DrumBeat: July 7, 2008

TIPS Flunk Inflation Test as Fuel, Food Overtake CPI

(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Inflation Protected Securities aren't living up to their name for bond investors who say they can't trust the way the U.S. government calculates the rising cost of consumer goods.

Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest securities firm, and FTN Financial, a unit of Tennessee's largest bank, are telling clients to pare holdings of TIPS, whose principal amount rises with the Labor Department's consumer price index. Morgan Stanley says derivatives tied to inflation expectations are a better bet, while FTN recommends corporate and agency bonds because the index doesn't reflect the actual rate of U.S. inflation.

Diesel Demand May Be Driving Oil Price

(Bloomberg) -- Soaring fuel prices are damaging the U.S. economy, and the government should be doing whatever it can to slow or stop their astonishing ascent.

Demand for diesel, according to energy economist Philip K. Verleger, may be driving much of the run-up in crude oil, which reached $145 per barrel on July 3. Truckers and other users of ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel -- the newly improved, cleaner version of the gasoline alternative -- are being hit particularly hard by rising prices at the pump.

It's becoming clear the U.S. should dip into its Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the light, low-sulfur crude that is most efficiently turned into diesel.

Help workers lower gas costs

At last, high gas prices are forcing more creative solutions. Take the city of Birmingham in Alabama. Squeezed by fuel costs and unable to grant raises, it has offered employees a four-day workweek. Why are workers jumping at it? They, too, save – in gasoline for commuting.

Birmingham is just one of many cities, counties, and states turning to "flex-time" to help employees cope with $4-a-gallon gas. It's not a new concept, but if public and private employers made adjustable schedules more widely available – along with telecommuting, mass-transit benefits, and bike facilities – the payoff would go far beyond fuel-cost relief.

Power Failures

U.S. energy policy is seriously behind the rest of the industrial world. What President Bush should do to catch up.

GM looking at job cuts, sale of brands

DETROIT - General Motors Corp. may get rid of some brands, speed the introduction of small cars from other markets and make further white-collar job cuts as it tries to deal with a shrinking U.S. auto market.

A person familiar with the company’s discussions said Monday all the options are being considered as GM tries to cope with the dramatic shift in consumer buying habits from trucks to cars and crossover vehicles.

Don't envy us, Saudis say, as inflation leaves them feeling poorer despite huge oil boom

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Sultan al-Mazeen recently stopped at a gas station to fill up his SUV, paying 45 cents a gallon — a price Americans could only dream of as they pay nearly 10 times that at the pump.

But cheap gas and the record wealth pouring into Saudi Arabia's coffers from high oil prices are little relief for al-Mazeen. The 36-year-old Saudi technician and many other Saudis say they're only feeling poorer amid the oil boom because of inflation that has hit 30-year highs in the kingdom.

"I tell the Americans, don't feel envious because gas is cheaper here," said al-Mazeen. "We're worse off than before."

Shell Extends of Gulf of Mexico Oilfield With Water Injection

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe's biggest oil company, said it extended the life of its Gulf of Mexico oilfield by 10 years after injecting water to push out displaced crude.

Water is being pumped from the Ursa rig in the Ursa-Mars basin, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) off the U.S. coast, to flush out oil from the Ursa and Princess fields, Shell said in a statement posted on its Web site today.

ANALYSIS-Rising oil threatens to damage emerging markets

LONDON (Reuters) - Most emerging economies beyond a handful of crude producers are suffering from record oil and food prices, with Asian markets in general and China's in particular likely to be notable losers.

South Africa and Turkey also stand out as being vulnerable, while Russia and the Gulf States, which should be the main beneficiaries as crude prices soar, will still struggle with high inflation and the risk of economic overheating.

Emerging markets have proved largely "decoupled" from the Western credit crunch but inflation is proving a global problem.

Canada businesses feel inflation pressure: BoC poll

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Rising prices of oil and other commodities have driven up costs for Canadian businesses, and many plan to pass on those costs to consumers, a Bank of Canada second-quarter business survey showed on Monday.

Climate change makes island kids bony, stunted

Maria is fighting to live, wasting away in her remote village where aid officials say climate change has brought on a severe drought in recent years. It's nearly impossible for residents to live off the land like they have for generations.

"It's hard to feed her," her mother says. "Some are good days, some are bad. Sometimes she eats a whole plate, sometimes nothing."

Oil's Rapid Rise Stirs Talk of $200 a Barrel This Year

Oil's historic ascent from $100 to nearly $150 a barrel in just six months is lending weight to a far grimmer prediction: Crude could reach $200 a barrel by the end of the year.

Oil at that price would wreak deeper havoc on the world's airlines and automobile industries.

Talk of $200 oil casts shadow over G8 summit

TOYAKO, Japan (Reuters) - Italy on Monday proposed increasing margin requirements on futures markets to deter speculative buying of oil, which Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said could reach $200 a barrel.

U.S. holds navy exercise after Iran comments on Gulf

DUBAI (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy said on Monday it was carrying out an exercise in the Gulf, days after vowing that Iran will not be allowed to block the waterway which carries crude from the world's largest oil-exporting region.

"The aim of Exercise Stake Net is to practice the tactics and procedures of protecting maritime infrastructure such as gas and oil installations," Commodore Peter Hudson said in a U.S. Fifth Fleet statement.

Gas Stations Hit Skids

A sign advertising gasoline for only $3 a gallon -- almost a dollar less than at nearby gas stations -- lures drivers into an Exxon station in a busy commercial strip in this prosperous town north of Dallas.

But when they pull in, they find the station's doors chained shut and its pumps dead. It is one of the many stations across the country that have gone out of business recently, all victims of gasoline prices that have soared almost 40% in the past year.

With Gas Over $4, Cities Explore Whether It's Smart to Be Dense

For decades, backers of "smart-growth" planning principles have preached the benefit of clustering the places where people live more closely with the businesses where they work and shop. Less travel would mean less fuel consumption and less air pollution. Several communities built from scratch upon those principles, such as Celebration in Florida, sprouted across the country. But they were often isolated experiments, connected to their surroundings mainly by car. So, as gasoline remained cheap, the rest of the country continued its inexorable march toward bigger houses and longer commutes.

Now, smart-growth fans see a chance to reverse that.

Nigeria cancels oil leases granted to Indian firms

LAGOS: Nigeria has cancelled three lucrative oil concessions awarded to two Indian firms during a controversial round of bids last year, a newspaper said Monday.

Which future should we prepare for, industrial or agrarian?

The more Harrison Brown talks about the future of industrial society, the more unlikely it seems that it has a future. Brown is the author of a seminal book entitled "The Challenge of Man's Future" which outlines the ecological predicament we find ourselves in today. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Brown's book is that it was published in 1954 long before our predicament had taken its full shape and when there were only about 2.6 billion people on Earth. (The current world population is estimated to be 6.7 billion.)

Brown's aim was to limn out the obstacles that lay ahead for industrial society and to suggest a course for navigating them. He concluded that the most likely trajectory for industrial society was a reversion back to agrarian society. Only by maneuvering ever so carefully through the narrow passage to sustainability would industrial society be able to continue for an extended period, say, many centuries or millennia.

Affordable stores too far? Veggie vans offer aid - States, nonprofits finding ways to get low-cost produce to 'food deserts'

ALBANY, N.Y. - For years, Mel Williams rarely ate fruit and vegetables — unless it came out of a can.

Fresh produce was too expensive or too far away until the state-funded “Veggie Mobile” started bringing the fruits and vegetables to him at a lower price.

Oil speculation: Why we don't have answers

(Fortune) -- The debate over whether oil prices are being driven by speculators in the futures market or by the fundamentals of supply and demand for the physical product slides right on by a central point. The question Congress and regulators should be focusing on isn't who is driving prices, but how prices are being driven.

And the truth is, there's an awful lot we don't know.

Carmakers' plug-in plans

Americas top-selling car companies have plans to bring plug-in technology mainstream. Here's what they're working on.

Supply woes stall hybrid SUVs

Ford Motor Co., which featured its Ford Escape Hybrid in TV ads alongside a singing Kermit, can't seem to pump out enough of the compact SUVs to meet demand.

General Motors Corp. ran into troubles with the battery for last year's Saturn Vue hybrid SUVs, which has slowed production for 2008 models.

And GM's other hybrid trucks, the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, are hard to find, in part because about half of the automakers' dealers opted not to sell them. Also, GM so far has produced the vehicles in limited numbers.

Chile's energy plan may include cactus

Codelco, the world’s largest copper supplier, plans to use a fruit-bearing cactus to help ease a shortage of natural gas in Chile.

Pemex Cantarell Output Drops Most Since 1995 on Spending Limits

(Bloomberg) -- Crude output from Mexico's Cantarell, the world's third-largest oil field, is falling at the fastest pace in 12 years as investment limits keep state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos from fully exploiting deposits and finding new ones.

Production at the Gulf of Mexico development dropped 34 percent in May from a year earlier, the biggest decline since October 1995, according to data compiled by the government and Bloomberg. That was when Hurricane Roxanne's 131 miles-per-hour (114-knot) winds shut down offshore wells for a week.

India: Crisis looms as global gas supplies dry up

India faces a new energy crisis — unavailability of gas in the international market — that could worsen power supplies and impact a wide range of industries.

Is it Safe Now to Admit Jimmy Carter Was Right?

Now we are in the exact bind that Jimmy Carter tried to prevent three decades ago, when we were reeling from the concussive effects of oil supply disruptions in 1973 and 1979. Acting with promptness difficult to fathom today, our elected leaders then enacted year-around Daylight Savings Time, dropped the speed limit to 55, and established government price controls. And, oh so fleetingly, we downsized what we drove. All gone.

Fill 'er up — with husks

Perfecting the alchemy of turning whiffy manure, waste water and dry corn husks into fuel and biogas that can run vehicles and heat homes isn't every scientist's idea of a wild time. But Premier Dalton McGuinty made a smart, climate-friendly investment this week by giving the University of Western Ontario and the Stanton Farms biogas project $7.5 million to create energy from agricultural by-products

With Cars, Some Technology Is Smarter Than Others

Here's the problem: Brilliant engineers in Detroit, Toyota City, and Stuttgart have spent millions of man hours coming up with better ways to deploy a side air bag or hold a coffee cup. But what is becoming increasingly apparent is that they should also have been spending more time and money devising technology to improve fuel-efficiency in a car people actually want to buy.

Economy 2008, part III: Precious metals still strong

It appears that international buyers and sellers of commodities are indeed turning their eyes away from demand fundamentals, and increasingly focusing on supply. In this case, reality trumped perception. The uncertainty of supply has far outweighed possible demand destruction from a slowdown in the BRIC economies. In other words: “Peak Oil” is here. This is still a phenomenon that is apparently new to market pundits and politicians who seem to have no idea as to why prices are rising.

Ending Poverty in a Carbon Constrained World

We can learn a lot from the mere fact that island communities like this survived for so long on remote shards of land, exposed to the full force and vagaries of nature To do so, first they had to respect their obvious environmental limits. Next they evolved resilient local economies that helped them cope with extreme and unpredictable weather. These were, of necessity, based on reciprocity, sharing and co-operation, and not unlimited growth fed by individualistic, beggar-thy-neighbour competition.

Living the ideal Golden Years

What puts me at odds about luxurious retirement is the enormous gulf between resource-intensive leisure and real world issues, namely climate change and peak oil. Full-time adult play comes with a high price, especially when it involves constant travel.

Retirees defend the right to squander by saying they worked for it, they saved for it, and they earned it. It is their right to live out their hopes and dreams, many of which are defined by material gratification. The only problem is that the world has changed since those coveted nest eggs began to accumulate.

A Field Guide to the New Enviromentalists

Lord knows we have tried, Al Gore has tried, so may have tried to sell climate change as the big issue of the day. Unfortunately, poll after poll now shows that the price and availability of fuel has taken over. Peak Oil, Peak Food, Peak Everything are immediate concerns, while the climate crisis is sometime in the future. So how do we convey a message to people who care more about other things? Who are we talking to out there?

Storm over Cape Cod

As she put the finishing touch to a watercolour outside the gated community of Oyster Harbours, Nancy Walton wrinkled her nose at the thought of America's first offshore wind farm popping up on the horizon of Nantucket Sound. "I believe in wind power," she said, "but these will be higher than the Statue of Liberty. There are so precious few places on earth as unspoilt as this. Why can't they just put them somewhere else?"

Energy: Shell’s future scenarios – Staring into energy’s black hole

Between now and 2050, world population is set to grow from six to nine billion people, who will all want access to transport and electricity. This means the era of easy oil and gas is over, according to van der Veer. “We have only seen the beginning” of carbon dioxide emissions problems, he said.

These are the hard truths about the future of energy supply and demand that Shell says the world needs to tackle, somehow, in the next few years. The company believes that there is no way that CO2 concentrations can be stabilised at 450 parts per million (ppm) – a concentration accepted by many as the tipping point towards catastrophic climate change – while providing what van der Veer calls “reasonable welfare” for the planet’s growing population. Even the mass capture and storage of CO2, on land or under the seabed, will not be enough to steady levels of the gas at this critical concentration level, he says.

The Shell boss, rumoured to be stepping down next year, also has a hard truth for governments. If companies are to have incentives to invest in green technology, international standards on politically sensitive areas such as fuel consumption and buildings insulation will need to be consistent around the globe.

Allianz predicts oil price of $200 a barrel in next 2 years

BERLIN (AFP) -- German insurance giant Allianz expects the oil price to hit $200 a barrel in the next two years, according to a press report to be published Monday.

"I cannot imagine that post-2010 we will have an oil price of below $200 a barrel in the long term," Allianz board member Joachim Faber told Monday's edition of Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.

GCC urged to reconsider dollar policy

The Government of Abu Dhabi has called for a “rethink” of monetary policy across the GCC, including the US dollar peg, amid rising inflation, record oil prices and fading prospects for a single currency by 2010.

Oil price shock means China is at risk of blowing up

The great oil shock of 2008 is bad enough for us. It poses a mortal threat to the whole economic strategy of emerging Asia.

The manufacturing revolution of China and her satellites has been built on cheap transport over the past decade. At a stroke, the trade model looks obsolete.

Caspian pipelines ease Russia's grip

New prospects for a Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan have been receiving deserved attention in recent months. However, another project to pipe energy resources from the western to the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea also demands attention, with implications that loom as large as those of the TCGP. This is an overland oil pipeline that Kazakhstan intends to build from the Tengiz field, in the northwest of the country, to the port of Aqtau in the southwest.

BP rebuts oligarch attack before Russian vote

BP today rejected claims that it has treated its Russian partners as "subjects, not equals", just hours ahead of a vote that could oust the man running TNK-BP, its crisis-riven joint venture.

The UK oil giant dismissed allegations made by Mikhail Fridman in an opinion piece in today's edition of the Financial Times. He is one of the four oligarchs demanding sweeping changes at TNK-BP.

Oil's Wakeup Call

If you want to dream about oil prices long term, the go-to guy is Matt Simmons, chairman of Simmons and Company International. Simmons' thesis called "the Peak Oil Thesis" is awesomely simplistic: The elephantine oil fields of Saudi Arabia peak out in a few years. Unfortunately, this is only a working hypothesis.

Saudi Aramco technocrats won't let Simmons near their reservoirs or seismic research data. They claim a reserve margin of several million barrels a day. Simmons' competition, Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Massachusetts takes the Saudi side of the argument, but the market these days is siding with the bears on net worldwide incremental production possibilities.

Practical Tools To Speed Up the Transition Away from Petroleum

Efforts to conserve should involve the provision of incentives to use public transportation, carpools, vanpools and car-sharing. Organizations should also encourage telecommuting, computer-based training, Internet conferencing tools, as well as adopt policies that discourage business travel unless it's absolutely necessary.

Organizations should also encourage workers to move closer to the workplace and bike and/or walk to work. In addition, organizations should adopt staggered working hours to allow workers to avoid traffic jams where fuel would be consumed needlessly. A compressed workweek should also be encouraged to reduce the total number of miles driven.

Airlines shed weight as fuel costs soar

TOKYO (AFP) -- Next time you take to the skies you may find there are fewer pages in your in-flight magazine, your fork is slimmer and your plate feels different. Blame it on soaring oil prices.

The seat you are sitting on may be lighter. Perhaps there's less water on board for the bathroom faucets and toilets. The drinks trolley coming your way probably weighs less too.

It's all part of efforts by airlines to shed weight and conserve fuel, running in tandem with more radical steps such as cutting routes and capacity.

New cars will skimp on fuel but not on amenities

DETROIT — Automakers are working as fast as they can to meet a new consumer landscape: Buyers want not just fuel-efficient cars but also the same amenities they had in their hulking SUVs.

Prius to get solar-powered air conditioning, newspaper says

TOKYO — Toyota's ecological Prius gas-electric hybrid will become even greener next year with solar-powered air conditioning on some high-end models, The Nikkei newspaper of Japan reported Monday.

The solar panels on the roof of the new Prius model will provide 2 to 5 kilowatts of electricity, the major Japanese business daily said in a report without citing sources.

Brown urges Britons to cut food waste

Britons will today be urged to make saving food as important as saving energy, with the publication of a government report which reveals that more than 4m tonnes of food are wasted each year at a cost of hundreds of pounds per household.

UN chief says US must take lead on climate change

SAPPORO, Japan (AFP) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that the United States must take the lead in fighting climate change as he opened talks with the world's most powerful leaders.

... "I hope the US ultimately should take all this leadership role. This is what the whole international community expects of the United States," Ban said in an interview with AFP on his plane to a Group of Eight summit in Japan.

The United States is the only major industrial nation to shun the Kyoto Protocol as it pushes for more commitment from developing nations such as China and India.

Washington DC, Promoting Neighborhoods at Expense of Drive In Commuters


Best Hopes for a Trend,


Any new developments (further declines) in imports from VenMex or stocks on the Gulf Coast lately? Haven't heard much about them... We also have Hurricane Bertha this morning..potential Cat 2 possible Cat 3 earliest storm since 2005... may hit the Carolinas, but more likely Bermuda or nothng at all at this point.

The most recent Pemex data, for May, showed an estimated net export decline of about 300,000 bpd, from 9/07 (from 1.4 mbpd to 1.1 mbpd, assuming flat consumption at 2.1 mbpd). At this volumetric rate, they would be approaching zero net oil exprots in late 2010.

Last week's data showed a resumption in Gulf Coast crude oil inventory declines, and a continued decline in refinery utilization rates. I suspect that the refineries on the Gulf Coast are bouncing along very close to their seasonal MOL's.

Thanks for that WT. Curiousity Satisfied.

Cantarell's output dropped by more than 540,000 barrels a day in May from a year earlier as the deposit lost pressure, making it more difficult and expensive to extract crude. Pemex has been injecting nitrogen for more than 10 years to stimulate production.

The development peaked at 65 percent of the company's 3.3 million barrels of daily
crude output in 2003. In May, it fell to 37 percent of total production.

The world's largest oil field is Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, followed by Burgan in Kuwait and Cantarell.

From Bloomberg today per Leanan.


Cantarell, The Third Largest Oil Field in the World Is Dying
Copyright 2004, 2007 G.R. Morton This can be freely distributed so long as no changes are made and no charges are made.


In 1995 it was producing 1 million barrels per day and the Mexican government decided to invest in that field to raise the production level. They built 26 new platforms, drilled lots of new wells and built the largest nitrogen extraction facility capable of injecting a billion cubic feet of nitrogen per day to maintain reservoir pressure. Doing this raised the oil production rate in 2001 to 2.2 million barrels per day. Today the field produces 2.1 million barrels.

To put this amount of production into perspectives, the largest field discovered in the US Gulf of Mexico will produce about 250,000 barrels per day. That field has about a billion barrels of reserves. If I were to find a field of that size, the company I worked for would probably make me president.

A couple of weeks ago I ran into this from the oil industry rags I read. It is a chilling thought since this is the 2nd biggest producer of oil on earth. Ghawar produces 4.5 million bbl/day, Cantarell, 2.2 million bbl/day, Da Qing and Burgun around 1 million per day.

"Supergiant Cantarell continues to be the mainstay of Mexican oil production, with 2.1 MMb/d of output in 2003 up from 1.9 MMb/d in 2002. However, Cantarell is expected to decline rapidly over the next few years, falling as far as 1 MM b/d by 2008. This has given particular urgency to Pemex's efforts to develop other fields and move into deepwater." For now, Pemex's best alternative project is the heavy-oil complex known as Ku-Maloob-Zaap, in Campeche Bay close to Cantarell. Output from this complex was 288,000 b/d in 2003 and is expected to rise to about 800,000 b/d by the end of the decade." David Shields, "Pemex Ready to Drill in Deepwater Perdido Area," Offshore, June 2004, p. 38

Pretty damn accurate.

Mexico's Cantarell Dec oil output hits 2007 low | Markets | Reuters
MEXICO CITY, Jan 26, 2008 (Reuters) - Crude oil output from Mexico's huge but aging Cantarell offshore field fell to 1.260 million barrels per day in December, ...


MEXICO CITY, June 26, 2007 (Reuters) -
May oil output slips at Mexico's Cantarell field
Jun 26, 2007 ... Cantarell, closely watched by the oil industry after sharp dips in output, produced an average of 1.579 million barrels per day (May) versus 1.592 (April).


Basically all of Cantarell is going to the US now.

mcgowan and westexas,

Can't varify any of the following....just the ramblings of expat service hands regarding production at Cantarell Fld: by pulling the wells to hard Pemex has coned the N2 sooner than models said they would. And faced with the choice of shuting in high N2 cut production to maintain the pressure bank and loosing oil rate even faster they are still lifting those wells and loosing pressure at an ever increasing rate. The proverbial rock/hard place. Can't be sure what the magnitude of the problem is but I'm sure there was some truth to the story between those sips of Shiner.

mcgowan....you don't happen to be in Jackson, Ms. are you?

mcgowan....you don't happen to be in Jackson, Ms. are you?

Was back in 74. Pretty nurses at St Dominic's. 8D

Lots of childhood friends moved there.

Grew up in and around Memphis.

I read this (from my calculator) as a -25.5% decline in Cantarell from May 2007 to May 2008 (2,119,000 b/day to 1,579,000 b/day).

It is my impression that Pemex kept a few fields back (KZT ? heavy oil near Cantarell) to counter-balance the loss of Cantarell, but those fields are now all on-line.

Pemex is earning more money than ever from exports, where is the pressure to produce more coming from I wonder.

Cut Cantarell back another -15% and keep pressure up and N2 cuts down. Still more export $ than in 2003, 2004, 2005 or 2006.


I guess you must be wondering how Pemex is ever going to be able to fulfil its contracts to Shell's Deer Park and Valero's Port Arthur refineries.

Pemex Cuts Crude Supply to Shell, Valero Refineries in Texas

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico's state- owned oil company, reduced the amount of crude oil it supplies to Texas refineries operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Valero Energy Corp. as falling production curbs exports.

The guaranteed amount of Mayan oil for a Deer Park, Texas, refinery jointly operated with Shell, Europe's biggest oil company, was cut by 15 percent, the Mexico City-based company said in a regulatory filing. Pemex also lowered oil supplies by 5.8 percent to the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery of Valero, the largest U.S. refiner.
The revised Shell accord guarantees 170,000 barrels a day of Maya from May until 2023, Pemex said in the filing. Pemex provided Deer Park 200,000 barrels a day since April 2001.
Pemex also reduced the supply to Valero's Port Arthur refinery to 177,000 barrels a day in May from 188,000 barrels under a previous contract.


Wonder what the penalties are?

And BTW, I looked back to June 26 when the Cantarell production drop was released.

UPDATE 1-Mexico Cantarell oil field output falls again in May ...
MEXICO CITY, June 26 (Reuters) - Crude output from Mexico's struggling Cantarell oil field fell in May for the eighth month in a row to 1.038 million ...

and remember that not a word was said anywhere about it then.

And remember several people on a couple of forums asking why crude
was moving up $5 per bbl.

Reasons given then:

The lower dollar had ramifications for commodities, sending gold to a one-month high. Oil closed up $5.09 at $139.64 a barrel as Libya threatened to cut output and Opec’s president said crude could hit $170 a barrel this summer.


My reading of the hurricane center stuff, is that it will remain a cat 1, which maybe hits Bermuda. It seems pretty unlikely to affect the mainland.

Drivers Feeling Shunned by D.C.

F 'em.


Check out the high gas price parody "What Goes Up (& Up & Up)" on YouTube at:


Check out more parodies on Parody & Son at:


Another topic of discussion perhaps today... where are the truck protests in North America? Here is gas hitting all time highs, and diesel commanding a premium for the first time in a long time, if ever. Yet there have been no protests in my area from loggers, truckers, or anyone and I have only heard of sporadic protests here and there elsewhere in North America even though in Europe it seems to be all the rage... literally. :)

Labor has been totally eviscerated in the US. When there are protests here, they will be like the ones in Asia, by consumers outraged over prices, not by labor.

Leanan, as a thirty-four year member of the Carpenter’s Union and longtime observer of union activities, you are so correct as to the present insignificance of labor unions. Labor unions only had about a thirty year day in the sun. After the Reagan administration it was all downhill, not only from Reagan‘s policies but the accumulation of inept union policies. Moreover, the unions also have become crippled by nepotism and corruption. I believe this is partly the result of the McCarthy era, in which any suspected communist or “fellow traveler” was drummed out of the union. Many of these people were the founders of the labor movement. I remember my swearing in the Carpenter’s Union I had to declare not being a communist. The unions were eventually taken over by the cronies and their sons, and in the worst cases, organized crime. They did not have the interests of the membership in mind. Most union leadership is substandard intellectually and not flexible in their thinking. I’m waiting for the bottom to drop out of the Carpenter’s pension plan when it is revealed they were heavily invested in the housing industry; I have good sources who told me this is the case. Another reason I started my farm.

Bruce and Leanan both bring up an issue that really has no answer. What ideology would be best to deal with Peak Oil? As we reach Peak and geology plays its hand, what occurs politically will arguably have more effect on people's lives.

If we continue to worship infinite, expanding growth using the ideology of Neo-classical Liberalism then the inevitable outcome is crippling depression, war, and class conflict.

The United States is a desert in terms of ideology. We have had pockets of socialism in a long history of Heratio Alger capitalism. We have no ideational tools to deal with Peak Oil.

The bright spot is that we do have a long history of self-sufficiency, frontier mentality, private charity, individual reliance upon the individual, libertarianism, and we were pioneers in the area of civil society institutions independent from government.

OK, there's my dose of optimism for the day. All those qualities that I listed also come with downsides (such as the unwillingness to participate in government solutions), and, while they may have been our nation's predominant characteristics in the past, I don't think anyone can say they still are with a strait face. We were once anything but an ideological "desert," but we've been experiencing severe desertification for several decades at least...

Imagine an Ohio factory worker interviewed on the nightly news filling up his pickup saying "well, looks like I need to make some serious personal sacrifices here. I'm selling my F250 and riding the bus starting next week. I need to take the personal steps necessary to take care of myself, my family , and to help my community--it's important that I not just expect government or someone else to solve the problem for me..." I doubt anyone would have blinked about that portrayal of 1841 or even 1941 America, but it would shock the hell out of me if I saw that today...

CNN had something like that this morning. Though it was in Boston, not Ohio. There was a young woman who was riding the bus. She had had a huge SUV, but couldn't afford gas for it. She traded it in for a smaller car, but eventually, that got too expensive, too. So she was riding the bus to the grocery store.

One thing I think we have lost is the ties to community. We are too mobile these days, and too busy. Community organizations like the Lions and Elks Clubs are hurting for new members. Go to vote, and the people volunteering at the polling place are likely to be 70 or 80 years old.

As we speak and write, there are thousands -- maybe millions -- of people out there trying to re-create "communities." And we hear of some of them on TOD, probably most are invisible. Human beings are not the most successful species on Earth by being stupider than yeast, though there is that element in the genome

We're not dumber than yeast. We're just not smarter. ;-)

I don't think intelligence has anything to do with it, really. Dinosaurs and blue-green algae were also very successful, and they were dumber than dirt.

Over 15 years ago, demographer Neil Howe predicted that the current generation of young Americans - Millennials, some call them - would be another "Greatest Generation." (Howe thinks there are four generational "archetypes" that have recurred in the same pattern since the founding of the nation. Nothing mystical, really. More that each generation reacts to the ones preceding it, with predictable results.) Raised by the Baby Boomers, who are too idealistic to be good at anything except raising children, they would have an impact on the world that their parents never had.

There was an article recently, noting that Millennials are extremely interested in community ties. Far more so than their parents. But it also argued that the technology today's kids depend on is preventing them from achieving the kind of community they long for. Many of today's kids don't actually meet many people face to face. They text them or IM the instead. And that's not the same as face to face contact.

60 Minutes did a piece on millennials in the workforce:

The Millennials are Coming

The basic premise of the piece was that millennials have been raised without the competition and associated negativity that goes along with it. Soccer games without scorekeeping, teachers who don't use red ink, awards for even mediocre performance etc. They have a high sense of entitlement and a need for positive affirmation. With 2.4 billion Chindians looking to improve their lot in life, America is in a frightening position.

Our youngest daughter is raising a couple of Millenials. The boy is really weird. When he gets upset about anything he bangs his head on the floor, or wall, or whatever...hard. He is enrolled in some sort of special ed class for intelligent students in NC and has been on medications for a few years.

On the other hand the kid is very smart, as is his mother. Whiz at all math and very quick. His mom majored in math and if the kid makes it to college, without brain damage, he too will probably be a math major. His mom, our youngest daughter, still wears hippy regalia although she missed the hippy generation by a wide margin. She teaches barefoot in a NC private college and wears antique hippy clothing. She lives with hubby and children in a very old NC 3 story wooden hotel that has been sectioned into large apts and is infested with people with various colored hair and piercings everywhere. I like the place and the people. Wonder where she got all the hippiness from? The students love her. So do we.

I attempt to limit the amount of time that I spend around the kid. He makes me nervous when he starts the head banging routine. Once I got him to stop banging his head by bribing him with an ice cream sandwich from the freezer. Now I keep a plentifull supply of ice cream sandwiches on hand. Hard to say what the mellinials will be like when they grow up. After all, they are all individuals, like us.

River...concerning the head banging, but smart boy...it sounds like he may have autism, but you never know. Schools are so quick to label kids these days and autism is kind of the "fashionable" thing to label a kid with these days. I do have a friend with an autistic daughter and sounds somewhat similar. She has a photographic memory and does great in subjects that require that, but socially, she is not on queue.

Dragonfly...thanks for the reply. Yes, we considered autisim for some years and have had the boy tested/interviewed/scanned by many specialists, psychologists (my wife is one), psychiatrists, etc. He is not autistic, they all agree about that. As he has aged his social skills have improved and he has always communicated well. He seems to grow impatient with those that do not understand him immediately and that is when the head banging begins. The last two years have seen great improvement in his behavior and he has even began noticing that there are two sexes of humans. He is a handsome lad. Maybe girls will improve his behavior? Although I don't recall that recognition of girls improved my behavior...


My 9yo son has the odd trantrum (also very smart) he also worked out that talk of suicide got his parents anxious! My opinion is that it is attention seeking behavior, we sent him to a counselor (she was very good, an elderly woman, sort of like a wise granny) to give him techniques to deal with his frustration. Recently we went on a family bike ride which was preceded by a tantrum and at the end he told me "Thanks Dad, you were right to ignore me when I get angry like that".

Totally off topic James


My mother always like to tell the story about me banging my head on the floor (some time before 1950). She says my dad solved it by smacking my head into the floor harder than I was at at. Never did it again.

PS I'm good at math too.

I didn't want to mention it but I would bang my head on the floor also-I won math competitions in High School. IMO banging your head on the floor as a kid improves your future mathematical ability-knocks the cells around somewhat.

Now that he has noticed the two sexes, now is the time to be the patriarch and tell him to KNOCK IT OFF in no uncertain terms.
Males have a role in the development of other males that may seem on the face of it, sexist, but needs to happen outside the influence of females.

I attempt to limit the amount of time that I spend around the kid. He makes me nervous when he starts the head banging routine.

Obviously I don't know the Daddy but I'm hearing from the Granddad something that tells me you're too hooked up in the "live and let live" shit of the sixties.
You should be actively seeking out time to interact with the kid.
Once he sees and identifies with mature males interested and critical of his behavior he will begin to respond.

In years to come he may consider how fortunate he was to have known his Grandparents, yet he will not be as fortunate as they have been.

Spaceman...that handle really suits you. Let me guess, you are a psychologist wannabe? My wife is a real psychologist. If I need advice, I will seek her's, not your's.

If you had read the posts you would know that the boy lives in NC. I live in central Florida. How much do you think we inter-act? I see the boy three times a year on average and for a few days each time. I recently visited my daughter in NC. The boy is much improved.

Where do you get the gall to state what the daddy or myself are hooked on? Did you recently escape from an asylum? But, as a matter of fact, I do believe in 'live and let live'...Do you go around killing people for the hell of it? I think you need some professional help but don't bother calling my wife. She has already had a good laugh at your post.

Well, I can say one thing for sure. I will never post a personal anecdote about my family on this board again. I did not realize how many lunatics were reading my posts.

Our youngest daughter is raising a couple of Millenials. The boy is really weird. When he gets upset about anything he bangs his head on the floor, or wall, or whatever...hard. He is enrolled in some sort of special ed class for intelligent students in NC and has been on medications for a few years.

I'm sure your "real psychologist wife" is proud of raising kids whose kids, in turn, exhibit this exemplary behavior!

The name "Spaceman" stems from the fact that even spacemen can only see half of the Earth at one time.
Reading your posts, one can only assume what the other half looks like.

Well, I can say one thing for sure. I will never post a personal anecdote about my family on this board again.

Seems like a good idea. If you don't want people's feedback, don't post.

Just hope for no Peak Ice Cream Sandwiches?

Actually I think that the term "millennials" refers to the generation that was born after 1980 but before 2000. I'm not sure what the post 2000 generation is called.

This is a bad joke but I can't resist. Maybe your grandson has a future in heavy metal.

I'm not sure what the post 2000 generation is called.


last week I saw an item about Bill Gates giving a talk to students in a high school. It sounds like he was addressing said millennials. he said things like

This school doesn't do winners and losers but life does.

Few employers are interested in helping you find yourself, so do it in your spare time.

Life's unfair, get used to it.

You won't earn $30,000 straight from school.

If you think teachers are bad wait till you get an employer. etc

Sounds like millennials are in for a shock on entering the real world.

I think a lot of the problems with kids are due to a lack of fair,consistent but strict discipline at home and at school.Added to this is the garbage that they are fed,by mouth - unhealthy food, and by ears and eyes - unsupervised TV and Internet.
Basicly it is about responsible parenting.Most people get their parenting education from their own parents and so the sins of the fathers and mothers are passed down to the umpteenth generation.

Right thirra, it's all the fault of my wife and I. I feel sure beating your kids has turned them into model students or citizens.

River this is a sad response.Parents,like everybody else,have to accept responsibility but they are trying to function in a difficult and often counterproductive social environment.There are no single simple solutions and what I wrote did not imply that.
The word discipline doesn't necessarily imply "beating".This is a common mistake made by our laissez-faire society.

All your fault? Where did you get that from? And what does discipline have to do with beating? You have a responsibility to your children to set boundaries for them until they are old enough to take responsibility for themselves. Anything less is either lazy or ignorant.

thirra, nzsanctuary...The boy is my grandson. Try reading the posts. He lives in NC, my wife and I live in Fl.

We raised three daughters and they are all doing very well, thank you. We never beat our children. We used little 'discipline', instead we taught by example. It worked very well.

I don't think either of you are qualified to judge me, my wife or our children, or how we raised them. BTW, we have 6, almost 7, grandchildren that are doing fine as well and none of them have been 'disciplined' in any negative sense.

Who do you people think died and left you in charge of the world? Gees, I tell an interesting story that is true and will have a happy ending and suddenly all you amature psychologists pop out of the woodwork. My wife is a real psychologist. If I need advice I will ask her, not you clowns.

Who do you people think died and left you in charge of the world? Gees, I tell an interesting story that is true and will have a happy ending and suddenly all you amateur psychologists pop out of the woodwork. My wife is a real psychologist. If I need advice I will ask her, not you clowns.

Then why throw it out there as if seeking a solution?
You make me sorry I posted upthread.
Keep avoiding that boy, he'll be better off.

Hitting a kid is fast, timing a kid out takes half an hour of your time to demonstrate that there is no reward for bad behavior. Much more 'expensive' for you, but it does work better for some kids. Some kids. Kids are different. Makes you believe in genetic randomness, it does.
My family was weird. I don't advise normal people how to raise their kids, because how would I know? But my sister did get results with nonpunitive discipline. I'll ask her advice is I ever raise some genetic kids of my own. What I'll do if I ever have nongenetic kids I don't know...
Marry a child psychologist and just do what she tells me?

You are taking offense at a statement not directed at you.

Thirra did not say nor imply anything about beating, nor that you or your wife were at "fault" for your grandson - s/he was making a generalised statement about today's kids in response to Weatherman's post, which I still back up. Go directly to jail - do not pass GO - do not collect $200...

In the case of your grandson, which does sound odd, have you or his parents considered toxicity or other environmental factors?

River -- maybe not entirely on-topic to Peak Oil, but then again -- considering the strange religious and even supposedly non-religious cults we humans develop even in the best of times and also in the worst of times -- I empathize with you.

I was raised in an American Fundamentalist household where responsibility and discipline and such were drilled into us. My siblings and I have struggled with so much of the baggage connected to that, and I know so many people who were raised by religious or ultra-rationalist folks who screwed them up pretty badly.

Quite often the rationalistic or religious talk about discipline or whatever is a cover for strange syndromes arising from some inner chaos that is quieted by the reassurance of structure and black-and-white certainties.

I've no idea where this other dude or dudette is coming from, but I am sure glad that I am not raising my kids in the paradigm I was raised in.

Some of the strange twists and turns in genetic code all mixed with culturally learned behaviour are very complex and difficult to parse.

This sure does not make it easy for loving parents or grandparents!

Our children (and in some cases grandchildren) will see all kinds of ideas about "discipline" and rigid religious or secular ideas about how to live and parent trotted out in the coming few years.

we do our very best untill we are gone, I think, and then let all the chips fall where they may. But while we are herew, we keep loving the next generation or two, it seems. That's what we're built for, I guess.

We'll see how many versions of parenting evolve as Peak Oil and Climate Change overwrite many of the Scripts we humans have developed!

beggar, thanks for the kind words. I was raised by a catholic mother and a baptist father. Neither of them felt a compulsion to go to church or to take my sister and I to church. Our parents left the decision up to me and sis and we both went a few times and decided it was pure dogma. We gave our children the same choice and they went to various churches with friends a few times and came to the same conclusion as we did.

I don't know why people go to church or believe in god. There are probably as many reasons as there are individuals. I don't believe in a god but I do not tell others that they should not believe in a deity if they choose.

If "intelligence" is the ability to remember zillions of things in their context, recall them, and analyze them in relation to new contexts -- then I wouldn't count out the human race.

We might be close to one of those crucial times -- when the equilibrium is punctuated -- (Steven Jay Gould/Niles Eldridge), in which case, we might see just exactly which traits are truly adaptive.

Ants and yeast may have more biomass than people, but we can eat them, just as they can eat us. The opera's not over 'till the fat lady sings.

Ants are the most successful multi-cellular species on earth. Trillions of individuals, with a total biomass vastly exceeding humans.

In terms of variation and total biomass, though, the single-celled critters are still vastly more successful than these new-fangled multi-cellular things.

I like some of the libertarian, self-sufficiency ideology that I here from Ron Paul and others but I don't think that the ideology of individualism is enough glue to keep society together.

I think that fascism beats the frontier spirit every time. I feel like we need some new idea or ideas to create a community spirit in order to compete with the false communintarianism of fascism.

I was given a free ticket to Freedom Fest in Vegas, Thu thru Sat. Ron Paul is one of the speakers. Registrants are in excess of 1,000. There will be many cornucopians including the staffs of Reason Magazine and CATO. There will also be some sophisticated natural resource investors who understand reality. I hope to mention TOD and ASPO more than once.

How about a new idea like Lao Tzu. Or Buddha.

The ideas are out there, we just have to put them into practice.

I don't think that Lao Tzu, common sense, or pragmatism is going to be able to compete with more all encompassing theories like born again Christianity or patriotic/militarism or more likely some combination of the two.

When the Peak Oil tsunami hits we are going to be at a very contingent moment in history and I just wish there was something to fill the vacuum.

As Erich Fromm makes clear in Escape from Freedom, the people who can rationally deal with the world only represent a tiny fraction of humanity. Hopefully one of the tiny fraction will be able to win out over all of the demagogues that will rise up with all the answers.

Hosing off the sidewalk café on the side of the restaurant I watched as a young mom with a baby and a toddler came back across the street from the property mgnt office, start to get in the king cab f250 and she notices the ticket on the window.

She cursed loudly then started to cry. I walked over and asked if I could help. She cursed the truck saying it took $20 worth of gas just to move the gage off of E and now this. She went on about cost of rent, food for the kids, does not know how she can do it.

I recommended she get a compact car and she said they can’t as her husband is a maintaince/ handyman and needs it and they can’t afford another car.

I gave her a $10.00 Soup Shop Gold card as she drove off.

Hi souperman2,

I'm glad I read this post. We're going to need to help each other in any way we can, till reality sets in and the fog lifts. I live and work at a church which does a ton of community out reach, emergency food, discount food, etc. Lots of business these days. Too many people driving into the parking lot in big SUVs. Then again, they probably can't get rid of them. Rock/hardplace. Anyway, I've been feeling down in the dumps all day till I read your post. I'm sure what you did was good for business, but I bet that wasn't the primary motivator.

There is no answer, or at least an answer that has an peaceful outcome. You mention class conflict, but that is exactly what the US has never truly had. In Europe it was recognized by the elite that the lower classes could be a source of insurrection. It was safer to give them a piece of the pie in the long run than to risk winding up on the guillotine or chopped into pieces in some cellar. Even a conservative such as Bismarck recognized this. But in the US the working classes have been squashed like a bug. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago was built as a means of getting troops down from Fort Sheridan to contain any worker protests. The American ruling elite has never been threatened by mass insurrection. Could peak oil and the collapse of the economy be the match that lights the tinder? We’ll know when the intellectual elite start to seriously question the system. So far they support the status quo or suggest minor tweaking to the system. When we start seeing radicalism occur in the ivory tower, some modern day Paine who gains a huge following and starts to draw serious attention of the ruling elite, time to hide! All those guns. Scalia might come to dread his opinion.

Bruce, I don't think the U.S. has quite developed the "class" structure that came out of the Middle Ages in Europe, and seems to persist to the present.

Even the poorest Americans (with the possible exception of slaves, former slaves and Native Americans) feel they are at a minimum, part of the "pre-rich".

The current administration may finally be turning the tide on that -- the level of demoralization in this country is stunning. But it won't likely lead to revolution any time soon.

That America does not have a class structure in this country is one of the biggest myths of American society. Having worked in a blue collar profession, and having graduated a prestigious law school I have seen it from both ends. True it is not as defined as in some European countries, and mobility is possible for the talented, but it is there, even if it is kept invisible. So far perpetuation of the myth that we can all transcend class and win the lottery of life has been successful. So what happens when it becomes apparent to all that social mobility for all but the extremely talented or fortunate is the rule? If you had told someone in 1750, 1770, and 1910 in America, France, and Russia respectively that there form of government would change drastically in the future you would have been doubted. Revolutions can turn on a dime.. Revolutions also actually turn on the middle class, not the poor (see Anatomy of a Revolution by Crane Brinton) Declining expectations is a big part. What do we have looking at us now?

As I have posted repeatedly elsewhere, IMHO the US government is dysfunctional (and I would suggest that an inability to acknowledge reality and to come up with a workable plan of action to deal with it is pretty good evidence of dysfunctionality). Dysfunctional governments never last, they are always replaced with something else, one way or another, sooner or later. I am not going to venture any predictions as to what the replacement will be, how it will happen, or when. I am doubtful that the replacement will end up being an improvement, and fearful that it could end up being much worse than what we have now.

Maybe better the devil you know than the one you don't.

Bruce-- I agree with you. But part of the reason we don't have a "class" structure is that the ruling class has been able to perpetuate the myth that there are no classes! By keeping people perpetually "pre-rich", they can be made to work harder (in the believe they might get ahead) for the rulers than they would if they were convinced they were consigned to their fate.

It's a very Calvanist plot. I believe that most of the world can't understand it, since it is not intuitively obvious.

I just love that term! I wish I would have thought of it, hits the bullseye.

Yes, anyone can grow up to be President..

..as long as - along the way - you can figure out how to raise $250M dollars among other things.


Bill Clinton wasn't so rich growing up -- his father was a traveling salesman who died just before he was born. He had a scholarship to attend Georgtown. Of course, he married Hillary Clinton, who graduated law from Yale and Wellesley before that, so maybe that's where a lot of his connections came from.

Anybody interested in the class structure in the US(and elsewhere) would do well to read the books of the anarchist Emma Goldman (1869 - 1940).I recommend "Anarchism and other Essays" and "Living My Life".A remarkable woman and far ahead of her time'

We have a class structure. We have a dearth of "class consciousness" - i.e. understanding that we have it, we shroud it in other explanations.

My point exactly. The class structure in America is hidden in plain sight.

It perpetuates the myth of "democracy."

However, the wheels are coming off now, and we will see how far this chariot skids.

What ideology would be best to deal with Peak Oil?

Realism! Reality-based thinking and planning. It used to be called common sense, but I guess now we are forced to elevate it to ideology, since the opposite has has become such a powerful force.

There's nothing wrong with ideology if it's not held so firmly and tightly that it blinds one to realities that are smacking one in the face. We are all guided by some ideology or another -- cannot be helped. I'm on old Marxist. But I'm also an old Shumacher (small is beautiful) guy, as well as several other things that are not totally compatible with each other. In a strange way, I enjoy seeing major parts of my belief system overturned in some remarkable way once in while, in the same way I don't mind getting kicked in the stomach (not too hard please), once in a while, during karate practice.

But in the final analysis, I'm a pragmatist. Even there, my pragmatism is informed by a hope and desire that humanity (including my grandchildren) can survive in some kind of decent circumstances. Whether these are reality-based hopes is yet-to-be known.

Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

Common sense is the most uncommon thing in the world...Mark Twain...Will Rogers...Voltaire...and many more.

Bruce from Chicago...

If you have not read Howard Zinn's 'A Peoples History of the United States' you might want to do so. Zinns history is written from the point of view of workers of all classes and both men and women (using all original source material), many of them in organizations or organizing attempts to better their living/working conditions. Zinn also brings to light the constant attempts of owners/managers to squash labor organizing attempts and the roll government has played in these actions. Originally published in 1980 but their have been many subsequent pringings and updates. It is the most popular history every written by an American and has sold far more copies than all others...for good reason. It is not droll but lively reading and will hold the interest of most anyone, imo...well, I don't think those on the far right appreciate it.

The history is complete with wars, governments, scabs and all. Zinn does not pull any punches and is still a proffessor at (Columbia?).

When we start seeing radicalism occur in the ivory tower, some modern day Paine who gains a huge following and starts to draw serious attention of the ruling elite, time to hide! All those guns. Scalia might come to dread his opinion.

Scalia will never regret his decision, he made it correctly and may saved what's left of the constitution.

We are a nation of laws, like it or not. Try a constitutional amendment next time, oh I forgot no chance of that. If the second ammendment was so unpopular, why is concealed carry "shall issue" in 45 or so states? The rest of us use Chicago/DC/SanFran as a bad example of what happens when the "ruling elite" get exactly what they want.

Since you mention Thomas Paine/founding fathers, I doubt he or other founding fathers would have objected to Scalia's opinion.

Thomas Paine, writing to religious pacifists in 1775:

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; the weak would become a prey to the strong."

George Washington's address to the second session of the First U.S. Congress:

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty, teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon and citizens' firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that, to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 and 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil influence. They deserve a place of honor with all that's good. When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour."

Thomas Jefferson's advice to his 15-year-old nephew:

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.

An amendment to the Constitution, proposed by James Madison:

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well-armed and well-regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."

We are a nation of laws, like it or not

Oh please! It was a 5-4 decision. If Kennedy had gotten mugged (a good possibility in DC) in the prior few months it might have the other way. The second amendment is weasel worded with no legislative history (legislative history - is the deliberations by the legislature in passing that actual amendment) to back it up is almost completely undecipherable which is exactly the reason the Supreme Court avoided it for so long. The decision is one strictly done by “policy analysis“ (thank you Prof. Roy Brooks for the insight years ago - I wish I had listened then). By the way, I am a gun owner, and will continue to be a gun owner.

Oh please! It was a 5-4 decision. If Kennedy had gotten mugged (a good possibility in DC) in the prior few months it might have the other way.

If it did go the other way, Ron Paul might have been your version of Thomas Paine. He still might still be, never know.

"The second amendment is weasel worded with no legislative history. " True, no legislative history is present or needed because it's meaning was intuitively obvious to the average villiage idiot until late 20th century legal creativity got ahold of it. What part of "Bill of Rights" is so hard to understand? Its pretty obvious how the founders felt about all ten amendments, its not the Government's Bill of Rights. I guess freedom of speech/press means that mutes (speech) can't express their views on the internet (press). I bet some lawyer could make that argument too, and it would hold the same amount of water as yours.

Be careful bragging about being a gun owner in Chicago, Daley will have you arrested since only his thugs should have weapons. If you actually were a gun owner, you would believe in "right of the people." I guess 5-4 decisions don't count, so lets just scrap them all even when they are good ones.

True, no legislative history is present or needed because it's meaning was intuitively obvious to the average villiage idiot until late 20th century legal creativity got ahold of it.

The average American couldn’t tell you the number of amendments in the original bill of rights let alone what is in them. What changed by the twentieth century America? Not the legal landscape in regards to the 2nd Amendment. There was no legal precedent. What did change is the makeup of the country from a frontier society where guns were an everyday necessity from to an urban one where guns settled arguments in a deadly manner. You claim the Bill of Rights is easily understandable. I wish I had you by my side writing out my answers for my Constitutional law final in law school. There are too many things that were not foreseen two hundred and twenty five years ago. Fast cycling guns, telephones, cars , internet, changing moral values, to name a few. Madison was originally against a Bill of Rights. Many feared that enumerating rights might lock them in and reduce the flexibility of the people to govern. He wrote many of the first ten amendments solely out of necessity to get the Constitution ratified. What it also did was enhance the power of the judiciary by using the right of interpretation to negate legislative and executive acts, which Marshall did in Marbury v. Madison. So the attorneys you loathe gained lots of power by having an enumerated Bill of Rights. As far as the founders, who gives a shit what they thought. Yes that is what I said. I choose to be ruled by the living, not by someone who died over two hundred years ago. This mentality has created a sort of religion of constitutionalism, in which we twist and turn to figure out what Madison or Franklin might have thought about modern problems such as search and seizure, or wiretaps. It also creates the idiotic mental gymnastics that judges must do in order to incorporate rights by way of the fourteenth amendment, as originally the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government (the fourteenth contains as second due process clause) , or try to come to terms with a modern administrative government, without which everything would be chaos. It also leads to a lot of 5-4 decisions becase the outcome is far from precise. If you read the decision in Miller,( I have) you would know the fourteenth amendment problem as to the states is a future bone of contention. Your mentality of wanting to be guided by the dead has caused us to be ungovernable today because everyone could just avoid responsibility - not my fault, my hands are tied by the Court. If the people want guns so be it, if their legislature passes it. Or vice versa.

I no longer live in Chicago. I live in a sparsely populated, heavily armed, hunt crazy (you should see the turkey and deer on my property) county in South Central Illinois. I’ve been a hunter and fisherman my entire life.

Interesting. The problem is what amendments would you repeal, and do you want to ruled by the unfettered whims of politicians? The US constitution must be popular as it has survived and nobody dares touch it. I certainly wish Britain had a first amendment. Saying the wrong thing here can land you in jail.
I suppose in the US the problems started in the late 20th century when the courts decided to use the constitution to further personal agendas rather than interpret it.

Is it better to be ruled by the whims of judges, who are appointed for life, have their own agendas, and get in by the luck of who leaves or dies? Wouldn’t we in the US be more careful in electing our politicians if they could not hide behind judicial review? The problem with “interpreting” the Constitution is that a 200 year old document cannot be interpreted in light of modern problems. Courts often have to overcome “bad” decisions, such as Plessy or Lochner, in order to get modern government to work. In the thirties the Court invalidated many of the administrative agencies of the New Deal because they were delegations of executive authority. Yes, the Court expected the legislature to be involved in the minutiae of day to day operations. The Court backed off when FDR proposed a plan to pack the Court with new judges. My big problem is pulling out the crystal ball to determine in intent of people long dead might have intended for a problem never conceived or imagined. I support what Gore Vidal has always called for - lets have a Constitutional convention. There should have been one after the Civil War; instead amendments were passed which took decades to be enforced. Don’t think free speech is so much better in this country.

Well, for a document written by a bunch of gentrified smugglers and tax evaders it's a pretty enlightened piece of work.

If you really have a better idea, spill it, because I don't see anybody else doing anything better, more relevant to people living in an oppressive society, or more suitable to modern sensibilities. The only trouble with the Constitution as written is 2 centuries of politicians trying to weasel their way past the restrictions it imposes upon them to serve rather than rule.

Have you ever read this supposedly sacred document.? Or Madison’s convention notes or the Federalist papers? Or better yet, read any of the major Supreme Court decisions which is REALLY the ruling law of the land? Kind of the same way people feel about the Bible, but don’t have the foggiest idea what it contains in all of it’s gory and contradictory details. It’s what I mean by the religion of Constitutionalism, they love it but are too wrapped up in their concept of it to really ever examine what their beliefs are actually based on.

Awfully late replying to this, but yes, I have read the Constitution completely, I understand it about as well as anybody for whom it is not their profession to do so.

And I meant what I said. Better ideas will be considered, but all I hear is whinging about how we should throw out the Constitution because it isn't working the way you want it to. Not even a hint of a suggestion as to any particulars that might be wrong with it?

It might not have been completely perfect for the late 20th century, but I personally want a document at least as restrictive on the would-be ruling class if things really do go downhill in the 21st.

If Kennedy had gotten mugged (a good possibility in DC)

Maybe it's a "good thing?" they couldn't ask Senator Stennis

"Stennis was almost fatally wounded by two gunshots after being mugged outside his Washington home."

Quite an enigma.

IMHO the ability for the general public to own and carry weaponry is what makes us unique from the "rest of the herd".

Again, I have no problem with unrestricted gun ownership if that is what the PEOPLE and their duly elected representatives decide. But spare me the metaphysical nonsense as to the supposed historical and legal justifications of the second amendment. The Justices are actually using policy analysis to come up with a decision, and personal belief by each Justice is very influential, if not determinative. Aren’t those policy considerations and preferences for the legislatures to decide?

gun control might not have made much difference to Senator Stennis. In the UK private citizens are not allowed to own guns but gun crime is increasingly endemic. The British experience seems to prove the NRA's slogan that if you criminalise guns only criminals will have them.

Eventually if there are enough guns in society crimes using them will rise. It does look like gun crime has gone up. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/2640817.stm http://www.gun-control-network.org/GF05.htm (by the way the latter link I found quickly, I distrust representations from both sides of the argument, but the gun lobby arguments dominate as they are extremely well funded and vociferous - like doing a search for 911 links - guess who’s view dominates ) Still does not compare to the US as to the use of guns used in crime per capita. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir_percap-crime-murders-f... We are at that point of the "Archie Bunker" scenario. http://youtube.com/watch?v=CLjNJI54GMM&mode=related&search

By the way, if you own a gun learn to use it and train everyone in the household to respect a gun‘s capabilities. I was once a competitive level hand gunner, and still practice point shooting on a weekly basis (shoot at random targets without aiming with deadly accuracy) and shoot my air rifle almost daily

Bruce, I don't know if you'll get this since its on yesterday's drumbeat.

What did change is the makeup of the country from a frontier society where guns were an everyday necessity from to an urban one where guns settled arguments in a deadly manner. You claim the Bill of Rights is easily understandable.

There are too many things that were not foreseen two hundred and twenty five years ago. Fast cycling guns, telephones, cars , internet, changing moral values, to name a few.

As far as the founders, who gives a shit what they thought. Yes that is what I said. I choose to be ruled by the living, not by someone who died over two hundred years ago. This mentality has created a sort of religion of constitutionalism, in which we twist and turn to figure out what Madison or Franklin might have thought about modern problems such as search and seizure, or wiretaps.

Your mentality of wanting to be guided by the dead has caused us to be ungovernable today because everyone could just avoid responsibility - not my fault, my hands are tied by the Court. If the people want guns so be it, if their legislature passes it. Or vice versa.

I don't know about you, but the only time I see guns settling arguments is the local gangbangers fighting over drugs. Of course, they are prohibited from owning them by virtue of being felons.

Who gives a shit what they thought? Thank you for confirming my suspicions that most lawyers are more dangerous than any terrorist. As an engineer, I use the principles of men dead over 2000 years. Issac Newton said "I stand on the shoulders of giants" and our legal system does too. Habeus Corpus is what.....a 1000 year old principle? Good ideas are timeless and those dead men which you are so quick to derid were giants of intellectual thought much like Newton. I have yet to see a current politician other than Ron Paul that is worthy of carrying their jockstraps. Ask the Chinese if Confucius's ideas are meaningless in a modern society and they will most likely take more than offense.

The ungovernable problems that I see today are because we have strayed too far from the ideas of those old men. Everything that Washington (foriegn alliances and empires) and Jefferson (Federal Reserve, fiat currency, gun control) warned us about has come to pass. For some reason I don't think they would be all that impressed with technology today. "TV...oh that makes you stupid"

The New Deal/FDR did some good things (infrastructure, SS)and some bad things (gold confiscation, massive Federal expansion). Lets not nominate Roosevelt for sainthood eh? He was a decent president for the time, but he left some very bad precedents.

Might as well replace the constitution with "We the government will do whatever we damn well please." I love my country, but if the constitution is just a piece of paper as you suggest then all is lost and then a new Thomas Paine is the best we can hope for. For lawyers that feel the same as you, I'll pray for your families but not for you.

don't know about you, but the only time I see guns settling arguments is the local gangbangers fighting over drugs

Sorry, but the majority of gun deaths are not attributable to "gangbangers". Just read any police blotter. Nice myth, kind of like "crack babies".

As an engineer, I use the principles of men dead over 2000 years. Issac Newton said "I stand on the shoulders of giants" and our legal system does too. Habeus Corpus is what.....a 1000 year old principle?

If you cannot differentiate between a scientific law and one devised by man then that is your problem. Great Britain which has Habeas Corpus does not have a written constitution and respects it. The US, which does have a written constitution, violates it often. A written document is useless and provides no protection if it is not part of the fabric of society. It is a social contract not a written one. This is why you cannot make a democracy with a written document if the social values are not present, witness Iraq. Good ideas are timeless, but thinking their existence relies on a written document to give them force is on the level of religious belief. Intellectual giants? Intelligent but they were men and would probably be just as befuddled to solve the present problems as today’s leaders. These giants wrote slavery into the constitution. Oops! We place these figures on the level of gods, that we cannot match their intellectual capability so we must have an oracle such as the Supreme Court to divine their intentions. Unfortunately their intentions are so over the board I can find a quote to support any view. None of our past leaders, were saints, all had flaws, and all dealt with the reality dealt to them. Unfortunately, most people seem intent on having a myth rule our lives rather than governing themselves. That is the greatest tragedy. We don’t trust the people anymore to govern themselves.

Ron Paul - the man is a f*cking nutcase. Some good ideas, but wrapped in a package that is loony.

I do read the police blotter here locally, but I must admit I'm curious as to which one you read. We don't have very those problems here locally in OK, they are almost always in the drug neighborhoods and we have some of the most basic firearms laws in the nation. Its pretty safe to assume that everyone is armed here. Yes, there is always some fool that shoots his wife or leaves his pistol out for his kid to find. Isn't that called manslaughter for you legal types?

Watch Telemundo sometime. If guns aren't available, then machetes get used. Scotland is now trying to regulate kitchen knives and to your point, you can't legislate responsiblity.

Suicides don't count in my mind simply because there is no way to know how many of these poor souls would have just found a tall building instead. I had a good friend do this after his wife left him, and I can honestly say if his pistol wasn't available he would have jumped. Either way he would have been someone's statistic.

Yes, the founders put slavery in the constitution. Everyone had slaves in their time and the document reflects that. Seems to me...a constitutional amendment and a little war fixed that oversight. Unfortunately the valid issue of states rights got swept under the rug. Yes, they were human, no doubt about that but they had good ideas and it is the foundation of this country. Get rid of that foundation, and we are Russia in the 90s. We're in a hell of a mess, but if we would have stuck to the principles we might not be in this position at all, Peak oil aside. The Federal Reserve has made things alot worse than they would have been otherwise.
Balkanization starts to look like a best case.

I don't agree with the Supreme Court overstepping its bounds any more than you do, but someone has to keep those fools in congress and the executive branch in line. Little principle of checks and balances, but unfortunatly we've had too little that of lately. You want to change the constitution? Fine, make an amendment. Otherwise, stick with what is written down and it says "Right of the People", which Scalia interpreted correctly as "Right of the People who aren't felons or mentally defective". If laws didn't need to be written down, we wouldn't need congress now would we? The Brits keep making up things as they go along and judging by some of the comments here and other boards, they wish their rights were written down.

I have no problem trusting people to govern themselves, its called voting, donating $$ and speaking out on what you believe in. It's still legal, but for how long who knows? GWB has pushed so far and congress has "outsourced" their duties to the exectutive branch.

Funny you should mention Ron Paul as a "f*cking nutcase", I feel the same about Obama.

That “little war” and an amendment did not fix that oversight for ninety years. It took Brown in 1954 and a Civil Rights and Voting Rights bills after that to try to end the Civil War. Kind of bolsters my case as to leaving controversies in the hands of “disinterested” judges reading an archaic document. Donating $$? Now you have really hit on the biggest source of political corruption. I’m actually hoping McCain wins. Then after the resulting calamity Americans might be finally be convinced to lean house. Why is it humans have to hit bottom before we change?

Oklahoma? Home of some of the most draconian criminal laws and unjust prosecution in the union, one of the worst states for minorities and women, highest teenage suicide rates, lowest educational funding and hughest politidal salaries, and Senator Inhofe? I thank Nature every day I don't live there.

I don't detect any "metaphysical nonsense as to the supposed historical and legal justifications of the second amendment" in my post.
Care to elaborate?

Thanks for the great post. Of course you will be down-rated because of all of the ------ have enough time at work (because, for that moment they are not working) to slam your post.

Here is a link to a dramatic reading of excerpts from Zinn's People’s History of the United States


Zinn got his Ph.D. from Columbia, but has taught at Boston University for many years. Still teaches there, as far as I know. I second River's recommendation of his PEOPLES HISTORY OF THE U.S. The chapter on Vietnam is still the best account of that war I know of.

I would also suggest reading Neil Sheehan's "A Bright Shining Lie". Really lays out the futility of Vietnam by examining the life and death of one of the war’s most interesting players.

River, I have read and own a copy of Zinn's book. Very good reading. The university where I received my BA in history was a hotbed of radical scholars in the sixties some who were still there when I attended. It was a buffer to my young conservatism and eventually taught me to be more open minded intellectually.

I think Zinn is at Boston University.

Taxes make up a larger portion of pump prices in Europe, so the government has more ability to actually impact the cost to truckers through policy.

The tax being less in the US, the government has little to cut. This is why McCain's proposal for a tax holiday was easily shown to have minimal financial impact.

LPG in the UK:

I was asked by a fried if it was worth his while getting a car which runs on LPG in the UK - I have no idea on, for instance, the security of supply position of this fuel in the UK.

Anyone got any info?

After blowing hot on LPG for a while, with grants for vehicle conversions and reduced fuel duty, the Gov't blew cold three or four years ago when it fell under the misapprehension that biofuels might be the answer.

LPG vehicles are left with a restricted fuel network (around 1 in 10 filling stations offer LPG), no financial assistance with conversion (although ex-factory dual fuel models are still available from some manufacturers, I believe), and rising fuel costs as the duty differential with petrol is progressively reduced.

Security-wise, LPG isn't in any better position than petrol or diesel. The UK Gov't's long term hopes for transport seemed to be pinned on electric vehicles (see the King Review, which is its de facto blueprint for the future). Even that's a fairly forlorn hope given the UK's current outlook for fossil energy supplies in the medium term, so I don't believe LPG will regain much momentum.

In my view, the best bet for a new car for your friend is either (a) the smallest, most frugal diesel they can find, if they do a lot of miles each year and can't cut down on mileage or (b) a small, frugal petrol car if they drive mainly in town and rarely on motorways.

Aim for 60mpg (imperial) minimum and avoid complex technology like hybrids because they are more complicated and expensive to maintain. The impact of Peak Oil and GD2* on the UK economy over the next few years will favour the simplest, cheapest solutions compatible with constraints such as emissions standards.

Just my 5 cents

* GD2 = Second Great Depression

Thanks for the info.
Do you know if it is official government policy to eliminate the tax difference?
His main car at the moment is a BMW X5, but it is diesel and does a surprisingly good mpg.
The loss to be taken on depreciation in a sale would outweigh any gains in fuel costs, so he will hang onto that, but might by another car if the economics of an ex-factory LPG were favourable.
There should be enough LPG stations in the Bristol area, hopefully.

To get 5kW from a solar panel the dimensions of a 2008 model toyota prius would need a solar cell technology with 100% efficiency.
Nor would it allow any room for windows in the car...

They have seriously jumbled the figures, I would think.
If you had solar panels generating a more reasonable 200-500watts, then if you left your car parked up for 10 hours during the day then you might have generated 2-5kwh, and kept your car cool when you climbed in it.

Dave, you'd never get that much during the day.

10 hours of sunlight is unreasonable. Especially once you consider angle of incidence.

You'd be lucky to get 1kwh of power in a sunny location during the summer. Most of the time you'd get a small fraction of that.

If it was a reasonable application of solar, then manufacturers would be including solar on every car they produce.

I'm afraid this is a marketing driven decision. Car roofs are not the niche for solar.

Yeah, that's why I said the figures were jumbled.
Some engineer type probably said that a solar roof could 'generate up to 2-5kwh during the day', and did not indicate the restrictions, for instance he could have been talking in general automative terms and the 5kwh might be for a truck, so a press bod ignored the fine print and released this - that would be typical for this sort of leak.
Toyota may be looking at the potential, but we have no idea of how seriously.
As for it's practicality for a small power load, I don't know although I would be a bit doubtful, but the engineers at Toyota will likely be able to work out whether it is a good idea and what the cost might be.
I'd sooner have that than some of the crap they have put in as extras on cars though.
I suspect that money will be too tight to allow this 'accessorising' culture to continue.
Printed solar cells could certainly be put on the roof of a car, as they can do it with lots of materials.
I don't have the cost information or any of the other parameters to tell if it is worth doing.

You might be able to get close to a solar-powered car, if you stretch the definiton of car a lot. Enclosed light-weight fractional-HP golf cart with panels on two sides and the roof.

Solar powered cars are a different ball game. The most you might manage would be some kind of covered trike which used a solar roof to charge a battery, so enabling you to run a very light vehicle for a few miles a day.
Trucks could also presumably use solar to run ancillary equipment as they keep their engines running for the purpose at the moment, and they have plenty of roof space for cheap solar cells.


Cross-continental solar powered 'car' race. Been running for years.

Right, and how many watt hours/mile do those carts require?

I've crunched a lot of numbers on a lot of electric cars, and I'd bet those solar racers use close to 40 watt hours a mile. Which is a lot considering their limitations. If we were all restricted to 25 mph, you could get a much more useful car using 40 watt hours a mile, maybe even a 4-seater. (40 wh/mile at 30 mph is 1200 watts constant output or about 1.7 horsepower)

The most you might manage would be some kind of covered trike which used a solar roof to charge a battery, so enabling you to run a very light vehicle for a few miles a day.

I disagree.


This begs the question of why not put the PV panels directly on a hybrid car and generate electricity onboard while the car is parked outside, or even while driving. The general reaction of people to this idea is that there could not be enough energy striking the roof of a car to provide enough electricity to drive any meaningful distance.

This is where the incredible efficiency of the hybrid car must be taken into account. To drive a hybrid car about 1 km, takes about the same electricity as to light a 150 watt bulb for one hour! The point is not to drive the car using only solar power, but to effectively use solar power to improve gasoline fuel efficiency.

" To drive a hybrid car about 1 km, takes about the same electricity as to light a 150 watt bulb for one hour"

How on Earth do you think it gets to speed?
By frickin' wishing?
Let alone the cost.
Cover the Earth with silicon chips nobody can afford.
That'll cure everything!
Only a fool thinks the way you do.

You had better do a lot better with your posts cuz they don't pass the smell test!!!

I hate to be the one to educate all the newbies here but car companies are in business to make a PROFIT, not save the Earth.
Get real.

What a stupid post.

First solar according to their audited accounts produces thin-film solar cells for $1.29/watt in the first quarter of 2007.
Less than $1000 for the power for 500 watt air conditioning in hot climates does not sound excessive.
Whether it will work out I don't know, but it does not seem ridiculous for the engineers to try.
Large trucks could also benefit greatly.
I am aware that some vehicles have driven cross country in Australia using solar power, the trikes I was referring to were for regular use, and could work for instance in India for the average person, not for some vastly expensive competition.

SUNN - solar powered electric car kit


Swiss solar powered car makes it around the world.


It uses a battery pack and solar panel on a tag-along trailer for 50% of it's power and the other half comes from 'banked' energy off the grid from a stationary array. It aint cheap and easy but it is possible.

The current Prius owners are all over this one - I've got one handy here and she is all excited about trading in her 2003 for a 2009 and "not ever buying gas again". They're an oddly compulsive lot in some regards, these Prius folk :-)

"I'm afraid this is a marketing driven decision. Car roofs are not the niche for solar."

the future of cars is electric and solar.

You are an idiot.

"You are an idiot."

please explain.

We just had a big long thread about why its pointless to put a solar panel on a car and you post that crap?!?

What more do I need to explain?

We just had a big long thread about why its pointless to put a solar panel on a car and you post that crap?!?

What more do I need to explain?

oh really? so explain away specifically this car.

"Lapp’s modelling predicts a 10%–20% fuel efficiency improvement for the 270 watts of PV (to be bumped up to 360 watts with the additional of a fourth panel)".

How much gasoline can this photovoltaic hybrid car save? Well let’s look at the energy available from the sun on the roof of the car. For June and July in Kingston Ontario, about 6 kWh of energy from the sun strikes each square meter of horizontal surface. If we install 2 square meters of photovoltaic panels on the car and we collect 10% of the energy from the sun as electricity (well within present PV efficiency), we can theoretically go about 8 km each day on just the sun’s energy. If we drive 24 km on a sunny day, that is enough to reduce our gasoline consumption by 33%. This would take the Prius from 5.0 l/100km [47 mpg] to 3.3 l/100km [71.2 mpg].


Why don't you bother to read the thread and find out its been done already?

In this case you are wasting your time.

BTW I can't help but comment on how on target your posts have been.
Unfortunately for ALL of us NONE of the proposals will satisfy the requirements of motor cars today.
See upthread for more:

Why do you imagine you have the right to be abusive?
What is so special about you that you should blatently disregard the rules of the forum and normal courtesy?
You might have 'Dealt with' an issue in your opinion, but others have the right to disagree, and that appears to include some automative engineers.
I don't know if this technology will work out - and neither do you.
Please re-read the posting rules here, and either address people here with reasonable respect, or keep your abuse and opinions to yourself.

Maybe they just plan on using the Solar panels as windshield shades?

You might do better just to park your car in the shade. Of course, here on North Coast of Oregon there is no problem. The sun doesn't shine. Solar energy is diverted into creating water vapor to be used further east.

Funny comment, as I sit here looking at the fog south of Newport. Wind was blowing 20-25 yesterday and the swell was getting close to 8 feet, far more reliable electricity generators here on the coast than sunshine.

The Sun Just Came Out!!!

Weeks of gloom erased in an instant!

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

(william blake, of course)

As usual the guys over at www.autobloggreen.com have a more informative take on this story. It seems a lot less dumb when you read their take.


I do recommend this site for auto related news, as they will provide as much of the technical details as they can get, rather than just printing an attention getting headline with no technical details.

Alan from the islands

Yeah, I was amused by that announcement at well.

An air conditioner needs between 2kw and 5kw. You'd be lucky to pull 200 watts from a solar panel the size of the prius's roof.

To run the Prius's AC you'd need a solar panel the size of your house's roof.

I think Alan was right. This solar panel has about the same functionality as tailfins had to the 57 chevey. It'd make some yuppie feel good about being green. It's a styling choice.

Think about it this way. If a 200 watt solar panel made any real difference to air conditioning (or for anything) it'd be included on every ICE car made today.

There is an after-market device you can buy in the US that hangs from your window. It is basically a ~6 inch fan with a wide, thin vent that hooks over your almost-closed window. On the outside is a tiny solar panel to run the fan. It is capable of lowering the inside temperature considerably, to only slightly more than ambient air temperature just by recirculating the air. You could probably do a good bit more than that with solar panels the size of a Prius' roof, instead of the size of a napkin.

In addition, any recharging of the car battery the solar roof panels could do would be a plus. Whether that makes sense economically or not, I can't say. But the idea doesn't sound dumb at first glance to me. The Aptera has the same concept, btw.

Sure. But don't think these ideas haven't slipped past the automotive industry.

If there was any real application for a fan to circulate are around the cabin on hot days it would have been applied.

Heck you don't even need a solar panel for that. A fan is a tiny draw. With a thermostat in the cabin you could almost run the system off the existing lead acid battery. In a PHEV or EV the existing battery system dwarfs any such load. It would be trivial to include such a ventilation system. You still don't need solar.

The simple fact of the matter is a solar panel the size of a car roof sources such little power as to make it pointless on any car with a sizable battery.

Heck, a 20cent windshield shade would do the job just as well as a 5k$ solar panel option.

It just isn't a universal demand, and it is adequately met by third party developers.

Every "added feature" built in doesn't just add the cost of the feature, it adds integration costs as well. Thus, what could be an effective $10 add-on would likely be $100 as an integrated feature. Unless you get the functionality as a bonus from some needed feature it's really best to let the aftermarket cover it.

Unless you get the functionality as a bonus from some needed feature it's really best to let the aftermarket cover it.

Agreed. For those half a dozen Auzzies that plan on parking their Prius's in the outback, let the aftermarket take care of them.

For everyone else, including Toyota, such an option is nothing more than a 21th century tail fin.

That sums up the sad state of affairs AFAIC.
People are foolish to believe in the notion that On Time Delivery of Modern Sunlight is enough to propel our vehicles in the foresee-able future.
New acronym? OTDMS?

How much to retrofit my Suby WRX wagon with a 50cal air-cooled MG, RPG tubes, and some armor?

It's a toss-up in my mind as to which is better at this point; guns or solar powered froo-froo gadgetry.

Color me unimpressed. I see this as a marketing gimmick.

But that's my $0.02 (which is being devalued as I write).

It just isn't a universal demand, and it is adequately met by third party developers.

Every "added feature" built in doesn't just add the cost of the feature, it adds integration costs as well. Thus, what could be an effective $10 add-on would likely be $100 as an integrated feature. Unless you get the functionality as a bonus from some needed feature it's really best to let the aftermarket cover it.

Nope. Other way around. Built in costs one percent of the aftermarket price.
But if you did have a dashboard solar power fan pumping air out the top of your car to lower the interior heat from the sun shining through your windows, you would have two negative effects.
1. You would decrease the demand for air conditioning for cars, hurting a major profit center for automobile manufacturers.
2. The interior plastic for dashboards, seat covers, etc, would last longer, prolonging time till tradein.
I'd probably have the fan blowing out of the car with an inlet built into the car at ceiling level. I'd settle for no more than a 20 degree differential between the inside of the car and the outside of the car.
Probably someone patented the concept forty years ago and it is long expired.

Audi did this several years ago - it was just a luxury option. The car stays cooler a perceptible amount, but it has nothing much to do with the type of vehicle.

Personally, it all seems a bit wasteful to me, but in a hybrid, reducing the battery load, even in minor amounts, has to be considered a plus. From what I heard and read about the original Prius, air conditioning was one of its true weakpoints.

Not that I have ever bought a vehicle with air conditioning - seems wasteful, both in terms of weight when not in use, and power draw when it is. And A/C units generally don't last the lifespan of the vehicle anyways.

But a solar panel on an electric vehicle? A minor extra which might be considered on par with LED turn signals/brake lights - an improvement, but a very small one.

Shargash writes:

There is an after-market device you can buy in the US that hangs from your window.

I use the simpler, more reliable version - the vent shade: a tinted plastic cover over the outside of the window that allows you to leave the window cracked open an inch or so. Works great for keeping the cabin less noisy when driving too. I left my windows open on my truck when it lightly rained one night. I was very surprised that little or no water got in the cabin. Vent shades may look different but they do a good job.

I don't think its quite as bad as you make it out to be (the gain from a solar rooftop panel -not the cluelessness of journalists about energy). Someone, I think it was probably CalCars had a solar Prius kit. The estimate was that parked in the sun you could get enough charge for perhaps 5-7miles. The real cost problem is you need a battery upgrade -so as to essentially make a plugin hybrid, with additional charging capability from the PV. Once PV gets cheap enough I expect this sort of thing will be builtin as an option for plugins.

There used to be a window mounted autofan, where a few watt fan circulated air into your parked car. This might be too useful for those who are afraid to leave their windows cracked open. A small solar powered exhaust fan that operated on a car parked in the sun would usefully reduce the amount of AC used. But that is quite different from being able to run the AC off solar.

Isn't it a little more complicated than that.

Say I have a 20 minute commute to work and the car is parked while I work. Using your stats of 200 watt solar panel and 2 kwh air conditioner (that's about what a Prius is actually).

I my car sits on a sunny day it accumulated 1.6 kwh. My 40 minute commute would consume 1.3 kw for the air conditioning. So under that scenario the solar panel would provide for my air conditioning in total.

Spread over a year it would work out pretty well.

You only get 200 watts from a 200 watt solar panel if it is noon on the equator. Unless you work in the Sahara desert, you won't get eight hours of sunshine.

Come on now, you know better. We got 15 hours of perfect sun yesterday where I live. We have for four days in a row now. Not a cloud in the sky. The average sunshine for our local area for your sake is 5.5 hours per day average year round. A 200 watt solar panel gets 200 watts per hour, you know that. Ok so 5.5 hours at 200 watts is still 1.1 kwh, and my commute with AC will demand 1.3 kwh. That's how it works.

Unless you work in the Sahara desert, you won't get eight hours of sunshine.

I work in California (not near the coast), and I can attest that compared to Cali in the summer the Sahara is a very cloudy place. A pretty substantial proportion of the US population lives in pretty sunny climes.

To run the Prius's AC you'd need a solar panel the size of your house's roof.

An idea I suggested was to cover freeways and roads with carport-like structures mounting solar panels. There's a tremendous amount of potential area that could be covered in such manner that would produce a significant amount of electricity. For example, a structure wide enough to cover two standard freeway lanes and shoulders (50 feet) for one mile would provide 264,000 square feet of solar roof, and at 12 watts per sqft, 3,168,000 watts would be generated. Cover 100 miles of freeway, and you have some serious power being generated.

In real time, yeah, but it doesn't work that way.

By the way what you are describing here is exactly what the company nanosolar envisions. They want to create these pods of solar generating centers in open spaces near residential areas. These would be owned by the local municipalities.

Look up the company nanosolar. Three factories built and they can produce solar panels at 1/3 cost of existing devices, running sheets of solar cells at 100 feet per second.

(cant edit my own comment)

Correction: it would only require the solar panel to be 50% efficient if the car is at the equator (based on 1.4kW/m2 solar radiation under ideal conditions with the sun directly overhead).

Another problem that comes up in the crowded British Isles: where you gonna park? This might be workable if you've got open air parking with no huge buildings nearby. Some people, maybe those with solar cars, will be able to do that. But in most UK cities there's a significant chance you'll be parking indoors in a multistorey car park (NCP, etc). Likewise if you're parking on the street in a heavily built-up area it's likely you'll be in building shadow for at least part of the day.

Maybe they are incorporating a ground source heat pump as well. It could get really high efficiency, just limiting the range to a few feet.

Interesting on-going CO2 Injection project at Weyburn Oilfield.


It looks like you get about 1.5 gallons of oil from every bushel of corn processed for ethanol (about 17 lbs of CO2.)

They're going to get an extra 155 million barrels of oil off of 52 billion lbs of CO2. The American ethanol industry, this year, will produce about 54 Billion lbs.

Kunstler writes this AM:

The trucking industry is dying, threatening the entire just-in-time distribution system of things that even people with little money to spend still need, like food.

The wife and I just finished up a thousand mile road trip through south Georgia and northern Florida. Gasoline was at $4 just about everywhere. My relatives in Florida tell me they are considering getting commercial drivers licenses. Why because there is a big demand for them now. My guess is that so many have left the industry that a vacuum was created for new drivers with less, perhaps much less living overhead. Anyway it seems an interesting evolution in the trucking industry.

Link to the Kunstler writing Ammond?

Sorry, here it is:


He has this one and his main site at kunstler.com. They get updated every Monday morning.


I was enjoying my Monday morning JHK hyperbole indulgence until he went off the rails with this little nugget...

All this hardship and woe will be blamed on the Republican party. It may actually kill off the party.

Polling data from summer of 2004 is eerily reminiscent of what we are seeing now, with an unpopular Republican candidate trailing.
America has vast reservoirs of stupid.
And Republicans know as well as Democrats how to tap it.

The Republican party's days may indeed be numbered, but the rest of the US political system may not be far behind. The US government is hopelessly, terminally dysfunctional. Dysfunctional governments never last, they always end up being discarded and replaced by a different political system (which may not end up being any better than its predecessor). It will happen here, sooner or later, one way or another. Sad, but best count upon it happening.

Polling data from summer of 2004 is eerily reminiscent of what we are seeing now, with an unpopular Republican candidate trailing.
America has vast reservoirs of stupid.
And Republicans know as well as Democrats how to tap it.

Funny part about this election is that Republicans have the same ace in the hole as they did in '00 and '04, and that is the democratic canidate. Al Gore and John Kerry faced perhaps the weakest canidate in recent memory in GWB and came up short because the rest of the country just doesn't agree with them on most issues. Alot of us here in "flyover country" would happily endorse a Jim Webb type, but unfortunately the Pelosi/Boxer wing of the democratic party wins primaries. Now that Obama's views are known, John McCain just has to make it to the finish line to get our votes. Too bad though, I really wanted a choice this year but Obama vs McCain isn't a choice. Guys like Kustler don't seem to understand this.

Better to see the country come apart slowly than overnight. Atleast that way we aren't occupied by "UN Peacekeepers".

Does it really matter who wins in the U.S? A poison chalice if ever there were one. I would extend the same metaphor to the U.K elections and elsewhere.

Never underestimate the stupidity of the US public. Just look at recent history.

How recent? I would go back to Nixon's re-election.

Hi Bruce - I still want to go back to FDR. When Japan attacked us, he declared war on Italy and put US Japanese citizens into concentration camps. He did not put German spies into a camp at Guantamano, he killed them. Then at Yalta, agreed to give Russia half of Europe.

First, tell me how many protested at the time the Japanese were put in the interment camps? Uh huh. Don’t read the values of the present into the past. Not to justify racism, but it was what it was. By the way, who was the California governor who pushed for the interment? That’s right, Earl Warren. I think he made up for his racism later. However I’m guessing you wouldn’t agree. Killed German spies? Don’t have time to research your allegation, but weren’t these spies part of an identifiable state, which we were at war with, and caught on an identifiable battlefield or here? Italy? Do you know the Italian battle cry? I surrender!! Ethiopia kicked Italy's ass. Get the weaker state first. Unfortunately Kesselring put up quite a fight in Italy. Yalta. Ah Yalta, rethuglicans have been crying about that since I can remember that and “losing China“. It was a fate accompli. By that time the Russians were just outside Berlin. Were we going to kick them out? Dream on. If you ever read Churchill’s memoirs about WWII, “The Second World War”, you would know that way before Yalta he had made a deal with Stalin about “spheres of influence”. Did FDR know about this? I haven’t come across the evidence if it was there. FDR was also a very sick man at the time, very close to his eventual death. Not an excuse, but it is a fact.

I could be wrong I'm also guessing your one of those who would like to eliminate every existing program established during the New Deal.

imo, the reports of the demise of the gop are vastly exaggerated. i recommend reading "the teapot dome scandal" by laton mccartney.

a lot that went on in 1920 is directly analogous to what happened in 2000. yet the repukes held the white house until 1932.

The Depression did quickly what years of corruption could not. Question is: are we in 1930 or 1932?

I worry about if we are in 1933 in a country we fought a war against.

The debt to GDP ratio is like 1932, but the crappy internationalism in Washington trying to make the Middle East 'safe for democracy' is reminiscent of 1920.

Gawd, what a mess. But the electorate is still lazily ignorant.

I believe that, Ammond. The future is "illegal" immigrants from any neoliberal-destroyed country. I expect they will drive trucks for 50 cents an hour and live in them. The generous employers will throw in a few tortillas and an occasional change of T-shirt.

Just in time becomes almost in time becomes not really very timely at all. I stocked up on food in Iowa and mom is well configured for a sudden logistics change ... need to do the same here in New England.

That first hurricane in the Atlantic, Ms. Bertha, is on track to bother Bermuda and leave the GOM oil production alone, but sooner or later we're going to get to exploring that MOL for refineries down there ... perhaps today is the day for a rice & beans run?

I'm glad you mentioned the "rice and beans". I broke my last 5 # bag of beans out of the freezer yesterday. Need to restock.

Even if Bertha and her friends miss us again this year, the susceptability of the region for a "terrorist" type storm will keep everybody on edge, especially those who live in the region.

The trucking industry is dying, threatening the entire just-in-time distribution system of things

so what? the trucking industry will just adjust. the trucking industry isn't going anywhere. it's not so much that oil prices are high, it's that truckers can't get paid enough to haul goods relative to their costs. there are too many truckers.

so what? the trucking industry will just adjust.................. there are too many truckers.

Only a completely corrupt person would post such a message.
Are we to believe then, that there are too many of US???
Who then, is the arbiter?

Why do you keep posting?

Truckers describes a job. With mechanization, we had far too many cotton-pickers, and massive population shifts resulted.

We will soon have too many Las Vegas croupiers & dealers, mortgage dealers & processors, etc.


Since john 15 chose not to make a distinction neither shall I yet the superior, philosophical tone is what grates, when we are talking of real people and their families.
Due to the unfortunate state of things today, truckers deliver most if not all of our food stuffs.
And food delivery would have to be the original reason for just in time delivery, else it spoils.
These disappearing trucking jobs mean that not only will food not be delivered to the truckers table but to everyone elses as well.

My biweekly Energy Matters column was published yesterday but did not appear on the newspaper web pages until today:

Is oil independence an illusion?

In a new book, journalist and author Robert Bryce argues that the hope for energy independence is fraught with “dangerous delusions.” Bryce’s arguments in “Gusher of Lies” provide a refreshing counterpoint to many simplistic, political discussions about energy, but in the end, his blithe optimism about fossil fuel availability, U.S. financial resources, and global warming’s consequences leaves his arguments as dangerously deluded as those he criticizes.

I think you miss Bryce's point on Global Warming. I have spoken with him about this, and he has about the same opinion as I do. It is not "don't bother." It is simply the view that because of the nature of carbon emissions - China and India building coal-fired plants as quickly as possible, for instance - it will be unlikely that we will get enough of a consensus to make a dent in emissions. He cites Kyoto, and points out that even most signatories aren't meeting their targets. If those guys can't do it, do we really expect the developing world to do it? Many of them don't even care about Kyoto.

You can read my view on a previous essay that I published here, arguing that we won't do anything to stop Global Warming. I am not saying we shouldn't try, but the reality is that I see no reason for hope. Carbon emisssions have continued to climb unabated. Kyoto isn't even an inflection point on that climb:


Further, think about your comment "Rather smugly, Bryce anticipates that price rationing will apply primarily to less wealthy countries. Tell that to Vermonters who don’t know how they’ll afford to fill their oil tanks this winter." High prices are the most effective tool against Global Warming. If we are to seriously tackle Global Warming, it won't be painless. People will have to use less, and many will suffer - because there simply does not exist a painless solution. That's why I never could figure out whether politicians who simultaneously argue against Global Warming and high gas prices are simply stupid, or just think everyone else is.

I am working on the problem of carbon sequestration in my new job, and I think about it all the time. Right now I see some silver BBs, like the one I am working on. I don't see anything that can really reverse the trend of increasing carbon emissions.

Off to the airport (to generate my own emissions) in a few minutes, so probably no response from me.

It's been rather obvious all along in the climate debate that continuing BAU would imply a switch to coal as oil ran out. That there is a return to coal happening as we write is just a symptom of the utter failure of the political world to understand the fact that the Earth is a finite space and that the atmosphere is a limited resource. If the atmosphere were a liquid with the density of water, it would be only 10 meters thick. Of that layer of liquid, the ozone layer (about 300 Dobson Units thick), upon which all life depends, would be thinner than a layer of plastic food wrap.

That our economist, corporate executives and politicians don't yet understand the limits within which life exists means that we are very likely to just keep on keeping on heading on down the road to destruction. If the scientists can't get thru to these clowns, they will just push the planet over one cliff or another by mindlessly ignoring the facts. Having worked on several political campaigns, I tend to agree with you that the oil will be burned and the coal will too. If it costs too much, sequestration won't happen, especially as the economy begins to falter under the load of higher prices and lower EROEI. In the U.S., the average person has no clue about the problems and a large fraction have a flat-earth world view stuck in the 15th century. I think the future looks rather grim for the Earth, although I suppose there is some small hope for a return to rational governance. We must keep trying, even if it turns out to be pointless in the end.

E. Swanson

CO2 is .04% of the atmosphere. As it goes up, the amount released each year of CO2 is 93% nature and 7% due to humans. Pointless to blame CO2 for climate change. Pointless to spend trillions of $'s to cut down on the human contribution.

But, common sense never wins.

Common sense tells one that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the Earth. At least, that's the way everyone thought before Columbus "discovered" the "New World". They were wrong, as I think you are also. Where did you learn physics, Vacation Bible School?

E. Swanson

Add 0.04% ink to a deep pool and then tell me it cannot have any effect.

Air (N2, O2, Ar) is like water, clear at infrared wavelengths. CO2 is like ink.

The 93% rise is part of the annual cycle, up +93% in fall/winter, down -93% in spring/summer. The +7% is here for hundreds of years.

Your utter lack of common sense and physical understanding is staggering.


CO2 is .04% of the atmosphere.

In the last 450 K years, when climate was controlled by Milankowitch cycles, maximum CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was around 300 ppm in the warm periods (interglacials) and around 200 ppm during ice ages. Our current CO2 concentration of 385 ppm brings us back 28 millions years. Check Wikipedia how planet Earth looked like then.

I have heard Bryce make the comment, something to the effect;

1800's century of coal
1900's century of oil
2000's century of natural gas

Is he way off on this or is it possible?

Gusher of Lies is a very well written book. Lots of stats and info that for those of us who have been reading and studying PO and related topics for a while are quite familiar with. But rarely do you see a talking head on MSM or other networks spew anything different than it's the oil cos. or Saudi's fault. I'm becoming more convinced that things will really have to hit the fan before than more than just a few people in America wake up to the fact that FF are finite in nature and that the world's oil is not all necessarily "ours". John

Why is everyone waiting for "it to hit the fan"? When that happens, all that will be left will be a stinky, dirty smudge. TOD is great as a place to exchange ideas and news about people who are actually trying to make a difference.

The US can be "energy independent". What the US cannot be is "energy independent" and anything other than dirt poor.

The New Shell Scenarios to 2050: "Scramble" vs. "Blueprints"

I haven't seen us discuss these yet. I wasn't able to download the pdf, I don't know if they are still putting it up.

Both scenarios sound way too BAU to be realistic, IMHO.

Here's the correct link to the 2050 scenarios pdf - the link on the above page was bad:

Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050

OK, I've had a chance to skim these briefly. A few observations:

"Scramble" is premised upon competitive resource nationalism. That might be the most realistic thing about either of these scenarios.

"Scramble" ends up with greater emphasis on coal and biomass, "Blueprints" ends up with greater emphasis on nuclear and solar. Looking at the two combined, I think that "Scramble" has biomass much too high, and both of them have solar and wind much too low. "Blueprints" assumes lower coal because it assumes an agressive and comprehensive global carbon cap and trade program; I am afraid that this is much too optimistic, much as we do need it. Thus, I am inclined to think that "Scramble" is somewhat more realistic when it comes to coal, although we might find it much harder to get at than some people think. "Blueprints" proabably has nukes about right, I doubt that we will be able to do very much better than that.

With these scenarios, Shell goes on record, in print, as implicitly assuming peak oil in the 2020-2030 time frame. Many of us would consider that to be too optimistic, but at least it is something.

"Blueprints" assumes much greater electrification of transportation, especially of automobiles. I expect that this will happen in any case.

Again, overall both scenarios are much too rooted in a BAU mentality.

Shell's CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, sent an outline of the two scenarios to all employees back in January. And he specifically requested feedback about how everyone else in the company saw the coming problems.

I suspect that their internal forecasts are quite a bit more alarming than what they release for general consumption.

Shell probably has a better overall picture of world energy demand/production than any other organization that I can think of.

On the demand side, they operate service stations in all the major markets including Brazil/Russia/India/China and the Arabian Gulf countries.

On the production side, they have major oilsands operations in Alberta, a GTL plant in Qatar, and a pilot oil shale plant in Colorado. So, they have a very realistic understanding of the problems and potential of alternate oil solutions. And, of course, they are painfully aware of the "above ground" risks as well in Nigeria and elsewhere.

The fact that Shell is even talking about crisis scenarios is the best proof that I can think of that peak oil is either here or coming very, very soon.

I'm happy to see a commodity shake-out today. Where o' Where will the new floor be. $130, $135? Maybe this whole bubble is about to pop and we're going to be swimming in oceans of dirt cheap crude oil. Yea, that's what's going to happen.


The trend from May, 2007 to May, 2008 was 6% per month, from $63 to $125, average monthly price. So, we were above the recent trend in the $145 range. To be "on trend," we would need to average about $140 for July.

I suspect that about 6% per month kills off enough demand per month to keep declining demand in rough equilibrium with declining net oil exports. As circumstances change, this rate of change in price would of course also change, either up or down.

The demand destruction may be currently balance with the decline in net oil imports.
The really powerful effects though are still in the pipeline - the near disappearance of the aircraft industry, to take one example.
People and industries are still effectively coping by using their credit cards.
By mid-winter demand destruction should seriously get going.
Of course, the decline in net exports could also accelerate.

Two things are working to destroy demand: high oil prices and the economic downturn. Demand destruction caused by high oil prices will not bring down the price of oil. It will simply stabilize the rise in prices caused by declining net energy.

Demand destruction caused by the economic downturn has the capability of lowering oil prices, if the demand destruction from that happens faster than net energy declines. So far it has not been a significant factor, IMO. It might be significant going forward as the downturn gets gets worse.

Supply and demand have to be balanced -- it's a physical law, unless large amounts of oil are being hoarded someplace. And experts on TOD say that isn't happening.

On the other hand, the price is just a function of how much money is in circulation. Doesn't matter if it's $5/bbl if people can't afford it.

If people can't afford it, it won't be $5/bbl. Supply and demand are in balance at a particular price. If you change either supply or demand, they come into balance at a new price. If the only reason they can't afford it, is because it got more expensive, then a drop in drop in price will cause people to be able to afford it again. Thus, demand destruction caused by high prices won't cause prices to drop. On the other hand, if the reason people can't afford it is because Bernanke & Bush spent all their money, and their children's money, and their children's children's money, then the price will drop, until it is affordable, or until supply destruction arrests the drop.

There was a lot of stuff out there in the Depression, supply was out of balance with demand. Most people couldn't afford it because the money supply was depleted. People starved in Ireland while rich English land owners shipped food to England for a profit.

And so on. If only the world were simple!

I think that's what scares people about the current situation. If we could have a great depression while the oil was still practically pumping itself out of the ground, imagine what could happen when it's barely flowing.

I would like to think that another New Deal could help, but is that possible with energy constraints and the national debt where it is?

By mid-winter demand destruction should seriously get going

In the Northern states in the US we'll find "pensioner popsicles" in homes without heat.

I talked to a U-Haul rental place at the cusp of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire a few days back ... can't get a trailer out of this part of the world to save your life. Those that can't afford to stay but who can afford to move are getting out now ...

It would be interesting to find out to where they are all heading.

"It would be interesting to find out to where they are all heading."

probably places where housing prices are lower. just find out where you can get a u-haul for cheap and see if the return destination is a lot more expensive. in other words, it may costs $500 to leave city A to get to city B but it's costs $1500 to go from city city B to city A.

Jack writes:

I'm happy to see a commodity shake-out today. Where o' Where will the new floor be. $130, $135?

Help me understand this. Can a shakeout really happen if the price stays above $140?

Not really much of a shakeout is it? But I can guarantee that numerous blogs and articles across the Internet would hail such a move as "the bubble letting some air out".


My guess is that the new floor for OPEC is $100-if the price falls below this point I would expect an announcement about supply cuts. IMO OPEC has more power than ever, they have never been more flush with cash.

"the bubble letting some air out".


as soros said before congress ;not a bubble , more like a froth on top of supply/demand.

yes it will be interpreted[prayed for] as u say.

The shakeout happens on Monday.

Tuesday afternoon inventory gets talked about.

Wed inventory two of the five categories miss.

Oil drops in the AM, rallys at the close.

Thursday rally sets record. Friday holds gains.

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

CNBC just had a session discussing whether the oil bubble has burst. Go figure. Lynch predicted it would go to $100 by the end of the year. Unless ..... bla, bla, bla, the usual hedges. Worthless discussion.

RE: Oil Price Shock Means China Is At Risk Of Blowing Up (Leanan's link above and below)

Without a decrease in the price of crude and a corresponding drop in shipping rates the entire economic globalization model is in the same predicament as China. Personally, I have hated the very notion of globalization and especially what it has done to the American worker and the American economy. Perhaps America and other countries subjected to globalization can now become producers of usefull products for their own citizens. By usefull products I don't mean more toys. Perhaps the world can get away from the ponzi scheme of banking that was required for the consumer economy and led America and others countries into the current economic disaster. Maybe $150 or more crude prices will make the world a more sensible place? I am hoping...incremental improvement is better than none...and, as I mentioned in a post the other day...there are some advantages found in high crude prices...Of course, the bankers and their political stooges will now push for more war to bring cheap oil to the world untill there is no more oil...but, recent wars have failed to make more oil available for globalization.

'Any low-tech product shipped in bulk - furniture, say, or shoes - is facing the ever-rising tariff of high freight costs. The Asian outsourcing game is over, says CIBC World Markets. "It's not just about labour costs any more: distance costs money," says chief economist Jeff Rubin.

Xinhua says that 2,331 shoe factories in Guangdong have shut down this year, half the total.

North Carolina's furniture industry is coming back from the dead as companies shut plant in China. "We're getting hit with increases up and down the system. It's changing the whole equation of where we produce," said Craftsmaster Furniture.

China is being crunched by the triple effects of commodity costs, 20pc wage inflation, and sagging import demand in the US, Canada, Britain, Spain, Italy, and France.

Critics warn that Beijing has repeated the errors of Tokyo in the 1980s by over-investing in marginal plant. A Communist Party banking system has let rip with cheap credit - steeply negative real interest rates - to buy political time for the regime.

Whether or not this is fair, it is clear that Beijing's mercantilist policy of holding down the yuan to boost exports share has now hit the buffers.'


...and here is a take on the same article from Naked Capitalisim...

...snip...'The second factor is that China has started rolling back domestic subsidies of fuel prices. The government has realized a bit late that its energy inefficiency (amount of energy required to produce one unit of GDP) puts it at a competitive disadvantage, so ending the subsidies is seen as necessary to force businesses to become more efficient energy users. But that adjustment process will be painful.

Update 7/7/08, 2:00 AM: Further confirmation of the Telegraph's thesis comes from a weekend Reuters story, "Asia's exporters suffering as global demand weakens" (hat tip Russ Winter):

Deutsche Bank estimates some 20 percent of China's low-end exporters will go belly-up this year.'...snip...

...snip...'Inflation merely steals growth from the future. It defers monetary tightening until matters get out of hand, which is where we are now. Vietnam has already blown up at 30pc. India is on the cusp at 11pc, so is Indonesia (11pc), the Philippines (11pc), Thailand (9pc) - leaving aside the double-digit Gulf.

Of course, oil prices may fall again. They plunged to $50 a barrel in early 2007 after the Saudis raised production. The scissor effect of slowing global growth and extra crude later this year from Brazil, Azerbaijan, Africa, and the Gulf of Mexico may chill the super-boom.

The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission is on an "emergency" footing, under orders from the Democrats on Capitol Hill to smash speculators. If it is really true that investment funds have run amok, we will soon find out.

I suspect that the energy markets have fallen prey to their own version of the "shadow banking system" that so astonished regulators when the credit bubble burst.'...snip...

North Carolina's furniture industry is coming back from the dead as companies shut plant in China. "We're getting hit with increases up and down the system. It's changing the whole equation of where we produce," said Craftsmaster Furniture.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the textile manufacturing is repatriated to NC as well, and soon. Both industries are based on renewable resources and are thus potentially sustainable. Textiles is the more important of the two, as people need clothing a lot more than they need furniture. The textile factories haven't been closed all that long, there is still a large population of skilled workers that could get textile mills running again in short order. It will probably never come back totally as it was, nor do we need it to. We do need some textiles (and furniture) manufacturing capacity here in the US.

A thread needs to be started about the positive aspects of high oil prices. This is a good start. On balance, maybe it's not a good thing, but we need to look at the other side of the equation. Thanks for this. Although, all that polyester ain't renewable. And, if the use cotton, it would be nice if they would go organic.

Renewable textiles feedstocks include: cotton, flax (linen), sheep's wool, silk, a variety of other animal wool (rabbits, goats, alpacas, camels, etc.), and a variety of other plant fibers (ramie, jute, hemp, etc.). Most of these could be grown in NC or elsewhere in the SE US.

The Chinese can keep the polyester, as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks SamuM...I have already read the article by Roubini re BW2 and the one below found on Calculated Risk re Energy Usage vs GDP. I spend more time at economic sites than energy sites...Old habits are ingrained. :)

Countries that depend on a weak currency relative to the dollar are between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, letting their currency appreciate will kill their export business. On the other hand, keeping their currency weak is going to cause death by high oil prices. Lots of countries are vulnerable to this, including Japan as well as most of the countries that have dollar pegs. I suppose pegged countries that are oil exporters might be able to live with the inflation.

Countries that are importers of oil face a much more difficult choice. They've made a lot of money sucking wealth out of the US, but that teat is about sucked dry. I think they'd be better off coming to terms with peak oil and letting their currencies appreciate. Of course, the US will do what it can to try to prevent that; the dollar needs all the props it can get.

They've hestitated to unlink from the dollar because of their giant pile of greenbacks and t-bills. I figured a few years ago that China should just swap all its dollars to Putin for Siberia, given the warming trend. Putin doesn't have to make that deal now.

What does a government do when it literally has more American dollars than the price of anything it can purchase? I can't figure it out.

What does a government do when it literally has more American dollars than the price of anything it can purchase?

Weaponize their dollars? What's the difference between using dollars to buy expendible weaponry and using the dollars themselves as a weapon? The only difference is that buying weapons props up the US military-industrial complex, while using dollars as a weapon does it harm. Furthermore, it makes the nation deploying the dollar weapon look a lot better in the eyes of much of the rest of the world - a bloodless weapon!

(By weaponizing dollars, I am referring to the sudden dumping of massive amounts of dollar-denominated assets on the world market in a deliberate attempt to crash the value of the dollar, and thus do great harm to the US economy. We are assured that no nation would ever do this to us - mostly by the same people that used to tell us that the national debt doesn't matter, because "we owe it to ourselves".)

Shargash...'I suppose pegged countries that are oil exporters might be able to live with the inflation'.

I have posted about the oil exporters that are pegged to the dollar in the past. What they do about peg/no peg is very important and some of them are beginning to get tired of importing inflation from the US due to their pegs.

Stand by for a typhoon if they de-peg and go to a basket of currencies or a ME currency. BTW, do you recall that a short while back Greenspan was in the ME and lecturing their economists about the advantages of decoupling from the dollar?


'While I have to applaud Mr. Greenspan for wanting to assist the poor nations of OPEC in managing inflation, it also is a bit concerning to see that my prior predictions are indeed coming true: The Oil Producers are going to de-peg and take payment for Oil in non-Dollar currencies.

Why is this an issue? Because we have front row seats to round 5 of the death spiral of the dollar'...snip...

Sounds like we may yet see some demand destruction in China, contrary to what people have been saying about a downturn in the US having little impact on China. Regardless of the cause, a slowdown in China may give some of us a reason to heave a sigh of relief.

Alan from the islands


Evans-Prichard reminds me of the neo-cons and their invasion of Iraq. His schadenfreude over the imagined demise of China and the crash of oil prices seems to have blinkered his vision and clouded his judgment. The result is a simplistic world view that fails to anticipate many potential eventualities.

For instance, it seems to be lost on him that if the situation unfolds as he predicts--higher cost of production and transportion for the Chinese--that the effects will not all be positive. For even though this might have the benefit of bringing some production back home to the U.S., it will also mean higher prices for American consumers.

But where the cognitive dissonance really kicks in is when he starts talking about the dollar and the price of oil. Evans-Prichard says "it is clear that Beijing's mercantilist policy of holding down the yuan to boost exports share has now hit the buffers." But how does China hold down the yuan? It holds it down by buying up and holding in reserve massive quantities of dollars. And what happens if China stops buying massive quantites of dollars? That's right, the dollar craters. (Heaven only help us if China were to get into a bad enough financial squeeze that it had to actually start unloading some of its $1.8 trillion).

Complicating things even further is the fact that Saudi Arabia and other oil exporting countries are also accumulating massive amounts of dollars.

Oh, but Evans-Prichard has the solution. I can already hear the sounding of the bugles! Europe to the rescue! If the Asians and the oil-exporting countries won't, or can't, continue to subsidize America's profligate lifestyle, surely the Europeans will! This drives Evans-Prichard to smugly declare: "I also suspect that Hank Paulson and his EU colleagues have a surprise up their sleeve for the late-cycle [oil] über-bulls."

I'd say the chances of that happening are about as good as the chances were of the Iraqis greeting their American conquerers with roses and boxes of candy. Peter Schiff explains here:

Even if ECB intervention could slow the dollar's decent, what possible reason would they have for doing so? The ECB is already concerned about inflation and is preparing to raise rates as a result. Intervention to support the dollar will only worsen Europe's inflation problem and run counter to these efforts. This is because to buy dollars the ECB must increase its own money supply. That is exactly what is happening in countries like China and Saudi Arabia, which is why inflation in those nations is already much higher than it is in Europe.

Further, since the ECB is asking Europeans to endure higher interest rates to fight their inflation battle, why should they have to make additional sacrifices to help Americans fight their own inflation? Especially when our own central bank has held interest rates at the ridiculously low level of 2%, and has effectively excused Americans from the conflict.

Since we can't count on any help from our friends, the only option would be for the Treasury to intervene unilaterally. However, the US government should think twice about bringing a knife to a gunfight. The Treasury has only about US$75 billion in foreign currency reserves with which to intervene. The war chest is just a spit in the ocean.

To put this number in perspective, Poland has $77 billion, Turkey has $78 billion, and Libya has $79 billion. On the other end of the spectrum, China has $1.7 trillion (not counting Honk Kong's $150 billion) Japan has $1 trillion, Russia has $550 billion, India and Taiwan each have about $300 billion. Singapore, a nation with fewer than five million people, has $175 billion.

In fact, the United States holds just about 1% of the world's $7.6 trillion of foreign currency reserves, and our total position amounts to just 2.5% of the total daily volume of foreign exchange trading.

Talk about Bambi versus Godzilla! In other words, if the dollar is going to fall, the Treasury is completely powerless to do anything to stop it.


Evans-Prichard is a man blinded by ideology. He is incapable of imagining a world where the owners of oil will not accept little green pieces of paper with pictures of American presidents printed on them in exchange for their natural resources, resources that grow scarcer and more precious every day.

Down South...Thanks for your comments. I mentioned in several past posts that there is a very real danger of a dollar collapse, probably led by a blow up in the bond market, closely followed by Wall St banks. BTW, those posts were not popular here and garnered me some negative ratings...fortunately, I believe that all publicity is good. :)

I put Evans-Prichard in the same class with many scribblers, including Peter Schiff. Many times they write articles with nuggets of truth that also contain nuggets that are off base...imo.

For instance, Peter Schiff is out of step with Mish Shedlock and others about the outcome of deflation in some areas of the US economy vs inflation in other areas. Mish believes that deflation will have more long term influence and Schiff believes that inflation is a bigger factor. They both know more than I do so I read what they say and watch events unfold. Like Taleb in 'the Black Swan', I don't have enough data to make a call...However, if I was forced at gunpoint to make a call I would say...With the amount of digital dollar destruction going on in residential and now commercial RE, the blow up that is imminent (and already happening) in over leveraged CDOs, credit swaps, bond insurers and credit wraps, etc, and the number of regional banks that need life support, I believe that the eventual outcome will be deflationary. Banks are again scared to loan, consumers, (72%) of the economy), are having their credit cut off, lowered or the banks are refusing to lend to them...And, many consumers are just refusing to spend in this scary invironment. Many scribblers and economists overlook the fact that economies are effected by real people and it is not a good idea to scare hell out of them. Without consumer credit the economy folds because the companies that supply consumers will go bankrupt as they become unable to service their debt. More people out of work. Rinse and repeat. This scenario is deflationary, not inflationary, although we are seeing some inflation now.

While Ben B seems focused on 'inflation expectations' he seems to have lost sight of what effect his words and actions have on the people that are watching and listening to him. He does not come across, to me, as a confidence builder and I believe that people notice that. As much as I dislike Greenspans low interest policies I have to give him credit for presenting an air of confidence and baffling his audience with Greespeak bs. Just sayin'


I know the following pertain to war, but I think they are applicable here, and indeed include some of the ideas you have expressed:

War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen and unsupposed circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end.
--Thomas Paine


All these attempts at theory are only to be considered in their analytical part as progress in the province of truth; but in their synthetical part, in their precepts and rules, they are quite unserviceable.

They strive after determinate quantities, whilst in War all is undetermined, and the calculation has always to be made with varying quantities.

They direct the attention only upon material forces, while the whole action is penetrated throughout by intelligent forces and their effects.

They only pay attention to activity on one side, whilst War is a constant state of reciprocal acitons the effects of which are mutual...

Every theory becomes infinitely more difficult from the moment it touches on the province of moral quantities.


I think this thing could spin out of control either way--a deflationary spiral or an inflationary spiral. I also think we could have neither, but instead years of stunted growth.

As to the price of oil, I could see the price of oil going astronomically high. But I could also see the bottom falling out of the price.

What I can't see is a painless way out of this for the American people. And that is the nostrum Evans-Prichard is peddling. And this sort of wishful thinking is not productive. In fact, it is counter-productive. It encourages passive behavior: All we have to do is sit back and watch China implode. All we have to do is wait and the price of oil will come down. Horse manure. He is pandering to the same mentality of person that wants to lose weight, but doesn't want to cut back on calories or to excercise.

America now finds itself in a situation not unlike 16th-century Spain--the world's most powerful empire that had fallen into decadence and decline. Cardinal Granvelle was proven prophetic when he observed: [T]he Castillians want everything, and I suspect they will end up by losing everything."

I don't know if America will end up by losing everything or not. But if it is not to lose everything, it will have to deal with its burgeoning indebtedness and its massive trade imbalance. This will require action, not wishful thinking.

Down South...I agree that on the present course of low interest rates or even lower interest rates that the US economy could become zero bound. Essentially that is what happened to Japan and their economy became zombyized. Japan's banks were used as mechanisims of the carry trade and effectively did nothing to help the Japanese economy for many years. Ben B, with his attempt to rescue the banks and save mortgage holders that are over their heads, is risking a stagnant economy and possible dollar collapse. I think that the decision of Ben is politically motivated. The last thing GWB wants added to his legacy is an economic collapse. Of course, I think that since GWB has such a terrible legacy already that he might as well go for the title of 'undisputed worst president in US history' and crash the economy, allowing a thorough, although painfull cleansing. All that is needed is a jack in interest rates to about 10%, or 2% above whatever the real inflation rate is currently, and the dance would begin. It would be quick and painfull. After the crash foreign investment would flood into treasury issues with a strengthening dollar. The question to ask is 'what are the US banks now doing for the US economy'? I contend that they are doing nothing useful so let them crash. They will rise again with fresh capital and a re-implementation of the Glass-Stegall act. All better.

I have read Clausewitz and he is a brilliant thinker...imo. I think that the US has put way too much priority on military preparadness and military action/intervention and way too little emphasis on diplomacy and the state department. This administration in particular is the worst offender in my lifetime. War, especially first strike war, is an option to be used only when an economic solution cannot be reached by diplomacy. Saddam offered the US a very good deal, including US oil majors access to Iraqi oil and cut rate prices, three years prior to the US invasion of Iraq. We turned down his offer in favor of annexing Iraqi oil for US use. Now the watch of GWB will soon end with no end in sight to US occupation of Iraq and the possibility of an attack on Iran and many dead and many billions of dollars wasted. If Clauswitz were making the war plans I would guess that he would have attacked Iran first followed by a favorable treaty with Iraq and then a supression of the Taliban in Afganistan backed by the threat of an attack by Iranian/US troops. That is not a recommendation but my guess at what Clauswitz would have done.

The neo-cons are clueless about war, tactics, strategy and diplomacy. They should have known from jump street that there was no way, short of genocide, to suppress Iraqi resistence without first changing the government in Iran. Now they are stuck in Iraq like a bunch of well educated dummies, which is exactly what they are. Now, at this late date, they are considering an attack on Iran with naval air power. The admirals do not wish to lose one or more aircraft carriers to sunburn, or other fast missles. The admirals do not want their carrier based aircraft to be exposed to new generations of ground to air missles. The admirals know that if their carriers are shown to be vulnerable then their rice bowl is broken, their very reason for being is gone.

The second half of 2008 is probably going to be the most interesting times since the Viet Nam era or the 1987 stock market crash. Got some popcorn?

River, even though I agree with what you had to say about Bush and the neo-cons, that wasn't where I was trying to go with those quotes.

I was trying to make two points:

1) With the dizzying complexity and interconnectedness of our modern global economy, the possibilities for unforseen and unintended consequences are extremely high, as is the case with war and

2) I wanted to allude to the age-old debate about atoms vs. monads, matter vs. the "life force" or the Materialists vs. the Vitalists. Oil prices have a foot planted firmly in both realms, making any prediction as to where they're going all that much more complex.

These days we have a lot of Vitalists (economists, psychologists, historians, political theorists etc.) who want to pass themselves off as Materialists. And we have a lot of Materialists (physicists, chemists and their close cousins the engineers and geologists) who hold the Vitalists in total disdain. I believe both camps are wrong. As Rabelais and Montaigne observed, wisdom lies not in choosing between them, but in knowing their place and limits.

Generally speaking, the people who hang out here on The Oil Drum are better at dealing with the atoms and the people who hang out over at Naked Capitalism are better at dealing with the monads.

Down South...Thanks. I read Naked Capitalisim each day but have never commented there. I got a chuckle out of your post...I am definitely better off with the monads.

I recently read 'The Black Swan' by Taleb. Very interesting book. I read Montaigne ages ago. I have not read Rabelais. Taleb is a fascinating study. He sets out to prove that black swans are much more prevelent than thought by most 'experts' and he does a good job of proving his point. He holds all bankers, brokers, economists, mathmiticians, statisticians, et al, in equal disdain...Except Mandelbrot. Taleb also blows away the gaussian bell curve in many of it's misuses...a favored tool around here.

I believe, as I posted below in response to another poster, that oil prices will fall by the simple action of demand destruction.

One of the factors that is not recognized among most that post here is that recession/depression of an economy is triggered by an economic shock but then the collective mood of the consumer begins to come into play. Rs and Ds are about economic shocks but more importantly they are about what the consumer does when the herd of consumers becomes frightened. Perhaps there is a collective mind among all humans that some how transmits strong emotions? I don't understand the mechanisim but fear and panic can spread faster than word of mouth transmission can explain to my satisfaction. Most economists seem to take little notice or heed of this phenomena. Greenspan was certainly more aware of the importance of his personna during televised speaches than is Bernanke. AG took care to use Greenspeak, smile, appear very confident, and baffle them with bs. Bernanke, when I have observed him on tv, does not appear to know or care what impact his physical presence is having on his audience. I have seen chairs with more personality.

It is past time for bed. Thanks for the interesting conversation.

River: IMO you are misstating Peter Schiff's ideas. Schiff agrees with you that the USA economy is headed for a major collapse-where he parts ways is that he doesn't foresee medical insurance and expenses, property taxes, federal taxes, energy costs, food costs, "deflating" magically as Mish forecasts. It appears to me that a lot of people use the words "deflation" and "depression" interchangeably like they are identical. The USA is on a consistent path towards a South American style depression, which is the only type you can have when your currency is as fundamentally weak as the US dollar.

BriaT...Thanks for your reply. Schiff and I do not see things the same way. I do see prices falling (I will not use the word deflation here) in all areas of the economy, including all of the areas you mentioned, Including oil. Demand destruction by consumers not spending will cause falling prices which will cause falling wages. Rinse and repeat. How do you get from a collapsed, or collapsing, economy to steady-state, or rising prices for all the services and taxes that you mentioned? Are local governments going to raise taxes against falling home prices? Is the Federal Gov going to collect more taxes when unemployment and business failures are the norm? When the citizens pare back to minimum food purchases are grocery stores going to maintain current prices or raise prices? Even hospitals and doctors will work for less, rather than raise prices. Doctors have to buy groceries and hospitals will have bills to pay. No segment of the US Economy will avoid falling prices when consumer demand destruction becomes a fixture...

The US has not experienced a South American type depression. The US has suffered the great depression. Are you saying that we will follow the example of a SA country because we have a weak dollar? I don't see that...at some point Ben will have to raise interest rates to avoid a complete dollar collapse. When Ben raises rates the economy will crash and there will be pain. Consumers will not spend like drunken sailors for generations to come. Consumer spending is the economy, or, over 70% of it. Business and government cannot function without consumers spending. Someone will have to create a Volker re-run and cleanse the economy. Afterwards there will be many years of introspection by the children that will be born into depression, like my father and mother. They taught me to save and the reasons that saving was necessary. I believe the current generation of consumers is going to learn the same lesson.

River: Maybe I'm wrong but when I look at the USA I see a country that for the last 25 years has consistently run federal budget deficits through good (strong economy) years. My expectation is that the deficit spending hasn't even started yet-as the country slides, IMO federal money will be thrown around like confetti. IMO the stimulus cheques weren't even the appetizer.

BrianT, you could be right. I know that it is hazardous to make predictions but depressions and recessions are about the mood of the population. Rs and Ds are triggered by an economic shock but it is then the herd mentality of the people that determine the response to the economic shock. All the economists that I have known, not many, have not been people people. They are closer to MEs than psychologists. My wife is a Psychologists and has a low opinion of economists in general...except Galbraith. As Galbraith famously said: 'All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.'

Ben is a text book guy. He has staked his job, his reputation, and his future on the course that he has set upon to repair the US Economy. He would probably resign before he would take orders to change course now. He has, supposedly, spent his life studying the events, actions, and results of actions to the great depression. My question is: What does Ben know about herd mentality, what does he know about human nature, has he ever seen how very frightened people react? I have watched Bernanke closely while he was on tv and he did not give me confidence, he did not come off as believeable, he did not seem unshakable. These traits might not sound important to an ME or economist, but, to the people that are ignorant of what their government is doing these traits are paramount in times of stress.

IMO, we are only at the beginning of a long credit unwind. It is going to become very scary for many people. There are many that have been living in ignorance of what their government has been doing and they will be more frightened because of their ignorance. It will take a real leader to gain the confidence of the people and cause them to regain faith in the current system.

What I am attempting to say is that recessions/depressions are largely dependent on the mood of the public. Right now, the people are a little scared. Soon they might become more scared and will really pull back into their shells. No consumers = no US Economy. The situation is very fluid and little events will trigger large responses while the consumers are in their current mood. A great leader can make the situation better but I do not see that leader.

I agree on the possible depression part-I also agree that Bernanke is stuck. Where I diverge is I expect just massive, unprecedented federal government spending (applauded by the public). I expect quite a substantial devaluation of the US dollar. A lot of people expect a strong defense of the dollar as it will be demanded by the elite-IMO the elite has done extremely well in the USA over the last 30 years of dollar devaluation.

The USA is on a consistent path towards a South American style depression, which is the only type you can have when your currency is as fundamentally weak as the US dollar.

there is an important difference between the US and Latin America and even the Asian Tiger crisis. during the asian crisis the currencies were overvalued and many had borrowed in a foreign currency that was stronger. when your currency plunges you have to still pay back your loan in the stronger currency. I think the same was in true in Argentina in the early 2000s.

Good point-maybe I shouldn't use the SA label. Re the USA, the point is that as the debts are in US dollars, a controlled devaluation is conceiveable. Basically the USA as a nation can't pay its debts-does it raise rates dramatically (the eqiuvalent of a bank calling your loan and closing you down) or is there a continual devaluation of the currency in which event lenders get partial payment? I don't have a crystal ball, you guys might be right, but a rejuvenated, strengthened USA dollar (in the medium to long term) would surprise me more than abiotic oil finds.

River - I did not know that you hated the Beattles and John Lennon.

Yeah, jbutt...and I didn't know that you were an azz hat, although I suspected as much. We have both learned something today.

Local authorities face £671m bill after road schemes go over budget

Taxpayers are facing a multimillion-pound bill after the government admitted that local road schemes in England have shot over budget by £671m.

The revelation comes months after the Department for Transport confirmed that the final cost for seven major road projects will be at least £1.1bn higher than expected. The latest confirmation of another unexpected cost increase was pounced on by environmental campaigners, who argued that the public would receive a better return if the money was invested in trains, buses and cycle routes.

At least investment in our electrical infrastructure is faring better...

French nuclear rivalry may hamper UK energy plans

EDF, which is helping to build France's first EPR at Flamanville on the Normandy coast, is still said to be considering whether to increase its rejected offer to buy British Energy, Britain's main nuclear power operator. Industry sources say its interest is waning, given that BE shareholders want much more than EDF's indicative offer of 680p a share. EDF is thought unwilling to go much above 700p.

The French group is the only player left in the running to acquire the government's 35% stake in BE after Suez, Spanish group Iberdrola and Germany's RWE withdrew from the bidding process. It has been talking with Centrica, owner of British Gas, about the UK group's role in the process.


The British Government is hanging tough for another £3bn or so, it seems.
What is that, the cost of a week or so's power cuts?
Probably far less, I would think.
This Government is an exercise in absurdity.

Calculated Risk makes an estimate of energy as a share of U.S. GDP:

Using the EIA price data, and making a few assumptions (no increase in energy consumption in 2008, and an energy mix of 40% petroleum, 23% coal, 23% natural gas, and 14% nuclear and renewables), we can estimate that energy consumption as a percent of U.S. GDP will set a record in 2008 of over 14%.

Because of high energy prices, this % is probably at record levels for countries that have done well on the conservation side, such as Germany. Conserving 10% less each year won't cut it if the energy price continues to climb at 30% per annum.

According to Charles Hall models, expenses on energy shall not exceed 20% of the GDP to avoid collapse (equivalent to an EROI of 5). IMHO 14% is damn close to this limit and is likely to be exceed in many part of the USA. Safety net is rather thin, any significant shock could bring tremendous trouble.


This is the kind of story that makes me think that we *should* be okay. It highlights the tremendous waste currently in the system. Are we really flying flowers from Columbia to Miami in 747s? Of course, it doesn't say what variety of "flowers" they were.

This story was on CNN opposite a story about how children in West Timor are starving to death. It makes me think that there are plenty of resources to go around, but they are being mis-allocated.

Are we really flying flowers from Columbia to Miami in 747s?

Yes. I think about that when I'm at the supermarket every week, and see the bouquets of flowers, 2/$5. Even in the middle of winter. They are flown in from Central and South America. The locally-grown flowers at the farmers' market are far more expensive, even in summer.

The local Publix grocery here has the best grapes that I have ever eaten, and they are cheap...from Peru. Also, the best cheap red wine, better than any Calafornia red that I have tasted but not quite as good as French...from Peru.

Frankly, I do not understand how these items can be produced in Peru and flown into the states and delivered to a local Publix so cheaply.

These are two items that I will miss. I have a good stock of the wine but the grapes will not last unless the price goes way up. Since I don't use much gas I will probably pay a higher price for the grapes. Hey, there are some items that are worth it!

A Harley gets about 45 mpg, Publix is 3.4 miles round trip. No problem.

How many pounds of grapes can you carry in a "Cargo" 747? 100,000 lbs? 200,000 lbs? At what, $3.00/lb?

I think I see how.

This story was on CNN opposite a story about how children in West Timor are starving to death. It makes me think that there are plenty of resources to go around, but they are being mis-allocated.

Unfortunately, when we stop buying flowers, there will be alot more starving kids. Foriegn currency has to come from somewhere, looks like this is one of the few legitimate enterprises down there.

$1.69 with seeds. $2.69 seedless. With seeds they are much more flavorful. It makes me laugh to compare 2 pounds of grapes for $3.38 from Publix to a cup of coffee from Smarbucks for $4? $6?...whatever.

I can make very good coffee at home for chump change...Making grapes is another matter.

Frankly, I do not understand how these items can be produced in Peru and flown into the states and delivered to a local Publix so cheaply."

think about how much less it costs to hire people and to buy land in Peru versus France or California.

River - "Frankly, I do not understand how these items can be produced in Peru and flown into the states and delivered to a local Publix so cheaply."

It is called capitalism/globalization.

Let's not be silly. I think the sometimes panicky atmosphere around here distorts our thinking. Yes, "we" are flying flowers from Colombia to Miami. The distance is only around 1500 miles. Using numbers from here and here, fuel efficiency, if you can call it that, for air freight is around 4.3 ton-miles/gallon. (Other sources say up to 7 and may be more realistic for flowers, an industry that's probably fine-tuned.) So even at 4.3, you need about 350 gallons to ship a ton of flowers, or 0.17 gallons per pound, or about $1 per pound. At 7, it's 60 cents. A pound is a lot of flowers, so for flowers, this. is. just. not. a. big. deal.

Now just to follow up a little on the silliness, rail freight is about 100 times as efficient. So to ship apples halfway across the USA will cost $0.01 per pound or less. So for apples, that. is. just. not. a. big. deal. either. Short of World War III, the notion that, anytime soon, shipping apples across the country will be so expensive as to be just plain impossible, is simply preposterous. (And given World War III, apples will be among the least of our worries.)

And that's fortunate, because anyone who has to rely without recourse on local agriculture may well die of the first prolonged drought or other seriously bad weather to come along. There's nothing quite like long-distance transportation to make it highly improbable that large numbers will die of famine, something which happened routinely in the past. This is only one of many reasons why I differ from some of the romantics around here, in seeing nothing to desire about the pre-industrial past.

"Talk of $200 oil casts shadow over G8 summit" Toplink.

""One question is what to do to act against speculation. The second question is, how do we arrive at a better forecast of oil demand developments and also how do we come up with a better forecast of oil production?""

Question 1 should be thrown out, But #2 finally seems they are asking the right question, the same one that has been attempted here at TOD for many years. $65 oil wasn't enough, appears $140 did the trick. Hope we don't require $280 to act.

Until they start talking about supply, they are still in denial.

That's absurd. In one breath they propose gutting the market's forecasting ability by curtailing speculation, and in the next breath they ask how to improve forecasting.

There are a lot of ideas the candidates are floating around to solve the energy crises
and the emerging recession. What they are not discussing is the inevitable depresion.

So, by not working on the idea of a depression, it appears to me that the next step which has been mentioned here is a super depression. The energy situation is so dire
that denial is contributing a worse disaster. Being positive is nice, but when positive
attitude denies reality in our grave problem of energy, the result is compounding the problem.

I think it would be wise to communicate to the world leaders and everyday people that
slow action is putting the world into danger of a super depression.

Myself, I am working to prepare my family, friends, and whoever will listen for worse case scenario. Soon, I may simply hide my preparedness for the sake of not standing out.


Wow, and I'm relieved now, No more Peak Oil nightmares. The Prius will have solar panels to help run the air conditioning.

Platts forbids Lehman Brothers to trade oil contracts
SINGAPORE, July 7 (Reuters) - Energy pricing agency Platts has put Lehman Brothers (LEH.N: Quote, Profile, Research) under a temporary review that effectively excludes it from trading benchmark-setting oil contracts, four sources close to the matter said on Monday.

Hmm... I wonder if is starts now. Lehman is getting burned and their asset balance it totally whacky. Let's see how long they've got.

I find it odd that Citi was left out of the 'long standing giants' comment. Perhaps Citi is so good at camo that they are below the radar?

'But it will be a setback for the No. 4 Wall Street bank, which has strived in recent years to build up a commodity and energy trading division to rival that of the long-standing giants Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote, Profile, Research), and has seen its shares slump by nearly two-thirds on write-downs.

"Yes, it's because of credit issues," said a source familiar with the matter who declined to be named, when asked for the reason for the review. The source was not able to be more specific about what kind of credit issues had prompted the review.

A Lehman spokeswoman was not immediately able to comment, while Platts declined to confirm or deny the review on Lehman.

"Issues occasionally arise in our assessment processes that may merit review," Platts, a unit of McGraw-Hill Co Inc (MHP.N: Quote, Profile, Research), said in a statement to Reuters in response to questions.'...snip...

I can't see why-my last glance at their balance sheet showed 769 billion in liabilities (from memory). They have been insolvent for a long time now. Good thing the shmuck taxpayer can pick up the tab.

I wonder if Lehman and some others are profitting from the rise in oil and commodity trading and what happens if the prices of commodities goes down?

Lithium battery-powered buses to serve the Olympic Village

(BEIJING, April 18) -- There will be 50 lithium-battery-powered buses to serve the Olympic Village and the Media Village during the 2008 Olympic Games, according to vice-general manager of the Beijing Bus Company Feng Xingfu.

I don't know where they are getting them from, the cost, or what the performance characteristics are (range, recharge times, etc). It will be interesting to see how they hold up over the course of the Olympics.

Chinadaily also has forums, and the question for the day was who was responsible for the high oil prices. What is interesting is that they are blaming both speculators and the plunge in the dollar as being responsible. No mention of peak oil over there, at least until I added something. Still I doubt that it will change any minds..

"Don't envy us", the Saudi's tell us Americans. I never did, figuring only a few are making the big (oil) bucks, freedoms are few and far between, make a mistake and lose a limb, women are hidden under veils of clothing, 100 plus heat is the norm, and the sandy landscape would get boring the first day. No thanks.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to locate the data on the web, but in Norman Davies' "Europe, A history", there's a great chart of the correlation between imports of gold and silver into Spain from 1500-1600 and a commodity price index. Gold imports go from zero to about 35 million pesos with imports from the Americas and commodity prices increase by about 3.5 times. Those of you who know your history, Spain went from dominating European politics during this period to relative obscurity in the 1600s after the debts mounted too far and the economy collapsed.

It's a problem with mineral wealth, it tends to go in a boom and bust cycle. The boom might be nice but watch out for the bust! Wyoming and other western states have had this problem too. The latest one was uranium which went bust after three-mile island and a glut on the market. I met a guy who grew up in a uranium boom town, he said it was so sudden that the graduating class he was in had 100 people, the next one below him had 4. I've driven through the town on numerous occasions, it's eerie, there's a relatively new and nice looking school in the middle of town and it's surrounded by abandoned houses.

Right. Similar mining ghost towns were created across the Western USA when the US abruptly stopped buying tungsten (govt. stockpile was full) about 1957 and when chrysotile asbestos (the harmless variety) abruptly became illegal in the US about 1970. Interesting places to visit; especially recommended for cornucopians.

"A solar-powered economy: How solar thermal can replace coal, gas and oil
by David R. Mills and Robert G. Morgan
We all know that concentrating solar thermal technology in California has been delivering 'no fuel' electricity for two decades. Now advanced solar thermal electric options are dropping in price and some companies are introducing thermal storage to match power demand. Here, David R. Mills and Robert G. Morgan explain how this technology can deliver very much more. Their modeling shows that solar thermal power could not only replace most fossil-fueled electricity generation in the US, but could replace petroleum-based transportation. They argue it's not only technically, but economically feasible - and not just for the US but for China and India as well.


Article written by Ausra execs..

The first line of the article linked by tommyvee,

"We all know that concentrating solar thermal technology in California has been delivering 'no fuel' electricity for two decades"

I don't know who they are referring to as "we" in this article, but I can assure that the general public has virtually NO KNOWLEDGE of such a facility, or of any of the major new PV or CSP solar installations being constructed around the world.

In my view, the single greatest victory by the fossil fuel companies and their allies has been the misinformation campaign they have long conducted against solar energy and other renewables.

I do surveys for a living, and have done some small scale self funded ones concerning solar energy. It is percieved by most Americans as (a)pie in the sky, (b)so expensive that it cannot be afforded for decades if ever, (c)technology that has not been proven. Of course, and I mean no offense when I say this, but the readers of TOD get pretty much the impressions seen above from posts here at TOD also. In so called "peak oil primers" that are posted here and that are making their way across the nation in so called "educational efforts", solar energy is dismissed as a "myth". It is a very, very sad state of affairs, and very misleading to the public.

The powers that be are able to peddle to the public wasteful "solar by conversion" schemes such as ethanol, algae and other biofuel schemes because the public does not know that direct use of solar is viable.

The fossil fuel industries and their allies throw up endless distractions and red herrings to discredit solar. The latest is the misuse of the idea of EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) theory, in which newly developed technology (solar) is compared to a century old industry (petroleum)but the sunk costs of the petroluem industry are completely left out of the equation.

The California CSP plant should be shown to students and the public everywhere as a way of laying low the slander that huge amounts of energy will be consumed in the construction of what are depicted as "fragile" installations which will be gone a few years. (I have heard claims so utterly idiotic that it is amazing they are allowed to be published, with some white papers calculating the EROEI of CSP solar plants based on an 8 or 10 year lifespan for the solar plants! Much of it is nothing but pure slander)

For news of what is happening in the solar industry, go to sites such as

and check out the excellent posts right here on TOD and TOD Europe:


One last point: Many people I have spoken to about solar energy suffer belief in the myth that solar power would consume huge amounts of land, much more than fossil fuel electric power and energy production. This needs to be put into perspective. Just this last Sunday, there was a news feature about Coal to Liquid technology that showed the famous (or infamous) coal to liquid refinery in South Africa operated by Sasol. The scale of that one plant is enormous, accoring to the article consuming some 10 square miles! This does not include the miles of coal mines and coal mine access roads needed to supply it, the rail infrastructure need to handle the coal, etc. All to produce a marginal amount of liquid fuel at a huge cost in carbon release and consumption of fresh water!

But at the end of the day, the only way to prove the viability of CSP solar energy is to BUILD THE PLANTS. We should make a call on the billionaires who claim to believe in peak oil and gas such as Matt Simmons, Richard Rainwater and T. Boone Pickens to lay the money on the line for what is the most viable alternative out there. We should ask why presidential hopefuls Obama and McCain have not considered a TVA type program to charter a desert state CSP plan that would use bonds chartered by government to build several large CSP plants on military bases, using property that cannot be used for anything else.

And we should respond to the wild charges and false math of the fossil fuel industry and their allies at every opportunity.

Thank you.

Misuse of EROEI for solar is no worse than for ethanol. The whole concept is fallacious as I have pointed out many, many times.

Comparing different forms of energy without regard to their different characteristics is totally wrong. And price matters. It can not be left out of any energy comparison which EROEI does.

My latest pet peave is the assignment of domestic oil's EROEI to imported oil which makes no sense at all. Be forewarned, if anyone does it on TOD and I catch it I will attack. The EROEI from the point of view of the importing country is minus one.

Energy is used to refine the oil. A recent post said it amounts to 20% of imported oil's energy content. Energy is consumed in distribution. And when the imported oil is finally consumed in a vehicle there is a total loss of the remaining energy. No energy is gained from imported oil.

The oil is paid for with economic gain from the oil's consumption. If this gain is great enough, more oil can be purchased. This is how Japan survives. Americans are not as clever as the Japanese at exporting and we can not play that game.

We have to do something else in which we have a strong hand and can compete. That hand is corn production and ethanol. EROEI analysis attempts to bind our energy hands so that we are forced into competition with the likes of Japan, Germany, China and other low wage countries. It will not work. Ethanol's low, if it is believed, EROEI of 1.5 is still far better than the -1 return on imported oil.

EROEI can only be counted once when the energy is produced. It can not later be double counted as some posts have attempted to do. If Saudi oil has an EROEI of 50 when it arrives in the U.S. it can not then be assigned another additional EROEI of 6 to make it the same as domestically produced oil. The Saudi's collected the EROEI when they extracted the oil and are wealthy because of it.

There are all kinds of erroneous and fallacious games being played with EROEI. I can not verify by personal experience any of the energy input claims assigned to corn on my farm. As far as I am concerned they are lies.

Am I missing something? Everything I've ever read, except the stuff put out by vested interests such as X, tells me that EROEI of sugar crops is better than that of corn. Sugar cane can grow and is grown in southern areas of the US. Sugar beet can grow in a wider variety of climates. Surely some of the US corn crop could be replaced by sugar crops to improve EROEI.

If as many have suggested, this whole ethanol from corn thing is a play by the US industrial agriculture establishment to drive up prices, I suspect the market will fix it. When disposable incomes fall and inflation drives up the prices of confectionery and soda pop, I suspect ethanol production will turn out to be a more important use of sugar. Sugar beet waste and more so, sugar cane waste can also be used to produce cellulosic ethanol.

If left to the market, the more efficient source of ethanol should prevail. Obviously the market is being tampered with.

Alan from the islands

I expect you'll use a LOT of cane-based ethanol in your lifetime, I'Boy. Right now, a few of us want to see a domestic industry get started before we, completely, transfer our Dependence from Riyadh to Rio.

One thing a lot of the "Dollar Hawks" overlook is that Brazil has just about the most restrictive export tariffs in the world. They have resisted ALL efforts by all administrations to liberalize trade between the two countries. This, of course, begs the question, "what happens to all the dollars that we will send them for their cane ethanol?"

All other things (such as price) being equal: wouldn't it be better to keep the dollars at home? Many of us believe that our own producers can, with a little support, move away from natural gas, and coal, and become more competitive by using biomass for combustion/gassification, and by producing more "food," and chemical products in their locally-owned biorrefineries.

Oh, and virtually EVERYTHING you read originates from a Vested Interest, somewhere, somehow.

I expect you're right! The Sugar Company of Jamaica was last week sold to Infinity Bio-Energy of Brazil. The Jamaican sugar industry is so run down that the deal was heavily in favor of the Brazilians.

The Jamaican Government will apparently receive no cash, but instead get a 25 per cent stake valued at US$25 million (J$1.8 billion) in the vehicle being used by Infinity Bio-Energy, the Brazil-based ethanol manufacturer, to acquire the state-owned sugar company.

SCJ sold for US$25m - But Jamaica to pump funds back into Brazil company, give up Petrojam Ethanol Limited

While the industry here will continue to produce sugar for the domestic, European Union and United States markets, the primary focus will be ethanol - an area in which Brazil is a leader and Infinity Bio-Energy is a major player.

I gave a resource CD containing some video clips, a copy of The Hirsch Report and links to web resources to our Minister of Agriculture a couple of months ago. He seems to have looked at it because all of his moves since then have met with my approval. Selling of the sugar company to the Brazilians has many advantages including a fast track to efficient, integrated sugar and ethanol production.

I'm not sure what the Brazilians get out of the deal but I suspect it is access to the North American market through NAFTA. With their new found oil, they will be able to export more sugar and ethanol and a Jamaican subsidiary might give them a back door into NAFTA. Just Guessing.

Hopefully they will use their dollars to buy Caterpillar heavy equipment, GM flex fuel vehicles and Boeing aircraft. Oh, and the article on biofuels that, I read and formed my opinion on the EROEI situation, was in the October issue of Nat Geo last year. A Google search turned it up and it has an interactive page on which you can find the "energy balance" (EROEI) of the different biofuels. I should have hoped that they would be reasonably balanced.

Alan from the islands

Cane (sweet) sorghum can be grown just about every place that corn (maize) can be grown; farmers can even use much of the same equipment they are now using for corn. Cane sorghum is processed much like sugar cane, and the sweet syrup can be distilled just like cane syrup. The figures I have seen suggest an EROI for cane sorghum in the range of 4-5; that's not quite as high as sugar cane, but several times better than corn ethanol.

I'm not sure how sugar beets compare with cane sorghum. The ranges of the two crops overlap considerably, with sugar beets doing better farther north. Cultivation of sugar beets would require investment in more specialized equipment that corn farmers are unlikely to have, in contrast to cultivation of cane sorghum.

Americans are not as clever as the Japanese at exporting and we can not play that game.

the US is one of the biggest exporters in the world. we currently have record exports but that gets lost because we have a record trade deficit.

"The Saudi's collected the EROEI when they extracted the oil and are wealthy because of it."

i'm not an authority on eroei, but it appears that you do not grasp the concept.

Fortunately we are beginning to see some of these CSP plants commissioned and as FF cost rise, the CSP plants will become more and more attractive. Hopefully at the point in the future, when these plants have outlived their 8-10 year lifespan, they will be even more attractive, having paid for themselves.

I am constantly reminded of the power of the sun by the temperature of my 6in concrete slab roof which can easily exceed 96F after 13 hours of un-concentrated insolation. This is the the lower surface. I shudder to think what the temperature is on the exposed surface.

I just don't get how people fail to figure out that something that uses power from the sun without using very exotic technology won't be less expensive than FF in the future. Oops! Darn it! I forgot that some people actually believe the EIA and CERA forecasts in which nothing will be less expensive than FF in the foreseeable future. These organizations are doing a great disservice to mankind and someone needs to call them to book for it. In most jobs, if you were as wrong as these guys, as consistently as these guys, you would not have a job! Can someone explain why anybody still listens to them?

Here's hoping for more CSP

Alan from the islands

I think home CSP could replace solar panels.

note this is commerical so far.

Hawaiian firm shrinks solar thermal power

Thanks for the link. I was just wondering if CSP could be scaled down to the 1kw level, to make it more applicable to small countries. Somehow I missed that one. If they could produce a 1kw model for less than the a 1kw PV setup, I'd definitely buy one. Hell, I'd be interested in becoming a dealer!

Alan from the islands

Would each house have it's own steam turbine? That sounds crazy. Am I missing something?

No Consumer, I did.

Each individual collector produces 500 watts. That's roughly what a house consumes, but strung together in an array on the ground or on a roof, these panels could supply a chunk of a commercial building's needs, for example.

I guess a few kW would be the smallest practical size. Note to self: I must think before I type.

Alan from the islands

There are thermoacoustic and thermoelectric methods of creating electricity from heat (differential). These may be applicable for small scale applications, although I suspect the efficiency is not very high.

I'm more a fan of concentrating PV, as utility scale power production. But in any case we got three promising solar contenders, concentrating solar thermal, thin film, and concentrating PV. Any or all of these have the potential to become cheap. I think economies of scale may not allow them to be economic for small scale (individual homes) use. This is especially likely for the concentrating versions.

MIT has a solar dish it's developing.


It's easy to get carried away with a good analogy and push it too far. Anyway here's the first para from my blog post on grampsgrumps.blogspot.com, with an arm-waving argument that the oil price will fall for a while. Comments welcome.

Describing Peak Oil as a tsunami is actually a good analogy that goes beyond the scale and destructive power, here's why: In a tsunami an earthquake under water rapidly displaces water. But it can't spread the displacement of water across the whole ocean, so it does a larger local displacement. Then that raised water collapses spreading a wave of high water rolling outwards, followed by a trough, and so on. These waves constitute the tsunami. In the case of oil production we find that supply is unable to grow, being near its peak, while demand is increasing, so the gap at any given price keeps rising. If this gap had arisen slowly then the whole economy would slowly adapt. However it has arisen rapidly. So the price of oil has had to overshoot, rising enough to kill off the sort of demands, like vacation driving, that can easily be foregone. Meanwhile many businesses are continuing that are not viable at this oil price. They are just continuing on momentum and hope and existing contracts, and continuing to consume oil. What then happens, as we see throughout the world economy, is that those businesses die or contract. And since the oil price rise has overshot, this demand destruction will soon cause the price of oil to start falling. This will in turn overshot in a downward direction, resuscitating demand. This will then interact with the worsening supply problem to cause a new bout of demand destruction. So we see that the destruction of demand, that is necessary to bring demand into line with the long term decline in supply, will occur in waves. Each wave first hits the most easily destroyed demand, but reaches out to touch the whole economy.

Comments on the rest of the post are also welcome. In particular I talk about peak natural gas in 10 years and peak coal in 25 years, but I don't remember where I read that, so any pointers or corrections welcome.


Great stuff. To think I was just about to invest in oil futures - phew, glad I read your posting first!

Your arguments in favour of nuclear energy are unknockdownable. And I see you're a David MacKay fan, like myself.

David MacKay's site and must-read online book are here:


Your link needs fixed.

Otherwise, 2 words: carriage return.

Also, your recent article would be improved by embedding links to the topics/sources.

On the topic of carbon credits, economics, global warming, etc., we have discussed it here quite a bit (even in this Drumbeat.) Since coal gasification is a means to mitigate oil depletion it is unlikely that we will reduce carbon output for quite some time; see RR's comments above.

I got the href wrong. Hmmm, the "edit" button is gone. Of course it should have been grampsgrumps.blogspot.com. I also agree that first paragraph is too long. There was also a period where all the paras in my blog got run together. I posted it with the "post to blog" thing in google docs, but it got confused. I had to put <p>s between the paragraphs.

Almost all the charts and graphs posted here depict future projections as smooth lines. That is an artifact of the way models are created. Most of us know (and all of us should know) that reality is not like that, especially when it comes to the price of ANY commodity. ALL commodity prices have their ups and downs. There may be an underlying long-term trend, but rarely if ever does the data plot itself in a smooth line.

The long term price of oil will increase, because the supply is depleting, and because all possible substitutes are more expensive. The actual future prices of oil will sawtooth up and down around this long-term trend, however. This is why it is dangerous and misleading to extrapolate out into the future just on the basis of a few months of price movements. Just because the price of oil doubled in the past year does not mean that it is going to double every year from now on. There will come a time in the future, though, when it will be even higher than it is now, and then sometime later even higher still.

I am increasingly finding it hard to focus all my thoughts on the "End Game" of this collapsing economy/civilization, as most of us have already talked ourselves into the inevitable conclusion. I am now spending more time thinking about the tween years coming. Tween being the time between peak (now) and "The end of the world as we know it".

Quick question: Will peoples preconceived ideas about things be flexible enough to change with the times at the rate required?

Example: Attending university over the internet. This has always been thought of as illegitimate. Can a middle class student still travel home from a big established school, just to have mom do the laundry?

I think the big change will be a lot less people going to college.

College is a boondoggle for many. They'll never get back the money they lose (via college costs and the loss of income they might have gotten if they worked instead of attended school). And that's assuming they even graduate. Many do not, and they're stuck with the loans but don't have a degree to show for them.

Student loans are an increasing burden on young people. Financial aid these days is more loans and less scholarships. And student loans cannot be wiped out by bankruptcy, as other kinds of debt can be.

I think average families are going to realize that college is a bad investment, and avoid it. College will once again be for the privileged.

You have missed my point. I was using this as an example. My idea was that people don't change the way they think about things fast enough to keep up with peak oil.

'people don't change the way they think about things fast enough to keep up with peak oil.'

that's the issue with decline rates. it eventually outruns our ability to adapt. i sometimes think the trama/tragedy will cause us to reprogram ourselves in many areas/values. for u'r ex. one day a major ivy league sees the necessity of internet degrees to survive & decrees them OK, then the competition accepts that standard[or has to close shop].

that's the issue with decline rates. it eventually outruns our ability to adapt.

how so? I could easily sell a gas guzzling SUV(yes even know, just have to lower the price) and buy a much higher MPG car. I could probably easily cut my oil usage for transportation in half. if I couldn't sell the SUV I could always car pool. I could drive less. I could move closer to work, or move my work closer to me. I could telecomute. most americans could probably easily cut gasoline consumption by 30% or so and that would keep them way ahead of the curve.

College is overrated. Certainly, the very intelligent (Bill Gates) and the very dumb do not need it. Those in the middle might benefit if they plan to enter a profession that requires it. Critical thinking is the most important skill, but much of that could be taught in High School and picked up by the reasonably intelligent.

First of all you've got to say what the goal of the university system is. Is it to provide the attender with skills to boost their income, is it to provide education "as a general good", is it to provide a feed-pool for selecting people for various deeper studies (physicists, economists, jurisprudence, etc)? Obviously there's a mixture of all three, but what do the people paying the money (including taxpayers) want. I don't know if Bill Gates would have wanted to be doing technical work computer science, but it's clear that he dropped out after doing the initial program development on his BASIC interpreter to become a manager. He's become fantastically wealthy off the back of managing Microsoft, but had he wanted to do something different with his intelligence it's less clear he wouldn't have needed university studies.

People need to understand when talking about education that there is a difference between learning and credentialing. Formal education, especially at the college level, is mostly about credentialing. The hoops you must jump through to get credentialed do not necessarilly require really learning all that much (at least not retaining it beyond the next test), and a lot of whatever learning is required one can do just as well on one's own. Also, one does not necessarily need to obtain credentials in order to learn. If just learning is your goal, and you don't need the credentials that higher education provides, there are a lot cheaper ways of obtaining that learning.

My guess is that a Dem administration will reverse the decades-long reductions in financial aid that started under Reagan. While college may indeed be a bad investment for many individuals, education is a good investment for society as a whole (ROI on energy efficiency engineers might be better than on Proust scholars...), as educated societies are uniformly more prosperous than un-educated.
Post peak hands-on vocational education might replace college for many, but the value of education may be even higher as we have to figure out how to "do more with less".

For almost everyone except those of elite intelligence who can cut it at the MIT, Stanford, or Carnegie Mellon science or math programs, they and their families would be much better served if they went to their local community college for the first two years. They can continue to live at home, and the tuition is usually only a fraction of what even the state university branch campuses charge. They'll get smaller classes taught by instructors focused on teaching rather than research, and what they won't get are classes taught by TAs with limited English language skills.

For many people, actually completing a two year degree at a community college rather than dropping out after one or two years at university would work much better for them. By the end of two years, if they have proven their ability to handle academic work, then they can transfer to a four year program (most community colleges are fully accredited and have articulation agreements with state universities).

Community colleges also offer more flexible course scheduling, meaning that it is actually possible to work your way through school.

Guns of August spiked?
July 7, 2008

House 362 would require a naval blockade to "prohibit the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products, impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran." It also would ban "the international travel of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program."

If passed by both houses, the United States would be at war with Iran -- alone, without allies, and oil would double in price immediately to $300 a barrel. The Bush administration has pledged it will keep the Strait of Hormuz open and protect tankers transporting 25 percent of the world's daily ocean-borne oil traffic through the 32-mile-wide strait.

Resolution 362 now has 220 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. When it goes to a vote, another 70 votes/cosponsors are required for it to be passed. Next, the Senate votes on the equivalent bill called Senate Resolution 580.

Additional info:

Any idea when this might come up for a vote? Last I checked the status was "in committee".

I haven't found a date for the vote yet.

This STOP AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee http://www.aipac.org/ ) link says

According to the House leadership, this resolution is going to “pass like a hot knife through butter” before the end of June [Editors note: Now seems to be on track to pass after 4th of July recess] on what is called suspension - meaning no amendments can be introduced during the 20-minute maximum debate. It also means it is assumed the bill will pass by a 2/3 majority and is non-controversial.

STOP AIPAC, Code Pink and Direct Action to Stop the War are planning a protest against Resolution 362 in San Francisco, July 8th.

More discussion about this blockade resolution 362, now proposing a possible price of $500 oil if military action is taken against Iran:

Don't Underestimate Iran July 8, 2008

Congress is going to debate on a naval blockade of Iran while some are even speaking of an "October Surprise" - another 9-11 that would give the Americans justification to go to war on Iran, give John McCain a facelift for his tough stance on terrorism, and drown whatever chances Barack Obama had of becoming the master of the White House.

Reportedly, Israel is planning a massive blitz on Iranian cities such as Asfahan and Natanz, to hit 3,100 targets (many believed to be nuclear sites) in addition to military positions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran has promised to respond by hitting the Dimona Reactor in Israel, and shut down the Strait of Hormuz (which transports no less than 25 per cent of the world's oil), bringing the price of oil to a staggering $500 per barrel. A Russian foreign ministry official commented, "All this is very dangerous. If force is used it will be catastrophic for the whole Middle East."

Thanks for getting this above the horizon.

Looking at Thomas description it's a lot of bark for a country w/o a lot of bite left:

It was reported tonight the last carrier group left the gulf for the arabian sea - to provide desperately-needed air support for US / NATO forces against taliban in Pakistan Afganistan. Wonder who they think will do the interdiction.

Govtrack shows a pretty bipartisan 220 co-sponsors. Ya gotta wonder about these knuckleheads in the House, demanding the president (the current nutcase? the next?) execute their sentiment.

Oil too costly? Start a well

So far the venture has set him back about $1.8-million which he financed with a bank loan and help from friends.

While he knows there aren't many farmers who own oil wells, he's betting it will pay off.

Mr. Johnston said he is hoping to have his investment paid back after two years, though with oil prices still on the rise, it could be a lot sooner.


that's works out to quite a ROI.

Oil too costly? Start a well

Great idea, I'll start one in my back yard in Germany!

Can you tell me what my ROI will be?

In regard to "Oil price shock means China is at risk of blowing up". Maybe not, but maybe so. Pretty Intense. Times are a changing.

Hello TODers,

Sulfur update from my latest google:

Nickel costs rise as sulphur soars

COSTS at Australia's two biggest nickel mines, owned by BHP Billiton and Minara Resources, are expected to soar as Chinese demand for sulphur, a key input, pushes prices to a record.

BHP's newly commissioned Ravensthorpe mine and Minara's Murrin Murrin are both understood to need more than 400,000 tonnes of sulphur a year to make sulphuric acid used to break down laterite nickel ore.

Minara's bottom line is expected to be substantially hit by soaring prices when its half-year results are reported in August.

Sulphur prices have risen to about $800 a tonne, from an average of $400 in the first half of the last financial year and about $100 two years ago, because of surging Chinese demand for fertiliser and restricted oil refinery capacity in the Middle East. Sulphur is produced at refineries that process heavy oil such as some produced in the Middle East and that from Canada's oil sands.

On Friday, Minara warned investors of a sharp rise in sulphur costs in the past six months and said it did not expect the sulphur market to get back to a normal cycle until the second half of 2009. Some analysts are expecting it to take even longer.

Adnoc to finalise Abu Dhabi gas deal

...the price of sulphur, a yellow solid used to make fertilisers and sulphuric acid, has soared more than 10-fold since the beginning of this year to unprecedented heights...

Citigroup announced Monday that it believes "the copper price is bottoming, and will move sharply higher in 2009 and 2010."

..Meanwhile, sulphur and sulphuric acid prices "have rocketed," Heap and Tonks said, who explained that "physical ability is becoming as much an issue as price."

"The acid market is expected to remain tight for another two years, or until additional supply comes on-stream from natural gas processing in the Mid-East and China," they predicted.

Minara Shares Tumble After UBS, RBC Cut Forecasts (Update2)

...Nickel dropped 34 percent in the first half while the price of sulfur, used in processing at Minara's plant, doubled.

``A combination of the recent Western Australian gas crisis and rampant sulfur price inflation has resulted in significant cost pressure on Minara's Murrin Murrin operation,'' UBS analysts Jo Battershill and Glyn Lawcock said today in a report. ``At current nickel prices, cash generation has almost stalled to the stage where additional bank funding may be required.''

``The gas disruption has been overcome very well, but much higher costs, especially sulfur, will bite hard from now,'' RBC Capital said in a report dated July 4.

The Murrin Murrin mine imports about 450,000 tons of sulphur a year at about $100 a ton, Merrill Lynch & Co. analysts led by Vicky Binns said in a report last month. The price may rise to over $600 a ton in the second half of this year on increased demand from China for fertilizer, the report said.
Do we seem to be heading into a tug-of-war between those I-NPK companies that need sulfur vs those that need sulfur for industrial processes?

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

Hello TODers,

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Potash prices may almost double to $900 a metric ton excluding freight costs over the next two to three years amid higher food demand and limited supplies of the soil nutrient, Potash One Inc. said.

£5bn appeal as fears grow of diluted aid and more suffering

The World Bank and the UN have issued a joint appeal for an immediate $10bn (£5bn) in food aid from the west to tackle hunger in developing countries as fears grow that the G8 will renege on a pledge to double anti-poverty spending.

...With oil prices at record highs, the world's poor faced a double jeopardy, Zoellick said. He said Tanzania's president, Jakaya Kikwete, had told him that many farmers in the southern African country could not afford to plant more to take advantage of high crop prices because the cost of fertiliser had jumped sixfold.
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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