiesel production, the study found that:

* soybean plants requires 27 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced, and
* sunflower plants requires 118 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

Ron Patterson

Thank you, Ron.

Are there any biofuels with a positive EROI? Sugarcane?

This makes it look like biofuels are more for storage (like hydrogen) if they have any use at all.

Ethanol is good moonshine though. That'll put some hair on your chest!

Maybe not liquids, but Methane/Natural Gas digesters can work (small scale) without heat inputs. Exothermic reaction can be insulated and maintained to self-generate the process heat. The energy of collecting the manure, scrap cellulose/food waste/etc is the main input, and would likely be energy expended anyway as a part of 'waste management' around the farm. (So that Energy Input is at least 'shared')


Based on all the fossil energy inputs in U.S. sugarcane conversion process, a total of 1.12 kcal of ethanol is produced per 1 kcal of fossil energy expended. In Brazil a total of 1.38 kcal of ethanol is produced per 1 kcal of fossil energy expended.


Actually if you can access the paper you will see that there is a math error in the Brazil number it should be 1.61 .
So much for peer review.

IIRC the Brazilians were claiming EROI of something like 7. I wouldn't be confident that they used proper methodology. But it shouldn't be hard to come within a factor of two.

I'm not a fan of ethanol but Pimentel's work has been pretty thoroughly discredited. See the January 2006 article in Science www.sciencemag.org

I thihnk the current "best guess" on corn ethanol is a 25% gain, meaning that there is 125 Btu output for 100 Btu input.

Whether or not Pimentel's work has been discredited depends on who is doing the talking. Pimentel counts everything, including the energy required to build the farm equipment. Most people leave such things out.

Your URL did not link to any article on Pimentel. If you have a URL that attempts to discredit Pimentel please post it.

Ron Patterson

I take it that the report you are referring to is this one:

A. E. Farrell, Plevin, R. J., Turner, B. T., Jones, A. D., O'Hare, M., Kammen, D. M., Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals, SCIENCE 311, 506, 27 January 2006.


To study the potential effects of increased biofuel use, we evaluated six representative analyses of fuel ethanol. Studies that reported negative net energy incorrectly ignored coproducts and used some obsolete data. All studies indicated that current corn ethanol technologies are much less petroleum-intensive than gasoline but have greenhouse gas emissions similar to those of gasoline. However, many important environmental effects of biofuel production are poorly understood. New metrics that measure specific resource inputs are developed, but further research into environmental metrics is needed. Nonetheless, it is already clear that large-scale use of ethanol for fuel will almost certainly require cellulosic technology.

There was a letter in reply to this report:

C. J. Cleveland, Hall, C. A. S., Herendeen, R. A., Energy Returns on Ethanol Production, SCIENCE 312,1746, 23 June 2006.

In their Report "Ethanol can contribute to energy and environmental goals" (27 Jan., p. 506), A. E. Farrell et al. focus in part on whether biomass-derived ethanol fuel delivers positive net energy [i.e., whether energy return on energy invested (EROI) exceeds 1:1; see (1)]. Their analysis neither resolves nor clarifies the fundamental issues that make net energy important and contentious. First, in their comparison of ethanol and gasoline, they confuse EROI--a productivity index--with the energy efficiency of an oil refinery. Second, their use of energy break-even as a litmus test is a red herring; it is more crucial that EROI is high compared with competing energy sources. Exploration for domestic petroleum in the 1930s returned 100 Joules for each Joule invested; the EROI for oil production today is ~15:1 (2). Because the present EROI of fossil fuels is high, the ~90 net Quads (1 Quad = ~1 exajoule) delivered annually to the U.S. economy results from an investment of only about 10 Quads (2). To provide that same 90 net Quads from corn-derived ethanol would require an investment of 145 to 500 Quads (based on an EROI = ~1.6:1 to 1.2:1, implied by Farrell et al.'s fig. 1). The current transportation system cannot be maintained on a fuel system delivering only a 1.6:1 return. Third, the focus on petroleum inputs is too limited. Natural gas is often the principal input to biomass fuel production, but its future is no more certain than oil's; we already import more than 15% of what we use (3). Fourth, the authors ignore the energy cost of repairing soil erosion.

Finally, the one (speculative) result for an energy technology based on cellulose in fig. 1 implies an EROI of ~50:1. This (very uncertain) EROI indicates that this source of biomass could be potentially useful, but ethanol from corn remains too marginal to survive without heavy economic subsidy.

E. Swanson

Thanx for your interest, paal.



"What is emerging in the crisis over food prices is a tumultuous manifestation of a breakdown of the global capitalist order. The catastrophe facing billions of people around the globe cannot be resolved within the confines of a system based on private profit and the nation state.

The revolutionary implications of this crisis are beginning to dawn on elements within the ruling establishment itself. In an article published Monday, the influential US magazine Time noted: “The idea of the starving masses driven by their desperation to take to the streets and overthrow the ancien regime has seemed impossibly quaint since capitalism triumphed so decisively in the Cold War... And yet, the headlines of the past month suggest that skyrocketing food prices are threatening the stability of a growing number of governments around the world.”

Global Research Articles by Bill Van Auken


"The 51-cent-per-gallon subsidy comes by way of HR 4520, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, signed into law on October 22, 2004, by President George W. Bush. Within the Jobs Creation Act was the little-noticed Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit. The next year, 2005, $2.1 billion in tax credits were issued to oil companies to blend some 4 billion gallons of ethanol. These were not tax deductions, but tax credits that allow a write-off directly from the oil companies’ bottom line tax bill. In turn, the 51-cent subsidy boosted ethanol demand which in turn raised the price of a bushel of corn for producers such as Cargill, and concomitantly inflated the cost of ethanol at the pump by as much as 30 percent. Sources in the ethanol industry readily concede this subsidy functions as “a pass-through subsidy” to corn and ethanol producers."


"In the United States, most people get their food from a supermarket, which is supplied from far away using refrigerated diesel trucks, making them entirely dependent on the widespread availability of transportation fuels and the continued maintenance of the interstate highway system. In an energy-scarce world, neither of these is a given. Most supermarket chains have just a few days’ worth of food in their inventory, relying on advanced logistical planning and just-in-time delivery to meet demand. Thus, in many places, food supply problems are almost guaranteed to develop. When they do, no local authority is in a position to exercise control over the situation and the problem is handed over to federal emergency management authorities. Based on their performance after Hurricane Katrina, these authorities are not only manifestly incompetent, but also appear to be ruled by the ethos that it is better for the government to deny services than provide them, to avoid creating a population that is dependent on government help."

$121.67 the bbl now

Anything I can do to help, please fell free.


No one said late stage capitalism would be fun---
It has a surreal nature that occasionally brings a smile though---

cheers mcgowanmc and Ron (it seems I just purchased myself some more reading) ...
But Ron’s snip/link was dead on.

So if university studies (reality) are telling us : Do not start this venture ... b/c ... it will do the opposite and worsen what you are trying to achieve !!
What is the only sane responds to such knowledge? QUIT NOW!!!....
Conclusion : Obviously the Merikans never landed on the moon OR they have turned quite stupid in the meantime, either way, bad it is !
(I'm afraid my rulers are the same kind ... they definitely never landed on the moon)

Amazing how much more efficiently America's public and private sectors operated when capitalism faced competition from an alternative system. We couldn't let our Jim Crow problem or our poverty problem be used against us by Communist propagandists, we couldn't drive the 3rd World into taking Soviet aid, we couldn't lose the Space Race, etc, etc.

I used to believe that when we won the Cold War, there was a danger that the Reaganites would reveal their true face and turn capitalism back to Victorian cruelty, but that we would probably do the right thing. Boy, was I ever wrong. The instant the poor at home and abroad no longer could blackmail us by threatening to turn Commie, the instant our weapons no longer needed to work because our enemies were jokes or our own renegade anti-Communist groups (Bin Laden), everything in this society began cranking back to the 19th Century, except for the size of the military budget. Our owners could get away with anything, and that's what they've been doing. They've run the country and the planet into the ground in less than 20 years - that's 80 financial quarters for them, very lucrative quarters.

This is the true form of our system. Everything that happened between 1932 and 1980 was our rulers making concessions to us to protect their own necks. Now they have gone back to their ideal model, the model that brought us the World Wars and frequent Depressions.

super390 well said,

Amazing how much more efficiently America's public and private sectors operated when capitalism faced competition from an alternative system.

... capitalism has been running on auto-pilot for the last 10-15 years or so .... globalism and all ....all fine ... lots of gadgets ... but now there are signs of squeezes all over the place. This was not part of the plan (!) thus it (the squeez)will be ignored for some more time.IT must hurt more than this.

Everything that happened between 1932 and 1980 was our rulers making concessions to us to protect their own necks.

Or maybe it was everything that happened between 1932 and 1980 was funded by our withdrawals from the American fossil fuel bequest, and once that started running out, they couldn't keep it up.

But they've done fantastically well for themselves as a class since 1980. Their wealth has gone hyperballistic. And their massive redistribution of wealth away from the rest of Americans didn't reduce the fuel consumption of the latter group because Reagan could con the King of Saudi Arabia and other foreign conservatives to keep bailing us out with cheap oil and debt to hide our decline in real wages.

Yes, FDR-style redistribution was supercharged by cheap oil, but the barbaric and undemocratic return to Victorian inequality hasn't improved the energy situation at all. In fact it required the dumbing down of Americans to the point where they could not see the consequences. Americans were smart enough in 1974 to impeach Richard Nixon, get out of Vietnam and start cutting gas usage. Americans in 2008 are not smart enough to impeach George Bush, get out of Iraq or make any real sacrifices at all until they're already out of cash. This was the intent of the conservative movement from the beginning - to make us so socially backward that we would lose our former ability to organize and blackmail the rich with revolution. A Gucci in the face forever.

But they've done fantastically well for themselves as a class since 1980.

Yes. And that is exactly what I would have expected to happen when the petroleum trust fund started running out. People get more selfish as resources get scarcer.

We can see it even now - not just among the uber-rich, but for most of us here, who are wealthy enough to have access to computers and the education to use them.

In the '70s, it was assumed that the developing nations would achieve a US standard of living, and it was right and natural for them to do so. That's one way Limits to Growth went wrong; it assumed the rest of the world would catch up to the developed nations. It didn't happen that way. There isn't a car in every garage. Africans are lucky to have a bicycle, while many Americans have two cars.

And few Americans see anything wrong with this. They're alarmed at the idea of a billion Chinese buying cars and using up our oil, and they may even admit that we're using more than our share...but few seriously think they should cut back.

I expect this it continue. Inequality will increase as resources get scarcer.

Plenty of alternatives exist in the historical record, including all the millenia in tribes which shared poverty in a mostly egalitarian manner.
Certainly in the context of collapsing late-stage capitalism increasing inequality looks likely, but history demonstrates that a revolution or some other upheaval eventually limits the progression towards greater inequality, and the cycle continues.

Plenty of alternatives exist in the historical record, including all the millenia in tribes which shared poverty in a mostly egalitarian manner.

Yup. But they started out as egalitarian. Once you start down the path of complexity, it's tough to go back. Unless there's a catastrophic collapse. Which we may face eventually, but it hasn't happened yet.

Which is why a lot of people need to turn Wobbly, seriously. We need to organize to subdue, or hang, the second sounds more fun, the rich on a worldwide basis.


When it gets to the point in the conversation where people ask, so what do we do about it?

I say LESS.

Joules Burn is mentioned at the end of this WSJ piece:

Tracking Saudi Oil From Space

"Joules Burn is mentioned at the end of this WSJ piece."

not sure if congratulations or condolences are in order, the "piece" is such a PIECE of S***.

not sure if congratulations or condolences are in order, the "piece" is such a PIECE of S***.

Not sure whether you are saying the article is a PIECE of S***, or the Sanford Bernstein subsidence theory is a PIECE of S***.

Regarding the article, I think Neil King Jr. is one of the best MSM peak oil journalists out there. Notice how he reported on the Sanford Bernstein study while being careful not to ratify its conclusions. That's why he quoted Matt Simmons saying the study is "junk science." He could have just as easily gotten a quote from Daniel Yergin supporting the study, but he didn't.

By bringing in JoulesBurn and Satellite O'er the Desert at the end of the article, he is in effect saying "others, some with a fraction of the resources of Sanford Bernstein, have reached a far more pessimstic and troubling conclusion."

"Not sure whether you are saying the article is a PIECE of S***,"

yes that is what i am saying.

"I think Neil King Jr. is one of the best MSM peak oil journalists out there."

well, we will have to disagree on that one. Neil King Jr. doesnt appear to have a clue about what he is reporting on.
sounds like a journalist all impressed by some new whizzbang.

There's some discussion of this story in yesterday's DrumBeat. Also, JoulesBurn will be doing a key post on it.

If I may, a comment from my neck of the woods. I found something very interesting about this piece:

The satellite work also used overhead radar technology to determine whether the field showed any signs of surface collapse -- called "subsidence" in the industry -- that could indicate heavy depletion rates underground. Some of the world's most heavily produced fields in the North Sea and in Venezuela have shown sharp subsidence rates.

Well so far so good. Did McMahon and Bernstein find any signs of subsidence caused by depletion? Well no, he found something else entirely.

Instead, Mr. McMahon says, the radar found the northernmost part of the field, known as Shedgum, "was actually slightly uplifted." Bernstein attributed this rise to heavy water injection and what it surmised was Aramco's use of enhanced oil-recovery techniques, which boosted underground pressure enough to lift the ground level.

Well guess what?

Bernstein concluded that Shedgum, one of the oldest sections of Ghawar, was the only area facing serious challenges.

Well hell, dammed if you and dammed if you don’t. What they failed to mention was that you would get uplift only if you dramatically increased the pressure of the reservoir and get subsidence only if the pressure of the reservoir was decreased due to depletion with not enough injection to maintain the pressure. But if they simply kept the pressure relatively the same, you would get neither.

But try to imagine how much water pressure would be required to uplift billions of tons of rock! Is this scenario even a possibility?

I agree with Simmons, this is junk science. However a dramatic increase in drilling activity might be an indication of trouble. But Saudi has made no secret of this except they call it “water management”. They have put in water shut off valves in many wells and plugged some wells above the water line and installed short horizontal arms above that point.

Ron Patterson

I wonder what is the necessary pressure to uplift kms of rock.

The producing oil reservoir at Ghawar is the late Jurassic Arab-D limestone, which is about 280 feet thick and occurs 6,000-7,000 feet (1,800 - 2,100 m) beneath the surface:

Looking at this chart, it means a pressure from the rock column of nearly 1,000 bars (10^8 pascals):

To cut a long story short!
The uplift theory is BS in my opinion! Look at the way a geyser work

To uplift those insane weights of those rocks with pressurized water – you/we need the equivalent of a balloon under it! A confined and flexible space, which when pressurized is able to exert an upward force. Such a balloon is simply not there, so any pressure (from a mechanical pump) overcoming the ambient pressure at a particular depth – will seek upwards to equalize …………. All the way up to the surface. If all oil wells and cracks were sealed and pressure would be allowed to build in the confined space , it would end in an explosion of some sort … lesser resistant well or crack would blow. But this is not how Ghawar is driven!

Think of the geological forces at play surrounding the uplift of the Yellowstone caldera, this is not done with a pump or two - IMHO

BTW the atm pressure in the deepest mine is some 1,5 bar some 3,5 km down.
Frankly that would also be the pressure "inside Ghawar" if "as in a wizzard's stroke" we removed the oily-waters from those sedimentary rocks (given there was free drill-way- tunnel up to the surface, all air)

"how much water pressure would be required to uplift billions of tons of rock!"

thats a difficult question to answer.
generally, one would have to overcome the overburden pressure, on the order of 1 psi/ft. 7500 psi for ghawar.
this may not be enough, depending on the flexibility and compressibility of the overburden.

subsidence from depletion is another story and dependends on the compressibility of the reservoir pore volume and the compressibility and flexibility of the overburden.

trying to conclude anything from a satalite radar image in the desert about a more or less pressure maintained reservoir at 7500' - pure unadulterated fantacy.

It's not a lot. I used to do "slab jacking" in my previous life as a concrete contractor. A run-of-the-mill grout pump and slurry mix would work fine. I suppose it would be different under a 6 in slab than it would be 6000 feet down.

cfm in Gray, ME

Not a lot! I am not a mathematician but I know that a column of solid rock over a mile deep weighs one hell of a lot. And apparently Khebab is a mathematician and he says it would take about 1000 bars. That comes to 14,504 PSI.

So what is the normal injection pressure for water injection?
Well, this paper on a Kuwaiti Project says: The injection pressure in excess of 1500 PSI was maintained.

Well hell, I don’t really think anyone believes Saudi uses injection pressures anywhere close to 14,500 PSI. So I believe we can conclude that there is no uplift of the over 1 mile of rock above the reservoir.

Ron Patterson

1 bar of pressure is about the same pressure that 10m of water exerts. 1000 bars would be what 10km of water exerts. The deepest part of the Pacific Ocean (the Marianas trench) is at about 11000 m.

I would say that is a lot of pressure.


I am not sure, but we may be forgetting the pressure of the water column at the level of the formation. For 7500 feet, this will be like 3700 PSI. With 1500 PSI injection, we are up to 5200 PSI.

Another thought is that they could be injecting mud. I don't know about mud density, but if they can get it to a specific gravity of 3 (barites is about 4.5), then that 3700 becomes 11100 PSI mud pressure at the formation and the total pressure is about 12600PSI, getting close to that 14500 PSI lifting pressure.

Mud? They are injecting 7 million barrels of seawater per day into Ghawar. Where would they get 7 million barrels of mud per day?

Saudi Arabia's Ghawar Field

Water injection volumes are included in a number of publicly available articles about Ghawar, with one of the more recent ones pegging the injection rate at seven million barrels of seawater per day. Water cut, according to other sources, has been reduced from approximately 35 percent to roughly 30 percent since vertical well drilling was shelved in favor of horizontal wellbores.

Ron Patterson

"And apparently Khebab is a mathematician and he says it would take about 1000 bars. That comes to 14,504 PSI."

i believe khebab's chart is based on maximum depth of burial.

the overburden pressure, which is the very minimum for uplift, is about 1 psi/ft of depth. about 7000psi for ghawar.
this doesnt guarantee uplift by any stretch of imagination, which the wsj article, by reference implies.

neither does pressure depletion necessarily result in subsidence, again which the wsj article implies.

furthermore, there seems to be confusion, by some journalists, between reserve "depletion" and pressure "depletion". clearly very little, if any pressure depletion has occured in ghawar. certainly none in recent history.

this bernstien character seems to be implying that because there is no subsidence, there is no reserve "depletion". in fact,reserves at ghawar are being depleted at the rate of 5 million barrels per day.

all these facts probably dont make any difference to the public. they will read this article, and because it sounds plausible and contains a hint of the wonders of whizzbang satelite radar, believe it.

concrete is about 2.25 times as dense as water. a 6" thick concrete slab would require a pressure of about 1/2 psi to lift.

a "slab" of earth 7000' thick would require a pressure of about 7000 psi to lift (assuming the "slab" of earth was not otherwise confined).

<<"was actually slightly uplifted." Bernstein attributed this rise to heavy water injection and what it surmised was Aramco's use of enhanced oil-recovery techniques, which boosted underground pressure enough to lift the ground level.>>

Clearly, convincing evidence of accelerating abiotic replenishment...

There were some tectonic forces in the area, there were reports of many joints after the folding episode(s). The occurence of joints in the rocks caused the water flood to bypass oil zones as a very small crack leaked increadible amounts of water at that high of a pressure. In some areas of Ghawar there were reports of minor seismic phenomena and perhaps some limited slippage along some joints/faults.

Water is heavier than oil or gas. As the oil was removed the water may have caused some subsidence by its weight. Pressure does not compact water to the degree it compacts gas. There was some gas in solution or mixed with the oil to begin with, loss of pressure caused the gas to bubble out of the oil and the oil became more viscous (cannot flow well), thus the water must be pumped to maintain higher pressure.

But try to imagine how much water pressure would be required to uplift billions of tons of rock! Is this scenario even a possibility?

While is extremely unlikely that water pressure from injection would cause uplift, there could be another force at work: Expansion of subsurface material by water saturation.

In a simplist approach. Soft Rock can be split by driving wooden wedges into a crevice and saturating the wood with water. The wood expands as it absorbs water. While oil reserviors are not made of wood, they often have layers of shale which also expands when saturated with water. Although I have no idea if shale can expand with enough force to uplift the land.

Even if the reservoir pressure is much lower than hydrostatic, which is just the weight of all the overlying rock + liquids, adding fluid would still cause incremental expansion. More precisely, rock stresses that are helping to keep the pressure low, would still be operating, and would provide a good bit of the energy needed for uplift. Think of it as the low pressure has sucked the terrain downwards, and they reduce that by pumping in more fluid.

"Think of it as the low pressure has sucked the terrain downwards,"

the pressure in ghawar has been more or less continuously maintained. 1st by a partial natural water drive and later by water injection.

"More precisely, rock stresses that are helping to keep the pressure low,"

huh? what are you talking about ?

TechGuy, your scenario don't work. The reservoir, in this case, is fecal pellet limestone. It was never dry. First it held water but eventually the oil seeped up from below, replacing the most of the water which was forced lower. There was never any dry limestone or dry shale to expand as it absorbed water. Everything was saturated from the very beginning.

Ron Patterson

Ok, I am not a geolgist, The reservor is made up of Fecal Limestone, but what about the layers above and below? The rock and sand above the reservor I suspect is dry since its a desert, and I doubt the upper layers would be saturated with water. I suspect between the reservor and the surface there would be layers of shale that was completely dehydrated. If water did reach into upper shale layers, it also wouldn't have to push up from 6000 feet where the reservor is located. If the water breached layer shale at 2000 feet below, the force required to cause uplift, is significantly less than at 6000 feet below the surface. How far down are well casings placed on gharwar wells?

FWIW: I think there is too little information on this, and this theory is completely speculative. News reports also nearly always misreport\misinterprete techinical infomation. If there is any truth to the report, the expansion certainly wasn't caused by water pressure as suggested in the article. It would have to be of some other effect, such as water absorption. I don't think its possible to determine the state of the field from satellite data anyway, since its possible that water injection wells are flooding a layer above the reservor, which probably has no relation to the reservor itself.

Regardless, KSA output is falling. KSA is using water injection to maintain reservor pressure, since KSA has stated they do.

The big story of the Month (April) was that KSA announced that are going to not produce all thier oil finds, because they want to leave something for the next generation. Sooner or later other exporting nations will follow, some smaller exporters are likely to stop exports entirely. While this announcement is all but a footnote today, it will the most important issue in the coming years.

I suspect that once the US dollar takes a serious tumble that Gulf exporters that usually recycle petrodollars back into the west, may decide its not so wise to continue BAU. They may choose to reduce oil exports to match imported goods (food, manufactured goods, etc). The financial loss of recycled petro-dollars would have a huge impact on western economies.

What's above the reservoir does not matter since the water cannot penetrate the cap rock. The water is injected well below the level of the water/oil contact so it will push up from the bottom. The reservoir is an anticline. The water is injected, through the cap rock, on the periphery of the reservoir, which by definition means well below the water/oil contact. (If you are injecting on the periphery of the reservoir this means you are well down the side of the anticline well below the water/oil contact.)

I think there is enough information to conclude that Saudi does not have water injection pumps that will inject at 1000 bars pressure. That is the pressure it would take to lift over one mile of solid rock.

However there is water well above the reservoir. A fossil aquifer underlies most of that area.

Ron Patterson

"they often have layers of shale which also expands when saturated with water"

the layers of shale have been compressed and cooked. similar to a brick. a brick doesnt absorb any great amount of water.

Request for advice to give my friend. Which is a better place to live - Seattle (Redmond) or San Francisco? If it's needed, here are the personal details: Works at Amazon.com in Seattle but Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and at least one start up are interested in hiring him. Parents are in India. Sister is in business school in southern California. He owns a townhouse in San Jose and a house in a suburb of Sacramento both of which he's renting out. He lived in the Bay Area from 1996 to 2006 and much prefers it to Seattle. He wants my advice. Should I tell him to stay in Seattle (Redmond) or return to the Bay Area (San Francisco)?

Tell him to stay in Seattle. If he gets a job at Microsoft, they have a plush new commuter bus with WiFi that runs from Seattle to Redmond. They are also moving some jobs close to downtown (South Lake Union area, which is also where Amazon is moving). Google also has a location in Seattle proper.

I will tell him that. Thank you very much for the advice JoulesBurn!!!

Seattle. no question.

Look at the only thing I (from Europe) know about - house, rent, prices.

His salary will not vary much in function of location. I'm not chipping in with a cheap comment, this is thought out and heartfelt. Of course there are always personal issues, etc.

Thank you Noizette. I like Seattle too.

As a San Franciscan, I have to make a plug for my hometown. Google has wi-fi shuttles to Mountain View, so Microsoft's shuttle is no trump card. Seattle has nothing to compare to BART, and is therefore a more car-dependent urban area than the Bay. More commuter trains here, too. On peak-oil issues, I think the Bay Area has Seattle beat. Its sounds like he can afford to live either place, so the only reason I'd tell him to stay in Seattle is because he's already there. Or if he's trying to get married; he may have better luck with that in Seattle.

Thank you jaggedben. Good points, especially about the BART and the commuter trains. He's not having much luck getting married but he wants a beautiful woman. I will report your advice to him as well.

The quality of the answer depends on the quality of the question. While personal preference probably trumps other considerations here, your friend needs to worry more about the relationship between home and work locations than the general metropolitan area. Refer your friend to walkscore.com for an informative, if still somewhat primitive (read the section on How it Works and Doesn't Works) view on where to choose to live. I have relatives who live in downtown Seattle (second hill) and have walkscores of 98--some of the best in the nation. The trouble with Microsoft is that it isn't in Seattle, it's in Redmond. I've heard it is not a telecommuter-friendly company, but that bears further investigation (and maybe negotiation). For environmental perspective on the NW, see sightline.org. If our friend is worried about carbon footprint, the NW is generally "greener" because most of the electricity is hydro.

The home/job distance thing is way more important than people realize. You commute on your own time and pay for it out of your take-home pay (after-tax dollars). If the typical 33-mile daily commute takes 45 minutes (a very charitable calculation), that works out to 180 hours a year (assuming a 5-day work week, 10 days vacation, and 10 holidays), more than the assumed 160 hours of vacation and holiday time.

There are lots more things to consider, but start with those.

Wow Kcrsnova! I'm getting lots of great advice. Thank you very much!!

FWIW, the typical commute in the United States is a lot less than 33 miles. Take a look at the Census 2005 American Housing Survey. Look at line 31 table 2-24 on (page 102 in the printed version numbering -- PDF numbering puts it on page 118), and notice that the median distance from home to work is only 11 miles.

The mean (average) is more meaningful than the median distance in this case.


It would be nice to have, but the Census doesn't calculate it for us.

Cool! Thank you silence!

Stay in Seattle. Not only do we (Microsoft) have an almost-feudal style system of commuter busses running, the Puget Sound area also has a deep base of relocalization communities (Sustainable Communities ALL Around Puget Sound, a.k.a SCALLOPS). If your friend gets hired into MS, we also have a vibrant internal environmental sustainability community, named most logically: MSGreen. I was also at the Northwest Biodiesel Forum on Saturday, where our governor, Chris Gregoire, was uncharacteristically emotional about "...the Feds getting [implied: the hell] out of the way and letting the states lead if they (the Feds) are paralyzed."

San Francisco has a good Urban Rail system (not perfect). Seattle is working on their first one (plans for south extension to airport and north across the straits (from memory). MAYBE South Union streetcars as well.

If you can get to work via non-oil transportation, stay in Seattle. Otherwise SF looks attractive (close to veggie capital of USA).


Thank you Alan from Big Easy!

Great! I love links. I will pass on this info. Thank you Sustainable Ballard!

Seattle is cheaper. Sanfran you can get blasted at a fun club any night of the week. If you need to see the sun more often than a couple weeks a year, Seattle will make you insane. Seattle can be fun but its quite small so eventually you know everyone you want to know in the city.

There's a couple of nice clubs. Ron Sims is a dick. Seattle is filled with passive/aggressive pussies who dont know how to drive (people will wait at a stop sign for a minute waiting for the other person to go) but I still like it here, as brainless passive driving doesnt bother me. Everyone drinks too much coffee apparently. I thought it was a cliche as a native and everyone drank as much coffee but immigrants confirm it. There's a faintly self-loathing elitist attitude 'Seattle sucks, but not nearly as much as anywhere else' that is aquired by most people that stay for over five years.

Hope that helps.

Er, honestly, he may want to go back to India - he'll be more sure of keeping a job there, and in the crash, ethnic sentiments may get strong in the US.

I will mention this to him. He is often mistaken for a Mexican. I thought he was a Muslim when I first met him. This is a realistic concern. Thank you fleam.

Sadly, this is why I can't realistically think of going back to where I grew up. This is a real factor, one that can get a person, well, er, um .... killed. It's just barely starting to happen now and in small pockets of the US, but it will become a much larger factor.

Not knowing the details... so for the imagined typical case, he is established in the US and doing well. Going back to India would be a kind of personal set back, no? Giving up a lot of hard work and investment in a new country?

He wants a beautiful wife (it was said higher up), in that aim, I don’t see SF or Seattle as different: his personal initiative is the no. 1 overriding factor. And with his (presumed) employment and income, he can get immigrant status for a fiancée or wife with some hassle and wait but nothing too terrible. For anyone in the world (without criminal background, etc.)

Yeah, I don't see him permanently moving back to India, although he does visit. He's very good to his family. He's about to become a US citizen. Thanks again Noizette for your thoughts. Appreciate it.

If TSHTF, the lower the density of humans per sq-mile, the better. IMHO CA cities in general will be one enormous cluster F**k. Too car dependant and way too many people used to cushy lifestyles. You get run over by cars if you try to walk or bike.

OTOH, San Francisco/Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose (worst run in USA) have good to OK Urban Rail systems and even LA has some.

And all are close to the fruit and vegetable growing capital of the USA (yes, potential irrigation issues). Growing enough to feed just California will be easy.


City or countryside? - That is the question. I don't have any farming skills and I see that Stuart is in San Francisco and JoulesBurn is in Seattle so maybe there's some hope of survival in the city. Incidentally, I moved from Los Angeles to Seattle so I hear you Odysseus. Thank you.

In spite of large scale efforts to find and develop oil in Indonesia, their production continued to slip. Perhaps future projects might reverse this decline temporarily.


The war in Nigeria is behind some of the reduced oilflow. It has affected OPEC output.

I read about people praying for the price of oil to go down. I would rather suggest praying for a fuel economy vehicle, shorter commute, a home that requires less heat, or a job/income that allows one to afford the high cost of high energy consumption.

It was yet possible to get a pound of cookies for a dollar at a dollar store and that pound provided most of the minimum daily recommended calories.

Chrysler is capping the price of gasoline for three years at $2.99 a gallon for customers who buy or lease a new car.


Chrysler has the lowest average fleet fuel economy of all major auto manufactures. This reminds me of the devastating results of governments that subsidize gas prices. Interesting that instead of focusing on improving gas mileage they try this scheme. I wonder how long until this scheme bankrupts this ailing auto manufacturer.

Why not go with Colbert and make gas free? There is no reason why anyone in this God fearing country should be paying for gasoline. Further, we need to give tax credits for all vehicles getting less than 15 mpg. Otherwise, formerly German owned companies like Chrysler won't be able to compete. Where is Hillary on this issue. There is still time to support this plan before the polls close.

I would guess that Chrysler has covered its risks on this arrangement - that they've gotten other parties to insure them against gas over a certain price (and that risk may then be sold, ending up in all sorts of unexpected places, including possibly the investment portfolios of some of those very same new Chrysler owners...) Plus they've capped the amount of gas at the equivalent of 12,000 miles at the rated fuel ecomomy. By any means, just get people to keep buying our energy hogs.

What is most telling is that this only covers three years of gas - no doubt they did some market research on how far out into the future your average car buyer will look. After that filling your tank is your problem, buddy.

This sort of thing just typifies what so many car companies are - financing and marketing arrangements.

I doubt they have laid the risk off as it would cost too much.
Their calculation is probably along the lines of that they are sunk anyway if gas prices continue to rise as they would not sell any of their fuel hogs, and so by apparently easing the uncertainty in buyer's minds they give themselves a chance, and are relying on Chapter 11 to bail them out when their bet proves worthless.
So the taxpayer foots the bailout, and the buyer finds his guarantees are worthless.

Certainly possible. And I would guess that in the event of a Chrysler collapse those gas cards wouldn't be worth a dime.

Conversation at gas station:

Dodge Ram owner: "Here, just put it on my Chrysler gas card."
Gas station employee: "Sorry pal, no dice. Chrysler is bust. Saw it on CNN an hour ago. We can't take those anymore."
Dodge Ram owner: "But I wouldn't have bought this damn truck if I'd have known..."
Gas station employee: "I hate to have to say it - that'll be $138.50."

Depending on how they hedge it need not cost them anything , other than opportunity cost should the market fall..Pretty smart strategy on their part to be honest,if, you believe gas prices will continue to rise.

You might be on to something. I have been reading that many Dodge dealerships are selling Dodge Ram pickups for $13,000 below MSRP. So, at 12 miles per gallon, the RAM uses 1000 gallons of fuel per year or 3000 gallons over the course of the guaranteed gas price period. If I calculate correctly, the break even point for Chrysler is gas at $7.33 a gallon before they come out worse than they are now. That's assuming they can sell the Dodge Rams at MRSP when offering the guaranteed price on gas.

Those who are dumb enough to take them up will then have a vehicle that has depreciated to zero in 3 years, as even at $3/gal who would want them with no fuel rebate.

I don't think there are that many people who are quite so stupid, but enough are stupid enough that they will buy at the current discounted price, so Chrysler gets sales it wouldn't otherwise get, but if the oil price climbs rapidly goes bankrupt.

Reading the linked article you would discover

some of Chrysler's most fuel-hungry cars are not included in the program. The following models are not eligible: All SRT models, Dodge Viper, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Ram Chassis Cab, Chrysler Crossfire, Jeep Wrangler, and Dodge Sprinter.

Where? The link I am looking at and based my comments on is:
This is the one that was in the post we are all responding to.

DM, my apologies, I read a more detailed article earlier

TBD: 2009 Cordoba hybrid

No problem.
But from the same link:

"Let’s Refuel America" is backed by an upstart company called Pricelock. The firm provides co-branded gas price protection programs to large and small corporate fleets.

So it does seem that Chrysler is not being as irresponsible as I suggested, and there is some form of futures-based cover.
Without knowing more about how the risk is paid for and distributed, it is difficult to tell how well funded this is.

That is amazing... thx for posting it.

In a country like France such moves would be forbidden by law.

France! heh. (Socialist, communist, a bunch of weedy beret wearers and garlic crunchers sucking on the Gvmt. teat..)

But now Helicopter Ben is striding around asking lenders to forgive upside-down mortgage holders... with all proper procedures of course (...) though how he can bs about this is moot, it’s not in the job description... and he has no mandate to fix the conditions.

Total political BS, or more close to the bone, random bail-out efforts in favor the big Crony Capitalists, why not.

I sometimes read Mish: link

and occasionally Calculated risk: link

and my favorite Jesse, right on my door step: link

That is where i get that kind of news/opinion from - as I have no rigorous personal analysis or take.

any other bettah? thx.

Hi Shaun,

From the perspective of no money down, no payments for three months and five-year no-interest financing (how I bought my last Chrysler) and the $6,000.00 cash rebates previously offered on selected vehicles (i.e., Dodge Durango), this one appears to be more sizzle than steak. A couple things to keep in mind:

1) the plan is limited to a maximum of 36,000 miles (3 years x 12,000 miles/year)
2) there's a general shift in the market away from full-size trucks and SUVs such as the Dodge Ram towards more fuel efficient models like the Dodge Caliber; this could lessen their exposure somewhat although, clearly, the buyers of the least fuel efficient vehicles in their fleet are the ones who stand to benefit the most
3) the vehicle's CAFE ratings upon which this scheme is based may not be representative of the real-world and I'm guessing is more likely to favour the manufacturer as opposed to the driver
4) the offer expires June 2nd so it runs less than four weeks

Just as one example, my partner's 5.7-liter HEMI V8 Dodge Magnum wagon is rated at 17 city/25 highway, measured in accordance with the new 2007 EPA testing standards. I take it Chrysler would be using some sort of combined rating; I don't honestly know how that's calculated, but I'm going to assume a 50-50 split and peg it at a nice even 21 mpg. Dividing 36,000 miles by 21 mpg gives us a maximum total of 1,714 gallons. At an average price of $4.00 per gallon, that's $1,731.00 or $577.00 a year. At $5.00 per gallon, the cost of this incentive doubles to $3,446.00, but it's not until gas reaches the $6.00 mark that we start to close in on some of the other promotions previously offered. But, presumably, it will take some time for gas prices to reach $5.00 or $6.00 a gallon (and there's no guarantees that they will) and, in addition, these promotional costs would be spread out over three years period as opposed to the time of purchase (i.e., cash rebates).


And in New Jersey...

All signs point to fuel hike -
Company answers gas stations' call for higher digits

To see the future, you first must find a largely nondescript warehouse along the Passaic River in an industrial part of Paterson, just north of Route 80.

Inside, Empro Products makes the ubiquitous numeric signs found at gas stations. The phone rings quite a bit these days.

"In the last two weeks we've been getting hit hard for digit number 4," said Vinnie Verma, Empro's general manager. "We've also gotten a very limited number of calls for 5s."

It has become a question of when, not if, gas prices hit $4 per gallon, and station operators want to be prepared.

The company supplies signs to most service stations in the mid-Atlantic and New England states.

Ralph TenEyck, owner of Midland Tire and Fuel in Waldwick, Bergen County, will need 24 of the number 4s to have enough to cover every pump and category. He said it's just good business these days to be prepared.

Just wait till we hit $9.99...

I'm beginning to think of approaching my city government to inform them of the reality of PO - don't plan on trying to sway them to do anything at the moment, but I just want to be aware that all this blather concerning speculation or evil Big Oil causing high gas prices is just that, blather, and that things will get worse quite quickly. I'd print out Gail's Introduction to Peak Oil PDF - anyone given this a shot, and have any experiences to relate?

Seems like this is something we should all be doing, too. Although you might want to skip the color printing - a 111 page PDF like Gail's at Kinko's .59/page will set you back $65.49. $.10/page for B&W. Lucky for me I have an HP 4550N.

I will pass along some advice that was recently shared with our local municipal leaders: frame the energy issue in terms of community prosperity. You likely have a great community today, a lot of work (and energy) went into making it what it is. Now, the question is, how do you run/power/fuel your community for the next 50-100 years? How will your community maintain prosperity? Should you stick with fossil fuels considering likelihood of future price increases (whether by market or carbon taxes)? Assuming your community does not produce fossil fuels, should it continue to put it's energy money into an envelope and send it away never to be seen again, or should it try to localize that spending by investing in energy efficiency (i.e. insulation) and local energy production (wind, solar, hydro- depends on what's at hand). Good luck.

RE; Fermi's Paradox article upthread:

Two thoughts:

1) Any civilization that is intelligent enought to get anything out into space will soon enough discover that it is a lot cheaper and easier to just send robots out on missions than it is to go themselves. Thus, if we're looking for "little green men" or something like ET, then we're looking for the wrong thing. If we ever encounter anything extra-terrestial, it will be an extra-terrestial robot.

2) Then again, it may be that the mark of REAL intelligence in a civilization is to cherish the environment from which it evolved and is adapted to, and to nurture contentedness with life on a long-term sustainable basis within its natural environment. Maybe our restless wanderlust isn't such an intelligent thing after all.


Jamais Cascio, also doing some thinking about teh singularity:

The Fermi Paradox -- if there's other intelligent life in the galaxy, given how long the galaxy's been here, how come we haven't seen any indication of it? -- is an important puzzle for those of us who like to think ahead. Setting aside the mystical (we're all that was created by a higher being) and fundamentally unprovable (we're all living in a simulation), we're left with two unpalatable options: we're the first intelligent species to arise; or no civilization ever makes it long enough. The first one is unpalatable because it suggests that our understanding of the biochemical and physical processes underlying the development of life have a massive gap, since all signs point to the emergence of organic life under appropriate conditions being readily replicable. The second one is unpalatable for a more personal reason: if no civilization ever survives long enough to head out into the stars, what makes us think we'd be special?

...it suggests that our understanding of the biochemical and physical processes underlying the development of life have a massive gap, since all signs point to the emergence of organic life under appropriate conditions being readily replicable.

Not at all. The protobiotic evolution of self-replicative, auto-catalytic systems may be quite probable given organic precursors, liquid water and a reducing environment. This says nothing about the probability of organisms capable of radio transmission evolving, or even about the probability of multicellular organization arising. Microbial biofilms may be quite common thruout the galaxy yet we may be the only multicellular species capable of radio transmission to have evolved.

I find this kind of speculation to be sophomoreic, at best. First, given the vastness of the universe, it is likely that:

1. any radio transmissions haven't reached the earth yet,
2. any that have may be too weak to detect [the power of a signal is inversely proprotional to the cube of the distance],
3. any signal received will not be understood by the people on duty.

The signals that have been sent from earth have barely penetrated the immediate area of our galaxy [less than 70 light years]. Also, if signals should start arriving, we have no idea how long they've been travelling, and therefore whether replying is useful. Certainly it is possible that there are, or have been, or will be very advanced civilizations coming and going and we wouldn't detect their signals because of timing.

As far as any biotic form going anywhere, it may be impossible - the distances are vast, and the times would be enormous, short of the possibility of faster-than-light flight. At best, we need a new paradigm of physics.

My favorite example of Extraterrestrial Contact is Douglas Adams' Invading Force that has sensed earth and crosses countless galaxies to brazenly conquor us, but when the great fleet sets down on earth, due to a minor calculating error, is swallowed by a small dog. (Hitchhiker's Guide?)

There's such a silly set of assumptions that goes along with "Intelligent" and "Life-forms" .. it's so NPR..

One reason gas prices are so high is that, after years of inflating the dollar, the US is perceived to be helpless in the current situation and speculators are beating the shit out of the dollar. There's plenty of gasoline at the gas stations, it's just that our money's no good. Gas prices overseas are higher so any savings due to conservation won't materialize.

BTW, I fully accept Peak Oil--but I don't think it's the main cause of $121 a barrel oil here.

Hey Joe SixPack, welcome to the Third World!

Gas prices overseas are higher so any savings due to conservation won't materialize.

Uh? In Europe costs of fuel and energy are around double the price in the States, and we use about half the energy.

Cost pressures force conservation, they just don't work overnight.

In the past few weeks, since the Fed bailed out Baer Sterns JP Morgan, the dollar has stabilized and even gone up a little. The dollar is back around $105 yen and the Euro has retreated from its high. During that time, oil has rocketed upwards. There simply is no benchmark you can use to explain most of the rise in oil in terms of a declining dollar. Gold and silver are both well of their highs, even as oil sets new records almost daily. IMO, the divergence between gold & oil pretty much killed the "dollar devaluation" theory of oil's rise in price.

Yes, the USG is trashing the dollar. Yes, some of the rise in commodities is because of a declining dollar. But the bulk of it? I don't think so.

Well, we gave prayer a chance yesterday. Now let's try astrology:

The Price of Oil Explained by 'Astrology'

...But where will the price of oil go? What do the stars tell us?

We reckon not even Mars knows that. And that is precisely the problem. There are so many factors affecting the oil price it is impossible to predict which is ascendant. The guess of a financial astrologer is likely to be just as accurate (or more) than the guess of a professional energy analyst.

Thanks, now I understand where Yergin's price forecast is coming from.

I think most of his inspiration comes from the seventh planet.

As a Gemini I'm not too concerned about energy prices since my other half foots the bill.

The Oil Drum is on twitter: http://twitter.com/theoildrum give us a follow!

Also, give Roscoe's piece and Robert's piece an upmod at reddit if you are so inclined...it would be appreciated...

(RR) http://reddit.com/info/6iciu/comments/
(Battlett) http://reddit.com/info/6icim/comments/


what is this Twitter thing ? What to do - I like to promote TOD stuff .... but how ?
A short briefing would help

Here is someone's site who I keep
an eye on who can tell you about


thx RBM . I don't like to investigate this Twitter thing. I like to have someone tell me here in one sentence what/why/how ...

Twitter is basically a social networking site. It's relatively old...but it's very simple...The Oil Drum broadcasts its RSS feed (as does many other blogs)--so if you spend a lot of time on twitter or have a large follower base (people decide to "follow" what you write--which are basically text messages), you could link to TOD or just follow us and increase our visibility.

Not really a big deal, more geared towards folks who actually spend time on twitter.

CNN:Oil at $122/barrel

On the TV

Oil passes $122 on $200 oil prediction, supply concerns

NEW YORK - Oil futures blasted to a new record over $122 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.

A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of Tuesday's buying, although a falling dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery jumped to a new record of $122.47 a barrel before retreating slightly to trade up $1.29 at $122.26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It's amazing that so many people still think of what's happening with oil as being a "spike" with the implication that it will all go away soon. I was listening to a wise expert on CNBC yesterday marveling that we were so enamored with oil rushing to $100 just 3 months ago. And now it's another 20% higher? "Give me a break" he lamented and suggested shorting oil.

Well he may be right in the very short term. But the bubble buzz over commodities isn't looking at the big picture. If you were to look at the really really big picture, one of the interesting features that comes to light is that commodities have a very strong tendency to run in a herd, and that herd has something of a 2 year mentality. If you chart the CRB going back to the 50s and fit a line through each major move up and down, you find that every move except two had a 2 to 4 year duration:

The two year wilt that began May 11 2006 abruptly changed direction as we entered 2008. If this historical pattern means anything, we have 2 to 4 years to go in this upward stampede.

There is an even bigger picture to commodities than the above chart. This concerns the actual flow of investment money over long periods of time. This chart adjusts for inflation, but it also adjusts for the repeating cycle of under/over investment in natural resource capacities, typically something like a 15 year cycle that runs inversely to things like the creative debt craze of the last 15 years:

Oil and commodities in general don't look like such a crazy bubble in this context. We are just moving out of a two year down move and are just now getting reverted to the investment historical mean. And all this does't even consider peak oil! It just shows the historical background that peak oil happens to be occuring in.

Thanks for the insightful oil/commodities perspective, netfind.

As I keep saying, oil is a commodity. Like all commodities, it will have its ups and downs. However, there will be more ups than downs, and the ups will be more up than the downs will be down.

☺☺from "Hillary Clinton Throws Economists Off the Bus"

"But by blaming 'elite opinion' for not being on the side of ordinary Americans, Clinton is dismissing everyone who says the current status quo can't be sustained, that sacrifices will have to be made, and that the era of cheap oil is over."

There's a word for what Hillary is doing. It's called demagoguery.

It had been used successfully in Latin American countries since at least the era of Eva Peron. But it never really resonated with Americans, that is until Ronald Reagan came on the scene. As Daniel Yankelovich explains in "Coming to Public Judgment:"

"In the Reagan years after the severe recession from 1981 to 1983, Americans went on a prolonged mental holiday. They were encouraged to do so by Mr. Reagan's own wishful thinking, which seemed to bring good times to the country. Opinion polls showed that once one got beyond the first superficial questions, people realized it was not possible to lower taxes, vastly increase defense expenditures, and balance the budget all at the same time. But Ronald Reagan was president. He accepted the responsibility. He said what people desperately wanted to hear after so many years of increased taxes, stagflation, divisiveness over the war in Vietnam, and social policies that deeply troubled average Americans. When in the 1980 campaign canditate Walater Mondale spoiled the fun by stating that, as president, he would raise taxes because it was the only realistic thing to do, he violated the national mood and threw away whatever chances he had of being elected."

"When in the 1980 campaign canditate Walater Mondale spoiled the fun by stating that, as president, he would raise taxes because it was the only realistic thing to do, he violated the national mood and threw away whatever chances he had of being elected."

In a nutshell, this is why the US is screwed. We have zero interest in confronting what I call "actual reality" (as opposed to the "virtual reality" that the MSM, PTB, etc. generate).

Speak the truth in the US about any important issue, and forget about being elected.

In actual reality, in 1980, WALTER Mondale was the VP canidate. So much for reality.

The year was wrong - I didn't catch it - but the point is valid. The year is actually irrelevant in this case.

Campaign Candidate, not Presidential Candidate.

Mondale ran against Carter for the DNC nomination and lost.

Mondale won the nomination in 84 and lost to Regan.

Here's a bizarre notion from a 'Toomas Parratt' in a comment on The Globe and Mail site today.

Oil hits record $122 a barrel

Oil is non organic, it is created in the mantle, you are basing all your science on crust relationships. Also don't just watch a few movies and read a few web articles and claim you are an expert. Maybe ask what is your job? I am a geotechnical engineer that works for oil companies to find oil. I actually do exploratory drilling, and for everyone that says oil is an organic substance, why are the oil companies looking for oil at depth where life didn't exist on this planet? The biggest oil finds are actually very deep, and all the oil finds in the crust are actually the cause of oil flowing from the mantle through faults up into the crust. Thus what lead people to believe it was the decaying of dinosaurs. I also have a masters in this field, and as I said before if you conduct independent research or read papers not found in main stream you may start to think differently.

Yes I know they don't run dry, but will drop in production from say 15,000 barrels per day to less than 4,000. Thus the whole concept of peak oil and going "dry" but all of a sudden after 20 years the production goes back up to 15,000 barrels. It is cyclic and thus renewable, oil fields go through peaks and droughts, they just didn't realize it would take 20 years to peak again.

If wish were a ship, we'd be sailing ...

The web is a fun place for the "Toomas Parratt's" of the world. They can claim degrees and expertise in anything and everything. This guy is either a liar or a misanthrope (and he might be both).

Its always there in the detail.

The little red flag:

'decaying dinosaurs'

If he has a Masters, I wonder where he bought it...

I get mine from ads in the back of Archie comics. I'm also getting a book that will help me increase my vertical leap by 20" in just two weeks... I can't wait.

For a "geotechnical" engineer, his knowledge of plate tec(h)tonics is quite amazing.

That ship sounds like the Titanic. I wouldn't sail on it.


s_yajaman, maybe "geotechnical" engineer is a handyman type position. I once read a diatribe on AGW by a 'public engineer', and wrote to ask if this was what I thought it was, a person who installs and maintains boilers and such. Yep, that's what it was.

there's a joke about the '80's oil crash, i think westex told one time:

an out of work petroleum engineer went into a gas station looking for a job, the manager told him sorry we arent hiring any petroleum engineers, but we have hired a few geologists.

It seems that Finland's recent experience with building nuclear power is having some ripple effect on estimated costs for nuclear power in Europe. For the UK, new nuclear power may cost $9/Watt to build, a little higher than in Florida or Oklahoma where nuclear power is being rejected. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilitie...


BBC: Indonesia mulls OPEC withdrawal

"Opec member Indonesia is considering leaving the oil cartel to concentrate on domestic production, the country's president has said.

Levels of oil production from its ageing wells are declining, making the country a net importer of oil when crude prices are at record levels.

The end is nigh?

It doesn't change anything. OPEC was formed to serve it's own needs and they han hardly be charged with delibarately causing the recent price rally. They pretend they have spare capacity but at $120 they would be pumping their dear grandmothers for anything black and sticky.


I don't think either BBC or I suggested that...

Rather I'd like to hear some analysis of this as a proof of ELM kicking in or indeed a major oil producing country admitting that its running dry and it wants to secure cheaper oil for its own people at the expense of the rest of the world. Nice!

Interesting graph: Indonesia Crude Oil Production and Consumption by Year

I presume you did realise Westtexas is none other than our friend/commentator/contributor Jeffrey Brown?


OFPEC--Organization of Formerly Petroleum Exporting Countries

UK TV: Oil Apocalypse
History Channel, 8pm

'With oil supplies likely to run out, experts predict resulting problems'

I found these comments from the front page of Marketwatch.com strange:
"Falling dollar helps oil rise to its highest level ever "

Then when you click on the link right underneath titled Dollar Comes Under Pressure, you see this:
"Dollar slips, pressured by oil and economic fears"

Lol. One says oil is making the dollar go lower, the other says the complete opposite!

I have commented on this before. Bottom line is they havn't got a clue so they just spraff any ond shit and 6 chinese whispers later it gets burped up into some reporters PDA then makes print somewhere.

Sadly, both are probably true.

AGRICULTURE: Farmers struggle with water price, cuts

That desert could be returning. Faced with rising water costs and a water shortage, farmers in the breadbasket communities of Valley Center and Fallbrook are cutting back their operations -- and cutting down their trees.

Dead citrus trees and the white-painted stumps of avocado trees ---- avocados are one of the county's biggest cash crops ---- can be found in groves throughout Valley Center, Fallbrook, and other agricultural centers of North County.

"I think eventually there'll be no agriculture in Southern California," said Bob Polito, a Valley Center grower with Polito Family Farms. "There may be little pockets here and there, using local water, but for the most part agriculture in Southern California is going to disappear."

Peak guacamole.

If you live where avocados will grow, have 'em in your yard, and take your morning whiz under the trees, no problem. But exporting avocados all over the US and world from California, no.

Discussion of North Dakota section of Bakken with listing of oil production from individual wells.


The EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook is just out. Last month they said:

• West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices, which averaged $72.32 per barrel in 2007, are projected to average $101 per barrel in 2008 and $92.50 per barrel in 2009.

This month they have revised their guess slightly:

WTI crude oil prices, which averaged $72 per barrel in 2007, are projected to average $110 per barrel in 2008 and $103 per barrel in 2009.

Well, at least they are making changes in their prediction every month to keep up with the new reality. Michael Lynch, late last year, said oil would drop to $40 a barrel in 2008. I saw something from him a few weeks ago where he stated that crude oil would average $80 in 2008 and his $40 prediction would not be reached until 2009.

Ron Patterson

Michael Lynch, late last year, said oil would drop to $40 a barrel in 2008. I saw something from him a few weeks ago where he stated that crude oil would average $80 in 2008 and his $40 prediction would not be reached until 2009.

LOL! If he has been investing with that expectation, he has lost a lot of money.

Ron, I am about to try the calculation that you said has never been done. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I am interested to see how many square feet of solar it would take to replace the BTUs we burn as transportation fuel. Of course there are some pretty big caveats - namely that we don't have any storage solutions that can bank that power at night, nor are the batteries for electric cars sufficient yet. But I am really curious about the numbers regardless. When I first did the calculation for replacing all electricity, I didn't know how that was going to turn out. Had it been a million square miles, I would have signed up with the doomers. :-)

Robert, I had a wee bit of an attempt at putting some figures on what the US would need to do, but am not familiar enough with US consumption patterns to do a proper job.
FWIW here is my try:

As you can see, I did not attempt an analysis using solar power only, as the need to overbuild to make up for intermittency, to store power and to transmit it for long distances to less sunny areas soon mean the figures get pretty silly.
I based my comments on using power sources where they were best, so using nuclear for base-load, and largely solar for peak load in hot areas, with some storage for maybe a couple of hours at night.

EP has since in your thread about biodiesel put some figures on the power needs for EV cars, which appears to be only around 50-100GW.

The parts I don't know enough about to provide close estimates are the size of the contributions from NG and so on to house heating other than in an electric burn and which areas have peak use in the winter rather than the summer.

I would argue that this sort of mixed approach would provide power at much more reasonable rates than trying to stretch technologies where they are not really suitable.

I would be interested to see the figures you come up with.

I found little problem with land use, that we have most of the technology we would need, but that prices would be around $6-8/watt.

200 MW solar plant in West Texas would need about 1300 acres of land.


Yikes! Acres!
Putting that into real, metric terms (;-)) that is at 4047sq meters/acre that is just over 5sq kilometers for 200MW, presumably nominal, output.
If we guess a 25% ration of actual output to nominal as the sun doesn't shine all the time, then you are getting on average about 50MW from land with around 5GW of sunlight falling on it, or 1%.

This confirms two things in the approach I have put forward, that solar energy should mainly be thought of for peaking purposes, so that the 200MW nominal is truly useful, and that Nanosolar's approach of relatively small thermal plants of 2-10MW on vacant land in the city, close to where it is needed and presumably minimising land needed to access the mirrors and so on is a good way way to go.

At the land use rates given here then you would need around four times the area I gave, so 60,000sq kilometres rather than the 15,000 I gave for 1TW of peaking power.

EDIT - my arithmetic has let me down again - that should have read that at the 15% efficiency I assumed then 6,666 sq kilometres would be needed for 1,000GW of peak power output.
These land use figures which include dead ground would mean that 25,000sq kilometres are needed for the same peak power output.

From your link this quote:

Solar thermal electric technologies typically require considerable water supplies. While the quantity of water needed per acre of use is similar to or less than that needed for irrigated agriculture, dependability of the water supply is an important issue in the sunny, dry areas of the state favored for large-scale solar power plants.

also gives insight into why the use of PV as a major part of solar power energy production would help a lot.

Running the whole of society on solar power seems from the figures to be entirely fanciful - you would need many times this amount of land to make up for intermittency, vast quantities of water and massive amounts of both storage and transmission.

Localised integrated production of power in rural areas, using wind and biogas supplementing solar, and in more general society the use of nuclear power for base load, would appear to be the needed technologies to let solar power bear a lot of the load for peak power.

Yeah. Rooftop solar makes sense because you are substituting for the transmission line congestion of peak usage, as well as the consumption peak.
Desert solar makes sense primarily as a way of substituting for and stretching out natural gas. This includes substituting for the gas pipelines between your location and the gas fields. In my case, that means the pipelines between the gas patch in the Gulf of Mexico, the gas from Alberta, and possibly someday the gas pipeline to Alaska.

I like all the approaches which take out cost.
For me, the most immediately attractive is Nanosolar's idea of municipal scale solar, with 2-10MW installations on the ground, so you are not messing around in small custom installations on people's roofs, and you can send a tech around to service the equipment easily as it is centralised enough for this, but it is distributed enough that you do not need to transmit it long distances or step the power down as you can put it out at 20v, not 11,000v.
For peak load this would appear to be at the cusp of viability.
In many places in small-town America, this sort of system supplemented by wind, biogas and some storage should be capable of running things, as this experiment in Germany indicated:
Germany Gets Creative with Renewables : TreeHugger

Both residential solar Pv and utility scale thermal are a bit further down the tracks for unsubsidised viability in my view as neither have all the cost saving possibilities of the municipal power alternative.

Residential solar thermal should be being installed on all new builds and should be viable throughout the US for the provision of hot water.

I found little problem with land use, that we have most of the technology we would need, but that prices would be around $6-8/watt.

Dave, could you give us something to compare this to? Like what is the cost per watt of a coal plant? And more importantly, what will this cost us per kilowatt hour? Remember the average cost in the US is just under 10 cents per kw/h. How does this compare?

Here is a good page for pricing the Electric Usage In Your Home

Ron Patterson

This isn't an easy question to answer because the cost of power depends on intrest rates and marginal costs. Gas is easily the cheapest when interest rates are very high, and nuclear has been the cheapest before where interest rates are very low and comparative fossil marginal rates are very high.

It doesn't make comparing nuclear to wind easy even though they both have similar marginal rates because they have far different capital costs depending on the shape of the grid (lots of dispatchable power existing means wind doesn't have to spend extra on storage, little dispatchable power skews it in favor of nuclear, coal or natural gas.) Not to mention the different retirement period for wind turbines (20 years vs 60 years for a nuclear power plant) political risk (some movement to close down the nuclear plants or whatnot.)

I guess a short answer to the question is I've seen cost per watt for coal plants at 1500/kw or so, and nuclear at 50-400% more depending on the environment and the maturity of the technology/design.

Ron, to a large degree I try to steer clear of levelised costs, which are normally used to give estimated price/kwh, as they are so dependent on the assumptions put into them - I have seen huge variations in estimated levelised costs for all the major power sources.
For that reason I tend to focus on build costs, as although that is still inaccurate it is grounded a little more on solid facts, but with this approach I have to remain aware that many costs in most energy sources are not factored in, fuel costs for coal and gas, maintenance for nuclear and waste disposal, back up for renewables and so on.
It is also important to avoid false precision when technologies are changing rapidly.
It is only recently that solar has reached a degree of maturity where I felt that it can confidently be predicted to be capable of powering most peak use in hot areas, and the range of possible costs is still vast.
However, it seems that in the case of PV power we are rapidly reaching a cost point of around $2/watt installed, at 25% that would be around $8/watt for power, or perhaps $10/watt at a more realistic 20%.
If it is mainly used for peaking though, a 7.5kw system, which would give enough surplus to run an EV on, you might be talking around
$15,000, although the cheap way of doing it may be for the electricity company to build it more centrally.
If you were paying for it over 10 years, that comes to around $1500, plus your share of the money for the nuclear power program I suggested, which I gave at $300 per person per year, so that would be around $1200 for a family of four.

The rising cost of oil is also lifting the cost of building anything, for instance in this latest for nuclear plants:
Nuclear reactors will cost twice estimate, says E.ON chief - Times Online
That is about the same as the solar costs of build.

So you might be talking of around $1500 for the nuclear part too, so for a family of four you are paying $3000.

You then have to add interest, maintenance and so on for the nuclear part of the build, so you might be looking at $4-5k for the family of four per year.
In such a society you would also want to reduce power use, so I would expect air-source heat pumps to be introduced , which would improve the efficiency of the power used for heating by around 2.5 in an existing structure, or around 4 in a new build.
They would cost a couple of thousand or so, and you would want residential solar thermal panels for hot water, maybe a similar amount in volume production.
This is not all going to happen overnight, and the way I have amortised it over 10 years means that after that you would have pretty much of a free ride on energy.

In general terms though, you might expect to pay at least as much for a kwh as the Germans, around 30c/kwh, but substantial opportunities would be available to reduce usage.

Even if you built new coal plants instead, the cost of those would be far higher than the existing stock.

As for the costs of EV, here is an actual all-electric car:
UKP14,000 TH!NK city electric car ready for showrooms

That's around $28,000 and it is only a two seater with limited range.
Better battery technologies mean that in maybe 4 years then a better range car will be available with four seats.
The batteries on them should last for essentially the life of the car and they are more or less maintenance-free.
EV has calculated here the power usage of an EV car:
At 2500kwh/year that is going to soak up the power production from around 1.5KW of installed solar power, for a two car family that means that for the 7.5KW I hypothesised you would leave around 4.5KW to provide air con and so on.
The grid would have to be able to support transfer of power so that they could be recharged during the day, or you would hit large storage problems.

Here are some links to the better batteries I mention:

These are at advanced stages of development, far more than a glint in someone's eye.
So the costs of an EV are around $30,000 for the car, and around $3,000 for a solar power supply good for 10,000 miles/year, or 33cents/mile over 10 years.
If you do 20,000 a year, then with the extra power supply that is around $36,000, for a cost of around 17-18cents/mile

So the future looks expensive, involving real hardship for the less well off, but I can't see anything there which can't be done.

I hope this gives you some ball-park figures to use - or criticise! :-)
Game-changers are also possible, like this from Sungri:
Start-up: Affordable solar power possible in a year - USATODAY.com
Or this from Coolearth:
Inflatable Solar: Coolearth Concentrated Photovoltaics (TreeHugger)
Either would use much less space, and be far cheaper.
For nuclear power there are also good possibilities to reduce cost:
ES&T Online News: Reshaping nuclear fuel

About this:

Game-changers are also possible, like this from Sungri:
Start-up: Affordable solar power possible in a year - USATODAY.com

The high 2,000 to 1 concentration ratio requires very accurate 2 axis tracking to work. The cost of the tracking and the complexity of installing such means that these devices are not going to be easy to use. They only work when the sun is not hidden by clouds, unlike PV which can capture some of the diffuse component even under clouds. Sorry, this may not work out to be as cheap as the salesmen claim.

The coolearth design is also a concentrator system and requires 2 axis tracking. Take a look at their strange cable system for suspending the collectors above the ground. One question in my mind is how do they intend to cool the PV sells at the focal point? Also, the mirrors are not parabolas, which won't focus precisely at a point. Look at the last photograph of the mirror array as seen from the side. Notice the wide area in white which is illuminated on the cover material surrounding the PV at the focal point. That's solar energy which did not hit the target, energy which will cause the cover material to deteriorate rapidly. Another bad idea with great marketing?

E. Swanson

Yep, I too would not bet the farm on either of them.

However, I mentioned them only as possibilities and they are not the only games in town, although I took a very cautious attitude before I would even allow that solar for peak use seemed to be likely to be cost effective, and still think that talk of using it for base-load makes no sense, the broad front of advances not dependent on any one company's technology or projections eventually convinced me.

In a perhaps analogous manner, there are a lot of possible ways that power might become a lot cheaper, each individually perhaps unlikely, but together one of them might work.

My personal feeling is that the one that will work out will be high altitude wind, which is available almost everywhere and does not suffer from the same intermittency problems as ground-based wind turbines and uses a fraction of the materials.

There are a number of different approaches to tapping this resource.

Algae for fuel also seems a possible major player, perhaps in the vertigrow configuration, although there has been a lot of BS from some players in this field.

All of these are outsiders though, and I certainly would not base too much on them, or on wild plans to run things solely with renewables which would need enormous inputs.

It is perfectly possible though to combine sensible plans using renewables for peak power and nuclear power for base-load without needing silly assumptions about technological improvements or totally unreasonable costs, and my proposals are firmly based on that.

Thanks Robert, I am really looking forward to seeing those numbers. But you know what I would really like to see? Not that I expect you to do the math, because I think it would be impossible to do the math right now, because of the battery problem and all that. But I would like to see the "cost per mile" of a family car run entirely from solar, or wind, and the car battery powered of course.

For instance right now, if gas cost $3.50 a gallon and you get 20 miles per gallon, then each mile cost, just for fuel, 17.5 cents per mile. But then you must figure in the cost of the car, and the ongoing maintenance of the car. If you figure that to be $25,000 for purchase and maintenance over the life of say 150,000 miles you would drive the car, then that comes to 16.67 cents per mile for a total of just over 34 cents per mile total. (I just pulled the car cost and maintenance out of the air, they might be all wrong. But I just wish to make a point.)

My guess is that when you do the same math for a solar powered car, price of the solar electricity from the grid, price of the car, the batteries and a battery change every few years and other, then the price would be in dollars per mile, not cents per mile.

Cost is something everyone seems to ignore when doing any math. People say "we have plenty of food, we just have a distribution problem." No, we have a food price problem! As food prices rise, people are starving. Not because there is no food but because they cannot afford to buy food.

Understand my concern? Price is paramount. It is not whether this or that is possible or not but what will it cost. People are starving because they cannot afford the new high price of food. Will people walk, heat and cook with coal because they can no longer afford electricity.

Ron Patterson

Ron, see my detailed breakdown of the cost of running an electric car in my other reply to you.
They are so efficient in energy use that power costs are very low however your generate it.
The batteries are likely to last for the life of the car, and they are almost maintenance free save for tyres - even brake pads should not need changing very often, as much of it would go into the regenerative braking system.
Costs should not be that different to current costs for running a car, although you would loose some convenience.

Plug-in hybrids would not be so maintenance free, but the extra costs of the batteries should be offset by the lower fuel consumption.

They would not be so efficient in use of electricity either,as they would be hauling extra weight around.

Thanks Robert, I am really looking forward to seeing those numbers.

Ron, I have only had 8 hours of sleep since Sunday morning, and am currently 27 hours without sleep. So I want to get some rest and review my numbers. But, the preliminary numbers look like it will take much less land to replace our gasoline consumption with solar power than it would our electricity consumption. I will confirm as soon as I get some sleep, which unfortunately is still at least 12 hours away.

I'm gonna make an uneducated prediction right here, right now -

in 2008, WTI will average 125 bucks per barrel. In 2009 it will average 180 smackaroos.

I say $135 by July 4th, $150 by January 1, 2009, and $200 by July 4th, 2009.

your guess has the same validity as anyone socalled "educated".

Personally I follow futureseeker's guess. But before it reaches $200 I foresee some serious round-table conferences "on the topic of oil" ! Que word : rationing .

Even though $200-1000 a barrel is very cheap for such amounts of energy ...... it will be hard for the free market to know how to use it wisely . Obviously to fume away this value in a private ICE is the pinacle of stupidity!

This should help boost Russian energy exports: (And cause a few riots)

no paywall, full article.


Just watch your tv and continue to frequent our fine fast food restaurants and everything will be just fine. Trust us, we're the experts.

I was watching CNBC today and two of the commentators were talking with two talking heads on TVs and the commentators were commenting how oil production has remained flat while prices have risen and they all seemed so perplexed by this that it made me laugh. Then one of the guests brought up the red herring of the dollar's decline in value and the confusion lifted and life returned into them again. Let the dream continue, or is it really a nightmare in disguise, I hold with the latter. $125/barrel this week anyone?

"Oil Industry Analyst" Mark Gilman of Benchmark Co.will be on Bloomberg tv at 5:30pm (EDT) apparently to explain how oil will soon be $40 barrel. ..

I'm guessing it has something to do with tar sands or oil shale. It occured to me today that since it takes more energy to produce hydrogen than it returns and that hydrogen is required to process tar sands fuel, then a steady supply of light sweet crude is needed to produce tar sands oil. Talk about digging a hole for yourself in more ways than one.

Hello TODers,

Gee, I wonder where this author read this following factoid?

Potash $10,000: How to Profit Safely

...So potash prices can keep rising. How far? Consider this: Before potash was discovered in New Mexico, Germany was the world's only supplier. In December 1915, when World War I cut trade between the United States and Germany, potash prices jumped from $35 per ton to more than $500. In today's money, that's the equivalent of more than $10,571 per ton.
At least I gave TODers a weblink to the websource a long time ago. IMO, this is pretty sloppy journalism on his part.

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

Not sure if this has been posted here on Drumbeat before. Thought I would bring it here to get reaction:


"It could potentially be one of the biggest energy breakthroughs in history – genetically manipulating bacteria to quickly convert anything that grows out of the Earth into oil. But the biggest names in the national media have thus far not provided any coverage of this possible solution to skyrocketing gas prices and America's long-term energy security."

World Net Daily is full of all sorts of gems. Some of the other stories they have run on the subject:

Oil does not come from dinosaurs

'I'm pro-choice – on light bulbs' – Bumper sticker sends Congress message over its banning Edison's invention

Proof Al Gore full of hot air on 'global warming'

Billions of gallons of oil in North Dakota, Montana

Anything that grows 'can convert into oil'

New data: Maybe oil isn't from dead dinos

Discovery backs theory oil not 'fossil fuel'

Brazil reports massive oil discovery

$1 billion a day for foreign oil

Massive oil field found under Gulf'

'Black Gold' strikes Big Oil 'nerve'

'Hundreds of years' of oil available

Forget everything you know about oil

Can water fuel world?

Cars run on water: Miracle or scam?

Rather severe time constraints prevented me from doing a "Monday Economics" comment yesterday but the following, from EconBrowser, is better than anything I would have cooked up:

Gasoline prices: consumers and politicians respond

Counts of the number of miles traveled by vehicles on U.S. roads are also turning down.

Looking peaky? (Don't forget that simultaneously we also have evidence that oil supply will be a little greater this year than last year. Remember, too, that GDP in the US is still rising slightly (as of March) and that much of the developed world would be quite happy with $3.50 gas)

The power of price. As mentioned upthread, I believe that the Cold Dead Hands Theory of US Oil Demand that some peak oilers hold will be disproved this summer.

U.S. vehicle miles traveled in billions of miles, 12-month moving average. Source:

Federal Highway Administration

I wonder what the chart looks like for airline travel

Glanced at the jet fuel consumption numbers a few days back. As one would expect with flying being the most oil-intensive activity we engage in, demand is way down.

Per capita consumption of jet fuel is possibly lower than the year following 911 (but it would be close).

I'm going to do a chart once the latest month's numbers come out.

How about a chart showing the amount of money in US dollars spent by Americans on gasoline each year. IMO no one disagrees that if the price of gasoline rises enough, demand will decline (Americans have a finite quantity of money and credit). The amount of money spent on gasoline is up dramatically YOY to an all-time record (so far).

Per capita consumption of jet fuel

has little meaning in a Peak Oil context. Absolute consumption is what matters.

And flat consumption "will not cut it" post-Peak Oil.

Best Hopes for a -20% decline in US jet fuel consumption within 2 years,


Hi George,

Nice graph! Demand in the US did finally start to bend. But forgive the question: what do you hope to prove? I mean, if supply is dropping, demand, somewhere, must also drop. That demand must follow supply was never a question. The two competing claims, as I understand them, are:

1. Prices will rise and result in improvements in efficiency that will more than compensate economically for the loss of oil. Standard of living will not be decreased more than momentarily, overall economic growth will continue.

2. Prices will rise faster than can be compensated by efficiency and that will cause people to do without (demand destruction, lost jobs, lower standard of living) and bring about all the tragedy associated with "doom".

The problem with this graph alone is that it does not tell us what happened to those miles. So what we need is some evidence as to which claim those VMT miles lost are supporting. Did people get that much more efficient, or are they doing without? Any thoughts on supporting data?

You have identified exactly the point at issue. I'm much closer to (1) than to (2). In fact (2) is extremely unlikely which I think is the main message the field of economics has for us.

The problem with this graph alone is that it does not tell us what happened to those miles.

What we do know is that the US was not in recession during that bend in the top of the graph. (the data is current to January.) For part of it, growth was pretty decent.

Some points:

a) Global supply is not falling, it is still rising albeit slowly.

b) US demand is falling. So is OECD demand generally.

So you have a situation where the developed world is adjusting pre-peak and in the US this is happening at the low price of $3.50 per gallon.

I would agree that we do need objective data to measure the success of our peak oil mitigation. GDP is one reasonable measure. Even if it falls, as it likely will, things are good as long as oil consumption is falling much faster.

Employment and inflation are also decent measures.

If a second Great Depression is avoided, I'd pronounce our peak oil mitigation a resounding success. IMO odds are good. If Americans rapidly become oil-lean, odds are very good.

George: For your information, in terms of the effect on the USA economy, a drop in oil consumption is meaningless if the money spent on oil products increases dramatically YOY. News flash: there is a FINITE supply of money to be spent on gasoline by the USA consumer. It is like you are trying to write the next great Diet book: THE ETHIOPIAN DIET.

a drop in oil consumption is meaningless if the money spent on oil products increases dramatically YOY.

When Americans (and others) cut back they are essentially tapping what Matt Simmons called the reservoir named "Conservation" and dumping that oil on the world market.

That will keep a lid on prices at some point. Once Americans start seriously cutting back -- and there is a very good chance it will happen pre-peak -- it will be harder for prices to rise.

Right now, it's a tough sell to get people to believe that prices will stabilize and even fall at some point. But they will. The endless upward spiral is a myth because people can actually cut back rather rapidly. Can the US cut 20% within 5 years without a Great Depression? Absolutely. That's 4 million bpd on the market. Add in the rest of the OECD and you are looking at 8 million bpd. That's some serious oil.

A major Canadian bank sees OECD demand down 6 million bpd in 2012 with gas 'only' at $6.50.


Too bad the world isn't just the OECD. In fact, the OECD is not even 1/5 of global population. Any conservation achieved by OECD will be used by China, India, GCC, and other OPEC booming economies, thus keeping pressure on demand--Jevons Paradox. Prices will remain high and climb even higher once serious decline occurs.

Maybe the reason that demand is dropping in the US and not in China is that the US is aging and people are retiring, and that retirement surge has not hit China yet?

Just to be redundant, people should remember that even in the USA consumers are spending a lot more on gasoline YOY. Other consumer purchases, like furniture or clothing are measured in dollars, not units. The YOY increase in USA consumer spending on gasoline would be incredible for any other consumer product. The decline in volume of consumption of gasoline is IMO caused by lack of money, not lack of desire for gasoline.

Exactly the point I made about two years ago regarding the diversion of money from "consumer" spending to filling the auto. It will NOT change GDP numbers, thus the "growth illusion" will be maintained. However, the dollars being spent on fuel are dollars no longer being spent at Wendy's, Chili's, The Outback, JC Penny's, Target, etc. A major consumer outlet, Linens and Things, just declared bankruptcy. More will follow and the downward economic spiral will accelerate.


First off, I want to thank you for presenting opposing viewpoints that help flesh out any analysis.

I want to reply to some of your assumptions which I feel are unjustified. In addition, I think some effects of what you propose are also overlooked.

The economy is most certainly in a recession in the United States. The most recent Q1 number was GDP of 0.6 same as Q4 2007. This was based on a GDP deflator of only 2.6%! Even the CPI, which is also under-reported, was 4.1% in 2007. The GDP deflator is too low and GDP is actually negative.

I don't know why people get so shy about questioning governmental numbers--they are just people too--and even though they are presumed impartial that doesn't mean they don't use flawed methodologies. I think we all agree the EIA's numbers are a little off.

I guess the reason is that you look like a conspiracy theorist, but this isn't conspiracy theory you can read about how these numbers are adjusted in documents at the government sites. It's not a conspiracy--one commentator calls this "Polyanna Creep" and it goes right along with Leanan's optimism bias position:


And its more than the Shadowstats guy. Bill Gross billionaire bond investor. Bill Fleckenstein hedge fund manager. Folks at Merril Lynch, etc., etc.


So anyways, a part of that drop is weak economic conditions. But I think you do make a good point.

I think where you miss a beat is the effect that driving less will have on the economy--especially when extended for a long time.

First off, a lot of non-essential purchases are done on a whim and these will no longer be made. With an economy that depends 70% on consumer spending this will reduce sales. A lot of infrastructure and outlying real estate will be worth less and/or unused destroying wealth. Tourism will surely suffer. Car and supporting industries will suffer. And these are just a few that pop into my head. Surely would continue to hurt real estate--making it harder and harder to make that monthly payment.

Of course, you are right that 8 million barrels could be freed up fairly quick by OECD reducing VMT but wont these barrels just be bought by others just wanting to drive? And a 3% post peak decline rate in C+C would result in the loss of these 8 million barrels in 4 years. I wish more analysis was done on post-peak decline rates--to me that seems to be the key to how adjustment occurs.

I'm often tempered in my views on ag, especially so in the spring. But this year is giving me pause and consternation. More and more, the weather is refusing to cooperate. I still am optimistic on wheat by harvest, but there are so many other problems. The corn belt is plagued with moisture-see toplink above, the crunch is hitting the Central Valley of CA, and locally, this cold, relatively dry spring is a real pain.

With hay through the roof last fall, few bought or kept extra. I think everyone was banking on a early or normal spring. This year, the grass won't grow, and it's into May. Our lambing and calving came right on schedule, but there's nothing for the buggers to eat. A neighbor called a week ago, desperate for a place to put 20 dry head. Thinking of favors I'll need this summer, I told him to put them on ground I hope to hay later. Yesterday, they were busting fences, today he's calling with pleas to add more. And that doesn't address the musical chairs I'm playing with our stock, or gold-plated hay that was bought last month.


At least I didn't have any problem getting 6 hives of bees. Count your blessings I suppose.

Thanks for your on-the-ground comments!

Last year when there were all of the comments on the droughts, the one thing I noticed was that the droughts stayed away from the main crop areas. Too wet weather can be just as bad. It is easy to forget how dependent we are on the weather.

Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier posts on the double whammy of FF & sulphur pricing affecting I-NPK:

Innophos forecasts steep jump in raw material costs by 2009
Innophos Holdings says it will likely raise prices to match increasing commodity costs

...The company said if current market prices for phosphate rock and sulfur stay at their current levels, its own costs will rise by the second quarter of 2009.

...Shares spiked $5.68, or 31.2 percent, to $23.90 in aftermarket trading.
I hope some TopTODer is investigating the geo-logistic transport limitations of I-NPK as FFs continue to rise, and the extent of possible O-NPK recycling offsets to try and dampen the I-NPK price increases.

At some point, maybe already occuring at far-inland locations in Africa and Asia: the I-NPK ERoEI logistic cost will be greater than the potential ERoEI photosynthesis havest reward. Recall my earlier link where some African commercial farmers basically said, "Screw it", then only planted sufficient acreage for their own family's survival needs.

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

Hello TODers,

Does KSA now understand phosphorus as Life's Bottleneck?

Saudis give Morocco $500 mln for oil price shock

Also, if one considers my earlier postings on postPeak sealane control: the Moroccan coastline and the Atlantic Gyre oceanic wind circulation will be strategic when we are entropy-forced back to tall Windjammers and Clipperships.

I am sure that Don Sailorman could explain the naval-sailing battle tactics off Morocco much better than I, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the US Navy understands the long history of Morocco, Barbary Pirates, and the postPeak implications [Recall the Marine Hymn, "to the shores of Tripoli"]:

A Tall Ship Passage with the Eyes of History

...The ships of Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch and English explorers were borne by these winds (today's Northeast Trade Winds) down near the equator, where they shifted direction to blow these vessels across the ocean to the New World.

..Muller explained that on average here in November, a large high pressure system with clockwise winds sits over Europe while a corresponding low with anti-clockwise winds lies over northern Africa. These two circulations combine to cause strong winds to pour out from the Straits of Gibraltar. While they were good sailing winds for a ship of Clipper's size, they would have created impossible conditions for any 15th and 16th century ships blown out from these straits trying to return into the Mediterranean Sea.

..A calm like this, so close to the coast during the 1600s would be dangerous. North African pirates were using swift and lightly built galleys and, even outgunned by larger European ships, could outrun and outmaneuver the slow, heavy merchant vessels.

Muller said that from 1622 to 1642, 300 English ships were lost to the Barbary pirates (from the North African Berber, or people of the wind) and 7,000 people were sold into Muslim slavery. These losses would seem intolerable but the chance of getting through this hazardous cordon was high enough to entice merchants and adventurers to try it. Historian Joe Greeley says that in the early days of exploration, if one ship in five brought back a rich cargo, it would still outweigh all the rest.

....This is where Moorish forces gathered after they were expelled from Iberia. From here, they wreaked revenge on any Christian ships that came their way. They went as far as Iceland in search of people to enslave, but were most feared along the trade routes south along Africa, or turning west across the Atlantic to the New World.
BTW, the opening photo of a beautiful sailing ship makes opening this link well worth the trip.

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

I took a friend to Astoria's Maritime Museum last week and marveled agaain at the displays. As we gazed at one of the many scale models of sailing ships, I commented that one big point to recall is they were made 100% with hand tools--100%--and with only a few metal parts. One item is a full-sized 200+ year-old native red cedar canoe; again, all hand made, but without metal tools. I asked my friend if he thought he could fashion a stone axe to fell the tree and a stone adze to hollow it out. He simply shook his head and said we have a lot or re-learning to do.

Hello Karlof1,

Thxs for responding. I agree with the WarNerd's postPeak assessment that there will be only two kinds of seagoing ships: submarines & their possible targets. Even if the US Navy has a few, old-style biodiesel and battery subs working out of Morocco: it will be easy for them to assert sealane extortion control over slow, wind-sailing freighters trans-oceanic hauling I/O-NPK.

Picture a convoy of NPK clipperships tacking back and forth through pounding seas to slowly move upwind. Meanwhile, just beneath the surface: a sub swiftly traverses a smooth and direct intercept with no worries of aerial anti-submarine countermeasures.

It pops up, then semaphores the convoy that half the ships are to now sail their cargo to a port of the sub's choosing, or else it will sink the whole convoy. I think sailors deeply understand the phrase, "How long can you tread water?".

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

New Report from Raymond James: No Chance Oil Supply Will Grow Faster Than Demand; More Crude Price Rises Loom
With oil production in non-OPEC countries “permanently” peaking in five years or less, and with OPEC “struggling to bring fresh capacity online,” there is no chance the world will build an oil supply “cushion” in the foreseeable future, thus “even minor supply disruptions are bound to have a large impact on prices.” ,,,, Inserting comment,,,Rechargeable hybrid gasoline E85 and propane cobined all three in one can easily be done, pistons are not fussy about what they burn and electric motors are not fussy about where the electricity comes from,,, but the time to do this is now [enmass ],, not we must discuss it or next year or someday,,, this is a doable plan that will give any country that does this critical cost and supply security,,,, but who am I,,,argue untill it's to late,,, end of comment.
Hillary ‘Big Govt.’ Clinton Wants America to Sue OPEC
Hillary Clinton is taking on OPEC in her campaign to get to the White House. She introduced a new plan yesterday to hold OPEC accountable to American consumers. Her website explains that, "Hillary is calling on the President to engage in immediate negotiations with OPEC members and, if no progress is made, file a formal complaint against OPEC countries at the WTO."
Inserting comment,,,,,,No,,, this is a none solution,,,,, end of comment.
City of Swiss-style hill villages envisioned here
METRO VANCOUVER - Sky-high fuel and food prices will eventually make Metro Vancouver's current planning model of suburban communities linked by gas-guzzling highways economically obsolete.
So says Vancouver architect Richard Balfour who believes the region's future should resemble Switzerland rather than Los Angeles.
Inserting comment,,, Obsolete,,I agree, but what are we going to do here in the USA ?,,,end of comment.
Indonesia considers quitting OPEC
JAKARTA, Indonesia - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday that Indonesia was considering quitting the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries because it was no longer a net oil exporter.
"Our wells are drying," he said in the nationally televised speech, adding that the country needed to concentrate on increasing domestic production, which has dropped to less than a million barrels a day even as consumption rises.
Inserting comment,,,Agreed, This is what is happening and is what is going to happen all over the world untill it's all gone,,,end of comment.

This is unreadable.
If you've got something to say and want others to know about it, it's a good idea to use the preview button and edit your posts to a more legible form.

Classic MSM-the guy is trying to make a point about Hillary's popularity (or lack thereof) and the brain dead hosts aren't even listening-the bonus is the lame PC "apology" for Gillette http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/06/penn-jillette-makes-hilla_n_100...

sorry Bob but the worst is coming, I have my 6-pack ready

the number one "Joe 6 Pack Company" Quartly report:

reported a first-quarter loss of $3.1 million, or 9 cents a share -- a turn from the $1.5 million, or 4 cents a share, it earned in the same period a year ago.

Revenue fell to $78.5 million from $85.4 million

Although there was some modest growth overseas, every one of its units suffered sales declines.

domestic TV revenue was down 16% to $16.5 million.

Online revenue was down 3%

The company's publishing group was hit by a 14% revenue decline.
If PLAYBOY is not making money????

J6P is giving it up for the SUV.

Hello i'm trying to learn how to make understandable post,,,is this any better?, Subject: energy source depletion answers,,,,
Atom active waste
sites,,Aside from evil, can be secured,,,Man has been guarding
things for thousands of years we have not forgotten how to do it,,,
The energy that is produced by atom power directly offsets fossil
fuel a finite and increasingly costly [ transportation fuel ],,[
heating fuel ],,, And all other carbon based energy sources,,,,I' am
watching to know if reality will prevail over those
who seem to be willing to forgo their quality of life and mine and
yours also,,,By constantly trying to impose their detrimental will
upon the electric utility's that are called upon to supply an
increasing demand while a number of energy sources are diminishing
in availability including atom power,,,Nation wide,,,Electricity is
something that we all use every day,day and night,,,Something must
be found to replace ,, heating fuel oil,, ,,,For a full northern
third of the U.S.A. ,,,Something must be found to replace [
transportation fuel,] [oil] For the entire country, [[ Atom powered
electric generating stations ]],, CAN be used to produce hydrogen
fuel, for use in transportation,,, to recharge electric vehicles And OTHER TRANSPORTABLE energy
supply's,, And in the manufacture of,, ethanol/bio diesel ,,[
transportation fuels ],, And power many other applications that currently
use,,,coal ,,OIL,,and, NG,LNG,PROPANE,,,,,, as an energy source,,
What needs to be said to everyone AGAIN is these are finite
energy fuel sources and in the case of oil,,NG,LNG,propane,,, are
being consumed in unsustainable amounts,,The projected time frame of
those who study depletion rates is less than ten [ more or less ] years at the end of
which these fuels will be unaffordable for the majority of the
population,,,If we go nuclear free meaning shut down all nuclear
power stations and not build any new,,,the real outcome is the
remaining energy sources are going to be even more severely stressed
in the face also of those that are getting very expensive,,[ ____
This is unacceptable and a solution must be planned and executed,,,
[ IF ],,, we build atom powered generating stations where we need them
along with [ ALL ] other energy sources,It may be possible to soften
the worst of the coming pain,,,wind power,,, solar electric power,,,
,,[ IS NOT A PLAN ],,,, these are for the most part
inadequate and intermittent power sources that ,,,many,,, look upon as something that
will solve our energy shortfalls,, this is what a number of
people are teaching,,And it is also their lobby's goal all
around the country to promote this that at this time cannot be built
to scale for some very [,,,REAL,,,] Reasons, and at the same time
are trying and succeeding to shut down [Atom Power] that[,,IS,,]
working,,, to maintain electricity SERVICE TO,,,,, [[[ three hundred
million ]]] people [ in the USA alone . ]The electric utility's SUPPLY and our
people CONSUME massive amounts of energy,,,it's a fact we are losing
our long enjoyed inexpensive,, [[ oil ]],,---If--- we can maintain
inexpensive electricity [ atom power ] I am hopeful we may be able
to [,,Adapt,,] to the ,unavailability & unaffordability,,, that
millions now face as a result of the steady loss of oil as a transportation energy
source,,,.. met a man that hauled oranges from FLA to NJ,,,driving a
tractor trailer truck powered with propane,,but that was back in the
1960's,,we don't need a truck like that today,,We have solar???..

Hi enerwise - you need to firstly just use some gaps in the layout between paragraphs - just hit return to make a clear line.

Secondly, use the html functions on this site to show quotes.
You just put in one of these: < then write 'blockquote' without the quote marks and put in a >
To end it you put in / after the < and the rest the same
Here is how it looks:

Like this

Hi enerwise - you need to firstly just use some gaps in the layout between paragraphs - just hit return to make a clear line.

Secondly, use the html functions on this site to show quotes.
You just put in one of these: < then write 'blockquote' without the quote marks and put in a >
To end it you put in / after the < and the rest the same
Here is how it looks:

sorry..had to try it...thanks Dave...wondered how ya'll were doing that! The allowed HTML tags didn't mean anything to me!

when you post there is a link just above the 'post comment' button that explains the whole HTML thing called More information about formatting options

I had no idea what all that HTML gobbledygook meant until I came across that guide that TOD has so generously provided.


There are all sorts of neat formatting, embedding, and hot-linking things you can do with HTML.

The authors of the software this forum uses allows you to experiment to your heart's desire without causing any problems.

Just use the "preview comment" button at the bottom of your entry box to see what your post will look like. Nothing says you actually have to post anything once you start. I am sure the board would not mind a bit if you play around with it - as long as you don't post trash on the board.

Note I am deliberately using an alternate method of displaying < and > on this post so I do not confuse the HTML tag processor. When you become more proficient in HTML, you will know exactly what I did, but no use confusing the issue for now. For now, just know you won't be able to display tags in the text like I am fixing to do for you. When you place tags in your source text, they will be removed and executed by the tag processor.

<blockquote>this text will show up in a quote box</blockquote>

It will look like this:

this text will show up in a quote box

Or, if you want to highlight a link to the <A HREF="http://www.theoildrum.com"> the oil drum website </A>, this code will do it.

It will look like this:

Or, if you want to highlight a link to the the oil drum website , this code will do it.

These are the basic ones. There are more tags to insert images, tables, lists, underlines, italics.

HTML can be a great friend if you learn how to use it - as you can author hypertext ANY browser will display - and you will not be held captive to proprietary authoring software which often works on only one brand of browser.

Open up a post reply and cut and paste some of the above to see what it will do. Experiment. Just do not hit "post comment" button until you have something you want to show up on TOD for good. No one wants to leave messes for Leanan to clean up.

Note I am kinda breaking a TOD rule by posting offtopic stuff with this post. If I am going to do such a thing, I wait till late in the day, when the post is stale, to do it. Way too many people browse this forum during the fresh hours and did not come here to read offtopic posts. I would expect the moderators to come down on me for wasting everyone else's time should I post offtopic stuff during prime hours.

Offtopic meaning this post had nothing to do with oil.

But it does have to do with welcoming and showing a new member some of the ropes.


Hey Enerwise;
Thanks for joining the conversation.

I do have to agree with Dave that the formatting of your ideas is tough to look at.. but I bet that is exactly what my own brain's 'Source Code' looks like, so I hear you.

Just one other suggestion. I seems like you're trying to get everything on your mind out all at once. You might try to just pick one idea for a posting. If there are too many ideas together at once, there isn't much chance for others to engage with it.


(Use the "Enter" key more and just put some air between the sentences)

IATA's latest May 2008 press release for the global airline industry.

Global Traffic Continues to Slow

March passenger growth is positively skewed by the Easter holiday period which was in April of the previous year. Adjusting for this distortion, real traffic growth in March was 4%. The slowdown in the demand growth continues the sharp downward trend which began in December 2007 as the impact of the US credit crunch began to be felt in the airline industry.
International passenger load factors were equally skewed. When adjusted to take into account artificially high utilisation over the Easter period, the March load factor was 76.1%. While still high, this is 1.7 percentage points lower than the 77.8% recorded for the same month in 2007. This fall indicated that the slowing of demand occurred faster than airlines could cut capacity.
Traffic only tells a part of the story. Astronomical oil prices are hitting hard. And the buffer of an expanding economy has disappeared. The fortunes of the industry have taken a major turn for the worse,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

With oil teetering around $122 and gasoline making a comeback, I don't know about others here, but this night, I have a queasy vertigo rising up in the pit of my stomach wondering what tomorrow's Weekly Petroleum report will bring. Much more of the daily gains and the general public is going to start thinking "something" is wrong here.

Looks like someone made a slight adjustment of their forecast..

Some see oil at $150 a barrel this year

"It's not that the genie is out of the bottle -- it's that 100 genies are out of the bottle," said Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. Normally known for optimistic forecasts of lowering oil prices, Mr. Yergin's firm now says the price could rise to $150 a barrel this year.

There is more joy in heaven.......

Indeed.. He comes never late who comes repentant.

Although, just to be on the safe side, his estimates about the actual number of genies should probably still be taken with a grain of salt.


What does this do to WesTexas's infallible oil price predictor ?

Double the Yergin estimate for future prices. Is it now $300/barrel, or $75/barrel ?

Concerned about pigs flying,


The number of people trying to unload their gas guzzling SUVs seems to be on the rise:


This does not bode well for the already strangled US automakers.

Good riddance, I say. Evolve or die. Stop producing environmental disasters behind protective trade barriers and using obnoxious subsidies.

That $200/bbl suddenly looks quite plausible.

It looks as though he is stupid rather than a rogue.
Or to be more precise, he had adopted a particular way of looking at things, based on an economic model where demand automatically calls forth supply, and was unwilling to allow his paradigm to be upset.
I doubt that he really 'gets it' now, and thinks that present restrictions are due to things like unrest in Nigeria and so on blah, he just thinks that these factors are more stubborn than he had supposed.
His position is probably innocent of geology even now.

My guess is his analysis is still flawed at root.

Yes, and guys just like Danny Boy are going to be guiding the USA through the post-peak years.