DrumBeat: May 28, 2006

Now for some wise words from the readers of The Oil Drum...
Having just spent an awful lot of money on traveling by automobile, and paying from 2.549 to 2.899 for a gallon on 87 octane gasoline over the range of 8 states and 3 weeks.  I hope I am done traveling for a while, but alas I have to go another 3,000 miles before the end of June. Over the same route as earlier this month.  

But I have downsized my life a lot more than most people do in a year.  I filtered out from a 3 bedroom house, and 2 stoarge sheds to a 6' X 6' X 12' trailer.  The bulk of the weight being books, totally over 1,000.  Over half of these non-fiction, and most of them practical and useful for any time period.  Reference with a great lot of survivable information in them.

How many people have their houses chock full of junk they no longer need, have not seen in years, filed in the "i'll fix that up sometime" group, Its a keepsake "we just can't get rid of it, you wore that in highschool last year!"?

We can be as bad as packrats, worst, we can throw away prefectly good items and go buy newer ones to replace them.

Anyway my parents are in their early to mid 70's and I am just back to bumming around, might as well spend some "quaility Time" with my parents, not having any kids to do that with.

I like to say that most of that stuff is kept for the "museum at the end of your life" that folks will come and pay $5 per head to view.  At least that's about as rational as any other reason I can think of to keep all this junk.
Ur you have the key to finding the cheap stuff, evidentally, I'm paying $3.40 or so these days.
This is not so much a comment as a question. In yesterday's thread, AlanFromBigEasy posted a short comment about hydroelectric power. As a TVA retiree and Valley denizen, I am very interested in this topic. TVA pretty much developed all available hydro sites in its area and still needed 11 fossil and 3 nuclear sites to meet current demand. In a good year hydro provides about 20% of demand. TVA recently went through a modernization of the existing hydro facilities and was able to increase their capacity quite a bit. The hydro operation is pretty efficient and provides nice renewable source of power as base load for our grid. I worked in the Fossil area, so know more about coal than I do the hydro operation. My question is this: TVA lakes initially built for flood control with electricity as a nice bonus, have lost about a third of their holding capacity due to sedimentation. What does this portend for the future of power generation (not to mention flood control)?
   Where are you from I grew up in kingsport?

Hydro is dependent on flow and the height of the column of water.  Flow rate is pretty consistent in the valley, but larger capacity allows water to be saved for drought.  I remember as a kid every time it rained hard Patrick Henry, Watauga, and Holston would flood their spillways.  If demand is that much higher I would imagine now they produce more hydroelectric in anticipation of the wet season.  So sedimentation should not affect the production much unless it is right up against the dam.  I would imagine they dredge an area near the penstock.


Here's another question to go along with the hydro thread.  Why is it that the rivers around me have many dams but none of them produce electricity?  If you're going through the trouble and expense of putting up a dam, why not stick a turbine or two in it and get some electricity out of it?  In other words, if it can be economical to build dams for the purpose of electricity generation, than why not do it when you have to build dams for flood control and other purposes?  The dam itself would probably by 90% of the cost anyway.  Are hydro dams incompatible with river barge shipping or other purposes?
Federal dams are noted for missing power generation opportunities.  If not economic when built (say 1950s) the issue is rarely revisited.  A waste.

Also many dams could have increased generation (both more generaTORS & more efficient generation) with modernization.  As noted by TNGranny, TVA reworked their dams and power generation and got more power from them.  Bureau of Reclamation BADLY needs to do this as well.

What river are you on ?  Any specific dams ?

thanks for your insight.  I live near the Ohio River.  Don't know the name of many dams except one is called Willow Island.
Where I live in Oregon there are many flood-control lakes. I have heard, but not confirmed, that at least some of these dams were designed so that turbines could be added. The subject has recently come up again and I hope gains some traction. The big problem with this is that the lakes are dropped in the winter (flood control season) so the power generation would be highly seasonal
I have lived most of my life near Chattanooga, though I was born in Knoxville and have on occasion lived there and in several other places in E. TN. TVA has a problem in upper E TN with new people who have bought lakefront property, do not like the early drawdown that happens on the upper lakes and formed protest groups. So TVA now trys to avoid this even though they need the generation during the hottest driest part of the summer....
Flood control, not so good.  1/3 loss is not that significant (lots of extra capacity normally built in, old engineers were conservative).  But wait another 50 years, when they are over 1/2 full, and flood control will suffer.

Loss of storage capacity means that a "Storage Hydroelectric" power plant becomes a "Run-of-the-River" power plant.  Power plants take water when they can get it rather than when it is scheduled.  Not a problem now, but later it could be.

More turbines to capture the peak flows and quite possibly reworked intakes as sediment fills up the reservior.

But water will still fall and energy can be captured from this fall.

Hydropower won't suffer unless the water level drops below the turbine intakes. Like a lot of the other things we do these days:
  1. global climate change won't worry us until we have a couple years of dustbowl crop failures;
  2. most people won't worry about peak oil until shortages are commonplace;
  3. New Orleans' levees will hold until they won't;
  4. and silt will not affect power production until the lake is almost completely full.
Offhand I'd say hydroelectric is a more reliable source of renewable energy than most.

As for flood control, the USACE has prevented floods by lowering lakes in anticipation of a rainy season, and letting the level rise when it rains, thereby keeping the water level constant downstream. Silt accumulation just means the lake won't have as much range to work with, and can't hold as much flood water.

Reworked intakes can get around even a completely silted up reservior.

Water is going to fall along teh course of the river, with xx meters fall around teh dam.  That is emergy and it can be extracted.

North Korea, Albania and now Zaire have been able to keep hydro working even as TSHTF.  Not every turbine, and not at peak efficiency, but still operating.  Hydroelectric powwer plants are remarkably robust.

The lower the water level. the less the head or energy as it goes through the turbine. Hydropower will decrease before it gets below the intake.
Okay, here's a pop quiz for the oil-savvy readers of TOD...

Let's say you owned a refinery with a capacity of about 15 million tons per year. If I recall correctly, a ton is about 7.33 barrels, right? So, in barrels, capacity would be 15 * 7.3 = 110 million barrels per year.

Okay, you've got refining capacity -- but no upstream capacity (i.e., no wells). So, four guys show up at your doorstep, offering to buy a 53% stake. #1 and #2 are from the property next door (i.e., your neighbors), they have lots and lots of wells with lots and lots of oil (or at least you think they have plenty of oil), and they offer you roughly $500-600 million. #3 is from another state, speaks with a funny accent, but has plenty of oil and offers $1.2-1.3 billion, and seems willing to offer even more, given his general demeanor. #4 is another neighbor, has not even a drop of oil to offer, but offers $1.492 billion.

Whose offer do you accept?

Well, to cut to the chase...

Lithuania's Mazheikiu Nafta ( http://www.nafta.lt ) has decided on #4. The contenders were:

#1: TNK/BP
#2: Lukoil/ConocoPhillips
#3: KazMunaiGaz (Kazachstan's state oil company)
#4: PKN Orlen (a Polish refining/marketing company)

The sad remnant of Yukos struck a deal with PKN Orlen on Thursday, after legal maneuvers in a U.S. court. The Russian Federation's legal representative had no objection.

However, a Transneft vice-president was quoted as saying, "We don't even know who PKN Orlen is. We've never met them or dealt with them before." Ouch. So, the flow of crude to the refinery is now in question. The Lithuanian government had bandied the n-word (nationalization), but has agreed with the PKN Orlen deal.

This may be another data point in the exports-are-drying-up series. Dave, westexas, and Khebab, take note...

Nothing to wary about except maybe some lost taxes for Lithuanian budget and lost jobs for ordinary Lithuanians in the coming months. I feel before the end of the next year Mazheikiu Nafta will be mine.
You're Vekzelberg?
My answer? Go with the bloke who talks like Ozzie Guillen. OK, so I'm a Chicagoan who liked the fact that the White Sox won the World Series. And Ozzie Guillen is a Venezuelian. It's a sure thing that Venezuela has oil. I guess if I was looking to get a new accent, a Venezuelian accent would be cool to get - especially if you intend to run Spanish.
Long term financial considerations are one of the big unknowns for myself and my family. I'm not in the position of buying heaps of precious metal. Most of my monetary wealth is tied up in retirement savings. I'm still stuck with the mindset of maxing out my contribution because I know that is the only retirement I'm liable to get. I'm well versed in the peak oil mantra. I started reading Dieoff.org in the late 90's.

Deep down I know that those retirement funds are probably hosed sometime down the road. The dollar is going to tank, and so will any investments one can make. There's a paucity of fund choices I can make with the retirement account.

In terms of lifestyle, I've made some tough, but good choices. I now live on five acres of old family farm land and built a passive solar log home that works pretty well for keeping comfortable without central heating or air conditioning. At least we won't freeze or fry. The orchard is growing well. I'm gardening. etc.

The lack of adequate supplies of liquid fuels, in and of itself, is not that big of a deal to me. The effect of the liquid fuels deficiency on the economy is what I fear. Adaptations to transportation will take place when prices and/or supply start to bite. People will car pool, bike, hike, public transport themselves to work, move, whatever. I just don't believe the American economy (hence the world economy) can survive a long term contraction.

So this is the perpetual $64,000 question: What to do to stay solvent for the long term and into retirement? I'm a chemist, I make a good living, low debt ratio, 38 years old, with wife and 1 child. Any thoughts? Does anybody else have that creepy feeling that the neocons are gearing up for an organized implosion to save their a**es?

Everybody's situation is different, but there may be some general trends those of us in the know may be leaning towards.

It sounds like you are heading in the right direction. The conventional investments in 401k plan could be a bad deal. I don't think there is a great solution to this. I have cut back on my contributions, but I already have a big chunk in there. Your land and home may be the best investment you ever make.

The pie will be shrinking and there will be more people wanting a piece of the pie.

I was in much the same situation around 35.  Although I started as a research chemist, I ended up doing mostly process development and ended up as a chemical plant manager.  Unlike you, I said the hell with the chemical industry, for a variety of reasons that aren't germane, and my wife and I moved to the boondocks.

There really isn't any one answer to your question because it depends upon your and your wife's interests.  Plus, it depends upon your location and how badly you anticipate the economy to regress/collapse.  

If there is production ag or a lot of organic growers around you could consider setting up a home lab to do soil or hay testing.  If you are into producing crops, you could do everything from a U-pick/CSA operation (which could be either row crops or permanent crops like blueberries) to rasing mushrooms (there is a big market for specialty ones like mitakies [sp]).  We were a small-scale organic farm for a few years but we could never make more then day wages.

You could also consider doing thngs like farm surveys for various agencies.  My wife did this for the California Ag Statistics Service for over 20 years.  She liked it because it wasn't full time but provided additional income.

In my case, I designed and built houses for a number of years until my body said stop.  Maybe you could consider log cabins. Then I became a groundskeeper at the school district here plus I got landscape contractor and pesticide apllicator's licenses.

There are any number of books out there that will give you many, many ideas.  Here's a far out one - build wood gas generators.  And, one even further out; build home-sized steam-powered electric generators.  I have a friend who is big on steam (he has his own steam engine and about 1/2 mile of track on his property).  He thinks it wold be easy to build 5kW steam units.

My point to the above post which I never made clear, is that it is necessary to decide how the future is going to play out (a plan that needs revision as information changes is better then no plan at all), develop a wide variety of skills, be flexible and, finally, don't count on anyone to pull your buns out of the fire.

I'm just about 30 years older than you and the major trend I've seen over all these years is that the personal and job security that was once taken for granted no longer exists.  One of my goals when moving to the boondocks was to assure that I could maintain my lifestyle with minimal demands upon society at large.

I decided to go into the energy business about 5 years ago and I am 36 now.

Peak oil have given me a lot to think about, I have tried some of my thought here on the oil drum to get some feedback. Now am I close to boiling down my thoughts into a biomass business that combines certain nearly developed tehcnical solutions with a financing model into a kind of franchise idea that ought to be ideal for the Swedish market. The idea is essentially to invest my technicla skills and skills in talking with people regarding physical matters and to get other people to provide capital, the investors get most of the jobs and most of the probably low but probably quite secure and peak oil resistant profit.

If everyting goes well I only have to expand a tenthousandfold to build nucler powerplants. A pity I aim for low and secure rather then high and stock market attractive. :-)

Btw, If anyone have heard about any promising systems for separating woodchip from chipped bark or chipped rotten wood I am quite intrested in it.


There were like 12 other studies if you google "bark chip seperation"

My WAG: you're in the top 1%, both in terms of preparedness and financial stability. Sounds like you've done just about everything you reasonably can to prepare.
Absolutely not my area ,but I have had to focus on since learning about PO 1yr. ago.

The US dollar is in trouble.A stages descent, or a collapse seems inevitable.

I don't see putting any $ in someone else's contrrol than necessary.
 1.things we need become money in societal breakdowns.
 2.once you leave a company you can rollover an IRA to an account you can control. I am doing this, withdrawing maximums-taking the 10% penalty-but not hitting certain tax increase maximums; then buying the things needed (just ordered sheet tin though I won't need a roof anytime soon-if would resale if necessary) Within the IRA I am investing in mining stocks PM,thru Canadian exchanges.                                        
 3.with your account you can get CD's, or leave in cash;i.e. make last minute attempts to stay safe financially,for the miraide of problems we may have.

There are conditions where deflation rules and money would be king, but if it so it is probably one of thew worst case senarios, so who knows if our contributions who be honored.

You have done  several of the most important things ; your house sounds especially wise Good luck!

Hello theMouse,

Greetings from a fellow Yahoo Dieoffer & AlasBabylon Crow!

Your Question: Does anybody else have that creepy feeling that the neocons are gearing up for an organized implosion to save their a**es?

Recall my postings on the Captain Avranas Strategy.
Remember, he told the Press that he was among the first to abandon the cruiseship Oceania because he thought that he could best direct the passengers' rescue from the safety of land.  Mind-boggling!

Anyhow, a proven elite tactic to best enhance their future survival.  The world's topdogs will be no different WTSHTF.  It only makes sense for them to gradually pull the many societal bilge plugs at the right moment to optimize their chances.  It is in our Genes.  Otherwise, we would have already had long-running proactive worldwide leadership in voluntary pop. control education and Powerdown.  Recall all the countless postings showing infinite growth, elite wealth consolidation, militarism, corruption, etc.

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

I don't believe anybody is smart enough to figure this thing out. This mess that humans are in is bigger and more complex than anything mere mortals can comprehend. Doesn't mean they won't try, and that's what scares the bejesus out of me.

My genes are telling me to do anything I can to protect my family. Man the hatches. Bar the gates. Beg, borrow, or steal to fill up the larders. Halt, who goes there! My genes don't care about your genes. Yes, I'm a Dawkinsinian (didn't read it persay, but got enough to get the point, still on my reading list).

Hello theMouse,

You are probably correct in your assumption that one person cannot figure this whole thing out, but I believe Jay Hanson, Reg Morrision, and a few select others have come the closest in sketching a general outline of Thermo-Gene decline, but an accurate day-by-day, blow-by-blow predictive timeline is an impossibility, of course.

That is why I google African news regularly: I think all the African bad news offers a possible timeframe glimpse into how we will react at some future time.  The unfortunate Africans are already dealing with severe energy shortages, GW desertification and climate shifts, rampant corruption, Overshoot, wars...and on and on.

Generally, TOD is short-timeframe American & global macro- energy focused: nothing wrong with that, but pulling back every now and then to try and refocus on the global micro-view with news snippets of tribal-sized adjustments can be very illuminating.  Consider this link and then extrapolate to your personal tribe x# of years into our future:


Life has changed for the Maasai cattle herders in Tanzania, changed in ways they've never seen. Even the weather seems to be different, with droughts more intense than ever.

Now, those erratic weather patterns have triggered a food crisis affecting millions of people across East Africa. The crisis has gnawed its way into Ololosokwan, a Maasai village near Tanzania's northern border, where people are selling their prized, but emaciated animals for a fraction of their former value and using the slim earnings to buy sacks of corn to feed their families for a few days more.

The drought has killed about 4,000 of the villagers' cattle, completely wiping out the small herds of some families.

"The way we are going is so dangerous," said Kirando Lukeine, who sold three of his animals recently but managed to earn only enough to buy one week's worth of food. A year ago, one cow would have brought 15 sacks of corn. Today, that same cow will buy only one sack.

"Look at our faces," Lukeine added. "We are old, not young, and we don't remember a drought like this."
Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

"Does anybody else have that creepy feeling that the neocons are gearing up for an organized implosion to save their a**es?"

I often wonder about deliberate demand destruction. But who would pull the trigger? The "elites" benefit from the current arrangement: could they really bear to bring it down? Could they come up with a plan that offered them good odds of success in the postimplosion world?

The first sign that someone has figured out how to do it will be that it happens. Will that be distinguishable from an unplanned collapse?

If as Hanson says "the elites" "deploy a bioweapon" -- who are  "the elites"? The neocons?

It's not really a matter of who actually "pulls the trigger", however that comes about.  The big question, at least in the US, is "Who will we blame?".  It's the most important topic out there.  High gas prices, blame the oil companies.  Blame the immigrants for terrorism.  Dems blame the neocons for everything.  And vice-versa.  So when something really hits the fan most will just rant about the most likely suspect, which these days seems to be the Ay-rabs.  Perhaps eventually we'll come to realize who is really to blame.  But by then the true criminals be in Barbados sipping martinis watching the food riots on Fox.
Historically, from ancient times to around 1980, you could live on 1 ounce of silver a day. (After 1980 the price of silver started to be manipulated down) Assuming silver reverts to it's mean value, (around $50 per ounce) this will be true again. So - if you expect to live another 30 years, you should put away 10,000 ounces of silver. A year ago, you could buy that for around $70,000.00. Now it will take $120,000.00 - but still cheap compared to it's value in all of history.
According to my calculations average wages amounted to only about a gram of silver per day in thirteenth century England or fifth century BC Athens.
If there's any land that you're not using for garden/ orchard, how about planting some trees?  AFter the peak, timber will be in short supply both for building and for heating.  
The case of retirement is more like the 64 gigabuck question. In 1992 I bought my first PC. It had Windows 3.11 with DOS 6.0 underneath. That version had available QBASIC 4.5 and one night I made a math model of a 401K. Result? It was not good.

It turns out that unless you have a good job at age 18 AND the employer pitches in a buck to a buck, you run a massive risk of outliving that retirement money. That means that you must plan on some method of suicide. That can be the good ol' Inert Gas Method... or you can go out with a bang like a suicide bomber. If you happen to be an airline pilot, you already have the car bomb to use - the plane you drive. Airliners are very effective truck bombs.

Retirement is like Failure. It is not an option. You WILL work until you die. A 401(K) is NOT a retirement plan. It is a glorified severance package at best. Do the math. You will find out yourself that I'm right. And I admit that sucks.

Maxout Ahh a rare whiff of reality!!

I'm in the process of watching the excellent History Channel series: Vietnam, A Television History (which is less dumbed down than it sounds) and the VC/NVA had old folks fighting, and yes, becoming heroes, up into their 80s. Lots in their 50s/60s.

Go out with a bang.

Eventually, my body or my mind will not be able to maintain the work ethic that I currently enjoy (or don't sometimes;-). Yes, I've done the math. Being a 'millionaire' at 65 will not be worth a million due to inflation. I also happen to believe that the great peak oil induced depression will make all those savings useless. As many of the posters have replied and observed, I'm investing in the homefront and skills.

We all die eventually, it's the ride getting there that is so much fun. When I retire from my career, I would like to think that I've built up enough capital to keep on enjoying life without the fuss of 'working for the man'.

good post - but a million dollars with inflation is fine - just invest in things that go up with inflation. and own alot of 1-3 month treasuries, that keep resetting at higher rates
and insulate your monthly expenses with things that are free or cheap, like growing 10-30% of your own food and canning - inflation means you wont have to buy this 10-30% somewhere, so cereris paribus, its deflationary for yourself
But a depression is a deflationary time, and if your million is in cash or gold, you'll do fine.  If you had $1,000,000 in 1936, you would be rich indeed.

Antoinetta III

Check out "Al Gore: An Inconvenient Story"   by the Competetive Enterprise Institute.

I don't think anyone at TOD will forget all the Congress bigwigs a few weeks back getting a photo-op in a hybrid and promptly getting back into their big SUVs.

Gore while Vice-President (and Clinton) never proposed a law to help wind or solar. And Gore too has been sighted in SUVs. So neither political party has a monopoly on hypocrisy.

Still, I look forward to his film and hope millions see it.

It's only hypocrisy if you switch cars in a back alley.

If you've got to travel with a dozen or so secret service agents, no one is going to think you can make that circus as green as a hippie on a bicycle.

You killed Kenny! Um, er, Al! You bastards!! Next thing you'll be showing Kerry's and Hitlary's footprint!! Damn you all!! ;-)
Has anyone here invested in any of the oil ETF's?

I bought a small test portion in Oil Securities' Brent oil ETF (www.oil-etf.com), however although the mangement fees seem OK (50 basis points to the manager, and 100 basis points to Shell, apart from that you get USD Libor, so overall its about 3.5% positive in implied cash, in addition to the exposure to Brent crude), it seems that the ETF is worth a blended average of the front two months of the Brent forward curve.

The forward curve seems to have a bit of contango in it at the moment for the front 2 months, and I'm wondering if anyone else has looked into this? Am I being ripped off on the contango?

(sliding down the price curve - current front month is 70.71, next contract is 71.27... so as they roll from one to the other I'm selling the cheaper to buy the more expensive...)

Is it more sensible to deal futures directly, and buy further along the curve where there is still some backwardisation, to roll up?

Any views on this would be appreciated.. I am trying to diversify away from owning shares in oil majors in case there's a "windfall profits" tax.

a) it would theoretically be 'cheaper' to do it yourself, but really a pain in the ass. You would have to constantly keep track of when the front months roll, etc. In my opinion that headache is worth paying someone 150 bps

b)you are not being ripped off. the ETF does not exist to capitalize on contango or backwardation, but to replicate the oil market. It is conceivable that that relationship could switch over time (though i doubt it - peoples fear and greed will likely always affect the front month more than back - if the front month gets too cheap - they'll just buy it and store it.

c) one suggestion though might be to just buy a 2010 or 2011 futures contract and be done with it - you get the same exposure and if its really an 'investment' rather than a trade, it will all come out in the wash at maturity. But the spreads are wide so i wouldnt advise trading them. One more option, depending on your risk profile, is to have a core long dated position and trade another, smaller position in the front month MINI contracts which are 500 barrels instead of 1000 and 250,000 cubic feet instead of 1 million on NG.

d)I really doubt there will be a windfall profits tax. If oil ever gets up really that high, the powers that be will be beholden to the oil companies. oil will be so important at that point that the 13-15% that is owned by non nationalized oil companies will be precious and to tax it too much will cause negative incentives for getting more

e) if you are buying oil because you think it will go much higher, think of all the other commodities that will also increase, and possibly more. Gold, silver, copper, soybeans, wheat, lumber, sugar, etc

Bought DBC in response to (e).
Are you guys nuts? Unless you own your own refinery, buying crude futures is the most rank speculation in a market controlled by traders in Chicago and participated in by fools worldwide. If you want some oil and gas then buy working interest in wells or royalty. Mesa Royalty Trust pays 9% on gas fields in Oklahoma and Texas and is "inflation proof". I do not work for them. Natural gas is at a cyclical low, and they have upfront accounting. Or buy stock in an honest, aggresive exploration company like Devon or Anadarko. If you relly want to gamble play slot machines and pay 30 or 40 percent to the mafia, but don't "invest" in a market controlled by rumors where you can loose all your money quickly.
I know its a volatile market short term, but I plan to buy a future or two with 100% cash backing, so they will not be able to shake me out easily. I can post margin all the way to 0$. ;-)

With light sweet crude close to peak, I think its interesting. You can manipulate a market, but long-term you can only do it in the way it wants to go.

Its also part of a diversified portfolio, I just want to have something slightly different to the oil co's themselves, as I still think they are threatened by wind-fall taxes if crude rises "unreasonably" (by a politician's definition).

   I was talking to an old oil operator yesterday about the market manipulation and speculation in prices. He very rich and very conservative, but not in a neocon-nazi sense. He lives simply in a $200k bay house and drives a 5 year old Lincoln even though he has no debt and is worth at least $20 million. He is 89 years old and plans to drill 4 more wells this year with his own money,proof that oil and gas is really a compulsive gambling disease. I know, I have it too.
   Ted said he could make good money with $30 oil. He doesn't own any office buildings, employs no micropalentologists or human resources departments, public relations flacks and doesn't go to conferences in Aruba. I'm a little younger and a little more greedy. I would like $40 oil. We both think the current $5-$6 natural gas price is just about right. We were laughing about Kenny-boy Lay  and Jeff Skilling getting their comeupance for their manipulation of the gas markets at Enron,along with the coke heads at Duke and El Paso.
  What killed the oil business in the 1980's was cutting taxes on rich people where even morons like Steve Forbes didn't need a tax shelter and King George I selling our military to the Kingdoms of the mid-east for protection while the majors were encouraged to import enough cheap crude to force most independents to retire. Where is the ghost of Lyndon Johnson when we really need him?
This, another example, of why oil, money, and digitized bank accounts are just proximate goals of our behavior. Why do you think an 89 year old worth $20 million wants to spend his last few years on the planet drilling for more oil???
Becouse that is the kind of business he has done most of his life and he likes doing it? There is nothing bad with working untill you die if you like what you are doing, it is rather something to envy.

That is my point. We will do what we love, not what needs to be done. Societys greatest challenge is to make being sustainable something we all love.

"Where is the ghost of Lyndon Johnson when we really need him?"

I don't know where his ghost is, but LBJ is dead. The real question is why you think the world needs either him or his ghost?

Drilling a well can indeed be a rush. It isn't quite gambling [gambling is the creation of risk for the purpose of bearing that risk], but it is a high risk, potentially high reward proposition and a real rush.

IWhat nailed the domestic independents IMO was: (i) a continuing decrease in the quality of conventional onshore targets; and (ii) low prices as a result of combination of the high prices of the late seventies / early eighties resulting in increased production, the collapse of the USSR and lack of discipline by OPEC that climaxed with punitive action by the Saudis.

You are probably correct that if the U.S. had not intervened in the first Gulf War the price of oil would have stayed high throughout the 1990s as Saddam would have owned the reserves of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as those of Iraq making his regime the undisputed swing producer. Was that your point?

As to the price of natural gas, apparently there is less of an issue finding some gas in the Barnett Shale and coal bed methane projects, but the wells being drilled are not cheap [no personal experience on this one. I have tiny fractional interest in some conglomerate production in Wise County Texas that holds Barnett Shale rights -- but unless they drill right up to the property line with great success, it won't be me that drills the Barnett Shale on that lease.]

I agree that $6 is a decent price at least for my old relatively long lived production, but that translates out to about $36 oil in terms of the contained energy of a commodity that is in many ways superior to oil.

 (partly a rant)Gimme a break. That was a joke about Lyndon Johnson, who is the Patron Saint of us Houston guys. But, the only real way to bring down the price is to cut demand, Jimmy Carter's conservation thing. If we had kept increasing the mileage standards on the Auto Industry and kept on putting solar panels and hot water heaters we would probably have energy independence by now and be a heck of a lot more prosperous. Fifty MPG hybrids instead of SUV's and Hummers. And high taxes with lots of tax shelters is a wonderful way of directing investment as US economic policy as was shown by our economic growth from the end of the Depression untill the end of the Democratic dominance of the U.S. government. Plus, if we used 40% less hydrocarbons there would be 40% less pollution. If we had solar and wind instead of coal I could breathe more easily. And if we subsidized the Railroad's again instead of highways and the Auto industry every adult in America wouldn't find it necessary to own a huge piece of smog belching steel. And so I preach to the choir.
   My friend and sometime employer Ted (I do contract Land work) doesn't find it necessary to tell anyone how conservative he is, he just spend less than he makes, goes to church, is good to his family and works because ne likes to work. Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling told all of us how conservative they were while conjuring up ludicrous derivative contracts. They also told us how honest they were and how much they love Jesus. Somehow, what they said and how they act don't match up. Note that about all of guys who try to con you, you will save a lot of money.
  Ted also drills for oil where there is oil,his prospects are infill drilling in a frio field where he plugged out some wells twenty or thirty years ago, not tight gas in shales. Texas is full of that kind of prospect, I have several myself that I amk working on while I a being overpaid for working on some tight gas prospects. Those kind of wells(unconventional gas) are examples of what I consider "bigdealiteus, thinking you are going to get rich from one big deal instead of going after what we know works.
  The major oil companies and viritually all drilling funds have the disease. A five million dollar well for a 500MCF well hoping you are going to find a 17,000 mcf/pd well like the Barnett shale promoters do makes no sense, but its a heck of a lot more exciting than working over a 3 bbl per day well with  the virtually certain outcome of a 10 bbl per day well for $20k or $30k that will pay out in a couple of  months. A major can't make any money on that kind of deal, and the guys under 60 mostly don't know how.
  As far as Saddam owning Kuwait-if we didn't import over 1/2 of the oil we use, he would have had no incentive to corner the oil market and invade. And King George I sold that war to us as a war to promote democracy, as if a hereditary monarchy that  keeps black enuche slaves is a democracy.  
"Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling told all of us how conservative they were while conjuring up ludicrous derivative contracts. They also told us how honest they were and how much they love Jesus. Somehow, what they said and how they act don't match up. Note that about all of guys who try to con you, you will save a lot of money."


I have this theory that anytime somebody wears their goody-too-shoes ideology on their sleeve, you best check your silverware before they leave and/or cash your check that night and at a bank in town.

This goes for the self-proclaimed (archetypal) Jesus loving Christains AND the (archetypal) self-proclaimed sustainability loving Greens.



There is no evidence that Iraq ever planned to attack Saudi Arabia.
Not only that, but Saddam attacked Kuwait because they were stealing his oil from Iraqi territory by slant drilling near the border.  Kuwait got the technology and directions to do that from the US.  Saddam told US Ambassador April Glaspie that he planned on invading Kuwait.  She said, basically, go ahead, the US won't interfere.  Nine days later Iraq invaded Kuwait.  The US, ummmm, interfered.  A little....  Facts O' history.
A history lesson? Well maybe one version of history. Kuwait may have been draining Iraq's oil ... or that whole allegation may have merely been cover. Slant drilling certainly did not explain why Saddam referred to Kuwait as the 19th province of Iraq.

You are quite correct in that Glaspie did indeed put her foot in her mouth by giving an impression of how that U.S would react that she should never have conveyed. If you want to believe that her actions were part of a grand scheme you are entitled to that belief. IMO, absent a smoking gun, incompetence is a lot more likely cause of that bit of diplomatic stupidity.

Good thing Glaspie was such a screw up or the neocons would never have got access to Iraq's oil. Sure. Sounds plausible.
Thats a little more like facts of Imperialist propoganda. Saddam's butchery of the Kuwaitis and the Kurds and the Iranians was just fine with the CIA and realpolitic Henry Kissinger until he(Saddam) started talking about taking something other than petrodollars for the crude. Then, and only then we invaded. The Iranians and the Russians are talking about selling oil for rubles and euros. Can't you hear the drumbeats of the neocons? That is not to say that Saddam is anything other than murdering scum, but this didn't matter to the Bushites until he threatened their pocketbooks.
  In modern life we often forget that our ancestors were just as smart as us even though they didn't have computers or television. There is a story in John about Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Satan said "I'll give you all the kingdoms of the earth if you will just fall down and worship me" Jesus resisted the temptation, but the Bush family embraced it. Whether you are Christian, Moslem or Dialectical Materialist atheist pay attention to that story. With those guys money and power is the key to their motivation.  
Yep. It looks like the American public is finally seeing through the "born-again" facade.
There is a story in John about Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Satan said "I'll give you all the kingdoms of the earth if you will just fall down and worship me" Jesus resisted the temptation, but the Bush family embraced it.


Oil Man Bob,

That may be more true than you know! You all want to hear something freaky? I have no way of confirming this, maybe somebody here can shed some light. Damn interesting and entertaining to think about though. (for the record, I'm not the least bit religious.) Here goes the tale:

A while back a reader of my site contacted me regarding what the real "mark of the beast" is. He said he had studied the original greek that the New Testament was written in and that the translation(s) were as follows. He was quite articulate and seemed to be mentally balanced. I sensed no "weirdness" from him and I have my "weirdness" antenna up at all times. Here goes the tale he told me:

  1. The word for "mark" in Revelation  actually translates as "road." So "mark of the beast" means "road of the beast."

  2. The beast is described in the Bible as "once being alive, now dead, but still living" in Revelation.

He made the point that this sounded like a dinosaur or other organic matter. It had been alive but was now dead but was still living (sort of) as fossil fuels we use to make food which we then ingest. Asphalt is made of fossil fuel also.

So "mark of the beast" to him meant "road of the now dead organic matter" or something like that.

  1. The "mark" is described as having been given a name by man and this name is the (infamous) "666." The reader explained that he felt this was a reference to chemical structure of petroleum as it has some type of 666 in it. I can't remember how he explained it, it was very complex for a non-chemist. Somethiung about 6 rings and such and such.

  2. Of course, the Bible says that whoever doesn't take the mark won't be able to conduct commerce. And I don't need to tell you all that you can't conduct commerce without using fossil fuels.

So perhaps the "mark of the beast" is the use of oil/fossil fuels? Burning the stuff is akin to "hell fire and brimstone" if you think about it.

If you guys found this entertaining/thought-provoking let me know and I'll tell you about Arnold Schwarzenegger being mentioned in the original translation of Revelation 9:11. ("Abaddon" means  "destroyer". Arnod is the Terminator and Connan the Destroyer. While the reference to Mt. Olympus and him being 7 time Mr. Olympia sure makes you go hmmmmmmm . . .)

Arnie's the antichrist!!!



Now now.... I think that "weirdness antenna" should have gone off by now... ;-)
I found it entertaining more than anything else. I wish I had kept the email he sent me. It was actually quite articulate and fascinating. The guy was a chemist with a background in Greek and was not religious. So, unlike many who contact me, he wasn't pushing some nutball agenda.

The thing about Arnold being the Antichrist had me rolling. For those of you who do't live in CA, you reallly can't imagine how bizarre it is when Arnold comes on the radio, starts calling his opponents "girly men" and proclaming he's going to "terminate" such and such . . . and then you realize "oh my God, he's our governor." It's so weird.



In his defence, didn't Jesse the Body kinda pave the way for him? Too bad Andre the Giant is dead. He would have my vote.
I always thought we would recognize the "mark of the beast" the day we are all forced to have barcodes tatooed on our foreheads for easier processing and tracking (wink).
That's what I found thought-provoking and ironic. You see, while I don't believe in any of this stuff I do have to give the apocalyptic Christians a bit of a head nod on the "mark of the beast" being RFID tags. I thought it rather funny if it turns it is the use of oil! Means we're all going to hell because we have all taken it.



The bible does say that when this time comes, no one will be able to BUY or SELL without the name of the beast, or the number of his name, implying a connection with commerce and consumerism.
Bar Codes?  
Who knows?
Carbon atoms tend to form chains and rings with themselves.  Hydrocarbons are chemical compounds comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and sometimes other molecules (example: a hydroxil group, -OH, typically found in alcohols).
When carbon atoms form together into a ring (often refered to as a benzene ring in organic chemistry), they form a hexagonal structure, with 6 sides and 6 external valence bonds.  These are known as aromatic hydrocarbons (or arenes):

More complex polycarbons are composed of variations of this structure (such as Toluene), and sometimes multiples of it (such as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

Perhaps this is the inspiration behind such a linking of the numeral "6" with petroleum?

You are right. I overstated my case. OTOH the man is / was a tad on the agressive side and I doubt that Saudi Arabia would have been able to stop him.
Good to know, thank you.

I have a suspicion that oil going "straight up" is too easy, and I suspect it will do a few "dips", whether we're close to peak or not. The demand drivers Brazil/Russia/India/China economies will have a hiccup at some point (or US/Europe/Japan may have a recession - or there maybe a few positive supply surprises like Kashagan being bigger than admitted etc.).
When supply is closely matched to demand, there are people rushing to market from both sides who will buy or sell at any given price. Whether there are more sellers or buyers rushing in depends on timing; thats for the pit traders to play.
I see the dips as essential to build up to a still higher spike - the psychology of markets requires it to keep as many participants in doubt as possible on the way up - so I am expecting and preparing for volatility.

I may well add a natural gas future for good measure! :-)

Longterm, I do think we're going higher.

Brazil is not a demand driver.  They will be oil, and overall  energy, self-sufficient within a year.

they at least are not a problem.

There is a dispute as to whether they should export oil.

Yes - however the BRIC's are driving global economic growth at the moment, and they're the most vulnerable part of the "global economy", was what I meant ;-)
Joseph Miglietta's closing essay in our ethanol debate has been posted:

Miglietta's Closing Response

I don't plan to respond, other than in the comments at the end of the essay. The bottom line appears to be that he thinks Brazil can ramp up their ethanol production to send us more ethanol.


Robert - do you really believe that sugar cane ethanol is 8:1 EROI?

If this is true, then technically its better than gasoline, but scalability (and tradeoff with environment) is another issue. (Gasoline, per your prior examples is oil 10:1 plus 10:1 refining equals 5:1)

I don't really know if sugar cane ethanol is 8:1. I haven't seen any full-blown energy balances of the process to be able to make an independent evaluation. It may very well be a case of creative accounting, but sugar cane ethanol will definitely have a better EROI than corn ethanol. How much better? Don't know for sure.

"Coalburner" provided the following link to E3 Biofuels, who are attempting to have a grain ethanol plant that minimizes fossil fuel inputs:


If they can pull it off, it may set the standard. But if their capital costs are too high, ethanol producers will continue to depend on natural gas and coal for ethanol production. Another benefit of a fossil fuels tax would be it would penalize poor EROI producers and encourage adoption of efficient practices.


I think it was the discovery channel that did a series on sugar(cane, refined, molasis(sp) rum, etc.)  which eventually got to Brazil and thier ethanol program.  the most interesting part in terms of PO as far as us norte americano's was california's sugar beet production.  I see nothing being talked about with trying to turn beets into fuel.  It would appear from the TV show that this is the best plant for the mainland US for sugar production.
Bunch of data here:


Looks like corn beats beets on a cost basis.

It is difficult to kill the sugar cane growing in my yard.

We still grow sugar cane in South Louisiana, although less than years ago.

"california's sugar beet production."

I don't have a generally favorable opinion of ethanol [I really don't know enough to have an informed opinion], but I suppose the good news is that if sugar beets are a better way to go than corn, beets will grow in climates a whole lot more northerly than California.

I understand that sugar beets would have a worse EROIE than sugar cane because they don't have combustable fibers to create electricity.

Regarding the EROIE of sugar cane ethanol, I am sure that at certain levels it can have a very positive return.

The inputs to ethanol on top of the production of a sugar plant are basically water and electricity. If the power is generated by waste bagasse, there is very little additional energy input.

The tops of the sugar beet, as well as the leftovers from distillation are either fed to animals or returned/left in the field for cover and to return the nutrients and carbon to the soil.  Any energy accounting would include this, just as with corn.
Enjoyed reading exchanges with Miglietta. Thanks.

For the economy to muddle through the looming oil crisis, people need to get to work in the car fleet we have, from the homes we are in, for better or worse.  Ethanol, etc. are a beginning but no long-term panacea.  The time is NOW to invest heavily, public and private, in local-area public transit, some buses but mostly rail based with electric power (nuclear, wind, whatever?).  This is not regression or nostalgic, as the gentleman might describe it.  It is taking the best from the past, that was arrogantly discarded.



Miglietta wrote: "I'm confident that long before we have exhausted these reserves, we have found effective solutions to our present energy problem without having to resort to mass transportation as our only solution left. There is no reason, therefore, to panic now. We will cross that bridge when we get there".

Miami voted a few years ago on a plan to build 103 miles of elevated "Subway in the Sky".  This plan will take 25 years to build with a half cent sales tax.  When completed, 90+% of Miami will be within 3 miles of a station and over half within 2 miles.  Many will be within easy walking or bicycling range.

Miami will be "ready" after 25 years of steady building.  They and Denver have started, but most of America has not.

Just how many decades does Miglietta think that we have if most of America is not even starting to plan, much less build, an alternative ?

Miami may be 5 miles out in the Atlantic in 25 years, according to University of AZ.
Even a modest meter rise in sea level and it's gone.
I bet that Miami will be the next NO.


The IPCC estimate for sea level rise is 0.15 to 0.36 feet (NOT meters) over the next 94 (not 25) years.

You are off by an order of magnitude from the best estimates.

And the majority of the planned Miami MetroRail would still be on dry land per your link.

A number is no good without a probability associated with it, for instance:

We provide a set of 'normalized' projections, which express the extent to which climate change is likely to accelerate the rate of sea level rise. Those projections suggest that there is a 65 percent chance that sea level will rise 1 mm/yr more rapidly in the next 30 years than it has been rising in the last century. Assuming that nonclimatic factors do not change, there is a 50 percent chance that global sea level will rise 45 cm, and a 1 percent chance of a 112 cm rise by the year 2100; the corresponding estimates for New York City are 55 and 122 cm.


0.36 feet over the next 94 years would be a slowdown in sea level rise from what's happening currently.
The last IPCC projection I saw basically said, well, it's going up at 3mm/year right now so 30 cm in a century is a safe guess.
Projected sea level rise totally depends on the assumptions you make about what's gonna melt. You can project your fears or project your denial.
Regarding USA collapsing etc. I dont think USA will collapse but times can get tough and I have a selfish thought about that. Are there any businesses in for instance USA who would benefit from moving to a more peak oil "resistant" country such as a nordic country? This would probably be stupid for manny companies since you would move away from your main market and peak oil should give a lot of business opportunities. It seems to be easy to move to cheaper labour but what else is atractive? And what what would attract Americans as indivuduals? I guess the people who would feel most at home in Sweden would be those who would like to live out in the woods and who see Canada as a realy nice country.
Magnus, I spent some time with Mona Sahlin at our conference. I really liked her. I noted after her speech that I would like to find a Swedish girlfriend and apply for dual citizenship.

Sadly, I think all of these things need to be done pre-peak. Captial and people flows will be much more difficult after. Not sure Europeans will appreciate influx of Americans. Unless they got skillz.

I would from purely selfish reasons want to attract people that bring capital and skills. Nice if it makes the society I live in richer, much better if it would be good for any business I can pursue.

The prize population is probably the Israeli one if that region blows up in a conflict. They probably have a word record in intellectual and hard working culture even if they have these strange corcscrew hair people that study theology into their 30:s. :-)

I might have misinterpreted your comment, but Canada is far more urban than the USA.
Regarding USA collapsing etc. I dont think USA will collapse

I suspect that you will be right. As the global economy drifts downwards (a sudden collapse will alert too many people to what's going on, which might mean that action will be taken) what will end up happening is that the richer nations (G7 and a few others) will outsource the collapse, in much the same way that they have outsourced their industry.
Zimbabwe is an indicator of this - Mugabe's policies have led to an annual inflation rate of over 1000% - but, as has been stated before by others on TOD, as PO starts to bite, those nations with less money will end up going short of oil (and hence economy), while those with the money will be "business as (near) usual"
We're going to take action AFTER the collapse??  What are "WE" going to do, walk to Washington and flip 'em off??
I was thinking more of mooning them. The dreaded skinny ass of a middle aged guy !  
I lurk here a lot but comment rarely.  While we're on the subject of moving to a foreign country...

There's a place where you don't need heat or a/c, lots of hydro and more on the way, year round growing season, abundant water, volcanic rich soil, very low cost of living, well-established mass transportation, American-friendly people, the best economy in Central America and, lest I forget....cheap beer!  And the list goes on...

Oh yeah, I've got a US federal govt pension, should be the last thing to go....  and a pile of cash in the bank.

My only nagging concern is what happens to relatively poor economies when TSHTF.  Where I live is the principal agricultural area of Panama, a 300 mile link by highway to Panama City, population well over a million people.  Our food will be cheap (we don't need diesel tractors, the indigenous people will gladly work for a few bucks a day, and there are hundreds of thousands of them who know how to live off the land).  WE can easily survive in this tropical mountain paradise, but we're going to have to defend it, I fear.

Any thoughts?

lots of places that have low degreee heating and low degree cooling places seem on the surface idea.

However, two points draw me back to US and Canada as top choices (for me)

1) All of my friends and family live here. What fun is life without friends and family, in good times and in bad (though I can only take my mother in brief 3 day spurts...;)

2)I have said this before, perhaps not clearly. We are individuals first, tribes second, societys third. As peak oil hits and globalization shrinks in favor of more localized systems, the 'tribal algorithms' as I call them will become more prominent in our behaviours. You might be fine in panama because youve lived there for a while and have a social network. How would panamanians, costa ricans, ecuadorians, etc going to react to some 6-5 245lb, goateed pale white guy buying their grandfathers farm??? I dont exactly blend in well too many places. Im a 'good' american but american all the same.

We need to live close to our tribe. Or, for the super rich (which Im not) bring the tribe to where you live.

Hello BudinPanama,

Good for you!  Work to enhance future sustainability--spread the Peak Everything Outreach, encourage people to limit childbirths, start a massive sniper training program, don't let anyone blowup the obvious and very vulnerable target of the Canal locks to sink your economy [Panama's Achilles heel].  Can't go wrong if every time you hoist a cheap beer you consider the fate of the yeast within.  Don't forget to shout out Peakoil when your mug reaches half empty!

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

"Can't go wrong if every time you hoist a cheap beer you consider the fate of the yeast within."




I've long wondered, what if the waste we humans are producing (C02 and what not) is the beer for some higher form of life?



Gods have always enjoyed the scent of burnt offerings. Perhaps the more impressive the combustion, the better they like it.
Bud: IYO, what are the main advantages of Panama vs Costa Rica? My plans are to relocate to CR eventually but I have heard good things about Panama also.
BrianT, email me at panamaniaco@hotmail.com and we can discuss.  Bud
So says budinpanama

" Our food will be cheap (we don't need diesel tractors, the indigenous people will gladly work for a few bucks a day, and there are hundreds of thousands of them who know how to live off the land).  WE can easily survive in this tropical mountain paradise, but we're going to have to defend it, I fear."

Gee, will they call you "Big Daddy" like in the old Tennessee Williams plays or Faulkner stories?

There you have it then, and all you have to do is get you a white silk suit, and a big pistol, and stride around the viranda of the plantation house....it'll be be like the antebellum South....but thankfully your enlightened, unlike your great gran' daddy, and call the locals "indigenous people" instead of something more distressing.... (neat logic on using human beings as replacements for tractors, and it has a great precedent, remember the woodcuts of little Welsh girls used as "pit ponies" in the Welsh coal mines, because they were cheaper to feed than ponies were....

I have said this several times in several ways, but hey, I will go ahead and pizz some more folks and say it again:

The elitism and sometimes outright inhumane views of many in the peak oil community is driving people away, and not because TOD and others are not very good on the technical issues, but because many will not hang out with folks who want to use other human lives as machines (and these folks would be critical of American business and it's "imperial propensities"?) as they look forward to the big die off (which of course, we all kinda' know will empty out the third world first (wink, wink).....(notice I refuse to dwell on the racism implied, hopefully that is far, far, far less present than it sometimes seem to appear in some peoples "logic" or what passes for that....it is distressing though that so much "planning" here seems to risk passing for it at all.....)

You know, for it's faults, I think I will stay in the old U.S. and build on what we have instead of doing the "Roman decline thing" and trying to play overlord in a model of Hadrian's villa somewhere in the boonies....America, in the end, is worth defending as a real country, and I refuse to let what is essentially a technical glitch of shortage of liquid fuels for transportation (if that is an "unresolvable equation" it just means we are plain STUPID or LAZY) dissuade me from staying in the culture I know and love...

Happy Memorial Day :-), I am off to watch the 500....they are using ethanol this year instead of Methanol.....you got to give it to the ethanol crowd for public relations work even if the fuel is a bit of a boondoggle!  The stuff really will push a car though....now if we can just learn to grow corn without fertilizer >;-I  hmmmmm.....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

You can't be serious. What do you think the people who own your country have been doing (on a far grander scale) ever
 since its inception? You talk as if the USA is Sweden or Germany. It isn't.In the USA you are entitled to everything you can get-however you get it(that is the system your soldiers are dying to establish in Iraq).      
Has it occurred to you that these people love to work and make a little extra money so that they can buy some cloth to make clothing with instead of having to wear grass skirts?  We're not talking slave labor here.

And these people are called "indigenous" (or in the local dialect "cholos") because they are the native population, not because I'm an enlightened slave holder.  Shees.

I seldom, in fact ALMOST NEVER DO THIS BUT....Bullshit.

"these people love to work and make a little extra money so that they can buy some cloth to make clothing with instead of having to wear grass skirts?  We're not talking slave labor here."
I once heard a Haitian say something very philosophical...

"The rich always tell us hard work is very good.  It if were so good, the rich would not so gladly have given it to the poor."

Can I give you a heads up?  When TSHTF as you guys like to say, don't worry too much about having to defend the plantation against anglos bailing out of their quarter million dollar investment in a suburban home, they will get a 100 mile per gallon plus commuter car and install gardens and wood stove to avoid that at any cost....instead, look at those smiling of faces of the few hundred thousand "indigenous" folks who the gringos "allow" to buy clothe for a few dozen hours labor in the field....how long do you think they would put up with it when the U.S. can no longer buy the puppet regime there into protecting you, and the U.S. dollar is toilet paper, which is what the peakers are predicting?

If I were an American living abroad, especially in a third world country, my prayers would be all the more devout for peak NOT to happen under any circumstances.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Nice rant.  Are you some kind of leftist or something???
You are projecting your fear. You are angry because Bud is not afraid like you obviously are.
<You are projecting your fear.>
Plantation colonialism is frightening in it's own way to be sure.

<You are angry>

You know, that may be true...

And when some one tells me that the "darkies are happy and gay", I guess being from the South, and Kentucky which finally removed that line from it's state song, that sets off all the alarm bells....

I am getting sick to death of a bunch of boomer road warriors sneering because "they" (whoever that turns out to be) won't conserve.

I recounted on a post I did on NY TOD recently the only peak oil meeting I ever attended....and how ironic it was to watch the "peak aware" suburban boomers come and go in SUV's while they insisted that the proberbial "they" need to ride mass transit, "they" need to buy smaller cars or take a bike, "they" need to understand....
(that's where my user name came from by the way, ThatsItImout, because I DO NOT consider myself one who beleives that it is some "they" that must change so that I can have enough fuel to live in an upmarket suburb with a big truck and have access to cheap fuel if only I can somehow force "them" to live like a primitive  (I said, as I clattered away from the above peak meeting in my Diesel Mercedes stick shift 4 cylinder)

The elitism implicit in telling the poor and the third world poor that if "they" will only stay poor and get poorer, I can go on, but "they" need to understanding indeed can finally send any humane person into anger.

I do however, still study, communicate and try in my own small way to make people think about the horrid implications in some of what passes for "logic" in a supposed post peak world  (It is fascinating to me how often it is so ingrained and accepted in the "aware" community that no one even notices the implications!) by those who are "aware"  (how ironic that term!)

The anger is directed and pushed forward by this:  Oil depletion is a SERIOUS issue, natural gas peaking and future depletion is a SERIOUS issue, and the ideas inspired by the original thinkers in the "aware" community and the people since who have done serious study are starting to gain a voice in the mainstream.  We MUST now retain the humane voice in our communications if we are to not be dismissed as....(??)  We will be held responisble for out communication, every "movement", "cause" , "party", "philosophy" or whatever you want to call the Peak "aware" community, always will be held responsible for in some way for it's won communications.

 Now I am going to be very frank here, and name call all you want to:

If we tie the so called "peak aware movement" to neo-colonial, neo fascist, neo plantation movements, we disgrace the original ideas of M. King Hubbert and others who handled the issue as what it is:  A technical issue that could have very great effects on any technical society, be it leftest, moderate or conservative.  (the praise for Cuba is another bit of idiotic thinking but we deal with that on another day)

Peak Oil is not an excuse to bring out the worst type of colonial dreams.  It is not an excuse for fascist dreams. It is not an excuse for a "people's Republic" that will FORCE the "people" to comply under fear of threat.  It is not an excuse for dreams of the ole' plantation.  Now, there always was, are, and will be plenty of those dreams about the planet even if so called "Peak" did not exist.  We certainly don't need "Peak" to recruit for them.  

I have friends and business associates I have recommended to TOD, for the news links, for the fascinating discussions of supply, for the sharing of information about alternatives, consumption, and the debate that can help us move to a more sustainable and humane situation.

Some have come back to me in dismay and said, "don't send me to any more of that crap"....with the opinion that much discussion they read was elitist at best, and outright "eugenics by way of fuel shortage" at worst.  Sorry, that's just the way these moderate (by the way, leftist?  Is that the new definition of seeing plantation thinking for what it is?) middle class home owners and business people saw it.

I defended that this was not normally the case, and the reason I go back is for the information, the very clever thinking about energy.  Thats why, despite my reservations, I come back.

Long and short:  "Peak Oil aware" folks should be careful to retain some humanity, and not make visiting too hard to defend.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

You lost me...

You are welcome to follow the string backward, it should be self explanatory...and you could have said, "You lost me, what did you mean by....(enclose statement causing confusion)..."

But when someone says "You lost me", and gives no further explanation, what it often means is...."you made me uncomfortable by questioning core tenents of belief..."

I am giving the benefit of the doubt, and assume you meant to enclose exactly where I lost you but then simply forgot to....

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

You're right. I diagnose too much pot, beer and television for  that person's comment.
Neofascist? Because an American would prefer to live somewhere else on the planet? You're projecting again. Who died and made you Fuhrer?

Budinpanama said...
"Has it occurred to you that these people love to work and make a little extra money so that they can buy some cloth to make clothing with instead of having to wear grass skirts?  We're not talking slave labor here.

to which I replied, Bullshit.

BrianT said....
"Neofascist? Because an American would prefer to live somewhere else on the planet? "

Of course, living somewhere else has nothing to do with it, does it  (and it is true that I could have unintentionally underestimated the pure spirit of charity  involved in Bud's great sacrifice to get Panamanian field workers into real clothes?

As I said, where you live was NOT the focus of the exchange....
But then, you knew that, didn't you?

Roger Conner  ThatsItImout

WAIT!  This whole exchange has given me a brainstorm!

As Bud said, "Our food will be cheap (we don't need diesel tractors, the indigenous people will gladly work for a few bucks a day...

That should be true in the U.S. too!!  This could cure the EROEI problem of the ethanol industry!  We simply let the boomers who are unemployed by the coming recession plant and harvest the corn by hand....their wives and spoiled brats will "love to work"....the women pull he corn from the stalk by hand while the guys pull the wagons to get it to a railhead!  Problem solved!!
They could replace the tractors and combines!

(By the way, have you ever pulled and shucked corn by hand? Not just enough to eat, but enough to feed livestock?
I have)

Americans are hard workers, once we show them the glorious contribution they can make to keep their more prosperous fellow citizens in SUV's and speedboats throught their hard but "fun" field labor.

Of course some may have their doubts.  The late country singer Tammy Wynette all through her career as a singer/entertainer, kept a cotton bulb on her make up dresser in front of the mirror where she could see it everyday. Plucked from a plant near her childhood home of Tremont, Mississippi where she had picked cotton as a girl, she was once asked why she kept it in such a prominent spot like it was a valued object.

She said "It reminds me everyday of why I work so hard to be successful.  I won't to remember that, whatever it takes, I will NEVER, ever, go back to that."

She just never seemed to understand what "fun" labor in the fields is.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Bleah I ought to keep a haolekoa pod for the same reason, used to pick, soak, split, curl and dry those babies for $1 a french bread bag full, I'd honestly keep one around but I'd not stand the smell however faint.

fleam, thanks for a bit of an excuse to do a botony lesson, I was not familiar with haole koa except in the most causual way by seeing it in readings....I had once wondered what those weird looking seed pods were!

My least favorite plant to harvest from my more "agricultural" days was cucumbers!  They are hard to pick, they leave a "fuzz" on you that itches and breaks your hands and arms, heavy to carry around and handle, and the price was horrific!

My three sisters and I once worked hard for a whole summer harvesting cucumbers, but due to a rainy season, had to work in the mud to try to get them out before they got too big  (the pickle companies would cheat too, and continously move the price and size point for desired product to get the cucumbers cheaper!)

Anyway, a HARD SUMMER in the hot sun, insect bites, rashes, sunburns, but in the end we got paid...and after we took out the expenses, we had, for a full summer work, $30 dollars apiece!  :-(

yeah, working in the fields is a real kick for laughs alright!  I can smile now, but I NEVER want to go back, and like your haolekoa pod, a cucumber would be too smelly for me as a keepsake!  :-)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I guess I underestimated your sensitivity to Bud's "grass skirts" comment. Re money, I agree with you. I have been poor and I have been wealthy. Wealthy is more fun.  


Yeah, I have been poor and I have been.....uh, well, anyway, your probably right about the latter!  :-)

Rog  known here as ThatsItImout

You need to go and take your pills.  You will feel better.
They love to work?  Well actually they do! Here in the US and send that money home so those poor people can buy a TV and a PU to go along with the cloth to make some clothes so that they don't have to wear a grass skirt.  They want to drive a mercedes too! Just like you.  I love the quote about how the rich say we should be happy to work.  You say BS.  I think it sounds like so many whinny white people here as well. "I want everything (retirements, health care, you name it) and I think that the rich person should give it to me."  America sold out to cheap labor with walmart and the like ("that giant sucking sound?" Ross Perot... right sound - wrong country).  And don't even think that ANYONE will be willing to put up with all he BS that it takes to run a business for the same money as a line worker IT WILL NOT HAPPEN.  Wait a second I have to go beat my crew again, damn people won't go home.  They want to work overtime...they like that work and the money too.  It's just too hard for you to understand about wanting a better life when you at at the top.  I bet you don't share your house with three other families and realize this is better than anything is Mexico.  Talk about a good way to utitilize suburbia- send the whinny white folks to panama and bring the brown people up here.  They carpool to work , grow gardens, and are friendlier too.  Americans need a good bitch slapping...Shees...(anger management?...opps here is some more...)  
Don't waste your time informing your friends.  You better get ready because this train is going over the cliff.  We have had soo many crying wolf stories about energy( 1970's, Enron) that the public is not going to get it up for another one.  I agree that we should conserve but the price is going to have to go up alot first.  I personaly do not trust the powers that be to invest in anything meaningful to help us.  That $ is going to help thier fat ass friends in the Pork Barrel Corn Fuel Program.  There is going to have to be some crisis the likes of which this generation has not experienced.  Rant and rave all you want, until the 2x4 hits everone on the head this isn't going to change much at all.  I SERIOUSLY wonder if disease, famine and war is a mother natures way of fixing a problem?  We act so above it all.  Read the Natural Geographic artical on allergies- we are just another living organism.  Are humans smarter than yeast?  You gotta love that one- I do. Sincerly, Dave (who thinks we are all delusional)          
Yeah!!!! I can't stand "whinny" white people, by Odin's beard ppl we palefaces were once the hardest working mofos on the planet, who died and made us all  chinese mandarins?? When did working hard become something to be ashamed of? By God we ought to all have a print of Van Gogh's "Potato Eaters" on our wall and hail them as heroes. Our winning the US continent was not pretty, but we did not do it by being lazy-asses. And we are going to lose it at this rate by being lazy-asses.
and I refuse to let what is essentially a technical glitch of shortage of liquid fuels for transportation (if that is an "unresolvable equation" it just means we are plain STUPID or LAZY) dissuade me from staying in the culture I know and love.

thats where your wrong. this is not just a transportation fuel problem it's a resource depletion problem. oil and natural gas are used for allot more then making gasoline and burning for electricity.
Sure, oil is useful for lots of stuff. But here in the good ol' USA we use 70% of the oil for transportation, mostly for overengined cars stuck in traffic jams with one person behid the wheel. I drive a paid for 4 cylinder Saturn that gets between 28(city) and 35 MPG(highway when I drive 55). If we all did the same the US would need no imports and the price of oil would drop worldwide, we would cut air pollution and slow global warming.And, we would not be at the peak of deliverability. If we laid railroad tracks down the middle of our highways and let the fools stuck in traffic look on enviously as the train rushed by we would save even more oil. And if we only have one child the population would decrease in 30 or 40 years to a sustainable level. How about just a little self-restaint and common sense as a solution ? The TV news people love a oversimplified crisis so we can all experience the delicious thrill of worry, and so do the pols because the can be heroes. Conservation and self restain are unexciting and boring, its more fun to invade other counties and blame other people for the consequences of our own behavior.Its more fun to fantasize about living in the mountains shooting your fellow humans wandering in ravening packs than to use a little family planning.
Two interesting articles in the NY Times.
First, the debate over coal -- use it because the Chinese and Indians are or clean it up. Good global warming framework.

2 Industry Leaders Bet on Coal but Split on Cleaner Approach
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/28/business/28coal.html?hp&ex=1148875200&en=2cffad8d8e32d294& amp;ei=5094&partner=homepage

The second "Oil Could Top $105 in Major Supply Outage: Expert"

J.P. MOrgan says:
"``The world is running out of easy barrels of crude production,'' she said, adding that marginal costs of production are rising."

Edward Morse, executive adviser with Hess Energy Trading Co., said that between 1965 and 2004, total Asian oil demand has risen 620 percent while world oil demand was up by 158 percent"
n the supply side, spare capacity is gone, traditional areas of oil production are mature and areas with growth are geopolitically or demographically challenged, Murti noted.

``We believe that oil markets are in the early stages of what we are calling a multi-year 'super-spike' period,'' Murti added.

Murti said total non-OPEC crude supply has grown in recent years mostly due to Russia, but excluding Russia the supply from producers that are outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has been essentially flat in recent years.

``Effective production capacity -- that what actually can come out of the ground today -- is pretty close to zero,'' he said.

What is a super-spike? Prices?

Quote of the day from the 1928 WE FIGHT FOR OIL

It is even probable that the supremacy of nations may be determined by the possession of available petroleum and its products.
  . . . President Coolidge

And this from S.W. PERSIA by Arnold Wilson (later an MP). Published in the 1930's, he penned this before WWI. From the Arab corner of Persia/Iran:

(the British agent) came up . . . to negotiate the agreements with the Shaikh of Mohammerah on behalf of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. . . . The negotiations were prolonged for three or four days; for the Shaikh it was a momentous occasion. He was called upon actively to assist in the establishment within his bailiwick of a company which, as he foresaw, would eventually overshadow all other commercial and other interests and would inevitably cause the Persian Government to seek to extend their administration (hitherto delegated to him) to every part of Arabistan - a country as different from Persia as is Spain from Germany. As an Arab he hated and feared such a prospect as did his people. (p93)

Hello TODers,

Here we go!  First named tropical storm for North America: Aletta, down Mexico way.  Probably not much damage will accrue from this storm, but who knows?


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

From the MSM: "News Flash, We're running out of Oil, Get used to it."  Reality is starting to sink in....no more cheap oil. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/26/AR2006052600900.html
Hello GLT149,

Simply Terrific! Please submit to EnergyBulletin.net or maybe the TOD webhonchos will do it for you.

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

Finally a little sense from the newspapers. I wish you guys at the Oil Drum exhibited the same. I'm 54 and have heard apocoliptic BS since I was a young child being told to duck and cover at my school desk in Houston.
   The only real solution is for people to take a little real responsibility and start conserving energy. Think just a little and don't project your own personal fear of death on to the whole wide world. Invest  your personal assets in companies making clean technologies or producing cheap energy responsibly and don't give it to the exploiters of our world or other people. Watch what people do and don't listen to their nonsense.
   The major oil companies are all building big Liquified natural gas terminals, not hydrogen or ethanol. And the reason is obvious if you go to most warehouses in America. Any internal combustion engine can be modified to run on gas for a couple of thousand dollare for a new fuel tank and a little carbureator adjustment. There is no carbon monoxide (thats why they are in warehouses) and only about 5% of the pollution. And the majors have huge natural gas reserves, but so does the United States. Only in the last 20 years have we begun exploring below 10,000 ft., and we have doubled or tripled the amount of new acreage in the US by drilling and producing the deeper stuff.
  We haven't touched the gas hydrates offshore, and coal is easily converted to gas. The city of London was doing the gas conversion 150 years ago.
   The main problem with running out is that the gasoline refineries become useless and the auto industry will have to retool. They hate to spend money, and could care less about what happens to the world as we drown in their feces. Peak oil is real and also peak gas, but they will probably outlast all of us although not as cheap as we would like. So be like the grasshopper, run and play while its still summer and not like the stupid ant who hoards food and tries to bite everyone while winter comes along. After all, all this survivalist trash still wont prevent all of us from being dead in 50 years anyway.
  1. I really dont think anyone knows how much gas we have and much of what we do have is stranded. New wells in US are dry in 18 months - that used to be 10 years+.

  2. AlphaMaleProphetofDoom should expect to be alive in 50 years - he's only 27. And more readers like him

  3. NG only 5% of the pollution? That is an example of using narrow boundaries - I assume you are talking about the end consumer pollution, not about the landscape and water pollution that goes into the drilling processes.

4)Re: Apocolyptic BS. Do you think the planet has enough oil and gas for 7 billion people? 10 billion? 15 billion? 50 billion? Will we ever run out of food and energy?

4a)note: telling the planet to conserve and just get by with what it needs not what it 'wants' is like telling your 89 year old friend Ted that he has enough money and he should read a book and take some naps instead of drilling new oil wells.

I got a vasectomy when I turned 40, had only one son, drive a four cylinder 1997 saturn that gets between 30 mpg in the city and 33 to 35 mpg on the highway. I live in a small apartment in Galveston and save my money.And I make over $100k per year.
2. How long a well lasts depends on how long a person is willing to produce it. Almost any well will continue to ooze 2 or 3 barrels a day for many years, even after the primary production and secondary production has slowed. If you don't believe me go to Spindletop in Jefferson County, Texas and look, or Saratoga or Batson. All of these fields are over a hundred years old and still producing. But there aren't any 100,000 barrel per day gushers to be drilled up there, but there are probably lots of 100 barrel per day wells to be drilled on the flanks.
 You are absolutely right is the problem is a populaion problem. ^00 million people in the first world used up half the oil and if the third world folks emulate our stupid behavior, we will be in terrible shape. So restrain your urge to reproduce. I did.  
I am actually fairly impressed with the MSM starting to talk about Peak Oil.  It's much earlier than I expected. But the average Soccer Mom is still clueless, and not really worried or overly concerned yet.  Until there are lines at the gas station, the average American will just spend more for gasoline and less on other stuff.  If Europe can handle $6-7 per gallon gasoline, we can handle it.  The American dream continues....
our economy cant handle $6-$7 gas. Europe 'on average' doesnt have people living near Philadelphia commuting to Wash Dc or hundreds of thousands of people driving 30-50 miles into Atlanta for work M-F.  Our culture is much more transport centric.

Id be curious to see average vehicle miles driven per person in Europe vs US, as well as average car size, average people per car, average mileage etc. I expect someone reading this has those numbers (AlanfromBigEasy odds on favorite)

The best data that I seen is from:


Data for 1990 shows that in the United States, more than thirteen percent of the GRP in the thirteen cities studied was used for transportation expenses, while in Europe the portion was nearly forty percent lower, at about eight percent. In developed Asian metro areas, just five percent of GRP was used for transportation expenses. These expenses include both the personal costs of driving and taking transit, and the shared costs of running transit service.

This despite MUCH higher gas prices in Europe and Asia.

Good transit cities spent less than poor transit cities to get around; oncluding the extra taxes.

The best data that I have seen is from:


Data for 1990 shows that in the United States, more than thirteen percent of the GRP in the thirteen cities studied was used for transportation expenses, while in Europe the portion was nearly forty percent lower, at about eight percent. In developed Asian metro areas, just five percent of GRP was used for transportation expenses. These expenses include both the personal costs of driving and taking transit, and the shared costs of running transit service.

This despite MUCH higher gas prices in Europe and Asia.

Good transit cities spent less than poor transit cities to get around; including the extra taxes.

Well, what can a person say except "Oh brother....and these are 'our' aware?  These are our allies?  Oh brother....."

I am referencing the above discussed newspaper  (in what has to be an op ed piece, because no major newspaper would run such as "news") item called:
News Flash: We're Running Out of Oil. Get Used to It.
By Warren Brown

First, let us take the headline:  "News Flash: We're Running Out of Oil. Get Used to It."

Now of course every, EVERY "Peak Oil" primer will tell you that "Peak oil does not mean we are running out of oil."  It is with the greatest of importance that this point is stated by the "Peak Oil" community and for good reasons.
(a)  Because we started running out of oil back in the 1800's when the first barrel was extracted.  To say we are "running out" is a non-sensical and non usable concept.  It's like saying that when you are born, you begin to die.  True of couse, but not much use as a diagnostic tool.  
(b) It makes people who say it sound like dingbats, and thus easily refuted and easily dismissed with derision.

But, Mr. Brown stays on the theme:
Here is the hard truth:

Oil is running out.

Then it gets even better:
"It probably will not disappear before many baby boomers and their immediate progeny run out of life. But it will disappear.  Every oil company knows that."

Well, of course, NO oil company knows that, and in fact, they know just the opposite.  In the true sense, the world will never "run out" of oil.   There will always be oil somewhere in some quantity.  Now it may be in places that would make it too expensive to extract, or are techically too challenging to extract, or in diffuse pockets that would make it impossible to extract at even astronomically high prices.  But, make no mistake, we never will (a) be able to find it all or (b) be able to afford to extract it all.  There is a reason that the oil and gas companies love to start speeches if their goal is to humiliate the "Peak Oil" idea, by saying "There are those who say we are running out of oil!"
They set up a strawman like that and then proceed to dice and slice it.

Of course, given this start, one can only know the rest of the piece is going to be intellectually above grade, right?  And so we are not surprised to read...

"There is no cheap gasoline."  Now of course, most of the folks at TOD seem to be somewhat of the view that there is far too much cheap gasoline.  It is cheaper by far here than in Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc.

 Interestingly, as we decry the fact that these nations are competing unfairly with us, and that the Euro is going to devour the dollar, we claim that "high gasoline prices will destroy the economy"  (!!!!!!)  Gee, you think they would be at least a bit harmful to Europe, Korea and Japan, but they pay twice as much for gasoline, and gut us like freshly caught fish....but, says our Mr. Brown, "There is no cheap gasoline."

Gasoline is so cheap even now in the U.S., that Mr. Brown assures us that he and his friends are going to be dragging around the ole' RV this summer, and that your better off to keep old poor fuel economy cars, because obviously, money costs more than gasoline.  Hybrids are non-sensical in his view (we will return to that), because of the cost  (so the gas couldn't be that high, or the return on higher mileage hybrids would be better, and pay for the premium....but I thought "There is no cheap gasoline."  (??)

Now as Mr. Brown says, "Take the hybrid car thing."  Yes, let's take it, and try to follow the logic:
" Gas-electric hybrids constitute barely 1 percent of the nearly 17 million new cars and trucks sold in the United States. They are a marginal percentage of the fleets of Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co., the three major car companies that make them. Hybrid battery and related technologies are changing so quickly, the hybrid vehicle you buy today might not be the one you'll want to keep tomorrow."

When I was in Junior High School, do you know what the market penetration of home computers was?  ZERO POINT ZERO.  That's right folks, it was an industry that DID NOT exist.  So the one percent hybrid penetration of a 17 million car market is already HUGELY ahead of the first years of the home computer market....and note that THREE major oil companies are building them.  Do you know how many MAJOR computer makers were involved in the first days of the home computer?  That's right again, ZERO POINT ZERO.  That is no indication of the potential of the market.

Then, a truly interesting leap of logic:  "Hybrid battery and related technologies are changing so quickly, the hybrid vehicle you buy today might not be the one you'll want to keep tomorrow."

(????)  well, yeah, but what does that tell us?  People bought Commadore 64 computers and Radio Shack kit's in the late 1970's to have a computer, KNOWING that later ones would be better.  The only way to get used to a technology and learn to use and develop it IS to build it, use it, and develop it.  By Mr. Brown's logic, no would buy a cell phone because after all, the ones a few years from now will be better!!  That is the most inverse logic I have ever heard in my life of how people buy and use technology, and how the manufacturers decide what technology to build.  

Part of this seems to be the problem by Mr. Brown, like so many Americans, of "knowing the price of everything, but the value of nothing."  He says, "Presumably, your goal in getting a less fuel-thirsty car is to save money. But how can you save money by wasting it?"

He is correct if he means a person should not buy a new car before they need one for "fuel economy only."  However, many  people buy new cars before they need then anyway.  One of the biggest reasons is "because I was tired of the old one."  Most people view a car as more than a commodity applience, and want various degrees of power, style, technology, comfort, and the very elusive quality of, "I want a car that says THIS (whatever that is) aboout me!"

Mr.  Brown,  here's the newsflash:  Buying a car with anything above the minimal performance, weight, styling and comfort needed to move about is already a waste of money.  What people are deciding on is how they want to waste it.  I know young people who buy a car and then put "hydraulics" on it, so that they can hit a switch and raise and lower one end or the other, or the whole car, or make it "hop" and "wallow" from side to side.

This is very heavy, expensive and involved technology, with pumps, cylinders, controllers, and motors, and there is an industry that specializes in the equipment, the sales and installation, and the promotion of such aftermarket accessories that dwarfes the scale of the "electric hybrid industry".  

How would any buyer justify that?  It actually costs fuel economy as well as money, and is expensive and troublesome to maintain.....why?

Because it says something about the buyer.  

Make no mistake, the hybrids will get better, they will astound even the cynics very soon!  And like the first adapters of computers, those who buy them now are not buying them to save money, but for what the product "says" about them, just as early buyers of computers often had no idea exactly what they wanted to do with one, but simply wanted to a "computer owner", people who buy hybrids simply want to be, and want to be percieved as "advanced", "forward thinking" and involved in what will be the bridge to the future.

And guess what?  Even in their current primitive form, Hybrids are not bad little cars and trucks, the reviews have been good!

And so, Mr. Brown closes with his beginning faulty assertion:
" We want a national energy policy that deals firmly, fairly, sensibly with the reality that oil is running out."

No we don't.  We want a government that allows all the types of energy a chance to play in a fair market, to prove the efficiencies they can generate, and to augment oil, natural gas, LPG, coal, electric production and as yet unknown types of energy, and encourages humane treatment of the produceers AND the users of energy without encouraging waste (because people need no encouragement to waste!), and that does not make a serious issue appear foolish by telling people "We are running out."

The equation is very simple:  Energy production (liquid fuel for transportation first, because that is the most pressing issue) must go up, and/or, energy consumption  (liquid fuel for transportation first, because that is the most pressing issue) must go down.  IT WILL HAPPEN.  The only goal of the governement should be to see that the above increased production or "demand destruction" and the olmost certain combination of the two is done in the most humane way possible. Remember this sentence:  TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE....", to defend and preserve the Constitution and TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE.....THAT is what we want from our government.

Even the very bad scenario of oil production put forth by Colin Campbell based on the work of M. King Hubbert shows the world producing as much oil in 2050 as it did in 1970...a LOT of oil, and that's the absolute WORST CASE SCENARIO which also says we are essentially peaked before 2010 or ABOUT NOW.

And of course even that scenario never makes an ass of itself by claiming "We are running out of oil."

Roger Conner  known to you ThatsItImout

For MSM the Washington Post article wasn't all that bad.  We need to encourage the MSM to continue stepping out into this brave new world of Peak Oil.  They have a lot more readers than we do.  I hope they continue their reporting.  Maybe they could email us for some tips for future articles.
You, sir, are exactly correct. I remimber when my friend's mother worked doing Geophysical processing for Shell in 1963 and we went to see her computer. Four floors of glowing tubes and air conditioning! Now, I can buy a scientific calculaor that does as much or more for a hundred dollars or so and fits in my hand. I think the outlook for our world is a lot more optomistic than the Apocolypse preachers present. But, to quote T. Boone Pickens there is probably no one solution, but rather many, including conservation and new technology. But, instead of Survivalist hiding out in the mountains and burying gold coins I'm going to conserve and help drill wells.

You make some very good points but I think getting into a hissy fit about the expression "we're running out of oil" is overkill.  Of course we are running out of oil.  That there will always be some left doesn't change that fact in the slightest.  Every drop we use is a drop that isn't being replaced for hundreds of millions of years.  One day not to far distant the energy cost of mining oil will be almost as much as the effective energy yield from the mined product.  At that point we, for all practical purposes, will have run out of oil.

Collectively we've made what looks like a bad bet on Nuclear and Fusion power replacing oil.  Everyone with half a brain has known that eventually mined hydrocarbon energy would be exhausted and need to be replaced.  The bet didn't pan out and we're caught with our skivvies down.  Tough luck but that's how the cookie crumbles in this old reality based world of ours.

Good one! Early home computers SUCKED ASS. But ppl still bought them and built them. There wasn't even that much useful you could do with them unless you wanted a super programmable calculator to do math stuff with more memory than an HP-41. BBS's changed things though, and small businesses found them useful for doing stuff that was much more laborious to do by hand on a calc, and the "microcomputer" industry just took off.
Today was the Indy 500 car race. Sam Hornish Jr. won the race. Fun question: Who in their right mind would drive 500 miles just for a bottle of milk? I sure wouldn't! If I were to have won that celebration of fuel consumption, I would want a bottle of champagne poured all over me and my flight suit. And I mean the top shelf stuff too!

What a bloody waste. Here's a cool thing to add to the Indy 500. Have a pre-determined amount of fuel available to each driver. If they run out of fuel, tough luck. Each year, you subtract a gallon from each contestant's allotment of fuel. For best results, you each year determine by coin flip if it's methanol or diesel. The car designers get to design accordingly!

I liked your post, good fun, so I couldn't resist making this my last reply for the night...., all in good fun....:-)

Did you say Champagne instead of milk?  HERESY!  In a country that tried to create "freedom fries", Champagne is just toooo European!  (By the way, the winning team gets a bit more than just the milk for the 500 mile drive! :-)

Your other idea on alternative rules to make auto racing, the 500 in particular more fuel efficient and relavent are interesting.  We have to note that Indy cars in particular burn NO gasoline.  They have been using methanol since the 1960's at least (maybe longer, I forget the year they changed) and are now moving over to ethanol as part of the ethanol industry PR campaign....the original switch to alcohol fuel was made amazingly for safety reasons, because due to it's lower BTU per pound, it was more survivable in fires caused by crashes.  The downside is that it burns with an invisable flame, so it is tricky, though.

Back to auto racing....I cannot figure out why electric auto racing has never caught on.  I know, there have some of the "Electrothon" type races, but mostly for high school/vocational school kids, and the "solar challenge", but what would be interesting is a 500 mile race for electric cars, no recharge allowed, on a closed course like Indianapolis!  Would any cars be able to finish?  If not, then the number of miles covered in a certain amount of minutes would decide the winner!  it would be interesting to see cars drop out, one by one, as they exhausted the batteries, and only the best remained on the track near the finish.

General Electric, advanced battery makers like Toshiba, and hybrid car makers like Toyota would make great sponsers, and it would be a great way to advance the art of the electric car and more importantly, batteries and energy controller/converter systems.

When the Indianapolis 500 was born in 1911, it's mission was to prove the long range ability of the early autos available at that time.  It was a major way to test and prove technology, and also get people to trust the reliability of the automobile, so it was also a sales tool.

Auto racing has lost that aspect, as the rules limit the builders to more and more conventional and reactionary drivetrains and technology.  It has become more "show business" than it's original role as testbed of technology.

To survive, it is going to have to move to more advanced thinking.

The charge that the racing itself is a huge waste of oil of course is false.  The fans use FAR more energy getting to the track than the race cars use (and as we said,in the case of Indy car and also top class drag racing, the fuel is methanol/ethanol anyway).  The above is true for any major sporting event, whether it be the Super Bowl or the World Series or even the horse propelled Kentucky Derby!  It is the fans that consume the great bulk of fuel in getting there.

But auto racing has a unique position among all sport to actually advance the state of the technology as it relates to energy and transportation.  IF the organizers will use it for that.  It could be fun, educational and constructive in a way that it has never been!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Auto racing has lost that aspect, as the rules limit the builders to more and more conventional and reactionary drivetrains and technology. It has become more "show business" than it's original role as testbed of technology.

So true; the Indy lost all interest for me after 1967.

Hi TOD'ers. I found this graph in the SF Cron., and I thought it was good at showing the price of oil with inflation included. db

Clearly their break-even line must represent 'gross' revenue and not 'net' after environmental externalities are factored in.
thanks for you comment sasquatch: the point I was refering to with the graph, was we hat $70 oil for 2 years. I can't remember how much we were paying at the pump. It seemed to me it was more about shortages than price. db
I'm surprised no one has commented on the drop in Saudi production. I know they say it's because of drop in demand, but is anyone else cutting back for that reason, especially at these prices?
Only this one source - Petrologistics - seems to be claiming there is a decline so far.
There are almost as many opinions as there are sources.
True - we'll wait and see.
 does anybody know the current data on the quality of Saudi crude? If it is more sour (containing more sulfur) and heavier gravity(thickness, like degrees in motor oil) then it tepresents a serious decline , possibly as much as the 8% estimated by Schlumberger...also, have they begun CO2 or surfacant injection yet? Inquiring minds want to know!