DrumBeat: December 3, 2008

Oil becoming the realm of despots

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly's annual list of the world's Top 50 oil companies confirms an alarming trend: The world's petroleum riches are sliding further into the hands of state-owned oil companies, with Russian and Chinese companies making the biggest gains in the past year, while publicly traded Western oil companies are fighting for a shrinking pie.

Among the key findings released this week: For all the talk about Canada's huge oil sands reserves and their potential, only two Canadian companies, EnCana Corp. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., made the elite list, ranking 34th and 39th, respectively, behind even such government-owned lightweights as Colombia's Ecopetrol and Uzbekistan's Uzbekneftegas.

Two state-owned companies, Petroleos de Venezuela and China National Petroleum Corp., climbed to the No. 4 and No. 5 spots last year, pushing down BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC., according to the New York-based publication, which bases its rankings on a combination of oil companies' most meaningful operational data: oil and gas output, reserves, product sales, distillation capacity, revenues, profit, assets, employees.

Oil-Price Drop Forces Big Energy to Retreat

Matthew Simmons, who heads Simmons & Co., an investment-banking firm focused on energy companies, says he has been surprised at how fast firms have begun to cut exploration. He has already heard of a number of drilling projects that have been put on hold. "Unless prices rebound fast, energy companies are going to spend less next year," says Simmons.

It's not just falling prices that are causing companies to pull back. Some are worried that Democrats in Washington will soon push through regulations that will increase costs. What's more, Simmons says, the credit crunch is having an effect. "Drillers have to rely on their own cash flow, and that means some projects don't work anymore," says Simmons. "No one wants to count on bank financing."

'World Energy Outlook' to be presented at Rice University Dec. 9

Richard H. Jones, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, will present the "World Energy Outlook 2008" Dec. 9 at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Jones will address such questions as: Is the world facing a supply crunch because of geology or inadequate investment? What type of post-Kyoto policy framework might stabilize greenhouse gases at low concentration levels, and what impact might such a policy framework have on future energy choices?

OPEC admits limited influence on int'l oil prices

VIENNA (Xinhua) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which supplies 40 percent of the world's crude oil, admitted its limited influence on the price fluctuation trend in the international crude oil market.

In a report made at the National Defense Academy of Austrian Armed Forces in Vienna on Tuesday evening, Director of OPEC Research Division Hasan M. Qabazard pointed out that recently the international crude oil prices fluctuate irregularly, on which OPEC "is able to impose no or almost no influence."

Economic activity weakened: Fed Beige Book

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Economic activity has weakened across the United States since early October, while price pressures have eased with declines in retail and energy prices, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

The Fed's Beige Book summary portrayed grim conditions in most areas of economic activity.

Oil and Economic Collapse—The Trillion Dollar per Year Question

By the time the dust settles and the numbers are collected for 2008, it will become crystal clear that a central reason we are at the point of economic collapse is our addiction to oil. In the first half of this year, while gasoline prices were soaring, the US economy lost $500 billion diverted to oil imports.

Petrobras Won’t Cut Investments on Crisis, Lula Say

(Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, won’t reduce planned offshore investments after U.S. bank failures caused a world credit crunch, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said.

Lula, who spoke at the World Engineers Convention in Brasilia, said that Brazilians should keep buying and consuming in order to prevent the crisis from spreading.

Unspent funds to help cover Nigerian budget deficit

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria will finance a 1.1 trillion naira ($9 billion) budget deficit next year from sources which include unspent 2008 funds, signature bonuses from oil deals and privatisation receipts, the finance minister said on Wednesday.

President Umaru Yar'Adua proposed a 2.87 trillion naira 2009 budget on Tuesday, a slight increase over actual spending this year despite lower world oil prices driving down revenues.

Serbia casts doubt on energy deal with Russia

BELGRADE, Serbia - Serbia said Wednesday it is unlikely to sell its oil monopoly to Russia because of Moscow's refusal to guarantee to build a strategic pipeline through the Balkan country.

Disappointment with oil sands upgrader problems

Two oil sands upgraders – one belonging to Shell Canada Ltd. and the other to Suncor Energy Inc. – are on the fritz in Alberta right now, and at least one brokerage house is voicing its disappointment.

Police release images in pipeline bombing investigation

The RCMP have released a series of images that they hope will lead to a break in the investigation into three recent explosions at EnCana natural gas facilities near Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C.

The images, taken from video surveillance tapes, show eight people at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Dawson Creek, including some apparently mailing letters at the Canada Post counter inside the store, on Oct. 7.

On that day, three threatening letters were mailed from the Dawson Creek Shoppers Drug Mart, said RCMP Sgt. Tim Shields on Wednesday.

Ralph Nader: We Need a Global Carbon Tax

If President Barack Obama wants to stop the descent toward dangerous global climate change, and avoid the trade anarchy that current approaches to this problem will invite, he should take Al Gore's proposal for a carbon tax and make it global. A tax on CO2 emissions -- not a cap-and-trade system -- offers the best prospect of meaningfully engaging China and the U.S., while avoiding the prospect of unhinged environmental protectionism.

Deflation: Bargains abound, which could be a problem

WASHINGTON — Everything is on sale. And that's not a good thing.

Consumer prices in October fell at the fastest pace in more than 60 years, sucked down by the rapidly deteriorating economy. The prices of oil, food, cars, clothing and electronics have all plunged. Home prices continue to swoon and so do stock prices.

As the early reports from the holiday shopping season suggest, the nationwide fire sale might seem like a boon for consumers. But it's increasing the risk that the economy could become mired in a dangerous deflationary spiral — a widespread, sustained reduction in prices. That's something that hasn't happened here since the Great Depression.

Cheap oil: short-term good, long-term dangerous

LONDON (Reuters) - Motorists must be glad the price of fuel is one thing they do not have to worry too much about as they face the worst recession since the 1930s, but cheap fuel is not good for anyone in the long run.

Oil Stocks Will Bounce Back

Oil's swift ascent was driven by a speculative bubble, not the laws of supply and demand. To diversify their stock-and-bond portfolios, pension funds invested directly in energy. That was all hedge funds needed to get their motors running. With as much as 20-to-1 leverage, hedge funds moved the markets fast and far.

Iran's president concedes oil prices hurt economy

TEHRAN, Iran - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has acknowledged publicly for the first time that tumbling oil prices are hurting Iran's fragile economy, a sensitive subject for the leader critics have accused of mismanaging the country's finances, state media reported Wednesday.

Saudis Talk $75 Oil; Market May Aim at $35

The market sets the price of oil, Ali Naimi, the Saudi Arabian oil minister, has often said, in side-stepping talk of oil price targets.

So it was big news Saturday when Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah told a Kuwaiti newspaper in a wide-ranging discussion that "the fair price of oil is $75 a barrel."

But the Saudis aren't looking for a quick 50% jump in oil prices.

Mexican Energy Reform: Now Comes the Hard Part

But now comes the hard part, as reforms offer no guarantee that national oil company Pemex will be able to improve its operational and financial performance. The new measures could put Pemex down the right road if implemented properly, although they alone will not be enough to turn around the infamously inefficient N.O.C. In fact, more reforms will be needed in coming years if Mexico wants to hang on to its status as one of the world's leading oil exporters.

Total pulls out of deal for Canadian oil giant

Total’s board has concluded that a deal would be too risky in the current climate, in view of the poor outlook for the global economy and the falling oil price. The fact that the contract for US light sweet crude closed yesterday at below $47-a-barrel for the first time since May 2005 is said to have been a consideration.

Norway Can Boost Investment, Curb Declines with Greater E&P Focus

Opening areas of the Norwegian continental shelf currently closed to oil and gas activities could increase investment by NOK 200-250 billion (US $28 billion) in 2022-40, according to a new KonKraft report.

Submitted today to petroleum and energy minister Terje Riis-Johansen, this study also finds that leaving such acreage closed would strengthen the fall in capital spending on the NCS. Investment could thereby decline to 20% of today's level after 2030.

Gazprom touts $33 bln investment plan for 2009 - CEO

UKHTA (north-west Russia) (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom's investment program in 2009 will be worth 920 billion rubles ($33 billion), the state-run energy giant's CEO said on Wednesday.

"As for the investment program for 2009, we are planning for 920 billion rubles," Alexei Miller told reporters.

Argentina Could Know Its Oil, Gas Output Potential by 2011

"There's a lot of potential to discover new oil and gas reserves," said IAPG analyst Gerardo Rabinovich.

Rabinovich said Argentina shares some of the same geological traits as Brazil, which has recently made big offshore discoveries, and that it may have similarly impressive production potential.

"There's a need to implement aggressive exploration policies," he said. "All you have to do is create the legal and financial incentives necessary to get there."

India: Power stations stare at acute coal shortage

The country is heading towards more power shortfall as coal-based power stations with generation capacity of over 70,000 mw are reeling under severe coal shortage. Of the 77 stations being monitored by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), as on November 27, nearly 51 stations had coal stocks of less than seven days while 33 stations had stock of less than four days. According to the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) report, so far 5.6 billion units have been lost by these power stations by October due to unavailability of adequate coal. There are peaking shortages at the level of 14% while energy shortages are at 8%. There are indications that the crisis may escalate further also because of coal deficit.

Plan C bailout strategy – Dealing with cars

Some peak oil proponents such as Matt Simmons and James Kunstler have called for a rebuilding of the national railroad network. This would take decades – if it is even possible. I am sure they will think of buses as unimaginative. Light rail and bullet trains have all the excitement of high technology. Thoughts of racing between Paris and London on the Eurostar evoke the thrills of speed and cultural exploration. But an extensive investment in buses would not require that we build any new parallel transport rail-based network (presumably running alongside our existing roads).

The magnitude of the effort to re-build a national rail system has not yet even been described. People seem to think there are some rusty tracks just waiting to be dusted off, which is not the case.

Solar thermal projects gather steam -- and opposition

Scores of grand-scale facilities are proposed for California. Their possible effect worries environmentalists and others.

The War on Carbon Heats Up Globally, but Strategies for Change Remain Local

"Think globally, act locally," urged an environmental mantra popular in the 1970s. That strategy made sense when communities faced visible problems such as polluted streams and smoggy air. It is less effective today, as the world tries to tackle a threat as broad and shapeless as climate change.

Holiday displays dimmed in cash-strapped cities

Fantasia, a light display in Goodwin Park in Hartford, Conn., was canceled after organizers decided they would have to double the $12-per-vehicle entrance fee to cover rising fuel and electricity costs, spokesperson Nancy Stamler says. Local businesses had helped sponsor the display, but Stamler says, "How can they sponsor when they're laying people off?"

Credit fears creep even into cash-rich oil sector

HOUSTON (AP) — Access to credit and the capital needed for exploration and production is the biggest obstacle facing oil companies in 2009, even more than lower crude and natural gas prices, a new survey shows.

Nearly 60 percent of chief financial officers at 100 U.S. oil and gas companies cited "credit capacity restraints, including access to capital" as their No. 1 financial challenge next year, according to the survey, released Tuesday by accounting firm BDO Seidman LLP.

Next on the list, at 21 percent, was falling oil or natural gas prices, the survey said.

Already, many smaller producers with constrained capital reserves have been stung by a credit crisis that's severely limited or even paralyzed their ability to finance new exploration and production.

Gas prices decline for 77th day

Gas prices have been in decline for the past 77 days as the slowing economy has driven down the price crude oil, according to a daily survey released Wednesday.

The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline slipped 0.9 cent to $1.803 a gallon, according to motorist group AAA, which released the survey of credit-card swipes at gas stations.

Pickens: New administration needs energy plan

OKLAHOMA CITY — Billionaire energy magnate Boone Pickens said Tuesday that he expects the incoming presidential administration of Barack Obama will have an energy plan that will include renewable resources like wind and solar power.

Pickens, speaking at a wind energy conference in his native state, said he thinks Obama "understands the problem" of the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"I think we're going to see an energy plan for the first time in America, ever," Pickens said. "And a big part of that will be renewables."

Shell executive says low prices may hurt energy policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Shell Oil Co President Marvin Odum said Monday he is concerned that falling oil prices are hurting investment in the sector and may push energy down as a priority for lawmakers.

"My number one concern is that energy moves off the top of the agenda," Odum told reporters after speaking at energy event.

OPEC makes 66 pct of pledged supply cut-Reuters survey

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil supply fell in November for a third consecutive month as members began to implement a deal to cut supplies in a bid to stem the slide in oil prices, a Reuters survey showed on Tuesday.

The survey suggests the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met 66 percent of a pledge to lower output by 1.5 million barrels per day in November -- so far not enough to counter the slump in oil demand as the world economy slows.

"OPEC definitely needs to do more," said Mike Wittner, oil analyst at Societe Generale. "What may look like enough of a cut now may turn out not to be once more data on the economy and oil demand come out. Demand seems to get weaker as we go on."

OPEC to cut oil supply in December - Qatar

DUBAI — OPEC will cut oil output at its next meeting on Dec. 17 in Algeria, Qatar's oil minister said on Wednesday.

“For sure we will cut in Oran (Algeria),” Abdullah al-Attiyah told reporters on the sidelines of a petrochemical conference in Dubai. “I don't know by how much. We will discuss it there.”

The Revenge of the Dinosaur – Oil Awakens

No one expects oil to return to $145 a barrel any time soon. With crude currently in the $50 range – and showing no technical signs of holding at that level – it’s nearly consensus that the heady days of the oil “bubble” are behind us.

In fact, nearly everywhere you look analysts with a great assortment of letters following their names are speaking of “demand destruction” – a phenomenon that describes a permanent downward bias on oil demand because of sustained high prices. Or, to put it more succinctly: the smartypanties out there would have us believe that because oil spiked, people have stopped driving cars and businesses have found other sources of energy (hamsters on treadmills?) to power their workplaces.

Ladies and gentlemen, with respect to oil, demand destruction does not exist and did not happen. Nor is it in any way accountable for the severe sell off in Nymex crude futures that scalped 60% from the price of oil in less than half a year.

BP books supertanker for US Gulf storage-shippers

DUBAI (Reuters) - Oil major BP has booked a supertanker capable of storing around 2 million barrels of crude at sea, becoming the latest firm to bet that it could get a higher price for holding onto oil rather than selling now.

BP's booking takes the total capacity booked for storage by oil firms and traders to at least 12 million barrels, nearly 15 percent of one day of world oil demand. In November, U.S. oil trader Koch and major Royal Dutch Shell booked vessels to store around 10 million barrels of crude.

Michael Klare: '2025' Report: A World of Resource Strife

That resource scarcity and climate change will become increasingly severe in the decades ahead are hardly novel observations — many "peak oil" and environmental groups have been saying the same thing for years. But the NIC report takes this one step further by describing how these phenomena will intrude into international affairs and could provide the spark for armed violence. Increased scarcity, it suggests, could lead to greater efforts by states to secure control over overseas sources of energy and other key resources, producing geopolitical struggles among the major energy-deficit nations and possibly provoking all-out war.

"The rising energy demands of growing populations and economies may bring into question the availability, reliability, and affordability of energy supplies," the report notes. "Such a situation would heighten tensions between states competing for limited resources…In the worst case this could lead to interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources to be essential to maintaining domestic stability and the survival of the regime."

Peak oil and what it means for the future

Now that petrol prices have dropped below the one pound per litre level it is easy to forget that the world still faces peak oil. This is the point where half of the world's oil supply has been pumped out of the ground. From here on it will be a diminishing resource.

Soil Not Oil: Why We Need to Kick Petroleum Out of Our Farms

Biodiverse farms offer us more food, better food, higher incomes for farmers and a defense from climate disasters.

Take the long view and ride the economic cycles

Markets have a powerful capacity to overshoot the fundamental influences on them. Just think of the ups and downs in the oil price this year. In July, the prevailing view was that powerful growth, especially in emerging economies, would aggravate the problems arising from "peak oil". As a result, the price of oil was said to be heading for $US200 or more a barrel. In recent months, economic growth in China and India has slowed modestly and the oil price has dropped by almost two-thirds.

Experience also says we must allow for the X factor. Every year has an X factor.

The X factor is the key influence that, with the advantage of hindsight, turns out to have been a powerful force on the economy and investment markets over the year, but which was not widely expected -- if noticed at all -- when the year began.

KU, ConocoPhillips Collaborate to Use Nanotechnology to Enhance Oil Recovery

The University of Kansas and ConocoPhillips have announced a three-year collaborative nanotechnology research program that will focus on the development and testing of new technologies for oil field stimulation to enhance recovery to help meet growing energy demand. ConocoPhillips will contribute $400,000 per year to the program.

At 9,356 feet, Shell’s New Offshore Oil Well Is the Deepest in the World

Shell has drilled an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that’s 1.77 miles deep and it will follow up with an even deeper one.

The oil giant announced it has drilled a well in the Silvertip field of the Perdido development that extends 9,356 feet below the surface and will later drill a 9,627-foot well in the same area. That handily beats the old record, which stood at 6,950 feet.

EPA to gut mountaintop mining rule protecting streams

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday approved a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration that will allow coal companies to bury streams under the rocks leftover from mining.

The 1983 rule prohibited dumping the fill from mountaintop removal mining within 100 feet of streams. In practice, the government hadn't been enforcing the rule. Government figures show that 535 miles of streams were buried or diverted from 2001 to 2005, more than half of them in the mountains of Appalachia. Along with the loss of the streams has been an increase of erosion and flooding.

High court turns down pipeline company appeal

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a pipeline company over denial of environmental permits for a proposed natural gas pipeline through Long Island Sound.

Connecticut regulators refused to issue permits for the 50-mile project to Islander East Pipeline Co. LLC, saying it would damage water quality, natural resources and prime shellfish beds.

Count the reasons to power into nuclear

It is not just Western governments and developing nations seeking energy independence that are pursuing nuclear power – even the oil-rich nations of the Middle East are looking at the possibility of building nuclear reactors.

This has prompted many peak oil conspiracy theorists to conclude that the Saudis are running out of oil. Questor doubts that this is true.

The Saudis are interested in pursuing a nuclear strategy so that the country can export more of its oil, its main source of foreign currency.

Nigeria: 30,000 Megawatts - 'Country Needs 10 Power Plants'

Abuja — Director, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Shamsudeen Elegba, has stated that Nigeria needs to build at least 10 nuclear power plants to generate 30,000 megawatts of electricity and suggested additional importation in order to meet the stated target.

Elegba stated this when the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Up Stream) came for an oversight function in the agency.

French Bid Disrupts Buffett Offer for U.S. Utility

PARIS — Seeking a strong foothold in the United States, Electricité de France, the giant French utility, offered on Wednesday to pay $4.5 billion for half of Constellation Energy’s nuclear power unit, a deal that could scuttle a takeover by the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett.

Hawaii Endorses Plan for Electric Cars

SAN FRANCISCO — The State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company on Tuesday endorsed an effort to build an alternative transportation system based on electric vehicles with swappable batteries and an “intelligent” battery recharging network.

The plan, the brainchild of the former Silicon Valley software executive Shai Agassi, is an effort to overcome the major hurdles to electric cars — slow battery recharging and limited availability.

AEP eyeing ‘transmission superhighway’ for wind energy

American Electric Power Company Inc. said Tuesday it is considering a multibillion-dollar project aimed at harnessing wind energy through a “transmission superhighway.”

The Columbus-based utility said it is in the conceptual phase of the proposal, which would require construction of more than 1,000 new miles of transmission lines and cost between $5 billion and $10 billion. The 765-kilovolt lines would connect wind farms in the upper Midwest – the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa – to an existing network that ends near Chicago.

British car makers win delay to bringing in carbon emission cuts

Car manufacturers have won a four-year delay to the introduction of European rules designed to force them to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars.

Jaguar Land Rover was granted a special deal after Britain joined ranks with other car-producing EU states to water down fuel efficiency targets proposed last year.

Deadline for global climate treaty in question

POZNAN, Poland – Negotiators from 190 countries agreed a year ago to complete a new global warming treaty by the end of 2009 that would force governments to reduce carbon emissions.

That deadline now appears to be slipping away.

Hybrid solar plant to reduce need for fossil fuel

INDIANTOWN, Fla. – Proclaiming green the new gold, Florida Power & Light executives on Tuesday marked the groundbreaking of the first of three new solar power projects that will eventually make the state No. 2 in the nation for energy from the sun.

FPL says the facility in southeast Florida will be the world's first hybrid solar plant to connect to an existing fossil fuel plant. It will use the sun's power to generate steam and offset the use of natural gas, making the facility more energy efficient, company officials said.

Rare Mineral Foretells Major Meltdown

What Lowenstein and his colleague Robert Demicco at Binghamton University have discovered is that nahcolite, a rare, yellowish-green or brown carbonate mineral, only forms on earth under environmental conditions marked by very high atmospheric CO2 levels. That establishes it as both a marker and a benchmark that can be used by scientists as they consider the likely climatic implications of ever-increasing CO2 levels in our atmosphere today. More specifically, nahcolite suggests that Eocene warming was concurrent with atmospheric CO2 levels of at least 1,125 parts per million (ppm), which is 3 times the current levels of 380 ppm, but not all that much higher than we can expect on earth in the next 100 years or so given generally accepted scientific projections based on fossil-fuel consumption.

Over 10,000 metal workers protest EU climate plans

BRUSSELS (AFP) – More than 10,000 metal workers, most from Germany, protested in Brussels Tuesday over EU plans to tackle climate change, which they fear will hit their industry.

Soot darkens ice, stokes runaway Arctic melt: study

POZNAN, Poland (Reuters) - Soot is darkening ice in the Arctic and speeding a melt that could make the ocean around the North Pole ice-free in summer well before 2050, experts said on Tuesday.

The experts said the fight against warming in the Arctic should be re-directed to focus more on cutting the industrial pollution from soot, ozone and methane in Europe, North America and Russia to try to prevent the ice disappearing.

In the spirit of T Boone Pickens energy plan posted above, I thought Micheal Moore's Plan would also be of interest. I absolutely love his idea of the government simply buying the companies instead of giving them bailout money and using the companies to create electric vehicles, including cars, trains, etc. A excerpt below:

So what to do? Members of Congress, here's what I propose:

1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.

Yep, that's similar to what I've been saying, although I'd suggest a minimum MPG number for each vehicle produced, rather than pure electric (not enough Lithium). And only one company can get supported, first come, first served.

Buyout rather than bailout and shut down the loss making / carbon polluting elements immediately. That would concentrate the CEOs minds wonderfully.

Of course the attachment to the idea of 'free markets' is so strong in the US it will never happen.

One minor quibble, i'm not sure I beleive the not enough Lithium quote. The guy that originally wrote the "Peak Lithium" article now believes that Lithium is in Abundance:

I got a tip off of that concern when A123 Technologies' Ric Fulop pulled me aside during a dinner reception at last year's EVS23 in Anaheim and suggested I should look into the question further. He had and came to the conclusion that there was plenty of lithium available, more than enough to meet the needs of all the electric cars the planet could afford to build.

theantidoomer -

I can hardly think of anything more certainly doomed to failure than having the US government buy up the US auto companies in order to make the 'right' kind of cars.

First off, they would piss away countless billions just studying the problem. Then the inevitable pork train would start rolling, then all sorts of politically well-connected contractors and subcontractors would pop up like mushrooms to consume all the pork, then after a few years you might see some half-assed design-by-committee vehicle finally hit the road, probably at a (true) cost that would be twice as high as if done by private enterprise.

How many major undertakings that the US government has embarked upon have ever been anything close to being a financial success and have not been vastly behind schedule and vastly over budget? Just look at the so-called 'defense industry' (which in reality is a quasi-government enterprise) and how many of its weapon systems turned out to be twice or thrice as costly as originally projected.

Now, I'm hardly saying that the US auto industry has been doing a good job ... they haven't. But the US government can only do worse, far worse.

Any plan made now will undoubtedly be based on a return of the US motor industry, and the European and Japanese ones for that matter, to 'normal', ie producing 16 million cars or so a year in the US alone.

As many of you are aware, I support EV cars, but it is quite clear that there is no way that we can ramp up immediately to anything like that volume.

The US plan then will be to move towards building many millions of small, European style cars with better fuel economy.

It seems unlikely that anything like that number of cars will be affordable.

By 2012 or so when EV cars become available in rather greater quantities, although of course not in the tens of millions, it seems unlikely that more than a fifth or so of present production will still be running.


I regret the rating system only allows me to give you a +1. Otherwise your would get much higher from me! My sentiments exactly. I just saw Denninger's rant for the morning. The monstrous actions with AIG is outrageous. And to expect these same crooks to take over the Auto Industry? I am a hard core fast crash doomer and getting the government to take over things is the fast way to achieve a quick hard crash.

Please note the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. Please put away any laptop computers or electronic devices and return your seats to the upright position.

Please note the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. Please put away any laptop computers or electronic devices and return your seats to the upright position.

Yeah but the cockpit door is ajar and it is empty and we're flying along on auto pilot... Btw wasn't that the pilot and co-pilot that just bailed out (no pun intended) of the back of the plane with their parachutes on?

No worries, the new crew will be along shortly, they're riding in the fuel tanker that's flying along behind us and they'll be sliding down the refueling hose to take their place at the controls, soon.

Unfortunately there are these uncharted peaks dead ahead...it's just not the best time to hit heavy turbulence. Damn looks like we're out of air sickness bags too.

Instead of the Feds running the U.S. auto industry with a mandate to accelerate the production of next generation Hybrids, and later EVs, why not take NASA out of the space business and focus their efforts on developing the technology the auto industry desperately needs. There is a hell of a lot of talent there.

How many major undertakings that the US government has embarked upon have ever been anything close to being a financial success and have not been vastly behind schedule and vastly over budget? Just look at the so-called 'defense industry' (which in reality is a quasi-government enterprise) and how many of its weapon systems turned out to be twice or thrice as costly as originally projected.

I would suggest the 'defense industry' is a huge success. At least for those involved. Two or three times over budget? Even better. A missile defense system that doesn't work? What's the definition of "working system"? If there are no missiles in the silos - or paper crete missiles - that works just fine. Bill'em Danno.

The concept of "saving the car industry" is, in and of itself, a death march. Wrong paradigm. Luckily, one won't have to make that case on resource arguments; it will be as simple as no one will be able to buy them.

cfm in Gray, ME

"I would suggest the Defense Industry is a huge success"..??????

You're joking, right?

If not, that is one of the most insane statements I have yet to hear on this web sight.

Citizen... Without a well funded defense industry, we would not have been able to train and equip Osama bin Laden's allies and we wouldn't be able to invade Iraq like we did in 2003. Not to mention things like Hiroshima and Nagasaki- all the soldiers civilians that were killed (about 250,000). Now, who wouldn't support an industry like that? /sarcasm

(In all fairness, we would not have been able to go into Afghanistan and destroy (mostly) the Taliban either without a defense industry, but this, like all other wars police actions, there are invariably civilian casualites of war).

We didn't mostly destroy the Taliban. Its supporters have been in the Afghan senate for years and now all the talk in Kabul is of a negotiated settlement. Nor are the politicians who are supposedly Afghan democracy anyone we should be proud of supporting.

I stand corrected... And the Taliban were never my favorite group of people. I don't support destroying world heritage, nor do I support rape or dismemberment as acceptable forms of punishment.

i am of the persuasion that one deserves the government one wants, and by simply not uprising en-mass to dislodge them. they, or at least the majority of them, approved of such a government. It is of up most hubris to assume everyone yearns or desires one certain form of government.

The Taliban were not always the reviled lot that they have now become in the eyes of the US Govt. They were a vital cog in the wheel to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. They were set up and trained by the ISI in Pakistan with the active connivance of the CIA (why do the dirty job of fighting when someone more ruthless will do it for you?).

I remember in Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore shows a delegation of them coming to Texas sometime in 1997. I think the idea was to use Afghanistan for a Unocal pipeline from Central Asia.




The Taliban were in power from 1996 to 2001. Nothing was done by the US or NATO to get rid of them. They probably had some utility value then. As long as they were good dogs, fine. Never bite the hands that feed you.

Bush has come and gone - no sign of Osama yet. He was supposed to have been smoked out in 2001.


Yes, they were in power, and nothing was done to get rid of them. Coincidentally, they had not yet sponsored a terror attack that killed 3,000 people in New York.

The real sponsor of terror is still in the White house for a few weeks. He has killed over 5 thousand Americans.

Should we invade?????

Be my guest. I'll sell popcorn.

the defense industry is one of the most succesful at looting the treasury, so on that basis successful. but the all time looting award will probably go to the banking industry. and that prediction has profound implications i.e. past peak looting.

Reading is a matter of interpretation, not just direct relation of fact.

US readers seem to have so little confidence in their government to run anything, and so much in their market led companies. Has anyone ever stopped to question if that little canard is anything but spin?

The $500 hammer was sold by those companies...

The $71-million(projected) US Capitol visitor center just opened yesterday.

The final cost was $621-million.

The government doesn't build these things - they put them out for bid. This famous "over budget" thing surely says more about the slimy corporations that knowingly low-ball their bids than it does about the government. Not that I love big government.

If you don't low ball your bid you won't get the contract.

Of course. It's a complete and utter collusion between govt and the corps. A handy-dandy term for this is "fascism". I just reject the argument that government always sucks and the "free" market (gag me) always works out great. It's this hideous blend that we are dealing with. The system is broken.

Now, I'm hardly saying that the US auto industry has been doing a good job ... they haven't. But the US government can only do worse, far worse

One thought:

Governments have elected officials up top... companies have appointed CEOs. Governments (supposedly) are accountable to their populations, who could demand various things like safety, or justice, or jobs etc....companies answer to shareholders, who demand profit. I'm not sure, but I think if you look at "job perks" as a variation of "bribes" the corruption might be similar.}

Not saying governments owning businesses is a good thing, but I'm not entirely convinced that its a bad thing either. Especially if the majority of people don't have the money to own shares but can vote.

It all might depend on how democratic the US government is.

Unfortunately, in tandem, the government would also have to order the people to use said trains, buses, subways, and light rail. We need to focus on creative ways to get people to use the public transit that we already have. Without some really major incentives, don't expect to see any more increased use with the insanely low prices for gasoline we have right now.

As much as I support CAFE standards and think the auto companies should be prohibited from lobbying and political action to resist said standards, including those passed in California, I will believe that the government is serious when they pass something serious like a feebate. But that is not enough. The slow turnover in the vehicle fleet mandates a package of incentives and disincentives to actually get people out of their cars and driving less. Start with things like pay as you go insurance to make the cost of driving as variable as possible. This has been done in Texas and is being proposed here locally by my Boulder County, Colorado state representative.

We are going to be spending hundreds of billions of dollars in the next few years on so called infrastructure. Not one penny should be spent on new roads and not one penny should be spent on any infrastructure that enables development that is not contiguous with existing infrastructure.

I totally agree that spending money on building new highways is daft, which probably means it will happen.
Some money on making sure bridges do not fall down might be a good idea.

In the US, 90% of new car purchases use finance, and the huge fall in orders is largely due to that drying up.
This should get substantially worse next year as people are made redundant.

In a few years then, it seems that many will be using public transport willy-nilly.
Some sensible measures such as you suggest would ease the transition.

Unfortunately, in tandem, the government would also have to order the people to use said trains, buses, subways, and light rail. We need to focus on creative ways to get people to use the public transit that we already have


The USA has a bare pittance of Urban Rail. MANY projects just need to be built in order to generate high ridership. Two big $ projects are LA's "Subway to the Sea" (at least to UCLA as step 1) and the 2nd Avenue Subway in NYC, taking some of the pressure off of Lexington Ave. (600,000 riders/weekday). A downtown connector Light Rail line in LA may have the highest cost benefit.

I developed a list of Ready to Go Urban Rail projects (about 130 of them)


Miami wants to build 103 miles of elevated subway, and the feds should pay the same % that they did for interstate highways, 90%.

The best way to increase ridership on an Urban Rail line ? Build another one.

If Line 2 is built, ridership on Line 1 increases. If Line 3 is built, ridership on Lines 1 & 2 increase. Build Line 4 ...

Best Hopes for More Urban Rail,


I did not mean to suggest we shouldn't build more, and what you say is true regarding light rail. But the bus system will still be a major way for people to get around including feeding to and from light rail/subways. I road the bus from Boulder to Denver last week to a Broncos game. It seemed like a no brainer as I did not have to deal with massive traffic, parking, and then the hassle of getting out of the stadium parking lot after the game. Not to mention all the people who drank to excess during the game. Even so, the vast majority of those going to the game drove their cars. The love is still there for the personal auto and the hate is still there for the bus, even if efficient, fast,reasonably priced, and on time.

After my wife wrecked her car while having a low blood sugar, she began riding the bus. It took her an hour, with two transfers, to get across town. In the car it takes 15 minutes. The bus was seldom on time, and if drivers called in sick on any given day, a 30 minute wait at the bus stop would turn into an hour. While waiting at the bus stop, she was besieged by panhandlers and drunks. Once there was a dead "street inebriate" - as the drunken Navajos around here are euphemistically referred to - at the bus stop. He'd passed out drunk in a slumped position & suffocated himself. The busses were filthy since the drunks puked & pissed on them. The bus drivers, most of them women, were surly and rude from dealing with drunks all day... After a few weeks, my wife refused to ride the bus anymore, and now has our son or me chauffeur her around. My point is that people aren't going to ride public transportation around here until forced by economic necessity to do so.

Probably will get worse. Difficult and expensive to exclude the public on public transportation, and I expect alcoholism and aggression to increase with the belt tightening.

Goes for commuter rail too, my scariest time in quite awhile was riding the Sacramento line one night after ASPO this fall. A couple accosted me, they were able to stop the train and interfere before anything serious happened, but it causes you to think twice. OTOH, the early am ride was everything it's supposed to be.

I used to take the dog (Greyhound) north into Canada years ago. Such a difference. Canadian's were polite, friendly, fun to talk with. The US portion was a nightmare, like a mobile version of the Inferno. Everyone seemed to be carrying a knife, and let you know. Then again it was the mid 80's, and times weren't the best.

I've had mixed experiences with trains. The Alaska Railroad, for example, is wonderful. On the other hand, riding the Amtrak from central Illinois to Chicago was always a nightmare of screaming kids & piss smelling seats. The Long Island Railroad usually wasn't too bad, but could be really crowded at rush hours. As for subways, the one in Mexico City was clean but was so crowded it can't be recommended to the claustrophobic. Easy to get your pocket picked or be fondled, if you're a woman, in the crush. NYC's subway is older & nastier but I never had a really bad experience on it other than it being overly crowded likewise. There isn't a rail line within 200 km of where I live now, besides the Durango - Silverton narrow gauge steam train. That thing is a nasty polluting anachronism that routinely ignites forest fires. But since the tourism industry in SW Colorado counts on it, suggesting it be shut down or at least have a catalytic converter put on its smokestack is heresy around here.

I wonder what determines that... I grew up in Montreal, Canada. I took the bus everywhere as a teenager - even in cold winters, of course. The bus was full of young and old people from all walks of life. I never felt threatened riding the bus or the metro for 10 odd years. I eventually found I could save time by riding my bicycle (April to November), but driving a car is a nightmare - can't park it, snow conditions, etc. etc...

Here in Boulder, CO, the bus seems underused, and as there is little traffic and parking is acceptable, there is little incentive to take it. I don't feel threatened on it, even though I live near the homeless shelter, and run into old patients on the bus...

I wonder whether the social conditions in a given city are reflected on the bus. The more inequailty, racism, etc.. the more the bus experience would be unpleasant for those not on the very bottom of society.

I wondered the same when I was on the bus. The biggest surprise were the frail old ladies, I just couldn't imagine that occurring then in the states, tho I knew my grandmother would ride years before. It didn't seem to be a city function, as I rode through and across BC, Alberta, Sask. Is it still the same?

The other marvel back then was the condition of the neighborhoods. A striking difference, with disrepair and peeling paint here vs a Judy Garland type of Oz north of the border. I still wonder why that recession of the eighties seemed to hit the US so much harder. I have my pet theories, but none are tested.

As more people ride public transportation, I fully expect social pressures will generally spruce up these problems. It's sort of like my neighbors worried about building a path into the city park behind them, since "there were homeless people down there and our children will be unsafe...". Increased use of the park reduced the homeless problem.

I doubt it reduced the homeless, they, rather, moved elsewhere. What sort of pressures do you envision? The response I read is always to outlaw them in some fashion, make them illegal and hopefully, they move on. Outa sight, outa mind.

It's the ignored flip side of public transportation, even more ironic as the recession intensifies. They are not going to go away. An added cost will be policing the transport, whether rail, bus or pod. We are not far from vigilantes policing the subways again.

But what do we do with the homeless or "disenfranchised"? There but for the grace go all of us.

Unlike the GWB Administration, I do not see a major role for buses post-Peak Oil. As feeders to Urban Rail, and some express bus services, yes. But NOT as the backbone of public transit (at least in cities over 150,000-250,000 population).

The fuel mileage of a bus (if FF and not ETB) is comparable to a Prius overall. They do not appeal to the middle class (unless they connect to Urban Rail). Urban Rail does. There are only a few exceptions to that rule (express buses being one).

Best Hopes for Urban Rail and bus feeders,



"The fuel mileage of a bus (if FF and not ETB) is comparable to a Prius overall"

This I would doubt, I keep telling my friends that the "Greeness" of a suburban bus is a myth, a 40 seater has a maximum seated average load of 10 (25%) in a rushhour situation (As it starts off empty, peaks at its destination and returns empty, A full bus ceases to be public transport), an express bus 20 (50%) if it fills at the start and returns empty, paradoxically the farther you go by bus the better the utilization so you can improve the "mileage" by commuting farther (somewhat self defeating).

Electric Trains, ETB's and Monorails are similarly hampered but start off with a far higher efficiency.

Here in Auckland NZ the average bus load is less than 6pax per K, which is why it is subsidized, It is a social service, not an environmental one



The average ridership varies widely; your stats are on the low end. Ridership profiles, etc. vary significantly.

One very nice thing about Urban Rail (and not so for buses) is Transportation Oreintated Development. Urban rail creates it's own riders, and multiple sources and destinations (I am a believer in that theory) along the line allows the same seat to be used (sold) to more than one person per RT (3 or 4 is not uncommon in good situations).


Urban rail is the way to go. I am also impressed with BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) systems I have experienced in other countries (Colombia). These are relatively cheap to build and operate (presumably cheaper than rail, but I don't know). I eagerly await the construction of the DC Metro Silver Line to Dulles (under Tysons, not over), but I was disappointed that BRT wasn't taken more seriously as an option.

Regarding the variable [un]pleasantness of buses and trains, I've observed that they tend to be touchstones for local culture. The NY subway system seems dirty and unpleasant to me, whereas DC's metro is clean and pleasant in a shallow sort of way. People just read and listen to iPods and never make eye contact. I've heard that closing the system every night helps cleanliness enormously. You can take the pulse of most cities by their metro systems--Santiago's is utterly clean and super efficient, Madrid's is a party and it's common to start conversations with people you've never met and then spontaneously get off the metro for a drink, every city is different. The "Chinatown" bus is currently the cheapest passage between DC and NYC--it can be a pretty seedy crowd but mostly it's students and folks who are using what they can afford though it is also appreciated by people who understand the value of a downtown-to-downtown ticket. It is way cheaper than the train.

I suspect that most locales get the culture they deserve on their mass transit systems. It takes political effort and public will to develop and operate a pleasant, efficient system. These challenges are not technical, but a good technical underpinning helps a lot.

In Caracas a 23 seater bus has 18-20 people off hours. In peak hours it can have 33 or more. (People stand in the door, half in half out.) You breath diesel fumes, and the time it takes to get where you're going depends on the chaotic traffic. The people begging for money are depressing.

The metro air is clean but hot and humid. In off hours a 32 seat wagon might have 30 people, in peak hours you have to lever and wriggle your way in the doors. I've never succeeded in counting, but i estimate there's 50 to 70 people in each wagon. The people begging for money sing, or bless you.

I think one big difference here is that they don't put money into roads unless forced to, whereas public transport does get reasonable support. The roads are planned and constructed piecemeal, so car traffic is a frustrating snarl. Just imagine a 6 lane highway turning into a 2 lane highway in the center of the city. Then add a traffic circle, a few zig-zag avenues that might be one way, potholes, corrupt-ish traffic cops, street vendors, motorbikes, a few jugglers and the general conception that yellow lights mean go fast, red lights mean go if you can, and green lights mean honk as the other guy cuts you off. It makes you really like the metro, or any other transport that is on a track that can't be re-routed.

And soon they will open the metro cable. Its a ski lift style thing that will transport people to the neighborhood on the hills overlooking my apartment. No buses go there because There are no roads!

I will put up a picture if I can figure out how.

I wonder how much urban rail and other useful things could have been financed with 700 billion dollars.

In 1998 the Swiss people voted to spend 31 billion Swiss francs (over 20 years) improving their already superb rail system. Several goals (for THAT much money) but #1 was transferring freight from truck to (hydro) electric rail.

Adjust for population and currency, and this would be like the USA voting to spend $1 trillion on useful infrastructure.

Best Hopes for Less Wasted Money,


instead of giving them bailout money

Perhaps a better idea?


Brave lemmings always "stay the course".
It is only cowards who "cut and run" the other way.
A profit in the hand (almost) is worth flapping for, even if you're not a bird.

What do you do when you're branded

And you know you're a cow?

The Government solution is a grey liquid

being neither black nor white

gas nor solid

one drop of which totally disolve your mind

I believe you have indulged

Ignore - This didnt post where I intended

I think any talk about alternative fuels and conservation should be conducted in past tense. The public is not interested. We are facing global gluts of oil, and for years. The global recession has just started, and oil trading down into the mid-$40s. This could drag on for years (sadly). We will see oil under $20 in 2009, maybe single digits. Nobody is going to care about anything except recharging the economy. If this recession follows the pattern of the 1980s, it will be 10 years before demand recovers. Given new technologies and AGW policies, demand may never recover.
Man, what a change. Only yesterday there was talk of $200 oil. Now $20 seems probable. Hey, only off by a factor of 10. I guess we have seen worse forecasting, but I am not sure when.

Not necessarily - 1) the Net Export crisis, 2) reduction in new projects coming online due to current low prices, 3) natural depletion rate for existing production base of circa 9%, as per EIA, and 4) continued if more moderate demand growth in East Asia may all combine to cause a renewed spike in oil prices quite soon - even as the descent into economic depression in the wealthy West continues to take its course in the absence of any economic recovery whatsoever.

On the other hand, you may be right also. We certainly live in interesting times. I would like to call attention again to the fact that FROM THE WILDERNESS published an article some years ago explicitly predicting the possibility that oil prices could possibly fall as low as $15 per barrel under a scenario such as the present. This may be seen as an early prediction of what you are proposing. If anyone could provide a link to that article, I would be grateful.

The website with publications is here:

It is easiest if you search on it to find the exact publication you have in mind, as there seem to be a bunch that are similar.
If you use Google advanced search you can search just that site.

Hope this helps.

'I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil -- and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical." --Michael Moore

Gotta love his way with words.

Makes sense to me.

POZNAN, Poland (Reuters) - Soot is darkening ice in the Arctic and speeding a melt that could make the ocean around the North Pole ice-free in summer well before 2050, experts said on Tuesday.

For a bit of humor to counter the usual (and necessary) gloom that usually inhabits TOD, after reading this little blurb above, I imagined a Dr. Evil scenario of him announcing a plan to fly over the acrtics with planes filled with printer toner that he would dump onto all of the ice to cause it to melt due to increased insolation, causing the world's oceans to rise, flooding cities worldwide. After that, the sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads would be able to infiltrate flooded New York City and cause much mischief.

Much of that atmospheric soot likely came from countries which burn lots of coal without pollution controls. China and India come to mind, what with the so-called "Asian Brown Cloud" darkening the skies. Diesel emissions and increased forest fires from slash-and-burn land clearing might also be implicated.

E. Swanson

What's sad about this is that there is no natural mechanism to fix this... It's not like it gets washed away by rain or covered by snow (because it'll just deposit again). This is an unfixable problem once it has occured.

My bigger concern is the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves. You start 'painting' those suckers black and you start having MAJOR sea level rise...

Yes Greenland and Antarctica are big concerns - but not the ice shelves. Ice shelves are already floating on the sea/ocean and their melting will not change sea levels.


Except it's the ice shelves that protect the rest of the ice.

And I really meant the ice caps... Should learn my English a bit better... But, yes, black powder layering any frozen body in the world is highly condusive to melting it (in fact, I can't think of an easier way to ice, with the exeption of helicopter drops of salt).

Also, if the ice shelves melt the darker waters will absorb more sunlight.

But, yes, black powder layering any frozen body in the world is highly condusive to melting it

And, I fear the climatologists are missing the crucial part,that as the snow/ice melts, the soot is left behind on the surface, unless it washes away with the meltwater. So as the melt season progresses, the darkening gets greater. And if it is a glacial ablation surface (surface of a glacier, where more snow melts in the summer than is deposited in the winter) it can accumulate dirt/soot from year to year. So after a couple of decades, it could get pretty dark, once the seasonal snow cover has melted off.

An interesting post on the Dallas Morning News Opinion Blog, by Nicole Stockdale, one of the editorial writers. Rod Dreher is one of the tiny number of vocal Peak Oil aware media types. He has also been pushing local food production.

(Click on link in the post for the 1918 pamphlet)

This one's for you, Rod (Dreher): The entire "War Vegetable Gardening and the Home" pamphlet has been digitized by Google and published online.

Published by the National War Garden Commission in 1918, it contains everything you need to know about planting a garden indoors or out and what to do with the excess fruits of your labor.

Great link, thanks.

The 1918 rationale for gardens? Decreases traffic congestion and frees space on the railroads that are overburdened transporting food.

Hello Doug Fir,

Let's hope that a sudden oil pricing spike doesn't cause the same problem as in 1918: Picture diesel so high that even Amtrak and local urban rail forbids passengers inside so they can instead fill the seats with boxes of veggies. We would be forced to ride the rails like the Indians...


..but with snow & freezing rain coming down: a damn cold ride.

Best hopes for Alan Drake's Strategic Railcar Reserve.

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


Thanks for the link! I love that old time stuff so I printed it out (probably the only TODer to do so). There is lots of good information with the exception of insect/disease control. People not only won't find many of the things mentioned but if you find, e.g. lead arsenate, fer get about it. As an aside, after shutting down as a small-scale organic farm, I got involved with sports turf. In the old days, it was standard practice to apply 1 ton Pb/As per acre on golf courses for insect control every year. Some of the old courses are probably superfund sites.


Gazprom launches Yamal megaproject

Ukhta (Republic of Komi) hosted the celebrations dedicated to the launch of the construction and the welding of the first joint of the Bovanenkovo – Ukhta gas trunkline system.

The Bovanenkovo – Ukhta gas trunkline system is intended for gas transportation from the Bovanenkovskoye field, the largest on the Yamal Peninsula, to the Unified Gas Supply System of Russia.

The drilling of the first production well has also been initiated in the Bovanenkovskoye field.

Also in the news: deputy finance minister Sergei Shatalov said that Russian oil companies earned $17.5bn extra cash in the first half of the year due to Kudrin's Scissors; they lost $7bn in the second half for the same reason.

Many of us (myself included) don't know what Kudrin's Scissors are, and I think that's in interesting topic... from http://premier.gov.ru/eng/premier/press/ru/1189.html ...

..."Kudrin scissors," a phenomenon that occurs when they have to pay exorbitant oil export taxes that far exceed current oil prices...

In this situation, such developments can be easily explained. Oil companies do not want to sustain losses because this could lead to bankruptcy. After anticipating reduced profits, the banks have stopped loaning money to anyone.

Russia's foreign partners are calling the Foreign Ministry and asking whether Moscow is ready to deprive Europe of oil during the cold winter season.

What it appears to be (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) is an export tax that is fixed. Let's say you are a Russian producer and the tax was set at $60/barrel, and oil was being sold at $100, it might make sense to continue to produce (depending on your other operating expenses being less than $40/barrel). However, if oil is being sold for $50/barrel and you are taxed at $60/barrel, it makes no sense to continue production and you might as well close up shop (with the exception of producing for domestic consumption).

Does this strike anyone as insane?

Kudrin's Scissors work in both directions. Russian Finance Ministy (headed by Alexei Kudrin) sets the export tax for a month basing on the average oil price in the preceding period. If the price goes up, producing companies gain "extra" cash, if it goes down, they lose money. Shatalov said that so far this year companies shouldn't complain about the tax (which they did a lot last month).

Companies in the west whine about taxes ceaselessly. And as is typically the case the spineless politicians bend to their demands. In the case of Russia there is an explicit formula for how the tax is calculated based on the monthly averaged oil price so the whiners have no excuses. This is the same attempt at rip off as is practiced by the gasoline stations: when the oil price goes up they jack up the price immediately, when it goes down they take their sweet time to bring it down.

Re: Hawaii Endorses Plan for Electric Cars

Here is an interview with Edwin Black about the lack of an energy emergency plan in the US:


Mr. Black also mentions this electric car project. The concept is very different from today's car industry. He states it is more like the cell phone model. The car is cheap, and the long term income is from your subscription to the re-charging and battery swap stations.

Looks like Nissan is signed on to build the vehicles.

The stations are planned to utilize wind and solar as much as possible. GPS units in the car will tell you where all the stations in battery range are. When you get to the station, you swap out your battery for a charged one, and leave the depleted one to charge for the next person. Sounds ideal for Hawaii where there's plenty of sun and few drives above 100 miles.

I'm sure nothing this innovative was presented to Congress by the Detroit 3 this week.

Hawaii generates most of it's electricity from oil. Since EVs do not use significantly less energy than ICEs (as Urban Rail does), the advantages of this plan are unclear to me.


Whoah there Alan. I agree that EVs don't use less energy than rail, EVs most certainly DO use less energy than ICEs)

Production and conversion electric cars typically use 10 to 23 kW·h/100 km (0.17 to 0.37 kW·h/mi).[42][43] Approximately 20% of this power consumption is due to inefficiencies in charging the batteries. Tesla Motors indicates that the well-to-wheels[44] energy consumption of their li-ion powered vehicle is 10.9 kW·h/100 km (0.176 kW·h/mi). The US fleet average of 10 L/100 km (23 mpg US) of gasoline is equivalent to 96 kW·h/100 km (1.58 kW·h/mi), assuming 100% efficiency, and the 3.4 L/100 km (70 mpg US) Honda Insight uses 32 kW·h/100 km (0.52 kW·h/mi) (assuming 9.6 kW·h per liter of gasoline and 100% efficiency), so hybrid electric vehicles are relatively energy efficient, and battery electric vehicles are much more energy efficient


Sure, Hawaii generates a good portion of their electricity from oil, but it doesn't have to be that way. With electric power cars OR trains, you can choose your source of electricity, be it solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc, assuming that the geography allows for a given technology. One thing that usually isn't included in calculations for gasoline is the amount of energy used to extract the oil, ship it, refine it into gasoline, and ship it again to the pump. Of course, there is always the question of how many steps back do you want to include the energy "cost" of an item.

In addition to the above consideration, and I am having trouble understanding how Alan could make a mistake on the energy efficiency of EV's of that magnitude as it is data in the public domain, on, for instance, GM's Volt site, and he has also participated in many threads where the subject was conclusively discussed with all relevant references, the article makes it perfectly clear that the EV's in Hawaii are to be introduced in parallel with a renewables drive to power them.

Battery life for lithium has also now been much more thoroughly tested:

Battery provider Southern California Edison have been testing a lithium-ion battery subpack for two and a half hears now and have demonstrated a life of more than 180,000 miles without significant performance deterioration. Considering that the average American family car does less than 15,000 miles a year, you're looking at well over ten years' service from a battery pack before it needs replacing. Factor in your gas guzzler's scheduled servicing costs (negligible on an electric) and a fuel bill of more than USD$10,000 at today's low gas prices even if you drive a 29mpg small car, and it appears the cost equation is becoming more convincing for electrics.


Anyway, I was more intrigued by the wholly different model for selling transportation.

Besides, saying EV's use more energy than a petrol-powered car will be moot when we run low on the liquids to fuel the cars, right?

A too quick shot from the hip, I am afraid. Busy today.

But I would like to look into those quoted #s more. I assume 30% efficiency oil > electricity and 10% Transforming and Transmission loss to residential plug-in. (Central heavy users of electricity, of which Urban Rail could be considered as one, have T&T losses of 6%-7% "typically").

Best Hopes for More Reflection before posting,


Fair enough, Alan - I was surprised as I know that you try to remain objective - so far as any of us can, that is!

What is true is that if you generated most of your electricity from coal you would not save much on CO2 emissions.

On further checking I have found that you were not as far out as I had thought - most of the discussions I have had on efficiency were comparing with nuclear of solar energy sources, and as those outputs are typically given after conversion in the case of nuclear the inefficiency gets lost in the wash, so to speak.

Here is a paper by Tesla on the subject:

Electric Cars
Even with tires and gearing optimized for performance (rather that absolute efficiency), the Tesla Roadster only
consumes about 110 watt-hours (0.40 mega-joules) of electricity from the battery to drive a kilometer, or 2.53
The energy cycle (charging and then discharging) of the lithium-ion batteries in the Tesla Roadster is about 86%
This means that for every 100 mega-joules of electricity used to charge such a battery, only 86 mega-
joules of electricity are available from the battery to power the car’s motor. Thus, the “electrical-outlet-to-wheel”
energy efficiency of the Tesla Roadster is 2.53 km/MJ x 86% = 2.18 km/MJ.
The most efficient way to produce electricity is with a “combined cycle” natural gas-fired electric generator. (A
combined cycle generator combusts the gas in a high-efficiency gas turbine, and uses the waste heat of this turbine
to make steam, which turns a second turbine – both turbines turning electric generators.) The best of these
generators today is the General Electric “H-System” generator, which is 60% efficient,which means that 40% of
the energy content of the natural gas is wasted in generation.
Natural gas recovery is 97.5% efficient, and processing is also 97.5% efficient.
Electricity is then transported over the electric grid, which has an average efficiency of 92%,
giving us a “well-to-electric-outlet” efficiency of
60% x 92% x 97.5% x 97.5% = 52.5%.
Taking into account the well-to-electric-outlet efficiency of electricity production and the electrical-outlet-to-
wheel efficiency of the Tesla Roadster, the well-to-wheel energy efficiency of the Tesla Roadster is 2.18 km/MJ x
52.5% = 1.14 km/MJ, or double the efficiency of the Toyota Prius.

Of course, this relies on very favourable solutions for electricity generation, but OTOH relatively few Hawaiians drive cars as efficient as the Prius, and some at least of the electricity will be generated by renewables.

With the current economic circumstances I would see most Hawaiians as only able to afford something like an electric bike or scooter for the forseeable future, with EV's used by the emergency services, for deliveries and as taxis, so the load would be very small indeed, so you might come out to something like a tenth of present transportation energy consumption.

I think you're right about the scooters and electric bikes. Gasoline powered scooters can get in excess of 125MPG, and an electric scooter is even more efficient than that when you compare the energy content of the gasoline to the electricity consumed by the motor of an electric scooter. I could do some caluclations on the bit, but I should get back to work.

One big advantage of an electric scooter might be reduced maintenance and longer life.
I understand that petrol scooters don't last very long.
With an electric one there is not much to go wrong.
Some also hope to build electric scooters much more cheaply:

Annoyingly, they don't give kilowatts but talk in terms of an £0.08 charge for 40 miles, and again of £0.005 for 1 mile, which does not reconcile, but taking the higher figure of £0.005 for 1 mile

Using the nighttime rate of 5p/kwh then you might be talking about 100watts/mile

Annoyingly imprecise, and if this is right then it would use a 4kwh battery, which doesn't sound do-able for an overall cost of £999 for the scooter.

Perhaps then it is 8p for 40 miles, which gives a battery of around 2kwh and 50/watts/mile, which sounds very low.

Still, Salford University and Wispa, who make motability scooters are credible sources, so they must have something on those lines in the pipeline.
Perhaps an unusually efficient engine?

A watt is a rate of consumption (one joule per second) and not a quantity of electricity.


That's why the above post was in joules (which is a quantity of energy).

Battery ratings are a voltage and an amperage for a given period of time (typically two hours for deep cycle batteries).

All in all very confusing for non-EE types.

I thought I was fairly safe, if not perhaps technically correct, but referring to kwh rather than kw.
From your link:

Power and energy are frequently confused in the general media. Power is the rate at which energy is used (or generated). A watt is one joule of energy per second. For example, if a 100 watt light bulb is turned on for one hour, the energy used is 100 watt-hours or 0.1 kilowatt-hour, or (60x60x100) 360,000 joules. This same quantity of energy would light a 40-watt bulb for 2.5 hours. A power station would be rated in watts, but its annual energy sales would be in watt-hours (or kilowatt-hours or megawatt-hours). A kilowatt-hour is the amount of energy equivalent to a steady power of 1 kilowatt running for 1 hour, or 3.6 megajoules.

So it would seem that a battery with a capacity of 2kwh would provide a flow of 50watts to power the vehicle for 40 miles.
What have I missed?
Shome terminological hinexactitude?

Your later posts still refer to watts per mile.
Maybe you should reread Lynford's link.

I was replying to Xburb, who used the same terms!- we understood what each other meant! ;-)

Perhaps I do need to get my head around the terminology of electrics at some stage, but it certainly won't be at this time of night.

Hey Dave
The typical estimate for power consumption on the ebike is 15-20 watts per mile but I think they are assuming some pedaling. http://www.cycle9.com/FAQ-new/FAQ-new.html

In practice I'm seeing (nopedal) 28wpm on lead batts pulling 220 lbs bike and rider on a flat windless 15mile long 20 mph run with my homebuilt 36v. Lithium batts would help.

I strongly agree about the fewer things to go wrong vs. ICE power. (Been a fleet mechanic for years) Guys love to tell me about their .28 cent fillups but don't talk about the muss, fuss, and bother. The ebike brushed hub motor is real basic and durable and w/o the (brushless) five hall sensor wires more robust IMHO. Neither one is difficult to build. My fillup might be 5 cents. (6 1/5 cents kw and $2.15 gas)

Thanks, xburb!
That 50 watts/mile doesn't sound too far out for this more substantial vehicle then.
It seems people are going to get around pretty well when the last SUV has gone to the great scrap heap in the sky.

100watts/mile or 150watts/mile doesn't sound out of the question then for something providing some level of weather-covering and a passenger seat or two.

From £1000 for this scooter, doubling the battery cost and the cost of the bodywork still comes out at only £2,000, perhaps $3,000, and you've got something which would not do for long distance commuting but would be fine for trips to the shops, taking the kids to school or going to a workplace at a reasonable distance.

That's the kind of money which can be raised without finance too.

Yes for sure. Not a lot of resources involved. Shouldn't require an act of congress or mating of elephants or anything :)
For the life of me I can't understand what the big lead time hangup is with these things. Plenty of us would be happy with something half the size of the EV1 or an electric Metro for most stuff. Trains for longer trips.

Cranking out 20 miles or more on a human powered road bike is just good clean fun too.

Edit Just to be clear I am using 12 amp hrs times 36 volts (436wh) and my watt (hours) per mile is around 28 at 20 mph If I pushed the batts harder or even if I changed my wind resistance this would change things. I have other 'vehicles' in the works but there are a bunch of 'results' out there already. Some using meters. http://www.rc-cars-planes.com/wattmeter-simulator.html

Others like me are using their battery amp hour rating times volts to give total watt-hours and pretty much dscharging the system. That total is then divided by the miles traveled and the watt (hr) per mile figure is given. I'm simply saying that when you see these 'internet' results these is likely the methods. And the results are fairly consistant. Here estimates on larger motorbikes are in the 65 to 100 wh per mile range are being found. Small cars are running in the 250 to 400 whpm range

By these standards I think Dave's estimates are reasonable.

From what I have read it is not a good idea at all to discharge the system with lead acid batteries, as it ruins the lifespan.
The Wispa though, to be specific, sounds OK as I would not much fancy riding it for 40 miles, so for most of it's actual use it should do fine, if you reckon on a 20 mile range.

The other issue is rapid discharge, and I am a big fan of capacitors for that, so that you get some extra oomph for uphill and acceleration without knackering the battery.
They are also great for regenerative braking, which in turn not only provides more range but reduces wear on the brakes.

Hopefully they will come into service relatively soon, as if you treat the battery, even a lead acid one, with respect they should last around the same time as the vehicle - see my link to AFS for some of the details - the extra cost sounds reasonable.

The new Mini also uses capacitors, from memory.

100watts/mile or ...

Heres where the units confusion sets in big time. To anyone trained as a physicist, watts/mile -or the horribly common one "power plant X produces 250megawatts per year", makes absolutely no sense. So for the former, we can only guesse at the missing definition: did they mean 100watts running for a second, which gives 100 Joules/mile, or 100watt-hours -which is 3600 times greater, or maybe something else entirely. And of course a power plants output is simply measured in watts, add in a unit of time, and the statement is meaningless -except as an indicator of the authors ignorance. Now a plant that builds 100Million watts of solar panels per year would be measured as watts/year, but that implies that the total capacity it produced depends on how long it was running, i.e. if the solar panel manufacturing plant ran for three years, the panels can produce 300Mwatts.

Perhaps we should have a TOD tutorial, on units of energy, and power, so that everyone is on the same page.

The scooter would consume 50wh, or watt hours, per mile. Assuming you are travelling at a speed of 25mph, that would be 1.25KW of demand assuming a constant speed.

If you are using my figure of 50wh/mile, that is just a guess, as the sources I have are not precise enough to work it out properly.
For a 40 mile range, that comes to a demand of 2KW, I reckon.
I can't see where the 25 mph is from, but of course some particular usage will be assumed in the figures given.
Perhaps you have other sources of information?

Of course, this relies on very favourable solutions for electricity generation, but OTOH relatively few Hawaiians drive cars as efficient as the Prius,

But, electric cars will be the more efficient designs. This will be especially true for the early models, as battery cost/weight preclude making large vehicles with poor aerodynamics. And again, the ICE car consumes gas just to keep the engine going. When engine braking down a hill, an ICE vehicle is still consuming some fuel, whereas an electric vehicle is charging its battery. Both may have similar efficiencies while they are both accererating, or climbibg a hill, but in cruise mode, the ICE vehicle is wasting considerable energy just keeping the engine speed up to the speed of the wheels.

What about the deterioration of lithium batteries over TIME (regardless of the "miles")? Laptop batteries don't last 10 years even if you rarely discharge them.

How long the batteries last seems very specific to the precise chemistry used:

One problem has been durability, with early lithium-ion units tolerating only 750 cycles of discharge and recharge, or about two years of service, before deterioration of the terminals carrying power reduces charge capacity. A change from a terminal made of carbon to one made of lithium titanate spinel oxide holds the promise of raising this to 9,000 cycles and 20 years’ use.


As indicated elsewhere in the link given, car makers are very alive to issues with batteries, including durability, and Toyota have delayed the lithium Prius to make sure they get it right.

It is not really the end of the world if you have to change the batteries on your portable after two years, but the car makers would have to change it at their own expense, and some such as Nissan propose to retain ownership of the batteries themselves, as the Th!nk will and the Mini.

As a passing note I'll just mention that for use in hybrids and in electric bikes and so on, lead acid batteries will do, and their low life span has been definitively linked to deep discharge, which oversizing the batteries to some extent and backing them with capacitors for going uphill and accelerating would overcome:

These would cost a fraction of the price of lithium batteries.

Also worth a mention is 123's Firefly technology, which uses lead foam to greatly increase the performance including the life of lead batteries.

Not really good enough for an EV with anything like the performance of an ICE, but fine for scooters, golf cart type contraptions and so on.

There are going to be a whole range of different vehicles available at a whole range of different prices and performances.

Please note that FireFly Energy's graphite foam lead acid batteries are not related to A123's lithium ion batteries.

Sorry for the mistake - working from memory on company names.
It was the Firefly battery I wished to refer to.

The battery news is great, in fact fantastic, but the notion that EVs have negligible maintenance costs are incorrect. The engine and transmission in modern automobiles require only routine, inexpensive maintenance. Brakes, tires, steering, suspension, A/C, etc., all are wear items and are used in both vehicle types. You also have complex (expensive) electrical modules to go along with the battery in EVs. In fact, you can make a case that the battery and drive motor systems are in their infancy and may have reliability problems that can run into thousands of dollars to repair. Any new auto line always has bugs in its first year. Not only will the EVs have new power-trains, much of the rest of the vehicle will be redesigned as well. Further increasing the odds of expensive repairs. Will the manufacturers solve that with great warranties? Hopefully so, but that then makes the economics (profit) an even greater risk.

Diagnosing and repairing EVs is extremely hazardous to both the mechanic and the control systems. We are not talking about 12 volts anymore. One wrong move and you can fry the mechanic or the EV. The specialized diagnostic tool for EVs will be more expensive than those for autos. There will be precious few mechanics with access to them. They will be dealer items only in the first few years. Dealer maintenance is not cheap.

My best guess is an EV will, at best, be twice as expensive to maintain and repair over its lifetime. It will take years for that disparity to go away.

I would not consider replacing any of my fleet vehicles with EVs for at least three years after the model line introduction. And I'd only do it at the rate of 10% a year. I got my but kicked with a 2000 Honda Insight, that's why I'm a bit pessimistic.

I base my comments on the low maintenance of EV's on those of many who have written on this site and elsewhere on maintaining the EV's they have.
They report very low maintenance.
It is also the case that the pure EV, not the hybrid, is far simpler than an ICE car, and many of the parts are simply not needed.
Even brake shoes get far less wear when regenerative braking is used.

Most of the discussion here is about golf cart type vehicles and scooters etc, and most of them will use batteries whose characteristics are well known and also established electrical engines.
Wispa, for instance, which I linked to, has for many years built motability vehicles so that the problems are well known, and they have been successfully maintained.

In general I would agree with you in adopting a cautious attitude to new technology, which will be needed for the more powerful EV's, but in fact the Toyota Prius is a far more complex vehicle than a pure EV, as is it's control system.

They are building EV's in Nepal, so presumably the technology can be mastered!

The following link shows their maintenance costs as less than half that of petrol cars:

It should also be noted that there are over 60 million electric bikes and scooters on the road in China, so a lot of real world experience has been gained in any dangers in maintenance and control systems.

Of course the new battery designs are critical, and companies such as Toyota are testing extensively before release.

I am not too worried about control systems as they are so much less complex than for hybrids.

Your first link confirms what Priority X wrote.

the only areas left for you to monitor are essentials such as tyres, lights and brakes.


The engine and transmission in modern automobiles require only routine, inexpensive maintenance. Brakes, tires, steering, suspension, A/C, etc., all are wear items and are used in both vehicle types.

If you exclude the engine and transmission an EV and a ICE car would have almost exactly the same maintenance costs. After all how much maintenance does a modern ICE need? You don't even tune them up anymore.

You second link just demonstrates that maintenance on EVs is critical.

Though the electric trolley bus system has been running for the past 30 years, a lack of proper maintenance and management is now ruining this once highly-accredited service. Most of the buses have been grounded, primarily through a lack of available spare parts. The service has been reduced to a 5km-route, with only three buses at present.

Your third link is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion at hand. While the maintenance costs of 3 wheeled vehicles in Nepal is interesting I'm pretty sure it has little relevance to the maintenance costs of say a modern Honda Accord. Its an apples to oranges comparison.

The same goes for your chinese electric bike statement. I fail to see how a chinese electric bike technician will be much help in alleviating the shortage of electric car mechanics and specialized diagnostic equipment in the US.

I think priority is right. EV maintenance will be initially higher than traditional ICE maintenance and in the long run not much if any cheaper.

Much of the discussion here has been on electric scooters and similar, so the links I gave were relevant to that.
Without a great deal of real world experience it is difficult to be too definitive on the costs of maintaining advanced electric vehicles, however they have fewer parts and the control systems at least are likely to be less complex than presently used for hybrids.

Yes, they have fewer parts but that means nothing since all those extra parts require next to no maintenance.

The majority of the maintenance heavy parts of an ICE are exactly the same as on an EV.

So your claim that EVs require negligible maintenance really doesn't pass even the most cursory of examinations.

And you keep talking about "control systems". What in the world do you mean by this?

I said:

One big advantage of an electric scooter might be reduced maintenance and longer life.

Please note the conditional.
Furthermore this specifically refers to vehicles where the technology is related to that used in the links I gave which you criticised, and where extensive experience in much of the technology has been gained in already existing vehicles.

Definitive views on advanced electric vehicles requirements for maintenance can hardly be formed, as they are only just entering testing, for instance the new Mini and the Mitsubishi.
Therefore the nearest data we have is for much less powerful vehicles or ones using older technology.

Electric delivery vehicles in fleets have also had a good record on maintenance according to every source I can find:

Short, predictable routes with lots of stop-and-go driving make postal delivery trucks an ideal application for full-size electric vehicles. The vehicle’s 50-mile range can easily accommodate the average mail delivery route, which is between 15 and 20 miles per day. Recharging the vehicle overnight at a central location using off-peak power helps reduce the demand on the state’s electrical supply at peak times during the day. In addition, the quiet, zero-emission operation of the vehicles makes them ideal for neighborhood use. Low maintenance requirements and long-life durability add to the vehicles’ benefits.


So far then the record on EV vehicles for maintenance appears to be good.
Do you have links which show otherwise?

If you put in the terms:
'electric vehicles delivery maintenance requirements'
into google advanced search, and set the results to 100, you will find umpteen references to the low maintenance needs of current electric vehicles, largely from fleet operators who really notice these things.
One of the reasons given ins the relative simplicity of the electric motor compared to an ICE, so their opinion regarding servicing requirements obviously differs from yours.

Of course, they may screw up with the next generation, but that applies to just about every human endeavour.

The control system is the part which manages the engine, which is very complex in hybrid vehicles due to the need to co-ordinate the working of the ICE engine and the electric motor.

Electric delivery vehicles in fleets have also had a good record on maintenance according to ever4y source I can find:

I still fail to see where this maintenance saving is coming from? Swapping out and ICE for and electric motor saves very little maintenance.

Aside from oil changes exactly how does an EV require less maintenance?!?

Do you have links which show otherwise?

A quick google search came up with this, which collaborates exactly what PriorityX said.


A DOE evaluation of hybrid-electric buses found fuel costs were lower compared to diesel buses but maintenance costs were higher due to the inexperience of the service technicians. Maintenance costs are expected to fall rapidly due to improvements in machinery and greater familiarity by the servicemen.

You wrote:

The control system is the part which manages the engine, which is very complex in hybrid vehicles due to the need to co-ordinate the working of the ICE engine and the electric motor.

That little solid state computer? I guarantee you couldn't tell the difference between one from a hybrid vs one from an EV. At best the the firmware code might be slightly shorter. The difference in complexity is minimal and has nothing to do with maintenance costs.

We are discussing maintenance on pure EV's and the best link you can find to counter it refers to hybrids, which I have already stated are very complex?

It is also evident that you have not bothered to put into google the terms I suggested, or you would come across a mountain of evidence as to the low maintenance requirements of EV's in actual practise.

No doubt if you wish to further googling will show more precisely where the savings arise.
There was an article from Tesla amongst the google list on the settings I gave which indicates that many of the savings are from not having the complexity which you are sure is not a problem.
Fleet operators seem to agree with Tesla rather than yourself.

Then see my comment below.

Here ya go, the maintenance costs per mile of a Tango electric car vs several ice cars.

From here

This pdf

Maintenance costs per mile for the Tango 9 cents.

For the Toyota Echo, Camry and Corolla 2 cents.

And the Prius, that oh so complicated hybrid is even slightly less than the Echo, Camry and Corolla.

Does that satisfy you?

This one is even better as it doesn't include the costs of the battery.

The city of Palo-alto released this report about its Rav4 EVs. In it they compare maintenance costs between the RAV4 and a Ford Ranger.


For the 3 year lease the RAV 4 EV's maintenance cost $1,725. The Ranger cost $1,860.

For the 10 years the RAV 4 EV's maintenance cost $6,900. The Ranger cost $8,100.

EV's still require regular preventive maintenance, as well as tire replacements and brake service. However, the cost for engine-related service, such as oil changes, will be eliminated.

I guess those oil changes really didn't make much of a difference.

Yep, your link proves very well that for a run of 5 cars the purchase price was greater in 2002 than for an ICE car.
The maintenance figure given is actually lower though, so does nothing to prove your point.
Battery replacement costs of course have to be taken into account as part of the total running costs, but the subject under discussion was maintenance costs, and believe it or not battery technology has moved on a bit since 2002, and the likely production runs for any future EV and their batteries will of course bear no resemblance to this.
You have proved that the cost of demonstrators can be fairly high.
Even here though the maintenance costs are lower - a remarkable achievement in such a small run of cars.

No Dave, you miss the point completely.

It shows that in real world conditions the maintenance costs for an EV are exactly the same (minus oil changes) as those for an ICE car.

I don't know how I can put it any more clearly than that.

These are normal RAV4 vehicles with an electric motor in place of the ICE. They received no other special maintenance than a normal RAV4 would get (2 preventive maintenance inspections per year, one set o tires, one complete break reline, and a $250 annual allowance for minor repairs and transportation.)

The maintenance on the EVs was $120 dollars less per year than the ICE Rangers. Pretty much the cost of a couple of oil changes.

You would seriously compare the maintenance costs of a demonstration car to a fully developed car where the technology is known?
Normally just familiarising themselves with the car would mean that the costs would be way higher.

Excluding batteries, which are a separate issue as the discussion is about maintenance rather than running costs, your figures which are based on 2002 demonstrators are the best proof possible that even under such adverse circumstances maintenance costs are lower for electric vehicles.

What part of the lower figure escapes you?

That is besides the fact that you have totally chosen to ignore the vastly more extensive information I have provided, where substantial fleets of electric vehicles have had low maintenance costs for year after year.

You cherry pick odd data, and then simply ignore the fact that your own figures show them to be lower!


I never said they wouldn't be lower. I expected some savings. I thought I made that clear.

What I was trying to convey was that an EV's maintenance wouldn't me "negligible" as is often written about then (and you quoted).

These were standard run of the mill RAV4s. Any mechanic could work on them. They have all the standard parts of a Rav4, brakes, suspension, tires etc etc. The only difference is the electric motor and batteries which got no maintenance. So it is a perfect apples to apples comparison.

That is besides the fact that you have totally chosen to ignore the vastly more extensive information I have provided, where substantial fleets of electric vehicles have had low maintenance costs for year after year.

Aside from some Nepalese tricycles I saw no such data.

Perhaps you could supply something other than a suggestion to search google

But I agree with you. EVs will be slightly easier to maintain (no oil changes etc). I just don't like hear the canard that they will have negligible maintenance. Most of the maintenance in an ICE car is not contained in the ice or drive train. Some is, but not much in a modern engine. They don't even require tune ups anymore.

I think the real world data with the EV RAV4s bears that out clearly. The Rangers didn't get any extra maintenance that the EVs got except for things like oil changes (the cost difference was only 120$ a year).

The statement that EV's would have negligible maintenance is entirely your own invention,

Since I gave you the terms for the google advanced search which turns up vast numbers of links, none of which supports what you in fact originally contended that there were no savings, and I also provided a link to a Tesla motors document comparing service cost and showing them, from memory, at less than half the ICE cars in the same link then what more information you would want I cannot imagine.

One of the few links you provided actually was comparing battery costs to fuel, as it gave the maintenance at a standard rate for all vehicles, so evidently you are just digging up anything at all whether relevant or not.
Anyway, I am done wasting time.

The statement that EV's would have negligible maintenance is entirely your own invention,

Dave this is what you quoted way up the top

Factor in your gas guzzler's scheduled servicing costs (negligible on an electric)

Hardly my invention.

Not only that, but this same canard is repeated again and again in your google results. There is zero hard evidence presented that EV are significantly cheaper to maintain. Zero.

I agree the Tango data wasn't the most conclusive because it includes the battery costs. That's why I was so happy to find the palo-alto data as it much more clearly demonstrated that normal maintenance on an EV RAV is pretty much identical to the ICE Ranger. This is clearly because an EV and an ICE share almost all the same components except for the engine/motor. Neither of which are maintenance heavy.

Since I gave you the terms for the google advanced search which turns up vast numbers of links, none of which supports what you in fact originally contended that there were no savings,

I never contended there were no savings. And none of the google returns gives any evidence at all that EVs are significantly cheaper to maintain.

My position is entirely consistent with that of PriorityX.

I have already corrected you on this.
I said:

One big advantage of an electric scooter might be reduced maintenance and longer life.

If you wish to claim that I said that EV's would have negligible maintenance, please give the exact reference or retract.

The link you quote is someone else's opinion in a link, not a statement of mine.

Had I been confident that the statement in the link was not over-exuberant, I would not have phrased things as I actually did.

In addition, this link indicates maintenance substantially cheaper than for ICE, if correct:

Dave your link about Nepalese tricycles is hardly relevant to the discussion at hand.

And yes Dave, you never wrote the word "negligible". But you have insisted again and again that they have significantly lower maintenance costs. You quoted somebody as saying that they have "negligible" maintenance costs and that was what PriorityX and I was trying to debunk. Go back to PriorityX's first post and hit the parent button, you'll see this clearly.

You just wrote in your last post

In addition, this link indicates maintenance substantially cheaper than for ICE

I'm sorry but real world data and common sense do not bear this out. Unless you consider the cost of an oil change to be a substantial cost. But surely you are not saying this.

My post about the Nepalese experience was entirely relevant, as Priority X mentioned that electric vehicles imply very sophisticated equipment to keep them going, and it is unclear to what degree our society will degrade in it's ability to pay for fancy gear.
It was also running on from comments made regarding scooters and lesser vehicles than a full replacement car, which I personally think will be by far the most common electric vehicles for many years.
If you wish to critique something as being out of context, you have to consider the total context, not just pick bits from it.

You are also grossly distorting that which I actually wrote, as for a start I can hardly be responsible for the exact choice of words in every link, and if one of them chose to use the word 'negligible' then how one defines that may vary from person to person and over the time it has been considered.

In actual fact, I said again and again that form the information which I had to hand and comments I had seen the maintenance costs of electric vehicles seemed to be reasonable, which is not always the case with unfamiliar technology.

You also choose to entirely mischaracterise the nature of my discussions with Priority X, which was in no sense an attempt to debunk something which I never claimed in any case but an amicable discussion, which indeed could be said to characterise the debate here on the subject between several of us until you joined with what appears to be a very different attitude.

I would point out that when he referred to low maintenance costs on hybrids, I replied that because it seems that maintenance costs on EV's are likely to be reasonable, this in no way carried over to hybrids.

You have set up a straw man to disagree with, and are arguing against things I never claimed.

Er...those are figures for maintenance plus battery replacement, contrasted with maintenance and petrol for the ICE cars, at $1.70 per gallon.

The maintenance cost is just bunged in as $0.002 per mile for all cars, so is pretty obviously just a proforma amount.

Did you actually read it?

Your own earlier link to the cost of hybrid maintenance shows pretty clearly that, other things being equal, greater complexity means greater maintenance costs, so you usually have a situation with the EV cars being lowest, ICE in the middle and hybrids with the complexities of both being at least the sum of the previous two.

Note that I said 'other things being equal', as for instance Toyota have done a remarkable job with the production engineering of the Prius, which GM for example thought would be impossible.

There are no guarantees that particular models or battery packs in future won't encounter problems, but everyone save yourself seems pretty clear that greater complexity tends to lead to greater maintenance costs.

I am quite happy to stipulate that if you include the costs for changing the batteries in maintenance then the cost for the EV will obviously be higher, but in that case the fuel costs of the petrol car also have to be accounted for and the calculation then becomes dependent on the cost of petrol, the cost and logevity of the batteries and the miles driven.
All of these factors are rapidly changing, so the narrower discussion on the other maintenance costs seems the sensible one, and was the one I believe everyone except yourself was engaged upon in this thread, as indeed you appeared to be until even your own references in no way substantiated your argument that normal maintenance on ICE vehicles costs less.

Since in your eagerness to refute you do not appear to check your own links, let alone respond in any rational fashion to other links and points put to you, there seems little point in continuing the debate.

I left out a key piece of info when I started this thread. My estimates of maintenance expense is based over the 10 year life of an EV vehicle. With this in mind, EVs should have a favorable comparison to ICE vehicles in the short term. As the years go by, I think the EV's annual maintenance expense will accelerate past the ICE vehicle. The question is when that will happen and by how much?

The Prius may show this trend. The majority of them are still less than 6 years old. Maybe some of the 2000 - 2002 owners can chime in with how they are holding up.

Sorry for leaving that out.

Edit: Sorry for not including an invitation for Honda Insight owners to also chime in:)

To be clear the Prius is in a very different category to a pure EV. It is a hybrid vehicle, and so has all the complication of an ICE and then puts an electric motor on top of it.
Toyota has done a remarkable job in attaining the reliability that they have done, and the fairly low maintenance.
It does not though enjoy the advantages that I have linked to for a pure EV, which are far simpler in many of their incarnations, although of course complexities can be added.

The vehicles which have had years of use are of a simple type, and maintenance experience has been that they are very robust:

They basically have less bits to go wrong.
Having said that, of course the major expense is the batteries, and that is best considered separately as there are many types and capabilities on the market.

For the lifetime cost then you have to estimate what the cost of the petrol would be, the electricity, depreciation and the battery cost and longevity.
These factors determine overall costs much more than maintenance.

You also have to make sure your use is suitable for an electric vehicle - don't bother if you need long runs.

To be clear I don't see many pure EVs being on the market before 2012, and then in limited quantities.
If times are hard I expect many more electric scooters and so on.

So the hybrid you refer to is really a very different beast, and I would not rush out to buy one, although Toyota have achieved wonderful reliability.

:removed double post caused by hiccup in TOD server connection:

but as long as I'm doing so, I'll note that scooters and golf carts would work fine here; I have a 49cc moped but it would be near-suicide to use it. The roads are literally crammed with air-conditioned SUV's and gigantic 4x4 trucks from which peer single drivers talking on cell phones. The fact that gas prices are 20% higher here is more than offset by the fact that the island is only about 30 miles across.

::whups, the duplicate must have been removed by Leanan, I'll stick it in again::

As an Oahu resident, I have a hard time imagining that the state of Hawaii will do anything competent. This is admittedly unfocused cynicism, but it's based on many decades of observation. I'll predict there's no way that the state switches in a meaningful way to electric cars powered by renewables; rather, that some projects will be started amid fanfare and allowed to fail subsequently when subsidies run out.

I think Leanan has put up pix of abandoned wind turbines on the big isle - which has enormous geothermal potential that hasn't been developed lest it offend the worshippers of the fire goddess Pele. No kidding, Pele worship trumps environmentalism, nay passes for environmentalism here.

No transit problems here that a $10/gallon gas tax wouldn't cure. Though massive unemployment may help as well. I'm kinda looking forward to it.

No kidding, Pele worship trumps environmentalism, nay passes for environmentalism here.

That's not really true. It wouldn't be a problem if geothermal were truly competitive. Geothermal was a big disappointment even before the Pele thing became an issue. There were plans for more geothermal plants, with the power exported to Oahu...until they built the first plant, and found out what an expensive headache it was.

FWIW, Hawaii's experience is one reason why I am not too optimistic about renewable energy. They are ideally suited for renewables - ocean thermal, geothermal, wind, solar. They are dependent on tourism, and worry about what an oil spill would do to their beaches. And yet...renewables still aren't competitive with oil. It's not Pele-worshipers that are the problem. It's the expense of renewables compared to fossil fuels.

One of my dogs, a beautiful black lab, is named Pele (yes, in the Hawaiian sense), and she would love to be worshipped. Maybe I should send her to Hawaii... but she's stuck here in New Hampshire with border collies and sheep! Oh well - things are tough in the goddess business, like everything else.

Do you really think the environmentalists would allow a series of wind turbines on top of Haleakela? Would the tourism board allow solar thermal installations anywhere on the islands?

I think asthetics and local environmental concerns are trumping other things now, because things haven't been that bad. I think that could change.

Actually, Hawaii has built all those things. They've had ocean thermal, they currently use geothermal, and there are solar installations and wind farms.

They've tried them all. But without subsidies, they're not economical.

Economics depends heavily on comparative prices.
Not that that helps much with the daft oil prices we currently have, but I find the argument that it is deleveraging that has led to much of the present fall persuasive, and am amongst those who think that they will rise fairly soon.

If this is the case then the economics of renewables should change for the better - materials costs, which are very important for both wind and solar thermal, are already well down.

At a minimum, I would find it difficult to understand how on-shore wind would not be economic on Hawaii, as it nearly in the UK
Oahu and Kauai look to have very poor resources in this respect, but surely something can be done on most of the other islands - mind you, I haven't compared this with the map of active volcanoes!

I also find it difficult to understand why residential solar thermal would not be worthwhile, as it looks pretty good for the UK and that is a touch less sunny than Hawaii!

It's not Pele-worshipers that are the problem. It's the expense of renewables compared to fossil fuels.

Admittedly I meant my comment as a bit of a rant, but "Pele worship" was accorded a fair bit of play in the debate. Nimbyism plus religious desecration; no wonder it was considered not worth the trouble.

Of COURSE renewables aren't competitive with oil. Not to rehash everything that's ever been said on TOD, but there are indirect subsidies to cheap oil in the short term, and it starts out as the most versatile energy source in the history of the world.

So if it's too controversial to build geothermal power plants on the world's largest active volcano, 'renewables' indeed have little future. And no, I guess I'm not backing off my assertion that the controversy was part of it. Feel free to refute that, I know you have some big isle roots.

Disclosure: I don't think Pele worship is any nuttier than any other religion, and I don't think humans have a right to electricity or existence; but bringing in tankers of oil to burn ON a giant volcano is a bit much in a world with rapidly-acidifying oceans due to CO2 release.

Pele is real in Hawaii. Probably the only goddess still taken seriously on a large scale.

Ladies and gentlemen, with respect to oil, demand destruction does not exist and did not happen.

All evidence to the contrary.

From the article:

As for what caused the spike, let’s try a little Q and A... The answer is hedge funds. Mostly.

Couldn't be the economy that caused the plunge. Not a single word about that in the article. No, sir... Just ask President Bush and Secretary Paulson, they'll agree, the economy is good and sound...

"I have great, great confidence in our capital markets and in our financial institutions. Our financial institutions, banks and investment banks, are strong. Our capital markets are resilient. They're efficient. They're flexible."
-- Treasury Secretary Paulson, March 16, 2008

"Our policy in this administration -- laws shouldn't bail out lenders, laws shouldn't help speculators."
-- President Bush, May 19, 2008

"Our economy has continued growing, consumers are spending, business are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong. We can have confidence in the long-term foundation of our economy...I think the system basically is sound. I truly do."
-- President Bush, July 15, 2008


"We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis... Financial assets related to home mortgages have lost value during the house decline, and the banks holding these assets have restricted credit. As a result, our entire economy is in danger."
-- President Bush, September 24, 2008

Couldn't be the economy that caused the plunge. Not a single word about that in the article.

Actually... it's "mentioned" in the sense that demand destruction and economic contraction are really about the same thing.

Thing is... it's "mentioned" and intentionally denied.

I remember debates on the topic a year or more ago where my PO interlocutor insisted (as the author does) that demand destruction doesn't occur. The only demand destruction is TRUE "destruction"... as when you stop using gasoline because your car is repossessed... you stop commuting to work when you lose your job and you stop heating your home when you're thrown out on the street.

And though such losses were expected to be "HUGE!!!" (far larger than what we've seen), they would not reduce demand as fast as peak oil (and peak natural gas etc) would reduce supply faster than demand declined.

Dunno, ask the Chinese...

You left out the headline that the economy has been in a recession for at least a year. As late as July 15 the Bushies insisted the economy was still growing which shows how disconnected from the reality of most Americans this administration has been. I pointed out a few months ago that the financial crisis was a response to an existing recession and not its cause. Since TPTB failed to recognize the cause how can we expect them to recognize the cure?

That statement is a little odd because there is some demand destruction, but don't tell me you're trying to say that the current price of oil, 1/3 the peak price, is entirely due to demand destruction. I read that article and besides emphasizing that point too strongly, most of the article makes sense. Here's a choice quote:

Congressional investigators revealed that $39 billion (!) worth of oil futures were dumped on the market in a span of just six weeks. CFTC data later revealed that speculators controlled 48% of the open interest in NYMEX crude futures and options at the market peak on July 15th. Moreover, one trader – just one – accounted for a full 10% of those contracts. How many contracts are we dealing with? At the July peak, a record 1,579,109. And now? A more normalized 300,000.

To me, the above is a much more likely explanation for the current oil price than claiming it is all due demand destruction.

but don't tell me you're trying to say that the current price of oil, 1/3 the peak price, is entirely due to demand destruction

Entirely? Of course not... the bulk of the decline is because oil didn't belong anywhere near $150 in the first place.

When a balloon pops, is it "entirely" due to the needle that pricked it? It all depends on your perspective. Without this particular needle (economic contraction due to too-tight fed policy) the bubble could have continued for weeks/months, perhaps even years, but eventually a needle would be there. Saudi production increases played a role. Any news that implied that supply would increase more than expected a year or two out would have done it.

If oil had stayed at $50-60/bbl, we might still have had a recession (we were due for one after all), but it might not have had much of an impact on oil prices since OPEC would have had an easier time enforcing discipline.

Here's some proof of what I say:

From the U.S. DOT highway miles driven data here, you can see that the peak highway miles driven was in October 2007 at an average for the month ~3 trillion miles/year. The price of oil was certainly climbing then so the demand destruction can reasonably be attributed to climbing price of oil (although now we learn the the U.S. has been in recession since at least December, 2007 so that might have been driving the demand as well). However, even though demand destruction was taking place from October 2007 to the present day, the price of oil continued to climb until June of 2008 when it reached $147/barrel. If the demand destruction were the dominant factor in the price of oil, the price of oil shouldn't have continued increasing after demand peaked.

The peak of "miles driven" and the market perception of overall demand destruction really aren't the same thing.

And, of course, it isn't just "any" reduction in demand... "how much" destruction makes a big difference.

Alright, there you've got me because I don't know how I would go about examining market perceptions and their effect on oil price. But then again, I bet you can't either. (If you know a way, I'd love to see some evidence.)

But again, you're saying that a 3% reduction in the total miles driven (3.008 trillion in October 2007 to 2.917 trillion in September 2008) precipitated a 66% reduction in oil price, there's a huge gap between the magnitude of the demand changes and magnitude of the oil price fluctuations. However, the magnitude of the financial market meltdown and the fluctuations of the price of oil are similar, why is it so hard to believe that the financial sector drives a lot of the price of oil?

Also, we're just talking about the U.S. here, in China the slow down probably started much later as the Chinese version of the federal reserve didn't cut interest rates until last week. As far as I know, China never did reduce its fuel subsidy, I bet there's not demand destruction in China yet and according to BP's 2007 world book, Chinese oil consumption is 36% of the U.S. consumption (7.4 million barrels per day versus 20.5 million). That's not trivial.

there's a huge gap between the magnitude of the demand changes and magnitude of the oil price fluctuations.

You didn't notice the same disparity on the way up? :)

That's my point (and has been since my first post here)... price declines don't have to make sense taken on their own if the price INCREASE that preceeded it didn't make any sense.

why is it so hard to believe that the financial sector drives a lot of the price of oil?

It isn't hard to believe at all. It's the same thing really. Speculators were out bundles of money in market losses but were sitting on huge gains in commodity trading. They both wanted and needed to get those profits out.

Yah, I noticed the disparity on the way up, but what I'm arguing here is that it's a better assumption to assume that oil price is completely decoupled from demand and production than it is to assume there is a correlation. See my graph below, and also see Ken Deffeyes' chart: we've discussed this before, but the point we're at on the high end of the chart looks a lot like when production is not a good predictor of oil price because the slope is almost vertical. I believe that we're seeing a similar thing with demand as well.

But again, you're saying that a 3% reduction in the total miles driven precipitated a 66% reduction in oil price...

If your implication by this statement is that you'd expect a 3% demand destruction to result in a 3% price decrease, I don't think I agree with your premise at all.

For example, let's say there was an island with 100 crack addicts on it, and every day there was 100 hits of crack available at the island crack store, selling for $1 each. Then one day suddenly there was only 99 hit of crack available to buy, so the shop sold them to the 99 highest bidders of the 100 crack addicts.

Are you trying to tell me the price of crack would only go up 1% in that scenario? As long as there is enough supply of a given item for everyone, price remains low. But even a small shortfall of supply relative to demand can result in a big price increase if it's for something people are unwilling to live without.

Not to imply the drop in the price of oil was entirely due to that 3% reduction in miles driven, but it may have been a much bigger factor than you seemingly give it credit for. (As a quibble, you probably should have related miles drive to gasoline prices, not oil prices)

"Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil." -- President George W. Bush, State of the Union, January 31, 2006

We're all crack addicts.

Recall also that the EIA did not actually report the demand drop until April. For the period from October '07 till last April, the EIA reported flat demand, while Mastercard kept insisting that gas sales were down. It was discussed here monthly when the Mastercard numbers came out. Then last spring they admitted they'd been wrong for six months.

I submit that that kind of bad information would indeed distort the futures market.

This week's Weekly Petroleum Data says that total product supplied was down 6.2% from a year ago.

Prices move about 15% for every percent change in demand (assuming constant supply). (Something that most reporters and commentators will never ever understand, because they don't do their homework.)

So, assuming that 6.2% drop was the same around the world, which it probably wasn't, I would expect prices to drop 93% from the peak due to demand destruction, assuming constant supply. (It probably wouldn't be exactly 93%, because it depends on which products are seeing the reduced demand, and how much of it is actually produced relative to other products from a barrel of oil, etc.)

The only thing stopping prices from dropping much more, in my opinion, is producers' resistance, and the reason we're seeing so much resistance from producers is because of sunk costs and a strong expectation of reduced supply in the fairly near future.

Contango is very high right now, which means that speculators are being paid a huge premium to short future months. The reason speculators are getting such a huge premium is because producers are unwilling to sell at these prices.

Media people and most bloggers are clearly incapable of understanding this, but the number of contracts doesn't matter, and was never responsible for the price increase except for the last $15 or so. The price up to $132 or so was the correct supply/demand price based on a functioning economy at that point. The price reduction since then has been due to demand destruction caused primarily by Bernanke's tightening of the money supply. Demand destruction of this extent was not caused primarily by the price of oil and products, even though the price was high.

Even the ratio of commercial to speculator contracts doesn't matter.

Thanks for your comments but I wonder if you could clarify something for me:

Prices move about 15% for every percent change in demand (assuming constant supply). (Something that most reporters and commentators will never ever understand, because they don't do their homework.)

Are you basing that on the price changes on the way up?

I used the BP source book and plotted WTI spot price from 1976 to 2006 as a function of oil consumption, which presumably is a measure of oil demand:

I don't see much of a correlation except at the high end, which has been the last few years. If you want to just use that, you'll have to explain why only the last few years are valid.

Heh, I just realized I have reproduced Ken Deffeyes graph! :) (except he did production, not consumption, and used more data points.)

*edit* Also, I just reread your statement and let's assume that supply has been constant over the last few years, so that's why you can get away with only using those. But, if you examine Ken Deffeyes' chart, who used more data points (and production too) the slope at the high end looks almost vertical, which means that you can't really predict oil price based on production any more. Presumably we'd see the same thing with demand, but if you disagree that the slope is vertical, then I concede the point to you and Positive_Phototaxis that while supply is constrained, small fluctuations in demand can have a huge impact on oil price.

My read on the chart and the non-linear relationship between supply and price is that as you approach the physical maximum in production, each new bidder cannot be satisfied by simply adding more to supply (the spigot cannot be opened any further), but instead must outbid someone else to obtain the oil they want. If the oil they want is actually oil they need, then the competitive bidding can get ugly quick.

"....Bernanke's tightening of the money supply."

huh ?

Back in the summer I suggested that the way to cut fuel prices was through a rationing plan. I suggested a 10% cut which amounted to an average of about one liter per day per capita. We have had a 6% drop in use and the price collapsed.

Keep in mind that when the eia says "X" amount of gasoline was supplied, that includes about 750,000 bpd (if you include Brazilian imports which you have to) of Ethanol. That's up close to 500,000 bpd in just the last couple of years.

So, if they say demand is down 6.2% YOY for gasoline you have to add in, probably, 4% for increased ethanol usage. Now, you're at 10.2%, or thereabouts.

Somebody mentioned Dr. Michael Hudson author of "Super Imperialism" the other day.

Here is a fairly recent interview with him on KPFA Guns& Butter. The interviewer is a little slow on the uptake but lets Michael do most of the talking. He really lays it out well.


Michael Hudson is Dennis Kucinich's economic advisor and one sharp cookie. His web site michael-hudson.com has lots of videos and audios. Even better - in my opinion - than the interview above is this one, New Kleptocracy about the Paulsen rip off. [FWIW: I was very involved in the 2004 Maine Kucinich campaign, but that is a different story.]

cfm in Gray, ME

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending November 28, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 14.6 million barrels per day during the week ending November 28, down 258 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 84.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging 8.7 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.5 million barrels per day last week, down nearly 1.5 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged nearly 10.0 million barrels per day, 17 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 884 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 116 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased 0.4 million barrels from the previous week. At 320.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels last week, and are below the lower boundary of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components inventories increased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories declined by 1.7 million barrels, and are below the lower boundary of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories remained flat last week and are slightly below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of average range for this time of year.

U.S. oil inventories drop unexpectedly: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stocks fell unexpectedly last week as imports dropped, while gasoline and distillate supplies also posted surprise falls as refiners cutting output, weekly government data on Wednesday showed.

Commercial crude oil supplies in the United States fell 400,000 barrels to 320.4 million barrels in the week to November 28, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, compared with analysts' projections of a rise of 1.7 million barrels.

Crude imports fell 1.46 million barrels per day (bpd).

Supplies of distillates, which include diesel and heating oil, came in at 125 million barrels, down 1.7 million barrels for the week, EIA noted. This countered forecasts of an average build of 300,000 barrel. U.S. heating oil supplies logged a larger 2.1 million barrel fall to 39.6 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories were off 1.6 million barrels to 198.9 million, compared with forecasts of a 900,000 barrel rise.

Refinery production fell during the week as utilization fell 1.9 percentage points to 84.3 percent last week while analysts had anticipated a rise of 0.2 percentage point. Gasoline output was off 246,000 bpd while distillates production fell by 295,000 bpd.

From this weeks EIA report on petroleum:

U.S. Petroleum Balance Sheet, 4 Weeks Ending 11/28/2008

Products Supplied,  ---->  Four Week Averages  

(Thousand Barrels/Day)  11/28/08  11/28/07  Change % of Total
Finished Motor Gasoline    8,935     9,229   -294     23.2
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel     1,333     1,601   -268     21.1
Distillate Fuel Oil        3,990     4,079    -89      7.0
Residual Fuel Oil            583       763   -180     14.2
Propane/Propylene          1,225     1,240    -15      1.2
Other Oils                 3,200     3,621   -421     33.2

Total Products Supplied   19,266    20,533 -1,267
Weekly Estimates 
                    11/07/08 11/14/08 11/21/08 11/28/08 Trend
Finished Motor Gas     9,002    8,962    8,844    8,933   -24
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel 1,275    1,239    1,492    1,327    30
Distillate Fuel Oil    3,925    4,056    4,086    3,892    -5
Residual Fuel Oil        408      396      571      958   136
Propane/Propylene      1,265    1,144    1,286    1,204    -3
Other Oils             3,130    3,175    3,204    3,292    38

Total Prod   Supplied 19,004   18,972   19,482   19,606   173

Note that the trend in consumption is upwards, especially in the Residual Fuel category, which had been running a large negative from last year's 4 week average data.

E. Swanson

Well, it's getting cold.

As I recall, it got cold last year too...

That increase in residual fuel oil may mean that it's now cheaper to re-fuel ships in the U.S. compared with buying extra fuel oil over seas and transporting it to the U.S. during one leg of a ship's transit. Or, it might be a late pickup in shipping "just in time" before Christmas. The weekly data are estimates and the latest week was Thanksgiving, so one would expect revisions.

E. Swanson

Remember, we're running, probably, 300,000 bar/day more ethanol this year than last. So, we're running about 8.2 million barrels/day of "gasoline" vs about 8.8 last year. That's about 600,000 bpd of "Demand Destruction" for Gasoline.

Interesting to note, also, is that the price of DIESEL has only dropped about $.80 gallon, retail, while the price of GASOLINE has dropped $1.25 gal. This, I believe, is going to be a Major Story over the next couple of years.

EIA Retail Prices

re the deflation article & prices coming down:

check the used market.craig's list appears loaded. i've recently bought a few things- couple of big ticket items. got a heavy duty trailer for less than 1/4 of new price, & seller offered to deliver the 70 miles to get the deal thru before thanksgiving. i would have waited longer but i have a manure source & consider this most important.

looking at many ads they say 'need to sell xmas/kids/etc.; the trailer seller said similar.

speaking of manure i've been reading michael pollan's omnivore's dilemma. in the sections about corn he maintains that the chem fertilizer & hybrids brought increased yields close to an order of magnitude; 20bushels/acre in early 1900's to at times 200/acre[usually more like 160 or so]. he implies that legumes & other nitrogen fixing techniques just aren't in the same league. if true that is scary.i know sharon astyk had a fairly recent post w/ lots of comments re industrial/organic food production . i welcome other sources or info. where's bob? how many tons of manure was that he said, 5 tons/acre every 4yrs? & is that enough nitrogen for corn w/o rotation?

Welcome to the descent. Here's my story...

I had been trying to sell my late wife's 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt for the last 3 months for blue book value, starting right around August. (She bought it in 2007 for $11,500). Blue book was saying somewhere around $9,000. I advertised and advertised, put it out on a busy street... Nothing. All the while, the economy was collapsing quickly around me. I dropped it down to $7,500. Finally, since winter was approaching, I decided to take it to a GM car dealer 3 weeks ago and told them my story (Good car, my wife passed away, don't need two cars). They took pictures of it, and sent them off to their 'comittee' somewhere out of the area to figure out a decent selling price.

They came back to me with a price of $5,500. Needless to say, I was shocked. I decided to go around to other dealers in the area... They gave me the same quote. And it was eerie visiting these folks... Lots full of cars, and absolutely NO CUSTOMERS. I finally decided to go back to the original dealer, and sell them her car. Now, this is one of those megadealers... Hundreds of cars on the lot, huge showroom... But all the salespeople were standing around; probably a good 5-10 of them... Again, no customers. (Very friendly, too, but they knew I wasn't looking to buy, just sell.) While I waited for the check for my wife's car, I chatted with one of them, about how hard it was to sell my wife's car. He responded to me 'Yeah, we have over 500 cars on the lot. We're lucky if we sell 5 of them a day.' Later, as I was handed the check and gave the purchaser a handshake for buying my wife's car, it occured to me that 5 cars a day can't possibly support the overhead all around me; most of these folks will be unemployed within the next 6 months, and this place will likely close shop.

Last month about a half dozen new car dealers closed in the Mpls/St Paul area. Not the last I'm sure.

A good friend is car shopping right now. Went with him to the Toyota lot (a company supposedly doing well) and we were the only people there on a Saturday afternoon. Even they (Toyota) were throwing incentives around like the Detroit boys, 0% financing, cash incentives, etc.

"Toyota lot (a company supposedly doing well)"

"On Tuesday, Toyota said its sales in the United States had tumbled 34 percent in November, including a 35 percent slump in its Lexus luxury line."


November 2008 Auto Sales

Spain cut back 50% on auto buying, Europe is not in the mood for a new car, Japan taking double digit auto sales losses.

Indian auto sales are down 27%.

China auto sales off 15%

Recession stalks the globe. Inefficiency and incompetence shut down businesses. Laziness and ignorance created business failures. Inability to save money and inability to pay back loans has a punitive effect. Government controled economies lurch in uncertain directions. The high cost of supporting war terrified people.

i dumped our e150 van a ways after katrina, during rising gas prices. i thought it was worth 4-5000. i got 1500 after 6mos.; & might have been less but a friend knew it was in very good condition.

the main product detroit sells is depreciation. you have to admit they have been real succesful in getting people to buy cars based on sex appeal(larger penus envy) ? times, they are a'changin'.

and how 'bout congress ? they gave banko d'bunko $700 billion with virtually no strings, now they want guarantees for a measly $25 billion auto industry bailout.

a caravan of ceo's driving to washington in hybrids ! no one could make this $hit up.

and how 'bout congress ? they gave banko d'bunko $700 billion with virtually no strings, now they want guarantees for a measly $25 billion auto industry bailout.

This makes perfect sense to me. The elite of the elite moved out of manufacturing and into finance decades ago. The manufacturing elite are second tier and and the top tier is going to make them jump through hoops to get their money.

Dealerships in Wisconsin are giving the state government flack because the state wants to sell its vehicles to plug a budget hole. They think the state will sop up demand and lower prices further. Still, what is the public to do with their excess vehicles? Damned if you do...damned if you don't.

Funny you mention Wisconsin... I live up in the Fox Valley... Yeah, all those state and local vehicles with state and municipal plates on them... It'd save a lot of money to sell, but you are right: Selling them would flood an already saturated market, and the state won't get much for them anyway right now. I think if the state's serious about helping out the car dealers, they need to eliminate the blue law around selling cars on Sundays. Might help... Or not. It just would have made life more convenient for me when I was trying to sell my wife's car, at least.

That depreciation rate has never changed. It has always been that you lose 40% your first year and between 10% and 20% every year thereafter. $5500 sounds right and has always sounded right. Blue book doesn't mean anything. BTW, the sale of used bicycles on E-bay exactly mirrors this depreciation rate, maybe closer to 10% than 20%. I can predict how much a used bike will go through that formula.

"if true that is scary"

I don't think that is too scary. 90% of the corn we grow is wasted anyway (HFCS, cattle feed, ethanol) so if yields fall, I don't think it will have a major negative impact.

Heck with trailers, what's really seems scarce as hen's teeth are ground drive manure spreaders. High quality new ones are a small fortune, used are a POS, literally.

actually manure is getting hard to get. one place selling for $10/loader scoop.that would add up quick. recently a fella had let some build up & needed it gone quick & got so many responses he didn't need to offer to load it anymore.

Again, I hope TOD engineers/inventors are busy perfecting my speculative kite-powered manure surfboard idea to assist with spreading/mulching on large acreages without using FFs. Possibly the same company working on giant kites to assist ocean ships could quickly advance this idea?

Even bagged leaves are getting scarce. Every autumn it's been my custom to collect bagged leaves from curbside, to compost. In years past I've collected scores or hundreds of bags. In recent years and especially this past fall, there's been few bags to be had this way. I don't know if people are composting their own leaves or if someone else is beating me to them. In any case, what used to be a free resource is nearly gone. The same is true for wooden pallets. Businesses used to give them away. I would dismantle the nicer ones for building materials & burn the funky ones. Now there are people who pay for them and haul them off. Free & inexpensive stuff we used to take for granted now costs or is simply unavailable.

Quote: "Even bagged leaves are getting scarce."

I posted before where someone could possibly get filthy rich inventing a leaf press to make toilet paper when Charmin' becomes Unobtainium. Here in the desert--I am not looking forward to using jumping cholla with sharp fish-hooked barbs:


A fate worse than death--Yikes!

Actually, it is not hard at all to make handmade paper, and that is a good use of paper to be recyled. For use as TP, it wouldn't exactly be Charmin, but it wouldn't be leaves, either.

I use Starbuck's coffee grounds for composting. A year ago I could get a hundred pounds at a time, now I'm lucky to get 20-30 pounds every now and then. My local paper has mentioned how great the grounds are for garden use/composting, so the competition has ramped up. I believe that coffee grounds now may be like waste vegetable oil or manure, a one time waste product that has become valuable to an energy constrained society. I imagine what grounds are available in the future will be sold in the store.

We'll probably go back to having people dealing in rags, bones and ashes - just like out of a Charles Dickens novel - before all is said and done

The Folger's Instant Coffee processing plant generates LOTS of coffee grounds. :-)

One can get all the river silt one wants for free at the Bonne Carre Spillway (about 20 miles upriver of New Orleans). The spillway is opened once every ten or so years. The US Army Corps of Engineers relies upon contractors hauling it away to prevent a long term build-up of silt.

Fine silt + humus

Best Hopes for New Orleans gardening (the soil is basically quite fertile here, almost endless "topsoil").


My opinion is that corn is a pretty terrible crop to grow from the perspectives of water use and nutritional value, and if returning to organic farming, the growth of corn should be all but abandoned.

corn is so easy to harvest compared to wheat. also tougher for me re weeds . i'm open to others, but a grain to store is imperative for the bad seasons/yrs. i am told corn was the 'poor man's grain' at one time for the reason's above.

Knowing what people did before the petroleum age can be a useful guide for the post-petroleum age. Here in the southern Appalachians, everyone grew corn, that was their "staff of life". Wheat, barley, oats, and rye were only grown by a few people.

speaking of manure i've been reading michael pollan's omnivore's dilemma. in the sections about corn he maintains that the chem fertilizer & hybrids brought increased yields close to an order of magnitude; 20bushels/acre in early 1900's to at times 200/acre[usually more like 160 or so]. he implies that legumes & other nitrogen fixing techniques just aren't in the same league. if true that is scary.i know sharon astyk had a fairly recent post w/ lots of comments re industrial/organic food production . i welcome other sources or info. where's bob? how many tons of manure was that he said, 5 tons/acre every 4yrs? & is that enough nitrogen for corn w/o rotation?

The actual issue is whether you bring fertilizer in from the outside, not what kind of fertilizer it is. That 200 bu/acre yield was accomplished by dumping on enough fertilizer to kill the gulf of Mexico. It's easy enough, and better for the planet, to find enough compost to get an equivalent yield from a half acre garden. To get that yield organically from 100 acres means using the manure from 200-300 acres of hayfield (or potato peelings or apple pomace or some such, all from a lot of land)

The actual issue is whether you bring fertilizer in from the outside, not what kind of fertilizer it is.

Double plus bingo. Which isn't to say it cannot be done, but that it must be done knowingly. I could easily see how a dairy farmer might import grasses and export manure. But one would think the manure would have to go back to the grass farmers for that system to balance. Perhaps there might be some scenarios where manure (or grasses) might be available to local veggie farmers. Overall, it would depend on the solar emcals; there could be enough slack in the dairy/grass ecosystem that some could be diverted to veggies.

Of course, having written that, I know it is not true. The best one can do is level some inputs so that acres limited (Jevon) might do much better and others only a little worse.

cfm in Gray, ME

Can someone here explain "comparative easing"

quantitative easing.


Printing money. I.e not sterilizing central bank operations.

This has been going on for a while simply by the Feds accepting a broad range of collateral in exchange for money.

Its really the game of a rolling loan gathers no loss.

For example lets say you have some really crappy mortgages on your books and you loan them to the fed in exchange for cash to lend or balance your books etc with a practically ZIRP short term rate you can go buy longer dated treasuries with a higher return. When the loan is due you simply roll the loan. So basically all your doing ins printing money in the end with Banks performing various arbitrage schemes. Few involved actually really lending money.

You need to look at this number also.


We are also now in whats called a liquidity trap.


And the announcement of the century.


The Fed is saying they plan to enter the long treasury bond market directly.

What this will do is drive down interest rates since the Fed can buy all treasuries offered. These are ten and 30 year

As the interest rate drops previously purchased treasuries go up in value say it falls by 50% then it takes twice as much money to get the same yield as before the rates dropped. This heats up the treasury bubble but it also set its up for a nasty collapse since as interest rates drop the change for a rise in rates esp if the Feds decide to suddenly quit buying is in the works. Right now we are in a treasury bubble and the Fed is determined to pop it. The cause of course is a flight to safety.

So here is what I think the game is for the next several months. The Fed will move into the treasury market forcing long rates down. This blocks the banks from recapitalization. This may sound insane but the Fed has decided to effectively backstop all banks and does not give a rip about them being able to become functional again.
Or banking system is now socialized all losses will eventually end up on the Goverments balance sheet.

Buy crashing the bond market the Feds are forcing banks to lend money. They are forcing interest rates down making it easier to borrow and they are forcing everyone that fled to Treasuries for safety out. They can easily play for the long yield for a while driving it down then letting it spring upwards tanking the treasury market then driving it down again if need be.

Maybe a better way to look at what needs to happen is think about the velocity of money. The Fed needs transaction velocity to pick up even if it means forcing banks to lend at a loss.


Since almost all of the transactions these days are in the form of debt then interest return picks up with the velocity even if nominal interest rates are low.

Over time a few banks will be blessed with the Government taking over the most stinking piles and they get to keep what ever actually stuck as TSHTF. These banks are in all intents as purposes simply arms of the Fed at that point.

I think the longer term concept is if the economy actually picks up then the losses will be paid down over the next few decades so no big deal they are spread out over time inflation will resume etc. If it does not then we are dead anyway so who cares.

The important point is that the Fed is not saving the banking industry its socializing it except of course the Fed is really a private company so its effectively a takeover. There is no plan to save the banks a small number of front banks for the Fed will remain but we are moving to a world with only central banks in direct control.

Now assuming they pull this off what does the world look like ? Well the Fed wins either way. If the economy returns then the taxpayer pays the Fed back if it does not then the Governments default and we get a real single world bank as the former CB's break the ties to the national currencies and bail out the governments with a new world bank.

Effectively every country in the world becomes Argentina force to borrow in a new world currency.

With the central banks willing to start buying treasuries across the spectrum in effect they take control of the entire financial system and the governments are at their mercy.

Back to oil and commodities obviously these real assets are difficult to control without causing problems in other places so I expect the prices for real consumable assets to rise as this game unfolds. Any asset thats in excess will drop in value in general this means anything durable or with plenty of manufacturing capacity.
Land is interesting since it does have a nominal value based on its agricultural potential but thats generally a lot less then the current prices. So looong term land will be a good asset but only once it returns to values where agriculture are profitable. Same of course with housing as prices drop below cash flow for renting it will become nominally profitable but rents are of course dropping.

So basically Food,Shelter,Oil ( Note clothing is not and issue ) eventually become stores of value but god only knows what the price relationship is for currency my opinion is low since in general we are overall shrinking the economy so wages are falling vs today. Basically no matter what the CB's do prices for assets will be notationally lower then they are in todays money. In the big picture the Fed is going to be blowing smaller and smaller debt bubbles sticking the bad debt into the Government and consolidating any asset of value. Falling prices for most goods ensure that the amount loaned out in each cycle drops. Money spend on commodities is high velocity and recycled.

So they are not stopping Debt Deflation in my opinion but trying to make it drop slowly overtime so the system keeps running.

Look at it this way a home in CA starts off at 700k at peak defaults then is resold at 500k defaults then resold at 350k defaults then resold at 250k defaults then resold at 150k defaults then resold at 80k for cash. At this point the defaults stop and the thing cash flows. Total loss was 620k but lets say each of these transaction last for 2-3 years before defaulting and this loss was spread over about 15 years.

The point is I don't think the Fed really gives a rip about anything except getting transaction velocity up the only way wealth can continue to concentrate at the top is for people to spend money.

I think it more likely the FED will print huge wodges of cash until some equilibrium is approached. The $700k home thus becomes worth a more debt-manageable $350k with a doubling of money supply but since they fudge the figures it looks like it has fallen only -say- $150k so 'everyone is happy'...

If they overshoot the reflation in order to pump up discretionary spending then the non-discretionary items are likely to be going through the roof at that point as that is where the first 'tranche' of everbodies cash goes -especially if supply is becoming constrained...

So in the next decade we could see a world where 'essentails' get increasingly expensive even in the face of a consumer recession, low interest rates and decreasing prices in many non-essential items...


Nick they don't give a rip if homes cost 500 dollars or 1 million dollars they can adjust the money supply.

Its hard to think like a CB since we are used to treating money as something of value. What a central bank cannot easily do is force the transaction rate up and thats all that matters. Its the velocity of money.

Look at it this way your some super rich guy in a small town and your plan is to take everyones money.
Lets say your worth 10 billion in fact you own the printing presses and the town has 1000 people. How do you get the money ?

Well you can lend them money and charge interest. You can tax every transaction you can think of.
You can sell stuff on credit even at zero interest etc etc.

The point is you can't take peoples money unless its involved in some sort of transaction.

Now the underlying thing you actually need are goods and services not money things like mansions and fighter planes and bullets to take resources if needed. None of this works if people don't spend money. The only way you can manipulate the economy is if people use your money in transactions for real goods and services. You can skim off money and use it to pay for your "stuff" its really free since you invented the money but lets not look behind the curtain.

So you can see that the CB's only care about transactions and the only reason they care about transaction is because thats the only way they can convert there infinite cash supply into real goods and services by duping people into using it in exchange for things of real value.

Consider in my above example that everyone in the village decided to use wheat as a medium of exchange instead of your money what are you going to do then ?

Moving on the reason the CB's love growth is it increases the transaction rate and the conversion of money into stuff that they really want. Deflation is obviously hated because the transaction rate declines. But given what I've said go read about what the CB's are doing they don't really care about prices what they care about is the transaction rate. They can and will do whatever it takes to get the transaction rate back up.

In particular for housing they simply need houses to be bought and sold. Given that prices are fundamentally to high right now esp entering into a Depression I think you will find they will do little to prevent housing prices from falling. Its very rare for the next bubble to be the same as the last bubble they really don't care what bubbles just that something spurs transactions any transaction will work. I'm pretty sure that they will soon accept that the only game in town is the real oldest profession people have to eat. If they can't extract work via transactions such as selling homes and cars they can and will do it via the food supply. Since in most parts of the world people need to use oil to do the work to get the money to buy food oil is also a target since its equivalent to food.

History is full of this but a recent example is sharecropping.


This is about the simplest way to extract wealth out of people better in many ways than slavery.

Basically Central banks are simply more complex versions of the sharecropper scheme which is in my opinion the perfect form of slavery. Understand sharecropping is also tied to the concept of the company store.

A good link here.


But again this only works if you actually perform transactions using the "money" provided by the central banks you have to play the game. Only paying cash and taking on no debt and providing as much of your own well being as possible limits your involvement down to taxes but you have to at least play along enough to buy stuff free and clear and pay the taxes. In real life you need medical care, education etc so you can't quite quit the game.

Note that property tax is the one tax you cannot escape.


The reason is this ensures that all land is really owned by the wealthy any attempt to really repudiate the system would eventually result in all the land being confiscated for back property taxes.

This is why people thinking that the Government is going to save housing or do this or that are sadly mistaken all they will do is try to push the transaction rates as high as possible using the money they create the purchase of goods in services. In the end this will probably come down to blatant share cropping and company stores if it has to.
But understand it already works that way if forced they can and will simply the system such that its obvious.

thanks memmel
quantitative, that explains alot. couldn't figure for the life of me why the Google wasn't answering me.

Yeah sorry for the long tirade :)

Its easier to look at sterilization anything not sterilized is printing money.



However getting into buying long dated bonds is new since its effecting the ability of the market
to counteract the actions of the central bank. Normally central banks don't crash the bond markets
on purpose the long bonds give people a way to opt out of the current economic situation via a
market determination of the real inflation rate. With the feds buying long dated treasuries we
basically no longer have no way for the market to influence the economy.

The chances of that working out well are zero.

I should have posted this link earlier.


Obviously no for profit bank is going to make a house loan in todays market at 4.5% without a huge downpayment
which would negate the effect of the lower interest rates.
If the Feds do this this will destroy whats left of the open market for house loans.
The would have to accept refi's no way will this fly for new loans.

The point is they will do anything no matter how crazy to get the transactions going again.
Buying a house would eventually turn into renting from the government if they go down this path.

...I just read your 2nd link...

...given a belief in limited oil supply its obvious to see where all the money that is being pumped into the system will end up -any non-discretionary demand destruction taking place now will be filled by the first tranche of flood money and demand will try and go back to where it was... I.e. oil prices will jump.


This is one thing that Nate Hagens is trying to tell people there is and immense amount of money in the world.

Right now for the most part we are experiencing debt deflation and the end of excessive leverage. This means if you had 1 billion dollars you leverged up to 10 billion in borrowed money to make a decent return. Now you have to unwind lets say you lose 20% and you have 800 million dollars. Well you still have way way more money to invest then can be handled by the day to day economy which is what commodities like food and oil track. The money supply still dwarfs the size of the daily economy without leverage its gone from 1000 times to large to 100 times to large.

The deleveraging process has a huge effect but you can see the money supply is still way way way more than we need and 90% of it has been concentrated into the hands of a few. When it starts moving again a lot of it will land in commodities as they are essential. I'm not talking about speculation but simply to much money chasing to few goods.

With the end of construction of all types which used a huge amount of resources and money yes we have cheap resources that where formerly used in construction but worse we have a ton of money that has no use.

Is anyone else having trouble accessing the EIA web site? I've been getting a "server not responding" error all morning.

Help Wanted.

I'm searching for articles in journals and elsewhere dealing with the public policy response in Canada and the US to the oil price shocks/'energy crisis of ~1973 and ~1980.

Any leads/links provided will be greatly appreciated.

All Time magazine archives are searchable and free online (text only). 1923 to present.

Thanks, I'll take a look.

I still hope to find something in the academic journals. Any leads there would be most helpful.


Thanks for the link.

Hi Wisco, thanks for the link.

I recalled a particular issue of Time from years ago, when King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was named Time’s “Man of the Year.” I dug it up in the Time Archives, and re-read the lead article on Faisal. Some snippets:

The prognostications seem spot-on--They were just 35 years off on the timing:
“The Shah of Iran laid it on the line: "The era of terrific progress and even more terrific income and wealth based on cheap oil is finished."

“In sum, the world has entered an era in which natural resources will count for much more than before, conservation will gain a premium over consumption, and more attention will be paid to exploiting resources than curbing pollution. All this will bring many changes in lifestyles: slower gains in real purchasing power, stricter controls on energy use, smaller cars. It remains to be seen to what extent the changes will be.”

"A nation that has one-twentieth of the world's population should not expect to go on burning one-third of the world's oil.”

The $$$$ figures are so, shall we say, quaint?:
“Last year (1974) Faisal's Saudi Arabia earned $28.9 billion…”

“The nation's (U.S.) bill for foreign oil pyramided from $3.9 billion in 1972 to $24 billion last year.”

“Gasoline rose to $1.40 per gal. in West Germany, $1.72 in Italy, $2.50 in Greece.”

“With oil at $10 a bbl., OPEC would charge the world an other $600 billion in the next five years.”

“Again and again, the cartel formed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised the price of oil until it reached unprecedented and numbing heights. The producing nations' "take" from a barrel of oil, less than $1 at the start of the decade, was lifted from $1.99 before the Arab-Israeli war 15 months ago to $3.44 at the end of 1973 to more than $10 at the end of 1974.”

Formation of IEA:
“In November, ministers from the U.S., Canada, Japan, all members of the Common Market (except France), four other European nations and Turkey signed an agreement to form the International Energy Agency, which Henry Kissinger had proposed. Provided their legislatures approve, each member would build up a stockpile of oil equal to 90 days of imports; if any OPEC members embargo oil or reduce shipments, the IEA nations would reduce consumption and later share what they have with one another. The IEA agreement will soon come up before Congress, which would do well to approve it.”

All in all a long, but worthwhile, and in retrospect, an entertaining read. Again, thanks for the link, re-reading this was sort of a trip down Memory Lane.

Antoinetta III

Forgot to mention that the date of the article was January 6, 1975.

Antoinetta III

excellent. they just got the timing off.

One of the more balanced articles about hunting I have seen in along time. Also notes the return of man's best friend in the wild form and the dangers. Thought I would pass it along since alot of us will be hunting in the future.


How the decline of hunting is changing the natural order of predator and prey
I never realised that using shotguns, 'assault weapons', motorised vehicles, ... , to shoot animals was the natural order of things.

I'm not sure what point the article is trying to make, but if there wasn't so much urban sprawl, (as well as non-urban sprawl like fields and mines) there wouldn't be so many encounters with wild animals.
If you build a golf course / housing estate / mining operation in the middle of (what used to be) forest, you shouldn't act surprise if you see some animals.

On an other note, the whole "hunting and eating meat is what made man human" is an odd link, as lions eat lots of meat but are quite different from us, while apes (gorillas, chimps, orang utans,...) have a diet mostly based on fruits and leaves, with the occasional insect or small animal.

I never realised that using shotguns, 'assault weapons', motorised vehicles, ... , to shoot animals was the natural order of things.

What he's saying is that the animals are no longer afraid of you, you're just another item that may be on the grocery list. Animals who aren't afraid of humans just look at you as prey. Animals also bring other critters such as the mentioned ticks. Have a bobcat eat your kid and then tell me if you still don't understand. Its happened here in OK.

Couple of other pointers just so you're not spotted as greenie wing nut.

An "assault weapon" is properly called an "evil black rifle". Proper uses are long range target shooting and competition. Post peak, its also good for keeping two legged predators out of Moltov cocktail range. Which side of the barrel are you going to be on? Its never too late until Jan 21st.

Hunting is limited to 4rd mags for semiautos. Break this one and the game warden will seize your gun, truck and maybe your shirt, no questions asked.

Shooting from a vehicle is illegal. See above on the consequences of getting caught.

Shotguns are used for birds simply because shooting in the air isn't safe with a rifle, it goes too far. With a shotgun, its very limited range so it is safer. Shotguns are also used with buckshot in highly dense areas because the lack of rifling (spin) and round shot limits the distance as well, but don't go shooting it in the air.

If you don't learn how to hunt now or own a farm, odds are that you will starve unless FEMA gives you some bread. Shooting, hunting or gardening just can't be learned when you're hungry or unfocused.

Humans are omnivores, get over it. Those of us who eat Bambi and Thumper may also own evil black rifles and if you try and make us vegitarians, we may show you said rifles.

Don't force your culinary imperialism on anyone else, they may decide to become a cannibal simply because you are cornfed....LOL

You can have the gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.
Charlton Heston RIP

From the weekend's discussion of those "heavily armed and anti-social survivalists" I thought I would pass this along. Yes, it takes a village to successfully defend one and the right mindset will be the most important thing in the future.


With that desire for the preservation of the original American system in mind, I hope that everyone takes a breath of fresh air and pauses to reflect on what your moral center is and how your own personal Declaration of Independence might help you to survive the trying times we are now in the midst of. I could suggest a list of goods, training and programs to help you start down this path but there is only one thing each individual must do. I feel you must look inward, which in my case was an insightful revelation during prayer, to get the guidance you will need to survive this morbid future our technocratic designers have in mind. Once you have taken that time, that moment to look inside yourself and then seek the knowledge you will need, you are light years ahead of your Playstation Two playing, Jerry Springer lifestyle living, four car and a home in debt over their heads neighbor who has three kids, a wife, a girlfriend and a lifestyle which they model after all those reality television shows.

Shell puts a well in at 9,356 feet.

OK, how much does the string weigh?

And how do they compensate for that weight at the bit head?

Does friction take that off?


Inquiring minds want to know......

I am sure one can run the mechanics on this. I would guess they would have some kind of casing or riser leading from the sub-sea connections to the surface to allow circulation of drilling fluids. If so, the casing string would have insulation which could provide some bouyance. If using casing, then the problem would be little different from other wells as the string would be vertical in the casing in displacing the drilling fluid and mud line would not impact the drill string weight.

Many years ago I was on a drill ship as part of the ocean drilling project. They were drilling with no surface return, using sea water for a fluid. At one point we drilled off of Barbados and if I recall correctly the water depth was 18k. They simply spudded the well at the see floor and drilled for about 3000 feet below the mudline for a TD of around 21000'. The also recovered some core samples there. They were using special drill pipe and if I recall correctly the string weight at TS was about 350,000 to 400,000 lbs. Hope this helps.


Surviving in Argentina has an interesting 2002 article from the WaPost posted today. Very worthwhile read, but I'm not sure if this could be considered fast collapse or slow.


Despair in Once-Proud Argentina
After Economic Collapse, Deep Poverty Makes Dignity a Casualty

By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, August 6, 2002; Page A01

ROSARIO, Argentina -- Word spread fast through the vast urban slums ringing Rosario. There was food on the freeway -- and it was still alive.
A cattle truck had overturned near this rusting industrial city, spilling 22 head of prime Angus beef across the wind-swept highway. Some were dead. Most were injured. A few were fine.

A mob moved out from Las Flores, a shantytown of trash heaps and metal shacks boiling over with refugees from the financial collapse of what was once Latin America's wealthiest nation. Within minutes, 600 hungry residents arrived on the scene, wielding machetes and carving knives. Suddenly, according to accounts from some of those present on that March day, a cry went up.
"Kill the cows!" someone yelled. "Take what you can!"

How about Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"? Not only informative about how Argentina was ruined, but how it will be done to America. But I suspect Ferfal is not a fan of Klein.

Absolutely worthwhile, thanks.

Zimbabweans ill and dying from cholera crossing border

Aid organizations inside Zimbabwe warn that the contagious disease is spreading fast since raw sewage from burst pipes near the capital, Harare, flowed into wells, rivers and streams -- the only source of drinking water for many Zimbabweans.

Just when you think things can't get any worse, somebody dumps sh*t in your drinking water. I am SO glad I don't live in Zimbabwe.

Don't worry, they'll carry you off by wheelbarrow... (special thanks to Totoneila for this picture earlier)

Seriously, Mugabe has got to be bar none the worst leader ever (almost as bad as Bush). I hope he gets run out of the country with half of Zimbabwe chasing him with pitchforks and torches made of Zimbabwean dollars because the only worth they have is as kindling.

Seriously, what are they going to think of next, having gov't thugs come by to kick your dog?

No, unfortunately they'll starve to death first.

(And when I mean 'They', you can pick either the dogs or government thugs, makes no difference).

Link courtesy of TAE: Revolution, food riots in America by 2012

Gerald Celente was referenced in the Nov 13 and 25 DBs for similar predictions but not as a top post. This seems to be a "refinement" of sorts.

Commodity Online
The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions - all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week.

Celente says that by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts.

Celente, who successfully predicted the 1997 Asian Currency Crisis, the subprime mortgage collapse and the massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar, told UPI in November last year that the following year would be known as "The Panic of 2008," adding that "giants (would) tumble to their deaths," which is exactly what we have witnessed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and others. He also said that the dollar would eventually be devalued by as much as 90 percent...

"We're going to start seeing huge areas of vacant real estate and squatters living in them as well. It's going to be a picture the likes of which Americans are not going to be used to. It's going to come as a shock and with it, there's going to be a lot of crime. And the crime is going to be a lot worse than it was before because in the last 1929 Depression, people's minds weren't wrecked on all these modern drugs - over-the-counter drugs, or crystal meth or whatever it might be. So, you have a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension."

Plant your Victory Garden today and defend it with your gun tomorrow.

To whomever that just negated me, here's a blast from the past:

Forecast: U.S. dollar could plunge 90 pct
Published: Nov. 19, 2007 at 2:16 PM

"We are going to see economic times the likes of which no living person has seen," Trends Research Institute Director Gerald Celente said, forecasting a "Panic of 2008."

"The bigger they are, the harder they'll fall," he said in an interview with New York's Hudson Valley Business Journal.

Celente -- who forecast the subprime mortgage financial crisis and the dollar's decline a year ago and gold's current rise in May -- told the newspaper the subprime mortgage meltdown was just the first "small, high-risk segment of the market" to collapse.

Derivative dealers, hedge funds, buyout firms and other market players will also unravel, he said.

Massive corporate losses, such as those recently posted by Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) and General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM), will also be fairly common "for some time to come," he said.

He said he would not "be surprised if giants tumble to their deaths," Celente said.

The Panic of 2008 will lead to a lower U.S. standard of living, he said.

A result will be a drop in holiday spending a year from now, followed by a permanent end of the "retail holiday frenzy" that has driven the U.S. economy since the 1940s, he said.

Here is a missive I just sent to an e-mail correspondent, in response to this question, "Could we see actual oil shortages?"

I've basically been stupefied at the rate that the economy is imploding.

I've been mulling over your question. Of course, a classical economist would say that there are no shortages--just a price that people won't pay. However, the potential problem that would probably lead to actual shortages may be when willing buyers have trouble exchanging dollars for energy, because of currency inflation.

One of the many scary things about the current crisis is the extent to which the Deflationists (e.g., Stoneleigh at The Automatic Earth) have been right so far. Their point is that the huge credit inflation has led to the severe credit deflation and attempts at currency inflation have so far been unable to stop the deflationary cycle. However, it's my understanding that even Stoneleigh predicts that currency inflation may prevail when foreign creditors stop buying our debt, as the Fed becomes the buyer of last resort and monetizes the debt. This could contribute to problems exchanging dollars for energy.

So, I guess life gets really interesting all the way around when foreign creditors stop buying, or reduce their purchases of, our debt.

I have tried to stay away from specific price predictions--other than theorizing a long term series of price doublings, but if you had held a gun to my head earlier this year and demanded a price prediction, I would have said that it was unlikely that oil would fall below $100.00. In any case, I suspect that declining net oil exports will outpace declining demand, probably next year, perhaps leading to average 2009 prices being higher than average 2008 prices (about $100).

BTW, I suppose it's just a parlor game for Peak Oil nerds at this point, but the average WTI spot price through November was $105. If oil averages at or above $45 in December, the average 2008 annual price will be at or above $100.

Repeating the claim doesn't add credibility to it. Celente has a habit of taking credit for things after they happen (or for "predicting" things that are already underway) and ignoring predictions that were just plain wrong.

Might as well read tea leaves.

For instance... he claimed in 2005 that the dollar would decline, but that had been happening for 2-3 years already at that point... and now (a year later) the dollar is substantially stronger than it was a year ago (let alone a 90% decline).

The same article predicts gold at almost three times today's price.

Gerald Celente, Futurist Fraud

Who needs rational thinking when you have the comforts of defeatism? If you really want to get your dose of passive-aggressive dystopia, just call up Gerald Celente. He’s on Line 2 and he’ll take your money when you have no faith in humanity or when you don’t have a clue about how to do your job. Have him rant in your newspaper. Give him money to advise your corporation. Above all, don’t look at history, science, or specific statistics. Because Celente will boil them all down for you with one of his seemingly pithy and mysterious predictions. And he’ll be right. Because like a trusted astrology columnist or a two-bit faith healer, Celente leaves just enough room in his answer to wiggle out. And you swallow it every time. Because you’re too scared to think for yourself, or do a background check on the guy in the lobby waving his arms.

FYI, he's also a wingnut and a Obama hater.

FYI, he's also a wingnut and a Obama hater.

We're all wingnuts of some sort or we wouldn't be here. Obama hater? Well it sounds like a guy I can relate too...I disliked the Big Oprah so much I bought more guns BEFORE the election to beat the rush. Had a feeling Obama was going to win anyway, I mean the stars really lined up for him. Sympathetic media, Bush and just an overall mess that said "toss the bastards out". It would have been a surprise if Obama hadn't won.

That being said, this Celente guy is just interpreting current trends and that's where it leads us. If Obama stays away from the Brady Bunch and somehow manages to keep the country together for the next four years without martial law, even I might give him the benefit of the doubt. If not, we'll be like our ancestors...saddling up with the four horsemen to Git-R-Done. Not a prospect any of us should look forward to, but its where current trends lead. Certainly doesn't rate a comparison to Nostradamus, they didn't have wifi in Provence back then.

A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight. Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A Heinlein

He knows his marks.

Cramer is on a tear today:

Cramer's Problem With Doom and Gloom

So forget all the talk you’ve been hearing lately. If these talking heads wanted to worry about a Great Depression, they should have followed Cramer’s lead a few thousand Dow points ago. There are things to be concerned with – the ECB, China, etc. – but we’re not in the dire straights we were before.

Yeah, and he used penny stocks to make his point (Citigroup [7.63], Fannie [0.81], Freddie [0.80], AIG [1.92], Lehman Brothers [0.04], Wachovia [5.18] and Washington Mutual [0.0365])... Of course things can't get worse... Who cares if we lost more jobs in November than any time in the last 6 years? Not to mention that if ARMs reset, a lot of disposable income will disappear... Sorry, but he's a bit too Polyanna for me.

Another thing to keep in mind: We still have the safeguards put in place as part of the New Deal the prevent another Great Depression, like the FDIC, Social Security, unemployment insurance and the Federal Housing Authority.

Uh huh. If the government is footing the bill, tax receipts are going down and credit is frozen up, how are we supposed to pay for these? It doesn't matter what programs we have if we can't pay for them.

India: Power stations stare at acute coal shortage

I seem to be a lone voice pointing out that Asia may have trouble sustaining its coal use, a key assumption in just about every major report. There is not the slightest hint that either India or China intend to voluntarily limit carbon emissions. However simply running low on fossil fuels may accomplish that anyway. Poor quality coals such as damp lignite can be used to generate electricity but with high CO2 emissions. I believe India lacks coking or metallurgical coal which it has to import for its steel industry. Alternative energy sources might be hydro, natural gas and nuclear as I don't see steel mills running on wind or solar.

Thus the temptation will be for countries like Australia and the US with higher quality coal to 'help them out'. I say forget it. If India signed the non-proliferation treaty they would get more uranium concentrate. Coal import dependence may become as big a geopolitical issue as oil.


is an evil web-site, following the coal-, brown-/blackout- and other dire energy situations around the world. Daily updated. Thumbs up to them maintaining that site.

If India signed the non-proliferation treaty they would get more uranium concentrate.

India is also working on Thorium nukes, as they have a very large supply of it. That is the way we should go.

Federal Regulators Sign Off on Dulles Rail Extension

Federal regulators have signed off on a long-awaited extension of Metrorail to Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport, officially reversing their threats earlier this year to kill the $5.2 billion project.

The Federal Transit Administration approved the extension, which now heads to U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and the Office of Management and Budget for final sign-off. Approval from the FTA, where regulators had attacked the proposal as too expensive and poorly managed, is widely viewed as a critical moment for a project that local and state officials say is crucial to relieve traffic and spur economic growth at Tysons Corner and along the Dulles corridor.

This project was about 3 weeks from the start of construction when GWB pulled the plug on it. BIG time kick-back (remember who rides DC Metro).

This reinstatement will likely mean a 2 year delay in the eventual start of construction.


I think VP-elect Joe Biden rode Amtrak.

The latest thing I saw said that they would start construction in March of next year. They have already started some of the preliminaries (moving utilities), and they have been doing some soil testing in the median strip of Rt 7, which is where one of the stations will be.

A lot of people are still sore about the tunnel thing (i.e. part of the route is overhead instead of underground). Yes, it will definitely be an eyesore to have the thing up overhead like that, and many people think it is a mistake that we will have to live with for a century. I went to a meeting of tunnel advocates a few weeks ago - they are evidently hoping that the new administration will overrule and insist on a tunnel.

As for me, I just want the thing built.

The auto downturn is very serious

There is no way that GM and Chrysler can stay alive - with this much market contraction they must fail.

Kind of fixes that "Automobile is King" stuff for us, doesn't it?

We need highly energy-efficient things of various types on wheels to move people and goods. The factories owned by the Big 3 are good places to build them. The workers at those factories are probably good people to build them. The people managing the Big 3 have proven themselves to not be good enough managers to make happen what needs to happen.

The CEOs say that they can't go into Chapter 11 because nobody will buy their cars. Here's a news flash: people aren't buying their cars now, and aren't going to be in the future either. That part of the business is all done, it is history, finished. Forget about it, restructure, and move on - without these CEOs and their staffs.

I just got back from Nate's lecture in St. Paul, MN. While I had seen it internet video, it was nice to see in person, and hear the Q&A. I think he [begin Jon Stewart voice] nailed it

Nate - thanks for taking the time to visit our remote frozen corner of the earth. Nice to get to see TOD celebs in flyover country once in a while.

I couldn't make it but wished him luck. Looks like it turned out OK.

A couple of news items that relate to what we've been predicting here regarding downsizing of homes:

Homebuilders shrink American dream, spark wrath

Builders desperate to put up smaller, cheaper homes are incurring extra expense and customers' wrath by redesigning communities, even when people are already living in them.
It never fails to generate tension with local governments, which favor the bigger homes and fancier facades that attract upscale buyers and their tax revenue, said Kahn...

Couples staying together because of poor economy

The Denver couple divorced after six years of marriage but have been forced to live together for months because they can't sell their place or afford to set up separate households in this slumping economy.
The phenomenon is being felt around the country but most keenly in areas hit harder by foreclosure, such as the Sun Belt.

When the real estate market was booming, couples would promptly sell their home, split the profits and go their separate ways
Sometimes the financial implications of a divorce are so grim that a couple whose marriage is on the rocks decide to give it another try...

I wonder if peak oil would have been accepted by now if no deep water oil production had been possible. Deep water production (>500 m) comes mainly from Brazil, Angola, Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is an attempt at forecasting world crude, condensate and oil sands, excluding deep water. The ex-deep water peak occurred in 2005 at 70.5 mbd as compared to an estimated 68.1 mbd in 2008.

click to enlarge

For further discussion, click http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4792/440144

ace -- In one way, Deep Water development might even emphasize PO more than not IF the folks look farther then the headlines. While these fields may have bumped up the peak, their steep declines (at least in the GOM) offer a clear picture of the inability to sustain these higher rates without even more drilling. The initial flow additions (300,000+ bopd) from individual fields can sow seeds of unrealistic optimism. But if the follow up includes the relatively short life of these projects the more astute should see the true picture clearly.

For the folks who get all their information from the radio as they commute, they never understood the discussion in the first place and never will.

Interesting! And now with the lack of availability of credit, it looks like deep water will peak at a lower level than we previously thought. Sounds to me like a formula for decline going forward.

Hello TODers,

Bill Doyle, POT's topdog, latest presentation with graphics [32-page PDF Warning]:

Citi Chemicals Conference Dec. 3,'08

***selected excerpts below***

[Page 8] Potash demand growth is driven by powerful and multi-generational trends that are unlikely to turn around.

Global population continues to grow by more than 200,000 people per day, meaning more people need food. Added to this, stronger economies in China and India are giving more people the opportunity to eat nutritious food, especially protein from meat sources.

Feeding more people and producing more animals takes more grain. Increasing production on a shrinking per-capita agricultural land base can only be achieved by protecting the soil and replenishing its nutrients through proper fertilization.

[Page 11] This demand has already reduced the world’s grain stocks-to-use ratio to levels well below the 30-year average.

Two consecutive years of exceptional crops around the world have had little impact on inventories. It is estimated that current global grain stocks would FEED THE WORLD FOR ONLY 9 WEEKS.

**my capitals for emphasis**

Even modest demand growth – less than the average of the past five years – would keep inventories at historically low levels. The global economic crisis has created a disconnect between prices for agricultural commodities and business fundamentals.

In the fourth quarter, farmers and distributors have taken an extremely cautious approach to buying crop inputs and demand is being deferred. This creates additional risk to the world’s food supply, especially if fertilizer applications are temporarily reduced in areas like Brazil, where credit issues have hit farmers hard.

[Page 12] Declining crop commodity prices at a time of low
stocks-to-use fundamentals is a very dangerous situation.

Historically, some farmers have pulled back on planting or inputs in a lower-priced environment. This inevitably led to tighter fundamentals and higher prices. The world can’t play that game anymore. The food supply is too precious – and the risks are too great.
Please read the entire article, not just my teaser segments. Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

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

Toto - thanks for staying on top of this, as usual.

Oil, "becoming" the realm of despots...

And what, pray tell, would one call the "seven sisters", if not despotic?

It would be difficult to come up with a more descriptive adjective for the lot...

Hmmm. The prime minister of Canada (very pro-oil) just closed parliament today for 7 weeks to avoid a confidence vote he was sure to lose.