Stories from around the country

The New York Times has an article today called As Gas Prices Go Up, Impact Trickles Down. They sent reporters to locations around the country to write vignettes of how high gas prices are affecting people.

For example, this bit is from a story about a gas station owner in San Francisco:

Many customers understand the dealers are not at fault, but others simply rage at the nearest target.

She advises angry customers to contact Conoco.

"I tell people, I'm just the dealer. I have no control over the price. I don't even know why the price is going up."

From Casper, Wyoming:
In an adjoining gas lane, Cindy Wright spoke of the pain high gas prices cause the single mothers who make up many of the clients at the public health clinic in Torrington, where she is a nurse.

"They can't afford to drive," she said. In another sign of the times, Ms. Wright said, a relative who owns an auto repair shop arrived at work one morning recently to find that thieves had siphoned gas from vehicles left there overnight.

Of course, similar stories elsewhere abound:

What about you, TOD readers? Have you substantially changed your normal patterns in the past few weeks? Have you started to make sacrifices in other lifestyle choices in order to keep up with your addiction to oil? (That's a tongue-in-cheek use of the phrase, OK?)

Best way to not get addicted is to never try it in the first place.  I can watch with glee as my relative wealth grows considerably, but it's short-lived, knowing full well if things get bad I get swept along with the tides.  So, no, no impact on me since my monthly transportation budget is usually the cost of 2 round trip bus fares to the airport.

But here in Denver, the public transit is pretty good, and foreclosures(and our economy) are pretty bad.  There are noticeably more RTD riders than usual -- and most of them poor and ethnically diverse.  This is a bit distorted as a measurement, though, because the percentage of people using our transit system was originally so small that even 1% of trips being rerouted has a dramatic impact on ridership.

An informal census of parking lots, stoplights, and the traffic at the airport doesn't countenance any obvious divergence from normal behavior whatsoever.  I'm convinced significant demand destruction is an impossibility until prices get dramatically higher than this.  Demand is still up marginally(~0.5%) YoY, indicating some population/wealth growth and some decreased demand per capita, but China, India, and supply constraints are doing juuuust fine to make up the difference.

You know those airplanes you fly on use oil too right?
Thank goodness it does, though only about 9% or so.  Believe me, if I end up with less business travel as a result of oil prices, I couldn't be happier, but it's just an expense of the companies so far.

Word salad.

Let me try again:

I am glad that airplanes consume oil, although only roughly nine percent of what comes out of any given barrel with current refining practices.  If oil prices continue to increase, I may not need to travel as much for my employment due to price constraints, but they do not affect me currently.  That would make me happy because I could stay home and live my life.

Oh, OK.

There are certain subversive anti-American websites where you can calculate your "energy footprint" and flying increases it immensely.

What I found interesting about the NYT article was that just about the only people who had curtailed their driving were the ones who were financially incapable of buying gasoline.  

Note that the  guy in the Pacific Northwest, who was trying to find a commuting partner to offset the cost of his 40 mile roundtrip commute, had zero responses to a Craiglist ad.

I suspect that this is, by and large, the pattern that we will see across the whole country.  You can pry their fingers away from their car keys when they can't afford to put gas in the tank.

Back to the Energy Tax idea:  let's tax energy consumption to pay for Social Security/Medicare, rather than taxing the wages of lower and middle income Americans.

I have slowed my speed down from 70 to 60. I also stopped using my AC, unless I have passengers and the temperature is pretty high. I have made lots of changes around the house to conserve electricity as well. It isn't really a matter of $3 gas, I just feel everyone should be doing everything they can reasonably do to conserve - and delay the arrival of the day that conservation is no longer optional.


I do the same things, but not for the reason you listed. My cutbacks are for climate change and to save money for investments. Better to let other people deal with inflation. I'd rather invest in inflating things and other WTSHTF preparation. I know a number of SUV drivers who are grateful for your virtue, but wouldn't be willing to follow your lead. Doesn't Jevon's paradox imply that, until the government at least has acknowledged PO, there isn't much point to altruistic conserving to preserve the resource?
I know a number of SUV drivers who are grateful for your virtue, but wouldn't be willing to follow your lead. Doesn't Jevon's paradox imply that, until the government at least has acknowledged PO, there isn't much point to altruistic conserving to preserve the resource?

You are correct, in that what we voluntarily do is but a drop in the bucket compared to what government could do to lead on this situation. I don't even think it will take an acknowledgement of PO. They just need to recognize that we have a supply/demand crunch that isn't going to get better as long as China and India continue to grow.


Perhaps the only good reason for us to conserve now is to think locally and reduce our personal expenses. To me that is good enough.
You can be altruistic and selfish at the same time. This is actually fairly common in Nature.

For instance, yeah I drive a prius, but I got it because it's a great load-carrier, I can throw a bicycle or a 50 HP linear power supply into it without having to lift the article UP and hurt my back. It's small and easy to park. I don't spend much on gas but then I'd spend a lot less than a lot of people if I were driving a Crown Vic, I drive about 7k miles a year. The big banana for me is, as gas prices go up to normal, normal being what they pay in europe, my car will hold its resale value well.

Same thing with going without a car at all - ride a bike or walk! This is altruistic, sure, but has huge benefits for you. You save TONS of money. Your health improves hugely. Your life expectancy, even factoring in accidents to bikers and peds, goes up. You feel better. AND, when/if TSHTF, you're USED to doing without a car. You're more fit and physically and mentally versatile.

Amen.  You took the words out of my mouth (except for the Prius stuff  - not that I wouldn't agree with that if I had a Prius).

Sometimes my wife gets frustrated with some my peak oil lifefstyle strategies and says that it would depress people to have to, for example, give up driving to work some day.  I respond by saying that I feel that I have an obligation to at least tell friends about Peak Oil and that, if she thinks they'll be depressed thinking about peak oil now, just think how depressed they'll be when they find out buying the SUV wasn't such a good strategy.

I took the St. Charles bus (the St. Charles streetcar is still down :-( to Canal, and took the St. Charles streetcar running on Canal (the Canal streetcars drowned) to within 6 blocks of JazzFest.  Nice way to go !  :-)  Next year, electricity all the way.

Pre-Katrina, I used 6 gallons/month (and a bit less than 300 kWh/month yearly average).  I have no intention of conserving or changing my behavior is any significant way.  I could, but the sacrifice is "not worth it".  

Hello TODers,

My girlfriend and I just got back from a 35 mile ride on my new to me, but slightly used little scooter-- dinner with friends, beautiful weather, and knees in the breeze again.  The gas mileage is much, much better than my old pickup too.  A very rewarding way to help conserve detritus.  =)

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

   Having been in the know about oil and energy issues for sometime, I have made it a point of conserving these resources for a while now. About 4 years ago, I bought a ridiculously huge Dodge Ram 1500. It was a sweet ride; fully loaded with an average fuel economy of 15mpg. However, at the time I bought it I knew that someday in the next few years gas prices would go significantly higher, but at the time, I needed such a robust vehicle for business reasons (I was doing a lot of traveling cross country at the time, toting along all manner of possessions for extended stays in different parts of the country, due to the nature of my job).
   As I said, I knew that fuel prices would eventually make such a vehicle uneconomic (not to mention impractical, wasteful and damaging to the environment), but at the time, given the price of fuel and my own situation, it made sense to have it. However, I eventually stopped traveling and settled down in a place close enough that I can walk to work, making ownership of such a vehicle even more foolish. So, last year, I sold it to some unsuspecting good ol' boy and purchased my current ride, a BMW Dakar 650cc motorcycle. At 70/mpg (69.512/mpg, to be exact), as you can imagine my consumption of fossil fuels has dropped preciptously.
   Now, as to my own situation, I'm a single guy living in a rented apartment (sharing it with my terminally freaked out roomate), situated in a small college town in central Virginia. Tbough I am certain that many other folks would not be in a position to 'powerdown' as much as I have, nonetheless, the example that brother Bob from Phx above is something that many people could do to alleviate their own use of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, my experience with humanity, through both observation and direct interaction, leads me to believe that the vast majority of our fellow citizens will go to great lengths to maintain the status quo (big houses, Ditech loans, SUV's complete with "Support the Troops" stickers, consuming cheap plastic shit made in China and sold at Wal-mart, ect). To even suggest such a course of action (conservation, sustainability, environmental awareness, rejection of the consumer culture) would, in the minds of some of my more confused and angry fellow Americans would be akin to advocating the imposition of a Maoist cult.
  I would liken the current situation in our country thus;
  One day, the circus comes to town. There is the usual parade of jugglers, acrobats and clowns down main street, followed by the animals. All manner of wild and exotic beasts, such as elephants, horses, lions and others are herded down the main drag of town. At the very end, there is one guy pushing a wheelbarrow, full to the brim with animal excrement that he scrapes off the street with the aid of a large coal shovel and a big, stiff bristle broom. One of the bystanders, thoroughly repulsed by the site and smell of all that animal manure, yells out to the fellow with the wheelbarrow "Man, that's such an awful job! How can you stand to do it?" To which the faithful circus employee replies, in an astonished tone "What, and give up show business?"

   I'll let you draw your own conclusions regarding this parable.

  Friends, we can only do what we can only do. The collective knowledge and wisdom represented on this site notwithstanding, I fear that our country is in for some dark times ahead.

Subkommander Dred

I am considering getting a battery powered bicycle.  Does anyone recommend any models that they are pleased with?  I figure when gas shortages occur, I can still make trips to the grocery store, etc.  I also think they would be safer than the loud gas powered cyles.
I don't own one, but if you're looking for a battery powered bike the Stokemonkey looks interesting. I first heard about it on the aptly named Oil is for Sissies blog.

Before you go the power-assist route, you might be suprised at how easy it is to carry a load on a regular bicycle. Just pick up some panniers. Arkel makes some good ones, or check ebay. One of the best investments I ever made.

Gave up the car 8 months ago. My bicycle is my primary mode of transportation, supplemented with public transit. No regrets, apart from wishing I had dumped it sooner. Can't believe how much money I've saved.

A simple lifestyle, freely chosen, is a source of strength. Do not be persuaded into buying what you do not need or cannot afford.

some time back i found a german (government?) webpage that did a serious test of production electric bikes.  i can't find it now, maybe someone else remembers.

there is a little plus and minus to electric bikes.  they are electric, but they are also much heavier than a normal bike.  for me, with store <2 miles away, there's no need for an elecric on grocery runs.

perhaps you have a regular bike already, but i think for people who don't, the cheapest easiest thing to do is to get an inexpensive city or mountain bike that fits well and start riding slowly (rome wasn't built in a day) ... by the end of summer they may find that the market is an easy (and fun) ride.

Thanks for the comments! Actually, I do have a cruiser bike and use it for exercise by biking about 20 miles twice a week.  If anyone is "just getting a bike" for peak oil preparation I highly recommend the cruiser style as it is SO comfortable.  The old style wrap around handle bars make such a difference (though I know less wind efficient, but that's fine w/me) and the seat feels like a living room couch!  The rear side collapsible baskets that I've added are also great. They can each fit one paper grocery bag.  These can be added by any good bike store to any bike.  But, actually I'm interested in the electric bike as more of an "insurance policy" for when times may get a little tougher.  I am familiar with eGO cycle and the Giant brand. I have visited a number of internet sites but would like to hear from people about how they actually like owning one???
for what it's worth i found this us gov site with lots of models and specs:

a google for "my electric bike" with quotes turns up some user experiences

Dunno... I tend to pedal but a poster at one of the usenet bike fora mentioned that he just saw electric bicycles at Walmart. Apparently a new thing or maybe a staged rollout. It's not on their web-site yet.
Speaking of real life impacts and their theoretical causes, did anyone catch Andrew McKillop's latest article: (sorry if it has been linked here before.)

His article (to me anyway) seems to be lacking in really understanding what is meant by the term "elasticity" .   "Elasticity" is simply a mathematical tool; what Mr. McKillop is presuming (I believe) is a particular shape to a curve that would have (in his preconception) shown demand decreasing as oil prices have been increasing the past couple of years.

The existance of the stories you mentioned and that are now popularly being reported in US media indicates that higher prices are just starting to make a difference in demand.

What I might be able to add to your story is that in Japan there are reports of a slight decrease in demand of gasoline as prices have gone up.    However, the general consensus is that Japan's economy is still slightly strengthening (and thus the Japanese are a bit more willing to spend and invest overall); I also get the impression here that businesses are feeling more upbeat about their growth.  The now interlocking Japanese-Chinese-Korean economies are still absorbing the price increases of oil.    If I understand the numbers correctly those three countries combined import more oil than the US.

Personally, I don't drive at all - and never have.

(a) I commute by bicycle - 8km each way.

(b) Most other trips are by bike or public transport.

(c) Sometimes friends will give me a lift if they're driving, but that's more so we can be together than a necessity for me to get from A to B.

(d) If all else fails, I catch a taxi.

Obviously, this is more possible here in Australia than in many US cities.

Petrol (what you people call gasoline) is $A1.38/litre at the moment in Melbourne.  At current exchange rates, and assuming 3.5 litres/US gallon, that amounts to $US3.60/gallon.  People here are squealing about petrol prices, but not as much as in the US.

Why is this?  It's because most people don't have to travel as far and we are not so car-dependent as the US.  It's not actually a matter of personal choice, for the most part, because car dependence built into the town planning.  We have some of that here, but not nearly as much as you have there.  The result is that, as the price of oil gets higher, people can cut back on their car usage without dislocating their daily life absolutely.

This also brings up the topic of the renowned inelasticity of demand for petrol in the US.  Because car-dependence is built so heavily into the town planning, cutting back on petrol consumption is a long-term decision, not a short-term one.  People can't say "The price has gone up by 10%, so I'll drive 10% less".  Sure, they can cut back on recreational driving, but most driving is either commuting, or essential trips for shopping, dropping kids off at school or such like.  Public transport is not a viable option for most people in the US - and it will take major changes before it is.

Substantial cuts to petrol consumption for individuals are only possible through things like:

(a) Cutting the distance between home & work.  Moving house or changing jobs is not something that can be done at the drop of a hat.  You don't want to take a substantial pay cut in the process of changing jobs, so you have to choose carefully.  And moving house often involves changing one's whole social circle - and that of one's kids.  So it has to be prepared carefully and done correctly.

(b) Getting a much more fuel-efficient vehicle.  This, also, can't be done at the drop of a hat.  Vehicles cost money - both the one that you're driving & the one that you would want to be driving.  Higher fuel prices might bring forward by a couple of years the date at which you replace your old gas-guzzler, but if you own a newish SUV you might find that you lose more trading it in for a Prius than you'd save from petrol in the next 10 years.  So you're stuck with the bum choice you made.

On the social level, the real changes need to be in town & transport planning.  In Australia, and even more in the US, that means building pedestrian-friendly environments and upgrading public transport so that it can move people where they need to go quickly, safely and conveniently.

And it also means much higher population densities in urban areas.  When the effects of Peak Oil begin to bite seriously, people will decide they're prepared to live in a shoe-box if it means they can walk to work and everywhere else they need to go.  And, as Kunstler has noted, suburbia will be shown to be a social misallocation of resources on a mind-boggling scale.

My wife and I are considering moving for various reasons.  I am fortunate enough that I could relocate nearly anywhere with a decent population base so we've been researching different cities.  It is depressing to look at houses on real estate web sites like  Even in supposedly sustainable, walkable cities the vast majority of homes that come up are ugly suburban crap.  What's even more shocking is the number of listings that have a construction photo or an architects drawing bc/ they haven't been built yet.  America just doesn't get it yet.  The suburban/ exurban expansion is still gowing exponentially.  I agree with the above contributor who says gas prices are going to have to get significantly higher before much demand destruction occurs.  At this point people are complaining and politicians are jockeying but only the very poorest are changing driving habits or considering moving closer to work.
The missus and I have been surfing and other sites for a few years. A few days ago we came across a place in Iowa, 3bed/2bath 8 acres barn and grain bins for only $50K. Being retired where I live doesn't affect my income so going rural is a plus. It is amazing how low real estate prices have dropped in Midwest farm country. I hope we can sell our urban place before the same housing price drop here.
That amazes me, because Midwest farm property, taken care of and farmed organically, get over your squeamishness and stop flushing gold down the toilet and go to the "humanure" system, etc.  will feed you and support you well.
Good post Ablo!

My older sister is considering getting a THIRD car for their two-person family, one's an antique that's finicky and she got tired of being stranded in it, the other's a modern car but he needs it much of the time. Hence, "we need a 3rd car". But, I've encouraged her to think in pieces. Use the car when he doesn't need it, use the bus at times, and when all else failes, she can always cab it. I told her if she kept track, she's probably find her use  of cabs would still cost a lot less than getting a 3rd car.

Changing patterns....

Not really, I average about 3,500 miles per year on my car, so I don't spend much on gas anyway.

I guess one change is that I came across an oldschool Benz (ya know the ones that are gutless and get 30-35 MPG) diesel car and I am trying to liqudate a bunch of crap so I can pay cash for it ASAP.  (And I can run SVO! Take that Exxon!)

Oh man! You go up a hill, you're going to do it in 2nd wayyyyy over on the rightmost lane.

Frankly you'd be better off looking for a rabbit diesel or something, there are some Toyota Tercels, the older ones, that run on gas and get great mileage. The one I like is the one that's a kind of wannabee wagon and has a big ugly ass. It's probably one of the best combinations of mileage and carrying room available, my Prius included.

Oh man! You go up a hill, you're going to do it in 2nd wayyyyy over on the rightmost lane.

I know I've had one before!

Frankly you'd be better off looking for a rabbit diesel or something, there are some Toyota Tercels, the older ones, that run on gas and get great mileage.

One problem is I have been looking and that is about all... looking...and looking...  there are none available.  People are driving them everywhere, but you can't buy them for under 2 grand here in Oregon.  Nothing but SUV's and big trucks for sale in these parts.  The car I am after is a helluva deal that I just can't pass up, it could be sold for twice as much as I can buy it for, if advertised.  Hence the speed to buy.

When I started looking for a diesel in late 2003/early 2004, I found one Jetta diesel in the newspaper.

One Jetta diesel, in weeks of watching the ads.  And the owner sold it so fast, he didn't even bother to return my message.

The people who buy diesels tend to run them into the ground.  Mine is running so nicely, I expect to get a quarter of a million miles out of it.  I just put new tires on it (at 52,000 miles), and it's both quieter and smoother than it was on the OEM Continentals.  I'll probably have to do that a couple more times, and the only way you're going to see mine in the paper is if something happens to me so I can't drive it any more.

If you can put an aftermarket turbo on the Benz, maybe you can get some power out of it.  My TDI climbs mountains in top gear with me and a load of camping stuff.

With all the bitching about gas prices going on in the country, consider this. If you have a car now that getss say 20-25 miles to the gallon at $3/gallon, switching to a hybrid or economy car that gets 45+ miles/gallon is the equivalent of gas prices dropping to $1.50! Meanwhile, getting a Hummer which gets about 10-12 mpg is like the price of gas doubling to $6/gallon (nearly equivalent to exorbitant European prices).

So, if people drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, gas prices are still a bargain.

Also, I don't believe that people should be obligated to conserve for the sake of conserving. If people can afford to drive around in 10 mpg Hummers, who am I to criticize them? Let me them guzzle gas. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner the day of peak oil arrives, the sooner we can move on to a more sustainable future. At this point, nobody really knows what the future holds, and I figure might as well have the day of reckoning come sooner rather than later.

Or how about getting a scooter? A new Vespa can easily get you 90mpg.
The problem with the 10 mpg Hummer, and all other excessive and unnecessary fuel consumption is that it forces the price of oil higher without any possibilities of mitigation for those impacted most.  The people driving these vehicles generally use a very small percentage of their disposable imcome on fuel.  If the price of gas doubles, it has no real impact.  Those who already drive economic vehicles, but are existing on the margins, use a far greater proportion of their income on fuel.  It hurts them when fuel goes up, even though they act responsibly.
While I agree that increased prices are essential to kickstart conservation and make alternative modes of transport viable, taxation is a far better way to go than relying on the vagaries of the market.
Much of the reason the alternatives are not set in motion is the fear that oil prices will slump.  This is not just among PO deniers, but also considered as a serious possibility in the event that an initial spike in prices causes a recession.
If the goverment (US, UK, wherever...) could convince the electorate of the problem, one way to stabilize the situation is to introduce fuel taxation in such a way that there is absolute certainity that the price will increase by a minimum of 15% per year.  That revenue can be recycled to reduce the impact on those worst affected.  This may of course be overtaken by events - but starting now would force the realisation that rising prices are not going away.  That means the investment in efficient vehicles, better insulation, renewables, mass transit systems, etc, have predictable paybacks.
are hummer drivers demonstrating wealth, or are they demonstrating cash flow?  carefullly managed the later becomes the former ... but driving a hummer as the beginning og PO and possibly at the exml:f a housing bubble ... may not be carefullly management
are hummer drivers demonstrating wealth, or are they demonstrating cash flow?

I would say they are demonstrating studitiy, arrogance, and a total disregard for the planet and it's other inhabitants.

I've lived around real wealth, just google for the most expensive zipcodes and notice one city has two of them.

People with real wealth from what I've observed tend to drive an older, very well-cared for BMW they bought new back in the 70s or 60s. Or an older American made station wagon, again bought new way back when and meticulously cared for. You also see a lot of the old tail-fin Volvos. A second car for runs to the nursery for potting mix etc will be most often an old Toyota van, the boxy ugly one.

You'll see a lot of 'bling' vehicles too but those are for people demonstrating cash flow, not wealth. Real wealth is understated.

Perhaps they're demonstrating penis size.

My wife's ex-husband was a man like this.  He wanted a giant house so people would think they were rich.  When she in herited a jeep Grand Cherokee he nearly creamed his jeans because it's big and impressive.  When my wife way buying her Escape then, he kept telling her that she really wanted an expedition, or at least an explorer.  It's important to continually try to send the signal to everyone else that you're rich; even if you have to become and stay poor to do so.

Right now we both drive Echo's and are very happy with them.  The only thing missing on mine is cruise control, and the gas mileage is just short of the mileage of the much more expensive hybrids.  We're quickly paying down the slight debt we've accumulated during her divorce and my immigration, and we're concerned with what we like and what works for us as opposed to how we look to the neighbors and co-workers.

Most EU cars don't have cruise control; it stops you falling asleep on long journeys.

Right now in the US and EU, having a high end SUV/4WD is a gratuitous status symbol, its things people are meant to aspire to. And given the lead time of new vehicles, I expect many more SUVs from manufacturers for the next few years.

However, just as big engine status cars suddenly became an embarrassment after 1973, SUVs could fall out of fashion. Once that happens their resale value with crash out and new sales will collapse. Of course, that means the vehicles will become more affordable and trickle down the food chain.

The next status symbol will probably be a hybrid SUV like the new Lexus, even though at 30mpg its economy still sucks, and they are still utterly unsuited to european cities. Still, my MTB will overtake them urban and offroad.

Sina wrote:

Also, I don't believe that people should be obligated to conserve for the sake of conserving. If people can afford to drive around in 10 mpg Hummers, who am I to criticize them? Let me them guzzle gas. As far as I'm concerned, the sooner the day of peak oil arrives, the sooner we can move on to a more sustainable future. At this point, nobody really knows what the future holds, and I figure might as well have the day of reckoning come sooner rather than later.

I have to agree with you.  90+% of the population just doesn't get it.  If 10% of us conserve and keep gas prices down for a while, the others will just continue their exurban/ SUV lifestyle a little longer.  Only policy changes like increased government fuel efficiency mandates or bringing back the 55 mph speed limit would actually make a difference bc/ then everyone would have to do it.  Obviously our gov't doesn't have the stomach for that yet.  Our blind exurban expansion continues and the longer it goes on before TSHTF the more painful the adjustment will be.  I don't think a Jimmy Carter type politician who is willing to tell us the truth about our energy problem is likely to occur before the peak in our current political climate.  Just like the Titanic, mostly everyone will remain in denial  even as the ship is sinking so let's hope for a peak sooner rather than later and a low rate of decline to make the downside of the slope less painful.

I've had these same sorts of conversations four years ago with gas-guzzler owners who insisted that they will change when they have to, not before. Fine, their behavior makes my thrift all the more potent. Crisis will come either way. Recall the old preflight stewardess speechs about securing an oxygen mask to your face first, then helping those around you.
I've had these same sorts of conversations four years ago with gas-guzzler owners who insisted that they will change when they have to, not before

I am not so surprised at this attitude in those of my generation bc/ I was a child during the oil shocks of the 70's and wasn't really aware of the problem until recently.  But what shocks me is that this attitude of a right to gas guzzling is most prominent among persons in their 40's to 60's which is to say the baby boomers and the supposedly socially active persons who grew up in the 60's.  They went through this in the 70's.  Now they probably still think (or hope) that the current run up is only temporary, but what were they thinking 10 years ago when they started buying SUV's and suburban housing 30 miles from work.  Is their memory really so short?  

Move that up to their 50's to 70's, I'm in my 40's and grew up in the dirty 1970s, our lifestyle made The Waltons seem rich. Up until about a decade ago, my life was all about, "Gotta survive, how little can I really live on?"
What's surprising is that no one ever seems to consider that if they wait to switch until they have to, they might not be able to.

Such as, lets pretend that Gas jumps to $5 a gallon in a month's time or so.  What do you think will be the selling price for a used SUV when 90% of the population is trying to trade them in for high mileage cars?  Will you get enough to finish paying off the loan they've probably got on it?  What if it's still under a lease for 2 years?

How many used, but in good shape, high mileage economy cars will there be when 90% of the population needs one?  Now consider the same thing for people who say that they'll move closer to where they work if gas gets too expensive; when everyone in the suburbs says that, who's supposed to buy their old house so they won't have to pay the mortage payments on top of the new rental apartment they'll have in the city?  Similarly, if there's a problem with the food supply in the fall, it's too late to grow your own food for months.

But it will be different, because the people who say that they'll make the switch when they "have" to all think they'll see it a day or two before everyone else does, and they'll probably make out like bandits.  Meanwhile, I'm fearing that our near-term move won't be too late.  I'm tempted to sell the house and plan to rent for a year or two and then by some depreciated land with a house that some boomer thought would make a good "cottage."  But I'd like to have things settled during a possible time of strife; if nothing else, who knows what the dollar/canadian dollar will do?  Productive land and animals will feed someone, paper may not.

The JIT mentality has infected people's lives outside of the workplace.  But JIT only works well when everything is working perfectly.  If one aspect of the supply chain breaks, then suddenly JIT is an Archilles' heel.

Coffee17 -

JIT crunch is already here with respect to hybrids - you have to get on a waiting list here in Houston to get one. Same thing for reasonable diesels (Jetta, Bug, etc.) - get on the list and wait.

BO Solar also has a 3 month wait around my town due to demand.

Similarly, the area inside the inner loop here  (we have TWO loops around our inner city, an inner and an outer and even a 3rd loop in planning stage) is undergoing revitalization. You can see the old frame homes from the 1930's and 1940's  being refurbed just taking the inner loop to work each day. But as you suggested, the prices for these postage stamp lots with much older homes has climbed precipitously in the last 12 months. It is now cheaper to buy a new home in the far-out suburbs.

No move has been made by local government to upgrade mass transit - they are just endlessly widening freeways. A lot of this is simply spending federal matching funds and has been planned years ahead. Yet ridership has nearly doubled for commuter ride sharing this year - a positive sign. Another positive sign is that the city of Houston has begun to replace many of their own staff vehicles with the Prius. I never thought they would abandon Ford, but they have with the budget presures they are under.

If you are going to move rural or else move into the inner urban area to mitigate PO, you should be executing your plans now, not in a year or two. Even if the economy does collapse inwards, it will not take people long to figure out where they have to live to hold their own against ever higher fuel prices. And those locations will escalate in relative value, even in the face of collapsing real estate prices.

Those living in suburbia might want to look at NEV's ( or else used golf carts as a way to mitigate. These little items can sure take the bite out of taking the kids to soccer, school, grocery trips and other typical commutes (federal tax rebate too). You just need to devise alternate routes to avoid high speed traffic, and do your business in the morning or evening when it is cool enough to travel comfortably. If we weren't doing the full electric car conversion, I would probably have purchased a golf cart already myself.

And if anybody here wants to know about aquaponics, my setup is running like a top now......plants are up and fish are growing too!! All in a space that is 12' X 6'...

[i]No move has been made by local government to upgrade mass transit - they are just endlessly widening freeways. A lot of this is simply spending federal matching funds and has been planned years ahead. Yet ridership has nearly doubled for commuter ride sharing this year - a positive sign. Another positive sign is that the city of Houston has begun to replace many of their own staff vehicles with the Prius. I never thought they would abandon Ford, but they have with the budget presures they are under.[/i]

Progress in mass transit isn't moving quickly in Houston but progress is slowing being made on light rail expansion.  At least its safe to say that Bill White is aware of peak oil given that he has maintained contact with Matt Simmons (who was involved in his campaign).

I'm trying my best to alert people in the med center where I work.  Far too many of them commute long distances to the med center.  A 50 or 100 mile a day commute is not at all unusual.  Most physicians live inside the loop but many of the other workers in the med center do not.

maybe they are saving mass transit for the recession public works projects.  they'll pay less for emminent domain after the crash as well.  :->

I know someone in my housing development who got a Prius a few months ago.  I asked him what the waiting list was like, and he said that at the time there was no waiting list for the old model year.  If you wanted the new model, then you had to wait a few months.

It doesn't surprise me that it would change like this though.

If it were me, I would wait for the 2007 Prius with the ~94mpg rating.

Agree with Sina.  I don't conserve one g-damn thing.
Don't have to. Don't want to.   Would rather go ahead and push on to peak oil so I'm around to help my kids deal with it.  

If everyone conserves, cuts back etc.,  prices drop, peak oil date pushed out, emergency avoided, country gets complacent  and the Peak Oilers derided and called Y2Kers.
Hell, we're worse off than when we started.

Consume more oil.  Lets get it over with.
Nobody has a clue in hell whats really going to happen.

I'd like to hear your reasoning about why a fast crash is better than a slow crash - it's not intuitively obvious to me.  One might cite Cuba but comparing Cuba to the US is a bit of stretch.  You're basically saying you'd rather we run into a brick wall than a steep hill.  That's true - if we're attempting suicide.

In the meantime we'd best all scramble to live within our diminishing means.  Here's what I've done so far regarding transportation.

I got a 1985 Honda Nighthawk CB650SC for $1000 and put about $300 in minor repairs.  The bike gets about 45mpg in town and is as close to a crotch rocket as I'll ever want.  It's quiet and will carry a full bag of groceries in a milk crate I plan to mount on the back.

Repairs are simple and the Clymer manual is adequate for almost anything one would consider doing - not sure I'd want to split the crankcase - but everything else can be done with engine staying in the frame.

Assuming I don't crash and burn, the bike should last another decade or so.  Honda still stocks most of the parts and, given the legendary reliability of its 4 cylinder engine, I expect a fair number to remain on the road for years.

I considered getting a scooter but, after test driving an older Vespa selling for $2000, I decided the small wheels, bad handling and gutless performance made it dangerous and unpleasant to drive. The Nighthawk nets about 400 pounds with good power and excellent disc brakes.  I don't drive on the freeways but I could if I had to.  Scooters aren't even legal on the freeway.

When in the Honda Dealership yesterday I could see the guy rolling his eyes when I asked about MPG for their floor models.  It was like, "Hey dude, if you gotta ask about MPG you're in the wrong store."  I didn't see a single bike 650cc or less that looked like anything I'd want to take into town for some minor shopping.  Who wants to ride something that doubles as a rolling prayer rug?  I want to sit tall.

About 8 out of 10 trips can be handled by the Nighthawk.  I have a 1991 Dodge Cummins dually with a quarter million miles on it sitting here to handle the gnarly stuff.  It still gets 18mpg and starts on the first turn on the coldest days.  A 1992 Daihatsu Rocky (like a Suzuki Sidekick) handles greasy smaller loads and the occasional time I might need 4WD.  A 2001 VW Jetta TDI completes the stable - that's for road trips and gets 45mpg overall.

$1500 for the Nighthawk plus $5000 for the Dodge plus $12,000 for the TDI means I have less than $20,000 invested in rolling stock.  Last I looked a new TDI costs about $24,000.  The Daihatsu I bought new and consider fully depreciated.  I might be able to sell it for $1500.

With a little shopping around it's possible to have a garage for all seasons.  The vehicles each have their special uses.  It's true that I pay some extra for registration and insurance but that doesn't really increase my yearly energy use.  Makes more sense to me to have several older vehicles than one general purpose new car or truck.  Having two vehicles operational, one a motorcycle, means that one vehicle can be down and you've got a backup. My MC insurance is $75 and registration is $50.  Basic daily cost is 50 cents plus gas and maintenance.  Current gas cost is 8 cents a mile at 40mpg.  I get into town and back for about 50 cents and have a lot of fun doing it.

Another aspect of having older vehicles that's rarely mentioned - they have a track record.  You can buy an eight to ten year old vehicle knowing how reliable it really is based on user road miles vs: some statistical profile churned out by the marketing dept.  I didn't have to research the web to know that the Cummins diesel is one the best engines for a consumer grade truck.  Neither the IH diesels in Fords or the GMC truck diesels are as reliable or long-lived.  When I told my MC mechanic I bought an '85 Honda Nighthawk he told me he started working at the Honda dealership in 1983 and that he thought the '83-'85 model years were some of the best Honda's made with respect to reliability, general handling and longevity.  The VW Jetta?  Well, it's a VW and that's not a plus.  But their diesel has been around forever - it's basically the same block that was in the Rabbit decades past.  If I can hold my nose on the plastic crap interior and incessant rattles, I can live with the 45mpg and generally zippy performance.  I must say it's fun to drive and handles very well.

When one buys an older car one can get a vehicle knowing its installed base.  Look at the old Chevy and GMC trucks.  There are hundreds of thousands still on the road and the aftermarket is very active - one can practically build one of these from the ground up.

Or, on a more practical note, I had a 1991 Honda Civic Hatchback.  Wonderful car in every way except a noisy cabin at 70mph.  Engine can easily turn 250,000 miles without a rebuild.  Simple, tough and great mileage.  This car can be bought for $2000. The '91 Civic Hatchback is a car of choice for a certain segment of the Hispanic community and it can be hard to get them.  The good news is that parts will be available forever and you'll be able to get back most of your investment if you decide to sell.

To me that makes a lot more sense than buying some piece of junk VW diesel from the 80's that never had an installed base worth squat.  Just try getting parts. I'm not just picking on VW here.  The Toyota diesel truck has the same problems.  If you're gonna buy a twenty year vehicle you better get one that still has at least tens of thousands on the road or repair costs are going to suck up all your fuel savings.

One other comment about diesel vehicles.  The new low sulphur fuel is bad news for injection pumps.  As I understand it, the sulphur was one of the main lubricants.  I replaced the injection pump in my Jetta at 80,000 miles!  If you roll into the VW dealer with a bad injection pump you'll roll out with a rebuilt pump and lighter by at least $1500.  And that's assuming they're honest enough to give you a rebuilt vs: a new unit.  The new unit is $2000 not including installation.  Expect these pumps to die.  Make sure to add lubricating additives to each tank if you want decent life.

The transmission in my Jetta died for unknown reasons at 60,000 miles.  Replacement cost out of warranty would have been $6000.

Obviously these repair costs could be mitigated by buying used parts of eBay and doing work for oneself.  Just be prepared for some sticker shock when the car breaks down and you roll it into your friendly mechanic.

I actually like to get down and dirty with my vehicles but I don't expect that's true for everyone.

The other aspect of having several active vehicles is parking.  I live on two private acres.  For me having four vehicles is no issue.  For most people in housing tracts, having old vehicles parked out front is right up there with barking dogs in terms of making the neighbors irritable.  One ends up with the good vehicles parked in the driveway and the junkers parked in the garage.  To use the older vehicles one has to constantly move cars around.  That's a drag.  The problem is even worse for urban dwellers.

However, having a small motorcycle as a second or third vehicle is doable for all because it really doesn't take up much space.  Certainly no more than a scooter.

LJR, christ thats a long post.

Well hell man, rathr get on with it.  Don't have all day.
Lets get this thing started and then we can do something.  Or Not.  Don't like living in the twilight zone of reality while rest of world in sunshine of denial.  Lets get going, see what we got, and work on solutions.
can't stand this bitchin around waiting for hell to come.

All I can say is this:

The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been--but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.

How the fuck do you open a window in a fallen wall? More to the point, why would you open a window in a fallen wall? Or did the walls somehow fall in such a way that they left the windows floating in place to be opened?

Catch my gist?

jeez lighten up, it is just a weak East German wall and Microsoft Windows joke.

i regard the guy as hit and miss but i guess i don't care enough about him to actually get angry.  you guys are on a completely different vibe.

and yeah, the fact that those walls are down, and they're all running (pirated) Windows does make us a bit more of a global monoculture.  hit.

EU fuel prices may be 'exorbitant', but they have been for so long that our expectations of cost/mile for driving are much different.

$3 for 4L of petrol (A UK gallon is about 4.5L, US one 4L) is something we passed back in 1994; Since then I've gone from a 1.4L hatchback that would do 35mpg to a Tdi minivan that does 50MPG and yet still has good overtaking and top speed abilities. Then I cycle to work, after walking my son to work. Urban commuting by car is a real killer of fuel -its all stop go and waiting in traffic. Instead I get 40-50 miles of aerobic exercise every week during the hours that would otherwise be spent staring at the brake lights of the car in front.

Because fuel levels are high, people take nearly free fuel as a luxury. It doesnt mean that people complain when prices go up (like the 2000 fuel blockades), but its primarily truck drivers, farmers and other high-fuel consumption groups that suffer.

normal people adapt differently: nobody leaves their engine running when the go into a shop (I've seen that in OR, it may keep your aircon busy, but in the UK your vehicle would be gone by the time you got back to it). Less people drive 150 miles to work and back. London's congestion and congestion charging helps there -long haul commuters are more likely to drive.

I still think war with Iran would put a massive glitch in fuel costs, and deliver another oil shock to this country. Already it is cited as threatening the UK economy's growth and the chancellor, Gordon Brown (possible next prime minister) keeps telling OPEC to ship more petrol. So the government is still living in a non-peakoil world, even though north sea oil production (and revenues) are plummeting.

What is hurting the UK more is gas pricing; we were pretty exposed this winter, and now that Russian/Gazpro has discovered that a gas supply you can turn on and off with a switch is a more effective way of dictating to other countries than the threat of nuclear war was (because you couldn't do the latter without suffering yourself), I'd expect the same to happen next year.

I am stocking up on coal this summer, making sure that our chimneys are all working and we can cut back gas supply if we need.

I've been preparing for this for years. I bought
a 4-stroke scooter in 2002 for use around the
city and a 1.3 litre 5 speed manual (50+mpg if
driven properly).

Nevertheless, I have got caught out. Property
prices in Auckland have stagnated, whilst
provincial centres have risen sharply. We
are possibly witnessing the last window of
opportunity to escape to the countryside
before the cost of travel becomes prohibitive
and provincial property prices exceed those of
the main centres.

Here in NZ, petrol has risen from 0.93 three
years ago to $1.71 a litre, so $40 goes
nowhere.  The latest news from Nigeria suggest
another surge in crude prices is on the way.

Hello KevinM,

Yeah, I have had 13 motorcycles over the past 35 years: everything from single cylinder dualsport bikes up to and including a Big Honda GoldWing and a big V-twin Harley clone dresser from Suzuki [30,000 miles in 2 & 1/2 years of ownership 2000-2003].  This is my first scooter, and it is so much fun-- constantly reminds me of my very first mini-bike I had back when I was 12 years old, which was powered by an old lawn-mower engine with centrifugal clutch, but obviously much more refined and safer.  Bring on the $10/gallon gas--I'm ready!

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

Hello kevinM,

I wonder why you don't seem to believe the NZ property bubble will crash?
It is (patially) built on a liquidity bubble based on the yen carry trade.
When interest rates in other countries rise, the NZ dollars held by Japanese )as bonds in their investment portfolios) will be redeemed and there will be a loud sucking sound as all that liquidity drains out of the coutry. Oh, and the fall in the NZ dollar has't even started IMO.
Either way, current property prices are clearly not sustainable over the long term, so if you save up now you will surely have lots of bargains to choose from when the mortgagee sales move into full swing around 2008! Pure speculation on my part, though ;-)

Hey KevinM,

How about this property, about 550 acres of undeveloped land with a stream about 30 minutes (by car) from Taupo for only about NZD1200 an acre?

I would consider forming a partnership with others in the powerdown movement to develop a self sufficient community for post peak living.

I have a hankerin' for this little piece of heaven. My net worth is maybe .02 of that, so would 50 other folks like to donate to my little country retreat?

Oh well, nevermind...

This looks like the big one confirmation from Platts.

Apparently Saudi Aramco expects oil production to decrease at 8% with a 6% increase from remedial action and new drilling to give a net 2% decrease.

Source Platts

If Saudi is in decline then oil has peaked.

Now life starts to get interesting!

I have kinda known that SA was in decline as far as sweet light oil.  Is this the first time they have anounced an overall decline?
nice find.  When I first started reading this article I expected to find SA was saying old fields will have a net decline of 2% after further drilling, enhanced recovery, etc. and that they could still say they'll get new growth from new fields.  But the article is clearly accounting for new fields.  
This came up on TOD here too.  It must be that they don't mean quite exactly what they say.  Right?  Every other source out of SA I've read is rather optimistic they can increase production.
They are only talking about mature fields. This is not the same as forecasting an overall production decline for the country.


Correct, however given that virtually all their production comes from mature fields, I'm not sure this distinction makes much difference unless they expect large enough production from new fields. Given the historical pattern of private and national oil companies underestimating decline rates from mature fields, I suggest we expect this is an optimistic assessment. I also think it's the most solid confirmation of Ghawar being in decline we've received so far, although not explicit.
What's interesting to me about this Platts article is that there is no mention of Ghawar. Only Safaniya and Zuluf are discussed.

Click in Enlarge

From a Matt Simmons presentation.

For me, over the last 2 years, this has been one of the most compelling indicators of Ghawar at least being at a plateau if not clearly in decline. With all the projects discussed for the present and future, Ghawar has been very conspicuousy absent, remarkable given its central role in Saudi production.
"This maintain potential drilling in mature fields combined with a
multitude of remedial actions and the development of new fields, with long
plateau lives, lowers the composite decline rate of producing fields to around
2%," the spokesman said.
This is poor wording if they mean 2% for existing fields.  It seems to include new fields.  
You might be right, Robert but how do you respond to K, who quotes SA directly and whose quote includes mention of new fields and discusses an overall decline rate of 2%? Is Saudi Aramco so clueless as to make a public mistake that large?

As literally read from their statement, this does include new fields so it's rather startling if true. But if, as you suggest, they only mean existing fields, how could they make such a huge mistake in a press release that would be going out to the financial community?

The wording in the statement is quite awkward. I suspect something was lost in the translation. For example, they say:

"This maintain potential drilling in mature fields combined with amultitude of remedial actions and the development of new fields, with long plateau lives, lowers the composite decline rate of producing fields to around 2%," the spokesman said.

The development of new fields, unless they are really talking about new development wells in the existing fields (which they also mentioned in the article) would do nothing to slow the decline rate in producing fields. It could slow the overall decline rate for the country, but not just for existing fields. The inclusion of "development of new fields" in the sentence is nonsensical.

Furthermore, one thing we do know from the EIA numbers is that there has not been a demonstrated production decline in Saudi that has translated to the production numbers. Production has been holding steady. Finally, if they did actually mean that this was an overall decline for the country, this would have been front page news across the country. When Saudi reports that the country is in decline, you will see oil prices climb like you have never seen them climb.


I think Saudi Arabia will not state it is in decline until the evidence is so compelling that production is declining despite all their best efforts that it can no longer be denied. I don't know when this will happen. They won't know themselves when their efforts become inadequate until after the fact, and no oil company or nation (to my knowledge) has called it right yet - always over optimistic till the peak occurs and even after.

If you look at EIA data on Saudi Arabia (among others such as MEES) you find that Saudi Production has been pretty flat since June 2004, and gradually declining over the last 9 mos. The increase up to 2004 pretty clearly came from producing their prior excess capacity. It is totally unclear if SA has increased net capacity at all over the last few years despite record prices. I don't know if this is their plateau/peak yet in terms of capacity (as Simmons might state), but  until they get back to their production peak of last summer and then exceed it on some consistent basis by at least 500,000 bpd (my arbitrary cutoff), I will hold my breath. There is not yet enough time elapsed to draw any firm conclusion, but the fact is that despite record prices, their production has in fact been drifting lower.

i am a sheeple and a newbee to peak oil and i usually just lurk but the above link is in excell format- how can i look at these type files without buying excell??
You can try the IEA numbers, only slightly different from EIA. Look up Saudi under the OPEC category. Note that the most recent number estimates get changed through time. There are other locations on their website for good information, such as the monthly summary. Happy hunting!

You can also looks at MEES, although it's hard to find Jan-Jun 2005:


Microsoft provides a free Excel viewer and a free Word viewer.

You can't change the file, but you can view and print it.


If you download "OpenOffice" then you can open Excel documents with the Excel-equivalent program in it.

"OpenOffice" is open source, so you don't need to pay for it.

Most of the CDs that you get attached to the front of PC magazines have the latest copy of OpenOffice included.

Microsoft Works spreadsheet will open them if that helps any. No hyperlinks but you can read the numbers just fine.
The date of this article is also curious.  Apr. 11 2006.  I would have thought that someone would have noticed...  But then maybe they did and that is why oil was bid to $75/b on the May contract.  The June contract will as is usual be squirrelly until the the contract date nears, and then as is usual, we will find out what oil is really worth.  The Chinese have already expressed an intent to bid to $80 on the June contract.  This in a quarter that is typically the lightest demand of the year.
the trick may be in two alternate readings of the word 'new'. New as in 'not yet in production' or New as in 'not yet mature production'.

According to the second reading, new fields, those not yet in mature production, are those fields which are not yet at their production plateau. Now, if you average depletion over existing new fields (pre-plateau) and mature fields, you may arrive at 2% depletion. However, you can then expect to add to this production from fields yet to be opened.

I refer you to this image. I am unsure as to it's orginal source, but maybe it is RockDoc from Sorry for any misattribution if it has occurred...

That was precisely my interpretation, but the wording of the Platts story was a bit awkward.


Thank you Dot and Robert both for the assistance. That does help some in understanding what is being said.

However, Robert, I do not believe that Saudi Arabia is just going to honestly up and someday say "Hello world! We peaked so you can all now deal with it!" I fully expect the politics of Saudi Arabia and the royal family covering its behind to try to hide peak from both their own citizens and the rest of the world for as long as they possibly can. They have ZERO reason to admit peak, especially with the long ties back to the US military machine clear back to FDR (we guarantee the Saud family's place in the royal infrastructure for continued access to Saudi oil) versus the constant pressure from Islamic radicals who want to turn Saudi Arabia into another fundamentalist Islamic state.

Instead, I think we will find small clues, just like this. This particular clue may not be the one that tells us that peak has arrived but SA itself will never baldly admit to peak in my opinion so we're going to have to drill for the truth (pun intended).

Shows how tight things are. Even with this most optimistic interpretation of what they're saying, if all goes perfectly with the new projects but decline rates of their old fields are 5% instead of 2% (not improbable and more consistent with experience elsewhere), all their efforts will yield a production loss over that period instead of a gain.
American drivers howl and howl and complain and complain and then break out their wallets and pay for the gas anyway.

I ask you, how is this functionally different from just paying for the gas anyway, except that it wastes everyone's time???

I hereby call upon all "outraged" Americans to please just put a sock in it. Get over yourself and your gas tank. We really don't care about your outrage, especially if you are just going to end up buying the gas anyway.

Get on with your life because you'll be dead before you know it anyway. Why spend all that time outraged!? It makes no sense.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer this week and I told the doctor he had to keep me alive long enough so that I could see what peak oil looked like.

Had no idea what I was talking about ...

wow, best wishes
Along with odograph, please accept my best wishes as you deal with this disease.
In that case, the peak's not until 2030.

And you'll be there to see what it looks like.

Sorry to hear. Hope it is treatable
 That totally sucks ass! I hope you get better soon.

Subkommander Dred


My husband had a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer ten years ago, when he was 38.  He is always ready to explain why he made that treatment decision to anyone in a similar situation.  If you would like to have an email (or phone) conversation with him, let me know, and I will post my email address to the list so you can find us.

Thanks Amy,

Yeah, it's amazing how much prostate cancer is out there. I'm fairly young, so the doctor suggests the same action your husband took.

Its very early stage, and a good thing to be caught now, rather than later.

He seems to be a very competent surgeon, so I think I'll be okay.

Come on you tough old bird you can't not see how Peak Oil turns out!! I know someone who got it, surgery and chemo etc., he lost a lot of muscle mass and got hot flashes from the hormonal changes, when he was able to he started himself on a weight training program and got his muscle mass back (guy's like 70 too) and seems to be OK now.

Way back when, when I was really poor, I felt like, "Why go on?" But then I thought, well, this is like when you're up late at night, and there's nothing on TV but this lousy movie, and while you might think about calling it quits you just have to see how the lousy thing works out in the end. I'm not sure if this is how Sartre would have put it, but I think it pretty much comes down to this. Afterlife or not, you just gotta do all you can to see how this one turns out.

That was a good laugh. May as well use up healthcare energy to get a view of a train wreck in slo-mo. But be careful what you wish for. Peak Oil is sure to not be pretty. I suppose for those people unable to prepare adequately (say becuse they have too few options) a suicide plan may be the only "option". Having a health problem that's treatable but not curable (like heart problems or HIV) have an automatic though unpleasant "out". Your prostate cancer may well qualify if it spreads.
From my stand point, my driving costs are still low. We now only have one vehicle, a TDI Jetta and at the last fill up the cost per mile did not make it to 7 cents.  Most of our milage comes in the form of mid-length trips every other week, with the remainder in the form of congestion free local trips.  I know we could probably do more to cut back, but at this point circumstance don't warrent it.

Personally, I'd love to see a rationing scheme, where the right to fill up is restricted.  Everybody gets an equal allotment.  Those who use less can trade/sell those who need/can afford more. Prices would be fixed.  Goes against this country's capitalistic tendencies, but at least everybody would have a crack at participating rather than rampant demand destruction.

Hi Bob 'Bring on the $10/gallon gas--I'm ready!'
Scooter riders will be laughing as far as
personal transport is concerned, but what about
the flow on effect into the general economy  
-especially food prices?

Actually, on second thoughts, not only is
fuel too cheap, but food is also too cheap,
hence the massive problem of obesity
thoughout much of the western world. Higher
food and fuel prices might encoiurage a few
people to get out of their cars and start
growing food.

The transition though Peak Oil will either
bring many benefits or our worst nightmares.

Kevin in Auckland: Geochemistry beats

Hello KevinM,

Thxs for responding. You are absolutely correct-- food & water prices and even availability is what scares me the most in the future, and I am naturally thin to begin with already.  I figure that around $15/gallon for gasoline, some thug will probably shoot me, at point blank range, for my little scooter thereby solving my food problem. I am old enough to vividly remember the '70s energy crunch and how people went nuts to get gasoline.

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

Toto you are right, the 70s were big for bicycle makers, but bike theft was a huge problem. Gas siphoning was endemic, I learned the basic mechanics of it at age 12.

If gas goes that high, to $17, you can expect some real trouble - carjackings, etc., and ppl buying only a little gas at a time so no one will theoretically enough gas at any one time to be worth mugging for it. Kinda like how you don't normally go around with $500 in cash in your pocket in certain neighborhoods.

Or, do what I thought of. Get a pony kegger and place in the trunk, set up as a reserve fuel tank. That way, the siphoner gets only the little bit and in-drive you add fuel to the main tank from the pony kegger tank. To fill the pony kegger, you use the pump the other way to siphon from the main tank until there's the measly little (but pricey) gallon left.
i think i did my reductions over the last 2-3 years,  bought a kill-a-watt and cut elrctricity in 1/2.  bought a prius and cut gasoline in 1/2.  turned off heater pilot and cut nat gas by 1/4.  (big honkin' pilot!)

ride bikes and walk a lot

crashed mtn bike today, split finger, stitches , hurts so i'm posting to tod (1 finger style) at 1:30 am

priceless ...

Jevon's paradox aside.  Whenever I hear about conservation in this context I think of two things.  
  1.  Simpson's episode where Homer and others are trapped on a life raft.  Homer's solution to the food rationing situation is simple, 'take teeny tiny bites' as he maws rapidly through the food supply.

  2.  A group of illegal chinese immigrants who suffocated while being transported in a shipping container.  The shipping container also contained tomatoes which they all ate some of since dying with an empty stomach is supposedly bad luck in China.

Maybe the solution, since no meaningful change seems possible is just to use as much oil product as we can possibly afford everyday until the world hits the wall and then at least we have an artificially inflated usage to pull back from when it is required to do so.

All kidding aside, I live in Kelowna, B.C. and intend to start attending the weekly city council meetings for a while and see if it is eventually possible to interject meaningful conversation on peak oil.

the paradox only really works as long as production supports it.  if the best the oil companies can do is 1/2 current production, then we have to learn to live with something like 1/2 current production (plus or minus geo-political and geo-economic factors)

i think one nice thing about demonstrating a low energy lifestyle now, is that you can demonstrate that it is happy

it is only 'privation' for the unimaginative

Things I've done:

-no kids
-went vegetarian 16 years ago, vegan 2 years ago
-diet mostly locally grown produce, about 10% from the backyard
-my dogs are also vegan with supplements
-bought a house walking distance to work (10 years ago)
-mostly ride bike for errands
-body weight is about 48 kg, about 25 kg less than a typical woman my age and height, and it takes effort and discipline to maintain this.
-car is a 2001 used echo 5 spd, epa rating 34/40 mpg city/highway, drive less than 2000 miles per year (aiming for less than 1000 this year), this is a great little un-car car and it seems I am mostly coasting.
-electricity use is about 228 kwh/month
-natural gas hot water, turned way down to warm setting rather than hot
-never fly
-I buy things only rarely.

There's not much more that I can do, aside from moving to a smaller dwelling and installing solar panels (which I can't afford at the moment).

impressive. But I dont understand about the dog part - ive wondered about my dogs (golden) post peak oil as 'purina' may not exactly still be delivered everywhere. hes an omnivore but eats way more meat than I do. what kind of supplements do you give a vegan dog?
They get about 750 mg of supplemental calcium carbonate each per day. They also get 1/2 of a pet tab and 1/2 of a human multi per day. Also about 1/2 g each taurine and L-carnitine.

Aside from that, their diets are based on a variety of rice, pastas, breads, legumes, raw and cooked pureed vegetables, and raw pureed fruits. Their fats are ground raw sunflower and flax seeds. Since feeding them this way they no longer smell of dog but more like flowers.

There is a free online book (1985) of the nutrient requirments of dogs here, published by the National Academies Press.

There is also a newer version (2006, for dogs and cats) but it is not free and very expensive.

This table provides micronutrient needs per kg for dogs

and can be used with the pantry at

to devise meals that satisfy requirements.

As they get older, it becomes more important to provide them with additional antioxidant protection. Small-scale studies have shown that older dogs can benefit from 5 servings of f+v per day in addition to supplemental alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-l carnitine (Neurobiol Aging. 2005 Jan;26(1):77-90. Learning ability in aged beagle dogs is preserved by behavioral enrichment and dietary fortification: a two-year longitudinal study,  Milgram NW, Head E, Zicker SC, Ikeda-Douglas CJ, Murphey H, Muggenburg B, Siwak C, Tapp D, Cotman CW.PMID: 15585348, and  Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;29(3):461-9.  Chronic antioxidant and mitochondrial cofactor administration improves discrimination learning in aged but not young dogs,     Siwak CT, Tapp PD, Head E, Zicker SC, Murphey HL, Muggenburg BA, Ikeda-Douglas CJ, Cotman CW, Milgram NW.,  PMID: 15795055, see also )

Thats all well and good, but is it really necessary to keep pets? I'm not denying your right to keep animals at all - but unless your animals are actually doing something (hunting, security, farm-work etc.), providing food and other resources for a pet in a peak-oil world seems almost as wasteful as driving an inefficient petrol-fired car.
Maybe the answer to that is to not replace pets that die with new ones. Pets are not disposables. My wife often finds dogs & cats that have been dumped where she works. Perhaps the former owners should be returned to scavenge in nature, rather than their dependent animals.
Yes, of course, but they are nowhere as nearly resource-intensive as children. Mine do provide some protection value, but they are mainly companions. And yes I have struggled over the morality of keeping pets on a number of levels and after they die, they will probably not be replaced.
Post peak, (and pre-peak)- pets are one the best natural sources of serotonin we can find!! Many studies show the emotional and health benefits conferred on people with pets. Granted, depending on how things get, the HRODI (Happiness Received on Dogfood Invested) may vary, but I intend on always having a dog.
Yes, that, too. They are better than SSRIs, better than beta blockers. They are pure pleasure, so responsive, so emotional, so intelligent, and so beautiful, too. They have to be involved in everything I do. I love my babies beyond measure. I think that they love me, too. We are joined at the hip: a pack of three. Walking them is good exercise, too.
It's human to keep pets. Think of the Amazonian Indians with their pet monkeys, parrots, etc half the household is nonhuman. The traditional farmers with their cows, goats, chickens, you name it, Yeah sure they become dinner but that does not mean they are not considered beings with personality. The American "indians' with their dogs and later, horses. And the tendency of tribal peoples everywhere to consider themselves part of a greater family with the animals as other family members. All of Nature as one big, if at times dysfunctional, family.

Veganism isn't natural though, even practitioners of Ahimsa in India eat cheese and milk.

My idea of eating low on the food chain and eschewing factory farming etc is to go Bugan! That's vegs and bugs, yum! Western/Judeo-Christian culture has a HUGE bias against eating bugs but they're a great food. So far I've done only as far as some delicious flour beetles as a kid, and the bugs of the sea, shrimp. My fave shrimp dish is the whole deep fried ones at the local sushi place, nothing like food with feelers, legs, and little beady eyes. Crunch, crunch. The trick is to eat the head first pointed in so you bite down on, and thereby "disarm" the spear point between the shrimp's eyes. Then the tail, flippers first, to do likewise to the spike in the center of the flippers. Other methods will result in spiky stuff getting stuck in your gums which is no fun. In defense of bugs I will say that most bugs are not nearly this spiky, and the standard starting point is to raise mealworms. They just eat nice clean grain etc and their parents are nice inoffensive beetles.

Hmmm. You'd better get on over here to Thailand then. All sorts of bugs available from street sellers everywhere and much enjoyed by the locals. I can't quite bring myself to eat them though.

Besides which this seems like a good place to be when TSHTF. Most people here are quite used to hardship and poverty and their peaceful buddhist attitude I expect to lead to much less trouble later on.

The grasshoppers are the easiest to start with. Very crunchy and not too strong a taste.
It's natural to use our brains to solve ethical dilemmas in inventive ways and to overcome needless brutalities. Some of us are more successful at this than others, apparently.
Something I frequently comment on is the amazing growth of pet food stores here. When I first moved to this northern Thai city 15 years ago, I knew the 3 stores that we could buy food for our dog. Now, you can not go more than a few km without seeing another pet food store. These stores are clearly a short lived business enterprise, soon most people will not be spending food money to feed their pets.
While I'm not a vegan dog owner, I'm not giving them peanut shells^W^Wpurina.  Look up the BARF diet.  Consider a hobby farm with animals.  Any parts of the animals that humans won't eat, dogs will eat happily.  Heck, that's how dogs become domesticated; living off of our scrap heaps.

Currently we feed our dogs off of chicken scraps from a local processesor, eggs and scrap veggies we don't eat blended up with a bit of pasta sauce.  They love it, they don't stink, and it's much less displeasant to clean up after them.  Even including a dozen eggs per week, it costs us slightly less than when we were feeding them PC dogfood (a few steps up from generic).

Behind The Curve.

Tierny in Sat's NYT. Kuttner in the Globe. You guys are slow. C'mon.

I don't drive much, and I have a small, fuel-efficient car, so gas prices are not affecting me directly.  I live walking distance from work, and have stayed here while my friends bought McMansions in the 'burbs.  The only thing I've changed is that I now keep my tank at least half full, instead of waiting until the fuel light goes on.  I've done this since Katrina, in case of shortages.

However, food and rent are sharply up, and I suspect energy prices are a big reason.  I am being more careful about my purchases.  

yeah, but you have the advantage of being intelligent. Soylent  Green is...
The new big thing is gonna be Oylent Brown. We'll make it out of thermally depolymerized Hummer drivers.
The new big thing is gonna be Oylent Brown. We'll make it out of thermally depolymerized Hummer drivers.

yeah, i wish...

you know how it's really gunna be.

"Oylent brown is people, people!"

"What, like brown people? Cool! Fill'er up Mack."

A Speech by Michael C. Ruppert

THE PARADIGM IS THE ENEMY: The State of the Peak Oil Movement at the Cusp of Collapse..

Interesting read as I particularly like what he has to say here:

Perhaps the greatest flaw in the Peak Oil movement's current operating paradigm is that, a part of the movement at least, instead of building lifeboats in the face of an immediate disaster, is delusionally focused on trying to build alternative-powered luxury liners that operate just like the paradigm we as a species need to be abandoning. Not only is this a futile effort, it may well be responsible for killing or destroying the lives of people who at least partially understand Peak Oil and who are trying to find the best courses of immediate action for themselves and their families.

I wonder if he talking to all the people that believe somehow that so called alternatives from ethanol to hydrogen, are going to save the day..

I confess, I think Ruppert's a genuine, card-carrying, certifiable nutburger.  However, I do wonder if he's not right about that particular point.  

Trying everything - "lots of BBs" - is the philosophy of a culture that knows little of true  privation.  Because if resources are limited, you can't try everything.  And everything you do try is reducing your chances of success at something else.  

I don't speak for Ruppert --though I've read his letter for six years. IMO he is calling for survivalism-lite + community; in the Hirsh report sense it is already too late to affect meaningful change that will save everyone's lives. It is too late to manage large scale change. Further, the entire government and financial framework we live under serves the criminal elite who profit from destruction and social mass movements will be easily co-opted.
I am totally paraphrasing - read the material for yourself if you wish, much of it is free.
this could obviously break a lot of ways.  one thing that srikes me as a possibility is that you get gridlock for a little too long, get some people stranded without food/gas long enough to get them angry ... and we would get a mobilization like WWII ... not as plan A or plan B but because those didn't work.

as to the government being able to handle that mobilization, remember that they brought in high performers from indusrty (Henry Kaiser) to do it then.

could the logistics manager from wal-mart be able to get agricultue fueled and calorie delivered(*) to everybody in America on 1/4 current oil?  yes, i think he could.

* - might be a little more dry goods (flour, rice, beans) and a little less soda

I'm curious if anybody has ideas for efficient transportation for a family of four (two homeschooled children ages 4 and 7) living North of Seattle.  Hilly, wet  6-8 mile drive to town.

Getting me to town by myself is one thing.  Getting the kids there with me is another.

There's public transportation as an alternative to a car.  Any other fuel efficient transportation alternatives come to mind?

I've started seeing these (Zap Smart Car) things pop up all over the north Austin burbs. Well I've seen 2 of them over the last several months to be exact.

But that's progress at least; Austin has had the highest population of SUVs and Hummers of anyplace I've lived.

I realize it doesn't solve your problem, as it only has 1 passenger seat.

I think if you drove down to San Antonio, you might find a few more gigantic vehicles than least in Austin you can actually see people riding bikes.
I did see this car the other day, but it had Mexican license plates.
Cool.  The Zap Xebra model looks like it seats up to 4.


This is how I take my kids* to the park and the store.

*not my actual kids pictured

It's fun for them, but not so fun for me when going uphill.  I have used this quite a bit and for a one month period, it was the sole means of transportation for my household.

^^^ "The Future." ^^^
*not my actual kids pictured

When I first looked at that picture, I thought "Looks like the thing has never been used." I have one as well, and it looks like it's been around the block a few times. I have gone through 1 set of tires on it.

I know what you mean about going uphill. At times I thought I would have a heart attack.


Yeah, mine looks more ragged than that, and definately dirtier inside.  I don't have a pic of the little ones in what is known as "daddy's car" so I used that one.

If I don't move somewhere without hills, I will wind up buying an electric assist.  My street is sloped like one of your stereotypical San Francisco streets and climbing it has gotten real old.  

Yeah, that's why I want power assist.  I live at the top of a hill that even my car has trouble with sometimes.  I don't mind peddling, but having a little help on the hills would make biking a lot more pleasant
Sigh, I'm stuck driving 80 km to work and 80 km from work.  Happily I'm doing it in my newly acquired, but used, Echo which gets me 19kpl (44 mpg) based upon actual distance traveled and gas put into the tank every few days.  We plan to move much closer to work (if nothing else, who wants to spend 1 hr and 50 minutes in a car 5 days a week?!), but first I want to finish immigrating.  As to those who would ask why I'd take a job that far away, refer back to the immigration statement; this is the first job I got in Canada, and we needed a job.

I'm just quite lucky that my commuting is done outside of rush hour and 95% on country highway so I can get such a high actual efficiency.

But I imagine that most people will do similar things; one needs to get to work, so one will make the sacrifice until it costs more to get to work than they make by doing so.  It's the way the Western world is shaped.

However, most will be planning to stay out in the suburbs.  We should hopefully be moving sometime this year, so with any luck we'll be moving out of the suburbs when the price for houses in the suburbs is at it's highest.  Plus, since my new job is in a "growing" area, we should be able to find a hobby farm which is close enough that it would be a bikable distance and trivial to drive by Echo.  My wife can't wait to get to play with chickens again.

My wife and I had an early 90's BMW convertible that we kept for summer weekend fun and I enjoyed wrenching on.  It was a 3rd car for us and it is in the process of being sold and in 15 minutes I have to meet a women who wants to take it for a test drive.

I installed a wood burning fireplace insert last November that heats our house.  

I purchased one of those "Kill-a-Watt" tools that measures KW usage of appliances.  I've been measuring various things and putting manual switches on items that suck electricity even when it is supposed to be in the "Off" position.

Driving wise, I have consolidated more of my trips.  I used to to many quick runs to one store and back to the house.  Now I wait till I need to go to multiple stores before I venture out.


Forgot to mention that my wife and I are also building a raised bed garden this spring.
I have not seen any change whatsoever in people's habits. I challenge anyone in the US to find a street or parking lot in the country that doesn't have at least one SUV, one minivan or one big 4x4 truck. Go ahead, try it, you will never do it.

Every summer the media need a scare story because things slow down. One year it was "Shark attacks are skyrocketing!" and now they are trying out "High gas prices means you have to walk to your mailbox and you could die!"  If you want intelligent discourse on peak oil and energy policy turn your TV off for the duration of the summer.


In talking to several people at work this week - 30ish professionals with good incomes - their attitude toward high gas prices seems to be just minor annoyance.  They can afford the increase so don't really care (and have zero awareness of peak oil).

Others who talk about taking any action are focused almost exclusively on getting a higher mileage vehicle, I have yet to talk to anyone who is looking for other ways to conserve.  The prevailing attitude still seems to be that current prices are a blip, and most people seem to be unwilling to even consider the possibility that they will need to permanently change their lifestyle.

I think it will take another year or two of steadily increasing prices before the vast majority begins to accept a new reality and modify their attitudes and behavior.  A big spike from another hurricane hit this summer or similar supply-interrupting event will likely be perceived by most as just a blip, however traumatic.

The extent of my gas saving was buying a Prius when shopping for a new car.  Even before I was peak oil aware, I was interested in conservation and climate change, and I remember vividly the oil shock in 1979-1980, which happened when I was 12.  I grew up with small cars & like them; being an engineer I also have an interest in alternative power trains.  I chose the Prius over the VW diesels due to a high-maintenance relationship with a past VW.  So, I drive as much as I ever did, but pay half as much as I would otherwise be paying for gasoline.

I've cut down electricity consumption too: more insulation, new, more efficient heat pump, laptop with high power save settings instead of a desktop.  This is relevant to natural gas depletion, as that's how our electricity is generated.

Steps for the near future: 1.  Buy a bicycle and use it to commute some during the summer when I don't have to haul the kids to school.  2.  Set up a carpool.  3.  Plant a garden (fun, educational, but finding the time to do this is difficult).  3.  Install new windows in house to further cut electrical consumption.  

Steps for futher out on the downslope:  1.  Buy a 250-400 cc scooter / motorcycle (this may be a midlife crisis thing too).  2.  Replace heat pump with a ground-effect heat pump.  3.  Solar hot water heater.

A comment on the hybrid craze, and how carmakers in general don't get it, and why the Prius is in such high demand:  An article in yesterday's NY Times online was about an annoucement of a GM-Daimler-BMW hybrid alliance that will allow the monster SUVs to get 25% better gas mileage.'ll go from 14 mpg to 17.5 mpg...big whoop.  Your 25% mileage increase has been wiped out cost-wise by the gas price increase over this spring.  Previous articles have detailed how hybrids from Honda and Toyota (besides the Prius) have been tuned for performance increases as opposed to mileage.  Yet other articles have appeared about how some hybrids aren't selling that well.  Guess what?  It's the hybrids that don't get such great gas mileage!  When are the car makers going to start putting out more high-mileage, moderately-sized cars, regardless of drivetrain type, instead of trying to use hybrid technology to prolong SUV sales?  I think the popularity of the Prius shows the direction car makers should go in.

With some smugness, lol, I must say ppl just don't get the Prius.

I'm constantly getting the question about the batteries, When will I have to replace them, When I have to replace them I'll really financially hurt, etc. I keep having to tell them that we don't know the battery lifetime because none have worn out yet. And that there are prii out there with a couple hundred thousand miles on them, and that the prius is showing all indications of being a very long-lived car.

Then how BIG is the battery pack? Everyone's convinced the thing's packed with batteries underneath like a WWII submarine. Frankly, I was too, having seen all the batteries in a WWII submarine. But at the Maker's Faire I saw a Prius all taken apart and the factory battery pack is about the size of a soldier's backpack. Although of course it weighs more!

Making the car all-electric involves 300lbs more batteries. Since the carrying capacity of a stock prius is 850 lbs, that brings your load ability down to 500lbs. Not worth it to me!

A load carrying capacity of 850 lbs means the Prius is equipped to carry 4 Japanese and their luggage or two Americans and their luggage.

"... the Prius is equipped to carry 4 Japanese and their luggage or two Americans and their luggage."

Hmmm... are you implying that the Japanese are too small, and they don't carry enough stuff when they travel? Or could it be that ...

A partial solution: one of our fellow Kiwis is a lean man who will pilot a biodiesel-fueled boat around the world. For [tasteless] publicity, he had liposuction, gathered a mere 100 grams of fat, and converted it to biodiesel. I know you wouldn't get too much fat from four typical Japanese, but perhaps ...

I saw that with Mr. Lipodiesel and his boat. Had he been a surgeon, he could have filled it completely with lipodiesel to drive home the obesity problem. As far as the Prius with 4 Japanese onboard or 2 Yanks, I figured it was a reference to the Great American Obesity Problem.

Speaking of obesity, the American military has a problem with fat soldiers. If anything, the military can throw a ton of money to figure out a solution to obesity - even if it means mass liposuction (and recycling the fat as fuel for tanks).

The boat with the litre of lipodiesel was shown in Wired magazine.

Another PRIUS item -

During the purchase of our Prius, the battery issue also concerned me. I had the service manager look for how many battery replacements he had done and how much. He had performed 2 - both due to accidents. The first was in 2001, and the replacement cost was $9400. He couldn't locate the other invoice.

I had him look for the current replacement cost (this is in December 2005) for the battery pack. It was $3750.

This is simply due to economy of scale beginning to take effect at Toyota. The more packs they buy and use, the lower the price.

What this in effect told me was that: A)the battery pack is good for at least 5 years, B)replacement costs are dropping rapidly, and C)the car is extremely reliable.

If these prices continue to drop, and the Prius battery pack gets into the $2-2500 range, then it becomes viable for conversions to use instead of 6V lead acid. This should further boost sales, and make for some interesting conversion possibilities for short commutes!

Platts Oilgram News: Saudi Aramco announced on April 10, 2006 that Saudi Arabia's mature oilfields "are expected to decline at a gross average rate of 8 percent a year without additional maintenance and drilling."

The Aramco spokesperson explained that the company is attempting to offset those declines with "remedial activities" including drilling new wells in existing fields and opening up new fields.

 "This maintain potential drilling in mature fields combined with a multitude of remedial actions and the development of new fields, with long plateau lives, lowers the composite decline rate of producing fields to around 2 percent."

The peak is here.

A few days ago, I filled up the tank at $2.89/gallon. Late last night, I'm coming home and pass my favorite station where, to my shock, gas is now $3.05 a gallon for the regular. I have two bicycles and am thinking this morning about putting panniers on one so that it can be used to bring groceries back from the food co-op.
Try a ByKaboose "Gecko". It's a bicycle trailer. Super easy to install the quick-hitch on back axle. Then whenever you need it just pop it on, then off. I use it to do my grocery runs and really like it. It hauls about one grocery cart load worth of stuff.

I got it here.

Thanks for the link!  Are you able to rely on walking and biking quite a bit?  I find it to totally change one's perspective.

Walking and biking seem to me to be healthy spiritually and physically, and also tend to build community and are good for the planet.  an unbeatable combination, for my money.

Quite a bit. Last October I moved into town from out in the country, bought a bike and now bike to work, to the grocery store, to meetups, to events and so on. Since October, I have filled my car gas tank 7 times. In that time frame I took two out-of-town trips that put 450 miles on the car each time. Without those two trips I would only have filled my tank 4 times since October. I went to a local festival this past weekend. It was held in a large city park and had a few thousand participants. I actually marvelled at the number of bikes I joined on the road on the way to the park, and then once I arrived how hard it was to find anywhere to lock up my bike that hadn't already been taken by another bike...and that includes the trees. The place had bikes everywhere. It was cool. I also notice that as I bike I have more time to look around and notice what's going on in the neighborhood. I've become much more observant. And I can just stop whenever I want to talk to someone, ask a question, etc. I have seriously given consideration to selling the car altogether and just renting when I really need a car. But I am still afraid. I also gave consideration to trading it in for a used very-low-gas-mileage vehicle to just get me around when it is really necessary. Lord knows I would save more than $600-700/month without the car payment, insurance and maintenance. I wonder what I could do with that?
Imagine if a lot of people did that.

Fantasize about lots of money in your pocket, or in your neighborhood, instead of being shipped far away to finance and insurance company pockets.  

Makes sense. (gently hum the starship theme from the ancient LP: "Blows Against the Empire" <g>)  

On the talking heads shows this morning, Fox news Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton said:
"The suppliers have lost control of the market. Demand exceeds supply," Bodman said, citing demand worldwide from China, Indian and other growing economies.
...and Condi said,
Rice left the impression that the president is not going to take action against oil-producing nations for high prices through the World Trade Organization, as some lawmakers have urged. She said the United States is encouraging oil-rich countries to increase production, but the long-term solution is to diversify sources of energy.

"We need to deal with the long-term problems of technologies that may get us out of this trap," Rice said on ABC's "This Week." "But I can tell you that if anything has surprised me as secretary of state, it is the degree to which the kind of search for hydrocarbons is distorting international politics. That means that the quicker we get about the business of reducing our reliance on oil, the better we're going to be."

Maybe they're getting the message?
I gotta ask this, maybe the fish oil suppliments (memory) aren't working great this week...

Wasn't Condoleeza Rice the National Security Advisor?

Would not a huge portion of her time have been spent assessing energy issues?

She's surprised?  

That would be my recollection as well, yes.
Nope, she changed jobs while you weren't looking. She's Secretary of State now.
Now. Now she is Secty of State. But three years ago when she was the Nat'l Security Adviser, shouldn't she have been aware of, and advising on the oil issue?

And NOW she's surprised by it all? Hmmm. Odd.

Well, Sept 11 surprised her too. Even though the Clinton folks supposedly briefed everyone on OBL and Al Qaeda. And they were supposedly watching many of the hijack suspects.

Competence doesn't seem to matter with these people. Looking good on TV and telling a nice story does.

That's what I think the problem is.

The internet is great for this kind of stuff, you pick up a stray comment and look at the context... and it's so much more informative than the glossy PR release or the interview soundbite.

Here we have glimpse into a perspective that drives our leadership.  

The Sec. of State, the former National Security Advisor, admits she is surprised by the impact energy calculations have on foreign policy.

There are parents of dead soldiers all over the country... do you think they deserve better than this???

she is a woman that used to have a supertanker named after her ... if she is surprise be the attention on enedrgy, it must be even worse than we think.
Yeah, if my oil moved around in one of these, I would be shocked to hear of supply issues as well.
surprised by
I've put my electronic devices on a power strip or switched outlet.  Most every gadget and computer sold these days continues to consume power even when turned "off".  I also use older power strips that don't have a light embedded in the switch to signal when the strip is turned on.
It may have been on this site, but I read somewhere that Amory Lovins estimates that electronic devices that continue to draw power when "off" may account for 5% of electricity consumption.

I've done similiarly to you; unplugging any device with an LED when "off." Unfortunately, even my closest -- PO aware -- friends think that it's compulsive behavior.

some do better than others.  i think consumer elecronic goods, especially recent consumer elecronic goods.  old, cheap, personal computer stuff can be bad (powered speakers left powered up.

i have a kill-a-watt monitor and that's sort of what i've seen.  for what it's worth there were recent flurries of net worries amou microwave ovens ... what i found:

 As far as my results, it seems my old Carousel II draws about 2 watts on standby.  I racked up 0.05 kWh in 27 hours.  If my math is right, that steady drain is equivalent to running the 1000w microwave for about 3 min. on full power.  So all I need to do is "heat" for more than 3 min per day, and I'm using more effective power than I'm throwing away to the trickle drain.  It's all peanuts anyway.

Not because cost is the issue, but just because it makes it easier for people to think of it in terms of their current electric bill - if you have a microwave somewhat like mine, this trickle drain accounts for 22 cents of your bill each month, $1.45 of your bill each year.

If you want to be energy efficient, start with the biggies - especially your refrigerator.

>>It's all peanuts anyway.

Not because cost is the issue, but just because it makes it easier for people to think of it in terms of their current electric bill - if you have a microwave somewhat like mine, this trickle drain accounts for 22 cents of your bill each month, $1.45 of your bill each year.<<

Yes, wasted electricity equivalent to $1.45 per year does seem trivial. This is why I'm accused me of being compulsive. But my objective is to conserve wherever possible.

>>If you want to be energy efficient, start with the biggies - especially your refrigerator. <<

I have grappled with this issue; whether replacing an old inefficient fridge with a newly manufactured efficient one will yield a net energy loss or gain. The numbers -- in my situation -- probably favor sticking with the old one.

for what it's worth Sears (assuming you are in the US) makes some low end Kenmore refrigerators that are Energy Star.  i got the (too) big 21.7 cu ft model for $600 minus energy California rebates (iirc $50)

old fridge: $193.69 per year at 0.17042 cents max charge
new fridge: $73.77 per year at 0.17042 cents max charge

600 - 50 / 194 - 74 = 4 years 7 months payback

Don't forget to sell the old fridge and deduct that... unless you want to make sure no one uses it again. And if you were a business you may depreciate the asset value and receive tax gains each year, or just write it off and get some portion back in tax breaks in the first year. Deduct that.
California actually gave me an energy bounty (and picked it up).  I can't remember now if that was the same $50 or another $40-50.
It's not just about the Benjamins: what about the energy inputs in building the new Kenmore?

From what I've read, if the old fridge lasts five more years, it will be a net energy savings as oppopsed to buying the new Kenmore today and operating it for five years.

I'm not sure how that works out. Both fridges took energy to make them and the older one I expect likely took more. A fridge should last a lot longer than 5 years. I guess it depends on how long you'd use it and whether costs rise in the future. Something we expect, given peak oil/gas.

To be honest I haven't used a fridge in more than 3 years but I have been looking at them lately. I've been living in Thailand and good food is quickly available seconds outside my home almost anytime due to the widespread food stalls that form a backbone of the culture here. I have been thinking it may be nice to have a fridge to keep some food and beer cold for use in the wee hours of the morning, but so far haven't sprung for one. Everywhere here they have small-medium size fridges that only cost about $125-150, made by Toshiba, Panasonic etc. Those huge ones we typically have back home are not common here, and I have to wonder if keeping so much stuff in such a big fridge is a good idea if saving energy is the goal.

aren't the dollars a good proxy for the energy?  certainly sears would not sell me a fridge for $600 if the energy content was $600.
What have I done or am I doing?  Glad you asked!

About 7 years ago I decided to drive as little as possible.  I was more aware of pollution problems and "environmental footprint" then, but resource depletion was a part of my environmental concerns.

I designed my job as a "sustainable household helper" riding my bike with a trailer to carry tools and supplies.

Eventually I bought my first Organic Engines SUV (Sensible Utility Vehicle) and loved it.  I've bought more since, selling a couple of them "used" to friends.

I live in the city (Mpls, MN, USA) and so have a kajillion potential customers right outside my door.  I fix stuff and use granny's old methods for cleaning -- vinegar and water, baking soda (sparingly) and maybe a bit of orange oil or lavender oil for nice smells and shine (sparingly).  I have goten into more repairs over the years.

I can haul up to 800 punds on my pedal SUV, and have pedicabbed at events for cash.

I ride nearly every day in all seasons just to prove it can be done!

For about 2 years or so, we went car-free, and may do so again.

Work needs plus having two kids to get places caused my wife to get back into the car thing.  she settled on a Honda Civic Hybrid --  hercar, her choice.  Talk to her about it, not me.  (Grin.)  Life is easier with a car, no doubt.  We have lousy transit ijn our city.

Still, we try to keep car miles to a minimum and biking and walking to a maximum.  I ride my trike for work and for nearly all of my personal and family errands.  I'd go car-free again at the drop of a barrel...or something like that.

We tried to get a sustainable housing cooperative going two years ago here in town, but to make a long story short, it did not work.  Some folks did not have enough income to pay their share, some folks did not have the life skills needed to really participate, and some folks just did not "get it" very much.  A tough lesson for us, who went "above and beyond" in terms of work and financial contribution to make it work.

I was dissappointed in the fact that so many "progressive" people I knew were so tied to their comfy lifestyles and would not give it a try, but that's less of a mystery now.  I take risks and enjoy seeing things with a beginner's mind, as they are, in a new way.  I feel like the status quo is walking death.  Many folks find the status quo to be quite comfortable!

We just bought a house -- what an econonomic laugh!  It is in a racially integrated area, and we have a racially integrated family, so that fits.  I hope to do permacultural gardening and to install solar hot water heat as soon as possible.  We will try to live as sustainably as we can and to connect with others nearby who are doing the same.  Maybe we can build community that way....?

So, I have two Organic Engines SUVs in boxes waiting to be put together at the new place, and hope to sell the two I've been using most recently.  BTW, you can see these SUVs and more at the maker's website --

My vision is that our urban area will become permatopia.  Raising most of our own food, bikes and trikes and other low-impact forms of transportation dominating, harvesting the sun's energy in sustainable ways.

It starts with each of us doing as much as we can, really pushing ourselves to do more than we imagine we possibly can, and then sharing the journey with others.

That's my story thus far, in a nutshell.  That's what I am doing related to Peak Oil, global Climate Change, and other ecological issues.

-- pedaling for peace and ecojustice -- Gary (beggar)

Thanks, begger, for the link to the organic engine site.  Lots of good stuff- congrats to the chefs!   I have been toiling away for a few years on a totally new bike transmission that would fit that application marvelously.  Has a speed ratio ( wheel/pedal turns ratio) from 4/1 down to 0/1 and torque ratio inversely proportional to speed ratio like all ideal transmissions should have (hyperbolic torque/speed ratio).  So, when all you good folks at TOD suddenly see the light and go for bikes, I shall beome a billionaire selling you this great transmission.  And since I am a frugal depression-era geezer who  wears just rags and tatters and eats nothing but beans, still-stupid young deer and home-grown veggies, I shall use that swag to save the world by putting into production wood pellet fired stirling engines that do  the work for all you fat lazy slobs out there- ah, I mean, will preserve the precious life-style of all you worthy fellow-americans.
I got caught up in emotion of higher gas prices and thought about selling my '98 Ford Ranger that only gets 14 mpg (I have a lead foot), but then I realized I would be spending so much more money on a new vehicle that it's not worth it. I drive about 6K/year in my truck and that comes out to 430 gallons of gas/year. Even if gas went from $3 to $10, that's only $3,000 more/year on fuel. I wonder how many others crunched the numbers like I did and said they were better off keeping their current vehicle, even a large SUV, than getting a new one or getting rid of a vehicle altogether?

I'd like to get the little 2-door Smart Car but am waiting until gas gets high enough to get the SUVs, 4x4s, and H2s off the road. In the meantime, I bought a touring bicycle last year and use it at times to ride to work.
I've got a 97 Ford Ranger with a 4.0 V-6 Engine and I get about 20 mpg. After last year's prices I decided to get a motorcycle. I bought a used 2001 Suzuki SV650/S that gets 52 mpg. I only paid 2,500 for the bike, and the insurance is 300 per year. Maintenance on the bike is a snap, and I just love paying 10 bucks to fill it up. I'm going to sell my truck, and buy a small car for when it gets wet, or when I need to carry people.

On an unrelated note; I got gas last night. (3.28 in Souther California, baby!) I pulled into the station next to some humongous vehicle - probably a ford excursion or something. I had enough time to park, take off my backpack, swipe my card, fill my tank, put my backpack back on, calculate my mpg (51, dammit.) make a cell phone call, and leave. The guy was filling his tank when I got there, and he was filling it when I left. I think he actually had to swipe his card twice since there was a 60 dollar maximum charge. at that particular station.

Damn I feel good!

I haven't bought a "new" vehicle since 1982.  Recently I bought a 1991 Geo Metro for $1,000 and it gets between 40-42 mpg in city driving.  It's powered (well, powered is a figure of speech!) by a 1.0 liter/3 cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection.  Kidding aside, it is no snail on the road due to the EFI.  Parts are readily available and there are lots of them on the road.  I'm 6' 4" and fit into it fine, although it is rather low to the ground and getting in/out is an exercise (which I need anyway) of balance and muscle strength.
[repeated from the weekend open thread - I know that this is off-topic, but I want people to know this]

I am sorry to report two things, one sad and the other worrisome.

First, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith is dead at the age of 97. I have often criticized economists on TOD but he was, like John Maynard Keynes, one of the "good ones". This is sad news.

The second point is Iraq says Iran forces shelled Kurds in Iraq (with troops and missles) into the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq. Turkey is amassing troops on their border with Iraq. Apparently there was a new attack today directed toward the PKK.

The situation there is getting out of control. There is real danger in this escalating geopolitical development. This is the kind of thing that leads to world wars. World War I was started by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

If you think I am alarmist here, you bet I am. These situations have a way of getting out of control. Iranian incursions into Iraq are far more worrisome than their nascent nuclear program in my view. More later on this or maybe a post.

c-span replayed a 1994 interview with John Kenneth Galbraith and Brian Lamb. it was very good and reminded me indirectly of the old William F. Buckley Jr. shows with Galbraith.  great guy(s) though in my youth i was rooting for Buckley.

in the 1994 interview Galbraith said something interesting about war, that WWI and previous elites had sent their populations off to capture territory, but that in the last 50 years we seemed to rise above that.  That populations wew less a resource for elites to exploit.

... that seems to tie with the 2nd half of your post.

Texas Town's Fuel Boycott Draws Support, Doubt

In light of the previous discussion here and here on the boycott topic, I wonder what their response would be to seeing their gas prices rise because of their boycott.

sounds like a south park episode
Big box retailers jump into discount gasoline market

With gasoline around $3 a gallon, consumers are hunting everywhere for the lowest prices, and more and more that means going to a big box retailer like Costco or Wal-Mart or to a place offering fuel discounts like Giant Eagle's GetGo stores.

Also Kevin Drum bemoans the missed chance to improve energy efficiency:

I live up in the often frozen north (Canada) and have been dealing with higher than US prices for a while.  It currently averages $1cdn/l or .90us/l.  This works out to $4.086us p/gal. (with 4.54 l in a US gallon).

Once the price trended up from .80cdn/l I started to car-pool with 3 others from work who live near me.  Some inconvienience  to schedule, but major savings on gas, insurance, maintenance etc.

Everyone here seems civil about prices, but there is more griping than usual.  My town does not really have public transport, there is a bus that drives in a big route through town so if you have thirty minutes or an hour to wait for the next one it's an option; it basically passes hospitals and govt. buildings with a few stops near some neighborhoods.

I was on the highway yesterday and it seemed just as full of Explorers and Suburbans and F250s as ever, everyone going 90 miles an hour.  And gas prices we witnessed went from $2.99 to $2.71, often within a few miles of each other.

Gas here at home dropped a nickel overnight.  Chatter amongst office-mates seems to be "whew, it's about time."

What I have done/am doing:

* Sold my car about a year and a half ago. Now use a bicycle and mass transit (mostly bicycle) for all transportation needs (work commuting, groceries, errands, visiting, etc.).

* Started my first garden this spring. Trying to get information about a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm.

* Am reducing energy use in the home.
-- Talked the landlord into installing storm windows (I paid part) and more insulation;
-- Using electric space heaters to heat individual rooms rather than central gas heat;
-- Going to try using fans only this summer, along with keeping windows covered during the hot part of the day (storm windows should help);
-- Just put up some clotheslines in the enclosed porch this weekend for drying clothes.
-- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
-- Turn my monster home computer off at the power strip.
-- Plan to buy a solar oven (partly because I think it's cool) to see how I can make it work for me and how much it helps, especially in the summer.

I see this all as "practicing." I'd rather try these things now and see how to make them work for me, when there's little pressure, than wait until it's an emergency.

On the other hand, there are good reasons to do all of these things anyway, even without taking peak oil into consideration, so I can hardly lose. And, in fact, I am benefiting now from better health and saving a lot of money.

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