DrumBeat: June 4, 2006

Now for some wise words from the readers of The Oil Drum...
PO hits the MSM in the comix today. At this time (8:30 CDT) today's comic wasn't on the website, but check out Opus in your Sunday paper. Regards, DIY
That was it, exactly. Last week's strip had a suburbanite euthanizing her SUV and this week it's some vaguely Arabic-looking characters with a big oil drum.

Granted, Breathed's strips are more about lefty politics than energy, but the squid oil Vespa just grabbed my attention.

Also in the paper, did anyone notice that Parade has an online poll/question regarding raising taxes on gasoline?
What is the link to the poll ?

Adding a hundred or so pro-tax votes might be a small drop.

The gas tax poll was running about 74% against last I checked. Incidentally, Bill Frist is being replaced in next election; hopefully by a more environmentally friendly politico.
Just voted (in keeping with how westexas might vote, just to be clear).

As of now, the tally is 708 responses. 30% for the tax, 69% against. C'mon, people, we can do better than that. Vote!

Don't tell Bill Frist.  
Wow I didn't know he (Berkley Brethed?) was still alive. My son currently enjoys his comics (although doesn't get some of them)with Bill the Cat, Opus running for Pres., et al...
Right on.
He took an eight year vacation after stepping on a lot of rather sensitive toes back in the '90s. I always loved the way he did that... I don't remember when he first reappeared in the Austin paper, but think it was 2 or 3 years ago.
I was at UT when he wrote (drew ?) for the Daily Texan.  MUCH funnier then !

Campus newspaper, young & wild !

BITING satire !

(Yes, Robert, I noted that you went to the 2nd best engineering (or 3rd after Rice) school in Texas located in that dreary village).

From AP:

Hungry ethanol plants consume 20% of corn crop

Ethanol production in the United States is growing so quickly that, for the first time, farmers expect to sell as much corn this year to ethanol plants as they do overseas.

"It's the most stunning development in agricultural markets today - I can't think of anything else quite like this," says Keith Collins, the U.S. Agriculture Department's chief economist.

Given the rather paltry contribution of ethanol, this just shows how dangerous and stupid this whole ethanol enterprise is. Meat eaters, beware.  Next there won't be any corn left to feed your sacred cows.
you can still feed your sacred cows with what's left over from making ethanol.  It's called dried distiller's grains and it's a premium feed because of all the yeast protein.  The only downside with ethanol is that it's not the total solution (nothing will be).  
Does it give you pause when you make a statment on this blog that is wrong,distiller's grain, you should reflect about your ideas because there is so much we all don't know
I am refering to tstreet's comment
Thanks for the warning.  Clearly we'll be so utterly insane, collectively, to ignore all the warning signs and continue to ramp up our use of corn for ethanol production until "there won't be any left to feed [our] sacred cows."

To assume otherwise would be to give human beings and possibly the Evil Market some credit for avoiding a catastrophe, and we know that can't be true.

Electrical and Oil Problems in the Dominican Republic

As was generally expected, after the artificial good days that led into the election, power blackouts have returned with a vengeance. The real truth behind the spate of blackouts is financial. Power generators are supplying lesser amounts of electricity as they await payments on arrears owed by the government-run Edesur and Edenorte power distribution companies. Power outages are now reportedly lasting for approximately 10 hours at a stretch. El Caribe reports that the blackouts have not worsened because hydroelectric power generators are supplying 307 megawatts to the national grid. According to the grid's coordinating office, there was a generation supply deficit of 31% of the demand.

Hoy newspaper also reports that propane gas supply problems have similarly returned after a period of respite during the elections. The Dominican Petroleum Refinery dispatches have slowed again, as there have been delays in the arrival of tankers due to payment arrears.

Latin American Presidents Agree on Sweeping Energy Plan

LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Seeking relief from soaring energy prices and dependence on foreign oil, leaders of 10 Latin American nations agreed Saturday to push forward a sweeping energy plan that includes the construction of a liquefied natural gas plant, a hydroelectric dam and a pipeline stretching from Mexico to Panama.

But the most important details of the energy project were postponed, such as where to build a proposed $6.5 billion refinery that would provide up to 360,000 barrels of oil a day.

Guatemala and Panama were the leading contenders for the multinational refinery, billed as the largest project in Latin America since the Panama Canal.

"At this meeting there is not going to be a decision on choosing a location. That is a decision that will go after the investments are made," Mexican President Vincente Fox told reporters Saturday before a presentation with Dominican President Leonel Fernandez.

The refinery project is expected to be funded by private investors who have not been named. Those investors will choose the refinery's location under an agreement signed by the leaders Saturday, officials said.

Fox said the refinery, to which Mexico would provide about two-thirds of the supply, will help Central American countries struggling under the soaring cost of oil.

"For the first time, they will have competitive energy prices like we have in Mexico," Fox said.

Mexican Energy Secretary Fernando Canales has said the refinery would provide oil at $8 less a barrel than open-market prices.

Presidents and foreign ministers from the 10 countries met for the summit's second day at the Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, 70 miles east of the capital, Santo Domingo.

The summit included representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Yesterday there was a pretty good question about what people's earned return on investment was for peak oil activism. I guess I'm different from most of the folks, I hope to get financial advantages from my activism as well as the personal reward of helping our society adjust to peak oil.
  I became interested in the topic in the early 1980's when I read a very interesting article/book published by the Bureau of Economic Geology titled "Potential for Additional Oil Recovery in Texas". I can't remember the authors, but I do recall the premise that over 95% of the oil in Texas had been discovered but only about 20% had been produced. This was because of reservoir charictaristics(I'm a consistently bad speller), early production practices that left oil stranded in old fields, and early abandonment due to economic conditions. I started professionally to specialise in a particular type of structure-salt domes-and put together several prospects and got them drilled.
  The fall in oil prices of 1986(from $28.00/bbl to $12/bbl) finally squeezed me out of landwork until last year. But I stayed interested and worked a little in the mean time.
   There is still lots of oil out there that can and will be produced.But I've realised that this phenomina is true worldwide. And since then I've become interested in global warming and the carbon dioxide problem.
   A huge problem in the US oil and gas industry is the retirement and death of the men with experience and education necessary to develop and produce old oil fields. I'm 54, but even the guys of my age group in the oil patch never got the experience to mess with old fields.
  So I guess I'm more of an optomist than many TOD contributors. I believe that US production can be increased and the plateau of peak oil extended a long time. But our country is nuts not to develop alternatives as quickly as possible and to conserve, the only sure thing in the energy industry. We can't continue to destroy the earth, and we need to be personally responsible because exhortations don't work nearly as well as examples.What's leftis going to go a lot quicker than the original production because there are a lot more consumers.  
Bob, here's a great spell check tool that checks the spelling on any web form. Download the google toolbar from the link and the spell checker is included.


         your going to make such a poor sharecropper
Scott Tinker, the Texas State Geologist, with the Bureau of Economic Geology, gave a presentation last year at an oil industry meeting.  Dr. Tinker presented the "happy face" bumpy plateau concept.  

I challenged him during the Q&A citing the example of Texas and the Lower 48.  Dr. Tinker admitted that the Hubbert theory works better on more geographically limited areas (like the world?), but he asserted that "While Texas may not be able to get back to its peak production level, we can significantly increase our production through the use of better technology."  

The problem of course is that neither Texas nor the Lower 48 has shown a year over year increase since peaking.

I do think that small operators can make money looking for and finding small fields, but I don't think that we will be able to do anything to reverse the long term decline.  As outlined in our recent (Khebab + Brown) paper, I believe that Saudi Arabia and the world are now where Texas and the Lower 48 were at in the early Seventies.

You are right about Saudi being at the peak if not a little past the peak, but not about smaller operators finding new fields. I think that 25 years after that paper about 98% of the Texas fields have been discovered. What has changed is the technology for drilling and production and the relative prices. 3D seismic has almost eliminated dry holes, and made it where geologists and engineers can spot the best locations to properly drain reservoirs. Horizontal drilling has made it where a well can get maximum exposure to the producing formation and make money from tight sands and limes together with fracturing the rocks. There's lots of other improvements and the result has been to raise the average recovery from 10 to 20% of the oil originally in place to 35% on new oil fields.
   Thousands of the oil reservoirs were abandoned before these advances were made. The land will have to be re-leased,new wells drilled ect., but I can see no reason why most fields cannot have their total production increased by a third or more. And that's a heck of a lot of oil.
  Major oil companies can't make money producing these kinds of wells. The production just won't support a human relations department, high priced lobbyists and bagmen and $380,000,000.00 retirement packages for ineffective CEOs. But I can, and will make money, and so will lots of other guys.
   This will not solve peak oil. But if we are all smart and hard workers, it should slow the transition and smooth out a few bumps.And, make a bunch of people some money along the way.
"You are right about Saudi being at the peak if not a little past the peak, but not about smaller operators finding new fields."

I guess I will have to plug the five new fields I am developing (admittedly two are stepouts to prior, plugged producers).  

"Thousands of the oil reservoirs were abandoned before these advances were made. The land will have to be re-leased,new wells drilled ect., but I can see no reason why most fields cannot have their total production increased by a third or more. And that's a heck of a lot of oil."

If Texas couldn't do anything to reverse its production decline from 1972 to 1982--following a 1,000% increase in oil prices, the biggest drilling boom in state history and a 14% increase in the number of producing wells--and if we have never shown a year over year increase in production, why would we be able to do any better now?

Will there be new small fields found?  Yes--I've found some.  Will it make any real difference?  No.  Will there will be efforts toward infield drilling, more secondary and tertiary recovery techniques?  Yes.  Will it make any real difference?  IMO, no.

I agree that money will be made.  I think that the Lower 48 is going to see a never ending energy boom.  However, I seriously doubt that we will ever see any real reversal in conventional oil production.   I think that the real money to be made is in unconventional oil and gas production.

The argument that Dr. Tinker propounded--that he even considered it a possibility that Texas could get back to its peak production level--shows us how deep the denial goes, after 33 straight years of declining oil production.  

The real problem that Texas faces is fields like East Texas, which is now producing 1.2 mbpd of water, with a 1% oil cut.

The story here in the North Sea is the same - extensive application of EOR and latest seismic technology, the world's leading operators and service companies based in Aberdeen and Stavanger with extensive oilfield expertise and a stable political climate.  Despite the above UK N Sea peaked in 1999 and by 2005 production had fallen no less than 42%.  BP sold their giant Forties field in 2003 to Apache (who more specialise in 'tail of production' operations); at time of sale Forties' production was down no less than 92% from 1978 peak.

Not least the discovery trend is ever downward since peak in 1973.  The giants such as Forties (2.7 Gbbl) and Brent were discovered early.  Buzzard (550m bbl) is largest discovery in past 10 years with many discoveries not even achieving 50m bbl.  Norway peaked in 2001 and is following UK along the downslope.

Imo no serious case can be made that the declines can be reversed.

Don't tell anyone you are optimistic as it will only encourage complacency.  
From the Baltimore Sun:

Clerks taking brunt of gas price rage

Drivers vent anger at pump with misplaced blame - yelling at cashiers, refusing to pay

LOS ANGELES- Tempers are rising along with gas prices. Gas stations across the country report that drivers are taking out their gas rage against big oil by yelling at clerks and cashiers and sometimes driving off without paying.

As I've probably mentioned before, I don't drive much, but once a year, I do drive halfway across the country to visit with friends.  I've been doing it for more than 15 years now, and it was interesting to notice the changes this year.

For the first time, there were large signs on the pumps saying things like, "Pay before you pump!" "Smile, you're on hidden camera," and "Pay first!  Daytime, too!"

In Michigan, I stayed in the same hotel I've been staying at for over ten years.  Little had changed...except that every light fixture now held a power compact flourescent bulb.  In the halls, in the rooms, in the lamps, you name it.  It wasn't like that last year.

Unfortunately, their energy savings was offset by the fact that they had the heat on in the hallways.  Even thought was 93F.  Air-conditioning on in the rooms, and the window open in the hallway...with heat pouring from the floor register.  Good gravy.

And if anyone's wondering, my automatic transmission Toyota Corolla got almost 39 mpg.  Even though I was a bit of a leadfoot, and had heavy headwinds through at part of the trip.  

In Michigan, I stayed in the same hotel I've been staying at for over ten years. Little had changed...except that every light fixture now held a power compact flourescent bulb. In the halls, in the rooms, in the lamps, you name it. It wasn't like that last year.

This reminds me: I am experiencing compact-fluorescent regret now, for the first time ever. I replaced most of the area lighting in this house with CF last fall. I've always been a recycler and packrat, never able to throw away that old computer or 8-track player. Always separate glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum and put them in that blue bin for the city -- my guess is the city just throws it all in the same landfill, but I do it anyway.

Anywho, the incandescent bulbs in the garage door opener kept burning out, my guess is because of vibration. So I replaced 'em with CF in the sincere belief that CF bulbs last forever. Bottom line, now I have a failed CF bulb with a little drop of mercury in it. What does one do with this miniature bit of nasty hazmat?

You need to buy a "rough service" bulb at the hardware store.
Did that. Cost 3+ times as much as a regular incandescent. It died after about 2 weeks -- so much for 'rough duty'. My current plan is to replace the CF bulbs with LED modules as they die off.
Unlucky I guess. I've been using them for years without trouble -- in two garage door openers and one utility light (the corded light with the hook on top).
The best source is


I have a couple of their 120V bulbs (Amber outdoor "night light", green (most lumens) 5 LED night lights with candelabra base).

A word of caution, a 3 watt CF will produce 2x or 3x the light/watt than a 3 watt LED.  IMHO, the niche for LED is small light sources and colored light sources (amber for outside, I think candelabra LED Christmas lights would be nice).

A 4 foot regular fluorescent bulb (T8, not T12) with a good electronis ballast is superior to all other fluorescents in light output/watt and life.

I have replaced most of my smaller car bulbs with LEDS.  Running down the road at night, I now use about 50 watts less.  50 watts generated from a diesel engine running an inefficent alternator.  Less stress on my alterantor & battery as well.

  Vibration and Heat are both pretty tough on CF's. (and most hot-running electronics)  I've had certain fixtures enclosed in Glass Globes where the CF's have had an unreasonably short life span.  The ballast electronics are packed into a tiny compartment, and seem to have very little ability to cool properly as it is. (The accepted costs of Convenience)  Also, fixtures on basement ceilings, where the socket is attached to the floor joists, and gets rattled by heavy walking, doors banging can underperform the shiny promises on the packaging.  Good opportunities for a DIYer to sharpen his/her claws..  a pain nonetheless.  It might stray from the norms to do so, but it might be well to try to rethink any fixture that is vulnerable to either condition, as well as trying to look at how effective the placement and light-quality  a given fixture is, opposed to the power it demands.  Just down-converting your wattage with CF's is a good start, but a lot of lighting is ~really~ poorly planned in terms of power-efficiency.

Anyway, in terms of your garage door, I would wonder if it weren't possible to use a simple screw to edison-plug adapter, and run a fixture from the socket in the Door-Opener, mounted nearby on the Ceiling.. where you could use a CF or a T-8 with confidence.

Bob Fiske

Personally, I have been underwhelmed by the performance of compact flourescent bulbs.  I've been using them for years, even before the current energy crisis, for my planted fishtanks.  It's very hard to get enough light to grow plants over a small footprint like a fishtank, and PCFs are a popular solution.  

But I've found they don't last as long as advertised.  Even if they don't actually burn out, the amount of light they emit drops pretty sharply after six months.  And if there's any kind of voltage spike, they burn out more readily than ordinary bulbs.  Given how expensive they are, I'm not really sure it's worth it, given the frequent lightning storms and accompanying voltage issues in this area.  If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably go with ordinary flourescent bulbs.  

thats been my experence as well. they don't last as long as advertised. in some cases they don't even last as long as the standard bulbs they are suposed to replace. to my eyes the light tends to be a tad harsh.
Me, too.  I'm replacing the PCFs at least as often as the regular bulbs.  :-P

Another thing that annoys me is they seem to take awhile to reach full brightness.  So the rooms look dark at first.  

Though for the first week, they're really, really bright.  Then the light emits drops fairly sharply.  

There is a "100 hour" rule for 4' tube fluorescents (assume applies to CF).  Take light measurements after 100+ hours of use.  There is an initial brightness that fades quickly. Decline from there to end-of-life is about another 10% to 12% for modern electronic ballasts and T8 bulbs.

I see the delay in brightness as an advantage.  Allows ny pupils to adjust better.

Some work, some don't. The first ones I bought were duds, and while the bases are very strong, the glass is much more fragile than on an incandescent. I don't mind the pause in brightness so much.
Yeah, the novelty's kinda worn off my Prius, too.  Think I'll trade it back in for a new Tahoe, which has more comfortable seats.
I've used many many CFLs over almost 20 years now, and other than a few duds (some lasted only a few minutes), they've lasted quite a while.  Many for a decade of frequent use.  Even if they don't last as long as promised, the payback is quick, especially now that they are cheap - about $2 each if you buy a case on sale.  If you save 40 watts, say, at 10 cents per KWH, that's 10 cents in 25 hours, or the whole $2 in only 500 hours - 100 days if you use the bulb 5 hours a day.  As far as the light, they vary in color and intensity, but I havn't usually seen much of a change in the same bulb over most of its life.  For higher intensity (e.g. for plant growth) you can use a CFL floodlight (i.e. with a mirror so as to direct the light to one direction).

I think that a CFL bulb is a great gift to give your energy-bill-shocked friends and relatives.  It's a bright idea that keeps on giving...  :-)

CFL's are even cheaper than that--I just bought a six pack of 14W (60W replacements) at Home Despot [sic] for $9.97.  Not a sale--regular price.

My wife and I love them--I like the lower cost of lighting, and she loves the bright, white light.  Incandescents look very yellow and "old" to us now.

I save $6 to $7 a month with them, and I don't have to hassle with changing bulbs nearly as often as I used to.

Now if someone would only invent a compact fluorescent automobile, I'd be REALLY happy.

I buy those six pack there too, but I buy the ones with a color temp closer to incandescents - they have both.  The color was a big deal for me.  I like the slow start up (I'm not a morning person!).  

So far I've bought about 36 of them, and I have them in most of the fixtures in the barn (a few 100W equivalents as well).  I've lost a few, some in sealed weatherproof fixtures in the barn, and some that were well ventilated.  In my case I suspect it's because the local utility is running at about 130Vac, and it's killing the ballasts.

Question: What sort of lamps (bulbs) & luminaires (fixtures) are most likely to work and survive the sort of intermittent electrical service we already see in other countries?
The question is ballasts. How good, how expensive ? The 4' foot T-8 ballasts include some good ones. Matorola was bought by Osram. Those two were the best IMHO. Compact fluorscents are less viable; small, cheap.
Make sure you have surge protection on your system, as you can get transients when the power goes on and off.  However, since  surge suppressors are only intended to absorb short duration, lower energy transients, it's a good idea to turn off appliances and lights when the power goes off, and turn them back on after the system comes back up.  This helps avoid exposing things to any "brown out" conditions which may occur as well.
Try adding a whole house surge protector if you don't have one.  That should help on the longevity issue.  The new bulbs are really quite good.  I use a felt marker to put the installed date on the base of the bulb to see how long it really lasts.  Be careful when screwing them in as they can be broken easily.  Don't use CFLs where you only leave the lights on for a few minutes, like bathrooms.  
There should be a local faciltity for re-cycling fluroescents. Ask your power company.

There is a site run by an individual at
who does reviews and tests of CFs.
I started using CFs about 7 years ago and have generally had good luck. I keep a file to track the install date and location of each one. Out of about 30 in the house, I've had maybe 2 fail prematurely. For the last one, I received a $10 coupon from GE which purchased me 2 replacements, not a bad subsidy. I believe the reliability has been improving over the years (and the price going way down).

Hirsch Report Follow Up
Roger Bezdek on the Hirsch followup

Jason Brenno & Roger Bezdek having a round table discussion...
Bezdek comment below:

The near-term problem that we are facing is indeed a liquid fuels rather than a quote energy crisis in general. How we react and deal with this near-term liquid fuels problem will determine how we resolve our energy problems in the longer term. But for the next decade or two at least, the primary problem is the demand for liquid fuel which is simply outstripping the supply at available prices. But, of course, what is happening prices are increasing very rapidly and least of all price volatility has been increasing. So, yes what we face immediately and for the next decade or two at least is a serious liquid fuels problem.
-- Robert Bezdek

Here is the full report...
Economic Impacts of Liquid Fuel Mitigation Options

I love the cost estimate of 2.6 trillion to save/produce an additional 44 billion barrels of oil.  Pulled out my trusty little calculator and it tells me the cost per barrel is $59.  Presumably someone wants a return on that $2.6 trillion dollars over the twenty years.  When was an estimate of this kind ever on the mark?  That's 2.6 trillion 2006 dollars.  Probably 10 trillion by the time Halliburton tacks on the the Cheney premium and the dollar has lost half its value in five years.

I think $100 a barrel oil is a steal if these kinds of numbers represent our best "mitigation" efforts.

A couple of numbers from the report, Fig EX-7
$56 per barrel produced from oil shale
$132 per barrel saved from improved vehicle fuel economy
Hmmmm.  I think you're reading it wrong.  They are saying that it will take $132 of investment in making better vehicles to save 1 barrel of oil.  They very carefully point out that Vehicle Overall Efficiency (VOE) may not be the best way to invest.  

They also continue to dance around all the imponderables and uncertainties such as how much a dollar will be worth in five years.

This is the kind of report people do to get paid for sounding like they know something when they really don't.

I love their disclaimer at the end.

It is important to note that initiation of all of the options simultaneously does not even satisfy half of the U.S. liquid fuels requirements prior to 2025. Ifthe peaking of world conventional oil production occurs before 2025, the U.S.may not have a choice in terms of a massive national physical mitigationprogram. Even with the most optimistic assumptions and assuming crashprogram implementation, physical mitigation will require decades and trillions of dollars of investment to make substantial contributions.
Right, and this $59 are only the investment costs/barrel. The production costs of CTL and oil shales, and also EOR, are very high, too, may be $30 - $60 or more / barrel. This makes the "new barrels" cost easily above $100 - and add to this profits and all other, refining and distribution. The gasoline gallons would be so expensive that the demand is efectively cut - so, in fact, not many of these "mitigating barrels" will not be needed. Was this the real message of the paper?

Besides, it is methodologically wrong to include those VEF "negabarrels" in the calculation. But note the absence of ethanol here. And the missing discussion about the possibilities of increasing the coal production sufficiently for using large scale CTL. In the present US situation the Peak Oil will definitely be an energy crisis, too. The investments and production of these "mitigating barrels" would needs a lot more energy.

But here we have facts that say quite clearly that conservation - simply using less - is the only solution.

We're doomed if Bedzek's thinking represents the best(?)of mainstream thought.  What I was struck by was a sort of naivety that society could muddle through for 10-30 years with, essentailly, patches here and there.  Other than one short statement, he is a pusher of the status quo.
I have just read his (and Hirsch's) most recent report, linked above.

At the recent Peak Oil & the Environment confernece in DC< I asked him in the Q & A after his talk if more Urban Rail and electrifing our railroads could have much impact.

His response was "only locally".  Given that Washington DC Metro saves a half billion gallons/year* directly and at least as much more from changes in development patterns (and with gas prices, it is setting new record ridership #s recently, so it's potential is NOT exhausted !) and we were two blocks from a Metro station, I found his answer "ignorant".

My "10% reduction in 10-12 years" is on par with any of his suggestions, and more environmentally benign than increasing fleet fuel economy, CTL and oil shael with a better EROEI to boot !

I will try to contact them directly, but I am also going to contact their client for this paper as well.

Any suggestions for "expanding" their options ?

The companion interview to this paper is very interesting.  Bezdek keeps sounding like an optimist of the Daniel Yergin type ("shale oil will save us") - until you listen to what he is saying carefully.  He's talking about investments in the trillions of dollars that have to be carried out on a non-market timeframe long before they are obviously needed.  The interviewer, who is very sharp, doesn't bother to ask where the political impetus for this is ever going to come from.

This is the best deconstruction of the There-Is-Plenty-of-Nonconventional-Oil argument I have seen, since instead of handwaving of the Kunstler type ("nothing will save us") it patiently and sympathetically reduces the optimist scenario to a financial absurdity.

There's an interesting article on oil shale development in Colorado on the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Explorer website post for June 2. Apparently the locals have some rnvironmental concerns. How Amazing! Anyway, there's another trillion barrels of grease if we can just cook it out. Apparently Shell oil is heating up the shale in situ to 700 degrees F in order to make it flow.Wonder what the EROI is on this thing-any rate, good article. I'm sure its your tax dollars at work with DOE grants.
This is actually my second article that I am working on. I read a newspaper article last week that talked about a headline from another newspaper that read "Oil Shale Development Imminent". The thing was, it was from a newspaper article published over 100 years ago. LOL!



I had also posted on this back May.

Here's a link directly to Shell's website where they discuss the Mahogany Research Project

I believe they will complete the next phase of testing in 2010 to determine whether or not they move forward with commercial production.

They have to do some environmental testing, freeing groundwater so that it doesn't get mixed up with the oil-shale they're cooking in the ground at 650-750 Fahrenheit.

This site says 3.5 To 1
They get out 3.5 units of energy for every 1 unit used.

Anyone else have any numbers on this method?  

They say we have close to 2 Trillion barrels of oil in this area.

Is this our Silver Bullet? Tar Sands sure get allot of attention and isn't it's EROEI .5 to 1?  (we use 1/2 barrel to get 1 out)... this is the way I recall anyway...I could be wrong about that.

So you would think the U.S. having 2 TB of oil reserve with a higher EROEI than Tar Sands would be a big story...obviously something missing here.

I read the Bezdek interview. Astonishing. This mitigation plan is a non-stater. He says, for instance, that it the investments needed might not be $2.3 trillion, but $5 trillion. And all that nonsense talk about C02 sequestration, coal and such. An more nonsense: that it takes 50 years to change the pattern of liquids consumption = American lifestyle. But this mitigation plan envisages $100 - $200 barrel "new oil". This would really change a lot. But if the idea would be to subsidize everything and keep the gasoline price lower, this would mean no accomodation, not in 50 years...

In fact, societies adapt quickly if they have to. Many societies have done that without collapsing. Many European societies managed to stand very severe energy shostage during the WWII.

The Bezdek paper tells clearly that the only real scenario is the "zero option", not doing anything to mitigate the declining supply of oil after the Peak and letting go, the "smooth glide down". But this "zero" option requires measures to make this glide "smooth", to mitigate the consequences and help in the adaptation. The present lifestyle will change, but we might ask, is the return to a '60s, '50s lifestyle really so bad? Is it so bad that the US should invest maybe $5 billion just to keep the driving up? And if these investments would be made, where would the money come from - what else would be left undone. The price here is extremely high in every way - and for what? I think we should listen Bezdek - he puts the things in real perspective.

The suburbs are not so big problem as many would think. What about this scenario: A lot of people have changed their job and/or moved in order to shorten their commuting. In the job, the staff has changed, most employees are now living nearby. May be they cannot get those people they wanted to - but it will do. Many offices have moved to the suburbs. There are now much better bus services - this is the quickest remedy to public transport problems. Car-pooling is widespread and easier, because the change of the job locations. People are using smaller cars. There are more small shops in suburbs, many in walking distance. The far-away suburbs are inhabited by non-commuting people mostly. These changes can happen quite spontaneously and relatively quickly and do not require a lot of investments, but can reduce fuel consumption significantly. I think this is the most likely short-term scenario we will have.  

Give the suburbs more bandwidth, and less gas.
The suburbs are not so big problem as many would think. What about this scenario: A lot of people have changed their job and/or moved in order to shorten their commuting. In the job, the staff has changed, most employees are now living nearby. May be they cannot get those people they wanted to - but it will do. Many offices have moved to the suburbs. There are now much better bus services - this is the quickest remedy to public transport problems. Car-pooling is widespread and easier, because the change of the job locations. People are using smaller cars. There are more small shops in suburbs, many in walking distance. The far-away suburbs are inhabited by non-commuting people mostly. These changes can happen quite spontaneously and relatively quickly and do not require a lot of investments, but can reduce fuel consumption significantly. I think this is the most likely short-term scenario we will have.
This view of the future of suburbia is unrealistic. Disbursed living and employment centers make bus service VERY inefficient and costly. Small employment centers and disbursed living arrangements make car-pooling difficult. And what of shopping, schools, church, social and other transportation demands ? No major improvements there I am afraid.
What do you think will happen when it is a necessity to drive considerably less? Suburbs can be served by buses - this is common in Europe where there are also rather large low density suburban areas. Using bus is much more inconvenient - you have to walk to bus stop, but you do that if you must. It is only inconvenience.

I never stop wondering how the Americans are ignorant of the "real life" people have elsewhere. Oil addiction makes the life very comfortable and like every addiction it is not easy to get rid of. There will be a hangover. But this is no reason to take $5 billion shots of CTL for that.

I think the more remote exurban areas will be boarded up and abandoned. Those next in will become the slums of tomorrow.

Retired people with limited transportation needs will fill some of the suburbs, as will telecommuters.  Near in, higher density and better built suburbs (perhaps those built in the 1950s) will be desireable fro working class and lower niddle class families; perhaps two per house.

In town will be the "palce to be".

Just as the United States abandoned much of our existing housing stock after WW II, so will many of the recently built (and poorly built) homes be abandoned.

We're doomed if Bedzek's thinking represents the best(?)of mainstream thought.  What I was struck by was a sort of naivety that society could muddle through for 10-30 years with, essentailly, patches here and there.  Other than one short statement, he is a pusher of the status quo.
What were you expecting?  An open admission that our way of life is unsustainable, as long as we are committed to the notion of growth as the only possible model for organising our economic affairs?
Interesting article in July issue of Car & Driver on ethanol. Two (for me) new points: (1) Ethanol as a replacement for MTBE: Oxygenated fuel to meet EPA clean air standards worked for carburated engines - the 2% O2 content "tricked" the fuel system to burn leaner. "However, the feedback-fuel-metering systems, which self-adjust to operate at a fixed mixture regardless of fuel composition, became the norm roughly 20 years ago... Today, as any engine engineer will testify, the rule has virtually no pollution benefit and has become nothing more than a backdoor for the ethanol industry and corn farmers." (2)Car & Driver did a test run of a 2007 Chevy Tahoe and showed it got 30% worse mileage with E85 than regular gasoline - a number in line with the 31.5% decrement of another SUV by cars.com. Why then are we being bombarded with TV ads for flex-fuel SUVs by the Big Three? For CAFE purposes, the Feds only count the 15% of gasoline content of E85, magically producing a seven-fold increase in E85 mpg. The official CAFE number is an average of the inflated E85 number and the 100% gasoline number. C&D calculates that the flex-fuel Tahoe's CAFE rating jumped from the 20.1 mpg to 33.3 mpg, blowing through the 22.2 CAFE mandate. They did some calculations showing that the E85 loophole saved GM more than $200 million in CAFE fines. With ethanol production "by law" (the Energy Policy Act of 2005) cranking to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012, and SUV CAFE fuel economy magically improved 66% (despite the fact E85 results in a 30% decrease in mpg)we now understand the ad blitz. Perchance (yet another) government conspiracy to benumb the public and keep the life blood of the US auto industry alive-and-cranking with the beloved SUV?
I heard about the E85 CAFE exception a little while back, but hadn't seen how it worked out in the numbers.  This is a crime.
Just goes to show that politicians differ from normal criminals only by virtue of being elected.

Seriously though, I had no idea they'd opened up a loophole this big for GM to blunder through.  In comparison this makes the Hummer credit loophole look the size of a hole in a diesel injector.

Am I understanding this?  CAFE standards completely discount the 85% alcohol energy content and treat the mileage as if the 15% gasoline content is providing 100% of the energy to move the vehicle down the road?  My fingers are twitching just writing that.

Ditto.  This is one of the worst crimes being committed against the planet right now.  Makes their "go yellow" advertisements even more of a fraud than they obviously are. All those smiley faces singing how they are doing all those wonderful things for the environment.  Total bastards.
This is all going to work out fine.

After they have screwed a few thousand buyers by misrepresenting the mileage... the word of mouth is going to kill them.

More to the point, it will kill the credibility of the ethanol pushers.

chainsaw4wood -

This E85/CAFE nonsense is a perfect example of why I have zero faith in the US govenment really doing anything useful in making progress toward energy sustainability. It appears that in some respects they are not only not doing anything useful, but are actually making thing worse.

 The real energy policy of the Bush regime is to continue to attempt to militarily dominate the Middle East and other major oil producing areas, despite the fact that such efforts have not succeeded and have thus far cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Going down this road can have only one final outcome: major global war.

Oh, I think the quote "the chief source of problems is solutions" pretty much describes the situation here.
And AlphaMaleProphetOfDoom doubts that Bush is the AntiChrist.  How much more proof do you need AMPOD?
The very fact that the gov't=media=corporations is actually doing something (mostly talking, of course) about so-called alternative energy is final proof of the reality of Peak Oil.


You said, "The very fact that the gov't=media=corporations is actually doing something (mostly talking, of course) about so-called alternative energy is final proof of the reality of Peak Oil."

That of course in no way is a logical conclusion to draw.  Everytime fuel/energy prices go up, the "gov't=media=corporations" jump as the "saviors" with talk about alternatives, and in some cases even action.

In the 1970's, the world was abuzz with alternative energy schemes.  At that time I was still young, so it seemed all new to me.  After a bit of research, I found that this was the recycling of many older ideas.  Imagine my surprise to read of and see pictures of solar houses from the early 1950's built by General Electric, and articles depicting the fuel saving virtues of windmills, the first generation of ground coupled (geo-thermal heat pumps) and of course, the biggie in the alt fuel game, fusion energy  (It was said then that by the 1970's we would live in a world that stayed lit up 24 hours a day electricity would be so cheap that to turn things off would only be a waste in wear and tear of the switches!

Interest in alternatives are in no way a proof of "peak" but simply a reaction to high prices.  If the price drops, interest in alternative energy collapses.

Right now, the bet by the big oil producers and many in the alt energy industry are that the biggest danger is not peak, but a price collapse.  This stems from their memories of the 1970's, when every bet was we would have been paying more than $200 per barrel for crude oil and $5 or $6 per gallon for gasoline by the late 1980's, and alternatives would by now be a major contributor to energy supply  A fellow poster here on TOD the other day rightly pointed out that nuclear fusion energy's inability to deliver to this point has been an astounding and expensive failure and throws out the long term projections made in the 1960's and 1970's.

The other major failure in forecasting has been natural gas.  In the 1970's fuel crisis, even the man on the street could be heard saying, "well, if all else fails, we can always go over to natural gas, we have a 200 year supply."  What was forgotten was that if you triple yearly demand, a 200 year supply becomes a 60 year supply (less, if you factor in compounding) and that is a short time in human history indeed.  And remember, that was 30 years ago.

Plans laid out as late as 2003 still incoporated the assumption of cheap and easy natural gas.  Ethanol is an example.  No one at the turn of the century foresaw any real problem in converting cheap nat gas created fertilizer to alcohol by way of corn, or to bio-Diesel by way of soybean, it was just a matter of investment and will.  Likewise, the tar sand industry.  Plenty of cheap gas meant plenty of cheap motor fuel, if you invested and had the will to do it.  Likewise, fuel cells and the "hydrogen economy".   These are essentially fossil fuel industries based on unlimited cheap natural gas.

There is of course still a considerable amount of natural gas available.  it will be used.  But the point still stands:  It will never be as cheap and easy to get and use as it was in the past.  So, in the bigger picture it suffers from all the same situation that crude oil does.  This is a very rude awakening indeed.  

At the end of the day, in the longer broader view, will it turn out to be that simple?  That after WWII, the technical world placed its bet on Fusion nuclear energy and natural gas in the longer view, and lost that bet, but figuring those two would be for all practical purposes almost infinite, rewarded a policy of explosive consumption growth?  

Don't be surprised...it's the details and distinctions that matter.  It was Albert Camus, writing about the Second World War who once said, "but for a few distinctions, a thousand cities were lost."

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Yeah, right!  I can't wait for the "price collapse" and whatever else you were talking about.  Nice to know everything will be just fine, thanks...


What I said and what you heard seem to be very far apart

Roger Conner

Interesting commentary. Alternative energy is certainly coming in vogue again, along with the inevitable scams and cons.

Hopefully there will also be many more entrepreneurial ideas which aim to lower energy consumption, such as cheap electric bicycles, walkable high-density communities, localisation of food and employment; and home and building insulation. I imagine the 'invisible hand' will deliver these as the energy crisis bites.

The failure of fusion is disastrous in one sense- but any large, centralised project is at high risk of this. The Manhatten Project had many false starts and dead ends along the way; this is often overlooked in the calls for a new one.

Perhaps decentralised, 'competitive' development for energy could be one answer. An model would be the X Prize competition for new spacecraft, where a wealthy backer put up a large cash prize for a successful craft- which was successfully flown into orbit.

I have a heavily accented Austrian best known for portryaing a homicidal killing machine sent back from the future to destroy mankind as my governor and he has his eye on the White House.



Alright...that's pretty scary too.  

But remember, after the 1st Terminator he got reprogrammed to served the humans so all hope is not lost.

Perhaps you can turn the Governator as well.

That was Terminator II and Arnold was a different T101 but he was able to learn. In T1 Sarah squished Arnold in a press. In T2 Arnold could not self terminate so Sarah lowered him into a vat of molten goo and melted his ass. In T3 Arnold meets Arianna Huffington who tells him that throwing women into toilets is proof that he disrespects women. Well that part was after T3 but Arianna could not reprogram Arnold. In the movie T3 Arnold gets crushed again. It would seem that if his hydrogen powered hummer could take him back far enough in time he can meet Conan and we all know that back in Conan's day the "juice" was much stronger and perhaps cancel each other out?
Thanks for the clarification AO.  

So this all begs the question, "Does life imitate art?".  

To quote Woody Allen, "Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television" or in this case bad movies.

and he has his eye on the White House.

Is it too soon to start the smear campaign about how Enron got him into the Governator's office?

(1) Ethanol as a replacement for MTBE: Oxygenated fuel to meet EPA clean air standards worked for carburated engines - the 2% O2 content "tricked" the fuel system to burn leaner.

I've actually been wondering about that.  I couldn't for the life of me understand why putting ethanol in the fuel could change the "oxygenation" level.

In a modern car the oxygen sensor in conjunction with the computer adjusts the duration of the injectors...when the car starts to burn lean, it increases the amount of fuel injected and returns to stoich.  Now with a carbureted engine... you need more ethanol to the same volume of air than gasoline... but when substituting some ethanol for gasoline, the carburetor just meters the same volume of liquid (when you actually need more liquid because of the ethanol) and winds up burning lean.  In a modern car the only time it'd make a difference is when you seriously romp on the gas pedal and the system goes into closed loop and just relies on the pre-programmed injector maps.

And now that I think about it...might also be why all of these lawn mowers and equipment say not to use gasoline with ethanol.  Because they're already set to run rediculously lean for CO emissions, that extra bit of lean from the ethanol could damage them.  I wonder if we'll see a number of mowers overheating and getting ruined over ethanol.

That is why California applied for and got an exemption to the oxygenated fuel requirement, in a state that has ALWAYS been the leader in clean burn gasoline.
Tehran warns of fuel disruptions
Empty rhetoric - or will Westexas shortly be celebrating "Yergin Day" ?
What I find most interesting about this statment coming out from Iran today is the person speaking the words...Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and not Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad.  

Have they never heard of the separation of church and state?  Man, you would think a religious zealot ran that country.  Glad we don't have some fundamentalist religous nut running things in this country!!!

  I'm no expert, but my understanding in terms of Iranian governmental power stratafication is that the Grand Ayatollah and other "religious leaders" have, since the eighties, held the bulk of power in Iran. The role of President has been more of a figurehead position, at least until the election of Ahamedinejad. President Ahamedinejad has greatly strengthened the role and powers of the presidency in the last few months, and continues to do so. To get a stetement from Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on any geopolitical issue would historically be the norm; it's Persident Ahamedinejad's visibility that is the newer development.
  Oh, wait. It's a snark. Never mind...  ;-)

You are essentially correct. Iran has four branches of power. The Theocratic branch is led by the supreme leader (the Grand Ayatollah), and yes he does regularly speak up.

The President does have a great deal of power in appointments and money allocation. He heads the executive branch, but their Parliament and certainly the Grand Ayatollah can impact, sometimes very heavily, on courses of action he wants to adopt.

He has launched a policy of more help to rural Iran which is also part of his power-base and the rural areas do need help.

"Have they never heard of separation of church and state?"

Jeez!  Its called the Islamic Republic of Iran and is the antithesis of church state separation.   Under the system the Supreme Leader, not the President, holds ultimate authority - something that few people in the US seem to understand.  

In the Iranian Government the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei:
    >appoints head of the judiciary,
    >six of the members of the Guardian Council,
    >the commanders of all the armed forces,
    >Friday prayer leaders and the head of radio and TV.
    >confirms the president's election.
    >The Supreme Leader is chosen by the clerics who make up      the Assembly of Experts.

Iranian Presidency  - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
    >All Presidential candidates are vetted by the Guardian Council
    >It is the Supreme Leader, not the president, who controls the armed forces and makes decisions on security, defense and major foreign policy issues.

Expediency Council --Currently headed by Hashemi Rafsanjani
    >advisory body for the Supreme Leader adjudicating power in disputes over legislation between the parliament and the Guardian Council.
    >The Supreme Leader appoints its members, who are prominent religious, social and political figures.
    >In October 2005, the Supreme Leader gave the Expediency Council "supervisory" powers over all branches of government - delegating some of his own authority as is permitted in the constitution. - seen as a control over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

All candidates for the Parliament (Majlis) must be vetted by the Council of the Guardians.  In 2004 they disqualified 2500 reformist candidates leading reformists to boycott the elections.

It's possible to read Ahmadinejad as a sort of Dan Quayle.

No. Much more substance.

One reason he won was that he opposed corruption that is rampant among the Mullahs. Some call it not a theocracy but a kleptocracy.

OK, do I HAVE to put out the "sarcasm" flag on my posts so people know better????
If you missed my comments:

"I have been patiently waiting for the spot price of crude oil to close at or above $76 ($38 times two), so that we can declare it "Daniel Yergin Day."  In a Forbes column dated 11/1/04, Yergin asserted that oil prices on 11/1/05 would be at or below $38 per barrel."

The Forbes column is rich.  Yergin basically couldn't have been more dismissive of the Peak Oilers.

this throws up red flags to me.
On Monday, June 19, about 4,000 government workers representing more than 50 federal agencies from the State Department to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will say goodbye to their families and set off for dozens of classified emergency facilities stretching from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to the foothills of the Alleghenies. They will take to the bunkers in an "evacuation" that my sources describe as the largest "continuity of government" exercise ever conducted, a drill intended to prepare the U.S. government for an event even more catastrophic than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


Sounds like prudent planning to me.

my neighbor works for a software service company and he told me they are being inundated by major fortune 100 companies right now doing 'pandemic preparation' programs - how to make the company run efficiently if no one can get to work, etc. He said its ostensibly for bird flu or something like that but 2 of the customers are big oil...

i guess businesspeople are always looking ahead but dont think 10 years ago you had epidemic pandemic planning...

Don't you remember the "Duck and Cover" exercises for our youth?  Or are you too young to remember?  The US Gov't. has been preparing for a sudden catastrophe for a long time.  I suppose it is part of an institutional contingency planning habit that they must perform on a regular basis.

When we look back on this sort of thing for a nice documentary in 20 years, people will wonder how we could have been so paranoid.


I do remember that. I also live near Diablo Nuclear Power Plant (Boy does that color our local politics with an earthquake fault nearby and GHGs). They have an alarm system over half the county and it gets turned on once or twice a year and of course there are practices for emergency response at the special county building built for nukes and quakes.

But I do not think we will be that paranoid. I would be surprised if there is not a moderate to major nuclear act in the territories of the western industrialized nations. I hope your right and I am wrong on this.

I was reminded by another poster here that TOD is about oil and that war is politics. Here it is better to focus on OIL and that political issues are push at best. These were not the words used but this is the best short summery I could come up with. This leads me to an event of last weekend.

My love and I attended a Memorial Day party (it was the day before but it is the thought that counts) at one of her relatives house. They have an old farmhouse that is not in the best of shape and is way too large and there energy bills are extreme at best. That is a different matter so to get my mind back on focus here.

As with most parties the men sort of went off for man talk and the ladies grouped together for girl talk. We had lots of beer, burgers and hotdogs, the normal stuff though for once someone got the dark brown mustard I like. So we guys were sitting on the porch having beers and later our host broke out some cigars.

Here I was meeting most of these people for the first time. We did the guy talk thing and all was well. Talking about construction, what work we did, motorcycles, cars, trucks and at some point I realized that I completely tuned out. For me the construction stuff is only shop talk while talk of Ford F-250's goes off the charts, since I have one and use it for construction.

That truck is the bane of my existence now. I have to charge customers more money to cover my expenses. As a result the work is all but gone. I have economized as much as possible. I stay at the jobs I still have longer and only get materials when the material supplier is in my path to or from a job. I make my own lunch and eat at whatever site I'm on. I can't find a car or more efficient truck that will tow concrete mixers, numerous ladders, mountains of tools and tons of material. So to fill up my truck I have to pay nearly $140.00 and depending on loads and distances I have to do this around six times a month.

So here I was listening to this guy's story about being a corrections officer and how he drives his F-250 to and from work over 100 miles round trip, takes vacations all the time, is building an addition on his home and it started to depress me even more. I could tell by his tone that he was military minded and had a violent disposition. I made the best of it and endured.

The next fellow was a tail boom operator in the NG. He told me all about how his plane could refuel a fighter in only moments. Part of me loves planes for some reason but when he explained that it took over two tons of fuel for his plane just to taxi and get down the runway. For some reason my mind flipped to this site TOD. I could see all of the linearization's going down into the abyss.

Our host is a rather interesting man. He works for a local school and seems to understand the bigger picture. He was busy hosting the party so we didn't talk that much. At some point one of the guys asked me about my story. It didn't seem like I impressed them much at all. I was just another bathroom contractor looking for projects to do. The subject at some point got to be about inflation and fuel.

This is a topic I know a great deal about. I can see that fuel prices are going up by looking at those numbers changing at light speed on the gas pump.  Since I read TOD and understand that PO is quite real I was able to break it to them that the F-250 is a work truck, not a pleasure vehicle. Sure enough the subject swung around to ethanol. Here I realized that soil is the golden key to our ability to eat. Here we were sitting at a farmhouse with no crops.

Shortly after mentioning that all the alternates required fossil inputs the correction officer guy told me that "WE" (meaning those guys) don't talk politics here and that, "It's just not done!" I had no intention of spoiling the day and felt that I addressed matters delicately. At no point did I tell him that when he talked about breaking heads at the jail that he essentially was talking about the politics of violence. In any other setting I would not associate with this man. When men go around gloating about the rush they get from bashing skulls of prisoners I consider that a negative person.

He lives a lifestyle based on group-think and domination. Forcing others to obey his edicts is part of his training and his training goes with him even to the Memorial Day party. This is not about him but more about what people are becoming. They say that birds of a feather flock together. I could see the connection between the taskmaster and the military man yet I could not see the connection to the host. I somehow sensed he was longing for acceptance from those that he met along the way. Basically he offered a place for the others to get away from their families and talk shit (and all that that entails).

Later on the men and ladies cam back together (the party was pretty much breaking up) and we conversed as a group. Apparently all of the women were talking about 9-11 and one of them asked me point blank about building 7. I explained that it did have damage but that the owner stated, "There was just such a loss of life and we decided to PULL the building." The next question from them was about alternative energy and required an opinion based response. I don't recall the exact words that I said but the basic opinion is that if it is not too late already then it is so close that you can't even fit a hair between the defining moments.

Prison man told me that what I was suggesting was complete BS and that he warned me before that politics was unacceptable conversation matter. At this point I was discussing depletion rates and those are physical facts not politics. I didn't pin any blame for it on Democrats or Republicans. The ladies were quite interested in the topic and seem to realize that 9-11 has something to do with oil. The guard guy became agitated and proceeded to tell me off and then state, "That he was not going to tolerate a conspiracy theory conversation" , "Come on lets go!"

So when you boil the whole thing down it comes down to group-think and denial. I can't talk about most things that I think about to most people. I'm a nut to suggest that oil is in depletion or darn close to it. This is a generalization mind you but it seems that most people are not capable of hearing common sense. Most people are incapable of agreeing to disagree. Most people are terrified at this point since it would seem that life in the US is all the more harsh.

The host talked to me about things openly after his friends left. He agreed that the lion share of us, are living a lie. He told me about his attempt to add solar to his home but he was unable to afford the $4500.00 cost per panel. He knows that the hardest of times are just around the bend of the road of life.

On the ride home my GF and I talked about things but she lives with me and knows about what I read here and in other places. She is seeing the building rage of the general population. For those of you that have the money please realize that the people on the bottom feel it first and hardest. Eventually this will spread upward. Those with the most to loose will cling tighter and even more citizens will be disenfranchised.

My view it that PO and the politics guiding it are interconnected. Politics is about control over resources. To talk about energy and mute the politics part is impossible. To talk about how we can brace for the impact of the rising tide that is PO is political in all ways. Moving to ethanol is a control of recourses and is thusly political. It would require discussion, planning and possibly voting. Most people here will not have a choice in the matter or even a say. This is because politicians have been working hard to secure there futures based on our sheep like qualities. We have been muted by corporations and lawyers.

Follow along with this story:
I have some money and I choose to by some land. I'm into subsistence living and choose to build a small but efficient log home from materials found on my land. I trade for the glass that is to be my windows and have enough space to operate a small farm. I sever all of my connections to the rest of the world and live the good life. I survive because I have a understanding of nature and treat the land as though it were the meaning of life. At some point the Government shows up to collect taxes. I tell them that I paid for the place in cash that was already taxed. I don't have a classic job since I don't need one. Then they arrest me and take away my land.

If I choose to barricade myself they lay siege for a while. Eventually they get board with waiting and do a full assault.  They shoot me dead since I'm within my constitutional rights and baring arms and refuse to pay their taxes. Now the government sells the land and I'm dead because I was for a short while a truly free human being.

So my killers are political and I didn't want to get involved with politics and that is what politics is control of resources. I was a resource that did not comply with the control system. I was dealt with because the system does not permit individuality or true independence.

Now I ask you how can you separate energy from politics?

though you also have to remember that politics will not increase the amount of oil in the ground. at most it will only control how fast we arrive at peak.
Interesting discussion. I bet those guys are feeling the squeeze but are too proud to complain. Being so touchy about energy issues shows that they know on some level that their lifestyle is connected to cheap gas. Their inability to talk about it seems the definition of denial.
I couldn't agree more.  When I encounter someone like this, I always appeal directly to their wallet: "OK, don't believe in peak oil, or that burning less of it is good for your kids' future or the spotted owls or whatever.  No problem, no one will force you to make any changes.  But as long as the oil companies are racking up record profits and a lot of your gasoline bill is going overseas and ultimately funding people who don't like the US, why keep burning so much oil and financing them?  Why not save yourself money by burning less gasoline and in the process stick it to those bastards?"

The only way to reach some people is to show them how they get a payback, RIGHT NOW, for their actions.  This is the epitome of greed and myopia, in my opinion, but some people are just too dense to employ enlightened self-interest to make smart decisions.

Fascinating party!  Unfortunately, although my experience isn't on the same scale, I think it represents societal reality.  This is why I think "activism" beyond putting information out there is a waste of time.  Nothing is going to force people to adopt a new world view/weltanshung (sorry if it is spelled wrong, my german is rusty) especially when even the peak oil/peak resource community is far from unified in its thinking.

There is a group in my area called Sustainable Laytonville. I've known most of the people for years but they are not hard-nosed enough to get off the warm-fuzzy stuff like "relocalization."  What they can't accept is that relocalization doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of success - there are too many people (2,500-3,000 spread out over 600 square miles of mountains) and meager resources to even grow enough food muchless deal with even more dire issues.

With all due and considerable respect, I don't think it's ever worth giving up the good fight.  Sure, some people will adamantly refuse to believe you; ignore them and work with the more accepting ones.  And keep looking for subtle ways to get through to the blockheads, anyway.  
There are certain people out there who are aggressively, willfully ignorant.  They don't understand because they are determined not to, and they get belligerent when reality starts to intrude.  It does not matter what you say to these folks, it does not matter how well you make the point - they do not see because they choose not to, not because they are incapable.  These are the ones to avoid wasting time one.

I'm afraid I'm becoming too judgmental - when I meet people now I'm tempted to catalog them into people who I think will be useful in the coming times, and those who will be fodder.  I'm not particularly happy about this tendency, actually, and I try to keep in mind that people can be surprising.

May I suggest that you avoid 'corrections officers" altogether? You will not get along with them.
Prisons are a fair approximation of Hell. The job description for a 'corrections officer' is roughly Demon in Hell. Unavoidably these guys bring the job home.
Discretion is the better part of valour. Don't be a target.

And know that the guy you met at that party has a seriously crappy life.

Thanks for looking out for me. That guy has told me what his job title was but the description is along the lines of guard creation and tactical instruction. He makes over 6 figures unless he was BSing me?

When I was in my mid 20ies I worked in two prisons. Well one was a youth detention center and the other a county jail. I was a blue on blue stationary operating engineer. I was also a carpentry instructor in the youth center on and off. So while the job was different the location was the same. I know the deal and the volatility of those places. I also know that the guard position can be lucrative if you can deal with the hours.

I fear not when it comes to family and friends of family. I wanted to show the true dynamics of denial. He can't believe that the walls are cracking and I can't believe that he can't face it. I know people have limits and I respected his boundaries. I will not hesitate to help or address an issue. If another person attending the same event asks me something then he can simply walk away no questions asked.

I need not fear him since he has to look at himself in the mirror each day. Looking at his attitude offers tremendous insight into what the social and political implications are for all of us. Group-thinkers are not true leaders but offer a group leader dedication and protection. Group-thinkers tend to express themselves with violence and dominance since their group thinking conflicts with there own individuality. Individuals who master group-think often become dictators.

Individuals do need to watch out for group-thinkers at all times since those that are not in the given group are viewed as any or all of the following: animals, idiots, savages, criminals, outsiders, thugs, druggies, terrorists, loaners, conspiracy theorist, traitor, retarded, provocateur or any label that is anti to your groups establishment. Once labeled, you are a target for sure and will most likely be killed off.

Group-think is the reality behind the invasion of Iraq. Group-think is the reality of PO since it explains precisely how we got to the place we are in. Regan took down the solar panels that Carter put up and in the process set back fuel transition, conservation and efficiency 20 years.
Group-think is more powerful than an atomic bomb since it is instinctual and we are all subject to it in our daily lives.
Group-think creates plausible deniability and mass denial.

This is why I could not reach him and this is why once things get to a certain point and condition all those labeled will be excised from the program as useless dead weight. Nature can be both beautiful and brutal.

This gets interesting. I know your old job from the other side. 35 years back I was 17257-149, a political prisoner.

To your larger point: Some people you can not get to. Some people are not merely in denial, they will simply never know.
Tell you a story. Back in the mid '80's I lived in an uber-German neighborhood of Chicago. Next door lived the Mercedes salesman who gave late night drinking parties in his back yard where 100 guests would sing chorus after chorus of the Horst Wessel song. And yes, there were German Jews within earshot of that. Down at the end of the block were Herr und Frau Seifert who didn't mix so much. Herr S. was a master painter, could brush feathered mahogany or a Black Forest mural about as easy as he could roll white on a ceiling. And he was an old Social Democrat and unionist who'd gotten his family out of the Third Reich in 1935, just as Hitler had begun rounding up his comrades in a big way and putting them in the camps. Those comrades and sometimes their families - none of them made it 'til 1945.
And in a smaller way I knew precisely how he felt and so we got along.
Herr Seifert got old and passed on and Frau Seifert socialized more. I remember once talking to her out on the sidewalk after a little kerfuffle about the drinking parties and the neighborhood Jews. She said to me full quote "I never understand what is all the fuss over that nice gentleman Herr Hitler."
Some people ain't never gonna get it. I think half the posters on this board are gonna be blindsided by PO when it hits hard. And 90% of the well-read well-informed polite thoughtful voices I enjoy reading here will be blindsided by global warming.
Just don't worry about it if you meet people who can't take your point. Or are in denial. That's normal.
The more important question is: Will there be enough flexible resilient leaders engineers active determined survivors to keep human society going against the undertow and dead weight of the past?

Sounds to me like you've got a lot of ducks in a row and are pretty much prepared for an uncertain future. Also sounds like you've got a lot of anger and frustration. Don't we all. Deal with the anger and dump it now, it will only weigh you down when TSHTF.


Very very insightful.

It's all 'PO'litical.

I don't talk much to the people around where I live because I find talking about motorcycles, antique cars and 4000 CID trucks completely uninteresting.

Your above comment/story just reinforces my belief that, in the US, we're collectively unable to connect with energy issues.  We'd read about people not opening their broker statements after the Nasdaq crash in 2000.  This is similar.  We just don't want to hear about it.

I hopped onto my 1986 Honda Nighthawk and drove over to the local taco shop for quesadilla this morning and the proprietress told me she thinks I'm smart to be driving something like that around.  Other people are starting to ask me how it does on gas.  Slowly the cost of gas is entering into the public mind even in this right wing community where I live.  I guess that's a step in the right direction.

Our country is all about profit and greed.  If the topic concerns something like conservation of energy then interest flags because it's very hard to get rich by conserving.  Profit margins on little cars is much lower than the big SUV's.  You only get a profit from insulating someone's house one time.  The guy who sells the propane sells less when people conserve but his margins don't improve.  The gas station doesn't make a bigger margin when price goes up and demand flags.  Overall the system just isn't set up for steady state let alone a declining state.

In the meantime we've made our bet that price signals can solve our problems.  We hate and mistrust our government for its greed and criminality.  What's left but the hope that somehow the lure of riches will coax out the creativity we need to make our way through this mess.

I'll just point out that the truly creative people aren't liable to be suckered in by secondary reinforcers like money.  They do what they do because it floats their boat.  Getting someone to make a breakthrough in fusion by throwing scads of money at it probably won't work.

Creativity requires a rich inner life powered by curiousity and skepticism.  It proceeds by establishing new connections between apparently unrelated observations.  The kind of mind that nurtures this combination of traits is likely to find money boring.

That leaves the mediocre - and boy we've got a lot of mediocrity out there.  Mediocre people are highly motivated by money.  That's the good news.  It's also the bad news.  Nothing turns the superior mind off faster than having to work under the yoke of a mediocre boss.

The plans evolving from New Orleans (basically any citizen that wants to sit at the table and put in the time is welcome) have has the highest priorities, in order:

  1. Bigger and taller levees
  2. Restore our wetlands
  3. More Urban Rail
  4. More housing
  5. Better schools
  6. Rebuild healthcare system

We have been critized by the national media for wanting so much more Urban Rail (what idiots with screwed up priorities, and the nerve to ask for money for that frill, etc.).

I do NOT talk about "Peak Oil" per se, but about the strategic advantage that an electric transportation system will give us "as oil prices go up", how much they serve as an anchor for neighborhoods to rebuild around, how they will help recreate the neighborhood bonds my seeing and talking to each other at the stops, how it cna improve the cityscape and so forth.  I couple this with a pro-bicycle agenda as well and point out the negatives of an auto-centric urban community.

And it resonates.  VERY little negative feedback.

Having Dinner tonight with President of a drowned neighborhood assoc to talk in greater detail about one proposal and how to push it.  He is spending all day today gutting houses.  THAT is where we place the priority of more streetcars !!

Thanks, Alan, for the cheering report.  I like all the good positive things you are doing to balance out the gloom and doom.  Just for fun, I thought a little about a micromini pumped storage system for my old farmhouse, using the pond 20 meters down the hill and a big sheet metal tank up by the house. And of course my stirling free cylinder water pump, a thing so weird nobody can stand to look at it (gets the  power off the recoil of the cylinder!)  Looks sort of  feasible. Fun idea.
Thanks.  It was a very enjoyable evening with GREAT food (our food has come back faster than our postal service :-)  A rather comely German volunteer joined us which was quite nice as well.

Do you not find it ironic that the source of optimism  and hope comes from the depths of the greatest disaster area in the US in our life time ?  since the Dust Bowl ?

There is cultural value in New Orleans, something that the rest of the nation can learn from.

Many will resist and never learn from a verbal discussion, yet a few days visiting a city that lives, and lives well, with minimal use of the car, can teach in ways that verbal or written arguments cannot.

I truely believe that few other American cities would hold enough attraction on their citizens to bring them back in the numbers seen and the conditions prevalent here.

Try to stay positive. You have an advantage over the sheeple as you are more aware on this important subject. What you have to do if figure out how you can use this to your advantage. There are definitely not enough lifeboats for everyone. Seeing through the game is not the same as winning the game.Free advice is worth what you pay for it.  
AO, it was my post I believe you were referring to.  I am quite political, and I also believe you cannot separate politics from the PO issues.  I suspect you and I have similar political views, and if I were at that party we would probably have had a great discussion - perhaps on a different part of the porch from the moron crowd.  Seems like I've been at that party too, and I just don't waste my breath anymore.

My point was that there are limits to what is practical to go into on TOD.  There are people here with whom I know I do not share many political views, but still there is a common ground on the issue of PO and the problems we face.  I see these people as rather different from the folks like Prison Man.  If we head off into disussions like how to get the troops home, we'll loose something in the discourse when we get to the technical discussions.  And that's where I see the main focus of TOD.  Hell, I already know what I think is happening with regard to the oil wars and the political future of the country.  I read about that all the time too, and I bite my virtual tongue on here all the time.  But when it comes to energy there is so much I don't know about proposed alternatives, the status of various oil fields, what is likely to happen economically, what the effects of the oil bourses will be, when will we see the efects get serious, etc. - and I need to understand these things better to get the best picture I can.  There aren't going to be any PV arrays on my house either anytime soon.  

But I'm not the board nanny dude - post whatever comments you want!  I may not agree with you in regard to nulear power, but I'll listen and learn, and I'll probably enjoy your comments otherwise.

off the normal TOD subject matter...but in the larger scheme of things ..maybe not. it seems that when we talk about peak oil , peak a lot of things keeps creeping into the conversation. that's what it feels like to me ..the last gasps of an insatiable society...it's more than just consumerism..it's man conquering nature taken to the n th degree. in my own neck of the woods, one manifestation is a recent bill by our estemeed senator, conrad burns:
..it seems that conrad isn't satisfied helping the downtrodden, like mr. abramoff, so now he wants to road our local jewel, the selway-bitterroot wilderness:

...S2633 would allow the buiding of roads up 17 canyons in the wilderness to lakes like this one( in fact , this lake is one of the included ones) . this ,in effect guts the wilderness area. it would be a wilderness in name only. so, the almighty internal combustion engine claims another victim. if any of you out there care about wilderness , and backcountry, please contact one of the senators on the senate energy and natural resources committee by e-mail and stop this pernicious bill. </rant>
btw...this is not the only wilderness area monied interests want to road...check out wilderness watch's website. wilderness is being attacked in california, oregon, georgia,alaska,idaho,montana,and washington, among others....e-mail congress if you care. it just takes 5 minutes.
emailing won't work. you mail will be in a spam filter or ingore bin.
take a half hour each day and write with pen and paper as neat as you can to each of your reps.
ask everyone you know do the same. nothing will get your message across then large bags of mail ariving at their offices all saying the same thing.
No doubt he will want to drill in Alaska to provide the oil to screw up your (our)wilderness.  Part of our energy plan should be no more roads anywhere.
This is precisely what needs to be done. No more more roads, we've got enough.
CNN is promoting the energy theme that will ground their morning show this week. From the promos it looks like it involves how gas prices are squeezing middle/lower class people 'in the heartland'.
I live in a tourist area in Colorado.  The number of vehicles this year is more than ever.  Guess these people aren't from the heartland. Nope.  $3.00 a gallon a gas isn't even close to high enough.  Raise it to $10 and then we may see some progress.  People have adjusted.  $3.00 doesn't mean squat to most people.
I'm of the opinion that raising the price to $10.00 per gallon would destroy my business and inflict homelessness on me. The wealthy will be the last to feel it but from a different direction. Their corporations will cease to make a profit since no one will be able to by for their goods and it will be too costly for their goods to be shipped. The GNP numbers are at best fictional.
The fair way to proceeded would be through rationing that is equally imposed per car or license. The message to the SUV drivers would be to get cars that go a greater distance on a gallon. The low income would still be able to work and eat. Rationing would be of greater value then $10.00 gas since all waste will be curbed and the economy will see sales of smaller cars climb.
Rationing will eventually happen as it is but if $10.00 arrives before rationing then the economy goes into shock.
I agree that rationing is rational and just.

Five gallons a week per registered motorist. Car pool if you need to commute.

No exceptions for millionaires.


Where this would get into trouble are exemptions.  AO says he needs his work truck.  Are people who have a business that demands more gas exempt?  I need gas for my chainsaw to cut firewood.  Would I be exempt?  How about my garden tractor and tiller I use for food production.  Do I get a special quota?  Or, the 30-50 gallons I store for my generator when the power goes out.

Now I grant that dyed fuels could be used like on and off road diesel but I don't see it happening.  What sounds good for suburban/urban fuel rationing would raise holy hell in the boondocks and farm and ranch communities.

Yeah, I know ... I live out in the toolies on a ranch. I chose five gallons a week because that's about what I use ... got a Kawasaki 125 that gets 90 mph.

Everybody drives big trucks and SUVs out here. They say they need them to haul trailers, which they do maybe a couple of times a month. The rest is driving down to the coffee shop.

A fuel tax would probably work better ... I can just hear the screaming now!

I live near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Gasoline costs alsmost $7/gallon here. link

However, our country isn't in a recession, we are doing just fine.

First post as a silent observer for 4 months. It has been mentioned before that our Gasoline in the u.k. is also around $7 per gallon. We have comparable GDP per capita to the U.S. and the same to report as tommy - not too many problems affording this, (In albeit generaly smaller cars!).

It is 3000 miles from New York to San Fran. Tell me how many miles to cross England.

England is c350 miles across at widest point - Penzance to Dover but UK mainland south to north has much greater distances i.e. c900 miles Penzance to Wick.

I suspect, however, that relatively few would do the above trips in full and most vehicle mileage is more local.  Average auto mileage in UK is around 10k - 12k miles per year which, I suspect, is not that disimilar to US averages.  There are differences in fuel consumption and layout of towns and cities.  UK has many diesel vehicles and fuel consumption of 40 - 50 mpg is common (I'm using US gallons here btw), petrol vehicles achieve 30 - 40 mpg (US) and diesel SUV's up to 30 mpg (US).  Cities and towns are walkable i.e. many can find shops and other facilities within easy walking distance; in my area supermarkets also tend to be within a few minutes' walk of the town center.  It's also possible to travel to most places by public transit and the rail services between major towns and cities are frequent.

Combine $10 per gallon with some sort of graduated rebates/credit/tax reductions for those with moderate to low incomes.  Rationing would be fine too if combined with the ability to trade carbon credits. That way the frugal, whether voluntary or involuntary can make money off the fact that they are using less or no gas. Combine this with a repeal of the high income tax reductions and this could be done in a way that would cut back on carbon and mitigate the hardship cases.

Those who produce a lot of carbon in their area of employment probably would suffer a decline vs those managing a relatively low carbon business or consumer preferences. But that's part of the point; we need to move away from high gas/carbon activities. We cannot maintain all activities because someone might be disadvantaged.

This could be phased in over a number of years so people have time to prepare,invest, transition, conserve.  The result of our current path is unacceptable.  


You just discribed the "hillerycare " of the energy world.
Let the prices go where they need to be and people will addapt.  You clearly have no faith in the free market.
Too bad because if you didn't notice, the Soviet Union failed.

A free market and capitalism are two different things. The first is a concept in economic organization, the second is a historical phenomenon. I bet that the Party commissioners were saying to their critics that they didn't have faith in communism.. just before the excessive militarization led to collapse.
When you buy gas it is metered. If you set the pump to only deliver at the most X gallons of gas each month and do it on disposable plastic or rechargeable plastic card you in effect have set a fixed demand. No exceptions and fair distribution will reduce waste by SUVs. Naturally if a poor guy has a 1970 LeSabre he will still be able to get to work for a while but will face the same issue that a hummer driver faces low gas mileage. Yet you would have the fairest possible conditions, till shortages hit.

The let the price go high method damages low wage earners and burdens the middle class. So, if you set no price control and the poor spend $40.00 for 4 gallons of gas at some point a great portion will not be able to get to work at all. These are the people that buss tables, go to school, want to pick up a hot date, make your fast food, pick up your trash, care for your children, etc.

If you show up at the gas station in your Expedition and say fill it up the young guy next to you will see you and your cash then look at his four gallons getting him to under a 1/4 tank. He will follow you and wait till your clear. He will climb under your SUV and drive an awl through the tank and drain it into a pan. You will be asleep and he will fill his car. Later on people will stab and shot each other over gas.

Fair distribution is the only way!

It might be a good idea to consider changing your business...?

Our lives are designed for us, and not for our own benefit.

Consider a re-design of your work and life to be less dependant upon cheap oil.

We will see $4/gallon soon enough, and $10/gallon is just not that far away.

Might as well start planning for it now, eh?


Good comment.

re. adjusting to $10 gas.

The big thing to say is that it's early yet.  And as we see with the 'denial' threads, it looks like there will be time (a year or two?) to adjust, and still beat the rush.

I'm not even saying $10/gas is a sure thing, but most people are warily watching to see how close $4 gas really is.  I see small adjustments now.  Mainly I see old efficient cars pulled out of the garage (where do they really come from?) and put on the road.

I volkswagon pickup pulled in behind me last week.  Geez, last built in the 70's, and not known for reliability ... amazing to see it.

I'm sitting behind a motel counter in Colorado as I write this.  We are having a quick-start tourist year.  Seems like all the visitors from FL-TX want to get their vacations done and get home before the hurricanes start!
O.K. i'm itching and its my first day (speaker here). I've have some points/half questions i've wanted to say so here goes.

1)Will demand destruction not hide peak oil production?
  For example SA held their o/p this month (Held or had no choice!!?)so Has $70 barrel caused the lull?

2)Would SA not go to great lenghts to hide their peak, even staging their own 'terrorist attack' that would take' down production'?

3)Lets say gas costs hit users and traffic was less, people driving smaller lightr cars circa 3years down the line; opposing the prophets of doom, can we not transition easily to 500mpg+ machines? How I hear. Simple, strap a 20cc 4 stroke engine to a faired recumbent bicycle. Blown plasic fairing Alu. bike frame etc, not rocket science. Presto. We could have made a machine like this 40 years ago!

Shoot me down in Biodeisel flames!


We can't let demand destruction let the consumer price go down. Otherwise, our efforts at conservation/efficiency will mostly for naught.  This can't be part of another cycle; it must be a permanent feature of the economy.  Higher taxes to keep the price up can be rebated to those with moderate to low to nonexistant incomes.  This is the basic reality that our congresspersons and President won't fact up to. It's all about getting the price at the pump down. Dumber than dumb and counterproductive.
Marco.  It's not about the technology; it's about getting people to use the technology.  Millions of us could bike to work by bicycle without any technological changes but it's not going to happen.  People want their SUVs and high mileage too or they want to pretend that trucks getting 12mpg while using ethanol are a solution to the problem.  

I've always lived close to work and paid dearly for it.  But that was a function of values.  How do you change the value system?  Without a change in the value system, you have to impose some pain through taxes or rationing.  

Is it a function of awareness or just not giving a damn. Guess it's a little bit of both.  I think we are divorced from what is really happening to the planet.  You can't see that if you'r e just looking out your air conditioned home at you weekly mowed, pesticied, herbicided lawn.  Drowth. No problem.  Just turn on the sprinkler.  Dying species. No problem.  Out of sight.  Out of mind.

I know you are right, but as an engineer it angers me , that we have the ability but not the will.
Marco -

Yes, as an engineer, it also angers and frustrates me immensely that we indeed do have the ability but not the will. It will be tough enough even if everybody is pulling in the same direction, but that appears to be hardly the case. I am afraid that many of our efforts will cancel each other out.

However, we seem to have the 'will' to expend well over $5 billion per month in Iraq with absolutely no tangible benefits in sight, but many tangible negatives in sight.

It never ceases to amaze me how money can magically become available for certain useless things, while it is totally unavailable for other more worthy things. The Pentagon spends millions of dollars like they're nickels.  Some pilot screws up and plants a $50 million figher plane into the ground, and the response is: so what; too bad. But if someone tries to get a million dollar grant to promote alternative energy, all of a sudden cost-effectiveness becomes an issue. It almost seems like we are living with two different currencies: one for civilian commerce, and the other for  'defense' expenditures. The latter is several orders of magnitude larger than than the former.

That is why we here in the US are in for a big hurting. Probably sooner than later.

(sorry to say it, but this post is just too damm good to be buried in the bottom of an almost dead string, you will almost certainly see it again! :-)


you said, "It almost seems like we are living with two different currencies: one for civilian commerce, and the other for  'defense' expenditures. The latter is several orders of magnitude larger than than the former."

There is one other "currency" that seems to be completely ignored, that being, for lack of a better word, the "style" or asthetic currency.  There are books pointing out that modern societies of the world now spend vast amounts of resources on nothing but "stlye" items.  This is part and parcel of the way cultures act once they assume the "material needs" are granted, and explains for example why stores brag on selling 2000 varieties of bathroom faucets, and cars and trucks are bought brand new, and immediately turned over to the aftermarket custom shops to be torn apart and refitted, to "personalize" them.  No one ever, EVER dares to question the ROI (Return On Investment) or the EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) of this type of "style" choice.

But, a hybrid car....ahhhh, that's another story.  It will be rhetorically ripped apart by the "technology is no solution" crowd among the so called Peak "aware"  (who too often seem so aware of "Peak" they are often unaware of anything else!).  It does not have the proper "EROEI" factor to save the world!!  

I have used this example before, because it absolutely fascinates me.  This time, I will elaborate on why it fascinates me, because I see it as one "leading edge" of a wave that we all will soon experience.  Those of us truly "aware" of a larger view will benefit to the extreme by our foreknowledge of the coming wave:

I live in Kentucky, about an hour outside Louisville.  This is pickup truck and SUV country, where a Prius hybrid is a rare sight indeed ( I actually have seen a few!), and the fact that the greatest number of hybrid cars will soon be built in KY  (at the Georgetown KY Toyota Camry plant, with the arrival of the Camry hybrid) not withstanding, most folks here just can't see how they can be worth the effort.  The technology is too complicated, they say, and too expensive.
Extra electrics, extra batteries, etc., how can that be afforded, designed, maintained?

Recently, Eaton Corp. in conjunction with Ford Motor Corp. and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)  showed another interesting development, a "Hydraulic Hybrid" SUV.  It uses a Diesel engine to power a hydraulic pump, and then stores the pressure in accumulators, high pressure tanks.  The system gives hydraulic push on acceleration, and then, when decelerating or braking, stores the pressure of braking, using the same idea as regenerative braking in an electric car.  The efficiency gains are astounding, with a Navigator sized SUV achieving huge improvements in fuel economy with no loss of performance or size compared to the factory vehicle.


This system would open the possibility of achieving HUGE fuel economy improvements in SUV's, trucks, school buses, sanitation trucks, package delivery trucks, and yes, even passenger cars (Imagince a mid sized Mercedes Diesel sedan, already getting 30 plus miles per gallon, being able to achieve even better starts from a standing stop, with all the comfort of that car, but boosted to 45 plus miles per gallon....the numbers seem to indicate it is very possible, and with refinement can do even better)

The system was met with a yawn, by what few folks in the public who even knew it existed.  Again, complicated, expensive.  "Your going to put hydraulic pumps on a car?  and pistons and cylinders to store the power?  That will be years away, if ever."  (they seemingly ignore the hydraulics in the steering, braking, transmission, and "load leveling" suspension already carried onboard by a modern car.)

Well, let's look at what folks are doing with technology, and with their hard earned money, and with fuel, in the way of hydraulics on cars, just for "style":

Back to Louisville KY (and you wouldn't think you could get further from the cutting edge than that, if you buy into most stereotyping about our state!).
 If I want to custom up my old Mercedes Diesel, and put enough hydraulics on it to make it leap off the ground...



Just browse around....if you are a fan of finely machined and well designed precision technology (I am), it is as beautiful to look at as an art gallery.
Don't believe me?  just click on the pumps link...

Like sculpture, machined, chromed, powerful, designed to precision!



And all for....???  Style, entertainment, kicks, to make the young kids car "hop" and "dance" rise and fall to impress the young females of the pack...

This, mind you, in a country that finds Hydrid drive electric vehicles, hydraulic hybrid drive vehicles, electric vehicles, or plug hybrid vehicles, "too complex, too expensive, too technical" to deal with.

As long as America can use it's vast technical, educational, industrial, and fabrication and machine tool skills for this, and not for the extremely badly needed improvements in efficiency we MUST MAKE, it is an indication that we are still very, very rich.  

But, the possibilities are there, and huge.  We need to get every tech school and vocational school, and every "techie" type customizer, thinker and "hot rodder"  should be educated in knowing that what they do for fun will soon be one of the cutting edges of how our society will survive a great transition.

Just as the "hackers" playing with computer technology created Silicone Valley and one of the biggest cultural and technical revolutions in history out of garages and small shops in Southern California, so will the mechanical "hackers" unleash efficiencies and alternatives not yet dreamed of.  

Just as the big computer companies, IBM, Burroughs, and technology companies such as GE completely MISSED and gave away the industry to the young bearded radicals andthe "kids", so General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler will give away an industry to the mechanical/technical "kids" on the new block.

In the 1970's, against the warnings of some very astute executives, IBM, Xerox and GE published photos, drawings, and gave "presentations" and expos revealing what was soon to become extremely valuable technology, and gave it away for free.  They forgot:  The kids were watching.
Now, GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Volvo, Volkswagen and Eaton to name a few, are doing the same thing.  The kids, now with the web to help them, are really watching.

So for now, let the "kids" play.  As any good naturalist tells us, it is in play that all creatures learn the first skills to survive.

We are fast approaching a fascinating time!

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I am excited about seeing the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?".  I put an interview I recorded up here:
Chris Payne interview on Marc Maron Show

The movie has a lot of humor as they bring in snippets from Naked Gun and evidentally talk to Phyllis Diller (!).


Referencing my prior post, can you IMAGINE in your wildest dreams the technological give away that is the EV-1!!??

The Paul MacCready team designed a technical masterpiece for GM, and then, drawings, photos, cutaways, tech tables, design specs, ALL were distributed to the public free of charge!  For those who had long wondered if it could be done, GM showed them that yes, even with primitive batteries, it could be done, and very well.

Then, they killed it.  They gave away the technological know how, and then WASTED THEIR DAMM INVESTMENT!!  The word ASTOUNDING does not even begin to describe the sheer magnitude of incompetence (or if your a conspiracy minded type, corruption!) of General Motors in this history making debacle.

But the information is out there.  The full design is easily available to copy, modify, and improve upon.  In it's own way, the GM EV-1 is now the "open source" textbook showing how to build a workable and acceptable electric vehicle.

Young minds are already thinking, adding, changing the design.  I read on one blog a comment where a young technician asked the question, "What if you incorporated a micro turbine CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) engine to recharge the batteries?  You would have the perfect long range cruiser as well as commuter car, the gas turbine could provide comfy climate control, and it would be the "plug hybrid" poster car right from the start, capable of stretching the CNG for hundreds of miles per gallon  gasoline
equivalent, and environmentally clean beyond words!"

Try to find the technical hole in his argument!  (I haven't been able to!)

Some more freebies to "open source" the future car:

The aforementioned, from GM:

From Volkswagen:


http://eng.volkswagen-media-services.com/medias_publish/ms/content/en/pressemitteilungen/2002/04/15/ the_1-litre_car__.standard.gid-oeffentlichkeit.html

From Diahatsu:


From Volvo:

From MIT:


From Calcars:


Some happy hackers at work:

We are nearing the point of confluence.  The ideas are floating around for free.  If we accept the fact that the crisis "is first and foremost a liquid fuels crisis, and not an energy crisis per se" as quoted from Hirsch himself, then we can see the road forward.

A greater energy crisis is still on the horizon in the longer view, of that there is no doubt.  Unless nuclear fusion is made to work in the next 20 years or so, or solar, wind, tide, genetic or bio-fuels can somehow be improved to be more efficient and return much more energy than they do now, energy overall will be a bind, and we will cut it too close for comfort.

That is why the "stretching"  alternatives mean so much, ESPECIALLY in the area of transportation.

Remember that even the worst case scenario of Colin Campbell and the Upsalla Protocol see the world producing as much oil in the year 2050 as it  did in 1968, and that is the WORST CASE scenario, not even fully accepted by all, even in the Peak aware community.  We are NOT going to RUN OUT of gas or oil in the lifetime of anybody old enough to be able to read the posts on TOD, not even according to the darkest scenarios of the Peak oil projections.

This does not in anyway reduce the importance of Peak however, and is cause for comfort only if we begin to make the technical breakthroughs NOW (and for those who say "It's not a technical problem", I must dismiss them out of hand.  Oil was born of technology, for technology, and we would not use a pizz pot worth in a century without technology.  It is at it's heart and soul a technical problem.  The politics, the cultural implications, the wealth and power and class struggles are all symptoms of the central issue, a technical issue involving hydrocarbon fuel, and the limits of that supply in relation to the amount we burn to fuel our technology)

Long and short of it is this:  Change is coming.  Some will lose, and some will gain, just as they did when the industrial age was born.  Some will suffer, as always, and if we get it wrong, many could suffer.  

If we get it right, the coming change could be as liberating and as prosperity enhancing as the industrial revolution, or the development of information technology has been.  If you hate technology, that's your choice.  The Amish community has long survived and not accepted America's consumption habits.  That is an asthetic and moral decision.

If you love technology and are interested in the ground breaking developments coming now, the ones that, by the way, HAVE LONG BEEEN PREDICTED (I find it so idiotic when folks try to act like all of this is some big surprize!), the technology is here and will be here, and it will be anything but bland!   How we apply it is, as always, is what matters.

Alvin Toffler long ago pointed out that there are three sources of real power in the earthly realm:  Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence.  Only violence presents us with the possibility of a power source that some (pacifists) would regard as in and of itself inmoral (but, if you saw a person preparing to kill a child, and you could prevent only by use of violence, is violence too a tool that can be used for good and for virtue), wealth and knowledge being totally dependent on how they are used to be considered either moral or inmoral.

Technology will be used as long as even one human on Earth remembers that it CAN be used.  That genie is out of the bottle.  How it is used, and how the knowledge and wealth of the human race is used are the moral issues of our age (or any age)

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

What movie was this from?
"Gentlemen! I know you're all worried, and I agree - there's plenty to be worried about.

Like this solar power plant. Already operational outside Los Angeles. Photo-voltaic cells. They convert sunlight directly into electricity. Fluorescent - lasts much longer than a conventional bulb, using a quarter of the power. Super windows - insulate as well as ten sheets of glass. An electric car - partially powered by solar panels.

But the truth is, gentlemen, I'm not worried about any of these things.

Because no one's ever going to know about them." -- Robert Goulet

That was a fantastic read - how can I support or invest in these young hyper-efficient vehicle upstarts?
At the very least, it makes one yearn for some kind of immediate event in an oil-producing country or refinery, to drive up the price of gasoline.
I would recommend reading Bruce Sterling's 'Distraction' (1998) for another optimistic view of post-collapse USA.
in the end eroei and roi is all that maters. everything else is just used to comfert us from the harsh reality.
Good one Roger.
I get peeved when people dis my little Honda Insight (65-70 mpg) because of what they perceive as some gospel of EROEI.

Fer Chrissakes we don't even NEED hybrids to achieve a 25% -30% reduction in automotive fuel usage in the US. There are plenty of 35-40 mpg cars available that people driving 14mpg SUVs could just as easily be driving with virtually no sacrifice except that of Style!

I also get peeved when I encounter the thread about how the hybrids aren't getting the mileage that is advertised. Hell, I bet I could drive any car in the country out of the showroom and equal or exceed the EPA mileage figures, simply by sensible driving. This complaint is right at the root of the problem, people! It is about lifestyle and habit changes, and driving habits are, IMO, among the easiest and least painful adjustments we the people are going to have to make over the next couple of decades. If someone simply must drive down the road with their foot on the floor, tough s**t that they don't match EPA figures.

Altogether, I don't fear energy shortage nearly as much as the real possibility of the economic house-of-cards coming down around our ears. I'm seldom one to make predictions, but I tend to see a future where people are needing energy with unused potential lying idle; people going hungry with fields untilled, and on and on.

There is one other "currency" that seems to be completely ignored, that being, for lack of a better word, the "style" or asthetic currency.  There are books pointing out that modern societies of the world now spend vast amounts of resources on nothing but "stlye" items.  This is part and parcel of the way cultures act once they assume the "material needs" are granted, and explains for example why stores brag on selling 2000 varieties of bathroom faucets, and cars and trucks are bought brand new, and immediately turned over to the aftermarket custom shops to be torn apart and refitted, to "personalize" them.  No one ever, EVER dares to question the ROI (Return On Investment) or the EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) of this type of "style" choice.

This is a very good trend if it is taken one step further with customer carefully choosing stylish items, making sure they are of high quality and then stick with using them for 20-30 years making them part of whom they are. Such a trend would make manny kinds of resource use plummet and would lessen the load on our environment.

Yes, but I expect the only mechanism that will make this happen is price.
I've read about the hydraulic hybrid for a couple of years.  I think that this technology, if it proves out, will be dynamic for the uses you mentioned.  It would also be great for city buses.  It sounds like it would be much more efficient in capturing the breaking energy than the current diesel electric models churned out by GM (yes, GM) and others.

It would be easy to imagine HH vehicles seating 12-20 used as shuttles taking suburbanites to mass transit, whether greyhound-style buses for use in HOV lanes (which work rather well) or some type of rail.  I think that us US types wouldn't mind a short shuttle bus route that the smaller vehicle would cover, thus reducing the need for my favorite, park-and-ride.

Speaking of park-and-ride, someone should get the bright idea to provide sheds for scooters and bicycles on the pnl lot.  That might attract more riders.

I like the bike shelter idea !
DC-Area Metro used to have bike lockers at some stations.
Good point. I think many are unaware that the USA is effectively bankrupt fiscally. People are talking about making trillion dollar government investments without discussing realistically how this is possible. The country cannot sustain its current and future allocated spending-where is the extra money coming from? This is how politicians talk- lots of projects promised but no discussion of the source of the money.
Loans denominated in US Dollars seem a pretty good source to me.
That's always the way - what we CAN do is like the intoductory engineering class, when you talk about "ideal" cases - perfect electronic components, etc.  In reality the way things could work gets screwed up by all those losses and nonidealities.  in these discussions, those losses are called society.

Incidently, that's how I view the discussions of the logistic peak vs. the Hubbert peak.  


First, rural is different than urban. I think if urban people lived near work they would bike. I biked to work for seven years in Santa Barbara on great bike paths in the 70's, and once a week used the bus. I did not own a car.

Second, rural living requires long distance travel with few people utilizing transportation.

I agree with you about value changing.

I think demand destruction could hide peak for a while. But I don't think demand destruction will be the result of gov't plan or program -- it could be the result of a steep downturn in the economy or a (further) steep rise in oil prices, or both. I don't see how that can be precluded.

I doubt that SA will stage their own terrorist attacks, not without permission. The permit counter is in DC.

There is undoubtedly a great amount of room for lowering our (US) oil and gas bill, but not without stepping on the toes (profits) of a host of corporate interests. If that weren't the case, we'd be doing it -- not making war on the world. I do believe that the fattest, laziest American would accept the necessary sacrifices in our way of life if the facts were laid out by a trusted gov't and trusted media. (An admittedly hallucinatory if!)

Oil prices & Interest rates slowing US economy
Economy May Be Heading for Less Sunny Days After Growing at Strong Pace at Beginning of Year

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After years of talking about the Goldilocks economy -- not too hot and not too cold -- all of a sudden it appears the little rascal just got mugged by the three bears. While the economy began the year growing at a strong pace, activity seems to have hit the skids in the spring.

Factory orders fell in April. The five-year housing boom is cooling, with home sales falling and price gains slowing. In the biggest shocker of all, the government reported Friday that businesses created just 75,000 new jobs in May -- 100,000 fewer than expected.

If the onslaught of weaker economic data was not bad enough, there also are signs that long-dormant inflation may be starting to be a problem, and not just in the pain from $3 per gallon gasoline.

The relentless rise in crude oil to above $70 per barrel seems to be starting to trigger price problems outside of energy. The core rate of inflation, excluding food and energy, is now above the 2 percent upper limit favored by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues.

Slowing economic growth and rising inflation raise the specter of stagflation. This dreaded combination of economic stagnation and inflation had the country in its grips for more than a decade through the 1970s and early 1980s, bringing grief to the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

In perhaps the most ominous worry of all, some economists see parallels between May 2006 and May 2000.

Six years ago, an unexpectedly weak payroll number was dismissed as a fluke. Yet in hindsight, it was the start of a slide that culminated in a recession the next year that ended the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.

While economists hope this year's slowdown will have a more benign ending, they are busily marking down their economic forecasts based on the recent weaker-than-expected numbers.

The overall economy grew at an annual rate of 5.3 percent in the January-March quarter. Economists foresee a rate of about 2.5 percent in the current April-June quarter, down a full percentage point from estimates for these three months.

"We are starting to see evidence that the economy is slowing pretty abruptly," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York. "The question is will there be enough strength in other areas to offset the slowdown in consumer spending and housing."

All of this comes at an inopportune time for President Bush, who last week nominated Goldman Sachs chief executive Henry Paulson Jr. to replace John Snow as treasury secretary.

The White House hopes the selection of a Wall Street superstar can help lift Republicans' sagging poll numbers before the November elections, a goal that a weakening economy could thwart.

Higher gasoline prices and weaker job growth already have affected consumer confidence, which fell in May by the steepest amount since last fall's hurricanes.

The worry is that overall consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity, will slow. U.S. automakers already are feeling the pinch, reporting big declines in May auto sales.

Many retail chains did post good sales in May. But the largest retailer, Wal-Mart, had results that failed to meet expectations, reflecting the squeeze its lower-income customers are feeling from gas prices.

Still, analysts say they do not see the situation in such dire terms that it means the country is headed for a recession.

In some ways, the slower growth is just what the Fed has sought with its string of 16 interest rate increases over the past two years. The higher borrowing costs were designed to slow economic activity enough to keep inflation under control.

With signs of the slowdown increasing, the Fed is likely to call a halt to further rate increases, especially if the recent jump in inflation proves temporary.

Many economists also dismiss worries the current slowdown could signal that Fed has overdone the credit tightening, raising prospects of a rougher outcome rather than the soft-landing aimed for.

"When the economy slows, it is not surprising that at points we feel like we are slowing too much," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "It is very tricky to get the economy to throttle back in a smooth, clock-like way. The current situation is not unusual."


It is surprising that the price increase of oil has not had a greater impact. I thought for sure last fall that by December we would be in a recession but I was not even close.

It seems to have slowed worldwide growth rates by 1-1.5% but the world economy is till going strong, apropos the comment up-thread by the Dutch person on $7 a gallon gasoline.

We use oil much more efficiently than we did 20 or 30 years ago, so when there is adequate supply but at a higher price (i.e. the current condition), there's less impact on the overall economy.

The problem is that if there are actual shortages that efficiency makes no difference--no oil is no oil, no matter how many $ of GDP you could have produced with it.


True, but we are not yet to hard shortages. Ten years out.

Lou, this sounds suspiciously like the oft-heard argument that "energy is a smaller part of GDP, therefor we aren't as dependent on it." Basically a very bogus argument IMO. Kind of like saying, "I've gained 50 pounds since last year so I'm not nearly as dependent on my heart since it is a smaller percentage of my total weight."

But you aren't really making that argument..... are you?

My bad. Obviously you aren't.
My view has always been that it not the price of oil, it is the supply of total energy. The Chinese coal production growth is still very strong and it makes now a sizable part of the overall global energy growth. The growth of coal production is behind the strong imports demand of China. This is waht makes the world economy go round. China is now the engine of the global economy. As long as this engine is strong, it will pull the rest of the world along, even if oil prices are high. In fact, the China-originating global demand is still the main factor in higher oil prices, not only tight supply The price of oil is the result of both supply and demand.

But we should rather ask, why the oil prices are not higher - in the $100 range. I think the answer is that oil demand is not so inflexible after all. Small changes in demand and substitution with other fuels influence the price. Oil is still used for generating electricity in many parts of the world. There is room for substitution here. An the Chinese are regulating their oil imports. I would guess that China has now more say in the oil pricing than for instance Saudi Arabia, this because the Chinese can control their demand quite effectively.

I agree with you about the continued and surprising (to most) centrality of coal.
Also that the PRC is doing an excellent job evening out the increased pressure on markets from their oil product demand. But that pressure still continues to build up and medium term will be a very potent influence.

It isn't just higher oil prices, of course.  You mentioned a slowdown in housing as a contributing factor, but I think it is a much larger factor than you state.

If you look at the press from around the country, you see that real estate markets are stagnating.   Inventories are up, and people aren't buying.   People working in various professions are going to be subject to layoff.  Things such as realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, for one.  New construction is turning down too, so people who work in the trades are going to be looking at slowdowns.

Many people who have purchased in the past year or two have bought houses using ARMS, and as these mortgages adjust, they get squeezed financially just the same as with higher gas prices.  And if they overpaid for the thing, they may find foreclosure is the only way to unload the turkey.

For those who haven't seen it, here is a link to the video of Rob Neuman's HISTORY OF OIL.  It's pretty funny!  


I am watching this. It is priceless. If you've got a broadband connection, by all means check it out.

How will Americans respond to Peak Oil ? Or more correctly at what point can they no longer ignore it.

Right now like global warming it is still easy to ignore Peak Oil but certainly within the next 5-10 years this will not be possible. The means the end of the American dream ( wasteful expansion ) probably the heartland will be the hardest hit since this is where wages are low commutes fairly long and basically no public transportation.  One interesting problem is exactly how say 10 gal gasoline effects the typical middle American with a income of say 60k a year and a dual commute of 60 miles a day.  
Some quick math at 20mpg your talking about 3 gallons of gas or 30 dollars a day at 10 dollars 15 at 5 that's fast approaching. giving 600 dollars a month at 10 and  300 dollars a month at 5.

Assuming a tax rate or overall non spendable income of 20%
give a monthly income of  4000.
Assuming a mortgage of 1500 care payments of 200 plus and additional 1000 a month of misc expense gives expenses of
1500+400+1000= 2900 leaving 1100 for saving etc.
Adding the gas expense of 300 leaves 800 bucks this assumes no inflation because of increased fuel prices.

Thus you can see that a typical lower middle class family would be right at the edge with 5 gallon gas and well over at 10.

Some numbers supporting 60k a year are here

The median income is  48,000

Thus its clear that a large percentage of Americans or in the 60k or less bracket probably 60% or more. Generally the income or average wages drop dramatically over say 90k a year.

For the 48000k scenario your basically at zero with gas prices at 5 dollars a gallon.

Maybe someone would be interested in getting more information and develop some graphs showing the impact of higher gasoline prices and disposable income.

5 dollars a gallon and higher seems to be the breaking point
in simple analysis.

Note that the overall effect of rising prices falling home values for home far from the city center etc are not included.  But certainly the scenario is prime for self forcing where as people have to drop out of the American dream and adjust there life styles probably via bankruptcy it spreads causing more problems. Considering the housing shortage inside major cities and the pressure on rent for prime spots near the limited public transport I expect to see severe disruptions  in middle America and strained conditions on the coasts. I don't think people have really considered the disruptive effect even a modest rise in gas prices would have on the US. You don't just suddenly convert
to a European style community overnight the impact on a large number of americans will be large and devastating.

Maybe some of the spreadsheet gurus would want to delve into this. My anyalsis points to the US being in some deep sh@%$
quickly as gas prices rise over 5 dollars a gallon.

How will Americans respond to Peak Oil ? Or more correctly at what point can they no longer ignore it.

The consensus around here is 'badly'. But it won't be recognized as 'Peak Oil' as discussed above. It'll be all the fault of Iran or China or Venezuela or Bolivia. Or on the other side of the aisle, it'll be the failures and foolishness of the current administration. In some quarters there will never be any recognition of 'Peak Oil'.

How will Americans respond to Peak Oil ? Or more correctly at what point can they no longer ignore it.

The consensus around here is 'badly'. But it won't be recognized as 'Peak Oil' as discussed above. It'll be all the fault of Iran or China or Venezuela or Bolivia.

Actually, I've noticed that a lot of the right-wing blogs are already blaming "wacky environmentalists". It's all because of prohibitions on drilling in ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico. As an environmentalist, I'm tempted to just say, "go ahead and drill to your heart's content." That will make it a lot harder to later shift the blame from where it really lies.

Oh yeah, forgot 'wacky environmentalists' -- point is, it's always Someone Else's Fault, someone who isn't a member of 'our' tribe.

<joke>Myself, I'm working on a theory that it's patent attorneys for suppressing information about zero-point energy and the 200 mpg carburetor.

But Americans are already responding to higher prices--gasoline consumption is even or slightly down from a year ago, and the shift in new vehicle sales away from light trucks (SUV's, pickups, and minivans) toward much more fuel efficient cars is turning into a stampede.  Check the stock of Honda Fits and Civics, or Toyota Yarises or Corollas, for example.  Locally, my wife and I found that they've all but evaporated.
Hi Memmel,

I had a go at this a couple of weeks ago. I came out with around $8 a gallon if - and its a big if - the average US family was to spend all their discretionary income on gasoline. You can check my reasoning here:


The truth is, however, as someone who replied to my post pointed out, actual US discretionary income is actually negative already, ie US families are already living off their home equity and credit cards.

How long can this go on? Who knows? But higher gas prices will certainly bring about the inevitable reckoning much more quickly.


You summed it up.
More evidence that the US is experiencing a real counterrevolution since 1981, which I have trouble finding a point of comparison for.
Huge gains for corporate America, nothing for anyone else.
IMO, this counterrevolution will not be stopped in its progress by oil depletion. This is no effective third political party on the horizon in the USA.
Check out


for more on this

Saudis Cite Market Forces For Lower Crude Output - Wall Street Journal

Kingdom Denies Any Effort
To Curb Global Oil Supply;
Stores Are Near Capacity
June 5, 2006; Page A3

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Saudi Arabia's oil minister confirmed that his country's massive crude-oil output has declined in recent months, but he attributed the trend to a drop in demand and denied the kingdom is aiming to limit supply.

In an interview after a meeting here of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Ali Naimi said other cartel members are having trouble finding buyers for all the crude they are producing, at a time when global stores are near full and many refiners have closed facilities for routine maintenance. One Saudi official said an estimated three million barrels a day of refining capacity is out of action and unable to process crude, at a time when the world is using some 84 million barrels a day of oil products like gasoline and jet fuel.
[Ali Al-Naimi]

"It's not just heavy oil. Even light oil is having problems" finding buyers, Mr. Naimi said, referring to premium grades of crude known as light crude that are highly prized by refiners because they have high gasoline yields.

Asked if the kingdom was easing up on supply because of concern about the buildup of inventories in the U.S. and other importing countries, Mr. Naimi rejected such a motive, replying: "At $70 a barrel?" Mr. Naimi suggested that producers will sell all the oil they can at such high prices.

The implication of Mr. Naimi's remarks is that Saudi Arabia would again open its oil spigots when buyers ask for more oil. For the past two years, the Saudis say, their policy has been to sell as much oil as buyers want, to the limit of the kingdom's production capacity.

U.S. benchmark crude for July delivery settled at $72.33 a barrel, up $1.99, on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday. So far in 2006, crude oil is up $11.29 a barrel, or 18%, and the price has more than doubled since the end of 2003 due to rising global demand and supply constraints.

The Saudi minister said the kingdom's oil output fell to 9.1 million barrels a day in April, the most recent figures available. Saudi output averaged nearly 9.5 million barrels a day in the first quarter, according to data compiled by the International Energy Agency.

The Saudi oil czar shrugged off concerns about large inventories, a trend that some in OPEC have cited as warranting a cutback in production. Mr. Naimi said producers must focus not only on stockpiles but also on spare oil-pumping capacity world-wide. Because there is little extra oil that exporters can produce, oil held in inventories can act as a cushion against supply disruptions.

But he ruled out the idea of Saudi Arabia discounting its oil to sell more barrels. "We will not leave money on the table" for others, Mr. Naimi said.

Saudi Arabia prices its oil according to a formula that takes into account prevailing prices on futures markets and on refinery margins -- or the difference between the price of crude and the price of crude-based fuels -- in different regions. It adjusts prices monthly for America, Europe and Asia. Many other exporting countries follow the kingdom's lead. OPEC's members assert that by basing prices on futures markets and on refining margins, they in effect let markets set the price of their oil.

With prices near a nominal high -- though still shy of highs reached in the early 1980s when adjusted for inflation -- OPEC's ministers on Thursday brushed aside a proposal by Venezuela to trim output and decided to maintain current output quotas totaling 28 million barrels a day, excluding Iraq.

OPEC and industry officials say the cartel's output is currently below that. In part that is because of supply shortfalls in Nigeria, whose production has been hobbled by political violence. But cartel officials say the production shortfall is also because Saudi Arabia and others in the cartel are encountering problems selling oil. Buyers have cut back purchases from other exporters, including Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

Iran's response has been to keep pumping oil and storing it, some of it in tankers, while it looks for buyers on the spot market. Some industry estimates put the oil Iran has stored in the past six weeks or so at more than 20 million barrels.

A senior Iranian oil official attending the OPEC meeting confirmed that his country, OPEC's second-largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, was having trouble selling heavy oil and was storing it. But he didn't specify the volumes involved.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia has reduced output to match demand for its crude. Saudi Arabia sells oil exclusively under long-term contracts with buyers that have some latitude in deciding how much crude to take every month at the prices specified by the kingdom. "We don't sell on the spot market," Mr. Naimi said.

Write to Bhushan Bahree at bhushan.bahree@wsj.com

So what gives???


Repost this when the new Drum beat comes up, it should be at the top.
I wonder how long they can keep up the facade of "more oil anytime we feel like it". The justifications are starting to sound kinda funny.
I wonder how long they can keep up the facade of "more oil anytime we feel like it". The justifications are starting to sound kinda funny.