DrumBeat: May 17, 2008

$4 Gas: The End of an Era?

Someday, family road trips may become completely unaffordable. People who study the oil industry say that classic summer road trips could be going the way of the extinct Ford Edsel.

That's because the demand for oil is increasing all over the world. In India and China, the number of new cars on the road has been rapidly increasing. In China, there are thousands of new automobiles hitting the streets every day.

In addition, some experts say the production of oil worldwide may have peaked.

Peak Oil and Politicians

In 1956, M. King Hubbert, a petroleum geologist with Shell Oil, presented a paper to the American Petroleum Institute that predicted US oil production would peak in the early 1970s and then follow a declining curve, now known as Hubbert's curve. But Hubbert almost didn't get to give his paper. He got a call from his bosses at Shell, who asked him to "tone it down." His reply was that there was nothing to tone down. It was just straightforward analysis. He presented the paper, unedited...

Since that time, the oil industry and its political supporters have done everything they can to tone down the message that oil is a finite resource and that we will run out of it some day. Why would they do that? To further the short-sighted, short-term pursuit of profit. In 2004, Shell finally got caught in a lie about the size of its oil reserves. The company had inflated the stated size of its oil reserves to keep stock share prices high because who wants to invest in a company - or an industry - that is going the way of the dinosaurs?

Russia accused of annexing the Arctic for oil reserves by Canada

The battle for "ownership" of the polar oil reserves has accelerated with the disclosure that Russia has sent a fleet of nuclear-powered ice breakers into the Arctic.

The Unexpected Winners In The Oil And Food Crunch

High oil and food prices are a double blow no nation can dodge entirely. Even oil states like Iran are seeing food-price protests. But there's a small class of farm-and-gas exporters for whom the dual spike is more opportunity than threat. Canada, Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand are all enjoying the windfalls, and even war-tattered Cambodia is now reimagining its future. It's "the only country in the world that has oil and gas reserves that are still untapped, as well as land available for agriculture," says Marvin Yeo, who left the Asian Development Bank to start one of Cambodia's first venture-capital firms.

Analysis: Saudis protect own interests in oil production

WASHINGTON — When President Bush, once a Texas oilman, asked Saudi Arabia to pump more crude, he may have forgotten that the Saudis have a long memory. And that made it a good bet his mission this past week would produce a dry hole.

Ecuador offers to buy out oil companies unwilling to negotiate new contracts

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - President Rafael Correa says Ecuador wants to buy out private oil companies unwilling to negotiate new deals with his government.

Correa has asked companies now suing over an October decree that slashed their share of windfall oil profits to 1 percent to drop their lawsuits.

Lack of refinery flexibility impacts global crude market: report

DOHA: Lack of refinery flexibility is impacting the global crude oil market, Opec’s latest market report said.

Between 2000 and 2007, the growth in distillate demand outpaced the increase in gasoline consumption, mainly because of the resilient economic situation in developing countries, and more recently, the increased use of diesel generators. While distillate demand rose by 5.2mn bpd, the Opec report said gasoline consumption increased by only 2mn bpd during the period.

Algeria to double oil refining capacity-Khelil

ALGIERS (Reuters) - OPEC-member Algeria will increase its oil refining capacity to 50 million tonnes per year by 2014 from 22 million tonnes currently, Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Saturday.

The King Versus The Radicals

Saudi Arabia's monarch is using Aramco — the crack state oil company — to build a Western-style university in a bid to outflank the repressive clergy.

Indonesia limits fuel purchases ahead of price rise: report

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia's oil and gas company Pertamina has set limits on subsidised fuel purchases ahead of the government's plans to hike fuel prices, reports said Saturday.

Virgin Boss Warns Of Airline Casualties

There could be more casualties in the airline industry because of spiralling costs, Sir Richard Branson has warned.

Australia: Drivers face fuel ration shock

FUEL rationing may be one in a series of shocks facing drivers and commuters in Queensland.

Looming oil shortages would produce the biggest change in society since the industrial revolution, Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara warned yesterday.

...Mr McNamara says he will recommend the State Government focuses urgently on ways to cut private-car use.

"I cannot overstate this – we need to adopt a wartime mentality," he said. "We're going to face a level of urgency that will require dramatic change."

New Zealand: Saving for survival

As the cost of living stretches household budgets to breaking point and beyond, many people are reassessing their spending habits and lifestyles in order to make ends meet.

Diesel 'mystery' deepens as fuel prices surge ahead unevenly

AA public affairs manager Conor Faughnan said: "We have never seen prices rise so fast or reach so high. It is having a major impact on diesel motorists, the cost of haulage and business costs. It's bad for consumers and the economy as a whole."

...One explanation for the rapidly increasing diesel prices is that US refineries overestimated demand for gasoline last year, creating a petrol glut and a diesel shortage in the markets.

Goldman sees oil averaging $141 in second half

Goldman Sachs once again issued a provocative forecast for the price of crude oil Friday, saying a barrel is likely to average $141 over the second half of the year -- a further 10% or so above the latest in what's been a string of record highs.

Mexico's Oiling Days Are Numbered

Even without a terror attack on its oil facilities, Mexico's output is falling sharply and could end as soon as 10 years. Its president is setting an example by fighting a difficult Congress and culture to reverse that.

Canada - For the birds; Confusing, arbitrary rules prevent local farmers from feeding us

The food we eat must be processed using oil. Oil is running out and its cost is getting higher every day.

Open season on biofuels

To hear some people talk, you'd think biofuels were the cause of world hunger, global warming, food riots and the growing divide between rich and poor.

Caught between environmentalists' righteous indignation on the one hand and big oil's vested interests on the other, the biofuels industry is becoming the favourite whipping boy for all the world's ills.

The great green mirage still beyond the horizon

A gleam in the eye of George W. Bush, ethanol turns out to be the villain behind soaring prices for food and gasoline.

Higher food profits haven't hit the farm

Fertilizer and fuel costs are rising along with grain prices, so diversifying into biofuels can help lower financial risks.

Saudi oil output boost doesn't solve problem - Bush

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on Saturday he was pleased with a boost in Saudi oil output but it did not solve problems in the U.S.

..."It's something but it doesn't solve our problem," Bush told reporters. "Our problem in America gets solved if we expand our refining capacity, promote nuclear energy and continue our strategy for the advancement of alternative energies."

The Caribbean will pay a price for flatfootedness, says economist

"In a lecture in 2001, I tried to explain that oil prices would increase to US$80 per barrel. (This indicates a US$3 billion dollar increase to the airline industry alone in operational expenses as a consequence for tourism in the Caribbean).

I shall like now to suggest that according to our analysis at the Landfall Centre, we expect oil prices to hit between US$150-US$200 per barrel in the next three years."

Our tails get in the way: The problems and principles of energy descent

Let us imagine ourselves climbing up a rather steep and precarious tree, boosted up by fossil energies into a place we simply could never get to without them. The problems we are facing right now all originate in our fundamental inability to voluntarily set limits -- that is, at no point did most of us even recognize the basic necessity of stopping at a point at which we could get down on our own, without our petrocarbon helpers.

Digging a Hole (review of Bad Money)

Phillips argues that financial recklessness, combined with peak oil and the rise of Asian economic power, will doom — has already doomed — American world leadership and our standard of living, which depend on the value of the dollar. The leading edge of collapse, in the form of the subprime mortgage and banking crises, is already on us, and the consequences will make future imperial adventures untenable, in Iraq and elsewhere.

Phil Flynn: Clowning Around

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am–stuck in the middle with you. Or is it the clowns moving to the left while we are lacking political courage on the right? You may not like to face the fact but the way this nation is playing politics with our nation’s energy security it seems we are moving too far to the almost socialist left at a time when more than ever we have to allow market based solutions address our nations critical energy needs.

A master short-seller v. the shorts

"Everybody in the world is trying to call the end of resources. They're just wrong every day, and every day they look worse."

"I would say that 80 per cent of our resources [investments] are in what I would call 'survival resources.' Gold and silver are kind of a survival tactic we have and I regard energy as almost a survival thing now."

"If you believe in peak oil, you're not looking at a resource, you're looking at it like, 'Oh my god, here's a big problem the world is going to have' ... So, do I really see energy prices coming down? No, not in your lifetime, or mine for that matter..."

Programming the 21st Century

On one day in 2005 or 2006, more oil was pumped from the earth’s crust than had ever been done before, and has been done since: this is the concept of peak oil, and suggests the literal and figurative "end of the road" for the age of material progress which has been built largely on the extremely profitable "energy return on energy invested" obtainable from crude oil.

The Ultimate Race: Global Warming vs. Peak Oil

You think managing a fantasy team, or filling out an NCAA bracket, or picking a Derby winner (OK, Big Brown wasn't actually that tough a call) is hard? How about handicapping Armageddon?

Yet, courageously, we do it every week. Some weeks, of course, are tougher than others.

Pennsylvanians fight to survive gas crisis

Natural gas prices in the midstate are about to break the record they set after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Reading-based UGI said Friday that rates for residential customers will rise by 11.4 percent on June 1. The reason is higher wholesale gas prices, which are driven this time by the soaring price of crude oil, not hurricane damage in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP ban urged over petrol hikes

Drivers are being urged to boycott BP as anger grows over record petrol prices.

Mass emails have been sent urging motorists not to fill up at its service stations.

Protesters behind the plan hope hitting BP in the pocket will force it to cut prices and panic rivals into following suit.

Rust In Peace: G.M.’s Dreadful Engines Gave Diesels a Bad Name

The second energy crisis that came with the Iranian revolution put the heat on Detroit to improve its corporate fuel economy numbers. The diesel was seen as a way of having one’s cake and eating it, too — good fuel economy without sacrificing the size and cushy ride that American luxury car buyers expected.

Now is the time to buy uranium

After the decline in prices in 2007, I am almost certain that uranium prices have now formed a bottom. Why do I believe this?

First, the world needs more energy. China and India will continue to need more energy. Both Asian countries are vulnerable to oil and natural gas imports. China now imports 50 per cent of its crude oil and India imports 50 per cent of its natural gas.

Even in Western Canada, peak oil production is pushing the world to look for alternatives to petroleum.

Peak Oil: Everything is going to change


There is little government can do about the price of oil. That is not what people want to hear. Yet it is a fact. The U.S. government and all the states have no "Plan B." They continue to rely on a delusional "Plan A" — more oil and cheaper oil all the time. Politicians, generally asleep at the wheel on this issue, have been shocked into trying to do something about the current and future problems arising from oil costs. They are spinning around looking for someone to blame, dazed by the precipitous rise from $50 per barrel last January to $126 this past week.

Iran says mosque bombers planned oil pipeline attack

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Intelligence Ministry said on Saturday U.S. agents had armed and trained those behind a deadly blast in a mosque last month and that pipelines in the country's oil-rich south were also among the planned targets.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday Iran had evidence the United States, Britain and Israel were involved in the April 12 blast in the southern city of Shiraz that killed 14 people and wounded 200.

Like father, like son: Bush pleads for Saudi help, but world oil market has changed

So what have the Saudis done since 2005, when oil prices climbed above $70 a barrel, then $80, then $90, and this year broke the once-unthinkable threshold of $100? They've increased production capacity, meaning that in a pinch they could make up the difference between global demand and available supply. They now can produce 11 million barrels per day (bpd), and expect that number to reach 12.5 million bpd by 2010.

UK: Soaring bills leave families just £50 a week

“Wage growth is fairly muted, but the essentials — utility bills, petrol prices and council taxes, mortgages — are all rising very fast. I am not surprised that many people on an average income can no longer afford a family-sized car or a decent-sized house.”

Iran criticizes Saudi for oil production increase

TEHRAN - Iran on Saturday criticized a decision by Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production, Fars news agency reported.

While terming the Saudi decision a "political move," Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari told Fars that a production increase would just lead to a further increase in reserves.

Russian oil giant Rosneft says it has shown state companies can be efficient

Russian top oil producer Rosneft has shown over the past year that state companies can be efficient and is ready to broaden co-operation with Western majors, Rosneft's chairman Igor Sechin, left, said yesterday.

Oil liquid gold for Canadian economy

The record-breaking run up in oil prices -- which this week pushed the TSX through the 15,000 barrier for the first time and the Canadian dollar back above parity -- has been the saviour of the Canadian economy in a time of global cataclysm.

Climate change threatens French truffle

Prolonged drought in many of their prime growing regions in Europe and predictions about global warming suggest the future is about as black as the truffles themselves, to the despair of the growers.

"The bad harvest years, which used to be the exception, are becoming the norm," Jean-Charles Savignac, President of the Federation Francaise des Trufficulteurs (FFT), told Reuters.

UK demands repayment of climate aid to poor nations

Britain's £800m international project to help the poorest countries in the world adapt to climate change was under fire last night after it emerged that almost all the money offered by Gordon Brown will have to be repaid with interest.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari told Fars that a production increase would just lead to a further increase in reserves".

My interpritation "That stuff looks just as good under our sand as it does in your tanks"

Over on blogginheads.tv, John Horgan speaks with Thomas Homer-Dixon, on topics often discussed here. Some of you may find it of interest (there are references to Diamond and Tainter):



Thanks for the link InJapan. It was a great interview. I had been thinking about buying Homer-Dixon's book "The Upside of Down" for some time but this Bloggingheads episode persuaded me to do so. I went to Amazon.com and was reading the reviews when I saw this:

The key question in this book is raised in the very middle: "Why don't we face reality?" A major reason is that we are groping in a fog to learn what that reality is. Homer-Dixon likens our society to a driver careering along a country road in a dense fog. We can barely see what's ahead, but we're somehow confident that no mishap will befall us. We've gotten this far safely.

"Why don't we face reality?" Well hell, if Homer-Dixon can shed some light on that question then I must read the book. That's when I clicked and bought the book.

Ron Patterson

I happen to have a copy sitting at my feet right now and I highly recommend it (why exactly I have it on the floor next to the computer, I'm not so sure). One interesting thing is that there is about 200 pages of endnotes in it that initially left me feeling sort of ripped off, but are very good reading in themselves. He goes through explanations of climate change, peak oil, and EROEI that are nothing new to TOD readers, but he also provides a very interesting take on Roman decline.

I've also got a copy of "The Ingenuity Gap" that I've been reading here and there. It's quite good, but the awful jacket cover and the author photo on the rear flap have been barriers to my reading (he looks like a Sears catalogue "cool dad" model).

While I'm recommending books, I also recently read "Technopoly" by Neil Postman (1989 or so) which was not TOO bad. The book has some fairly serious problems, but I think it provides a thought-provoking look at the effects of technology (including writing, statistics and polls, in addition to the obvious computers and such). I wouldn't put it at the top of any list, but it's alright.

With reference to "why don't we face reality?" While 'Tad' does go into this conundrum, I might argue that TOD's own Nate Hagens is about the best source on that topic that I've come across.

[taking bag of money from TOD staff]

For those who think anything is going to change in November.


For those who know its not.


"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. "

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. "

Robert A. Heinlein

"To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth" Jeff Cooper

Things are going to change in November. They're going to get worse. About a 99.999% chance of it.

By change, I meant changing the "rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell" Shameless Haggard reference.

You have done such a good job of keeping things like the Patriot Act from being approved, no wonder it will get worse.

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria."
When ever I hear these words, look for a strong turn toward the Right. Of course these are from my favorite fascist writer, Heinlein, who was always a fun read.
Well, TS Eliot could write quite well, and he even surpassed Heinlein in supporting fascism.
The Wasteland is still enjoyable to read.

"To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth" Jeff Cooper

I believe that that saying originated in Persia; something like "teach him to ride, shoot well and speak only the truth".

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

Yeah, those disarmed Japanese display constant rudeness towards one another, while the Iraqis armed to the teeth get along with each other famously. People call Robert Heinlein's published fantasy life "science fiction" for a reason.

I wouldn't exactly call the Japenese disarmed, they just have a tradition of swords instead of firearms. Their fear of firearms dates back to the samurai, which made a peasant equal to the samurai on the battlefield, funny how that works out.

If you think an unarmed society has less crime, perhaps you should research what happend to the crime rate in England after Blair disarmed everyone. "Don't worry, the police are here to find out who robbed/raped/killed you."

DC says that the police aren't obligated to protect you, so what are they for?

Someone here said government would be lucky to answer the phones, sounds about right. They didn't even do that during Katrina.

Yes, the phrase is Persian. The book is by Jeff Cooper.

Guns don't create the courtesy, however. Sometimes they establish a delicate truce, sometimes a condition of enforced obedience.. I wouldn't confuse these with a culture that has established a tradition of courtesy. Our traditions of short-tempered rage and self-deprecating jealousy might too often upstage our wish for 'Polite Niceness'.

I am sure that this does not fit jrc9596's ideology, but twice, in two separate planning forums, New Orleanians were asked what they most wanted to preserve about our beloved city.

It was not music, food, architecture or even Mardi Gras

In both cases, by large margins, it was the way that we relate to each other.

Many native New Orleanians, after being forced out, lived for the first time elsewhere in the USA and were uniformly shocked by the social isolation prevalent elsewhere in the USA.

"People don't talk to each other".

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


You just have to give them lots of guns, and then they can talk about ammo and camo, safe in the knowldege that a people well-encumbered with pistolas will never be subjected to economic, educational or social deprivations. Who would dare?

problem solved!

No, we're just bitter, like our meat fresh, and very cynical of smooth talking lawyers and politicians.

Only been to New Orleans once during Mardi Gras in 93, seemed like a nice place but I didn't have much time or money so I didn't stay long. Like most places in the old south, people related to each other very well. Of course, it was a very dangerous city then as well.

Here in Oklahoma City alot of Katrina refugees have stayed because of the same small town atmosphere here that they had there. The rest of the states is pretty impersonal from what I have seen, but most of my travels in the past 10 years have been Europe and Aisa so I probably just have the wrong first impression.

How about the Swiss? Aren't all the the men between 19 and 54 required to have assault rifles at home?

something like that.

In 1946, the Swiss bought a shed load of tracked armoured vehicles from Germany. They were low profile , slanted armour 75 mm gunned high velocity weapon systems.

They were called the 'Hetzer' which is German for trouble maker.

aka Teenage boy.

One of these things could quite happly defend a mountain pass.

Nobody has fooked with the Swiss since Napoleon....

From the People's Republic of California, a new way to balance the budget. Pass the word on, this pretty scary.


Heh. That's one reason I don't see farmland as the perfect investment. You only own something as long as the state says you own it. And it's not like you can hide land under your mattress.

And IME, small, local governments are even more corrupt than the state or the feds. They won't take your property and sell it to balance the budget. They'll take it because their brother in law wants it.

Keeping in mind your earlier warnings about "brother-in-law on the couch" syndrome, it seems that you have an issue with inlaws of the male kind! ((But, given the prevalence of mother-in-law jokes, perhaps you may just be trying to redress the gender balance?)

I can't take credit for "brother in the law on the couch." That is the work of Sharon Astyk (who posts here as "Jewish Farmer.")

Ok, it isn't the apocalypse, but whenever I point out to people that to a large degree hard times means consolidating housing, living with family and friends and taking in refugees you happen to be related to (by biology or friendship), I get a great deal of resistance. I suspect some of us are better prepared to deal with purple-haired mutants invading our neighborhoods than we are prepared to deal with the basic reality that hard times often look like your brother in law, his kids and spouse sleeping on your living room couch for three years. And I get the frequent impression many of us would rather face the mutants, given the choice.

Yes, I remember now, it was Sharon. But the point that you both make with your brother-in-law comments remains valid. That is, that in Post-Peak times those familial ties which, in the affluence of the latter half of the Twentieth Century, became thin and attenuated will again become thick. The blood-relation network will increase in strength.

Also, one of the unexpected, overlooked, but perhaps most significant, by-products of the Post-Peak world will be that we will all need to learn to cope better with the propinquity of others in the home, in public transport, and in all sorts of local transactions. Instead of being individual atoms we will need to learn to (again) become social molecules. It may be uncomfortable at first but but an increased ability to be at ease in close proximity with those beyond our immediate nuclear-family circle bodes well for the growth of community.

Excellent point, Tasman, about family ties becoming stronger in hard times.

I've been having a conversation with someone from SE Asia about the survival value of extended families. We both grew up in large close families, and have happy recollections of them. As adults, family members have helped each other out, sometimes living together, sometimes giving loans and aid. My siblings and I are half-seriously talking about moving into a family compound together as we grow into our 60s.

It's hard to explain the phenomenon to people from small or atomized families; they are usually suspicious and skeptical.

There's a reason why the extended family is the default social grouping for humans!

Energy Bulletin

...Instead of being individual atoms we will need to learn to (again) become social molecules...

I think Ken Wilbur's concept of Holons is a good model.

The larger Holon is breaking down(the remotely connected electronic grouping of tv, media, pop culture, etc) and the lower level Holons, Families, communities will start to have meaning and energy returning to them. It will be tough. As you said, we will have to remember how to relate, compromise, and cope.

My two twenty something daughters live with us, One by choice, (she is into our "Family Plan" and Peak Oil Etc) and my other because her young husband dropped dead of previously unknown a heart ailment. They were married one year and had a 2 month old baby.

So now our house had two fifty something parents, A 23 year old who has been in on our "Transistion Planning" and 28 year old with a 3 year old daughter. Intergrating, and learning how to live as a family again, only with all adults(and my granddaughter who is Perfect by the way).

We are/have been going thru "Adjustments" living together that other families will be going thru.

We all have different lives now.

I look in their faces, and it gives me the energy/motivation to do my best in planning our course into the future.

No, no ... please no! The whole point of the Industrial Revolution (and everything since) was to give millions of people the capacity to escape their families, their in-laws, the circumstances of their birth, and narrow constrained lives. Please do not see a reversal of this as a progressive step for human society - and besides, would the houses have enough rooms for all the TVs and computers required? As they say, be careful what you wish for!

Meanwhile, small groups of like-minded baby boomers are in fact turning communal, as soon as they retire and have a sufficient superannuation package to acquire attractive assets, and live outside major cities and the burbs. The lucky ones, that is.

OTOH, New Orleans sheltered almost half the population in 20% of the housing stock after Katrina.

I would NOT expect the same result in typical American Suburbia, despite many more sq ft/person.


This is an unfortunate consequence of individualism becoming the driving theme in American society, the rise of $ as *the* determiner of personal worth/value/identity (capitalism), the end of neighborhoods/communities and the rise of competition (tied into previous items on this list) and simply (ha-ha) the complexity of the world we have built.

One of the strengths of Korean culture, and perhaps what might help Korea survive in the face of insurmountable odds given the almost total lack of natural resources, is the concept of Uri. (Oori, with the "i" a bit like the rolled "ll" or "rr" in Spanish.) This means "we", but really goes beyond that. It is a sense of national identity forged by their isolation in the centuries before 1900 and the many times they were invaded/occupied by the Japanese and Chinese, culminating in Korea's annexation by Japan in 1910. This concept exists at all levels of the culture.

This is further enhanced at the family level by Confucian teachings which focus on a rigid social structure based upon mutual respect but within very rigid boundaries. (The current incarnation is adulterated and the mutual respect aspect is largely absent, leaving a very rigid system that leads to domination by men and/or the more powerful, the older, etc.) The influence is so strong that a Korean has great difficulty - at any age - defying the wishes of their parents. That is, it is second nature for a Korean to submit to the will of their elders, so living together, while perhaps not joyful, is quite natural to them. To this day, most unmarried Koreans live with their parents until they marry and eldest sons often take in the aging parents. The idea of a retirement home/community basically doesn't exist here.

This is all a very long-winded way to say that Korean core families and the ability to submit to a pre-set hierarchy in the home, thus allowing multiple generations to live together, exists extensively in Korea and may be the essential characteristic that helps Korea adjust to a post-carbon world. It should be noted that the rise of Capitalism and the advent of the first real democratic conditions as of 1993 are diminishing the things mentioned above, but compared to a nation like the US, they are much better positioned to keep their social structure intact.(I suspect this is true of virtually the entire world when compared against the highly fractured state of things in the US.)

Now, if only Korea can get hold of some natural resources... Oh, yeah! NK has some....

May you live in interesting times!


Leanan - A friend of mine who understands my sour estimation of our economic system asked me what to do to protect yourself going forward. I thought about that a long time and although I came up with some ideas like: getting out of fiat currency, invest in precious metals, if you can afford it invest in solar power for your home (not the stock-market) that sort of thing. But the more I thought about it there were holes in every scenario I came up with.

So what is the best way a currently middle class citizen can prepare for an economic collapse?

Learn to cook.

The one piece of advice my grandfather gave me, and a good one.

I've thought about this, too, and I think the best investment of your money is in acquiring skills and education. Not necessarily a degree, because if things get as bad as all that, nobody's going to care if you're an MD, an RN, or a veterinary technician. But there are skills that could be useful whether civilization crashes tomorrow or the happy motoring goes on forever. Nuclear engineering. Spinning. Firefighting. Organic farming. Carpentry. Sewing. Solar technology. Knowledge can never be taken away from you.

Other than that, there's the old standby: diversify. IMO, it's the only thing to do when the future is uncertain.

The only bit of nuclear engineering most people need to know is SCRAM. "SCRAM" as in which button to push to shut down an unattended reactor, and "SCRAM!!!" if nobody gets there to shut it down in time!

In a great many cases, that knowledge will do you little good without the tools that go with it. The opposite is also true: a tool is of limited value to one who does not know how to use it.

Tools are good barter items, though. Thus, they are good investments.

Disagree. I think "stuff" will become cheap in the future. At least if you don't mind second hand. We see it happening already; people are selling their belongings on eBay or at pawn shops in order to put gas in their cars. I predict that skills will much scarcer than stuff.

I think "stuff" will become cheap in the future.

I am with you on that, Leanan.

I am banking my survival on knowing how to fix damn near anything, from plain everyday appliances to industrial process controllers at the component (transistor, diode, resistor, capacitor, and inductor) level.

I have no problems taking parts from one piece of junk in order to get another thing working. Even if the donor and receptor thing are far apart in function - that is I may take the horizontal output transistor from a TV to replace a blown switching regulator transistor in a solar array. Or redesign the circuit if necessary.

I've had 40 years in electronics component circuit design, some digital, but mostly RF and power analog, with a good dose of refinery ops and refrigeration thrown in. By now I feel I have a really good hold on the characteristics of electronic components. Even those whose only clue is how they were hooked up in their previous circuit.

I am banking on that when stuff gets hard to replace, my skills to fix whatever one has will be a valuable enough stock in trade for me to survive, despite my status as a "senior citizen".

I, like everyone else here, wonders how to position myself so I can justify my own existence to others who will always get themselves in authority over me, whether it be by legal letter or gun. If I "own" what they want, they will simply take IT and shoot ME. Frankly, at my age, training, and physical condition, using physical methods to get my way is not an option for me.

Your skills will always be valuable--to someone else. Techno-peasant. Sorry, I'm bitter. Technical skills tend to be less well compensated than people-wrangling skills. Still, it is better that the people who own you appreciate you.

Yep, J.

You are absolutely right that today I am a Techno-peasant.

I do not presently feel I am of any use to the money-men, as just like you say, the money-men hire people which have people-wrangling skills.

With the advent of the possible world collapse of civilization as we know it ( which is the scenario I am hedging ), the money men will be in the same position as the plumber servicing the rich man when I may be the only plumber in town and I get to decide whose plumbing is going to work.

We have neglected our knowledge of how our stuff works for so long, and even pass law today to make dissemination of forbidden knowledge a criminal act (Digital Millenium Copyright Act and other Imaginary Property laws ).

I figure by the time my skills will be needed, there will not be infrastructure in place to train others with years of experience of design knowledge. For now, design has been done overseas for years, while we just imported assemblies and ran them till they failed - then junked them. Very few people here have design skills anymore.

I feel the "skilled trades", especially machinists, will make a strong comeback with a good tradesman highly valued.

But, for now, your term Techno-peasant is quite applicable.

Its still quite easy for the money-men to replace us with overseas talent.

Good thinking. Employers have never been very keen about having people over 70 on their payroll, no matter how cheap they come. Best to assume that when we are over 70, we will not be "retired", but we will have to be self-employed in some way or another. If you've managed to get your mortgage and other debts paid off, and have gotten yourself set up to be largely self-sufficient for food and energy, then part-time self-employment to bring in a little money or for barter becomes a very feasible strategy.

"They met a very hearty Lord Suffolk during lunch, who poured wine for anyone who wanted it, and laughed loudly at every attempt at a joke by the recruits. In the afternoon they were all given a strange exam in which a piece of machinery had to be put back together without any prior information of what it was used for. They were allowed two hours but could leave as soon as the problem was solved. Singh finished the exam quickly and spent the rest of the time inventing other objects that could be made from the various components. He sensed he would be admitted easily if it were not for his race. He had come from a country where mathematics and mechanics were natural traits. Cars were never destroyed. Parts of them were carried across a village and readapted into a sewing machine or water pump. The backseat of a Ford was reupholstered and became a sofa. Most people in his village were more likely to carry a spanner or a screwdriver than a pencil. A car's irrelevant parts thus entered a grandfather clock or irrigation pulley or the spinning mechanism of an office chair. Antidotes to mechanized disaster were easily found. One cooled an overheating car engine not with new rubber hoses but by scooping up cow shit and patting it around the condenser. What he saw in England was a surfeit of parts that would keep the continent of India going for two hundred years."

--Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

For stuff like video games and non-durable designer fashions and all types of "collectables" and an endless list of other useless nonsense that people waste their money on, I couldn't agree more.

Tools, however, are another matter. With the exception of a few very common things like hammers and screwdrivers, tools of all sorts tend to be specialty items, made in small production runs for a small customer base. In the case of many hand tools, mass production has essentially made most of them "obsolete" except for a small cadre of hobbyists - or thus has been the conventional wisdom up to now. If or when mass production starts to unwind due to lack of energy, then hand production using hand tools will have to wind back up. There are not enough hand tools around to support such an increase, so demand will vastly exceed supply.

I continue to assert: tools will be an excellent investment.

And I think there will be a lot more tools than people who know how to use them.


Needles are currently:

mass produced
of no volume
you can pick up a dollars worth

And then, after PO they disappear.


Clothes need needles...

And then, after PO they disappear.

Why? If well-cared for, steel needles will probably outlast our need for them. Think of the millions of "sewing kits" given away as promotional items or taken as swag from hotel rooms. Everyone's got some needles stashed somewhere. We have more needles that we need, and it will be awhile before they are "used up."

If things get so bad we lose our ability to manufacture needles, I suspect the ones we make now will not be of much use. They will be too fine for the types of cloth, thread, and clothing ordinary people are likely to be using.

Who makes needles?

Where are they made?

How will they get from where they are made to you?

Small , light , useful. But NOT made in the USA.

In fact, I would be surprised if there was one nail clipper manufacturer still around in the US.

The thing is...we probably don't need any more needles to be made. We have enough to last a lifetime already. You buy them in packets that have 10 or 20, all different sizes, and you really only use maybe one or two. They're so cheap that when you lose one, you don't bother to look for it, you just buy new ones.

Nailclippers...well, they get dull, and you eventually have to replace them if you can't sharpen them. (Needles get dull, too, but they're perfectly usable even dull.) But you don't really need nailcippers. You can trim your nails with scissors or a knife, with a little practice, and I suspect people will do that rather than trade for nailclippers.

If you walk around the house in your bare feet, you'd BETTER try to find that lost needle! ;-)

I don't necessarily mean dropped on the floor. I mean lost as in misplaced. Most of us sew very rarely if at all. We have needles...somewhere. We just can't find them. So we buy another pack rather than look through our closets and drawers.

My mom sews a lot. She sewed all her own clothes as a young teacher. When she married, she still sewed all her own clothes (except underwear), and sewed school clothes for her kids. She sewed my prom dresses. She now has a successful small business, sewing things and selling them at craft fairs.

She's still using the needles her mom bought her when she was 12 and first went to sewing school. They're worn, but perfectly usable. She hasn't needed to buy new ones. (Since she uses them all the time, she doesn't misplace them like most of us. ;-)

Sewing machine needles might be a good item to stockpile, because they break, and they are not easily replaced. You won't be carving sewing machine needles out of bone. But ordinary sewing needles? I don't think they'll be particularly valuable.

needles (and other small rustable items)

Consider buying some paraffin wax. Melt wax, pour in mold, add small metal items.

The metal items will then be waterproofed and the wax is useable later via melting.

Not to mention that paleolithic peoples were making needles out of bone fragments. Needles rank amongst the earliest of archaeological artifacts.

One overlooked possibility is foreign hydroelectric producers. Several merchant companies (not utilities) in Canada, CIG & CPL (NYSE listed) in Brazil, Verbund in Austria and several Swiss utilities (most also own part of a nuke).

Add geothermal and wind producers for relatively less long term stability.

Holding them in a US broker makes you easy to identify and confiscate unfortunately.

But energy producers have a certain inherent value.


The worst things you can do are invest in solar panels and precious metals (mostly used for electronics and jewelry) , both of which will be useless when there is no power grid and no transportation. Check Norman's post on Countercurrents, he has sumpin to say. Focus on what you need: water, food, and shelter (keeping warm and dry).

There are things you need and things you would like - focus on the things people need and keep it simple - evidence from more than half of the world's population indicates you don't need much more than food, water, security and shelter (with keeping warm and dry it's the warmth bit that worries me, even though the UK isn't particularly cold!)

Maybe I should move South, the property in Spain looks like it's getting cheaper by the day! But then again we've likely got climate change and I don't speak Spanish - what to do?

Forget Spain. It will have serious issues in the coming years.

Chronic drought
Overpopulation on the coasts
A burgeoning cohort of North European Geriatrics who cannot return to UK etc since the house price collapse. Who then put acute strains on the Spanish Medical system and leading to a resultant Spanish hostility.

It has some stuff going for it: Solar, Wind, links to North African Gas (at least for a while)

Unless you are doing something vitally useful to the local population, dont be anywhere where you cannot speak the language fluently.

I speak Spanish and live in a sustainable town in Mexico, pretty too, that's why I'm here and not in New Hampshire USA anymore. Not any place in Spain is sustainable, with climate change. Thinking about moving, maybe here? Give me a call, it is a USA number but connects here 603-668-4207. Good luck!

TOD readers should consider moving to an English-speaking energy exporting country that needs to be a leader in new energy, because we're nearly out of oil. The new Australian government is expanding migration. Unfortunately their list of required people is perhaps different from mine, which would be: People to build shipping and train infrastructure; People to build a flexible transport infrastructure (to utilize the trains and ships better); People to build a CNG vehicle industry and infrastructure; People to build a thorium-based nuclear industry for when the gas runs out. We need to do our first nuclear reactors where they are a long way from most voters, doing some specific jobs like making alumin(i)um, or better still creating some sort of concentrated (but not explosive) energy [ideas welcome -- yes we've already heard of using aluminum for fuel]. When I look at the list of people we need and things we need to do, one can't help wondering if it is already too late. Another thing we need to do is build a city in the north-west of the country, where the resources are, and it rains pretty regularly.

Unfortunately, there is good argument that says the country is already 100% over carrying capacity. The expansion of immigration to feed the "growth" paradigm is profoundly wrong, I think. Mind you - a few more engineers would probably be very beneficial, on balance.

A city in the Northwest would be possible if you can generate all the electricity required through solar and maybe tidal - it is a difficult place to live without massive air conditioning. And it's very difficult to grow food there, outside of extensive irrigation and fertiliser models.

"...solar panels and precious metals (mostly used for electronics and jewelry) , both of which will be useless when there is no power grid..."

Pay no attention to those who will be using solar panels to charge their battery powered tools that will be helpful/essential in rebuilding our homes/lives AWAY from a grid-based lifestyle..

.. or those who have combined a PV setup with an electric car, and might be the only running taxi drivers for their town (probably paid for in garden produce and returned labor) - because the second the grid fails, the roads will just disappear, all PV panels automatically shatter, and people will forget about electric lights, motors or their refrigerated foods. Water pumps, Walkie-Talkies, Radios, Phones. There are countless useful and lifesaving tools that can help us through this transition, whatever it looks like.

Without a doubt, you absolutely need water, food and shelter. (so possibly a pump, a fridge for the time being, and a working flashlight or two, so you don't have to buy an endless supply of kerosene and candles. The boon to electric light is that it rarely burns down your shelters)

But definitely get some solar panels while they're still cheap and on the shelves. You'll be the pride of the neighborhood! (You can charge an egg for every flashlight you charge up!)

Cliff, you are so cantankerous! You should be up here in New England with the rest of us curmudgeons.. but I do hope, despite my hissing and spitting at this persistent and mysterious theme of yours, that Mexico is working out well for you guys. I love high desert/sierra country (if that's the right description )

Good Luck!


Hi Bob,

I hope those solar panels will charge your electric powered chain saw (don't have them do they?) and your electric powered wood splitter (don't have them do they/), and your electric powered 4x4 for hauling wood (don't have them do they?). Better to put the money that was going into solar panels into passive solar, wood stoves, wagons, carts etc. Besides, all of that electric stuff will fail in time and you can't get parts or a new one. Who needs power tools anyway, people got along fine without them for thousands of years. Get someone to start manufacturing some of those big hand wood saws. None of those around nowadays.

Mexico is working out just fine, here at 1,250 meters, 2 meters of rain a year, 12 acres on a little river, now planted in coffee, will add macadamia nut trees, citrus, bananas, veggies, beans. Just getting started, working with the local agriculture association here to figure out what to do, as coffee growing is a dead end. Got to get working with the state officials here.

I'd post some photos, but I don't know how :( . Hey Bob, come visit, maybe you can retire here.

Cliff Wirth, Peak Oil Associates International

your electric powered chain saw (don't have them do they?)


your electric powered wood splitter (don't have them do they/)


and your electric powered 4x4 for hauling wood (don't have them do they?)

(I'm sure I can find one, but I lack ambition...so here's the first link)

Electric 4x4 - try The Gorilla Battery ATV. $7k last time I looked.

Sorry, I meant to say, battery powered chainsaws (I had an electric one, worked fine for awhile), battery powered wood splitters, battery powered wagons, and battery powered 4x4s (please don't show me miniature ones, we need the real thing). And you forgot to tell us how long the batteries and parts will last. And remember, it take only one part to fail, and that's it.

'How long they'll last'

Longer than gas supplies.

Not every part failure dooms a machine. Especially simple machines like EV's and E-tools.. and I don't believe for a second that we will see all manufacturing close down. Batteries will be a prize industry.

Another converted Tractor..

"Quick 2007 Update: Several Dozen of these tractors have been built recently and people seem really happy with them. I have to say even after all these years, I can't imagine farming without them! We put a lot of hours on them and they haven't broken down (see my new note on the parts page) and the batteries still seem fine. Prices have gone up somewhat, but you also "get more" -again see my notes on the parts page."

"...When I built our first electric tractor, I had NO EXPERIENCE working with electric motors, and only limited exerience working on gasoline engines. That first tractor is well into it's third year now, and still working beautifully on a full-time basis, with NO tune-ups or adjustments necessary (unlike it's earlier gasoline incarnation!)"


Question, how far in kilometers will a tractor/combine go on a charge, given that they have 400 hp diesel engines currently. Can someone do the math on this. My guess is about 3 kms on a charge

After the currency remormalisation we will see half the Mexican immigrants moving back to Mexico, probably to the property you are living on. If things really hit the fan, the other half will follow them to someplace where they can grow food.
What can you offer them when they show up so they will let you stay?

All will go home and then stay there. The highways will be dangerous and nothing will move. People will stay where they are, and they have not the slightest idea of where to go, and without food and water on the long march to nowhere?? I'm here, part of a community, working with the local ag. assn.

Won't be necessary. We've got some strains of GM Corn and Wheat that will harvest itself. Monsanto is just struggling with the unexpected issue of the grains being so communal in nature that they've already formed unions.

ICE HP is rated at peak, so a 400hp engine is 400hp at peak. Electric motors are rated continuous (usually 60 minutes), their Peak rating is usually 3 or 5 minutes, and they can usually peak at four to five times their Continuous rating.

If you're running a EV off a single 12V battery, you're not going anywhere. However, no one sane is trying anyhow. Most EV's using Lead chemistry batteries (Lead Sleds) usually use about 30 batteries, often on a single string. This gives anough power to travel approx 30 or 40 kilometres, at speed, between charges, and keeps the batteries above 80% DOD (out of the danger zone).

This same amount of batteries can power a modern, energy-sucking house for about a day.

Range is a direct function of weight of batteries. Double the weight of the batteries, double the range.

If you can afford it, use Lithium or NiMH, as these weigh a lot less for the same power, but they are more expensive.

An (DC) electric motor will go for at least 100,000 kilometres between servicing (check and adjust the brushes). AC will go even further, as there's even less moving/contacting parts (but the electronics is more complex).

Hi Cliff;
As Substrate showed, they do have all of those tools, tho' I still have a few BowSaws, Splitting Malls and so on. I use hand tools for a great deal of my shop work, and there's no catharsis better than a splitting mall. When I get too old for that, I'll take a long pipe or log and fashion up a Lever-based Splitter. Just built a Treadle Sewing machine base into a Scroll saw, and an exercise bike is becoming a multi-tool (lathe/router/grinder, etc)

If I go for an EV, it may very likely be a Pickup truck or a van. Electric hauls freight trains, those motors are POWERFUL.. and pickups aren't that uncommon on the EV conversion sites.

While I unabashedly advocate for Solar Electric and Electric tools, these are no panacaea, and I suspect that looking at the same list, we'd both be picking many of the same ones. Learning gardening/food-lore and basic Carpentry is probably the most useful pair of skills I'd hope people have a grasp on. And as soon as one knows something useful, they probably are becoming a teacher on top of that!

I hope you're wrong about the coffee!


A thought I didn't get out before, is that I think one of the differences in your and my conclusions sounds to me like you are talking about mile 500 or 750 in this thousand-mile journey, while I am looking at the first 50 to 100 steps of that trek.

Many parts of this transition will have a fantastic amount of work involved in them, and so I look to tools that we have and that are durable. (I'm still cutting with my grandfather's Delta bandsaw, my great grandfather's Crosscut saw, and the Makita Cordless drill that my dad got me 21 years ago for College Graduation. Good, tough tools!)

Here's a guy (mentioning) running a Chainsaw from a pedal-generator,
(without pretending that this is an ideal or sustainable mix.. just that it's possible)

..and a Mainer named John Howe running an electric-converted tractor, a golf-cart and a chainsaw from solar-charged batteries. He describes how the batteries and (EDIT) >> 2.5kw inverter on the golf cart kept the house going during a recent power outage.
"John Howe's Solar Chain-Saw (and other inventions)"

If we find ourselves in your neck of the (ahem?) woods, I would be glad to give you a call and drop in. Thanks! (I'll be 90% of the way there next week, taking an especially unsustainable gig as a crewperson on a Poker TV show in Vegas for several days. No time for side-trips however, as Leslie will be Soloing with our Girl while I'm in that consumer-orgyland. Two weeks of being a fish out of water!)


Hi Bob, Coffee prices will drop like a stone in the global Peak Oil recession, prolly this year. Time to plant sumpin else. Yes, I am cantankerous about technofixes cause I'm trying to get you on a sustainable path for you and you kids. The Rube Goldberg stuff won't last long. You've got to be in this for the long haul.

Actually coffee demand held up pretty well during the Great Depression. Prices did slide, but less than most agricultural products.

Long storage life, high value/volume or weight.

Tobacco is also good.

Vices usually do better than necessities.


The large one-man and two-man crosscut timber saws are indeed still being made, they are just a little hard to find. They are not being made in anything close to the quantities needed if (when) the gasoline for chain saws goes away.

I have a non-electric wood splitter. It is called an axe. Sledge hammer and wedges are also useful for the larger logs.

If one has a garden cart, one can haul maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cord per load. It would take more trips than you would need with a pickup truck, but it could be done.

I heat with wood that I get from my own woodlot, and have for years. I do use a chainsaw, though I am looking for a two man crosscut. A well-sharpened 'mysery whip' can get an incredible amount of work done incredibly quickly - I have some experience with this.

I use various splitting mauls, supplemented by sledge/wedge, for splitting. It's getting tougher, though, as my lifetime accumulation of injuries start to take their toll. It's quite a shock, and sometimes the ol' back doesn't like it and sort of spazzes out.

I mostly skid logs in from the woods to my work area right outside the woodshed using my wonder-horse Blossom. But I do tote odds and ends around with a garden cart.

I am a big advocate of garden carts, but if you think you can haul 1/4 of a cord in a cart-load, you have different cords in mind, and a different cart than mine, and/or are much stronger than I. A cord is 4x4x8 feet, i.e., 128 cubic feet of wood. Wood is quite heavy.

But firewood-getting is totally doable without FF. Obviously. Been done for millenia...

Yeah, maybe 1/4 cord is too optimistic. The point remains though, a garden cart could do the job, with enough trips.

Some of these comments are quite amusing.

...Armies of barbarians swept down upon the world's civilization and extinguished it, and Europe lay for centuries in darkness... Can history repeat itself?

When grocery store shelves go empty, I'm betting the starving billions in metro and urban areas ain't gonna just go quietly on their death beds. The hoards who have not prepared for this coming Armageddon will easily lay waste to the best of plans. Rather than worrying about saws, it might be a better idea to stock up on AK-47s with plenty of ammo and build fortress walls around those precious trees. As I've said before, the folks who were dancing in the Titanic's ballroom reached bottom only seconds behind those who were shoveling coal into the boilers.

"...the folks who were dancing in the Titanic's ballroom reached bottom only seconds behind those who were shoveling coal into the boilers."

Which is why even those AK-47s aren't going to help very much. The survivalist fantasy stands on an assumption that, basically, only the fantasist(s) will be armed. But if Mad Max and his horde arrive, they will arrive armed - most countries have military forces, so there will be plenty of arms floating around that scenario even if there had been severe gun laws. Or, to put it another way, quoting from WNC downthread, "IMHO, there is a basic reality that must be faced, and the sooner each of us faces it the better: We cannot hope or expect to be very much - and especially obviously - better off than our neighbors." (In reality, IMO, large differences of rank will emerge (or remain), but that doesn't entirely negate the basic point.)

I also find it curious that the survivalist fantasy seems to be almost exclusive to US posts. I often wonder what international readers think of it. I can't imagine someone from, oh, say, The Netherlands thinking for even a nanosecond that they will find a spot in that country so isolated that their own Mad Max wouldn't be able to find them and strip them of their weapons and supplies in about an hour.

Any overseas readers who somehow got this far into this subthread care to comment?

As an Australian, I guess I find it extraordinary, not just curious - the prominence of the back-to-the- farm and self-sufficiency model. Not just on here - there are dozens of US websites about this stuff. Not just that there seems to be a higher level of pessimism in the US about the near-term future, but the level of us-versus-them in all of it. I think it has a lot more to do with the course of American history and culture (not the least, that problems can be solved or positions can be defended with guns). Sounds a lot like white flight from urban areas to me, taken to a rural context.

Australia has plenty of places to escape to (notwithstanding its much greater topsoil and water poverty than the US), however those doing a sea-change or a tree-change are people tired of cities, or early retiree boomers, or a vague product of the hippie / alternative lifestyle culture that had surprising strength in the 1970s and 1980s.

The "bush" is deeply embedded in our culture, but nothing like the ideas that emanates from the US-dominated posts here: that you store masses of food, run pedal-power drills, and lock all intruders (government or ferals) in the cross-hairs. I like the phrase doomer porn, but I appreciate that for many people (on here and elsewhere) who are working hard towards a self-sufficient lifestyle for whatever reasons, including a firmly held peak oil perspective, it can be offensive.

I am actually very pessimistic myself too, but being in my 50s I think that major changes in my lifetime are less likely. Won't stop us protecting our assets best we can and having a ten- to twenty-year model to address (live with) peak oil and peak everything - but I just can't get my head around the extreme Hollywood-esque survivalist scenarios painted here. Too many punters have seen Mad Max, I feel.

I don't think it has anything to do with Mad Max, really. What you are talking about is generally known as survivalism, and it's older than Mad Max.

Not sure why it's so prevalent here, but it does seem to be a uniquely American thing. Perhaps a combination of our general religious nuttiness, the extreme fears of nuclear war from the '60s, and our frontier past. These days, survivalists are often associated with the extreme right wing. There's a strong element of racism at many survivalist sites. Many also have fundamentalist Christian leanings. (My college roommate is one of those. She's moved out into the woods with her husband and four kids, and is preparing for the end times.)

Survivalists fail to understand a truth. If one wants to live a life that is not "nasty, short and brutish", a civilization is required.

Medical care and care when one is not at peak health and vigor requires community. Almost all of us need some help past age 70 or so and almost all of us will suffer accidents in a survivalist life style, and random diseases.

One is "all set" with their well armed, self sufficient remote farm in XXX. All surprising well the first four years (against all odds) and then get an abscessed tooth in Year 5 during harvest time. Perhaps not fatal, but reduced productivity reduces the harvest (that, and a back sprain). Year 6 is a drought year, and a broken bone in the foot and then not enough food, including stores (largely consumed after the Year 5 harvest). One gains 7 more years of "life" over those completely unprepared.

Given the likely rate of decline, in society and in our bodies, I question even the theoretical value of survivalism for those over age 45 or so.

Best Hopes for Community,


The main problem I see with the 'back to the hills, pass the guns and ammunition' types if they think they'll be the ones with the advantage. The problem lies with the fact that there's almost always someone else with more guns and ammunition than you, and if you put up a fight, they're not likely to be kind to the survivors. Thusly, you have to know which battles to pick, and when to just open the doors and let them take your stuff.

Which is why even those AK-47s aren't going to help very much.

I agree. Which is why a BB gun is the most powerful weapon I've ever owned. Here's a classic example of American absurdity. :o) And here's an interesting question. Does the average American have one arm or two?

Self defense is a good idea, and you have the right idea, and the next step is cross bows and regular bows too, but you need to get those now too. But you don't have to worry much about the armies of barbarians, as they won't have any idea of where to go and won't get very far. The old barbarians were living off the land and such, and they knew where they were going. In the Peak Oil crisis, most people will stay pretty much where they are......how the hell will they get anywhere except on foot and to where they have no idea.

Coffee prices will drop like a stone in the global Peak Oil recession, prolly this year.

Maybe I'll get back to you late December and we'll check the coffee price ...

While it might be terrific to have some cheap land in hilly Mexico, and to grow your own fruit and veggies, I think it is important to see it as a lifestyle choice - not a bad one or a harmful one - but no need to over-state its rationale - that everything else will collapse by Christmas, this decade - or in fact in our lifetimes. Such extreme fantasies I can see no value in, both personally, or as a collective response to the issues we face.

Land is not cheap here, and not easy to find, land = income here. But when coffee drops, land values will too. Then I'll buy some more land. Come on down and take a look. Get in touch. clifford dot wirth at yahoo dot com. The Hirsch report and the GAO agreed that the decline in oil production would be "abrupt and revolutionary." If you look at the chart just posted by ACE here on TOD, things may be on the collapse in a decade. Long before 2050 there won't be enough oil to keep the grid up. And if you can't do that, you can't pump oil. Hmmmmm. Kind of makes one wonder how the collapse will take place. Lots of stuff on the grid here at TOD, and it doesn't look good. Better to be concerned and get ready. Today it is called risk management, as a Boy Scout, we just called it "be prepared," the Boy Scout motto, and my granny called it "a stitch in time saves 9."

The worst things you can do are invest in solar panels and precious metals (mostly used for electronics and jewelry) , both of which will be useless when there is no power grid and no transportation. Check Norman's post on Countercurrents, he has sumpin to say. Focus on what you need: water, food, and shelter (keeping warm and dry).

...eh? PV is useless when there's no power grid? This is news to me! What if you use the PV to run your freezer...wouldn't that be focusing "on what you need" - the "food" part, anyway.

The worst things you can do are invest in solar panels ... will be useless when there is no power grid

Prove this.

Show how solar panels NEED the 'power grid'.

(I note how there has been no response by the original poster to defend his statement. I'll leave it to other readers to decide why.)

You cannot predict the details, the collapse will be more than economic, and it will be the prevailing theme of the rest of our lives and generations to follow. Stashes and stores and specific technologies may be useful for short term catastrophes, but will never last long enough. Keep an open mind and open eyes, and embrace the changes. Become a valued part of your community, and learn, learn, learn - especially learn to produce food and essential items. We have all spent our lives in preparation for a future that is not coming. So we must reinvent ourselves in order to survive. We are well behind the curve, but we cannot predict the timing of events to come - there may well be time to prepare, so there is no excuse for not starting today.

Hello TODers,

So what is the best way a currently middle class citizen can prepare for an economic collapse?

I encourage TODers to see Leanan's video link of the women sleeping in their cars. IMO, this is bad planning on their part: they easily could have bought a used pickup truck and a used cab-over camper to sleep in comfort, and have high hygiene levels.

Additionally, pulling a small, enclosed trailer would allow storage of a bicycle, wheelbarrow, and scooter for excursions, plus secure storage of other necessities.

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

Which story contained this video?

For those interested in more info on portable, luxurious, small housing:


Lots of other manufacturers, too. Recall my posting whereby I discussed having one of these stuffed into a used culvert on a piece of property.

So what is the best way a currently middle class citizen can prepare for an economic collapse?

Horde food. Get camping EQ (like cooking stuff). Install Solar thermal and PV. A wind turbine if you can.


If it gets this bad?

get a knife

use it to get a gun.

use the gun to get

a machine pistol

repeat and rinse.

Better to invest in something that is sustainable and that can give you something you need. With this stuff you can go camping and take a warm shower--if the water works, and you can watch your wind turbine go around and think about what else you could have done with the thousands of dollars wasted in generating electricity that is of little value, especially when the device/batteries/switches malfunction -- they all do.

Better to invest in something that is sustainable and that can give you something you need.

Like a PV Panel.

watch your wind turbine go around and think about what else you could have done with the thousands of dollars wasted in generating electricity that is of little value,

Or the power can be going into various motors that do WORK for you. Like motors running things like your compost airation system. Or air pumps/water pumps for aqua culture. Or even simple heating of the ground via ground heating cables keeping the roots warm and promoting growth. Or the resistive loads of a pottery kiln or glass kiln, or even small metal smelter.

Just because *YOU* don't have imagination about the value of electromotive force does not mean others do not.

To paraphrase a certain former, worst ever SecDef, "WTSHTF, you won't cope with it with the gear you would like to have, you will cope with it with the gear that you do have."

My favorite...

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

Unfortunately, there is no formula that is 100% guaranteed to see you through under any and all scenarios.

IMHO, there is a basic reality that must be faced, and the sooner each of us faces it the better: We cannot hope or expect to be very much - and especially obviously - better off than our neighbors.

Without intending to sound overly critical or demeaning, I nevertheless perceive that at the root of questions like yours ("How do I protect myself? etc.) is a desire for just that: How can I end up being better off than my neighbors?

The reality is that we humans are interdependent. We have not quite evolved in the same direction as bees or ants, but we are nevertheless social animals to a very great extent. It might be just possible for an individual to survive totally on their own in the wild, for a while anyway. Most of us can't; nor is the human species likely to avoid extinction if that is what ends up being our last surviving specimins.

There are some things one might do to better position oneself so that one doesn't end up being any WORSE off than one's neighbors. One might even just possibly be able to get away with being just a tad better off than them in a few things that really matter, especially if one can disguise or hide the fact that you've managed to be a bit better off than them, but this is a risky strategy and you'll have to be careful.

Some specific suggestions:

Some worry that the neighbors will just steal any food that they try to produce, unless they relocate to a place far enough removed from other people as to be inaccessible. How many such places are there, and how many people can relocate there without their ceasing to be remote? Yes, the neighbors might steal you vegies or fruits or livestock, and they could be resentful and envious of the fact that you are growing food that they don't have. The thing is though, if/when we get to that point, then not long thereafter our communities are going to have to transition to the point where EVERYONE is growing food, and EVERY lawn is converted to garden. This suggests to me then, that part of your strategy has to include not just growing your own food, but also working with your neighbors to help them grow their own food. Be very generous in offering free advice, or a loan of a tool, or lending a hand with some digging. Become known as the neighborhood gardening expert - a valuable asset worth preserving and cultivating. If you have neighbors that have good potential garden land but are unable to cultivate it themselves, then once you have all of your own land in production, suggest to them that you garden theirs as well, on a 50:50 sharecrop basis. Can I guarantee that such an approach will result in you and your garden being left alone, and that you won't starve? No, I can't guarantee that - but I think you will be a little bit better positioned than the average, clueless person who is doing nothing to prepare for the future.

Some people seem to have the idea that they are going to line their roof with solar panels and be able to keep every electrical appliance in their house running while everyone else in their neighborhood is cowering in the dark. Guess again. If the grid is down for everyone in the neighborhood, then you'd better content yourself with candles and a couple of those crank-powered lanterns. Maybe you can just get away with a small panel that can supply enough charge to enough batteries to keep a refrigerator running. For the most part, though, you need to be actively thinking of ways to simplify and power down your lifestyle. Learn to do without as much as possible. Rather than trying to figure out how to continue providing power to your electric dryer when the grid goes down, why not start using a clothesline now? Set yourself up with it now, and when everyone HAS to use a clothesline nobody will think it strange that you already have one. As for cooking, go ahead and get yourself a solar oven and learn to use it. It is small enough that it can be set up in a relatively non-obvious place. For that matter, get several, and be prepared to offer to share and cook neighbors meals as well as your own. Even better, learn how to build your own, and set yourself up in a nice little sideline business building solar ovens for your neighbors.

Don't think that you are going to be able to manage to maintain a toasty warm 72F in your home while all of your neighbors are freezing, either. Start setting the thermostat down now, and get in practice. Learn what kinds of warm clothes you are going to need. Learn where additional insulation and sealing of your building envelope you will need, and get it done now. If it is feasible, get a wood stove and start heating with wood, at least on a supplemental basis; be prepared for that to become your primary heat source if necessary. Be able to cut down trees and chop & haul wood, even if there is no gasoline available for chain saws or pickup trucks. Be prepared and eagerly willing to pitch in and help the neighbors to get their wood as well.

Don't think that you are going to be able to tool around deserted streets in your PHEV, either. The day may come when just about every ordinary person walks, or rides a bike if they are lucky, or rides mass transit if they are really lucky, or maybe has a small, limited range NEV if they are REALLY really lucky. Get equipped and get in shape to start walking when and where you can, and start doing it. If riding a bicycle is right for you, get one and do it. Try to minimize your dependence on cars as much as possible. If you can afford an NEV, make that your vehicle for local trips that you can do on foot or by bike. Offer a lift to your neighbors - at first it will be a novelty, but before long a necessity. Don't expect that your community will be allow you to keep your NEV if you are not using it to the benefit of the entire community.

Don't think that you are going to be able to flash gold and silver coins to buy your way out of every problem; those that have nothing might very well create much worse problems for you. Have a few coins stored in a safe place, certainly. However, if times get hard enough, most of your neighbors will be getting by through a combination of barter and earning what they need doing a variety of odd jobs and self-employment ventures. You need to get fit, get skilled, get some useful tools and know how to use them. If you are going to stockpile anything, instead of gold or silver let it be things that are likely to be really useful and really rare, things that any ordinary person might have, but not in quantity. For example, if you get yourself a treadle sewing machine, it might just make sense to get a second one to keep on hand; you might need it if your primary machine breaks down, or it might serve as a great barter item if needed.

The most pessimistic doomers on this site will be quick to point out that a fast catastrophic crash will sweep even these preparations aside. That may be true - but what alternative can they offer? Under that scenario, I do believe that there really is NOTHING one can really do to prepare and protect oneself. Short of that, however, the above strategy should serve one pretty well.

Your thinking is very much along the same lines as mine. Be useful and helpful to your neighbors - this is the best protection. There will be many things that we cannot accomplish on our own, as there ever was, and having good relations with neighbors will be key.

By the same token, I have friends that live in areas where their neighbors are all jerks, with delinquent kids and chips on their shoulders. I really wish they would get out of there, but most are now trapped by the drop in housing. Of course they COULD get out, but that would require them to really understand what is coming and take a bigger risk than they are comfortable with.

The key advantage is having skill and good relationships with other people who are also skilled.

Perhaps a better way to phrase it is that for a long time now our energy slaves have been substituting for what was previously community/tribe/extended family help, and as they disappear we'd better think about how we're going to make up for that.

In many cases, it will have to be not so much a matter of making up for it as of just giving it up. That was my main point: rather than trying to figure out how to sustain our present lifestyles, we'd better figure out how to content ourselves with something pretty close to the same, poor, low energy lifestyles that our neighbors are going to HAVE to be living.

Being nice to the neighbors is a big part of it, but not giving the neighbors reason for envy and resentment is an even bigger part of it. You can be as nice as anyone possibly can to your neighbors, but if they have cause for envy and resentment of you, your niceness will be seen more as being patronizing than as genuine neighborly helpfulness.

yep, whomsover you are WCNCObsever,

that was pretty much a nail hit on the head

Good walking shoes (plural, same color, same design, rotate with some leather balm and spare rubber soles for extended life) would be a plus.

Given differences in shoe size, less risk of theft.

Best Hopes,


This suggests to me then, that part of your strategy has to include not just growing your own food, but also working with your neighbors to help them grow their own food. Be very generous in offering free advice, or a loan of a tool, or lending a hand with some digging. Become known as the neighborhood gardening expert - a valuable asset worth preserving and cultivating.

Unless you've tried that and had no takers. Honestly, the whole "help other people" impulse is great, but it hits a wall when the horse won't drink.

Here's another alternative. There are lots of edible plants that most people don't have the first clue are food; amaranth is a good example. Heck, most people don't even know what a potato plant looks like. Plant some of those disguised foods as well as regular food crops, but plant them in places people will also be less likely to look. Who was it who wrote about putting back resilience in systems? I think it was Heinberg and someone before him, IIRC.

Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others, work to create hidden resilience in systems, be the change you want to see in others, do the basic emergency preparedness things that FEMA recommends, and keep your head down.

I recommend trees. Lots of food trees that people don't recognise. Think of them as protein bait, as in squirrels.

As long as everyone is still driving around and can buy all the food they need in the grocery stores, of course they are going to be uninterested. That won't continue for too many more years now, but it won't change overnight. It is a matter of patiently laying the groundwork over multiple years. Neighbors, as well as gardens, need to be cultivated.

In ref. to Leanan's link above on Loans to Poor Countries to adapt for Climate change.

As I have noted in the past it is this aid that is like an Albatross around the neck of the poor countries or an anchor tied to the foot of a person floundering in deep water.

I seem to remember Reagan being strongly against "aid" and much as I disliked the SOB at that time, perhaps he was right.

Most "aid" is always misappropriated and split in between the officials of the institution administering the LOAN (e.g. World Bank) and officials of the recipient countries. An IOU is left for the hapless citizens of aid receiving countries and keeps them in servitude forever.

All former AID Loans should be cancelled and there should be no more "AID" in the form of Loans. The World Bank should be disbanded in view of its miserable failure over the past 60 years.

Saudis to boost oil output after US pressure

No-one seems to have mentioned this yet, unless I missed it. Any comments/analysis? Will it really happen is what I'm trying to say.

Saudi Arabia Rebuffs Bush on Oil

I'm not sure which article is right, but if they do increase in May by 300,000 barrels will they just be pumping sour crude?

300K bpd is about 0.3% of world production, if and when it happens, so I personally wouldn't be spending much time waiting for the price of gasoline and diesel to go down. But it does manage to show us more clearly the dire straits we're entering when the Bush/KSA cabal can't do any better than that.

I'm thinking that a substantial part of it is coming from Khursaniyah which started production last month. The 300k barrels number turns up in this story as the production with a month (of April). Note the story said they has already commenced production; it wasn't really tied to Bush's visit.

If it is this megaproject then its light-through-medium grades.

This 300,000 barrel increase was begun on May 10th. It likely had nothing to do with Bush's arm twisting but was simply new production that could be brought on line.

Bush: Saudi Arabia's gain in oil production "not enough" Saudi Arabia has raised on May 10 oil output by 300,000 bpd so that "supply and demand are in balance," according to Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.

What is interesting is this puts Saudi Arabia a whopping half a million barrels per day above their OPEC agreed upon quota of 8.943 mb/d. And since Saudi, the de-facto leader of OPEC, is cheating so massively on their quota, can there be any doubt that all the other OPEC nations are producing flat out?

Ron Patterson

It was posted in yesterday's DrumBeat. In the comments section, not up top.

The article ' The Caribbean will play a price for flatfootedness' is truly impressive, and Dr Morris's analysis of the situation in Iraq is particularly valuable - I intend to follow his future remarks very closely.

I agree, I just looked him up:


Britain's £800m international project to help the poorest countries in the world adapt to climate change was under fire last night after it emerged that almost all the money offered by Gordon Brown will have to be repaid with interest.

The oil price rises, the poor (who use little oil already) have no option but to use even less oil.

Using less oil means their economies can't grow.

No growth means interest can't be paid. Usuary.

A well thought out plan! Sheer genius.

Experience tells us that the last thing a poor person needs is more unsustainable debt!

You would think Gordon Brown would learn from the on-going sub-prime disaster of wealthy countries - or maybe not!

Gordy has his own problems right now. Look at what is left of his nails...

The 2,7 billion bribe to the electorate ahead of the Crewe and Nantwich by-election will need funding.

He cannot dare have a go at the payroll vote by paring down numbers of Non-Job civil servants, the social security cheque recipients etc.

He is running scared of the payroll vote going on strike this summer.

He cannot screw anymore new taxes out of the UK.

He cannot screw the Army budget any further.

Its all going horribly wrong for the 'Iron Chancellor'

You also may wish to question why we give 800 million to India as 'aid'. Thats right, Booming India...

Anyway, Gordy will be gone by Christmas, maybe even sooner if the Crewe Nantwich polls are even half right.

Ah well , time for a pub quiz.

He's probably wishing now that he had called that snap election last year.

>>You also may wish to question why we give 800 million to India as 'aid'. Thats right, Booming India...<<

Immediate termination of that AID would benefit both parties IMO

- You also may wish to question why we give 800 million to India as 'aid'. Thats right, Booming India...

Probably so that they buy missiles, fighters and bullets from us

Except that we - The UK - do not make any bullets anymore.

Hello TODers,

This article has a good discussion of rising I-NPK prices driving O-NPK recycling, and the relative merits and difficulties:

High Cost of Commercial Fertilizer Makes Livestock Manure Fertilizer More Attractive

...“I haven’t seen security guards standing around manure tanks yet to make sure nothing disappears, but yes I’ve spoken to several growers that are interested getting their manure put out now.”
Recall my posting whereby if all First Worlders postPeak rushed to buy and hoard I-NPK for localized gardening, it would immediately price most of the Third World out of the market.

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

Folks, just a reminder or two...

1. TOD is on twitter now with our RSS feed: http://twitter.com/theoildrum . If you are on there, give us a follow.

2. If you have a blog, or are a member of a messageboard, or play at a link farm like metafilter, the more you plant links to our stuff, the more eyes it gets...it's that simple. Every little bit helps.

We're all doing this for free, but we really do need your support. That and "doing good" is what keeps us all going.


Hey Profy.

TOD is on my website, and I was just interviewed on WAMC Albany, NY public radio about Peak Oil and I cited Theoildrum.com several times.... :) :) :) .


Ex profy Cliff

Interesting note, if you google or yahoo search any one of the following my website (peak oil associates) comes up near the top or on page 2 or 3: peak oil impacts or peak oil alternatives or peak oil renewables, or peak oil planning, or peak oil risk management.

Now, how is that, since I'm not very well known??

Perhaps your insight into how PV doesn't work w/o a grid?

PV doesn't power much that is worth powering, no grid = no radio, no Internet not TV. A small frig....better to dry stuff, and the frig won't last long, and why not a root cellar or a spring house. Lights? How long will the solar panels and batteries last? There are cheaper ways to provide light that will last longer. PV won't heat your house. Better to invest in passive solar and get off the high tech stuff, it is not sustainable and won't last long. And when the glass breaks for passive solar, what do you do??? Real risk management planning would be to have some extra glass. Tough times ahead.

Shortwave and AM radio will persist for quite a while. Anyplace with large amounts of hydroelectric power will have juice for a century or more (see North Korea and Albania for examples of minimally maintained hydro operating for several decades). In USA, Pacific NW and Niagara Falls for large quantities of hydropower, enough for local needs plus radio, some hydro in LOTS of places.

One source in the world (Sweden, Switzerland ?) and minimal transport is all that is needed to keep a few stations on-line.

A new refrigerator will have a life span roughly equal to my own. Quite convenient (hard to dry eggs for example). Two identical refrigerators or freezers (one for occasional use, unplugged all winter for example) would allow spares for a long time and surpass my life expectancy.

OTOH, you forgot to mention a solar stove (or even two). Even if there is a string of overcast days, it would still have value on the sunny days.

Best Hopes,


If things were that bad, I wouldn't refrigerate eggs. They used to keep them in a hanging basket in the kitchen in the old days. They don't go bad under the hen, they won't go bad in a few days on the counter. If you have a lot, you pickle them.

Or barter them.

Unwashed, fertilized eggs will keep for a pretty long time. The unfertilized, washed eggs from the grocery store I wouldn't trust keeping out.

PV doesn't power much that is worth powering, no grid = no radio, no Internet not TV.

Again, your limited thinking.

Motor power gets you oil press operation, seed grinding, running compressors/blowers/fans. Fans that help dry food. Water pumping from wells.

PV can also run ham radio.

Better to invest in passive solar and get off the high tech stuff, it is not sustainable and won't last long.

Electric motors from the 1920's still running and the PV Cells from 60 years ago outputting at 85% of the original value strikes me as 'long lasting'.

Tough times ahead.

Only if you feel no radio, no Internet not TV is a problem.

This is a sign that we are making inroads in the MSM!



Cheap oil may be history as $100 becomes norm

It looks like the US is getting the hint on peak oil. I was hoping that the cost of oil would stay down another 6 months or so, because I am not quite ready. I am looking at moving close to work so that I can bicycle in, and not have to worry about transportation. Gas prices are keeping people from moving to my area, and throwing all of my hopes out the window. I might have a buyer lined up that will take my house, but it is only a 50% possibility.

I ask you, what are you doing/preparing for the coming crises? I fear the future looks bleak.

Where is your house located?

About 30 miles NNW of downtown Tucson, AZ.

How much land do you have?

I highly recommend Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands by Brad Lancaster--Tucson specific advice for making your existing home water and food self-sufficient. Free advice, so take it for what it's worth, but that will be the best $25 you'll spend this year.

Brad Lancaster has been posted more than a few times.

A gent named George Gordon http://www.georgegordon.com/ spends weeks talking about Lancasters work on his radio program. In case you want to experience the idea while you do other things on an MP3 player.

A quick search shows that Brad Lancaster has been linked to on this site exactly twice: one in this thread and once in my essay The Problem of Growth.

That said, I'm going to give the MP3s by George Gordon a listen. He seems a bit of a biblical extremist at first glance, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have good things to say about rainwater harvesting...

Well I know I posted it a few times - perhaps they were deleted...

And Yea - George Gordon *IS* a 'biblical extremist' - seems to like to take a topic and beat it to death. Of 20 of his MP3's I listened to - 10 were on water. Frankly I've gotten to the point of DLing his MP3's listening to 5-10 mins and going 'meh' and skipping to the next MP3 on the player.

Lo and behold he ties water to the bible too.

Other times when mentioned:


(after listening to Gordon then tracking down who he was talking about)

I ask you, what are you doing/preparing for the coming crises? I fear the future looks bleak.

Moved from the west suburbs into the city (Portland, OR) in 2004, not because I had any clue about peak oil, but because the suburbs where so devoid of any culture or community and everything required driving. I now have a bus stop outside my house, drops me off one block from work. I can work from home, though that requires electricity and the internet, but I don't see those going away in the next decade or so. I'm very fortunate to have a good job with a good company.

Started teaching myself about growing things (beets and cucumbers for now). Trying to do it with my 7yo daughter. Probably move onto salad next. I won't plant anything that doesn't produce something in return, drives my wife nuts. Planted a cherry and a fig tree, will follow soon with a few plums. Going to build a chicken coop and have 3 chickens.

My wife doesn't want to talk peak oil, I think it scares her too much. To be honest, it scares the crap out of me too. I'm going to insulate my house better, I want to add solar hot water heating, and would like a heat pump. I liquidated my 401k earlier this year to pay down my house and refinance to a fixed conventianal mortgate. I don't see my 401k being worth anything in another 30 years, and figured I'd get more out of it today than waiting and watching it drop. Only debt I have is the mortgage at this point.


What's your job. A great location and all won't be of much use if you have no job to go to.

I'm not worried about Mad Max. I'm worried about losing my job in the depression.

Today in Vancouver, BC the average price for regular gasoline is 1.33CA$/liter. I think this is a new record.

Converting this to US$/gallon works out to:
1 CA$ = 1.00341 US$
1 liter = 3.7854 US gallon

1.33CA$/liter = 1.33 x 1.00341 x 3.7854 = 5.05US$/gallon

Here in the great white north we pay quite a bit more than the average american because of higher gasoline taxes. I commute 38 km (24 miles) each way to work with a fuel efficient vehicle and car pool with co-workers.

Smart Cars and hybrids can be seen in increasing numbers, and transit use has increased to the point of overcrowding. I've noticed slighty fewer cars on the road for the last month or so -- maybe some demand destruction is taking place. I'm also surprised that many people that I encounter have heard of Peak Oil. The term is now firmly in the main stream media.

Unfortunately, the provincial government is going on a massive highway building spree, but is also going to spend billions upgrading transit. Not sure what the future holds for this part of the world.

Ah, yes, I just went through the Peace Arch grind and am in Seattle today. Saw $3.99/gal to $4.05/gal in Bellingham for regular, and $3.91/gal here in downtown Seattle, near the stadium. Looks like a solid $1 drop per-gallon just across the border. I suppose this is mainly due to tax differences?

Still lots of big vehicles plying I-5. Indeed, saw a few full-sized pickups with major lifts on the road this afternoon.

However, yes, the number of Smart Cars in Vancouver is quite interesting. They're so common as to simply be part of the background these days, based on what I've seen (my presence primarily on UBC grounds might bias my view). If you're noticing less cars on the road, perhaps you're seeing a seasonally-related "demand" destruction. With warmer(ish) weather, perhaps more people are out on bikes, scooters and motorcycles. Leaving the car behind.

This has me thinking: Could a large-scale shift to a tendency to use two-wheeled (and similar light-weight three- and four-wheeled) transportation during the warm season result in a flattening of the typical seasonal upswing in gasoline use seen in the US and Can? One thing I haven't seen considered much here on TOD is simply a shift from enclosed gas-guzzling motor cars during the cold winter months to lighter, more open vehicles in the summer months, and then back to the gas hogs during the next winter and so on. This would yield some fuel savings on an annual basis, no?



I suppose it depends where you look, but transit was already overcrowded in some parts of Vancouver more than a decade ago when I lived there! Good luck getting a seat on Skytrain any closer than Metrotown (15 minutes/10 km from downtown). (The obvious answer of "buy more Skytrain cars" took years to happen, and I'd bet when they finally arrived they barely made up for the growth in the intervening period). Most of the electric trolley bus routes had standees most of rush hour except at the extremeties of the routes. Some trolley bus routes operate as frequently as every 5 minutes - frequently enough that the schedule (for example, this one) doesn't attempt to give times, it just gives the approximate frequency.

Of course, transit outside of the CITY of Vancouver is another story. Within the city of Vancouver and along a few radial lines, however, you have electrically propelled mass transit, both rail and road, which is powered by hydroelectric generating stations. This part of the world is actually extremely well off in terms of energy self-sufficiency.

I can't find the figures for Vancouver, but for Victoria the total tax is $0.18/L. The federal excise tax is $0.10/L, so the total taxes are $0.28/L, or $1.06 per U.S. gallon. Taxes are to go up, with the introduction of carbon taxes.

Where is the big celebration on Theoildrum, now that that MSM is beginning to fill with stories about "lack of adequate supply growth"? I have seen virtually no acknowledgment on here of this development. Supply is being talked about as a major issue in quite a few MSM stories, at long last.

Supply is being talked about as a major issue in quite a few MSM stories, at long last.

Yesterday (on Bloomberg or CNBC -- I don't remember which), an analyst said he not only sees fuel prices continuing upward, but that we could see diesel shortages this summer. This got my attention!

I take absolutely no glee that the MSM has the stories that they do. I will take glee when we actually take the steps necessary to ameliorate the problem to such a point that as few people suffer as possible.

I am not holding my breath.

This is what is scary...even with the MSM starting to brooch the subject openly...people still aren't listening or acting concerned. I am seeing "baby steps" out there, but nothing on the scale that will be required.

My bad. To clarify I meant celebrate the fact that this can go down as the first month of the awakening for the masses of the mainstream. Not celebrate that 'now we're saved'. The primary issue of Peak oil is supply and it's effect on price.

The big, rude awakening has begun. :-)

"One more such victory, and we shall be undone."



Supply appears to be declining now. My latest forecast below has been updated for recent EIA world production data and further oil project delays. The chart below forecasts that world crude oil & lease condensate production peaked in Feb 2008.

(for more info see World Oil Forecasts Feb 2008 update
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3623 )

In his newsletter for this month, Colin Campbell revised his peak oil (all liquids) year forward, from 2010 to 2007, due mainly to his new deepwater oil production model.


The new deepwater model has the effect of advancing the date of the overall peak of all liquids from 2010 to 2007, and is actually good news insofar as the lower and sooner the peak, the gentler the subsequent decline. The precise date is of no particular significance since it is not a high isolated peak, being no more than the maximum of a fairly gentle curve. But if correct, it might carry a certain psychological impact to recognise that the Second Half of the Oil Age has begun.

As Fatih Birol, IEA's Chief Economist, said in an interview last month


Wir sollten das Öl verlassen, bevor es uns verlässt.

We should leave the oil, before it leaves us.

Ace, thanks for that graph. But I think Feb 2008 was peak #4. You missed the July 2006 peak

re comments by Frugal

Interesting to note that the BC and Federal government spent approximately one billion dollars to upgrade about 15 miles of the Transcanada between Golden and Field, the major benefactors being the trucking industry. The Alberta government will be spending a similar amount to upgrade the highway between Edmonton and Fort McMurray. In Edmonton itself one quarter of a billion will be spent on just one city intersection. Even though the provinces seem to be willing to spend ever increasing amounts on highway infrastructure, nothing is offered to the railroads. Canadian Pacific had to invest 500 million dollars of its own capital to keep its freights competitive through the Rockies in 1986. One billion spent on upgrading the rail line from Edmonton to Fort McMurray could have produced a high grade line which could have taken care of transportation needs well beyond those anticipated, the provincial government nixed any public support. Maybe when the long haul trucking industry gets really sick, government priorities will change.

Trucks cause 99.9999% of all highway damage due to their high loads and could not possibly be cost competitive if they had to pay for damage to roads.

If there are no motor cars, there is no trucking, unless some other group can be touched up for a subsidy.

If gasoline use is forced to decline because of declining supplies, and Gas taxes are not substantially raised, the effect could be similar.

There are some data on how many kilometers a certain hp tractor will go on a ton of batteries, but I can find it. Anyone got a link???

VS wiring the tractor the way electric mining EQ is done.

(Again, your lack of seeing different ways of doing things shows)

How is this going to be done with the tractor/combine going many kilometers going back and forth? With mining equipment a diesel engine is generating power, and the equipment does not traverse many kilometers.

And still, no one has answered the question.

With mining equipment a diesel engine is generating power

What part of electric powered mining equipment are you not understanding? Is my English not good enough for you?


and the equipment does not traverse many kilometers.

So now you are a graduate from the School of Mines?

And farmers won't somehow magically re-arrange their fields sizes to what the electric cord gives em?

Perhaps no one is answering you as you take their answers and change others for what they gave away freely?

My report is on the Internet for free and it can be distributed freely. I credit and provide sources to all of the studies I base my report on. It is being translated into German to be posted on the major Peak Oil German site. I have not published this report in any fashion where I charge for it. My report is widely read. If you google or yahoo search: peak oil impacts or peak oil renewables it comes right up. I get many positive comments (including from TOD editors/contributers), and people find the report very informative, as it summarizes the best and most recent information on Peak Oil. I have had no complaints, just some minor corrections which I gladly adopt. The update of my report will be out in a few days. Although it is mostly summary, there are some original ideas about oil production and the collapse that I'm sure interest people in the field find useful. This material is expanded in the update.

I don't have any trouble with people answering me on TOD.

About the electric powered tractors/combines. The rails would be costly and not practical in the fields as with shown on the website. Similarly, dragging an extension cord for many kilometers back and forth across fields that have crops planted etc. is impractical. These machines operate 24 hours per day, so I'm wondering about the batteries that will be required to keep many tractors/combines going, and the wires, infrastructure needed. The reason I am wondering about the batteries is that I assume you are talking about solar power here, as this has been the gist of the conversations here. The ideas sounds rather impractical and expensive and I know of no sources that even have a plan for how all of this will work, not even a diagram, even with power coming from a power plant, which of course uses much fossil energy, and wastes much in generating the power (like 60%), transmitting it, and in batteries if they are part of this.

You can get a lot closer to a viable electric system for agriculture by using zinc and oxidising it, as it has a very high energy density.
It is still nowhere near petroleum though, and you might have to have a bowser, perhaps to service several machines, and pump out the zinc oxide mix in and pump in new zinc, both in a slurry.

You would have to reprocess the zinc oxide at a solar or nuclear station to re-form the zinc.

Fuel cycles are also imaginable for boron:

and also aluminium, as is detailed in the link I gave.

It might be simpler though to produce synthetic liquid fuel for this use, and a recent post by Dezeakin indicates that this might be economic at prices of $150/barrel