A national call to arms?

peakguy just sent us an email to let us know about another Drudge report item: BUSH CONSIDERS ADDRESS TO NATION; CALL FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION.
President Bush is considering an address to the nation asking citizens to conserve energy, a top White House source says. ... "Still undecided is whether or not to call for a nationwide effort to reduce energy consumption during this emergency," a top Bush source explains. "It is seriously being considered."
Could it really be? Who knows...(in the same report, Drudge also says "A second White House source says there are no plans for the president to address the country on gas.")

There is a sense in which rationing has already begun. According to this LA Times story: "many of the major oil companies, including Shell Oil Co. and Valero Energy Corp., have begun rationing how much gasoline they provide wholesalers and dealers while their Gulf Coast operations recover."

Rationing the supply that wholesalers are given can cause shortages, but that's different than rations put in place by governments to affect individual consumers (not that Bush is actually implementing rationing at the moment). The other day, CNN elicited viewer emails on their opinion as to whether the government should ration gas in the face of the 1 to 1.5 mbd shortfall that Katrina has caused. Opinions ranged from a hearty "yes!" to "The oil companies are already gouging us, not this too!"

Update [2005-8-31 11:32:20 by Prof. Goose]:There will be a release from the SPR.

In worse news, the mayor of NOLA has acknowledged the potential for thousands of lives lost.

I couldn't find the CNN emails online, but I did stumble across this Atlanta-based bulletin board, which is interesting in light of the Drudge report that we mentioned earlier.

Some people are in denial about the geography of many Americans' lives:

you won't need to ration gas most people will drive only as necessary, like me this week I need to go 30 miles to get a muffler repair but after that I'll keep my driving for the week under 120 miles so that way the $20 I allow myself a week will work.

Other people have pinned the American psyche a little better:

I think they'll have to do something...however rationing gas won't solve the problem. People in America would go nuts if they were told they coldn't buy something that they wanted/needed.

One guy thinks there's an easier, more popular solution (how'd you like this one, mw?):

The US would invade Canada before rationing gas. The President would probably choose to invade Canada instead of rationing gas because it would be less unpopular.

Oil companies and huge profits is a big gripe:

There is to much fuel available to ration it. The oil companies are making huge profits. Our president is heavily invested in the oil business. Bush does not want to see rationing because it would effect the millions he is making off of the current high price of fuel. When rationing happened in the 70's we were told that by 2005 we would be out of fuel. We aren't out of fuel. OPEC is just controlling the amount available to the market. When will we run out this time if we ration. My father said back in the 70's why don't we use up all of the fuel and move into the next technology. We would be further ahead if we had.

Note that all of these were posted after Katrina hit, and yet almost no one mentions how the disaster will affect the supply of gasoline.

Technorati Tags: , , , , .

Sammy Hagar better start warming up.
If the administration makes no move and continues to downplay the tactical situation with respect to petroleum for the rest of the year, then we will have missed the second window for changing things with legislation. If we continue business as usual, and oil prices fall, then the entire world economy is lulled into a very temporary and false security. Thus PO will sneak up and "Bang! Bang!" like Maxwell's hammer on us in a few more months. Remember, 2006 is 120 days away, and 2007 is only 485 days away....

Everybody talks about the future as if it is far away, but life runs quickly through our fingers...

You're right Spooky, this is a moment when people would be willing to accept sacrifices to help fellow Americans. I think the President should call for voluntary commitments from all levels of society to reduce fuel consumption with a target of decreasing our usage of oil by 1m bpd by the end of the year and then put into place a series of reforms to help push the nation beyond that goal in the future. That would at least focus people's attention on the issue.

If he mentioned Peak Oil, I'd fall off my chair

1mb/day by YE05?  That's pretty mild.  If all we did was change our driving style, we could easily save 10%, or 2MB/day, and that's without even taking other steps to minimize the number of miles driven.

There is a LOT of "low hanging fruit" in US oil consumption that could yield some pretty impressive savings with no need for a single person to modify their current vehicle or buy a different one.

(There was an article on Green Car Congress recently about a guy who drove across Australia and improved his MPG by 30% with only driving technique.  He got, I believe, 68MPG from a diesel sedan--no hybrid, no car mods, no special fuel.  With less attention to detail than he showed, I'm sure we could all get 10%.)

Obviously a 10% savings on gasoline would be about 1.3mb/day for the US, not  2mb/day.  

(Note to self: Posting with a killer sinus headache is not a good idea.)

Lou, as someone with migraines now and again, <Clinton voice>I feel your pain.</Clinton voice>

The 5 stages of grief. In order, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

So it seems that most people are in denial (not only that most drivers could do with only 120 miles per week, but that 120 miles is a small amount), to anger at the gas companies for gouging (which seems to have a certain amount of denile in it was well). It doesn't seem positive that the process is still just beginning.

As for invading Canada, I'm not sure just how unpopular that would be, and I'm curious of the long term affects. Would this make countries want to do less business with the US (for fear of becoming "crucial" to their infrastructure), or just make people jump up to become appeasers. Regardless, I suspect that holding Canada (or just Alberta) would be harder than Iraq. More people are well versed in making home made explosives.

Lastly, Canada seems content to just roll over already to the US, I'm not sure how much invading us would gain them. Already the government refuses to bring oil to the bargaining table to sort out the NAFTA issue over softwood lumber. The US took it and appealed, and fought to the bitter end of the appeal only to ignore the finding since they lost on all levels. And Canada is doing what about this? A few parliment members are talking about repurcussions, but I'm still waiting.

I'm not trying to piss off any Canadians, but one of my friends in Calgary often refers to his own country as the "51st State"...
Calgary? Well, maybe Alberta is the 51st state.. But certainly not Quebec and most of Eastern Canada.
US wouldn't come for oil, but water is another story. You'll see how vital oil is when the South is thirsty.
Besides, we already invaded Canada on Southpark, and it just didn't work out...
this crap keeps up, they'll be the ones invading us.  we'll have to align with the Quebecois.
Yup, we'll be marching down soon... LOL

No, no invasion of Canada needed, the US is already our number one - really the only - export market for Canadian energy.

Plus we have all the uranium up here, watch out.

More seriously, Canada is the largest customer of some 30 or 31 of all the states - screw around with relations too much and the resulting trade war will hurt both sides.

Of course, a conspiracy theory could be built that fomenting some sort of revisit to the depression of the 1930's would be the best solution for an energy starved world.

Then again, that sort of decision would only be contemplated by people who recognize that there's a permanent crisis looming, and somehow I don't think we are there yet.

(in terms of recognition of the potential)

Calling for conservation is admitting they have been wrong all this time.

It won't happen.

What might happen is more money thrown at oil companies so they can do more, just like we saw with our much-touted energy bill.

I could say what I think of Drudge and his "developing" stories, but it's not really worth the effort.

Admitting that a) energy peak may be coming in the near term and b) calling for conservation sound like things a responsible government would do.

I'm not optimistic.

Cheney famously said that the American way of life is non-negotiable.  Calling for conservation probably sounds like the start of negotiations and would stick in his craw.  Still, there may be some sane heads in the administration that at least realize that they need to do something and really that's about the least they can do - and even so, it may not help much.  People will be heading out on already planned labor day vacations in a day regardless of what the president asks.  
I think the chances are remote that Bush or anyone in his administration will call for conservation or say anything that isn't happy talk.  I don't mean this as a political comment, but as simply a statement of fact.  

Has anyone in the Bush Administration every given the public any bad news about anything?  The cost of the Iraq war, federal deficit, housing bubble, trade deficit...

Bernanke was on TV already this morning saying that the financial impact of Katrina shouldn't be too bad, and will lead to increased jobs and "economic growth."  See, e.g., http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=%2fafp%2fusweathereconomy

I just read a CNN/Money article that talked about how there'll be a construction boom in the area and how that'll be good for the economy. I actually find some of the quotes a little goulish:

Prof. Doug Woodward, with the Division of Research at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, has researched the economic impact of hurricanes.

"On a personal level, the loss of life is tragic. But looking at the economic impact, our research shows that hurricanes tend to become god-given work projects," Woodward said.

"Natural disasters bring in a lot of money from the outside to help in the rebuilding," he said. "The rebuilding boom will generate incomes. Insurance money and federal relief money will pour in. This happened very quickly in Florida last year," Woodward said. "Give it a year. We'll see positive economy results maybe by the third-quarter of next year.
Don't worry, be happy:

Fed's Santomero says Katrina won't derail economy

 Noting the U.S. economy has proven to be capable of absorbing shocks, Philadelphia Fed President Anthony Santomero said "after a short period, the effects of Katrina are likely to slow but not stall the forward progress of the national economy."

In remarks to a business group at Temple University, Santomero said he expected inflation to remain well-behaved and inflation expectations to remain well-anchored. But he also said unit labor costs were beginning to increase, and there were indications there might be some tightness in the labor markets soon.

"To keep these incipient price pressures well-contained, the Fed will have to continue shifting monetary policy from its current somewhat accommodative stance to a more neutral one," he said.

He also said it was likely the Fed would be able to continue tightening at a measured pace.

http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=URI:urn:newsml:reu ters.com:20050831:MTFH16977_2005-08-31_17-41-46_N31379096:1

Most oil trucks make short runs from an oil well to a pipeline, or from a pipeline to a gas station. If we have to temporarily replace a pipeline with a virtual pipeline made of oil trucks, we will have trucks making longer runs of three hundred miles instead of thirty, and the same thing goes for railroad tanker cars.
This means that the oil tanker trucks will not visit the gas stations so often, which means that gas stations will run out of oil periodically. Not because their isn't enough oil, but because they are temporarily going to be short of trucks to move it.
wow.  that's a good point.  logistical clusterfuck.  

wk, do you know a lot about that?  or just an astute observation...?

Bush text to the nation on Katrina. Search for the word "conservation".
That speech was pathetic.  See this NY Times editorial.


Doing my part.  These lying motherfuckers in Washington won't ever tell you what you need to know.  The whole oil "crisis" is a well placed distraction to keep the American public from noticing they are being systematically brainwashed through every mass media outlet available to the general public.

I converted my 82 Benz 300D to run on Waste Vegetable oil for about 4 cents a gallon.

take that to heart

whoops forgot the fascism angle too.  911 and this oil crunch are the modern day equivalent to Hitler's secret planning & involvement with the Burning of the Reichstag in pre WWII Germany to rally support of his followers and sway those undecided citizens his way