Drumbeat: October 10, 2010

Saudis get serious on nuclear alternative for power plants

The newest extension to the Shoaiba power station in Saudi Arabia will burn almost 50,000 barrels of oil every day to generate 1,200 megawatts, a huge power output that is the equivalent of more than half the consumption of Jordan.

But within six months of its completion in 2013, the kingdom's growth in electricity use will mean even more is needed. For the Middle East's largest economy, the lesson of the past decade's unchecked consumption has become painfully clear: it must find alternatives to burning more and more of its most precious resource or risk undermining its cherished status as one of the world's largest exporters of oil.

Marseille Oil Port Strike Extends to 14th Day, Halting Ships, Refineries

A strike by workers at the French port of Marseille’s oil terminals entered its 14th day, stranding 53 ships and forcing a refinery to begin shutting down.

Total SA’s La Mede refinery began shutting down this morning because of a lack of crude oil supply, a process that takes a few days, said Florent Segura, a spokesman for the company. Total’s Feyzin refinery could also be affected if the strike continues, Segura said. He didn’t have a date on which Feyzin might begin shutting down.

Qatari Oil Minister Says Crude Oil Price Rise Partly Due to Speculation

The recent increase in oil prices is “partly due to speculation,” Qatar’s oil minister said.

Flying Fewer Planes, Airlines Find Stability

The airlines tried repeatedly in the past to maintain such capacity restraint, but each time, their efforts fell apart as new competitors sprang up and vied for market share. But this time has been different because of a unique set of circumstances — a result of both the weak economy and the repeated shocks the industry has suffered in the last decade.

The steep jump in oil prices, starting three years ago, forced the airlines to slow orders of new planes. Then, as the recession hit, more than a dozen airlines went out of business, and higher financing costs made it harder to establish new ones. A string of mergers among the big carriers further shrank the number of players. And even low-cost airlines, which once provided the most feisty competition, lately have shown signs of caution.

Review: Chevy Volt delivers on GM's promises

The revolution will be electrified.

It's early, and the price tag is high — $33,500 after a federal tax credit — but the Chevrolet Volt appears to be the breakthrough General Motors promised when the unique extended-range electric car debuted as a concept at the Detroit auto show in 2007.

How to tour New York City by bicycle

NEW YORK — In his essay Taming the Bicycle, Mark Twain cautiously recommended bicycling: "You will not regret it, if you live."

That has always gone doubly for biking in New York.

But the city has undergone a two-wheeled makeover. In the last four years, the New York City Department of Transportation has added more than 200 miles of bikes lanes. The number of cyclists has increased 80% in the past decade. The city's goal is 1,800 miles of total bike lanes by 2030.

Work begins on OMV's gas-fired plant in Turkey

OMV, the Austrian energy group partly owned by Abu Dhabi, has started building a large gas-fired power plant in northern Turkey that was on the drawing board for three years. The €600 million (Dh3.06 billion), 870-megawatt development near the Black Sea port of Samsunis OMV's first electricity project in Turkey, where the company already has a presence in the petroleum and gas sectors.

Uganda gives in to Kenya’s new rules on fuel

Landlocked Uganda has adopted the open tender system for importation of petroleum products as required by Kenya, whose new rules also affect Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fee Dispute Hinders Plan for Reactor

WASHINGTON — Constellation Energy said on Saturday that it had reached an impasse in negotiations for a federal loan guarantee to build a proposed third nuclear reactor at its Calvert Cliffs site near Washington.

A radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years

8) Try to live near a subway entrance

In a world of crazy-expensive oil, it's the only real estate that will hold its value, if not increase.

9) The suburbs are doomed, especially those E.T., California-style suburbs

This is a no-brainer, but the former homes will make amazing hangouts for gangs, weirdoes and people performing illegal activities. The pretend gates at the entranceways to gated communities will become real, and the charred stubs of previous white-collar homes will serve only to make the still-standing structures creepier and more exotic.

Would national speed limit work?

If most drivers accept the speed limit as reasonable, and if that leaves the police with a reasonable number of people to catch breaking the limit, then we've got a workable traffic law. A national speed limit wouldn't accomplish that.

Syriana: Yours to stream or download

This Saturday, don't miss the chance to watch the politically-charged Syriana, courtesy of blinkbox.
(Offer good through Tuesday. Only in the UK, it appear. Perhaps in the rest of the EU as well. Not good in the US, alas.)

Global warming’s implications for energy world in focus

The issue of global warming, the consequent climate changes, the perceived role of fossil fuels in this entire process and its implications for the energy world are coming to fore now.

There is a growing realization that the world is currently on an unsustainable path and that it needs to mend its ways. No one can argue that.

The Greening of Hezbollah: Nasrallah Fights Climate Change

With a shovel in hand, Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared on television screens, planting and watering a small tree outside his home in the southern suburbs of Beirut. His message to the whole world was save the environment: go green.

Hezbollah's Jihad al Binaa foundation has led a campaign to plant one million trees in Lebanon. Sayyed Nasrallah's tree was the millionth.

Russia Needs $60 Oil to Guarantee Sustained Economic Recovery, Kudrin Says

Russia needs oil to average more than $60 a barrel next year to ensure a sustained recovery from its record slump in 2009, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. That’s 21 percent less than this year’s average price.

Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, and other emerging markets face a better outlook and less uncertainty than developed economies, Kudrin told reporters late yesterday in Washington, where he’s taking part in the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting.

World oil output in focus as OPEC prepares to meet

LONDON — OPEC, which pumps 40 percent of the world’s oil, meets in Vienna this week to assess member output levels against a backdrop of steady prices and a huge jump in Iraq’s estimated reserves.

OPEC sees sluggish global growth

WASHINGTON: OPEC is seeing evidence of sluggish economic growth reflected in the demand for petroleum, and views weakness likely to persist into 2011, the cartel’s top official said Saturday.

OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri, speaking to global economic officials gathered in Washington, said there are signs global growth is sputtering now that many countries are ending their stimulus efforts.

Gulf states vow to stabilise oil market

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Oil ministers of the world's leading producers in the Gulf wound up a joint meeting on Sunday by vowing to achieve price stability on the international markets, ahead of an OPEC meeting.

"The oil market has witnessed many developments that obliged us as major producers to counter more challenges in the way of achieving stability of the oil price and markets," Kuwait's Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah told the gathering.

Fossil fuel will be civilization’s engine for long

All sorts of opinions can now be heard, hampering the very sentiments and psyche of the market. There are voices, and influential ones, emphasizing on absolute independence and moving away from the Middle Eastern oil. There are others talking of environmental considerations and the necessity of switching away from fossil fuel to alternatives. At the same time, the echo of ‘Peak Oil’ fails to die down. This all is despite the fact that most now acknowledge that the world needs fossil fuel, and in abundance, for many more decades to come. This uncertainty now is a cause of concern to all.

Unclear signals create chaos

Yet in the medium to long run, pressure seems to be building up on crude and a number of factors are contributing to it. That is not a good omen for the overall health of the industry.

Despite the fact that the global crude spare capacity is touching almost the six-million-barrels-a-day mark and new crude frontiers appear in plenty all around, resulting in a glut like situation in the market, the “Peak Oil” debate fails to die down. This is frightening!

Peak Oil Warning Gains DC Traction

Baldauf is a Texas-based oil executive, lifelong environmentalist and the key leader of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, USA (ASPO-USA). The group took a giant step forward in raising the visibility of its warnings this week by holding its first Washington, DC-based convention, plus a packed congressional briefing.

Algeria's LNG output falls in September Join our daily free Newsletter

(MENAFN) Waterborne LNG said in its latest report that Algerian liquefied natural gas production fell to a year low of 40.6 billion cubic feet (bcf) in September, half the country's production capacity of 81 bcf, Reuters reported.

According to the report, the fall to new lows coincides with the start-up of the Medgaz natural gas pipeline connecting Algeria to Europe's top LNG importer Spain.

Pakistan reopens Afghan border crossing NATO uses

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan reopened a key border crossing to NATO supply convoys heading into Afghanistan on Sunday, ending an 11-day blockade imposed after a U.S. helicopter strike killed two Pakistani soldiers.

The closing of the Torkham crossing to NATO vehicles stranded many fuel tankers at parking lots and on highways where they were vulnerable to militant attacks. More than 150 trucks were destroyed and some drivers and police were wounded in the near-daily attacks.

China eyes new Silk Road to Europe amid political rift

(ATHENS) - China is laying the groundwork for a new Silk Road to Europe, holding out the promise of lucrative investments to a continent limping to economic recovery -- despite the ideological gulf with the West.

America moves on from spill; coast feels abandoned

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- About 800 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Dave Edmonds is struggling to remind people about the BP oil spill.

There aren't many magazine covers with photos of oil-drenched birds now that BP has capped its massive gusher at the bottom of the sea. People aren't looking online for information about the historic spill like they were a few weeks ago.

Spill hasn't risen to campaign forefront

In political circles, the oil spill has become the dog that didn't bark, said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

"Even in the Gulf Coast states, I can't think of one race where it's really having an impact," Sabato said. Instead, with the successful capping of the well in mid-July - and its permanent sealing in September - public attention has drifted away from the issue.

Canadian Oil Sands Provide Economic Boom with Environmental Risks

U.S. politicians often speak of reducing the nation's demand for imported oil from unfriendly nations. But the biggest foreign supplier of oil to the United States is Canada, a friendly nation on the northern border. Much of the 1.4 million barrels of petroleum Canada sends south each day comes from the so-called "oil sands."

Time for long play on UAE stocks

He noted that the upside for the UAE is that it is a high-growth oil economy and the approach of Peak Oil means that oil prices are going to go higher, and stay high.

Morningstar to Host Fifth Annual Stocks Forum for Investors Nov. 3-4 in Chicago

Other first-day sessions include a macro-economic outlook from Bob Johnson, Morningstar's director of economic analysis; a stock strategist session with Paul Larson, Morningstar equities strategist and StockInvestor newsletter editor; a dividend stock investing session with Josh Peters, equities strategist and DividendInvestor editor; as well as breakout sessions on opportunistic investing, peak oil, and investing across asset classes.

Hungary Official Calls Sludge Reservoir Wall `Unsalvageable,' MTI Reports

The red sludge reservoir in Hungary that burst last week is “unsalvageable” because of its cracked walls, said Zoltan Illes, a state secretary for the environment, according to MTI news service.

“The tragedy may occur within a day or within a month,” Illes said, MTI reported. Authorities are building a dike through a nearby village to prevent the sludge from spreading after a possible burst, he said, according to the Budapest-based news service.

Thomas L. Friedman: An X-Ray of Dysfunction

I still find it amazing that with all the climate, security, health and financial interests America has in reducing its dependence on oil, our Congress could not work out an energy bill over the past two years — especially when China, Japan and the European Union are all hurdling ahead on clean-tech. The fact that we failed to pass an energy bill — cap-and-trade, a carbon tax, efficiency standards, I don’t care which — is actually a reflection of a broader U.S. power failure. It is the failure of our political system to unite, even in a crisis, to produce the policy responses America needs to thrive in the 21st century. As the Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib once noted: “America and its political leaders, after two decades of failing to come together to solve big problems, seem to have lost faith in their ability to do so. A political system that expects failure doesn’t try very hard to produce anything else.”

Carbon penalties said route to $100 bln aid

OSLO (Reuters) - More penalties on greenhouse gas emissions could raise $100 billion a year from 2020 to help poor nations slow global warming, despite austerity in many rich countries, Norway's prime minister said.

Jens Stoltenberg, who will co-chair a U.N. advisory group about climate financing in Addis Ababa on Tuesday, said raising $100 billion a year was "feasible" but one of the hardest issues in talks on a new U.N. climate deal.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Casts for Collaboration in Its New Climate Change Response Plan

Climate change is a real, complex and widespread challenge that calls for a "new era of collaborative conservation." That's the message of a new strategic plan for dealing with the effects of global warming, released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The blueprint is part of the U.S. Department of Interior's overarching framework for climate change response, established by a September 2009 order from Sec. Ken Salazar.

Rivers will die of thirst as the arguments get wetter

It was 11 years ago this month that The Advertiser in Adelaide reported that by 2020 water from the Murray River would be unfit to drink two days out of five. Then, only 20 per cent of the water that entered the river made it to the mouth at Goolwa. Over-allocation to irrigators by parochial state governments trying to hold on to rural seats, combined with wanton land clearing, robbed it of water and increased the salinity. And that was before the drought.

Since that report by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, no meaningful improvement has been achieved. The same selfish, parochial considerations that killed the river, by governments of all hues, have prevented it being fixed.

More sea-level monitoring needed: report

More thorough sea level monitoring is needed to protect $1 trillion worth of the world's infrastructure threatened by climate change, a leading ocean scientist says.

In the book Understanding Sea-level Rise and Variability, released on Sunday, CSIRO oceanographer John Church says the best way to predict the impacts of climate change is to look at the sea.

"The oceans are absolutely central to climate change," he told AAP.

China glaciers set to shrink

TIANJIN - THE average area of glaciers in western China might shrink by about 30 per cent by 2050 because of global warming, damaging crop production and worsening droughts.

The dire prediction came Friday in a report released at the UN climate talks in north China's Tianjin Municipality.

The "Climate Changes and Poverty -- Case Study in China" report was jointly released by organizations including the Institute of Environment and Social and Sustainable Development in Agriculture with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The study, mentioned in the last article, on CC and poverty in China sounds interesting. I just went to a panel discussion on a similar topic but US based.

Meanwhile the Tianjin talks seem to be heating up a bit:

"China calls US 'pig'"


The quote of the day has to come from the link up top: World oil output in focus as OPEC prepares to meet

Experts say a significant hike in Iraq’s oil output is far from certain.

Ron P.

Popular mechanics got their hands on a Volt.

They found it had an EV range of 33 miles.
And a range extended mode mpg of 32 city and 36 highway.

"If we factor in the distance traveled on the battery's energy the fuel economy jumps to 37.5 mpg city and 38.15 mpg highway. "

Not exactly stellar number here.

Yeah, the 2003 VW I bought last year is getting around 35 MPGin local driving, with a 2 litre motor and 5-spd. There aren't any freeways nearby, so the speed I drive is around 55 on the open road, less nearer to town. I think that the car would do better if the gear ratio in 5th were lower and I have considered swapping the transmission for one from a TDI. While driving in 5th, I keep thinking there's one more gear to shift into. Maybe that's why VW offers a 6-spd tranny lately. It's rather strange shifting into 3rd after a stop light before crossing a wide intersection and driving in cruse control in 5th has no problem keeping the speed up on almost all hills. Switching to a TDI tranny might push the cruise MPG up to 40 around here. Of course, the Popular Mechanics test results on the highway were at a speed of 78 mph, not good from an air drag perspective.

Your mileage may vary...

E. Swanson

There are people in TDIClub that make all kinds of crazy modifications. I have known of people to switch from an automatic to a manual transmission, switch from 5-speed to 6-speed, or even change the gear ratio on the 5th gear. I suppose everyone has to have a hobby, but those sorts of changes probably aren't that cheap. But if you are serious, that's a place to ask around to see how it is done. It ought not matter that much that you have a gasser...

A couple of years ago, I was on a trip from DC to Toronto and back, and got 55mpg in my TDI (and that was using B100 biodiesel, which probably penalized me in the mileage dept a bit). Mainly by holding the speed down to 55mph. You can do even better if you slow down below 50mph. I suspect it works well in a diesel because of the amount of low-end torque on the engine, but the drag coefficients and the rolling resistance ought to be the same for a gasser and a diesel. I guess it depends on how slow you can go in 5th gear without stalling the engine..

Biodiesel is actually a higher grade of fuel than petrodiesel.

Depending on the source stock, of course.

TDI Beetle, 47 MPG avg in town if I keep the speed under 70. I'll let someone else buy the Volt if they can't do better than that. Thanks for the link, BTW :)

The claim is that biodiesel has about 2-3% fewer BTU/gallon as compared to petrodiesel.

Interesting, I assume that that is specifically Soy-based biodiesel since that is the most common commercially available variant.

But I note that BTU/Gallon is only one of the characteristics determining fuel efficiency. Ease of complete combustion, contaminants, and other factors can easily make a 2-3% difference in base efficiency, not to mention that most people aren't set up to be able to measure their fuel economy to better accuracy than that anyway.

My Ford Focus driven like its stolen gets 30mpg.. If those numbers are true that car is a total failure before its even out.

Nissan Cube. 29 mpg around town, 1.8L and CVT.

Summer of 2009 four of us adults went on an extended trip from Reno to Ada Minn for kind of a 'last visit'. I used a credit card on all gas purchases so we could spit the fuel cost. Typically the cruise was set on 75. We averaged 29 mpg for the entire trip (3500miles) which included a couple short branches. BTW: This is a 2002 Cadillac DeVille and quite comfortable, not a Volt. I know ... boo hiss. :-)

Don't ever be ashamed of how you achieve excellent mileage. Efficiency gains are part of the solution too. While the anti-car niche within the peak oil movement is strong, its also ridiculous because nearly all of them drive as well (and fly), they just don't like talking about it and for obvious reasons. Its one thing to trumpet your non fossil fuel usage ideas for everyone else from the rooftops, quite another to mention that your significant other Suburbans your kids to school 5 days a week, or those twice a year flights to visit grandma...in Hawaii.

RGR, it's always easy -- and of course a good rhetorical trick -- to point to people whose words and actions don't match, and generalize from them. For my part, though, I've never owned a car; my spouse and I have spent our adult lives using feet and public transit to get around, and now that we live in a town with decent train service, I'm delighted to say that my very occasional air travel is also a thing of the past. I know a fair number of other people in the peak oil scene who also get along without cars, or use cars only now and then.

Now of course efficiency gains among those who do drive are useful enough; still, I'd encourage you to lay off a bit on the insistence that those who disagree with you must be hypocrites...

Well John, then my hat is off to you. You are at the ASPO meeting? Take a survey of the diehards in attendence, see how many people flew there, rented a car, and will fly back, get into their personal auto, and drive home. Want to bet its more likely to be a larger percentage rather than a smaller one?

Hardly a rhetorical trick, noticing the obvious.

I drove a Honda Accord from the east coast to Minnesota and back in September averaging 35 mpg. Much of the way was on cruise at 65 mph or more (lots at 71, with the slower spots being such as around Chicago).

I drove a Toyota Camry to a space shuttle launch, and back, from Denver. 37mpg average, usually cruising 65-70mph. 5 speed stick, not much A/C.

Cars that get mid 30s over the road and mid 20s in other driving do not require exotic drive trains. They are readily available on the market today as small and mid-sized 4-cylinder sedans.

A 4500 lb SUV that gets those mileages requires an exotic drive train. Which is why there is all the hype about hybrids, etc., in order to save the domestic makers, who are basically light truck manufacturers, not car companies.

My '94 Metro gets 56mpg on the freeway and cost $7500.00 new.
It was built by GM Canada. Maybe they should fetch the old drawings.

My 2000 Chevy Metro got 38 mpg on the highway, 30 mpg around town. Required turning off A/C to actually go up a hill though, it was an automatic.

I had an '88 Sprint and it got pretty crazy mileage, too.

Getting good mileage isn't hard, just make cars a lot smaller and a little bit aerodynamic.

I don't get those numbers in my '99 Hyundai Accent, but 11 years of well over 30mpg even when I flog it mercilessly means that my cumulative fuel use is pretty decent. It's paid off long ago and ready for another 100,000 miles. If I ever wreck it I will look for a Metro!

My Metro wasn't worth collecting another one of. Too much sacrifice for worse mileage than, say, a Prius. Cheaper of course, but price isn't everything if your goal is to experience as many cars as possible over a lifetime of enjoying them.

Well, I've never driven a Metro so perhaps they're nasty, but given the difference in mechanical complexity comparing a vehicle such as a Metro or Accent to a Prius is pretty meaningless. While I would much rather be taking a train to work, there isn't one, and for the time being I must drive. Being a reformed car nut, I find my Accent quite enjoyable to drive. But the key thing for me is that small size, good fuel efficiency and mechanical simplicity mean that it places a very small burden on me. Since the parts are small I can fix anything on it without killing myself to do it. Basically, for as long as driving it is viable and I have access to parts, I can keep it running. So just the opposite from your experience, I find that a simple, small car is much less sacrifice.

My experience is to avoid cages whenever possible and take one of the motorcycles. Same theory as you just mentioned, one cylinder, one carburator, some gears, a chain and some wheels, pretty easy stuff to work with, mechanical simplicity wise. I could just about take it all apart and carry it around in the trunk of a car for emergency backup transportation.

Cars are just easier when I want to cover big ground in a hurry, or the weather is problematic, or I've got passengers. I am becoming more irritated as my cages reach the same level of highway mileage as my motorcycles, means cages are getting better faster than motorcycles and thats not fair.

Motorcycles have a rather strong disadvantage due to the high aero drag. Even smaller motorcycles face the same problem as big ones and the smallest ones can't keep up with traffic on US roads. By that I mean cycles which must run at highway speeds, around 55 mph, up and down hills. Recently, we've had 2 fatalities where riders of mopeds were hit from behind on the highway. Some of the newer single cylinder scooters have fairings on the front, but there's still the drag on the back of the rider and/or passenger, which represents most of the drag compared to a smoothly tapered hatchback or other "cage". A motorcycle with a faired rear end and top becomes another "cage", which is a difficulty in itself.

The better alternative IMHO is a 3-wheeler with for-and-aft seating, such as the VW 1 Litre car. Side-by-side seating implies a large frontal area, which results in less efficient rear aerodynamics. The Aptera design suffers some loss in efficiency as a result. With a 3-wheeler, the stability is better as it can't flop over.

As usual, physics wins out in the end...

E. Swanson

Value during expected shortages and rationing during the NEXT peak oil crisis (versus the current one which no one really noticed)? PRICELESS!

So I could get to work on the battery, and come home on gas, getting the same mileage as my Aveo. That would save me 1 gallon of gas every other day. So, I'd save 5 gallons a week, at $3 each, or $750 per year. The Volt costs $23,000 more than the Aveo, so ignoring electric power costs, the payback is 30 years.

So for anything resembling a reasonable rate of return, the Volt II has to cost no more than $18,000, or about $8,000 more than the Aveo.

Maybe a bit more, I noticed GM porked up the Aveo another $4,000 over the one I bought by making some of the options standard. Dorks.

If a Volt is purchased for BAU driving, then the buyer did not make a wise choice.

The whole point is if a person's daily commute is at or under 33 miles round trip, then they will not be using much gasoline. And if they do have to do an occasional long distance drive, then their mileage will be modest at best.

For long distance daily driving, a tiny diesel is probably a better choice.

A range of 33miles, and 36mpg at 78mph isn't that bad. My commute round trip is 45, but with a top legal speed of 55, I'd give even odds of making it all in electric mode. Sounds more like popular mech wanted to make it look bad!

Soon as they bring one of those into the states (which has a better reliability reputation than VW) I'm buying one. Always wanted me a Euro style diesel, us Americans are jipped.

The little Ford diesel I drove in the UK was wonderful, but keep in mind that the rest of the world runs on diesel. To some extent the reason our fuel prices have been restrained is that we get a lot of the unwanted gasoline they produce, as you cannot refine just diesel. There is some logic to using the fuel everyone else is not.

The thing that concerns me with the mileage figure is that it should have been easy to do better than that. Since they didn't it implies that either the engine they are using is not appropriate for that use, or there are other problems with the design that could nullify the advantages of having a plug-in electric.

>>As for the rather unremarkable fuel economy, it's useful to remember that the Volt carries two powertrains—electric and gas—and thus suffers a weight penalty that effects overall efficiency. But of course, those two powertrains are why the Volt can be a primary vehicle that doesn't ask the owner to compromise driving cycles like a pure EV. Consider the Volt a well-engineered first step on the path to electrified vehicles. <<

One of the things to remember is that it can be powered by electricity alone. For instance, my commute is around 30 miles. It is conceivable for me to drive primarily on electricity alone and then having a 37/38 mpg vehicle after that. Electricity here is about $1.10 for 10 kwhr while gasoline has been creeping up to $2.75/gallon. The question to ask is how much electricity was used to go that 33 miles? From Wiki: "The car's 16 kW·h (8.8 kW·h usable) lithium-ion battery pack..." To go those 33 miles, it would cost me $0.97 plus any charger inefficiency which would then be about $1.08 versus $2.17 to go those 30 miles on the Volt's gasoline engine.

The author also admits to lead foot acceleration. A practiced EV drive can improve his gasoline mpg by about 10%. For the author, it may be more. YMMV

Before jumping on the bandwagon to pan this vehicle, I would run the numbers and take into consideration present and forecast fuel availability.

Russia Needs $60 Oil to Guarantee Sustained Economic Recovery, Kudrin Says

I'm not sure that is true. Doesn't most of the oil wealth end up in just a few hands in Russia? There's even that funny ad in which a rich russian guy picks a gold sculpture of himself, sits down with a couple of hotties, then kisses a tiny giraffe. Those guys aren't doling out the wealth. In a recent post on TOD it showed domestic consumption of oil in Russia had been the same for a few decades, which would infer most russians are not benefitting from the exportation of higher priced oil.

I'm not sure that is true. Doesn't most of the oil wealth end up in just a few hands in Russia?

Yes, it is true. Though the "profits" from oil sales likely go to a only a few Russians the Russian tax system dictates just how much profit per barrel they make. The Russian economy depends heavily taxes from the oil industry, primarily export taxes.

Russia sets the export tax rate based on the price per per ton of the exported oil. The tax rate is set about once per month but it is based on the price of oil. Russian oil companies are continually complaining that the tax rate does not leave them enough profit to explore and drill for more oil.

Guide to Russian Oil Production and Reserves

Adding to the industry’s problems, Kremlin policy makers continue advancing the state's influence in the energy sector. Taxes on oil exports and extraction remain high and Russia’s state-influenced oil and gas companies have obtained controlling shares in projects previously administered by foreign interests.

Ron P.

Ok, good to know the wealth is being spread around, although I still find it curious domestic consumption has not risen along with increased profits from greater production and higher priced oil.

Earl, I did not claim that any of the tax revenue was going to the general public therefore increasing domestic production. The government has very little tax base from general public taxes. Therefore the tax from the oil goes to support the military and other government expenses, none is distributed to the general public.

Until the Russian economy starts booming again there is little chance of domestic consumption increasing very much. And, in my opinion, there is little chance of the Russian economy ever booming again.

Ron P.

domestic consumption has not risen

This claim is not credible. The volume of automobile traffic has increased by several times compared to the 1970s. The streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow are crammed with traffic even as the road network is being massively increased. The USSR subsidized Cuba and other communist states with oil prior to 1991.

Re: Tom Friedman: "An X-Ray of Dysfunction"

Friedman's commentary presents excerpts from an article in the New Yorker, As the World Burns: How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change.

Looks like the US political system is even more messed up than I thought. I suppose the Chinese are right to compare us to "pigs"...

E. Swanson

I managed to get through the first page of the Lizza article and then decided my time is better spent working my compost bin. At least that rotting heap will be useful later...

On a totally unrelated note, something useful did come out of Springfield recently.

"Governor Pat Quinn put the final piece of the ISBA Hobbyist Beekeeper Proposal into place this week by signing SB2959 into law. The “Honey Bill” provides an exemption for use of an approved Honey House for those beekeepers who produce or sell less than 500 gallons of honey in a year. Focusing on helping the hobbyist beekeeper keep costs down, the law is focused provides relief to those beekeepers selling honey in the comb or unadulterated condition in local market. The new law, designated Public Act 96-1028 will go into effect on January 1, 2011."


Great news for me selling at the local farmers market.

No, the Chinese should not compare us to PIGS!

Pigs, as most know, do not S#!T, where they eat. People in the U.S., have no problem doing that.

And more.

Looks like the US political system is even more messed up than I thought

How messed up did you think it was? For yucks - read the laws, then ponder if they are actually following law. (hint: Not!)

Frankly - if the best the climate change changers can offer is only 30% effective spending - Let the world burn as the giant 1 finger solute to the looting class. All the time I hang the label of 'greedy bastards' round their neck.

Because they and their kids will die in the same biosphere I'm in. Not like they can escape.

It is better to off them today. I don't feel like sacrificing myself for these maggots.

Re "Unclear signals create chaos" (and the article above it by the same author) above:

How long will the "Peak Demand" red-herring last?

Yes, I thought the article was a little absurd. How does Mr. Husain know that we have almost six million barrels per day of spare capacity. I know that this is what the IEA says but they are just guessing. To accept that as a hard fact is what is frightening.

If the world accepted every claim by anyone such as the IEA, the EIA or any national oil company, then there would be no problem whatsoever. Iraq would soon be producing 12 million barrels per day, Saudi Arabia could produce 12 or 13 million barrels per day simply by opening the taps wider and the world would be awash in oil until at least 2030. Doesn't the Arab News realize there is reason to be skeptical of these claims?

No one is sure if any demand recovery would actually take place in the near future. Demand in the industrialized world has already peaked. In the emerging economies too, things are still uncertain — due to a host of reasons — from the economy to environment.

Something is missing here. Demand in the industrial world peaked because a deep recession caused in no small part by high oil prices. If the world recovers from this deep recession then demand will increase. If world population continues to increase by 80 million per year then demand will increase.

There is no such thing as "peak demand" in a growing economy. If the economy grows then the oil supply must grow. If the oil supply peaks the the price will rise until the supply equals demand, I.E. "Peak Demand" caused by peak supply and economies stop growing and recession continues until it becomes a depression then...

Ron P.

There is no such thing as "peak demand" in a growing economy. If the economy grows then the oil supply must grow. If the oil supply peaks the the price will rise until the supply equals demand, I.E. "Peak Demand" caused by peak supply and economies stop growing and recession continues until it becomes a depression then...

Very well put. When "peak demand" was conjured up as a distraction from "peak oil" a few months ago, I was reaching for the correct description of why it was so bogus. If I'd only had that one paragraph.

I think you are right. But I think they will be able to pretend for a very long time.

It is like many here have said - the public will never understand because the TPTB will continue to claim "dropping demand due to above ground factors" (economicvdepression, trade wars, currency wars, war wars etc).

Meanwhile Yergin et. al. will blame policy choices and the inability of the industry to raise the trillions of dollars necessary for future production, and the Sauds will continue to work towards nuclear power to preserve their "most precious resource" for future generations...

As long as it turns out to be a more powerful force than natural field declines.

Will somebody shed some light on the status of India when the supply/demand gap opens up in 2012/13?
Will it be a looser when ELM kicks in?We don't have the muscle or the geo political or resource importance that would put us in line ahead of other importers.Nobody has an inkling about peak oil here and it is BAU

So far, India has shown a fairly steady increase in oil consumption, in contrast to the US. The summary slide from our net exports presentation:

If we extrapolate the 2005 to 2009 rate of
increase in consumption by the exporting
countries out to 2015 and if we extrapolate
Chindia's 2005 to 2009 rate of increase in net
imports out to 2015, and if we assume a very
slight production decline among the exporting
countries (0.5%/year from 2005 to 2015), then
for every three barrels of oil that non-Chindia
countries (net) imported in 2005, they would
have to make do with two barrels in 2015.

Thanks WT.I am posting on TOD for the first time though been a TOD addict since 2005.Love your analysis always.My viewpoint is that when ELM kicks in big what are the chances that India will get its share of oil needed.Will the big boys(USA,China,Japan,EU)let go or will India get only the left overs and just tuck in with what is available?With the growing economy it could be trouble.Your viewpoint.

I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck a few days ago late in the afternoon after starting to put the garden to bed and thinking about the future.

Interestingly, I wasn't focused on how it might play out but rather "when" it might start to hit. "Damn, I'm almost 72 and if it doesn't happen for 5 years I'll be almost 77. Can I still pull it off at that age?" I've been lucky in that I can still do what I did in my 40's...although not for as long time periods (10 hour days weren't a problem then but 8 hour days are now). I'm still felling trees and bucking them up for fire wood. I'm doing the garden and orchard, etc.

I believe anyone connecting the dots can clearly see that it really is going to hit the fan so it's not a question of "what will happen." It could be a fascist dictatorship or total societal breakdown. Ok, bad stuff but from my perspective, I'm more concerned whether I'll still be able to hump that saw and plant those plants. Frankly. it's the timing that gets to me, not the actions needed to survive.


"Damn, I'm almost 72 and if it doesn't happen for 5 years I'll be almost 77. Can I still pull it off at that age?"

Buck up, lad. Our friend Richard is >80 and still active.

Listen whippersnapper! You don't get smart with your elders. I might have to go so far as to cut you out of the information loop Tuesday. For the rest of your life you'll be wondering what you missed. Well, I'll tell you one thing right now; seeds from "Todd's World Famous Compost Cantaloupe", so there!


Listen whippersnapper! You don't get smart with your elders.

Sounds like you're still in good shape physically, but mentally you're maybe getting a tad sensitive. Remember, the body follows the mind.

Hi Earl,

Well, Rat and I have known each other for 30+ years and we get together every other week to talk about the world so it was an inside joke.

On a serious matter; the body following the mind. It's important to put that in a context. For example, my wife who is the same age has enough physical problems that as much as she might want to do something, she just can't or at least not for extended periods. In my case, as I mentioned above, I no longer can do those 10-12 hour days. What would be interesting is to compare a couch potato my age (or even 10-20 years younger) to me who still spends 6-8 hours a day "working."

I mention this because there is so much discussion about the future probability that people will have to be actively/physically involved with their survival. My gut feeling is that they won't be able to pull it off.


My dad is going on 75, will be next feb. A while ago he had to retire because the company he worked for died, but he was prepared to keep working. This last week he laid some concrete stepping stones which had been a project he'd been meaning to do, but had not had the time yet. When sorting out the big shed he found some bags still usable, he used them for the stepping stones out the sid eof hte house to the gate, and through the gate.

Loads better for me than walking barefoot on gravel.

I'd imagine that if nothing comes along before then he'll be doingthings like that past 80, He can still work 8 hrs or more in a day.

And the couch potato remark is true, not many people trully know how hard it's going to be to survive more than the summer or fall, loads of work to have all the food stored up that you have had to gather or grow with your own hands, can't just plan ahead, when the weather might change in a heartbeat and ruin everything.

It has been dry here for almost a month now, the only moisture is the morning dew.

BioWebScape designs for a better fed and housed world.

LOL! The other day my brother, who is visiting, was talking to my neighbor and when he told him he was 97 my brother didn't believe him, so he pulled out some ID and showed it to my brother... then the old guy laughed and danced a little jig. I always see him walking around town and at the supermarket doing his shopping. He walks to the beach every morning and is a real ladies man, he is always taking boxes of chocolate to his various girl friends around the neighborhood. He doesn't look a day over 70!

I'll be there.


I am hocky sticks and it gets to ya a bit. Life takes a bit more planning and serious work is time to get some help. But not to worry, in five Years I'll be 82 and maybe another ten years down the road will be time to worry or maybe another ten after that. Staying in shape is more important than number of years. I see lots of people younger than me that are essentially done. I'm sure you see the same.

Well, you've got a couple of years on me Todd, but not many. I was sitting on the roof, looking at the fall colors all around me this weekend thinking about the same thing. I clean my chimney with an old set of tire chains and each year they seem like they have put on a lot more weight. That "loss of upper body strength" that comes along with age is hard to get used to. The work load seems just a much but it seems I have to take everything a bit slower.

BTW, for you wood heaters out here, chimney cleaning time for sure..not quite a frost last night (34 degrees) but a small evening fire felt some nice. Check and clean your stove pipe, or replace it if you need to, check the stove gaskets, clean and preserve with a good coat of stove black, and I always put fresh batteries in the smoke detectors as part of the job.

This may sound harsh, but if we are going to crash, let's just crash and be done with it. This constant anticipation thing sucks. If we're done, we're done, and then we can stop over-analyzing and get on about dealing with the cards we are dealt. The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west. I'll still have wind in the trees and stars at night, and my wife will still add to my chore list.

Don in Maine

Hi Don,

Couldn't agree more:

...if we are going to crash, let's just crash and be done with it. This constant anticipation thing sucks. If we're done, we're done, and then we can stop over-analyzing and get on about dealing with the cards we are dealt.

I don't post much anymore because of this reality. There are a bazzilion links to articles out there pointing toward, how can I say it and not PO people, really, really bad times. There are times I wish TOD had a real prepper/doomer sub-sub-forum in addition to Campfire.

I'll leave it at that.


Re: China eyes new Silk Road to Europe amid political rift, up top.

More cars for the Silk Road are coming. Auto industry assumes Chinese will buy 50 million cars per year in future. Perhaps they will be electric; otherwise expect much higher oil prices.

Now here is a country that just a few weeks ago passed Japan to become the world’s second largest economy by GDP, and it has only 60 cars per thousand? This is the reason why car manufacturer all over the world are falling over each other to get into China.

60 cars per thousand in a country with a 1.5b population says one thing: GROWTH. Bringing China to the benchmark car density level of around 500 per thousand would necessitate the sale of around 700m cars, not assuming any scrappage. Even if China would buy 50m cars per year, a number that horrifies some, but that is assumed as entirely possible in industry circles, getting China into the 500 car per thousand area would take more than 10 years. This market is huge, and it will stay huge for a long time. India will be next.


The CEO of Renault Spain says two or three car factories in Spain must close -- I believe we have six or seven.

Not Renault we won't close, says Nr Jean-Pierre Laurent, although he warns that he could send home a lot of workers either this year or in 2011.
He'd better hurry up not a lot of weeks left in 2010.
Next he praises the new electric cars of Renault, they cost more than 30,000 euros each; I believe they sold some fourteen of them so far.

SEAT-VW Spain puts its workers on rotation to share work. Sales have fallen 30% after the subventions were stopped, keep on falling. SEAT ceo Erich Schmitt fired, they bury his plan of expansion into Latinamerica, make 800,000 cars, this year they hope to make 307,237.

In a show of real joined-up thinking, this bright political star from Catalonia, Montilla, goes to China, claims Chery/China is going to open a new factory in Spain, 3,000 jobs direct, thousands indirect.

Although the links are in Spanish I put them to show I haven't invented these dismal news, it is not the most difficult language in the world and I don't know of any links in English.