The Politics of Oil: The Discourse Must Change

[Editor's note] This post is also available as a PDF press release. Please take this .pdf and print it out/give it to others, or send this link to anyone you think needs the information contained therein. It is only through these small actions that the discourse can be changed.

Leaders of both political parties are expressing concern about the high price of gasoline. President George Bush announced yesterday that he was suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to make more oil available to consumers as well as putting on hold the traditional regulations requiring additives to make fuel burn cleaner during the summer driving season.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders have had their own response to rising gas prices. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has announced his support for the Menendez Amendment, which would "provide more than $6 billion in relief directly to the American people by eliminating the federal tax for both gas and diesel for 60 days." Senator Charles Schumer recently called for a federal investigation to determine whether oil companies are withholding gasoline production, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has blamed high gas prices on the administration's cozy relationship with the oil companies, price gouging, and royalty relief.

The editors of The Oil Drum are ideologically diverse. Over the last year, we have created a forum at to encourage an open, rational, and fact-based discussion of energy issues. While individual editors frequently express an opinion on a subject, we have never felt it necessary to take a unified position on any specific issue. That is, until today.

We strongly feel that the leaders of both political parties are not only headed in the wrong direction with respect to gas prices, but we also worry that they fundamentally misunderstand the factors behind the current situation at gasoline stations around the US.

Public statements by political figures over the past several days would seem to suggest that oil companies and their record profits are the sole factor determining the price of gasoline. Not only is this untrue, but it is dangerous to give the American people the impression that only oil companies are to blame. The American people need to understand that the phenomenon of high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that no one political party will be able to fix our current woes.

The major factor that determines gas prices is the price of crude oil from which gasoline is derived. When crude oil prices are high, so are gas prices. The following are just a few factors that affect the price of a barrel of oil:

  1. Oil companies do not single-handedly determine the price of oil. The price of oil is set on the crude oil futures market. Simply put, these prices are affected by supply and demand because, at present, oil trades in a global commodity market where increased demand or reduced supply in one place instantly translates into price shifts everywhere. A variety of publicly available information sources show that supply is relatively static at the moment, while world demand continues to grow as economies grow.
  2. We have provided evidence many times at The Oil Drum that the output of major oilfields is declining and that we may now have reached a peak or plateau in global oil supply. Oil companies have not been able to increase production for a number of years, and it is unclear that OPEC is accurately reporting their reserves. Even if there were significant sources of high quality oil remaining, it is getting increasingly difficult and expensive to drill. These factors, along with aging infrastructure for oil exploration and a retiring workforce are also contributing to high oil prices.
  3. The geopolitical situation is volatile, and an astute citizen may notice that every time there is news from Nigeria or Iran, the price of oil goes up because of the potential and real effects of these situations on world oil supply. Again, oil traders are fearful that the supply will not remain stable forever.
  4. Countries like China and India are industrializing at a great pace, and while we are accustomed to obtaining oil at a comfortable quantity and price, it will be impossible (and immoral) to deny similar resources to these countries. China is working furiously to secure new oil supplies, and they're content to negotiate with countries we're reluctant to deal with, like Iran and the Sudan.
These points demonstrate that disruptions in the supply of oil that affect the price of gasoline at the pump are not just a temporary glitch. For various reasons--decreased discoveries of new oilfields, geopolitical instability, international competition for oil supply--we can no longer assume that we will be able to consume as much oil as possible, or ever get it again for $1.50 a gallon.

Demagoguery and grandstanding are not strategies for addressing our energy problems. As an alternative, the editors of The Oil Drum put forth the following recommendations:

  1. It is nonsensical for political leaders of both parties to eliminate the gas tax temporarily or permanently as this will only worsen our dependence on oil by disincentivizing the innovation of oil alternatives and oil conservation efforts.
  2. Both mainstream American political parties are doing their country a disservice by accusing convenient scapegoats of price gouging or price fixing instead of educating the public about how the price of gas is actually set.
  3. Right now, governments should be focused on helping us cure our "addiction to oil." The answer does not lie in lowering gas prices, which will only encourage people to drive more and further waste our valuable resources. As the Department of Energy funded Hirsch Report on Peak Oil laid out, the consequences of not taking steps to transition away from oil could be dramatic to our economic system. Appropriate solutions include large-scale research, development, and implementation programs to improve the scalability of alternative sources of energy, other projects geared towards improving mass transit and carpooling programs across the country, providing incentives to buy smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, and promoting a campaign to increase awareness about conservation.
The political discourse on this topic is simply so devoid of fact, and constructive discourse so buried and out of the mainstream, that we felt we needed to raise a voice of reason. Public officials will continue to misinform and obfuscate if we allow it.

The only solution is to educate the public about the most important problem we face as a generation. We, the citizens of the US and the world, must move our attention to this the issue of energy more than any other. We must hold our representative governments accountable for having an open and honest debate on the subject.

Simply put, we must learn more about where our energy comes from.

Congratulations to the Oil Drum Editors for pointing out the nonsense and pandering we have been seeing from our national politicians on this issue. Thank You.
On behalf of my colleagues, thank you for the kind words.  We're doing what we can.

All that we can ask of all of you is that you send this link or the .pdf to everyone and anyone you believe can help us get this perspective out into the discourse.  Post it on blogs, media outlets, discussion fora, you name it.  

This is an opportunity, a teaching moment.  We have to seize it.

I will be linking to it from my blog this evening. Very nice work. I just hope the politicians will pay attention.


Send it to Congress ..
Send it to the DOE ..
Send it to the Senate Energy Committee
Jim Bunning R (KY) is chairperson
Send it to the MSM .. CNN/FOX et al

Triff ..

I sent it to Bartlett's PR person.

You can find your congressman's web site here:

Dig around and find their PR person, email directly to them.
The other way gets lower priority. Even better is to call their office.

hey lurkers out there
help get this link out , like this

The Oil Drum needs to get a face on TV, preferrably debating Bill O'Reilly.

I saw some guy from a Cambridge, Massachusetts think tank/online-publication yesterday doing just this yesterday. I think his name was Mac Johnson. He could have used some coaching from more moderate voices here. It seems that the only ones challenging the notion that it is not about gouging are primarily righties. Moderates and lefties need to get on board.

You guys are a shining example. I give this press release 99 out of 100 points. Keep up the good work.

Our "leaders" have, once again, failed to actually lead.  I have little faith that they will, en masse, suddenly see the light and actually work toward a solution. Increasingly irrelevant, they have now sunk to the point that they are part of the problem.  Misdirection, on a grand scale.....
Declaration of Energy Independence

When in the course of modern events it becomes necessary for one people to assume greater control of their energy needs through indigenous sources provided by the Creator, a decent respect for humanity impels them to explain the rationale for their decision.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all sources of energy are not created equal, that some are endowed with indisputable flaws, most especially fossil fuels. ...

Hello Stepback,

Excellent idea!  We do need a Declaration of Detritus Independence!  Biosolar habitats and protective Earthmarines--Here we come!

Consider this blurb of mine I just reposted from the previous thread in a reply to AlanfromBigEasy:

Hello Alan,
Checkout this EnergyBulletin link:

Chris Miller is running on a Peakoil platform!

Some of his comments: "We need to kick this growth habit before it is too late, while Maine still has the strength of community and rural infrastructure to do it with thought and grace," he states in a campaign letter. "Every day the sun shines on 21 million acres of Maine. That is our energy income.

Rather than send Maine's National Guard to another war to find the cheap energy and natural resources that feed this growth, Miller said he would call the Guard back here to lay rails to build an interurban railroad, if the steel is available.

Alan, here is your entree' for railroading--He will need an expert on his staff to explain the advantages, costs, savings, and building timeframes to sell to the public.  Go for it--email him now.

Another article excerpt: "Miller talks in environmental terms about bioregions, or regions sharing a common geography, culture and climate, such as Casco Bay and the St. John Valley."

This sounds to me like he understands the need to build large and distinct sustainable biosolar habitats just as I have speculated about in numerous postings.  After the soldiers finish building the railroads they can be transformed into the initial vanguard of Earthmarines to keep the hapless detritovores from invading postPeak.

The following links illustrate the growing political movements in New England to secede from the Union.  If they can join hands with Peakoilers and biosolar survivalists tremendous progress towards Powerdown can be achieved: df

I think the growing drive for secession is directly related to the growing revulsion to infinite growth, environmental degradation, and ever-rising detritus prices.  Everyone in the US should be encouraging the secession drive of the NE & NW areas of the country.

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

This is not my work at all but rather appears to be that of one Jack Coleman as posted in the link I provided above.

I agree that it is a great idea to make a Declaration Independence, which is why I posted the link and some of the initial text. But no kudos to me. Give it up for Jack.

Hello Stepback,

Thxs for responding.  No problem here, Full Credit to Jack Coleman.  If we could somehow get the biosolar habitat idea rolling, I think thousands of Peakoilers will sell everything they have for a chance to relocate to these Powerdown areas.  I know I would ASAP.  Just imagine living a 'Tuscan' lifestyle as hypothesized by Jeff Vail's EnergyBulletin link:

I encourage all TODers to study his article.  I think even Kunstler would agree that this is the better alternative to continuing our present paradigm.  I feel strongly that this should be the direction of future 'truthful discourse'.  Secession of the NE & NW US does not require that all the unwashed masses have to understand Peakoil; it provides a political mechanism for those that do to isolate themselves from those that will never give up their 'addiction'.  Time will tell if we can incorporate Entropy into our lifestyles.

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


A most excellent piece!  Where has it been sent so far?

We are hoping to send it to every blog, MSM outlet, politician, local activist group we can think of. Please feel free to take the pdf and pass it on!
Might I suggest a PDF that's really meant for printing?  IMVHO, there's no point in a PDF meant for Web use, because HTML is better for that.  Everyone hates PDFs.

PDFs are meant for printing, which means those nice blue links won't be clickable.  

Sadly, snail-mail still carries a lot more weight with politicians than those new-fangled "computer letters."  Not least because it takes more time and effort to send.  And it proves you're willing to shell out for a stamp - which gives you more credibility, at least according to some.  ;-)

A version without links is available at
Thanks.  I'll be sending it to my Congresscritters.
Do, Leanan, but also to anyone with actual power. I've found recents arguments for lobbying individuals in big business convincing. Corp statements on cost overruns suggest many are already feeling the impacts, and those magnificnt engines of selfinterest must eventually notice that official optimism is no guide to real trading conditions, or founder.

Applause for pushing a united agenda, but I have reservations about the statements conservatism. I think our situation so precarious and course so fixed that the program advocated would have no hope of succeeding in the time available.
Would new energy techs still have to compete against extraction-cost fossil fuels? Would culture still promote hyper consumption and material accumulation thru misreprentation? Would we still tax effort more than resource use? These are not details that can be worked out later, they are the first real turns of the ships wheel and the measures you mention would have little prospect of making a difference in the 2? decades we might have without them.

Of course you weren't laying out a program, just trying to improve the debate, ahem, soapbox stowed. But i do think underselling the effort reqd is a mistake. People will say its unthinkable, till gas goes up another 50%. Local radio last week had a talkback dj frantic with "well what will we use??" when Royal Auto Club flack told her oil will peak sometime 2008-2020 (he hasn't said it again). There are teaching moments opening up all over.  

I like your press release a lot. I'm appalled to learn there's a proposal to suspend the gas tax. No doubt they'll pay for it with more debt. Seems to be the fashion nowadays -- when there's a "touch choice" just pass it off onto the tax payers of next year. Seriously, I'm not sure why they don't just go all the way and cancel all taxes and just print money and borrow.

BTW I'm wondering whether it's a problem that the press release is, in a way, anonymous. People who are familiar with TOD know it has a lot of credibility; but for someone who hasn't heard of it, the impact might be lessened quite a bit by the fact that it's an anonymous press release.

Just posted it over at Liberty Post.
I fired off a copy to

Senator Chris Dodd (CT)
Congressman Chris Shays (CT)

Triff ..

Great work!  I am writing a letter NOW to my local newspaper asking that people read this.  I would have hoped for just a little more- that you emphasize more strongly how important it is for us to pay the FULL PRICE of oil. DOE estimates, as I recall, $10 a gallon of gas is near full price, and that with not everything environmental taken into account. Unless we do this, we slow down the change to other sources, most important of which is, of course, conservation, or efficiency, or whatever you think is the best phrase. Price makes for efficiency, almost nothing else does.

And give the poor an  income supplement, not a fuel supplement, so they see the need to conserve just as strongly as everyone.

"Just my voice can't shout to make them hear
Just your voice can't shout to make them hear
But if two and two and fifty make a million
We'll see that day come round, We'll see that day come round"
Pete Seeger.

It seems impossible to imaging that the governments are not aware of the real reasons that cause the current tensions on the oilmarket, only a prelude of the real troubles ahead.

But then... why would they deliberatly course for a disaster?
Why, oh why, must one think, would they??

Using my best Occam's razor thinking, I think it's the politicians' short term nature of worrying about the next election by emotional pandering to the lowest common denominator of the public in order to gain votes for said election in order to keep their jobs. That's one of the basic "ruts" our political system is in.

In a sense it's criminal, in another sense it's our own fault, and in yet another sense, very restrictive term limits would do a lot of good.

Yep.  That "rut" is called democracy.  The problem isn't the politicians.  It's the people.  Most people consider the primary job of government is to keep the status quo.  Stable energy prices for transportation is what most people consider their right.  When XOM Raymond walks away with a $400,000,000 retirement package that's enough proof for most people that the energy prices are being manipulated.

Neither party can afford to be the bearer of bad news because the other party will benefit by saying that we aren't REALLY running out of oil and that it's those bad corporations and bad countries who are causing these high prices.  Result, windfall profit taxes and more war.  That's where we're heading in any case.

Our system just isn't set up to deal with this kind of situation.  Even though I understand how speculation on futures can drive up the price in advance of shortages, it's a bit hard to take.  Watching Jim Rogers make all that money is almost as repulsive as watching the government take it.

Very restrictive term limits could easily be worse than what we've got - though it might be worth a try.

I wonder if it's legal to take Occam's razor on a domestic flight?

That "rut" is called democracy.  The problem isn't the politicians.  It's the people.

It's more complicated than that. When propaganda was developed into a science in the early 20th century the political class seized on it quickly and they haven't looked back. By being able to manipulate a majority of the public with relatively small amounts of money (for them) they've removed the "risk" from democracy. Among the citizens those who understand even partially what is going on are largely disenfranchised and have either given up or cynically fight for one party or the other. Free speech can even exist without restriction, but as long as a majority of the citizens can be manipulated, it doesn't matter.

The last election provided a good example: the two candidates both went to Yale, are both from wealthy families, are both pro-corporate, and both are pro Iraq war. There was no difference between the candidates. Any real difference was largely an invention of the media who presented both candidates from a marketing perspective - presenting the framework of choice in terms of personal taste or style. Basically, choose your brand of jeans. Look at the subject of this article - both parties are saying almost exactly the same thing.

I agree, though, that allowing everyone to vote regardless of background brings with it its own set of risks and benefits. If we tried to roll voting rights back to, say, people with college degrees because we think (for example) such people are better informed and not as prone to emotional manipulation, they'll still vote for their own interests first, as they well should. The problem is, of course, it leaves everyone else with nothing.

I have a solution to this quandry, however: I'm going to invent a better version of humans!

Most people have enough to worry about.  Most people who looked into most political issues found they didn't have the time or the critical reasoning skills or the stomach to make heads or tails of it all and just fell back on whatever cliche was most appropriate.  For instance, "It's the Greedy Oil Companies Fault".

Democracies do not deal well with life boat scenarios, which is what Peak Oil is in a way.  I think the standard response is just a protracted stalemate and attempts to ignore the problem or propose small fixes and hope for a miracle, which is more or less what is happening now.  

"Democracies do not deal well with life boat scenarios..."

I noticed that too. It's fun to take Rawl's veil-of-ignorance procedure and theory of justice or Habermas's "ideal discourse situation" and try to apply them to a ship/lifeboat/swimmers-in-the-water/musical-chairs example. They don't apply very well.

First off, I think the newsletter is an excellent idea, it's clear, concise and well-written. I have my doubts about the efficacy of the 'voice of reason' in these times. I hope I'm wrong, but I think we're moving away from 'reason' towards... towards 'signs' and 'symbols.'

I think Bush represents this attitude/trend. He uses populist rhetoric to criticise the nasty oil companies for high gas prices. Apportioning blame like this is not a good sign for the future. Can Bush or anyone else from his 'class' present the public with 'truths' or 'facts' that, in essence, begin a process of fundamentally questioning the foundations of the current economic/social/political model? I don't think he can or will do this. Whaterver the 'reason' for high gas prices is, it will not be 'framed' as problem relating to 'the Amercan way of life.'

My guess is, the 'system's' 'reply' to Peak Oil will not be all that dissimilar to many of the other problems we face. Simply put the 'model' is Hurricane Katrine and the Iraq debacle, but on an even larger scale.

This may sound cruel, but I take issue with the use of the word 'democracy' to describe the American system. It's a seems one can call it a form of reprenstative government, but just using the term 'democracy' seems rather loose and imprecise. Looking at the last Presidential election, one can see that around 55% of the total electorate bothered to go out and participate and vote. Of these just over half voted for the Bush ticket. So he got around 25% of the potential votes, how 'democratic' is this in reality? I'm not saying I know the definitive answer to this question, I just think it's worth asking. A truly democratic society is not the same thing as having nominally democratic elections.

If almost half the voters feel disenfrachized for whatever reason and don't vote, how 'democratic' is the system? One could argue that the American system has evolved or degenerated into something close to a 'democratic tyranny' where a minority in practice rules over the majority. 'Democracy' has a number of fundamental problems associated with it, and on many levels. Some are pratcial, others are philosophical, theoretical. Democracy is not a panacea for society's problems or a miracle cure. There's the funamental problem, for one thing, about how one deals with the rights and interests of the minority which looses. Does the 51% majority have the right to walk all over the interests of the 49% minority, just because they have 2% more votes? Exactly how 'democratic' is it to give so much 'power' to those 2%? The voters who tip the scale one way or another. That President Bush was effectively 'appointed' on a split vote in the Supreme Court, also somewhat undermines the contention that America is close to being the world's shining example of 'democracy' in action. And didn't Al Gore actually receive more votes than George Bush? So the candidate with the majority of votes in a democratic election ended up losing? Can this really be defended as a democratic system? I don't mind calling it something else, or qualifiying the terms of the debate, it's just this continual crowing about how 'democratic' the American representative system is, that get's slightly annoying sometimes. Not only that, today, when we really need effective and qualified political leadership, the flaws in this system appear rather dangerous and at the very least seem to require fundamental reform and modernization.

I suppose what I'm trying to say, is that blaming the 'people' for a political system which is so flawed, and has become so 'corrupted' is in it's practical application, is unfair. To paraphrase Ghandi, "What do think of Western Democracy? - "I think it would be a good idea!"

I take issue with the use of the word 'democracy' to describe the American system.

Excellent point.

We make many noises without stopping to think about their precise meanings. They are used as emotional trigger words rather than as rational descriptors. The full demographics of "We the People" are not the 'crats or rulers of America. Instead a small minority of highly manipulative personalities direct the herd to stampede one way or another.

Right now the herd is out of control. The "pain o' the pump" noise is making them run scared.

  1. The 'crats in charge are bringing the herd back under control by making xenophobic noises. It's "them", the evil foreigners who are to be blamed. It's "them" who take what should be our God given right who are at fault. It's "them" who refuse to produce for "us" enough from their limitless desert reserves who are at fault.

  2. The 'crats in charge are bringing the herd back under control by making partisan politics noises. It's "them", the evil party on the other side who are to be blamed. It's "them" who stopped "us" from drilling in ANWR. It's "them" who stopped the drilling offshore of Florida. Or ... it's "them" who are in bed with Big Oil and conspiring against "us" to artificailly inflate prices.

  3. The 'crats in charge are bringing the herd back under control by making shining city on the hill noises. We are investing in advanced electrochemistry tech-know-lodgies. We have "initiatives". We have hydrogen. I find that intellectually interesting, don't you? We intellects need to stick together and keep a clear head instead of getting confusinated by facts.
This may sound cruel, but I take issue with the use of the word 'democracy' to describe the American system.

Via the CIA

Government type:
Constitution-based federal republic;

In a democracy, the people get what they deserve.
And in a dictatorship they don't even get that.

I don't think democracy is the real problem nearly so much as people's willingness to trust corporations to do the right thing. These entities never have, and never will. As long as the sheep continue to allow big business to run the world, democracy will simply be bought and sold. Free enterprise would be fine when guilded by ethical principles but it never has been. When they started to treat corporations as having the same rights as people, they should have also enforced that they abide by the same ethical and moral rules as well. These issues have far more to do with greed and human nature than any particular political system. All systems can be abused if not watched over - and by and large people don't want to bother with that mighty effort, whether under democracy, dictatorship or other variants.

Obviously they don't teach history or philosophy in Computer Science (CS101) school or Pirate School (Cap'n sir). All this has been debated since the dawn of time. In Plato's Republic, a Philosopher King is supposed to benevolently watch over his sheep because they are too ignorant and dumb to look out for their own welfare.

Our present day systems are not much removed from that concept. He have Congressional Oversight Committees and Panels upon Panels of Experts at all sorts of alphabet soup agencies (FEMA, SEC, FTC, FCC, FDA, DOE) who are in charge of the hard hard thinking stuff.

The sheeple march forward in lock step, "staying the course"  as we say, like a pensive but happy herd under the benevolent watch of our trusted shepards.

LOL, cs stands for my initials actually but that's cute. I did read Socrates many years ago (for Phil 101?) but I always thought it was good to exchange ideas nonetheless.
Arrrgh! The real Bligh wasn't a pirate; I don't know why so many people think he was.

Anyway, wherever I went to school, I didn't get much Plato. My fault, not theirs. To me, Plato is a crater on the moon. ;-)

It seeems to me, though, that one of the things we were taught is that the American system of government places a high value on individual freedom. Most other Western democracies do as well. With this individual freedom comes a personal responsibility for each individual's actions or lack thereof, even if many of us would prefer to dodge it. I would also claim that we have a collective responsibility for our collective actions or inaction.

So when I consider what could come of the current actions and policies of our elected representatives and their designated oversight (hmmm, there's more than way to interpret that word) committees and panels, and as the result of our individual and collective behavior, that's how I come to my remark: In a democracy, the people get what they deserve.


one of the things we were taught is that the American system of government places a high value on individual freedom.  ... that's how I come to my remark: In a democracy, the people get what they deserve.

No disrespect Captain sir.
Not that I mean to rock the boat sir.
But let me ask a few simple questions sir.

When ye was a born, sir:

  1. Did you have "freedom" to choose your parents?
  2. Did you have "freedom" to choose the language you first spoke?
  3. Did you have "freedom" to choose the religion you first practiced?
  4. Did you have "freedom" to choose which flag you first saluted when you started school?
  5. And where did you get that line drilled into yer head sir, you know, the one about "the people get what they deserve"? Seems like I've heard it once too often and it gets me nervous that maybe it ain't true sir.
  6. You ever stop to think that maybe the people didn't get what they "deserve"? Did they have freedom to choose the system into what they was born into sir? Did they have the freedom to not have that line drilled into their heads, over and over again until sometimes you just wonder if there is some brain washing going on here? Probably in Russia they tell 'em the Comrades get what they deserve. And in China they tell 'em the masses get what they deserve. It's all fair and balanced. Almost everybody is gettin' what they have comin' to them.
  7. But speaking of fair, aside from "We the People", shouldn't it be fair maybe once in a while that the "un-people", you know, the politicians who run the system be at least partially responsible for the system they dish out? Not just the "people" being totally desrving of it?

Sorry sir.
I have a weird head sir.
Sometimes I question stuff.
Won't happen again sir.
Wow, you sure do ask a lot of questions.

1 - 4. Some things just happen. These four things happen to kids, and there aren't many societies in which the kids enjoy the same rights and freedoms, or have the same obligations, as the adults.

  1. I came to that conclusion myself, of my own free will. Didn't I? Hmmm, I thought I did. I don't know if the idea is particularly original, but I can't recall having heard it expressed in those words by anybody else. But I didn't know about Plato's philosopher king either. Where did you hear it so often that you have to call it into question?

  2. "Did they have freedom to choose the system into what they was born into sir?"
As I wrote above, some things just happen. I have always considered myself to be very lucky to be born in the USA. My remark doesn't apply to Russia or China; neither is a democracy. But the USA claims to be a democracy, and I think most of its citizens believe it is one.

7. I consider the politicians to be part of the people, so of course they should also be responsible for what they do and what happens as a result.

I maintain that the people have made the system what it is. The mechanisms are there for changing course if the ship is going the wrong way.

Individuals do have the freedom to decide whether to come to TOD or watch American Idol, to drive a Hummer or a Smart, buy lots of junk on credit or live within their means. Collectively, though, they seem to be making choices that could have enormous negative consequences later.

I don't know who said it or where I heard it, however, I
remember it as "People get the form of government they deserve".
I was curious and found a few attributions:

"In a democracy, people get the government they deserve."  -Adlai Stevenson

"Every nation has the government it deserves - "'Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite.' "Lettres et Opuscules Inédits," (1851) vol. I, letter 53 (15 August 1811.) Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), French writer and diplomat.

"In the long-run every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to say, Like People like Government." -Past and Present, Thomas Carlyle

 And don't forget Confucious, who said that people allow evil in governmentbecause they don't demand any better. And he said that stuff about 2500 years ago. But, the problem s ourselves, not some abstract group of other people. In Mexico they at least have the cojones to get in the street to protest the las election.And the Mexican Supreme Court's decision is due out in two weeks! They are damn close to revolution while are people are distracted by the race-based teams on this year's Survivor.
What makes all this demagoguery worse is that they most certainly know about Peak Oil.  If the Prime Minister of New Zealand knows about Peak Oil, its imminence, and its consequences, as she demonstrated last week, then Bush, Reid, Pelosi et. al. most certainly know.

Stupidity about one of the most dangerous challenges facing global civilization is one thing.  Lying is quite another.  Impeach them all!

Their lying is for a reason and their course is deliberate.
The peak-oil concept and the diminishing exports that will result of this, are known for quite some years now.
Nothing is done, nothing is told, nothing is prepared..

Welcome to the new world order of Bush & Co.

... they [our fearless leaders] most certainly know about Peak Oil

There is no way to be certain about what "they" KNOW or don't know.

Just because Roscoe Bartlett (Rebublican) was blabbering words into Bush's face --and maybe Georgie was nodding yes to all of Roscoe's words about PO-- that doesn't mean that Georgie understood their import. Maybe he was thinking all along about how it turned out for Billy the Goat. A good classic movie to revisit is Peter Seller's "Being There".

For those too young to remember, Peter Seller plays a bumbling gardner who stumbles onto the Washington scene and accidentally is mistaken for a genius in politics. He talks about getting back to our "roots" and harvesting that which we sow, and all that good gardening talk. Politicians assume he is talking at that deep, philisophical level when in fact this guy is totally clueless.

Point is: you cannot tell what another human being understands simply from the fact that words or pictures were thrown at them.

G WWW B means Wee Waz Warned

And yet in 1999 Cheney seemed to have a grasp on the subject.

"By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?... Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy."

Don't you think he could have set little George on his lap and explained this.

GWB doesn't appear clueless to me, it just appears that he is marching to the PNAC.  So who is calling the shots in our government?

Jenna. I have proof.
He said "calling shots" not "drinking shots".
I have proof that Cheney is a "shoot first ask questions later" kind of guy.

(He's dreamin' of Rumfull Donald and his atta-boy Brownie jug if you must know.)

I don't get a sense that Duck'n Dickie is an introspective scientific kind of guy. I get the impression that he is a short tempered Alpha Male who wants to charge into every situation with both guns blasting and killing as many towel heads as he can rather than coming to grips with the math, science and sobering economics of Peak Oil.

We may never know what happened in those smoked filled chamber rooms of Dickie's Energy Commission, but I have this worrisome feeling that they weren't talking Hubbert curves. They were talking power, profits and taking the gunsmoke "over there" before "they" bring it on over here. In other words, Preemptive Petro grab.


Obviously minds of a same quailed feather flock to the same bar room conclusion together.

Taking shots ... drinking shots ... it all goes together when you're part of "the club".

"It was my fault sir, I shouldn't have run into your buckshot sir."

"OK You are forgiven my meaningless minion just as long as you remember who the Tony Soporano around here is." :-)


I think they're planning on
giving us ethanol and hydrogen <g>

Triff ..

I prefer laughing gas with my ethanol.
"Nothing is done, nothing is told, nothing is prepared..
Welcome to the new world order of Bush & Co. "

eg. Katrina. eg. offshoring of labor. eg. Iraq. All just warm up for their biggest and best trick, the disappearing government.

As I type, I'm watching Joe Barton (R-TX) on CNN, saying that if only we had opened up ANWR and the environmentally-protected coastal regions off California and Florida to drilling, prices at the pump would be lower now.  :-P
...heard him yesterday make those comments; though predictable, I found his use of words sickening.
The common thread on this board is a concern about peak oil. There are two ways to mitigate the peak oil problem ... one is to reduce consumption of oil, the other is to increase production of oil.

If you deny the idea of increasing production as part of the solution, then you are really just using the peak oil issue as a front for another agenda (environmental, political, or economic).  

If you really believe that peak oil will be a big problem, then increasing production, as Barton suggests, will help reduce that problem, and will lower gasoline prices below what they would have been.  Reducing consumption will also mitigate peak oil, and at the same time also reduce gasoline prices below what they would have been.

If peak oil is truly a crisis ahead, we need to work both ends, supply and demand.

Peak oil is not occurring in a vacuum. It is occurring in the context of global warming, a by-product from the use of those fossil fuels. Increasing the use of fossil fuels is a dangerous play since the evidence already indicates serious problems are happening and more will happen as emissions increase. Now, this does not mean we have to give up energy and become cavemen. It means we must choose smarter energy sources. Many people despise this thought but nuclear energy is going to be one of the optimal choices for us in the years ahead. Compared to fossil fuels it is far more environmentally friendly, and if we allow ourselves to reprocess spent fuel, we will gain far more yet again.

The only real problem here is that we've committed to a low density civilization (suburbia) which needs individual transportation to be effective. If we reorganize into higher density complexes and support those with electrified rail and other transportation systems, we can keep our technological civilization. But if we do not, we will lose it. It's that simple.

The changes we must make as a civilization are not so large as to be impossible. Look at how far we changed from 1900 to 1950. How far could we change yet again and yet still keep our quality of life if we tried to do so with a plan in mind?

Agreed, I am, or try to remain an optimist, despite it all. I too think we need more 'planning' and a 'plan.' The problem is, which plan, and whose plan? It would appear to the casual observer that the United States is a society that has historically rejected 'the plan' in relation to economics. The economy must be 'free' in order to work. There are of course those who disagree with this type of analysis, and openly contend that real American system is, free market capitalism for the masses and socialist capitalism for the powerful elite.

I'm not sure that the American 'model' is relevant anymore in a world moving towards constricted supplies of vital raw materials and energy. Perhaps the Chinese 'model' is the way of the future? The lack of 'democracy' in China and 'freedom' notwithstanding.

How much reactor fuel is there in the coal we use as a chemical fuel?  Might the best use of coal be the nuclear energy of the radioisotopes we now throw into the atmosphere?
what exactly does that mean? And how does that compare to nuclear waste numbers? Are you saying that the nuclear impact from coal production is near the magnitude of nuclear power but just more diffuse?
This means exactly what it shows - that coal combustion in power plants emits in the environment (mostly in the ashes) about 6000 tons of uranium and 15000 tons of thorium per year worldwide. The number is not surprising, given that world coal production is close to 6 billion tons. The uranium/thorium numbers of course are dwarfed by the amounts of lead, zinc, mercury and other heavy metals released through coal combustion. For more information you can visit the source of the graph.

For comparison the annual additions of spent nuclear fuel (aka nuclear waste) worldwide are about 12 000 tonnes.

Agreed except that ANWR and other coastal wouldn't change the picture in any substantial way. By briefly putting off the reckoning by developing everything now you make the problem more difficult to solve in the end, in the same way that reducing gas taxes gives short-term benefit, long-term detriment. I dearly hope that we don't go after our final, relatively modest reserves of undeveloped oil until we all realize there is a serious problem and use what we have left more wisely. If it was developed now, we'd be blowing through it in the profligate way we are going through the rest of the oil, and nothing would be left as a buffer when TSHTF. This is why Bartlett has opposed ANWR drilling for now. I fully expect that eventually those (and CA & FLA coastal) reserves will be developed.
Right, that's the other part of it.  No one in the public space has the guts to say "OK, in exactly what year should we open the LAST of our domestic oil?"
Hello Odograph,

Outstanding point! My speculative proposal of choking back production delays as long as possible the eventual opening of the last of the detritus fields; it gives us the maximum opportunity to build biosolar habitats and wean as many as possible from addiction.  Detritus is going forever negative, but biosolar's upper limit is the supermassive harnessing of daily sunshine.  Like Edison said, "Will we learn to harness the sun's energy before the fossil fuels run out?"

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

Couldn't agree more, BUT...  give the average American a choice:

A: Preserve ANWR.
B: Preserve my SUV.

I think 'B' would win by a landslide.  Sad.

But the truth is, if any will say it, is lose both, anyway. It's a false choice.
ANWR may be needed more to provide enough oil to fill the pipeline in the face of declining production from Prudhoe Bay than the actual volume of oil it provides.
Hey Red,

In my experience the people pushing those (few) domestic reserves are not showing me the numbers.  They are not showing me the barrels per day (or cu. ft. of natural gas) that will significantly change the supply and demand equation.

Now, the cynic in me sometimes thinks that even if those reserves are not enought to move gas prices (or home heating costs) on a national basis, the reserves ARE big enough to make specific companies or individuals a lot of money.

So, is it pork, or is it an energy solution?  You've gotta show me numbers to prove it is the latter.

Something like 50% of all oil is left in the ground when the "recoverable" (with standard technology) oil is exhausted.

I've never been able to find figures for the total oil produced from e.g. Pennsylvania.  Do you?  If it was a lot, then CO2 injection (as part of carbon sequestration) could bring up a lot of oil from those "empty" fields which went dormant before 1960.  Maybe some of those pumpjacks working across Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri could get a new lease on life.

None of this is going to make oil last forever, but as a means of improving our balance of trade and cutting the world price a bit while we make the changeover, it would have value.

Odo, thanks for your comments.

I don't have at my fingertips the amounts, but my understanding is that in the areas now off limits (in Alaska, Florida-GOM, off the east coast, off the west coast, all told quite a vast area) there is a considerable amount, especially in a situation where a small percentage increase helps a lot. And of course every little bit contributes, and lots of little bits can add up to a big bit.

The wind farm being considered (and opposed) off of Marth's Vineyard would not considerably increase the nation's energy, but I am for it because it helps.  I feel pretty sure that some companies would make a profit off of the wind farm, but that's OK too.  Is the wind farm pork, or part of a solution ?  I submit that any public energy project will be both pork (profit for someone) and a contribution toward our energy system.

If the Martha's Vineyard project was going to "use up" the last wind I might feel differently about it ;-)

Whatever amount the domestic reserves have, we only get to use them once, and when oilaholic said the following, he nailed it:

"We need to keep ANWR as the best strategic oil reserve we could have so we can use it when cars are averaging 100 miles a gallon but are still running low on fuel priced at $10 or $15 a gallon."

Of course in "addiction" it's hard to slow down and think about the future ...

Petroluem was first produced by oil bearing algae millions of years ago. We can use oil bearing algae now as a replacement for fossil fuels if only the billions being thrown away on dry holes off of Norway, Africa, Mexico, and many other places are invested wisely. The problem of all kinds of addicts is their inability to think of alternatives to what they are addicted to.
Technically tom, we cannot "now" produce the quantity of oil needed with algae.  It is another case of counting (technology) eggs before they are hatched.
If peak oil is a crisis ahead, then we won't be able to increase production enough to matter much.

What you fail to realize is that peak oil will happen sooner or later.  While I agree that we should work both ends.  You almost sound as if you don't believe that there will ever be a crisis!!

We aren't going to increase production, we are going to produce what we can, but an increase is not going to happen.  On the down slope we might have up days or years, but after the "top of the hill" its all down hill, even if we go back up a little on the way down to the ground.

Save the gas, walk to work, just because you live 50 miles from work don't let that be an excuse.  Set up a hammock in your cube,  Tell your boss you have to sleep somewhere and still get to work on time the next day.  Promise your wife you will be home once a month.  Get your congress persons to do the same, the Captiol building could second as a Motel for congress, they could safe money on food for cooking their own meals in the office microwave.  The only time they get to use a cr is when they go back to the states to talk to people, but they have to use a train or a bicycle to go to all those places.   We could make this work if everyone just took the plunge and walked to work.

This has been an ad for the Walk to Work foundation, and can be freely given to all those folks who question why you have laundry hanging from your office door.

Dan, you say "we are going to produce what we can".
Thanks, that is I am advocating on the supply side.
Of course peak conventional oil will happen at some point. But I don't think we should stop looking for it because of that (quite the opposite).
We need to keep ANWR as the best strategic oil reserve we could have so we can use it when cars are averaging 100 miles a gallon but are still running low on fuel priced at $10 or $15 a gallon.  Not at the height of American self indulgence when people are running errands in Hummers at 12 mpg.  Oil is too cheap today to tap our last reserves of it.  Let's try to be a little smart about this.
Thanks, see my comments to Ben on this below.
To summarize, if we really are about to enter a crisis stage as people on TOD envision, in the 10 + years it takes to develop these areas gasoline may very well be $10/gal and the new cars may very well be 100 mpg.
I want it there for my grandkids, not me.   It would be perfect if we could put in the straw and keep the oil in the ground as a Strategic Petro Reserve in case of some need for self-defense down the road.   But as soon as the straw's connected to the oil, they'll want to sell the oil off.  So just keep it in the ground for now.
No, no, you don't get it.  The goal is to use up the last available bit of every resource you have access to just before you die.  That way you know you lived as complete a life of consumption as possible.
Hello RedRiver,

Exactly right--let's work both ends!  My speculative proposal to allow energy companies to choke production achieves this goal.  It vastly increases their profits thereby incentivizing them to continue looking for the ancient sunshine, but the billions or trillions of energy tax is strictly devoted to the building of large biosolar habitats and Powerdown.

Those people willing to self-deplete their detritus lifestyle, but wanting to quickly grow a biosolar lifestyle can save billions of gallons of detritus fuels.  It will create a tremendous impetus for PV panels, solar water-heating, super eco-tech housing, walkable and bikeable communities, mass-transit, permiculture, windmills, and on & on. It is nothing more than leveraging Jevon's Paradox to help drive Powerdown.

Those NE & NW biosolar areas wanting to gradually decrease their daily usage of detritus from the current US average of nine gallons of crude/day to the Bangladeshi avg of two cups/day can divert massive amounts of energy to the detritus areas, yet the biosolar upside potential is unlimited; i.e. :Chris Miller's "21 million acres of Maine's daily energy income".

The big question: Does America have the political will to take this course in time to avert disaster?

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

  If I've been reading this right,   'Denying the idea of increasing production' is the thesis of the oil drum, not the 'politically-incorrect' solution that PO advocates want to steer you from.  Not insisting that we 'shouldn't' produce more, but that it will simply be impossible.

  I think it's described in various terms in response to your post, but at this point I see ANWR and other restricted fields as more important than ever to protect, to leave us some energy potential available if we just HAVE to use that for a desperate lunge towards building new infrastructure, that we do everything possible to keep certain areas off-limits.

  There is another version of effectively increased production, which is efficiency and restraint, and we have to figure out how to do that in as many ways, as fast as we can.

Sorry, I should have written more clearly -- by "denying the idea of increasing production" I don't mean total output will necessarily increase, I simply mean "denying that we should continue looking for oil where we can". Output may or may not temporarily increase, depending on depletion rates and how much new oil we find ... eventually of course, total production will stop increasing no matter what we do, due to finite resources (I could have truthfully made that statement 100 years ago).
Symbolically and metaphorically, ANWR and the few protected offshore locations represent, for the US, the last few trees left on our own "Easter Island".  And just like those shortsighted fools, they will be cut down and burned to fuel soccermoms' SUVs.  And then what?

Pick up Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax" sometime.  This story is being played out right before our eyes.

The common thread on this board is a concern about peak oil. There are two ways to mitigate the peak oil problem ... one is to reduce consumption of oil, the other is to increase production of oil.

Personally I don't have a problem with drilling ANWR, Miami Beach, the White House Lawn.

The senators (and many others) who are jumping up now and saying "if so-and-so had let us have our way, we'd be drilling Alaska now and prices would be lower" are really focusing on the last bit of the sentence - keeping prices low.

Not in keeping oil available for use.

See the difference?

If I have a gallon of ice cream and a house full of kids who want it, I can use one spoon and dish it out carefully, or I can give eight kids a spoon each and watch it be gone in three minutes.  Either way, there's still only a gallon of ice cream.  Drilling off the coast of Florida is 1) only putting off the inevitable, 2) of limited return on investment (or it would have been done already), and 3) a proposal aimed at placating a public alarmed by price, much as the stopping the SPR fill for the summer (as I pointed out elsewhere, we were putting 2 million barrels a month into SPR, we consume 20 million barrels a day.  What difference will that make?)

As the world runs out of fossil fuel, Alaska and Florida and anywhere else WILL be explored, I'm certain.  Besides, we've been picking tar balls off our bodies here in Texas for decades, why should we have all the fun?

Ben, thanks for the comments, and I do have some sympathy for the "keep it for later when it will be really valuable" viewpoint.
However, it takes a decade or more to find and begin producing offshore, and the consensus here at TOD seems to be that things are going to start to get dicey in the 10-20 yr time frame or sooner. (Or maybe not, but then if that is the case this board may be overstating things and we don't have an impending crisis after all ?)
So, if we start now, by the time we get it into production, we may really be needing it, to help us bridge to the next great thing(s).
That's why I don't mind so much.  If we're gonna drill ANWR (to pick an example), then do it already and quit bickering about it.  It is more of a political pawn than an energy source right now - I'm gonna put ANWR in this bill, you're gonna want it blocked, I'll take it out but you have to let me have X instead, etc.

Senators and the like are busy running their mouths, saying what they think we want to hear.  They aren't concerned with a decade of exploration and setup before meaningful production is reached, they like sound bites like "Up to X barrels a day!"  

Here's my position: if we are going to drill federal lands, let's be totally up front and transparent about what is about to happen and what is likely to be the result.  Don't do any no-bid contracts, don't just say "OK, go drill" -- let's hear all the details.  If it's gonna be five years before a drop of oil gets to the domestic production stream - tell us.  If we're hoping to export the Alaskan crude to S. Korea or Russia instead of paying to ship it all the way to Louisiana to process it - say that, too.  (I'm making this up based on all the various things that have been said in the last ten years, I don't know what is true anymore)

It's a different reason, but I wonder about what all my neighbors think who sold all the oil under their land when it was $18/bbl.  I bet at least some of them wish they waited.

I have to disagree with the sentiment that we should drill absolutely anywhere that oil is found.  It's always a cost/benefit tradeoff.  Drilling in ANWR will have negative effects - I submit they are serious enough that we should not drill there, but at least it would need to be proven to a much greater degree of certainty what the benefit really is.  It is irresponsible in the extreme to go ahead with something like that without knowing how much is there.
Yes, there is a cost-benefit tradeoff.  Drilling always has negative effects (as do all sources of power or energy conversion for human use).  But we agree that the first step is knowing how much is there.  That is termed the "exploration phase".  It involves seismic and some drilling.  If we have a crisis coming, it is irresponsible to not at least complete that phase.
Maybe we should revise Ben's Ice-cream analogy to something that would be required to keep those kids alive, instead of a special treat, (like maybe we imagine oil is in our lives today).  Call it water, and you're about to start walking these kids across a desert. (IE, energy crisis, right?)  You HAVE to make it last, unless you're just going to be resigned to the fact that the kids will die someday, anyway.

Kids, we only have just so much.  Every drop is precious, nothing gets wasted, and we might just have a chance...

Every 'Mirage' cartoon I saw as a kid is spinning through my head, now.   Won't get fooled again..

No, okay.. Here's my problem with the direction of this line of thought..  What is irresponsible truly IS the failure to increase the energy supply, but not insofar as exploration and drilling for oil is concerned.  Aside from a handful of gems (or Red Herrings) like ANWR, Parklands and some populated coastal areas, is there any doubt that exploration for better fields is not constantly underway, and that we've been testing and prodding every spot on the planet that we could reach to find more oil? That we're not pumping precious water (ok, maybe brine..) and CO2 into the old wells to slurp out every last drop we can eek..?  

No, the irresponsibility is, once again, the refusal to see where the energy is, and where it 'was', and adjust course accordingly.  We keep saying solar and wind 'just aren't there, yet'.. Germany's at 10%, right? Panels on every new house.  You don't get there until you start in that direction, and don't stop and fool around on the way.  There are just ridiculous ways to save, from heating by the sun, cooling from tubes in the ground, carpooling, trains, bikes..  'Political Infeasibility' is the defeatist's rallying cry.

  I don't care who's to blame.  Leadership, Consumers, Capitalism, Oil Companies.. blaming any of them, it seems clear, is like blaming some cog in the middle of a clock, because it's running late.  All the parts push and interlace with each other.  You have to be a bad cog and get the hell out of that clock!

"I am the USA and I am an Oilaholic.. and the first step is admitting I have a problem.. then, to start fixing my 'problem', I have to get clean, I have to get away from the source, the dealer, the belief that this and only this drug will assure my survival. "

I like that post. Yes, consuming furiously while we wait for "the next great thing" and ignore the facts that a) the world population is well above the world's carry capacity without cheap energy; b) much sustainable energy (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal) is not currently used c) we can sharply reduce our existing consumption without severe quality of life degradation deferring the time when there will either be a "next great thing" or severe deterioration in human quantity and quality of life.
With all due respect, Red River.

You seem to be new here, but are at least clued in, so don't take this the wrong way. You have every right to your opinion.  I disagree with it. At this is only my opinion.

For the record, I am 100% opposed to drilling in ANWR, but I am fairly certain it will happen anyway. The Alaskan's themselves will decide the issue. The rest of America will just help them along.

But here is where I disagree with you. ANWR will in absolutely no way, exploration-or-not, stave off any crisis. The potential crisis we talk about here will steamroll Alaska along with Alberta next door. If Alberta solves all our problems, then we don't even need to consider ANWR.

This is a near-term liquids production problem, not a reserves problem. Production, always, always, being the key word. What is irresponsible is not addressing this issue at the expense of believing we can prepare ourselves by looking for more oil.

Yesterday, I wrote:

Senators and the like are busy running their mouths, saying what they think we want to hear.  They aren't concerned with a decade of exploration and setup before meaningful production is reached, they like sound bites like "Up to X barrels a day!"  

And it didn't take long for the fools to do exactly what I said:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Every American taxpayer would get a $100 rebate check to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote Thursday.

However, the GOP energy package may face tough sledding because it also includes a controversial proposal to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration, which most Democrats and some moderate Republicans oppose.
(end quote, link has full article)

This is not about money, or even the oil.  This is pure greed.  Somebody stands to make a buck.

On the ANWR issue, I understand what y'all are saying.  But if letting somebody drill a few wells will shut everyone up about it, then let 'em go.  We've screwed up pristine wilderness before, we'll do it again.  I agree it will have no effect, in the long run.  But we need to make sure everyone knows that, or it will keep interfering with getting things done.  

Hell, I thought everybody knew that New Orleans could not survive a direct hit by a hurricane intact.  Lookee there, lots of folks seemed shocked that the levees started leaking.  Hello?  Are they on the same planet as the rest of us?

Senators to push for $100 gas rebate checks

Great, that's a mature level of discourse.  Let's give the commoners (and billionaires alike, I suppose) $100 each to spend on more gas.   I really can't blame the politicians for groveling and being scared enough to do stupid things like this - and after all, it may even work on the electorate - but where is the MSM to question the idiocy of this?

$100 won't put gas in a Suburban.  It's a token amount, designed to excite folks that think $100 is a lot of money.  

This is pure politics - tossing crumbs so there is less inclination to protest.

Meanwhile, I don't know if y'all picked this up already, but some local governments in Texas are jumping on the XOM Boycott bandwagon.  

Idiocy abounds...

Yet more evidence that catabolic collapse (as described by Heinberg) is starting.  
The government seems to be running scared, desperately throwing out ANYTHING to try and appease the populace as we stare over the top edge of the roller coaster to come.
Geez, during WWII people grew victory gardens and were issued ration coupons for food and other goods (including gasoline).  Now, supposedly we are at war and resources are tight and the feckless senate wants to send everyone money.  What is wrong with this country?
Now, supposedly we are at war and

Yes - supposedly.

When the congress drafts and passes a Constitional Decleration of War, then you have a war.  

Right now you have a bunch of people calling other things a war.   War on poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on budget overruns, et la.

Yea, and FOX (not) News' "War on Christmas", etc.

It's really messed up how this 'war' word is used.  

Also messed up is the fact that our "Free Press" just happily plays along with this nonsense.  

Excerpt from the

"Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled!" charged Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), standing at an Exxon station on Capitol Hill where regular unleaded hit $3.10. "They are too cozy with the oil industry."

She then hopped in a waiting Chrysler LHS (18 mpg) -- even though her Senate office was only a block away.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) used a Hyundai Elantra to take the one-block journey to and from the gas-station news conference. He posed in front of the fuel prices and gave them a thumbs-down. "Get tough on big oil!" he demanded of the Bush administration.

By comparison, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) was a model of conservation. She told a staffer idling in a Jetta to leave without her, then ducked into a sushi restaurant for lunch before making the journey back to work.

At about the same time, House Republicans were meeting in the Capitol for their weekly caucus (Topic A: gas). The House driveway was jammed with cars, many idling, including eight Chevrolet Suburbans (14 mpg).

MSNBC has a humorous segment on these folks and what they all drove.  Energy Secretary Bodman was the worst though, with some large number (six? seven?) of big black SUVs idling while he gave his speech!
Oil CEO,
Certainly no one solution by itself will solve the dilemma.
What seems clear to me is that the solution will involve MANY small things in EACH category:

  1. Reduce comsumption growth
  2. Develop alternative sources
  3. Keep producing oil and other hydrocarbons

I think it is pretty obvious that if we stop progress on any of these, the adjustment will be that much harder if not impossible.

The high prices we have (and will see increasing) will cause tremendous growth in 2), and have a big effect on 1).
Without 3) as the bridge, we will not have means or the time for developing 2).

The responsible thing is to promote ALL of these three.

I totally agree. Just in a different way. I'm not advocating stopping producing oil other hydrocarbons. But at the same time I don't see drilling in ANWR as progress. I believe it is Goodstein's contention that we would be so much better off leaving it for when we need it. We don't need it now.
I agree with you, Peak Oil probably is about something else. I think it's about politics and economics. This leads us towards some complicated and difficult territory. Areas we haven't really concentrated on for years in our part of the world. What do I mean here? Welll, I suppose I'm talking about Power and the way we chose to distribute and allocate wealth and resources. I think Peak Oil will drag these fundamental and somewhat ingnored questions out onto centre stage once more, and then the real trouble will start!

I also think one of our really big problems, is, that oil and gas supplies are going to have great difficulty keeping pace with rapidly increasing demand, which should also be a cause for great concern.

There are two ways to mitigate the peak oil problem ... one is to reduce consumption of oil, the other is to increase production of oil.

Not quite.

Consumption rate = production rate.  
Why?   Because every barrel produced gets consumed.

Consumption rate = person X personal consumption rate

There is a 3rd variable that you lumped into another variable, that is population.   If you don't think one human won't kill another to better their resource position, you havn't been paying attention.

then you are really just using the peak oil issue as a front for another agenda

Yea, that must be the lack of oil tankers adjenda.  Or the lack of drilling rigs adjenda.  Or the retirement of oil workers adjenda.  Or the lets have a war adjenda  (like Nigeria).

Looks to me like you have come to the table not liking some of the alternatives.   Like less affordable energy.  Like personal sacrifice.  Or extreme positions like

If peak oil is truly a crisis ahead,


Tell ya what.   Go back and read 6 months of TOD or   Ponder what oil means in terms of goods/services.  Then, if you still don't believe, cite why.   You might just be able to inform us why it is not a problem.

Beacue the majority of TOD participants see it as a problem.   Many of us have ideas that would work.  But the majority can't convince the lawmakers to set things up to avoid the big fallout issues that the end of cheap oil will bring.


I'm not convinced that we have so much disagreement ...
As I wrote above, we must do three things:

  1. Reduce consumption growth
  2. Develop alternative energy sources
  3. Keep producing oil and other hydrocarbons

Not working on any one of these will assure that the situation to come will be worse.  I think people who are against doing any of these three will, if they have influence, make the effect of peak oil worse.

High prices will contribute to all three of these, so in that sense high prices are good.
We have had a lot of very cheap energy ($3 for the equivalent of a month worth of human energy output?), but now the price is rising and that will both force and enable the transition to alternatives to oil.

I think people who are against doing [this: 3.  Keep producing oil and other hydrocarbons]  make the effect of peak oil worse.


What you say is common sense.

And once again, common sense is dead wrong. Sorry.
But then again, this is what makes the study of Peak Oil frustrating and fascinating at the same time. It is not as simple a problem as it first seems.

Just when you think you finally understand PO, you drill a little deeper and discover a whole new level of complexity and intractable problems.

So let's step back to one of the fundamentals of PO theory: the planet Earth is a finite solid and thus it has a finite volumetric quantity, Q of extractable crude.

That finite quantity, Q can be broken up into a sum of field subtotal quantities, Q1 + Q2 + Q3 + ... where Q1 is a King size field (let's say Gawhar), Q2 is somewhat smaller and the values shrink as subscript j of Qj increases. Not only does Qj decrease with the increase of j, but the fields are harder to get to and further apart. They are deep offshore. They are up in frozen ANWR. Basically it gets more expensive and more dangerous to get each next drop after you have "extracted" or "recovered" (not "produced") the slightly easier to get at, lower hanging of the fruit.

Once we are over the Peak, the faster you extract from the finite Q, the steeper you make the slope of the decline. So you are not making the effect of Peak Oil felt less, you are making it felt more. It's sort of like digging snow away from the downhill side of a snow pile and wondering how come it keeps getting steeper and steeper.

Another 2 points while I have your attention: Human beings do not "produce" oil, we "extract" it from between whatever rocks we find it trapped under. Only Mother Nature produces oil (well, did produce it, over the course of millions of years). Second point: There are no alternative liquid fuels that match up to oil. If there were, we wouldn't be in such a PO pickle.

Step Back,

What you say here is obvious, except the second to last paragraph.
You write "Once we are over the Peak, the faster you extract from the finite Q, the steeper you make the slope of the decline."
The question is, decline of what ?  If you mean decline of oil in the earth, I agree, and that is what I think you mean.
But is the goal to keep as much oil in the earth as possible, no matter what happens to humans by doing that ?
If so, we should turn off all of the world's oil pumps tomorrow and go cold turkey.  
I'm going to assume that you do not believe that is the best approach. So the goal is to find the right level of oil production to "keep us going" (whatever that means) and yet spur enough conservation and innovation to move away from oil as our primary transportation fuel. To make as smooth a trasition as possible.  What is that level ?  It really depends on how long you think it will take to develop the alternatives, and how price levels spur conservation and innovation, and a multitude of other things. I don't know  what that optimal level is, and don't believe anyone else does either.  However, I do believe that it is a mistake to stop searching for and learning where the oil is and how much in the various spots that remain.  

Imagine you were a crack addict and now you knew where the last few bags of crack are stashed.

Will you do the rational thing and hold back until you absolutely need yout next fix? No way. You are a ravished animal. Your moment of crisis is here and now. The last bags will be gone in a second. The only thing that would have you slowed you down is NOT knowing where the last few bags are stashed.

A simplistic analogy, and a poor one, for a vastly more complex issue.

By the way, in reference to your post one level up ... my Webster's dictionary includes the following in its definitions of "produce":  "to make available for satisfaction of human wants" and "to bring forth".  It gives as examples "to produce a witness" and " to produce a natural product".  So the term "to produce oil" fits nicely within that definition.  

I think people who are against doing any of these three will, if they have influence, make the effect of peak oil worse.

The problem is your 3rd bullet point is a long term dead end.  And, if the fealings are right about Ghwar and the other kings combined with the decline of sweet light crude means the 'continued production of oil and other hydrocarbons' isn't going to happen.

Your 3 legged object lacks a leg.  So without some form of dynamic feedback, the segway is going to ack like it does with people who choke on pretzels try to use it.


Of course the continued production, excuse me, extraction, of oil and other hydrocarbons will happen.  They will at some point decline, but they will continue to be extracted and used until long after you and I are dead.
To say as you do that "the continued production of oil and other hydrocarbons isn't going to happen" is simply delusional, intellectually dishonest, or a silly rhetorical flourish, and is certainly not the sort of statement the more serious TODers (the TOD editors for example) would write.

Just because it will decline doesn't mean oil won't contribute to our energy mix as we develop other methods and learn to be more efficient.
Oil is contributing to the mix, and will continue to contribute to the mix at some level, at an increasing price.  The question is only what level we produce to support us until we can add those two other legs, the ones that are really missing.
Far from being the missing leg, oil is really the only leg at present for transportation, and that is the problem.  Current and coming oil price increases will change that, both on the consumption side and in the development of alternatives.

T. Boone Pickens, former chief executive of Mesa Petroleum...

"Pickens says his central message to oil investors and consumers is that the industry is simply not capable of producing more than 85 million barrels per day. Global demand is preciously close to that at 84 million and by the end of the year it should top 85 million. "Blood, guts, and feathers -- that's all you got," he says. "Everything is squeezed as much as it can be squeezed."" -- Businessweek

Corrected link to Business Week

(There were one too many www's in there. Ya know what they say, all it takes is one W to spoil the pot.)


Yes, isn't that just so predictable of these pandering politicians?  Every time there is a price spike, the drill in Washington is the same.  That Barton would peddle such mararkey either  1) makes him out to be an uninformed pinhead;  or 2) he knows it's crap but has to try to demonize everyone who stopped opening up ANWR out of political opportunism (and in doing so, does the entire nation a disservice by hiding the underlying causes and igoring any viable solutions).

Lets face it, everyone.  They simply cannot and will not level with Americans over our energy conundrum.  They remember what happened to Jimmy Carter.  They are too gutless (Roscoe Bartlett excepted).

I hope gas prices keep going up, and without apology.  This is the tough medicine this country requires, like it or not.  Eliminating the federal and/or state gas taxes is so breathtakingly counterproductive, it nauseates me just to think that this is all which some can find as a "remedy".  Their ignorance boggles my mind.

Have a nice night.

Perhaps we could give them guns and ship them to Iraq.

There's a good lesson there in promoting the wrong solution.

I think this is an excellent rebuttal to the nonsense that is being promoted by most politicians and the MSM.  Does anyone know how much it would cost to run a decent sized "advertisement" in a major newspaper with this kind of information?  I think that a series of such ads would go a long way towards educating the public, and tend to catch your attention better than an opinion column.
Depends on the size and the publication, but I think a full-page ad runs in the thousands.  A series of them would be quite pricy.  

Where's Richard Rainwater when you need him?  ;-)

I wrote a letter to Mr. Rainwater asking him to publicly support the Energy Tax/Payroll Tax Elimination idea (and I enclosed a copy of my "Open Letter" missive).  

I just a got a nice note back from him wishing me luck with the proposal, but he said that he is seeking less--and not more publicity.  

I think that his Fortune interview is going to be the extent of his public involvement.  Of course, IMO the Fortune interview was invaluable.  

I'm not surprised, really.  That's a lot of people's reaction to peak oil.  Informing the rest of the "sheeple" is the very last thing they want to do.  They see knowledge as power, and they don't want to share it unneccessarily.
I think that in Rainwater's view, he has tried to warn those who will listen.      His comments in the Fortune article could not have been more stark.  He said that this was the first scenario he has seen where he "questions the survival of the human race."  
Unfortunately, the "sheeple" may ignore those who try to warn them until it's too late and then blame the messengers for not having tried hard enough to convince them.
"Of course, IMO the Fortune interview was invaluable."

Indeed. Before reading that story, I was already aware of the issue. But that really got my attention. Sort of an "Aha!" moment.

Hello SWF,

A national ad campaign--Great idea!  We need Richard Rainwater to step up to the plate with an initial donation, then we can kick in as much money individually as we can.  Does TOD have the required software and bank account ready to go to accept member donations?  The sooner we get started, the fewer the number of detritovores that will have to confront the Earthmarines.

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

Sometimes a picture's worth an essay full of words.

Right click and "View Image" for bigger

How about if TOD editors create a "Reader's Digest" version of the above release that would be a quicker read and everyone who checks this sites could forward it to everyone in their email address book.  I know we all hate receiving this chain mail type emails but enough people really do read them that maybe some would pass it on to their address book.  It's also a lot cheaper than a newspaper add.
Great letter. It's like an axe cutting down a big tree. This letter is just one more swing chipping away at the trunk of denial. The tree still stands but soon this
nation will have to face the facts. Soon we will be
yelling TIMBER.
Indeed, I've always said gasoline taxes should be set such that they fully cover the cost of maintaining roads, freeways and bridges.  As it is, our cost for automobile infrastructure gets spread out in our local, state and federal taxes in addition to the gasoline tax.   The gasoline tax covers less than half of the actual direct costs (not to mention indirect costs like Highway Patrol, environmental, freeway grass mowing, etc). Thus our cost of using the road is related more to our income (via graduated income tax scales) rather than on our driving choices.  If we created a mandate that the gasoline tax had to equal the total costs of building and maintaining our infrastructure people would actually feel the cost of their use.  Our total taxes would be the same, it would just correlate more exactly with our actual use, and maybe, just maybe, people would make smarter decisions about their driving habits.  Why does a moderate income person who commutes 50 miles to work in an SUV pay less in taxes toward automobile infrastructure than a well paid professional in Manhatten who doesn't even own a car?  
They both depend on goods delivered by truck, but those costs should be rolled into the delivery fees.
new open thread below this post gang.  bring your ideas on how to get this piece out.
Your press release is fine.  One suggestion is that you could've included a simple, two-sentence explanation of "peak oil."  Remember, you are trying to reach NEW customers, who aren't already part of the discussion.  So, it's always useful to repeat the ABCs.  
Keep up the great work!
I think you, and many peak oilers, are thinking about this in the 80s context. In the 80s, the richest people were the biggest oil consumers and deserved a hefty gas tax for what they were doing to the world and our cities. They moved out to the distant suburbs and drove big cars with impunity.

This trend continues with the baby boomers, but there has been a post-gen-X generational switch -- now the cities, where petroleum use is minimized, are trendy. This will only get worse as gas prices go up. Rising gas taxes down the road will be like rising food prices -- everyone will pay, but it'll hurt the poor the most.

Kunstler is right -- the ghettos of tomorrow will be the suburbs and McMansions. We need to focus not on taxation, or really on efficient cars, but on reforming the suburbs with what resources we have, while we still have them.

I couldn't agree more.  I'm a gen x'er who grew up in the burbs, trapped in the cul-de-sac and hated it.  Kunslter's "geography of nowhere" and DPZ's "suburban nation" made me a true convert.  AFter finishing school, I moved into a small city, I walk to work (I put 87 miles on my pick up last month).  Seems like a few years ago, mostly everyone I knew in my generation lived in town, but as they had kids and got steadier into their career, many of these same people are building their dream home in exurbia and have two SUV's.
Good job guys, but will you stop making sense? You're rocking the boat!

Re: "The political discourse on this topic is simply so devoid of fact, and constructive discourse so buried and out of the mainstream, that we felt we needed to raise a voice of reason. Public officials will continue to misinform and obfuscate if we allow it"

It seems that the structural constraints under which the government, corporations and the MSM operate are hopelessly inadequate to the supply/demand imbalance now at hand. I hope this post gets widely publicized.

best to all, Dave

Nicely done and such a unified front carries some weight around here. However, I fear that you may just be preaching to the choir. I'll be interested in seeing where this press release is picked-up.

Peak oil is as much an issue of education on a complex topic as it is a physical, economic and long term survival issue. The problem is, you have about as much chance of educating Joe Hummer about energy matters as educating religious fundies about science.

I could write a book, but suffice it to say that I fear for all our futures.  

It may be preaching to the choir, but if the song we're singing makes more sense than the cacophany of nonsense the MSM and demogogic politicians put out there then maybe the choir will grow.
If you are going to interchange oil and gasoline freely (as you do in your article) you should address the refining issues as well.
An excellent and forceful essay!
Do you have a graph of the "price per barrel" vs. "average price at the pump"?

It would end questions about how one can simply assert that the change in the price of pump is justified by the price in oil markets.

Perhaps best would be to include both spot and futures prices.

Excellent and a great big "thank you" to TOD for its continuing/efforts.

Government's incentive is to grow; the coming energy crisis may well serve them far more than us.

Perhaps WE should incentivize Government based on the percentage by which they DECREASED Government.

Sadly, there remains a ratchet phenomenon in Government's size and accompanying taxation levels which allow change in a singular direction... larger.

And with this increasing largess, we'll you know...

There is nothing in your essay I disagree with.

However, I do think there is a component of a solution that has to do with regulation of energy.  There is gouging that goes on anytime oil goes up without the converse when oil goes down.  I realize this is not a major component in a strategic plan, but it just frosts me that the oil companies (all of them from drillers to gas stations) take advantage of the situation and get away with it.

I think Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell takes the cake for political posturing:

He drives 2 blocks from his office to a press conference to decry the high price of oil. He gives incorrect information on profit margins, and then when correct, his office says "Oh, well, the actual numbers don't really matter." But the kicker is that he would take the windfall profits tax and rebate it to the people who drove the most miles. What a crazy political solution to the problem!


Yeah, that takes the cake in my book. Unbelievable. Talk about someone who needs a dope-slap.
Great post! While I agree with it completely, outside of a small circle of like-minded friends, most of the local population in SE TN seems to be in 'blame the oil companies and the environmentalists' mode. Every other day it seems, the local paper has an editorial suggesting that if only we opened up ANWR and the coasts to drilling, gasoline prices would come down. The local TV station did 'on the street' interviews last night, and every single person thought that the oil companies were to blame and thought they should be forced to lower the prices. However there was a mixed reaction to cutting out the gasoline tax as several felt it was necessary 'to build and maintain highways for us to drive on'. No one even mentioned the environment.
A very powerful and necessary statement.

I just re-posted it at Energy Bulletin to give it more visibility:

Any ideas about next steps?

How about a place people can sign up -- a petition?

Great work, TOD!

-Bart Anderson
Energy Bulletin co-editor

Thanks, Bart!
Thanks much Bart.  We'll have to create some threads around those purposes...any thoughts on that?
All very nice,
but what is the "tag line" that the populace will remember:


Ever notice how CNN or Fox News tries to get all that good alliteration into their tag lines: "Pain at the Pump", "Pump Politics" ?

Prof Goose -

Being in the oil business, and having been through the last "energy crises", I think plank number 1 should be re-introduction of the 55 MPH speed limit. It would immediately lower consumption and that is what is needed!

The ethanol import tariff pushed and passed by the Corn Lobby should also be repealed - why shouldn't we be able to buy Brazilian ethanol to help reduce the cost of gasoline?

There's my two suggestions and my two cents...

Still Drilling in Houston

GeoPoet, I think those are both worthy ideas.  55 MPH in and of itself will require months, if not years, of discussions.  

and then there's the whole idea of the Republicans actually taking on the corn lobby.

Sadly, I'll not be holding my breath.

Yet what politicians want is a solution that people can live with, and the 55 MpH limit is one THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN AND IMPLEMENTED.....

We can change the discourse, but we also need to throw them options that they can fix or implement via new legislation and especially OLD LEGISLATION that exacerbates rising prices or that inhibits new investment in alternatives....

It's one thing to start and steer discussion - but you need to have some arrows in your quiver BEFORE you go hunting big game....

I am starting to get on board with the 55 mph speed limit as well. It would conserve a considerable amount of fuel.


As much as I hate the idea of any sort of speed limit on interstates, much preferring the freedom of 100mph+ possible on German Autobahns and many other European motorways, I am ready to jump on board with the 55 mph speed limit idea also.  

Adhering to it would cause a lot of gritting-of-the-teeth for me, but it is obviously a very pressingly needed course of action to take.

I'd prefer 100 KPH, myself.
I have also crossposted it

on Dailykos:
on eurotrib:

with the permission of the editors of TOD.

Jerome, thanks very much.  We do appreciate it.
Indeed, thank you very much Jerome.
Hehe. Maybe one of these days you'll need a new contributor, especially if Blair continues to try to send Europe on the war path with Gazprom...

(except that with European Tribune, Energize America and my normal life I've already had to cut down on sleep significantly...)

In a free market, at any given volume of product availability the price will move to a level that the market will bear, n'est-ce pas?  Removing all or a portion of fuel tax will momentarily lower the price, and, given the same supply, will stimulate demand and voila the price moves back up.  What was the government's share will now go the vendor. The problem for the vendor of course is that over time the infrastructure needed to maintain demand, e.g. roads, degrades and thus demand for fuel is reduced.  So rational vendors are not opposed to fuel taxes, since otherwise they may be faced with additional income or other taxes, or worse, far fewer customers.

Higher taxes raise the price, cut demand and assuming constant supply, prices then decline, cutting into vendor margins.  If the additional government revenue is redistributed among the population(Europe), income available for fuel consumption is increased, demand is boosted pushing prices up and restoring some part of vendor profitability.  In this scenario, though, government has the opportunity to optimize revenue from fuel consumption and to use same to construct alternatives and people usually have the option of spending the additional disposable income that, for example, public healthcare provides on something other that endless driving.

doug gabelmann

    The word "disincentivizing" is rarely used, for very good reasons.
     The federal politicians deserve further criticism regarding the initial addition of ethanol to gasoline, followed by its replacement by MTBE which, in turn, has recently been replaced by ethanol. Ethanol cannot be transported by pipelines  but requires the use of tank cars. It's possible that this will cause future shortages in particular areas of the country. Another reason for possible shortages is the use of "boutique"  versions of gasoline required in different areas.
Please everyone, forward this on to your political representatives, local media and any contacts you have out there that can help us to get the word out to establish a basic standard of debate on energy and peak oil.
The "Harry Reid has announced his support for the Menendez Amendment" link in this article takes you to the Give 'Em Hell Harry website. Of the 70 so comments, the majority where giving Harry hell. Perhaps there is intelligent life in the electorate. Most concise and to the point comment--"America is "addicted" to oil, and the Democrats' solution is to make heroin cheaper?"

I posted my comment there and here again.

Dear Harry,

I am in total disagreement with this admendment. Please read Peaking Of World Oil Production:
Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management* by
Robert L. Hirsch, SAIC, Project Leader. This is a DOE- sponsored study.

Harry, in short, neither "Big Oil" nor OPEC can any longer control the price of oil. We need to face the fact that in the not too distant future, new production will not be able to meet decline from mature oil fields. $4 gas will look cheap. We need conservation, not efforts to spur consumption.


Clearly, what all of Washington is doing right now is posturing for the November elections. Nothing more, nothing less. Under the circumstances, can one really expect any sort of meaningful dialogue?

On the positive side (for us TODers at least), is that the political class is obviously scared shitless about the public's anger over high energy prices.

(Here in Delaware, our local utility will be raising rates almost 60% in May, and people are ready to lynch our state legislature for deregulating the utlitities and, allegedly, cutting cozy deals with same. I've never seen such an ugly mood among us normally complacent Delawareans.)

Thus, the political class will do and say anything, and I mean that quite literally, to assuage and deflect that anger. Big Lies are guaranteed.

In this battle to capture the Oil Issue for November, I think the Democrats have a strong edge. The Repbulican's argument that it's those tree-hugging, pot-smoking, eco-faggots that won't us drill for all that good oil that's right here beneath our feet is quite weak in contrast to the Democrat's solid argument that the Republican Party, and George Bush in particular, is of, by, and for Big Oil.  Hell, Bush even ran an oil company for a while (ran it into the ground, that is). So, the Democratic will relentless harp on the connection between Bush, Cheney, et al, with Big Oil.  I think they are going to do well in November.

While this is a recipe for a successful Democratic takeover in Congress come November, we all know that it is all smoke and the basest kind of political pandering.

Can we expect such people, be they Democrats or Republicans,  to seriously and effectively address our pressing energy issues? As I have said before, we are ruled by swine.

Only swine that pander to what we want to hear can be elected. Those with serious answers need not apply.
But how heartening that the vast majority of commenters on Harry Reid's website are vehemently opposed to his short-sighted position. "Give 'em Hell" indeed.
I just gave him a piece of my mind.  Synopsis:  it's counterproductive, and wrong.
Does Holy Hell Harry actually read and understand this stuff, or is he just keeping his funnel vision focused on winning the November 2006 election?
We'll find out, won't we?
The first thing that struck me was how many of Harry's commentators do not seem to known the difference between 18 cents and 0.18 cents and 0.18 dollars.

If they can't even comprehend 3rd grade arithmetic, how are they going to comprehend PO, Global Warming, and economics? Scary.

Congratulations to TOD for an extremely lucid and well-written essay.

And thank you for being a voice of sanity.  We so desperately need that right now.

Bravo TOD!

Unfortunately with the President, members of Congress, and State Governors blaming high prices on 'price gouging', a diservice has been done.  The average Amercian will quickly conclude that yes, indeed, gasoline prices are high because of price gauging.

Unmentioned is the fact that even if ANWAR and continental shelves could be further developed, that this process is not free, nor quick.  Further, the public has almost no awareness that both Saudi Arabia and Mexico need to spend roughly $50 billion each over the next five years just to keep up oil production.

I'm afraid that the public in general is much more resistant to changing energy consumption than I previously thought, and more governmental micromanagement will likely be counter-productive the desired lower prices and greater supplies.  

While I applaud TOD Editor efforts to spread the word amongst the US population about your political problems, I'd just like to ask one question.

Why has a copy of this post been sent to my work email address, here in NZ?

The paranoid part of me is shouting "WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET MY WORK EMAIL ADDRESS FROM?"

This could cause some sticky questions here at work about my Internet usage.  Please explain.

Didn't mean to freak you out--you must have corresponded with a TOD editor at one time with that email address. That's the only way we would know it. We are emphatically NOT trying to find our users' personal email addresses...
Thank God!  For one very worrying moment I thought a Peak Oil savvy spammer had taken your post and sent it to the millions of addresses in his/her database (I get heaps of spam at my work email address).

I could see the signal-to-noise ratio increasing exponentially as thousands of trolls came to TOD to stick their oar in.

As you were.  :-)

yep, I looked back...that one was my fault Duncan.  Sorry.
Hey, no worries, Prof.  I was just a bit surprised when it arrived.
Oops!  Sorry Charles.  I just realised I sent my previous reply to your comment and not the list.

Just ignore me.  :-)

I want to thank The Oil Drum Editors for their great press release. Using cut and paste I sent copies to my congressman and senators.
Heading Out, Prof. Goose, Stuart Staniford, Yankee;

You guys are the hippest nerds on the internet. I am glad you are here. Keep up the great work.

Your most humble servant,

Subkommander Dred

awwww.  blush  you certainly do know how to talk to an academic.
Good Job.  

My Congressman (Vern Ehlers) is having an open hour meeting on Saturday.  I'm going to take a copy and see if I can give it to him.  He has been on the floor with Rep. Bartlett when the discussion was oil.  He is the one that wears a purple tie because he wishes that energy being used was purple, so we could see it.

Any chance of a "one page" hot points version with a web link to a "full" version.    

Thanks again...good job.

I put all the PO talks here:

Good editorial in today's Boston Globe.


THE DEMAGOGUERY of US politicians reaches a crescendo when gasoline nears $3 a gallon. It happened after Hurricane Katrina disrupted supplies last September and it's happening again this week, as leaders of both parties scurry to avoid blaming the real guilty parties: their own constituents.
This post along with Super G's the other day (Record Oil Company Profits and High Gas Prices: A Connection?) constitute two invaluable and commendable discusions that do a great job of informing the lay person on this subject. I would encourage any who have aspirations to enlighten hardshelled friends to show these last two posts to them. Though relatively new to TOD, my timing in joining I have deemed impecable thanks to the great resource I have encounted these last couple of days.  To the editors- thank you for your work in this compilation.
My 2¢:

HELL, YEAH!  I wouldn't change one word.

Great work guys!

I've draw this to the attention of the president of the NRMA (Australian equivalent of the AAA) asking that his organisation take a more fact-based line in the media.

Maybe it will help.


Great unifier. Good on ya!

Do not limit it to China and India. The world economy is growing at 4% which is GREAT for third world countires, BUT, and it is a very big but, GHG are going wild.

Politics is the "Art of the possible." I can not get elected saying vote for me and I will raise taxes on gas.

Finally, SF Chronicle had an article today talking about those in Houston who are buying SUV's. Oil executives who have plenty to spend!

Jack -

Careful lumping us all into the same boat.

Oil company exec here who owns a Prius, a 40 mpg VW and who is building electric car with his son. I might add that on my floor at work, 4 new Prius owners have appeared since seeing and/or driving mine in January.....



Thanks for the comment. The Chronicle article interviewed a car dealership selling SUV's in the Houston area and it was not a serious study.

Ah...just when I get my most cynical and downtrodden, you guys shine some hope on the possibilities.  

Your words are truly inspirational.  Nothing less than what the Founding Fathers put to paper during the birth of this country.  

When Truth is revealed and presented to the world, as you all have done, I can only offer reverence and a prediction.  Many artist's work are not valued until their time has passed.  Such will be your legacies.

World...take notice...stop listening to the talking heads on your TVs...start listening to the wisdom of TOD.

[do not insert sarcasm]

By the way, I have forwarded the Press Release to BuzzFlash,, and MSNBC (doesn't hurt to try some MSM).
lads i put it up here

 someone should get it onto buzzflash if possible ...

Nice work TOD!

I submitted the article to Financial Sense and they've alreay posted it on their energy page.

also, it's on reddit right now too, if you have the ability to pop it there.
anyone on metafilter?  they pick us up now and again...
good show old man
Again, I simplified and shortened your article to send around to the people I know:  

Both the Republicans and the Democrats are headed in the wrong direction on gasoline prices. Party leaders seem to think that oil companies alone set the price of gasoline. This is false. The American people need to understand that high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that neither political party will be able to fix the gas problem.

The major factor that determines gasoline prices is the price of the crude oil from which gasoline is refined. When crude oil prices are high, so are prices at the pump. Other factors that affect the price of a barrel of oil:

   1. The price of oil is set on the crude oil futures market. Oil is traded in a global commodity market where increased demand or reduced supply in one place instantly translates into price shifts everywhere. Many public sources show that oil supply is relatively static at the moment, while world demand continues to grow.
   2. The output of major oilfields is declining; we may now have reached a peak or plateau in global oil supply. Oil companies have not been able to increase production for a number of years, and it is unclear whether OPEC is accurately reporting their reserves.    
   3. Even if there were significant sources of high quality oil remaining, it is getting increasingly difficult and expensive to drill. An aging workforce and infrastructure also contribute to high oil prices.
   4. The world political situation is volatile. Every time there is a rebellion in Nigeria or a confrontation with Iran, the price of oil goes up. Political tensions make oil traders fearful that the supply will be interrupted by armed conflict.
   5. While we are accustomed to obtaining as much oil as we want, China and India are industrializing at a great pace, and competing for that oil. China is working furiously to secure new oil supplies, and, unlike the US, they're willing to negotiate with Iran and the Sudan.

To adjust to a world with less oil, we make the following recommendations:

   1. Do not eliminate the gas tax - temporarily or permanently. That would only worsen our dependence on oil by stifling the innovation of oil alternatives and oil conservation efforts.
   2. Rather than lowering gas prices, which will only encourage people to drive more, investigate alternative sources of energy, fund mass transit and carpooling programs, provide incentives to buy smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, and promote a campaign to increase awareness about conservation.

I look at a lot of data in search of conclusive evidence that we are at or past the point of Peak Oil.  I realize that different sets of data suggest that the date of Peak Oil production varies significantly with the assumptions behind global reserves, furue demand, etc.  I also realize that the Peak may not be identifiable until we are past this point.  However, I thought it would be useful to have a common, objective, data-based definition of when Peak Oil has occurred.  So, my simple question is:

What will be the first set of data that will conclusively signal that a peaking of global oil production has occurred?

I suggest the following definiton:

  1.  The growth rate of weekly EIA oil production numbers is zero or negative over a "rolling" 7 month period.  (you need about 30 data samples to have a statistically significant data set).  

  2.  No significant, and temporary circumstance impedes global oil production during that same 7 month rolling period (e.g. war)

Based on this definition, Stuart's graphs of EIA data start to look scary.....


It's a good consensus statement. I think perhaps you could have perhaps agreed on a little bit more: that the US uses 25pct of the world's oil with less than 5pct of the population. This means that the US has a very special responsibility in regard to changing its MO. It's all too common to focus on the rapid growth of China and, less so, India without pointing this out.
I think it's a very valuable statement - and the more places it gets posted, the easier it will be for people to run into as they become aware.  Good job!

I will offer only this small criticism - I'm not sure enough linkage between the price of oil and the price of gasoline is established.  It is stated before the first numbered list, and as I read through I kept waiting for the reasoning.  OTOH, I'm not sure how to do that without having it become too complicated.  Perhaps (as someone else suggested) a companion graph would be the simplest way to do that, and would not require changes to the text.

In regard to the political posturing, it's it hardly surprising.  And as I've said before, the profiteering will make it close to impossible to convince people that there is a real problem.

I think the yeast and lemmings are winning at the moment.

I agree. I suggest some serious work here to correlate oil and gasoline prices. You know who you are. Get busy. You better, I'm already two steps strides ahead of you.
Thanks Twilight, Oil CEO.

The start time for the graph spike should probably either be before the Iraq war, or mid-2000 to early-2001.

This may be your finest work. Very simple, but powerful, and completely logical. Don't know if this will be the right time for people to hear this kind of message, but kudos to you for putting it out there. Will spread it around as much as I can...

Thanks for composing this well-written letter.  The credibility you've earned for your site allows your words to carry weight, and you speak for a large, and growing, number of people.  I think it's only a matter of time now before our federal politicians get the clue that intelligent, forward-thinking citizens are paying close attention to what they say and do on the energy front.

I've forwarded the link to your pdf to Mayor Nickels of Seattle, who has impressed me with his actions relative to global warming, and who has the ear of other prominent politicians.  What he does with it is, of course, up to him.  He's taken the initiative before where federal leadership has lacked, and clearly if our federal officials continue to lag behind in this arena, leadership must emerge from other quarters.

Again, good work.

The difference between the parties:
progressives can adapt to new rules and ideas.
conservatoids can't.
I've been lurking TOD for sometime, have enjoyed it but as I'm not in the industry have little to offer, but today's editorial motivated me to join.

There is much to be said all over the world on this subject (energy, politics), and I will link to your editorial on other forums where useful.

However, I'd like to share my disappointment with how some of the otherwise excellent TOD articles attract some rather emotional, and in my opinion rather deleterious to TOD credibility, comments from individuals who are on their own anti-{Bush, free market, Republicans, Democrats, etc. - it's a long list} kick.

As an American living abroad perhaps I take a slightly different look at things now, and for all the issues you folk deal with on oil and politics many of you are always overlooking the fact that you live in a country where your dissent is not only allowed but part of the national heritage, yet some of you scorn they very system that bore you.

As an example of what is happening elsewhere, here are a couple of links from today, of news you are already familiar about:

There is some interesting information in those articles, which emphasize a few things that the brief blurbs that appeared in Western media probably glossed over.   However, what is just as interesting is to note the source, ....  It operates as essentially a "news source" that tells the "news" as the Kremlin sees it.   While Putin may not be an absolute dictator, he is nonetheless a "strong man".  That news source will not post damagingly strong critique of Putin or Russia.

Note that the thrust of Putin's decisions is to maximize revenue coming into Russia from oil - he and his friends have embraced the idea of markets.

Note too, however, that essentially nothing is said or done to propose a future in which Russian oil would not be needed.

Being in Japan I am aware that the Japanese would love to get some of that oil, vice it going to China.   However, I'm also aware of how difficult it still is for Japanese to deal with the outside world - they aren't so good at it, even after 150 years.   Putin will play off the various asian nations to get his best price.

Anyway, enjoy the liberties that bring you sites like TOD, and a society which encourages you to be different, and for individuals to pursue their dreams.   I hope my fellow citizens there will embrace the fact that the US society does allow for change, peaceful change through a political process, even if it may seem agonizingly slow to some.


I nominate this for best comment of the day. I hope to hear more from you.
Just finished Leeb's section on the psychology of groupthink in "The Coming Economic Collapse" (buy it at Savinar's site).  I would submit that just as there can be the numbing conservative or status-quo groupthink he describes, there can also be a contrarian groupthink.

I see an increasing level of that contrarian groupthink here, as each thoughtful initial article degenerates more quickly into mean spirited jabs at our society.  I question whether theoildrum will soon become a victim of it's own success in a self-reinforcing groupthink view of our society as inherently evil.  

The articles and subsequent discussion 6 months back were more focused on oil and what were the facts we could reasonably discover and understand.

Also, when I saw the title of this thread "The Discourse Must Change", I thought for a second the editors meant, the discourse must change HERE.
I would also hazard to suggest that in the past six months, the overall situation has deteriorated a bit, leading one towards a more generally pessimistic viewpoint than from, say, six months previously.  There is also a growing feeling of being along for the ride, as TOD frequenters become more aware of the problem, and the general inability of TPTB to do anything meaningful to alleviate the problem.

It reminds me a lot of a "This Modern World" (Tom Tommorrow) cartoon, with a big black speeding sedan heading for a "bridge out", and while the passenger tries to point this out, the driver just laughs and says they have a map and there is no bridge on it.  And over they go.....

I've also noticed that The Oil Drum has attracted more pessimists of late, and you may have noticed me spending some energy to answer them.

Maybe it's no fun being a pessimist out there on a pessimist site ...

But I hope that newcomers can see that within the wide peak oil "community" there are ranges of optimists and pessimists.  The Oil Drum has that box on the right that lists "Peak Oil Primers" with the humorous "Defcon" level for each.

The articles and subsequent discussion 6 months back were more focused on oil and what were the facts we could reasonably discover and understand.

My personal feeling is that this discussion still takes place at as high a level or higher. I think things have evolved to keep pace with the times. Events move very quickly. It's not about Hurricanes now, it is about Iran and Nigeria. Will those two still be prominent a year from now?

The great thing about oil is that discussions about it can go in almost limitless directions.

Anyway, enjoy the liberties that bring you sites like TOD, and a society which encourages you to be different, and for individuals to pursue their dreams.

Oh, we are.  I think the problem is that many of us see that, too, as a product of cheap oil, and already see the end coming.  

We had these things before cheap oil, no particular reason to conclude things will be different after it is gone in spite of the current admin's fascist tendencies.
Oh, yes there is.  Indeed, that's how I came to see peak oil as the seminal problem of our time.  

To put it briefly...yes, we had those things before cheap oil.  We also had a lot fewer people.  It's easy to have individual rights when there are a lot of people rattling around in an empty continent.    

Argh.  That should be "when there aren't a lot of people..."
For example, gun control. If there is nobody within miles, no need for gun control, and this situation still exists in some of the red states. Population density explains a fair bit of the difference between blue and red views. So, certain rights that are ok with low density are not appropriate at high density.

You seem to think we need cheap oil to maintain our current population, so would it not follow that after cheap oil (ACO) we will have both reduced population and increased rights? I maintain we will develop other energy sources (nukes, solar) with current or near current tech as oil price rises, which will not avoid a reduced standard of living - individuals may pay 2x what they are paying now for energy - but no disaster; and, I further maintain that, just as we had individual rights in regions of high density BCO in both first and third world countries, we can again.

You seem to think we need cheap oil to maintain our current population, so would it not follow that after cheap oil (ACO) we will have both reduced population and increased rights?

That's a possibility, but I don't really believe there will be a fast dieoff.

I maintain we will develop other energy sources (nukes, solar) with current or near current tech as oil price rises, which will not avoid a reduced standard of living - individuals may pay 2x what they are paying now for energy - but no disaster

I partly agree.  I think we will do as you say, but it won't be enough to avoid a sharply reduced standard of living for most of us.  

Hence the need for more draconian government.  Tainter found that as resources decline, societies  become more and more coercive. The government enforces strict behavioral controls, in hopes of increasing efficiency.  

Most on this site would welcome more government controls, but from the left, as opposed to today's right. The US, under the leftist Nixon, tried wage and price controls, the latter including oil/ng, which as expected lead to shortages when the world was awash in oil and the US in ng. The Chinese are now trying the same, wishing to prevent local prices from climbing to world levels and possibly leading to citizen unrest, so instead are getting empty supplies at gas stations, leading to citizen unrest.

We do have a fascist gov elected by a minority, but there is no reason to believe that this will continue, or that a future majority would wish to continue the trend - potential revolt ranging from dems to generals is fairly widespread. I expect the nation to move away from fascism in 08, regardless of the nominees or, indeed who wins.
One sign of this is today's announcement that Roberts, the new chief justice, sided against his fellow conservatives (and the administration) in returning a judgement that when the state takes property on account of, say, unpaid taxes, they make a legitimate effort to contact the property owner. So, here is an example of turning away from a dictatorial gov.

I don't know that I welcome more government controls, so much as I think it's inevitable, and possibly the lesser of two evils.

Jared Diamond points out in "Collapse" that grassroots control works only for very small societies.  For large societies, strong central control is needed to avoid collapse.  Medium sized societies - too small to support a strong central government, too large for grassroots control to work - are doomed to collapse into internecine fighting, and Diamond suggests that large societies with weak central control face a similar fate.

The results of not enough societal controls can be ugly.  Montana has gone from being one of the wealthiest states, due its rich natural resources, to being one of the poorest - due to over-exploitation.  The forests have been clear-cut, and what's remaining is poorly managed and therefore prone to devastating fires.  Mining has poisoned the land.  Arsenic and other heavy metals leaching from mines will poison the lakes and streams for 100,000 years.  90% of the fish in the rivers and lakes are dead.  Once fertile farmland has a crust of salt over it - the result of years of irrigation.  Some wells that used to produce fresh water now produce water seven times saltier than seawater.  There's not enough water to support farming any more, and farms and ranches are being replaced by vacation homes for rich people.  Montana used to export food, timber, and metal ore; now they are net importers of all three.  Diamond argues that Montana has already collapsed.

One sign of this is today's announcement that Roberts, the new chief justice, sided against his fellow conservatives (and the administration) in returning a judgement that when the state takes property on account of, say, unpaid taxes, they make a legitimate effort to contact the property owner.

they probably just want to contact him in order to detain him indefinitely without charges and torture him.

okay that was supposed to be funny, but on a related note, i recommend the radio show "this american life." every week is a different theme so their stories are all over the map. they recently did a show about the detainees in guantanamo bay. most of you have probably heard of that, but did you ever hear an interview with actual detainees? has the MSM in the U.S. ever bothered to actually find these guys (hundreds have recently been released) and ask them to tell their stories??

yes. this american life did.

listening on the internet is like tivo for radio. without the added fees.

There's a bit about Peak Oil in the current Adbusters magazine, with a two-page spread of "The Chart" showing the PO curve.
The Road to Hell...

Goverment isn't going to assist us. You may send this excellent missive to every member of Congress... in the end, you will have farted dust in their general direction.

What will you have accomplished? Very little in my opinion.

Government is a predator, not merely politically, but in every substantial way. Government will not cope with climate change, the impending energy crisis, or Iraq. IF you doubt this... see Hurricane Katrina.

Goverment is indifferent to the problem of competence and therein lay the problem with expectations for change in discourse.

It's politics with zero alternatives. Simply recognizing that in a world of predators, all parties are beholden to the corrupt in whole or in part.

If we're going to ourperfrom "yeast" we need to think long and hard at restoring the possibilities not only for progressive social action but also for private economic activity.

We need to answer some serious questions if we are to have an effect upon our circumstance.

It is irrationale to expect to effect change from the top top down in my opinion.

THE effort needs to become far more of a bottom up, apolitical, unilaterally obligated commitment to actions.

I agree that one of the most hopeful prospects today is to just take the initiative personally and at the local level, (including local government, by the way).. just do an end run wherever we can.  The established systems are both too cumbersome and too much in survival mode already to have the agility for this kind of change of direction, but we can't completely divorce ourselves from them, either.

I think your comments have a blind spot in this 'Government is a Predator' idea.  To dehumanize Politicians, or CEO's, or those people on 'The other side', is to shut off your own ability to see what's really going on in their sphere.  Just like we're asked to vote for some guy (in this case a Teetotaler) who we'd like to have a beer with, instead of saying "What does this job require?"  "What kind of experience, perspective and skill really has to be present to get the job done?".. says we are not really aware of what a "Politician" needs to be.  Beyond the sad facts of our distorted leadership as it stands right now, we do need politicians, people who will get in the middle of competing forces and work out a solution with each other, and be the pivot around which our communities revolve.  We do also have to have a more aware electorate, which, in this convenience-addicted society has been seen as far too onerous, particularly with our history of ambivalence towards the 'educated' class (still too close to the old Aristocracies) and hence, education itself.  Bush even campaigned on "I'm not a Politician", and "I don't trust Washington".. if I had the time, I'd look up the (2000) campaign speeches, but alas!

As the saying goes..

"If you can't see eye to eye with someone, try walking a mile in their shoes.   That way you're a mile away from them, and you have their shoes."

very well said~!

independence, liberty and self reliance/sustainability.


We are fickle and simple.

As individuals we feel, and are often, powerless.

But we change.  We can change.  It is our constant.

We have peak oil scientists.
We have peak oil writers.
We have peak oil websites.
We have a peak oil politician.
We have a peak oil comedian.
We have a peak oil billionaire.
We have a peak oil movie...

There will soon be a peak oil - pop-star, soap character, artist, computer game, advert...

Don't underestimate what you are doing.

Good Luck,

An un-lurker xxx

Hi, I am new to your web site.  So I thought to start off I would do some basic math, and then let the guru's here point out the error of my method, so that I may understand the actual facts, versus what I know.
Cost of a gallon of gas last year average.  2.60 would that be fair.  Someone might have a real figure.
average miles  per car pe year.  13,500.  Average car getting possibly 20mpg. therefore  number of gallons for year per car average  = 675
Number of cars  that go the averge miles.  According to the data I found, their are 107 million households, with 1.9 cars per household and 1.8 drivers per household.  So they say that the amount of cars =204 million and there are 191 million drivers.
So the number of drivers is the number I'll use.  I would assume the average of 13,500 is for all drivers.  However, to be fair wel will round down the number of cars in the average to 180,000,000.  So if  gas cost 2.50 per gallon, and the average car is consuming 675 gallons a year, then the cost of all gas for all cars is 180,000,000 x 2.50 x 675 = 303,750,000,000.  Now, if my numbers are right, then 100,000,000,000 / 303,750,000,000 = 33% profit.  So they aren't paying taxes on 33% profit, so there must be something wrong with my math.  Is the 100,000,000,000 profit from World Sales, or U.S. sales?  Ok, here is information from the first web site on Google that suggests we use 400,000,000 gallons of gas a day.  that would mean 146,000,000,000 gallons per year.  The gallons I figure we use are 675 x 180,000,000 = 121, 500,000,000 so to be fair, we will use their number, so 146,000,000,000 x 2.50 = 365,000,000,000.  This means that the percentage of profit based on gross sales would be
100,000,000,000 / 365,000,000,000 or 27% profit.  So it would be easy to determine how much taxes the big guys paid and see if was based on that number.  However, I am not sure again, if they are talking U.S. profits or World Profits, we also have to be careful because they talk in barrels of oil, gallons of gasoline, and as I understand it, they can produce about 60 - 65 % of gasoline from 1 barrel.  So that would be what, around oh, 43 gallons per barrel, times .063 = about 27 gallons.  Now the web site I went to said gallons of gasoline used per day, not barrels of oil, so according to that website we use 400,000,000 gallons of gasoline a day, and that is what I used to base my figures on.  So maybe someone can point out to me the error of my math, so I can understand why they make such huge profits, because 27% taken away from a single gallon would give it a price of $1.82 per gallon.  So if they only made say 8% profit the cost would be 1.08 X 1.82 or $1.97 per gallon.  Remember, taxes were already considerd as we took average cost of  $2.50 and subtracted from that.  So obviously there is a factor I don't understand.  I just saw this, barrels of oil consumed in U.S. in 2005,  21,930,000 per day.  so lets say they get 23 gallons per barrel, just to be fair, then the total number of gallons would be 21,930,000 x 23 or 504 million plus gallons a day.  So we will stick to the 400,000,000 gallons used, which would indicate that maybe less gasoline is produced per barrel than the figure I originally found.  So anyway, 21,930,000 barrels per day x $60 a barrel x 365 days = 480,267,000,000 which is their total cost for all those barrels.  So, they actually use all the byproducts in the barrel, their is gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, etc, etc.  So if they base profit on total cost of oil not cost of gasoline, then it would be 100,000,000,000 / 480,267,000,000 or 21% profit from each barrel.  So how much taxes did the oil companies pay last year.  Wouldn't that be a good guide to see if they are gouging or not.
In a post-Peak Oil world, producers of all types of energy--from wind to solar to nuclear to fossil fuels--are going to do well.  

Oil companies' current production is a result of investments made years ago, in many cases decades ago.   As prices go up, the profits of almost all energy producers go up.  The problem is what to do with the profits.

In my "Mainstream Media" article, I described an "Iron Triangle" of groups that were dedicated to perpetuating the myth that is possible to have an infinite growth rate against a finite resource base.   One of the legs of the triangle consisted of some major oil companies (e.g. ExxonMobil), some major exporters (e.g., Saudi Arabia) and the energy analysts working for them (e.g., Yergin & CERA).

My opinion for quite some time has been that the biggest threat to the US oil and gas industry is not the US Congress, but ExxonMobil.   And in some respects, I think that Congress is somewhat justified in their anger and concern, because hasn't the largest oil company in the world been loudly proclaiming that we have "trillions and trillions" of barrels of remaining oil reserves?  It we do have, as ExxonMobil, et al proclaim, trillions and trillions of barrels of remaining reserves, then it follows that higher prices must be a conspiracy.

My theory has been that ExxonMobil is adamantly opposed to the Peak Oil concept because they are afraid of punitive taxation, if they admit that they can't replace their conventional reserve base, and there may not be room for everyone in the nonconventional plays.    Ironically, their denial of Peak Oil may help bring about the very punitive taxation that I think they were afraid of.    

The most logical thing for major oil companies to do with their discretionary cash flow, IMO, is to build wind generators, but that would force them to acknowledge that they can't replace their reserves.

In regard to crude oil and product prices, IMO the US had to bid the price up to bring in more supplies, and I suspect that some importers around the world are going without all the petroleum supplies that they wanted.  This will be the trend for the indefinite future, as importers bid against each other for declining net export capacity.  The irony of Congress complaining about high prices is that high prices are the only thing keeping the US market (temporarily) supplied.

What the mainstream media are not telling you about the run up in oil prices

CERA's (Yergin's group) testimony before Congress on 12/7/05 (Regarding total liquids):,,7777,00.html


Are we running out of oil? CERA's belief is that the world is not running out of oil imminently or in the near to medium term. Indeed, CERA projects that world oil production capacity has the potential to rise from 87 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2005 to as much as 108 mbd by 2015. After 2015 we see further growth in capacity. Our outlook contradicts those who believe that peak oil is imminent.

For years I have been trying to figure out whether those who deny the approach of peak oil and its grave consequences are simply mistaken--or are they profoundly dishonest and telling lies because they are paid to do so.

I still do not know the anwswer to this question. Probably some are sincerely mistaken and others are intellectual prostitutes. Rich firms and well-bankrolled political parties can hire very clever people to tell beguiling lies, to tell people what they want to hear, to find scapegoats so as to deny the existence of unpleasant facts.

However, I think it is best to assume that wrong ideas are honestly wrong, because it does no good to yell, "Liar, liar, pants on fire . . . ." even when the accusation is true. The way to combat error is with debate based on facts and reason--and here TOD is a beacon of light, clarity, and hope.

Higest praise to the creators and sustainers of The Oil Drum.

--or are they profoundly dishonest and telling lies because they are paid to do so?


Hard as it may be to believe, almost no one gets out of bed every morning saying to themselves:

    "Today is another day in which I will do the Devil's beckoning for yet another 30 pieces of silver".

Except for the rare psychopath, almost everyone "believes" that they are on the side of right. GW Bush believes he is on the side of right. Osama Bin Laden believes he is on the side of right. Daniel Yergin believes his cornucopian ideas are right. Peak Oilers believe their cob-without-corn ideas are right.

Each of these people come to the stage with pre-framed ideas of how the world works.

We're probably all wrong.
Some more than others.

And here is the response to TOD from our beloved US Senators:

Senators to push for $100 gas rebate checks:
Under proposal, every U.S. taxpayer would get one

Tainter might have predicted this.  He points out that no government can survive long unless it gives its people concrete, material benefits.  Hence the Romans increased the dole even as they were going broke.  

Expect more of the same...


Wonder who's footing the "Bill?"

More idiocy complements of the predator class.

In all fairness,  there's more to this amendment than the headline:

"The measure would also give the Transportation Department authority to issue fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles, expand tax incentives for the use of hybrid vehicles and push for more research into alternative fuels and expansion of existing oil refineries."

"Give" the DOT authority to issue fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles?

Please correct em if I am wrong, but were the CAFE standards not in place to accomplish this desired result? We apparently now need more Government in order to tackle this issue.

Is someone cheating?

Please explain to me who exactly foots the bill for the "tax incentives" for hybrids?

Is it not fact that these types of solutions have really only encouraged more consumption? There is a mountain of data as well as the price elasticity of crude to support this?

"Alternate fuel" expansion?

You'll have to please forgive my less than stellar assumption that after the MTBE fisaco, the on-going E85 debacle and the ever present and NON-exsistence expansion of refineries...

In all fairness, one could assume Government's handling of energy matters has been nothing short of an epic disaster.

I'm betting on yeast.

"In all fairness, one could assume Government's handling of energy matters has been nothing short of an epic disaster."

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I 100% agree with your statement above.

I wasn't saying any of the things in this proposed amendment are going to help the situation short of a slight PR boost for BushCo, just that at least there's a need to do something more than giving everyone a $100 to fill their tank.

And by the way, with my commute, that's about a 2 week supply for my car.

It is merely the illusion that our government is doing something and cares about its people.

The entire thing is absolutely absurd.

Fair enough, I want to thank you for all the hard work that you're doing, it is deeply appreicated by this individual.

It is important, in my opinion we take steps to protect ourselves.

I'm new to the TOD as a member, but have been a lurker from day one, this place is simply the best forum I have come across in 14 years of riding the waves.

Keep up the excellent work~!

That is kind of desperate, isn't it?  I suppose it is primarily a panic reaction, and fear of downturn in a consumer confidence.

But jeez, $100 divided by $3/gal times 23 miles/gal = 767 miles.  That will last the average single person 18 days.  The average family with teens 9 days.

And what this amendment demonstrates is the vast ignorance gap between our government and industry experts.  

How long can our government ignore science or keep science "truth" from the general population?

Actually it just shows that they'll stop at nothing to funnel more money into their BIG OIL friend's pockets.

Take tax money and give it back to people so that they feel a bit happier as they continue to spend it on more gas...  hmmm, who benefits from this lousy idea?

They must sit around the fire at the ranch laughing their heads off.

E85 is not ethanol and has no real price break at the pump only about 25 cents less a gallon. The 15% gas that is added is the root of the problem because it gives the government access to tax the hell out of this fuel and the oil companies can produce and deliver to the pumps pure 190 proof ethanol well below one dollar a gallon and still make a good profit but instead of passing on most of the savings to the consumer when the nation is in crisis they use it as an excuse to widen their profit margins and take advantage of the common person. Personally E85 needs to be boycotted by everyone because the gas added is a contaminant used to support the good old boy network of oil barons and their political allies.  Of course you could make 190 proof ethanol for yourself at home for about 1 USD if absolutely needed but Shhhh that's a secret.

190 prrof eh, is it for human consumption?


Yes!  You could drink it... BUT the Government, the way it is, requires you to poison your ethanol to make it unfit for human consumption.  Hmmm I guess it's better to poison people and the atmosphere when it comes out of your tail pipe than solve the energy crisis.  Otherwise you're a moonshiner and ATF will be sure to collect their dues.
You CAN make your own ethanol - you just need an acre or two to set aside for your fuel crop.....
Or just support your local farmers by buying some of their crops.  Any sugar and/or carbohydrate rich source will do.  Some people collect leftovers from local bakeries, restaurants, prison meals, etc. and get paid to haul it away! Which brings the cost of your fuel down to just a few pennies per gallon.  The small stills make about 5 gal per hour of 190 proof. Plans on the internet abound for $20-$60 or buy a ready made one for about $600.
After reading miles of print, I have gleaned the following information. In Saudi Arabia the lift cost of oil is $2.50/bbl. In Iran, the average depth of a well is 900 feet. In the deep water of the GOM, wells are at somewhere around 22000 to 30000 feet deep.

This is a rather simplistic approach but since I am neither a geologist nor a subsea engineer, this is a very rough estimate of the lift cost in the GOM. Dividing 22000 by 900 times 2.5, oil should sell for between $61 and $83 per bbl.

This probably why the US is heavily subsidizing the GOM operations.

Is this true???  Is the US government really subsidizing this deepwater stuff?  Anyone out there have more info on this?

This revelation makes me wonder whether deepwater drilling even has an EROEI above 1.  Maybe government subsidies are concealing the fact that it is essentially a net energy loser.

Deepwater drilling is over 10:1 eroi still. Its the shallow water stuff that has become lower and lower eroi.
Off Topic: Iran Oil Bourse to open next week

Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said on Wednesday that the establishment of Oil Stock Exchange is in its final stage and the bourse will be launched in Iran in the next week.

He told reporters, upon arrival from Qatar where he attended the 10th General Assembly of International Energy Agency and consultations with OPEC member states, that registration of the Oil Stock Exchange is underway and the entity will operate after being approved by by Council of Stock Exchange.

He rejected a statement attributed to him saying that Oil Stock Exchange will bring to the ground the US economy and said, "I don't know who has speculated that I've not talked about US economy."

Could this:

and this: (Currently US Dollar for June at 86.44)  

be related???

Let's try that again.....

Could this:
and this: (Currently US Dollar for June at 86.44)  

be related???

Here's a Technorati Link, to who is pointing back to this post.
I take a day off from the site and miss all the fun!

Love the Press Release.  Congratulations to the editors for putting it out.  Keep up the excellent work.

I will spread it around in my local press and politics arenas.

To educate the public is to tell them what they do not want to hear - instant death for politicians, many of whom are quite smart and well informed.  The public will insist on hearing that some specific group is to blame, and that punishing that group will make things better. The need to blame is so high right now that even Bush is blaming big oil, the group that put him where he is today. After big oil comes OPEC, who will be blamed for not producing the vast reserves they have claimed for years.

Only when all the more palatable but wrong avenues are tried is there a chance to even look at a significant change in lifestyle.

Excellent press release!  I wrote a letter to the LA Times asking them to read it!

In the print edition of the Financial Times today there is an Op Ed column by Jacob Weisberg, editor of Slate, which is very common sense and seems to make similar points. Well worth reading. Heading is "PETROL-INDUCED STUPIDITY ON WHEELS".

It finishes with arguments in favor of European level petrol taxes and concludes "Are politicians too stupid to understand this, or just smart enought not to say it aloud?"

Sorry, don't have a link for the column.

new open thread below this post, folks.  bring your ideas on how to spread this around...

A search of Google News on "The Oil Drum" only yields links for this story at Alternet and The Energy Bulletin.

Despite the truth and quality of this editorial, we can't seem to crack the MSM. Is our traffic up?

not a lot, a slight bump above 10k/day pace.  

we emailed this to just about every single blogger and MSM, etc., etc., that we had in the email box.  it takes a while I guess.

any ideas?

Maybe send it to Lou Dobbs, along with the bit about how gasoline is priced? He seems to enjoy taking a position on things...
That's a great idea.  Worth a shot, anyway.  He's got a list of books he recommends on his Web site, and IIRC, Klare and Simmons are among them.  Along with "The Bottomless Well," so maybe he's a peak oil agnostic.
How about making it available to all those great folks currently participating in the Local Solutions to the Energy Dilemma Conference in New York City?  
I sent a copy to Steve Balogh of Groovy Green
whom I know is covering the extravaganza.  
I'm sure many of them will be swinging by The Oil Drum this evening to catch up on the latest in energy decent information but for those who might not, how might we best get it in front of them?  Sounds like the whole choir will be there.  These are folks sure to help disseminate this well written piece.  Great work guys.
Thanks for th press release! The right info in a concise presentation.  I'm going to save it and send it out to some friends and to my congressmen.
How long until Wall Street sees it is throwing money down too many dry wells and forces oil companies to become renewable energy companies?
You may be right about all you say.  Yet, I still have a hunch there is significant manipulation going on.

You say that gas prices are based primarily on oil prices, and somewhat on other factors like how much refining is going on.  

Since, theoretically, a 10% rise in oil prices should produce less than a 10% rise in gas prices, how can a 10% rise in oil prices create a 30% rise in gas price, without somebody manipulating something somewhere?

Anybody have an answer to this that isn't smoke and mirrors?

If a rise in prices is being driven by scarcity, then one needs to anticipate the possibility that the distribution of goods will occur in a way that causes the burden of costs to be shared unequally.

As a simplified binary example, suppose there are two oil companies serving two different customer bases, bidding on the same fixed lot of petroleum. They bid against one another (driving up the price), and eventually one of them wins-- passing along his higher price to his customers. If the bidding war causes the price to rise 10%, then gasoline prices for that firm's market will rise by something comparable to, but less than, 10%.

The loser, however, has to pass along his scarcity to his customers-- he can't meet all their needs. He can either keep his prices fixed and allow his gas stations to run out of gas, or he can raise prices by whatever amount is needed  to cause sufficient demand destruction to rebalance supply and demand. Rationally, he's going to select the latter, since he'll earn more money that way. (In some cases last week there were reports of stations running out of gas, indicating that they should have been pricing higher.) The amount that the price of gasoline needs to rise to balance supply/demand in a regional market may not precisely correlate with the amount that oil needs to rise to balance supply/demand in a global market, due to imperfect information.

In a situation where prices change slowly, pricing inefficiencies like this won't occur very often, and the costs associated with scarcity will be distributed equally. In a situation where both demand and refining capacity is harder to predict-- as has been true domestically since Katrina-- inefficiencies will be more common.

Here's a little exercise for you (it's pretty simple, and you don't need to leave the confines of this very web page):

On the RHS of this page, near the top is the commodity graph widget thingy.

Change it to show the 3 year graph ("3yr"), and then select the second commodity, "Crude-IPE".

From the resulting graph (wait a few seconds for it to appear) you can see that the price of a barrel of oil has gone up by almost 400% in the last 3 years.

Now select the last commodity, "unleaded-nymex".

That graph shows that the wholesale price of unleaded petrol (or "gas" as you americans call it) has risen only 200% in the last 3 years.

Now, what were you saying about smoke and mirrors?

Andrew Leonard over at the How The World Works blog (within the confines of Salon's subscription land, which can be accessed by viewing an ad) sees a balance to the up and down sides of this crisis:
    "The great irony is that a very good case can be made for the argument that high gas and oil prices are the best possible thing that could be happening to the United States, and the world. High gas and oil prices encourage investment in renewable energy technologies and discourage consumer spending on gas guzzlers. Gas gouging at the pump is an ideal kick in the ass for motivating Americans to prepare for a world of increasingly scarce fossil fuels and increasingly devastating climate change.
    Of course there are some downsides. High gas prices are a regressive tax that punishes working people far more than the rich. High oil prices also make turning to environmentally destructive energy sources such as coal and Canada's oil sands much more attractive. It is also annoying almost beyond comprehension that a company such as ExxonMobil, which vigorously obfuscates the science of climate change, ridicules the potential of renewable energy, and pooh-poohs the threat of peak oil, is raking in record profits on the back of consumer pain.
    It would have been far better to have achieved the gas prices we currently have by levying a hefty tax on every gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S. and then using that money to fund research into renewable energy technologies, instead of the curren absurdity in which the working class suffers and Big Oil wallows in riches. But that's not the world we live in.
    One can only hope that voters listening to Bush's energy pandering now see it for what it really is: hypocritical desperation. But nothing is more frustrating than hearing Bush conjure up his latest bogus boogeyman -- the vexing conundrum of "boutique fuels." In his speech Tuesday to the Renewable Fuels Association (which, despite its green-sounding name, is basically just a trade group for corn-based ethanol agribusinesses) Bush said, "We also need to confront the larger problem of too many localized fuel blends, which are called 'boutique fuels' ... The number of boutique fuels has expanded rapidly over the years, and America now has an uncoordinated and overly complex set of fuel rules. And when you have an uncoordinated, overly complex set of fuel rules, it tends to cause the price to go up."
"It would have been far better to have achieved the gas prices we currently have by levying a hefty tax on every gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S. and then using that money to fund research into renewable energy technologies, instead of the curren absurdity in which the working class suffers and Big Oil wallows in riches. But that's not the world we live in."

Respectfully disagree.

Another "tax" is not the answer. It simply continues the game.

Capital would have been invested already had information flowed freely. The signals sent were erroneous at best.

If a free market for captial is given the proper information, it acts accordingly. Malinvestment occurs when signals are illusory.

The proper signals are the seen, but by those closet to the proper informationa and data.

We do not need additional taxes, nor larger Government to solve this particular problem, we, as individuals need to particpiate less and less to avoid an ill-toward dependence.

Note that they are not my words.

However, a "free" market is never free.
The 'invisible hand' will not save is a significant contributor to the present situation.

You must have indentified with somthing contained in his missive to have posted it no?

Free is relative to the principle of freedom.

Principles matter, markets are as free as we decide. It merely requires the rule of law be applied equally and justly.

It's quite simple actually.

Do you believe in choice, yours, mine and ours?

If 3 of us were stranded on a raft and 2 of us voted you off, would you leave? Would you feel compelled to?

Or, would you assert your individual rights?

Taxation is a mandate, there is rarely a choice, unless it's propped as California seems to be in favor of using.

Respectfully disagree.  The owners and controllers of capital are quite adept at disseminating their own "illusory signals" - Adam Smith himself wrote that "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

He was well aware of the usefulness of government control of markets, because business interests are often afoul of the public interest:

In any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public... The proposal of any new law, or regulation of commerce, which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution and ought never to be adopted ... but with the most suspicious affection. It comes from an order of men ... whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive, and even to oppress, the public and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

To beat one's breast and proclaim one's own Moral Superiority, and deplore the inhumanity of THE system is merely showboating hypocrisy on a truly grand scale.

Yet that is precisely what the crony captialism/kleptocracy projects.

Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations... an excellent book, Smith understood the proclivity of our nature, the good, the bad and indifferent.

Fully socializing the cost of ANYTHING guarantees the establishment of moral hazard, corruption, and inefficiency.

That includes wealth transfer in my opinion and is absolutely axiomatic. Socializing the cost of financial dislocations and creates a monumental moral hazard that guarantees an eventual systemic collapse.

It is our way, perhaps one day we'll come to realize we'd all be better off if we held up our obligations to one another instead of chasing "wealth."

I don't think the "Robber Barrons" were anything but a manifestation of the above, yet they didn't bother hiding the fact they were out to corner markets.

The point I was poorly attempting to inflect was this: it is our decision, not Governments.

There are no free lunches, but there are some good bargains, a full plate for a fair price. Markets are no different. There are some leftovers that hadn't ought to be served.

I'd suggest to you we agree on your points above and that it takes a high degree of discipline to focus on what are problems, not the obfuscated "truths," but facts.

M. King Hubbard spent a geat deal of his latter life attempting to discover/promote an orthodoxy in which mankind could use as a base of reference. He believed that "technology" had the potential to create far more problems than it solved.

An amazing fellow.

I disagree with a distinction between "us" and "government" - I think a much starker difference can be made between "us" and "business" and between "us" and "markets."

But I do agree that the question comes down to us, using the method of government, attempting to identify what are actual problems and devise solutions to them.  Sometimes the solution should definitely involve us, using the method of government, interfering with markets in our own interest, lest our interest be run over by business with a steamroller (or an SUV, if you wish).

In principle I would entirely agree Damek.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, we are competing with our Government.

closedfruitloop -

Forgive me, but I do not understand what you mean by:

"...Socializing the cost of financial dislocations and creates a monumental moral hazard that guarantees an eventual systemic collapse..."

How does one socialize the cost of financial dislocations?  Do you mean spreading the financial pain to various strata of society, or to society in general, or what?

I am NOT trying to be difficult  or cute - I truly don't understand what you mean.

And why should a 'moral' hazard guarantee an eventual systemic collapse'?  Has not the human race lived with moral hazards since its very beginnings? So
why should a moral hazard at this time guarantee a systemic collapse?

I'm sorry, but I find your statements highly ambiguous and vague.

I believe you need to take them in the context presented, an opinion, they are hardly vague.


How does one socialize the cost of financial dislocations?  Do you mean spreading the financial pain to various strata of society, or to society in general, or what?

<no, i do not. Do you understand how our monetary/credit system functions?>

And why should a 'moral' hazard guarantee an eventual systemic collapse'?  Has not the human race lived with moral hazards since its very beginnings? So
why should a moral hazard at this time guarantee a systemic collapse?

<they compound much like harmonics, eventually the amplitude is anle to shatter glass. ever hear of john law, the south sea bubbles, the venetian crisis, rome's demise?>

I'm sorry, but I find your statements highly ambiguous and vague.

<Perhaps you found something that didn't agree with you?>

"Another "tax" is not the answer. It simply continues the game.

Capital would have been invested already had information flowed freely. The signals sent were erroneous at best.

If a free market for captial is given the proper information, it acts accordingly. Malinvestment occurs when signals are illusory."

I sort of agree with you.  The problem is that the system is so manipulated now that what else can we do ?  The highway system was built and continues to be maintained by huge tax subsidies,  access to oil is maintained with the help of military presence (and action) by huge tax subsidies.   Our whole suburban existance is based on illusory signals that have be promulgated for 60 years, and the situation is probably about to inflect very soon.  Maybe some guidance is needed.  

Apologies, I must have painted with too broad a brush. Part of my response is above to Damek.

On balance, markets that disseminate information freely are rare. Perfect information is a neo classical assumption, a poor one. As Damek stated, the rentier class will manipulate "signals" in order to gain further control.

We have a bastardized form of Kleptocracy within our "capitalistic system."

Simply prefer our money isn't debased so that surpluses may actually accumulate.

Prefer competition.

Prefer individualism.

Prefer ZERO Government meddling in markets.

Guess you could say it's my Utopia... err myopia.

Another tax is not the answer either, but how much money are the Fed/states receiving in all this? It's got to be astronomical. How it's spent is more than likely comical.
Haliburton appears to have won quite a few "no-bid" contracts, perhaps we can tax them?

Why not tax taxation, make it a public good and tax the crap out of it.

You don't like mojo? Well, let's have a tax on that as well.

Perhaps we can tax wiretapping?

Great article -- my concern is that "The editors of The Oil Drum" does not comport the gravitas that it richly deserves.

It really makes me crazy to hear so-called oil experts (such as Max Schulz of the Manhattan Institute) on the West coast megawatt AM station. They bring these guys on from think-tanks and they distort, and gloss over, and sugar coat, and spin -- all without any critical questioning from the host. "Oh there's plenty of oil left, and you must know because you're from an institute and all... Great News! -- Tomorrow's show we'll talk all about American Idol!" (Those in the SF Bay Area know exactly who I'm talking about.)

We all know that to get noticed at TOD you'd better have some data that can be sourced and reviewed (A bit over over my head, I'm afraid) which is a far cry from the pre-determined research from the mass-media gotos.

Maybe I'm not saying this well, but I wonder if there isn't some way to present "The Oil Drum" in a way that would put it on an equal media footing with the "think tanks" and self-styled "institutes".

You know ... lately I've noticed that Ronn Owens of the Disney Freedom Channel (oops, guess I do know who you're talking about) ... well anyway that Ronn is having more and more of these conservative Institute experts on his show.

I'm listening to the archives:
trying to figure out which hour Shulz was on and whether this is a repeat of an old show 'cause I distinctly remember Shulz being on before and poo poohing the oil crisis.

Fat chance that Stuart S will ever get an hour on with Ronn to help Ronn along with his ... yeaaaah, sound logic. That said, that said, that said, ... I still haven't found the hour slot where Ronn Headroom talks with the fair and balanced experts  ... I've listened to all 3 of yesterday's archive hours (9am-11am) and no Max Shulz Headroom there. You're probably talking about that old show.

BTW, couple of nights ago, Gene Burns was pontificating on the same channel (7PM-10pm show) about how today's oil crunch is just like the 1974 crunch. Been there. Done that. Know what the outcome will be: plenty new oil gushers and a return to commodity low pricing after "they" take us for a phony ride agian. I didn't even bother trying to call in. What's the use?

P.S. Don't let "them" drive you crazy. Drink the Idol Koolaid and be happy. Sing. Dance. Simon says there is no oil problem. Just flashing lights and new stars tomorrow. There will always be tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar. Tomorrow. ;-)

Ah, gomenasai

Yes, it was a show that ran in early March. I'm afraid it still sticks in my craw. Sorry to make you drag through the recent archives. My bad. Won't happen again ^_^;

Anyway, it still begs the question. How was it that particularly uninformed guest scheduled? Was it a "push" from the network saying WE have an oil expert for YOU" or was Shultz simply in the poverbial Rolidex, filed under "Oil"? (And what would it cost to slip a TOD card in there?)

Ron was in Washington DC that week, broadcasting from the capitol. He could have tracked down Roscoe Bartlett...

The Mainstream Media is a very odd place. I had a minor brush up a few years back which left me befuzzled. I'd received a request from "The Institute of Physics" to republish one of my paper airplane designs in their press release. They too were only a website, but since it was educational in nature, I gave them permission. (I'm a sucker for education.) Anyway, they reprinted the instructions and made up some copy about it being the ideal design, and that it took years of research, and sent out a bunch of press kits. The next thing you know, I'm getting an Email from ABC radio in Australia wanting to do a Radio Interview with thier morning drive guy - and when I talk to him he's asking about my claims about the performance. I don't make any such claims, except that it's a lot of fun.

This all leads me to think that should The Oil Drum find the impedance match to the media front door, it may well help get the message out. If the editors of TOD want to print a glossy release, and do a mass mailing, well count me in with $20 PayPal to help pay for postage.

I'm no longer so sure about getting the message out.
Getting it out to whom?
Last time I looked the statistics suggested that 98% of the American public is not involved in science. Only 2% work in science and engineering.

Maybe this is it. Maybe the people who visit TOD is all there is and they already know the message.

For those of you following the Great Gasoline Debate of 2006, this is a must read article in Slate

I Smell Gas
A subject that makes congressmen stupid.
By Jacob Weisberg
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mineta wrote.

"Along with other previously announced energy policies, the president believes these actions are critical to promoting our nation's energy security and independence."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee called it "a bold package ... that will give consumers relief at the pump and help to bring down the price of gas over the longer term."

"Indepence" and "over the longer term" . ROFLMAO!

Good article.  I especially agree that it's time for our Political leaders to educate the public about energy policy, and Peak Oil.

My suggestion to all is to leave the car at home.  Bicycle, walk, use Mass Transit.  I got rid of my second car 20 years ago, and I've been commuting by bicycle, year-round, ever since.  I'm in great shape - knock on wood, and I love the riding.

And Friday's New York Times Editorial

Pander at the Pump
Published: April 28, 2006

The battle to see which political party can out-pander the other on the subject of gasoline prices is embarrassing. If American consumers are having sticker shock at the pumps, it's because of a series of policy failures that stretch back decades. The last thing the country needs now is another irresponsible quick fix.


The main problem is not environmental regulations or even rapacious oil companies. It certainly isn't the fact that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been kept off limits for drilling. Americans' outsized demand for oil and gasoline pushes up prices, and now that the economies of huge countries like China and India have taken off, there will continue to be more competition for the world's available oil. There are policy solutions for the problem of excess demand, chief among them higher fuel economy standards. But more than five years into the Bush administration, there has been only a minuscule increase in mileage standards for S.U.V.'s and no increase for cars.


Congress's frantic gestures this week are, at bottom, an attempt to divert attention from its past failures to act, and its resulting inability to shield Americans from the burden of high prices at the pump. But the pain of high gas prices will only get worse unless Congress changes its priorities, now.

While I often offer a point of view that is more politically conservative than the the majority of commenters here, I too can endorse this press release.
Many say we will see $3.50/gal this summer.  If you factor in Iran, who knows how high it could go. Everyone knows America MUST get off the oil.  After September 11, 2001 I expected our President to call on Americans to GET OFF THE OIL.  I was expecting a speech like the one JFK gave that motivated us to reach for the moon. As you know, this never happened.  Eventually I realized that the only way this is going to happen is for us to do it ourselves.  To that end I created this idea and have been trying to make it a reality..

The EPA is offering a research grant opportunity that I believe is a perfect fit for this idea.  I have sent an e-mail to a hand picked list of university professors who have experience with government research projects.  I'm looking to form a research team to apply for the EPA grant, conduct a social-economic experiment and surveys to determine to what extent the American public will support it, project the economic potential of WPH, and identify logistical, social and political obstacles as well as opportunities.

All government grants are awarded based on merit of the proposed research.  I believe WPH has merit but your help is needed to verify it. You can help by posting your feedback.  Let the professors and the EPA know what you think about WPH.  Do you think this idea is worth pursuing? We need to know if Americans will support a plan like this.

Do you have any ideas to improve the plan?

Share any and all of your thoughts.

Tell your friends and family about this Blog post and ask them to post their thoughts on WPH

Thank you


Thanks Guys...for taking a stand.