Drumbeat: August 31, 2011

Has Peak Oil Come To The Non-Opec World? Maybe.

The world’s biggest oil companies put in a pretty pathetic performance in the second quarter of 2011. Not in terms of earnings — those were great, with Exxon posting $10.7 billion and Royal Dutch Shell doing $8 billion. Just what you’d expect with Brent crude at a lofty $120 a barrel.

Where the results were disappointing was in the barrels. Of the 16 big U.S. and European oil companies studied by Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Sankey, 14 of them saw their production of petroleum decline in the quarter. Collectively, the drop amounted to 12% of total liquids volumes, or 1.2 million bpd. Their average output for the quarter totalled, 14.67 million bpd. Even excluding the effect of Libya’s issues, the decline was 8%.

Only Exxon and Shell managed 1% volume gains in liquids.

Crude Heads for Monthly Decline in New York as Slower Growth Curbs Demand

Oil fell, headed for its biggest monthly drop since May in New York, as signs of swelling inventories and faltering demand countered speculation the U.S. will take further steps to bolster its economy.

New York futures declined as much as 1 percent, snapping four days of gains, after the American Petroleum Institute said crude supplies rose 5.13 million barrels last week, the biggest increase since March. An Energy Department report today may say inventories fell 500,000 barrels, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

Gas prices to fall, but don't expect a big drop

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The price of U.S. oil has dropped nearly 25% since hitting its highs this spring, yet gasoline is down just 10%. So a big drop should be coming, right?

Sorta. Drivers can expect a bit of relief at the pump over the next few months, but they shouldn't look for too big a discount.

Cheaper petrol is an environmental threat : TEI

Bangkok - Thailand's populist policy of slashing petrol prices at the pump to help the poor is expected to increase greenhouse gas emissions by 2,100 tonnes a day, an environmental think tank said Wednesday.

Repsol’s Oil Search Threatened by Pemex Ally Sacyr Seeking Bigger Dividend

Antonio Brufau’s search for oil in Brazil and West Africa that boosted Repsol YPF SA (REP)’s reserves by 25 percent since 2005 is in jeopardy after two of its biggest shareholders allied to loosen his grip on the company.

Lukoil Quarterly Profit Rises 67% on Oil Prices, Beats Estimates

OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, said profit increased 67 percent in the second quarter after crude prices climbed, outweighing a decline in output.

BP Loses The Russian Arctic To Exxon

Despite ongoing negotiations, Rosneft was not keen, and today's news appears to deliver the final blow to BP's Russian Arctic aspirations. It also ends the uncertainty over the affair. Investors will heave a collective sigh of relief for that.

BP lashes ‘illegal’ Russian raid

BP has lashed out at Russian officials, branding a raid by bailiffs at its Moscow offices on Wednesday as “illegal” and without “legitimate grounds”.

Damascus feels effects of crippled economy

DAMASCUS, Syria – The rows of sparkling 18-carat-gold bangle bracelets have long since been removed from the cramped, tiny jewelry shops in the Salihiya neighborhood of Damascus. Many of the shops and travel agencies clustered in this popular shopping district are closed until further notice.

Timor's oil: blessing or curse?

Oil has different meanings for different societies. For developed societies like the United States, Japan, and Western Europe, oil is like an addictive drug that people only want more and more of. It enables them to go everywhere. It helps them cook and regulate the temperature of their dwellings. Without oil, people in these societies couldn't sustain their way of life. For these reasons, many countries go to war for the sake of securing access to oil.

However, oil has different significance for developing countries whose economies heavily depend on exporting oil and gas. When oil was discovered in their territory, it was their expectation that oil exports would help to boost their domestic economy through creating jobs, improving human resources, developing the non-oil economy, building infrastructure, and funding other social services. But this has rarely come to pass.

Conn. extends ban on price gouging in power outage

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has extended through Labor Day weekend a ban on price gouging for gasoline and heating fuel.

Oil price differentials, not emissions, the key to Keystone

James Hansen, NASA’s lead climate scientist, says if TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL mega-project connecting Alberta tar sands producers to Gulf Coast refineries is approved, it is game over for the planet.

It certainly won’t be game over for Alberta’s oil patch or the thousands of North American steel workers who will build the massive pipeline. And I rather doubt it will be game over for the planet. If Mr. Hansen is worried about emissions growth, he just has to look at where the global economy is heading these days.

Penn State study finds fewer jobs, royalty revenues going elsewhere; 'still big numbers'

Jobs related to natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale field were about half what previous studies had estimated for 2009, but the industry still supported about 23,500 jobs that year, according to a new study issued by Penn State researchers.

Pa. Gas Lease, Royalty Income Taxes Top $100MM

Pennsylvania landowners are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in income taxes on money earned from Marcellus shale gas activity, and the tax revenue, like the drilling, is growing fast.

Mismanagement Blamed for Bay Area Gas Disaster

WASHINGTON — The main cause of the natural gas pipeline rupture in San Bruno, Calif., that killed eight people and burned three dozen houses last September was 54 years of bad management by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and state and federal regulators who did not notice the problem, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Tuesday.

How To Invest By Using Scenarios (Part 2)

The scenario which has the greatest influence upon my investment strategy, and has done so for the best part of a decade, is "peak oil." It's a straightforward argument; when global oil production eventually falls, as it must do one day, oil prices will quickly rocket as everyone scrambles for the remaining output.

Peak oil could easily trigger wars, famines and a global depression, but investors in oil producers will be sitting pretty.

Arab Time Capsule - Rescuing for Future-building

The tragedy of Arab authoritarianism and economic militarization of the oil producing Arab nations is more complex and full of individualistic horrors, societal complacency and political blunders. Almost at every opportunity offered by time and history, the absolute rulers took wrong turns and slipped into the vices and ruins of self- generated corruption. Post revolutionary planners and organizers and the new emerging educated and intelligent leaders of the Arab Middle East must make a navigational change and set priorities to detach the economy and politics from the oil fed thinking and consequential militarization and interdependency on the Western nations unto social and economic-political reconstruction of the Arab societies for a sustainable future.

Complete English translation of German military analysis of peak oil now available

Last week the Bundeswehr posted an English version (112 pgs) of their extraordinary analysis of peak oil. The original German document (125 pgs) was approved for public release last November, yet neither the complete German version nor the partial English translation has attracted interest from mainstream media.

Now that a complete translation is available, it is hoped that media throughout the English-speaking world will see the Bundeswehr study for what it is: a comprehensive, realistic analysis of one of the most formidable challenges of this century, the (potentially imminent) peaking of global oil production.

Joel Salatin: How to Prepare for A Future Increasingly Defined By Localized Food & Energy

Whether we like it or not, the arrival of peak oil is going to force us to realize that our heavily-energy intensive practices can't continue at their current scale. And with world population still increasing exponentially, we'll need to find other, more sustainable, ways of growing our food.

A Time Frame For Systemic Collapse

A time frame for systemic collapse can be extrapolated easily from the on-line document The Coming Chaos, an abridgement of a larger text (see link below). The most significant page is at the start of the text, the chart of estimated past and future oil production. Most of the other time frames will parallel that curve. Then one can look at the chapter on electricity, which as Richard Duncan says will be the first really distinct, “on-off” type of indicator. The next parallel can be found in the chapter on economics, which mentions two "phases," divided by the point at which money as such is no longer an important means of exchange; past examples occurred with the crash of the USSR, and in Weimar Germany.

Sharon Astyk: When technical feasibility doesn’t matter

We are in the habit of forgetting the basis of will, energy and money that technical capacities rest on – we assume that because an outcome is desirable, it is therefore likely. But low infant mortality is eminently desirable, something I suspect most of us can agree on – and there are no major technical barriers. Thus John Michael Greer has found that when he questions the future of the internet, people base their case for the internet’s persistence on its desirability, utility and current viability – without really recognizing that many things that meet those specifications don’t happen for many people in the world.

The Seneca effect: why decline is faster than growth

Don't you stumble, sometimes, into something that seems to make a lot of sense but you can't say exactly why? For a long time, I had in mind the idea that when things start going bad, they tend to go bad fast. We might call this tendency the "Seneca effect" or the "Seneca cliff," from Lucius Anneaus Seneca who wrote that "increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid."

Coming Soon: A Brighter Day!

If you were God for a day, what kind of energy would you choose to power civilization?

Looking at the planet God created, the choices currently being exploited seem few and largely unappealing. Oil, natural gas, coal: These provide comparatively abundant energy, but are terribly polluting and non-renewable: finite—here today, then gone forever. Peak oil is becoming increasingly evident, and civilization is about to be altered.

Why Do So Many People Believe in the Fantasy of Infinite Growth on a Finite Planet?

Each day it becomes more apparent that we are on a misguided mission. Pursuit of perpetual economic growth is not a winning proposition for a lasting prosperity. Building a bigger economy can make sense in some circumstances, but always aiming to build a bigger economy means taking an ever-bigger chunk out of the earth’s ecosystems and the life-support services they provide. Why, then, do so many people believe in the fantasy of infinite growth on a finite planet? Is it because we can’t come up with a better idea? Is it because the rich and powerful have trapped the rest of us in their web of conspiracy? Is it because people are hopelessly greedy and materialistic?

How Solar Energy Will Solve the World’s Triple Unsustainability Crisis

We are living in an era of global “triple unsustainability” — economic, social and environmental. The indisputable evidence is on the front pages every morning: the never-ending aftershocks from the financial crisis of 2007-2009, events like this year’s North African rebellions and the now undeniable, acute effects of global warming.

Taken together, it represents a new reality that simply can’t be wished away — a reality of unsolved problems crying out for new and fundamental solutions, not the same old Band-Aids that only mask the wound.

Earthquake may have exceeded nuclear plant's design

A nuclear power plant has reported that last week's 5.8-magnitude earthquake may have created stronger shaking that it was designed to withstand, prompting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to send additional inspectors to the Virginia facility this week.

Germany Dims Nuclear Plants, but Hopes to Keep Lights On

BIBLIS, Germany — Not since the grim period after World War II has Germany had significant blackouts, but it is now bracing for that possibility after shutting down half its nuclear reactors practically overnight.

Wind power makes greenhouses greener

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (CNNMoney) -- From the outside, it looks like a crash-landed blimp. On the inside, it feels like a wind tunnel. For inventor David Chelf, this strange structure -- a high-tech greenhouse with no skeleton, whose lightweight skin is held aloft on breezes from giant fans -- looks like the future of agriculture.

"I knew nothing could grow without airflow," Chelf explains. "And I thought if I could work with natural forces, like the wind, maybe I could create a structure that held itself up with very little energy."

Strong, light blades a boost for wind energy?

Bigger is better … when it's also lighter and stronger, goes the thinking of engineers and materials scientists designing the next generation of blades to wring energy from the wind.

Bangladesh aims for big growth in solar energy by 2015

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AlertNet) - Rural areas of Bangladesh are to see an increase in solar electricity generation as part of an ambitious plan to boost the provision of power from renewable sources.

The government has set a target of generating 500 megawatts (MW) of green energy – almost ten times the current amount – by 2015, in an attempt to narrow the gap between current supplies of grid electricity and the needs of the country’s 160 million people.

Solar Purge Drives Weakest Into Bankruptcy, Buyouts With More Deals Coming

The solar-equipment industry has begun its biggest consolidation in at least two years as photovoltaic systems plunge in price, forcing weaker companies to team with competitors or close shop.

Biden calls for new clean energy policy for US

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The United States can't lead the world in the 21st century with its current energy policy, Vice President Joe Biden told alternative technology supporters Tuesday at a clean energy summit in Las Vegas.

The nation is already trailing China and Germany in green technology, Biden said. It will trade its dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign clean energy technology if its leaders don't act to help fledging green researchers and businesses, he said.

New 'most efficient' label takes Energy Star a step further

Now, in its continuing effort to tighten the criteria for these appliances, EPA and the Department of Energy are announcing a new label, "most efficient," to recognize the best-of-the-lot products in terms of energy efficiency.

No driver needed: Firm in Iowa develops 'autonomous' tractor

When the Kinze autonomy system arrives, it will be aimed at solving one of farming's most persistent problems: the scarcity of good help.

Making the most of extra summer produce

For the 50 million Americans who can't afford food right now, fresh produce is a rarity. "We all have the responsibility to not waste food, even from the garden," says Lisa Braddock, who is founder of the Sunshine Harvest Sharing Project, which aims to link up gardeners in Illinois and Utah with food banks that could use the surplus. Nationally, the site AmpleHarvest.org can connect you with food pantries in your area, even telling you on which days each will receive deliveries.

Protests in Iran Over Disappearing Lake

The raw YouTube clips, of Iranian protesters filling the streets and clashing violently with members of the security forces on motorcycles, might seem familiar to readers who followed the wave of unrest over Iran’s disputed presidential election in 2009, but the anger in the city of Tabriz this time has a more local cause: the government’s failure to halt the gradual disappearance of a vast salt lake that is crucial to the region’s economy.

Making a Life on a Tough, New Planet

The months after the initial publication of Eaarth saw some of the most intense environmental trauma the planet has ever witnessed, events that exemplified the forces I have described in the book.

Can Water Treaties Be Climate-Proofed?

International agreements on how to manage rivers used by more than one country are too inflexible, making them poor tools to deal with changes in freshwater availability caused by climate change.

Link up top: Has Peak Oil Come To The Non-Opec World? Maybe.

We should not get excited over this just yet. Some of that decline came from the Libyan civil war. The total non-OPEC decline was about 750,000 barrels per day. But according to JODI non-OPEC peaked last November and has declined just over one million barrels per day since that monthly peak.

Ron P.

Doesn't the article say that even after excluding Libya issues the drop is 8% ?
Anyways you are right, no reason to get overworked, the drop has to be sustained and over a long period of time to be taken seriously. However interesting to see that OPEC production is slightly higher, maybe the summer effect.

There is another article on the web that references this story, probably because it was printed in Forbes.
On the EQC’s funding woes, and a peak oil update

Production for non-OPEC suppliers is down by 4%, while OPEC production is up by 2%. So does that balance out? Not for long, if at all. Not when the average yield from some of the big fields, as Forbes says, is declining by 5% annually.

The fact that the article was printed in Forbes carries some weight. Perhaps the word is getting out.

Ron P.

Yes, even excluding Libya, the production of the 16 biggest private oil companies in the world is down 8%. This indicates that it is getting exceedingly difficult or impossible for them to maintain production levels.

The biggest oil companies in the world are not the private oil companies but the National Oil Companies (NOCs). However, even including them, non-OPEC production is down 4%.

That means the world is counting on the OPEC producers to fend off Peak Oil. It is true that they are sitting on most of the world's truly huge oil fields, but I don't think we can count on them to increase production much more.

At some point in time, the really big OPEC oil producers will peak and start to decline, and then it's game over for the world's oil consumers. Get ready to pay much more money for much less fuel (what you are paying now is just the start of it).

And what coincidence...I was listening to an old interview of Matthew Simmons today

Twilight in the Desert - Matthew R Simmons

He predicted that the large Saudi fields will flow over with salt water some time in the future.
We really are living in the twilight zone.

Some "What If" Scenarios

2005 & 2010 Production (P), Consumption (C) and Global Net Export (GNE) numbers for 2005 top 33 net oil exporters (BP + Minor EIA data, total petroleum liquids, mbpd):

P - C = GNE

2005: 62.2 - 16.8 = 45.4

2010: 61.9 - 19.2 = 42.7

Assuming 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in consumption & a 2%/year production decline rate, in 2015 we would see:

2015: 56 - 22 = 34

Available Net Exports (GNE less Chindia's net imports) fell from about 40 mbpd in 2005 to about 35 mbpd in 2010, i.e., down about one mbpd per year from 2005 to 2010.

Assuming 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in Chindia's net imports*, and assuming GNE of about 34 mbpd in 2015, in 2015 we would see ANE of about 23 mbpd, down 2.4 mbpd per year from 2010 to 2015.

*Chindia's net imports in 2005 were 5.1 mbpd, in 2010 7.5. At this rate of increase they would be at 11 mbpd in 2015.

Sometimes just the title of an article just makes me mad. Up top:
How Solar Energy Will Solve the World’s Triple Unsustainability Crisis

We are living in an era of global “triple unsustainability” — economic, social and environmental.

And solar energy will fix all three. No solar energy will cannot possibly fix the environmental problems. It cannot stop the depletion of top soils, the falling water tables, species extinctions, disappearing rain forest, desertification, rivers drying up and I could go on and on.

And solar energy will not make our expanding population sustainable.

Actually it is a pretty good article. It identifies a lot of our problems but far from all of them. Then toward the end it really screws everything up.

Not only has solar energy been identified as a solution, but resources have already been directed toward it, and production has already proven feasible. To accelerate the revolution, we need a bold, coordinated international policy.

Our population is deep in overshoot. Solar energy may help keep business as usual going for a few more year and sink us even deeper into overshoot. But I seriously doubt it.

Ron P.

It is possible that the original was a touch less perky than what you see--note that the final note says it was 'adapted' from a talk. I have had hard hitting articles altered almost beyond recognition into happy promotional jingles. I tend not to go back to publications that engage in that kind of heavy handed editorializing.

No solar energy will cannot possibly fix the environmental problems. It cannot stop the depletion of top soils, the falling water tables, species extinctions, disappearing rain forest, desertification, rivers drying up and I could go on and on.

And yet:

Microbes + O2 from the air can 'fix environmental problems'. Solar powered things like Cattails can purify waste water. Some plants offer bio-remediation - and they are solar powered. Rivers drying are part of the rain cycle and that is solar powered.

To accelerate the revolution, we need a bold, coordinated international policy.

A good first step would be removal of the various parasites which have been able to survive due to the high quality energy which was underpriced as expressed as oil/coal.

Solar energy may help keep business as usual going for a few more year and sink us even deeper into overshoot.

Or will be the future energy source, overshoot or not.

Microbes + O2 from the air can 'fix environmental problems'.

That is a rather broad and simplistic statement. I would not hold my breath waiting for microbes and oxygen to fix our environment.

Solar powered things like Cattails can purify waste water.

If purification of waste water was one of the most pressing environmental problems I seriously doubt that cattails would make a serious dent in the problem.

Rivers drying are part of the rain cycle and that is solar powered.

No, rivers running dry are not part of any cycle. The Colorado river runs dry 50 miles before it reaches the sea. The Yellow River in China reaches the sea only during the wettest parts of the year. The rivers Ganges, Jordan, Nile, and Yangtze — all dwindle to a trickle for much of the year. Rivers that fed the Aral Sea no longer reach the Aral Sea and now this once mighty sea that fed millions from its fisheries is nothing but a very small salt marsh. These things have nothing to do with any kind of natural cycle, they are all dry, or almost dry, because of damming the water and pumping it out for industrial use and irrigation.

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century

From the Amazon to the Nile, the Congo to the Colorado, the rivers of the world are running dry.

All these rivers are not running dry because of any kind of natural cycle. They are all running dry because of man made catastrophe.

Ron P.

That is a rather broad and simplistic statement.

So was:

No solar energy will cannot possibly fix the environmental problems.

Now, why are you OK with posting rather broad and simplistic statements and

I would not hold my breath waiting for microbes and oxygen to fix our environment.

And yet that happens every day. eMergy system modeling tries to accommodate such. And the Biodome project shows how much Man needs the natural systems.

Thanks for showing how little such systems are understood and appreciated with your post. And how adopting a system where using bioremedation is rejected by the un-enlightened.

Nonsense! This statement:
No, solar energy will not and cannot possibly fix the environmental problems. (Okay, I corrected my bad English. I often make such errors when I type in haste.)

That is a statement of fact. Our environmental problems, such as massive species extinction, topsoil depletion, falling water tables, desertification, rain forest disappearing, ocean fisheries depletion, rivers running dry, inland seas drying up and on and on and on, cannot be solved by converting to solar energy. That is just common sense. Think man Think! That is not a broad and simplistic statement, it is a statement of just plain common sense.

On the other hand, the statement:
Microbes + O2 from the air can 'fix environmental problems'.
Makes no sense whatsoever.

Ron P.

Nonsense! This statement:
No, solar energy will not and cannot possibly fix the environmental problems.
That is a statement of fact.

And yet, every day environmental problems are fixed by aerobic systems along with systems powered by photons.

(Anerobic systems tend to not result in improvements for complex biological systems but can result in 'fixing' certain Elements so they are not bio-available)

I can't help it if you have chosen to be vague with "fix the environmental problems" and instead of admitting that, as an example, wastewater treatment can be accomplished by greenhouses and cattails you keep defending your incorrect statement.

So that others can read about such systems and become educated to their existence VS those who will not learn:

Think man Think!

I do think, and present solutions (sometimes when I'm not snarking with di-lithyium crystal power) which are likely to remain viable in the future with the low density energy which is likely to be the budget of humanity.

I even mention a modeling system for adding the environmental systems used to help mankind - eMergy and the author Howard Odum. Again, for those who are willing to learn VS those who stay on their path and defend their ignorance.

Our population is deep in overshoot. Solar energy may help keep business as usual going for a few more year and sink us even deeper into overshoot. But I seriously doubt it.

What about on a regional basis? None of India, China, or Japan could support a modern lifestyle (not BAU, but a focused effort to provide an electrified version of a recognizably modern lifestyle) for their entire present population using their regionally available energy resources. Australia probably could, but faces non-energy considerations. Canada seems even better positioned, if they don't have to deal with the neighbor to the south. Argentina if they could properly exploit their hydro and wind potential. Northern Europe. Southern Africa. I've argued in the past that the western third of the US could probably manage.

None of India, China, or Japan could support a modern lifestyle (not BAU, but a focused effort to provide an electrified version of a recognizably modern lifestyle) for their entire present population using their regionally available energy resources.

Just curious but just what are Japan's "regionally available energy resources"?

We live in a very complex and complicated global economy. We have grown almost totally dependent on energy, food, and other resources from the global economy. No nation, or portion of any nation, could possibly divorce itself from the rest of the world without suffering drastic and dire consequences. And by that I mean a drastic reduction in their population.

As far as fossil fuels are concerned, Japan has none, or almost none. Ditto for South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and perhaps a dozen other countries. And at least 100 other countries have only a fraction of the fossil energy it would take to keep them from collapsing if all outside energy sources were cut off.

A collapse of most of the world's countries means a collapse of all the world's countries. Globalization has been our savior, now it will become our devil. When globalization collapses, all the world's economies will swiftly follow.

Ron P.

A collapse of most of the world's countries means a collapse of all the world's countries. Globalization has been our savior, now it will become our devil. When globalization collapses, all the world's economies will swiftly follow.

As an eco-optimist, I guess our difference of opinion hinges on the definitions of "collapse" and "swiftly".

I do not expect to see mass starvation ("collapse") in North or South America, Europe, or Australia/New Zealand during my lifetime ("+/-30 years").

I'm with mcain6925. The world is a very heterogeneous place. Always has been. Always will be. It is only rare decades that have not seen starvation, disease or most likely warfare (homo homini lupus) wipe out millions in one or another region of the globe. Yes, we will see this again in some places. But I am actually optimistic about what the future might hold in my neck of the woods (Washington State). I think regional communities are much more resilient than many on TOD believe.

So Ron, What are your definitions of "collapse" and "swiftly"? Could it be that we're not really that far apart?



I do not expect to see mass starvation ("collapse") in North or South America, Europe, or Australia/New Zealand during my lifetime ("+/-30 years").

What about Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, or even China? Do you actually believe that the East could collapse and the West just keep on trucking as if nothing had happened?

We now live in a global economy. The economy of nations can wax and wane within limits but if a dozen major nations collapse then there would be serious consequences for the rest of the world. I will not pretend to know what effect the collapse of Japan, South Korea and China would have on the US economy but to say that it would have no significant effect is just silly. It would have a dramatic effect, there is no doubt about that.

But I am actually optimistic about what the future might hold in my neck of the woods (Washington State). I think regional communities are much more resilient than many on TOD believe.

I see, in your post Jonathan, the same denial that I see almost everywhere else. That is, it may happen to them but it cannot possibly happen to us. But just imagine that if you went to your local supermarket tomorrow and all the shelves were empty? What would happen tomorrow if your power went off and never came back on?

I have no idea how the collapse will play out. I have no idea when government services like medicare and social security will cease. I have no idea when police and fire protection will cease. But the tax base supports all government services. When the federal government in Washington D.C. collapses your neck of the woods in Washington State will be in deep do do. Don't fool yourself about that.

I really don't think my definition of "collapse" and "swiftly" even remotely resembles yours. And yes I do think we are that far apart.

Ron P.

I believe we need at least 20-25 years to turn around and adapt to the new reality, anything less and we are looking at a rapid breakdown in society. An entire generation will have to learn to live without government help, the world as it stands today is far too efficient for it's own good. The oil production is now controlled by a handful of companies, same with finance, a cabal of banks. All industrial production is Just in Time, inventories are kept low to minimize storage costs, there is absolutely no scope for any emergency as demonstrated by the Japanese Earthquake. Any shutdowns will swiftly flow through the system and bring society to it's knees. To give another example Russia's extreme summer of 2010 sent the price of food soaring throughout the world.

All this makes them impervious to small downturns but highly susceptible to any major collapse. That's why the concept of TBTF has come into picture. I don't think we had any TBTF even a hundred years ago.

The whole world is now one single living organism. There are pockets of isolated communities but they are indeed handful.

Japan's "regionally available energy resources" are hydroelectic, wind, tidal, geothermal (23.5 GW potential) and solar power. Japan is trying to extract methane hydrates from the sea floor.

If you had said "japan is trying extract methane from the earth's anus (700,000 GW potential)..." I would have taken you seriously.

Desperate times call for desperate fantasies.

Above: Solar Purge Drives Weakest Into Bankruptcy...

Weakest? IMO, a gross oversimplification.

Evergreen Solar is no more; their stock symbol, ESLR, no longer exists. I had early hopes for Evergreen, and invested in them early on (actually did OK), but any hopes of competing with the Chinese were misplaced, even with German intervention. RIP, Evergreen. Good effort.

Once again, a technology pioneered in the US and nurtured to maturity in the west, has been ceded to Asia and the Chinese. Tax credits and incentives are now largely subsidies to Chinese PV producers. While BOS and installation costs still benefit US companies and workers, it's yet one more tough pill to swallow. But then again, as Greer eulogized so well last week, the US can't even put a human into space anymore. I submit that these things a more than symbolic. They are indicative of so many other things we discuss here...

ESLR.pk is still trading at 17 cents. Their ribbons just aren't as cheap as the coated stuff. First Solar (FSLR), which makes coated in Arizona, is still trading over $100 with revenue over $2 billion.


So is this a good time to buy panels? What are the best products for the best price right now?

"So is this a good time to buy panels?"

Never better, IMO. Two outfits I trust:

Affordable Solar: 4.6 kw grid tie - $2.34/watt including panels, rack system and inverter, all top quality. These panels ($1.52/watt Canadian Solar) are fine for offgrid as well.

AltEStore: Really nice Kyoceras: $1.73/watt. $4.7KW for $8121.00

Wish I had some extra cash!

Disclaimer: I have no stake or affiliation with either of these companies.

dohboi, if the world just had its second peak oil related oil price shock, demand for PV may decline over the next year and unemployment may soar causing the prices to decrease further. Watch the prices, make a projection and then decide.

"ESLR.pk is still trading at 17 cents."

Go to the link and click on ESLR; see what comes up. Penny stock recommendations. They're toast:

Deborah Becker: Why is Evergreen Solar filing for bankruptcy?

Curt Nickisch: The company owes about a half-billion dollars and operations are essentially on hold right now. Evergreen is selling only solar panels that it has in stock, it’s not making any new ones currently. So the company is in deep trouble, and reorganization through bankruptcy seems to be the only way to survive anymore.

"Their ribbons just aren't as cheap as the coated stuff."

The market still has a strong preference for crystalline cells; proven efficiency and longevity. With polycrystalline cells selling sub-$2.00/watt, considering BOS and installation, the difference between amorphous, coated, and flexible laminates isn't enough to sway me, especially considering space requirements. These days, lower efficiency and installation costs likely offset per watt savings. Besides, crystalline panels are tried and true. My original monocrystalline Siemens panels still produce above rated wattage going on 16 years (October '99). The only advantage I see with amorphous cells is in high temp situations (still not as efficient as crystalline cells per square meter).

America the wasteland that once was. Most people have no idea how to unplug their own sink. LOL

Read and weep, my friend....

How to create (and destroy) a solar export industry

Here’s a question I get asked all the time: Can solar modules made in Ontario compete in a global marketplace?

Many have their doubts, and those doubts are grounded in reality. The solar photovoltaic modules coming off Ontario assembly lines today are probably not going to find many customers in Europe or the United States.

The key word being “today.”

See: http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1045503--how-to-create-and-destr...


Panels are heavy and bulky things -- and perhaps when shipping gets costlier then panels will be made more locally. When is that tipping point?

"Panels are heavy and bulky things" - maybe not so much.

1 (uno) PALLET of SolarWorld 250's -30 Panels- 7.5kW STC. Production = 900+ kWh/Month Average in most Areas of US, for decades to come. Will out last me and make Power for the next generation. Panels are ~20kg each. Easily carried onto a roof by Humans. Electrical output just shy of burning a 55 gallon drum of Diesel a Month. (1 USG=30kWh,No-Generator loss) So saves shipping more than 1 drum of Oil/month around the Planet- for Decades. Photon's have no mass.

You are completely off my point. I dig solar. I am installing a system now. I am asking what the cost of shipping is per W. 20 kg is not a light weight plastic trash can you know. There are shipping charges for panels. The question is how competitive China is due to their slave labor pool. I gather that they are very competitive.

Panels are heavy and bulky things -- and perhaps when shipping gets costlier then panels will be made more locally. When is that tipping point?

I had seen the figure thrown out, for the factory labor component of something like $.10/watt. So if shipping panels across the Pacific reaches $.10/watt, the cheap labor advantage is nullified. As panels get cheaper, the relative importance of shipping increases. IMHO, BOS is going to become the cutting edge of solar competiveness, and panels will become commodities.

Google "Solar Laminates", this is the future. No more bulky frames, just the panel which you install into your rack system which is also the structure of your roof.

"Panels are heavy and bulky things"

Bulky? Somewhat . . . they need to be big to collect a large area of light. Heavy? No, not at all.

They are heavy due to the tempered glass used. There are lighter alternatives, I still would prefer tempered glass.

Now if only UPS could deliver them in 1 piece instead of the 10,000 pieces that were in the box last week.

UPS is well known to be pronounced Oops.


The FIT program in Ontario is far too generous for solar PV. Despite significant drops in the cost of PV panels, the program still guarantees a payment of 80.2 cents per kwh to residential installations for a period of 20 years. These are not net metering installations either -- the homeowner sells all the power they generate for 80.2 cents per kwh while at the same time buying power at the much lower regulated rate for their own consumption. The Ontario government is either completely clueless as to what is happening with solar FIT programs elsewhere in the world or they are only listening to the green energy lobbyists.

The green energy jobs in Ontario are viable only as long as the government keeps signing more lucrative 20 year FIT contracts. In other words only as long as there is a substantial subsidy provided.

Now that Japan has freed the Grid, and committed to having a FIT, it will be interesting to see if they have learned from mistakes made. With wholesale PV prices under $1.50 a watt - PV now has to be lower cost source in the mix for new generation. Not so far fetch that Nuclear will someday be the "Alternative" Energy? Keep track of news on FIT's and Grid support by 3rd parties here. www.wind-works.org
Too bad for the US that Congress and Enron batched Energy De-Reg in the US.

a technology pioneered in the US and nurtured to maturity in the west, has been ceded to Asia and the Chinese.

And yet...
US Solar Industry Was Net Global Exporter by $1.9B in 2010, According to GTM Research and SEIA

Add Solyndra, to the list of US solar companies that didn't make it.

Evergreen's failure was less about the relative competitiveness than about a poor choice of product format. Evergreen choose a nonstandard panel size, and that lead to additional supply chain costs, both for manufacturing, and deplyment of the product. PV, is a very competitive cut-throat business. It takes a combination of good ideas, good execution, and good lick to succeed.


I think the US though will prove itself an innovator of the next cost-cutting moves. Lets face it, the wafers are the issue. Forget the chain-gangs of Chinese workers with soldering irons working for $0.5/hr -- I bet the testing and daisy chaining of wafers can be automated. It is the darn wafers. Once they optimize the wafer production then big gains will be had. I think the best ideas are American ones on this front. [An Example]

There little major IP from Chinese solar. They are just basically using brute force labor and land use tricks to stifle US market share. It reminds me of their efforts to take market share in car tires or orange juice.

There is no finesse/IP/etc to their business practices imho.

Also, micro-inverter technology is American and not Chinese. Again solid thinking is required. China, while a powerful manufacturing juggernaut, is not a very innovative place, imho.

"There little major IP from Chinese solar. They are just basically using brute force labor and land use tricks to stifle US market share. It reminds me of their efforts to take market share in car tires or orange juice. "

And yet, they win.

I'd suggest googling for "solar panel manufacturing" videos and you will see that the daisy chaining is automated but there are an awful lot of other steps. The Suntech one is a good example but take a look at a few. The Chinese may not innovate but they sure know how to get the manufacturing going. One issue for existing solar plants is that the plant making last year's technology is difficult to upgrade to next year's. To change, for example, wafer size you basically need to tear out your fab and put in a new one so a plant that a company built as leading edge 5 years ago with the American 20 years of production ideal may fall outside the market envelope and is best shut down.


Well adaptable Fab is needed. The wafers are where the money will be made at the end of the day. I would say solar is not like rubber trash cans or melamine soup bowls. Americans are not out of the game quite yet. ;-)

We can all look in awe at the Chinese Corps but how hard is it to turn a profit with $5Billion thrown at you by the Chinese Development Corporation. American companies get chump change by comparison. Oh well. Let China do it.

In the electronics feild, older gen fabs usually aren't closed down, but become economy producers for lower tech product. I think some of these fabs were converted over to making PV wafers. As long as capital costs dominate, then yesteryears fully amortized fab, can be very economical -even if it can't do the new cutting edge stuff.

True though I was thinking that a line for 4" wafers woud not be easy to convert to 6" for example. I still think that a line derived from a previous use would find it hard to compete with a new, highly automated line.

Very true what you say below about process tuning. Do you see any sign of dual junction coming up in the near future?


I think right now wafer costs are the largest single cost. But, I think the big innovations are going to be in much thinner sliced wafers, using half to maybe a fifth of the current silicon per watt. The most well known of the contenders is 1366 technoloy, but there are at least half a dozen other startups with innovative idas for making even thinner wafers. When that happens, we should be in the $.50 per watt range. Then balance of system issues, such as racking, wiring, inverters and unfortunately paperwork and inspections become the new nails to be pounded down. I used to work in gofast computing. We would get a time spent profile of a program, then hamme down the biggest pieces (protruding nails), then a new set of secondary routines come to the fore, wack them down as well, then yet another group. All the while the thing is getting better and better. This is where solar is going to be for at least the next decade. Cost wack-a-mole. Until it gets too hard to find any moles left to wack...

it is good that the component (panel and inverter) costs are coming down, but the installation costs are a different story. It's hard to see a lot of economy of time/scale happening in residential installations, but commercial and utility scale ones are a different story.

If, for example, there is a dramatic reduction in cost for tracking systems, this would be a large benefit to utility scale, but of little benefit to residential.

So, as these costs keep going down, I think we will see more of the commercial ()warehouse roof) and utility installations, which is a good thing.
I expect that for residential to carry on it will either need to continue to be subsidised of have high peak time rates, to convince homeowners to do it. By now, most of the early adopters must have adopted - convincing the middling majority is a far harder task.

A virtual store with no physical product stock rolls out in Korea...


In fact, consumers don’t have to be anywhere near the virtual store.

“For example, if you want to order replacements of a bottle of water that you have in your hand, you don’t have to stop by the subway station,” Lee said. “You simply scan the bottle’s barcode with the Homeplus app.” The products are delivered later to home or office.

No doubt to be powered by the virtually unlimited clean efficient nuclear fusion power apparently foretold by God in the Bible, at least according to the Trumpet (Coming Soon: A Brighter Day!) (in the above story links):


Look forward to that dazzling day. Glittering cities with light to spare; zero-pollution, high-speed transportation systems; clean, powerful industries, and who knows what else we might achieve using God’s awesome laws? Stay hopeful. That incandescently happy time is coming soon.

Every child well above average...and there will be spandex jackets for everyone...

In our waning decades, some among us will suffer delusions of Godhood...

Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

Ironic that the God people are so into the idea that happiness is a function of material well being. And then the people on the right who receive their policy instructions from God (Bachman) are so focused on how they are going to return us to the golden days of growth, growth, growth. I guess a spiritual renaissance doesn't sell. Oh how the message of their bible has been mangled beyond all recognition.

And here's a radical idea. Carry your own reusable water bottle and fill it at the tap.

If one actually studied the stories of the Bible, they would realize to be Christian is to strip away all your material wealth and literally give it away to those in need. Americas have a way of turning something good like Cheese into a spray bottle "Cheez" made by Kraft. LOL

Bloody hell! That Trumpet nonsense very nearly made me vomit.

Actually, the only thing that kept me from laughing out loud was the realization that there are millions of lunatics out there that actually believe all this stuff.

Antoinetta III

And every statement like this decreases the chance that they'll ever listen to anything you say.

But they will mostly be pleasant about it, and pray for you, and evangelize to your kids. Will it be funny when your kid goes to their church to hear about naming and claiming a new SUV?

A big tent approach free of derision might be a better approach?

There is no chance (to be decreased) that they'll ever listen to anything she says.

"A big tent approach free of derision might be a better approach?"

Possibly, but I wonder if it is possible for people that divorced from reality to be able to listen to discussions of....reality. Maybe worrying if they listen or not is just a waste.

Antoinetta III

I think it is worth the worry. There are more like them than there are who think more like you. They will vote and influence politicians too.

Different tactics work on different people. Some are influenced by fire and brimstone. Others by quiet anonymous acts. Many, many by charismatic personalities. Doesn't matter much whether you're evangelizing climate change or a splinter cult -- it's salesmanship at a primal level. Facts alone will convince only a tiny fraction. Auto-didacts have a hard time accepting that.

I think it is worth the worry.

I do too. But, I don't think many are cut out for the role you describe. It takes a certain type of personality, to work via the angles you suggest. The rest of us have to find another line of attack -or maybe we just need enough wisdom to know when to get out of your way.

Are they really any more divorced from reality than the average American?

At least the article accepts the reality of peak oil.

It may or may not be worth worrying if they listen, but I'd really like people here to cut back on the political and religious (or anti-religious) rants. There are plenty of other places where you can vent that kind of stuff.

Many sites ban politics and religion altogether, but we can't. Whether we like it or not, politics and religion are how we are going to deal with peak oil. (Indeed, religion is the traditional way societies deal with resource contraints.) Please make an effort to discuss these topics with maturity and respect.

(And I'm not singling you out, Antoinetta - this is just a convenient place to address this issue.)

And every statement like this decreases the chance that they'll ever listen to anything you say.

Paleocon, they will never listen to anything you say regardless of how you put it. They already know what is truth and if you do not mouth the words they wish to hear they will pay no attention to you whatsoever.

As long as nothing is going to work then derision is a lot more fun. ;-)

Ron P.

Now that was funny!

The younger they are, the better your chances, I'd say. A lot of kids have doubts about 6,000 year old dinosaur bones.

Yes I was joking but now I am serious. I seriously think ridiculing the nut cases may be the best approach. That was what was done to Sarah Palin and it has killed any chance she ever had. It is currently killing any chance Michele Bachmann ever had.

The late night comedians had a field day and the prime time comedians like Jon Stuart and Bill Maher are pushing these folks into the koo koo corner where they belong.

Yes there is something to be said for ridicule and derision and it is not necessarily bad.

Ron P.

I tend to agree, Ron. Some people believe (or profess to believe) in rather ridiculous things, and I see nothing wrong with pointing it out rather than politely patting them on the head and saying "that's nice".

So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: "Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is." Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.
- Mark Twain, a Biography

Religion doesn't "do" "live and let live". It "does" "agree or die". Mollify it at your peril....IMHO.

Monotheistic religions don't do "live and let live". Bhuddism and Daoism are a lot less bothered by other theeisms. Hindus have so many gods already they tend to be tolerant, but they do get on the defensive some of the time.

Commandments 1 and 2:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Jealous Gods do not take kindly to competing other Gods

And if you are going to do the Lord's work, one of your tasks is to help your God "visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the ... fourth generation of them that hate me"

Source= Wikipedaia

I am a daily reader of TOD and am very grateful for the insight that it has given me. Therefore I hope that the following is viewed as a positive contribution rather than a rant.

I am a Born Again Christian. I grew up on an east Texas sharecropper farm and flunked out of Texas A&M. I joined the USMC and was trained as an aviation electronic technician. Following discharge from the USMC, I found employment in the aero space industry. I retired at age 55 as Director of Computing Engineering and Technology of the nations premier aerospace corporation.

After retiring, I moved my family to a rural community and thru the local Church, Grange, and Community Emergency Assistance Group became a community leader.

I am a doomer on the order of Darwinian and a prepper on the order of Todd. By distribution of a regular emergency preparedness letter and leadership in the above listed organizations our valley now has a large group of committed preppers who are knowledgeable of both peak oil and the collapsing global economy.

When our valley was flooded several years ago (houses were eight feet under water), it was Christians who came every week end for five months to help us rebuild. I never asked them how old the earth was or how they felt about evolution. I simply prayed with them and sent them out to eight hours of drudge work for five months.

Many in my valley are not Christians but I believe that they will die to protect me and mine as I will them. A recent essay attached to my monthly letter was titled Biblical Basis for Self and Community Defense. Last month’s letter included an essay titled Biblical Basis for Storing Up for an Emergency. I got no flack from either Christian or non Christian friends.

The frequent negative comments in TOD relative to religion and politics strike me as being counter productive and based on a blind faith in anti Christian and anti Conservative biases.

The frequent negative comments in TOD relative to religion and politics strike me as being counter productive and based on a blind faith in anti Christian and anti Conservative biases.

Not so actually. Bad experiences in the real world, with real people, calling themselves Christians.
The word "conservative" has been so warped, mangled and misshapen in it's usage in this country, it really has no meaning any more. It would be a pointless debate. You say potato; I say patattah.
If everything in your valley is as harmonious as you state, I'm happy for you.

Exactly. It's a pointless debate. Not to mention tedious.

Maybe it is worth having, but it doesn't have to be here. Smiting the conservatives/liberals/Christians/infidels is not the purpose of this site.

But understanding why their brains have wired up the way they have is a point to consider on this site because it sheds light on why the general public seems to "not get it" with regard to Peak Oil.

How much simpler does one have to make it for them than the following points:
1) Our world is finite
2) It's oil resources are finite
3) Finite things run out and then there is an oh oh moment
4) What if the oh oh moment is soon upon us?

Then again, some celebrate and roar hallelujah when told the Rapture is here
That may explain it

You mean the way our brains are wired up.

Some peak oilers are looking forward to collapse, too.

Yes exactly.

Except that we each also believe (thanks to Hollywood) that the bullets will miss us and take out only the other guy.

It's called exceptionalism.

To me, this is the interesting aspect of the situation. On BOTH, really, ALL sides such highly convinced people have a hard time accepting that their view is "religiously" held, and that we are all rationalizing rather than rationally deducing our positions. Maybe there are some who are truly driven by data alone, but I imagine they are not so sure of positions or of the data.

I think "strength of belief" is just one of many brain wirings, more or less orthogonal to "logical thought", and not necessarily much correlated with "intellect" either. I note with relish that when I think I've figured something out, I'm really sure I'm right....until the truth comes along. Then I can see where I went wrong, and I'm instantly just as convinced that the new truth must be right, along with a good helping of "was almost right" to pat my ego. By now I know both "sensations" pretty well, and can sorta tell when I'm "believing" instead of "knowing", but for most things I just roll along with what I think I know, just like everybody else.

My mother-in-law, though, has only the "belief" sensation. New information does not necessarily affect her position, and she can strongly hold beliefs on multiple related points that cannot be logically reconciled. On other things she is perfectly willing to learn -- it's not an all or nothing phenomenon. I am therefore absolutely convinced (as well as believing) that some people can indeed hold inconsistent beliefs, while seeming quite "normal". Perhaps we all do?

I've worked for CEOs who were this way -- utterly self-convinced, regardless of facts. It did not seem to be a detriment, since the value of being a true-believer yielded drive that more than compensated for sometimes being completely wrong. Most mere mortals don't have the self-confidence to argue and rationalize endlessly.

My mother-in-law, though, has only the "belief" sensation.

Until, and unless, you experience the rational logic sensation it is impossible to grok that there could be anything else but an "I think/ I believe" sensation.

Imagine a fish jumping out of water for the first time in life and suddenly realizing that one can have a sensation other than that of always being surrounded by water!

How do you explain it to the other fish?

How many would believe you?
Or even give you the time of day tide?

Kind of like trying to explain PO to the nonbelievers, eh?

How do you explain it to the other fish?

Tim Minchin, Tony The Fish


Tony The Fish --loved it, thanks (although the last song is not that catchy of a fish tune --too bad)

It seems that we Americans are, embarrassingly, the butt ends of many jokes made over there at that fringe rational part of the Rest-Of-The-World, which ROTW obviously doesn't exist because as we Americans know, ships that go out too far, well sort of fall of the edge of Tom Friedman's Flat, Hot and Crowded World and never come back

Yes. There really isn't a correlation between intelligence and rationality. Intelligence is often used to rationalize beliefs, not question them.

I've worked for CEOs who were this way -- utterly self-convinced, regardless of facts. It did not seem to be a detriment, since the value of being a true-believer yielded drive that more than compensated for sometimes being completely wrong. Most mere mortals don't have the self-confidence to argue and rationalize endlessly.

Exactly. I think this is what Nate was talking about when he talked about clowns. It's not intelligence or rationality that gets people followers: it's confidence. People who are willing to go out on a limb - take a stand - will garner followers. Even if their predictions are proven wrong again and again. It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong. It's how certain you are that determines how much influence you have.

I am one of them Leanan. In one hand you have a few more years of comfortable life and high consumption patterns. In the other hand you have to all advanced life forms on earth. You can only preserve one. Take your pick.

I am no different than all the rest of you, and chose the least horrible one. I amjust aware and notin denyal of what the choises are.

(1), (2), and (3) essentially frame an amusing academic tautology that might or might not be of current interest in the real world.

(4) is not an argument, it is a question for which the others form a preamble. The what if leads mainly to endless idle speculation. (And what if a small meteorite hits me square in the head? Well, I'll be dead. But unless I'm prepared to take up permanent residence deep in a mine, so what?) Instead, the practical version would be "is the uh-oh moment imminent enough to matter?" The other points in and of themselves do not in any manner require a "yes" answer.

Thus there's little reason for the public to "get it", if "get it" denotes adopting intrusive, expensive or time-consuming, sweeping reforms of how they live daily life. They might instead go along with those who answer "no" to the practical version of the question, tacitly assuming that there's plenty of lager left in the pitcher, or at least that there's plenty of ale in the next pitcher. Then they can get on with life, leaving academics and worry-warts to extrapolate hypotheticals about brewski supply out to eternity.

In other words - and as we are seeing, like it or not - the practical question isn't answerable in any important social sense by smugly stating an academic tautology of dubious relevance, then picking up one's marbles and walking away muttering about how others Don't See The Light.

Nah. Show the US production curve. Show Hubbert's projection. Show Global oil from 1900 to present and highlight the last 6 year stagnation. Finish up with Global oil price spikes. Q.E.D.

People with small brains will never understand. Heck they cannot really understand many phenomena. Why should they understand peak oil. But many others with reasonable educations will get it. In fact most do get Oil and fossils are finite.

The problem occurs when people think oil at current rates of consumption can be replaced with magic_factor_X seemlessly.

That is where I have trouble convincing people.

The problem occurs when people think oil at current rates of consumption can be replaced with magic_factor_X seemlessly.

That has been my experience as well. In fact, that is what the Trumpet article was arguing. Not that that fossil fuels are infinite, but that we should switch to fusion as a fix for peak oil.

It's really not that different from many secular articles making similar arguments.

Heck, not that long ago this place was flooded with Swedes who were convinced Rossi's cold fusion was going to fix peak oil. They didn't seem to be particularly religious.

Yes. Technology X will save us.

I call it CPSRS--Cornucopian Primal Scream Response Syndrome, i.e., there must be some way, somehow to maintain an infinite rate of increase in our consumption of a finite energy resource base.

I distinctly remember being taught in middle school that we had at 500 years of coal, thousands of years of uranium, and limitless fusion just around the corner. These memes have been repeated enough that most people consider them true, if they consider them at all.

Yes I got a real mixed message in school. We were told fossils are finite, BUT all this other stuff was just around the corner and heck coal reserves can get us through in a pinch if fusion takes longer than expected--replace with Natural Gas if you'd like. So it sets back your alarm clock on the issue until perhaps Enron, 9/11, various oil and NG price spikes tell you, Houston we have a problem. Something is fishy. Then you read about Hubbert's Peak and see that oil production is fairly stagnant and you wonder, "Were all those fantasy_X things ready to go?" Here we are.

Heck, I'm no rocket scientist,

but "they" WILL come up with something else.

Always have!

(Please don't shoot. Just explaining to you how "they" think.)

[ i.mage.+]

They already have. They go by the names of improved efficiency, and renewables.

We'll ride the decline curve all the way down, grudgingly, as we implement the former, and adopt the latter.

The developing world, just as they've leap frogged to cell phones rather than rolling out copper, will adopt solar and wind, roll on electric bikes, and build housing appropriate for the climate.

The developed world will migrate from petrol cars, to electric cars, to electric scooters, to electric bikes, and build housing appropriate for the climate. We'll meet somewhere in the middle.

No, the future isn't going to look anything like the present, but it won't look anything like 1800 either.

The problems are much more extensive than figuring out a way to remain mobile. Having said that, I think the emphasis should be on towns and cities that require less mobility. Mobility is the enemy. All my siblings live as if perpetual mobility everywhere and across continents is the end all and be all of a successful and fulfilling life. Multiply that attitude my a couple of billion. That is the problem. Figuring out ways to just continue mass mobility in another mode is a recipe for disaster.

If one is in a situation where one's need to be constantly mobile is minimized, it is liberating, at least from my perspective. Too bad, most people don't appear to think that way. And it won't change anytime soon.

Start with your feet. And then a bike. Only add an electric motor if absolutely necessary. Planning should focus on the feet and the bike. Beauty, quiet, and peace will follow.

If one includes China is the so called developing world, they may be doing some leap frogging, but they are running through their coal supplies as if their is no tomorrow. Good luck with that.

Am I being realistic? Of course not. But the path of just BAU by other means is even less realistic.

I agree with you completely. I walk first, bike if it's further away or I'm in a hurry, take transit if it is really far away (or I'm really not in any hurry), and drive if there is no alternative. I don't see a business as usual scenario at all, but I do see a remotely possible path from here to a much, much less energy intense arrangement, and it definitely includes less physical moving around. Having people accept electric cars, even if they were at cost parity, will require a tremendous shift in thinking, but getting folks to abandon cars entirely simply won't happen unless there is no other option, so I see electric cars as a bridge to the less moving around epoch. I don't cars going away anytime soon, just getting ever smaller, ever lighter, until they are basically enclosed bicycles (in intemperate climes)with small electric motors.

I just don't think we are very far away from a time when one can walk into a majors car dealership, sign your name to a single document, drive home an electric car, and have workers show up in a few days and install a charger in your garage and solar panels on your roof at an overall monthly lease cost that isn't any higher than what people are routinely paying in vehicle and fuel costs now.

It's also easy for me to imagine Wal-Marts and Home Depots installing a few rooftop panels to power a few free charging stations in their parking lots, and then adding more panels as the popularity grows. They could issue shopping cards that accrue kwh points for dollars spent. Shop here! Free charging!

I've heard it said that the market has utterly failed to act appropriately in the face of peak oil, and I've agreed with that view, but I'm starting to see pretty significant signs of the market responding in a positive way.

Case in point. I recently took a field trip to the model townhomes of a local production builder. They are offering an amazing product. The thermal envelope walls are R-25, and airtight with whole house ventilation systems. The homes have Dual flush toilets, low flow fixtures, and CFL and LED lighting. Appliances are Energy Star everything, or better. They offer PV options, solar thermal options, ground source geo-thermal options. They have net zero options. The garage doors face a narrow paved alley and have no man doors. The front doors face multi-use paths, which is just as it should be. Make the car side only as hospitable as cars deserve, and reward carapace free humans with trees and flowers and friendly neighbors. The particular development I visited is within half a mile of light rail. Most of their units are priced between $150k and $200k.

So, not long from now, normal Americans, with no effort on their part, and with no significant hardship, and with no huge price premium, will be living in net zero housing, driving carbon free solar powered electric cars, and commuting on light and commuter rail. This is already happening, and energy is still super cheap!

Interesting times to be sure.

They already have.

The emphasis was on the word "they" for a reason.
Everyone cops out and points the finger of responsibility on the next guy.

And also the finger of inevitability on the next guy. "They" WILL ...

How about you? How about me?
Why aren't we individuals (me and you, not they, we, or us) inevitability coming up with the stuff?

Written by step back:
3) Finite things run out and then there is an oh oh moment

This point is incorrect about peak oil and is one reason people who don't get it are dismissive of peak oil.

We are not about to run out of crude oil. There is a huge amount still to be extracted. Peak oil is not about using up the last drop. It is about the rate at which crude oil can be extracted, refined and brought to market that reaches a maximum and then slows down. Ideally, theoretically this happens when we have used up half of all the crude oil that we will ultimately extract. Technology will probably extend this peak a little past 50%, maybe up to 60% for the world.

Never say that we are running out because that means that we are close to using up the last drop which is alarmist and clearly false. I know you did not mean that, but that is what they hear causing them to dismiss peak oil.

I think one fallacy is that people just need to be better educated, that we just need to frame things like peak oil better. No. People who know better quit caring or never cared and will continue what they do despite their knowledge of what will happen if we all just continue as before. Doing something requires a basic moral stance. A moral stance operates under the premise that you do the right thing even if it is unlikely that others will not follow suit. That is where religion has value, where it preaches the categorical imperative.

because that means that we are close to using up the last drop which is alarmist and clearly false

Mea culpa

Your are absolutely right.
The fault partially lies in the choice of the phrase, "Peak Oil"

It should have said "The Global Peaking Out Of Petroleum Production" (TG-POOPP)
--alas that is too much of a mouthful for our feeble brains

The word "conservative" has been so warped, mangled and misshapen in it's usage in this country, it really has no meaning any more.

This is realy the key word in your post. Christianity is culturally absorbant; it sucks up the local culture and preserve and enhance it. Thus, christians are different in many aspect from place to place. In the US, politics and religion has mixed in a way that luckily did not happen in the rest of the world.

The bad thing is the US tend to invent and then export cultures all over the world. The good news is, so far, US pop christianity has not managed to spread very much. We non-US christians don't want it. The even better news is, there is a counter movement to this crazy (in the bad sence) version of christianity. Hope it will be successfull.

Well stated TGN. And that was not a rant.

The anti-Christian and anti-Conservative bias does get tedious on this site. But I hang in there for the technical and future insights I get from the majority of the contributors.

I tend to view the population as a bell shaped curve and it is the outlying 3 sigma on both ends that I don't pay much attention to. Although I am a lifelong Christian I have had wonderful experiences with all of the friends I have that are not in the outlying 3 sigma - including both the theistic and atheistic ones.

Hang in there.

Thanks for speaking up TGN.

These comments against all 'Religious People' are a serious shortcoming here.. as they try to homogenize an enormous range of communities, cultures and viewpoints.


"The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope."
— Wendell Berry

Your experience shows that Christian churches do often provide much service to the community and their efforts should be applauded. Having been raised in a Christian environment, including attending a Christian K-12 school, I am also well aware of the salesmanship which accompanies the "do good things" teachings, all of which promote the world view as presented in The Book. That world view has changed over the years, but there are still many who hold to a literal interpretation of the words in The Book, an interpretation which is in deep conflict with the more recent rational viewpoint of science.

The trouble is, as the philosophers tell us, you can't prove a negative. Thus, one can not prove that there isn't some god being or force acting to direct things by changing the normal conditions of physics, chemistry and biology. But, there's no hard proof that such exists, else there would be no discussion or descent possible. The trouble I continually see is that there is a basic conflict between the literal interpretation by Fundamentalist and the world view of the rationalist, as found thru scientific investigation. The scientists have measured the age of the Earth at around 4.55 Billion years, yet the Young Earthers think it's 10,000 (or less, according to Bishop Ussher) but the obvious fact is that both viewpoints can not be correct.

The Christian Fundamentalist can not accept the scientific conclusion that the Earth was not "created" as written in Genesis because it destroys the very foundation of their belief. As a result, they apparently reject all science which contradicts their Book based world view, especially including evolution, biology and ecology. They can't accept the idea that there is a limit to the number of people who can live on the Earth and thus population control is necessary for the survival of civilization. I think that's the root conflict in the abortion debate, as abortion is a form of birth control of last resort. The threat of Global Warming doesn't fit their anti-rational creed either.

The US is fighting a hot war in Afghanistan against people who hold to a fundamentalist world view based on a different Book. Other nations, such as Iran, are also seen as a threat for the same reason. I fear that the Christian Fundamentalist will find their world view so threatened that they will resort to oppression just as violent as the Taliban, as they are pushed harder into an intellectual cul-de-sac by technological advance. The rants from those calling for returning the US to some sort of Christian nation are likely to inflame just such a result, which scares the heck out of me. Having moved to the country and found much deeper religious commitment locally than that I experienced in city life, my awareness has changed radically. I no longer find people like Palin, Bachmann or Perry amusing idiots, but direct threats to my world view and perhaps to my survival, if TSHTF.

BTW, I too worked with computers for a large aerospace company (LockMart), but left 40 years ago...

E. Swanson

Richard Dawkins, as a response to Governor Perry, wrote Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact

Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy.

Dawkins' reply is brilliant. His is not the only reply to Perry, HERE's another from Paula Kirby, which appeared in the WaPo with Dawkins. There are also a couple of other comments regarding Evolution which are pro-religion, linked to via the post above. Kirby offers similar comments regarding Evolution and points to the reason Evolution is a existential threat to the Christian world view...

E. Swanson

The article that prompted the start of this thread, Coming Soon: A Brighter Day! (above), was posted by Leannan.

This article described 'magical thinking', citing the 'Millennium' from the Bible, with respect to the unsupported assertion that clean, limitless energy from nuclear fusion was right around the corner and this would allow a new age of prosperity and peace and our current problems would all melt away.

Such assertions are eligible for comment. I do not treat 'magic thinking' with kid gloves.

If the mods do not wish for comments on such magic thinking, then perhaps they should not post such articles...but that would be censorship of energy-related articles, and counter to the site's mission.

If the 'Zoombot' political party or think-tank or foundation made such a 'magic fusion' statement, I would ridicule their statement as well...the fact that it came from a religious organization/on-line blog does not give it any special privilege from such comment...that would be discrimination.

How about that old standby...criticize ideas, not the people who hold them.

I agree 100%. Creationism is an idea, an article of faith, not a person. That we can drill our way out of this energy crisis is an idea, not a person. The idea that $2 a gallon gasoline can be brought back by "Drill baby Drill" is an idea not a person.

But when the person holding all these ideas is running for President of the United States are we not allowed to bring up this fact as a possible reason for not voting for her/him?

Ron P.

You can, but I think it should be limited. This really isn't a political site. Energy-related issues are of course on topic, but things like Creationism should probably be discussed elsewhere. Go to DailyKos or something if you want to bash conservatives and their non-energy related ideas.

If you want to understand our reasoning, just look at the comments section at other major news sites like USA Today and Yahoo. Neverending partisan sniping. A story about sea lions killing pelicans prompts comments about how liberals protecting sea lions is the reason. A story about the devastation caused by Irene gets comments saying tea partiers want people to suffer. We don't want to be that kind of site, and people who want that kind of site have plenty of options.

Would you allow criticism of religious ideas? My experience is that if you criticize a religious person's ideas they take it as a personal affront to themselves. As far as I'm concerned believing in magical spirits or worshiping invisible deities is a sign of delusional thinking. I'm not sure I want delusional people in positions of power especially when they want me to follow their delusions and their decision making has a direct impact on my well being! I don't care how nice they say they are.

If it falls under "energy and our future," it would probably be okay...within limits. If you keep harping on the same thing over and over, it's boring, whether people agree with you or not.

But I repeat...this really isn't the place for partisan sniping. We are a non-profit organization, and therefore officially non-partisan.

and therefore officially non-partisan [period]

Except that them who bear the cross and shove it in your face here get extra equal treatment.

-signed: Oft censored for daring to proselytize the He-ain't-there-there view

Actually, it's the opposite. I've probably removed a lot more posts that proselytize for he is there. Frankly, I don't want proselytizing at all here. This isn't the place.

And implying that those who don't believe as you do are mentally deficient is completely out of line.

implying that those who don't believe as you do are mentally deficient

I'm sorry.

I never meant to imply that.

I meant to point out that we are all (me especially) mentally deficient. We are human.

I think most people would agree that this is a reality based site in the sense that most discussion of whatever issue, energy related or not, requires a commitment to science based reality that is derived from empirically based facts. Thinking that projects our energy future based upon some sort of intervention by a deity does not seem like a useful way to examine our predicament and does not entertain any rational debate about same. Most would agree here that magic is not an option and, unfortunately, almost all of the people running for President on the right are engaged in uninformed, magical thinking and not a rational analysis based upon ascertainable facts.

This criticism of religious based, magical thinking is absolutely essential for our society going forward. This is not a criticism of those who happen to believe in Jesus Christ and attempt to follow his teachings and use them as a basis for their spiritual life. That has nothing to to do with the application of magic to energy and other problems that should stick to the scientific realm.

It is not just right wing Christians, of course, who believe in magic but they are a subset of those who should be criticized since one of them may end up in a position of power and would probably have a very negative impact on the country and the planet.

Thinking that projects our energy future based upon some sort of intervention by a deity does not seem like a useful way to examine our predicament and does not entertain any rational debate about same.

But very few religious people are making that argument. It's something of a red herring. The article that sparked this discussion is encouraging investment in fusion. Which may be magical thinking of a different variety, but definitely isn't waiting for intervention by a deity.

I tend to look for the political/religious sniping threads because of the incisive comments that Leanan gives when she reigns them in.

The Law of Unintended Consequences.

You are no alone in this view (regrding Palin et al. as threats). Those who have read my posts here on TOD know I am a christian of the born again type. (I am also an evolutionist and 100% science compatible, wich confuses a lot of people but that is another story). The reason I see this gang as a threat is that they are so far off the chart regarding what christianity is about it is a danger to us all. Jesus told us the world would hate us, and as a christian I have to accept that. But we should be hated for the right reason. Not for beeing a complete lunatic like these guys. The Old Testament prophets lamentates about how everybody hates the name of God for the sake of His people. And now it happen again. These guys and the ideas they stand for are a very large problem for the church. If they get elected, they become a problem for everyone else to.

We need more Christians like you.

Hear ! Hear !


Thank you. I'm flattered.

I am an amatur Bible teacher, trying to spred the word. I can happily inform you there is a grass root movement that is realy tiered of what is going on, and working for a change. Now I live in Europe and we don't have "republicans", although a few ideas have leaked over here from there. IF the tide can be turned I do not know, it is basicly up to my brothers and sisters on the left side of the Atlantic.

The church HAS to change. It will either happen through choise, or crisis. The current path of development in the US church is not sustainable, and if they don't change by will, events will develop that will force them. It will not be pleasant.

TGN, I too am the son of a sharecropper though Dad did get his own 45 acre farm when I was 7. My father and all my extended family was, and most are still, deeply religious. As a teenager I always went to all the local "revivals" held by every church around. That was before the days of television and it was kind of entertainment for all us young men.

But at those those revivals the main theme was almost always hell. At every revival they would always stress that the other churches were in error and were all very likely to wind up in hell. I just could never buy that argument. That was what started me to doubting and eventually to become very anti-religious. Religion brainwashes people into believing very stupid things, especially those very fundamentalists religions.

So if my anti-religion offends you I apologize. But your religion offends me. So we will just have to be mutually offended. I do not believe any loving god would torture anyone unto infinity, or allow the devil to do it either. To me that just smacks of ignorance.

I believe we are all victims of circumstance. I lived for five years in Saudi Arabia. There at least half of every school day is devoted to teaching the Koran. By the time every male child is 12 he has it memorized. And about 999 out of every 1,000 become so brainwashed in Islam that they would literally die before even considering the validity of any other religion. Complete indoctrination! Fanatically indoctrination.

And all religions depend on indoctrination to a greater or lesser degree. That is horrible enough in itself without believing all non believers, and all those of other religions, will be tortured unto infinity because of it.

Ron P.

But at those those revivals the main theme was almost always hell. At every revival they would always stress that the other churches were in error and were all very likely to wind up in hell. I just could never buy that argument. That was what started me to doubting and eventually to become very anti-religious.

Yeah, it is very odd that the fundamentalist brands are often the ones that most talk about hell considering that hell is not mentioned in the Bible at all! Go Figure.

Yes. You are right. The Bible talks about Gehenna, the Great Lake of Fire and Hades. But never Hell.

Hell is norse (Hel), the place of death for murderers, theives and those who died other ways than honorably on the battle field. Ruled by the godess also named Hel, whos half body was the one of a very beutiful woman, and th other half a dead rottening corpse.

Hell is never mentioned in the Bible. Not once. That is correct.

The frequent negative comments in TOD relative to religion and politics strike me as being counter productive and based on a blind faith in anti Christian and anti Conservative biases.

I would venture that frequent negative comments might reflect an opinion of what many think modern Christianity has become, and certainly in my case this is based on experience with advocates of the faith.

Speaking of the Grange and community; I just prepared a handout for our next Grange meeting to see if they (we) are interested in starting what I am calling The Center for Self-Reliance and Resilience. It would consist of several on-going monthly programs such as emergency preparedness and useful alternative and historic technologies and one-time programs such as how to build and use self-watering containers and how to make colloidal silver.

Our grange is just rebuilding but has no focus or existing programs other than a once a month fund raising breakfast.


I vote yes. When the time comes, remind me how to do that.
(We have mumbo-jumbo internal rules.)

don't forget the red gem in everyone's hands that start blinking once you go over the hill... :P



There is no Sanctuary...

They are remaking that movie. Now instead of a blinking red gem it's a magical lcd tattoo on your forearm that counts down the milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years of how long you have left to live. Still i can't imagine such a place like that article without some dystopoin like idea like that to keep population under control in both senses of the word.

Did Macondo stage a breakout over the last few days?


Interesting. This time Marine Traffic shows a number of ships near the site including the mentioned Rachel Bordelon. It's destination is listed as "MC252" However other ships in the vicinity have different MC block destinations including MC294 which is 7 miles from Macondo. Ocean Intervention 3 is close listed as dest MC728 and BP Horn Mountain is also near with dest listed as MC127 It certainly looks like something could be be leaking but the coast-guard and BP were insistent it wasn't Macondo last week. Were they wrong or is something else leaking? Answers needed.

No answers, but some speculation. There was a pretty good drop in reservoir pressure around the wellbore. But after the well was shut-in, the pressure around the wellbore has gradually increased as reservoir pressure approximately equalized. If there was some oil leakage along fractures from the wellbore to the sea floor, and if those pathways were mostly, but perhaps not completely, closed off, I suppose it may be possible that the well has started leaking again along fractures as the reservoir pressure around the wellbore has increased. Just my 2¢ worth.

Makes sense, Wes. And, in a very technical sense it is true that "the well" is not leaking. It is the fractures around it that are. So, we have plausible denial.


They are able to keep this situation managed and out of the media spotlight. I wonder what the payoff is for media silence? LOL

BP pays them off with more bullsh!t commercials.

I see a lot of oil company ads on tv. Not selling anything in particular. Perhaps they are buying a little good will with the TV networks. If someone if paying you a bunch of money to put up their commercials, you're going to be careful not to step on their toes. There is no need for a covert 'buy-off' to keep the story off the air, the TV networks are already in the oil co's pocket.

Could we be seeing escapes from the wreckage as compartments trapping oil corrode through?


The Louisiana State University scientists who made the chemical match said that they thought it was most likely coming from the broken riser or other wreckage. Don't know if they have chemical evidence suggesting that but it would certainly be infinitely preferable if that's the case. Last I recall the riser was bent and a section was sticking up a long way from the sea bed. Could it have collapsed?

"I suppose it may be possible that the well has started leaking again along fractures"
Posted by westexas

Would it be likely for such leakage to erode the fractures even more so that you end up with runaway leakage, another blowout?

Antoinetta III

Antoinette – If the oil is coming from near surface fractures then they would erode almost instantaneously. Actually these wouldn’t be fractures per se. The shallow is unconsolidated mud for the most part. The oil would have been injected into the mud during the blow out and is just now leaking to the water column. This potential amount would be very tiny compared to the original spill.

Also no chance at all of the reservoir flowing up to the surface in this manner. That is physically possible. But there is one possibility that could be extremely dangerous and lead to your worst nightmare: the oil is coming up the casing from the reservoir. IOW the process of pumping cement into the well bore has not isolated the down hole interval. This can happen. And if it did it might not be seen flowing from the top of the abandoned well. A hole in the casing near the surface is certainly possible. Thus the oil could be squirting into the mud and shooting up many yards away from the well.

But so far I have some serious concerns about the validity and accuracy of the original reports. Sounded possible at first but as time passed and more info came in it started having a bit of a problem passing “the smell test” IMHO.

Rachel Bordelon has now moved from MC252 to MC 474 BP Na Kika field. Wes Bordelon remains at Macondo.

Hey, Cuz, welcome aboard.

World's fastest electric car is a Datsun


The electrified Datsun 1200 does 0-60 in a jaw-dropping 1.8 seconds.
The vehicle has a 90-mile range and it is even street legal. With over 500-plus horses, it’s no surprise the Zombie takes a quarter-mile in just ten seconds.

Actually it is the QUICKEST STREET LEGAL car.

10 seconds? The “Black Current” Volkswagen Beetle EV by Oliver Young is an electric vehicle that has done some serious damage on the drag strip becoming the first street-bodied EV to post a nine-second, quarter-mile time.


The same pilot Bonny Schumaker is cited in older 8/25 article by Judson Parker in Growing oil slick...

The 8/31 article in link by same author doesn't say pilot made a 2nd flight so I would assume it's old news.

There is an issue I've been curious about. The article I cited in an earlier thread says the recent ROV wellhead inspection found small bubbles coming from cement ports at base of both main and relief wellheads. These were explained to be a byproduct of "nitrified foam used in setting the wells' surface casing cement". Another article, BP and GCIMT Confirm No Oil Leak from Macondo Well states the same. This article adds additional details. ROV video inspection was conducted with witnesses from USCG, BOEMRE and state officials from LA, MS and FL. Also, main well was plugged and abandoned with USG oversight.

Are the nitrogn bubbles a non-issue as the articles state or could there be more to this? From me, this is just a simple question as I wouldn't know one way or another.

Boeing puts new fuel efficient engine on 737 - in 2017

[The new 737 NEF] will be as much as 12 percent more fuel-efficient than its current 737, and 4 percent more efficient per seat than the Airbus A320neo.

Airbus earlier came out with a new engine A32x (A321, A320, A319] called the A320 neo.

Boeing was hoping to apply 787 technology (largely carbon fiber wings and airframe) to a 737 replacement a/c. However, multi-year delays in the 787 and other problems lead to this decision - just add a new engine with minimal other changes.

The "scuttlebutt" is a carbon fiber 797 (737 replacement) would save an additional 10% to 12% due to the airframe. It would also have 2-3-2 twin aisle seating.


Best Hopes for the 797 ASAP,


Boeing is in a world of hurt with unions and this stuff with the NLRB. They won't have any customers left if we don't put a stop to the looting of our middle class. And based on overall production how many jets are actually going to be left in the air?

Legacy carriers are cutting down number of seats flown due to lack of traffic. Low cost carriers as well. Plus, of course, the Republicans want to defund everything, including Air Traffic Contollers.

Best hopes for a safe landing.


Any system that relies on humans remaining alert and universally competent is a recipe for failure. Any system which depends on computers being bug-free and never crashing isn't much better.

The current system is archaic, and a throwback to the highly-centralized design perspective of the 50's and 60's. Surely somebody somewhere has a more distributed, self-organizing solution? I'm less concerned with saving money that with breaking the stranglehold of centralized scheduling and major hub airports. In this day and age, why don't airplanes go when and where people need to fly, rather than forcing people to fit a pre-planned set of flights? More point-to-point direct flights would save expensive take-offs and terminal turn-arounds versus hub-and-spoke models.

The system today sells seats like McDonalds sells burgers. Low cost carriers, like Jet Blue and Virgin Atlantic drive the cost down, filling up on mom & pop flying out to see Aunt Eva, or going to Disnyland. Business travelers fly at the last minute, and by then the LCCs are full, so they provide big bucks to the legacy airlines. The bigger business must cut deals for lower cost, buying short term seats at wholesale rates. Small business, the proverbial middle class of American, bear the brunt of the costs.

Oh, and as you may have noticed, the airlines are cutting and slicing, parcing out pieces of the travel package. Want to check your bags? That'll be $25; want a meal on that 4 hour flight? $15 or more (more for a good meal or special menu). Blanket or pillow, use the restroom? Well, you get the idea.

Problem is that your model does not work with huge airplanes. Smaller planes are being used for short runs, say Houston to Dallas, or Austin. Do you know what they pay the pilots for those things? Less than a busdriver, and much less that the guy who carts garbage out of Galleria.


My medium to longer term, post-Peak Oil travel model is already developing in Europe.

Hub to hub direct flights with the spokes being electrified rail - high speed, semi-high speed (say 80 to 90 mph average speed) and average speed (40 to 55 mph average speeds). Major rail terminals inside airports.

Seamless baggage handling rail to air and back.

The rail/air break is now @ 200 to 300 mile (300 to 500 km) trips in the EU and Japan. Higher oil prices will raise that break point.

Over water too wide for a tunnel, air will continue to dominate.

Best Hopes for Planning for the Future,


Europe has had the right idea for a long time. Going to high speed is just a step for them; their infrastructure was in place and just needed to be modified. We need to lay the infrastructure from the ground up. Traction need to be laid; rolling stock built, and of course, right of way acquired.

Some day people will decide that we need to do this in the United States. By then, I am afraid, it may be too late. If, that is, we have not already passed that point.

I do remain hopeful, though. Which, as they say, springs eternal.


Look I hate to be a downer but what exactly are you hopeful about?

America is about getting into a personal vehicle, or an airplane, and traveling long distances using massive amounts of petroleum. Listen to our pop culture songs, or our slogans "You are now free to fly about the country." "Flyover country." Etc. It would never enter into the head of an American in New York, that, maybe, just maybe, it's going to take a lot longer to get to Miami or L.A. It would never enter to the head of someone in Dallas, that, maybe, they won't be able to drive to Houston this year.

In Europe they don't suffer from this delusion because, first, they are different countries and second, many of the trips are rail. Europe underwent the catabolic collapse of large complex civilization all the way back when the Roman Empire collapsed. And their overseas empires of course underwent a collapse. In other large countries (Russia, China) they don't suffer from the delusion because, well, they are poorer.

America is basically the large, complex, beating hub at the center of modern petroleum based civilization, and that's why our collapse is going to be the biggest, and why there's nothing we can do about it.

Like the song says, OS, "You gotta have hope."

Unfortunately, today I have no expectations around that. My hope, though, is that, some time soon, the sheeple will come to understand that we cannot stay on this course much longer. And that they figure it out while some good can come from it.

Maybe part of it is because of the fundamental difference between Europe and America. In America, 100 years is a long time. In Europe, 100 miles is a long way.

We lack sufficient history to make good decisions. And, we expect to be able to traverse long distances at little expense. My hope, again, is that we learn that the second proposition is wrong. Otherwise, we will continue to make those bad decisions until it we are history.


"Best Hopes for the 797 ASAP", I read that above with nary a comment.
What is it supposed to mean?

That report, by Jenkins, Nordhaus and Shellenbeger, reviews economic studies going back to Jevon's and concludes that for society to treat efficiency as an energy source, the energy has to cost something more than the fuel itself. “Below-cost improvements in energy efficiency are likely to trigger significant rebound in energy demand,” they write.

Probably the airlines will lobby for TSA coverage of trains, to level the imposed-delay playing field. :)

I can see hub flights being more efficient and utilizing larger airlines, but I think the plan was that more, larger planes would be needed for larger passenger loads.

In between a drop in cheap flights and emergence of rail spokes, there could easily be a crash in hub traffic. Businessmen will still need to fly, and the wealthy will want to as well. With higher fees, long delays, lots of overhead, and cattle-car service, these core passengers will feel at least some attraction to FBO smaller airports. It would be interesting to see how the cost and efficiency points for the best small planes compare to the new larger jets.

I learned about peak oil in 2007, just as health issues put an end to business travel. I was out of it for a few years, recovered, and settled in an Amtrak town. I'm posting this during a break from packing for a move to D.C., where I'll have good rail service. I have a loaner house with a miserable five mile air gap between it and the nearest Metro, but I'm going to settle within half a mile of one of the many Metro stations that blanket the D.C. area. My mountain bike is a bit of a puzzle, but we just did the math - cheaper to have a friend visit later this year packing it along, than to sell it here and try to replace the thing in D.C.

I suspect I'll end up getting a folder once I get settled - I am very much looking forward to NYP being $49 and three hours, instead of triple that price and a 36 hour haul.

The rail thing works for Europe, but it's a culture and logistics issue here. Our eastern cities were street car towns and could be again, but everywhere west of the Mississippi is a transit horrorshow and rural areas are still going to need independent four wheeled vehicles ... unless peak oil really drives us back to living like my grandparents did.

why don't airplanes go when and where people need to fly, rather than forcing people to fit a pre-planned set of flights?

I think thats logistically very difficult. Flights need to be almost full to make a profit. Then crews, refueling maintenence, and airport berths need to be assigned. To top it all off, the airplanes themselves are a major capital expense, maximizing the passenger miles per day per plane is critical.

Around here(Valencia, Venezuela) I have seen an increase in the frequency of people choosing to fly instead of take the inter-city bus because of fears about crime on the highway and or horrible traffic and bad highway conditions. (Note: I have not seen or experienced any crime on any of the overnight buses I have taken)

Urgh, I've had one Latin American road trip that made me refuse to take the road back and insist on flying after seeing the number of recent wrecks along the side of the road. A lot of commuter flights in Lat.A. are by small prop driven planes. You can see the pilots wearing their oxygen masks and you can see daylight around the main door. The in flight meal, when there is one, is a bread roll with a bit of filling in it (usually unidentifiable) and a small carton of fruit juice, handed to you as you get on.


Re: Boeing puts new fuel efficient engine on 737 - in 2017

In his free online book : Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, David JC MacKay
examines the physics of flight, pgs 269 to 282


Efficiency in weight terms

Thrust is a force, and a force is an energy per unit distance. The total
energy used per unit distance is bigger by a factor (1/ε), where ε is the
efficiency of the engine, which we’ll take to be 1/3.

Here’s the gross transport cost, defined to be the energy per unit weight
(of the entire craft) per unit distance:


So the transport cost is just a dimensionless quantity (related to a plane’s
shape and its engine’s efficiency), multiplied by g, the acceleration due
to gravity. Notice that this gross transport cost applies to all planes, but
depends only on three simple properties of the plane: its drag coefficient,
the shape of the plane, and its engine efficiency. It doesn’t depend on the
size of the plane, nor on its weight, nor on the density of air. If we plug in
ε = 1/3 and assume a lift-to-drag ratio of 20 we find the gross transport
cost of any plane, according to our cartoon, is

0.15 g


0.4 kWh/ton-km.
Can planes be improved?

If engine efficiency can be boosted only a tiny bit by technological progress,
and if the shape of the plane has already been essentially perfected, then
there is little that can be done about the dimensionless quantity. The trans-
port efficiency is close to its physical limit.

May I suggest that more people take up sailing if they want to continue to get around the planet, air travel for the masses is no longer a viable option and it will continue to be even less so as time goes by!

Hoping for the best is not a policy, it is a delusion.
Emily Armistead, Greenpeace

Unless you can come up with an electric sky train >;^)

Re: Gas prices to fall, but don't expect a big drop

The article correctly states that gasoline prices are tied to Brent not WTI which is described as a "False Market". However it also says to expect a 30c fall.

"WTI is a false market," said Stephen Schork, publisher of the industry newsletter the Schork Report. Schork also expects just a 30 cent drop in gasoline prices over the next few months. "It's not a reflection of the price of oil," he said.

Well that's only going to happen if Brent drops below about $100. Currently Brent is $114.54. US gasoline prices are back on the rise.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 26, 2011

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending August 26, 219 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 89.2 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging nearly 9.6 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.7 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.6 million barrels per day last week, up by 799 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.2 million barrels per day, 441 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 608 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 176 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 5.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 357.1 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 4.3 million barrels last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period have averaged 19.6 million barrels per day, up by 1.0 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied has averaged just under 9.2 million barrels per day, down by 2.1 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied has averaged nearly 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 5.5 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is 5.4 percent higher over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

What is the status of the 30 million barrel US SPR release ? And the "other" 30 million barrels from the rest of OECD SPRs ?



US SPR INV: Jul 15/11 726.5 m bl
Aug 26/11 701.8

I was under the impression maximum SPR was 696 mbbl. Has it been expanded, or was I mistaken in recalling that number? I do remember seeing a solution mining proposal for a new 160 mbbl reservoir in one of the Louisiana salt domes, but that was a few years ago.

The Bush Administration wanted to add a fifth location, in a Mississippi salt dome near Richland. IMHO, a small political payoff. Some environmental issues regarding disposal of salt water in a small creek/river - stalled there. Potential of an extra 160 million barrels.

The filling of the SPR stalled at 696 million barrels at some point in the GWB years.

Physical maximum at the four SPRs is 727 million barrels.

Hope that helps :-)


Well, that's that - I correctly recalled an incorrect number. Wikipedia entry was interesting - we paid $20B for the oil we have and it's now worth 4x that amount.

As of last week, 25 million barrels of the 30 million sold to private companies had been delivered. It is expected that the remaining 5 million will be distributed soon, if not already, although it is possible for some buyers to request a short delay in acquiring the oil.

Meanwhile the price of Louisiana Light Sweet crude, which was sold by the SPR at $16 over WTI, is now selling today at $26 over WTI. Wall Street traders, some of which bought the oil, would certainly know how to profit from that big increase in the spread.

In response to another question below, the SPR was near but not quite at full capacity before the latest distribution. Although Congress authorized the SPR to grow to 1 billion barrels, it did not allocate the funds to do so.

Refiners stepped up distillate production to record levels (of 4.1 million bpd) to meet increased demand for the Department of Energy’s bid for 1 million barrels of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, and also, from increased diesel export demand. Despite record production levels, and overall refinery utilization at a fairly robust level 89.2%, total distillate inventories only slightly increased.

DOE To Buy Ultralow-Sulfur Distillate For Reserve

Meanwhile gasoline inventories fell significantly (down 2.8 million barrels), as imports fell to a low level and demand unexpectedly increased. This EIA weekly report does not reflect any of the substantial effects Hurricane Irene had on the production and distribution of oil products in the Northeast US. Yet even before the storm, wholesale gasoline prices in both the Northeast and Upper Midwest regions of the US were creeping up (relative to the commonly quoted futures price) due to low supplies. Inventories were further reduced in the NE in the wake of Irene, although refiners had mostly returned to normal operations. Some product distributors however were still impacted by the storm and had not completely resumed normal operations – which lead an energy futures exchange to take the unusual action of extending the time to deliver heating oil.

Harbor gasoline jumps in Irene's wake

CME Declares Force Majeure on New York Heating Oil Deliveries

Oil imports improved some 800,000 bpd last week, but it was thought that mostly reflects a temporary rush to deliver oil to the east coast ahead of Irene – as deliveries into the East region had an unusual increase of about 600,000 bpd.

Updates on weather. Tropical storm Katia is expected to become hurricane force later today. Tropical storm Katia could become category 3 hurricane by Friday.

Katia's projected path does not take it to the US, though it could threaten Bermuda if it veers too far north, and could also threaten Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands if it keeps heading west.

The silver lining (if you can call it that?) is that Katia shouldn't affect U.S. refinery capacity and likewise shouldn't push upward the price of gasoline at the pumps.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific, Cyclone Talas is menacing Japan.

The good citizens of Kyoto are right in Talas's path.

Forgive my cynicism, but I can hear the right wing rhetoric already. Minor earthquake near Washington. A devastating hurricane in blue state New England. Now a cyclone heading towards that pesky little town in Japan that gave the world a protocol on greenhouse emissions. All in one week. Obviously, God's wrath is aimed right (... errr read left).

Models are hinting at a GOM storm before long, meandering for days. With such high temps, the potential for a major storm is ripe.

I'll be surprised if we make it through the season again without at least one GOM storm.

And this, of course, is still early in hurricane season. We've got to get through September.

We might find out how a hurricane and a massive oil slick interact..

The sum of all fears last year was a smokin' GOM storm, high tide landfall, massive storm surge, and aquifers ruined for a whole tier of counties in Alabama or Georgia.

It might look something like this...


Gulf coast likely to see tropical storm soon

MIAMI — A low-pressure system pushing northwest through the Gulf of Mexico has a strong chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next two days and threatening U.S. states on northern coast of the gulf, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday.

The system, now over the central part of the gulf, already has prompted some major international oil companies to evacuate workers from offshore oil platforms.

..."This system has a high chance ... 70 percent ... of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours ... Interests along the entire northern Gulf of Mexico coast should monitor the progress of this disturbance," the NHC said.

The storms of recent years have cost more than ever, yet these costs have been greatly mitigated through improved prediction, else they'd have been worse yet. The ROI for hurricane prediction is large, yet those very successful investments are the target of Congressional cost-cutting. Not only are there discussions about cutting research programs that have historically paid off handsomely, but there are plans to neglect existing infrastructure as well, which could actually move prediction quality backward.

We've long discussed that eventually society will lack the resources to support existing infrastructure - a sort of Neglect 1.0. Neglect 2.0 is willfully choosing to neglect valuable infrastructure in favor of other bad investments. As a society, we will push more pointless development along sensitive and hazardous shorelines while simultaneously undercutting our ability to know when to evacuate.

As always, Masters has a great perspective on this:

The talk of cuts are political, cause these hurricanes and their prediction affects public perception about Climate Change. The idea is likely to hobble the agency and trim back climate research and other programs. You need to undercut the weather nerds since these guys are also examining long term trends. Once NWS makes mistakes in prediction due to budget cutting then the nay-sayers can capitalize and say, "See they have no idea about longer term trends. They cannot even get Irene correct."

That is the plan. imho. The drumbeat has already started on Irene to get the public behind the idea that NWS and is subsidiaries are failures.

Oh, dear, such rhetoric would be quite a stretch.

Yes indeed, a typhoon threatens Japan in typhoon season:

According to the Meteorological Agency, there was an average of 26.7 typhoons a year between 1971 and 2000, with 10.8 of them reaching within 300 km of the Japanese archipelago. During this time span, an average of 2.6 typhoons made landfall annually.

And in other news, the sun sets in the west, Wednesday comes once a week, and Tokyo averages an easily-felt earthquake (≥4.8 IIRC) about once a week. Until it turns into a CAT 5, not much basis for any sort of rhetoric on any side of any issue.

(The first time I visited Japan, they were raising lettuce indoors under grow lamps in order to have a little bit fresh, because eight or was it ten typhoons had extirpated the crop. They believe in very fresh food. The second time, there had been fewer typhoons but the last one had gone through the day before. Not quite like earthquakes, five easily-felt ones in two week-long trips, but enough.)

Paul, the mets feel that storm is quite possibly one of those rather large "perfect storms". I would not underestimate Nature. She will prove you wrong in the long run.

Yes and no. Slice it however you want, and it's still not big news that a typhoon is located where it "quite possibly" might hit Japan. That's simply called September and October, and there's nothing about it subject to being "proven wrong". Now, if and when the "quite possibly" turns out to be "actually", and if and when said "actually", in turn, actually heads for Japan and gets close, then it will be big news. In the meantime it's just more bloviation for "news" channels that have more time or space to fill than they could ever possibly have a legitimate use for.

One problem with the unremitting barrage of media hype is that everything and anything that might conceivably happen, no matter how hypothetical or improbable, gets treated as though it has already happened. And then we're shocked, just shocked mind you, when so many people slough off warnings (and thereby inconvenience the bureaucrats, which seems to be the real issue, cry me a river of crocodile tears), which are nearly always false (or immensely exaggerated) alarms.

A humorous feral beehive rescue...[link]

Around Bee Rescue, Honey and Rancor

Tropical Storm Irene moved through New York City on Sunday knocking out power, causing flooding in some neighborhoods and knocking over many trees. In one corner of Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, the storm also set off a fight — over bees.

Great story.

Your link goes somewhere else, though.


LOL. Thanks.

Trend to Compact Cars expected to continue


Bad news in the details. Less than 2 million compact cars sold (almost 1 million by July 31st) this year out of 12.5 million cars and trucks.

Is 1/7th a "trend" ?

Not Much Hope for the American Consumer,


At least 1/7 is enough to prime the technology pump, so as steps down occur we won't have the abysmal situation faced in the '70s, where cars ended up heavy and/or unsafe, poorly designed for utility, poorly performing, and still had marginal gas mileage and poor emissions. Now at least an individual can adapt his lifestyle on his own, and the industry will develop some expertise.

Best hopes for individual choices at least?


Yes, I will grant you that.

I was just taken in by the title until I looked at the numbers.

Best Hopes for Wise Individual Choices,


The technology pump is already primed. What the US calls 'compact cars' the rest of the world calls 'normal'. Thus the US manufacturers just import their EU designs for the US market.

No, the problem is to drive the big, fat, wasteful, unsafe, SUVs off the US roads - which is where a decent fuel tax for the US comes in ...

What the US calls 'compact' most Europeans call 'large'. I drive a compact car that will, under ideal conditions and expert handling, return 100mpg (US). I drive like a granny and get 65-70mpg (UK).


Of course, that is an oil burner. To get decent mpg from a petrol car you need to think small. And then you have to drive it like a granny.


You can't beat Newtonian laws, aerodynamics and thermodynamics. Shunting a ton of metal around like pinball costs energy. period.

People want large cars but the price of fuel is encouraging them to buy more economical ones, which to some extent they are doing. But the minute the fuel price drops a little people see a new dawn beckoning and appear to go out and buy thirsty cars again. It would be interesting to track the purchase of cars with the price of gas, and measure the fuel consumption of new cars with the pump price at the time of purchase. Is there a directly proportional trend I wonder?

All I see there for numbers are a few random year-on-year data points. Amidst all the economic turmoil, that seems almost meaningless, and certainly cannot support or contradict the headline "trend", since any signal is deeply buried in noise. Are there any long-term data sets broken out by car/"truck" size? The closest I come is stuff like this, which suggests a (noisy) leveling-off of "trucks". However, it doesn't break down cars or "trucks" by size, and the distinction between "cars" and "trucks" itself is rather flexible over time, so there's little information in it.

New cars and trucks in the US have to collapse because of consumer debt. They cannot expect people to buy more cars until the debt bubble clears out. I wonder what the new equilibrium will be though for total numbers of vehicles? Then we can think about what the % breakdown of trucks and cars would be. Though by your graph we are a 50-50% point, which is remarkable since many jobs are in fact paper-pushing jobs, where a light truck is a symbol rather than an actual working vehicle. So I would expect there is room to convert trucks to cars, however, social norms may preserve the current truck levels. I don't get that myself but maybe people feel they need a truck to get to the office. Who knows?

Going back in time and memory - circa 1970 there were 4 or 5 cars for every pick-up truck - and driving a pick-up truck for every day personal transportation was something rarely done.

Home Depot rents trucks for $19/hour. For occasional use, a better choice than making one of the two household vehicles a pick-up.


That's sort of why I was wondering what is buried in that graph (and unmentioned in the original article), especially for the last 10 years, after the car/"truck" ratio (noisily) leveled off. I haven't gotten the impression that on the whole the vehicles out in the streets are getting any smaller, despite the very occasional Smart. A major "trend" in sales, as opposed to a transient y-o-y "blip", possibly ought to be visible on the streets despite being partially obscured by the older inventory.

WRT the occasional use, it depends on how occasional - it's not only the social factor, but the hassle factor. Some families with two or more vehicles may find little harm in one of them being a pickup truck. Then they need not waste four hours or so on every occasion. (A couple of hours: roundtrip to fill out the paperwork and pick up the truck; later another roundtrip to return it and complete the paperwork; plus the same for the other person who must ride along.) Plus, the second person may not even be available at the right times. Plus, without a reservation, the rental agency may be out of stock that day. Alternatively, since some tasks that call for a pickup truck may be weather-dependent, a reservation will add hassle, and incur $$ "fees" for cancellation or change. (Airlines and vehicle-rental agencies seem to learn from each other how to cheat, chisel, and bamboozle the public.)

People (those who still have jobs) are very time-poor. Wasted time will come, at the margin, out of their best and scarcest discretionary time, so they will want to avoid such waste even at considerable cost. (Which is also why non-car transportation tends to get little respect except in Manhattanized locales.) Thus, their behavior should surprise no one, irrespective of what might or might not happen in the future.

Right, exactly. Compact cars are for those European weenies, or the poor masses of Latin America and Asia.

We can drive as big of a car as we like, we can live in as big of a home as we like. Isn't that why we escaped those other hellholes in the first place? So that we could do whatever we want, whenever we want, unencumbered by history, or culture, or geography?

We are the special people, inhabitating a promised land. The city upon a hill. There's nothing we can't do, if only we put our mind to it. If there are resources out there to consume, gosh darn it, we'll consume them, and if there are people out there to bomb, by golly, we'll bomb them.

We are a big people, and big people need big cars. Anything less would be a retreat, cowardly. No way Jose! We're American! Drill baby drill. And if we run out here, we'll go to the Artic, we'll annex Alberta.

And there can never be enough of us! Let's invite everyone here, because, after all, everybody in the world wants to be American, and if they don't, there's something wrong with them. Let's have 350, 400, 500 million people. Let's beat India and China, let's become the most populated country on Earth. That'll show 'em!

We tamed this wild land, we saved the world from the Nazis and the Commies, we went to the moon and we built the internet. And now, we're going to live forever. The final frontier.

Nope, you sorry people in sorry parts of the world can have your compact cars. We're American, and we Americans drive the big cars that can go anywhere, the only cars suitable for a heroic people.

Trend to Compact Cars expected to continue

And a while ago, President Obama said cars were being built that got 50 mpg. He was referring to the Cruze Eco which gets 42 mpg highway. I guess the 50 mpg for the Cruze was under ideal conditions (e.g. a steady 45 mph, no stops, downhill...).

Is 1/7th a "trend" ?

If gasoline gets back to $4 per gallon, the "trend" will be strengthened.

Well, the Prius already gets 50. My 07 does just over 50 at 65mph, and the newer model is supposed to be a few mpg better. But, that probably doesn't count since its not built by one of the domestically owned corps.

My 2004 Jetta TDI gets almost 50 mpg, albeit diesel. My 1988 Chevy Sprint got a lot better than 50 mpg.

That is just it. The major means of increasing fuel economy is shrinking the car. Those two you mention are small cars.

Those two you mention are small cars.

Yes, but some of the newer models of Prius border on mid-sized. Its a combination of tech, and/or smallsize that drives economy.

And driving style. For size read weight and drag. Keep the speed down and the acceleration to an absolute minimum. Conserve momentum at all costs (short of crashing) and treat your brakes as the spawn of Satan. Turn down (or off) the air con, over pump the tyres. Choose your route and time of travel to avoid congestion and major hills.

Drive as if you don't know where you will get your next fill-up and you will double your milage.

It's annoying how large the "new" Mini has gotten in comparison to the original. The latest iteration is all but a miniature Hummer. Four wheel drive, every bell and whistle that's entirely unnecessary and guaranteed to generate big repair bills in the future.

True, but the original mini was a death-trap (like most cars of that period) for the occupants. I'm glad I never crashed mine. The cheapest way to make a car crash-survivable is to build a rigid steel cage with large crumple zones all round - result - the new mini.

The new minis are much faster and more comfortable but burn a lot more oil than the old ones did. We could turn the clock back, and halve the weight of steel in cheap cars, or pay twice as much for high tech composites cars like formula one.

In practice we will do neither.



We could reduce weight, increase composites, reduce size, and also speed, and have city cars. But we won't do that anytime soon either, except for street-legal golf carts that can already offer the suburban death-trap experience in some areas.

What's the general opinion on the Smart Car?


I've been seeing some of them around the Boston area. They do leave you seriously out-gunned, weight wise, against pretty much anything else on the road and some of the potholes 'round here could swallow one whole....aside from those issues?

The Smart car was very smart - until the US got involved...

The model originally sold in Canada, from 2004, had the 3cyl diesel engine, and would get 60-70 mpg. Mercedes Benz USA refused to sell the Smart until there was a gasoline engine version, so, now there is, and it gets 40 something mpg, and they stopped selling the diesel version in Canada, saying it was not worth bringing in both models.

A neighbour of mine in Calgary - a sales rep - bought one of the first Smarts and used to drive it all over Alberta, summer and winter, with no problems. When you drive 30,000 miles/year, that mpg saving is worth about $1800/yr.

They are surprisingly roomy inside, just not much cargo space.

One feature of the diesel - it has lots of torque, and a few people use it for towing lightweight trailers for small cargo/bikes/kayaks.

in cities, Smart drivers like to challenge the city parking inspectors by parking two of them in one metered space. Naturally, the city ticketed the second car, which was then challenged in court, and won. The Smart drivers are campaigning for reduced fares on BC Ferries, as you can fit two in the same space as a full size pickup truck, which pays the same fare.

It became very popular with plumbing and electrical service companies - very eye catching on the road and ideal for service jobs that only need a guy and a toolkit - which is many of them. One such company set it up with a very cute little tool trailer, painted to match. Not surprisingly, many of the people who saw it and called that company for plumbing service were women!

To show the car can do its thing in less than ideal conditions, there have been a couple of expeditions to drive them into the Arctic highways - summer and winter - the end result always being the car did much better than the drivers expected.

See if you can spot the smart car cruising down this river near Inuvik, NWT;

And if you need a tow, you can get one without needing a tow truck;

I think the biggest negative about the Smart is its styling - people either love it or hate it. But the concept itself - small, light, efficient two seater car is bang on. And it is really efficient - except for the American version.

Tangling with an SUV or P/U would be a bad scene, I assume.

I was in a mild collision yesterday in my compact. The old Camry behind me (at fault) had no visible damage beyond already dinged bumper. The truck in front had zero damage. My car has a nice imprint of a trailer hitch in the bumper.

This was at maybe 5-7 mph.

For many users, I think a Yaris or Fit is a better choice than a US Smart. Certainly, a Smart would be a better city car if it had better mileage.

Well, the IIHS found that the Smart performed just as well in its crash tests as many other compact cars, and better than some;

For many users - who want four seats, the Fit/Yaris is indeed a better choice, but there are still plenty that choose a Smart, and that's fine.

It is a more efficient, and safer vehicle than the biggest selling two seater in the US - the Harley (and much better in winter!)

There is an electric version of the Smart coming out - an ideal platform for it, IMHO.

Will be interesting to see how that does in the market place.

already dinged bumper


My car has a nice imprint of a trailer hitch in the bumper.

Well, they are made up to absorb a bump so getting dinged is likely. You could try an RSJ by that would give you more of a shock (airbags more likely to go off and give you a right off). I suppose you could fit the RSJ with floating bolts and coil springs but where's the fun?


Thank you. I actually like the styling a lot. The fit and finish looks very good.
The biggest worry I think I would have for driving one here (Boston) would be as I said, the potholes.
Shame about the diesel version.

if the potholes are that much of a problem, you could get the "pothole special" version;

But that kinda defeats the purpose.

very American, though...


Dooood. I want one

Is the guy who did this a complete idiot,or just a very talented comedian? I can't make up my mind.

An attention seeker is the more likely description, IMO.

It seems to be a very American thing to do this. As far as i can tell, the only "Smart" part left are the body panels - it even has a 5.8L diesel engine!

I'm sure it is a hit at the monster truck shows - where none of those people would be seen dead in a Smart, not even this one.

That is why America is, and will remain, the world's largest user of oil.

If you've seen the outgrowth in American 'Stretch' cars, Limos designed it seems almost entirely to take Teens to their HighSchool prom dances, and for the more Gimmicky weddings, then the car above will make more sense. It really is a way of making 'Action Figures', Superheroes out of the entire IDEA of cars.

Otherwise, why would kids go to their once- Formal Graduation Dance in a Supersized SUV or HUMMER? I can be personally annoyed by the grotesqueness of them, but I have to laugh, too.

In other words, many of us can't make up our minds, either.

Except that city cars leave you trapped in the city. That may be OK for some people, not OK for others.

City cars, such as SMART, can travel cross country. Perhaps a bit uncomfortable.

Evacuating Katrina, I spent over an hour behind a moped in stop & go traffic. Guy had a toothbrush hanging out of one pocket and underwear from the other. But he was well into Mississippi when he took an exit.

Best Hopes for Efficiency,


I had figured that the kind of city cars he was referring to are the sort of limited-speed glorified golf carts that cannot legally be driven on the interstates, etc. - the car equivalent of the moped. But maybe that was incorrect.

If I were shopping vehicles today I would want the diesel Smart or one of the microtrucks - something enclosed for around town, street legal, etc. I've been without a car for a couple of years, working in a position where I could just stay home if the weather was bad. I've owned scooters and motorcycles over the years, not sure I would want to chance a two wheeler given my somewhat fragile physical condition, but I have been eyeing the Yamaha TW 200 or one of the smaller balloon tire machines, but all the rest are 49cc and that's a bit slim on performance for a guy my size. Ideally I'd like to see a Honda Ruckus style machine with a 125cc engine ... are you listening, scooter makers?

I would also buy a great big gas guzzling four wheel drive pickup, which will presumably be available at a steep discount once peak oil really gets moving. I'd fit it with a snow blade, winch, trailer hitch, maybe a stock rack so it could really hold a lot of cargo, and then use it as intended. There is nothing wrong with taking a vehicle like that out for a utility job - something like that, driven occasionally to move friends/tow/clear snow would be a win for a neighborhood. It's making such things into daily drivers that is wrecking us.

Bring back the death track. Tell people there life is at risk every time they get in a car. We kind of solved the death trap problem but in the process figure out a way to significantly increase efficiency without increasing gas mileage.

Not Much Hope for the American Consumer,

True, but it seems the American consumer is still hopeful! Or possibly just oblivious...

I receive regular email updates of outdoor activity meetup groups in my general vicinity, here is one that I'm definitely not planning on joining.


Years ago I had a Jeep Scrambler, when the weekend came around, I would load it up with a cooler, a tent and some fishing gear, and a canoe, meetup with friends and drive the roads less traveled. Those memories always bring a smile. It's time to build some new ones. Got Mud? Well lets Meetup and get some! This group is for everyone who wants to use thier SUV or 4X4 for what it was built for.

We are a family oriented group with the goal of enjoying life in the outdoors together.

Too bad they don't understand that their way of enjoying the outdoors is detrimental to the very outdoors they purport to enjoy so much...

We have tons of those "family" oriented groups around these parts busily destroying the forest. But it is so much "fun" to teach your family family values.

Good News from the Pacific Northwest

I'd like to present some evidence that many organizations large and small, public and private do "get it" when it comes to energy and are leading by example, setting new standards for green building construction.

The EPA says green buildings are important because buildings account for:

  • 36 percent of total energy use and 65 percent of electricity consumption
  • 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30 percent of raw materials use
  • 30 percent of waste output (136 million tons annually)
  • 12 percent of potable water consumption

So making more efficient buildings is a way to greatly reduce our energy demand.

Here are some recent Seattle construction highlights:

1) Ultra-green office building breaking ground (Seattle Times, Aug 28, 2011)

The Bullitt Foundation's $30 million project aims to be the region's first zero energy office building.

2) Gates Foundation Site Move-in Underway (Green Building News, Jun 02, 2011)

The Gates Foundation's $500 million project is less ambitious and only aims for LEED Gold which they hope will reduce energy 25% below current code.

3) GSA's $72 million Seattle HQ requires performance (Green Building, Aug 03, 2011)

The US government is in on the act, spending $72 million to build an LEED Platinum headquarters for the Army Corps of Engineers on an old brownfield that designers hope will be in the top 1% of US buildings for energy performance.

4) Bastyr University's Student Village

This already completed, $16.5 million, LEED Platinum project has received numerous awards.

There is plenty of energy awareness in Seattle outside of those big projects as well. Enough to support the following upcoming events:

Some folks are actually doing something to prepare for an energy constrained future. And I fully expect increasing prices to drive more institutions and more individuals to make energy-aware choices with respect to buildings, transportation and overall lifestyle.

No, we won't have BAU in the future. Resource limits will prevent that. I'm hoping for a significant improvement over BAU at least in parts of North America.

Best hopes for useful action!


Not so Good News from the Atlantic Northeast

Huge chunk of ice breaks off Greenland glacier

"A block of ice four times the size of Manhattan has split off from a Greenland glacier and melted--an event so dramatic that it's shocked the scientists who study the area."


Sigh, yet another non-SI unit, the "Manhattan", to add to the "house" and a panoply of others. I do wonder how people interpret it, what range of values (or effective values) a random sample might give for the area of Manhattan. Leno should do a Jaywalking segment...

Manhattan is 23 square miles or 59 square kilometers in area. So a chunk of ice four times the size of Manhattan would be 92 square miles in area. If it was square it would be 9.6 miles on each side. Or if it was a circle it would be about 10.82 miles in diameter.

Jurisdiction 	                Population 	Land Area
Borough of 	County of 	1 April 2010
                                Census        sq miles 	sq km
Manhattan 	New York 	1,585,873 	23 	59
The Bronx 	Bronx 	        1,385,108 	42 	109
Brooklyn 	Kings 	        2,504,700 	71 	183
Queens   	Queens  	2,230,722 	109 	283
Staten Island 	Richmond 	  468,730 	58 	151
City of New York                8,175,133 	303 	786

Ron P.

For us who did not grow up in the US, Burma or Liberia, "23 square miles" is a head ache. You have to square 1.609 to get it in square Km, then multiply all that with 23, in the head. And that is for the minority of us who even know that a mile is 1.609 Km.

Couldn't you just accept the fact that imperials are an internal measurement within your own 3 countries, and agree not to use it when comunicating with the rest of the world? It confuses us.

You did notice that Ron's post above has the figures in both square miles and square kilometres?

And while I generally agree that metric is best when communicating with the world certainly in the UK we use miles more often than kilometres. All our speed limits and road signs are Imperial/English units. The BBC usually uses miles/inches etc in news broadcasts in the UK but re-records a metric version for BBC World.

But then our weather forecasts are in Celsius unless it is hot when they give the figure in Fahrenheit as well. Our pub beer comes in pints but our whisky is metric. Our milk can be either.

You forgot the United Arab Emirates, which just switched.

And most Canadians still remember what an acre and square mile (640 acres) are :-)

Sorry for the headache.

Best Hopes,


I don't pay attention until it's at least a Rhode Island :-)

Nope...not until it's at least a Fantasy Island!

They should have used "township" instead, as in "two and a half townships".

A survey township is nominally 36 square miles.


Brazil cuts ethanol blend rate from 25% to 20%. Increased gasoline consumption likely as a result.

The cane industry has been growing at an annual rate of 2 percent for the last three years, and ethanol demand has been growing by 9 percent, Correa said. “Companies aren’t building enough to cope with increased demand. It’s simple mathematics.”


I always find it interesting that Brazilian cars can handle 25% ethanol while American cars can not despite being built by mostly the same automakers.

Cars need to be properly designed to handle high levels of ethanol in the fuel - it tends to dissolved the rubber parts in the fuel system and the fuel injection needs to be re-calibrated to handle ethanol. 10% ethanol is about the limit for cars designed for pure gasoline fuel before problems develop.

In Brazil the cars are built to tolerate a lot of ethanol, but they tend to smoke a lot with high ethanol mixtures. However, it is a developing country so people ignore the smog that results. Air quality standards are not as high as in fully developed countries.


All you say is true, but many US made cars can use up to 85% ethanol. Why not the others?

Of course, we're flat out producing enough ethanol to put 10% in our fuel, so it's pretty much an academic argument.

Does the wider range of climate and altitude in the U.S. make a difference?

It will take at least 20 years to get nearly all of the non-ethanol compatible cars off the road in the US, so until that time you can expect resistance to E85. Even at that time there will be a lot of valuable antique automobiles around which will be damaged by high ethanol fuel, and their owners will insist on buying straight gasoline.

The point is somewhat moot because the US just does not have enough farmland to grow enough corn to convert the entire fuel supply to E85. At some point the food-vs-fuel debate is going to get nasty as people have to make a decision whether they want to eat or drive.

And probably before that point the US government will run out of money to subsidize the whole ethanol process. It actually reached that point some time ago, but between loans from China and printing money politicians have managed to avoid the whole issue. I don't expect that to last much longer.

In an unpublished study by the Millennium Institute, the USA could get 28% of our liquid fuels from bio-fuels (with then current technology).

To get to 29%, we would have to import food, and it is quite questionable just where we could import food from.

Kind of like ELM when Saudi Arabia becomes as oil importer.

IMO, devoting half of our corn crop to ethanol is the practical, and ethical maximum.


And how much biofuel will grow when there is not the fossil fuel derived NH3 to place on the crops?

What happens when Monsanto's anti-pest/anti-weed biocrops fails

In Brazil the cars are built to tolerate a lot of ethanol, but they tend to smoke a lot with high ethanol mixtures.

Really? Back in the eighties while living in Brazil I owned a 100% ethanol powered 1983 Volkswagen Voyage, the same car as a VW Fox, It didn't smoke at all... ran great and I drove it for many years!

Most new cars in Brazil are now flex fuel and can handle any blend of gasoline and ethanol without any problem.

BTW Brazil was one of the first countries in the world to completely eliminate the use of tetraethlylead as an additive to gasoline and did so by adding anhydrous ethanol. Brazilians do care about their air quality and are not as backward as you seem to imply.


Sorry, the link is in Portuguese.

Well, actually the older cars had mechanical carburetors and it was difficult to modify them to handle ethanol mixtures short of changing the jets. If you drilled out the jets on a carburetor to run on 100% ethanol, you were more or less committed to 100% ethanol because gasoline would run very, very rich.

The new computerized electronic fuel injection systems can figure out the appropriate air-fuel ratios for varying fuel mixtures if they are equipped with the appropriate fuel sensors.

Ethanol is higher octane than gasoline and makes a pretty good octane booster, which is why oil companies don't object to adding 10% ethanol to fuel, now that tetra-ethyl lead is banned.

The problem with higher ethanol mixtures is that cars can't take advantage of the increased ethanol unless you boost the compression ratio, in which case the engine could no longer run on straight gasoline without detonation problems. Without increasing the compression ratio, the fuel economy is worse since ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline. E85 produces considerably poorer fuel economy than straight gasoline in the same vehicle.

I think Brazilian ethanol production is down recently since food is winning the food-vs-fuel debate there. They are converting their sugar cane to sugar rather than ethanol.

Now just add a variable-waste-gate turbo to your flex-fuel EFI engine, and you have a winner!

CNG cars face similar issues. The Honda GX Civic is a dedicated CNG car, and is more efficient than any similar dual-fuel conversion.

Back in the 80's turbos were not unusual on pocket-rockets. It's not out of the question to have turbos on small cars again.

Back in the 80's turbos were not unusual on pocket-rockets. It's not out of the question to have turbos on small cars again.

It is happening already. The best cars are turbodiesels of course, but there are turbo gasoline ones appearing, like the Chevy Cruze Eco, with a 1.4L turbo - out performs, and out mileages the 1.8L version, for about a $2k premium.

The Cruze Eco features a standard Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine that delivers the fuel efficiency of a smaller engine, as well as the power of a larger engine when needed. The Ecotec 1.4L turbo delivers 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance.

With the standard six-speed manual, the Cruze Eco delivers an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city, and 42 mpg highway. With the available six-speed automatic, the 2012 Cruze Eco delivers an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city, and 39 mpg highway.

of course, if you have the right kind of drivers you can do MUCH better than the EPA mileage;

Behind the wheel of an unmodified Chevrolet Cruze Eco an Australian couple set a fuel-efficiency record for the 48 contiguous states. During the 23-day, 9,552 mile trip sponsored by Shell Oil, John and Helen Taylor averaged a remarkable 64.42 miles per gallon.

The difference with the modern turbos being that they have been designed to give extra torque over the wide rev range, whereas the '80's versions were to give lots of top end power for boy racers. I expect we will see more and more of them.

I used to drive a turbodiesel when I was in the UK. About the same weight as the Cherokee, I have got rid of, and a 2.2 vs 4 litre engine. Way better performance and fuel consumption. It was hardly a racer but just kept a steady acceleration with no sign of levelling off. There was one hill, coming out of a village, that speedheads used to like to pull out and pass me on. They never did, they ran out of steam long before the top of the hill while mine kept going like it was on the flat. I'd usually be at the top before they even got half way. I'd go to one in a flash if it was available when I need another vehicle, though that might not be for a time :)


My turbo diesel is a 3 cylinder 1.2 litre block. I try to keep the revs so low ( between 1000 and 2000 rpm) that the turbo rarely gets up to an effective operating speed.

Back in the 80's turbos were not unusual on pocket-rockets. It's not out of the question to have turbos on small cars again.

It is happening already. The best cars are turbodiesels of course, but there are turbo gasoline ones appearing, like the Chevy Cruze Eco, with a 1.4L turbo - out performs, and out mileages the 1.8L version, for about a $2k premium.

The Cruze Eco features a standard Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine that delivers the fuel efficiency of a smaller engine, as well as the power of a larger engine when needed. The Ecotec 1.4L turbo delivers 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance.

With the standard six-speed manual, the Cruze Eco delivers an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city, and 42 mpg highway. With the available six-speed automatic, the 2012 Cruze Eco delivers an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city, and 39 mpg highway.

of course, if you have the right kind of drivers you can do MUCH better than the EPA mileage;

Behind the wheel of an unmodified Chevrolet Cruze Eco an Australian couple set a fuel-efficiency record for the 48 contiguous states. During the 23-day, 9,552 mile trip sponsored by Shell Oil, John and Helen Taylor averaged a remarkable 64.42 miles per gallon.

The difference with the modern turbos being that they have been designed to give extra torque over the wide rev range, whereas the '80's versions were to give lots of top end power for boy racers. I expect we will see more and more of them.

Brazilians do care about their air quality and are not as backward as you seem to imply.

My recollection of Sao Paulo included a strange sweet odour from the gasohol and looking back into town, from the Perifique(sp?), to see a layer of brown/orange air hanging over the centre. I don't know, was it worse before the gasohol?


High levels of ethanol in the fuel reportedly result in lower levels of benzene and butadiene but higher levels of emissions of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde in the air, which is probably what you smelled. It is not necessarily better than gasoline emissions, just different, and you can still get a photochemical smog in the air from it.

My recollection of Sao Paulo included a strange sweet odour from the gasohol and looking back into town, from the Perifique(sp?), to see a layer of brown/orange air hanging over the centre. I don't know, was it worse before the gasohol?

Sure, when returning to the city from the Serra da Mantiqueira there is a point on the road where you catch the first glimpse of the Sao Paulo skyline and the brown smog hanging over the city is often very visible. In a city with 18 million inhabitants where everyone is as much in love with the private automobile as your average Los Angelino and you have buses, trucks and heavy industry added to the mix you can end up with some very poor air quality.

However, Sao Paulo, is not Brazil, its just one huge city in Brazil with its own very unique set of problems.

Would you claim that Los Angeles is the USA?

Disclaimer: I was born in Sao Paulo, no one needs to convince me that the use of ICE powered personal transport vehicles are a big problem there, regardless of the fuel being used.

Riding my bike in Berkeley ;-) I can easily smell burning biodiesel. Mmmm... French fries.

However, Sao Paulo, is not Brazil, its just one huge city in Brazil with its own very unique set of problems.

Very true but it did colour my perspective. I wish I had been able to travel more and see more of the country unfortunately it was a working trip and a lot of other stuff going on. I did manage one trip to the coast, passed through one industrial town that was badly polluted and the stuff floating in the sea did not incite me to enter the water. I guess my sampling must have been poor, I have heard very good reports of other areas. Still, I did enjoy the Carnival and went back to see it again a few years later.


hey NAOM,

next time you're there try Ubatuba


Duly noted, it may have been near Santos that we went but it is a long time age and I can't be sure. If I do manage to get back to Brazil I am hoping to aim for the north perhaps Belem, see a different area.


it may have been near Santos that we went but it is a long time age and I can't be sure.

Yep, that is a notoriously polluted port. I'll bet you went through the even more polluted town of Cubatao to get there.

Belem should be a bit better. I like the Northeast myself, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%A3o_Pessoa

Yep, Cubatao sounds like it. Not a nice place and the smell........!


Has anyone had any luck with EB's live chat with Nate Hagen and Richard Heinberg?

It was supposed to go live at 2pm ET, but it never did, for me. I might not have the right plugins or something.

No problems entering the chat. It started on time by the timestamp on the comments.

The text is there for replay.


No problem-
I contributed to the discussion.

Why is Brent surging all of a sudden ? Hopes of QE3 ?? Economy hasn't recovered for sure.

May be the SPR release has already worked its way through the system and now the oil companies have to buy the oil from the exporters.

Why is Brent surging all of a sudden?

I was wondering the same thing today with Brent at 114+. Didn't the stock market just recently go through a correction with oil prices dropping? 114 a barrel with the prospects of a double dip on the horizon seems quite high. However, someone suggested not long ago on here that Chindia's increasing demand would act to hold oil price high irrespective of OECD economic slow downs or even recessions. If that's the case, then another recession is almost guaranteed.

And don't expect any stimulus or jobs program to counteract high oil prices, because Congress isn't about to help the big O get re-elected. Partisan politics will govern what happens between now and Nov. 2012 no matter how grave things get.

When the economy tanks and the price of oil still goes up, I think we can safely say that we are heading steadily down the (probably very steep, apparently) side of the curve--maybe this is the first indications we are there?

Yeah I think you are right, at the very least the opening is done and we are now starting the middlegame, which I think could go on for years if not decades.

Even Bernanke doesn't know what to do, he's printed to oblivion and all we got, predictably, was higher food/fuel and even cpi inflation without growth.

Congress is even worse, half of them want to spend until we run out of electrons, and half wants to return us to the dark ages. The obvious solution - hiking taxes on the genuinely wealthy and cutting spending - is off the table, because we are all little children afraid of needles.

Welcome to a mixture of 70's style stagflation and Japanese style prolonged deflation, as far as the eye can see.

Meanwhile, we Americans, the people without memory, plan to elect another conservative governor from Texas to the White House. Brilliant!

And there's nothing any one of us can do except prepare at a very local level. You can shout, you can vote, it won't make a difference.

Advertising works, OS. The demonizing of taxation and the heavy usage of the word socialist seems to have convinced the sheeple to re-elect a governor of Texas. LMAO. I hope we do just that in fact. Cause he KNOWS what to do. Just hand him the keys.

Demand from China and India is up substantially this year, and Libya is still not back on production. The international supply/demand situation is very tight.

The price of WTI is much lower, but that is because there is new supply flooding into the mid-US market from Canada and North Dakota, and US consumption is falling.

Brazil's gasoline imports to surge 5-10 times on ethanol cut: analysts

Pires said Wednesday: "Brazil's GDP grew 7.5% in 2010 and the consumption of gasoline 19%. This year, analysts are saying that the Brazilian economy will grow 4-4.5% and gasoline consumption has already grown 10%.

He added that with no new refineries due online before 2013, ethanol and gasoline production was not likely to increase in the short term.


And, notwithstanding the big new oil discoveries offshore Brazil, I think the Brazilians are capable of using up all the addition oil themselves without exporting any of it.

An okay situation if you are Brazilian, not so good if you are in an oil importing country.

Just for the record, Brazil is just running in place in oil output over the last year. With its large and growing economy, it's not surprising then that Brazil's imports of gasoline and diesel are growing fast.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2011, 3:55 P.M. ET

Brazil July Crude Oil Output Up 1% On Year At 2.077 Mbpd -ANP

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dow Jones)--Brazil crude oil production advanced year-on-year in July, although output was down from June as planned maintenance stoppages undercut production, the country's oil regulator said Monday.

Brazil's oil fields produced 2.077 million barrels of crude per day in July, up 1% from July 2010, the National Petroleum Agency, or ANP said. Crude oil production was down 2.8% from 2.137 million barrels per day in June. Natural gas output climbed to 67.0 million cubic meters a day in July, up 7.2% from July 2010 but down 0.6% from June, the ANP said.


Brazil's net petroleum imports increased from 2009 to 2010 (BP), but of course Bloomberg in 2009 said that Brazil was "taking market share" away from OPEC.

Correct RMG. Brazilintnds to become a developed world. As such they know they are going to need energy, and lots of it. As far as I understand it, they do not plan to export much if any of their fossil fuels.

Interestingly stocks at Cushing are still falling (dropped 500k barrels this week) even as the spread widens. The spread with Louisiana Sweet is now over $26.

With a spread of $26 more money could be earned shipping oil than producing oil a little bit more than ten years ago. Some people are probably very hard at work to earn as much money as possible.

To get Libya back up and running, exports of gasoline, etc., to Libya are increasing:

More ships carrying oil products resume runs to Libya: sources

London (Platts)--31Aug2011/1043 am EDT/1443 GMT

At least five ships carrying refined oil products are said to have either reached or are on their way to Libya this week, shipping sources said Wednesday.

"There are more people sending ships to Libya. And few vessels are expected to discharge in to Libya this week," said a shipbroker.


How UK unit starved Gaddafi of fuel:

"Gaddafi had lots of crude but he couldn't refine it. So he had to rely on imported fuel. And we turned off that tap."


Louisiana Sweet has climbed above Brent and is at $115.31 right now.

There was a violent drop recently in the stock market and in the price of oil. The stock market has started rising after the sell-off, as has the price of oil. Go to CNBC or CNNFN and compare the graphs of the S&P 500 and the price of Brent over the past month. They're practically congruent.

I did a TOD search on an author with a new book but I didn't get any hits.

David Sloan Wilson, Binghamton University professor of biology and anthropology, published a new book called, The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time.

One of the chapters in book is called Evonomics. I did a little searching for information on Wilson's thoughts on this topic but didn't find much. One link I found about a planned discussion gave a little more insight into book.

I have been organizing workshops on economics and governance at all scales and have been treating Binghamton as an implementation site for projects at the neighborhood scale

I found a lengthy video presentation (1hr, 20min) called David Sloan Wilson: Evolving the City

Were there any thoughts about this author or his books?

EDIT: Added video

Hurricane Irene flooding. Don't drive underwater.


All apparently safe and well.

Waterlogged NJ guardsmen escape floodwaters, disciplinary action

The Star-Ledger reports that a task force commander spoke with the two drivers, and there is a routine inquiry into the incident. According to Patrick Daugherty, a spokesman for the New Jersey National Guard, the soldiers did not know the depth of the flood waters and attempted to ford the newly formed river. As they did, the engines and electricity of their two vehicles stopped functioning.

“At the time they entered the water, they believed they were fine until everything turned off. At that time they panicked a little bit,” he said.

Daugherty told Stars and Stripes that their ambitious effort took an unexpected turn.

“In many cases, soldiers, firemen, policemen, they overcome the impossible,” he told Stripes. “Sometimes, they enter the darkest places that people would never enter. Those soldiers were there to search for and assist residents of New Jersey who needed help. … Unfortunately, things didn’t work out right.”

That has to be the stupidest thing I've ever seen.

I like the guy on the bridge.

"How is that possible?"

"It's the army bro!"


"They're bailin' out"

"Tropical Storm Irene Damage in Prattsville and Windham NY"


This is not an easy video to watch the further in you get. Terrible destruction.

It's amazing hundreds weren't killed. Looks like a tsunami went through there.

Tomorrow is the dawn of a new day*.

The 60W bulb: A luminary love affair

The 60W has long been the bulb of choice for the modestly-sized rooms in the typical British home. But this very domestic species will be put on the endangered list on Thursday 1 September, when an EU-wide ban on the manufacturing and importing of 60W incandescent clear light bulbs comes into force.

Customers will still be able to get hold of a 60W bulb but once stocks run out, it will go the same way as candlelight and gaslight before it.

See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14715301

* Unless you live in Canada, in which case you'll just have to wait until 2014.


Our local electricity company has started a scheme where you may take up to 4 transparent, incandescent light bulbs to the local supermarket and exchange them for CFLs. While I was in the supermarket, reading about it, there was somebody doing an exchange. Seems to be spreading down here too. I've seen the shelf space given to incandescents shrink greatly over the last few years with a wider range of CFLs available. I am going to need a red safelight so I will be finding out how much red LED spots are here.


CFL since, err, um, can't remember.

I have noticed at my local Lowes over the past 6 months that LED lighting has been squeezing down the shelf space for CFLs...now more shelf space for LEDs than CFLs!

I know that the far NorthEast heights in Albuquerque is full of expensive houses, bit holy cow...I won't touch those $20-$40 bulbs until they come way down in price...and I am very bullish on LED lighting..but not a bleeding edge early adopter.

Almost all lighting in has house has been CFL for 2 1/2 years now, and I have been pleased.

Hi H,

I've noticed something similar taking place at Home Depot; whereas, previously, the first two racking units in the lighting isle were devoted to CFLs, this coveted spot now showcases various LED offerings and the assortment of mini-twists have been moved further down the isle.

LED lamps are slowly coming down in cost. Lighting Sciences' 60-watt replacement LED will retail for less than $15.00 (see: http://www.lighting.co.uk/news/latest-news/new-partnership-to-produce-fi...). Likewise, Philips' L Prize lamp will supposedly sell for $18.00 when it hits the market early next year.



The trends you cite are definitely heading in the right direction...good use for reducing energy use.

If anyone is worried about Jevon's Paradox, just raise the electric rates...if the lighting and appliances are replaced with ones that use half the trons, then double the electricity rate and the wallet impact should be the same...

I expect there will be ample upward pressure on electricity rates for the foreseeable future which in many ways is a good thing. Our local utility has applied for a 9.1 per cent rate hike and folks here are screaming bloody blue murder (note some of the comments at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/08/31/ns-nsp-seekin...). For whatever reason, Canadians become raving lunatics at the mere suggestion of higher rates and are completely oblivious to the real forces at work.

Paul, aka CollieGuy

On the face of it, any "real forces at work" seem to be obscured by some sort of incomprehensible (to an outsider) shenanigans:

Gallant also said that whatever measures are taken fuel prices will rise in 2012 if NewPage, a company that carries much of NSP's fixed costs, is shut down.

What is a NewPage and what does it mean to say that it "carries NSP's fixed costs"; but most of all, what on earth has any of that to do with fuel prices, which are not normally taken as a fixed cost? Again on the face of it, NSP seems to be doing a fine job of appearing to rip off the public, irrespective of what the truth might be.

NewPage owns and operates a large paper mill in this province with an annual energy requirement of approximately 1.7 TWh. Please note that the article said "a company that carries much of NSP's fixed costs" -- roughly 15 per cent of the utility's total production, and so with the loss of this load, NSP must apportion its fixed costs over a smaller customer base. Secondly, NSP's fuel costs are trending upward because a number of its long-term thermal coal contracts are expiring and the new price it will pay is significantly higher than before.

Surely this can't be all that incomprehensible to someone such as yourself?


What really struck me is simply the quote I gave, "fuel prices will rise in 2012 if NewPage ... is shut down." So if it's not shut down, fuel prices won't rise? I tend to expect to find political corruption hiding underneath rocks of that sort.

You can chalk this one up to sloppy writing/poor editing. The confusion could have been avoided had they worded it along the lines of: "Gallant also said that [regardless of] whatever measures are taken[,] fuel prices will rise in 2012 [even] if NewPage, a company that carries much of NSP's fixed costs, is shut down."


For whatever reason, Canadians become raving lunatics at the mere suggestion of higher rates and are completely oblivious to the real forces at work.

This is very true - Canucks behave the same way about cheap electricity - i,.e. a birthright - as the Yanks do about cheap gasoline.

In a provincial election campaign some years ago, the then premier of BC was campaigning about how low electricity rates were the "BC advantage". The next year, electricity use went way up, and BC Hydro (and the prov gov) missed out on about $500m of electricity sales to California.

The real advantage is for those places that have low and efficient energy usage - which usually does not occur in places with low prices.

Given that New Page is the same place that bought a 30yr old boiler for their inefficient biomass electricity system and wants to be subsidised for it, I wouldn't have a lot of sympathy for them packing up. Paper is a sunset industry anyway. Let the smaller entrepreneurs do better stuff with making lumber products, food and electricity from the forests.

By contrast, here in sunny Alberta, things appear to be getting brighter:

Enmax trims regulated rate option

As fall approaches and nights grow longer, Calgary power consumers not locked into a long-term contract will be paying 34 per cent less to brighten things up at home.

Enmax Corp., the Calgary-owned utility, has set its regulated rate option for electricity in September at 8.213 cents per kilowatt hour, down from 12.432 cents per kWh in August.

I'm thinking of tossing out all my CFL's and buying some 500-watt halogen lights to brighten up the house during the winter. (Just kidding, of course)

Their competition, though, is offering me a 3-year fixed price dual fuel contract for electricity at 8.49 ¢/kWh and natural gas at 6.89 $/GJ, so that's the one I might go with.

If anyone is worried about Jevon's Paradox, just raise the electric rates

Just wondering, do you really believe that?
Seems like another throw out there solution like "just buy a Prius".

In a world of declining FF energy supplies and with there being no concern for global warming, climate change, pollution and overpopulation, efficiency is certainly the answer. Efficiency will certainly enable the continuance of BAU and burning of the finite resources of FF's for as long as possible.

Now compared to the world of say 1965 with fuel guzzling vehicles, zero wind farms, solar panels and ethanol production, very few nuclear power stations and pollution was manageable, 2011 is most certainly a more efficient era.
But what has the increased efficiency led to? Compare the amount of CO2 emitted in 1965 to now. Wouldn't we love to have that back!

Since 1965 we have more than doubled the humans on the planet and fed most of them well, added renewable energy supplies in staggering quantities (along with burning as much FF as possible), we have caused land and sea animals to go extinct and darkened the skies with particulates.

So your answer to Jevon's is to "just raise electricity rates". I suppose I should give up. The call to efficiency as a solution is the last bastion of global warming ignorers. More efficient jet liners, smaller vehicles, electric vehicles, electric trains, more wind farms, more solar panels, more BAU, more people, more pollution, more environmental degradation.

Words are easy.............
Best hope for more efficient vehicle.
Best hopes for more electric railways.
Best hopes for more wind farms.
Best hopes for more efficient jet engines.
And I can go on an on.

They are nothing but words. Unless an efficiency drive is accompanied by an IMMEDIATE equivalent drive to sequester CO2 and forever place OFF LIMITS deposits of fossil fuels.
If that is not included in the plan, then efficiency has only one main goal and that is the enabling of business as usual for as long as possible, together with the ramifications of same.

Power down has changed to power off, building our way out of a situation caused by building is ridiculous. We now have to actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere. To champion ways to add more for as long as possible is plain stupid.


Good job taking a simple statement about raising electricity rates to stave off a demand increase due to increased lighting/appliances efficiency and turning it into a straw man for your 'all or nothing' manifesto.

Lookit, I would love it if humanity would have been wise enough to achieve zero population growth back in the 1960s...all we can do now is to advocate a 2-child-per-woman-per-lifetime norm for society and then try to reduce our energy consumption. My folks had two children, and my wife and I had two children, then a vasectomy. I have walked that walk.

My comment was simple: If appliances become twice as efficient, in order to counter any tendency to make them twice as big/powerful/numerous, the price for electricity would have to double, so that the out-of-pocket expense for these appliances remains the same. Heck, quadruple the price for trons, and mandate twice-as-efficient lights and appliances, then people will use the doubly-efficient appliances and lights less than they did with the previous models.

Yes, words are easy...'Unless an efficiency drive is accompanied by an IMMEDIATE equivalent drive to sequester CO2 and forever place OFF LIMITS deposits of fossil fuels.'

I want to see your action plan briefed to the people of the World to IMMEDIATELY sequester (all extra?) CO2 forever and IMMEDIATELY cut off all extraction and use of FFs.

BTW, I contest that humanity has added renewable power supplies at staggering rates/qnatities since 1965...what fraction of electricity, heating, cooling, transportation fuel is currently produced from 'renewable' sources? To me, to qualify as 'staggering', that fraction would be north of 50%...we aren't even close.

Your 'turn off the FFs now' idea is not practical. I won't be rude as you were and use the word 'stupid' as you did with me...you are obviously passionate about the situation and upset with our inability to change course, and I hope some mental peace for you.

Sorry to be late with this.
When I asked if you really believed I didn't expect that you would defend the idiocy.
Have you thought it through? Do you expect an appliance to come with a tag explaining that if you use it your electricity tariff will rise. When will the ah ha moment arise that shows appliances have become twice as efficient, will everyone pay because some could afford new more efficient appliances. How long do expect the process to take to get everyone paying double the price for energy for using efficient appliances.

How will it rise individually. What if I buy a less efficient appliance, will my tariff reduce. If I buy a Prius should I pay more for fuel. If I buy a Hummer should the price of fuel for me reduce because I'm less efficient.

I don't know if you are naive or simply clutching at straws but I say again, it is far too late to engineer or build a way out. Efficiency is fine in an ideal world but we are far from that and have multiple issues to deal with. Right now we need a no compromise approach to abandoning fossil fuels and building things which don't use them but which enables others to continue to use them is not the way.

H, it depends on the bulb. Some shapes are round like balls and the CFL's run pretty expensive so for $25 you can get an LED which should last longer. So for me that was as far as I would go on LED until as you say the price drops.


I purchased my first CFLs back in 1984 (7 and 9-watt Philips PLs with a reusable magnetic ballast base) and self-ballasted GE Circlines for several years prior to that. Needless to say, the technology has come a long way since then.

Here's hoping that the CFL lamp exchange in your area proves wildly popular. There are reportedly fourteen billion incandescent lamps still in service world wide and so, clearly, there's much work yet to be done.


Holy moley, if you take an average waste of 40W that's about 560GW!!!


PS please fix my arithmetic if I have that wrong.

Holy moley, if you take an average waste of 40W that's about 560GW!!!

But, but...think of the brightness!! It's just not quite "right"!!1!

Although I notice the complaints and drama about freedom of choice, life and liberty has died down now. Thank god.

I doubt the lamps are on 24/7. I still have 3 non-cfl lamps in my house. Average usage 1 minute/24 hours between them.

True enough but if they are only on for 4 hours a day, many are on for 8-24 hrs too, you are still pushing 100 GW, still toasty. How many less power stations would be needed?


The following quote with regards to the Philips L-Prize lamp provides us with a rough sense of the potential savings:

With the 83% energy saving afforded by the LED-based replacement, the DOE estimates that a complete switch from 60 W incandescent to 10 W solid-state lamps would save approximately 35 TWh of electricity annually (assuming that the average light is on for just under two hours each day) – enough energy to power a city the size of Washington, DC, three times over.

See: http://optics.org/news/2/8/8

About the annual output of, say, twelve 400MW coal-fired power plants.


In other words, enough for 1.8 million people, that is, enough to cover US population growth for about a whole five months. OK, it's more than nothing, but then again it's almost lost in the noise.

You've got a lot to say about noise, Paul.

You may consider it nothing more than noise, which is fine, but I'd be thrilled to see a dozen 400 MW coal-fired power plants taken out of the mix and would happily do whatever I could to rid ourselves of the next twelve. In fact, that's one of the reasons why I do the work I do professionally.


That last quote is a bit confusing. Did the authors intend to reference the population of the District of Columbia (about 600,000) or the Washington, DC metro area (almost 7 million)? Given that US population is growing at about 3 million each year, the stated gain might evaporate in only 1 year if it's the former, but much longer if it's the latter. The DOE website offers the same comparison without the necessary qualification. The DOE says the US end use electric consumption in 2009 was 3,742 Terawatt hrs, the projected savings of 35 TWh would amount to slightly less than 1% of US consumption, a savings which would be erased by roughly 1 year of population growth...

E. Swanson

The most likely model for lamp use per day in hours is an "exponential-looking distribution" that abruptly stops at 24 hours (for the lamps that remain on continuously). Lets talk cumulative use so flipping the bathroom on 3 minutes at a time 10x a day is 30 minutes.

But for a bulb turned on 0.4 hours/day it only takes 350 days to start saving money.


All light bulbs in use at my house, with the exception of two 40w incandescents, are all florescent or LED.

The two 40watt light bulbs are in the master bathroom, wife's side, so she can do her make up under trusted light color temps.

You get off easy -- I've got four 60W halogens for the same purpose!

The United States is making large investments in the infrastructure required to produce new portable nuclear energy sources usable word-wide for the next 50 years:





The U.S. is taking a balanced approach...along with the better-known new energy development (Drill, Baby, Drill!"...'Clean Coal'... advocacy, it is also pursuing an approach to facilitate large-scale demand destruction and power-down.

Peace is our Profession.

We'll meet again...

We'll meet again...on some Sunny day!!!

Gentlemen...we cannot...have...a...mine..shaft...gap!

On a related note, I read the current copy of Aviation Week and Space Technology, and read a lovely article about the notional 'new bomber' coming some years down the road to a few lucky AF bases, which will commensurately get a new Commissary, BX, fitness center, housing, etc...

The current guesstimate is for a unit price of $550 Million per plane, with a fleet of 100 aircraft...$55B Anyone? And then there will be Operations and Maintenance costs for 30-50 years after it is built.

But wait...it gets better...since the AF can't afford to stuff all the weapons and sensor goodies into one 'do-it-all' super stealthy long range bombers, it will 'keep the price down' to just $550M per copy by offloading these extra weapons and sensors and jammers on to 'adjunct platforms' (other stealthy aircraft types) that will accompany the 'new bomber' 'downtown' to allow it to wreak all the havoc we want. The cost to field these 'adjunct aircraft' fleets? I make my own solid guesstimate that another $55B is not out of the question...especially since these 'adjunct (support) aircraft' will be advertized as supporting all kinds of other 'essential'; missions besides supporting the 'down-town' bomber.

Ironically, one of our uber-creditors will be both the one of the financiers and one of the inspirations for this spending!

My point: What would we be able to do with this ~ $100B spread over the next 10-20 years? How much of Alan Drake's electrified freight trains and urban passenger rail could be implemented, and how many bbls of oil would that save over the course of years?

And these military hardware expenditures are merely the tip of the iceberg...but note that the war hawks are already crying a river about 'budget cuts', which really mean flat budgets for a couple of years for the military (at the already obscene level)...

But, back to your regularly scheduled programming, where the channels say we don't have the $$ to create a new post-PO infrastructure...

So we borrow massive amounts of cash from China so we can build, maintain and operate huge numbers of high tech weapons to counter the rising threat of developing nations, prominently including China.

This cannot end well.

The Chinese repossess the bombers due to debt default a few days before declaring war.



You just eloquently articulated why the $$$ problem is a myth. There is plenty of money, but they do not wish to spend it on things like electrified trains and renewables cause that is not going to make them enough money down the road. LOL. They want to spend the money we don't have to preserve the status quo fossil methods by Military Force. And probably no one can stop them either.

Jon Huntsman, formerly known as the rational candidate, releases his "Time to Compete" plan, including energy :-

"Energy Independence

End OPEC’s Pricing And Supply Power, Promote Jobs, And Increase Overall Domestic Supply.

The United States must expedite the process for reviewing and approving safe, environmentally sound energy projects, including the development of North American oil and gas reserves; oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska; shale gas and oil in the U.S.; and Canadian oil sands.

Level The Playing Field And Create A Fully Competitive Market For Cleaner Domestic AlternativeTransportation Fuels.

The United States must eliminate the subsidies and regulations that support foreign oil and inhibit domestic alternatives such as compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity, biofuels, and coal-to-liquids, which are not price-controlled by OPEC."


I'm for a level playing field, but the problem with Huntsman is he'd do so by eliminating regulations on US companies rather than imposing them on foreign producers. He's also for cutting capital gains and dividend taxes, while removing deductions and exemptions.

Streamlining regulations and taxes makes a lot of sense. Taxing consumption instead of earnings would make some sense too, but we need to promote work for lower end workers while reducing the spread between highest and lowest. We need to slow down consumption of foreign imports, and incent adoption of tighter env regulations for producers; exporting pollution makes little sense when it's a small world and you're exporting jobs with it.

There is little to like in Rep or Dem platforms this campaign season, it seems to me. Where is the resource-constrained-small-world party????

Where is the resource-constrained-small-world party????

Where it's been since 1980, sitting at home because of resource constraints, aka, because we are unemployed and can't get our message out to the masses. It's much easier to "sell" the happiness vision than it is to promote austerity...

E. Swanson

They're not sitting at home. They're out working hard to get elected: Green Party of the United States.

If you read the Energy section of their platform I'll think you'll find much to agree with.


Where is the resource-constrained-small-world party????

The 1930's are calling and want to remind the people of Technocracy.


End OPEC’s Pricing And Supply Power,...

I wonder just how he is going to pull that one off.

The United States must eliminate the subsidies and regulations that support foreign oil and inhibit domestic alternatives such as compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity, biofuels, and coal-to-liquids, which are not price-controlled by OPEC."

What are the subsidies that support foreign oil? Also, there is no regulation or subsidies that prevent the compression of natural gas. Natural gas vehicles are on the road today. What is he talking about?

Making OPEC the bogeyman has been tried before. But OPEC is a fact and the US President has no control over what OPEC does. Anyway OPEC is falling apart on its own. Every OPEC nation is going their own way.

Anyway Huntsman is the most moderate of all the right wing conservatives. And to think, even he is totally disconnected as to what is really going on concerning the oil supply. But I must be careful here, else I may be confused of smiting conservatives. ;-)

Ron P.

CNG for vehicles is discouraged by hefty regulations on type testing of engine kits, which makes aftermarket conversion unreasonable except for high-use fleet vehicles. Factory CNG is discouraged both by these regulations, and the purchase incentives (similar to hybrids a few years back and EVs in some locales today) apply only to CNG-only vehicles rather than dual-fuel vehicles.

The result is that Ford and GM can get value out of selling flex-fuel cars that rarely get anything but ordinary gas put in them, while consumers shy away from CNG cars that would have fuel costs less than 50% as high due simply to islanding concerns -- there is no cross-country infrastructure for CNG.

A simple phase-in incentive for dual-use CNG/gas trucks and cars would much better prime the infrastructure pump, and eliminate the psychological barrier. Pragmatically, there should be enough empirical experience with CNG conversion certification to know if the type-testing rigor is really needed or not -- from what (little) I've read, it's hard to make a CNG kit work poorly enough to worry a lot about pollution, and much simpler component certification would suffice for safety. After all, I can go buy a 502 crate motor with an Edelbrock high-rise and a big Holley that will guzzle gas and spew emissions in my project car, or I can buy a 5L fuel-injected crate that performs and emits about the same as a recent model factory engine. Why not enable enthusiasts to do home and local-shop conversions for CNG like most of the rest of the world?

Of course, I'm not sure that's quite what Huntsman meant.

Edit: Just did a quick Google, and I must note that the situation is improving:

The revised procedures will vary based on the age of the vehicle or engine being converted. EPA has found that the procedures for older vehicles and engines can be streamlined, while maintaining environmental safeguards. As opposed to a one-size fits all approach, EPA’s process is now based on whether a vehicle or engine is new, intermediate age, or outside its expected useful life.


Still doesn't provide incentives to prime the pump, and it's too soon to see how the kit market reacts. Still, a good step in the right direction.

"What is he talking about?"

I know enough to recognize my own limitations when it comes to understanding politics as usual, but I read the few lines of the plan several times and could make no sense of it at all.

Pounding on OPEC may appeal to low-information voters, and removing regulation appeals to the API, and I guess he's throwing a bone to the environmental camp by saying "environmentally responsible". I guess it's a plan cobbled together by staffers, designed for maximum appeal rather than rational sense. Unless he really believes it...

What are the subsidies that support foreign oil?

Ron, I'm surprised you wrote that. The US expends a massive amount of resources on our military. Perhaps half of that goes to support friendly governments in other nations which export oil to us. If we weren't the 1,000 gorilla on the world stage, do you think we would be able to import all that (still) cheap oil to power our gas guzzling SUV's? Not to mention the fact that we are involved in three conflicts in which oil is a dominant concern, with costs over and above our "normal" DOD budget...

E. Swanson

Eric, you are correct but your reasoning is the exact opposite that of Huntsman. I am surprised you did not see that. Huntsman is complaining that we have subsidies that support foreign oil causing high oil prices. You are saying that our military involvement in oil producing nations is supporting cheap oil.

If we allowed conflict to rage in the Middle East oil prices would go through the roof. I am not saying that is either good or bad, but that is just the way it is.

Also the military is not considered a subsidy and that was obviously not what Huntsman had in mind.

Ron P.

"But I must be careful here, else I may be confused of smiting conservatives. ;-)"

Don't worry Ron. Most conservatives consider Huntsman to be a RINO. That's why he is not getting any votes :-)

Texas Drought Forecast to Continue

Just out a few minutes ago, the drought forecast to November 2011. Northern Oklahoma will see some moderation, but that is about it.


Fry and Dry Texas


Models are all over the place with the current low in the GoM

"If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product."


800 AM EDT THU SEP 1 2

Models are all over the place with the current low in the GoM

Primarily because the models are showing it getting stuck in a doldrum, no steering flows so it just sits and spins over the northern GOM for the next few days.

The real question now is what the intensity will be. Maybe it turns out to be just a rain maker, but if for some reason it spins up into a 'cane there will be little warning. In which case things could get ugly.


From my understanding it has a better change to become a TS the longer it hangs out in the GOM, and yes, steering is weak so models are clueless at this stage. What is certain it will touch land eventually. ;-)

I see it has been upgraded to tropical depression thirteen now. Winds forecast to gradually strengthen over the next few days as it SLOWLY follows a highly uncertain track north. It would seem that the folks on the gulf coast can expect rain and a lot of it.


BP shutting in Gulf of Mexico production

BP Plc (BP.N) (BP.L) was shutting in production at all of its eight oil and natural gas platforms in U.S.-regulated areas of the Gulf of Mexico as it evacuates workers ahead of a weather disturbance, sources familiar with offshore operations said on Thursday.

BP has said workers were being evacuated from its Mad Dog, Holstein, Atlantis, Nakika, Pompano, Horn Mountain, Marlin, and Thunder Horse platforms, but declined to discuss how production would be affected.


A meandering and unpredictable storm could shut down most of the activity in the gulf.

Hurricane Hunter crafts are getting high enough winds in 93L for her to be classified a Tropical Storm now. It will be any day that she becomes a he, called Lee. ;-) The winds are not quite closed off around the center. So it will take a few more days. Stay tuned though.

Looks like the winds are closed off now. Almost named Lee is mighty interesting. Definitely going to disrupt GOM oil production for a few days.

gog - Already has. Certain equipment used to secure producing wells have for the most part been shipped out there. Had to go to a seconday source for one of my onshore wells: called Halliburton yesterday and all their gear was in transit to the GOM. Takes days to batten down the hatches out there...and days to evac the hands that do this work. Just the threat of a serious blow will shut things down to some degree even if it doesn't materialize.

Comeon comeon Lee! Bring your rain to SW Oklahoma!! Things are getting pretty desperate around

Perhaps the Lord wants to "Fry and Dry" Texas and Oklahoma till they accept that they are causing Climate Change ?

I have followed the weekly drought map and it is clearly centered around those two states with some "coming and going" in the bordering states.

Next year may be a repeat (no rinse).

The longer range Climate Models (most of them) suggest a Greater Dust Bowl from Kansas to the eastern border of California @ 2060s to 2080s.


The "minimum" rain forecast is 10" in New Orleans over the next five days as the wet side pf Lee rotates around us.


Interesting adjunct to all the dependence on weather sat's.

Space junk rising exponentially
Scientists warn of 'tipping point' but Shuttle's demise means there is no easy way to remove defunct satellites


Space junk rising exponentially
Scientists warn of 'tipping point' but Shuttle's demise means there is no easy way to remove defunct satellites

One must wonder if this is a bigger sign of the 'Great Degradation'. With roads, tunnels, bridges, pipes and other infrastructure in need of repair or replacement, people ripping out copper wiring and pipes for cashola, and now space junk piling up with no way to get it down, it starts to look like not only did oil plateau in 05, but subsequent high oil prices have nixed the funds available to maintain the complexity.

The Shuttle would not have made a significant difference in space junk. A lot of the stuff originates outside the operational range of the Shuttle, and a lot of it originates with tumbling and volatile rocket stages and such, that no manned spacecraft is going anywhere near.

Space junk is a very real problem, but the Shuttle Program ending really doesn't mean much in that context.

I always wonder what our descendants will make of the space junk burning up on re-entry. The stuff of myth and legend...

In Greer's on-line novel "Star's Reach", the saying is when the last artificial star falls down, that Mam Gaia would have healed herself.



While the caption on this article (below) about 'Oil Movements' implies that OPEC plans to increase oil exports, a careful review of what OM has said recently will lead to the exact opposite conclusion.

OPEC oil exports have incrementally fallen about 5 weeks in a row and are on track to decline further this week. OPEC is now exporting about 500,000 bpd less than a indicated in an OM report issued about 5 weeks ago (22.59 mbpd vs. about 23.09 mbpd).

Essentially Oil Movements has been retroactively revising prior reports lower. See link from a month ago that is further below; that amount has since been revised downward about 240,000 bpd.

OPEC to Boost Exports as IEA Release Ends, Oil Movements Says Ends, Oil Movements Says

By Grant Smith - Sep 1, 2011 11:30 AM ET

Exports will rise 0.2 percent to 22.59 million barrels a day in the four-week period, the Halifax, England-based tanker- tracker said today in a report. That compares with 22.54 million a day in the month to Aug. 20. Shipments typically decline at this time of year as refiners undertake seasonal maintenance. The figures exclude Ecuador and Angola.

“The crude market is quite strong,” Roy Mason, Oil Movements’ founder, said by telephone. “We would expect to see a decrease in sailings at this point in the year. But it’s not suffering yet. Sailings westbound are up, and eastbound they’re down a little.”


Link from one month ago:

OPEC members also concerned about the situation. According to Oil Movements, the cartel will cut its exports to 22.78M bpd in the 4 weeks to August 20 amid expectations of lower consumption. Iran's OPEC governor, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, said last Friday that member nations will hold an emergency meeting 'the downward oil price trend continues'. However, it's reported that Saudi Arabia is against such move.

Guess they're spoiled on those higher prices.


Getting a tad tense in S. La. this morning at 1 AM. I'm logging an onshore well 2 miles from the GOM at the moment…and less than 3’ above sea level. Just saw the latest Weather Channel update. We’re now on the western edge of the tropical storm warning band with potential to be upgraded to hurricane by Friday night. May institute emergency shut down when the sun comes up. Some of the service companies are starting to shut down. We have the emergency shutdown equipment on will call. Told my company man to call it out now. Given the wide target path through the heart of the La. oil patch there won’t be enough equipment for everyone. Much of it was shipping offshore 2 days ago. Where I am in Cameron Parish there is only one road out. That gets shuts down and you're not going anywhere. Several decades ago a hurricane blew through this area and killed every person. Was 3 days before the state guard could get down to begin recovering bodies. They learned there lesson: mandatory evac when the time comes.

Day crew comes on at 6 AM. The night hands that live in S La will be thinking about going home this afternoon. I have some concern I won’t be able to get transports here to move the expensive equipment out. Suddenly things got very serious since early Thursday morning.


I understand caution, but you have these factors in your favor -

1) Very slow moving
2) Most likely path puts you on weak, dry side of the hurricane
3) Likely no worse than Cat 1, and likely not even that.
4) Weak winds and weak side mean no storm surge to speak of.

On the bad side, weak steering currents and poor organization make this one much less predictable.

Best Hopes !


Link to the Spaghetti Models


Alan - You up late/early...watching the Weather Channel? LOL. My problem is that it wil take 3 days for a complete shut down and move out of the expensive mobil equipment. And you probably know Cameron Parish: 3" of fast rain and the roads are flooded.

Looks like you might get your feet wet. You got a hurricane party planned for Saturday night? Hopefully I'll be heading back to Texas tomorrow and hoping we get some of that rain.

I know you have weather services already, but you might check out Doc Master's blog at Weather Underground for good discussions of the storm.

I imagine you will be getting a pile of rain for sure, and wind will be a hit or miss proposition. Right now there is a shear boundary keeping the storm from growing (and going) west, but that should weaken later today.

Planes have been, and will be, sampling the evolving storm, so the models later today will be much more accurate.

10-20" of rain is not out of the question for some areas, pretty much the entire coast of La., but I don't know exactly where you are.


Paleo – The waiting is over here: drilling contractor just told me he’s shutting down as soon as I finish logging in a couple of hours. He’s not worried about wind as much as water: he has a $million worth generators sitting on the ground he wants to evac. Plus it crew change day and a lot of the hands in S La won’t want to leave the house with the storm bearing down on them.

They may say the storm will swing NE but right now the radar shows the rain is moving west towards us at 25 mph. Not here yet but will be eventually. Hopefully I’ll evac my butt in a couple of hours and head back to high and dry Texas.

HOT and DRY Texas, Rock,




Wasn't sure if this one showed up already..

Quake risk to reactors greater than thought

After the March earthquake in Japan that caused the biggest nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, NRC staffers fretted in emails that the agency's understanding of earthquake risk for existing reactors was out of date.

In a March 15 email, for example, an NRC earthquake expert questioned releasing data to the public showing how strong an earthquake each plant was designed to withstand. The seismologist, Annie Kammerer, acknowledged that recent science showed stronger quakes could happen. "Frankly, it is not a good story for us," she wrote to agency colleagues.

... The Perry 1 reactor in Ohio tops the list with the steepest rise in the chance of core damage: 24 times as high as thought in 1989. The four other plants with the largest increases include River Bend 1 in Louisiana, up nine times; Dresden 2-3 in Illinois, eight times; Farley 1-2 in Alabama, seven times, and Wolf Creek 1 in Kansas, also seven times. The smallest increase was the 38 percent at North Anna.

One-in-four nuclear reactors may need work to protect from quakes

WASHINGTON — The risk that an earthquake would cause a severe accident at a U.S. nuclear plant is greater than previously thought, 24 times as high in one case, according to an AP analysis of preliminary government data.
The nation's nuclear regulator believes a quarter of America's reactors may need modifications to make them safer.

How ironic, or fortunate, that the LOWEST risk nuke to have an earthquake that exceeds design parameters may have exceeded the design parameters.

from above

The smallest increase [in recalculated earthquake risk] was the 38 percent at North Anna.

and from


RICHMOND — The earthquake-induced shutdown at the North Anna nuclear power-generating station in Louisa County last week appears to be the first such occurrence among U.S. commercial power plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

Federal and Dominion Virginia Power officials are concerned that the shaking from the Aug. 23 Central Virginia earthquake may have been greater than the plant was designed for.


I know that structural and mechanical design is a mature field, but it's still hard to believe that nuke designs vary significantly to account for differing quake threats. With aging, maintenance practices, and a host of other effects accumulating over time, it has to end up as a probability curve of damage for a given quake strength. Plus, all quakes are not created equal, in terms of direction and shape of shaking waves.

With enough quakes over time against enough similar designs, there will be an experience base to build upon for future estimations, but realistically we have to assume that any major quake will cause damage. The trouble will be figuring out where such damage is, as subtle shifts can increase stresses and probably induce latent failures over time.

Hopefully the designers envisioned such eventualities, and have few single points of failure, and with most faults degrading gracefully. Seems like a stretch, though!

Well put.

Additionally, with a Nuke plant, you've got Heavy Structures, some of which need to be brittle, and they're interconnected over a broad footprint with expensive plumbing that has to remain essentially leak free while carrying High Heat and High Pressure.

As much as engineers will try to envision all the eventualities they can, this is simply 'complexity at its best'.. it's rolling numbers of dice at the same time, and praying none of them give you snake eyes, and maybe not boxcars, either. (So far, an abundance of Gas and Diesel infrastructure nearby allows us to nudge the dice when the call is getting close.. but that is bound to change with PO and CC)

I see Drumbeat Sept 2nd at top of page but when I click it I get "You don't have permission to access the requested content."

Edit: It is working now.

That's a bug. It means I have a draft version saved, but haven't published it yet.

SuperG doesn't seem too concerned about it, so I think we're just going to have to live with it.

Friendly Chevrolet

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