DrumBeat: May 20, 2009

Peak oil under spotlight

The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre's David Strahan told delegates that peak oil would have far reaching effects on the economy and ventured that a number of analysts believe we have already reached that peak.

He outlined how peaks in oil prices has always preceded major recessions and stressed that it was vital to address the extreme volatility of the oil markets if we are to break the damaging cycle of periods of over-production followed by scarcity.

He said that of the world's 98 oil producing countries, 64 had now passed their production peak and called conservative estimates that global production would not peak before 2020 'delusional'.

"The consumption of oil in OECD countries has been receding since 2005 because the world cannot produce enough oil," he said.

Ask Jeff Rubin

You can point to a multitude of special factors behind triple-digit oil prices but the simple reality is that world oil demand is growing rapidly while supply has been stagnant. That equation is only going to get worse over time, leading to even tighter oil markets.

Will $225 oil cause another and even deeper recession than the one we are currently in? Possibly yes, but not necessarily so. We can't stop oil from getting to that price but we can make sure than when that happens, it doesn't have the same devastating impact on the economy as it has in the past. We have to reduce the amount of oil or energy to produce a dollar of GDP. And the surest way of doing that is replacing today's global economy with local economies.

WoodMac: No gas price rebound seen in near term

HOUSTON -- Weakness in global natural gas markets will delay a recovery in US gas prices and rig counts. Exacerbating the weakness in gas demand has been a marked downturn in demand for electric power by both industrial and residential customers, analysts with the research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie told reporters today.

The economic recession has had a big impact on US natural gas, electric power, and coal markets. The contractions in the economy during fourth quarter 2008 and first quarter 2009 led to a contraction in power demand at a time when gas supply was increasing from successful development of shale gas and from an increase in LNG imports.

Speaking on power markets, George Given, WoodMac's head of global power research, said he expects the global economic recession will last several more quarters.

The Energy Report for Wednesday 20/05/2009

Peak bleak: Is the world running out of oil? Again? Well if you look at the weekly drops from the API you might think so. But no, oil is rallying back up but not because of peak oil but perhaps due to the sense that the world is not so bleak. The VIX hit the lowest level since September so the passion for risk will soon heat up. And that intensity ofrisk desire means we shouldbe seeing more economic activity start sizzling up which means we should start seeing oil demand improve. We peaked all right, because we peaked out on being bleak.

Crude hits six-month high before holiday weekend

NEW YORK – Oil prices hit a six-month high Wednesday, climbing above $62 a barrel after a government report showed a drop in U.S. oil supplies for the second straight week.

Benchmark crude for July delivery rose $1.21 to $61.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before noon. Crude prices jumped to $62.14 earlier in the day, the highest price for crude since Nov. 11.

Prices surpass DOE's peak projection

The national average price of gasoline has climbed 25 cents a gallon since May 1, and in Florida the average price has increased by 25 cents.

While consumers are puzzled by the consistent climb, Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), says retail gasoline prices are reflecting sizeable wholesale price increases during the same period. Wholesale prices on most consumer goods have increased since early April.

Petrobras says oil output slips 0.8 pct in April

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras said on Wednesday its domestic oil production slipped 0.8 percent in April to 1.98 million barrels per day compared with 1.99 million in March.

The slump ends a series of output increases that have consistently taken Petrobras production to new levels as it begins pumping crude from reserves buried beneath a layer of salt miles below the surface of the ocean off Brazil's coast.

Carbon dioxide emissions drop in 2008

WASHINGTON — The government is reporting that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions declined by 2.8 percent last year, the largest drop since it began keeping records of greenhouse gas pollution.

The Energy Information Administration attributed the decline to a 2.2 percent drop in energy demand in 2008. That was largely because of high gasoline and diesel prices last summer, and a sharp economic decline in the last half of the year.

California plans next steps to cut car pollution

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California is planning the next stage of clean car standards even as U.S. President Barack Obama announces federal plans based on the state's model, its top climate change official said on Tuesday.

Obama OKs nuclear deal with United Arab Emirates

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama agreed Wednesday to share nuclear power technology with the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, giving his consent to a deal signed in the final days of George W. Bush's administration.

The pact now goes to Congress, which will have 90 days to amend or reject it.

The agreement creates a legal framework for the U.S. to transfer sensitive nuclear items to the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven Middle Eastern states that wants nuclear power to satisfy growing demand for electricity.

Republicans fail to scrap new energy codes for buildings

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- A Republican amendment that would have scrapped proposed energy-efficiency codes for buildings failed during a House Energy Committee work session on Wednesday, as members continued to draft a huge bill that aims to dramatically slash global warming and boost renewable energy.

New mileage, emissions rules succeed where energy bill may fail

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- President Barack Obama upstaged his own party this week on energy policy, using the power of the executive branch to slap onto the car industry a big increase in mileage requirements and sharply tougher emissions standards just as lawmakers were debating a huge bill that targets greenhouse gases.

That may be the smartest political move that Obama has made in his young presidency so far.

Obama's fuel home run

America finally has a smart leader, not a good old boy from Texas and his sidekick who were in the hip pockets of the Saudis and oil interests at home and abroad. Yesterday’s announcement of dramatically enhanced fuel efficiency standards on vehicles recognizes that environmental, economic, trade and foreign policies converge and can be addressed all at once.

To wit, curb America’s oil addiction, and you balance the books, trade, save the environment and, possibly, Detroit from itself.

Booming U.S. Gas Fields Represent the Future of American Energy

"As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves," proclaimed Obama in his DNC acceptance speech on August 28th 2008. "I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America." President Obama can make it clear to Americans that it won't be business as usual with respect to foreign imports if his presidency underscores a commitment to natural gas as the most environmentally responsible source of clean energy available in America today.

When asked about proposals to expand natural

GM continues work on fuel-saving engine technology

Sometime in the next decade, you might be able to enjoy some of the benefits of a diesel without driving one.

A technology called HCCI improves fuel economy 15 percent and releases fewer emissions by using a combustion process similar to what is used in diesel powerplants.

Gas prices: The key to fuel economy

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- New fuel economy rules announced by President Obama Tuesday have already gained support from major automakers, but the challenge will be getting consumers to play along, especially if gas prices remain relatively low.

The Obama administration estimates these rules will add about $600 to the cost of a car. That's on top of an estimated $700 added by changes to fuel economy rules that have already been enacted. All this may keep consumers from buying a new car, some say.

Also with fuel prices still low, consumers may want larger vehicles, but these will never be as efficient as small cars. Without soaring gas prices pushing drivers to conserve, it will be difficult for makers of larger vehicles to meet the administration's efficiency goals.

Oil decline boosts pressure for Mexico tax reform

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is under growing pressure to ratchet up its paltry tax take as sliding oil revenues threaten a pillar of public finance that is central to its efforts to claw back from a deep recession.

Mexico, which funds about a third of its budget from crude oil sales, has put off the tough choice of hiking taxes in recent years as sky-high world oil prices masked a steady decline in crude output and a grim prognosis for 2010 production.

But with oil prices now well below their highs, sliding output has caught up with Mexico as it wrestles with its worst economic slump since its mid-1990s Tequila crisis.

Venezuelan Sway on Region Fades With Oil Wealth

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez’s push to extend his sway in Latin America is waning amid low oil prices and disorder in Venezuela’s own energy industry.

In recent years, Mr. Chávez has used his nation’s oil wealth to drive his socialist-inspired agenda at home and draw other countries in the region into his sphere of influence, helping to consolidate a leftward political shift in parts of Latin America.

But more than a dozen big projects intended to broaden his nation’s reach are in limbo — including a gas pipeline across the continent and at least eight refineries, from Jamaica to Uruguay — as Venezuela grapples with falling revenues and other troubles in its national oil company.

Cars Won’t All Shrink Under Obama’s Fuel Plan, Automakers Say

(Bloomberg) -- Automakers say they won’t have to overhaul their technology or flood the U.S. with tiny cars buyers may not want under President Barack Obama’s standards for fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Even as they face more than $21 billion in annual costs to meet the new standards by 2016, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. will benefit from a single national system, rather than a patchwork of state rules, and an approach that allows them to tweak the fuel efficiency for each category of vehicle sizes and weights.

Oil Rises to Six-Month High on Forecasts U.S. Stockpiles Shrank

(Bloomberg) -- Oil rose to its highest in six months before a report forecast to show that U.S. crude inventories dropped from their highest level in nearly 19 years.

Old enmities are put aside in fight for gas

What do you get from an Austrian, a Hungarian, a Kurd and two Emiratis? If you believe in the deal signed at the weekend between OMV, the Austrian energy group, MOL, its Hungarian neighbour, the Sharjah-based Crescent Petroleum and Crescent’s affiliate Dana Gas, you get the most important energy project to come out of Iraq since the removal of Saddam Hussein.

With luck and a following political wind, the $8 billion (£5 billion) investment by Pearl Petroleum in Kurdish Iraq could be the most significant since the discovery of oil at Kirkuk by the Iraqi Petroleum Company in the 1930s.

Peak oil’s impact on energy policy

Although energy demands have since declined due to the global economic recession, the reality is that the economy will come back and when it does there are serious doubts as to whether the supply of oil will be adequate to sustain the economic engine. So all those doubters who criticized Matt Simmons’ view about peak oil may soon have to come to grips with the reality that oil scarcity may become a fact of life in the near future.

Venezuela set to build first oil rig with China: report

Caracas: Venezuela is poised to begin building the first joint Venezuelan-Chinese oil drilling platform in June, according to Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez. “The oil drilling platform is at a very advanced stage in the (western) Orinoco Belt,” Ramirez told the Panorama newspaper, from the northwestern city of Maracaibo, on Monday. “In June ... Venezuela will assemble the first oil rig with Venezuelan labor.”

Russia-Ukraine transit gas down 50%

Transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe has dropped almost 50% in the first four months of this year against the same period last year, Ukraine's energy ministry said today.

Russia transported 23.2 billion cubic metres of gas through Ukraine to Europe against 46.3 Bcm last year in January-April, according to the ministry's statement, wrote Reuters.

Economic growth in Europe has stalled and industrial activity has been cut, leading to far lower consumption of energy.

Eni Nigeria force majeure hits 52,000 bpd output-source

LONDON (Reuters) - Total oil output affected by Eni SpA's (ENI.MI) force majeure for Nigeria's Brass River export terminal is 52,000 barrels per day, an industry source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Iraq's Baby Oil Bureaucracy

If the country is to realize its potential as an energy producer, its Oil Ministry has some growing up to do.

Norway’s Oil Fund Declines 4.8% in First Quarter

(Bloomberg) -- Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s third largest, said the value of its investments fell 4.8 percent in the first quarter, adding to record losses at the end of last year as stocks declined.

Obama auto efficiency move a blow to U.S. refiners

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Obama administration's ambitious plan to raise auto efficiency standards would cut deeply into notoriously voracious U.S. gasoline demand, dealing another blow to a refining sector hard hit by recession and bracing for looming climate regulation.

Gas pains: Supply and demand picture don't justify gasoline prices

This is not the first time that gasoline prices have risen at this time of the year. The markets anticipate that warmer weather and the advent of Memorial Day will be accompanied by a pickup in driving, hence in the demand for fuel.

However, if you look at the bigger picture of demand and supply, you would be hard-pressed to justify today's prices -- much less any further increase.

Nigeria oil output 1.6 mln bpd before latest unrest

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian crude oil production was around 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) excluding condensate before the latest Niger Delta unrest late last week, Minister of State for Petroleum Odein Ajumogobia said late on Monday.

Ajumogobia told Reuters that production had at one point last month dipped to as low as 1.2 million bpd but had recovered again before heavy clashes between the security forces and militants in the western Niger Delta at the end of last week.

Retired military chiefs: Time to shift from oil

WASHINGTON - An advisory group of retired generals and admirals argue in a new report that reducing America's reliance on oil and addressing climate change are critical for future national security.

The report, presented Monday to members of Congress and the Pentagon, said that energy security and efforts to reduce the risks of climate change should be included in the nation's national security and military planning.

David Suzuki: Is Canada a petro-state or prosperous nation?

Imagine a Canada with an abundance of nature and wildlife, clean air and water, healthy citizens, and a prosperous economy. Sounds close to what we have, doesn’t it? But it may not be for long if we keep heading down the road we’re on.

Author Andrew Nikiforuk has argued that Canada is becoming a petro-state. “Without long-term planning and policies, Canada and Alberta will fail to secure reliable energy supplies for Canadians, to develop alternative energy sources for the country, or to create valuable resource funds for the future,” he writes in his best-selling book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent. Because of the response of Alberta to Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Plan, Canada doesn't even have a national energy plan.

‘Plan C’ Promotes Community as Tool for Abating Ecological Threats

The book Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change addresses the problem of resource depletion and the degradation of our environmental base by illustrating how community erosion due to a culture of excess leaves human society without adequate means of planning for a world in which exponential growth is not the norm. Resource depletion already means the endless expansion of resource consumption is not possible, so author Pat Murphy proposes a localized community-oriented approach to overhauling the prevailing economic paradigm.

Questioning the political culture in which pollution-intensive industrial infrastructure dictates what we take to be quality of life, cast as standard of living, the book provides insight, tracing statistical evidence, into how human life is undermined by the very system put in place to support and sustain it. The logic of infinite growth has meant that humanity broadly has reached far beyond its fair share of natures resources, now imposing on the life-sustaining ecosystems on which we depend for our habitable world and natural resource base a demand beyond replacement capacity.

U.S. offshore oil study not done as storm season nears

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Study of the hurricane fitness of 92 key Gulf of Mexico oil platforms, begun a year ago, is not finished as the 2009 storm season nears, U.S. Minerals Management Service officials said Tuesday.

The work is taking longer than expected, MMS Gulf Region Director Lars Herbst told a briefing on preparations for the upcoming season, which begins June 1 and ends November 30.

"Review of those is complicated," MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Supervisor for Field Operations Mike Saucier said. "Hopefully, we should have it completed, at least most of them, by the end of this year."

China Wields Credit Clout Again to Lock In Brazilian Oil

BEIJING -- State-owned Brazilian oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA said it finalized an agreement to secure a $10 billion loan from China in return for a long-term supply of oil, another victory for China's new strategy of using its cash-rich banks to help secure natural resources.

The deal, however, didn't give Chinese companies stakes in Brazilian oil fields or lucrative oil-field-service contracts, as had been expected.

Sinopec to Gain From Brazil Deal as Oil Reserves Fall

(Bloomberg) -- China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, will benefit from guaranteed supplies of crude under a $10-billion loans-for-oil agreement with Brazil as the company’s reserves decline, analysts said.

Agreements signed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Beijing yesterday include the loan to Petroleo Brasileiro SA, in exchange for oil supplies to China Petroleum, known as Sinopec.

Lower Oil Prices Put Iraq's Security Forces In Bind at Crucial Time

BAGHDAD -- Reeling from a sharp drop in oil prices, Iraq's security forces are trimming bloated payrolls and will be unable to purchase ships and aircraft that Iraqi officials had hoped would allow the country to develop a basic ability to fend off external threats by 2012, the United States' projected withdrawal date, according to U.S. military officials.

The budget crunch is also preventing the Iraqi government from keeping billions of dollars worth of U.S.-donated equipment in working condition, representing a potentially colossal loss for a key American investment, U.S. officials say.

HR 2326 and the Doomsday Book

On the same day President Barack Obama announced the federal government's new, unified fuel economy standards, Congressmen Roscoe Barlett (R, MD) and Eliot Engel (D, NY) introduced HR 2326, otherwise known as the Oil Savings Act.

U.S. Energy Secretary says oil prices rising on economy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Tuesday that oil prices may be rising in anticipation of an eventual economic recovery.

"That might be part of the driver. The economy is in very bad shape today, but there is a feeling ... that it's no longer (in) free fall," Chu told reporters following a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

"One thing is for certain: when the economy picks up, just based on supply and demand, the price will go up," Chu added.

Total Says Workers Walk Out at U.K. Oil Refinery

(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s biggest oil refiner, said workers building a unit at its Lindsey plant in the U.K. have walked out in protest.

“A number of construction contractors” working on a hydro-desulfurization unit walked out early this morning “as they continue to support protest action elsewhere in the country,” Total said in an e-mailed statement.

Report: Emirates won't join Gulf monetary bloc

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The United Arab Emirates said Wednesday it won't join a plan to unite the Gulf's currencies, dealing a blow to what was seen as a key step toward greater economic integration in the oil-rich region.

The official Emirates news agency quoted an unidentified foreign ministry official saying his country has informed the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council of its decision Wednesday. The UAE government often announces official policy changes through the news agency, WAM.

Green "gold rush" seen in new U.S. auto standards

DETROIT (Reuters) - The tough U.S. fuel economy standards announced by President Barack Obama on Tuesday represents a bonanza for companies that supply hybrid technology and other gas-conserving components needed to meet the new benchmarks.

Only one out of four willing to pay more for a hybrid, online survey finds

Only one out of four people are willing to pay more to buy a gas-electric hybrid vehicle compared to a conventional car, according to a new online poll of 2,000 adults.

And 22% say they are simply confused when it comes to the terms for all the different kinds of hybrids either hitting the market or being talked about -- mild hybrids, full-hybrids, plug-in hybrids and alike, says Johnson Controls, which commissioned the survey from Harris Interactive.

Scotland's wind power firms urged to set sights on China

ONE of Scotland's leading renewable energy organisations will today urge the country's green energy companies to grab a lion's share of the rapidly expanding wind power market in China.

In an address to delegates at the opening day of the All Energy '09 exhibition and conference in Aberdeen, Iain Todd of the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) will claim it is vital to seize the "substantial" business opportunities in the Far East to reinforce Scotland's status as a global energy leader.

For Urban Gardeners, Lead Is a Concern

FRANK MEUSCHKE’S garden, which surrounds the house he rents in Brooklyn, is a bountiful source of tomatoes, snap peas, green beans, peppers, lettuce and multiple varieties of flowers. It is also, as he recently discovered to his dismay, a rich repository of lead. He had his soil tested last month, and the analysis showed more than 90 times the amount of lead expected to occur naturally.

Democrats Reject Pollution-Control Conditions in Climate Plan

(Bloomberg) -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee, working to craft climate-change legislation, rejected Republican attempts to force abandonment of pollution limits if unemployment or prices get too high.

UN Says Rich Nations Can ‘Build Higher Ambition’ on Climate

(Bloomberg) -- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change said rich nations can use the next 200 days to propose stricter emission limits, as countries seek agreement to protect the world from harmful climate change.

Bill Clinton to cities: Act on climate

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Tuesday urged urban leaders and policymakers they need to take the lead now in fighting climate change.

Leaders cool on warming skeptic

Barton, the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, relishes his role as the folksy, outspoken Texan. But his unpredictability worries Republicans who would like a more-scripted showdown with committee Democrats over the economic impact of the sweeping climate change bill authored by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

Party leaders, who still believe Republicans have the advantage on energy issues, want to make the case that the Waxman-Markey bill is a jobs killer. What they don’t want to get bogged down in is a debate over climate science — or a litany of procedural arguments that make voters’ eyes glaze over.

China and US held secret talks on climate change deal

A high-powered group of senior Republicans and Democrats led two missions to China in the final months of the Bush administration for secret backchannel negotiations aimed at securing a deal on joint US-Chinese action on climate change, the Guardian has learned.

Climate change odds much worse than thought

The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago - and could be even worse than that.

From ‘Alarmed’ to ‘Dismissive’: The Six Ways Americans View Global Warming

New Haven, Conn. — Americans fall into six distinct groups regarding their climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, according to a new report, “Global Warming’s Six Americas,” by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

Without soaring gas prices pushing drivers to conserve, it will be difficult for makers of larger vehicles to meet the administration's efficiency goals.

Add the years needed to sort out the fiscal mess to the multiple years needed to redesign and put new product onto the production line and we are looking at wait of about a decade. By 2019 I doubt there will be a need for concern over a lack of "soaring gas prices."

It begs the question "why do we need soaring gas prices in order to conserve?" & the answer is simple: we have become programmed to consume, like locusts, as much as we can possibly afford from the present and -via debt financing- our own future.


"I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet." -Agent Smith, The Matrix

Good scene, but wrong. Viruses evolve to be less virulent. A virus that kills the host is not going to last long. So are we worse than even viruses?

Maybe we're a cancer. If left untreated, we multiply and multiply, consuming everything, making our host sick and eventually killing it.

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell" Ed Abbey

It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not.

You are using very poor logic here. Simply because one mammal behaves differently from other mammals, does not make it a non-mammal. Bats fly but no other mammal flies. Does that make bats non-mammals?

But I see the point you are trying to get across. Cancer is a better analogy than a virus but the best of all is "Plague Animal". Humans have evolved to the extent that they can out compete every other animal on the planet. But like all other plague animals, we are fouling our own nest by our enormous numbers. And like all other plague animals our niche will eventually collapse along with our enormous numbers.

And all mammals do not instinctively develop a natural equilibrium. Most in fact go through cycles of overpopulation and dieoff. Some, like field mice, locus, lemmings and a few others, when an overabundanc of food happens have vast population explosions. Then when the food is used up, they dieoff.

Did you see the documentary awhile back on rats in India. Their numbers explode every 48 years. This corresponds with the fruiting of the bamboo plant. Then after the bamboo fruit is eaten, they pour into the wheat fields and cause great famine among the farmers. Then they all dieoff. That is always the fate of plague animals.

Ron P.

Matrix was one of my favorites movies, and I liked the quote too, but humans aren't so different from other mammals. Without predators to keep them in check they'll also overpopulate and die off when they exceed carrying capacity. Only difference with humans is that we've globalized the carrying capacity of the planet.

I'm not sure it will take so long for redesign, at least for some manufacturers. The VW Jetta TDI currently sold in the U.S. has EPA mileage rating of 30 city, 41 highway. That's right at the 35.5 average target for 2016. Published road tests have much better mileage than the EPA estimates: typically about 43 mpg overall.

The Jetta, at nearly 3300 pounds kerb weight and 1100 pounds payload is not exactly a small car, and though it takes 8.4 seconds to go from zero to sixty it's not underpowered.

I suspect a mild hybrid version of the same powertrain would get much better city mileage, but the point is that technology for dramatically better fuel economy than the average vehicle sold in the U.S. already exists, and at a very small additional cost (the list price of the TDI is close to the same as a gasoline powered Jetta with the same options, but currently the gasoline Jettas are heavily discounted while the TDI is not).

Sixty years ago, the 1950 Ford F1 pickup had a kerb weight of 3250 pounds, a 95 horsepower motor, and a payload of 1450 pounds. The base model of its current successor, the F150, has an unloaded weight of 4743 pounds, a payload of 1650 pounds, and a 248 horsepower motor. For a payload 200 pounds greater than the 1950 model, it has added nearly 1500 pounds of "fat". For a payload 50% larger than the Jetta, it uses more than twice the fuel (14 city, 19 highway), and has somewhat worse performance (0-60 in 9.3 seconds with a larger V8 -- I couldn't find a test of the base model).

The F150 can certainly tow more than the Jetta. The F150 base model can tow up to about 5500 pounds, but the TDI Jetta is not recommended for towing. Interestingly, the TDI Jetta sold in Australia can tow up to 1500 kilograms (3300 pounds).

So I don't think the goal is at all impossible. Modern turbodiesels use less than half the fuel of gasoline engines, with no significant loss of performance, and can be made to meet pollution standards. Add to that DSG transmissions which have the same fuel economy as manual transmissions, and the goal can be reached without radical redesign.

I own a Prius- you'd be amazed how much stuff you can get in one of them once you fold the seat down. I've hauled loads of wood, 8' long 2x4s, moved my girlfriend's stuff... I'd be willing to bet that my Prius, with the seats folded down, has a comparable volume to my dad's 1993 F-150 with the cap on the back...

Oh, and the Prius tows too.

The load capacity of the Prius is apparently unknown. My search of the Toyota website did not find any information on load capacity at all ("5 adults" was the closest I could find). Earlier models quoted a load capacity around 800 pounds, which is substantially less than any five adults in my family. I suspect it is nothing to be proud of, which is why they don't make it findable.

Certainly you can tow with the Prius. Toyota just says it voids the warranty. I wonder if it's like the Highlander Hybrid which Toyota says can tow 3500 pounds. In real life there have been reports of it just refusing to move in slippery conditions until you remove the trailer.

But you have pointed out another option for manufacturers to meet the goal with current technology. It really isn't that difficult. The difficulty is meeting it and retaining the luxury of an unloaded weight three or four times the load capacity.

If the traction control system senses that there is insufficient traction to move forward, the transmission will decouple the wheels from the engine and stop the electric motor from turning the wheels. It's a little bizarre to stomp on the gas, hear the engine spin, and be told by people on both sides of the car that the tires aren't spinning.

This is a traction control issue, not a towing problem. There are a large number of posts around the internet describing ways to temporarily disable the traction control system. The one time this happened to me, I backed the car (reverse worked fine - the car was stopped on a slight, but very slippery incline and there was apparently enough traction to back down the hill) into a driveway, rebooted the car, and tried again. This time there was no problem.

The past 4 winters we've installed snow tires (non-studded) and have had no problems.

The hybrid Highlander and Camry are more powerful than the Prius and would likely be more appropriate vehicles for towing. My wife and I have moved three times within the same city since buying the Prius and I've decided that the wear on the car and the aggravation associated with packing the car a dozen times justifies the cost of renting a large truck for a day. In the last move we used roughly 3 gallons of fuel and half of that was driving to and from the rental place (I rode my bike to pick up the truck and rode it home again after dropping the truck off). The Prius was used to move fragile items and people.

Are you towing the trailer to carry the passengers that cannot fit inside because it is full of 2X4's?

Towing? Sheesh....my friends Prius can barely get out of it's own way. Toyota recently increased the size of the Gasoline engine in it due to lack of pulling power. Supposed to be more efficient that the one it replaced.

Towing is somewhat based on vehicle weight as well as engine power.

One of the biggest mistakes (among many) is the lack of hatchback cars by Merican car makers.

The Saab 9-5 turbo diesel (not available in the U.S.) provides all the car that most folks need.

The 3.0 TID V6-engine: Naturally this high-performance diesel has all the advanced technology that you would expect, such as four common-rail fuel injection, overhead camshafts, 24 valves, variable turbo and more. The overall effect is seamless on-demand performance, a recurring hallmark of Saab turbo engines. 350 Nm of torque is available from 1800 r/min, resulting in superb acceleration for rapid overtaking. In fact, it will thrust you from 60 to 100 km/h in just 7.5 seconds and it offers a top speed of 215 km/h.

The option of a smaller 4 cyclinder provides 45 mpg. If Saab can find a buyer for the whole company, they have a fully updated 9-5 ready for production. GM wants nothing to do with them, or their technology (hence, it will take years for them to replicate what their current subsidiaries already do).

For those not in the know Saab 9-3 is built on the GM OPEL vectra/Saturn platform and use either FIAT 1.9JTDI or 3.0 JTDI diesel from the last time GM and FIAT got into bed with each other.
Ford have similar engines from their colabaration with PSA in the FOCUS and Mondeo (Tarus) 1.6/ 2.0L 4cyl 16v HDI 90-140 BHP or 3.0 v6 up to 170bhp in Mondeo/Jaguar X type( Which is a LINCON) & S types Also Landrover/Range rover/Volvo use same engines.
American manufacturers have the technology It is just the Americans will not buy into it. You cant have your cake and eat it.Smaller cars equal better fuel economy! If you want a SUV 4500lb that can accelerate 0-60 in under 10 sec you will get crap economy period it's physics.

Fuel economy for CAFE purposes is inflated, so a 35 mpg CAFE standard is much easier than it sounds. For CAFE purposes, that Jetta TDI is probably over 45 mpg, and that's aside from the issue of the EPA test underestimating the mileage of diesels.


The VW Beetles I drove as a young man would go zero to 60 in about 20 seconds. I never felt threatened.

Later I drove high horsepower Porsches. I learned to think they needed more power.

I was thinking that global warming will take care of itself. If the new projections are correct and temp rises by 5-7 degrees by 2100, then there will be a massive die off of humanity, and emissions will decrease dramatically.
You might call it "Kyoto by other means"

this gives new meaning to "long Cycle"

Goodbye sweet Cenozoic, hello Eremozoic.

"We are breeding ourselves to death" says Chris Hedges on Truthdig.

If you are in a hurry scroll down to the last sentence.....

" Population growth, as E.O. Wilson says, is “the monster on the land.” Species are vanishing at a rate of a hundred to a thousand times faster than they did before the arrival of humans. If the current rate of extinction continues, Homo sapiens will be one of the few life-forms left on the planet, its members scrambling violently among themselves for water, food, fossil fuels and perhaps air until they too disappear. Humanity, Wilson says, is leaving the Cenozoic, the age of mammals, and entering the Eremozoic—the era of solitude. As long as the Earth is viewed as the personal property of the human race, a belief embraced by everyone from born-again Christians to Marxists to free-market economists, we are destined to soon inhabit a biological wasteland.

The populations in industrialized nations maintain their lifestyles because they have the military and economic power to consume a disproportionate share of the world’s resources. The United States alone gobbles up about 25 percent of the oil produced in the world each year. These nations view their stable or even zero growth birthrates as sufficient. It has been left to developing countries to cope with the emergent population crisis. India, Egypt, South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, Cuba and China, whose one-child policy has prevented the addition of 400 million people, have all tried to institute population control measures. But on most of the planet, population growth is exploding. The U.N. estimates that 200 million women worldwide do not have access to contraception. The population of the Persian Gulf states, along with the Israeli-occupied territories, will double in two decades, a rise that will ominously coincide with precipitous peak oil declines. "

I assume you refer to this

Interesting, the considerable attention to the "solitude" and "wasteland" aspects. But countless millions of people are born, live, sometimes thrive, and die, in metroplexes such as New York, Tokyo, or Beijing, without encountering much (beyond zoo specimens and maybe not even that) in the way of wild animals except for squirrels, pigeons, small birds, rats, etc. Few among those millions complain about not being in mortal danger the moment they venture outdoors, as they would be in, say, the Alaskan bush. Is that unreasonable? Why would any sane person desire to run even the smallest risk of becoming dinner for some randomly wandering motile GI tract?

Moving on to population, some countries may be satisfied with a near-stable population, while others apparently are not. What, then, to do? Polemics about disproportionate shares merely suggest that countries with exploding populations ought to be enabled to keep at it by countries with stable populations impoverishing themselves ever more and more in the interest of "fairness". That would satisfy certain Marxist longings, but it certainly wouldn't address the "monster in the land" issue. Actually, I doubt very many people really know what they want with respect to this matter - hence, for example, the ubiquitous baby bonuses and whatnot in the 'developed' world.

"Interesting, the considerable attention to the "solitude" and "wasteland" aspects. But countless millions of people are born, live, sometimes thrive, and die, in metroplexes such as New York, Tokyo, or Beijing, without encountering much (beyond zoo specimens and maybe not even that) in the way of wild animals except for squirrels, pigeons, small birds, rats, etc. Few among those millions complain about not being in mortal danger the moment they venture outdoors, as they would be in, say, the Alaskan bush. Is that unreasonable? Why would any sane person desire to run even the smallest risk of becoming dinner for some randomly wandering motile GI tract?"

Surely you jest?

Yeah, let's continue to destroy species diversity, because it lowers the likelihood of being mauled by a bear when you step out of your apartment!

Nevermind the fact that after expanding our resource access through centuries of conquest, trade and finally globalisation, we are now only left with plundering an ever increasing share of the resources shared with most other large life forms, in the desperate hope that one day soon we can start plundering extraterrestrial bounties to keep feeding our ridiculous appetite for growth and "progress"... likely a path to a humbling swift kick in the nads for our species.

Population is, and will be for at least decades to come, our biggest problem.

Nothing new coming from Jim Rogers...but he make me fear the days ahead of us:


The price of oil is also likely to remain high despite the fact that the recession is taking its toll on demand, he said.

"You know supplies worldwide are declining at the rate of anywhere from 4 to 6 percent a year, yes, demand is down at the moment but in longer term, unless somebody discovers a lot of oil very quickly, the surprise is going to be how high the price of oil stays, and how high it eventually goes," Rogers added.

Obama's jawboning is a blow to refiners? I dont see how. Oil consumption wont decrease just because we have more efficient vehicles (Jevons Paradox.) This would actually be good for economic growth, and good support for higher oil prices. The extra oil we save wouldnt stay in the ground. It would be used elsewhere and would contribute to greater GDP. Unless... oil production is declining at such a rate that the increases in efficiency are completely overtaken by the decline rate.

It is a good bet that Obama has seen with his own eyes a graph of the decline rate of Cantarell, and he surely has had someone explain to him the global implications of that.

How can you be so sure? I very much doubt it when after announcing the new efficiency standards hailing the automakers. I think he is clueless.

I don't think so. I think he's pushing as far as he can get away with, which is admittedly not very far at all.. but the 'Attaboys' to the auto industry is the lip-service, IMO.. with the very real subtext of 'Please, oh please don't let the economy collapse!'

The whole thing is a Hardware/Software dance between Perception and Reality and the self-fulfilling prophesies that jump between those worlds. The country's general belief that our well-being is intimately tied to the health of the Auto Industry, just like a Lion is only as good as her Paws and her ability to run.

Obama's jawboning is a blow to refiners? I dont see how. Oil consumption wont decrease just because we have more efficient vehicles

It will go down somewhat, just not as much as the headline savings. Worldwide, I don't expect this to decrease oil consumption -except at the margin, if it causes some high priced supplies to stay in the ground. But, for the US, it would decrease the pressure for drill-drill-drill. It is not good for refiners, as they make money on the margins, and if oil (and oil product) demand is not growing, there is a glut of refining capacity, which drives down margins (spreads).

The "drill, baby, drill" folks never mention that there are only 18 billion barrels of off-limits oil in the outer continental shelf, which adds only two years of oil to America's supply:


The MMS estimates that the resources in OCS areas currently off limits to leasing and development total 17.8 billion barrels (2.83×10^9 m3)(mean estimate).[7]

When I mentioned this fact to a "drill!" believer, she responded by saying that we need to believe in something, so it might as well be drilling, even if it doesn't actually solve our problem.

You have to admit that's a lot easier than believing in self-sacrifice, thrift, getting to know and cooperate with your neighbors, and that happiness comes from the lower levels of Maslow's hierarchy than the highest levels.

We are swimming upstream with bears, nets, fishing poles and dams all along the way.

Look what's happened to the salmon...


Oil consumption wont decrease just because we have more efficient vehicles (Jevons Paradox.)

Jevon's paradox might apply if the only factor restricting additional driving was fuel price. But for most Americans, gas cost is low on the list of factors influencing vehicle miles traveled. Opportunity cost of the time spent in transit is the biggest factor for those above the poverty line, and since gridlock and competing activities will serve to limit vmt after the new CAFE standards, just as before, tighter CAFE standards will indeed reduce US fuel consumption.
Which is why refineries' stock prices just dropped.

Briefly ...

the entire CAFE business is complete nonsense. The numbers don't add up. Sales of the The Big Three (Toyota, GM and Ford) are plummeting. The new standards are in the future. The decreased production cannot effect overall fleet efficiency ... there are simply too many cars in the world for a few million new 'efficient' models to make much difference.

- The obvious bankrupts, GM and Chrysler won't make any more cars, period. Both are squirming but are basically hopeless wrecks of companies. The mileage of these companys' cars is irrelevant.

- The second tier bankrupts, Ford, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, etc. are hoping for miracles. Every month these companies are running more cash is bled into oblivion. Ditto for their new cars' mileage. Funny thing is, care not built cannot replace less efficient models.

- The business model of the most manufacturers is to internally subsidize 'specialty' models that attract attention such as high performance cars or electrics with the sale of highly profitable (remember?) giant SUV's and prickup trucks. It's a 'devil v. deep blue sea' situation. Increased sales of pickups and SIV's are impermissable under proposed mileage standards so electrics will be too expensive for their market. This is the reason the manufacturers are failing now; their cars are too pricey - added to the cost of usiing the cars - for the people who would buy them. At the same time the prices of the cars being sold are too low for the companies to profit. Volts and Teslas look good in auto shows but the chance these will fill a large share of any future auto marketplace is the same as British Leyland bringing back the Stag. (Or bringing back itself.)

- There will likely always be a market for hand- built cars such as Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, custom- built Benzes and a very few others. Shade tree mechanics will make electrics from junkers and fork lift motors. The business plan of using economies of scale to produce cheap cars for all is kaput. Eventually, even Toyota and Honda will succumb. Whether these companies will fail before the Chinese or afterward is basically an academic question.

From a cash standpoint or of availability Peak Oil happened in 1998. The trend in price is relentlessly up. The only force that can reduce prices is financial panic/economic collapse! What a grwoth regulator! Physical supply has already begun to decline. Demand is lower than the 2007 peak of but still very substantial as countries 'stimulate' their economies feverishly. Prices are rising. Oil is embadded into every link in the vast auto manufacturing supply chain. Car making was profitable in the 1990's because the supply chain was shorter and embedded evergy costs were small. The embedded costs are now five or six times higher what they were ten yars ago. these costs are added to burgeoning management, engineering, and benefit liabilities and rise against a falling market; this dynamic is destroying the industry. The expectation of incentives and the recession is setting the limit on what a car company can charge for its product. Margins have contracted. Credit is unavailable or unwanted. The costs of making cars and the limit to pricing them has made autos unprofitable to make on one hand ... and too expensive to sell on the other.

This industry in cahoots with governments worldwide has continually 'kicked the energy cost' can down the road for years. Now ... the road has ended. The age of auto expedients is over!

Fuel prices at currents 'Low' level are gutting the auto industry. In five years, even if there are no more spikes (there will likely be spikes, believe me!) in five years there will be no more auto industry.

Steps should have been taken ten or fifteen years ago to address consumption (just like they should have been taken to directly address population growth). Now ... it's really too late.

That was a suggestive rant, but fortunately it has very little basis in reality. Car manufacturers have a difficult time due to a temporary collapse in demand. (US car makers also have had long-standing problems with management and unions.) The embedded energy in the cars' manufacture is no real problem, and as much of the world could stomach $10/gallon, gasoline prices is no real problem either.

In five years, globally, auto manufacturers will have consolidated and show healthy profits. New auto sales will have reached new all time highs between then an now. China will be the largest manufacturer. (Btw, I drive a French car, a Citroën C3 diesel with 110 HP. It sports a 52 mpg fuel consumption, mixed cycle, 62 mpg highway. This is a common, fairly popular European car.)


Thanks for all the fish (and the Carrol King).

prickup trucks

TOD Word of the Day

On first glance, it looks like the new oil savings act is quite substantial:

The Oil Savings Act, H.R. 2326, addresses a critical weakness identified by the General Accounting Office: the lack of a formal strategy by the federal government to coordinate plans to achieve oil savings targets or to mitigate the consequences of precipitous short-term or long-term reductions in world oil supplies. The bill would require the federal government to establish an interagency working group to lead and coordinate the development and implementation of an action plan to achieve oil savings targets of 2,500,000 barrels of oil per day by 2015; 7,000,000 barrels of oil per day by 2025; and 10,000,000 barrels of oil per day by 2030

Here is finally something that could be discussed with legislators.

Go Roscoe!

It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce two weeks ago; that EVWorld article is the only hit on Google News, aside from a piece in Chinese.

But hey! We've gone past $60/bbl. Time to prepare for the coming apocalypse, or rant on the floor of Congress about out of control speculation and Big Oil. Frenzied speeches about Drill Now Baby! It'll be like June 2008 all over again, remember those halcyon days?

These are nice ideas but when opportunities pop up, the government doesn't take them. The postal service, one of the biggest users of petroleum, is begging Congress to repeal a decades old law that prevents it from cutting back on the number of days a week they deliver mail. Congress is saying no. Why do we need thousands of postal trucks, planes and jeeps moving our junk mail around 6 days a week?

Augh: Exploring Fuel Alternatives for the Largest Civilian Fleet - the USPS

The USPS already had one failed attempt at reducing dependence on gasoline. Between 1999 and 2005, it purchased more than 30,000 ethanol-capable trucks and minivans. The vehicles had larger engines than the vehicles they replaced and got as much as 29 percent fewer miles per gallon. Since corn-based fuel is not readily available in many areas, the USPS powered less than 1,000 of the vehicles with ethanol.

The result? The U.S. Postal Service increased its gasoline consumption by more than 1.5 million gallons after purchasing the ethanol-capable vehicles.

Ready to try again, the USPS is now testing a new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. In July, General Motors provided the agency with the Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle. This fourth-generation vehicle uses no petroleum-based fuel.

This fourth-generation vehicle uses no petroleum-based fuel.

Umm, yeah. Hydrogen comes from the Hydrogen Fairy, who siphons it in from Jupiter.

European postal services, for example the German one, have been using alternative fuel vehicles for decades now. These get the equivalent of aproximately 200 miles per gallon. They can use a variety of fuels: milk, chocolade, lard, bread... These revolutionary vehicles are called bicycles. link:

or google post bike Post Fahrrad

Ahhh yes, the wisdom of the criminals in Washington......wannna lower your fuel usage at the post office you nits?

Cut delivery to 5 days a week.

OK Obama, send me my Money, I just saved you a few $Million.

How to halve US oil imports:

If the entire US non-commerical vehicle fleet were suddenly to achieve 50MPG (which is at least technically feasible today) - how many barrels of oil would this save the US each day and how much would it reduce imports?

Back of an envelope calculation: Current US oil consumption is 19mil barrels per day. Say 40% of US oil consumption is due to non-commercial vehicle use. Currently the US non-commercial vehicle fleet achieves 20mpg. If average non-commerical efficiency were to be 50MPG rather than 20MPG the US would save 4.56million barrels per day.

Current US imports are 10mil barrels per day. So the US currently has the technical means to almost halve its oil imports. Finding a way to economically incentivize this efficiency is the tricky part.

Or not Buster. Here a contrarian's view: drivers don't care what their MPG is. All they care about is how much it cost them to drive from A to B. This is why we have urban sprawl today: it was relatively cheap to drive in from the burbs for decades. Now flash forward: high fuel economy leads to lower commuting costs. Folks continue to move to the burbs because it's still relatively cheap to drive in. And since it's now so cheap to take those long family driving vacations, etc, discretionary driving miles increase. Therefore: more miles driven for the same price as formally paid and our imports decline very little. My story could be viewed as one extreme of the possibilities. But, then again, so could yours IMO.

Economic incentives could be used to discourage drivers from using the gas savings from their more efficient 50mpg vehicles simply to drive more.

Drivers would pay a charge for miles driven (based on odometer reading) with money raised spent only on mass transit.

Good point Buster. There's a rumor/theory floating around now that the gov't is planning to use the improved economy to justify higher fed motor fuel tax. A good idea IMO...just like it was when Carter was president. Didn't happen then...we'll see what the future brings.

From my scans of the blogosphere, this is a travesty for many, most of all those who would just as soon pay no tax on roads at all. So I share your skepticism. Esp if it's accomplished via GPS or something similar....I wouldn't care for that either.

Hummm, sounds like you want to tax the rural folks that grow your food and have to drive more miles to get anywhere and then use that tax money to build your (always continuously subsidized) mass transportation systems for the city folks.
Your food is likely to get very expensive under this plan.

All transportation systems, especially road and highways, are "always continuously subsidized". I doubt that even doubling or tripling the gas tax would have a perceptible impact on food prices.
Prices for farm goods in Europe (which already has gas taxes about 10X the US rates) seem about the same as the US to me, when adjusted for higher quality products. Personal mileage costs for farmers are just not that high a percentage of the food costs that a typical consumer pays. Actually, all farming related costs are small fraction of the consumer cost for many foods.
Plus if gas is taxed more, then food transport will shift to more fuel-efficient rail (electrified rail pays no fuel tax at all).

The miles-driven tax just doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't encourage better fuel economy like a rise to the fuel tax would. And it's intrusive and requires another layer of bureaucracy.

I'm guessing its a red herring thrown out there by politicians trying to break up the "don't-raise-my-gas-tax" crowd. But I could be wrong. Politics doesn't really need to make sense, does it?

Like I said before: Quota system. Every person gets 2 gallons of gas per day. If folks want to sell their quota to the guy with the Hummer and take the bus, more power to them. If they want to drive 50 miles one way to work in a Escalade, fine- they need to either ride-share or work only 2 days a week.

Quota is the way to go- Cap & Trade for the masses...

Like I wrote before, what's needed is a system to ration transport fuels.

Equal allocations would be given to all drivers periodically, perhaps monthly. A white market would be available to trade allocations and the monthly allocations would expire and revert to the white market at the end of the period with the holder being given cash equal to the current value of the unused allocations. The amount of the allocations would be set at some level less than that available to the market, the rest going into the white market to prime the trading system. Some of the allocations would be reserved for emergency services, such as police, fire and ambulance services. All corporations would bid in the white market for their requirements, since corporations are not real people.

No charge would be placed on the allocations going directly to the consumers. Sounds like a "Free Market" solution to me...

E. Swanson

Interesting concept.

Even more interesting if it were extended globally.
Every person on the planet gets an equal allocation. The poor nations can sell their allocations to the rich nations and use the funds to support repressive governments, or better eduction, or to mitigate the externalities associated with burning hydrocarbons.

Really rich nations would be able to institute an AGW response by purchasing allocations and burning the allocation rather than the hydrocarbons it represents. This would increase the price of the remaining allocations and foster support for cheaper alternatives.

I suspect we will eventually see the BTU function as the basis of a future reserve currency and this is one way toward that end.

Every person on the planet gets an equal allocation.

Nice in theory, but in practice--terrible. Also, this is just the same old BAU with a new name. In poor nations, poor people get allocations stolen or forcibly taken by the "authorities" or for very low prices by middlemen, then sold at high prices to the rich countries, leaving the poor people just as poor or poorer and the rich as usual rich or richer. Hey, isn't this exactly what we do already when "investing" in poor countries?

I too think a quota system is the only way to really get the job done (this is not the same thing as thinking we will ever see such a thing).

You could start at some quantity and publish how each year it will be reduced. That would give people time to plan which equipment they want purchase, where they want to live, etc.

But the conversation "I demand the freedom to choose" is the dominant one right now especially in the United States and the conversation "let's collaborate to solve this together" is too weak right now.

The former conversation is an old one and is very valuable (it leads to democracies after all) but like all conversations it has a blind spot and isn't the best one to use in all situations.

It's interesting to examine whether Obama is speaking the second conversation more than the previous president. It might seem like it at first because Obama uses "yes we can" — a variant of the collaboration conversation.

But Bush used the second one to rally the country to go to war so it really shows how conversations are simply tools toward ends.

Future quote when your plan is made operational?

Gee, I don't have enough gas to power my 3/4 ton pickup to haul my 1500 pounds of truck garden vegetables to the farmers market in town. Guess I'll just go out and pick enough for my family and my farm neighbors and let the rest rot in the fields.

You city dwellers will just have to do without food from the rural areas with your system? Maybe you can dig up by hand all the city parks and grow some vegetables there to feed yourselves?

Jon: Methinks you are a farmer. My hunch is that in the future you will be one of the few able to afford gas, trucks and food. Us city folk will get to pick one out of three.

If food is really that important, I'm sure city dwellers would be more than happy to trade their fuel rations to get their food delivered, whether it's through an exchange or directly to the farmer.

City Yards and parkland does get turned into gardenspace already, Jon. But in addition, I strongly suspect that farmers will be eager to sell their produce, and will work to figure out ways to connect with their markets, as the townspeople will be working on ways to get food. Looks like a good use of train tracks.

We're already doing that. People (in Maine anyway) aren't just shrugging their shoulders and giving up on the idea of having food, or getting paid to grow it.


The problem with large cities is this:

* Assume 1 acre per person for all food stuffs, including grains, meats, dairy.

* NYC pop.: 12 million+

* 12m acres = 18,749 sq. mi., or a square 137 mi. on a side.

* That equals all of upstate NY drawing a line from below the Great Lake up to Canada... and that assumes every inch is arable land.

* NYC is not like Cuba. The population density is absurd and arable land is not within easy travel distance.

What this tells us is localization is a fantasy for some areas. It will take a large chunk of NE just to keep NY fed. This is, again, accepting that people don't want to sacrifice their current food intake. If everyone shifts to a low-calorie, high in fruits and vegetables, no or very little red meat, things improve considerably. Even then, it takes a lot of land to feed 12 million.

Allotment-style farming is not likely to work because the distances and travel times from NYC to the allotments - some of which would be hundreds of miles away, by rough guess - is too great. NYC is going to have to have something to barter with.

More likely, the food will just be confiscated by one entity or another.

The upshot? Redistribution of the population will be necessary in a low-carbon, powered down world.

Then, again, maybe a new generator that makes energy virtually free for everyone will be presented tomorrow...


You are all quite off. The most efficient means of saving oil is a stiff gas tax. Quotas and the like is just a lot of red tape. The Europeans have shown you the way, if you care to look.

And all you farmers, please realise that you can just transfer your increased costs to the price of your produce (but you will have the incentives to save gas, which is good). City dwellers must pay your higher price, and they will be able to do so since the tax on gasoline should be used to lower income taxes or sales taxes.

The only thing a gas tax will produce is more revenue for a governmental system that clearly abuses whatever monies it acquires.
Hell it doesn't even wait that long!
Why can't people understand that Europe offers nothing to North America with its punitive tax schemes.
Europe has alternatives to automobile travel and its geographical area CAN'T compare.
So spare us the "Europe does it better" drivel.
Most of the former European folks I know wouldn't dream of going back.

Is it impossible for you to increase a tax on something you want to use less or do less, such as gasoline, and decrease it by the same amount on something you want to do more, such as labour?

Quotas or cap and trade accomplishes the same thing, but in a much less efficient way.

That Europe's geography makes it different is simply nonsense. My country, Sweden, is 30% less population dense than USA. You don't need to criss-cross your entire continent either - most transport needs are quite local.

If you want to limit the use of something you do just that, limit it.
If you want to increase revenue you raise tax, is this not simple?

As far as population density you are wrong again:
•North America - 32 people per square mile
•Europe - 134 people per square mile

The only thing a gas tax will produce is more revenue for a governmental system that clearly abuses whatever monies it acquires.

Actually, James Hansen's plan returns all revenues to the public.

There are two competing ways to achieve that price:
One is Tax & 100% Dividend – tax carbon emissions, but give all of the money back to the public on a per capita basis.

For example, let’s start with a tax large enough to affect purchasing decisions: a carbon tax that adds $1 to the price of a gallon of gas. That’s a carbon price of about $115 per ton of CO2.

That tax rateyields $670B per year. We return 100% of that money to the public. Each adult legal resident gets one share, which is $3000 per year, $250 per month deposited in their bank account. Half shares for each child up to a maximum of two children per family. So a tax rate of $115 per ton yields a dividend of $9000 per year for a family with two children, $750 per month. The family with carbon footprint less than average makes money – their dividend exceeds their tax. This tax gives a strong incentive to replace inefficient infrastructure. It spurs the economy. It spurs innovation.

Robin Hoodish.

Great, get back to me when Hansen is president.

Say 40% of US oil consumption is due to non-commercial vehicle use.

It will not be 40%. I don't have the percentages for the U.S. In Holland (in 2005) 23% of the oil went to roadtransport, 25% to the industry and 41%(!) to ship- and airtransport. I expect it to be not much different for the U.S. So, about 25% for roadtransport and something like 20% for non-commercial vehicles. Savings: a little more than 2 mbd (when the same amount of cars on the road).

Han, sorry, but you're wrong. I don't know why you expect it to be not much different but it is. Oil usage here in Holland is totally different then in the US. I'm sure with a little research you'll find out. Have to go now :-)

I have 2 pictures on my wall that help demonstrate why...the first is the parking lot in front of Den Haag Centraal. The bicycle parking lot.

The second is the multi-story bike parking garage near Amsterdam Centraal. Now they've also got a boat.

If it will help, I can find a picture of our typical US parking lot so Han can compare. Although you can see quite a few of them from Google Earth :-)

We have minimum car parking space #'s, minimum sizes (24' drive isles, 9x18' parking are normal mimimums) et al....For such a free country, we have an awful lot of rules about accomidating cars for private businesses.

The Netherlands is not comparable to the US in the slightest. The Netherlands is an ultra-dense country. Rotterdam port is a huge entrepot to Europe and this is why shipping fuel market is so large there.

The Netherlands is not comparable to the US in the slightest. The Netherlands is an ultra-dense country. Rotterdam port is a huge entrepot to Europe and this is why shipping fuel market is so large there.

Yes, but still I don't believe 40% of the oil in the U.S. goes to non-commercial vehicles. The U.S. is not dense, so much more car miles, but also a lot of airtrafic between cities, something that in Holland hardly exists.

The US data is on the EIA and DOT websites.

If anyone is intested, there is an interesting area of disturbed weather over South Florida and the Bahamas. The National Hurricane Center doesn't think it will amount to much, however, they conclude their last statement with this comment:


Just in time for Summer driving season...

E. swanson

Jeff Masters lists pre-season storms in a couple of his blog entries for this month. Can be done. Couple bona fide hurricanes in there.

Ho hum, Florida resident here. I've been at the swimming pool in worse than that.

NOAA says no tropical cyclones out there.

Just in time for Summer driving season...It's the summer *DIVING SEASON* I'm concerned about

Re: Climate change odds much worse than thought

...a variety of other changes based on new measurements and new analyses changed the odds on what could be expected in this century in the "no policy" scenarios ...here there are no policies in place that specifically induce reductions in greenhouse gas emissions...

...Without action, "there is significantly more risk than we previously estimated," Prinn says. "This increases the urgency for significant policy action."

..."There's no way the world can or should take these risks," Prinn says. And the odds indicated by this modeling may actually understate the problem, because the model does not fully incorporate other positive feedbacks that can occur, for example, if increased temperatures caused a large-scale melting of permafrost in arctic regions and subsequent release of large quantities of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Including that feedback "is just going to make it worse," Prinn says.

This is where the denialists fall flat on their arses. While they bicker about sound science like a bunch of old ladies waving their canes at teachers for teaching science and not the Bible, they completely ignore the risk assessment.

Let's assume for a moment that this study has nailed it. Those are the odds and the outcomes. Let me make this simple:

Even with "aggressive" policy action, there is, if I'm reading the wheel correctly, an 80% chance of warming of 2C+. Or, to quote from the article:

The new projections... indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees.

That means anything less than "aggressive" action guarantees a future that is FUBAR.

Is there anything else that needs consideration wrt whether to act? (Rhetorical question.) Here we have the most comprehensive assessment of risk ever done for climate, including human activities. More importantly, we have the rapidly changing world around us. We have massive amounts of science deeming the human role in ACC to be beyond doubt, unequivocal.

We cannot continue to allow special interests to determine the fates of billions. Nor can we allow ourselves to continue to act in the same ways most of us have been. It's time for change now, immediately. Today.

Those tipping points, those bifurcations are not for consideration next week, next year or next decade. (You listening aangel?) They are as now as Peak Oil. To those who attempt to draw a distinction between the two weighting one as more urgent than the other, I say you either do not understand, or are out to make a buck.

Look at the risk assessment.

On a positive note:

And in the peer-reviewed literature, the MIT model, unlike any other, looks in great detail at the effects of economic activity coupled with the effects of atmospheric, oceanic and biological systems. "In that sense, our work is unique," he says.

Half way there. Now, if we can get them to make this into a global virtual model, maybe we can wake people up and find a potential path forward.

Anyone with experience writing grants/proposals out there? If you'd be interested in turning my global virtual reality model idea into a proposal, let me know.


I advocate EcoNuremberg.

A few wealthy or powerful people may try to hunker down in air conditioned bunkers -- but how many, and for how long?

By the time 2050 rolls around won't there be many angry refugees and much more violence as young people grow up and realize how badly we've degraded the habitat they will inherit from the last few generations?

I expect that Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is as good a picture of the human future as we'll get.

In "The Road" one of the lead characters -- the Father, IIRC -- has a dream of being in some kind of underground cave with water dripping into a pool. Across the pool a single, sightless, almost transparent two legged creature is drinking. The creature senses the presence of someone else, makes furtive, animal sounds, and scampers away.

Is this the future for the little Child that the Father so passionately protects, or for some distant descendant?

I do not take literature literally, but this seems like a prophetic metaphor in a prophetic work.

This kind of imagining is a warning to us -- we need such radical change if we are to survive the next few decades. However, war, disease, famine and drought could reduce human population by half or more quite easily. The toxic wasteland left behind would not be easy to live in but life might still be possible for a population that continues to diminish without modern medicines and agriculture and such.

Doom and gloom or realistic scenarios?

World War II did not lower the world population in any significant way. Approximately 2.8% of the world population was lost over 5 years due to the war (less than 0.6% per year). Given that we see about 2% of total population in births each year (now) a war would have to be very very severe - much much worse than anything in living memory - to make a noticeable dent in population.

Of course, throw in a few nukes and serious population reduction becomes more probable.

Modern medicine will make little difference to overall population, but sanitation, water and food supplies will (these are the main reasons for life expectancy increases since the 1800s).

Modern agriculture (synthesised fertiliser, monocrops, etc.) will also do little to help the long term survival of humans, although it has and will continue to in the short term.

True. If we nuked a million people a day, every day, for ten years we'd be lucky to get a 50% population reduction.

No, to make a real impact on population numbers we'd need to use the ultimate weapon... a scientist with good intentions, a corporation that thinks it can make a profit from it and a leader that believes the people will love him/her if its implemented. And hey presto! A trainwreck of unbelievable magnitude ensues forthwith, leaving a few stunned survivors wondering around in the desolation :)

Even if there were an action that would be effective now, I just don't believe that humans are capable of taking such a coordinated action on a global scale. There will always be those who see an opportunity to game the system for personal benefit, and that will always scuttle it. The only thing that is likely to happen is some harebrained scheme to implement a technological "fix" of the symptoms. I think that scares me more.

I have to agree, but want to make one point that I feel is vital. As long as we all keep saying "they", then the picture you paint is not only likely, but guaranteed.

It's trite, but in every nation, when the people wish to make it known, we are the nation. Until and unless we are willing to assert our rights to determine the direction we take, we are all spitting in the wind.

I blame those with power and money for their actions, but the simple fact is, we allow it.


I blame those with power and money ...

Sorry, the Wizard of Us is not home.
There is no one with all the power behind that curtain.
Instead, it's our own myths that drive us.
Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, and all that.

Al Gore created a new cultural myth re AGW.
It's the myth (Inconvenient Truth) that has the power, not the Gore himself.
We, in the Peak Oil community, have not yet created a workable myth.

What's our killer movie title?

We already have - Crude Awakening

Movie titles to consider -

The Real Truth

End of Convenience

Life with Less Oil

"A Life Less Well Oiled"
--I like it

Story line: Jimmy Stewart is at the auto dealer about to buy his next SUV when Clarence the oil well demon shows up to reveal to Jimmy what life will be like with less oil ...

Why would you misquote, and follow up with such a silly little rant? You quoted:

I blame those with power and money ...

but I actually said:

I blame those with power and money for their actions

then added that we are also responsible. I did not specifically state our actions day in and day out, but that's a given. Who said anything about a wizard or curtain? That's a hell of a stretch. And it is inappropriate to partially quote me to set up a straw man.

You're dealing with your own myths, friend, not mine. All this crap about myths and memes is just excuse-making. People act or they don't. The reasons can be simple or complex, but attributing this to all these esoteric, abstract constructs is a waste of time. 95% of the world just doesn't think that way; they don't give a damn about your stories, myths and memes.



Cheers right back at you and, sorry, no ill will was intended.
The dot dot dot (...) was meant to indicate there was more.

I can appreciate that you feel this talk about myths is a horse load of equestrine crap. But truth is that we swim in a sea full of myths, and just like fish in the ocean, we can't see them.

So to quote you more completely:

"I blame those with power and money for their actions, but the simple fact is, we allow it."

So one "myth" attached to this sentiment is that "We the people" have the right to vote, we have free will, we elected the TPTB, and therefore it's our own darn fault that the situation is as it is. We (the nation) allowed all this bad stuff to happen.

Am I reading you more correctly now?

Well, if yes, let me suggest that we don't have all this great amount of free will and this expansive ability to "allow" or not allow stuff to happen.

From the moment we are born, our heads are stuffed with all kinds of myths.

One of the myths is that there is a "them" who are wiser, more experienced, more trustable than we the young and uneducated are. Therefore we need to pay respect and homage to "them" (i.e. our teachers) and let them take care of the hard to think about stuff. Many of us gladly do so. It starts with the kindergarten teacher and continues to the politicians and pundits who tell us they will continue to provide us with cradle to grave candy.

Another "myth" is that about money. If only we make more of it out of thin air and spend more of it, then everything is going to be all right. Right?

Another "myth" is that about technology and the geeks who operate it. If only we let them do their thing, then more and more wonderous devices will magically appear in the stores for us to consume, and if we keep consuming then everything is going to be all right. Right?

I can go on.

But my point is that we should not simple mindedly point the finger of blame at "them". Their heads are filled with the myths just like ours are. They (TPTB) do what the myths tell them to do. Perhaps we should seek out a way to change the myths?

Thanks for the thoughtful response. My apologies for misreading you.

That said, all you've said above is a given. It's all so obvious it doesn't really need elucidation.

I work from a simple premise that broad concepts are the key to understanding the larger structures we live, work, learn, think, etc., within, while the nuts and bolts-type details are where you have to tinker at times to fix what's broken.

In this sense, all this talk of meme's and such takes a back seat to the basic "human" constructs that form the basis for our daily narratives, particularly for those who are not formally educated. This is the foundation of the simple wisdom of those "uneducated." We see the same thing with many of our elderly. One of my Grandmother's simple bits of wisdom was simply that, in the end, life truly is simple.

This creates a bit of a conundrum in that, yes, we do need to ask, challenge, explore. We need someone(s) somewhere doing esoteric intellectual gymnastics because that theoretical understanding can be useful when trying to communicate to one another subtle elements of our experiences, and is particularly useful in mental health, for example.

However, I posit that the mistake is in assuming this theorizing replaces basic human experience; that it is reality rather than what we quite simply experience day in and day out. This is reflected in a not-so-obviously-related area, language.

For a long time grammar took primacy over usage. That is, grammar was seen as *being language* and the failure to use it as grammatically structured in the books and theories of linguists meant you were failing to use language correctly. This is backwards. Language passed through the filter of the Ivory Tower led to grammar's dominance for a long time. But grammar is nothing more than a tool we use to talk to each other about what language is and how it works. The reality is that language changes over time because it is a living body of agreed to scribbles and utterances. As our needs for language change, so does the language itself.

Just as grammar is not language, memes and myths are not reality. So, your theorizing leads you to say,

But my point is that we should not simple mindedly point the finger of blame at "them". Their heads are filled with the myths just like ours are. They (TPTB) do what the myths tell them to do.

Yes, we are affected by the intentional psychological onslaught of certain elements of the society we have created, the easy example being advertising. But, if we take the step you do above, it is *then* that we give up our autonomy because we can, in fact, with a little effort - and particularly by having a strong social network - remain self-aware. Out connection with our inner self is made tenuous by the various stimuli around us, but these "myths" are nothing more than failing to introspect. They are easily shattered by real human contact and honest self-reflection.

All that is to say, I think you give them more power than they need have. Give being the operative word.

And, as I tried to say before, most of the world doesn't live with any sense of these constructs you are talking about, so in reaching out to change the paradigm we live in, we risk alienating many of the people we need to reach.

The message can be simpler: there's a lot of crap we believe because of advertising and propaganda, and our own desire to be happy, content and comfortable. We need to talk to each other, listen to our intuitive selves and take back responsibility for our lives. Exxonmobile lied. Advertisements lie. What's real? Take the hand next to you, look them in the eye, and start changing your world.

I refuse, Step, to give these myths any power. That doesn't mean they don't exist in some sense, it just means they are bullshit and not worth my consideration. Yes, it can be hard to sort them out, but the more time we spend in the real world of real human contact based on honest dialogue, the more easily these myths and memes fall away to replaced by simple human experience.

So, both "myths" are true: There are PsTB. They work very hard to weave myths that keep us buying at the company store. And, we **are** the nation. If we choose to act, together, TPTB will soon be TPTW (the powers that were.) We don't have to drink the KoolAid, let alone help make it and serve it as we have been.

It is that simple. Paulo Freire talks of the myths that oppression creates in the oppressed. How they come to accept they are worthless and powerless. There is only one cure: take away their power through dialogue (education in his writing) and action.


PS: We are actually in agreement as I re-read your post and this response. I don't have time to tweak my response now, so am adding this PS.

From "Climate change odds much worse than thought"

"There's no way the world can or should take these risks," Prinn says. And the odds indicated by this modeling may actually understate the problem, because the model does not fully incorporate other positive feedbacks that can occur, for example, if increased temperatures caused a large-scale melting of permafrost in arctic regions and subsequent release of large quantities of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Including that feedback "is just going to make it worse," Prinn says.

The news just gets better and better: Double the temp, without including one of the worst of the positive feedback mechanisms.

On the other hand, they have not factored in peak oil.

The news just gets better and better: Double the temp, without including one of the worst of the positive feedback mechanisms. On the other hand, they have not factored in peak oil.

Jon --

I ditto you and ccpo. And you are right about fossil fuels availability. But this news suggests that even with peak constraints on carbon fuels we could get climate forcing well beyond the IPCC baseline. Declining energy availability + climate refugees = I hate to think what....

And as for that methane time bomb in the permafrost, please allow me to plug a post on my site from yesterday, where I dug up the latest NOAA numbers on the atmospheric levels of that particular greenhouse gas:

Methane checkpoint

But Jon, under BAU, peak oil just means we burn more coal (coal-to-liquids) and bulldoze more rainforest to plant oil palms for more bio-diesel...

Trend for the last few months has gone linearly upward? Can't have it both ways.

"It's the long term trend that counts."
"Weather isn't climate."

All the same, I know little about methane and would be interested to know the source of the plateau for the last decade or so.

Wouldn't an objective, interested party be wondering why it's rising, since that's the direction that's dangerous?

Just sayin'.

My intuition is that it should go up. I don't expect it to plateau. I am especially interested in knowing more about things I didn't expect. That how I find out I when I am wrong.

The penalty I pay is wasting time questioning knowledge that is ultimately proven accurate. The benefit is rarely needing to say, "No one could have anticipated..." You always want at least one person wired this way in your group; treat them with respect. But you don't want everyone wired that way.

I didn't expect global temperatures to plateau as they have since 2000. I am interested in knowing why, even if the answer turns out to be "short-term random fluctuation".

Yes it probably is short-term random fluctuation. But if it's not, you want people who will quickly recognize (and prove) that something unexpected is happening.

I agree, the temporary reduction in methane's rate-of-rise is intriguing in a theoretical way. Nothing springs to mind as a possible reason.

There are lots of guesses at partial explanations for the temperature plateau. Off the top of my head, some are:-

  • Approaching the sunspot-cycle minimum
  • Prolonged La Nina phase in the ENSO
  • approaching minimum in the Pacific Interdecadal Oscillation
  • The massive Indonesian forest fires of '98 having a prolonged effect
  • Volcanic aerosols
  • Anthropogenic aerosols (Chinese coal-fired power stations - they mostly don't have sulphur scrubbers, apparently)
  • Possible increase in low-level cloud vs high-level cloud (again, due to change in aerosols).

The (UK) Hadley Centre for Climate Change Research predicted back in '07 that 2008 and 2009 would be relatively stable, but from 2010 on, temperature rise will accelerate. It'll be interesting to see what does happen.

Let's not pretend we don't know. The primary cause is well known. For land and the Arctic, temps were significantly higher. For the Eastern Pacific, significantly lower. The Pacific won. I don't see any way to spin that as anything other than a regional (relatively, we don't know what the duration will be yet) fluctuation that skewed the average.

I suspect Arctic Amplification will override the PDO. Temps there are way beyond baseline.



Overhead maps of ships at port provided via Microsoft Virtual Earth. You can see the bumper-to-bumper messes of Houston, Singapore, Rotterdam, etc, including those moored tankers we've been hearing about. Database has basic info for each ship, unfortunately nothing about size class, although you could infer that from the length and beam measurements given.

Registration's free, premium accounts provide real time updates and the like. For laughs I'm building an .xls of everything in their database, including about 50 ships named "A." Would be wild if this could be ported over to Google Earth somehow; or perhaps people are doing that already?

www.marinetraffic.com is another of ships' positions. Not sure how it works exactly, as it doesn't seem to display all vessel. The red arrows are tankers. When you put your mouse on it the name shows.

Bookmarked, thanks. Here's another one: VesselTrax. Only covers the HSC.

Re: China locking up Brazilian oil production and working with Venezuela....

How do you say, 'I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!' in Mandarin?

Idiot baby boomers. They took the immense potential and wealth of post-war and post-Cold War America and just pissed it away. Now all we've got to show for it is this worthless, blood-sucking, soul-destroying empire filled with people in positions of influence and power who really do believe in talking snakes and the efficient market hypothesis.

I hate them.

'I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!' in Mandarin?




IMO you haven't thought this one through. Bernie Madoff is/was a very intelligent person and Bernie is almost a carbon copy of pretty well anyone with any material power in the USA. Idiot baby boomers control less than nothing, although they are told daily by the MSM they control the universe.

Funny, I'm a "Baby Boomer". Born in '60. Ok, on the ending cusp.

I don;t remember "Pissing" anything away. I tried for thirty years to make a decent living. Never had a new car, never made enough to buy a house. All the executives made off with wealth on my back. Then I suffered a dibilitating spine injury because I tried to get the job done. Disabled now.

Not bitter, just wondering where all your angst comes from.

Take a deep breath man. It ain't worth it.

Yeah,sure,Prodigal Son,let's get into the generational blame game.The boomers could blame their parents for a lot of things and so on ad infinitum.How far do you want to go back? To the dawning of the age of agriculture or would the beginning of the industrial revolution do?

Sonny,grow up,get a life and take responsibility for yourself.

Clearly, what our parents did wrong was have too many kids...

Hilarious. Hate me Hate me Hate me. Better than sex.

I'm a baby boomer and I took everytrhing from you. It was designed to make you suffer, feel the pain sucker. Burn with rage until your eyes catch on fire. I enjoy seeing you wallowing in desolation and soon, your own excrement. We BB's have a master plan you know, we're going to turn you all into organic fertiliser, but not before we humiliate you, destroy your souls and turn you into spree killers.

Ohh our glorious master plan comes to fruition.

How do you say, 'I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!' in Mandarin?


The written form of any Chinese dialect is Pinyin, which for this is:

He Ni De Nai Xi, He Xia Qu

A couple quotes from today's drumbeat:

New fuel economy rules announced by President Obama Tuesday have already gained support from major automakers, but the challenge will be getting consumers to play along, especially if gas prices remain relatively low.

(Bloomberg) -- Automakers say they won’t have to overhaul their technology or flood the U.S. with tiny cars buyers may not want under President Barack Obama’s standards for fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Even as they face more than $21 billion in annual costs to meet the new standards by 2016, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. will benefit from a single national system, rather than a patchwork of state rules, and an approach that allows them to tweak the fuel efficiency for each category of vehicle sizes and weights.

I'm old enough to remember when CAFE first came out. I also remember the emergence and later market dominance of the "light truck" in the form of pickups and SUVs.

CAFE is a good college try, but it strikes me as a ridiculously complex, lobbyist influenced, and in the long run worthless approach. A simple method would be an initial significant jump in a federal fuel tax. The enabling legislation would specify an annual increase (implemented on the first of every month based on a prorated amount), that is indexed to an appropriate inflation index. To use simple numbers (and I'm not suggesting these are the right or even reasonable numbers): Impose an immediate 10% increase, then increase by inflation + 10% per year. This would be much simpler than CAFE, auto manufacturers could plan future models around the ever increasing cost of fuel. Consumers who want big vehicles can buy them knowing that the cost of operating them will increase over time.

Simpler still, just tax fossil-fuel energy and raw materials where they comes out of the ground or crosses a border into the country. Make the tax big enough that all other federal taxes can simply be dropped. I can't think of a better way to motivate efficiency, and we wouldn't have to file tax returns. No tax at all on solar based energy sources (including sun and wind), and no tax on materials made from recycled goods.

It seems that if energy is really what makes the world function (and I believe it is), taxing it ought to work reasonably well because energy is embedded into everything grown, manufactured, and consumed. The current system isn't working.

Ah, but in Soviet America, taxes = communism! According to Generalissimo OxyContin and his Faith-Filled Freedom Fighters any attempt to levy taxes is incipient Stalinism!

The problem with adding a tax to fossil fuels, perhaps based on the carbon content, is that the tax is transfered to prices of all products and people will try to increase their pay accordingly. That leads to inflation. As the prices increase, the tax in current dollars would decline in real (or "constant") dollar terms. Thus, to maintain the same effect over time, the tax must be kept at the same level in real terms, which would result in a continuing increase in the amount of the tax in current dollar terms. That would lead to a never ending cycle of increases, which would make the inflation process worsen over time.

The result is a positive feedback and thus is exceedingly dangerous...

E. Swanson

It's already a positive feedback loop, no matter how prices are raised. I'd rather have the money go to our federal government, which would have in-country benefits, than go to OPEC. So raise taxes now. At least $1 per gallon, while oil prices are still low. Its our chance to take money out of the pockets of OPEC, and it won't last long.

Simpler still, just tax fossil-fuel energy and raw materials where they comes out of the ground or crosses a border into the country. Make the tax big enough that all other federal taxes can simply be dropped.

And this will raise the price of farm fuel and all the other farm inputs which will raise the price of food much higher.
If farmers don't make a profit, it won't be very long before there won't be any food to eat.

And, will anyone be able to afford to have the plumber, heat/cooling repairman, TV repairman, etc.... come out to fix something that is broken.
And if gasoline was limited to 2 gal per another post, then the waiting list to get your broken heating system fixed in November may stretch into the next year as the repairman can only go 2 gallons distance with his large repair van.
And the sick animals on the farm will die before the vet has enough gas to drive out to the farm to try to treat them.

All of these simple attempts to control other peoples lives usually turn into complete disasters when reality is brought into the picture. And when you start making the (political?) "allowances" for this group and that group and some other group, then your simple plan falls apart and turns into yet another monster unfair government (politically) controlled system getting ever closer to dictatorship.
Get the government the heck out of it and let people buy what they want. In only a couple of short years we will be into energy decline and people will transition to what they want and need and can afford at that point. We don't need all this "control" in our lives.

I think your remarks underscore the need for strict rationing. The problems you describe (food, plumber, veterinarian) will be arising anyways in chaotic fashion as soon as prices rise again - which you know they will (and if they won't it will be because most people don't have enough money to pay the plumber, let alone the plumber's gasoline).

I stand by my support of gas rations. I don't need to drive my kids to school. I can take the bus to the market and the bike to the library. My favorite farmers can get my ration.

Note that folks that need to drive for work purposes already have a system to claim a discount on their tax return. This could be tied in to additional gas rations.

Get the government the heck out of it and let people buy what they want. In only a couple of short years we will be into energy decline and people will transition to what they want and need and can afford at that point. We don't need all this "control" in our lives.

Let the people buy what they want? I really put some effort into trying to see your side of the issue but I just can't. It just won't work. We don't have a couple of years left to allow people to continue with these choices. Link

"The vehicle gaining the most satisfied customers for MY2009 was the Lexus LS series sedan, which bested the industry average by 99 points. Top truck or SUV honors went to the Cadillac Escalade."

Anyone who doesn't see something seriously wrong with this picture is in my opinion a big part of the problem. Unfortunately little children do need to be controlled and all I see around me are people with the emotional maturity of 5 year olds. I want! I want! I want!

Well guess what sonny you can't have it, now go to your room for some time out to think about it.

there is a problem with doing an energy tax rather than something like CAFE standards.
You need something to influence the car buyer when he is deciding which vehicle to purchase. The majority of consumers are too short term thinking to think about the long term cost of fueling the car; but they do respond somewhat more to initial cost of the vehicle. The CAFE standards has the affect of making large vehicles more expensive to subisdize the more efficient cars.

The CAFE standards has the affect of making large vehicles more expensive to subisdize the more efficient cars.

I'd agree if it weren't for the different scales for "cars" and "light trucks" which represent an end-run by the automobile lobby. Let's not forget that the popularity of the modern SUV was a CAFE creation. Basically, CAFE encouraged the relabeling of passenger vehicles as trucks.

Now, if CAFE simply said that a manufacturers sold vehicles (regardless of type or size or footprint) had to average out to a standard, that would probably work for real.

But you could write that legislation on one side of one piece of paper, so it will never happen.

For one take on the current legislation, see http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/cafeghg-standard-loopholes-appear/#more...

But it was also cheap and easy credit that made the SUV boom possible. Just from a transportation point of view, how do you justify spending 50K$ on a commuter vehicle? But if people think they can draw 100K$ of equity out of their homes and blow it on a luxury car, there are lots of people that will jump at it.

Thus even though gas may be cheaper at the moment, the credit situation is still pretty dicey, and I don't expect a return to the old days..

There are of course those who could whip out the checkbook and buy these things outright, but these were the distinct minority. As the sales have plummeted, the overhead of making them has grown.

This one caught my eye this morning.

Argentina, Algeria officials to meet this week on energy, LNG

Here were my immediate questions:

  • Is Argentina trying to join some sort of LNG cartel?
  • Is Argentina offering engineering expertise to Algeria?
  • How much natural gas does Argentina export to Uruguay/Brazil anyway?

I was surprised by the answers I found in the Energy Export Databrowser:

1) As 2008 started, Argentina was no longer a natural gas exporter.

It has gone through a modified "Export Land" trajectory and emerged on the other side:

One can easily identify what happened:

  1. new resource discoveries resulted in new production
  2. production at first lagged consumption
  3. production increased rapidly with modern technology
  4. consumption increased almost as fast
  5. the Argentine economic crisis (1999-2002) temporarily reduced consumption
  6. production continued to increase leading to exports
  7. production peaked and has begun to decrease
  8. consumption cannot decrease as fast and once again has overtaken consumption
  9. another brief member of "Export Land" now rejoins the ranks of "Import Land" at a much higher level of consumption

This is very similar to what happened in the UK. Other nations with somewhat similar trajectories might include Mexico, Egypt, Malaysia, and Thailand.

2) Argentina is hugely dependent on natural gas for 55% of its energy needs.

The evolution of their energy mix is seen below:

The vast majority of Argentina's increased energy consumption came from indigenously produced natural gas. Argentina is, or at least was at the end of 2007, the largest producer of natural gas in South America, behind Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and up-and-coming Bolivia. The fact that Argentina is seeking additional suppliers of LNG does not bode well for their energy future given how quickly natural gas fields can deplete.

Granted, there are a lot of LNG projects in the world that will be seeking buyers in the next few years. Argentina should be able to afford LNG imports in the very short term (1-5 years) But the rate at which natural gas fields deplete is worrisome.

How long will it be before more of the current "Export Land" nations go through this familiar trajectory?

How much LNG will there be on world markets in 5 years time?

Nice work, Jonathan. Thanks!

I am not big on 'sourcing'. I tend to comment on what I personally experience.

However I would seriously like to see the refutation of this video.

Please some factual data. Is the video wrong with the presented numbers?

I am not a racist. Even though I see a member who is a slaveholder. Even though I see a member who is rational yet a holocaust denier.
My posting of this video URL is not a racist act. It is a concerned act. I own no slaves, nor copulate with female slaves. I believe that approximately 12 million people were destroyed by the Nazis of which half were Jews. I have been to the Holocaust Museum.

I believe this is an 'appropriate' comment and question as to the validity or not of the video.

I also believe that somewhere between 4 to 5 million or more Native Americans were either slaughtered by those who came to this country(North America)or succumbed to the diseases they introduced, many of which were knowning introduced in order to decimate the native populations. Source: Jake Page - 20,000 year history of American Indians.....I will grant that some died due to intertribal conflicts but that was always so and did not diminish the total population numbers.

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWCWB3RwbO4

Airdale-it may be given big play all over the net, but is it correct or a fabrication?-I don't cruise the net that much, I was shown this on a farmer's forum


I didn't watch much of it but it reeks of fear mongering with a definite racist bent.
I'd have to watch it to be able to do a point by point refutation of the flaws. I don't have the desire to do it right now.

Is there some element of truth to the fact that birth rates are declining in developed countries and still high in some undeveloped ones, sure. If you understand the exponential function and apply some logical rational thinking I think you will begin to see that population growth is a global problem and that it will affect Muslims just as much as the rest of the human population.

We have enough problems in the world and people with an agenda will surely use fear as a tool to promote their agenda. That video borders on pure evil of the sort that I would attribute to propaganda coming from some white supremacist group, neo nazis, or Rush Limbaugh style rethuglicans.

Rascist bent?
Last time I checked Muslims were those peoples who practice Islam, a religion not a skin color.
If you want to see rascism in action, attend a Detroit City Council meeting.

But you should be alarmed.
The religously condoned breeding practices of Islamic families is exploding their population.
Or maybe you think the responsible population control measures touted by many on this site shouldn't apply to Muslims?

Last time I checked Muslims were those peoples who practice Islam, a religion not a skin color.

No! You don't say? Yet you yourself just called them peoples (as in a race of people) . BTW how do you define anti-semitism? Would you agree that it is somewhat difficult to separate religion from ethnicity in some cases.
While we are at it how many light skinned blue eyed Moslems do you know? Not too many, am I right?

Or maybe you think the responsible population control measures touted by many on this site shouldn't apply to Muslims?

Do you generally have a problem with reading comprehension or did you just not read what I wrote?
Here let me repeat what I wrote so you can try again.

If you understand the exponential function and apply some logical rational thinking I think you will begin to see that population growth is a global problem and that it will affect Muslims just as much as the rest of the human population.

While we are at it how many light skinned blue eyed Moslems do you know?

I know at least several million such people. Including my best friend.

Fine, I stand corrected but my underlying point still holds!

That video is racist and it is directed at mongering fear against a specific group of people. Trying to say it is not is being profoundly disingenuous.

So there are only 3,473,823 angels dancing on the head of a pin instead of 3,473,825, and one of them has blue wings, whoop dee doo!

Actually, I support your point. Equating "Muslim" with "threat" is morally wrong, and factually wrong. Living in a country with more than 10% of Muslim population, with 2 government ministers being Muslims and meeting Muslims in everyday life I can't understand why people are making videos like that.

I can't understand why people are making videos like that.

On a gut level I think I do understand.

However I can only imagine that to answer that question in any truly meaningful way one needs to look deeply into everything from primate evolution, neuroscience, cultural anthropology and the development of primitive tribal societies into the complex civilization we are now all a part of.

Xenophobia probably has a lot to do with it.

Sorry that you have it backwards. Muslims don't see their breeding practice as a problem rather they are using it to become majority members of the societies they seek to overcome.

airdale -- I've seen similar models before. It may not be completely accurate but I suspect the general projection is fairly certain. Racist? Technically not I suppose. Muslim is a religion made up of a number of “races”. Probably more important are the varying cultures. But that’s not the issue of course. The sinister tone, especially at the end, did make me chuckle a little. One could have made a similar video 200 years ago warning about the Christians out reproducing the indigenous populations. And, of course, those predictions came true. It did help the expansion by also destroying habitats and many those indigenous folks directly.

My response to those folks who produced the video: get over it. This may well be the future. Short of a global holocaust against the Muslims nothing will change this future. OTOH, I suspect as the Muslim population mixes with us “indigenous” folks over the future decades we’ll see a change in their general nature. Think back to the strangle hold the Roman Catholic Church once held around the globe. Look at it now. I don’t see many gays being burned at the stake in San Francisco by the Arch Bishop these days.

And if some folks don’t like living in a Muslim dominate society they can just join us here in Texas. We’ve been slowly mixing with Hispanics for many decades. And it’s not the Hispanic culture it once was. It’s been modified and continues to be so. TexMex is an old term but I suppose it can apply. Over all it’s been a nice melding. Benefits to both sides. A few bumps in the road along they way but that’s to be expected. My daughter is 8 yo. We adopted her in China and she’s growing up in S Texas with her “brown sisters” as she calls them. Her Hispanic classmates are the closest thing she has to a similar skin tone. As I tease her, she’s my “red neck Chink who speaks Spanish”. She’ll do just fine as our society here continues to evolve. Life will be even better for her once we dump the other 49 loser states and go forward on our own. Eventually we’ll hook up with Mexico, run PEMEX off and then develop the oil resources down there properly and just slide comfortably towards the 22nd century. Yep…her future looks pretty good.

So responding to your comment and Fmayer's above.

Its ok to bash Christians but Islamists are a NoNo. Fear mongering,special agendas,etc.

Still no refutation of the data.

Why does it matter to the video makers (or you) if Muslims have a high birthrate? Why are Muslims so scary? The number one factor in family size is religiosity. Hassidic Jews have a high birthrate. So do the Amish. So do fundamentalist Christians.

If you owned a country where less than 1/10 of 1% of the population controlled pretty well everything, how would you attempt to keep the other 99.9% at bay? The sheeple need to focus on something other than the 1/10 of 1%.

The scare mongering in that video falls completely on its ass at the very beginning. The claim that a 2.1% reproductive rate is needed to "sustain a culture" assumes that culture and religion are the same thing. Complete nonsense. "A call to action?" All you Christians out there better start breeding like rabbits. Or killing Muslims?

If by Christians you mean Neo Nazis, KKK and Rush and his ilk, then yes I am bashing them.

However that excludes the other 95% of Christians,that I'm not bashing. Most of my family falls into that category with a sprinkling of other religions mixed in for good measure.

BTW I'm an equal opportunity basher of the superstitions and beliefs held by all religionists, note I said beliefs, not the people who hold them.

To be clear I do bash the KKK types and call them what they are "sick bastards"!

It's not about bashing. It's what it's. All of these fear will be bad if we don't have an alternative answer. Whatever it'll be, how we answer the the incoming crisis and can provide our future generation a different and better path than that we are on -- that will be our legacy. Muslim or not, we are in the end -- human. If we can't learn to live with each other now -- when?


I'm sure you and I could sit down together for dinner at my house with my Protestant Aunt, Catholic mother, Moslem Uncle and my Jewish son. No, I'm not making that up. We could discuss the human genome and compare it to the chimp genome. Then we could gore some sacred cows and have a party! What do you say? Actually my uncle is Algerian and owns a great Middle Eastern restaurant will have him cater.

The swell of the religious populations are because people are scared and want reassurance. Once upon a time religions imparted useful metaphorical understandings to peoples with no other knowledge of how the world worked. When used literally, though, as in the literal belief that Jesus walked on water as opposed to a metaphor for the Sun's solar energy mirrored in a pool of water, it becomes a fatal illness.

Also, the population growth can't exceed the food supply.

If the muslim population thinks it's going to be a significant force in the future, it can get in line behind governmental collapse, famine, drought, the breakdown of social order, and population die-off.

As a scientist at heart, I can't reject the possibility that HeyZeus walked on water. For example, he could have walked to the North Pole and back. If the weather was exceptionally cold, the Sea of Galilee might have frozen over enough to support his weight, which could have happened after a few days of hard freeze. No mystery there...

E. Swanson

It's been shown that family size is correlated to the amount of education the women in a group has, regardless of their religion. It just so happens that fundamentalists tend to be uneducated.


There was a book written about this recently called Eurabia:

I don't know the exact numbers, but I think the video is generally correct with regard to the trend. The big unknown is what form the culture will take on as mixing occurs. Will it be like the Jews in the US, who are now basically culturally the same as their non-Jewish counterparts? Or will Muslims as a group maintain a separate culture, or will the cultures mix to form a new culture that is not recognizable to either of the previous cultures? Nobody knows.

From a racial standpoint, one thing is pretty clear: The world is becoming a whole lot browner. If you are not OK with that, I think you are pretty much SOL.

This from the sidebar for that video:

If You Dont Believe In These Things, Then Do The World A Favour By Jumping Off A Cliff.

If a Person says; "Islam is a religion of peace." I say; "Tell me another JOKE."

Looks like a cracker propaganda film. Here in Texas that fake wannabe Turkish flag would be replaced with a Mexican flag. Most of the same stereotypes apply.

As for the 1.3 fertility rate being impossible to reverse, I'd like to know how the Chinese 1-child policy is working out. Just think, China will probably disappear in a few years. NOT.

I seem to recall reading of a sociology study a few years ago... guess the study was done in the '80s or '90s... it was from India. They found that the fertility rate of a given community or group was directly related to the girls' education level in that community. Places where they kept 'em ignorant, barefoot, and pregnant had higher rates, duh.

Our upcoming catabolic collapse will probably see fertility running a dead heat with infant mortality for the race to the new dark ages.

Great talk by E.O.Wilson;

"Healing Mother Earth: E.O. Wilson"


"Renowned scientist E.O. Wilson delivers a plea for a new human ethic based on a wiser, more careful stewardship of our vanishing natural world while sharing his optimism that we still have an opportunity to save the living things and wild places that sustain us."

Superb video, souperman2 -- thanks!

I liked the story he tells in the first 3 minutes re: "any signs of life out there?" What a hoot, and yet how true!

It's a nice antidote to the shit in the video linked up top...UUUU bugabuga scary Muslims.

Thanks for the link. I just finished watching the whole thing.

Dr. Wilson says not to worry so much about the population problem, it'll take care of itself :o

Re: From ‘Alarmed’ to ‘Dismissive’: The Six Ways Americans View Global Warming

Of the six categories of Americans beliefs regarding Climate Change the Dimissive only make up 7% of the total. The study doen't say what percent of the total economy they impact but based on their demographic I would be willing to venture a guess that their world view can be blamed for a large part of our problems.

Demographics, Social Characteristics, and Values
The Dismissive are mostly conservative Republicans and typically male. They are politically active and
hold traditional religious beliefs. They strongly endorse individualistic values, opposing any form of
government intervention, and are very unlikely to be environmentalists.


I run into the "dismissive" from time to time. The ones I run into are staunch Republicans, and to them climate change is just "politics". To them more or less everything is political, and there aren't really any absolute truths any more. They are just looking for an angle of some sort so they can get their guys back in power.

But that's how we ended up in Iraq - they have their own fantasy world that they live in - echoed and amplified by talk radio and Faux news. They never hear any of the evidence that the things that they believe to be true are false, so they go right on believing...

Demographics, Social Characteristics, and Values
The Dismissive are mostly conservative Republicans and typically of the male gender, though none of them can actually be called real men.

They are politically active for the purpose of stroking their egos, and hide their narcissism and the raping of the environment behind "God and Country".

They strongly endorse individualistic values, such as the right to personally profit on the suffering of others, opposing any form of government intervention only until intervention would benefit them, and are very unlikely to give a crap about any other living thing.

I thought that needed a little clarification.


And while he's there force him to watch E O Wilson.
That's the problem with his ilk they don't understand Consilience because they are deliberately ignorant of reality.
He reminds me of a wounded T Rex bellowing in rage while the asteroid approaches

In the news: a new Pew Research Center survey shows "Happiness Is ... Being Old, Male and Republican"

I know, I read that and I believe it to be true. They still deserve ridicule and contempt for their disdain for the majority and their raping of the commons for their selfish benefit. When the people start chasing them down with pitch forks, torches tar and feathers, then we'll see if they're still happy.

What part of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" do you not understand?

Are you a Poe?

What part of "Your Pursuit of Happiness" ends when you take more than your *FAIR* share of the commons, do you not understand?


I am glad that Jefferson changed 'Property' to 'Happiness', but we seem to repeatedly need reminding that it doesn't equal "I can have anything I want" .. as my 5 year old occasionally tries to argue.

The part where it destroys the environment and prevents my decedents from enjoying the same quality of life that exists now. The part where it uses up natural resources and leaves none for future generations in the hope that some miracle technology will save the day.

The part where the banksters get bailed out and the homeowners get kicked out while getting piled on with further government debt burdens.

The part where nearly every single government regulation that the libertarians complain so bitterly about is a direct result of someone lying, cheating, or taking advantage of others to such an extent that the government had to step in to do something.

The US auto industry wants the new stricter standards to 'level the playing field'. Meaning that even though it is the rational choice, they know the system is gamed so that their competitors will be able to cheat without government regulation. How will they cheat? By using advertising to convince consumer's to make choices that are not in the consumer's best interest. Why else would Ford be begging for regulation? They know they can't compete on rational grounds implementing higher standards alone.

Vacation- all I ever wanted! Vacation- had to get away!

America goes on furlough
Summer is prime time for 'temporary layoffs,' and they're happening in some unexpected places

Welcome to the summer of the furlough. Manufacturing workers have long suffered from these "temporary layoffs," but the white-collar world is feeling them now, too: During this recession, everyone from universities to technology companies are using furloughs as a way to cut payroll without further trimming their staffs.

And while furloughs are already underway around the nation, human resources specialists say that required unpaid days off are only going to heat up as we head into the summer months, when employees are more amenable to time off -- albeit unpaid.

"Companies have done the huge surgery in terms of offering reductions in forced and involuntary ways," says Fred Crandall with consulting firm Watson Wyatt. Now they're using furloughs as microsurgery, and trying to be as minimally invasive as they can."

Good deal, unless you are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Piña Colada, anyone?

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 15, 2009

U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.8 million barrels per day last week,
up 83 million barrels per day from the previous week.

Last week's import numbers were not an aberration after all. Disturbing that last hurricane season brought shortages of gasoline across the Southern U.S. and gas inventories are lower than last year.

BTW, there is a EIA typo in that quote.

Does anyone know what has changed YOY with the USA economy such that conventional gasoline supplies are 21.4% lower than a year ago?

One thesis:

As the price per bbl declined refiners deferred purchases in expectation of purchasing a cheaper bbl sometime in the future. Fewer bbls purchased results in shorter refining runs and lower gasoline stocks. Refiners seek to balance their supply with their expectations of declining market demand.

The refused bbls went into storage and this accounts for the storage build. Sellers still seek to command a high price and seek to store bbls in expectation of higher sale prices in future.

This is the only construction I can put on the data that appears to make sense.

If we have an early hurricane then the vendors win and likely get their high price.

Lacking a hurricane and associated supply disruptions then we have the possibility of a price collapse. Cannot see "furloughed" workers happily burning dollars that they are no longer earning.

Cannot see "furloughed" workers happily burning dollars that they are no longer earning

I can. They race up and down the streets in my little burg to show off the noise levels generated by their exhaust. They did it when gas was over $4. No doubt they have tea bags hanging from their rear view mirror. These folks are true addicts; they will give up other things before they give up their trucks.

Today’s inventory figures are an unpleasant reminder of the unanticipated consequences of the post peak oil era. More specifically in our case here in the US, gasoline inventories continue to fall perversely as a consequence of falling diesel fuel demand.

Since refiners can only adjust the output of each barrel of oil refined within certain limits, in the current economic downturn they will end up with too much distillates (for example diesel) if they try to catch up with gasoline demand. Some northeast US refiners have also optimized their refiners to handle high quality crude from Nigeria, which is easier to make in to gasoline. Nigerian oil exports look likely to be reduced over the next few months. These factors, combined with a fall off in gasoline imports below seasonal trends, have lead to Northeast US inventories of gasoline falling to low, but not critical levels.

But wait, there’s more. A fire last Sunday at a Sunoco refinery in southeast PA has further disrupted the supplies of gasoline in the Northeast US.

It is within the realm of possibility that we could be near a gasoline shortage situation within some parts of the US by the end of the summer driving season – Labor Day.

Charles Mackay -

The Sunoco refinery you refer to actually straddles the Pennsylvania/Delaware line (a situation that must make for some interesting environmental regulatory issues).

I happen to live north of Wilmington, DE, a little over five miles to the south of the refinery. Even at that distance, the initial explosion could be felt. While the explosion/fire was pretty impressive, it was brought under control fairly easily, and there were no injuries.

The fire occurred at a storage tank in the refinery's ethylene unit at the far end of the refinery, and as the resultant damage was largely confined to that area, I strongly suspect that any effect on the refinery's gasoline production would be very short term.

It could easily have been a lot worse.


"Damage assessment from a fire, which struck Sunoco's plant on Sunday, will take at least a week, a source familiar with refinery operations said Tuesday.

Sunoco is sending in engineers to begin to look at the damage the fire caused, along with union officials and federal health and safety inspectors."

This is the EIA's graph of gasoline inventories. It doesn't look good. We should now be past the low-point in inventories occurring because of the changeover from winter to summer gasoline, and building inventories, based on prior patterns.

This is a graph of US gasoline consumption that I put together using a combination of EIA monthly and weekly data. Through February 2009, the data is monthly data. The recent months are averages of the weekly amounts. May is only a partial month, so is subject to change.

US gasoline consumption appears to be below 2008's consumption for every month. In the first part of the year, there is little discretionary driving, so oil consumption for all of the years is tightly bunched. There used to be a lot of discretionary driving during the summer months. This dropped off greatly in 2008. The way May 2009 has started out, it looks like gasoline consumption will be down from 2008.


The Muslim demographics video is fairly accurate. Don't buy shares in Israel.

American geopolitics has unfortunately caused that video to send a message which is totally false and dangerous to the whole world.

Intellectually that video is 100% propaganda. The stupid will take a very sinister message from it because it is edited to scare the WASP people.It was definitely not produced by a Muslim.

It is disingenuous and politically dangerous. The video is trying to scare us into thinking that the Muslims are going to turn the "Christians" upside down. Nothing is further from the truth.

The Prophet has had His followers for 1500 years or so. They gave us mathematics, astronomy and a whole bunch of other innovations, while we were still Barbarians..

There are over 3000 registered religions in the world. They are all "The Best" They each have a culture which they use to survive.
"We" have managed to discredit or destroy most of them

The Muslims actually have a pretty good Religious culture. The Red-Neck Christians are as dangerous as the fundamentalist Muslims. God save us from both sides.

Muslims only become a threat to Christians when the Christians have an ulterior motive or a hidden agenda. There are many billions of Muslims in the world far more than Christians.

When nobody is poking them in the back or pushing an alien culture down their throats, killing them by the hundreds of thousands, they are a fabulous caring people. I personally have not met many Muslims I did not like, but I know a lot of assholes on our side.

Uncle Sam has stirred up a hornets nest which has even the gentle loving Muslims pissed off.

Spain and lots of Europe was Muslim for hundreds of years. The wheel just goes around.

Frankly we "Christians" have not proven our point, and we have degenerated into a very dysfunctional culture. Just Maybe a Muslim take over where we have lost our way would be a good idea.

Stronger cultures always eventually overpower weaker cultures. Maybe we are now paying the price.

I have a different God completely so I do not mind which religion wins the race.


I am my own GOD.............

That thou art. Tat Tvam Asi..

I'm just my own employee. But I've got a nice boss!

I was always pretty sure you were a nut.

I suppose it depends on what variety of Islam will dominate in say 50 years. Will it be a repressive patriarchal version where women are abused and forced to cover themselves head to toe, or the tolerant love-based version of the Sufi poets and philosophers? From the Oil Drum perspective, how will they deal with the issues of oil and resource depletion, environmental degradation and climate change? Are there any Muslim followers of TOD? We know that 90% or so of TOD people are male, though Gail the Actuary is female and a Christian. Would love to hear the views of any Muslim women out there.

Not that I don't appreciate the Exponential Function, but a lot of non-linear things will be happening in the next 50 years.. and actions do also inspire opposite reactions. Predictions based on recent (100,200 year) population data are about to get thrown out the window.

I think that the Market, Corporate and Consumption systems are the ones your resource and environmental questions must be aimed at, no matter how familiar that cry has become..

We still have this on the horizon:

The number of confirmed swine flu cases now stands at 10,243 in 40 different countries, said a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization. The number of dead stands at 80, spokeswoman Fadela Chaib added.

"There is an increase of 413 cases in the past 24 hours," she said.

Much of the increase came from the United States, where authorities raised their number of cases by 346 to 5,469 cases in 47 states plus Washington's District of Columbia.

The number of confirmed A(H1N1) infections in Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, rose by almost 100 in 24 hours to 3,660, health authorities said as they also announced four new deaths. Local officials say 76 people have died in Mexico, although not all of these deaths have been registered by the WHO.


I was surprised by the outbreak in Japan. Here is what a Utah official had to say earlier today:

And state epidemiologist Robert Rolfs told lawmakers, "We need to be ready for it to do something unexpected."

I am guessing the story will ebb and flow at it spreads and mutates. I will follow it obsessively, after all, this is the first pandemic in my lifetime.

Did I take the red pill or the blue pill?

I know there is a perfectly logical explanation for this, but I'll be darned if I can put my finger on it.

Fed Sees Economy Improving But Still Cuts Outlook: Minutes

The Federal Reserve expects the economy to improve in the coming months even though policymakers downgraded their outlook for all of 2009, according to minutes of the April 29 meeting.

The Fed now expects the economy to shrink between 1.3 and 2 percent this year, slightly worse that the earlier forecast of a 0.5 to 1.3 percent contraction. The unemployment rate is now expected to hit nearly 10 percent, up from 8.8 percent in the old forecast.

Hello TODers,

The Huntsville golf community lost a valuable commodity Monday as Waterwood National announced that it would be closing without any plans to re-open in the foreseeable future.

..Waterwood boasted some of the most beautiful — and most difficult — holes around. The course on Lake Livingston was listed on the 2009 Dallas Morning News top 100 golf courses list. The par-3 No. 14 was also named as one of the top 18 holes in Texas by the Dallas Morning News.

Golf course saved: Town’s voters OK up to $7M price tag

WOODBRIDGE — It’s back to the future for the Woodbridge Country Club, as residents voted overwhelmingly Monday to spend up to $7 million to save the 155-acre golf course.

Residents voted 435-34 to ensure the land remains a golf course as it had under the ownership of the WCC for 60 years.

The club closed this year after it ran up debt totaling about $7 million, according to its members.
IMO, these deluded people will just continue to throw money into a postPeak black hole [until they can't]: Too bad Peak Outreach had not permeated the voters as the outcome would have been very different.

Owners of the private Heatherwood Country Club finally surrendered in a battle for members. The 1984 facility off Caldwell Mill Road near Hoover filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and closed this month.

..He expects 500 courses in the nation will close due to the recession, and 10 more in Alabama, 5 percent, to fold before the market stabilizes, he said.
If each golf course is converted to a small community farm: that is a lot of potential relocalized permaculture.

MEMPHIS, May 17 (UPI) -- Singer Justin Timberlake is building a golf course near Memphis that will offer a luxury setting at a relatively modest cost, the site's general manager says.

..The initial $16 million phase of the "SexyBack" singer's development project is made possible by his estimated $44 million in income in 2007-08.

Though golf course architect Kevin Tucker notes more courses are closing than opening these days..
I was hoping that "Just in Timber & Lakes" would postPeak follow through on his name's meaning to help his Overshoot Generation. Is it too late to bring Sexy Back to relocalized Permaculture? Are women geared to see a man owning a compost pit as more desirable than a fancy car full of golf clubs?

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

WOODBRIDGE — It’s back to the future for the Woodbridge Country Club, as residents voted overwhelmingly Monday to spend up to $7 million to save the 155-acre golf course.

The Huntsville golf community lost a valuable commodity

opportunity Monday as Waterwood National announced that it would be closing saving without any plans to re-open close in the foreseeable future.

To suggest that humans might be smarter than yeast, is a terrible insult to yeast everywhere.

Ethanol Bankruptcies Continue Apace

An ethanol piece in today's TTAC at http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/ethanol-bankruptcies-continue-apace/

Despite Obama’s clear support for ethanol, refineries continue to drop like flies.

Anyone? ... anyone? ... kdolliso?

What can I say? It's been a really tough year for corn ethanol. Gasoline was cheap, and, thanks to the floods, corn was expensive. There was no room for error. Pacific ethanol needed a little room for error. It's more expensive to ship 56 lbs of corn than it is to ship 16 lbs of ethanol, I suppose.

Several ethanol outfits, like Verasun, went nuts and thought they could control the corn market through short-selling. They shorted corn all the way to the top, and then reversed, and locked in at the highest prices in history.

Then several companies hired a European Contractor that had no experience in building ethanol refineries to design and build their plants. That ended poorly.

Anyway, It's been a tough year for the moonshiners. Maybe 2009 will be better.

Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today? Recall from previous postings that the chemicals used to make I-NPK & pesticides/herbicides can be extremely toxic and/or explosive:

Railroads oppose hauling toxic chemicals

..Rail industry associations are petitioning for the right to allow railroads to refuse to carry chemicals such as chlorine over long distances. The move is opposed by the government along with chemical and fertilizer companies.

Navy researchers have said an attack on a train carrying hazardous chemicals could kill 100,000 people, USA Today reports.

This year, Union Pacific refused to carry chlorine from a plant in Utah to Texas and Louisiana.
The greatest railway risk of moving O-NPK is if the compost reaches an internal temperature whereby it self-starts spontaneous combustion, but it can easily be put out with firetrucks.

Compare with the ammonium nitrate explosion in Texas City or the chem-release in Bhopal, India. Timothy McVeigh used I-NPK, not O-NPK, to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma.

Due to the self-limiting cargo constraints of SpiderWebRiding: it would be next to impossible to have a big I-NPK explosion beyond the seaport/warehouse.

Hello TODers,

My guess is that most paid lawn-cutters work too hard, and make too little income, to be informed of Peak Outreach. This is too bad as they could dramatically improve their working conditions if they understood the need for Kunstlerization and relocalized permaculture.

Let's examine my Asphaltistan as huge numbers of well-to-do homeowners, upscale shopping malls, and golf-properties, have grass year-round: a summer lawn that needs weekly cutting, then a seeded winter lawn that needs weekly cutting the rest of the year. Thus, these poor bastards are condemned to continually wreck their hearing, plus constantly inhale noxious fumes and particles, while pushing heavy lawnmowers and screaming weed-whackers, plus the common practice of using howling leaf-blowers to mostly just rearrange the dust on driveways and patios.

Compare to what could be possible if all these lawns were converted to veggie/fruit plots: The only time the workers would need to inhale fumes from ICE-tools is when they would be guiding [not pushing] a self-propelled roto-tiller to mix in I-NPK and/or O-NPK compost, thus preparing the soil for planting==>just 2-3-4 times a year versus year-round daily inhalation. The rest of the time would be hoeing weeds, and tending the crops, and other non-fume activities.

If we could somehow get Peak Outreach spread to those upscale elites so that they would be more concerned for the medical health of the poor peasants they hire to tend their properties: IMO, it would be a Win-Win for all to help the trend towards Optimal Overshoot Decline.

EDIT: Perchance a PostPeak urban-version of Cesar Chavez will come to the rescue of those poor lawn-cutters?

TORONTO, May 20 (Reuters) - Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) said on Wednesday it intends to curtail 2009 potash production by an additional 400,000 tonnes in a bid to cope with the sharp decline in demand for the crop nutrient.

The Canadian producer said the new round of production cuts will bring the total reductions in production to 3.9 million tonnes year-to-date and 4.8 million tonnes for the 2008-09 fertilizer year, which ends in a few weeks.
More evidence that the I-NPK pull-system supply chain is breaking down? Recall the prior weblinks on reduced farm credit and farmer reluctance to spend the money towards building a long-term Liebscher's Optima.

Due to FF/I-NPK latency [see my prior postings]: farmers may unknowingly be setting themselves up for a dire multiple-whammy of too little farming diesel, I-NPK, pesticides/herbicides, etc, inside their farmgate just when they need it most to synchronize with the optimal seasonal planting and fertilizing timeslots.

The sad thing is that Bill Doyle would be more than happy to ramp production if the value margin required was globally recognized. You can't run topsoil down for very long without hammering harvest yields....but most food consumers don't look that far ahead...Who will win American Idol?

Hi Bob,
thanks for posting the link to the Bill Doyle powerpoint presentation a couple of days ago.

I learned from it that oil palms are a "high-fertilizer-response" crop, and so biodiesel production directly competes with food production for I-NPK, not just for land. - In addition to causing massive destruction of tropical rainforest.

George Monbiot put it best: if you decide you want biofuels, the market decides the most profitable way to provide them. Currently, that is from oil palm plantations on former rainforest land, fertilized with I-NPK. So that's what we are getting.
I don't think Potash Corp's cuts are evidence of the supply chain buckling. They are evidence that demand is down, and that's because people are short of money.

Most food consumers (those in poor countries, who grow their own food) know well enough that less fertilizer means less food. They just can't buy the fertilizer, and no-one's giving it to them. It's just the top billion who are clueless.

Research to Restore the Fertility of Earth's Soils

BELLEVUE, Wash., May 20 (AScribe Newswire) -- In keynote addresses at the FAO Workshop on Sustainable Agriculture in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 28 and April 29, 2009, soil fertility experts from the Nutrition Security Institute, (NSI) a non-profit organization located in Bellevue, Washington, presented advances and understandings in biotic soil fertility as a proven solution to the serious problems facing global agriculture. Their dual keynote presentations urged the use of biotic fertility to provide sustainable agriculture over the entire range of agriculture from subsistence growers to the largest commercial farm operations.

Jeff Anderson, a biological growing expert and contributor to NSI, presented a paper he authored with Dr. Mike Amaranthus. He warned of an approaching crisis in the global food supply. Current and past global food supply is dependent upon topsoil, the most valuable part of Earth's arable soils. Destruction of over 50 percent of the Earth's arable topsoils has been accelerated by over-application of simple NPK formulation fertilizers based on synthetic inorganic nitrogen. The destruction from these fertilizers is compounded by their required co-components, pesticides and fungicides, which have increased toxicity levels in foods worldwide. Soil experts such as Dr. Jerry Hatfield of the USDA Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa have estimated the total loss of worldwide topsoil carbon to exceed 10 million gigatons of soil carbon components. This amount of carbon biomass is equal to a loss of living and stored organic nutrients that is over seven times the weight of the entire living human and whale populations of Earth. This represents a stunning loss of vital life forms critical to human existence...
Will we ramp O-NPK with SpiderWebRiding for Optimal Overshoot Decline? Or are we doomed to the decline pace of the Nuhautl Tlameme backpacking scheme back to Olduvai?

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

Potash can avoid global food crisis

Global fertilizer use must be ramped-up to avert a permanent food crisis and world instability. This is the stark message that was delivered at the BMO Capital Markets 2009 Agriculture, Protein and Fertilizer Conference in New York last week.

Trade Globally, Pay Locally

Doyle said that the value to mankind of this potassium-rich mineral cannot be overstated. When mixed with phosphate and nitrogen, potash makes it possible for fertilizers to boost crop yields by as much as 60%, he emphasized.

To avoid a looming food crisis, the world can no longer settle for anything less than optimal crop yields via the balanced application of potash-based fertilizers, Doyle insisted.

But Doyle would say that wouldn't he. Forcing crops to produce higher yields is usually achieved at the expense of nutritional value. Something akin to a chemical company saying we should use more collagen to inject water into pork and chicken to increase yields.

Whereas fertiliser is undoubtedly important, its use should be dictated by the metric of nutrition rather than yield. Our vigorous use of chemicals to produce high yield, calorie rich, but low nutrition crops which burn off soil humus is creating a medical and agricultural catastrophe.

If our agricultural land was properly looked after and its levels of organic matter maintained, we probably wouldn't need so much of Mr Doyle's expensive potash. Also, increasing the nutritional value of our foods (say back to pre 1945 levels) would be a far better way of feeding the world rather than trying to increase yields per acre. But as there is no profit in it, it won't be done.

Hello TODers,

Foreign language weblink ahead [german?]:

Weg frei für die Draisinenbahn
Untergröninger befürworten Projekt - Fehlt das Ja aus Schwäbisch Hall

In Sulzbach-Laufen war die Draisinenbahn Thema. Investor Alexander Hofmann hat jetzt sein Projekt im Ortschaftsrat Untergröningen vorgestellt.

When I run this through an online translator [see below], it appears an investor is starting a railbike service and has the approval of the county govt. I sure wish we could get something jumpstarted like that here in the US.

Way for the trolley rail
Untergröninger endorse the project

..Untergröningen Alexander Hofmann had originally planned on nearly 14 miles of former railway line between Schoenberg and his Untergröningen leisure experience. What remains is the rest of his section of Sulzbach-Laufen and Untergröningen. On the remaining four kilometers route he wants to quickly in Baden-Württemberg unprecedented tourist attraction to offer: The Running of the former railway line with the WAY pedalangetriebenen handcar.

..Besides, he wants four handcar so-called "Clubdraisinen" and a wheelchair trolley run. From the pages Abtsgmünd Administration Mayor George reputation has already signaled support. The Untergröninger Ortschaftsrat promises a revival of the local restaurants and museums offer Untergröninger in the castle.
I wish this area the best of luck with their railbike [draisine]. Can somebody offer a better translation or more info--Thxs!

Hello TODers,

When golf course greens go brown. A country club goes broke and homeowners are furious at the state of disrepair:

CORONA, Calif. (KABC) -- Mountain View Country Club used to be called "the home of the pros." Unfortunately, the Corona golf course has fallen on hard times. People living next to the course say just because it's closed doesn't mean they don't have to maintain the place.

When you live on a golf course you expect to have a beautiful view, but ever since a course in Corona closed a few months ago, residents say their view is an eye sore...
"Trickle Down Econ Theory" has trickled to such a small amount that I even doubt that if the homeowners started urinating on the golf course that even this action would help prevent a growing fire danger.

When you live on a golf course you expect to have a beautiful view, but ever since a course in Corona closed a few months ago, residents say their view is an eye sore...

Sheesh! Can't they drive down to the local Walmart and buy a new pair of these?!

Quite the hole left by the sniper bullet! Just goes to show that excessive 'rosy pink' optimism can be changed extremely fast when the real future hits home.