DrumBeat: July 30, 2008

Russia further cuts its oil deliveries to Czech Republic

BERLIN: Russia has further reduced its oil deliveries to the Czech Republic, bringing total July cutbacks to 50 percent, senior Czech officials said Wednesday, a disruption that is again calling into question Russia's reliability as an energy supplier to Central and Eastern Europe.

Supplies were reduced about 40 percent early in the month. A further cut in the past few days reduced the flow to half its pre-July level, officials said.

‘Dreamtowns’ offer refuge from big cities

America may be a metropolitan nation, but most of us don't seem very happy about it.

A total of 252 million people — 83.5 percent of all Americans — live in metropolitan areas. That includes 164 million in the 51 biggest metros, the ones with populations above 1 million.

Yet a substantial number of these residents of big cities and inner-ring suburbs don't have their hearts in it. They would prefer to live on the suburban fringe or in small-town America, as repeatedly shown by surveys during the past decade.

Making the Shift to Sustainability

I hate to break it to you, but simple steps, like changing your light bulbs and driving a hybrid car, though they are good steps in the right direction, will not be enough to save our world from collapse. If we consider "Plan A" to be business as usual, which is currently consuming, depleting, and poisoning the natural systems that maintain life on Earth, then we might call a sustainable alternative "Plan B". It has been estimated that a viable Plan B could be implemented by diverting just 1/6th of the world's current military expenditures to supporting and implementing the sweeping changes needed to shift our world's course from collapse to sustainability. Are we that stupid, short sighted, or selfish that we can't devote this much to saving our planet?

Truck builders looking back to the future

So with some truck buyers turning their noses up at pickups because of high gas prices, automakers must still find a way to appeal to them. Some are looking at producing the compact pickups popular in the 1970s and ’80s as a way to do that.

Study: U.S. has up to 50% more natural gas than once thought

U.S. natural gas reserves are far more plentiful than previously estimated, says an industry study being released today — a discovery that heralds a potential remedy to the energy crisis.

The report says the U.S. has up to 50% more natural gas reserves than earlier projections because of higher-than-expected yields from 22 shale formations in 20 states.

The industry says the findings should prod policymakers to provide incentives to wean the nation from $4 gasoline and move to compressed natural gas as a standard fuel in many cars and trucks.

UK: Soaring energy bills will fuel inflation

The soaring energy bills faced by millions of British Gas customers are also bad news for the Bank of England's efforts to keep a lid on inflation.

The official measure of the cost of living - the Consumer Prices Index - is currently almost double the Bank's 2 per cent target, reaching 3.8 per cent in June.

Solving the energy crisis: You decide

As Americans grapple with record oil and gas prices, politicians facing angry voters have offered up a variety of solutions. Tell us what you think.

The latest bubble to burst? Trucks and SUVs

Thanks to $4-a-gallon gasoline, the bottom has dropped out of new-vehicle demand for pickups and SUVs. The housing bust has also hurt pickups directly, since many are bought for use in construction businesses. Those factors have had a corresponding effect on used-car values for those vehicles.

"I've never seen anything like it, where segments have fallen as much as they have and as quick as they have," says Ricky Beggs, vice-president and managing editor of Black Book, a widely used industry benchmark for trade-in prices and used-car auction data.

Delta doubles second-bag fee to $50

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, will double its charge for checking a second bag on a domestic flight as part of a set of fee increases to help offset the high cost of fuel.

Pedal power challenges car culture as cyclists seize Los Angeles freeways

Los Angeles, meet the bicycle.

Of all the least-expected consequences of soaring fuel prices, this has to be near the top of the list: swarms of cyclists are taking to the intimidating, multi-lane thoroughfares of Los Angeles, some even defying the law and whizzing between the stationary cars on the gridlocked freeways.

The result is a city of diehard motorists in need of some anger management. Criminal charges have already been filed against one driver accused of deliberately braking in front of two cyclists in the wealthy suburb of Mandeville Canyon — home of the world's most famous Hummer-driving road hog, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both cyclists ended up in hospital.

FACTBOX - China's options to end its power shortage

(Reuters) - China is facing its worst summer power shortages in four years, because generators cannot source coal supplies or refuse to pay soaring fuel prices while they have to sell their power at unprofitable state-set tariffs.

The government has years of experience in trying to keep diesel and gasoline pump prices down while international crude markets soar, so it has a range of policy options to end the shortage -- but none of them promise an easy solution.

Coal paucity may force Nalco’s alumina refinery to shut down

India’s second largest aluminum producer—National Aluminium Co (Nalco)— may be forced to shut down its alumina refinery in Orissa within a few days due to acute paucity of coal. “We have received no coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) for the past seven days. Though we have managed to acquire 3,000 tonne of coal via e-auction route, it will only last for next two days,” said Nalco CMD CR Pradahan. He pointed out that the quality of coal received was very poor and contained stones too.

Indonesia: About 2,000 industries ready to shift Saturday, Sunday days-off

The government has called on industries to shift their Saturday and Sunday days off to week days so that power supply surpluses on Saturdays and Sundays can be put to productive use and their need for power on weekdays can be reduced.

Asphalt shortage stalls Pierce County roadwork, repairs

Blame cokers. Or light crude. Or the rising price of oil. Either way, Pierce County has run out of asphalt. The county announced Tuesday that it was canceling preventative chipsealing maintenance of 48 lane miles of roads because of a shortage of liquid asphalt.

Riders flock to T in record numbers

In a world of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices, grocery bills that break the family piggy bank, a seemingly endless home foreclosure crisis, and rising anxiety about the unsettled state of the US economy, there is at least one winner: the MBTA.

In fiscal 2008, according to numbers to be released today by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, nearly 375 million people took public transportation, 21 million more riders than the state agency had in fiscal 2007, a 6 percent leap and the highest ridership total in the agency's 44-year history.

Bush to talk energy, push for offshore drilling

(CNN) -- President Bush will meet with his Cabinet on Wednesday and is expected to discuss congressional efforts to combat high gas prices.

After the meeting, the president will make a statement about energy and gas prices, with Cabinet members and Vice President Dick Cheney by his side in the Rose Garden.

Global trade talks fall apart

The issue that scuttled the talks involved a demand by India and China for the right to increase tariffs if food imports surged. Both countries have several hundred million small-scale farmers whose livelihoods would be threatened by larger, more efficient U.S. and European producers.

Critics of the Doha process, saying rich countries were pushing a deal that would hurt food consumers everywhere, welcomed the talks' end. "Thank God no deal was reached," said Public Citizen's Lori Wallach.

What are the real implications of peak oil in a culture where common sense has been suppressed by consumerism?

It’s an abundance of energy that makes possible the kinds of excess that many parents practice with their children. It is also energy that elevates and continuously upgrades our expectations, which then in turn become the new societal norm. Our common sense tells us these expectations as to what is normal, have little basis in reality and in many ways are harmful to our children. So why then do parents that know all the reasons that they shouldn’t do something, do it anyway? Whatever force it is that encourages moms and dad to throw away the parental rulebook must be effective indeed and the only way that rulebook can be ignored, is if a definitive effort has been made to render it obsolete.

Beijing pollution index shows improvement

BEIJING (AP) — Beijing's dirty air showed dramatic improvement Wednesday, with a city environmental official saying curbs on cars and factories are having the desired effect in cleaning up the air for the Olympics.

The air pollution index dropped to 44 on Wednesday, less than half what it was a day earlier, and the lowest since July 20 when a series of drastic measures were implemented to improve air quality ahead of the games.

Will pond scum become the new oil?

A 2004 study by Michael Briggs at the University of New Hampshire, using an NREL model for algae production, estimated a cost of $308 billion to build enough farms in the United States to "replace petroleum transportation fuels with biodiesel." An additional $46 billion would be needed to maintain them, the study concluded.

In the wake of the current energy crisis, those numbers are beginning to look like a bargain. The United States imported more than 10 million barrels a day last year at an average price of $72 a barrel and the average price of crude oil has hovered above $100 dollars a barrel for the past few months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Environmentalists, businesses reach compromise

Governmental inaction is prompting environmental groups and big business to cut unprecedented deals to promote energy exploration and other development in return for major conservation initiatives.

The agreements preserve large amounts of undeveloped land, impose stricter environmental practices than required by law and generate big investments in alternative energy. The deals also clear the way for oil drilling, new power plants and large residential developments.

Coalition is seeking more offshore drilling

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by Washington's election-year failure to address painfully high energy prices, lawmakers from both parties are teaming up to push for more drilling offshore.

Bypassing their own congressional leaders and committee chairs, coalitions in both the House and Senate are cobbling together compromise energy plans they hope will generate a groundswell of public support and force Congress and the White House to take concrete action to address the nation's energy crisis.

Oil prices drop, easing fear of energy shock

NEW YORK – Is oil's meteoric rise finally burning out?

Oil prices continued their overall slide Tuesday, tumbling more than $2 a barrel, finishing at their lowest level in seven weeks.

The sharp drop in energy prices since the beginning of the month is turning into a rare bright spot in a bleak economic landscape. For the moment, at least, fears of a prolonged energy shock seem to have subsided.

Mexico says reform won't reverse oil woes fast

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - It will be hard for Mexico to restore flagging oil output before 2020 to recent levels of 3 million barrels per day, even if the government pushes through a plan to boost foreign investment in production efforts, a top energy official said on Tuesday.

Mexico's status as a top supplier of crude oil to the United States is under threat because of a steady fall in output, which in the last year has slipped below the country's recent production goal of 3.0 million bpd.

As fuel costs rise, more people opt to share a ride

ROUTE 95 Peering out the passenger seat window of a three-person carpool, Sharon Raiche scans the morning rush-hour traffic and observes one of the great ironies of the current energy crisis.

The cars, pickup trucks and SUVs that crowd the highway for the daily ritual almost all have a single passenger — the driver. Even with gasoline prices at near-record levels, the vast majority of Americans drive to work, and they drive alone.

“Nobody carpools,” says Raiche as she looks cars with only one occupant headed north toward Providence.

Well, almost nobody.

Drought triggers energy crisis in Iran

Iran is considering raising electricity prices five-fold as early as September in order to curb domestic consumption as it grapples with a power crisis brought on by the worst drought to hit the country in more than a century.

The drought has caused hydroelectric output to fall 75 per cent, Alyssa Rallis, an economist with the energy consulting firm Global Insight, said in a new report. In partial compensation, the mostly gas-fuelled thermal power plants have increased production by 25 to 27 per cent, she said, citing Fars News.

Domestic Energy Access

To make matters worse, we hear more and more babble about “peak oil,” the notion that the planet has reached some technological limit on the amount of petroleum and natural gas that can be extracted from the Earth. This is sheer nonsense. The world has an ample inventory of fossil fuels, including more than 40 years of proven oil and 60 years of proven natural gas. And a sizeable portion of those reserves is located right off the coast of Florida.

Rival factions clash in Nigeria oil region - army

PORT HARCOURT, July 30 (Reuters) - Rival militant factions in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta have clashed in an apparent turf war, killing at least one soldier from an army unit sent to intervene, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

...The fighting underscores the deteriorating security situation in the delta, the heartland of Nigeria's 2 million barrels per day oil industry, where militants have been blowing up pipelines and criminal gangs kidnapping people for ransom.

"It is just getting messier. It looks like there is a rupture developing between the main protagonists," one private security contractor working in the world's eighth biggest crude oil exporter said.

Dutch report warns of oil crisis in 2010

A sustained period of worldwide oil scarcity will begin sooner than generally forecast and could spark off military conflicts in Africa, according to the Dutch Clingendael institute for international relations, reports Wednesday’s Volkskrant.

According to Clingendael, the oil shortage will begin to bite in 2010, five years earlier than predicted by the International Energy Agency.

Note: there's a PDF of the report in English, here.

Motorists help gasoline prices slide

Gasoline prices skidded sharply lower during the last week partly because motorists have been curbing their driving -- cutting back so much that Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters warned Monday of a looming shortfall in the fund that pays for highway and bridge construction and repairs.

As oil nears 20 percent "bear" market, bulls unfazed

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - As the rout in oil prices nears the 20 percent mark that for stocks would signal a bear market, many analysts offer a word of caution -- don't mistake a healthy correction for the end of a multi-year bull trend.

Restaurant Chains Close as Diners Reduce Spending

Trips to the mall or the local tavern — the casual outings that provide much of the business for midtier retailers — are falling by the wayside, analysts said, as gas prices reach record highs and Americans tighten their household budgets.

“Even folks for whom $3 gas is not necessarily a budget issue appear to be changing their behavior,” said Bryan C. Elliott, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates.

Gas Crisis Fuels Dubious Online Offers

Want to cut your fuel costs by 60 percent, use water as fuel, receive a free $1000 gas card, or lock down the price of gas to $2.49 a gallon? You can find these offers on the Web -- but experts say most are bogus, designed to collect personal information, to get you to sign up for services you may not want, or to sell you pricey gizmos that won't save you a dime in fuel costs.

Energy Conservation: Starting At Home

This spring, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a law that calls for a 15 percent reduction in electric use, per capita, over the next seven years. If successful, Maryland will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve a cleaner environment. These efforts also will reduce the state's need to build new power stations and transmission lines. While no one will be rewarded for making that 15 percent reduction, or punished for failing to meet it, it is an important effort.

Pickens on his energy plan

Back in 1996 when Bob Dole ran for president and I was his energy advisor, and he told me, "Energy is a sleeping dog, and I'm not going to kick the dog. And then there's Clinton, and you won't be much use in this case, but just in case something happens, and the subject came up, I'll call you and you help me."

Well, he was right on: Nothing happened in '96. And he also told me on ethanol, he said, "Ethanol is, you say it's a bad fuel." I said, "Come on Bob, you spend more money making it than importing it." And he said, "Let me explain something to you about politics: There are 21 farm states, and that's 42 senators. Don't go any further." I'm getting the picture. I said, "They want ethanol." He said, "They're going to have ethanol." And so he said, "Don't waste any more of our time or your time telling us it's a bad idea, because they're going to do it."

Turf War Hits Iraq's Oil Industry

BAGHDAD -- A political turf war is threatening the stability of Iraq's biggest cash cow: the embattled but so-far dependable South Oil Co.

Libya resumes oil deliveries to Switzerland

GENEVA - Libya has resumed deliveries of oil to Switzerland which were cut off last Thursday in a diplomatic row over the arrest of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son, the head of the Swiss Petroleum Association said Wednesday.

"A tanker was loaded with oil yesterday and left Libya for Genoa," Rolf Hartl told AFP. "It is the first tanker to have left Libya since the beginning of the crisis."

Venezuela worried by Barbados offshore oil plans

Venezuela's government wants to know if Barbados plans to grant licenses for offshore oil drilling within Caribbean waters claimed by the South American country.

Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez says foreign ministry officials plan to contact Barbados to discuss the possible violation of Venezuela's sovereignty in the Caribbean Sea.

Libya says oil's drop is probably temporary

LONDON (Reuters) - The sharp drop in oil prices from a record high earlier this month is probably temporary, but it would be worrying if it continued, the top oil official for OPEC member Libya said on Wednesday.

U.N.: Millions Hungry in North Korea

With shriveled harvests and a cutback in imports, North Korea has slipped back into a serious food shortage that is causing millions of people to go hungry, the United Nations announced Wednesday.

4.5 Billion Years in Provence

Recent radioactive leaks in France provide a cautionary tale for America's "nuclear renaissance."

Giant chunks break off Canadian ice shelf

OTTAWA - Giant sheets of ice totaling almost eight square miles broke off an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic last week and more could follow later this year, scientists said on Tuesday.

In a development consistent with climate change theories, the enormous icy plain broke free sometime last week and began slowly drifting into the Arctic Ocean. The piece had been a part of the shelf for 3,000 years.

As the topic of money is sometimes posted....

Unger rejects the paths that South Korea and China took to success. Unger proposes that the government both tax and invest heavily. Voting should be made mandatory, as should savings.

I wonder if a 50% effective tax rate is heavy enough?


How would I find the annual budget of the NREL, and,
more generally, the portion of the DoE budget that was
allocated to renewable, alternative energy research?

I would like the numbers for years going back decades,
if possible. Google fails me at this task; it keeps
returning the "crisis" of the 2005/6 NREL budget.


You could try querying the GPO Access database. I did a quick search and pulled up the DOE's budget, but breaking out the NREL part was not immediately obvious. Maybe a call to NREL public affairs office (303) 275-4090, (I didn't see an email) might be most expedient.


NREL's total funding since FY02 is shown at http://www.nrel.gov/overview/

Here is a link to DOE's budget: http://www.energy.gov/about/budget.htm. NREL's budget is in the laboratory section. Note that NREL is not managed directly by DOE, but rather by Battelle.

This is linked to over at bloomberg:

Nigeria’s Oil Production Drops Below 1mbpd
Can’t meet 2.1mbpd OPEC quota

There are strong indications that Nigeria, the sixth biggest oil producer in the world and Africa’s biggest oil producer, can no longer meet the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production quota.

The country’s current production level has dropped below 1 million barrels per day (mbpd) owing to frequent shut-ins due to renewed attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.
Prior to the escalation of violent attacks on oil installations, Nigeria produced between 2.5 and 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day.

If this is correct then Nigeria is now more than 850k bpd below expected July daily production.

OPEC Oil Output Rising in July: Petrologistics

Nigerian supply, which has been reduced by attacks on oil installations by militants in the Delta region, is expected to be little changed in July at 1.85 million bpd.

Shell warns on Nigeria oil exports after attacks

The Anglo-Dutch giant declared force majeure on its Bonny Light crude oil exports for July, August and September, freeing itself from contractual obligations, after Monday's attack by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

Hard to say. The article gives a list of attacks and some numbers for reduced production in each case, but the source for these is an unnamed oil minister (at least, it looks that way).

Something that didn't make sense a few years back, now finds the market moving in it's favor.....

Polish re-engineered Cree SAM to roll again?

It had seemed like the Swiss-born psycho-looking three wheeler from Cree had died in 2003 when the company closed its doors but now comes word that the "SAM" project has been adopted by a Polish company and may be rolling out of factory doors soon.


I always thought these three wheeled cars were unstable. Is that just a rumor? Buckminster Fuller had a design in 1933 of one of these in which the driver died (link). I guess that's the reason for the reputation, but I'd love to know if there's any truth in it.

If the rear wheel leans like a motorcycle in turns, it can be very stable. The key is the rear suspension setup.

There is a Dutch track car that's 3 wheels (2 front, 1 rear)

Trikes (motorcycles with 2 rear wheels) are very unstable however.

In the 1980's GM made a vehicle called the Lean Machine.
While this had one front and 2 back wheels the architecture allowed the vehicle to lean into turns thereby allowing the center of gravity to move into the turning radius giving the vehicle great stability.
An acquaintance of mine actually built a 3-wheeler of his own and he informed me that his research stated the power needed to be delivered to the front wheels for optimum stability and that the weight of the driver influenced the C/G enormously.
Plus in snowy climes roads that aren't plowed "two-track" meaning that rear tire will be riding on the snow in the middle.
All in all, 3-wheeled designs offer handling and stability issues that are completely overcome with the addition of a fourth wheel.
I'd still buy at least one though.

My understanding is that 1 wheel at the front and 2 at the rear (like your standard tricycle) is quite unstable. That's why the Aptera and this vehicle have the 2 wheels at the front.

Don't know really. It has more to do with where the center of gravity is than anything else.

These things really look a lot like the velo cab:


essentially adult tricycles with an aerodynamic fairing.

The key thing here is that with designs such as this (either human or electric powered), you are reducing aerodynamic drag coefficient by a considerable amount over that of a car. And having the thing only one-passenger wide reduces cross section, which reduces drag by even more.

The Solar Taxi with adventurer Louis Palmer in it is currently cruising the globe, and it is also a three wheel vehicle with two wheels in the front.

Maybe some of you would like to follow its way (they are in the US right now) on their web site.

Geez, how is it that I didn't know about this!

Here's a good top-down pic from their web site (taken from a newspaper). B & W unfortunately.

I've cropped it to reduce bandwidth.

Geez, how is it that I didn't know about this!

You are in the US? So - never forget to browse German sites :-)

And, just in case you haven't seen this one: Here is (tataa) the Open Source Car (OScar) from Darmstadt, Germany.

They power it from a ten square-meter solar panel alone! (That what's missing in the WP article)

Edit: I was a little quick. The OScar I was referring to in Darmstadt/Germany is here.

tataa indeed! Thanks for the links.

We seem to be living in a new golden age of automotive engineering.

Do you have any other good German automotive web sites worth keeping in touch with? :-)

There is a German web site called Wattgehtab. (The name is a funny word game, difficult to explain ..). It can be compared to greencarcongress.com, but the focus is on EVs.

If you do not read German then an online translation tool like Google's might be helpful. I've entered a random article from Wattgehtab into this tool and out came this.

Well, it is ... funny :-), but the meaning widely comes out, too.

And there is an english bar on the right side.


There is also a similar do-it-yourself opensource electric car community here in Finland too...

some info in english: http://www.sahkoautot.fi/yhteisoe:project-blog


A friend of mine had a 3-wheeled Messerschmitt:


As someone else said already, the three-wheelers with two weels in back and one in front are highly unstable. Usually you have stability problems when going downhill, turning, and applying the brakes.

With the one wheel in the back, however, think about it. You have a wider, more stable front, where most of the weight should be during braking, when the car experiences the greatest forces. The only unstable situation I can think of is if you accelerated heavily while driving sideways on an up-slope. In most cases, the engine won't be strong enough to give enough force to tip you, even in that situation.

Check out the Morgan Three Wheeler, produced in Britain from 1909 to 1952. Two wheels in front is a very stable configuration.

Yes, the 3-wheel Morgans are stable enough that they still campaign them at the vintage car races - there's nothing like seeing them drifting through the corners on those skinny wire wheels.

Hello Homebrew,

The Piaggio three-wheeler [2 wheels up front] scooter line offers great stability, yet may still be narrow enough to allow lane-splitting for additional gas and time savings during a commute:


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

The Piaggio MP3 is different because it still leans into corners like a two-wheeler. The two front wheels are much safer in slippery conditions, but otherwise it handles just like a scooter or motorcycle. Other three-wheelers like the Aptera need a wide track because they corner flat like a car.

Look in the photo gallery for pics of the MP3 cornering. The parallelogram front suspension is pretty nifty, but the complexity must add to the price. $9000 for a 500cc maxi scooter.

IMO this is exactly the type of response our "Big 3" automakers should provide, a small affordablecommuter car that a family could buy 2 or 3 of.
Unfortunately the executives of these co.s want to do the opposite, as one remarked a couple weeks ago "the average price of new vehicle transaction in Sweden is $42k", thats what we can expect here.

.... a small affordable commuter car that a family could buy 2 or 3 of.

That's an interesting paradigm worth thinking about. I have wondered how a family of four, say, who need to occasionally travel together, would do it in world where 2 person vehicles are the norm. Well, 2 vehicles of course.

Could also encourage restraint on family size! What are you going to do with that third kid?

In other countries taxis and jitneys for local; rail and buses for long distance.

One should not forget why the Smart Car (currently a brand of Daimler) is so short. The primary intention of its designer (Nicolas Hayek, the Swatch guy) was to allow the car to be driven into rail cars from the side. So you should be able to move straight into a train, avoiding the long time of lining up cars from the rear of a train as is usual on auto trains here in Germany.

Until today this idea wasn't pursued from the side of European rail companies (though one has to concede that large construction at most train stations would be required to make this possible, let alone the many new waggons.)

This is a days of 'firsts' for me. I didn't know auto trains existed.

There is even one in the united states.


I didn't know auto trains existed.

There are destinations in Germany that can only be reached by auto train, such as the north sea island Sylt.

Auto trains in general seem quite unpopular to me. My parents used them once when I was a youngster in 1972 from Hamburg to Austria over night. The procedure of loading a train with cars is a longsome procedure. And these days, where train stations are more and more converted to kind of shopping malls with tracks, nobody really likes cars driving around in them.

Currently there aren't more than seven terminals left in entire Germany. Terminals abroad are in France, Austria and Italy. After Deutsche Bahn has begun to offer car sharing all over the country it seems to make more sense to use this than taking the own car with you.

Hi Datamunger,

I regularly travel on the Eurotunnel Shuttle that links England and France. It is way quicker than going by boat and they have the loading and unloading very well organised loading both from the end and middle. Cars and coaches run on separate trains from trucks.

Here's a link:



and if you want to book


I have also put my car on the train from Nice to Calais and had a nice sleeper compartment.

How's that AlanfromBigEasy :-)

You can still park it perpendicular to the curb and double your parking space, assuming local parking laws allow it.

As much as I'd love to rely on a bicyle for errands, I don't trust my five year old in traffic with Hummers and Escalades that are late for ballet practice :)

But with gas at $20 gallon, which is where it's headed, Hummer owners would have to pawn their kids (tutus and all) in order to fill the tank. Those vehicles have no future.


The people driving these things have a whole lot more disposable income than I do. You'd think at $4 something a gallon they'd be parked, too, but such is not the case.

I watched Who Killed the Electric Car? last night. It goes a long way to explaining why electric cars are not mainstream products made by the biggest manufacturers, but just these weird little offerings from obscure companies. Who killed the electric car?: The car companies, including the popular Japanese makers, the oil industry and compliant politicians.

Sorry, but $1.20 gas is what killed the electric car. No need for conspiracies, unless you're talking about all the conspiracies to keep gas taxes low.

That movie was a load of bull. It completely glossed over the fact that the cars were completely uneconomical and GM/Toyota/Honda were taking a bath on each one produced.

Not only that but they were unpopular. The movie never even mentions that the entire fleet of gen 1 EVs had to be recalled due to fire hazards. And when they were offered back to the lessees again most didn't want them back.

The only reason they were even attempted was because CARB forced the car makers to do it. Electric cars are not mainstream because they are not economical. Period.

GM/Toyota/Honda were taking a bath on each one produced.

That's generally what happens on the prototype.

"What are you going to do with that third kid?"
Tie 'em to the roof, of course. :0

I'm thinking more along the lines of say a family of four w/ one teenager in college/high school.
Dad and the collegiate get the 3 wheelers for commuting, Mom and the other kid keep the sedan for school, shopping and whatnot.
Then they can all pile in the sedan to go visit gramps and gram on the weekend. Happy motoring indeed.

This seems a more practical answer to the moped/bike solution many tout here.
Some people seem to forget there's a reality called weather.

Picture my family, six siblings in a VW Combi in the 60s.

My little sister is called Ruth. We often threatened to tie her to the ruthrack.

We often threatened to tie her to the ruthrack.

That's horrible. XD

In the US, BRP is selling (actually delivering) a three wheeled motorcycle with two wheels up front called the CamAm Spyder. I rode one last summer when they had a demo road show come through. The ride of that vehicle was more akin to a snowmobile than anything else. No, the rear wheel does not lean. Nothing leans other than normal 'body' lean as you experience in a car. The Spyder has an electronic traction/ABS/stability control system just like a lot of cars do now to try to prevent undesirable gymnastics.


It was fun to ride, but you really had to hold on in the corners because it pulled a lot of g force. On a motorcycle you don't have that problem because you lean the bike. In a vehicle with a car seating position the seat holds you in place. On this vehicle, you really have to hold on and use your body language to keep from being flung off. Just like an ATV or snowmobile.

The point is, no, the rear wheel does not have to lean for a three wheeled vehicle with two wheels up front to be stable.

what G forces are we talking about in cornering and where is the center of gravity when riding it?

If you think about it, even if it only pulls .8g laterally, a 200 lb person needs 160lbs of force to stay on. It is much more of an upper body workout than riding a motorcycle or driving a car.

It sits very low, and weighs 700lb, so I'm guessing the CG is right in the middle of the bike, with the rider planted on the seat.

One thing that was a little annoying was that if you tried to gun it out of a slow speed corner, the inside front wheel would lift and the stability control would cut the ignition. It also was a handful on a road with grooves worn into the pavement from trucks, since the track of the front wheels was smaller than a car or truck, and it would wander from groove to groove.

I've seen several around here lately. They seem to be ridden by older riders and small women, since one of the big advantages is that you don't have to worry about tipping it over at stoplights.

That's the magic of computers for you. Stability control does a lot to tame the handling. ATV quads are much harder to handle in hard cornering.

Why 2 doors when the car is only 1 seat wide?

Jeff Rubin was just on CNBC talking about declining net oil exports from the Middle East--we are now getting all of the oil from the MIddle East that we will ever get. Pretty good video, if someone wants to post it. Larry Kudlow really didn't dispute Jeff's points, but Larry repeated his D3 mantra--Drill, Drill, Drill.

From the Senate floor yesterday: Republican sloganeering on the future of energy - drill, drill, drill.

We also get reassuring words from Lehman Brothers oil analyst Ed Morse:

It’s the most fundamental law of economic gravity: What goes up must eventually come down. Maverick oil analyst Ed Morse predicts that oil prices will keep tumbling, and tells FP that he would not be surprised if prices dip below $100 a barrel before election day.

Clap your hands if you believe in fairies!

I would say it is probable that oil touches $100 before year end.

This is a highly volatile market and the price could go anywhere in the short term.


In my opinion, nominal oil price is a function of money supply and supply/demand. With the Fannie & Freddie deal signed into law today by Bush, in my opinion, the money supply is basically controlled by the Treasury (or more accurately the investors in T-bills) now and therefore that can influence oil prices a lot.

It is a commodity. Commodity prices fluctuate.

Nevertheless, long term supplies will lag behind long term demand, so long term the price must increase. It may have its ups and downs, but there will be more ups than downs, and the ups will be up more than the downs will be down.

Anything more detailed about the future outlook than the above really is unknowable and thus mere speculation.

Yeah, I saw part of that empty chamber discussion among the minority party members.
However, I don't think this is Republicans versus Democrats.
Roscoe Bartlett (Congressman, not a Senator) is a Republican and he gets it.
No. This is more about the ignorant and irrational triumphing once again over the laws of Mother Nature. Wiley Coyote gets away with the overshoot game (going to the shelf and beyond) also, for a short while. The look on his face when the laws of gravity take charge are always priceless.

I see Larry Kudlow strapped into the dentist's chair as the good doctor approaches.


FWIW, Dan Yergin is the spitting image of my dentist.

WT: A short summary. Rubin stresses the use of oil in ME electricity generation, which doesn't seem to get a lot of focus http://biz.yahoo.com/cnw/080730/cibc_inflation_report.html?.v=1

I think this could explain the interest in nuclear power within the M.E. This way they could meet soaring electricity demand and use oil to generate export revenue instead.

I am glad that you saw that. I was listening, but not watching, and I had to look because I thought that it was westexas being interviewed.


Kudlow was only there because Mark Haines is under the weather.

I can't wait till we get this drill drill drill bill passed. Then we can get on with it. So many believe we can drill our way out of this problem

Offshoring Jobs and Offshoring Drills

These are two things that most Republicans believe will save our Grand Old Palace (the American Empire).

Now if only we can offshore all our illustrious representatives. Devil's Island is nice this time of the year. ;-)

More evidence that infrastructure preparation for EV's is being looked at:

Connecticut Governor Seeks to Ensure State Ready for Plug-in Vehicles

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell asked the Chairman of the Department of Public Utility Control to work closely with automakers and the state’s electric utilities to make sure Connecticut encourages and can accommodate grid-charged electric vehicles.

Rell: "EVs have enormous promise for helping us reduce our dependence on gasoline and cut the emissions of harmful pollutants. However, there is more to encouraging the use of EVs than simply plugging them in—we need to make sure the state’s electric infrastructure is ready for the additional demand, and we want to avoid problems that could crop up if, say, a high number of EVs are charging on a 98-degree summer day when power is at a premium for air conditioners and other devices. That is why it is important for the DPUC and our utilities to get ahead of the curve now."

"..and we want to avoid problems that could crop up if, say, a high number of EVs are charging on a 98-degree summer day when power is at a premium for air conditioners and other devices.."

Good argument for a solar PV shadow over every rooftop.. Shade's Great, More Filling!

Plus, as Electricity gets more precious, more people will start to recall that there's an abundance of cool, cool soil underneath that house or office..


But those rooftop panels don’t solve the problem of severe weather, such as thunderstorms, ice storms, or blizzards, locally knocking down the grid for a night or two and leaving cars uncharged to travel the next day. Moreover, as panels are higher in demand, what usually happens to availability and price? And how are people of average means going to pay for it, especially adding on the price of a new electric car? The problem with most of these “solutions” is that the landscape is much more complicated than just getting an EV. All the infrastructure needs an upgrade too. With declining and more expensive resources this would be far more difficult. And each tweek to make these “solutions’ viable brings added cost, but no ones adding, are they?

I think much of that argument is backwards, Bruce.

If you've had an icestorm or t-storm that's knocked out the grid, your panels can still be charge your car/house batteries as soon as the sun comes out. I've mentioned the guy up here in Maine who was giving his neighbors hot showers on the afternoon after the big '98 Icestorm with his hot water panels. The amount of battery storage, just like the number of Watts in panels is entirely up to the consumer, who can start small and just add on as they go. Getting the right Charge-controller/Inverter is the first investment that determines how much that system can grow.. and of course much of this equipment is being resold and swapped as people 'trade up'..

Yes it's an investment, no less than the $4000 that our heating oil co's are asking for a fixed-price buy in for heating oil in Maine this winter. It's an investment like college, which you have to have a little faith will actually be worth the cost and the years of debt repayment.

Availability and Price? Again just like Oil. More demand brings the prices up, theoretically justifying more investment in Supply, which should help to balance out the price. But UNLIKE that 230 gallon tank that I'll be filling a half-dozen times this winter, the panels will self-refill.

I just read that the way that PV producers gauge the 20-25 year warrantees that many panels come with is an industry standard in which they use a timeframe that is roughly HALF of the actual expected lifetime of the equipment.

At this point, sure, we 'can't afford to'.. but how many people are still paying for cable (not me) or setting their thermostats at the 'Sameold sameold' .. there's a bunch of slack to be taken up. With an eye to the likely future, we really can't afford to WAIT.


If you've had an icestorm or t-storm that's knocked out the grid, your panels can still be charge your car/house batteries as soon as the sun comes out.

Yeah, and the whole area with EV's just had a day off because they couldn't use their car. Nice.

Sorry, but I believe you got it backwards. Your universal solutions are applied to the perfect situation: your own roof, you have a good site with no shade and proper orientation, you actually own your property, you don’t live in a condo etc., a large enough curtilage, available credit or savings, etc., etc., Hey, for someone like myself, who lives in a rural area with large acreage who relies on a combination of propane and roof solar is a very good option, and I will eventually be installing it along with wind. But to Joe Sixpack on a medium income, who lives in Phili, New York, or Chicago, or any other large municipality with an old possibly multiple unit structure not so good of a solution. It is far less complicated putting a solar system on a low level suburban structure than trying to put one on a taller one in the city surrounded by narrow gangways and improper orientation. This is where most of the populations lives. That is why your suggestion about the earth underneath homes is so outlandish. There is no way it could be done at a reasonable cost for the average homeowner (being a thirty year carpenter/cabinetmaker I’ve done some estimating in my time) with in a densely populated area. Lets see you get the drilling equipment down a small gangway. I doubt you could even get a permit.

Someone like yourself who makes a very good income (If I remember, you’re a cameraman?) doesn’t or can’t see through the eyes of the person living paycheck to paycheck which is becoming a larger proportion of the population daily. It’s like the Republican solution of tax credits - yeah I’ll get money a the end, if I’m not broke by then.

Yeah, and the whole area with EV's just had a day off because they couldn't use their car. Nice.

It is very possible that 'we' are going to have to get used to the idea that things are no longer 24X7 or day in day out.

It used to be rain or snow stopped things. Other than the past, oh, 20 years, why take the last 20 as the norm?

city surrounded by narrow gangways and improper orientation. This is where most of the populations lives.


Someone like yourself who makes a very good income (If I remember, you’re a cameraman?) doesn’t or can’t see through the eyes of the person living paycheck to paycheck which is becoming a larger proportion of the population daily.

Such short-sightedness is typical of 'lets save the car'. Really tho - the car will be an option for the people who can afford the $100,000 of solar panels to feed it. If one wants the services of the working poor, that service will be in cities. In places where there is not viable solar.

Done generalizing and assuming now? I don't make a lot of money. Occasionally I get a lucky gig, but I make maybe $40k on my good years.. don't believe the hype about the Media any more than the stereotypes about 'Joe Sixpack'. The details are usually a lot more complicated.

So it's OK for the poor and working class to keep paying thousands for oil, electric, gas and wood- which they have to pay again next year, but not to pay off a loan equivalent to a car loan for a renewable option that will help to reduce their burden?

Just because I said 'on every roof' doesn't mean I assume that this is a universal solution. If there are rooftops that get sun, and there surely are, then We the People should find a way to get it working for its owners, and help mitigate the peak-load problem, as well as that home's solar-induced AC needs.

Please. Do I have to put the disclaimers on every statement that advocates for Renewable technologies, because they somehow have to meet a higher standard than all other arguments? We have hundreds and hundreds of rooftops around me in this modest city, and we have a lot of Sun. There are MANY, MANY poor and working class, AND middle and upper class homeowners here, and with some of the right incentives and loan programs, they could all be contributing to a more diversified, stable and democratically owned power structure. Heard of Micro-loans? That might be a model to help poorer/poorest families get started. I have a LOT of neighbors here who are in that situation, and I'm very well aware of their predicament. We have RE Small Business loans for families who have multi-units, like my wife and I. It's a pretty common way to deal with the mortgage up here, owning a two or three-unit to defray the mortgage bill.. and solar on those rooftops would be sensible and add value to both the buildings and the neighborhoods. Now if I could just keep all those ruffians from peering in at our Tea-gatherings!

As far as a whole area unable to drive because I made them ALL get only EV's and Solar Panels... alright, how old are you acting when you write this? I don't need it. What if that same neighborhood today had their gas stations all run dry?(Unfathomable!) EV's can at least charge from the Grid, from Windpower, from Solar, from Batteries, Generators.. and even if just a couple cars had charges and the neigborhood was, miraculously homogenously all EV's.. those drivers COULD, if they so chose, offer rides to neighbors.. But the point is, and the disclaimer ALWAYS is: I'm not talking about a homogeneous solution. BB's, right? The point is to diversify our energy portfolio, become more resilient than we are right now, which is what I think my original solution was attempting to offer.


Hi Bob,

That would be a great visual for a video promotional tho, guy or gal in their electro, just charged off the PV panel array in his side yard, driving by the lines stretching around the block to get gas, just as the poor attendant hangs up the hand lettered "out of gas sign", horns honking, hands thrown in the air, people pushing their cars (Hummer!)to the curb holding gas cans walking down the road, passing a road sign that reads "Next Gas 10 Miles", as the electro rolls quietly by. Hey, can I get writers credit or split the creative rights with ya? ;^)


Let me add a twist-ending..

The driver, whose electric is a Pickup Truck (not an uncommon conversion) slows down to look at the gas line, thinks a second and puts a quick sign on his rooftop - CHEAP TOWING, RIDES HOME & E.V. Test Drives!!

I was looking at that link a few weeks ago for electric trucks and wondering if I shouldn't look into investing in a Medium-duty Electric Box-Van to have available for rental or a local delivery service here in town. If we hit a 'hiccup', it could be pretty handy to have one of the only running work-vehicles around, and in the meantime, it seems that the running costs might already be an advantage over a diesel vehicle. (Not just Handy;Lucrative, but Handy for the resilience of the Community, too. Triple-bottom-line! Social, Economic, Ecological!) My wife is now able to have some 'let's think about an electric vehicle' conversation now, and I'm leaning towards a converted small pickup.

How's things in OH?

Bob (Not shooting a gol-darned thing.. all house repairs and winter preps!)

You're right Bob, I was unfair in my characterizations, I apologize. Maybe too much coffee this morning. However, what appears to be necessary in many of the PV solutions is loans, loans and more loans. People are already tapped out. I would say at least 25% of the people I know have been through some kind of bankruptcy, and it looks like that number is going to climb. Who do you think is getting slammed the most by energy costs? It’s not the guy on the “Gold coast” in Chicago, it’s the guy who lives in a working class south side neighborhood. So Joe Shmoes got a choice, get easy “credit” from a company such as Peoples Gas, or invest in a system in which they have to pay for the expertise in installation, have to take out another loan - if they qualify at all - in a system that might not fulfill all their energy requirements. Yes, not every system can fill the bill, so you add more. See the problem here? Now you got to buy more stuff. More credit. And you also have to do maintenance, or pay someone to do it. And when something goes wrong, now what? People like to quote costs of system stating the price of this or that, but almost never take labor into account. I’ve wired factories with three phase wiring so it’s no problem on my end, but the person who is not a hobbyist or affluent enough to afford expertise is screwed. One more bill to pile on. Until the numbers add up, it just won’t fly, nor make a dent in the energy problem. This should have been started twenty five years ago.

No, you're right. My points are 'right' in their way, but yes, it's very, very late to be doing this stuff that should have been done long ago.. it's a very tough situation, and I don't mean to make it sound like 'Solar! Piece of cake!'..

I know you're a reasonable poster, and should have given you more 'caffiene credit' earlier. But this is scary. Believe me, I know we'll see people going under this winter up here. I just had a disabled guy in his pickup come by and ask to take the fridge and stove that I'd only just put out in the yard. We were going to give them to Habitat, but I knew this guy would get some help from the scrap value as much as anyone from Habitat. Just trying to figure out ways to have us keep the bottom-rungs from getting totally crunched this winter.. I'm trying to set up a workshop on Cable Access to show people how they can make simple Hot Air Heaters from discarded Storm-window frames.. things like that. 'More', but from diving into more dumpsters, not more debt.



Last week I watched a workshop build a 1k windmill... in their garage. Total cost with electronics? Maybe $1k. Can be done for less.



I just hung my vertical-axis on its bearings last night. Can't wait to put it into the wind! (made from stovepipe and a discarded cable spool.. recaptured Treadmill motor for a gennie, for starters.


Let us know how it goes! I'd like to look at the VAWT, too. The guy leading the workshop here said they are less efficient, but I don't think he knows from his own experience. He seems to be regurgitating a lot.

BTW, have you considered magnetic bearings? Nothing better than pretty much zero friction, eh?


This one is on some nice meaty sealed BB's from American Science/surplus www.sciplus.com for something like $5, I seem to recall. They're about 2.5" outer diameter, and fit right into the Axle holes of the plywood cable-spool ends.

August is going to be my weatherizing and re-install month, so I'll report in as I see it spin! I have heard the regular renunciation of VAWT's too, but they're so easy to build I had to try myself, and with such a cheap investment, it's hard to see that it won't justify itself. We're on a hill right over Casco Bay, too, so even a rooftop mount will catch a regular bit of wind.

Here's the Charge Controller I'll probably get to match with this and future experiments.
It has Load Diversion which is essential for Windpower (to keep a load on the gennie after the batts are full, so you don't let the prop overspin.. AND don't waste power), and it accepts up to about 130volts, and my Treadmill motor is a 96v DC PM motor, so I should be able to range it in ok. It'll be set with a belt ratio to provide more like a 48volt optimal output.


ps, I am collecting those cheap 'full-size' mirrors that people toss out when one corner get dinged off, so I might have a collector to test one of your dream projects someday! (Have maybe six or eight so far.. enough to bake bread)


GEOTHERMAL: I will be installing a heat-exchanger (homebuilt, scrounged materials) along the floor perimeter of my basement as a way to introduce tempered outside air into the house year-round. No heavy Digging Equipment required. We had a similar 'cool tube' in a woods house in the mountains years ago, countering the negative air pressure caused by Furnace combustion, and improving air quality in general. Also counters infiltration through cracks and voids in the house.


Hi Bob,

Keep a close eye on this to ensure that mould and mildew don't become an issue -- dust + spores + condensation = nasty stuff. As a general rule, anything you can't properly clean and disinfect is likely to become troublesome over time.



Yeah, that's surely on my radar. This is more for wintertime, in our case, bringing the freezing air up to 45/50 before it comes into the house.. but I'm making it accessible with condensation drainage, etc..


Electrical demand is highest in the PM of hot summer days. The rest of the year demand for electricity is well below capacity. There is no problem during the seasons with blizzards, etc, unless the grid is damaged by the storm which is an entirely different issue.

Depends upon the area. Many utilities are winter peakers. And the grid serving residential areas had a different curve than commercial & industrial areas.


GM is working with utilities on smart chargers. I suppose it means they shut down when the grid is under peak load maybe by receiving commands from the utility. It's no big deal on a plugin hybrid. You should get a full charge at night, and if you don't, you spend a little more on gas for that day. Your gas tank becomes your emergency generator.

Forgive me if this has been covered ad-nauseum on previous DBs, but I do not understand how EVs are a solution to the problem of energy needs. Assuming everyone in the US could readily purchase and begin driving personal EV vehicles tomorrow, wouldn't this just be a transfer of FF usage from powering ICEs to generating the additional electricity needed to power all of the newly acquired EVs? It seems as though, at best, the net effect in terms of FF usage is essentially zero. Surely I am wrong, eh?

Short answer: You're spot on, you have to get the energy from somewhere. As far as I know, there is some possibility that the electric motor is more energy efficient than an internal combustion engine but that's it.

It's not arm waiving, an electric motor is much more efficient and an electric car can recover energy by regenerative braking. A Prius gets 50mpg using nothing but gas for energy.

The other issue is that substitution of electric cars gives us a wider range of sources of energy while and ICE can use only hydrocarbon liquids.

Yeah thanks, I managed to edit the "arm-waiving" bit out before you posted. :) The reason I put that in there in the first place is because the electric motor might be more efficient, but you do have transmission losses from the power grid (30% IIRC) and some other things that lower the efficiency a bit.

There are a number of studies available, all suggesting that on a "well to wheels" basis, an electric car is about twice as efficient in total energy as an ICE car. The dominant factor in the calculation is the roughly 20% thermal efficiency of the ICE versus the average 40% thermal efficiency of the generating plant. Losses in transmission/transport, refining, battery charging/discharging, all turn out to be roughly comparable in total. There are lots of complicating factors in different situations: for example, it's easy to use waste heat from the ICE to heat the passenger compartment when it's cold; more complicated, and much more impact on mileage, to warm the passengers in the electric car. Lots of variation in thermal efficiencies also: diesels can be significantly higher than 20%, and integrated cycle natural gas plants can reach 60% (and a hypothetical solid carbon fuel cell could reach 80%, but they're laboratory toys still). On average, a 2:1 ratio will not be far wrong.

Given the efficiency difference, a back of the envelope calculation for converting the US transportation fleet to electricity would require about a 25% increase in the total kWh generated. If you assume that most of the transportation draw from the grid will occur at night -- ie, recharge cars overnight for use the next day -- then only modest grid capacity increases would be needed, as the current drop off in use at night is on that order of magnitude.

Personally, as a systems analyst, I think the more compelling argument for putting money into electric drive trains is that they don't care about the source of the electrons. In my part of the country, there are adequate supplies of locally-produced coal and natural gas for the next few decades (at least if we stopped shipping it to Ohio and Texas and reduced current production), plus excellent regional wind, solar and geothermal potential.

Personally, as a systems analyst, I think the more compelling argument for putting money into electric drive trains is that they don't care about the source of the electrons. In my part of the country, there are adequate supplies of locally-produced coal and natural gas for the next few decades (at least if we stopped shipping it to Ohio and Texas and reduced current production), plus excellent regional wind, solar and geothermal potential.


An electric transport grid becomes independent of our current energy source, whether it is petroleum, coal, gas, wind, solar, fission, or even someday fusion. This is one reason that electric rail also makes so much sense - you can invest in that infrastructure independent of the energy source, thus allowing for building long term (if a nation were to make such a choice).

I think there's a lot of room for improvement in electric car performance, and I don't just mean the batteries. The Aptera has a shape that would be difficult in a car directly driven by an internal combustion engine, allowing a drag coefficient of 0.12. It might do a little worse in the version with a gas-powered range extender, because of the need for intakes and exhausts. Once you've minimized all other sources of drag, things like intakes, radiators and exhausts really start to matter. And the teardrop shape might accommodate electric wheel motors and batteries spread across the car a lot better than a hot engine.

The Aptera is claiming energy consumption of under 100 wh/mile. That should be the benchmark. I bet the studies you've referenced use a figure of 200 wh/mile or higher. It seems to be a common assumption, based on the Prius' equivalent 260 wh/mile. But I question whether even the Aptera has a very sophisticated regenerative braking system on its one wheel.

The Ford Probe V show car got its cD to 0.137 while using a gasoline engine. It's a fairly inoffensive-looking 4-wheel 4-seater, so I think the goal should be a 2000-lb composite electric with a cD of 0.12. Using a formula I spotted on a University of Michigan website, I calculated that such a car with a very minimal width could travel at a steady 55 mph using just over 80 wh/mile. This actually brings NiMH batteries back into the equation, allowing lower costs and quick implementation. I am not unaware that the current economic crisis may drag out for decades and that the ratio of car prices to personal income may return to the figure before 1920.

It would also be good if it were designed so that the wheels would not be ripped off when driving on the roads we're likely to have. Consider what is happening to the road budget of your local municipality. There is a reason that early automobiles and horse drawn carriages had very large diameter wheels.

Once you build it to practical specs - which means returning to the kinds of less expensive materials used on inexpensive cars now, and designing assemblies that have a prayer of holding up - I think you'll find the performance problems of EVs become more noticeable, and that it gets harder to optimize for things like ultra low weight and drag. Cars like the Aptera are silly, impractical toys for the well-off with access to good roads.

It would also be good if it were designed so that the wheels would not be ripped off when driving on the roads we're likely to have.

On my girlfriends land up in the Range, we're planning on having a small fleet of EV's for various purposes (low-weight batteries like NimH or Lithium help if you want to swap the pack between vehicles), including a custom-build 'off-road dune buggy' with a suspension travel of about a metre. :D That should get us over the inevitable washouts. :)

I concur that we (the electric industry) would be able to support a significant change-out from FF to EV vehicles...both from a capacity and energy perspective. Most everything I've read, along with personal observations here at work with a number of prototype EV vehicles, leads me to believe that the energy (kWh) requirements for, say, up to a full 25% conversion to EV vehicles could likely be met without significant burden to the existing installed capacity in the U.S. Beyond that, sure, additional energy sources would be required.

Even so, I am much more pessimistic regarding where the kWh are going to come from than our infrastructure's ability to handle any additional loading. I personally think our transmission/distribution grid can/will perform adequately. I don't see this as a major issue going forward.

Increasing the load factor of natural gas plants (say doubling the MWh produced from existing NG plants as a key part of a build-up to all EVs increasing US demand by 25%) will require significant amounts of NG.

Any idea where you can get that much more NG ?


IMO EVs are going to suffer the same constraints as food, fresh water, sea fish, oil, nat gas, ICE vehicles etc etc - something will be the Liebig's minimum, not everybody in the world will be able to have one.

The supply of EVs will be determined by the need of the manufacturer to make a profit and the consumer to afford the EV - if somebody can't afford the gasoline to run an old car I doubt they can afford to buy an EV, much less replace it's batteries on a regular basis.

Ther are things that are possible, there are things that are probable and there are things that are neither possible or probable. Adequate numbers of personal EVs for everybody in the world is not possible or probable for the forseeable future.

But just because it is being encouraged as a good tool/transport option, doesn't mean that it HAS to be part of such a universally-owned model for society.. which is to say that just because it won't look like 'Leave it to Beaver, a car in every driveway' doesn't mean we shouldn't make them as we reframe their role. If families find themselves reconsolidating, it might be more likely that there would be a car owned within an extended family, while the daily travel needs are covered more on foot, bike, bus/train etc..

I think cars are great, so are roads. That doesn't mean I endorse this wasteful form of Vehicle-life with too much of all the above.


"Any idea where you can get that much more NG ?"

Cow farts :)

Where the grid does become an issue is when you start planning for large-scale usage of renewables. Split the continental 48 into an east half and west half. About two-thirds of the population is in the east half; more than two-thirds of the good renewable resources is in the west half. If you're going to take Great Plains wind, Intermountain geothermal, and Southwestern solar, and ship it 1500 or more miles east in order to run Chicago, Ohio, NYC, etc, you need massive new infrastructure. And relatively fragile infrastructure at that. A pro-Western terrorist wouldn't have to work too hard to keep disrupting that flow.

Where the kWh for the US as a whole might come from is a difficult problem. Where they might come from for selected regions is much easier.

6925 Your quote: "In my part of the country, there are adequate supplies of locally-produced coal and natural gas for the next few decades (at least if we stopped shipping it to Ohio and Texas and reduced current production), plus excellent regional wind, solar and geothermal potential."

I am interested; in what state is my part of the country?

In 2007 Texas produced 6.1 trillion cu ft of NG and consumed 3.2 trillion.
Texas provided one sixth of the rest of the nations NG supplies.

In 2006 Texas produced 46 million tons of coal and consumed 105 million tons.
US production 1.15 Billion tons.

Ohio produced 25 of 61 million tons of coal consumed, and produced about 10% Of its NG consumption.

EIA Data


We produce about 36 million tons of coal per year, and consume about 20 million tons. When I moved here 20 years ago, NG was dirt cheap; every four or five years they open a new pipeline that lets them export more and our prices go up. The drillers are drooling to have the Roan Plateau area of NW Colorado opened up for NG. Good wind potential along the mountain downslopes and the Great Plains portions of the state; good large-scale solar potential in the south, and small-scale solar over most of the state; if dry rock geothermal works out, good potential for that in the western parts of the state. The state has had bad luck with the pollution associated with old uranium mines, but could produce enough fissionables to run at least a couple of heavy-water reactors for a long time if that turned out to be the way to go.

Everyone talks about water shortages. Most of our water usage (>90%) is for agricultural irrigation, and an embarrassing amount of that for dent corn to feed livestock and ethanol plants. The available water is really determined by the annual snowfall, and at least some of the climate change models suggest global warming will shift the winter storm track north and increase the winter snowfall we get in the mountains. It'll melt sooner, but the reservoirs don't care about that. Other models give different, less optimistic, results.

Treated as a local supply problem only, lots of resources and only about 4.5 million people. Much simpler problem than trying to deal with the US total of 305 million, two-thirds of them in the eastern (relatively energy poor) half of the country.

It would be a temporary fix-which is all your leaders are looking for anyway-right now there is a looming liquid fuels crisis, not a looming electricity generation crisis, which comes later.

Forgive me if this has been covered ad-nauseum on previous DBs, but I do not understand how EVs are a solution to the problem of energy needs.

Oh, no need to be forgiven. Because you are grasping the nature of the situation.

Surely I am wrong, eh?

No, its just that a new 'loud' voice has shown up and the regulars who'd say what you have said (and point out the finance issue, the disposal of the ICE based transport, the sudden new demand on the battery raw material, and on and on) have not bothered to post rebuttal after rebuttal.

The readership here isn't quite ready for bicycling. The technology is too humble and the perceived effort is too high. That will change.

A good intermediate step would be electric scooters and electric bicycles. The price and range are in the sweet spot for rapid adoption. Folks would keep their cars for hauling stuff... but once we get them on the road, out of cars, they will see the adventure they've been missing. Driving with the herd, listening to Howard Stern is not such-a-much.

Our new-wave commuter will buzz along for a while at that level... but will eventually notice the physical fitness of the cyclists around them... and make the final connection.

What we need to do is engineer really good commutation routes. Much like we engineer ski slopes or water parks. A well designed and well landscaped bike path is very entertaining (and a hell of a lot cheaper than a six lane expressway).

I don't see this happening on any large scale.

Here in America people sign up for gym memberships then do not use them.

I have been watching this happen for many years.

I cannot say for sure what the real problem is. I can speculate but I hate to generalize.

Just seems that most people are too interested in being pampered in their cars and hate sweating. Something like that.

I've tried to talk people into riding bicycles as I have been riding for 43 years, but it seems to always fall on deaf ears.

BTW - I am getting a new trike, with two front wheels and one rear. Can't wait. Very stable and fast and fun.


Yeah, people just like being pampered. I commute part-time on my motorcycle which is absolutely luxurious compared to bicycling. When I pull in to work on a 50 deg winter day, people look at me like I'm some hardy adventurer for braving the cold.

And regarding sweat, Americans have very high standards of eliminating body odor. Comes from being a rich country with cheap fuel for hot water. Bathing is important for personal hygiene, but not every day.

I wouldn't say that. One of the other blogs that I read is a forum where bicyclists discuss more or less anything, and one of the sub-forums has to do with commuting. Everyone is noticing an increase in the number of bicycle commuters, and bicycle stores have reported a brisk business in bicycle sales - especially commuter models.

I live in Portland, OR, which is already known for being a bicycle friendly place, but in the past 2 years I have noticed a marked uptick in bicycle traffic. As an avid bicyclist I have attempted to convert friends/colleagues into bicycle commuters, usually with little success, however in the past 6 months there have been a lot of inquiries about where to get a bike, how to fix an old one, and how to become a commuter. Several friends have joined me by commuting almost entirely by bicycle.

During rush hour there are streets literally taken over by swarms of cyclists. People are seeing the writing on the wall, but it seems most willing to change habits are under 40. Older folks seem too vested in BAU to admit to themselves 'times they are a changin.'

People are seeing the writing on the wall, but it seems most willing to change habits are under 40. Older folks seem too vested in BAU to admit to themselves 'times they are a changin.'

I don't think that's it. I suspect that it's just physically a lot harder for older people to take up biking, at least if they haven't been doing it regularly.

Even among healthy people, the sense of balance deteriorates pretty sharply after age 40. Never mind all the other things that start deteriorating (peripheral vision, joints, lungs, how you look in bike shorts ;-).

If your sense of balance starts to deteriorate sharply at the age of 40, you may be many things but physically healthy is definitely not one of them.

Not true. Balance is one of the first things to go. I don't mean you can't walk without falling over or anything like that. Most people barely notice it...but as they pass through their forties, they'll start keeping a hand on the rail as they go down stairs, when they never did that when they were young.

And in the construction trades, where you're climbing around on beams or rooftops - people often find they aren't comfortable doing that once they hit their 40s or 50s.

My mom is very fit - works out the gym at least two hours a day, and still looks good enough in spandex that they use her as a model in their ads. Her doctors say she's perfectly healthy. But she's no longer comfortable going down steep stairs. I noticed this when we were vacationing in China a few years ago. The Great Wall has some extremely steep stairs. Mom was leaving us in the dust on the way up, but was very slow on the way down. She's never been afraid of heights before, but asked me to walk in front of her, so I could catch her if she fell.

I thought your balance was the second thing to go....

I can't remember what the first was....

Keeping your hand on the staircase rail is more about fear of falling and breaking some of those brittle bones. We don't heal too well after 50.

Electric assisted tricycles have become the icon of aging baby boomers, and the constant butt of jokes on late night TV talk shows. They are the ULTIMATE un-cool means of transportation and NO self-respecting teenager would EVER be caught on one !

The “in ride” is a recumbent bicycle with an oversized rear tire and fairings painted in iridescent (or black) paint, preferably with a matching single wheel trailer for “stuff”.

Early in the Post-Peak Oil Era, many turned to gasoline powered scooters and small motorcycles, but first public policy and then economics turned against them when it was realized that 100 mpg was not good enough (and accidents mounted). Instead electric assist bicycles were encouraged and many two ways streets were turned into one way streets with the other lane becoming a two way bike lane. Segways also developed a loyal following.

In the early years Post-Peak Oil, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (such as the classic http://www.gemcar.com The New Model T) and Bicycles contested for modal share with the out-of-shape and obese strongly favoring NEVs at first. Cultural values and parking fees lead to today’s dominance by bicycles but NEVs still occupy a large niche.

Plug-in Hybrids and small diesels also had a contest for modal share. Farmers and other rural residents tend towards small diesels, many of whom make their own (or buy a neighbors) small scale bio-diesel. Surviving Suburbanites tend towards PHEVs, which typically get 100 to 130 mpg today



I came up with a design for, well for lack of a better term I guess they we're hybrid training wheels or outriggers that fit where a standard kickstand mounts on a bike + a pnuematic strut on either side that clamped to the vertical seat post tube of the bike frame.

They we're articulated so you could lean into turns a bit and wide enough to provide serious stability.

They could un hook and swing back flat to the rear wheels for stowing.

I did this for my Dad who was having balance issues.

Almost got BURLEY to produce and market but they got bought out and gutted by Asian company. Oh well!

As a 51 year-old everyday bicyclist I have not noticed any balance impairment. I know plenty of over 70 yr-old cyclists, including an 84 year old who just rode across Texas. People who do have balance issues can always use trikes, which would be my choice if I could no longer handle a 2 wheeler.
Exercise of all types helps overall health, including balance.
Sitting in cars ages people before their time, as a glance at the pudgy victims of the US car culture will show. Cardiovascular problems frequently lead to neurological problems, even if stroke or heart attack is avoided.

I didn't mean to imply that older people can't ride bikes. Obviously, they can. And practice definitely helps when it comes to maintaining your sense of balance while you age.

But if you're not a regular biker...it's much harder to start at age 40 than at age 20.

I think we may see a lot more middle-aged people take up biking...but I think the price of gas would have to be a lot higher, both because the physical hump is higher, and because people over 40 are in their peak earning years, and high gas prices probably have less impact on them.

hmm.. my wife and I are almost 70 and we ride between 3 and 5,000 miles a year in Wisconsin. We have no balance issues and no fear of falling off of our Greenspeed Tandem Trike. http://www.greenspeed.com.au/gtt.html We have not yet found a hill we can't climb - just takes a while.

Our local bike club has about 150 members with an average age in the late forties. Most started biking in their mid or late thirties. I took a group of 11 cyclists on a 500 mile tour in Ireland a few years ago - 2 guys were well over 70. Cycling is not a physical issue for a very large segment of people over 40-50-60. But it is a traffic safety issue.

I'm not at all optimistic about seeing any large scale adoption of cycling in the USA. Our car culture obsession took 100 years to develop and will not change willingly - some really bad things need to happen first.

When I was at my 80-year-old Mom's recently, she was making all her kids and grandkids try a balance test she had been given. Stand on one foot, with the other raised by bending the leg at the knee at least 45 degrees. Cross arms across chest. Once you have your balance, close your eyes and start timing. How long you can stand without putting the raised foot down or tipping your upper body or opening your eyes is a measure of inner ear deterioration. Almost everyone starts losing the inner ear portion of their balance from age 25, but visual clues let them compensate for a long time. Most 25-year-olds can balance this way for at least 45 seconds; very few 80-year-olds can balance this way for even five seconds.

My Mom would get balanced, but as soon as she closed her eyes you could see her start to tip. I'm almost 55, and could manage 30-45 seconds. My 22-year-old niece who teaches dance stood there for two minutes, then announced that she was bored and had other things to do. With my eyes open, I could go for much longer.

The one thing I've noticed on the bicycle is that I can't balance indefinitely at a dead stop while waiting for the traffic light to change. I now seem to need just a bit of forward motion to stay balanced.

And in the construction trades, where you're climbing around on beams or rooftops - people often find they aren't comfortable doing that once they hit their 40s or 50s.

I can speak from experience on that one. I am nowhere near as agile as I was at twenty-five on tall ladders, scaffolds, and beams, and I can run most of my younger co-workers into the ground physically. I even notice it on my bicycle, and I have been riding avidly (I have five bikes and lace my own wheels) for almost fifty years. Age sucks. Except for experience.

I'm a long way from 25 and I've noticed that practicing yoga has helped my balance and agility immensely...

And in the construction trades, where you're climbing around on beams or rooftops - people often find they aren't comfortable doing that once they hit their 40s or 50s.

So it's not just me ??!!

I'm entering a new trade at 54. Lot's of time on a ladder in my coop training position.

I was kind of caught by surprise at my lack of balance. When I was in my 20's I worked as a carpentry framer which often put me on a 3 1/2 inch 2X4 sometimes as high as 3 stories.

Any lack of balance I feel (at age 43) is due to the gargantuan size of my posterior. I need to get back to my weight from my 20's.

"Our readership here isn't ready for bicycling."

I suspect that, too, may be a function of age. While there is a mix of younger readers and posters here, my impression is that we are predominantly of the over 40 persuasion.

In addition, bicycles are not useful in rural areas like this one with hilly gravel roads.

I think it could be said that mainstream US is not ready for cycling.

What I see so far is a good start - some folks wanting to bike commute, more bikes on the road. That's a good thing.

But compared to the vast number of automobiles there is still a long, long way to go. The old objections: I don't feel safe (either just riding or riding with other vehicles), it's too hot, it's too cold, what if it rains, I need to wear nice clothes for work, what if I need my car during the day, what about my baby, where do I put my Starbucks cup - these questions have not been answered to the satisfaction of the vast majority of drivers.

What we see are the few folks that are thinking with their wallets and realize that they can ride their bike cheaper than they can drive their car. How many of them are commuting 60 miles each way? Or 100? How do they get to the airport when they are leaving on a trip? The first blizzard, will they be back in their car? Or when it's over 100 degrees out (like it is here this week) or just really wet and rainy?

I'm not complaining, but just like any other alternate energy, early adopters are great, but we gotta build the numbers.

Finally, you might be surprised at the number of "over 40" cyclists. They just tend to be less flashy than the younglings.

We had a meeting last winter as the county was preparing a county-wide map showing bike routes, and they wanted input from the community about routes that bicyclists were actually using. There was a fellow there from the county (no spring chicken himself) who was surprised by the large number of greybeards present. My comment was something to the effect that you do the high-impact stuff when you are young and you heal quickly...

If you take a couch potato who hasn't ridden a bicycle in decades, yes, it takes a while before they are in a good enough shape that they could ride a bicycle any distance. That isn't to say that it is impossible - you just need to set appropriate expectations, and let them build up the distance and speed.

Cycling to the airport, or train station
I've been experimenting with multi-modal transport for last 3 years.

3 or 4 days of clothes fits into a small backpack, plus laptop, charger, and other stuff. I strap the backpack onto the bike rack and cycle to Logan Express bus terminal (16 miles). I get there 20 minutes early, lock up the bike, change in the men's room, and hang the bike clothes on the bike's handlebar and top tube, cover it all with a poly tarp and tie it down. Take the bus to Logan Airport.

Last week I tried the train to Wash.DC for the first time. Cycled to Westwood (Route 128 / I-95 station SW of Boston (33 miles). Same routine when I arrive: lock it up, change clothes, tie tarp over bike and catch the train.

Washing up in the men's room is fine for dealing with most bicycle-induced sweat, never had a complaint in many years of commuting to work.

If you're traveling more than 3 days, start washing your clothes on the road (hotel room sinks etc. or hotel laundry service). The backpack is always carry-on so no charges for checking luggage.

- Dick Lawrence

In addition, bicycles are not useful in rural areas like this one with hilly gravel roads.

That is America speaking, spend a little time in Latin America or Africa and you will find that millions of people find bicycles very useful in rural areas with hilly gravel roads (only gravel if you are lucky otherwise mud or dust, but the bikes still roll). Everywhere people with sufficient wealth usually choose motorized transportation, but billions move under body power every day across the planet.


My wife and I used to bike 40+ years ago when a 10 speed was hot stuff. Now, pushing 70 and in the mountains, there is no way in hell that I would even attempt biking to town (15 miles away). I watch fit, bike tourists on the highway and even they are killed by the hills. I'd like to watch them make the final 3 miles to my house from the state highway on a dirt and gravel road that climbs 1,500' - after riding to town.

I personally think that Mopeds are the more likely alternative transportation vehicle.


Edit to add - I think it is also important to realize that there are different realities, i.e., not everyone lives in an urban or quasi-urban area. I live in the boondocks. My needs are different. I "need" a large 4x4 truck to haul firewood and get out and back (most of the time) when it snows. However, unlike most urban/suburban residents, I can provide my own water, my own heat, my own power, a lot of our food and I'm not asking for tax dollars to maintain my road.

As I've noted before, I'll convert things to wood gas including the truck...and a generator to run electric chainsaws if gas isn't available.

There is also the reasonable wariness of falling. When you're 20, a spill is embarrassing. When you're 80, it's life-threatening. In between it's a continuum.

Certainly an overweight 40-year-old will look a bikes differently than a skinny 20 year old.

Those over 40 have lived through some changes and seen the hype of each year come and go a few more times, and they are less likely to jump on fads as well. Sure, they may be happier with the status quo, but they've got 20 years of butt-busting work invested in that, whereas the 20 year old has no real investment in anything except (hopefully) an education.

I agree. I'm 42, and I bought a bicycle 3 years ago intent on using it to commute (6 miles, some hills). I'm not in horrible shape, but not in great shape either. But, I do have a "syndrome" called chronic lymph adema that causes noticable swelling in my legs, to the point that bending them at the end of the day is painful and physically problematic (think: bending a garden hose full of water). I found out the hardway, after a few weeks of trying one-or-two days a week, that riding a bike is possible but very unpleasant--and not simply because I break a sweat.

So, all you bike-pushers out there: cut some of us some slack, and we won't run you over on our scooters. :)


So when did you see me on my bike?

I live and bicycle-commute in central Minneapolis, which has a very nice (and expanding) collection of cross-town limited-stop bicycle paths (they're like mini-freeways, with exit ramps and everything!). I have noticed a definite up-tick in the number of people using the paths and bicycling in general-- mostly younger people as others have mentioned.

I think it is going to be an interesting period of adaptation. I am one of the generally-law-abiding bikers, but of course a lot of people aren't, they blow through stop signs and don't signal passes or turns, and it wasn't a problem until now. Now, everybody (including me, who apparently needs to remember to signal even when I'm on bike-only paths!) is having to take the whole thing more seriously, I've had no collisions but more near misses than before. And people still don't entirely think of the paths as highways: you still see people stopped chatting in the middle of the bicycle freeway.

We'll know we've arrived when they start having to put actual traffic signals at the grade crossings (although we do have four-way stops already, finally). That will probably be awhile. For those who haven't had the opportunity to try it, urban bicycling on a limited-stop path is GREAT, and when other cities get limited-stop routes, I bet they'll have traffic pick up too. (Our paths, like most, are in old rail corridors, which are also being "set aside" by the county for future transit expansion.)


Could always be something like this... (a flying motorbike)


What would be really clever would be a device which can link several bikes together, 2 wide and three long. Ideally it would also act as an aerodynamic shell and provide some motive power. Then put it on rails. :)

First, Surely(Shirley) has nothing to do with it.


Second, see The Unruly Power Grid

Worse than bridge infrastructure in that no one is tasked to
upgrade it.

We can generate all the electricity we want but there is a finite amount of FF.

Yes this has been talked about a lot but ignored by the folks predicting Mad Max III cause it sort of ruins the whole thesis. here are some numbers. No arm waving necessary.

Gasoline Car Math:

Current US Car fleet is about 250 million vehicles about 60% passenger cars and 40% light trucks, SUV etc.

Fleet fuel mileage is about 20MPG

Total Vehicle Miles Traveled per year ballpark 2.8 trillion (The gov published vehicle miles traveled for trucks buses and car and this is around 3 trillion per year so I knocked off some to get to cars)

Total gasoline 390 million gallons per day. (per EIA rounded up actual is less now)

At 20 MPG 7.8 billion miles per day or 365 * 7.8 = 2,847 billion miles per year which is around the estimates from the DOT vehicle miles per year.

GM volt math:
The first 40 miles of driving per charge is on the battery so no gas.
It takes 8KWH of electric to fuel the battery to this level. (the Imiev claims a distance of 100 miles from the same charge but is a much smaller and less powerful car and perhaps not big enough so will stick with the more conservative GM claim)

Operating Cost Comparisons:
Current cost at 20MPG and $4 gasoline is 20 cents per mile.
At 10 cents per KWH (average US retail price) 40 miles is 80 cents or 2 cents per mile.

Energy Efficiency:

1 KWH (kilowatt hour) = 3.6 MJ (mega joules)
.2 KWH = .72 MJ = 1 mile traveled in Volt
1 Gallon Gasoline = 132 MJ per gallon
6.6 MJ per mile in gas car
6.6 / .72 ~ 9 times more efficient energy use in Volt than average car

Electrical energy needed to replace 100% of vehicle miles assuming all electric:

7.8 billion miles per day * .2 KWH / mile = 1.56 billion KWH per day

1GW Power plant produces 1 million KWH per hour or 24 million KWH per day. Put in some down time and you get maybe 20 million KWH per day. Leaving out peak effects it would required about 80 1GW Power Plants to provide enough electrical energy to fuel the entire car fleet assuming it ran on battery power.

Power Plant Costs:
AP1000 (Westinghouse) $1.4 per watt to build (ex regulatory madness) So ballpark $100 billion dollars (few months in Iraq so a no brainer)
Average US operating Costs per nuclear KWH is 2 cents. Of the 2 cents .5 cents is fuel with .2 of the .5 cents being actual uranium cost.

So the math is pretty straight forward.
If you electrify the US car fleet you cut oil consumption nearly in half.

If you simply replace existing cars at the new car run rate it would take about 8 years to replace half the fleet though in reality newer cars are driven disproportionately more to older cars so you would probably replace significantly more than half the gas usage if you replaced half the fleet.

There is very little that actually needs to be done to get this going. The battery technology exists and will only get better. The power generating side also existing and it too is getting better (Westinghouse has announced plans for a 1.7 GW version of the AP1000)

The only real impediments to this process are political. If this was outlined clearly to the American people I believe it would take on a life of its own especially if the car production was moved onshore. If I was running someones political campaign this would be my sole platform. If we cut our oil imports by 9 million BPD over the next 10 years a lot of our foreign policy will take care of itself.

BTW, taken to conclusion around the world this will also end greenhouse gas emission and the whole global warming problem.

Stupidly simplistic.

Recharging will not be flat 24 hours/day.

AP1000 (Westinghouse) $1.4 per watt to build (ex regulatory madness)

is to put it mildly, "overly optimistic". See Finland for more realistic costs. And it is Toshiba now, not Westinghouse.

Building 100 new nukes (8 the first decade) will take decades.

And extra grid required for extra demand ?

BTW, reducing demand (much more efficient a/c for example) is a more realistic source of electricity for much of that new demand for the first decade (besides 7 or 8 new nukes and new wind). Conservation (especially for HVAC) ALSO frees up grid space :-)


Simplistic yes, but I see his numbers as a useful thumbnail sketch for the order-of-magnitude issues involved. Nevertheless, it gives us some rough ideas on the scale of the potential effect on oil consumption of electrifying the automotive fleet and the amount of new nuclear capacity to power it. Is building 250,000,000 EVs and 100 nukes to power them the BEST way to go... that's another question!

Stupidly simplistic.

Simplistic yes. Stupid no.

Not every solution points to trains.

Copper = increasingly scarce
Aluminum = "solid electricity"
Let's see the back-of-envelope for turning all that SUV scrap iron into motor windings.

And I think you're being disingenuous by comparing our 20mpg avg. fleet with idealized low-power, lightweight EV's. How would the cost of that electric solution compare with putting everybody into a Honda CRX HF? No electrons needed.

He made it clear repeatedly that it was a ball park, i.e. simplistic calculation. I think it was a pretty good job on this basis and also think it's a little insulting to call it stupid.

I am willing to withdraw stupid, but his costs are not within an order of magnitude, but about an order of magnitude too low.


In addition to generation and transmission, perhaps the weakest link for EVs is the distribution system. Distribution feeders (the wood poles on your street or underground cables beginning at a substation and are radial in nature) are the weakest link in electric reliability. Feeders are typically designed for planned peak loading and a bit of extra margin. Overloads on feeders are a non-trivial source of un-reliability. I have a difficult time envisioning how the existing distribution system could accommodate many EVs. This is one of the concerns of the CT DPU. Somebody has to pay for the reinforcements on the distribution side and it will dwarf the generation or transmission costs to support EVs.

"Modern" suburbs with underground distribution are extremely difficult to upgrade.

Rural lines are quite expensive as well per customer.


Left out a much more than a ton of infrastructure there, raw materials required for all of this, new demand on batteries, skyrocketing copper cost, ohh and don't forget inflation, the cost of all this stuff now is a moot point, it WILL be more expensive in the future. This will end greenhouse emissions, really, that just shows off some profound ignorance, because all the energy required to make the batteries and cars and power plant and grid augmentations will come from where, clean green mean wishful thinking, I think not. You didn't even get the tip of the tip of the iceberg of the infrastructure demands and cost.

Sigh, nobody realizes what all it takes to make these things, you'd think factories produce things out of mid air...

For the daily cost of the Iraq War ($343,000,000 per day), 9,800 homes could be electrified with 4kW solar electric systems each day. For the yearly cost of the Iraq War ($125,000,000,000 per year), 3,557,000 homes could be electrified with 4kW solar electric systems each year. For the total appropriated cost of the Iraq War ($607,000,000,000 through FY08), 17,342,857 homes could have been electrified with 4kW solar electric systems.

Sources and Calculations:

*Congressman Murtha on the daily cost of the War in Iraq: http://www.murtha.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=393&Itemid=1
*Congressional Joint Economic Committee on the total appropriated cost of the War in Iraq: http://www.jec.senate.gov/Documents/Releases/11.13.07IraqReportRelease.pdf

Number of Residential Solar Electric (PV) Systems Installed
- $8.75 per Watt Installed is the current cost of residential solar electric systems
- 4,000 Watt Solar Electric System installed is $35,000 ($8.75 x 4,000)
- $343,000,000 / $35,000 = 9,800 Residential Solar Systems Installed Per Day
- $125,000,000,000 / $35,000 = 3,577,000 Residential Solar Systems Installed Per Year
- $607,000,000,000 / $35,000 = 17,342,857 Residential Solar Systems Installed through FY08

Calculating Total Solar Electric Power Production
- Total System Size (kW) Installed per Day for $393 Million = 39,200 (4kW x 9,800 systems)
- Total System Size (kW) Installed per Year for $1.25 Billion = 14,308,000 (4kW x 3,577,000 systems)
- Total System Size (kW) Installed through FY08 for $607 Billion = 69,371,429 (4kW x 17,342,857 systems)

- Hours of "Peak" Sunlight per Day = 4.47 (From NOAA Database)
- Conversion Efficiency = 0.77 (Industry standard assumption)

- kW-Hours (kWh) per Day Generated for $343 Million = 134,922 (kW Installed per Day x Peak Sun Hours per Day x Conversion Efficiency)
- kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion = 49,246,705 (kW Installed per Year x Peak Sun Hours per Day x Conversion Efficiency)
- kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion = 238,769,520 (Total kW Installed for $607 Billion x Peak Sun Hours per Day x Conversion Efficiency)
- kWh Generated per Year for $607 Billion = 87,150,874,800 (kWh per Day Generated for $607 Billion x 365)

- MW-Hours (MWh) Generated per Day for $343 Million = 135 (Total kWh Generated per Day for $343 Million/1000)
- MWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion = 49,247 (Total kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion/1000)
- MWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion = 238,770 (Total kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion/1000)
- MWh Generated per Year for $607 Billion = 87,150,875 ((Total kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion/1000) x 365)

Solar Electric Power produced over 30 Years
- 9,800 PV Installations in kWh/Year x 30 Years = 1,477,401,156 (kWh Generated per Day for $343 Million x 365 days x 30 years)
- 3,577,000 PV Installations in kWh/Year x 30 Years = 539,251,421,970 (kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)
- 17,342,857 PV Installations in kWh/Year x 30 Years = 2,614,526,244,000 (kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)

- 9,800 PV Installations in MWh/Year x 30 Years = 1,477,401 ((kWh Generated per Day for $343 Million x 365 days x 30 years)/1000)
- 3,577,000 PV Installations in MWh/Year x 30 Years = 539,251,422 ((kWh Generated per Day for $125 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)/1000)
- 17,342,857 PV Installations in MWh/Year x 30 Years = 2,614,526,244 ((kWh Generated per Day for $607 Billion x 365 days x 30 years)/1000)

And that's all professional, not DIY. DIY/Community-based build-out would reduce costs significantly.


Back of the envelope calculation, just for fun...

Duracell quotes 13 amp hours for a D cell.

At 1.5V, that's 19.5 watt hours, or .0195 MJ,

That means that it takes 6769.23 D cells to contain the same energy as 1 gallon of gasoline, and those D cells would weigh 2,073 pounds.


If you root in the archives at The Oil Drum, you'll find quite a bit of great work on the future of EV's has been done by one of the editors, Stuart Staniford.

The 2 most important are:

Powering Civilization to 2050
Four Billion Cars in 2050?

We need more coverage and exploration of the possibility for a downward spike in oil prices. These spikes have been predicted, but so far few have focused on the downward overshoot part of the spike.

Oil at $100-$145 has done a massive amount of damage to the economy. It looks like there has been about a 4% demand destruction so far in the US. This is roughly equal to the dumping of a million barrels of oil onto the market. Oil was $50 January 2007. The question is, how does demand now compare with demand from January 2007?

If there is a downward spike, sites like these are going to look awfully bad if they didnt see it coming. Public opinion will be that it was speculators that drove the price of oil, and it was SEC & congressional regulative actions that brought it back down. Peak oil will not be a part of the mainstream lexicon, and it is possible that peak oil will even be attacked and discredited as far as the mainstream media is concerned.

If oil drops to $60 in a short term spike, what would be the consequences? An unraveling of support for energy efficiency would be one. How about instability in oil exporting nations? What happens if they have to liquidate US bonds in order to make up for the shortfalls? After all they have already budgeted for $100+ oil. We could be looking at a major currency crisis if oil drops too far too fast.

I'm much more worried about $500 oil than $100 oil. We're just in the bumpy part of the downward sloping plateau.

As for speculation, society has alway had a need for scapegoats.

I don't think we can get to $500 oil without the dollar seriously depreciating in value. As is, $500 dollar oil would murder demand. Probably only half of production would get bought up.


According to the EIA data the USA is already post-peak for finished petroleum.


That the public would embrace a short-term fall to $60 as being permanent is unavoidable due to the public's propensity for wishful thinking. It would also be a demogogues' wet dream. These consequences are unavoidable.

The chances of anything but a very temporary fall to $60 are very remote, however. As an article posted above points out: "The sharp drop in oil prices from a record high earlier this month is probably temporary, but it would be worrying if it continued, the top oil official for OPEC member Libya said on Wednesday." Expect OPEC to curtail production if prices fall too far.

I just want to point out three things:

1. OPEC did exhibit great discipline in getting its act together and cutting production back in the 1970's and 1980's

2. It was a combination of falling demand and increased production from non-OPEC producers that finally broke OPEC's back at that time. An increase in non-OPEC production seems highly unlikely this go-round.

3. Even during the Great Depression, when the Texas Railroad Commission and Roosevelt administration eventually got their act together to curtail production, oil prices remained equal to or above pre-Depression levels...


How many times must I repeat this mantra?:

Oil is a commodity, its price has ups and downs.

Long term demand will exceed long term supply, thus the long term trend is up.

Thus, while oil prices will have their ups and downs, there will be more ups than downs, and the ups will be up more than the downs will be down.

I don't see anything that has happened or is happening now or has any real possibility of happening in the future that would make the above appear foolish. The only people who might appear foolish are those that have been claiming that a commodity whose price has previously fluxuated will henceforth be moving forever in a uniform straight line (of whatever direction).

This is a very sensible post. I recommend you post it more often, much like some of Westexas'.

WTI up almost 5 bucks...

If there is a downward spike, sites like these are going to look awfully bad if they didnt see it coming.

I've seen an awful lot of comments about the volatility of oil prices at the time period of peak/plateau. I think most here are covered.

Public opinion will be that it was speculators that drove the price of oil, and it was SEC & congressional regulative actions that brought it back down. Peak oil will not be a part of the mainstream lexicon, and it is possible that peak oil will even be attacked and discredited as far as the mainstream media is concerned.

People are (insert pejorative here). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7LgPGqurVM (They were thrilled to talk to: Newt, Don Young, Sean Hannity... and note a majority of Americans visiting the Mall in Wash. DC were in support of drilling.)

If oil drops to $60 in a short term spike, what would be the consequences?

Less work on solving our problems and more likelihood we won't.


Fresh Oil Leaks on Lower Mississippi from same barge

I failed to post yesterday, that shipping volumes had returned to pre-leak average (still slow bell, NOT unlimited volumes) yesterday after noon. Not enough to relieve backlog quickly, but slow shrinkage of backlog. Previous 24 hours had been half that. Today was expected to see further volume and speed increases.

An hour or two ago, additional volumes of oil were released from one of the barge halves. Few details. Potable water intakes shut down.


This Dutch Clingendeal Institute should be ashamed of itself reporting about shortages in 2010 only now.

From their website:
"..Oil will no longer perform as a commodity but will instead be priced for its economic and strategic value, with the User Value of oil further divorcing cost from price"

Thanks PaulusP. That truly is a very insightful quote.

Yes, the people at Clingeldael are very sophisticated, knowledgable and intelligent. That's why it annoys me they haven't rang the alarmbells in an earlier stage. I'm 100% certain they could have if they had just looked a little further than the IEA's anual outlooks.

PaulusP -

That single sentence is just loaded with all sorts of implications.

I think it is consistent with the notion that the whole infrastructure that enables the extraction, refining, and distribution of oil may someday soon be treated more as a public utility rather than as an industry selling a product on an open market.

Just as you don't compete with other users when you buy potable water from your local water company (can you just picture what it would be like to bid on monthly 'water futures'), the day may come where the entire US oil industry will take on the form of a regulated utility.

Such a development would go hand in hand with some form of oil rationing. Rather than rationing by price set by an increasingly volatile market, there could be some sort of a system whereby each person or household would be allowed a certain monthly gasoline allotment, which would be tradable. This would essentially put a cap on gasoline usage. The price of the gasoline might be set at its production and distribution cost plus a fixed profit margin, or some variation thereof.

Socialist? Too much power to an already too-powerful government? Yes to both, but that's what the US did during the emergency called World War II and it seemed to work. As I see it, I don't mind having my gasoline usage curtailled, but in doing so I don't want to become poor in the process while an oil industry become bloated rich. Right now the transfer of wealth from the general public to the national and international oil companies is unprecedented and probably not sustainable in its present form.

There are no doubt many things wrong with any rationing system, and I don't pretend that such a system will totally fix things, but I merely throw it out as one possible avenue that might eventually be taken.

RE: Giant chunks break off Canadian ice shelf

The really interesting part of this article is the comment toward the end from Gary Stern presently cruising the Arctic Ocean on the ice breaker Amundsen.

Stern said the Ward Hunt breakup is related to what he's seeing thousands of miles away.

He hasn't seen any ice in weeks. Plans to set up an ice camp last February had to be abandoned when usually dependable ice didn't form for the second year in a row.

The sea-ice melt this season isn't quite as dramatic as that last year, but that does not mean a return to previous norms.

E. Swanson

Exactly what I was going to post.

Everyone in charge of or specifically dealing with
these events are having to downplay them.

Err on the side of caution.

You see it all thru that article.

Here's another not unrelated event.

The Big Dry. People are linking this with California's
and blaming it on changing current/climate form the

Australia's in deep denial on this.

The 15th largest river system, the Murray-Darling is
scheduled for death in October.

"Australia Wheat Farmers Bet on Drought-Busting Crop"

This will be it for the Ozzies.

anything less than 15 MMT will change ag in Australia forever.

The banking system is straining to keep farmers going for one more year.

"The Murray-Darling Basin is the lifeblood of the Australian economy and society, sustaining 40 per cent of the nation’s food and irrigating 70 per cent of the land."

And I had to look hard to find this:

"There is some very big crop downside depending on the rainfall," Gavin Warburton of Australian Crop Forecasters said. "It could go either way at the moment."
Using a yield model that integrates the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for drier than normal conditions from the state of Western Australia through to Victoria, the crop may come to only 19 million tonnes, according to ACF. Most forecasts are based on normal weather conditions.
The decline could be even greater than this, Warburton said.
"We face some very big downside," he said."


Apart from the ever recurring and probably more frequent droughts there are 2 major problems with restoring the Murray-Darling basin to some sort of health.
(1)The basin is part of 4 states.Under our federal system it has been,and still is,difficult to get agreement on concerted action.Parochialism gone mad.
(2)At present there is a lot of resistance in state,federal and agricultural circles to carrying out the one glaringly obvious solution - buy back the majority of water licences.This would kill a lot of industries but some of them will die anyway but take the rivers with them if nothing is done.
Basicly,the whole mess is the result of ignorance,greed and cornucopian thinking going back to the 40s and 50s.

Hello Thirra,

I long ago posted that the truly logical basis for geo-societal control and organization is to match govt boundaries to the watershed boundaries.

Having the maps drawn willy-nilly only guarantees future conflict. For example: demarcation of the state lines down the middle of a river only sets up future pissing contests for water rights. We have already seen numerous weblinks on these problems: Colorado River, Georgia-Tennessee, etc.

"Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over"

Does this mean that St. Louis and New Orleans fight over who should be capital of Louisiana ?

Pittsburgh County (or is it Parish ?), Minneapolis County, Montana County, Kentucky County and Oklahoma County :-)


Combine Nine Nations with various sub eco systems, eco regions
and watersheds.

Watersheds being "counties" and niches being group of families.

But civilization always tends to Heirarchy.

In this case the arbiter of disputes would eventually gain
centralized control.

This will be it for the Ozzies.

Please, it's 'Aussies', not 'Ozzies'. Pronounced with Z's, but spelt with S's.

"The Murray-Darling Basin is the lifeblood of the Australian economy and society, sustaining 40 per cent of the nation’s food and irrigating 70 per cent of the land."

We're already seeing upstream inflows fully 50% of the worst-ever inflows previously recorded. Not looking good at all, and no one will take the necessary measures to do anything about it. :(

More expensive gas and electricity for UK users as British Gas has just announced that it's raising prices again for UK customers.

British Gas bills to rise by 25pc for millions

Millions of British Gas customers will have their energy bills hiked by 25pc this winter, as the company grapples with the rising cost of energy in the UK.

Soaring wholesale energy prices means that between 8.5m and 9m British Gas customers will see large increases in their bills over the next six months.

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, plans to pass on wholesale gas and electricity prices which have seen its profits plunge by 68pc in the six months to the end of June.

However, British supermarkets are still engaging in a price-cutting war over petrol, with Walmart's UK arm 'Asda' dropping prices.

Asda fuels petrol price war

The supermarket fuel price war continued today as Asda announced it will cut petrol and diesel prices for a second time.

Unleaded will fall by 2p to 111.9p per litre, and diesel will drop 4p to 124.9p. The prices will apply nationally at all the store's 171 forecourts across the UK from tomorrow.

Asda's action follows a cut of 3p on diesel and unleaded announced last week - which swiftly provoked similar drops from Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

The British Gas rises are 9% on Electricity, 35% on gas. Gas was already up 15% in January.

Consumers were recently warned of 40% rises being possible, but hooray it's only 35% up!

Time to get busy with that DIY solar water heater and buy some jumpers.

Read between the lines and it's even worse.

British Gas Raises Energy Bills

The UK's biggest domestic energy supplier said that the price hikes would take place with immediate effect.

It blamed "soaring wholesale energy prices", but added that standard tariff prices would not rise again in 2008.

Centrica said the average dual fuel bill for a British Gas customer would go up by 25% - putting the average household bill at about £1,250. This is the second increase this year, after a 15% rise in bills in January

Yes that's right. A guarantee of no further rises in the next 5 months - how generous. Looks like they plan another big hike January 2009.

We are looking in to installing an air or ground source heat pump. A much better bet than solar heaters in our climate.

Pickens on his energy plan

You gotta love the guy. Despite all his warts, he's the only person of any stature talking anything but populist demogoguery.

And even though environmental issues are not on page #1 with him, he is nevertheless pushing a clean alternive--wind.

This is important because if he adhered to the oil company party line, it would take us down a very ugly road, that is towards coal, oil sands and uncontrolled drilling in environmentally sensitive areas.

Probably has nothing to do with the acerage he owns out in West Texas. Nope, nothing at all...

Nor does Pickens' calling ethanol a "bad" fuel have anything to do with his being an oil man. Funny how oilmen think a fuel which depletes and which we will run out of one day is a "good" fuel. And that some how ethanol, which is renewable, is unsustainable and "bad". Clearly gasoline is unsustainable if anything is.

Why does a renewable fuel have to meet sustainability requirements that gasoline/diesel can not meet? Because it can't scale up? Neither can gasoline or diesel in a post Peak Oil world. All they can do is scale down post Peak. We will no longer have the luxury of scaling up indefinitely with ethanol, gasoline or diesel in the future.

Ethanol critics cite studies that are funded by oil money which compare oil which when it is burnt up is all gone with a renewable fuel and then call the renewable fuel "bad" because it does not have EROEI returns comparable to oil. But what good is a high EROEI if the oil is all gone?

Good and bad are value judgements and are not objective. What Boone thinks is bad, farmers in 21 states think is good. Does that make the farmers wrong. I don't think so.

Boone Pickens and Bod Dole are not gods, fortunately. They are human and subject to the same biases and reasoning errors as anyone else. And comparing apples and oranges is the main error of ethanol critics. Comparing things that are different proves nothing, good or bad.

And ethanol does not scale. You have been told this repeatedly. The math has been thrown in your face over and over, yet you return almost daily here to repeat the same ethanol propaganda over and over. The technique of the "big lie" was exposed for what it really is a long time ago, x. Better try a different propaganda technique.

Ethanol will scale to the level it is required Grey - 30% of current US gasoline consumption.

'Ethanol propaganda'... ROFL.

"The intrusion of bioethanol on the market is alone responsible for 40% of the rise in price of oil" - Chakib Khelil, President of OPEC.

because if all the oil is gone you cant produce ethanol on any sort of scale except with stills on farmers land, this comment is just full of it. Pickens is clearly referring to mass produced ethanol that affects food prices and provides absolutely no help in becoming independent from foreign oil or providing lower gas prices / joule. The Farmers will support ethanol because they can sell their corn at higher prices, does that mean it is good for society as a whole, I don't think so.


I certainly agree with you and GreyZone in regards to corn ethanol. It makes absolutely no sense thermodynamically, it is a moral travesty and the only thing that keeps it economically viable in the United States is a combination of subsidies and protective tariffs.

However, here's an opinion piece from Bogota's main daily newspaper admonishing ethanol oponents to not paint with too broad of a brush...


While admitting that corn ethanol is a disaster, it makes the case that sugar ethanol makes a lot more sense, which I think was basically Picken's point, which is that corn ethanol is not economically competitive with either gasoline or South American produced ethanol.

"And that some how ethanol, which is renewable, is unsustainable and "bad"."

Agriculture is arguably the most destructive technology of all. So in what way is ethanol "renewable"? It would only be so if we weren't also running out of water and soil.


Here is what worries me: When the news makes it increasingly clear that oil production is in trouble, which implies that our economy is in trouble, then people spend their time talking about how they're going to keep the cars running. As if that's the problem that requires a solution.

IMHO, the age of ubiquitous private powered vehicles is coming to an end. Cars helped put us in this unsustainable position, and trying to preserve the role of cars is just going to make the situation worse. It's time to make other arrangements. I think we have other things to be worrying about besides how to maintain our motoring fantasy for a few more years.

The real problem is going to be keeping an economy going. And by "economy" I mean a system that provides people with food, clothing, and shelter. There isn't anything that comes to me that didn't get here powered by diesel and/or gasoline. And I like to eat and stay warm in the winter.

Ed: Cars aren't going anywhere. It costs very little in gasoline to drive a car 5000 miles per annum-if you live somewhere and you cannot get by driving 5000 miles per annum, how are you going to make it without a car? My point is that the medium term future is urban/inner suburban areas jammed with cars and outer burbs falling down the slide.

Ultimately people will reach the point where they drive so little that going car-free makes sense. Rent a car when you need one for that trip once in a while.

But ultimately people will have to reach this point themselves. Try and tell them that they will have to give up their cars, and you are likely to receive a string of profanities as a response.

I think that most of the regulars that have been around TOD a while would agree with you. If we are at the end of the road, the future won't be like the past, at least, not like the recent past. What's really worry some is that the political structure in the U.S. apparently does not want to face the reality of the basic problem, since any serious effort to confront the decline in oil production will of necessity result in massive adjustments for many people. Our "Me First" voters aren't interested in working for the common good and will vote against any candidate or project which they think will hurt them in the short run.

The longer we (as a nation) wait to face the problems, the more difficult it will be to change. After the Arab Oil Embargo and the Iranian Crisis, we should have taken the hint and started down the road to a lifestyles based on low oil consumption. It didn't happen, perhaps because of Reagan and the Repug's who sold us on the idea that everything's OK, it's going to be "Morning in America(tm)" again if we just voted them into power. Well, the voters bought the message and we've wasted most of the past 28 years since. I can only hope that the voters have now "seen the light" and that we will see our candidates at all levels actually talk to the tube dwellers about energy and about what must be done.

E. Swanson

I agree with Science Ed's first two paragraphs, but it is important to address each root of the problem. Keeping the economy going is only part of the solution to sustainability. There is no long-term stability in an economy that neglects ecological and social aspects of life. We can no longer afford to drive, drive, drive (or drill, drill, drill) our way out of our problems. It is agonizing to hear the transportation department now complaining that they are losing funding because people are driving less. Their short-sighted, economic answer: get back in your cars and drive!!

In a time where a substantial number of the citizen's of the industrialized world are finally starting to wean themselves from their addiction to oil, we have the oil-pushers of the world trying to hold onto their addicts until the bitter end. I can only hope the demand for oil continues to fall and we have major social change on the way!

then people spend their time talking about how they're going to keep the cars running.

For every one person who posts here about how 'this magical electro-car will keep us going' there are readers who think 'no' and keep their own council. You have 30 comments in 2+ years as an example. Eventually, some give up (like theantidoomer - started with 'oh yea, personal transport is here to stay and now doesn't post all that often. We'll see if databungler has staying power)

Personal fast transportation with cargo capacity IS a damn nice thing - thus the loss will be felt.

The real problem is going to be keeping an economy going.

I'd say the big problem for Americans will be the desire of the government side to keep going as they always have/to compete with others who have more abundant FF reserves and they will tax the population accordingly.

"Cargo capacity" isn't really needed for regular civilians, unless as part of their job (tradesmen mostly).

It might seem like you need "cargo capacity" to shop, but that is because all of the retail outlets have organized themselves around car-users. They are BIG BIG BIG, and are thus fairly widely spread out. This allows them to sell for lower prices, as long as you have a vehicle to get there and carry the stuff away. In a pedestrian city, there are stores within walking distance, and you shop much more often, probably every day for food. In effect, Big Box Retail has eliminated the final step in the distribution chain, from local warehouse to retail. For larger items, like home appliances, you would have them delivered to your house.

In the five years I lived without a car in Tokyo, I never once -- not a single time -- had a "cargo carrying" issue. Two or three times a year, I'd have something delivered for $15 or so.

If you really need to haul something large (like a couch), then go to U-Haul and rent a cargo van.

I know a woman who bought a big FUV a few years back. She was even apologetic about it, saying that it was excessive, but there was this one trip a year that she made with some family, and for this one trip she "needed" the FUV.

At least for the next few decades, lots of people are going to need something that will enable them to make a trip to the grocery store and haul their purchases home - year round, regardless of the weather. If they have that, then they have most of their local transport needs covered. The same thing can also take them to the nearest mass transit node, if one is nearby enough. (Or help them abandon a home that is too far away from mass transit and relocate to someplace that is serviced.)

People do not need a Tesla or a Chevy Volt for what I have just described. Just about any NEV on the market right now will do the job. Lots of compacts and subcompacts could be converted to EVs, and enough lead-acid batteries put in the trunk, to do the job as well. Forget about freeway motoring, this is the likely future of the private motor car.

Why these comments? There will be plenty of gasoline available for such purposes. Trips to the grocery store would consume 100 gallons of gasoline per annum at most. Without a long commute, there is no need at all for an EV.

I typically walk 2.5 blocks (did so this morning :-) but sometimes as far as 7 blocks (the nearest WalMart or another store). Five places to make groceries within 7 blocks.


I walk 12 blocks to work and 8 blocks for grocery shopping. And, of course, I take recreational walks at lunch and on weekends.

If the weather is really bad, I take a bus. And, occasionally, I rent a car to drive in the mountains.

No car. Life is good.

I am in a position where I can telecommute whenever I feel like it. I can bicycle commute as well, but the extreme distance (37 miles round trip) mean that I don't do it that often.

(like theantidoomer - started with 'oh yea, personal transport is here to stay and now doesn't post all that often. We'll see if databungler has staying power)

Having been a participant on web boards for many years, and being familiar with what goes on, I have to ask, does Datamunger = Antidoomer? We'll get denials of course, but I have seen this happen on many boards before where people morph into another person when they feel they are "persecuted" or "unappreciated". It also gives them an opportunity to drag out the same old stuff in a different package.

considering antidoomer was posting yesterday, I don't think so.

That makes no difference Greg, a person can have two accounts and post from both of them on the same day. I don't know if he would need two computers to do that but many people have two, especially if their job requires a computer.

maybe, but in my experience, unless you see a great deal of evidence that someone "showed" up just to support another poster, you're grasping at straws trying to link the two to the same person.

I've seen situations on other boards where a person would post something and use the other personality to agree with it. It would get funny when these people would get confused as to who was who.

They are called lawyers.


Yes people in my profession are trained to look at both sides and argue for them and people generally hate us for that, it's understandable sometimes I don't like myself. Look at The Chimp Who Can Drive people don't seem to like him either. But I'm also an engineer which helps me to have a little more self respect. And I am growing my own garden too--thanks to this site--got some nice Roma Tomatoes coming ripe soon. I'm really loving it--and so is my belly!

I've never logged in as anything but Patently Oil though and like most here I'm just trying to make sense of the events of the day.

By the way, my personal view is that you are fighting the good fight Westexas. Your Export Land argument was brilliant and we all see now how correct you were. A little early on Russia but you are now vindicated there too. Saudi remains to be seen.

Here is how I see things:

In my opinion, EVs won't be big because people won't buy many of them. Suburbia is dying--for many reasons besides cars. Most suburban houses are owned by Boomers and eventually they won't want to keep them as they get older. Young people won't buy suburban houses as there is more entertainment in the city--not to mention with student loans they will have a hard time coming up with a down payment. Young people are marrying later and starting families later and families are smaller--who needs a big house and what family can afford it when prices for everything else are up? Tight credit means choosing between bread & circuses or a big house & 2EVs--they will choose bread & circuses every time. All these underwater people will get tired of paying for a depreciating asset and will keep new buyers away. Those burned in the housing bust won't forget it and will shun expensive housing. Living in the city will be the new status--television shows are already reflecting this. Commute times have peaked--who wants to spend 2 hours of every day commuting whether in an EV or ICE car especially when both parents need to work? Why not live closer to your job? I can internet shop AND traditional shop in the city without having to wait for a bus or shell out big bucks for an EV.

In my opinion, Alan Drake's plan of electric rail makes the most sense combined with bicycles, scooters, and small EV or ICE cars on a limited basis. In fact, this is pretty much how Europe functions today.

Now, this is what I would like to see, but what I want doesn't matter--I will keep watch to see what happens. When I say real money will pour into alternatives if oil stays high I mean real money--governmental money. I don't see government getting into the car making business I see them getting into the power generation and infrastructure business.

The situation today is interestingly similar to the end of the 1920's. A real estate bust in 1926 and a stock market crash in 1929. At that time, private industry shrank and government expanded in the 1930's via the New Deal. Government provided employment for all the newly unemployed workers and set them on building canals, dams, and other public works projects. This hurt private industry for a long while--as evidenced by the stock market--as taxes increased to finance these projects hurting corporate profits. Once the investment in infrastructure was made, however, later generations could benefit.

But that's why the government steps in--infrastructure isn't profitable--but laying good infrastructure creates a backdrop for industry to thrive again. In this case, new infrastructure needs to be made and technology needs to develop--solar, windmills, public transportation, tighter cities surrounded and fed by local organic farms, more shipping by rail and boat, etc. And hopefully people wake up and realize that we need to close the circle and stop looking at the Earth as a place to exploit and as a place to live--think like the Saudi king--and realize we need leave a little bit for our grandkids and the other species on this planet. I personally don't want to live here if the only animals we have are chickens and cows.

The only thing that has shown to curb population growth which is the root cause, however, is affluence. Because once you have affluence then people have time for education and money for birth control and birth control and the education of women is the only way to reduce fertility rates. And you give them a job--something to do besides pop out babies and other pleasurable activities so that one can have other pleasures in life besides having a family. Plus, you give them security that they will be taken care of in old age without having children.

I'm no fan of our consumer culture, but affluence can be measured in many different ways. Personally, I would say Nate is much more affluent than a suburbanite with a big house and two SUVs since he doesn't have to spend all his time working for and maintaining his property. He has what he needs and spends his time doing what he cares about. So who is really more affluent? Europeans get six weeks vacation, but don't have as big of houses or cars. Who is richer? In my opinion, elimination of our consumer culture won't make us poorer, even though it will feel that way, we will better appreciate the things we already have and maybe share a little more with those who really need them.

Now that is the hopeful side of me, the other side of me realizes that humans are pretty good at messing things up, can be prone to serious violence, and we may have already passed our own tipping point. We need to be careful.

And so the inner Doomer v. Antidoomer continues to clash. I hope Anti wins, but Doomy packs an awful punch.

I'm on a list where one posts as five. We 'lovingly' refer to him as "Sybil."

I think Datamunger is considerably smarter than Antidoomer, and a sharper critic of others.

Now that you point that out, I believe you are right. Sorry for the insult Datamunger.

I agree.

Meh, while I agree Datamunger is a smart guy, if you're judging intelligence based on postings in a oil discussion forum where some have LOTS of time to post, and other have real jobs, then I can't help you.

I think Datamunger is considerably smarter than Antidoomer, and a sharper critic of others.

And much more verbose, and with a much higher mathematical bent. This thread is bordering on ridiculous...

This thread is bordering on ridiculous...

Hey I am with you there, for a site and its 'expert posters' that are trying to be taken seriously, this thread reeks of pettiness.

I have to ask, does Datamunger = Antidoomer?

Meh, does it matter?

t also gives them an opportunity to drag out the same old stuff in a different package.

If so, I'm all for letting 'em waste others time. No one wants to see my same rebuttals of the same tied postings of the stuff. I've got a garden and bees to attend to.

It would be nice if they could mix it up - cite John Stadtmiller that cold fusion is real and that's why platinum/paladium is going up in price.

I think the "magical electro-car" bunch are giving me elevated blood pressure. Someone should stick a health warning on them :)

As for Science Ed's original comment:

The real problem is going to be keeping an economy going.

Seems to be a member of a sophisticated cargo cult called consumerism by the look of it. The real problem is how we live, the economy is something secondary that emerges naturally by us going about our daily lives.

The "economy" as most people now perceive it is a system which has been imposed upon people and directs how they live and what they do. The opposite of what a real economy should be. Everything the average person does is directed and controlled for the benefit of the system, the so called "economy". It is not natural and its not beneficial, in the same way that slavery isn't natural or beneficial for slaves.

So the real problem is how we escape from the failing artificial economy of today and get back to living like human beings. Of course the wonderful thing is that people can get on with it right now, no need to wait for anyone to do anything but yourself. Just pillage whatever you can from the dying carcass of the artificial economy without being tied or attached to it. Assume any benefits thus acquired from it are transitory. Avoid the "BAU by other means" crowd, they'll have us all back in chains before we know it.

Whoa...nicely done. Caused me to stop and think for a bit.


Meat causes more pollution than cars
and someone, on Bloomberg, talking about Kraft and Tyson,
said that Kraft had learned how to pass thru inflation and Tyson hadn't.

The real $$$ quote was him saying that if meat prices
didn't rise and quickly, then this time next year there wouldn't
be any meat in grocery stores.


His analysis shows how communities around the planet have been disempowered by a system that appears to offer an abundance of cheap food, but in reality dictates unhealthy and limited choices to an overworked and underpaid workforce that cannot afford any better. “The figure that often stuns people outside the US when I tour with the book is that 20% of American fast-food meals are eaten in cars. People are incredulous and ask: is that because Americans so love their cars? But living here you see how hard people work, for a pittance, with no healthcare, no decent education, not even a hint of a pension - so it’s not surprising that the one hot meal you eat a day you eat off your lap. That’s where the food system becomes a lifestyle.”

My wife saw an article in L.A. that said they were considering banning fast-food joints in poor neighborhoods because they made the people too fat. What a change, "Let them NOT eat cake!" is the new elitist perspective!

You know the saying, "There is nothing more dangerous than a highly motivated idiot."

Snide comments aside, poor areas of town have always had problems attracting decent restaurants and grocery stores. And without easy access to either one of those, people are reduced to eating a lot of fast food.

The big grocery chains don't want to be in those areas. Not enough money I guess. In the old days all parts of town had neighborhood grocery stores - it was cheap gas that killed them however. In time, they may come back again...

I recall that Los Angeles ran off a bunch of poor people growing food on unused real estate at the owner's insistence. If they're going to lose the fast food, how about letting them grow some slow food on the ruins of all the stores that are going broke?

He'd maybe be more tolerant if not for liability and adverse possession issues. Property rights ARE the basis for human rights.

I think you're talking about the South Central Farm. It was a little more complicated than that. It was taken via eminent domain, in order to build a plant that turned garbage into energy. They never built the plant, and instead turned into a community garden. The original owner had the right to buy it back if they didn't use it, and he invoked that right. The courts sided with him.

So it's not like it the owner wasn't using it. The owner couldn't use it, but he wanted to, so he had to evict them.

Coalition is seeking more offshore drilling

Lawmakers are proposing what I proposed here last week:

A Compromise on the Drilling Question

Their proposal, from the story in Leanan's link:

To win over lawmakers from coastal states, the proposal would turn over to the states a portion of what otherwise would be the federal government's take from offshore oil and gas production. And to entice lawmakers typically opposed to expanding oil and gas drilling, the measure would funnel a portion of the proceeds to alternative energy research, conservation and environmental cleanup.

My proposal to bring the sides together:

I think both sides would agree that a long-term solution to the problem could be a combination of conservation, along with alternative options such as higher efficiency vehicles, electric transport, and mass transit. I propose that we open up some of the more promising areas to exploration, and then devote the royalties to funding fossil fuel alternatives. We could subsidize public transportation. We could provide a tax credit of $1,000 for each person who purchases a car that gets over 40 mpg. We could borrow a page from T. Boone Pickens' plan, use these oil revenues to fund wind and solar power, and displace natural gas which could then be used to displace petroleum.

RR: Could you offer a guesstimate on the probable cost per barrel of this oil? Thanks.

It is going to vary all over the map. Some areas would still be too expensive to develop. The most economical areas are likely to be off the coast of California, but they are the areas least likely to be approved for drilling. ANWR would probably be the easiest from a technical standpoint, but because it is such an environmentally sensitive area, great care is going to have to be taken to protect the area. This will add costs.

The short answer? Some areas will be cheaper to develop than things like tar sands, which we are dumping a lot of money into, and which have far worse environmental consequences.

It would still be better if we were limited to drilling a fixed % of remaining reserves, as proposed in Kuwait.

1. It disarms quick-fix demagogues, because they can't deny that it would be good for their children to have some oil still left offshore.

2. It prevents the markets from, as usual, being overly optimistic (and pro-McCain) and plunging the price of oil under $100 before reality set in sometime after November.

3. It slows the environmental damage to a level we might actually be willing to deal with.

4. Every year it would get a little smaller.

Wouldn't it be nice if a "fix" would be apolitical, and not have electioneering as a key component?

I guess that's why I like Pickens -- he puts aside politics and environmentalism for the key priorities, energy and profits.

Wouldn't it be great if instead of giving out freebies to ignorant homeowners and their risky lenders we funded home conservation and efficiency gains? There is no cheaper energy source than conservation........

I guess that's why I like Pickens -- he puts aside politics and environmentalism for the key priorities, energy and profits

You certainly picked an appropriate on-line ID. Except cavemen placed a higher priority on environmentalism and a lower priority on profits.


LOL! I took a while coming up with this......certainly neocon doesn't fit!

Peak oil will make odd policy bedfellows, like Pickens and Gore, and for that matter probably me and you.

Your train plans are superb, and mesh nicely with wind and solar, which I and many others support. I may want cheap energy and a decent life for my kids, and you may want a eco-friendly sustainable city lifestyle, but we both want food and stability.

In the end that is why I have no hope for politics and every hope for business solutions. As long as you can make a plan that is mostly legal and can support a decent pay-back, somebody will be willing to fund it and build it.

And really that's my point about profits -- not for profit sake, but so that the technology and projects are viable and therefore scalable. Non-profitable ventures fall to the whims of fickle bureaucrats, and that's not good long term business. Take ethanol, for example.........

Speaking of Pickens, where lies the truth in terms of noise and property valuations near turbine farms? I hear lots of whining on the web, but nothing that seems like a unbiased analysis.

Viewshed is the biggest impact. Modern wind turbines are large and turn slow.

I was a Republican from age 19 till age 52 or so, when GWB cured me. But in the coming disaster collective action will work better than individual "every man & women for themselves".


I wish the government would give up the idea of spending billions to help pay the heating costs for poor people this year -And then next year and the year after that forever after - and spend the money instead on super-insulating those poor peoples houses so it would never again cost billions to heat those homes and the poor people could afford the minor heating costs themselves in the future.

"Some areas will be cheaper to develop than things like tar sands, which we are dumping a lot of money into, and which have far worse environmental consequences."

You are comparing possible (or maybe evan probable) sources that are a decade or more away from production with tar sands which are in production today.

One feeling that I consistently get when looking at supply/demand trends (especially ELM) is that we have completely run out of time for planning ideal solutions.

The endless debate currently going on in the US about offshore/ANWAR/shale (or whatever) is, IMHO, totally irrelevent and we will be in a major crisis long before any of these solutions could possibly have an effect.

Kunstler's "Long Emergency" is about to start and our policies for meeting it have been made (or not made) over the past twenty years.

My assumption is that the drilling is eventually going to happen anyway, one way or another, so we might as well try to cut the best deal we can now. It is going to take a lot of money for Alan Drake's EOT plan, and for deploying all of the wind and solar energy systems, this could be a promising source of funds if we play our cards right.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 25, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 15.2 million barrels per day during the week ending July 25, up 50 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 87.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 10.0 million barrels per day last week, up 199 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.0 million barrels per day, 123 thousand barrels per day above the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged about 1.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 121 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.1 million barrels from the previous week. At 295.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 3.5 million barrels last week, and are near the upper boundary of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and gasoline blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels last week but remain below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged nearly 20.2 million barrels per day, down by 2.4 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged nearly 9.4 million barrels per day, down by 2.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand has averaged about 4.2 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 4.0 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is 6.8 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

Does anyone know what is going on with Propane?

Yeah its going up.
Just got my pre-buy bill for the lifeboat...from $1.75 per gallon last year to $2.47 this year.
How do you say yikes and ouch at the same time?


And remeber - there is no price fixing or conspiracy.


BP has agreed to pay $303 million to settle civil charges that it cornered the propane market three years ago and inflated heating and cooking costs for about 7 million mostly rural American households, a source familiar with the accord said.

Figure out what it will cost to heat your house right now. Then figure out what it will cost to super-insulate your house. Then figure out what it will cost (if anything) to heat your super-insulated house.
You will find that puting money into super-insulation is a LOT better investment than putting it into propane.
Super-insulate now while it is still aomewhat affordable!

Price Elasticity of Demand
4 Week Averages 08 vs. 07 plus % YTD 08 vs. 07

Finished Motor Gasoline . . . 9,375. . . 9,606 . -2.4% -1.5%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel. . . . . 1,553. . . 1,667. . -6.8%. . -3.6%
Distillate Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . . 4,169 . . 4,008 . +4.0%. . -1.7%
Residual Fuel Oil. . . . . . . . . . . . 582. . . . . 667. -12.7%. -18.4%
Propane/Propylene . . . . . . . . . 1,005. . . . 968. . +3.8% . -3.8%
Other Oils . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,474 . . . 3,739 . . -7.1% . -5.7%

Total Products Supplied . . . . 20,156 . . 20,655. . . -2.4 -3.2%


And once again the EIA declines to use their revised consumption number (Product Supplied) for May that was published on their web site a couple of days ago. It was .7 million bpd less than the number they are using here.

How do you misplace 700,000 bpd for several weeks!!? And when you discover you have done it, how do you not immediately incorporate that finding into your next data releases!?!

The vast majority of nations use less than 700,000 bpd.

From Energy Intelligence:

More bearish demand data surfaced on Monday when the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported another downward revision of US petroleum demand. This time the EIA revised May figures down by more than 700,000 barrels per day, keeping up the trend of massive monthly downward revisions.


EDIT: I should add that they are using their 'massive downward revised' April figure.

Perhaps April and May have seen lower numbers but the summer driving season is pushing them right back up.
Right now there isn't the demand destruction that everyone expects to see.
IMO this price rise and subsequent drop has been largely engineered to make someone some big money.

A couple of weeks ago Kunstler published a letter from a reader who claimed that the Big Boyz took the gift from the Feds discount window and stuck it in commodities rather than make available for loans.
That scenario looks more and more convincing every day.
Stay tuned.

Hmmmm...who needs a lot of capital quickly to shore up their balance sheets?

How do you misplace 700,000 bpd for several weeks!!?

Because they're having to guess the figures.

As I've mentioned before, the EIA has great difficulty in getting an accurate product supplied number in the WPSR. First of all they have no survey data on exports. These are supplied by the US Census Bureau around seven weeks after the close of the reporting month, and consequently they have to use a model for petroleum product exports.

Secondly they have to pretty much guess product supplied numbers in the "other oils" category until they have the monthly survey data.

I'm not making excuses for the EIA, just giving the principal reasons for the discrepancy between weekly and monthly figures. The weekly product supplied data hugely overstated demand in March, April and May, so the obvious thing to do would be to adjust the export model - so far they don't appear to have done so.

I agree that the omission of the revised May demand number is perplexing, but no more so than many things the EIA does. If you create your own spreadsheets to understand how they compile their numbers you'll see that there are some glaring oddities in how they make year-on-year comparisons (Khebab would have a field day).

What I think is ironic once you drill down to understand how these numbers are compiled is that the whole world hangs on a thread waiting for this weekly release, even though the figures can be 4% or more away from reality. Crude is up nearly $5 today, supposedly on a single week's unexpected draw in gasoline. Yet we saw last year how inaccurate gasoline stocks are in the WPSR.

To be fair though, EIA staff are very responsive to any queries, and if my experience is anything to go by then you'll likely get a reply (eventually) to an email from the guy who actually compiles the data, and you can even call him to discuss your concerns. I have misgivings about many aspects of their output, but I have every respect for their sense of responsibility and commitment to getting the most accurate data they can given their resources.

Makes sense. In addition, you can't run an organization of that size without being somewhat saddled with processes that are cumbersome and can't be changed overnight without messing something else up worse. It did actually take them about a month before the revised April number began to be used in the weekly reports. In fact, it seems they wait until the revised number is published in the Monthly Energy Review (MER) before they use it in the weekly reports. The revised May number will appear in August's MER about a month from now.

I did send them an email awhile ago inquiring about whether they would provide a breakdown of the various components of "conventional liquids" in the International Energy Outlook tables. They do it for "unconventional liquids" but not for conventional liquids.

This is important because their High Price Case for conventional liquids in IEO 2008 shows a peak in 2010. But since conventional liquids includes natural gas plant liquids in additional to conventional crude, we know that their 2010 peak for conventional oil is sharper than what they show for conventional liquids as a whole. We knows this because they project NGPL to increase in the High Price Case, but I'm having trouble tracking down exactly how much.

So I emailed them (the lead author of the IEO). That was a month ago. No response.

Now, of course, those guys got a lot on their plate at the moment. The compete IEO is still not available and has recently been delayed til August. That's a first. They have never been so late before as far as I can tell. And this latest delay is the 3rd for this report if memory serves.

The released highlights of the IEO 2008 state that, based on recent oil price action, it appears the high price case is more likely than the reference case.

If they hold to this view and break out conventional crude separately, their base case will show a very clear near term peak in conventional crude (not a plateau).

Their high price case shows "all liquids" growing, so they are expecting NGPL and unconventional liquids (includes tar sands) to come onstream enough to more than offset the decline.

But until they break out conventional crude separately, this very clear near-term peak in conventional crude is not made explicit. At least some at the EIA have become stealth peak oilers. It could even be the dominant view.


I have to be careful what I say here, but my impression is that not everyone at the EIA is comfortable with the assumptions and projections made in the STEO and IEO.

It's obvious to all of us that these less regular EIA releases often don't seem to reflect current data trends. Whether the reasons are political or simply to cover past forecasting misjudgements, it's frustrating for professional statisticians who work at the agency to see such glaring inconsistencies.

California's numbers also just came out:

April 2007 April 2008 change
Gasoline + AV Gas 1,285,721,435 1,257,478,243 -2.25% Lowest since 2001
Diesel 249,509,391 230,152,121 -7.76% Lowest since 2001
Jet Fuel 12,441,025 11,667,987 -6.63% Lowest since 2004

Consumption numbers in gallons. This data are from excise tax collected at the point of sale.

The surprise drop in gas supplies suggests record oil prices haven't curbed U.S. fuel demand to the extent that some energy market experts had anticipated after crude spiked above $147 a barrel earlier this month.


Vermont's Unique Approach To Curbing Energy Use

In 2000, Vermont instituted an aggressive program to reduce statewide energy consumption. In the eight years since, it has proven to be one of the country's most innovative and successful conservation initiatives.


Eight years in, the statewide effort has made progress. But the state's energy demand also has been increasing year after year. Since the state's population has not grown drastically, it seems that the growth in electricity demand comes from individual households using more products that draw more electricity. So now, despite eight years with this ambitious program, Vermont is consuming more electricity than it was in 2000.

Domestic energy access

What a great example of mindless right-wing demagoguery.

Too bad the left is not free of the same lethal combination of witch hunting and false, optimistic promises.

Jeff Rubin was on CNBC this morning talking about falling exports from the Middle East because their internal consumption was growing so fast. (ELM) He said last year Middle East exports dropped by 700,000 barrels per day. He says in the next three to four years Middle East exports will drop by 1,000,000 barrels per day. He said: "Right now they are exporting as much oil as they will ever export."

However Larry Kudlow kept intrrupting him with "But shouldn't we Drill, Drill, Drill. Rubin wanted to talk about falling exports from the Middle East and all Kudlow wanted to talk about was drill, drill, drill. I wanted to throw a damn brick at him.

Here is the video: OPEC & Circle of Inflation

A look at what is now going on in the Middle East where OPEC's nations' oil consumption is on the rise, with Jeff Rubin, CIBC World Markets chief economist

Ron Patterson

A new abbreviation for our ever growing list: D3--Drill, Drill, Drill.

I did think that it was interesting that Kudlow didn't dispute the export model.

Well the important thing to take away from this, if Rubin is right, then exports are set for a precipitous drop because non-OPEC exports are currently dropping like a rock. Non-OPEC exports peaked in March of 2007 and have fallen by over a million and one half barrels per day since then.

That drop has been masked by OPEC's increase since that date. OPEC exports hit bottom at exactly the same time non-OPEC exports hit their peak. Since March of 2007 OPEC exports are up by 1,500,000 bp/d. Rubin is correct, OPEC exports were down last year but they are up again this year. And right now, he says, they are exporting as much oil as they will ever export.

And, I would add, right now non-OPEC nations are exporting more oil than they will ever export.

Ron Patterson

"then exports are set for a precipitous drop"

The same thing occurred to me, which of course would probably result in a continuation of the accelerating net export decline that we saw in 2007. I saw a brief comment on a Reuters story to the effect that August Russian exports are scheduled to show a big drop. In any case, I think that the story in 2008 is the Four Horsemen of the 2008 Net Export Decline--Russia & Norway; Venezuela & Mexico. I suspect that Saudi Arabia will show a renewed net export decline next year, but time will tell.

BTW, oil prices have fallen enough now that the average July price will be below June. Since May, 2007, we have not seen two months of back to back average monthly price declines, so it will be interesting to see what happens in August.

Adding a few visuals from the Energy Export Databrowser to westexas' Four Horsemen:

Note: vertical scaling is not uniform

Happy Exploring!

-- Jon

You may already be aware of it, but there was a brief release about Russian exports a couple of days ago. Might be worth jotting down the numbers to see how their forecasts pan out over the next three years.

The Economic Development Ministry revised down its forecast of Russian oil exports in 2008 to 249 million tonnes from an earlier forecast of between 251 million and 256 million tonnes, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach told reporters Monday.

The forecast of oil exports for 2009 was revised down to 255 million tonnes from 259 million tonnes, Klepach said. The ministry retained its forecasts of oil exports in 2010 and 2011 at 261 million tonnes and 262 million tonnes, respectively.
The ministry revised down its forecast of oil output to 492 million tonnes in 2008 from an earlier estimate of between 495 million tonnes and 500 million tonnes. The forecast of oil output in 2009 was revised down to 503 million tonnes from 507 million tonnes. The ministry did not change its forecasts of oil output in 2010 and 2011, as well as forecasts of gas output in 2008-2011, Klepach said.

The Moscow Times said 2007 production was 491.3 million tons, so the revised estimate conveniently keeps them ahead of last year (but only just). Certainly comes across as expectations management.

A new abbreviation for our ever growing list: D3--Drill, Drill, Drill.

In contrast to the militarist imperialist approach to oil supply development, e.g. Iraq: K3--Kill, Kill, Kill.

...all Kudlow wanted to talk about was drill, drill, drill.

Better than tossing a brick, we should explore the management chain. Who is directing Kudlow? What are their politics?

"I wanted to throw a damn brick at him."

I often have that feeling when watching the TV *news* - which is why I seldom watch it.

One of my favorite techno-fantasies is the creation of a new generation of "interactive television" that would allow physical feedback (say, for example, with a brick).

It would give some real meaning to the AT&T slogan:

"Reach out and Touch Somebody"

♫♬ "You deserve a brick today" ♩♪

"Reach out and Touch Somebody"
When I hear that 'slogan' I think of something else.

Poor Barney!
At least theres another dead dino to make oil out of.

The global economy is very strong, American suburbia is dying at $120 oil http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080730/luxembourg_earns_arcelormittal.html?.v=6

It will be a bitter pill for Americans to swallow if the economies of the rest of the world have indeed decoupled from that of the United States and prosper while that of the U.S. suffers.

IMO Peter Schiff has the best understanding of this-he is all over Youtube nowadays.

It's important to remember that high oil prices are causing pain everywhere -- in some places, extreme pain. Of course, in all parts of the world the winners in the globalization game are enjoying high times. See this month's National Geo for a story on Russia's newly prosperous.

PeakOil Tarzan,

Even within countries that are net exporters of oil, food stuffs and other raw materials there's a lot of pain--farmers in Saudia Arabia who can't afford fuel to run the pumps that water their crops, poor people throughout the world who are being squeezed by high food prices and high energy prices, etc.

There are many winners and many losers, but when it comes to sheer numbers of human beings, it seems there are a lot more losers than there are winners.

Haiti is one place which sprang to mind at the mention of 'extreme pain'. I know the country has many other problems which are compounding the effects of high oil and commodity prices, so it's not just the oil price. However, this article paints a shocking picture. Even mud cakes are not immune from inflationary pressure on prices.

Haiti: Mud cakes become staple diet as cost of food soars beyond a family's reach

As desperation rises so does production of mud cakes, an unofficial misery index. Now even bakers are struggling. Trucked in from a clay-rich area outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, the mud is costlier but cakes still sell for 1.3p each, about the only item immune from inflation. "We need to raise our prices but it's their last resort and people won't tolerate it," lamented Baptiste, the Cité Soleil baker.

Never fear. America has pimped enough bad debt onto the rest of the world to spread our disease worse than we did in 1929. Britain is in free-fall, France has joined the southern tier in bad news with Germany right behind. Japan is talking about a "technical recession" already.

However, when it comes to actual suffering, I think the US will be worst off in the 1st World because our way of life is utterly unrealistic and we have no fallback. Europeans still have their social safety nets - and more importantly they haven't been indoctrinated that a social safety net is for Commies. They have rail, 50 mpg cars, and bicycles. They won't all fry or freeze in the first power outage. We will quickly panic and look to throw each other out of the lifeboat.

A couple of quotes along similar lines...

It seems that it was in these 'backward' parts of the empire that people found it easiest to re-estabilish tribal structures and effective military resistance. This is a point of some interest, because it parallels a phenomenon we shall meet in Chapter 6, when looking at the economy. Sophistication and specialization, characteristic of most of the Roman world, were fine, as long as they worked: Romans bought their pots from professional potters, and bought their defence from professional soliers. From both they got a quality product--much better than if they had had to do their soldiering and potting themselves. However, when disaster struck and there were no more trained soldiers and no more expert potters around, the general population lacked the skills and structures needed to create alternative military and economic systems. In these circumstances, it was in fact better to be a little 'backward'.

Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization

The highly sophisticated industrial economy of the advanced nations of the world, the degree of urbanization of their demographic distribution, and the high standard of living, make them very sensitive to weapons of mass annihilation and area destruction. On the other hand, the underdeveloped areas of the world display a hardening of conflict when faced with such weapons and resort to guerrilla warfare, where man is superior to machine... People used to high material standards of living are most unlikely to harden their will in the face of mass annihilation and area destruction...

S.T. Das, from the The CADRE Digest of Air Power Opinions and Thoughts

Just got this from the Times of London, via Automatic Earth:

"The banking industry will be forced to take hundreds of billions of dollars of further writedowns on mortgage-backed securities after Merrill Lynch sold $30.6 billion (£15.5 billion) of collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) for only 22 per cent of their face value on Monday, according to a leading US ratings expert.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the financial groups that underpin America’s housing market, will be hit worst as they are forced into a combined writedown of about $100 billion, the Egan Jones Ratings Company believes."


"Merrill’s writedown lifted hopes that financial services firms were beginning to take action to draw a line under their sub-prime losses.

Those hopes boosted America’s stock markets, along with the announcement of strong second-quarter results by US Steel and a falling oil price. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up by 266.50 points at 11,397.60. Merrill’s shares rose almost 8 per cent to $26.25."

Are these people all insane? Americans are driving to the stores less, the banks are collapsing, the government trots out ever more absurd stats to show things are fine, and investors play along? Are they going to pretend that each form of fake investment created in recent years is a separate and unique problem, that they're not linked to each other by the network of corrupt financiers who created them and traded them back and forth to jack up their bonuses, that each must take its turn melting down before it's time to recognize our country is vastly overvalued?

I think there are a lot more insane people than I ever suspected. There was recently a (I think) BBC report saying that now even well-off homeowners are walking away from properties because the prices of homes are falling well below what the mortgage is worth.

Me not know, but me thinks the big stampede at the watering hole has just begun.

True. There was this story yesterday...

The BBC News reports on California.

“In May 2006, at the height of the housing boom, Karen Trainer bought a $500,000 apartment in California - with money borrowed from her bank. By this year, Karen still owed $500,000 on her mortgage, but her apartment was worth $200,000 less. So she was deep in negative equity and, to make matters worse, the interest rate on her loan was about to increase. ‘I thought ‘this is crazy,’ Ms Trainer says. ‘It just does not make financial sense.’”

“As a successful professional, Karen could comfortably have managed the higher mortgage payments her bank demanded. Instead, she decided to stop her mortgage payments altogether and let her bank repossess her apartment.”

“‘Generally speaking, within 5 years you are about back where you were, so my husband and I decided we’ll take the hit and live with it,’ she said.”

In the city of Stockton - the foreclosure, or repossession, capital of the US for 2007 - estate agent Kevin Morgan sells repossessed houses on behalf of the banks that now own them.

According to him, walking away has become commonplace.

"I would say it's probably 70% of the volume of our foreclosures right now," he says.

Wow. That's amazing, if true.

I wonder if the new housing bill will have any effect.

One would think that the mortgage companies would start getting more aggressive and suing people who are able to pay, but choose to walk away from the mortgages. They would be entitled to collect the difference between the mortgage amount and what the house ultimately sells for, plus all related expenses. However, it appears that in most cases they are concluding that it's not worth the time and expense. This trend, as we know, basically heralds the approaching end of the consumer credit culture.

Are you sure? As I understand it, the banks have no recourse. The only thing they are entitled to is the collateral (that is, the house). IOW, they can't sue, even if they want to.

Leanan, I believe that you are right. I had this discussion with a friend of mine who does real estate law, and I believe this is what he told me as well.

Apparently the laws vary by state. So, before walking away, it's a good idea to talk to a lawyer in one's own state. In prior years, it also created a taxable event, where one was taxed on the difference between what the bank got from selling the house and the mortgage balance, but I think some recent legislation has changed this.

In any case, all of this doesn't make lenders really happy about new mortgage loans, and with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fading (imploding) away, I'm not sure who is going to be making new mortgage loans. This would, shall we say, not have a positive impact on home values. We would appear to be on an express train to a cash/barter/savings based economy.

As usual, it appears that it's a complicated subject. The following website would appear to have some accurate information, since the website owner has corrected his list, based on feedback from legal types. Scroll down for the list of non-recourse states. In California, the key difference appears to be whether the lien holder goes for judicial or non-judicial foreclosure.


Many, such as California, do in theory allow a lender to choose judicial foreclosure but in those cases the lenders only do so if a borrower has significant other assets. This is the "one action" rule that lets the lender either pursue non-judicial foreclosure, at lower cost and less time, or judicial foreclosure that costs more money and takes more time but lets them go after you for their financial losses.

So, to return to my original point, I wonder if banks might be forced to start going after debtors because of threatened legal action by the poor suckers that bought the loans, via CDO's etc. If nothing else, they might start doing it to try to curtail the Walk Away trend.

Depends on the state. CA is non-recourse. (The word mortgage, BTW, is derived from a Norman French legal term for a loan that is annulled once the collateral is confiscated, so the non-recourse principle basically dates back to 1066.)

Non-recourse, unless you have refinanced and taken equity out of the house. Then you lose the non-recourse protection.

You are correct Leanan. I worked in a County Recorder's Office for 12 years. While the word "mortgage" is still bandied about, and indeed it is still referred to as the "mortgage industry," in fact most people do NOT have a "mortgage" on their house, they have what's called a "Deed of Trust." These were considered better for the lenders because they can get the collateral back easier, via a Notice of Default followed by a Trustee's sale, than with a mortgage, which requires the filing of a lawsuit and a trial before a judge. But, exactly as you state, the ONLY thing they can get back is the collateral. Theoretically, they could sue for other losses, but it generally wouldn't be worth the expense and effort and I have never heard of it being done (I'm sure it has been done, I just think it's rare).

Note that the lender usually ends up with the house at the Trustee's Sale because they can credit bid what they are owed. Since the value of the house has now dropped so much, no one else will bid above what is now an inflated amount. Hence the lenders are being stuck with the houses, which they don't really want, they want income.

My understanding is that CA is a "no recourse" state, so the holder of the primary note can't get at any of your assets other than the original collateral: the house.

Bank: "Pay us, in full and on time, or we'll repossess!"
Owner: "Promise?"

The same no-recourse rule does not aply to second notes like HELOC's, but what can the banks get from most distressed homeowners anyway? The used SeaDoo and a hi-mileage Jimmy?

There is a twist, as I understand it. If you refinance, then the loan is no longer "no recourse". At least in California. Definitely need to talk to a lawyer to get the details on this one....


California homeowners have been making the “refinance mistake” as long as the bubble has been going on. The big mistake homeowners make is turning a ”non-recourse” second loan into a “recourse” loan by refinancing it. A non-recourse loan is a loan that the bank can only look to their secured interest. In other words, they can only foreclose, they cannot get a deficiency judgment and chase you into bankruptcy collecting it. THIS IS HUGE! You can walk away from a non-recouse loan.

So how is a second mortgage a non-recourse loan? Simple, it was “purchase money” for your home. A purchase money loan is one where the money went from the lender, to escrow, and then to the seller or to pay purchase closing costs. In California purchase money loans made on your home (note: not second home or investment properties) are non-recourse. It’s simple as that.

The mistake comes when you refinance your second purchase money mortgage. Because it is no longer a “purchase money” loan a refinance transforms it into a “recourse” loan. That means the lender will chase you into bankruptcy collecting it. Or worse, they will sell it to a debt scrounger, the worst form of debt collector. Your life will be hell if it falls into their hands.

I heard this phenomena a while back on investment houses and second-home flips, where an underwater investor walked away from investment properties that were crashing. Now the new trick is to buy a new, smaller, cheaper house while your credit is still good, with a fixed-rate loan of course, and then walk away on your underwater home.

Before long you'll see people doing this on credit card debt too, as inflation digs in and rates rise (or even before, with 20+% card rates gaining prevalence). Walk away from the house, file bankruptcy for the credit, and shift to a life of rental and cash. I feel bad for the economy, but I can't really bring myself to feel bad for the credit card companies who really helped this along. I'm sure they'll get a bail-out too when it comes along. When is one coming my way???

I think it will be much harder to do this for credit cards. The new bankruptcy law has made it pretty hard to walk away from debt if you have the ability to pay.

Mortgages are different. As the article says, there's a law covering them that dates from the Great Depression. (And it doesn't apply if there's a second mortgage on the house.)

I think it will be much harder to do this for credit cards.

These people claim its easy.

Pimped by RBN and the show 'cashflow'. The hosts have a real hate going on for credit cards.


I think if you don't pay all lenders will sell to a collection agency for a fraction of the value, and anybody can settle a debt like that for far less than face value, so even if you can't completely walk away, you'd be WAY better off.

I wonder if the new housing bill will have any effect.

Yes. The banks will get coverage.

Bail-outs are for the advantage of corporations, not humans.

I know that, but in this case (wealthy people who can easily afford to pay walking away), it appears to be the banks that need the coverage.

I wonder if it will be enough, though.

Who gets the benefit that corporations get? Are they owned by dogs? Cats? Aliens? Or are they like HAL, and they enjoy the benefit themselves? And if that is the case, why do people panic when a bank (corporation) fails? Who would ever care if a corporation failed if there were no link to humans?

Come on! Man up! Explain why humans are not connected to corporations. Man up. Show me your evidence. Prove your point. Man up. Cite me a peer reviewed study! Man up.

And if that is the case, why do people panic when a bank (corporation) fails?

Because their money is being kept in said bank (corporation) and they are afraid that they might lose access to said money.

Cite me a peer reviewed study!

Can't provide you with one of those but I can point out a highly entertaining documentary. Here's a snippet of the synopsis:


In the mid-1800s the corporation emerged as a legal "person." Imbued with a "personality" of pure self-interest, the next 100 years saw the corporation's rise to dominance. The corporation created unprecedented wealth but at what cost? The remorseless rationale of "externalities" (as Milton Friedman explains, the unintended consequences of a transaction between two parties on a third) is responsible for countless cases of illness, death, poverty, pollution, exploitation and lies.


To assess the "personality" of the corporate "person," a checklist is employed, using diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality": it is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath."

Come on! Man up!

You do not deserve a response, given your past lack of manning up and responding when asked.

When you show the respect of responding to questions, you will get that respect in return. Not that you understand - what with your demonstrated magical thinking.

Much as I think all of these bail-outs are a bunch of crap (the gummint doesn't have any money -- only a fool could think otherwise), I'm willing to concede that the public at large may, in fact, be among the beneficiaries. If a few families are kept in their homes as opposed to being turned out on the street, I'm willing to take a hit. What choice do I have?

But what really piss@s me off about these bailouts is that they provide cover for four-flushers like Citi's Charles Prince to make off with millions.

-- PeakOil Tarzan, Chump for Life

This is going to be a big problem for California lenders over the next several years. My primary residence was an 80/20 loan with a five year fixed rate that expires in 2011. The property now is about 20% into negative equity. I recently qualified for a refi at a credit union but the rate was absurd (due to the house being worth far less than what was owed) which made the property unaffordable. So even those with good credit who put 20% down are going to end up in a situation where the rate will reset, they will be unable to afford the new payment and unable to refi since no one is going to be doing 135% loans. Thus will be out on the street whether they want to be or not. I don't believe many will be shedding tears though. In exchange for 7 years bad credit they will be out of a house that has lost $250,000. That's more than most people would be able to pay in principle over that period anyway. Odd situation.

One recourse I may have is that my loan was bought by IndyMac, so I guess it's now technically a government loan, and they seem willing to negotiate new terms instead of foreclose.

I was reading about WaMu's problems. I believe their foreclosure rate was around 2%, but between foreclosures and walkaways the rate was about 6%. I expect WaMu to go belly up.

And yet even the official "22 cents on the dollar" writedown figure for Merrill grossly understates their loss. As Ilargi says (paraphrasing a BofA analyst), because Merrill loaned the buyer (Lone Star) three-quarters of the money they used to buy their toxic CDO's, Merrill was in effect doing nothing more than selling a call option on the securities for 5.5 cents on the dollar. If Lone Star defaults on the loan, Merrill gets the CDO's back, and nothing more. So Merrill is guaranteed only $1.7B for their $30B worth of paper, but they can tell the shareholders that it's really worth four times that much.

There is an interesting article that was posted today on alternet.org:

Baseball Caps and Sunscreen: McCain's Melanoma Cover-Up

Unfortunately, the author spends way too much time harping about John McCain and his unwillingness to confront the sunscreen (pharmaceutical) lobby. But the article has some very good info, with the following being particularly relevant to those of us interested in peak oil:

According to several studies, fluorescent light exposure remains a potential risk factor for melanoma, and "chronic exposure to indoor lighting may deliver unexpected cumulative UV exposure to the skin and eyes." This means that it would be legitimate -- even necessary -- to wear a sun hat and full-face drape inside an office setting. It also requires worker efforts to petition against the use of fluorescent lighting and find better alternatives.

Since there is now a full-fledged effort underway to ban incandescent bulbs and switch to compact fluorescents, this could become an issue with serious implications. The logical alternative would be to use LEDs instead of fluorescents.


Thanks for the info.

... but if you thought you got strange looks when you mentioned Peak Oil, try talking about the dangers of fluorescent lights. Years ago I repeated some of the things I learned about fluorescent lights in high school. Boy, if you want to be considered a nut-case that's one place to start.

I forget the reference, but the camerman who did the time-lapse photography of growing plants for Disney Studios (back in the ? 1960s)did some research. There's a lot more to the effects of lighting than most people are aware of.

There have already been stories about the potential mercury pollution when there is a big shift to FL's. Talk of putting a big recycling fee on new bulbs similar to that on auto tires. Right now less than 2% are being recycled. And, technically, if you drop one on the floor in your house, you're required by law to contact a certified HAZMAT tech to clean it up. Maybe an urban legend but I have seen similar absurdities.

And, technically, if you drop one on the floor in your house, you're required by law to contact a certified HAZMAT tech to clean it up. Maybe an urban legend but I have seen similar absurdities.

EPA-Spills, Disposal and Site Cleanup of Mercury

Before Clean-up: Air Out the Room

* Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
* Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
* Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces

* Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
* Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
* Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
* Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Clean-up Steps for Carpeting or Rug

* Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
* Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
* If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
* Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Clean-up Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials

* If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
* You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
* If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.

Disposal of Clean-up Materials

* Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
* Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
* Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

* The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
* Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

No Hazmat team required.

Fluorescent bulbs PREVENT mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health. The highest source of mercury by far comes from burning coal, the largest source (54 percent) of electricity in the United States.

A fluorescent bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts ten to twenty times longer.

A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to the 2.4mg of mercury to run a fluorescent bulb for the same time. If you break the bulb, no small feat for something in a light socket hanging from the ceiling, add another 2.5 mg and you sit at 4.9 mg, compared to the 10 mg from your incandescent.

Any thoughts on how dangerous those batteries in the prius are?

Valid point, Scotjen61, but LEDs seem like a safer alternative. Also more durable than fluorescents. I've got a couple of LED flashlights that I've owned for three or four years and have not yet even had to change the batteries.

In 1930 melanoma was rare, with a lifetime risk of just one in 1,500 people. Since then, it has grown exponentially, with a lifetime risk in the United States of 1 in 250 in 1980, 1 in 120 in 1987, 1 in 75 by 2000 and 1 in 32 in 2007. Worldwide, it annually strikes an estimated 132,000 people with an estimated 48,000 deaths.

Like most of the rest of the above article, this section makes no sense at all.
If no one outside the US ever got melanoma, the annual risk would be 132000/350000000=3.7*10-4.
For 70 years the risk would be 70 times that, 1 in 32. I strongly suspect that sometimes people outside the US get melanoma and that the rest of this article is BS. No mention is given of UVA blocking sunscreens that are available.

Any google of the claim that FL's cause cancer comes up with plenty like the following...

Exposure to solar radiation is increasingly being associated with a risk of cutaneous melanoma, and some risk has also been attributed to exposure to fluorescent lights. The risk of cutaneous melanoma associated with exposure to some sources of artificial ultraviolet radiation was examined in a case-control study in a Scottish population with fairly low exposure to natural ultraviolet radiation. The risk was not significantly or consistently raised for exposure to fluorescent lights at home or at work. The use of ultraviolet lamps and sunbeds, however, was associated with a significantly increased risk (relative risk = 2.9; 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 6.4), and the risk was significantly related to duration of use. The risk was particularly raised among people who have first used [corrected] ultraviolet beds or lamps more than [corrected] five years before presentation (relative risk = 9.1; 95% confidence intervals 2.0-40.6), in whom it was significantly related to cumulative hours of exposure. The risks associated with exposure to ultraviolet lamps and sunbeds remained significant after adjustment for other risk factors for melanoma.

NYMEX crude up over $1 midday on big gasoline draw


You're a bit behind. It's currently $127 up about $5 on the day with three minutes to the close (on NYMEX).

Here's the close

Timezone (GMT/UTC)

Obviously NG is the next area of obfuscation we will be talking about. The article about new NG reserve projections appears to project today's 25tcf per year consumption out to infinity, while the industry shows robust demand growth even WITHOUT conversion to use as vehicle fuel.

They appear to be pulling numbers out of nowhere. Sound familiar? Follow the money trail on this one.

If projected demand comes true, even without widespread use as vehicle fuel, there is no way we have 100 plus years of NG left.

People do realize that we are now importing NG in the form of LNG, right?

After reading the nat. gas article that proclaimed 2,247 Tcf reserves (replacing different 2006 guess of 1,530 Tcf) I asked myself the same question.

shows a yearly US nat.gas consumption for 2007 of c.23 tcf and a marketed production of c.19.277 tcf and only with this last number you can arrive at nearly 118 years of supply.

assumption 6 mcf = 1 boe

US 20.68 million barrels of oil/day = 7548.2 mbo/year = c. 45.289tcf per year

replace 20% of oil use with nat gas results in an increase to c.32.5 tcf per year = 69 (47 based on lower guess) years of "reserve"
replace 40% of oil use with nat gas results in an increase to c.41.11 tcf per year = 54 (37) years of "reserve"
replace 60% of oil use with nat gas results in an increase to c.50.17 tcf per year = 44 (30) years of "reserve"

I have read quit a few different views regarding North American Nat. Gas so what is true, will the new shale plays save the day for decades to come?

Any recommended articles on nat.gas.? Thank you!

This is quite obviously nothing but a puff piece for the natural gas industry. The subtext is that natural gas will somehow be a cheaper transport fuel than "$4.00 per gallon gasoline," which is highly doubtful, and especially so if natural gas advocates succeed in making it a transport fuel. For the past few years natural gas has sold on a BTU basis for much cheaper than oil, but this is not the historical norm. I've seen this discussed here on TOD before.

ROCKMAN, JonFreise and I had a lengthy conversation on yesterday's Drumbeat about natural gas. JonFriese linked to some very enlightening articles regarding the economics of drilling gas shales that you might find interesting. One cannot help but admire the pluckiness of those doing the gas shale development, but I think it is far from being the silver bullet they would have us to believe that it is.

Thank you, I read that yesterday and found it very interesting, btw if somebody looks it was JonFreise.
Regarding Management blowing smoke / Investor return I wonder if this will ever be moved away from the short term option perspective of the management again.

This problem of how corporate management has become unmoored from its investors and from the larger society is part of a much larger cultural phenomenon. The cultural curmudgeon Jacques Barzun is not optimistic and believes Western society has descended into fullblown, irreversible decadence. "The point at which good intentions exceeded the power to fulfill them marked for the culture the onset of decadence," he writes in From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life.

The veteran pollster and lay philosopher Daniel Yankelovich is much more explicit, but much more optimistic that our ship can once again be uprighted:

In recent years, America has put consumption ahead of production, spending ahead of saving, immediate gratification ahead of working for the future, the welfare of old people ahead of the interests of the young, greed ahead of sacrifice, self-interest ahead of long-term growth, expediency ahead of quality, and the needs of the individual ahead of the needs of the society. In the conflict between market values and communal ones, market values have dominated.

--Daniel Yankelovich, Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World

DS et al,

I just reponded to questions about this report on TOD. I'll repost here. These folks are really starting to irritate me. They think all they have to do is say" some geologist said" and the world should believe them. Now you can here what this geologist has to say.

I’ll offer some insider insights…I’m drilling two of the unconventional gas plays right now. First and more important than anything else I might say: numbers in any report like this that offer X amount of any reserves is completely meaningless unless it is quantified by a pricing forecast. I have a field I would drill 20 wells in right now and produce 40 bcf of NG if NG were $9 a unit. If NG were $4 a unit I wouldn’t drill any wells. So…how much gas reserves are in that field: 40 bcf or 0 bcf? The gas is still there and the technology to get it out is still known…so how much NG reserves are there? Now multiply this scenario by 10,000 such fields. Is there 40 tcf of NG or is there 0 tcf of NG? Obviously depends on the pricing forecast.

The gas in all these plays has been known for decades. Three things have changed the game big time. First, there have been some tremendous improvements in technology. The two biggest being horizontal drilling and big fracturing jobs. Second, these improvements have been driven by higher NG prices. Third, the public oil companies are desperate to keep their reserve base expanding. That’s an absolute requirement by Wall Street (can we say “Chesapeake?). We call these “cookie cutter” plays because you’re basically drilling the same well over and over. There are variations in the results but you live with the average. I can’t offer a guess as to how much recoverable NG there is in these plays at any given price. In 5 or 10 years the industry might be able to tell you how much gas could be produced in all these plays after 4 or 5 thousand more wells are drilled. I know how these jokers came up with their numbers: it by assuming that all wells in each play will average a certain amount of NG even in areas with limited testing. So few wells have been drilled in the Marcellus that no one can predict the variations that might be encountered across the whole play. There are always sweet spots and dog patches (you gotta luv our terminology, don’t you?)

Bottom line: there is a hell of a lot of NG to be produced at $8 or $9 per unit. But how much? Check back with me in 5 or 10 years. But if you insist I’ll guess it’s between 100 tcf and 2000 tcf. And you can take that to the bank. (and I will hold my breath waiting for someone to ask what price forecast I used to pull those numbers out of my butt)

I sure know the price
8$ -> 100tcf
9$ -> 2000tcf
13$ -> Wow! neither fusion nor fision necessary

NG is just like oil - reserves have nothing to do with adequate flows, and flows are about profits and affordability.

Thank you for that very helpful post.


I don't dispute anything you say. There may indeed be plentiful natural gas reserves to be produced from these shale plays.

What I do disagree with is that these shales will provide natural gas that is both plentiful and inexpensive. When donkeys fly!

It's like these babbling idiots who come on here and other blogs and say you can produce oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands for $60 a barrel. Anybody who can read a financial statement knows that's pure poppycock. The forward-looking cost is over $100 per barrel, which a 15-minute glance at Suncor's or any other operator's financials readily demonstrates.

But it is entirely one thing for some annonymous blogger or some air-headed pundit to say you can produce natural gas from the Barnett shale for $6.00 per MMBTU and for an executive of a company, like Chesapeake, who is in that business, with his fiduciary and social responsibilities and access to superior proprietary knowledge, to say the same thing. It is derelict. And it is a lie. And he knows it.

It's what happens when you have people with a car salesman's mentality rise to positions of power and prestige. In speaking of the fall of the Spanish empire, J.H. Elliot called it the "moral and intellectural bankruptcy of the...ruling class," the "triumph of mediocrity" where the Cortes of Castile "had long since shown itself to be little more than a forum in which the procuradores watched over the interests of their own privileged class."


LNG is quite often sold on long-term contracts and recently those contracts have been going for $14 to $18 per MMBTU. Importing LNG into the U.S. is therefore not a money making proposition as natural gas here sells for considerably less than that. Many companies who built the LNG regasification plants in the U.S. are now in or near bankruptcy.

Remember that natural gas is not a very fungible commodity and therefore markets are local. Where it makes more sense as a transport fuel is in places like South America--Peru, Columbia, Argentina, etc.--where there are vast, stranded reserves of natural gas nearby in Bolivia and Venezuela that are very inexpensive to produce, or are produced in conjunction with oil.

The United States does not fall into this category as gas shale gas is far from being inexpensive to produce.

I never realized that Co2 used for EOR was actually pumped from the ground also....I guess I assumed that they just piped it in from a power plant...


Denbury Resources, the largest oil and gas company in Mississippi, is surveying Madison County for carbon dioxide that could be used to increase oil production

From reading their website they put it in an old natural gas pipeline and take it to older fields.

I have a question for the Solar Energy people.

How big should a solar storage battery pack be that will be used to charge an electric car in relation to the car's pack?

Odds are you'd like 2 packs. One that can be charged during the day while the other pack is off-site.

Downside - more expense and how does one move 100's of kg of batteries about with ease.

Zero. Dump the power from your solar array onto the grid and charge your car from the grid.

How big should a solar storage battery pack be

The answer will depend on voltages being used and the speed of the charging process.
In essence, you are transferring electrical charge (Q) from a higher voltage level to a lower one. Sort of like emptying water from a reservoir on top of the hill to one lower down on the hill.

The capacitor equation, Q=VC may serve as a useful first approximation. Let's say your home battery pack operates at 24 volts, your car at 12 volts, and your home batteries, when 50% discharged drop down to 12.6 volts of output. In that case your home battery pack should have double the storage "capacitance" of your car battery capacitance. On the other hand, if you home battery system produces 120 volts, they will have to deplete a smaller percentage of their "power" (P=VI= VQ/t) to move charge (Q) over time period, t from the higher place reservoir to the lower placed one.

Forwarded to me today by my broker...


"The oil executive, who Mr. Williams had known for years, gave Mr. Williams some startling revelations which he could safely reveal to the general public. As you know, the Illuminati are arrogant enough to reveal some of their plans because they believe there is nothing we can do about it."

It's the same old Cornucopian Primal Scream Response--there must be some way, somehow that we can maintain an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite fossil fuel resource base.

I hope that you are not relying on this broker for financial advice.

I presume you're looking for a new broker?

Last night, I stumbled accross an ABC 20/20 (John Stossel) interview Peter Huber, the co-author of "The Bottomless Well".

MYTH: The World Is Running Out of Oil

"The tar sands of Alberta alone contain enough hydrocarbon to fuel the entire planet for over 100 years"

This statement is possibly true in some abstract sense, but for all practical purposes it is meaningless and misleading.

Somewhere, I read that the oceans contain about 9 pounds of dissolved gold for each person on the planet. But don't plan your retirement on being able to claim "your" 9 pounds of gold any time soon.

There should be some accountability for misleading people with this kind of BS.

John Stossel is the ultimate corporate whore. If there is anyone on the planet that reports things exactly opposite than the way they really are, it's John Stossel. If he's running this story, we can all rest assured that peak oil has arrived.

Huber is in some ways partially correct.

But he is misleading and word-fencing on purpose.

FACT: World started running out of oil the day first oil barrel was produced. Each barrel used, world has less oil (i.e. running out)

FACT: Abiogenic oil people are not grounded in science (aka. there are no high ranked peer review studies anywhere proving that oil renews by itself)

FACT: Oil is unlikely to ever run out completely. There will just be less and less each year, until we can no longer get the last bits out or don't even want to.

FACT: For current world oil economy at large, the size of the reserves do not matter nearly as much as the size of the volumetric flow (hat tip to Mr Cohen). That is, it's not the size of the tank - it's the size of the tap when the spigot is max open.

Of course, we all know this. Even Mr. Huber knows his.

He's trying to take us for a piss - and is probably being paid to do so.

The Czech Republic, or as McCain refers to it Czechoslovakia, better figure out what side of their bread is buttered. Either shitcan the anti-missle system or live with lower fossil fuel supplies from Russia. They can't have it both ways.

McCain's ad comparing Obama to a couple of bimbos gives some insight into the thinking of an ethanol critic who thinks that drilling more holes in the ground will mitigate Peak Oil.

In a classic apples and oranges comparison that stretches the concept to almost the breaking point, McCain attempts to liken Obama who is a well educated family man who has actually achieved something in that he won election to the Senate and appears to have the nomination locked up to two women who are messed up to put it mildly. The justification for this nonsense is that they are all celebrities. It was encouraging that it appears that some MSM and even some of the public can see the silliness of the argument.

Just because to or more things have a similar characteristic does not mean they can be compared. Things have to be very similar for comparison to have any validity. Obama, Spears and Hilton are not similar enough by any stretch to be compared, yet McCain and his camp did it. The result is fallacious, silly nonsense that hopefully will backfire.

It shows that McCain is not Presidential timber, but rotted old pine that can not make an argument that holds up.

As Leanan posted the item about the Czech Republic at the top, I thought I might post about the current situation here.

This latest update has not entered the mainstream Czech media yet. There was certainly a lot of discussion about whether the initial reduction in oil was due to the Czechs signing the missile shield agreement. I have heard arguments on both sides - no body trusts the Russians, but they do seem to be adamant in saying that it was for technical and commercial reasons, and because they knew Czech republic could cope.

Having two major oil pipelines into the country (one from Germany) is certainly an advantage in the long term, but it seems that at the moment Russia has taken advantage of the fact that the Czechs won't squeal too much if it is their oil it decides to cut. I think Russia may be at the point of having to reduce crude oil exports to Europe having decided to refine more themselves, whether for export or not.

Czech society is reasonably aware of Peak Oil. More so than the UK I think. However this is currently a main story in the leading financial newspaper:

A fair price for a barrel of oil, according to analysts, is around 70 dollars per barrel

The price of oil is overvaulued. As long as war doesn't start, it should fall

The price of gasoline seems to be falling here, so there does not seem to be any serious supply problem yet.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again... The bumpy plateau effect is really a nightmare for those of us who believe that peak oil is a real phenomenon and furthermore that peak oil is an extreme threat to humanities future. Every time we see these spikes and then dips, it tends to cause a collective "head fake".

So each time we try to line up the bogeymen responsible and call for action. We hear talk to price gouging, windfall profit taxes, speculation, terrorism/war taxes, evil oil companies, and on and on and on. Then the prices go down, but never quite to the level that they were at in say.. 2004. People calm down and even seem to adjust. My mom made a comment recently along the lines of, "I never thought I'd be thankful to see $3.64/gal gas, but after $4/gal... anything lower seems better."

I am confident we're heading towards $5/gal (or more) within 2 years. I still expect us to go above $150/barrel this year. The election and some other factors may affect that, but the trend will be towards higher prices rather than lower. Only global depression is likely to take prices down to $50/barrel again.

Hello TODers,

Thxs for the upstream threads on natgas. Since the US is a net Haber-Bosch Nitrogen and Potassium importer [see link below], IMO, our future national security can best be served by converting huge amounts of this natgas into beneficiated I-NPK stores while we ramp O-NPK recycling everywhere. Burning natgas to power vehicles is equivalent to burning irreplaceable artworks and books to heat the house.

Also, recall my earlier discussion on the UN FAO PDF which projects North America to be headed into severe phosphate deficit soon. IMO, the sale of F-16s and JDAMs to Morocco is the initial US attempt to shore up future Phosphorus import security and geo-strategic sealane control.

As posted before: we are evolved to sit in the dark, but we are not evolved to handle starvation.

U.S. Fertilizer Imports/Exports: Summary of the Data Findings

Nitrogen and Potash Imports Increased in 2007

U.S. nitrogen and potash supplies largely depend on imports. About 62 percent of nitrogen and 88 percent of potash consumed in the U.S. in 2006 was from imports. Because of limited domestic production capacity, increased fertilizer demand will have to be met largely by imports.

In calendar year 2007, U.S. nitrogen net imports increased 27 percent, to 10.2 million tons, 2.2 million tons above 2006 net imports. From July to December of 2007, net imports of nitrogen increased 34 percent to 4.8 million tons, which is 1.2 million tons above net imports for the same time period in 2006. Nitrogen imports in these 6 months are expected to be used on 2008 crops.

U.S. potash net imports increased 22 percent, to 7.1 million tons, 1.3 million tons above 2006 net imports. From July to December of 2007, net imports increased 15 percent to 3.2 million tons, which is 400,000 tons above net imports for the same time period in 2006. Potash imports in these 6 months are also expected to be used on 2008 crops.
Of course, most TODers are already familiar with my weblinked postings on how much I-NPK and sulfur have skyrocketed in the last few months. This will only get worse as we go postPeak: I/O-NPK is the 'fuel' used to fill the topsoil's 'tank'; there are No Substitutes to these Elements to power the soil above a Liebig Minimum.

Recall my prior discussion on Federal Reserve Banks of I-NPK plus biosolar investors joining up with farmers to store I-NPK on-site. I am still postPeak hoping for massive Govt legislation to convert natgas to Nitrogen farm inputs [as posted years ago]. Time will tell.

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

Do you have a link to describe how exactly fertilizers and pesticides are made?

describe how exactly fertilizers and pesticides are made

Such an exact description strikes me as asking for trade secrets.


Hello Waterpump,

Thxs for responding, and welcome too, as I see you are a TOD newbie.

POT has a good tutorial section on their website:


Of course, much more can be learned thru targeted Google searches. IMO, the UN FAO Report [57 page PDF Warning] is an important read, especially if analyzed with a Peak FF mindset:

Current world fertilizer trends and outlook to 2011/12

[Page 14]...High oil prices could depress the use of oil-based fertilizers which have been behind much of the increase in farm production during the past half century.

[Page 15]...Freight rates have become a more important factor in agricultural markets than in the past. Increased fuel costs, stretched shipping capacity, port congestion, and longer trade routes due to altered trade patterns, have pushed up shipping costs...The impact of transport costs on fertilizer prices will grow as fertilizer is produced in fewer localities close to raw materials and ample energy availability.

[Page 15]...The decline in the United States dollar against most currencies since 2005 has made imports from the United States cheaper and lessens the true impact of the rise in world prices. This is a major reason behind the brisk world import demand that, in spite of high prices, shows little sign of retreat.

[Page 17]...Conversion of grain areas to vegetable and fruit production will translate into higher fertilizer demand as average application rates for the latter is about double those for grain crops.

[Page 20]...At the same time, concerns about the impact of nitrogen and phosphorous losses to the environment will call for increased recycling of organic nutrient sources.

[Page 29]...Nitrogen and phosphate production capacity exists in only 11 and 6 countries respectively. High transport costs in land locked countries contribute to prohibitively high fertilizer prices. An array of other factors which further limit input and output markets, severely constrain fertilizer use.

[Page 34]...Nitrogen use efficiency is declining as nitrogen fertilizer consumption increases faster than grain production.
Yields and nitrogen use efficiency should be increased simultaneously.
I believe I have discussed and newslink-addressed multiple times all of the issues listed above with a Peak-Everything-Outlook that is not included in many agricultural reports. Please feel free to examine my postings in the archives for further details.

Oil policy affects farmers by Sen. Terry Wanzek,
Published Wednesday, July 30, 2008

..Farmers have a stake in this debate, and not just because they need to fill up their gas-guzzling combines and tractors. They’re also enormous consumers of natural gas – for energy and the production of fertilizer.

..Fuel, natural gas and food are strategic commodities, and so is fertilizer.

...It will be difficult to increase food production if the affordability and accessibility of fertilizer becomes a challenge. Farmers will have to spend more of their resources just to maintain their current production levels. And that’s not good enough: We need to break food production records every year just to keep pace with the demands of a growing global population.

...Without fertilizer, food production around the world would drop by at least 40 percent and possibly more. The terrible result would be rampant malnourishment and mass starvation – a horrific dead zone, if you catch my drift...
Job specialization is only possible with food surpluses. I worry greatly about shrinking global grain reserves. Below is another weblink about farmers freaking out on price increases. If they would read my TOD postings--then they would understand the root energy causes of why I-NPK is shooting thru the roof:

This week, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) submitted an urgent request to the Federal Standing Committee on Agriculture & Agri-Food calling for an immediate investigation of the excessive increases in the pricing of fertilizers.

APAS stated in their submission that agriculture producers in all provinces have already paid record prices for fertilizer for the 2008 crop year. The membership of APAS have reported that fertilizer prices are continuing to increase in our province week over week; which is unprecedented for this time of year in the crop cycle.

APAS President, Glenn Blakley stated recent reports from the association's members indicate that fertilizer prices, which are continuing to escalate across the province, are at least 50 percent higher than during the peak of the 2008 spring seeding demand. Cost projections from fertilizer dealers in Saskatchewan are an additional price increase of 30 percent for fertilizer purchases for the fall of 2008.
Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

Also you can check out this wikipedia link, which describes the Haber process for ammonia production from e.g., natural gas.

A good reference table from the EIA of world C+C figures, 1960-2007


Here's the money:

2004 72.51
2005 73.81
2006 73.54
2007 73.27

(2007 data is preliminary)
I am currently looking for the equivalent numbers for All Liquids production. Anyone know them? They would be handy numbers to be able to quote. I don't recall seeing them bandied around on here much.

Table 4.4 of the International Petroleum Monthly.
(annual data)


All Liquids
2004 83.12
2005 84.63
2006 84.60
2007 84.52

2007 data is preliminary

BTW 2008 C&C average monthly production is higher than 2005 so far. 74.33 (Table 1.1d)

I wish everyone who gets interviewed on TV saying it's 'supply and demand' not speculation would quote these numbers. Surely they explain the run up in crude prices in a nutshell?

Does anyone have a source for the official projections for world oil supply during these years, made before 2004? I would love to see what was being predicted for 2008 back then.

Well, in 2003 the EIA forecast in their High Price Case that 86 million bpd of liquids would be produced in 2010. That's not a horrible guess, all told.

The year before (2002), they thought 92.4 in their High Price Case for 2010. That's unlikely in my humble opinion.

Table D5 in the International Energy Outlook is what you are after. (at least for those years. I think the table designations have been altered a little in the past decade)


Their current High Price Case forecast for 2010 is 88.7 million bpd.

Table G4 here:

Where they have really changed their view over the past few years is in their projection for conventional liquids past 2010.

Here's a graph showing their changing views.

Conventional oil in this graph = conventional liquids which is conventional crude + natural gas plant liquids plus refinery gain.

Sorry to be late to this party...Great graph! Both useful and hilarious! You can almost guess the sentiment of the country each year by its line. Got one for IEA?

Trouble is if you state this on tv, the hosts often point out that these are old figures. Production is no longer decreasing but is actually breaking records and rising considerably. According to OPEC anyway.

BTW 2008 C&C average monthly production is higher than 2005 so far. 74.33

But is it? - Memmel commented

I do get a tanker tracker report and from it it seems that exports have been pretty much flat but with ships taking turns sailing east then west. So you have a number of temporary storage shell games in progress.

1.) Production is pretty much flat out but.

1.) For two months send excess to storage and claim higher production numbers.
2.) For two months claim even higher production numbers as storage is drained.
3.) Send extra oil east for a few months refilling storage in asia
4.) Send extra oil west for a few months refilling the EU/US ( lower imports to Asia )

However overall this year your seeing a persistent storage drain.
My best guess is we are down about 2mbpd in production from the real peak in 2005 with the recent reported peaks a figment of OPEC's imagination they don't even show in the ship tracking. I think export land has us down on top of this at least 1mbpd for a net decline from a 2005 peak in exports of about 3mbd. This is sufficient to initiate real post peak problems I have that at 4mbd down from real peak and we are if you look around rapidly approaching post peak like symptoms. Also 3mbd fits very well with the current price levels and storage levels.

Westexas has also suggested that KSA is also curbing domestic refinery runs and exporting the crude instead. They then have to buy refined product on the international market but that then gets lost and not subtracted from exports.

Many readers here still haven't absorbed this yet but if we're to believe the production figures we haven't just had a small uptick in production. It's been sustained, is at record levels and increasing. It's even high enough to overcome ELM (over the last year). Thus oil analysts plug in these figures to their proprietary computer models and come out with a price closer to $80/barrel (what "the fundamentals" support). Plug in 2 or 3 million bpd less production and I suspect their models would support easily the current price. I'll guess some major players gave up shorting oil (even though they already believed in Peak Oil) when Simmons told them that OPEC production numbers were fantasy.

The theory is interesting, but just doesn't add up. Iran was the main one storing oil due to refinery maintenance. As far as the ships going back and forth, nothing new or suspicious there. The only thing that has changed is that production is going down in Mexico and it's going down even faster than it should because of gross mismanagement. Venezuela, Iran, Russia, Cuba, and others are making strategic alliances... and these agreements probably are far from being in the interests of the US. Whatever the case, a big percentage of our oil is having to come from further away because of the Mexican decline.

I'm open to considering that the numbers we're being given are subject to some manipulation. Yet we should also be careful not to become so dogmatic about our beliefs that we start trying to make the data conform to beliefs. In the bumpy plateau scenario, it doesn't matter whether we've peaked at date X or date Y. It's not a perfect logistic curve because of ELM and other geopolitical factors. What is important is YOY growth and lack of megafield discoveries. The fundamentals are still bad, but we can't kill our credibility by ignoring the obvious either. In my opinion, the bumpy plateau is perhaps our last chance to eek out a softer landing instead of a fast crash. The longer the sheeple keep their heads in the stand, the less optimism I have about it.

In a recent Drumbeat Ron and I were discussing the potential energy advantages of LCD monitors versus CRTs. I had suggested that as we move to ever larger screens, some of those savings would be forfeited, but upon further investigation it may not be quite as bad as I had initially thought. Earlier this evening, I plugged my LCD monitor into a watt meter and although the nameplate rating indicates a nominal power draw of 100-watts, my actual consumption was one-third that (admittedly, my screen brightness is set rather low).

My other computer related loads also came in somewhat below what I had expected. For example, my illuminated power bar and DSL modem draw a combined 11-watts and my desktop PC (a Dell Dimension 8250) averages about 55-watts at idle and upwards of 90-watts under moderately heavy loads. Altogether -- monitor, PC and modem -- we're running in the range of 100-watts and in standby mode that falls to just 12-watts. My laptop (a Dell 8500) uses 3-watts at idle, 25 to 30-watts in light to moderate usage and close to 50-watts at full bore; for anyone on a strict energy budget or working off-grid, a laptop computer is definitely the better option.


An Apple Mac Mini is about as good a choice as a laptop. Mine uses 31 watts operating sans monitor (I use corded mouse & keyboard). You supply all peripherals and get 5.5" rounded square box for $599.

Old LCD monitor uses about 40 watts. Hopefully several more years before replacement.


I also find the older laptops have a much better battery lifetime because the displays aren't so bright. I haven't calculated the energy usage but my 700 MHz 2002 powerbook gets about 2-3 hours battery life whereas I just renovated a 400 MHz 1999 powerbook that now gets about 5 hours. That's right, 5 hours. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it. Also, if you're looking for the ultimate in energy efficient computing, consider the OLPC, you can hand crank it to charge the battery (unfortunately the hand-cranks are limited to third world only:

I was in Halifax last December. I enjoyed my time there (and in Monctain) quite a bit. I was surprised that people rode bikes in the snow/ice actually. :)

Regarding energy usage of computers, I've basically come to the same conclusions. When I picked my laptop I mainly picked it for the 9hr battery life and because I was tired of the inflexibility of a desktop computer. There's definitely a difference in the energy requirements. Certain older models are good, assuming that you have a battery that is still in good condition (they can be extremely expensive to replace).

Newer models aren't bad, but you need to consider quite a few factors. The platform determines quite a bit. I would recommend staying away from AMD completely and anything in the Intel Celeron lineup. You can change various settings in the BIOS during bootup, which can impact performance and save energy/battery usage.

Larger screens (or simply higher resolutions) will tend to use more energy obviously, but unless you are running off of battery it probably won't matter that much. Upgrading the amount of RAM in your computer may have a positive effect on power because if you have lower than 1GB on XP or 2GB on Vista (and I'd say about 2GB on Leopard).. your operating system stands a good chance of using the hard drive for virtual memory and that is a moving part compared to the RAM. Plus swapping to hard drive makes the processor work harder, which can have an impact over time. RAM is so cheap on most machines now (easy $50-$60 upgrade on most computers) that it's worth making sure you have more than enough.

Even on the lower end of the UPS/battery backup systems available you can run a laptop and small number of efficient devices for at least 5 hours.

Hi knightrd,

Thanks for sharing your technical insights and I'm pleased to hear you enjoyed your time spent here in the Maritimes. This video includes clips of a couple brave souls venturing out on two wheels under some rather challenging conditions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faAP3RYFjZ0 (lest I leave you with the impression that we live in some cruel land of perpetual snow and ice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sshM02j_YaQ).

I really dislike the keyboard on my Dell laptop -- the only good thing about it is that you can disable the #&!@* touch pad and use the pointer stick instead. My old ThinkPad 770Z spoiled me in this regard -- although woefully underpowered by today's standards it was a real pleasure to use compared to everything else out there. If I ever get around to replacing the failed hard drive it may very well return to active service.


Navigant Consulting for the American Clean Skies Foundation.

who are these guys ?

they issued their white paper in no less an esteemed scientific journal than usa today.

short on details.

As I said earler, follow the money trail. Navigant is a corporate consulting firm. They are not scientists. If you as a corporation want a spin job, you hire them to create it.

"The American Clean Skies Foundation" is a natural gas industry front. Here is how these things work. The industry gets together and realizes that everyone calls BS on their numbers, because they make no sense. All of the main players and associated suppliers are strong armed into donating (tax write off, of course)to a 'non-profit' shill for the same numbers that used to be rejected when the source was transparent.

So, the NG companies give money to the "Foundation". The "Foundation" gives money to the consulting firm with a list of non-facts they want spun, the consulting firm gets a PR writer to craft a huge load of BS, and the "Foundation" trumpets it in a press release. There is no way to ask anyone involved to source their numbers. For example, they say we have 118 years of supply. Hey, we have 118 TRILLION years of supply if we only burn a couple of cubic feet a day. NOWHERE do they project CONSUMPTION. Why? Follow the money trail. You don't want people to know that the supply is really 40-50 years if a real demand curve is used. People might want to conserve, which would lower profits near term.

Liquid flowing on surface of Saturn moon: NASA

Some here may find comment #6 interesting.

And so it begins...


AFAYETTE, Tenn. -- A Macon County resident said thieves entered her garden and stripped her of many of the vegetables she has been growing all summer long.
Passers by have told Adams her loss is a sign of tough economic times, but she has an answer to that statement.
She believes the thieves stole her vegetables to buy drugs and said green beans are selling for $20 to $28 a bushel.

What good is growing a garden when someone can just come by and swipe your food?
And you thought dealing with the rabbits was bad...

Same solution for both. Different caliber, though.

Maybe an electric fence would help...

I have a cousin who once decided to take a leak in the vicinity of an electric fence. A mistake that he never repeated..

i dont see this posted anywhere:


apparently the dept of interior is planning to lease blocks in "closed areas".

sounds a lot like partisan politics to me.

and if a company leases the blocks and cant drill because they are closed, will the blm extend the leases for ever and ever until they are opened ?

Would depend on the details of the lease agreement. Most have opt out clauses. I recently heard that the feds returned the big lease bonus Chevron (?) paid a long time ago for some Destin Dome blocks of the west coast of Fl. It really isn't a bad idea to start the leasing project now. Last time I saw the numbers it was averaging 5 years between the decision to lease an area and the actual bidding process. If 5 years from now if the public/politicians don't want to lease they have the right to suspend the effort. If they do open up new areas of the OCS anytime soon the public in favor of drilling will be really PO'd to find out about the time lag. And there really isn't much that can be done to speed it up. Takes time for the environment audit, seismic acquisition and prospect generation.