DrumBeat: May 10, 2008

Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit

DENVER — With the price of gas approaching $4 a gallon, more commuters are abandoning their cars and taking the train or bus instead.

Mass transit systems around the country are seeing standing-room-only crowds on bus lines where seats were once easy to come by. Parking lots at many bus and light rail stations are suddenly overflowing, with commuters in some towns risking a ticket or tow by parking on nearby grassy areas and in vacant lots.

“In almost every transit system I talk to, we’re seeing very high rates of growth the last few months,” said William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.

Gas thieves pumped up by high gas prices

"Rising gas prices can motivate or force people to do these kind of thefts," said Calgary police spokesman Kevin Brookwell. "People who have never done this before will be driven by desperation because it is getting very expensive to drive a car."

As Gazprom Goes, So Goes Russia

Mr. Medvedev was sworn in as president on Wednesday, after winning the election in early March, and his ascent confirms that in today’s Russia, the line separating big business and the state is becoming so fine that it’s almost nonexistent.

Tensions Rise as Polar Bear Decision Looms

Steven C. Amstrup, the federal biologist who led an analysis last year concluding that the world’s polar bear population could shrink two thirds by 2050 under moderate projections for retreating summer sea ice, is once again in the field along Alaska’s Arctic coast, studying this year’s brood of cubs, yearlings and mothers.

As the Bush administration rushes toward a court-ordered decision on whether the bears should gain threatened status under the Endangered Species Act, Dr. Amstrup is concerned anew by what he’s seeing, he said in an Alaska Public Radio interview a few days ago and in an email exchange Friday evening.

Playing the Iraq Oil Card

There was a time when we could count on Saudi Arabia to make up a shortfall in oil when something like Iraq came up. During the Gulf war Saudi Arabia boosted its production by 3.1 million barrels a day to make up for the 5.1 million barrels a day of Kuwaiti and Iraqi production that was taken off markets. Oil prices rose relatively little.

Today, Saudi Arabia either refuses or can't increase its production. The peak oil Cassandras are convinced the Saudis can't. Saudi Arabia's mega fields like Ghawar are depleted, they say. And we'd better get used to gasoline at $4 a gallon and up.

But Crocker wasn't all bad news. He said that if we were to stabilize Iraq, and attract investors to the oil sector, Iraq could become the largest producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Crocker didn't put it in terms this baldly, but he might as well have said: We keep an army in Iraq, and we go back to the days of cheap oil. Anyone can afford to drive an SUV if they want one.

Shell losing 30,000 barrels per day after Nigeria oil attacks

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (AFP) - Oil major Royal Dutch Shell said Saturday it was losing the equivalent of 30,000 barrels of crude oil per day because of recent attacks against its installations in Nigeria.

The unrest in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, helped drive oil prices to a record high above 126 dollars on Friday, analysts said.

The loss in production translates to 409 million naira (2.24 million euros, 3.47 million dollars) in lost revenue every day, said Chidi Izuwah, a spokesman for the Shell Petroleum Production Company.

Oil remains a hot commodity

At $123 US a barrel, companies are highly motivated to find new oil reserves. The problem is many regions are running out of oil reserves.

Norway's production has slumped by 25 per cent since its peak in 2001, Britain's by 43 per cent since its peak in 2000, and the giant Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska has dropped 65 per cent from its peak 20 years ago.

Mexico is also having trouble finding new oil to offset the decline of its largest oil field, Cantarell.

The huge offshore field peaked at over 2.2 million barrels a day in 2001. Production continues to fall and it now produces 1.22 million barrels a day.

Oil Refiners: Cheap for a Reason

Believe it or not, the business of buying crude oil and "cracking" it into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil is losing money. It really is hard to believe, considering that everything this industry sells fetches 50% more than it did a year ago.

But just like bakers who are staggering from the rising cost of flour or ice cream makers who are paying through the snout for milk and cream, refiners are squeezed by the rising cost of crude, whose price is rising much faster than the price of gasoline.

Libya to Reassess Italy Oil Deals Amid Government Row

Libya is reassessing some of its oil deals with Italian energy company Eni SpA (E) as tensions mount between the two nations following the new Italian government's high-level appointment of a right-wing politician who has angered the North African country in recent years.

Soaring fuel costs threaten to shut down Suriname fisheries

PARAMARIBO, Suriname; Increasing fuel costs are threatening to shut down fisheries in Suriname completely, with fish and shrimp trawlers kept in docks for over one month now, Prahlad Sewdien, president of the Suriname Seafood Association (SSA) has warned.

He revealed that fishing companies can’t cope with the soaring costs of fuel, while there is also unfair competition in Surinamese waters from fishermen from Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago who allegedly get fuel at a very competitive tariffs from their respective governments.

Spiking gas prices put towns in a pinch

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — For the first time, the town of South Kingstown expects to spend more than $300,000 on diesel and gasoline for the town’s fleet of vehicles. Town Manager Stephen A. Alfred estimated the town would spend $321,316 on vehicle fuel in the new fiscal year, up from a budgeted $271,397 this year and $249,338 in 2006.

With fuel costs on the rise, Alfred thought he budgeted conservatively when he estimated gasoline at $3 a gallon. But with diesel prices at more than $4 a gallon and gasoline over $3.50 – and neither moving downward – town officials are looking for ways to keep costs in line before the budget year begins July 1.

No Relief in Sight for High Fertilizer Prices

Across the board, the price of synthetic fertilizer has gone through the roof. Dealers are reporting farmers are paying double or even triple the amount they paid last year for the same amount of fertilizer.

The False Lure of Lower Gas Prices

The transition to a low-petroleum future is a long-term undertaking that requires far-reaching changes in technology, capital investment and consumer behavior. Thus far, despite fits and starts, hopeful rhetoric, and thoughtful policy proposals, this bright future has eluded us.

High prices, shrinking wages & juicy profits

The first thing to know is that rising prices are not inevitable. Countries with planned—i.e., socialist—economies have kept prices remarkably stable, beginning with the Soviet Union, continuing with People’s China, until it opened up to the world capitalist market, and still in Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea today. This is because prices there have been set not by a capitalist market but by the government—and food prices have always been set deliberately low so that no one goes hungry.

Ease off gas pedal -- live simply so others survive

Fuel costs will go down when the demand curve drops.

But here's the rub: Those who can afford today's gas costs don't seem to care there are others who can't. The ones with the greatest ability to impact demand aren't willing to sacrifice.

People are still driving gas guzzlers unnecessarily, transporting children to several activities a week and commuting an hour to work. They're seemingly unfazed by how these actions affect others.

I'm glad there's a strong upper-middle and upper-class group of people relatively unaffected by gas prices. But it's selfishness when one's actions cause a hardship for others. Being wealthy doesn't earn anyone a pass for gluttony.

ANWR should be a part of solving energy crisis

Part of the response from the Democratic side of Congress after President Bush called on the body to approve legislation allowing oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is worth repeating just for the “wow” factor.

It's no solution, goes a portion of the argument, because it would be more than 10 years before it could come into production.

Wow, if only President Bill Clinton hadn't vetoed ANWR exploration 13 years ago.

Many hands make light work of saving energy

SANDWICH, N.H. - Last weekend, some 30 men and women arrived at a neighbor's home in this mountainside community, prepared for a day of hard labor. Their pay would be a pot of coffee, slabs of cornbread, and a spread of roast turkey sandwiches.

In days past, the end result might have been a barn. But in a twist on the traditional mutual aid event of a barn raising, the neighbors put up a solar-heated water system.

Indiana Agriculture Department reacts to ethanol myths

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) - Pick up any publication today and you will see alarming claims about corn-ethanol driving the world into famine. Two years ago, the same publications were heralding ethanol as the savior of America's energy crisis. The truth is somewhere in between, and it is time for a calm, rational analysis of ethanol's contributions and limitations.

The best way to begin a rational discussion is to address some of the biggest myths about ethanol.

At 15p a litre, home-brew biodiesel is fuel of the future

Since the law was relaxed to allow people to make 2,500 litres a year for their own use, most are working legally, but as the price of fuel rises inexorably, so criminal elements are moving in.

"There are wars going on in London to get the oil," said Tom Lasica, who runs Pure Fuels, London's largest refiner of vegetable oil. "Spanish and German companies are moving in to buy up British used vegetable oil. People are stealing it from each other and selling it abroad. We heard that one fish and chip shop in Southend was broken into just to steal the waste oil."

Oil Costs To Offset Stimulus Package

On the eve of President Bush's visit to Saudi Arabia, crude oil prices set a record for the fifth day in a row yesterday, eating into tax rebates being mailed to U.S. households and prompting FedEx to slash its quarterly earnings forecast by $100 million because of rising fuel costs.

Since Congress and Bush unveiled an economic stimulus package Jan. 24, the price of the OPEC basket of crude oil has jumped by $32.51 a barrel, raising the cost of U.S. oil imports enough to offset the entire stimulus package over the course of the year.

Global Food Shock

As an American, I've taken for granted that I can get just about any food I want at the supermarket. In fact, the number of choices are dizzying. I never really thought about the tenuous chain between myself and my food. Less than 1% of the U.S. population is employed in agriculture, and 40% of these farmers are 55 or older. 1 The chain of transportation that brings goods to the stores is tenuous and depends on a few key railways and truck drivers. Supermarkets could experience spot shortages if the proposed trucker strike gains momentum or more drivers quit the business.

Up, Up, and Away?

Two years ago, oil sold for just $70 per barrel. If you asked energy analysts back then what circumstances would lead to oil prices hitting $125 per barrel, they would have told you that only a catastrophe could lead to such unprecedented high oil prices such as a terrorist attack in the Saudi oil fields.

Mystery Indian analyst spooks world economy

WASHINGTON: They are calling him Arjun "Spike" Murti, but his real middle name is Narayana, the supreme manifestation of the Hindu God Vishnu.

Supreme he is, in the oil world. The little known Indian analyst at Goldman Sachs has become a cause célèbre -- or a doomsday prophet -- for his forecasts about oil prices, based on what he calls the "super-spike" theory, predicated on rising demand for crude and limitations in refining capacity.

A new voice to Paine's cry of rebellion (review of Kevin Phillips' Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism)

Beyond this double, double, toil and trouble financial brew, Phillips focuses on the increasing inevitability that global peak oil production is sooner rather than later. Phillips makes no bones about the matter that the American occupation of Iraq is about oil and states the obvious, "the attempt to make US energy policy from bomb bays and guided-missile cruisers misfired in 2003".

Energy at nexus of future, Yergin says

On a proposed "tax holiday" for consumers and the factors driving up oil prices:

I think the calculation is it would save the average consumer $26.50. I think that what has driven this last wave of a surge in prices has been the fall of the dollar, the weakness in the U.S. economy, and a tremendous influx of investors into the energy markets, so I don't see what a tax holiday does. If you figure it out, it would really be a mini- mini-mini-rebate.

Coal is King: Demand worldwide has prices skyrocketing

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – With coal prices spiking – and the demand for coal surging in overseas markets – local coal companies are experiencing tremendous growth.

And coal — taken from the mountains of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia — is fueling economies worldwide.

How to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Over the last eight months, the Department of Energy purchased more than 10 million barrels of oil for the SPR as the price rose $40 to above $120. This is not sensible. It puts upward pressure on oil prices at the worst possible time. It is a waste of taxpayer money. It gives aid and comfort to unfriendly nations. And it is an insurance policy that, for the most part, is no longer needed.

In fact, we should be selling oil from the SPR at $120. Doing so could be a powerful tool for U.S. energy policy.

Lebanese PM sends in army to tackle Hezbollah

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora on Saturday ordered the army to restore law and order across the country and remove gunmen from the streets.

Saniora said Lebanese government can no longer accept that militant group Hezbollah freely hold on to its weapons.

In his first public remarks since fighting began on Wednesday, Saniora accused Hezbollah of carrying out an "armed coup" against Lebanese democracy.

U.K. Grangemouth Oil Refinery Blaze Extinguished

(Bloomberg) -- Firefighters extinguished a blaze at Ineos Group Holdings Plc's 200,000 barrel-a-day Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland, which is still recovering from a strike last month, the Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service said.

Shell pulls out of Iran gas deal

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil major Royal Dutch Shell has pulled out of a planned gas project in Iran, after coming under pressure not to participate from U.S. lawmakers who were concerned about Iran's nuclear programme.

Al Qaeda targeting Nigeria, police chief warns

LAGOS (Reuters) - Al Qaeda Islamist militants have renewed their threat to bomb targets in Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer, a newspaper reported on Saturday quoting the national police chief.

The United States embassy in Nigeria said last September the country was at risk of "terrorist attack" and Osama bin Laden once named the world's eighth biggest oil exporter as ripe for jihad or Islamic holy war.

China says 3 of its construction workers abducted in Nigeria have been freed

BEIJING: Three Chinese construction workers who were abducted in southern Nigeria's troubled oil region have been released, the government said Saturday.

The Chinese were freed Friday after three days in captivity, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua News Agency. It gave no details of how they were released.

Russian roulette on the pipelines

The chilly front of the Cold War is being replaced with a heating battle, as demand for gas increases along with the price. Russian giant Gazprom appears to have the upper hand in this power struggle but eastern European countries have weapons of their own to keep fuel prices at the low levels they have become accustomed to.

Venezuela, China to Create Joint Venture to Supply New Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela agreed with China, the world's fastest-growing major economy, to form a joint venture that will produce oil in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt to supply a new 400,000 barrel-a-day refinery they will build in China.

Brazil eyes Opec entry

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva believes his nation wants to join Opec to help bring down oil prices, a leading German weekly quoted him as saying Friday. Silva said in the interview published in Der Spiegel news magazine that his nation plans to exploit massive deep-water oil reserves discovered near Rio de Janeiro. “Then Brazil will become a major oil exporter,” Silva said in an advance copy of the interview to be published Saturday. “We want to join Opec and to try to make oil cheaper.”

An Energy Policy That Makes Sense, Revisited

On April 4 (2008) I published my first energy policy here on Seeking Alpha. Oil was around $100/barrel. Roughly one month later, oil is up another 20% and now over $120/barrel; the US dollar is dropping like a rock; the S& P500 has done nothing in years, and inflation, food and otherwise, is high and rising. CEOs of major oil companies took the unprecedented step to publicly say at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that worldwide oil supply will not keep up with worldwide oil demand by the year 2015. That is only 7 years from now. If oil prices are $120/barrel today (while oil supply and demand are balanced), what will prices be in 2015? Regardless, it is well past the time to take action. Yet still no word from the President and Congress on a real energy policy to prepare and protect America from the realities of peak oil. Why?

Oil Lobby Reaches Out to Citizens Peeved at the Pump

Faced with a national outcry over the high price of gasoline and soaring profits for energy companies, the oil and gas industry is waging an unusually pricey campaign to burnish its image.

The American Petroleum Institute, the industry's main lobby, has embarked on a multiyear, multimedia, multimillion-dollar campaign, which includes advertising in the nation's largest newspapers, news conferences in many state capitals and trips for bloggers out to drilling platforms at sea.

Rising fuel prices are a driving force for change - away from autos

Only 7% of people in Los Angeles took public transportation to work in 2006, the last year for which figures are available, while 2.8% walked, 1.4% took a cab or motorcycled and 0.6% bicycled, according to the Southern California Assn. of Governments.

But people are cutting back in a million little ways, and even in the Los Angeles area they're cutting back on driving. Interest in cycling is growing, gasoline consumption is down and bus and light-rail ridership is up.

How to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

I just finished writing an article on that:

Stop Filling the SPR?

The truth is, the rate of fill is about 0.05% of the world's daily oil consumption. That's just noise. You could save more oil by simply having full-service gas stations check the air pressure of the tires on every car that stops by - yet I don't see anyone calling for that.

My conclusion is that since it is already almost full, yet the fill rate is so slow, it really isn't going to make any difference either way. But the suckers who want to sell oil from the SPR at current prices obviously think oil prices long-term are going down. Let them bet their own money on that.

You could save more oil by simply having full-service gas stations check the air pressure of the tires on every car that stops by - yet I don't see anyone calling for that.

Probably because there aren't any full service stations. Except in New Jersey and other places where they are mandated by law.

Honestly, I haven't seen a full-service station for years.

There are a few places. I think that's the law in Oregon as well, and I have run into it at places in Europe.

But, even without that, there could be a campaign reminding people to check the air when they fill up, while making air hoses available at the pumps (instead of tucked off in a corner).

Here in Ontario media coverage of fuel prices is now a daily feature. Most of the local TV coverage regularily includes tips on how to save and tire pressure is always included as well as driving style tips. However whenever I visit Canadian Tire stores invariably the housewares and do-dads sections are the busiest with very little traffic in the automotive sections. I think a lot of people don't even know the car has tires, let alone that there is air in them.

Charity groups could check the air pressure for a free-will donation. Like some of them do with car washes.

Hey, I was about to post that! Yes, it would be a lot easier than washing cars and could even be done by old farts like me.

That will never happen. It requires gas station owners to invest in new infrastructure, when a lot of them are hurting from the high prices worse than their customers.

Besides, checking tire pressure is best done before you start driving, not at the gas station when you may have been driving for awhile.

What do you think of the WSJ's idea that we should sell oil from the SPR?

It requires gas station owners to invest in new infrastructure...

I think most of them already have the compressors. It's a matter of education and access.

What do you think of the WSJ's idea that we should sell oil from the SPR?

It's kind of like running without insurance. It's a great way to save money - provided I don't have an accident.

If one had some kind of knowledge that oil would definitely be lower in the future - and the guy advocating that clearly felt that way - then it would make sense. But if you think oil is going much higher, then it would be stupid. Remember, people have been calling for the SPR to be tapped since oil hit $20. Imagine the situation we would be in now - $120 oil and an empty SPR - if those calls had been heeded.

I think most of them already have the compressors. It's a matter of education and access.

They have the compressors, but as you note, there's usually one, off in a corner, away from the pumps. Having them at the pump, as you suggest, would force stations to have more than one.

It's kind of like running without insurance. It's a great way to save money - provided I don't have an accident.

Yeah, but the non-peak oil aware won't really care about that. They just want to know if it will work. (And note they are in favor of maintaining a certain minimum level in the SPR, so we'd never be entirely without insurance.)

And we'd be able to fill up again, once oil drops below $40/barrel!

I think that we need the SPR. Remember New Orleans after the flood. A major city without gasoline will look the same in a few days.

Remember, people have been calling for the SPR to be tapped since oil hit $20. Imagine the situation we would be in now - $120 oil and an empty SPR - if those calls had been heeded.

That's really the perfect comeback for people like us to use. Of course, the government can't use it lest it cause panic. This administration probably even has reason to think oil could soon spike, and they can't say that either.

It's the strategic reserve, not the "cheapskate" reserve anyhow.

Maybe our fine President *knows* there will be a problem with oil supply in the near future...

Like when we invade Iran?

In which case the reserve would probably be used to make fuel for military vehicles and aircraft. In the event of an attack on Iran, fuel shortages would last a lot longer then 90 days, and the US military is one of the world's largest users of oil...during WWII, people didn't drive unless they got the right permit...everyone else walked or took a bus.

As I see it, the SPR isn't there so we can keep driving to the Dairy Queen in our SUVs -- it's there for the military, and emergency services, and health care, in the event of a national crisis. I don't think selling oil out of the SPR would make much of a difference in oil prices -- we here in the U.S. are no longer driving the bus, when it comes to global oil demand and consumption.

The DOE wants to do this with the SPR:


To decrease the cost of filling the reserve and improve its efficiency, GAO recommended in previous work that DOE should include at least 10 percent heavy crude oils in the SPR. If DOE bought 100 million barrels of heavy crude oil during its expansion of the SPR it could save over $1 billion in nominal terms, assuming a price differential of $12 between the price of light crude oil and the lower price of heavy crude oil, the average differential over the last five years. Having heavy crude oil in the SPR would also make the SPR more compatible with many U.S. refineries, helping these refineries run more efficiently in the event that a supply disruption triggers use of the SPR.

Iran has 20 million barrels of heavy oil in storage in tankers. I suspect that they would be willing to make a one time deal at a good price (payable in euros through Swiss bank). This would effectively fill our SPR (701.x to 721.x million barrels) and allow us to bomb them.

Best Hopes for Rational Behavior :-(


Around South Florida even 'free air' regardless of where it is located is scarce. Most self serves with "convenience" stores have the air and water off to the side AND for seventy-five cents!


Not only are tucked off in a corner, but they are usually coin operated. Last week I needed one because of a slow leak, I had to ask at the pay counter. At least they turned it on for me for free, as I am a frequent customer. Otherwise the machine wanted $.75 for the honor of using it.

Wow, I never heard of such a thing. I thought you always had to pay. It would never even occur to me to ask to use it free.

Why don't we just use handpumps? I have a $7.50 pump I bought a few years back, and a nice round airpressure gauge. You should always have both in your car at all times, anyway! It ain't THAT hard!

I purchased emergency gizmos for both our cars that will inflate a tire and run off the car battery. They also have a built-in flashlight and warning flashers. They cost about $20, I think (made in China, of course). I've been looking for a manual foot pump, but I haven't found one yet (admittedly, I haven't been looking very hard or in the right places yet).

I've been looking for a manual foot pump,

Visit any bike sections in a tarket/kmart/mal-wart big box store. Downside - they are flimsy.

At least in California, state law now requires gas stations to provide free air to customers. If they have a pay machine you can ask the clerk and he'll give you a token or a quarter. The law was passed a year or two ago to encourage energy efficiency and safety.

You find full service throughout Oregon. The law says you can't pump your own gas.

On the other hand, perhaps we should take some responsibility here and do the checking of tire pressure ourselves?

I covered this in another article I recently wrote. In that essay, I posted the following excerpts from a recent story on Yahoo:

The Carnegie Mellon University Sustainable Earth Club studied 81 random vehicles in a parking lot and found that 80 of the 81 had under-inflated tires. The average rate of under-inflation was 20% -- soft tires, indeed.

The EPA estimates that for every 1 psi of under-inflation, fuel economy drops by 0.4%. That's not much, but if the tires are under-inflated by 8 pounds, that's a 3.2% drop in fuel economy. About 1.2 billion gallons of fuel are wasted annually due to under-inflated tires, the NHTSA estimated in 2005.

1.2 billion gallons is three times what we put in the SPR in the past year - but have you heard one government official talking about an intiative to air up our tires?

I'd be interested to know when that study was done. It can be difficult to keep tires at the right pressure when the seasons are changing. In April and May around here, it's not unusual for it be 90F one day and 30F the next.

And yes, I've heard government officials talking about tire pressure. They even passed a law about it.

And yes, I've heard government officials talking about tire pressure. They even passed a law about it.

That's a new one on me. Can someone confirm that the 2008s have these sensors?

My daughter's 2007 Toyota Pruis has the tire pressure lights.

Appearantly the federal government has passed
that mandates TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) on every vehicle under 10,000 lbs GVWR starting September 2007 relating to Firestone and other tire safety issue.

Some flap about tampering and installing custom wheels.

The cheap and dirty way to do this has always been to count 'triggers' of the ABS sensors and alert when one tire turned in too many revolutions over it's counterparts. The problem here was it took the brain awhile to decide if it was really happening. Don't know if the new law mandates the smart in-the-wheel variety, (which address the fuel mileage issue more directly rather than just safety) probably not.

We just got in new Chevys. The Impala I drove read out each tire pressure as I drove, along with the running instantaneous gas mileage.

Hi Robert,

I have a tendency to overinflate my tires in an effort to improve fuel economy and over the years I'm reasonably sure I've blown at least two as a result. The tire pressure monitoring system on my car shows the real-time pressure of all four, in kiloPascals or psi, as well as the condition of the spare. If one or more tires fall out of range, it flashes a warning and the readings of affected tire(s) blink on the display. This system has been triggered several times in the six years I've owned this vehicle, typically when the weather turns sharply warmer or in extended high-speed driving. For me, it offers considerable peace of mind, added convenience and greater safety, plus it has protected me from expensive loss (you don't want to replace a P255/45ZR-18 before its time and/or an alloy rim if you can possibly avoid it). If this isn't standard equipment on all vehicles, it really should be -- that and side-impact air bags.


Over or under inflated tires suffer enhanced, and uneven wear. The cost to the motorist of premature replacement can be considerable.

Hi EoS,

That's true. In years past, I use to fill my tires to their maximum rating specified by the tyre manufacturer but, as you know, 35 psi at -20C is altogether different at +20C. In Atlantic Canada, temperatures can swing from one extreme to the other all in the same week, so what's perfectly fine one day can be potentially disastrous the next. The TPMS has made me much more aware of this fact and taught me not to push the boundaries quite as hard. Now, I don't worry about day-to-day changes in my vehicle's tire pressure for the simple fact that my car monitors it for me.


Our 2006 Prius has the sensors. They aren't very accurate, however (at least in the '06 models). They are useful to warn of impending problems, not to make sure they're filled to optimum pressure.

Leanan -

The effect of these day-to-day temperature fluctuations on tire pressure tend to average out, but on the whole I think it is safe to conclude that most cars have underinflated tires - simply because there are inherent very slow leaks coupled with the fact that most motorists tend to ignore tire pressure. Also, remember that it is the differences in absolute temperature that determines pressure differences, so the difference in pressure resulting from a drop in temperature from 90F to 30F is not as great as it would at first appear.

If you check you tire pressure once a month, you should be pretty close to maintaining the proper pressure most of the time. It is very important to be extra diligent about this at the onset of Winter.

I personally find using a service station air hose both inconvenient and slightly dangerous (almost got run over by a car pulling out while bending over putting air in a tire), so I bought a nice little air pump ($49 at Peb Boys) and do it myself. It's probably already paid for itself.

I became a little compulsive about tire pressure as the result of having owned two rear-engined cars, a '66 Corvair and a '68 Beetle. The handling of a rear-engined car is extremely sensitive to front-to-rear relative tire pressure, so neglecting tire pressure with such cars is at one's peril.

I have a little air pump, too. It was $80 at Brookstone. You plug it into the cigarette lighter.

The only problem is people aren't used to seeing you inflate your own tires like that. Whenever I use it, some guy comes rushing out to help me, thinking I'm trying to change a flat.

Is the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure designed to optimize fuel consumption, or safety? I'm guessing the latter. Is there any reason the two optima should be the same? I'm guessing not.

One tire salesman recommended a lower pressure than that printed on the tire to make the ride "smoother." I wasn't that impressed. I've also found it entirely possible to pump up car tires with a bicycle pump. If you have one with an integral pressure gauge, it's pretty easy if a little phycically demanding.

Manufacturers set their tire pressure based on optimum feel and handling characteristics based upon the demographics for that particular model. A performance car would have less highly inflated tires for better traction. A luxury car would have even soft tires for comfort, etc. Tire manufacturer's print the tire safety range on their tires. You can be sure that this range is designed for maximum protection from lawsuits, so I would guess that the range is actually wider than that posted on the sidewall. I pressure my tires at the absolute high end for maximum MPG. I also have never noticed any difference in handling characteristics related to safety or performance. The only change is the ride is a bit harsher.

There is an optimal tire pressure for safety: flat. A moving car is a dangerous car. Get out and walk. Impacts tend to do less damage.

Excessive tire pressure can cause greater wear in the center of the tire. (Internal construction figures in as well).

Also observe the front/rear pressure delta, and likely exaggerate it a bit if running higher pressures.

Best Hopes for Energy Efficiency and Properly Inflated tires,


I pressure my tires at the absolute high end for maximum MPG

Interesting, thanks guys. I remember reading a recommendation to overinflate by about 2psi to save fuel, and I hadn't thought of the third figure of merit - ride comfort. Tire life would be a fourth figure of merit (again with a sharp optimum at zero pressure, if you didn't try to ride the rims).

I'm sure the optimum for all of these is (a) very noisy and (b) somewhat broad. And tradeoffs make life much more interesting.

Lowering pressure REDUCES traction. Raising the pressure too high will distort the tread, leading to excessive wear in the middle. The proper setting is not what is written on the sidewall, but what is printed on the label on the car. It is best not to exceed the correct pressure for your car by too much - I usually run about 3-4psi over the rating on the car.

Les Schwab Tires, an institution here in the Northwest, routinely fills tires about 4 psi over manufacturer suggestion. I've followed that practice in checking my own tire pressure.

I have the same kind of little pump, a Coleman Compressor. Works well. Only $13.


I have long had a compressor, and just picked up another one for my wife last weekend at Checker Auto, complete with hoses and tire-filler nozzle, for $39 after rebate.

Not only are compressors darned easy to use, and not only is it best to fill your tires when they're cold, but if you have a larger air tank you can store some compressed air for running various tools. This is a fairly inexpensive alternative to battery storage of small amounts of energy, and air tools are pretty cheap. Now, anyhow.

Robert Rapier writes "The Carnegie Mellon University Sustainable Earth Club studied 81 random vehicles in a parking lot and found that 80 of the 81 had under-inflated tires. The average rate of under-inflation was 20% -- soft tires, indeed."

Determining the correct tire pressure may not be so easy. For the 81 vehicles sampled the researchers may not have to correct pressure to start with. Why? The manufacturer's recommendation for tire pressure may be different than the one on the tire. On my Ford Ranger the max pressure is 35 PSI under a particular load. Ford recommends 30 PSI.

Following on to Ammond, the tire pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire is the maximum pressure that the tire is designed to withstand. My experience is that the best-handling pressure (on a typical public road) and best tire-wear pressure is significantly below this level.

There is also a manufacture's recommended pressure, and in the case of my car at least, a (higher) recommended pressure for when traveling with maximum weight or at high speed. Of course the manufacturer's recommendations assume you are running the exact same tire and suspension setup that came with the car... hard to do when 10-year-old tire designs and shock designs that are no longer available for purchase.

So, I have a hard time believing 80 out of 81 sampled cars were truly under-inflated.

I would definitely believe that nearly all cars on the road have underinflated tires. Its the same with bicycles, and with bicycles you can really feel the difference when you pedal.

My old girlfriend had just gotten a nice Audi and I asked her if she had checked the tire pressure because they looked a little low. They were all between 18-24 psi with a recommended maximum of 36psi. I brought them all up to 33psi. So she was wasting quite a bit of fuel. I basically gave her the McCain/Clinton gas tax holiday+. I also gave her a pressure gauge and showed her how to use it. Not too sexy, but very practical.

The best handling may be with slightly flat tires, but aren't we talking about an energy crisis here? Isn't there a war for the oil in more than one place around the globe? And people can't be bothered to check their tires once a month? Yikes! The difference in handling is pretty marginal, and if you take the corner to fast you risk a blowout regardless. Most tires are not designed with race car handling in mind. Cars get you from point a to b. Anything extra is a bonus.

I still think Americans won't really change their driving habits until gas is $10/gal. That's the point at which the tax discounts from the McMansion in suburbia no longer offset the car that gets you there. Its also about the point where gas is the main factor in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the car. Right now gas is still just a small part compared to depreciation, insurance, repairs, parking, registration and tickets. $4/gal is a bargain. I know it sounds crazy, but it really is. It is about $0.20/mile marginal cost. People still go to Starbucks and get a mostly air coffee for $4 (plus the cost to drive there) every morning.

When people cut the Starbucks, that'll be the Canary in the Coalmine for the love affair of the automobile.

I agree that most tires are under inflated due to users lack of caring. I am a Honda mechanic and I check tire pressures all day long, a majority of them are at least 4psi low. I usually inflate at least 2psi higher than factory recommended and sometimes up to 5psi more. This comes from learning what each model does to the tires, and knowing the cust. will not check them. I also can see that the factory pressure has ride comfort as one of the factors. For instance after two years of a new model the recommended pressures on the same exact tire was raised by 3psi rear and 2psi front, due to excessive tire wear when the(Element) was close to GVWR(four 180lbs adults puts it within 60lbs of it).

One thing that bothers me the most is when a hybrid comes in the shop for a major service and it has 20psi in the tires. The average fuel mileage is very low on these cars. So they care enough about their car to spent over 300 dollars for service but cannot check the tire pressures once a month for free!

As an avid autocrosser I can tell you, handling is best with the tire pressures at the optimum level, sometimes lower but mostly higher than factory recommended pressures. Driving for fuel mileage does not always mean driving like grandma. Going through a corner faster means that you slowed down less and will have to speed up less, hence using less fuel, of course safety comes first, but just five psi low and the ultimate grip level is lowered. Most people only find the limit of traction when they are in an emergency situation, hence unless you sometimes drive your car near the limit and can feel the lowered traction of improperly inflated tires I recommend you keep the tire at or higher than factory specs.



Buy a twenty dollar pump that works off the cigarette lighter.

Dont tell me that, after years of Peak Oil Watching, drivers coming to this site have not got:

Pump , manual or electric
Jump leads or a 'heart starter'
Jerry can.

Be like the boy scouts :-)

Do you find French philosophers unbearably wordy? I've got a device that can summarize them a dozen at a time! It's true - it's called a Twelve Voltaire compressor!

(Can't remember where I read that)


To call NJ stations full-service is a laugh. It only means an attendant fills your tank instead of you -- nothing more! At least that's how it is here in Jersey City.

Yep--In Oregon, "Mini Service" is where they simply pump the fuel for you and maybe wash your windscreen. "Full Service" is where more is done, like checking oil level and tire pressure. These distinctions, however, are a bit fuzzy between stations due to competition for customers.



Tire pressure and temperature monitors on my trucks show a 10-15 lb increase
after being driven for 30 minutes regardless of initial temperature. We never
over pressure out tires for this one reason.

When I rode a BMW, the mechanic that worked on my bike (also a superbike national champion) suggested that tire pressure should change 10% from cold (unridden) to warm (ridden a good distance, such as 10 miles). Admittedly, these were motorcycle tires, but if the change was more or less, then the tire was over/under inflated.

Almost all of the "solutions" for bringing prices down talked about lately by politicians are either totally clueless or pandering/demagoguery. The higher the status of the politician, the more useless their proposals. Clinton was on Bill O'Reilly's show recently promising to break OPEC and legislate windfall taxes on energy producers in the U.S. McCain wants to suspend gas taxes.

Now the absurdity with the SPR.

From Leanan's link:

How about you go the extra “mile” and equip cars with a self pressurizing system? It doesn’t have to be complicated. As we drive, air is compressed and fed into the front of the car. An additional compressor and pump could equalize tire pressure when sensors trigger a low pressure warning. It wouldn’t be enough to fill a flat tire, but it could certainly be enough to keep a constant pressure.

The technology is already there. Military HMMWVs (Humvees) have had the ability to increase/decrease their tire pressure from inside the cabin to quickly adjust to varying levels of terrain. A lower tire pressure, in this case, increases the tire’s footprint giving it more traction in sandy conditions.

That would probably add so much weight it would cancel out the fuel savings. Be good for the GDP perhaps...more techs, installations on used vehicles.

From Tire pressure monitoring systems (Auto Tech, Canadian site):

Tire pressure monitoring systems seem like a good idea. However, they only warn when a tire is getting dangerously low, and if the warning light comes on every time there is a large outside temperature change, then drivers begin to ignore the warning and the systems become useless. TPMS is designed to provide safer motoring, but these warning systems do not replace regularly checking the tire pressures.

Seems like a sensible approach would be to gently mandate that filling stations put up signs advising drivers to check their tires. And stations generally charge about 50 cents to use their compressor anyway, they'll pick up some spare change in the process, until drivers break down and buy their own compressor that is.

I would also consider that their may be "strategic" reasons right now for filling up our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, regardless of price. Many world changing events can occur between now and election day.

This doesn't strike me as being very plausible - the year on year change is from 680 million barrels to 700 million barrels - that's a very marginal increase, and adds no real strategic benefit. I suspect that it's mostly a case of Bush being an oilman and delivering on one of his "pledges" to his good-ole-boy constituency to fill the SPR by the end of his term - he's not going to succeed in this, as I can't see them continuing to chuck in a further 100kbpd for the next 8 months to bring the number up to 727 million barrels.

It only takes one bad hurricane ripping through the GoMex to reverse the trend.

There appears to be a misunderstanding of how the SPR is controlled, directed, and used.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) permanently authorized the SPR and required it to be expanded “as expeditiously as practicable” to 1 billion barrels of crude oil. There is major construction work ungoing at this time to expand the SPR to the 1 billion storage capacity.

The Government is required by federal law to keep filling the SPR up until it reaches its capacity - unless a "severe energy supply interruption" occurs. The SPR was never authorized, or otherwise intended to be, some type of oil price control mechanism. However the SPR has been repeatedly used to control prices since oil was about $40 - and quite frequently in the two years after Hurricane Katrina stuck. I do agree however that for a short time period just after Katrina, tapping the SPR was appropiate in regrads to its stated purpose.

Anyway, as Robert says, the fill rate is so slow its effect on the marketplace should be almost insignificant.


Hello Charles Mackay,

Thxs for this info. I am of the opinion the SPR should be saved for future generations as much as possible: it will provide the energy for making a lot of bicycle and wheelbarrow tires for a long time. This is obviously much better than a quick reversion to the Nuahtl Tlameme backpacking scheme. Recall that the Chinese considered rickshaws and wheelbarrows top-secret logistic-weaponry.

Another comment: with SpiderWebRiding a person doesn't have to worry about energy losses from under-inflation. The steel wheel on steel rail is the maximum in power-transfer efficiency, and one set of wheels may last a lifetime. How many sets of petro-tires will we waste until we come to this realization?

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

Yes, instead of blaming the present adminstration for filling the SPR, they should be congradulated for mostly filling it when oil was less than $40 - and more readily available. It's about the only thing they've done right.

Also, if I was King of Saudi Arabia, I would be slowly reducing the output of the oil fields for future generations. Perhaps that's even their unannounced plan now.

Anyway the forward thinking of you and others may make life just a little bit better for those that follow us. Thanks.

Also, if I was King of Saudi Arabia, I would be slowly reducing the output of the oil fields for future generations.

I doubt it, because none of those future generations are supporting you in power or going to hang you from a lamp post if you don't buy them off.
At the moment living in a western democracy (especially the US) means you are enslaving your children for your current comfort via the national debt, what is most depressing is that there is almost nothing to show for it except politicians fat salaries and decaying infrastructure

If I was King of Saudi Arabia and my oil production was declining I would be interested in claiming that I was reducing output in order to save it for future generations.

If I was King of Saudi Arabia and my oil production was declining I would be interested in claiming that I was reducing output in order to save it for future generations.

No doubt you would, but would that be actually what you were doing? I think not, you'd just be putting a spin on reality.

Other useful things to have:

Daypack: For walking commutes to/from work, or for shopping trips where you just have a few small things to carry home.

Garden cart (the type with two bicycle wheels): These will carry more stuff than a wheelbarrow, and are far more versatile. It might even be possible to rig up some sort of harness and tow these behind yourself (or a bike, or a beast of burden) for miles, hauling stuff.

Hand cart: This would be just the thing for shopping trips where you need to haul home more stuff than will fit in a daypack. Bring two or three boxes or milk crates with you, and you should be able to bring home a week's worth of groceries.

Garden cart (the type with two bicycle wheels)

It's not worth being too precise in your definition of "wheelbarrow", there are plenty of two wheeled, wheel barrows in places like China mostly having the wheels under the centre of gravity, lots of carts built that way too.

I am of the opinion the SPR should be saved for future generations as much as possible


And say, if one cared about one's nation, pumping of domestic oil should be heavily taxed in favor of keeping it in the ground, while using other peoples' exported oil while they're silly enough to export it.

Only a matter of time until the smart nations figure this one out. M.K. Hubbert recognized it.

Sunday Times , Irwin Stelzer:


From The Sunday Times

May 11, 2008

America must learn to love dearer petrol

American Account
Irwin Stelzer

ASK the wrong question, and you get the wrong answer. The question being asked by Hillary Clinton and John McCain - and that covers just about the entire political spectrum - is, “How can we lower petrol prices?”
Their answer: reduce the federal tax of about 18 cents per gallon. The reasons that is exactly the wrong policy are too many to list here. One is that oil producers, or oil companies, or service-station operators would raise prices by an equivalent amount. But give the pandering pols the benefit of the doubt, and assume that prices would go down. The right question is: “Is it a good idea to lower petrol prices?” The right answer is “no”.

Lower petrol prices would encourage Americans to drive more, use more petrol, emit more pollutants, and increase the demand for crude oil. So regimes hostile to America would sell more oil. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, whose government owns some 8,000 petrol stations in America, must be astonished to learn that leading American politicians are eager to increase his revenues. And the Saudi financiers of jihadists and Wahhabi mullahs who fuel antiAmericanism would be pleased to have a few extra hundred million. So would Vladimir Putin.

Better that, figure our politicians, than to take the political risk of increasing taxes on petrol, reducing demand and getting to the consumers’ wallets before Opec (the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and the unfriendlies do.

The wrong question - how do we lower prices - also creates pressure to stop the flow of oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Stop buying oil, critics tell George Bush, and demand pressures will ease. Better still, sell off some of the reserve, and increase crude supplies. Either might drive down prices and, unfortunately, increase imports - or have only the effect of reducing our ability to confront a supply cut-off.

From the same article:

Second, are there cost-effective ways of increasing the supply of crude oil? Probably. Studies that showed that the environmental cost of drilling in Alaska and offshore Florida and California exceeded any benefit from new discoveries are now out of date. The benefits were estimated when oil prices were less than half current levels. So the benefits of stepped up exploration have multiplied with the increased price of oil, while much has been learnt about reducing the environmental impact of such drilling.

Final sensible question: “Can anything be done to increase supplies of oil from the world’s important suppliers?” Answer: yes, if there is the will to act. The Saudi regime depends on the American military umbrella for its long-term survival, the Mexican government depends on remittances sent to poor Mexican families from the millions of its citizens working in America, and the Opec cartel exists only because the State Department prevents the antitrust authorities from breaking it up. A serious American administration would be capable of explaining to the Saudis, Mexicans and Opec that continuation of these indulgent policies is dependent on their willingness to allow western firms to develop new reserves and wring more oil from existing fields in their countries, and to remove cartel restrictions on current production.

So that is the answer!
Drill and Kill!

Thank Goodness there are no geological constraints to oil production!

An Energy Policy That Makes Sense, Revisited

Unfortunatly this guy wants to keep everyone happily motoring along.
I think the time has already run out on that one. The call for leadership is the most important thing said in this article as is the request for electrified rail transportation.
His policy to Canada seems to be more of: "Why is our oil under their snow?"
We Canadians do need to get off our duffs, but to implement a national energy strategy that does not include sending more resources south. However I am sure we will then have to negotiate with Mr Abrams and the other USA front line diplomats.

Unfortunatly this guy wants to keep everyone happily motoring along.

Is that really a surprise? Any other position is a political no-go.

Things really haven't changed, $126 oil or no. Yergin may have backed off his $38 oil prediction, but he's still blaming the weak dollar and political instability.

MEED has this article today:

Opec loses its grip on oil prices

Two recent policy changes in Saudi Arabia could already signify the beginning of the end for the organisation. In an apparent about-turn on its long-standing position that the world could depend on conventional oil supplies alone, state oil company Saudi Aramco is now talking in terms of global non-conventional crude reserves.

Venezuela aside, the majority of difficult oil, be it condensate, natural gas liquids, extra heavy oil, bitumen, tar sands or oil shale, lies outside Opec control.

...In a second departure from established policy, in mid-April, King Abdullah appeared to suggest that the kingdom was not prepared to keep increasing capacity. "When new discoveries [of natural resources] were made, I told them... leave them in the ground because our children and grandchildren will need them," he said.

If Riyadh is not prepared to increase output beyond the 12.2-12.5 million b/d already projected with existing field developments, its ability to act as a swing producer will be diluted, and by extension Opec's power.

"Saudi Arabia has said for a while that it will not be pushed to go for overcapacity to push down the oil price," says Peter Hutton, oil and gas analyst at Irish securities firm NCB. "It is talking about the long-term stewardship of strategic resources, which means the world has to get used to sustained high oil prices."

It's behind a paywall, but can be read for free if you go in through Google News.

Basically, it dances all around peak oil, talking about how speculation, not supply and demand, is driving oil prices, and how OPEC doesn't want to increase production for fear of recession, etc. Nary a word on the possibility that Saudi Arabia can't increase production.

The title is misleading-OPEC still has the power to stop oil prices from cratering-probably more power than they have ever had, considering their comfortable financial positions. It will be very difficult for global supply to rise, because the next major pullback (e.g. to $85) will have OPEC cutting supply IMO.

At least when sending your oil south, you get to charge market rates. So your treasury is gaining reserves, while we are draining ours. It makes just as much sense for an oil exporting nation to conserve as an importing one. The extra barrel exported or not imported has the same effect of the account balance. Too many exporting nations, -of which the worst example is Venezuela heavily subsidize internal consumption. The optimal strategy is to charge market rates (at least), and use the reduced consumption to either stretch our reserves, or to accumulate national financial assets. The cheap oil is our birthright attitude, and the pandering to it, it damaging in any case.

Actually we import about as much crude in the east as we export from the west, revenue neutral at best. NG is a plus on the current account but if we sell it all south along with our own crude we will soon be SOL along with you Yankees. We should be closer the policies of nations trying to reserve enough for their own use but that will never happen here. Ontario will in the end simply have to deal with no affordable fossil fuel for the masses.

Most people have no clue that the gasoline pricing game has changed and that it changed in 2007. I've posted a version of this before and here is another version

Hi Star,

Great graph - thanks.

So what conclusions are you drawing about cause/effect relationships?

What else is affecting gasoline price, other than the oil price?

Why has gas gone up 3-fold while oil has gone up 10-fold?

Why not plot gas prices in $/barrel to make the graph easier to interpret?

What happens if you just plot the non-tax component of gas price?

What happens when you take out inflation?

What happened in 2007? Why the break in the trend? This looks like good news for the gasoline consumer (relatively speaking), but can it last, whatever it is?

Did anything really change in 2007? Don't we need to see this year's pattern, and maybe next year's, before we can be sure?

Does each point represent a week, a month, or what?

We know gas prices are strongly seasonal (I'm guessing your graph refers to the United States). Why not plot annual averages with highs and lows?

Can you plot monthly gas prices divided by annual average for each year? Was 2007 different?

How about using a log scale?

Sorry if this seems like a lot of petty demands, but you've got the dataset already and Inquiring Minds Want To Know...

Can we get the data please?



I think that the answers to this aren't that complex.

(1) Retail and distribution margins have been slashed.

(2) US refiners margins on gasoline have been shredded.

(3) It's an election year and the big oil companies will do everything in their power to innoculate themselves from political scrutiny; just because it ain't gonna work doesn't mean that they won't try. This is, in my opinion, the key factor in the equation - if the US refinery complex was working on the same margins as was the case 12 months ago, gasoline would be well over $4 per gallon already and heading to $4.50 at a rapid clip.

(4) In spite of the highest nominal gasoline prices in US history, US refinery utilization rates are stuck in the mid-80% range and imports are being used to cover inventory shortfalls - the last couple of weeks, the US has been importing nearly 1.5 million barrels of gasoline/blending components per day, whilst idling capacity. Why? Because the pump price is still too low.

(5) The pass-through to pump prices is in an upward "dynamic" - the gasoline price is almost certain to hit the $4 per gallon mark by the end of this month, with the possibility of further rises to come ( and that's with 1 & 2 still being in play ).

June futures are at nearly $3.20, even with the slashed retail/distribution margins, this means that prices are likely to be well above $4.00 within 4 weeks time, with variability determined by local taxation rates.

Hi lon,

Your reasons (1) and (2) are just begging the question (in the correct sense of the "begging the question"). "Prices are low because margins have been slashed". Well, duh. Who slashed them? When? Why? How? For how long?

The others all sound like good short-term explanations. But if this year's low price is a presidential election-year effect, how do you explain the proportionally 2007-like hump in 2004? Are you suggesting that oil refiners allowed prices to rise because they cared less about scrutiny four years ago?

I don't think that gasoline prices ever surfaced as an election issue in 2004, so a rise in pump prices that tracked the rise in crude prices generated little, if any, political heat - they quite clearly are an issue this time around; the political "sensitivity" for this election is screaming red hot.

Margins will remain slashed for as long as the oil companies can carry the strain, and as long as they can afford to pay for European imports to cover for the domestic production shortfalls - which is probably quite some time given that they are making out like bandits on the crude production side of the equation. I'd also add that there are some indications that US refiners are trying to cross subsidise the price of gasoline via diesel - where margins have held up. If you look at the y-o-y rises - gasoline and diesel were at parity 12 months ago, and now there's a 50-60c per gallon price differential.

In the medium to long term, US pump prices are going to rise - quite a lot - unless crude prices come down substantially. When that rise comes into play, the graph will look quite different.

Margins are low because oil co's have made a conscious decision to keep the gasoline price in check as much as they possibly can as they wish to avoid their business becoming a political issue in the presidential ( and senate and congressional ) elections. They will keep this up for as long as they can in the hope that crude prices will stop rising or start falling to a level that they can accommodate more comfortably.

All the oil co's, in some sense or other, are wedded to the concept of everlasting growth as the route to everlasting profits and they sacrifice on the altar of the voodoo gods of supply, supply, supply.

When I read my own post back to myself it came across as rather rude, so thanks for your considered and lengthy reply.

On reflection, it seems arguable that the rock-bottom rates of taxation in the US make the oil companies more politically vulnerable w/r/t retail gasoline price, because said price is seen to be more directly controlled by the companies.

I'm not sure how to test that hypothesis, though.

Common guys, this is not a hard one. The disappearance of oil refining margins coincides with the rapid ramp up of ethanol production to meet the ethanol mandates.

There are now about 145+ ethanol refineries competing with oil refineries. This is what competition does. It destroys monopoly profits. Profit wise the ethanol refineries aren't doing much better than oil refineries.

Those who resent the ethanol mandates refuse to admit there is a benefit in lower gasoline prices. Could it be they want gasoline prices to rise even faster for some reason? I think so.

Who would benefit from higher gasoline prices? It is obvious it would be oil refiners as margins could return to normal. There are benefits from ethanol outside the arcane debate about EROI, food concerns and environmental issues.

Ethanol helps keep wealth inside the country instead of shipping quite so much outside to pay for imported oil. This is no small benefit for a country with a falling currency and huge trade deficits like the United States. The anti ethanol argument ignores it.

OK, so you're saying subsidized ethanol is depressing prices for taxed gasoline. Sounds reasonable.

I would suggest waiting a year or three before crowing too loudly, though. Let's check back at the end of 2010.

OK, so you're saying subsidized ethanol is depressing prices for taxed gasoline.

He's wrong, though. He is just cherry-picking his data points. Ethanol was ramping up rapidly long before gasoline margins crashed. The situation is much more complex than our friend formerly known as "practical" lets on. In fact, gasoline imports are way up, and this has has a big impact as it limits the ability of the gasoline producers to raise prices. Also, demand is proving to be pretty soft. Ethanol is probably having some impact, but gasoline imports make up a far greater part of the picture than ethanol production.

Who would benefit from higher gasoline prices?

Just off the top of my head: 1). The environment, as people cut back; 2). Future generations, who might have a little more fuel as a result of people cutting back.

That was funny - Robert's post appeared as a reply to mine, though it obviously wasn't. I'll email Super G - maybe there's a bug.

It looks fine to me.

Sorts itself out after a few refreshes. Definitely wrong before though. Next time it happens I'll take a screenshot.

It would certainly be nice, in a schadenfreude-y kind of way, to see the ethanol refiners getting some of the political flak that the oil companies are getting.


I am posting this in reply to the posting by x - I hope it comes out that way.

I think the posting hierarchy is all screwed up.

And one of the side-effects appears to be that the US is importing ever-larger quantities of finished gasoline/blending components to cover the shortfalls in domestic gasoline production due to the idling of refinery capacity at a time of record gasoline prices.

I don't think that this is going to go where you think it is - the US may import slightly less crude oil, but it has to adjust this with importing more finished products - ie the net balance doesn't change, and I would guess that the actual monetary effect on balance of payments ( ie keeping wealth inside the country ) for petroleum products is negative, but ethanol captures an internal subsidy/refinery share at the expense of domestic crude refiners.

Sounds like cannibilisation to me.

Maybe, it's simpler than any of that.

Maybe, it's just Cheaper to refine oil in St. Croix, or wherever.

Maybe, offshore is the Primary Refinery, and the U.S. is for "Overflow."

Guys, this isn't that complicated. The reason why gasoline margins have been cut and we're importing more gasoline is because (1) we're importing gasoline from europe because they have a huge glut in gasoline refining because their passenger cars are mostly (and increasingly) diesel, while we export diesel to europe, (2) because US gasoline consuption has dropped faster than that of the other refined products, so there is yet more excess gasoline on the market.

This is also why for the last several months, gasoline supply has pretty consistantly higher than estimates even with relatively low refinery utilization, while distilate supplies have been consistantly below estimates. That would also explain the relatively high gasoline import figures.

The US exports virtually no diesel to Europe whatsoever apart from a relatively small quantity to the Netherlands ( ie Rotterdam ).

The principal recipients of US distillate exports are Chile, Mexico, Canada ( which probably nets out overall as an exporter of distillates to the US - but there are some local arrangements ), Panama, Costa Rica and a few other odd Carib/Americas destinations. That said, none of these exports are exactly large - ie they're all less than 50kbpd. I'd guess that overall, the US is a net importer of distillate products.

France, Germany, Italy, the UK - zip, zero, nada.

US gasoline supply is currently reliant on 10 million barrels of imports per week ( per last 2 weeks data ) to keep stockpiles from dipping further. This is at a time of record gasoline and distillate prices - but instead of moving towards finished product substitution by upping refinery utilization, which would make sense as it does actually cost to ship stuff across the Atlantic, the utilization rate is declining.

Now, it's quite conceivable that this pattern might change - but if this pattern of low utilization rates coupled with high gasoline imports continues for an extended run over the summer, then we'll have to conclude that somewhere or other in the US - probably on the East Coast - a refinery is going to close down as it can't compete.

somewhere or other in the US - probably on the East Coast - a refinery is going to close down as it can't compete.

I'd put it a little more starkly. Unless oil drops significantly, or gasoline prices rise proportionately to the recent rise in oil prices, one or more independent oil refiners will go out of business. I don't think it will be individual refineries.

There has been a lot of absurd talk in the MSM lately about needing more refinery capacity in the US (ZOMG! We haven't built a new refinery in 1500 years!!!). The truth is we currently have a capacity glut. I think the glut will continue, unless gasoline consumption surges or distillate consumption drops. That's going to put someone like Valero out of business.

The reason that gasoline prices did not surface as an issue is because in July 2004 oil prices and gasoline prices went exactly in opposite directions...through both conventions.

In fact, it was when the margins were about to go negative for gasoline that gasoline prices finally began to rise in lock step with oil prices. Gasoline prices didn't get on the radar screen until the very end of the 2004 campaign.

This was the first "decoupling" of gasoline and oil prices (e.g., WTI spot market prices averaged over a week). The data for the second half of 2007 indicated another decoupling or at least a different rise rate. Margins are indeed quite slim when one compares the wholesale and crude oil costs.

To continue from my earlier post...

Sometime ago somebody posted a nice graph of how the pump price is composed of exploration, production, refining and retail costs, perhaps someone has it and could report it again.

At these pump prices what is mathematically certain is that the crude price increase is coming off somebody's margins along the way. And it'll end soon enough.

What interests me is the price its going to climb until demand destruction stops it. Looking at today's consumer, it seems to me to be a long way yet. Here in the EU we've seen nothing of the crude price hike at the pump yet. Pump price has been steady at 1,4e/l (8.2d/gal) all this year - only slightly up from last year's 1,2e/l (7d/gal) a mere 17% increase.

Here in Finland I've surveyed my colleagues about the potential increase fuel costs. Currently they are using about 6% of annual income for fuel for their car. That’s about 1500e (2325USD) per annum. When asked if the pump price would double, all but few admitted it would not change their driving habits. Tripling of the price however got them to consider reducing driving to only the necessary.

For lack of better data, my early conclusion from this is that we need well above 200 USD/barrel oil for there to be any danger of crash/riot situation, until then its going to be BAU (with some gnashing of the teeth). However this is well off Europe I'm talking about here. But then again demand destruction happening earlier at lower prices in the poorer countries (like the US) will just subsidize our price here: 'oh, you cant afford it - well more for us and cheaper, thanks!'

Also interesting is to see what China will do with their enormous dollar reserve - I think they'll keep buying the oil they need regardless of the price (as long as those dollars have any value).

I think that the biggest factor why the 125 USD crude price hasn't shown us any effect yet, is that its been so darn cheap - and its still relative cheap even at 125 compared to a lot of other energy sources. And for transport there isn't really any alternative - we've built a world infrastructure and our life styles around the internal combustion engine and we're prepared to pay a large share of our income to maintain BAU...

200 USD/barrel is nothing.

I met an old friend the other day who is spending about 10% of his gross income on gasoline, with no concern at all on his part-everyone in his neighbourhood (city of 80000 in Southwestern Ontario) is doing the same (or spending more).

Sorry, forgot to mention an itsy bitsy detail (for I have never owned a car myself)...

In Finland you get to make a tax deduction of 0,22e (0.34 USD) per kilometer of travel to work in your own vehicle (deductible after -500e) ... so for example, if instead of using my bike to ride to work, I would buy a car and drive the 9500km of my annual commute to work - I would get to make a 1590e tax deduction.

With current gas price at 1,4e/l and say an old car doing 8l/100km, I would pay 1065e for fuel; in effect the tax deduction pays for all the fuel for car plus 500e worth of repairs and maintenance.

Usually the little US'ians know about Europe is that we pay a lot of tax and a lot for our gas - what you don't know is that we get most of it back.

Usually the little US'ians know about Europe is that we pay a lot of tax and a lot for our gas - what you don't know is that we get most of it back.

Yeah, that's amusing, especially when EU politicians and environment ministers are putting on their best holier-than-thou energy and CO2 acts, isn't it?

Just to clarify, though, in the US, what we mean by a tax deduction is a reduction in the taxable income. So using your numbers a 1590e tax deduction might save 500e in actual taxes (1590e multiplied by the tax rate for your tax bracket.) If you save the whole 1590e, we would call it a tax credit. Just to be absolutely clear on the record, for us "little US'ians", in Finland, would you actually save the whole 1590e?

I'd also like to know what fiddles are available elsewhere in Europe. I understand that another whopping one is that in Britain, most personal cars are actually employer-provided, which is a really big joke. And if you live, say, somewhere in London where you don't really need a car, well, then you get zilch out of that deal. So there are different fiddles in different countries.

What are the fiddles in France, Germany, and other countries, that might make car taxes not nearly as stiff as outsiders think them to be?

Can you tell us where you got the factoid that "most" personal cars in the UK are company-owned? I tried googling but didn't find anything relevant.

The UK has no personal income tax credits or deductions on any duties or taxes on fuels for personal use. What would be the point? They'd just have to get that particular chunk of government revenue from some other source. I think Motor Vehicle Excise Duty (nothing to do with fuel) is hypothecated to highway maintenance, or maybe I'm just confused. Company cars in the UK are taxed as a benefit-in-kind - based on engine capacity, I think.

Businesses in the UK can reclaim Value Added Tax (17.5%) but not Excise Duty on all inputs, including fuel, and certain commercial users (including farmers) can buy duty-free fuel ("red diesel") for restricted purposes.

I can't comment about other European countries. Different governments and their various lobby groups have different ideas about where best to gather taxes, as well as the sort of activity that should be encouraged or discouraged by mucking about with the tax system. "Fiddle" is one way of describing it I suppose.

Can you tell us where you got the factoid...

Partly by recalling old reading since it appears this fiddle is less prevalent than it used to be.

But only a little less - according to this, business fleets took half of all car sales in Britain two or three years ago. Absolutely incredible.

And of course the number of business car fleet drivers is not half the number of drivers, because the whole scheme is largely a tax fiddle. Just a different tax fiddle from the one in Finland, but with the same result of reducing the overall tax paid, compared to the swingeing tax that deceived outsiders believe is paid.

So I'm left still wondering what the fiddles are in France and Germany - especially Germany given all the green preaching we hear from Germany and about Germany.

business fleets took half of all car sales in Britain

That would be new car sales, of course. Most vehicles have more than one owner during their lifetime.

Oh, Germany is complicated, but from memory -
1. Company cars used by employees as personal vehicles also (Firmenwagen) used to be a real perk - now they are taxed as income. This has seriously reduced the attractiveness of company cars. This trend started over a decade ago, and is generally seen more about fairness than it is about fuel conservation.
2. There is/was/is again a Pendlerpauschal, much like the Finnish example. Except that this flat rate deduction only applied to people travelling more than 10 kms to work. It also provided a lower rate for transit, and excluded bicycles. After years of trying to change this, especially on the part of the Greens, the Pendlerpauschal was simply removed as a deduction. A court case has restored it, but for tax year 2007, you have to file an 'Einspruch' (objection/claim) to your tax declaration to be able to receive it.
3. German gasoline taxes, not merely the price, have been rising since the Kohl era - in part, to raise money for the state, in part to reduce the amount of gasoline used by increasing its price. Oddly, this too tends to be more in the fairness direction - driving is considered, in part, along the lines of a luxury good for the well-off, not a necessity for the working class. This is a very complicated subject, but German decisions of where to live and whether to use transit are not seen in an American or British perspective - plenty of people in this region find transit both quicker and cheaper than driving, which is why they do it. Another factor is the number of non-drivers is much higher in Germany than the U.S.

The fiddle a lot of Germans have invested in is the guaranteed return on PV generated electricity, along with the state subsidies for solar hot water. Home insulation is also in that category, by the way. Because the first one delivers a decent return on capital, and the other two reduce expenses over a longer term horizon.

Germany has a car culture, not a car society. We will see whether it has a car economy, though. I would venture to guess that the number of bicycles that are ridden at least once a year is larger than the number of personal automobiles.

business fleets took half of all car sales in Britain two or three years ago.

For what it's worth, business fleets take about 20% of the US market.

It's not clear whether the definitions of "fleet market" are identical between the two regions, though, as this suggests that the US definition may refer to rental fleets only, whereas the European one that I looked at referred to anything bought by a company (and was around 50% for all of Europe, not just the UK).

So I'm left still wondering what the fiddles are in France and Germany

Keep in mind that the vehicle fleet in Europe is 50% more fuel efficient than the fleet in the US. While tax fiddles may exist, the gas taxes are largely doing a good job of increasing fuel efficiency.

Oh, and the way the fiddle works, the cars often don't stay company owned, but they start out company provided. They are a fringe benefit that makes people less sensitive to the cost of driving than they would be in many other countries.

Just to clarify, though, in the US, what we mean by a tax deduction is a reduction in the taxable income. So using your numbers a 1590e tax deduction might save 500e in actual taxes (1590e multiplied by the tax rate for your tax bracket.) If you save the whole 1590e, we would call it a tax credit. Just to be absolutely clear on the record, for us "little US'ians", in Finland, would you actually save the whole 1590e?

Yes, credit. There's no multiplying anything here. It's just straight forward formula: x km times 0,22e - 500 euros = this is what you get off your taxes. The upper limit is 7000e. And you get the credit for 236 working days a year. So you could work at place that was 132km away from your residence and still get your fuel costs back. If the company has given you the car (but you pay for the fuel and maintenance) then the rate is 0,18e/km.

Now there is a catch which is that you are only able to use this if you can't use public transport. And we have a lot of public transport here. The limits are more than 3km to a bus/train stop or more than 2 hours total travel time one way. So people living in the suburbs and working in the city don't get the car credit and only get ticket prices back above 500 euros per annum.

Note that all this is for people with a fix location for work all year around. Anyone else like construction workers basically get to deduct all travel from taxation (full credit).

However despite looking like it supports public transport, what it actually does is allow people to build urban sprawl far away from the cities they work in and get free ride into town in their cars.

My wife and I only use about 200 gal of gasoline/year. That works out to ~1% of our gross income at ~$3.50-4.00/gal. Nevertheless, I am equipping myself with new walking shoes, daypack & rain parka so I can begin walking 1.7 miles each way to work. Not because I absolutely have to - yet. Might as well get ahead of the curve and get in practice, though; I will definitely get into better shape, which is an important must-do. Walking to work will cut our motor fuel use by 25% to ~150 gal/yr. The next big thing we could do to curtail our gasoline use would be to replace one of the two cars with an NEV, which might save another 75-100 gal/yr. Getting it down to zero would require our parents relocating to our town and much better mass transit than we presently have available. I am assuming that our motor fuel use WILL be zero after 2020 or so, because it will either be totally unavailable or might as well be due to unaffordable pricing.

At least I've got a plan and am acting on it. Too bad for those who are FAR more vulnerable to fuel price increases than I am, and haven't got a clue how vulnerable they are, or what they would do about it.

Before 2007 the refinerys where fully utilized and they could make a profit. After 2007 the referineries have spare capacity and could not make a profit because of competition.

Prices have jumped more than $0.10 /gal this week (in Seattle area), with Premium at $4.08/gal today (was $3.96 a gal last Sat). Regular is at $3.81.

If there were structural changes in the US gas price ratio in 2007, as suggested by your chart, it shouldn't change the overall slope permanently; the plot should either resume the same trajectory, shifted to the right (if there was a one-time decrement in the influence of Oil price on retail gas price, such as cost efficiencies from imported gasoline, or dilution by cheaper blending components e.g. ethanol), or accelerate back up to the original trajectory if there was a transient effect such as temporarily suppressed margins.

Regardless, at some point the underlying relationship must re-assert itself...

While I don't think that the 'oil co's trying to get Republican's re-elected' is unrealistic, I think a more nuanced version might be: Oil co's trying to minimize the political and economic backlash from spiraling gasoline costs. The current media frenzy over $4 gasoline is not good for business, and they might be working like mad to keep the price as low as they can - based on an assumption that oil will drop in the near future.

I _love_ this chart, and really appreciate seeing it updated periodically. I'm waiting for the 'other shoe' to drop.


Fascinating graph starship trooper (military service guarantees citizenship). The most glaring aspect is the lower than expected price per gallon of fuel in 08 as compared to past years in relation to price per barrel. I wonder if we are on borrowed time in that regard, i.e. we will be paying more at the pump sometime soon. Any ideas on your part in regards to that dynamic?

Why the exponential relationship. I would expect a linear relationship (most of the price of gasoline is directly tied to the price of crude) with an intercept above zero (some fixed costs, retail markup, taxes, refinery margins, etc)

A quick estimate made by eye

cents per gal = 3 * dollars/barrel + 70 cents

If refinery margin remained fixed $120/barrel crude = $4.30/gallon gasoline

Because it's not just the price of gas that goes up when the price of oil does.

The exponential relationship was the best fit, least squares model up through 2007 and actually until quite recently, it still produced the lowest residual error of the various models.

It still shows the most dramatic shift from the previous data curve and the current 2008 data. Over short segments, there really isn't much difference between linear and any other curve fitting model.

The margin does not remain fixed as either a $/barrel or as a percentage of the cost. Although strongly correlated to benchmark prices (you can't find a "time delay" between the cost of the oil today and the price charged in some future time period).

Fascinating graph. However I do wonder if the fitted exponential functions may be "guiding the eye" a bit too much. If the data were to be displayed without the model fits,I'm not at all sure the double exponential would leap out at the viewer. It looks like a simple linear fit through all the data would do a pretty good job, with the exception of a spike in 2006/2007. In that case we would be spending our time debating that anomaly and noting that we are now back on the long-term trend line. The perils of data analysis. Would it be possible to fit some other models to the data and do some statistical analysis of the relative goodness of fit?

A couple of other observations. The black line does not model the data below $80 very well, it looks systematically low. I assume therefore that this model is a fit to all the data including the more recent data. If trying to interpret the data as a double exponential, would it not make more sense to fit just the data below $80? That would give an even higher value for the exponent. Finally, it would be interesting to fit a linear model to the data just below $60 and compare the slope with that above $80, to see again if a single linear scaling factor fits both datasets.

Whatever way you look at the data, the relationship is clearly unsutainable as the gas increases more slowly than the oil. Eventually the slope of the line must increase. As someone else suggested, labelling the vertical axis in $/Barrel as well would be informative, and would allow us to mentally estimate 1:1 gas:oil price line and thus the point at which the gas price would be forced onto a steeper trajectory.

Here's a graph showing what I mean. I hope you don't mind me scribbling on your image like this, but the black line is rough 1:1 mapping between oil and gas, the red line is an eyeball fit to the data excluding the 2006/7 "anomaly". Looks like the two lines are actually pretty close to parallel, with a 70c offset, so my comment above about unsustainable trends is incorrect (and because I replied to my own post, I can no longer airbrush out that comment. :-) )

Agree there's no real reason to go for an exponential fit, but what's your reasoning behind ignoring the 06/07 data? I'm not aware that crack spreads were particualy high then - RR is the man to ask I suppose.
Looks to me like there was resistance to breaking through the $3/gallon barrier, followed by a bit of overcompensation (similar pattern is visible at $2/gallon). I'd expect something similar at $4/gallon too.

My reason for ignoring the 06/07 data is that it does not fit the model. :-) That's why i put anomaly in quotes. I was really doing a relative comparison between the simple linear model and the double exponential model and suggesting the simple linear one is no worse at fitting the data given the fewer number of free parameters. A linear model can fit all the data except for the 06/07 deviation with just two free parameters. The double exponential model gives a better fit but requires 5 free parameters (a scale and exponent for each curve plus a value for the transition point.) Also a linear model seems conceptually more plausible.

Now given the model, all we need to do is someone to explain why there might have been such a deviation.

My reason for ignoring the 06/07 data is that it does not fit the model. :-)

No, I think you're onto something. To put it another way, the 06/07 blip is the anomaly that must be explained (and, pace x, I'm not convinced that it's ethanol).

No problem. Here is the linear fit curve using least squares, etc. I have not done an evaluation of the residuals or looked for such things as time-lag autocorrelation heteroskadacity, etc. in this reanalysis.

I'm sorry it took awhile to get this up. Flickr was flickering for some reason.

Thanks for the graph, very interesting.

The reason for the disparity that immediately occurred to me was that was that the oil price is set on the international market, while gasoline prices are necessarily set by local factors. Demand for gasoline is declining in the US on YOY figures, though only marginally. Might be better to call it 'flat'.

So the price differential is due to rampant international demand for oil with stagnating and declining local (USA) demand for gasoline.

In that environment it seems like it would be very difficult for the refiners to increase prices, no matter how high crude goes.

Exxon had a lower than expected profit last quarter due to poor performance on the refinery side. Maybe they are willing to taking a beating on the refinery side to protect (gain?) market share, knowing that the extraction side of the business is going so well?

Supply, demand and competition seem to offer reasonable explanations for the price of both crude and gasoline.


Have heard most people are using the stimulus cheques to pay off loans. IMO a much better idea would be to buy a bike and used the money saved on gas to pay off the debt as quick as possible. Might help kick start decent cycling infrastructure which is IMO must be a key part of PO preparations.

Anecdote: In the UK many Post Offices in rural locations are under threat of closure as the business model is no longer profitable (am not sure how much this is to do with rising fuel costs) Its amusing to see headlines such as 'People gather to save PO' or 'Council angry at PO plans'

Still trying to stave off peak humour.

Incidentally it seems the world population has recently passed 6,666,666,666

My understanding is that it's got essentially nothing to with fuel prices but rather that there used to be lots of services for which the post office was the dominant, if not the only, access point so they did a much greater volume of business so that all the small markups/fees added up to enough to cover operating expenses and wages. (Eg, social security benefits like pensions used to be collected at the local post office whereas they are mostly now paid into bank accounts, there are now many parcel courier firms taking orders from individuals, email has rendered many "pure information" communications irrelevant, etc.) Combine this with that as they've become less used post offices have become less pleasant and efficient places to go so people actively search for alternatives, accelerating the spiral.

It's the usual problem where a business' market disappears due to alternatives being used.

Amusing in connection with the PO acronym though.

Platts Survey: OPEC Pumps 31.87 Million Barrels per Day of Crude Oil in April, Down 350,000 b/d

Ohsh*T we
Peaked and are

Next ten years, production declines by 1/3, internal consumption up by 50%?

Consumption won't be up, because the oil won't be available to consume. What will be up is the price, which is what will kill off the consumption to balance with the declining supplies.

When oil went over $100 late last year, I thought it would be a good test to discover whether there is any spare production capacity. I figured anyone with spare capacity would pump like mad to take advantage of the surge in prices. In fact, production ticked up a bit from November through March, and we likely had a new peak in January (though by a pretty small amount in the grand scheme of things).

My first question: "Is there any spare capacity?" was answered in the affirmative. My second question was "Is it sustainable?". We have a tentative answer to that, and it isn't pretty. Russian production is dropping. Now we have evidence that OPEC production is dropping. Put those together, and it's Game over man! Game over!


Other smaller decreases came from Angola, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela."

The latest estimates show the OPEC-12 missing their 29.673 million b/d output target by 183,000 b/d.


Thinking that everything that happens in the world is because of some conspiracy clouds your mind from understanding what really affects global markets and the economy. I hate to see you go through life thinking like this.

When people don't like what the free market effect of supply and demand does to prices of something they love to buy, they have a tendency to blame something or someone other than themselves who are part of the demand for that product like oil.

The only way a government or any corporation can change the price of a commodity like oil would be to influence the supply or demand of that product. If we really were the Imperialists we are accused to be then we would have seized Iraq's oil and increased our supply. If that were true we wouldn't be paying so much for oil or gasoline.

If the oil companies have an inventory of oil they have to pay $125 per barrel for today and next month the price dropped to $50 dollars per barrel, would they get back the profits Hillary plans to seize from them because they are making "too much" money now. That is pure communism. It didn't work out very well for Russia. Our economics education is so poor in this county that the masses actually believe that Hillary's seizing profits would be a good idea and somehow benefit them.

If we do this to the oil companies, we should do it to everyone like the farmers who are reaping "too much" profit from their corn sales this year. We should seize their profits and give it to people who haven't taken any risks like planting corn and hoping it will be worth more than what it cost to grow it.

"The only way a government or any corporation can change the price of a commodity like oil would be to influence the supply or demand of that product. "

This is patently false and a little bit of thinking would have revealed as much.

Here's a short list of ways that governments and corporations can influence (distort) prices outside of supply/demand:

1) Subsidies.

2) Boosting or shrinking the money supply.

3) Creating false supply/demand price signals in the paper-based futures markets for commodities.

These can all be done out in the open or, as is usually the case for #3, behind closed doors. As a long-time market observer I do not share your belief that such a thing as a "free market" exists. I've just seen example after example of market interference over these past 5-6 years (beginning in earnest after the Iraq war) to have any remaining faith that our "markets" are sending us useful price information.

The "free market" is like the "free press." It exists in legend and urban myth. Mainly it exists for those that own it.

Around here, even the "free" Sunday market costs a lot to participate in. And how could anyone believe the oil market is "free" of external influence? A couple of world wars (or is it all the same war?) have been fought over that one?

I still would like somebody to explain how speculators create false demand via the futures market if they cannot store the oil when the contract expires.

I'm missing something??

All three of your reasons "influence the supply or demand of that product. "


I support your analysis on people and conspiracy, and as Nate has pointed out on TOD, critical thinking has been a liability, while myth and story are the medium in which most people base their world view.
However, it appears you are basing your economic analysis on myth and story, and not on critical thinking.
The US invaded and has occupied Iraq in a act of blatant imperialism for economic and political gain, and if we were not so incompetent, would be pumping oil into our coffers right now.
Not that we are unique-- this is a race by the global elite for the last dregs of resources in a collapsing world, and the illusion of the last man standing is the game being played out.

Why bother? It was evident that Greg was fulluv shit from his assertion that "pure communism" didn't work out too well for Russia.

You're correct that we are not unique. Any species, freed from its natural predators, parasites & pathogens, will inflate its population far past its environment's carrying capacity and crash. Likewise, any nation, given a historical or circumstantial advantage over other states, will rip off the resources of its weaker neighbors. And too, most people will take whatever advantage they can of others, if they think they can get away with it. Such is life. Look at how many people on TOD are more interested in making $$$ off Peak Oil than they are in rectifying the situation via conservation. Techno-fix gimmickry advocacy is rife in here, because many think there's $$$ to be made selling dupes on the idea of some pet gimmick. Ethics & other cultural accouterments are a thin veneer over the solid core of human biology.

Greg: You didn't seize anything at all in Iraq-try to free yourself from that common delusion. If you are a shareholder of XOM or Chevron you might see a benefit but this idea that "If we were the Imperialists we would have seized Iraq's oil and increased our supply" is beyond stupid- You don't have a supply-what you have is the responsibility to pay taxes for the whole trip and the right to pay the market price at the gas station.

Thanks for the posts.

I did not explain it earlier as this is a direct copy of an email sent to me. I posted it in full to see if it would elicit discussion.

Here is my response to the email I posted.


Thanks for the response and I guess I am being taken to task on "free market" economics. Well I have looked around and please tell me where a true "free market" exists? When does government influence end and the "free market" take over. Do we have a "free market" anywhere in the world? Here is the definition according to Wikipedia

"A free market is a market in which prices of goods and services are arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers. By definition, in a free market environment buyers and sellers do not coerce or mislead each other nor are they coerced by a third party. [1]"

Now if we parse that sentence I would contend that this part of definition ."... nor are they coerced by a third party" is entirely influenced in America by the actions of the Government. Are the actions taken by the Government, for the common good, influencing the "free market"? Do you contend that because the government is elected by a democracy (mob) then the actions of government should not be considered an influence on the choices selected by consumers?

I am certainly willing to let the free market take over all of the actions, but I fear that leads to anarchy, but I am willing to try. Gerry, where is the line at which the "free market" gets regulated? As soon as there is regulation then there is manipulation of your "free market" concept.

In the Free Market, is anything regulated?

1. Should cigarettes be taxed?
2. Should the government build and own roads and right of ways?
3. Should the Fed bail out investors, back home mortgages and foist those costs onto taxpayers?

If the answers to these are yes, then we are back to some regulation and manipulation.

For the sake of argument I will not touch oil and touch farmers. Does the .50 per gallon tax credit along with tax credits for ethanol plants distort the "free market" concept of corn production? Without that subsidy, plus the pork in the farm bill, where would farmers be making money.

Answer the questions Gerry, because words or concepts mean something and until we have the meaning of "free market" squared away, I cannot answer the question on the influence of America's Actions on the Oil Markets, without some guidance on the "free market"


Greg Hunter

Jim Jubak (MSN Money): Is ExxonMobil's future running dry?

"Are we witnessing the death of ExxonMobil?"

"Far-fetched? Not at all. The warning signs were pasted all over the company's May 1 earnings report.

Yes, revenue for the quarter was up 34%, to $117 billion, from the first quarter of 2007. And, yes, net income climbed 17%, to $10.9 billion.

But production of oil and natural gas was down almost 6%."

If folks want to save on gas or its cost ... just slow down


One way to slow down is to look for alternative routes to the Interstate highways. Quite often there are older highways nearby. The speed limits are typically going to be at least 10mph slower, but there will also be MUCH less traffic on these, except in urban areas. It is true that inside urban areas you'll have a lot of stoplights and inefficient stop & go driving, so this strategy doesn't hold up there.

Re: How to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

He thinks we should be buying again when prices reach $40/bbl. That sounds like a good idea; when is that scheduled for?

That would be in "new dollars", after we have knocked off a few zeroes.

Re: An Energy Policy That Makes Sense, Revisited

That does make sense. I agree with pretty much everything. Too bad it has no chance of going anywhere.

"$10 a gallon for gasoline is his equivalent of an economic WMD."

According to the article on Iraqi oil, we are presumably faced with the following two scenarios:

1. We keep our military in Iraq and as the country and its govt. stabilize oil flows freely, possibly surpassing the output of the Saudi's, the price per gallon comes down far enough to drive our huge SUV's with abandon, or

2. We have our military exit Iraq, Iran takes partial control of one or more major oil fields, but also there is a widespread destablizing effect which could include damage to Kuwait's oil fields, with the overall effect of a 10 dollar a gallon price, the equivalent of a WMD on our economy.

Maybe this is why Darth Vader claims we will look back on Bush as a great presidency, because we took control of the last big untapped oil reserve in the world.

Or maybe were being hoodwinked again to make pro-military decisions based on fear of what could cause further widespread damage to our economy, with the inference that we should vote in McCain.

Here's an interesting fact though. When we invaded Iraq they had been producing 2.5 mbd, and since our invasion 5 years ago the output has been as little as nil up to the current output close to what was pumped prior to the invasion. The question is; how many more mbd can be extracted? Is it realistic to claim Iraq can produce as much as the Saudi's? Is it true that Iran would take over some of Iraq's oil?

As a peak oiler, yet also someone against the Iraq war I find myself conflicted by these differing scenarios. Anyone here want to weigh in?

All this death and destruction vs. our "need" for oil?
Some opposition to war!!

Now that's not really an answer is it? Morally taking the high ground fails to acknowledge the possible truth of both scenarios. Try again.

Cs: I have no idea why you would conclude that the Iraq invasion might possibly end up being a money maker for the average American such as yourself. The best case scenario is: the local rebels are quelled, money is invested and the oil reserves can be exploited. In which event, you will have the right to pay the going world price for the product plus any taxes applied. It is not dissimilar to taking a trillion dollars of your (taxpayers') money and giving it to some solar manufacturer in the hope that the increased supply of solar power will result in lower energy costs. Strike that-it is a lot stupider, because in the solar example you would probably get something. The best case scenario is highly unlikely-those Iraqi troublemakers can fight just like the Vietnamese can fight, which means the American taxpayer is in for a very long rough ride.

BrianT -

Well, it's not going to directly be a money-maker for the average American, but it could theoretically become a huge money-maker for U.S. oil companies.

The Bush Regime very likely believes in a simple line of reasoning that goes something like this: If Iraq has over 100 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves, and if that oil sells for at least $120 per barrel, than the potential value of Iraq to the US is something like $12 trillion. Ergo, spending a few measily trillion dollars, a few thousand American lives, and a few tens of thousand of permanently maimed young Americans is a bargain compared to the potential prize. A great investment opportunity!

The trouble is ...... well, we all know what the trouble is: It ain't working now, and ain't ever gonna work. Going to war for oil will give us a lot of war and very little oil.

How presumptuous, "I have no idea why you would conclude that the Iraq invasion might possibly end up being a money maker for the average American..."

You really need to fully read a post before reacting and stating something that shows your not paying attention. I stated no position one way or another. It was a division of perspectives of which I took no particular position, however you failed to notice that and in the process missed the divergent views the post was presenting. Never assume someone takes a particular position just because they understand it and include it in a post, but rather look at a post from the perspective of understanding its intent, and then intellegently, rather than emotionally respond. You'll get the hang of it after a while.

Perhaps I misunderstood your concerns.
It appeared to me that it boiled down to: the end justifying the means.
I sometimes forget that the pot of gold almost always settles to the plain.

Others were confused too. Next time I present two divergent viewpoints for the sake of discussion, I'll be sure to clarify my own personal postion.

another question is why has iraq oil been kept off the market for almost 30 years?

the iraq/iran war 80-88, and the gulf wars and sanctions 90-present, has prevented iraq from updating its oil infrastructure and pumping saudi-like quantities of crude.

on another relevant issue, could it be that the u.s threats against iran are in fact directed towards the entire world: keep the oil price as high as possible in order for the accumulated wealth to be used to shore up u.s financial institutions or else.

its obvious to all that attacking iran would send the oil price skyward and wreck everyones economy plus other unpleasantries.

We have bombers and submarines armed with cruise missiles. We can make it quite clear to the Iranians that any incursion into Iraqi soil will result in a massive response on Iranian soil. If the threat doesn't deter them, then the activation of the threat will stop them.

BTW, we could afford to buy quite a few cruise missiles for what we're presently spending in Iraq.

As for #1, I see no real reason to believe that the oil will be flowing any more freely from Iraq in another five years, or maybe fifty or a hundre years, whether we are there or not. The place is a mess, and will be until it is partitioned into the three nations that it actually is, they have sorted themselves out behind stable cease-fire boundaries, and have come to some sort of truce or peace. Our presence there is only a vain attempt to glue together what wants to come apart, and even staying there 100 years as McWarmonger thinks is necessary will not change that fact.

perhaps mccain is being placed into the white house because only he, as a republican war hero, will be able to withdraw our troops without a rigth wing backlash.

That is certainly an interesting theory. IMO, the people steering his candidacy want us to stay, so as to keep the military-security complex well fed and happy. But, your observation, that a Republican president might find it easier to withdraw than a democratic one, because the right wingers can't propagandize it as democratic defeatism is a valid one. "Only Nixon could go to China", was a similar observation, that only a notorious anti-communist could risk the internal politics to make peace with a communist power. The fly in the ointment, IMHO, is that we still see plenty of rightwing demagoggery about the decision to leave Vietnam. Even if the decision to cut our loses was strictly done from the right, after a short period of time, the myth that it was caused by liberal perfidy would be spread anyway.

The SPR being topped off over the last 8 months even as oil rose by $40 has caused complaints from many who wonder why they aren't waiting for a downdraft in oil to spend our tax money. The recent SPR thing is one dot in an array that the current round of Iran war talk is connecting. At the risk of being accused of wearing a tin foil hat, I'll point out some of the other dots.

In addition to the SPR order given by Bush many months ago, which stipulated that it be done by early April, there was a large order for the bunker busters last year that also had a clause stipulating their complete delivery by early April.

CENTCOM chief Admiral Fallon has been a vocal critic of a massive strike on Iran, and is publicly on record as saying he would quit rather than obey orders to that effect. On March 31, he quit over "creative differences".

Dick Cheney made a Middle East tour in March that included every logistics point of concern for a military operation (the same ones visited in 2002 before the Iraq strike). One day after he left Saudi Arabia, it was reported in the government guided newspaper Okaz that they would now implement "national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may effect the Kingdom following expert warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors".

There is a much written about concern with any possible war between the U.S. and Iran having to do with the monsoon weather pattern. These prevaling winds would take any radioactivity released over heavily populated areas in Pakistan and India. This weather problem starts in early June and runs to about October. Any nuclear-tipped bunker buster activity would preferably be done before mid June or after September. This would agree with the SPR and bunker buster orders being so concerned with the "by April" completion.

The UK's Guardian newspaper, in a 7/16/07 article "Cheney Pushes Bush To Act On Iran" quotes a "well placed source" voicing a common observation made about Bush by several people close to him - "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo".

Last month, Israel conducted the largest scale defense drills in their history, simulating incoming Syrian and Iranian missles.

The Israeli air strike on a reactor in Syria in September '07 was explained as a hit on a weapon's facility, but the photo evidence presented has many doubting that explanation. Military experts are saying it was done to get the newly installed anti-aircraft electronics (similar to what Iran has) turned on to get an electronic signature for them under likely flight paths for a strike.

The NIE has recently come out with reports saying Iran srapped its nuclear bomb program in 2003. But eversince 2006, Israeli intel has been pegging Iran to have nuclear capability in 2009. They said it here in '06 and now in the Jerusalem Post. It is widely thought that Israel will not stand idly by and allow Iran to build nuclear bombs. They have only the rest of '08 to act.

These and other "dots" being connected by the warmongers were published in a U.S. News & World Report about a month ago here and you can read some of the Middle East analysts' reports here.

CBS News has reported that the State Department is drafting an ultimatum
to Iran concerning their attacking U.S. troops in Iraq. This would demand that they stop or else "the war becomes direct" - that is, direct between the U.S. and Iran. Bush already has the signed resolutions with Congress allowing him to do what he deems needed to fight the Iraq war. He does not need to go through that process again to initiate a strike on Iran's facilities being used against the U.S. in Iraq. This is viewed by some as being a legal trigger point for a larger phase two strike.

You have to consider that the strike on Iran has already happened many times over according to the rumor mills. Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector for Iraq, who correctly predicted that no WMDs would be found, has been credited with predicting 6 out of the last 6 Iran invasions (none of which happened).

Actually Ritter has pegged the preparations for a strike in past episodes, which did, in fact occur. An Iran strike seems to be an on-again/off-again thing with Bush as he is torn between the doves (Rice, Fallon) and the hawks (Cheney, Petraeus) and seems to have changed his mind several times over the last 4 years.

I'm not sure how certain we can conclude Bush would take military action against Iran, however some motivating factors do exist to do so. In particular Bush never cares what anyone thinks except his own viewpoint that gets support from those around him or they get fired. And Israel knows they might not get the military support they will need from a successor presidency, if and when Iran's nuclear facilities are to be bunker busted with nukes.

In a sense both Israel and Bush are on the same page, and the only question is; can Bush take that action without the approval of Congress, or does he even care. He probably figures the worse that can happen to him is he would possibly get impeached, but who would bother so close to the end of his presidency, and besides there has been no action taken against him for any of the corruption that's taken place for he last 7+ years.

So it would seem Bush has the green light and Irael would hole heartedly approve and support. Hmm, what was the possible timing of that bombing run?

Bush & Cheney could still be impeached after Jan 20, 2009, which would remove any legal impediment to their being tried (in a US court, at least) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. While I think it is unlikely that it would ever happen, it is not impossible.

Good overview of the road to war with Iran.
May I suggest that perhaps the reason for the build ups and subsequent delays in an attack have less to do with Bush wavering in his commitment than with the repeated and timely warnings from Ritter and others via the internet, as it has become the only source of news worth listening to?

I don't know it they actually intend to go through with an attack. Especially one using Nukes. Even with conventional bombs, if the target is a fueled reactor which has been in operation, the radioactive release from the reactor fuel would be far greater from any bunker busting Nukes. In either case, the US would then be about as popular internationally as Hitler. I doubt we would ever recover our reputation. Hopefully they just hope the bluster will force the Iranians into major concessions. Although as far as I can tell, the Iranian program is not much of a threat to us. If Israel feels threatened, then it should the their problem not ours. In any case, I think an unprovoked attack would leave us seriously isolated from the rest of the world, as we would be shunned by nearly everyone. All these claims of substantial Iranian involvement if arming Iraqi factions that are against us are (almost) pure manufactured lies. The Iranians are taking the side of the Badr corps (aligned with Maliki) against Sadr -not the other way around.

The really sad thing, is that with the exceptions of history ( the US coup that installed the Shah, and all the bad blood that created ), and power politics (we want to be the bully of the Persian Gulf), we actually should be natural allies of Iran. They are about as threatened by AlQaeda as ourselves. We had reached a pretty good accommodation after 9-11, and they were being quite helpful. But then the neocons decided that Iran was more useful politically as an arch enemy, than as an allie.

thats only if people know about it.
the news media here in the united states and most western world nation's who's media is also controlled by the same corporations will confuse cause and effect by showing the aftermath of the strike. a super uptick in violence in iraq that isolates our troops in their newly made permanent bases. As the cause and not the effect while dismissing or attacking people who claim otherwise. then as the world marches off to world war III but before the internet is taken out as a casualty the event will be like 9/11 is now..

Another indicator is the move by the government of Lebanon to dismantle the fibre optic phone system built and operated by Hezbollah.

Since this is a optical landline it is difficult to monitor. Since it is buried it is difficult to cut. It is credited with being a major factor in Hezbollah's success against the last Israeli incursion.

That last round of conflict was seen at the time as a move by Israel to secure its flanks against a Hezbollah response triggered by US action against Iran.

These events and those you list all appear as elements in shaping the battlefield, making the preparatory dispositions to facilitate a strike.

If such a strike does go ahead then $200 a bbl will look cheap.

Two blades arrive by truck for a new local wind farm being built by FPL.


These blades are much larger than any I have seen. The turbines they attach to are very large also with a similar sized truck required to deliver them.

good example of the needed fossil fuel inputs for the so called alternatives.

I don't recall mention of this in a previous drumbeat, but on May 5th Hydro-Québec announced that it has accepted fifteen bids for a total of 2,004 MW of new wind capacity, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2011. The average price is $0.105 per kWh, consisting of $0.087 per kWh for the wind itself and $0.018 per kWh in related transmission upgrades and O&M. The combined capital costs are pegged at $4.4 billion, plus a further $1.1 billion in transmission infrastructure.

Press release: http://www.hydroquebec.com/communiques/index.html (Appel d'offres pour l'achat de 2 000 MW d'énergie éolienne : Hydro-Québec retient 15 soumissions)
Summary table: http://www.hydroquebec.com/4d_includes/depdoc/cpe/fr/Tableau_Repartition...
Resource Map: http://www.hydroquebec.com/4d_includes/depdoc/cpe/fr/2000MW_final.pdf

Technically speaking, wind is a good fit with Hydro-Québec's immense hydro-electric resources and with convenient access to the New York and New England power pools has the potential to earn a high rate of return (NY and NE have the highest electricity rates in North America). And whilst $0.087 per kWh might seem a tad on the high side, relative to the expected cost of the fossil-based alternatives five, ten or twenty-five years from now could very well prove to be an exceptional bargin.

Let's hope for much more wind in the days ahead.


Even better, demand peaks in the winter, as does wind.

And with all the frozen water @ James Bay, for many months HydroQuebec operates on the water in the reservoir without any new inflows until the frozen water thaws.

Hopefully 2 GW is just the first phase.

Best Hopes,


Hi Alan,

True, indeed. According to Stats Canada, 68 per cent of Québecers heat electrically so, as you would expect, peak demand occurs on the coldest and, typically, windiest days of the year; it's pretty hard to imagine a better match. In neighbouring New Brunswick, electric heat has a 56 per cent market share and the province expects to have 400 MW of wind generation in place within the next two years [provincial peak demand: 3,160 MW]. By 2010, Nova Scotia Power should have a total of 300 MW [peak: 2,312 MW], but tiny PEI, which is more than 80 per cent dependent upon fuel oil for residential home heating, has set the bar even higher; PEI expects to have 150 MW in place by the end of 2009 and 500 MW four years thereafter and, with that, become a net exporter of wind power [peak: 210 MW].

According to the Canadian Wind Association, current provincial targets call for a minimum of 12,000 MW to be operational by 2016 (source: http://www.canwea.ca/media/release/release_e.php?newsId=4).

Wind + hydro + high-efficiency heat pumps + aggressive energy conservation = a winning combination.


re: Ease off gas pedal -- live simply so others survive

This is the Tragedy of the Commons that is so often pointed here. Why would anyone want to inconvenience themselves when they don't have to? And why is it that we affluent ones get unjustly blamed for high consumption? Ever look at the exploding population of 3rd world countries? Families have many children, sometimes over 10. Even in our own country there are people like at Jim-Bob Duggar and his 18 children! So those of us who can afford gas are supposed to use less so those who are baby-factories can support their flock? Nonsense. Hoard and consume as much as you can afford. This is survival. We all talk about the coming die-off but then somehow are supposed to feel guilty when it happens? Those who have a "caring" heart will not survive. They will willingly sacrifice their assets and belongings in helping others.

And why is it that we affluent ones get unjustly blamed for high consumption? Ever look at the exploding population of 3rd world countries? Families have many children, sometimes over 10.

Because a Mongolian with 12 kids has less environmental impact than an American with 2 kids. Yet we tell them they should have fewer kids. For some reason they see this as presumptuous.

And for some reason we are obligated to leverage globalization to bring their living standard up to ours in the US, because they are generally poor and sad and have little opportunity to better themselves. And we get to buy stuff cheap from them in the process as their country is exploited - I mean developed.

More and more this world and this country of ours is rapidly becoming a place of two halves - the haves and have-nots. I live in a middle class suburb and I don't see any changes in people's habits. The boats are out for the weekend, the SUVs are humming around as usual, and the sprinklers and A/C units are going full blast.

Good luck trying to get people to put air in their tires. Maybe you can get their attention while they're cruising down the expressway at 85 yakking on their phones about nothing.

If you want to do it right, put Nitrogen in your tires (take your car to any auto dealer to have it done). Then your tires won't lose air and they'll wear better and as a result you'll get better gas mileage.

If you want to do it right, put Nitrogen in your tires (take your car to any auto dealer to have it done). Then your tires won't lose air and they'll wear better and as a result you'll get better gas mileage.

Air is already 78% Nitrogen. The extra benefit of 100% N2 is marginal at best. It's certainly not true that they "won't lose air" and the overall benefit is highly debatable (except to the dealer of course, who has a nice additional revenue stream.)


There are far better ways of "doing it right" than this.

I have seen this advertised at Big O tires. Oxygen is actually heavier than nitrogen, mass 32 versus 28, so it should diffuse/escape slower. I suspect that its ability to oxidize the materials in the wall of the tire is the real issue. Does anyone know the actual reasoning?

I'll put it to you this way. How am I supposed to feel bad for the people in Hati who have no food when their population growth rate is twice what the US is, especially when you consider the US' organic population growth rate is practically 0 and Hati's immigration rate is negative? I feel as much sypathy for the person who can't feed their 10 kids as I do the person who can't afford to fill up their suburban (meaning not very much). At least China was smart enough to realize that if they couldn't support 2 billion people with any reasonable amount of development, then guess what, they shouldn't have 2 billion people. Africa would be a much better place if they somehow managed to impliment a 1 child policy.

I'll put it to you this way. How am I supposed to feel bad for the people in Hati who have no food when their population growth rate is twice what the US is,...

Right! Don't feel sorry for those damn stupid kids. They should know better than to be born.

- As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
- Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

Ron Patterson

I didn't say I didn't feel bad for the kids--their birth was not of their own choosing. I have no sympathy for those who struggle because the consiously chose to live beyond their means, whether that be somebody who owns a house more expensive than they could ever afford, a vehicle that costs more to fill up then they could ever afford, or has more kids then they could ever afford to feed. I have the utmost sympathy for those who one way or another is put into a situation that caused them suffering that they had no capability of avoiding.

I have no sympathy for those who struggle because the consiously chose to live beyond their means,

I understand. Those damn Haitians always seem to want to eat and it is simply beyond their means to do so.

Don't be such a dickhead Daxtatter, the people of Haiti are the poorest people in the world. Blaming dirt poor uneducated people for having children is beyond the pale. That is what people do. That is what all species on earth do. All animals multiply to the very limit of their existence. Animals, including human animals, have sex and that creates offspring. And you wag the accusing finger and say: "na-nana-na-na, it's all your fault because you got horney one night and did the nasty. Now you are living beyond your means because you are trying to feed yourself, your wife and your kids. Don't expect me to feel sorry for you, you stupid oaf."

Then you would say to your wife: "Bring me another beer Maggie, I am laboring over this damn grill trying to get the steaks ready for supper and you are falling down on your job of keeping a cold beer in my hand."

Ron Patterson

In this country, if you can't afford to feed your kids, they take them away from you. If you cannot be a resposible parrent (aka feed, clothe, house, and, if you REALLY want to ask a lot, nurture and educate your kids), you should not be allowed to be a parrent. If you're drunk driving (aka making bad decisions that can hurt others) and you kill somebody, you can be charged for murder, but if you have kids that you can't feed and the kid dies of starvation, I have to feel bad for them for making irresponsible decisions? Or should I just say "O, he was driving drunk. People do that, they drink, get in a car and drive, and that gets people killed. Charging him/her for murder is just stiking his nose in it"?

Ah, life is soooo simple.

Freakin' A...

WTF is wrong with you? Get beat up by a poor boy when you were a kid?

FYI: YOU eating and using as much energy as you do is part of the reason THEY can't afford to eat.

And people wonder why some of us are doomers... with geniuses like this running around, how can we have any hope of solving anything?


lol I love breaking balls. The truth is that I really do care, I just love playing devil's advocate. In fact, I care a whole shitload and I wish I didn't--life would be a whole lot easier. Regardless, in this case, my concern trumps my compassion. The fact is that the world has a limited carrying capacity of human beings that aren't in a poverty like all those people in Hati are in. That leaves us with the delema. Just like we have the delema of gun rights and the right not to get murdered, humanity it seems can't have both reproductive rights and the right not to live in abject poverty, so one of them has to be curtailed. In China, they chose the latter. In...well, most of the rest of the world, the former has obviously taken precident. Personally, I think the right to not live in poverty takes precident; If you can not feed, clothe, house, nurture, and educate your children, you should not have children.

Again, **your** lifestyle is exploiting them and is a **cause** of their poverty.

But, you are right. Rather than noting that modern birth control isn't available to many, or that you are sucking up their resources, let's focus on them being poor - regardless of why - and hope them all a quick and timely death, for surely only the wealthy deserve to live, having firmly established their superiority.

Devil's advocate my rear end.


In a site that's full of people that seem to take joy because they believe our society will collapse into some mad-max nightmare because our conspicuous myopic consumption, I don't see how you are in a position to single out my position for being particularly maleveolent. I've taken your point that life is much more complicated then the position I took was--which is very true. You haven't addressed the point I was making that it is irresponsible to bring children into the world when you are unable to take care of their basic needs.

And no, this isn't serious discussion. Nobody has anything to loose by making discussion with people they don't know over the internet. If you're on this web site for any other reason to expand your mind, you're waisting your time. Discussion is rather boring if it didn't cause you to think, feel, or disagree, wouldn't you think?

And no, this isn't serious discussion. Nobody has anything to loose by making discussion with people they don't know over the internet. If you're on this web site for any other reason than to expand your mind, you're waisting your time.

Please, please, please tell me the mistakes above are due to English being your second language, and not a result of your U.S. education.

As for your content, you need to stick to debate class, young 'un. These discussions are deadly serious.


"FYI: YOU eating and using as much energy as you do is part of the reason THEY can't afford to eat."

Is it not US taxpayers money that is going to aid those people? Is it my eating all their food the reason why Hatian farms aren't productive enough to feed their own people? Is it my using up all their gasoline the reason why they're ruled by gangs that murder people without even thinking about it?

--Understanding when somebody you don't aggree with has a point is a useful in understanding the world around you.

You don't have a point. You don't seem to understand what makes "a point" valid. Taking "points" out of their total context is not making a point. If you think you're going to come here, at 18 years old (if that is the case), and tell anyone here what points are valid, you're younger than your years. If you've read much of this site at all, you well know there are few simpletons here. I.e., few who would make the mistakes you are making in drawing broad conclusions from narrow "points."

Best of luck to you in learning how to think.


PS. Playing Devil's Advocate for kicks is not something people do when discussing serious issues. It is something they do to illustrate a point in a mature conversation, and they say they are taking the position up front - and it is not for kicks.

He's 18, and he knows everything - don't waste your time.

Well you're obviously taking this a little too seriously and being condecending. This is a blog, get over it. And I suppose you missed the part where I said you should acknowledge when somebody you disagree with has a point.

BTW, I suppose that in your infinate wisdom built on years of experience in the "real world", you know that making an argument personal is a good sign that you can't prove your point.

You aren't supposed to feel sorry for them...unless you see them.

We have Stone Age brains. We aren't all selfish. Most of us are willing to inconvenience ourselves to help someone else. But if the suffering isn't in front of us, we don't pay attention to it.

So are you saying that if the Haitains might be going too jump off a cliff anyway it's OK to push them?

People who have no cover for their old age have kids and hope that they will look after them later on - what else can they do?
Especially if some are likely to die in infancy, you have more to cover yourself on that basis.

The surest way to decrease population growth is to increase wealth.

How am I supposed to feel bad for the people in Hati who have no food when their population growth rate is twice what the US is

Feel bad about this:
U.S. Role in Haiti Food Riots

Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened?

In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out). But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries to open up the country’s markets to competition from outside countries. The U.S. has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF.

Doctor Paul Farmer was in Haiti then and saw what happened. “Within less than two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they called ‘Miami rice.’ The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, U.S. subsidized rice, some of it in the form of ‘food aid,’ flooded the market. There was violence, ‘rice wars,’ and lives were lost.”

“American rice invaded the country,” recalled Charles Suffrard, a leading rice grower in Haiti in an interview with the Washington Post in 2000. By 1987 and 1988, there was so much rice coming into the country that many stopped working the land.

Read and learn.


If this is true, which I believe is the case, then current high agriculture prices should be a solution. If cheap imports destroyed their domestic agriculture, current high prices should bring it back to life. This should be generally applicable beyond just Haiti as subsidized agriculture has had the same impact elsewhere. It may take a bit of time though.

Once a farmer is forced off his land can he really return? He'd have to start over from scratch as he's lost everything. Is that possible?

And you have to look at the cause of the high prices. If its high inputs (fertilizer, diesel etc) than high prices won't really help him if his costs rise just as much.

None of us will survive.

But some of us will live until the day that we die.

Best Hopes for Compassion and Social Connections,


Every turkey dies but not every turkey truly lives.

Things will get better


Stay the same


Get worse

There is another argument that might work a little better: Get ahead of the curve. Don't wait to change your behavior until you absolutely must, cultivate new habits and lifestyle changes now, while it is still easy.

In some cases, there is also a market dimension to this. For example, if you are planning to ride a bike or scooter as a substitute for driving a car, don't wait until EVERYONE decides to do the same thing, or you'll be waiting months or years to get your bike or scooter.

There are great advantages to acting early, and easing into lifestyle changes rather than being forced to make them quickly.

The terrorist are attacking Nigeria! Now that is big news, that's the best way they can attack the western lifestyle... Reduce oil production there and there WILL be shortages...

I wonder what the security is like in Nigeria. Probably not good considering they're already getting terrorist attacks.

Security is bad. The Nigerian security forces are completly useless. The terrorists can operate with impunity.

All for whacky ideas like checking tire pressure, even TPMs. Although theyre turning into more of a pain than theyre worth.

Some of my favorites though:

Increase gas tax, as we are some $1.5TRILLION behind in maintenance and construction. Only in cheapass America would this be called "pork-barrel".

Suspend or roll-back Tier2Bin5 for a few years to EuroV. Jumping thru these hoops with inferior under 40 Cetane diesel is moronic. Get US diesel up to over 47C. Stop exporting high-quality diesel.

Finally...adopt the METRIC system once and for all. Teachers can teach it. Then there might be a chance our kids may become smarter than yeast. Maybe get some scientists or engineers out of it. And we could stop teaching perfectly smart immigrants our dumass system.

A direct tax on stupidity might be the most direct solution in the USA.

You could give a special lottery ticket with each gallon of gas, and publicize the rubes who get $10 million checks. It's not like most of 'em work out the actual lottery odds, so it could be a trivial part of the actual tax. Maybe call the show "Shiek For a Day" or something.

Only problem might be it working TOO well, and encouraging people to burn more gas to get more lottery tickets. Stupidity is funny that way.

Finally...adopt the METRIC system once and for all.

I have come to the conclusion that this is never going to happen.

Government agencies spent millions converting to the metric system in '90s. There was a federal deadline (set by Congress back in the '70s). Well, the time came, and once again, they backed out. So now, government agencies are spending millions to switch back to imperial units.

I kid you not. After spending millions to educate employees, print new manuals, buy new equipment, etc., they are all switching back. Many already have. Most others are planning to be fully converted back to imperial units by 2012.

In the post-carbon age, I think it's even less likely we'll ever change. We'll have other things to spend our money on. And globalization will fade, meaning less incentive to switch.

Yeah, locally we got a couple of mileage signs on the Interstate with both kilometers and miles. In truth, though, I can't even remember if they're still there after the recent reconstruction. I didn't realize about that bureaucratic back-conversion, though. LOL. Well, LOL except, what a waste of taxpayer $$$. But hey, taxpayer $$$ are free, so what's another boondoggle?...

Actually, there was one part of American society that used the metric system, at least in the 1990s - the U.S. military. At least for things like distance - ranging artillery or tank fire, for example. Mainly because they had to - none of America's NATO or Asian allies were going to bother learning such a stupid system, especially after having already accepted that English would be the default shared language.

America's inability to even recognize the long term disadvantages of retaining its own measurement system is just another example of something deeply troubling about the U.S. - change is resisted beyond any perspective of rationality. Ask the Canadians how hard it was to switch over, starting from roughly the same time as the first American attempt in the 1970s. One way is to ask a Canadian under 40 what they think about 100° degree heat. Or how many pints are in a gallon.

Many US agencies used the metric system in the 1990s. The supposed deadline, IIRC, was 1996, and the switch was started years earlier.

The only way to switch is cold turkey, like Canada did. But we don't have the political gumption to do that. I think people got more upset at the prospect of the metric system than are over high gas prices.

I'm glad we didn't change - units are units, and I'd rather the expected sizes of things stayed the same. I could care less if the stuff we use around here is the same size as the stuff that is used in Europe or Asia - say dimensioned lumber, for example. I can convert measurements if I need to.

Hello TODers,

IMO, we can expect the sad event in Myanmar to occur elsewhere too. Nature doesn't negotiate. But can full-on Peak Outreach & Paradigm Shift help reduce the swing-rate of the Grim Reaper's Blade; to help create a somewhat smoother Overshoot Decline re-equilibration step-change process?

Consider my earlier postings on Dhaka, Bangladesh. I expect this low-lying area to have a full measure of the machete' moshpits as they increasingly are priced out of resources, and as they suffer from climate-change induced severe weather events. Now I have never visited this area, but Google makes an exploratory overview quite easy:

Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport for the inhabitants of the city, with close to 400,000 rickshaws running each day — the largest number for any city in the world.[31][29] However, only about 80,000 rickshaws are licensed by the city government.[42][25] Relatively low-cost and non-polluting cycle rickshaws nevertheless cause traffic congestion and have been banned from many parts of the city. Public buses are operated by the state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and by private companies and operators. Scooters, taxis and privately-owned automobiles are increasingly becoming popular with the city's growing middle-class.
I think it would be interesting to know how many tubes + tires are used each year in this sprawling metropolis vs the possible savings from railbike wheels!

IMO, they should plan on ever fewer FF-powered vehicles as FF-prices go towards Unobtainium, and flooding events wrecking what motorized transport they do have. Alternatively, the bicycles and rickshaws [plus any wheelbarrows?] offer tremendous societal resiliency--I would imagine as the monsoon and/or typhoon floodwaters recede, the first task of many is to easily clean and relube the ball-bearings of these pedal-vehicles, then hit the road to help get the rest of the city moving again.

IF they could start building even a limited SpiderWebRiding Network: the infrastructure above the flood-level could offer some limited citizen storm protection [beats drowning!], places to protect some food and seed caches, and the railbikes are immediately ready to go to work as soon as the inclement weather tapers off. The pipelines would also offer safe, potable water storage and geo-dispersive internal transport.

They could even have temporary railbike bolt-on equipment that positively clamps the bike to the rails so that movement in high winds can continue [as seen in these photos of a small Japanese amusement park railbike link]:


Even more importantly: as the rising sealevels intrude making the wells undrinkable due to salinity, and the farmlands unfarmable, the SpiderWeb migration towards higher elevations facilitates the deconstruction of the existing infrastructure, then recycling for use again. No sense just letting it all submerge beneath the seawater.

Recall the largely hand-labor ship-breaking photolinks posted by TODer Fleam and others. IMO, there is no reason the same won't occur to entire cities as we go postPeak. Recycling is much more efficient than processing raw metallic ores.

Lastly, when the seawaters regularly intrude: small sailboats can tie-up to the furthermost webpoints to unload their fishcatch so railbikes can speedily move this back into fishmarkets before heat spoilage occurs. Hopefully, the railbikes will be above the mangrove swamps replanted to help reduce cyclonic effects further inland [more relative resiliency].

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

Hello TODers,

Photos of a monorail railbike network:


Since I am not an engineer, I have no idea if a monorail railbike network is better than a dual-railbike network.

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


This looks like any of a bazillion electric light-duty thingies for getting people around small amusement parks. Install it out in public in any big city, instead of on secured private property, and it would be vandalized to bits in a month, if not a day.

Hello PaulS,

Thxs for responding. Yep, there may be some thugs who may want to vandalize SpiderWebRiding, but if the alternative is everyone carrying heavy backpacks through mud, snow, ice, floodwaters and overflowing sewage: they will quickly realize that comfortably pedaling a much heavier cargo load over a smooth railpath is the superior alternative. A few snipers picking off those trying to steal will also have a mitigative effect, IMO.

if you're looking for something more practical and lower tech try this
it doesn't use bicycles but it would probably work well depending on the load.

Hello MarkIX,

Thxs for the link--pretty cool setup. Any steel roller system that reduces or even eliminates the need for petro-tires will get increased future application,IMO.
In short: think of tires as Unobtainium when FF-prices really start to hammer home. There will be lots of steel laying around that can be reshaped, then put to good use if we plan ahead.

In short: think of tires as Unobtainium when FF-prices really start to hammer home. There will be lots of steel laying around that can be reshaped, then put to good use if we plan ahead.

While I agree with the basic premise of increasing scarcity producing shortages, I think that a lot of things are going to become practical at the local/intermediate level once they don't have to compete with massively subsidised oil.

NOAA says April was cool. What a surprise!


Oh, oh, another cherry-picking thread, let me play!

Omani crude dropped by over $3 in the last trading session, so all this talk of Peak Oil is false.

(Just FYI, that one month temperature measurement you quoted is US value, not a worldwide one. See Cslater8 below for next step in the logic process required.)

More dramatic proof of global warming in Greenland!


Regional weather does not indicate overall global conditions. That's the number one mistake anti-global warming people make. For example Senator Inhofe on Glenn Beck claimed the world was getting much colder because his home community in Oklahoma had been very cold this past winter. Again, regional, not international.

The hottest years have all occurred in the last decade only it doesn't matter that the same data actually points to the '30s being hotter, the Ice in the arctic is all melting because of global warming, only it doesn't matter that the cause was unusual wind patterns and that the Antarctic had the most ice ever recorded in 2007, the J curve proves that this is the highest temperature ever, worse than the Medieval warming period it doesn't matter that you can get the same results from the process with random noise, Weather stations have shown that the temperature is rising it doesn't matter that rural stations have been decomissioned at far greater rates than urban ones we can correct the data using stations that no longer exist, the frequency of urricanes all over the world is going to increase,it doesn't matter that it isn't, because you see global warming is real, Whoops sorry that's climate change.
You talk about cherry picking data, you talk about the "Denialist Playbook" what you don't do is answer the points, because in your mind anyone that doesn't agree must be wrong because a whole bunch of other people who's funding depends on the outcome say a certain thing it must be so. The oil companies fund research that suggests AGW is bogus they do that because they have a vested interest in saying that, nobody has a vested interest in proving AGW, so all those scientists who are funded by various government organisations touting AGW must be telling the truth. Strange they can't be trusted to tell the truth about something so simple and intuitively obvious as Peak Oil, but about something as complex and chaotic as global weather patterns their conclusions are gospel.

The hottest years have all occurred in the last decade only it doesn't matter that the same data actually points to the '30s being hotter

Hotter in the 30s?? I'll forgive the vast ignorance of statistical model fitting implicit in that comment, but I can't overlook the main point that this data point was JUST IN THE US, AND NOT WORLDWIDE. How utterly deliciously ironic, given the post you are responding to, that you have reinforced that posters point so perfectly. After a start like that, there was simply no point in reading any further.

After a start like that, there was simply no point in reading any further.

Strait out of the Fundamentalists play book, what you're saying is that data in question was never used as evidence to support the theory of AGW, I seem to remember differently.
It's alright I understand, since the data was


So I'm guessing you said exactly the same about it then.
That it neither supports nor detracts from the AGW case, it you didn't you'd better explain why.

You don't even have that argument as the data DO support AGW. That relates back to my first comment on ignorance of statistical model fitting. The fact that a couple of years in the 30s were exceptionally hot is not statistically significant when looking at long term trends. To repeat the relevant quote from the NOAA page again:

The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

but you just said it yourself

but I can't overlook the main point that this data point was JUST IN THE US, AND NOT WORLDWIDE.

Why should I believe you, you say the data is meaningless when I point out that claims made about it where erroneous but then you turn right back around when it seems to support your argument. Either the data is relevant or it isn't it can't be both, the fact that you seem to want it both ways suggests to me that you aren't approaching this from a scientific standpoint. You are in fact just hand waving and despite your claims have no better insight into the process than anyone else.

Ok, lets back up a bit. The scientific approach is to attempt to disprove a hypothesis by finding additional data that conflict with the hypothesis. The hypothesis here is that AGW is in fact taking place. To attempt to disprove it you cited a specific set of temperature measurements. Since you are quoting the data and claiming it provides evidence to support your position, the onus is on you to show that the data are significant.

Firstly you focused on the US alone. That is only 1.5% of the Earth's surface area, so right away it is not going to be sufficient to contradict AGW by itself. Even so, far from being evidence arguing against the hypothesis, the data are in fact CONSISTENT with AGW, showing a long term increase as expected. The data by itself are not sufficient proof of AGW by themselves, but the data are consistent with the hypothesis. I hope the difference is clear now. One thing is certainly clear, the data do not contradict AGW.

You then went further though, to focus on a few warm years in the 1930s in the US. So now you are focusing not just on 1.5% of the Earth's surface area, but on a couple of warm years 70 years ago that did not alter the long term trend in a statistically significant way. Given all that, I would say you have no real argument here.


lets back up a bit.

I made certain claims about a data set, regardless of whether those claims are in fact correct, you claimed that the whole datatset was irrelevant due to the localised nature, specifically

but I can't overlook the main point that this data point was JUST IN THE US, AND NOT WORLDWIDE.

you can claim that, others have claimed the opposite but they're not you, so that's fair enough, until;

You don't even have that argument as the data DO support AGW.

you turn right back around and claim that the dataset is now valid because it supports your conclusion, you didn't attack me on whether my claims were correct you attacked me on the use of the dataset, which you claimed was invalid until you found it supported your conclusion, that is not the scientific method, that is called "Cherrypicking".
I don't care whether you regard this data as valid or not the fact remains that it was used to support AGW and it's veracity in such circumstances has been called into question,now the data is either relevant or it isn't but you don't get to have it both ways.

Sigh. I never claimed the dataset is irrelevant or invalid in general! The data are not irrelevant. More data is always good. I was claiming the subset of the data you are pointing at is not sufficient by itself to make the point you were trying to make, which is that those data points in the 30s in the US are somehow statistically significant enough to be an argument against AGW. Now *that* is cherry-picking.

And why and where has the veracity of the data been called into question? There were minor corrections made to the data due to an error around 2000, maybe that is what you are referring to? Those changes did not significantly alter the fundamental conclusion that the data shows a warming trend taken over the entire range of data. Again, by itself this is not sufficient proof of AGW although it is consistent with it. However it is certainly not in any way an argument against AGW, as you were trying to claim.

It's apparent that I misunderstood your position, are you saying that the most important thing is the trend in warming temperatures over the entire time period, regardless of whether that correlates with an increase in atmospheric CO2 and when particularly hot years occurred is irrelevant?
If so that's fine but could you explain to me why?

the Antarctic had the most ice ever recorded in 2007

That's a lie.

Don't lie.

You'll go to hell.

My mother told me so.

FYI: Check the science, not your ideological heroes. Why? They lie. See above. I would link to all the FACTs that prove you are lying, but you wouldn't read them. If you read them, you wouldn't believe them. If you did believe them, you'd deny them to avoid cognitive dissonance.

So, just know you're lying. Admitting you have a problem is half the battle.


That's a lie.

Don't lie.

You'll go to hell.

Last paragraph on the above article
or you could try this one.
or perhaps this chart, but I guess they're all wrong. Because you said so.

My mother told me so.

I'm sure your mother stold you lots of things to make her life easier, it doesn't mean they were true.

FYI: Check the science, not your ideological heroes. Why? They lie. See above. I would link to all the FACTs that prove you are lying, but you wouldn't read them. If you read them, you wouldn't believe them. If you did believe them, you'd deny them to avoid cognitive dissonance.

I amazed at how keen you think your telepathic abilities are, but since there is no real proof that humans are telepathic I think the simpler answer is projection.
How about I quote someone else.

So, just know you're lying. Admitting you have a problem is half the battle.


You've done an awful lot of asserting and no proving, just another hand waver with no real insight.

I think the difference is that he's talking about total mass, and the links you have posted are talking about area.

As I've said before, the distinction between area and volume is too subtle for most deniers.

Ok then what it the difference between area and volume with relation to Antarctic ice. I'm sure you'll be able to point me to some sources explaining how a larger area means the ice is automatically thinner, I would be lying if I said that any explanation you give by yourself would actually be worth listening to, because for reasons stated up thread I think you personally lack credibility.

It looks from your comment below that you've figured this one out now, but just to be clear, your comment was:

"the Antarctic had the most ice ever recorded in 2007"

and you then proceeded to post links to ice *area* measurements. Clearly these data do not support your statement, since area does not represent volume, which is what you were talking about with your comment. Of course larger area does not automatically mean ice is thinner, what a dumb thing to say. But larger area definitely does not automatically mean there is more ice, which is what you are implying.

And by the way, here is an article indicating the total volume is declining in spite of the increase in area:


The study said the continent had a net lost of about 196 billion tons of ice in 2006, up from 112 billion tons in 1996.

This can certainly be debated further, but it's still clear that your original comment is simply unwarranted based on your sources.

And, from one of the articles you quoted, I think this statement is the most important one given your cherry picking:

One must look at the balance of evidence, not just those bits one likes. And this balance is clearly in agreement with all other indicators that warming is real and rapid.

Yes it does make a lot of difference, I was operating under an assumption that proved incorrect, the Antarctic is apparently loosing ice while growing in size.

The data that demonstrates the volume loss is from a pair of polar orbiting satellites that go by the name of GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment).

Regardless of the area argument or the volume argument, the presence of mass curves spacetime and these satellites are capable of measuring the gravitational spacetime curvature changes.


He claimed I was a liar he offered no evidence asked for no clarification, he then went on to use his keen telepathic abilities to claim I was a liar and I knew I was lying but chose to lie for ideological reasons, now it's a good bet that he is in fact not telepathic and as a result I can fairly safely say his conclusion is the result of either projections or delusion. he failed to mention mass, unless it was in code.
Here are some examples he could have used:
I think you're talking about area what about mass
the mass of ice in Antarctica hasn't increased only the area .
or even
You Global warming denier pukewad, the mass of the ice hasn't increased so your claim is so much hot air.

Nowhere did he use language suggestive of actual facts.

His reply could have been more informative, but frankly, I don't blame him. We have this discussion repeatedly, with people who come here spouting rightwing talking points, usually copied and pasted from sites that are deliberately misleading when it comes to climate research (like Climate Audit and The Heartland Institute). It just gets really old after awhile.


I do not bother reading whatever you regurgitate from lying anti-science sites. I only picked this up from Leanan's response.

Best Hopes for Not Feeding the Trolls,


Lets just show the websites I posted shall we

oh and this one

If you have nothing to add to the debate other than the appearance of arrogance and towering ego, I suggest you keep you useless opinions to yourself.

I didn't get back to this before others schooled you on it. I'd apologize, but with a 4 month-old, a full time job, working some part time hours where I can and trying to keep up with The Perfect Storm brewing, I can't be bothered to apologize for blasting an AGW denier out of the water.

I found that they are consistently: right wing nut jobs, or right wing nut jobs, or... right wing nut jobs. The first sign is the cherry picking. Given the data for and against wrt AGW is something like 1000/1, well, it's tiresome dealing with you people that bought into Exxon's and the White House's spin machine.

'Splain me this, Ricky: why does George Dumbya Bush live in an eco-friendly, off-grid home?


Begone. You are enabling the deaths of potentially millions, if not billions. I have no patience for such foolishness.


I didn't get back to this before others schooled you on it. I'd apologize, but with a 4 month-old,


a full time job, working some part time hours where I can and trying to keep up with The Perfect Storm brewing, I can't be bothered to apologize for blasting an AGW denier out of the water.

Which would be fine if you had blown "blasted an AGW denier out of the water" but you didn't you just called someone you didn't know a liar, you could have saved yourself a whole lot of typing with the phrase "area /= mass" but you just wanted to prove how superior you are for following the herd.

I found that they are consistently: right wing nut jobs, or right wing nut jobs, or... right wing nut jobs. The first sign is the cherry picking. Given the data for and against wrt AGW is something like 1000/1, well, it's tiresome dealing with you people that bought into Exxon's and the White House's spin machine.

How can you tell a politician is lying?

'Splain me this, Ricky: why does George Dumbya Bush live in an eco-friendly, off-grid home?
Begone. You are enabling the deaths of potentially millions, if not billions. I have no patience for such foolishness.

Which,strangely enough is exactly the way I feel about you


Thank you.

Which would be fine if you had blown "blasted an AGW denier out of the water" but you didn't you just called someone you didn't know a liar, you could have saved yourself a whole lot of typing with the phrase "area /= mass" but you just wanted to prove how superior you are for following the herd.

Why bother? You know you're full of crap. The evidence is beyond overwhelming. There are only a few ways to be a denier: stupidity, ideology, or... stupidity. Denying AGW is akin to claiming someone's a witch because she floated instead of drowned: the evidence doesn't support the conclusion.

How can you tell a politician is lying?

Well, gorsh, you could start by reading the many articles about how they lied? Ironic that the BuCheney White House came up with "climate change" to make global warming seem less threatening... no?

Which,strangely enough is exactly the way I feel about you

Strange, indeed. The net effect of trumpeting good science should be a saving of lives. I will concede the more unstable or depressed among us may opt for a more self-controlled exit due to being confronted with the truth, but don't think that will override the numbers who adjust and survive.

Hey, don't take this all personally. If I thought denialists had any redeeming virtue wrt this particular issue, I'd be kinder. I just can't see any way around the obvious facts and can only conclude you folks are as stated: driven by ideology or just plain stupid.

Spend a few hours reading Spencer Weart's site then get back to us, eh?


I'll post this link again, because dealing with AGW deniers is sort of like dealing with zombies. Even after you've hacked the bodies to pieces, the dismembered parts are still crawling around.

NASA Mission Detects Significant Antarctic Ice Mass Loss.

Actual measurements of Antarctic ice mass by NASA show that there has been a significant loss. Your assertion that "the Antarctic had the most ice ever recorded in 2007" is factless regurgitation of AGW denialism. Your other assertions, such as the J-curve, temperatures in the 30s, and the medieval warming period are similarly flawed. I can post actual links to actual science that similarly refutes those, but it isn't worth any more time than I've already spent to dig up the links.

You do realize that your link is from 2006, Right?

But it makes the required point, which is that ice volume has continuously decreased for 10 years while area has held the same or increased, thus indicating that area measurements do not correlate with volume measurements and so cannot be used for that purpose. Therefore there is no basis on which to imply that a high area in 2007 implies a high volume for that year.

Here is a more recent link for you, from Jan this year, which includes 2006 data. The new data fit the existing trend, showing a rate doubling over the past 10 years.


So over the 5 year period to 2006, volume loss rate has increased at the same time as overall area has increased. No data from 2007 yet, I guess it's complex data to analyse, but you'd be very hard pressed to convince anyone based on these trends that the volume must suddenly have spiked upwards massively to a new high in 2007.

Regional weather does not indicate overall global conditions.

Well, that's the problem, isn't it? Tell it to Al Gore, who did more than anyone else to popularize that confusion, by using that hurricane image as the trademark for his movie, to subliminally scare the public into believing that AGW caused Hurricane Katrina. (Never mind that Gulf hurricanes were always common. Never mind that NOLA had been specifically warned about its levees for 40 years. Never mind that its eternally corrupt, stupid, feckless officials couldn't even be bothered to plan for the use of the hundreds of publicly-owned city and school buses they chose to leave to the flood rather than use them to help evacuate.) What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

As to the thread about April just above, well, once again, weather isn't climate, is it? It says in part (emphasis added) that for the United States:

The average temperature in April 2008 was 51.0 F. This was -1.0 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 29th coolest April in 114 years. The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

Regional weather does not indicate overall global conditions

I reckon we'll hear that phrase a lot over the next 10 years, if the predictions for a temporary cooling come to pass:

Ocean Cooling to Briefly Halt Global Warming, Researchers Say

Average temperatures in areas such as California and France may drop over the next 10 years, influenced by colder flows in the North Atlantic, said a report today by the institution based in Kiel, Germany. Temperatures worldwide may stabilize in the period.
"Those natural climate variations could be stronger than the global-warming trend over the next 10-year period," Wood said in an interview. "Without knowing that, you might erroneously think there's no global warming going on."

So AGW proponents may have to explain that an apparent 10-year pause in the warming trend is just a dip in the upward trend caused by a strong, regional, cyclical trend.
But if this ten year pause starts now, you're actually going to have a pretty flat section on the graph from 1999 right through to 2018. If you're arguing that such a long stretch of data can be influenced by cyclical trends, can't you also argue on the other side that the strong observed rise in global temperatures between 1980 and 1999 may also have been due partly to the warming phase of regional cycles?

The science may be settled, but the data interpretation has a long way to go.

For the record, my AGW position is: 1 degree human contribution by 2100, peak FF by 2025, coal too expensive to burn by 2050, bring on solar or we're screwed.

Hello TODers,

Some of the latest research on O-NPK:

Cattle Update: Manure Can Be Cost-Effective Fertilizer

A custom fertilizer applicator spread nearly 1,500 tons of manure from the 600 head of cattle used for research at the center's livestock facility. Before the manure was spread, it and the soil were tested for nutrients.

"However, when the fertilizer value of the manure is calculated, it is relatively inexpensive," he adds.

The analysis of the manure applied showed that each ton contained 10 pounds of nitrogen (N), 8 pounds of phosphorus (P) and 10 pounds of potassium (K), all plant available. If the whole cost of application were based just on the amount of N in the manure, it would be 29 cents per pound. If you compare this with the local cost of urea N at 55 cents per pound, the manure N is nearly half the cost.

"The forgotten benefit of manure is that you are getting three almost equal amounts of required plant nutrients in one application," says center nutrient management specialist Ron Wiederholt. "Therefore, if you split the cost of manure application among N, P and K, the cost is only 10 cents per pound for each of the nutrients. That is a tremendous cost savings, compared with commercial N at 55 cents per pound and commercial P at $1.92 per pound."

The cost to haul manure also may seem high, but when you calculate the crop nutrient value, it is quite affordable, the specialists say.

In this scenario, the manure was hauled three miles and the loads were less than full to ensure that no manure spilled onto the highway. If the manure is hauled a shorter distance and the travel route allows for maximum loads, the cost is even less.
1,500 tons x 2,000 lb/ton = 3 million pounds

This is 30,000 100 lb railbike loads or 15,000 200 lb railbike loads. My guess that this is easily doable over the short 3 mile transport.
My guess is that a single, local high school class [1,500 kids?] could quickly pedal out this crap in a week or less, if a SpiderWebRiding System was in place.

Unfortunately, they don't give the fuel cost or gallons used for hauling & spreading. But at a future $20/gallon for diesel: using highly energetic kids/young adults maybe the cost effective choice. Of course, eventually it will be the only smart permaculture choice.

Overall, still better than Shlepping the Sh*t on your back.

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

Hello TODers,

I have been trying to extract more info from this O-NPK research, but the wording makes it difficult:

3 million pounds at $0.29/lb spreading cost = $870,000.00 to fling this crap evenly?!? This cannot be right-- let's try this again...

Perhaps this is the more correct reading of the cost: approx. 30 lbs of NPK per manure ton, therefore $0.29/ton spreading cost which means...

1,500 tons x 0.29/ton = $435 to clearly steer the steer manure evenly over the required acreage. Is this a more reasonable calculation--seems low to me. Again, a reply from a TOD farmer may help me.

Ah, I got it--10 lbs of N/ton, thus at .29/lb, the spreading cost is:

.29 x 10, or $2.90 per flung ton. this means 1,500 tons @2.90 = $4,350
was the spreading cost for the worker Who Flung Poo.

:) Gratuitious portion of potty humor--Hyuk, Hyuk! :)

Anyhow, this was done with the assumption that $4/gal diesel was used to load, then fling the poop about in a calibrated fashion. Moving along:

N @ .55/lb, P @ 1.92/lb, K @ 1.00/lb [my SWAG for K] and the
NPK-ratio is 10-8-10, thus

$5.50 + 15.36 + 10.00 = $30.86 for an equivalent sack of I-NPK.

Since there is a rough 20:1 bulkiness differential between O-NPK/I-NPK: this means you would need a 100 lb sack of I-NPK to offset one ton of manure. 20 sacks @ $31/sack = $620/ton of I-NPK--not too far off from wholesale farm prices a few months ago.

Also, I-NPK has a lot of other additives; you don't get 30 lbs of pure elemental N,P,and K in a 30 lb sack--a 100 lb sack to get 30 lbs of elemental nutrients is a rough approximation.

So... 1,500 100 lb sacks @ $31/sack = $46,500 to buy the equivalent I-NPK to equal the 1500 tons of manure. When, not if, diesel hits $20/gal, and if I-NPK has quintupled in price too--then we might be looking at $232,500 in I-NPK, or $155/per 100 lb sack.

If you went to 1,500 kids and offered them $200,000 to move manure, each kid would make $133 bucks for railpedaling 10-200 lb loads a mere 3 miles.

I bet a strong farm boy could move his one ton in one day to earn $133/day-- say 4-500 lb loads at 6 mph-- 4 to 6 hours work to get his $133--not bad money for just an afterschool part-time job.

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

Run it through an anaerobic digestor, first. The methane will give much more than enough energy to do the poo-flinging.

Hi Bob, I wonder if you are a big fan of worm composting, to me it seems like an easily scalable process.



I have visions of incorporating a large scale composting operation with a heat recovery ventilation system to both provide low volume heat for the building and a continuous airflow for the composting operation. I would have to combine the process with a simple fish farm to add thermal mass to the structure and raise fish (probably tilapia) on meal-worms.

Plenty of high quality compost for the plants in the garden, and some tasty fish to sell or eat.

Hello OMGlikeWTF,

Thxs for the links.

I am certainly no worm and composting expert, but it seems obvious that any natural process to make O-NPK that utilizes nature's creatures is beneficial, and will be greatly ramped up as I-NPK gets increasingly expensive.

My guess is the difficult part is finding the profitable O-NPK market segment window between where I-NPK substitution occurs vs the hauling costs of the wastes [resources] to recycle. Your idea of incorporating a food-chain to help maximize return seems very sound.

Worm composting is a fine idea. For processing the castings, 2 designs make sense. Flow through reactors (http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6776568.html http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7018831.html as an example) or the worm gin design no longer made by http://www.jetcompost.com/ Anything else has you lifting and tugging.

If you ever got yourself some land/buildings you might do better with black solder flies

try telling that to people who think cow's should be shot because the same stuff releases methane..

“Then Brazil will become a major oil exporter,” Silva said in an advance copy of the interview to be published Saturday. “We want to join Opec and to try to make oil cheaper.”

He wants to join a cartel to bring prices down? I thought the whole purpose of a cartel was to keep prices up. George Orwell is turning in his grave.

Lula can undercut OPEC's prices as much as wants any time he wants and certainly doesn't need to be a member if that's his desire. He would be far better off not being a member if he wants to lower prices. Methinks he speaks with forked tongue.

There was an interesting hour on The History Channel's Modern Marvels entitled Locomotives - tagged as a 2008 show.

Started with the TGV breaking it's own speed record at 358mph (if I recall correctly).

Segment on a Mag Lev - either in China, or Japan, or Germany (a mind is a terrible thing to waste) - setting a speed record of 361mph.

Kind of interesting that a Mag Lev is not considered a locomotive since it has no "on board" motor, but rather relies on a Linear Sequential Motor (LSM). Cool, if not expensive, stuff.

Noted that diesel-electrics move a ton of freight 219 miles on one gallon of diesel whereas an 18 wheeler only gets 49. I did not realize that DEs "poured" sand on the track to increase friction, but that also on the wheel flange they apply a grahite substance to reduce friction - all while in motion!

Segment on old coal-fired steam locomotives. Hmmm...maybe that's a use for all this coal sitting in the ground. Bring back steamers ;-)

Other segments on the Panama Canal electric "tugs" and use of diesel trams in mining (highly filtered).

Back to Mag Levs - they spent some time talking about the work being done by General Atomics for "urban" Mag Levs. But at the stated $40 million per mile I dunno....

Anyway: http://www.ga.com/atg/EMS/urbanmaglev.php

I think I can, I think I can, but will we?


According to this article Congress may investigate the use of grain to produce ethanol:


For 14 years, he was America's restoration guru -- by all appearances an unlikely spokesman for the tool-belt set with his smart-guy spectacles and degree in philosophy.

But now Steve Thomas, the onetime host of PBS' "This Old House" who later jumped to the History Channel to explore the past, has returned to the present and his TV roots.

You might call his newest venture "This Green House" although the official title of his new show is "Renovation Nation."


I look forward to learning more about this programme.


Gas is way too cheap in the US. I took a train trip a few days back (I live in India) from Bangalore to Hyderabad - a distance of 400 miles. This was in an air-con sleeper coach of an Indian Railways train. It cost me the equivalent of USD35 (or USD 140 on a PPP basis). The same trip in the US would cost probably USD45 in gas (+10-15 in maintenance/depreciation).

If a family of 4 were to take the train in India it would cost us $140 to make this trip on a mass transport system (I would not make this trip in India by car given that it could cost me a lot in terms of stress and potentially my life). If a family in the US took the same trip it would cost them $60 or so.

The $140 in India is closer to $500 or so given the levels of income in India and the US.

I would say that gas prices have to be closer to $20-25/gallon before you see any major impact on car usage.


Not just the fishermen of Surinam:


Soaring fuel prices will sink us for good, warn fishermen

Lochhead calls crisis summit as skippers reveal they are forking out £1,000 a day

By Keith Findlay

Published: 10/05/2008

Spiralling fuel costs are on the brink of putting Scotland’s fishing boats out of business, skippers claimed last night.
Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead has called a crisis meeting with industry leaders in Aberdeen on Monday.
It follows Mallaig and North-West Fishermen’s Association warning that high fuel prices are crippling livelihoods and could force skippers to quit.
Costs for many skippers have doubled in a year.
Skipper and TV star Jimmy Buchan warned last night that boats will go out of business as a direct result of soaring fuel costs.
Mr Buchan, speaking from his Peterhead-registered Amity II, said record oil prices were putting the catching sector under severe strain.
“There will almost certainly be casualties this year. The situation has become critical for the whole viability of the Scottish fishing fleet.
“Fuels costs are on everybody’s mind just now.”
Mr Buchan, probably the UK’s best-known skipper after he and his vessel starred in two series of the BBC’s Trawlermen programme, said it was particularly galling for Scottish boats to be struggling with higher fuel costs when energy companies were pumping vast amounts of oil out of the North Sea.
He is paying £1,000 a day for fuel, whereas a year ago his outlay was around £560.
Industry leaders are due to meet Mr Lochhead in Aberdeen on Monday to discuss the growing crisis.
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “This is no longer just a mild irritation. Parts of the sector are facing a significant threat to their viability and are already having to change their behaviour.”
He said that skippers were having to more carefully weigh up when to go to sea rather than risk a potentially wasted journey.
“If, as many people are predicting, the cost of fuel is going to stay at this level for the foreseeable future, then we have to address the hard question of where our industry goes from here,” he said.
“We are not crying wolf over this. The fuel cost situation is now very serious.”

Long Term, less fishing may not result in less fish, as stocks recover from over fishing.

Best Hopes for Fishery Management,


"The chain of transportation that brings goods to the stores is tenuous and depends on a few key railways and truck drivers. Supermarkets could experience spot shortages if the proposed trucker strike gains momentum, and as more drivers quit the business."

Fishermen in Suriname and Scotland are facing a similar problem with high fuel prices making their business unprofitable and thus not even worth going out to sea.

If the price of energy, oil, reaches a point whereby trucking goods and trawling for fish becomes unprofitable, then goods and food will not make it to market in the quantities they have before. People will panic and hoard food, causing the stores to empty and that will cause even more panic.

If the price of oil does continue to rise to 200 dollars a barrel, it will effectively shut down the economy. That will have the effect of causing widespread demand destruction and the price of oil will come down some, but once the economy slows or stops it takes time and momentum to get going again. If once the economy starts moving again the price of oil spikes again, then the whole bad cycle will start over. At some point it will be a stalemate between the high cost of fuel and an economy slowed down too much to get moving again.

Once the situation gets too far out of hand, events will occur very quickly, in weeks or months not years. It could happen this year or maybe in 09.