DrumBeat: July 15, 2006

[Update by Leanan on 07/15/06 at 9:25 AM EDT]

A Plan to End U.S. Oil Imports?

WASHINGTON — American imports of oil could be eliminated by 2030, a new study by an interstate consortium asserts, if the nation turns to an aggressive program of energy efficiency and commercialization of four already-demonstrated technologies for making transportation fuels.

The study, sponsored by a nonprofit group of legislators and governors called the Southern States Energy Board, urges a crash program to meet fuel needs without imports, a strategy it says will lead to an American “industrial rebirth.” It says that such a strategy could create more than one million new jobs, reduce the trade deficit by more than $600 billion, and end oil price shocks that hurt the economy.

[Update by Leanan on 07/15/06 at 9:48 AM EDT]

Bodman: Traders controlling oil price

CALGARY (CP) — The world's oil suppliers have lost control of the markets, ceding that power to traders and giving rise to greater volatility in crude prices, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Friday.

..."This is the first time in my professional lifetime that the suppliers of oil in the world have really lost control of the markets," Bodman said during a two-day trip to Western Canada where he toured the rapidly developing oilsands region in northern Alberta.

"They are unable to turn the spigot and increase supplies, and therefore are unable to control oil prices."

What's pushing oil prices higher? The Iraq War is one reason, but there are at least seven others.

E10 gas prices inch past regular. While usually a few cents cheaper, the ethanol blend is now more expensive.

[Update by Leanan on 07/15/06 at 10:07 AM EDT]

Where Does Israel Get Oil? If you're selling, they're buying.

Bangladesh to seek foreign bids for oil and gas exploration

Update [2006-7-15 13:20:14 by Prof. Goose]: Oil Price Super Spike In Progress Amid Mideast Violence

Back down to $76.50 per/br. Whewww, what a relief that was a bit high there! I think we are completely screwed at this point. Just my 2p's for the day!
The NYTimes are spreading more propaganda than it did during the run-up to the Iraq war.

More of a prescription for global warming than energy independence.

Coal will save us:
"The one with the biggest potential -- estimated to displace 29 percent of imported oil -- is making liquid fuels from coal, using the Fischer-Tropsch method."

We can pump more out of the North Slope and West TX than exists:
"A second is to take the carbon dioxide created in both that process and other processes and pump it into old oil fields to push more oil to the surface, a technique called enhanced oil recovery."

Same as #1:
"A third is to use biomass, including wood and crop wastes, as feedstock for factories that make a fuel gas consisting of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. That so-called synthesis gas is the same as that made from coal in the Fischer-Tropsch method and it can then be turned into a liquid."

"The fourth is production of oil from shale, a technique tried after the oil shock of 1979, but abandoned when prices fell."

Little about:
Light Rail
Peak Oil
Higher CAFE standards
Global Warming

Re:  North Slope

North Slope oil output took triple hit in June
FACTORS: Lisburne issues, warmth, overall declines in old fields hurt monthly tally.

Petroleum News

Published: July 14, 2006
Last Modified: July 14, 2006 at 02:25 AM


A triple-whammy of seasonally warmer weather, which reduces compressor efficiency, continued pipeline shutdowns at the Lisburne field and declining output from older fields resulted in a drop in North Slope oil production in June.

The June average was 792,592 barrels per day, 3.6 percent lower than in May and 8 percent lower than in June 2005, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Speaking of global warming...

First Half of 2006 Is Warmest on Record

And it sure feels like it, this weekend...  :-P

Totally agreed... ignores CO2 oilfield injection already ongoing, as though this will be a magic bullet that is suddenly newfound.

Second, it ignores the massive water use, earthen byproducts pollution, etc. of the F-T process.

Third, when an article like this starts talking about oil shale as a realistic part of the solution, you know it has no anchorage in reality.

I think you are very right about the "completely screwed" point.

Batten the Hatches and load up on popcorn, beer and homegrown (reduce your dependency on others ;)

Iran is busy ushering in Allah's Apocalypse Now via it's puppies of war in Lebanon and Gaza... last night the Iranian pResident Flake said His Dad could beat up Israel's Dad and then he Double Dared Isreal to attack Syria... and the Iranians have some people on the ground in Lebanon so they could claim injury and join the fray at any time.


Israel charged that Iran, the main sponsor of Hezbollah militants, has 100 troops in Lebanon providing Hezbollah key support -- including helping fire a missile Friday that badly damaged an Israeli warship. Hezbollah denied it.

President Bush, on a trip to Russia, said it was up to Hezbollah "to lay down its arms and to stop attacking." Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo but fell into squabbling after moderate states, led by Saudi Arabia, denounced Hezbollah for starting the fight....

France decided to send a ferry from Cyprus to evacuate thousands of its citizens from Lebanon -- the first nation to do so. The move signaled the West expects a drawn-out battle....


Cry havoc, and let slip the puppies of war
Perfect - the title and this analogy:

"Gavrilo Princeps, the Serbian gunman who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand dead in June 1914, was a puppy. So are the Hamas ..."

I wonder if Iran and Syria expected this severe of a response. And I love how most moderate arab states blamed the "Recklessness" of Hezbollah and Hamas (and their Syrian and Iranian Masters).

I wonder if the Pakistani Moozlims are going to get India and Pakistan to pick up where they left off in 2003... maybe Islam loses the radicals from it's gene pool soon?

What? Your response is incoherent. Should I read link before I tell you the same thing? Get it together.
Should I read link before I tell you the same thing?
 I have heard that's how it works.
Sorry oily, I'll connect the dots:

The analogy is with the start of WWI - "puppy commits terrorist act on behalf of Master which escalates and precipitates world war" - except this time it is hezbollah and hamas playing the role of the puppies.

The Iranians and Syrians are the Masters holding the other end of the leash... and I wonder if the current consequences were expected by them or if they are a bit surprised at how quickly things have escalated since the abduction of the few soldiers.

And interestingly, the moozlim Puppies in Pakistan have started festivities in India - maybe in the hopes of souring relations between these two nuclear powers who only a few years ago almost came to blows...  I wonder if this is coincidence or a part of Iran's defense

Iran did warned of their hidden army all over the world and these eruptions are happening now when they need distractions to buy time with the UN on the "Nuclear Isthue".

And in both lebenon and pakistan - predominately moozlim countries - the Iranians are weakening governments they do not control via their proxy puppies.

=== pakistan/india

India: Pakistan Must Rein in Terrorists

BOMBAY, India - The bombers who targeted Bombay's rail system had support from inside Pakistan, India's prime minister said Friday, warning that the nuclear-armed rivals' peace process could be derailed unless Islamabad reins in terrorists...

Indian officials, though, have blamed it for many major attacks, including March bombings in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi that killed 20 people and a bombing that killed more than 60 in New Delhi in October.

An Indian Home Ministry official also said investigators were pursuing leads that the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India could have been involved in the Bombay attacks, possibly with the aid of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency...

Investigators were casting a wide net for the assailants -- focusing on a Pakistan-based Islamic militant network, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, along with smaller homegrown groups...

9AVF3UN30OYBxg8F;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNh dA--


Speculation now is that the fighting, especially against Hezbollah by Israel will last some weeks (2-3?).

I found it of interest that no land troops have entered Lebanon. All this is from the air, artillery based in Israel, or warships.

By the way, will CNN start calling it the Israeli Navy and sailors, not soldiers!

With Iran and Syria orchestrating this who knows how long it could last or how fast it could expand.

About the lack of land troops, I've read several times they are still activating reservists and maybe this is still the "softening up" phase... I guess we'll find out this week.  

About CNN, I saw a short clip of theirs attempting to explain the conflict in the Middle East - it reminded me of why I quit watching television as well as why no one in my 3D world is the least bit aware of Peak Oil.

What is your 3D world? I'm pretty sure my video games are better than yours. C'mon, we can be friends. Trust me, they are.
My 3D world - where I live, vs cyberspace.  I don't have any video games but my kids do, but your's probably are better than theirs ;).

Yes, Israel was mobilizing some troops but this is not a full mobilization.

The Israeli goal is to have the Hezbollah Shiite population in southern Lebanon either moved from their mutual border or de-fanged by the Lebanese army, but I do not think this strategy will succeed.

  1. Lebanon in general and her army are too weak.
  2. Bringing further misery to so many is not a winning strategy.

I do not think the new leadership in Israel thought this out far enough. As my Grandpa used to say, "either get on the pot or off the pot." Either smash Syria and gut Iran, or do very little.

There was a war in the 1700's obstentiably fought over a sailor's cut off ear. It was called the "War of Jenkin's ear." I wonder if this thing will grow much larger over the coming days/weeks because of the three Israeli POW's. . . .

One of a series of wars caused by colonial rivalries in the new world. The Spanish excluded English traders from their American colonies, leading to smuggling and resentment. In 1738, Captain Robert Jenkins appeared before Parliament with his ear, which he claimed had been cut off by the Spanish when they boarded his ship seven years earlier. War was declared in 1739, although the conflict was soon swallowed by the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and by 1743 the hostilies in America became part of King George's War (1744-1748). There were English attacks on Spanish colonies in the Caribbean in 1739 and 1740, and attacks of St. Augustune (Florida), then in Spanish hands, in 1740 and 1743, while the Spanish launched an attack on Georgia in 1743.


Just saw this over at the BBC (THE great right-wing site),

"As to where this is going: at the moment, Israel does not seem to be thinking about an exit strategy. I think Israel's calculation is that this is a sufficiently large crisis to prompt the international community to step in and get tough with Syria for its support of Hezbollah and to make the Lebanese Government accountable for actions that take place within its borders.

"I think we can expect a day or two more of the Israeli bombardment of Hezbollah targets inside Lebanon. The Israeli military justified today's bombing of Beirut airport because they said it was used freely to channel arms from Iran to Hezbollah. Despite pressure from hawkish elements in the Israeli military establishment, there is no plan at present to take military action against Syria."

Great History Lessons Jack - gives new meaning to "lend me your ear"... And they remind us how feeble are the godz of "poliTICs" the eCons and neoCons ignore or worship when they make their pRojEcTIons."

I find the different takes on the situation in the media to be interesting... some seem so naive, some slanted towards someone's axe that needs grinding maybe, some see through the smoke screens.

I think Israel knows exactly what it is doing and it's the Syrians and Iranians who are surprised at how quickly the wolverine came outta his den when they poked it with a stick - and are now wondering which pawn to move next and when.

I think Israel is focused on the Iranians and Syrians while batting away the puppies.  I think they are about as worried about the paper mache "government" in Lebanon as the Iranians and Syrians.

I have a feeling the Syrians and Iranians will make sure things escalate so they can use whatever "goodies" they got from North Korea and/or from Saddam's remaining stash of WMDs (the big surprises they promise ???).

I think the Witches of Persia know Peak Oil is upon us and so believe TimezUp. Those headf*cked freaks are on a Divine Mission for Allah.

I posted this late to yesterday's Drumbeat, but it ended up at the bottom. This is priceless. Berkeley professor Tad Patzek nails Vinod Khosla in this interview. He points out that just because Khosla knows a bit about computers, doesn't mean he knows jack about ethanol. You can see the interview at:

My In-depth Interview with Tad Patzek

KI: Based on your research alongside Mr. Pimentel, if true, that ethanol from corn takes more energy to produce than it delivers, why are major figures such as Vinod Khosla, Richard Branson, Robert Redford and President Bush still strong advocates for ethanol?

Patzek: Mr. Vinod Koshla and company are rather ignorant men, who also happen to be famous for other reasons. For some reason they seem to have an urge to talk about things they know so little about. Would you like Mr. Vinod Khosla to perform a brain surgery on you because you like him so much, or would you rather have a qualified person do it, while Mr. Koshla runs down his Sun Microsystems all the way to the ground?

He also echoes my position on Brazil in the interview, as well as the position I have taken on ethanol stocks:

KI: What is your prediction on the future of "ethanol stocks" as they have been losing steam since their "bubble" like run?

Patzek: The ethanol stocks will collapse, unless the ethanol lobby, can keep the massive subsidies flowing. Even worse, the existing ethanol plants will be useless for other much more efficient processes, such as Fischer-Tropsch.



On the topic of Khosla, I have challenged him to a debate. Check out my comment below this essay he wrote at The Huffington Post:

The Big Oil Companies Have Been Ripping Californians Off -- And Not Just at the Pump

I offered to debate him right here at TOD, or at The Huffington Post. I am so sick and tired of his irresponsible claims, that it is time to put them to rest. People are failing to prepare for Peak Oil because people like him are assuring them that we are going to transition right to ethanol when we need to.



Remember that Khosla, was involved in helping finance Sun. He is a Venture Capitalist now - Pure and Simple. I cannot say whether his funds are investing in ethanol producers. It is possible, and hence his enthusiasm for ethanol.

If one does the macro analysis on ethanol, it is fairly clear, that ethanol cannot be anything but a small part of the transportation fuel picture, as long as we do not reduce the population load on this planet by a very substantial amount - feat I would consider highly unfeasible by any "civilized" means.

Remember also, that ethanol from corn is completely dependent on corn subsidies. In order to continue getting subsidies, a "P.R. buzz" has to be produced on behalf of the ethanol lobby. I believe that this is all that Khosla and others are doing. Corn ethanol really cannot stand on its own legs.
Robert, thanks for the links. I read Patzek's comments as well as those of Pimentel and Vinod Khosla's response to Patzek. Here is a comment from Khosla that really shows his ignorance:

More importantly you should ask Dr. Patzek why he uses electricity since its energy balance is dramatically worse than that of corn ethanol?

Of course you get less energy from electricity than was originally embedded in the coal that generated it. In any energy conversion there is always a loss, the laws of thermodynamics demand it. There is always heat and friction loss. But coal is basically found energy. That is people did not spend other energy generating coal. If you lose 50% of the energy embedded in coal in the process of generating electricity, that's still 50% more than you had to begin with, before you found the coal.(Minus the energy it took to mine the coal of course.) But the point is, you have a net gain because the energy embedded in the coal, the found energy, is far more than the cost of the coal. You can afford to lose most of it and still come out well ahead of the game.

But in the generation of ethanol, it's a different story. You are using fossil energy to generate a replacement for fossil energy, and getting less replacement energy than was contained in the original fossil energy.

During my career in electronics, I have come across far more than one budding genius that figured out how to get free energy. They would use a motor to turn a generator to generate electricity. Then once they got the motor up to speed, they would switch the input to the motor to electricity out of the generator, and would simply tap off the excess electricity from the generator, completely free. Of course these geniuses failed to realize that it takes more energy to turn the generator than you could ever get out of the generator.

Yet that is exactly what the ethanol geniuses are trying to do. As long as it takes more energy to generate the energy contained in ethanol, then it will always be a losing proposition.

I am by all means not an ethanol enthusiast, but Mr. Khosla has a point. Electricity represents the energy embodied in coal, nuclear or hydro put into a useful form.

Now even if ethanol has an EROEI of 1, producing it makes sense since it effectively turns the energy embodied mostly in coal (plus some oil and NG) into a more useful (liquid) form.

The true issue with ethanol is limited scalability because of the amounts of resources invested per unit of output, where it would definately be outcompeted by CTL. But I realise that this aspect is too complex to be raised into a public debate.

For now ethanol from corn is propped up because of its "clean" image (which is barely a truth), but when the situation gets tighter the more technically feasible processes will take their place.

Well, it's mostly oil and natural gas. The only place coal would be used would be to generate the distillate heat via electricity, provided they use electricity. I would suspect however that most of them use natural gas for that as well.

At any rate even if they use electricity, they must pay for it. And if the electricity, plus the oil plus the gas plus the cost of plant and maintenance plus the cost of the farm equipment, cost more than the profit from the ethanol, it just ain't gonna happen. The farmers would never take a loss on their crop and ADM most definitely would not. So it is up to the federal government to keep pumping out the corn subsidies, else the grand ethanol adventure goes down the drain.

So you see Mr. Khosla does not have a point.

"Well, it's mostly oil and natural gas."

This is the crucial point, of course - if it is true than we have to rule ethanol out completely. It would take me a lot to study the matter, but my guess would be that ethanol from corn is slightly positive. The logic is that the price of ethanol per BTU currently is about the same as the price of gasoline. Yes, there is 60c/gallon govt subsidy, but these 60c would then need to cover all other expenses of farmers and destillers - amortizations, labor, materials and of course profits. Highly unlikely, IMO.

I would guess is that the truth is somewhere in between - ethanol is slightly positive energetically, plus receiving some subsidy by cheaper coal (oil and NG are ~ same price/BTU), but is not such a great source for energy.

The most correct thing to do IMO would be to remove the ethanol subsidy and see how it fares in the real-world. My guess is that it will stay but it will become obvious how marginal solution it is.

If the subsidy for corn goes, then not only does the price for ethanol go up, so does the price for High Fructose Corn Syrup (A poison - in my opinion - responsible in a large part for the current childhood obesity problem) - a major money maker for ADM. Neither the corn farmers, or ADm is going to like it!

Also, all the recipes for soft drinks and various packaged foods are going to have to be changed. Currently, it leads to the situation, that HFCS is subsidized, while sugar is taxed - so it is cheaper for packaged foods to use HFCS.

So I do not expect corn subsidies to disappear. I think the industry is looking for additional subsidies for the corn used in ethanol.

I think that these are two different subsidies - one is for corn production in general and the 60c/gallon is specifically designated for ethanol destilation. The first at least does make sense - in order to protect the country from potential food shortages you need to maintain overproduction and in the same time to protect farmers from going bankrupt because of that. The second one is pure pork, IMO.

I find it quite discouraging how on many questions like this one ordinary people are just left helpless at the face of how the government-corporate oligarchy is doing what it wants to. It doesn't sound very good for our long-term future.

You should read Michael Pollan's description of the history of the current corn subsidy as invented by Earl Butz. Rather than protecting the country from potential food shortages, it is setting the country's agricultural sector up for a mighty crash, which in turn will bring on these food shortages.
"HFCS is subsidized, while sugar is taxed"

I think it's more that domestic corn (and syrup) are subsidized, while cheap imported sugar has high tariffs.  There's a big sugarcane industry in Florida which benefits from the tariffs, while candy manufacturers are leaving the US because of them.

The problem is corn.  There is no way in hell that subsidy will be eliminated.  Cheap food and subsidies to the ADMs of the world has been our policy for decades.  Without that subsidy, much of the midwest would simply disappear and consumers would have to start paying for the real cost of food.  We must have our cheap corn and soy fed beef. It is the American way.
"Now even if ethanol has an EROEI of 1, producing it makes sense since it effectively turns the energy embodied mostly in coal (plus some oil and NG) into a more useful (liquid) form."

Maybe. But notwithstanding peak oil, it still generally makes sense to get gas the old fashioned way, from oil.  There are still alternatives to corn based ethanol which make more sense from a cost standpoint and an energy standpoint.  For most uses, there really isn't an alternative to electricity, so I still don't think Khosla has much of a point.

But still ...... It does get complicated.

More to the point, perhaps, try firing up your laptop directly with coal. It's very hard to see the screen, I hear, because of all that smoke.
Check this out: Traders control the oil market now: U.S. energy secretary.

The world's producers are unable to turn the spigot and increase supplies, and therefore are unable to control oil prices, said Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.

"They have ceded control to the traders," Bodman told reporters in Calgary. "The prices for crude oil are now set in New York and London and Tokyo, Singapore and other trading hubs around the world.

"He said he hoped to see a return "to what I hope is more normal, but time will only tell.""

We can only guess, I suppose, what time will tell.  Meanwhile, my local car dealership in my little town of 10,000 pumps out Toyotas and Chryslers and giant Dodge trucks like there is no tomorrow.

When oil cruises past $100/bbl the only thing we'll be able to afford to build, both time and money-wise, will be coal burning steam power plants and wind turbines.  That's the future, such as it is.
Ottawa, Canada was once the poster child for BRT, Bus Rapid Transit. But they found that the operating costs were too high and capacity too low for their needs. So they just approved a North-South Light Rail line (scheduled to open in 2010)by a 14-7 vote and the next day the layor was hard at work to get approvel for an East-West line (hopeful opening 2013).  This is a second of a series of Light Rail lines planned over 15 years.

Four years from approval to opening is a reasonable but quick timeframe.

http://www.canada.com/ottawa/news/city/story.html?id=988a85e2-91ff-4589-a37e-b02f77e3a4a0&k=5532 2

Meanwhile Seattle decided to run Light Rail accross Lake Washington on the I-90 corridor bridge instead of BRT, but it is a minimum of 15 years away (one wonders about price & availability of oil in 2021).


An editorial on this had two comments I will excerpt.


hese options have a 15-year horizon and feel a long ways away, but they are downright prescient in anticipation of the population and employment growth forecast 25 years out.

The public craves alternatives to $3-a-gallon gasoline. Look at the jump in ridership on the Sounder commuter-rail service between Seattle and Tacoma. Four daily trains carried 334,183 passengers in the first quarter of 2006, compared with 228,302 in the same period of 2005.

People will ride mass transit if it is available and reliable. And they will ride it as the daily automobile commute becomes all the more hideous and unpredictable. Time is money on the job and with day-care centers, where fees go platinum after 6 p.m.

In response to surging demand, Sound Transit will add two more Sounder runs next year, and, in a nod to the true ebb and flow of people's working lives, one will be a reverse commute to Tacoma in the morning.
Recent national surveys found a kind of apathy creep into the early 30s. Old political-science truisms about an early, transitory disconnect with voting and civic involvement is lasting longer. The antidote was thought to be the tendrils of employment ties, marriage and buying a house. An accumulation of physical and emotional stuff takes root and creates a sense of place. Nothing like a hefty mortgage to focus the mind.

As real-estate prices grow ever wackier and make homeownership all the more improbable for many, I think transit-oriented development is the key to helping more people get a stake in their community and a share of the American dream.

Housing of modest square-footage clustered near shops and transportation is the ticket for young homebuyers to have a place of their own, build equity and, sure, register to vote and complain about City Hall and the school board.

Compact transit villages will be built farther out, with narrower streets, walkable shopping areas and strong transportation links to urban centers.

Transit-oriented development is the Levittown of the 21st century. William Levitt housed postwar America in 850-square-foot, mass-produced, single-family homes. Today's route to a home of one's own can begin near transit centers in Federal Way or Renton. It's a good thing.

Sound Transit is the medium for getting something done. Eastside communities recognize what they need, and they will dog Sound Transit to make it happen. Light rail and the American way. That's super, man.

And Tampa, home of a short tourist streetcar line and disinterested in anything else, is realising that "OOPS, we need a viable mass transit system".  Corporate relocations ask about one.  And gas prices are unstable.  So local business conservatives are changing their tune.  An article aboout one developer.


One of Florida's most influential land developers with deep political ties to state and national Republican Party campaign financing said Wednesday he strongly endorses the need for rail and other alternatives to ease the Tampa Bay area's highway traffic crunch.

In a rare public stance on a local political issue, West Shore developer Al Austin said in an interview that Tampa Bay and its elected officials must face up to prospects that its economic future and quality of life could end up in gridlock.

"As recently as a year ago I would not have said this, but I have come to realize we need rail and other modes of transportation," Austin said.
Now, if we are lucky enough to have a 2010 Peak and 2% declines thereafter, the political process may be able to build enough Urban Rail to ease the transisition.


One good thing about long term plans (15, even 25 years out, see Miami) is that once politicans and the public realize that the aerosol density of manure is increasing at an alarming rate, they can speed up these plans; or even dust off previously rejected plans and start to implement them.

If there has been zero planning before, even for rejected proposals, it is hard to do anything at all.  Panic & planning seem, to me, to be mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, few cities without operating Urban Rail (or actively building their first line; Seattle & Phoenix) have a comphrensive metro area plan.

Dallas and the "DART suburbs" (suburbs that joined DART and paid their 1% sales tax) can build their 2030 plans out by 2018 (or even 2015) if conditions become urgent and federal funding increases dramatically.  Or they enact a local gas tax to pay for more Urban Rail quicker.

Ft. Worth and the non-DART suburbs cannot build much more than a fragment of a starter system in that time due to a serious lack of planning.  Two cities "joined at the hip" but with very different post-Peak Oil fates.  The same dichotomy will likely develop between Arlington (a non-DART suburb) and Plano (a DART suburb) IMO.  Even though GW Bush's greatest accomplishment before entering politics was building the "BallPark in Arlington" for the Texas Rangers with help of local gov't incentives.

Alan have you ever been to Boston?  I think you would love the neighborhoods here, they are pretty much as you describe the future since they were all developed in the past; before the advent on the infernal combustion engine.
E10 gas prices inch past regular. While usually a few cents cheaper, the ethanol blend is now more expensive.

Boy, that's a good one. Just wait until the national mandate ramps up the ethanol content in our gasoline. The article also brings to mind PG's post yesterday suggesting that too many Americans don't understand statistics. Sadly, they also don't understand economics:

Consumers and farmers, who have been pummeled by high fuel prices for more than a year, are protesting.

"Why is ethanol 10 to 12 cents more per gallon?'' said Steve Kirkpatrick, a Cedar County corn grower. Prices that he receives for his corn remain low, he said, despite the increased retail price of ethanol. "Why am I getting taken twice?"

Why are prices high? Two reasons. For a marginal EROI process like ethanol, prices must rise as the price of energy rises. Second, the mandates have created an artificially high demand that wouldn't otherwise exist. Supply and demand. Economics 101. It's just like gasoline. People seem to think we add up our production costs, throw in a profit margin, and come up with a price for gasoline. That's not how it works at all, which is why sometimes we have enormous profits when supplies are squeezed (or people are concerned they will be squeezed).

Also from the article, the finger-pointing begins:

Ethanol industry officials contend that the price of crude oil, which has been running above $70 per barrel, is to blame, not ethanol, for higher prices at the pump.

"Corn growers are not responsible for the price of ethanol," she said in a press release issued this week by the Iowa Corn Growers.



i really like that article about ethanol ..

It doesn't surprise me one little bit. If it was barely economically viable to make ethanol and burn it in cars before, why would it be now ? Plus you are right, mandating the use could create a terrible supply crunch leading to crazy prices. Bring back MTBE ! Matt Simmons had some interseting thoughts on this. He basically said it was crazy.

What we really need is to dismantle the economy so it uses less, not some half throught through schemes which will give false hope to the average person and end with very high prices and people asking 'why'..

Boat owners grapple with new blended fuel

Alec McMullin bought a 22-foot-long boat named Ember four years ago, a classic vessel he likens to a `65 Mustang.

But the 50-year-old Manchester carpenter won't be able to take his boat out on the water this summer unless he shells out another $5,000 to $8,000 to replace its fiberglass fuel tank. McMullin is one of the unlucky boat owners across the state who must grapple with the consequences of switching to an ethanol mix of gasoline, promoted as a more environmentally friendly choice.

Thanks for posting this. Someone asked me about the effects of ethanol on fiberglass fuel tanks a couple of weeks ago, and it was the first I had heard of it. Looks like it is a legitimate issue.



Hello TODers,

This could be a life threatening issue if your engine stalls at the wrong time.  Imagine your boat not being able to clear the path of a large ship in a confined harbor, the big ship certainly won't be able to stop in time, and cannot run aground, nor ram other big ships or port facilities.  Another scenario is your engine stalls and the winds, tides, or waves throw your boat onto the rocks.

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

That one I would not have expected!  The $5,000 to $8,000 has to be with competition to get into the yards and get the work done.  Cutting open a tank and putting in a fuel bladder couldn't be that big an operation.
Mother Nature is currently in the process of Dismantling the Economy... as well as the Lives of the Complacent Sleepy Saps who worship the godz of PoliTICs, Technology, allah, jehovah etc, etc.

What "we need" is for people to take personal responisbility for their lives... quit being Titbabies In Search of Another Nipple.

Have to burst your bubble.  "Mother Nature" is another diety.   Stems back to the times when nature was thought to control things via the Earth Mother, its another hold over catch Phrase.

If you aren't going to have any deities, you can't have "Mother Nature" either.

The Planet works as a complex system, So complex that our fastest Super Computers still have not gotten much of the systems nailed down very much of the time.  WE "Think" we know a lot of things.  We have seen in the records of the past a lot of things.  

Ascribe what you will to the diety that you wish.

I am a Christian.  You may be anything that you want to be.

I'll pray for us all either way.  

You are nitpicking Dan. Nature will take her toll, Mother, Father or GrandPa. Using the term "Mother" is just a figure of speech and does not imply that the user of the term is referring to a deity.

If ignorance of nature gave birth to the gods, knowledge of nature is destined to destroy them.
Baron d' Holbach

Don't we all nitpick?

Its just a subject I nit pick at.

But we could debate this issue back a forth for a while.
so lets agree to disagree on the esthics of the "nature of nature" and go on talking about energy issues.

Dan, there is No debate on how I use the term Mother Nature - the crazy bitch is blind as a bat, just like Lady Justice (and no, I do not worship her either).  Like Darwinian said, it is a figure of speech - I call my car a Mother all the time and believe me, it is not in prayer ;).  

I agree completely with your line - ""WE "Think" we know a lot of things. ""

That's what scares me about the global warming crowd as well as the neoCons and their eCons... having Faith in Science and Technology and Politics is a pretty old religion for us homo saps too (the old ruins seem to indicate this particular godz is as reliable as the allah and jahovahs etc, etc.

The day I believe in some metaphysical hooligan called by whatever name you want is the day I hope someone puts me out of my misery.

Life is better and actually makes sense when you don't have phantasm hobgoblinz haunting your mind.

From everything I've read, it looks like the US is going to jump on the ethanol bandwagon in a really big way. And all the negative technical reports about the poor net energy return of bio-ethanol are not going to divert this juggernaut one centimeter off its current trajectory.  

If we are going to be producing huge amounts of ethanol (which I think will be a huge mistake), we will of course become increasingly dependent upon ethanol. Therefore, our energy security will become increasingly dependent on the size of the corn  crop.  But the size of the corn crop is vulnerable to the vageries of weather, pests, plant disease, and other factors.

So, if it makes sense to have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve, would it not also be just as  important to create a Strategic Ethanol Reserve (SER)?

As corn is an annual crop, it would seem that the size of such an SER should be at least as large as the difference between a projected annual ethanol production based on an average crop yield and a projected annual ethanol production based on a realistic worst case crop yield.  

If we do not create a sufficiently large SER, the US could some day find itself at the mercy of a perfect energy storm consisting of an exceptionally poor ethanol crop, coupled with a category 4 hurricane in the Gulf, coupled with oil disruptions due to war in the Middle East.

(If things keep going the way they are, with Israel threatening to start a war with Syria, it looks like  we may soon be hitting one out of three).

Then again, an argument against creating a Strategic Ethanol Reserve would be that it would only encourage them (the ethanol boosters).

So, if it makes sense to have a Strategic Petroleum Reserve, would it not also be just as  important to create a Strategic Ethanol Reserve (SER)?

It would be tough to do. First, ethanol soaks up water like a sponge. It will pull water right out of humid air. So, over time the ethanol will become increasingly diluted with water.

But the second issue is the amount it would take to create an ethanol reserve. The SPR is 700 million barrels, or 29.4 billion gallons. That's over 7 years of ethanol production at current rates, but given ethanol's lower BTU value, it's actually equivalent to over 10 years of ethanol production. Now, it wouldn't necessarily need to be as big as the SPR, but you can see that even a modest ethanol reserve (let's say 1/10th of SPR) is going to be tough to fill up.

Ethanol supply is so tight right now that it would take many years to fill up the reserve. I don't think it's going to take "many years" before this ethanol charade has been exposed. That news article from Iowa that Leanan posted is just a sign of things to come. Right now there is a bill out there to make the ethanol subsidies permanent. When people are now shelling out more for ethanol blends than for gasoline, I suspect this is not going to be a popular move. But, if the subsidies aren't extended, E85 is dead in the water. I explained why here:

The Future of E85



I wasn't thinking in terms of storing ethanol in geologic formations like the SPR, but rather in large tank farms, where any number of means could be used to prevent air-ethanol contact (floating roof or nitrogen blanketing, etc).

Yes, it would require a lot of tankage to provide enough cushion to carry us through bad crop years, and that would be expensive and perhaps not economically feasible.

However, my only point was that the increasing reliance on ethanol will introduce even more vulnerabilities into our energy system due to the inherent uncertainties about year-to-year crop yields.

Just another reason why ethanol is a bad idea.

Not to worry Joule, it will never happen. Just as soon as the American people figure out that ethanol is a losing proposing they will abandon it quicker than the oil shale schemes were abandoned in the 70s.

Well, that may not be the case as long as the government keeps subsidizing corn and ADM continues to reap the benefits. They will keep the ethanol propaganda coming and keeping all the fools in the nation supporting their cause. As Huck Finn said: "Haint we got every fool in town on our side, and haint that a majority in any town?

Darwinian -

I hope you're right.

Just remember that the farm states and Big Agri-business have an enormous amount of clout in Washington.  Plus, we have congressional elections coming up in November, and then the presidential elections two years hence, so don't expect any honest debate about the merits and drawbacks of ethanol in Washington.  

I personally feel that the ethanol bandwagon is going to keep chugging along for quite some time.

Don't forget, though, all that happy romanticizing of the past that drives farm subsidies both in the US and in the EU. How else to explain that if you look at legislative behavior you would think 90% of the population still farmed?
And who will pay for all those tanks and the maintenance thereof.  And who will pay for all that ethanol?  What you are proposing will encourage the production of even  more of something that should be deep sixed immmediately.
I wasn't proposing ANYTHING.  All I was pointing out is that IF we are so gung ho on going with ethanol, then we had best provide a considerable amount of ethanol storage buffer capacity to smooth out the inevitable fluctuations in year-to-year crop yield.

Believe me: I am NOT an ethanol supporter.

Actually, if we are stupid enough to try ethanol in a big way, our strategic ethanol reserve should actually be a strategic corn reserve.  Eliminates the ethanol storage problem.
One thing that many Minnesota folk (including yours truly) like about E-85 is that you do not need to worry about your fuel line freezing up in winter. Of course, if you have pure gasoline, this is a nasty hazard, and the cure is to dump in a can of "Heat" or similar alcohol product. In the winter, alcohol is GOOD STUFF TO HAVE up here.

Another thing I like about ethanol is that it can keep for a thousand years with no deterioration, e.g. bury a bottle of Everclear, and it could last just fine for ten thousand years. Even if you load up gasoline with Stabil, it still deteriorates in a few years. Thus, for long-term storage, ethanol is ideal (contrary to some of your comments). If some water gets in, no problem, because alcohol and water mix just fine--unlike alcohol and gasoline. For 7 or 8 years we've been running vehicles on E-85 with no complaints. On the other hand, the requirement for just 2% of biodiesel to be added to diesel fuel caused some serious problems, especially for truckers.

Minnesota now has dozens (and soon will have scores) of small ethanol distilleries. Many of these are efficient enough to be profitable without a subsidy, given current prices of inputs. And, of course, efficiency is incrasing.

Ethanol has probably saved at least four small towns in rural Minnesota and possibly two or three times that number.

We like corn-based ethanol.

It works for us.

Price today in metro Twin Cities area: E-85 $2.51 per gallon where 87 octane regular is $2.91 per gallon. And of course, the E-85 is much higher than 87 octane. My engine runs way better on higher octane than it does on 87 or even 89.

So its okay to have E-85 that gets water in it running through your engine?

I know I have lived in cold climates and "HEET" was bought by the case when we could afford it.

And EverClear is in a glass bottle,  why ever would you want to bury it,  but then again I try not to drink the stuff any more, ( great on killing germs in your mouth though ).

A few questions about the Bio-diesel in the regular Diesel.  I thought the two could be mixed with no worries?  Who is forcing them the mix the 2% into their tanks in the first place?

I was once told by a turbocharger enthusiast (booster?) that ethanol was a great fuel, because it could carry water, and allow higher compression ratios.  No idea if that is really true, or it it carries over to ethanol-gasoline mixtures.


Ethanol acts like gas line anti-freeze. Adding additional gas line anti-freeze won't be necessary in winter, but keeping the water out of the fuel becomes very important. When a 10% ethanol blend is contaminated with over .5% water, the ethanol and water mixture will separate from the gasoline and fall to the bottom of the gas tank. This can cause the vehicle to run poorly or stall.

"run poorly" ... yeah, sounds like.

(From an saeindia report formatted as text by google)

The Law!

Minnesota is one of the Greenest of states. That is why we have so much E-85, biodiesel, bike paths, and now more and yet more light rail.

Minnesota is one of the Greenest of states. That is why we have ... and now more and yet more light rail.

Yes and no.  The 12 mile Haiwatha Line was built over considerable opposition due to the very strong support of that noted environmentalist; Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

The Hiawatha Line is, however, being strangled by a lack of rolling stock (a letter/eMail to the editor and your state elected representatives calling for more vehicles to service demand would help a bit).  

The Northstar commuter rail line is a "go".  And the 11 mile line connecting between Minneapolis & St. Paul (and the university) is slowly making it's way along (open 2014 if all goes well).  But no serious plans beyond that AFAIK.  When post-Peak Oil begins to hit hard, these will, unfortunately, not be enough,  But certainly better than nothing.  And if the political winds change, these starter lines will form a solid foundation for a decent system.

Denver is in the midst of building a 119 mile system of Light & Commuter Rail and Miami a 103 mile system of elevated Rapid Rail (Subway in the Sky).  Dallas is half way through a 90 miles system, all open in 2013 with more planned 2015-2030.  Even Phoenix & Houston have a decent systems planned & locally funded (60 miles each ?).

Portland, St. Louis & San Diego are also "build one line at a time" like Minnesota, but they started two or more decades earlier.

Minnesota is not in the vanguard, but they are hardly the worst example either.  But I do not see E85 as being very "green".

As usual, let us agree to disagree agreebly on E-85.

Several ambitious rail projects (e.g. commuter rail of some sort along the HARDWOOD CREEK TRAIL) have gone beyond the talking stage with some funds for feasibility studies, etc.

Also, bus travel has greatly--and I do mean greatly--increased in the Twin Cities Metro over the past years. If you want numbers, I can post them.

Finally, with all do respect, which state would you rank above Minnesota in regard to "Greenness"?

And why?

What criteria do you use, and how do you weight each criterion? And why those particular weights? In terms of life expectancy, quality of life, etc., Minnesota usually ranks in the top two states.

Certainly Louisiana must rank very very low, from what I have heard from people who have left that state. (O.K., not a random sample, I realize that.)

Oddly enough, Utah at first blush.

They are talking about a vote on a tripling of taxes in order to build their 30 year rail plans quicker.

I accept Utah as equal to Minnesota in greenness.

Too bad that except for the eastern portion near the mountains (BEAUTIFUL mountains) the state is part of the parch belt.

On the other hand, one of my ambitions is to break the sound barrier at the Utah Salt Flats on a motorcycle.

Have you seen the most excellent film, "The World's Fastest Indian"? My kind of guy. My kind of bike.

I think the fact that world grain production is shrinking and that the grain in storage is expected to run out in the 2007-2008 year (Illinois Farm Bureau - warning cattle producers to expect grain prices to rise to where cattle producers will be operating at a loss for 1 to 2 years until cattle prices catch up to grain prices) will bring corn and soybean prices way up above Government price supports. When the price of corn is above price supports there will be no subsidies going to the farmers.
When there are global shortages of grain and the prices skyrocket I suspect there will be great pressure to reserve grains for food consumption which is going to bankrupt many of the ethanol producers (and many of their investors with them).
That's only 12 to 24 months until grain prices should clime drastically and 1 or 2 years after that meat prices will go through the roof.
Go enjoy steak or hamburger while you can afford it !

On another angle, the Experimental Aircraft Association is fighting the mandates that ALL gasoline in states require 10%+ ethynol. Many aircraft have STC's that let them operate on Auto Gasoline instead of high priced avgas, but only if the auto fuel has NO ethanol in it. Go to the EAA web site and type ethanol into the search engine and you will get a lot of information on why they do not permit even a drop of ethanol going into an aircraft fuel tank. They even sell test kits to determine if the gasoline has any alcohol in it.

I know where you can get 92 octane gasoline with NO ethanol in it for the same price as 92 octane with 10% ethanal as mandated by law in my state. I cannot mention the station name in public, however, because the maverick owner could be put out of business if this knowledge became widely known.

I think he has the sheriff's deputies as customers . . . .

I ride pre-1970 motocycles and they positively do not tolerate ethanol until hoses and some gaskets and other rubber stuff has been replaced with newer substitutes.

Second that and throw in that one bad harvest brings the inevitable here now. With global warming advancing bad harvests soon.
Another thing I like about ethanol is that it can keep for a thousand years with no deterioration, e.g. bury a bottle of Everclear, and it could last just fine for ten thousand years.

Actually, that's not quite true. Bacteria will turn ethanol into acetic acid. You may get away with it for a long time in a sealed glass bottle of Everclear, but not with ethanol moving through the fuel system. It would never keep in a strategic reserve.

For 7 or 8 years we've been running vehicles on E-85 with no complaints.

You mean nobody is complaining about the gas mileage? Interesting thing someone at the Wisconsin DOT pointed out to me. Two states, Minnesota and Wisconsin, with very similar demographics. Minnesota has an ethanol mandate, and Wisconsin doesn't. The average fuel efficiency statewide in Minnesota is 20.62 mpg. The average fuel efficiency in Wisconsin is 23.30 mpg. Personally, I would be complaining about the government forcing me to fuel up with something that dropped my fuel efficiency. I documented this in the following essay:

Challenge to Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture's Ethanol Claims  

Of course you hear Joe Blow claiming that his fuel efficiency only dropped by 1 mpg when running E85. That's not what the government tests have shown. They have consistently shown a 25-35% drop when comparing straight gasoline to E85. Even the new Saab, optimized for running on E85, had a 12.5% drop in fuel efficiency.

Minnesota now has dozens (and soon will have scores) of small ethanol distilleries. Many of these are efficient enough to be profitable without a subsidy, given current prices of inputs.

If this is the case, one wonders why the average annual price of ethanol is always higher than for gasoline. Here is the rack price in Nebraska for the past 25 years:

Ethanol versus Gasoline Price

Ethanol has always been more expensive than gasoline, and continues to be. I just don't see why, if you take the subsidies away, a substantial number of people are going to pay a higher price for lower fuel efficiency.

We like corn-based ethanol.

No doubt. You have a situation where the rest of the country is subsidizing the fuel for your vehicles. That's a pretty sweet deal for you, but not so good for the rest of us. Of course if you stripped the subsidies out to get the real cost, you can see just what a deal you are getting. The closing price of ethanol yesterday on the CBT was $3.01. For gasoline, it was $2.32. So, the true cost is well above that of gasoline, for a fraction of the BTUs.

Price today in metro Twin Cities area: E-85 $2.51 per gallon where 87 octane regular is $2.91 per gallon.

That is a price that includes corn subsidies that work out to $0.18/gal of ethanol, a federal ethanol subsidy of $0.51/gal, and a Minnesota state subsidy of $0.20/gal. The mandate also increases the price of corn; great for the farmers, bad for the rest of us who eat.

I have stated before that there are a handful of Midwestern states, including Minnesota, where ethanol economics are the best. But that is for ethanol made from local corn, and sold locally. Just as soon as you start shipping it out of the Midwest, the EROI goes below 1 and the price shoots up.



Hm. I just dug up a 5,000 year old bottle of Everclear in my back yard from a previously unknown civilization that apparently perished from excessive imbibing.

Guess what. No acetic acid at all.

What the hell is Everclear. Can You mix Kool-Aid or Tang with that?
Everclear.  White Lightning.  180 proof legal booze you can get in larger/"boutique" liquor stores, at least here in the USA.

Antoinetta III

190 proof in Wisconsin, i.e. standard 95% grain alcohol

Only 160 proof Everclear is legal in Minnesota because we are a "nanny" state that has many protective laws--no fireworks for sale, etc.--not found in other states.

If you bury a bottle of Everclear, it should be just as drinkable in 100,000 years as it is now, and

  1. It makes a great antiseptic.
  2. You can pour it into your car and it will mix with gasoline just fine; the five percent water stays mixed with the gasoline and just lowers combustion temperature a skosh.
  3. It can be used for rocket fuel.
  4. For removing stains or cleaning some surfaces it does great.
  5. It burns great in alcohol lamps.

Well, you get the picture.
Tell me how many acres of corn are they going to have to use ( if they get all the ethanol from corn ) if they have to ramp up production to the 7.5 billion gallon you state in your blog?

I have almost convinced my dad about peak oil and the badness of ethanol.  He has been involved in both farming and the Oil business in his past.  At 70 he has a lot of past to mine his opinions from.  If I convince him I can slowly work on my brother, who can work on others.  Its a slower process, but good ideas take time to get out there in high wind conditions.

Tell me how many acres of corn are they going to have to use ( if they get all the ethanol from corn ) if they have to ramp up production to the 7.5 billion gallon you state in your blog?


In 2004, 4 billion gallons of ethanol were produced and this consumed 15% of the corn crop. Figure 25% of the entire corn crop for 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol. This is about 5% of our gasoline demand on a straight gallons basis, or 3.5% on a BTU basis. But this doesn't take into consideration the BTUs that went into making the ethanol, which reduces the net to less than 0.5% of our gasoline usage - while consuming 25% of the corn crop, driving up food prices for everyone else, and using up our exports that someday may result in widespread starvation in a 3rd world country that needs the corn.



I think these price inversions are enough to put the kibosh on it, but we'll see.
>I've read, it looks like the US is going to jump on the ethanol bandwagon in a really big way.

I would only give this a year. Assuming that this crop season is used for ethanol, prices at the grocery store will dramatically rise during the winter. Then the public will start asking, why is my food bill so high? FWIW: the world's food reserve is now below 50 days.

A plant to end imports to the US?   How about Bankruptcy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2006/07/14/cnusa14.xml&menuId=242&sSh eet=/money/2006/07/14/ixcity.html

The United States is heading for bankruptcy, according to an extraordinary paper published by one of the key members of the country's central bank

Source document the overseas reporter used:

This isn't breaking news...many many warnings about this have been sounded, for quite some time. (The author of the study, Lawrence J. Kolitkoff, is co-author of The Coming Generational Storm, along with Scott Burns).
You can read it on the cover of your Social Security statement, for goodness sake. Our inability to face this is analogous to our refusal to consider real solutions to our energy problems, like electrified rail or many others posted here. The difference is that the SS and Medicare deficits can be precisely measured and timed, so we know exactly when they will start. And still we cannot bring ourselves to face reality...
This isn't breaking news

Perhaps not, but some people think the US Dollar is safe because a private corporation controls the printing of the US Dollar.   So either they are, to use a phrase 'an idiot' or not informed.

And still we cannot bring ourselves to face reality.

In the US of A, Mondale got 40% of the votes with a message of 'the fiscal situation is broken'.   So some people think Mondale had a point and felt he could fix things.

>Perhaps not, but some people think the US Dollar is safe because a private corporation controls the printing of the US Dollar.

Sorry, but Congress controls the purse strings. It would be far better if the Fed had veto power on gov't spending. All the Fed can do is partially control interest rates.

>Mondale got 40% of the votes with a message of 'the fiscal situation is broken'

Mondale was strong supporter of raising entitlements and gov't spending. All Mondale sugguested to do is raise taxes as squeeze every last penny out of the Middle class.

Mondales Middle Class squeeze plan (1984)

Mondale on SS in 1984:
Mondale wrote: "We do not support the Commission's recommendations that might result in the dismantling of social insurance programs and their replacement with funded schemes. Funded systems should remain an important supplement to existing guarantees, but they should not replace them."

[MONDALE - pledges not to cut Social Security benefits; challenges Reagan to do likewise.]

Walter Mondale is a man who co-sponsored the legislation creating Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Food Safety Act, day-care standards," said spokesman Jim Farrell.

Re: Congress and the private central bank

Whereas Congress chiefly exists to create programs for the care and feeding of Fortress America, the weapons producing corporations (some of the few remaining products made in America), when measured over decades and with present value dollars spending benefiting people --Social Security, Medicare and Public Health-- can't hold a candle to Congressional spending on weapons contractors.

Perhaps interestingly...

an "EXCERPT FROM THE US CONSTITUTION, Article I, section 10: No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts....

FROM THE US TREASURY WEBSITE: "Federal Reserve notes are not redeemable in gold, silver or any other commodity, and receive no backing by anything. The notes have no value for themselves, but for what they will buy." ---found elsewhere.

Use the FED's own inflation calculator:

In 1984 Mondale, as an example, paid $1 for something that today costs $1.95 --because the dollar is "managed" by the FED.

I didn't bring this up to argue, Eric, about whether it's timely or not.  Of course it is, and the more mention it gets the better, just like PO. (Or not, if you subscribe to Matt Savinar's theory...) I just think the parallels between PO and the entitlements crisis are interesting:  they both require immediate, painful action to mitigate the looming, longterm consequences, which in turn requires telling people unpleasant truths they don't want to hear. For entitlements, at least, there's really no quibbling about 'whether and when'; we know these exactly, and yet, no stomach out there for tackling the problem.  The longer it gets put off, the worse it will be (sound familiar? oh right, that Hirsch thing).
Why don't you call on the filthy rich to feel the pain they have been imposing on every one else in the world. Social Security won't go away as long as the Boomers are still the largest voting block. Medicare is a different animal but its costs wouldn't be such a problem if we had universal health care like civilized nations do. Why is it that supporting the baby boomers wasn't a problem for our economy when they were children but will be when they are retired. If the filthy rich paid the same percentage of their income in federal, state, and local taxes as the middle class there would be more than enough for economic justice, good schools, health care, environmental remediation, conversion to a solar powered economy, etc.  There are those out there who claim to be self made men and forget how much they have benefited from public education or a tax-exempt parochial school, protection of a fire department, an interstate highway system, and heavily subsidized airports. Consider how many businesses would go under if they lost the various levels of government as customers. Where would United Technologies be without the Pentagon as its biggest customer? Where would big oil be without the US Navy and Coast Gaurd protecting those tankers? If I lose the piddly $18,000 per year of Social Security benefits I and millions like me recieve then where we spend our money go down with us and the chain reaction pulls down everyone.
"The answer comes from the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, whose long-term estimates of income equality have become the gold standard for research on this topic... They show that even if you exclude capital gains from a rising stock market, in 2004 the real income of the richest 1 percent of Americans surged by almost 12.5 percent. Meanwhile, the average real income of the bottom 99 percent of the population rose only 1.5 percent. In other words, a relative handful of people received most of the benefits of growth.

There are a couple of additional revelations in the 2004 data. One is that growth didn't just bypass the poor and the lower middle class, it bypassed the upper middle class too. Even people at the 95th percentile of the income distribution -- that is, people richer than 19 out of 20 Americans -- gained only modestly. ...

The other revelation is that being highly educated was no guarantee of sharing in the benefits of economic growth. There's a persistent myth, perpetuated by economists who should know better ... that rising inequality ... is mainly a matter of a rising gap between those with a lot of education and those without. But census data show that the real earnings of the typical college graduate actually fell in 2004."
  Paul Krugman: Left Behind Economics

Yes, but still the myth persists - the land of opportunity.
All he's saying is that Social Security and Medicare are rising too fast, and that eventually those benefits will have to be reduced.  He's equating a reduction in promised benefits with defaulting on a government debt, and calling that bankruptcy.


He's trying to scare people into paying attention to the problem of SS & Medicare. What he doesn't say is that these projections of benefits are based on GDP growth much lower than we've had recently.  If GDP growth continues, SS will be fine, though I'm not sure about Medicare.

If the problem does get worse, there's an easy solution: raise the SS retirement age to keep the ratio of workers to retirees stable.  Technically that's a reduction in benefits, but really it means that people are living longer, healthier lives, and they'll have to spend part of that time working, instead of playing bingo.  Not a bad deal.

WASHINGTON — American imports of oil could be eliminated by 2030, a new study by an interstate consortium asserts, if the nation turns to an aggressive program of energy efficiency and commercialization of four already-demonstrated technologies for making transportation fuels.

The Invisible Hand will eliminate US oil imports before 2020, based on the analyses of westexas and others here at TOD. So that's a pretty easy prediction to make :)

How's this for a TOD press release:

EARTH — American oil imports could be eliminated by 2015, based on industry-standard analysis techniques employed by independent geologists and economists participating in The Oil Drum, an online Peak Oil journal.

The study, based on standard economic analysis and the successful analytic methods of the late M. King Hubbert, a prominent oil industry geologist, shows that:

  1. From publicly available industry information, it is clear that discoveries have not kept pace with consumption for several decades now.
  2. Furthermore, additional exploration is unlikely to accomplish more than temporarily slow the inevitable decline in production.
  3. The decline has either already begun or will begin within the next 2 - 3 years.

Various abatement strategies have been discussed, including a variety of other fossil carbon sources, biofuels and nuclear energy. The bottom line is, come recession, climate change, or global military conflict, your future is going to be one heck of a lot "greener".

D***, I wish there was an edit key:

  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. Internal consumption within oil exporting countries continues to increase; in due time they will reach a threshold where there is no longer any excess oil to export.
Interesting that you mention 2015 as an estimated date since in a geological and policy making timeframe it looks more like tomorrow. Let's postpone that for the day after (say 2020) can we :)? We would probably not be able to build even a single nuke by 2015, and IMO we are going to need plenty of them by 2020...

On the other hand, considering that a dollar collapse could eliminate all our oil imports for one day only this prediction does not look that unlikely.

It was just a BS guess obtained by dividing 30 by 2. It's hard to make an exact prediction, because it depends on a lot of random factors.
  • Will the rest of the world unite against US military policy?
  • Will climate change, already underway, flood coastal cities and seaports worldwide?
  • Will the dollar collapse leaving available oil for other consumers to buy?
  • Will there be a major pandemic?
  • Will Americans suddenly get sane and start conserving?
Well, that last one is sort of a joke...

Any of these changes could occur before 2008, or later this year. And except for the pandemic, any of them could put a serious crimp in the import business.

Our state university is wrapping up faculty-led plans for a campus-wide initiative on energy and the environment. I natter constantly about PO in our meetings, arguing that energy looms closer than the environment; I think our planning group more or less gets it but I know that few others do on our campus. Here's a draft of my 1-page motivator on technology assessment, whose strident tone will no doubt damp considerably as it is compressed and percolates up the administrative tree. Comments would be appreciated, thanks in advance. I hope other academics in this forum are pushing such initiatives locally, we owe it to our customers and to our state tax payers.


Much promotion of alternative energy "magic bullets" is not peer reviewed, and often yields poorly thought out, panicked, and ultimately underwhelming Congressional or State incentives. Government agencies are often discouraged through inadequate budgets or undermined by counter lobbying from analyzing the pitfalls of the "solution de jour" (e.g. only 4 part-timers at the DOE/EIA are responsible for analyzing N. American natural gas use and supply). Life-cycle analysis can be overly optimistic (e.g. there is no authoritative assessment of the costs of nuclear power). Energy inputs are accounted for poorly, or neglected entirely (e.g. no update since 1980 on the "energy profit ratio" of US coal mining) by a blanket appeal to "market forces". Energy industry presentations are often "spun" to maximize short-term profits and to capture government handouts. Seemingly innumerate zealots and local NIMBY's often stake out contrary positions to industry as a matter of course, stances that are then caricatured by a "fair and balanced" media to further confuse/tune out the public and stifle discussion. The current poster child for this distortion is grain ethanol. Any numerate person can show that this is a very poor supplement for petroleum that does not address upcoming energy shortages. Where are the voices of reason to collect and sift through data, examine underpinning assumptions, and develop rational strategies at regional, state, and national levels?

At issue is energy security. Academics must examine the scalability and sustainability of all proposed substitutions to dwindling cheap oil and natural gas. Required is a suite of top-level, strategic views of the world's mid-term (say, over the next 20 years) energy needs. Within 5 years, world crude oil and N. American natural gas supplies ARE going to decline from current near-peak flows. This unprecedented transition is the unambiguous consequence of past exploration and current development trends, but is dismissed by industry obfuscations and wishful thinking about easy reserves in the Middle East that are encouraged by its governments to discourage investments in alternatives.

From this premise follows the need to mitigate shortages. The DOD funded analysis by physicist Hirsch and economist colleagues is reported widely. They examined mitigation (by e.g. coal-to-oil and gas-to-oil conversions, vehicle efficiency, biofuels), and concluded that such infrastructure takes more than a decade of all-out effort before the decline to avoid economic turmoil (a sustained depression). That no such program is underway has dire consequences. An academic team should revisit this analysis at state and regional levels, using NC DOT statistics and projections, housing and employment patterns, etc. An important extension is to other countries by tapping our University's expertise and foreign contacts in Latin American Studies, African Studies, and the XXX program in Thailand. How valid are the assumptions of the nuclear and coal industries on the availability and costs of their fuel supplies? (How is rail transport affected by Peak Oil?) Who is checking their demand projections? Focusing on passive solar buildings misses the point. Who is summarizing in a clear and accurate way near-term and scalable ways to cut peak power demand through affordable retrofits to existing subdivision housing, or to blend in "grid noisy" distributed supplies like wind at the local and regional level? Lovins' Rocky Mountain Institute produces numerous "all you've gotta do" reports on energy efficiencies that are promoted by e.g. local anti-nukes, but ignored by governments. Who will check their assumptions and refine/adapt these views to our locale?

Skill sets are scattered around campus in the science, economics, business, operations research, and urban/transportation planning faculty, people at building facilities, and area builders and architects, all the other sub-groups in fact. Some of us have written peer-reviewed papers on these questions, often without external funding. But no-one is working from a consistent top-level view, with the appropriate sense of urgency. So a priority is to acknowledge the seriousness of the unfolding crisis. Funding would come first from state, then from federal sources as our credibility, media profile, and academic record increase. The emphasis would be on numbered, peer-reviewed technical reports, and derived, Web summaries that emphasize consumer impact and empower home owners. As long as we focus on near- and mid-term issues and personal solutions, we become the antithesis of the Ivory Tower and can garner sustained funding and respect.

There is the Sandia Labs report that is available to the public  "Toward an Energy Surety Future"

From this

Efficiency. The first step is to squeeze every unit of available energy from the current supplies. This goes beyond the implementation of higher-efficiency electricity-consuming devices (lighting, appliances, and motors) and vehicles (diesels and hybrids) to include waste-to-energy options such as the extraction of methane from landfills and the conversion of biomass wastes to liquid fuels. Making better use of limited fossil supplies will allow the country to buy time while it moves down the path towards energy surety, Tatro says.

Population control. Holding the world's population to a level that the earth can sustain and capping energy demand at some point are also parts of step one. To address demand, consumer needs for energy must be reduced. The traditional view of an expanding world population and economy must level off or it could surge to the point of "resource exhaustion, social upheaval, disease epidemic, and then collapse," notes the report. An ultimate plan must have some commitment to hold growing populations in check.

Conservation. A final part of the initial step is to limit the use of fossil fuel resources--although the magnitude of potentially recoverable fossil fuels may never be known. Conservation must be a major part of the surety plan.

Storage. The second step involves storing energy for later use when there is no wind, the sun is obscured, or an energy supply is disrupted. Currently, energy storage techniques are used in limited ways, ranging from battery-powered units to managing brief interruptions to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Examples that could provide expanded energy storage include solar production of hydrogen for fuel cells, solar-powered conversion of carbon dioxide and water to liquid fuels, and energy storage from solar thermal collectors.

Fusion. Step three is to learn how to reproduce the sun's fusion process on earth in a safe, secure, reliable, and sustainable way. "Though we do not know if fusion can succeed as a practical terrestrial energy source, we believe that its promise is worth extensive investment,"

Sometimes I think we could reduce foreign oil dependency just by a big oil tax -  on both imports and domestic pdn - enough to obtain substantial conservation.  After all, it's clear that Americans could easily do 99.9% of what they currently do with far less gasoline consumption if they simply used more fuel efficient cars, transitioned to more mass transit and switched some commercial transport from truck to rail.  The other effect would be to encourage production of cellulosic ethanol, CTL, nuclear, solar, and wind.  Basically the Tom Friedman approach, which many others support.

But then it occurs to me that Americans are only 5% of the world population.   So the other impact of an American oil tax would be to just encourage the use of oil by the other 95%.   To the extent that our oil tax reduces our oil consumption and thereby lowers the global price of oil, the ability of all others to consume oil just gets easier.  Thus the impact on global oil use would probably be nil. What have we gained?

What have we gained?

A lot of goodwill. And a demonstration of what is achievable.

What have we gained?

We (the US) would have gained competitive advantage towards other nation in the post-oil era. OK, not that correct statement - we would have cought up some of our backwardness compared in the areas of energy efficiency compared to other nations. As a result the future of 5% of the world population woulf not have looked so grim.

We (the world) would have gained time. The energy tax would not cause an immediate drop of consumption and plummeting oil prices. The adjustment will be very slow and will allow for a "smoother" oil peak and lower decline rates after. And the decline rates as discussed earlier are the determinant factor for what our long-term future will be.

And, maybe most importantly, we (the humanity) will probabaly spare a World War III, waged by a band of short-sighted neoconservatives trying to preserve a doomed way of life just a little bit longer.

The most important "other" country we are talking about,if course, is China.  Clearly, they will suck up all the resources, including oil, that other countries fail to acquire or consume.  Ultimately, however, the main thing driving China resource consumption, is the voracious demand by the rest of the world, including the U.S., of China's products.

It is also the case that even if all the signatories to Kyoto meet its goals (which are inadequate and a cruel joke), China will way more than make up for any attendant reduction by the rest of the world in greenhouse gases.

The U.S., of course, is in no position to lecture or pressure any other country, including China.  If we do not get serious about reducing our resource and energy footprint, there is no hope, because we are still the big dog.  However, if we embark on a truly significant path to reduce our consumption, then we can start talking to or with China about ways to reduce to their consumption --- for the good of the planet.

So.  To the extent that we need to be in a position of influence, we need to reduce our consumption of oil, energy in general, and resources in general.   Phase 2 would be to sign up to a global pact on energy consumption.  Phase 3 would for some world body to impose sanctions on those countries who have demonstrated their inability to reduce consumption.

One dilemma here, however, is that we have become so dependent upon China for our voracious consumption of consumer goods. It may very well be that the only way to have an impact on China's resource and energy use is to wreck their economy.

Over the years, we have applied the concept of war to all sorts of things  --- drugs, energy, terrorism, cancer, bla bla bla.  But none of these wars have been wars in the sense that WWII was a war.  There was a war where everyone was involved and everyone was expected to sacrifice and save oil, metals, food, what have you for the war effort.  But that's what is now needed.

It won't happen.  Where is this unknown leader of truly heroic and visionary proportions who could lead us how of this mess?  Besides, we are far too comfortable, materialistic, and slothful to be lead by anyone.  

There would be 4 benefits: 1) the US would buy time to transition to electrified transportation,  2) accelerate the transition, 3) reduce it's borrowing to pay for oil, and 4) reduce the pain for poorer customers.
Any oil tax would have to be a Constitutional Amendment to have an impact on the transitional technologies and demand structure.   Why?  Because there would be such political opposition to it that it's passage could only be a minor political miracle and it's LONG TERM CREDIBILITY would be close to zero.  There would always be a significant and realistic fear that the next election would reverse the tax.   Basic infrastructure investments are only made on the basis of long term assumptions of returns.   So the oil tax would need to be a Constitutional Amendment to have any long term credibility and therefore significant economic impact.   Seems to me, anyway.  Sad but true.
as to fusion.. the sun has one BIG advantage to anything we can make.
it's large size with it's huge gravity well is the perfect containment system.
I would describe the Thai effort as a "massive multi-front (or prong) effort to reduce fossil fuel, and especially oil, dependence".

I would key in on that the pressure from declining oil availability will emphasize some politically favored responses , such as coal to liquids and ethanol, without regard to the environmental effects and ignore more logical steps such as electrifying our existing freight railroads and building more Urban Rail on a crash basis.  Academia is an ideal place to make a logical analysis of disperate choices, such as coal to liquids and/or tar sands vs. electrifying frieght railroads and/or a massive Urban Rail construction effort and present this to policy makers and the public.

oh sweet jesus the MSM just completely jumped the shark if it hadn't already:

"why now is the time to buy an SUV"


Although I supposse they MIGHT have a point. Let's say me and 3 other TODers lived within walking distance of each other. And we all worked from home. And none of us had kids. In short we had relatively little use of the SUV, just needed to drive it maybe once a week or something.

In that case it might be worth it for all parties to chip in on some SUV-shared agreement. Obviously, it would be a bit complicated as to who actually owns the thing and is responsible for its maintance and other technicalities. But that's why you have attorneys to hammer agreements out. (at $400/hour)



I suggest that we buy a good, lightly used 125cc or so motorcycle, hold it and wait till we can trade it straight up for a large pickup or SUV (low mileage, good condition only).

We may not have to wait that long.

I don't know if that particular trade would work, but I do think the relative value of various things is about to change quite a bit.
Matt, I posted a link to this down at the end of the "...Derivative of a Function" article by Prof Goose.

The financial advice offered on the MSN site is reads like a paid advertisement for SUVs. The "Iron Triangle" operates at full tilt even on the internet.

I note that the article alludes tothe EIA's prediction that oil will return to $34/barrel by 2015.

Hooray.  We're all saved.  Everything will be fine, and we'll deal with global climate change just as handily.  To quote Kenny Lay:  "It's all good."

Hold on,

  They say the Accord costs "about $12,000" and the value of the Durango is "$12,643", where is the savings?  So it cost less and still saves you gas, and that's a problem????

How long will it last?
Barring severe gas shortages, don't expect SUV prices to plunge again, several observers agreed. And while there's a current backlash of sorts against SUVs, Nerad says his company's market research "doesn't indicate that there's a big shift to higher fuel economy vehicles." In other words, SUVs are not falling completely out of favor.

Partly, that's because there's no guarantee that oil prices won't crash instead of soar. While current high gasoline prices are forecast to linger for the next year or so, the long-term picture is different. The U.S. Energy Information Agency forecasts that oil prices now above $70 a barrel will sink below $34 by 2015.


I have to find a way up from off the floor laughing. Well if you have any worry about the coming apocalypse should give you some relief.

Replying to myself,

  Oil!! we don't need no stinking oil, we have a Durango

I think, both with these articles and the "manly" Hummer ads, they are scraping the bottom of the barrel.  And they know it.

There is a small reserve of "greater fools" who will still buy an SUV and expect lower gas prices next year.

... but I'm really sure that if you polled the American population for next summer's gas price they'd name something like $4, and the summer after than $5.

So, quoting the EIA settles the issue.  Are these reporters actually paid?  Let me rephrase that. Are these reporters paid by GM and Ford?  
While current high gasoline prices are forecast to linger for the next year or so, the long-term picture is different. The U.S. Energy Information Agency forecasts that oil prices now above $70 a barrel will sink below $34 by 2015.

sarcasm on:/You see, we have all been mislead. It's only temporary./sarcasm off

I am reading some very convincing information here and seeing charts that tell me we are in some serious trouble in the near future.

But I am reading from U.S. Energy Information Agency that there is no future trouble.

They are not lying- they just forgot to mention the 9 year GLOBAL DEPRESSION that their model assumes when coming up with a $34 price for 2015 ($23 in 2006 dollars assuming a 4% inflation rate).
Depression plus inflation? Looks unlikely.
My prediction for the oil price in 2015 is the same - 34 new dollars. They decided to denominate the dollar when the oil price reached $3,400/barrel and the dollar hit $50 per euro.
Your prediction is about as reasonable.
ZipSUV to the rescue. Gas guzzler only when you absolutely, positively have to haul a big load.
Sorry I couldn't resist:

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
God is awfully consistent isn't she!;)
While I can almost believe the gravity statement, the reference is from Onion, a satirical publication.
I call it the Onion Constant. You see, the Internet is such a humorless and un-subtle place, that Onion articles are constantly being brought out and cited as fact.

Often is takes a while before someone looks closely at the article's source and cries out, "Wait, that's the Onion!"

The supposition that very, very, very small angels are pushing and pulling on sub atomic particles is just as testable as any of the five competeing string theories.
Disclaimer: The lunatic that made the above statement does not represent the views of this poster.
With regards to string theory, you are correct. The theory isn't testable. In fact all the current theories start to break down at a certain point where they say, there are just these forces. Gravity, electrical forces, and the strong and weak atomic forces I believe.

But the main thing is, how hilarious it is that Onion articles are taken so seriously on the 'net.

These are the sorts of things I totally dislike, a few nut cases who put a bad name or the more Bible Based Christians.  No where in the bible does God say anything about Gravity not working.

The END as we know it is getting closer and people just want to keep on keeping on.   I still think of the future but I don't worry about what grave they will put me in,  I'll be dead, it will only matter to the living.

 a deep breathe please
 the article is from The Onion, a satirical publication. they're more or less poking fun at intellegent desiegn. personally i think it's hillarious. For The Onion nothing is sacred. keep up the good work

My position is that in a post oil world energy especially mobile energy i.e oil will be expensive ( duh ).
This means it won't be generally avialble to the current American middle class in particular but to a elite group.

There far less to go around so the elite are weathly get the biggest piece of a the pie. Note this happens with any scarce resource gold ocean front property etc.

What I see is not only is the goverment not talking about peak oil there getting the sheep to vote to ensure the can keep there Hummers,BMW's and Helicopters running after oil collapses.

The obvious cource of action which is to move aggressivly to electric transportation for all is not even on the agenda.

The liquid hydrocarbon based transportation industry is dead
after peak oil get over it.

I'm actually starting to become concerned that the Scientific community is not stepping in and doing the obvious analysis to show that electric transport is far far better then any liquid fuel based approach. They fight for global warming but there not doing a damn thing about the obvious need for electric rail. Instead we get stupid articles about superconducting hydrogen/electric lines.

The obvious cource of action which is to move aggressivly to electric transportation for all is not even on the agenda.

I am trying !

I am open to new ways of getting the message out. Constructive criticism appreciated.  (Note that I heeded earlier suggestions and now use excerpts and executive summaries more on my daily postings on rail).

I surveyed the Peak Oil sites and settled on TOD as being the best fit for by goal of getting the word out.  In this limited universe, I think I have.  Step 2 is to get y'all to spread the word further >:-)

I just sent to the Southern States Energy Group a copy of by "10% reduction in US Oil Use" paper (via eMail).

I would be helpful if others would send this link around as well.


Main problem is because it's a political hot potato - in the UK the grid is nearing capacity and will require an extensive program of building new power plants simply to offset closures as old stations reach end of life.

Aggressively promoting a switch to electrified transport begs the question - where does the electricity come from? Coal? Great, that doesn't solve much of anything. Gas? Oil? No, that's what we're trying to get away from. Renewables? Haha, pull the other one.

Only answer left is a massive program of nuclear plant construction, which is basically what the UK Govt is now saying is required, but people don't like it at all (for various reasons, some good, some bad).

My favourite idea is a massive program of solar farm construction out in deserts, or other areas where they get near constant sunshine. Industrial solar farms (as opposed to small PV panels on roofs) seems to be rapidly nailing the problems that would have previously made it uneconomic. Newer concentrator PVs are very efficient, perhaps efficient enough to make them workable (even if it means big subsidies).

Then you have the problem of transport .... building superconducting trunk cables or begin a crash program of R&D into flywheels, allowing energy to be transported via eg cargo ship from the desert areas to mainland UK. Or hell even hydrogen. Any way to carry energy from the very hot/sunny areas of the planet to the outlying areas will work.

That idea hasn't been floated by anybody respectable, as far as I know :)

I like the idea, and have even played with it myself.
I have even come up with an idea for large scale energy storage for shipping the energy - molten metal or some other chemical substance absorbing high energy for melting. It could be the tankers of the future to transport it, who knows?

Unfortunately in that timeframe I don't think it is realistic to expect that the capital costs will come down so much as to make this thing scalable enough.

My prediction is that the people in UK will have to make the choice which one they like less - nukes or staying cold in the dark?

My prediction is that the politicians and other "petty minds" will heaver until the decision is made by default of "no nukes'.  We may be too far down the down slope to start a crash program to go nuclear by then.

Even if they made the decision tomorrow, and they won't, it would take 6-10 years to build the first plant and by then we will be so far up s**t creek that simply will not be the resources, skilled engineers, etc, to build a lot of nuclear plants quickly.

Long ago Bucky Fuller put forth a plan for a global electrical grid for transporting power from desert solar farms around the clock to wherever it was needed. He did think about things in an intergrated way and asking the question: What if everybody did it?
Mike Hearn -

I've always liked the idea of massive solar farms set out in places with steady high average sunshine. There is a lot of potential for economies of scale with a large system that will  bring down the unit price of solar energy.

However, whenever one talks about solar energy as a primary energy source, one also has to talk about energy storage. There is still energy demand at night, and even Arizona sometimes has cloudy days. If one doesn't have suitable energy storage, then one is still dependent on the fossil fuel-powered electrical grid, and a dual fossil fuel/ solar energy system becomes necessary.

In any scheme to have a fully independent, large scale solar energy system, the problem of adequate energy storage must first be addressed.

Pumped storage is very location-specific and not widely applicable. Using compressed air stored in underground formations entails large energy losses. Making hydrogen and then burning it also entails large losses. Fly wheels have their own set of technical problems, particularly when the size gets large.

So the problem of energy storage is hardly trivial if one is determined to have a fully independent solar energy system.  Which begs the question: must it really be fully independent at its inception? And what is so bad about piggy-backing the solar system onto an existing power grid? This might be the way to get solar on the road to being accepted without having to deal with the thorny problems of energy storage.

We must take step at a time.

Right, hence my interest in flywheels. Of course if you could rapidly move energy without losses - like with superconducting trunk cables - then this would also be OK because it's always daytime somewhere in the world :)

I think the answer is simple its the way we do it today.

Capacitors. High density capasitors today have pretty good storage abilities say 1/10 or better to batteries.
For fixed installations a large block capacitor say the size of two washing machines in each home and more scattered throught the block would probably provide a lot of storage.
Large ones the size of small buildings can also be strategically placed. Along with water tower type pumped storage. So instead of trying for a central store place a hell of a lot of capacitance in the network. Flyweels may also make sense. Every circuit on the planet except for the core grid runs of capacitors. We could require all household
electronics for example to include a large ultracapacitor brick.

(Ultra?) Capacitors based on carbon nanotubes are quite feasible a crash program to get these working is worth it.


A network such is this with a huge amount of capacitance is also what we need to manage intermittent sources such as wind and solar.

The final backup would be large pumped storage systems.

"Every circuit on the planet except for the core grid runs of capacitors."

Well, every circuit uses them, but I don't know of many that use caps as the main source of energy - that usually comes from the line or batteries.  The caps are used to filter and provide local storage to overcome supply rail impedances.  

I really didn't think about advanced capacitor technology.

Nanotubes? Very interesting!  

A subject I should really look into.

Reality check:

Some of this depends on time frame. Ultracapacitors that I can actually go out and buy tend to be perhaps 50 times less dense, volumetrically, than batteries. They tend to be used for burst power. For example, lithium thionyl chloride batteries can be obtained with built-in ultracapactors, and may be used where safety considerations prevent the use of a more active lithium chemistry. They can also be used for short term memory backup.

Before these folks can use their nanotube ultracaps for anything practical, they've got to figure out how to make the electrodes in huge quantities, how to prevent the electrodes from being destroyed in a practical assembly process, and whether the ban-everything crowd is going to prevent them from ever distributing large quantities of the electrode material.

As a SWAG, they may get a storage density that's 2-5 times less than the density of a battery, once they have a practical, "safe", and manufacturable package. Which takes us to energy storage.

Local energy systems based on sporadic sources like wind and solar are going to need a whacking lot of batteries if people are not to freeze in the dark or die of heat prostration after a prolonged period of the wrong kind of weather. Which takes us back to batteries.

Ultracaps are needed when you want to be able to discharge an energy reservoir quickly, i.e. in a few minutes. A reservoir big enough to keep people safe does not need to be drained quickly since it needs weeks if not months of capacity. So batteries are fine, although ultracaps may well win on cycle life if they are also eventually made dense enough. Except they are not fine because of the quantity required.

That quantity will, like it or not, take us back to nuclear plants, coal plants, transmission lines, and all the NIMBY and BANANA fights that attach thereto.

And it will be unwise to expect too much from "crash programs", which are funded by politicians and therefore very often turn out to be romantic but impractical boondoggles like corn ethanol. Or else, like nuclear fusion, they run on forever at a leisurely, dilatory, deadline-free pace more attuned to perpetual nineteenth-century style strutting at annual "conferences" than to getting a result in a reasonable time frame.

Ultracaps are intended to power a low power clock chip or a memory device when the main power source is not available, they are not intended to supply a lot of current.  IIRC the output impedance is pretty high, and I'm sure there would be power dissipation issues - you can't just scale something like that up.  Also, electrolytic solutions are kinda nasty, and they don't last too long.
It is very likely that large scale capacitors will be extremely dangerous.
A short circuit will result in the immediate release of ALL the stored energy a not so nice Lightning.
Like this Taser, but lots bigger.
I've worked on various flywheel projects--I'm a technical writer--and I know that the technology has a great many uses. On the other hand, flywheels are a little like artificial intelligence. They have been the wave of the future for a heck of a long time now. That's not to say that the real obstacles to the wider use of flywheels won't someday be overcome--a lot of folks are working on the problems--but there are no guarantees. One basic issue: how to build a flywheel can fail catastrophically without producing too many casualties.  
Couldn't you store them underground?
That's easy. Put them in a basement. Gyrobuses are a bad idea. But flywheels anchored to mother earth are safe.
My understanding is that:

  • The original tech was developed back in the 70s but at that time the computers needed to control the flywheel weren't fast enough to respond within parameters. Modern chips are significantly faster and this is no longer an issue.

  • Safety is largely a solved problem and modern flywheels are very safe. DARPA has been funding safety trials for some time now and there have been only 3 casualties - from a trial that can be summed up as "what happens if we massively overload a flywheel and switch all the safeties off?"

So I have some faith in it still, but only time will tell :)
Well, if you store a lot of energy, you then have by definition a bunch of potential energy!  And such a collection always has the "potential" to do some damage.  Sure, some formats are safer than other - usually by dint of material characteristics, but no storage of energy is totally safe - you always risk transforming the potential energy into kinetic energy in an uncontrolled manner.

Hey I know, let's store several gallons of highly flammable fuel in a steel or plastic tank, then we'll pump it out an run it through something that burns it.  How nuts is that?  

I always liked the idea of flywheel strage.  It seems like with an appropriate scattershield it could be made safe, and with hyro bearings (or some such) it could be made reliable.  It used to be my favorite idea, even for vehicles, but now I like the hydraulic hybrid idea better for transportation.  Of course, I want to be a blacksmith.  

Dead right, although demand management will also be important.

We can make up for part of the intermittency by using diverse sources of renewable energy, both in type and geographic location. A large part of the rest of it could be made up by demand management. IMO an important part of the solution will be the kind of "smart" demand of the type envisaged by gridwise (http://www.gridwise.com).

Imagine an electricity grid that communicates the instantaneous electricity price through the power cables, and commercial devices that switch on or off depending on the current price. These could even be little electronic devices that fit between an appliance's plug and the wall socket. My dishwasher, washing machine, TV etc. would only be enabled when the electricity is cheaper than a price of my choosing.

100% agreed. The technology is trivial in modern terms. This sort of load management and LED lighting could probably take 1/2 or 2/3 of grid requirements away. We also have an obcession with frozen things which is a result of lifestyle marketing. The old 'coldbox' in a small fridge was perfectly adequate. Vit C tablets are dried, not frozen.
A coldbox can not hold anything larger then a butchered rabbit. Home freezing were a large improvement in comparision with home canning in regard to the ammount of manual work needed and food quality. The chest freezer will have a long future, especially if peak oil makes local foodsources more competitive.

My chest freezer holds 23 cubic feet. My friends claim that is where I hide the bodies.

No further comment;-)

I think that one change that will be forced on us post-peak is that we'll have to drop the concept of fully dispatchable electricity.  We'll have to use it when it's available and do without a lot of it when it's not as available.  That is not difficult, once you accept the idea that we are not masters of the universe.  E.g., I wash clothes when the sun is about to shine so I can dry them on a rope.  That only takes a bit of planning and paying attention, it is not a hardship.  If the price of electricity were to fluctuate greatly with the availability of renewable energy (sun and wind), and people were aware of it, then they could respond accordingly, putting large uses (washing, cooking) off to the cheaper times.  It would also mean doing without air conditioning at least some of the time...  Automatic devices could put off the running of some things (such as freezers) for a while as needed (but not so long as to spoil the food).  Obviously rechargeable electric vehicles, if we'll ever get those, will have flexibility on when to charge.  And if we'll have to take the bus (er, electric trolleybus) for a trip because the wind hasn't been blowing then that's not the EOTW.
Energy storage for a solar plant is easy: molten salt blocks for heat collection from reflectors, hooked to stirling engines (whose cooling of the molten salt can be rate-controlled for demand).
Apuleius -

I vaguely recall reading about something like this quite some time ago.

If I understand correctly,  this would not be applicable to photovoltaic solar cells, but rather to a solar-powered heat engine, such as focused solar arrays heating a working fluid for a sterling engine.  Part of the focused solar energy would be used to heat some sort of low-melting-point salt (what kind?) which would be stored during hours of sunlight and then recovered via a heat exchanger to power the same sterling engine at night. Is that approximately correct?

If that is the case, then you have to have the heat engine (sterling or steam) run a generator to make electricity.  Conceptually, at least, I find the need to insert a generator into the system a complication that would greatly increase the complexity and cost over a purely PV system. Isn't it inherently better to make the electicity directly and be done with it?

And then again, maybe not. If it is easier to store the solar energy in the form of heat rather than as chemical energy in some sort of battery, then maybe that would be a better storage solution. One needs to look at the relative economics.

Back in the 1970s I used to follow solar energy quite a bit, but admittedly, I am now a bit rusty regarding the latest solar energy and storage technology.  I really should get back into it.  

Yeah, but as a bunch of bodgers we've managed to get pretty good at the mechanical part.  and we've still got some factories left that could do that kind of work.  At least for a few more years.
The "Solar Chimney" or "Solar Power Tower" can store energy in thermal mass...



And this concentrating solar thermal electric (which also calls itself a power tower)...can store energy in molton salt...


Solar Two, a "power tower" electricity generating plant in California, is a 10-megawatt prototype for large-scale commercial power plants. It stores the sun's energy in molten salt at 1050 degrees F, which allows the plant to generate power day and night, rain or shine. Construction was completed in March 1996, and it is now in its three year operating and testing phase. (source: Southern California Edison)

Call up Landsvirkjun in Reykjavik  and say that you want, oh, 3,000 MW average renewable electricity by 2013.

EDF in France is already building a 1,600 MW nuke (commercial in 2012) about 60 km from England.  Tell them that you want another in 2014.  And a long term contract.

"Instead we get stupid articles about superconducting hydrogen/electric lines."

That is because they get grant money to study crap like that.  Most scientists are just like everyone else and put their own self interest first.  They can't get money pushing a technology that was perfected by the 1920's.

i am sorry but peak oil is not just a transportation issue.
$3/gallon for gasoline and overweight white guys continue to mindlessly mow their suburbia lawns with a riding lawnmower.

god help us.

Because the city and or the community group require them too.  Because we have trained them to use Saturday as lawn care day.  Because Green Lawns Is a US right.  Because they can't stand looking at the grass 2 feet high and their wife and kids complaining there might be wild animals in there waiting to drag the kids off.  Because Us Sci-Fi writers write stories that tell of the creature lurking in high grass and the kudzu out front.  Because they are just as demented as the guy who just bought a Hummer to feel his Manhood come back to him.  Becuase if he did not use the mower he paid 1,000 Dollars for it'd look silly as a flower pot.

Feel free to add your own Because to this list.

Yeah, I saw a guy using a leaf blower today.  Leaf blowers are near the top of my useless machines list.
When we were at the shore recently, on 3 separate occasions I saw guys using leaf blowers to move STONES!  Stones the size of walnuts.  They only had to move them like 3ft, and they had to put the nozzle up to just about every stone, one at a time.  I was amazed.  It must have taken 10 times as long as it would have if they had used a rake or shovel.  

I hate those figgin things.

Gas powered leaf vacs ought to be right up there too. My friend witnessed a man vacuuming the leaves off trees; he seemed impatient to finish his fall yard cleanup.
Yeah, most cities mandate lawns, and even a minor change to that requires a huge fight. And homeowner associations are like little mafias.
Hello TODers,

The G8 is off to a bad start:

Bush Blocks WTO Entry for Russia

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - In a chilly summit prelude, President Bush blocked Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization on Saturday and President Vladimir Putin mockingly said Moscow doesn't want the kind of violence-plagued democracy the United States has fostered in Iraq.

``I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion,'' Bush said at the news conference, ``and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing.''

Putin, in a barbed reply, said: ``We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.'' Bush's face reddened as he tried to laugh off the remark. ``Just wait,'' Bush replied about Iraq.

Putin also said Russia would not take part ``in any crusades, in any holy alliances'' - a remark seemingly intended to win points with Arab allies. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said he was perplexed by the comment.

Yeehaw!  Calling Bush a Crusader!  Makes one wonder what they called each other behind closed doors.

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

If Hadley is "perplexed" all he needs to do is read American Theocracy (though I don't expect anyone to finish it ... quite redundant once you get past the first few chapters).
"Yeehaw!  Calling Bush a Crusader!  Makes one wonder what they called each other behind closed doors."

They call each other comrade...


Bush needs to take another look into Putin's soul.  Free religion? Now there's a knee slapper.  
Hello TODers,

They rally today in Mexico City:
MEXICO CITY - Angélica Cruz, who sells fruit on Mexico City's streets, speaks with near-religious fervor when she talks about her devotion to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leftist former mayor of Mexico City, who is challenging his apparent narrow loss in Mexico's July 2 presidential race.

``He is our only hope,'' the 30-year-old mother of three said. ``He helps the people because he belongs to the people. He has a humble, honest soul.''

Poor, disenchanted and ardently committed, they have lent his challenge the feel of a religious crusade and given him a media pulpit as he prepares his legal challenge before a special elections court. They have also provided an air of crisis to a raucous national debate about the substance of his fraud allegations.

``His moral superiority is his ace in the hole,'' said John Ross, an election observer and student of Mexican politics. ``In 40 years I've been here, I've never seen a politician with this kind of connection to his people. It's tangible. You can see it.''

But some early arrivals, such as Cruz, say they will remain defiant. ``The people have to rise up,'' she said. ``If we lose, there will be a war.''

For the moment, most onlookers are dismissing the prospect of significant civil unrest. But as more protesters join what has turned into a five-day occupation of the nation's central square, the fever pitch has risen.

``They are very passionate,'' said Jorge Chabat, a professor of politics and economics in Mexico City. ``They are very angry, because they've had a bad situation for years. It's still not rational. But who said politics was rational?'


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

Mexico has a long history of electoral fraud and that election was dirtier than most.

What I'm interested in though is whether the same thing could happen to the USA. The electronic voting machines were a total disgrace; it's hard to look at the figures and reports without concluding that there was systematic electoral fraud going on. If in the next election they're rolled out nationwide and a marginal victory is the result again who knows what might happen (likely nothing whilst living is good ..... but what if?)

You need only look at what happened after the last three federal elections.  Every time the percentage that is thrown is larger.  The number of electronic machines is growing all the time, but this is only one method.  How many hours would you stand in line (during working hours) to vote?  "I'm sorry, but your name isn't on the list".  Elections are just one more  system that no longer functions - most of our government is just pretend anymore, but yet the people do nothing.  This is because even if they are aware, there is still more to loose than to gain by acting.  I can't say I'm any better.
Do these calming reassurances have anything to do with the G8, meeting in the face of an exploding Middle East?
Adam Plowright, Agence France Press in The Daily Star: PARIS: World demand for oil will rise at about 2 percent a year for the next five years, but OPEC countries are leading an expansion of production that will replenish a supply safety cushion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday. Investment by OPEC will increase the crude production capacity of the 11 countries belonging to the cartel by 10 percent from 2006 to 2011, with production of natural gas liquids set to increase by 44 percent. These increases, coupled with rising output from non-OPEC countries, will mean that growth in oil supplies outstrip growth in demand every year until 2010, adding vital spare production capacity to the global oil system.
There is no way the IEA with its miserable track record of forecasts knows more about OPEC potential than Simmons or anyone else.  They are pulling this drivel out of their *sses.  A sure sign that it is a load of rubbish is the complete absence of discussion about declining production in existing fields, just 1984 style prattle about increasing supplies.  OPEC needs massive new discoveries just to maintain production  let alone increase it.  Until the IEA get specific about these hypothetical discoveries it's press releases are totally worthless.
Agree completely with dissident. Trying to mask peak oil?

A related question. Current oil prices are mainly driven by supply and demand. If peak oil is now and it takes one year for most buyers and sellers of oil to become aware of the downward slope in supply (similar to USA in 1970-1971), what happens in July 2007?  To prices? To politics?

I suspect that we are going to witness a slow train wreck rather than a rapid bang since the declines are slow and there is still some new supply coming online (i.e. we will not be seeing 4 million bpd declines in global production in the next few years).  I think the current price increase trend will continue until the price is high enough to induce a global recession.  It looks like $75 is not all that painful so it may take $150 oil to do real damage.  We should get there by 2010.  This recession is likely to become chronic.  I am hoping that it is mild enough for capital investment to continue to allow for some sort of adjustment to a new mode with less oil.
I have to wonder if the economy's ok at $75/bbl. That seems like a big assumption. Perhaps it's taking some time for the damage (if any) to move through the economic system. I wonder if credit and other types of hallucinated money aren't acting as a temporary cushion. Sort of the "crumple zones" as the "car" strikes the brick wall. I suspect that it's possible that more people are struggling with the high fuel prices than many of the official numbers indicate.

Also, it seems like another assumption that's circulating is that fuel demand indicates economic health. In other words, just because high fuel prices haven't significantly curbed consumption in the U.S., the U.S. consumer must not be hurting. However, I'm not sure that the first thing to go would be fuel use--maybe fuel use is more inelastic that one might think (which makes sense given the infrastructure issues that people like Kunstler have been pointing out.

If one looks at things from the Savinar perspective, driving a car around represents control of quite a bit of energy (= power). This isn't likely the thing that will be given up first by humans who have an innate drive (pun intended) to control ever more energy in their lives. Likely, other things will go first, things that don't come close to signaling a loss of control over so much power. Say, reductions in soda-pop consumption, and similar types of generally unnecessary spending. That stuff will probably go first, with perhaps some people curtailing driving in the early stage. When most of the other options are used up, then driving would likely begin to diminish in earnest. Indeed, based on this model, it seems that when driving rates start to be seriously impacted (fuel demand decreases), that it will signal that we are deep into the energy crisis.

That said, it seems that I agree with the idea of a "Long Emergency".


You are right, it is probably too early to tell that $75 is not doing damage.  It just seems that US consumption is going strong (a one month 0.1% decline is within the noise level).  But as you point out the consumption is propped up with credit, which raises the question of the fragility of the system in the face of oil price shocks.
I agree with you completely!
I think that plan will happen, whether or not we're willing. Shutting off oil imports because the dollar's useless outside the US, making our own stuff because we can't afford imported stuff, even from the few countries that will sell to us.

Imagine that! Even though it will take an oil/economy crash to do it, becoming our own nation again. Bring it on!

Hmmm, no oil imports by 2030 let's see that's 24 years or a quater of a century.  Iraq is a mess, the Mideast is on the brink of war, Venezuela has cut gasoline sales to the US, World oil production has peaked, China and India are swallowing more energy everyday, oil is almost $80 a barrel, hurricane season is upon us, US consumers are as far as ever from conserving energy, and we have absolutely no leadership in Washington.  Seems to me the jet will run out of gas long before 24 years comes around and crash.  It's TCOYOA time in the world!  (Take Care of Your Own Ass)
As soon as I read the word "imports", I knew that the analysis by the consortium was flawed. The US would have to aim for elimination of ALL oil, to be able to feel secure in energy. This is because oil production is declining, in the US. The report even places oil recovery (enhanced through CO2 injection) as one of the technologies to eliminate imports. How can people be so blind?


I agree that it is not likely to be a fast problem on oil supply declines but rather Kunstler's slow emergency. It is somewhat confirmed by the present futures market which is buying at $75 anticipating that they will beat another reasonable rate of return on alternative investments like 8-10% a yeear. In other words they are betting 5 years out it will be better than $120. Personally i think that is conservative but then they usually are.                                                              On another note Kapaa, a small town on Kauai was found to have the highest percentage of registered fuel efficient vehicles in America. The top 4 were all in Hawaii. Gas is $3.60  Smith would be pleased.
Thousands buy cycles to beat the bowser blow-out

SPIRALLING petrol prices are prompting thousands of commuters to ditch their cars on weekdays and ride to work on bicycles.

With the cost of a litre of fuel passing $1.45, cycling groups said the number of riders on some routes had nearly doubled over the past 12 months and bike shops have reported a rise in sales.


Hi All,

Some people claim the high oil price is due to speculators and traders. I think this is nonsense. At todays prices and todays rate of consumption I believe around 2 TRILLION dollars is spent on oil per year by real consumers of the physical commodity. For speculators to push the oil price from 25 USD to 75 USD over a three year period would require an amount of money that is almost unimaginable. Further I think traders would be highly unlikely to hold oil over such a timescale. They are short term. I believe speculators may add 5-10 USD in the short term and nothing more.


hello HKT.
Good points, thanks.  
 If someone could open the spigots and flood the world with cheap oil like the Saudis did in the 80's the world would beat a path to their door. They could squeeze the higher cost producers out. But with daily demand up around 85 million barrels a day nobody can steamroll enough production to drive the price down.

 In this sense the market is in the 'hands' of the traders and  but not in their 'control'. Demand is driving the price and lack of supply cushion keeps the cycle climbing.

 If traders jumped wrong and oil went low they'd lose their butts, right? Instead we fall from $78 to $76 a barrel and some commentator will talk about falling oil prices and next week we'll cycle it again around $80.

 I just keep thinking how every SUV driver just took a $10,000 hit in the lifetime operating cost of their vehicle with every one of those $25 a barrel hikes you mention and how many $$ that is times all the vehicles in the world. Your almost 'unimaginable amount of money' working it's way out of the consumer part of  the economic system and over to the producers. And to the increasing cost of extraction.

 To my way of thinking everything ,except maybe some locally grown food, has to get more expensive in such a system. So the worldwide standard of living retreats. It seems we are bankrupting ourselves for lack of following some proven solutions. Alan Drake's electrified rail, conservation, and localization to name a few. Like the monkey grabbing for the rice in the knothole we're stuck.

 For instance http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/
makes the point that workable electrified transport has been serially murdered several times previously by maybe Westexas's 'iron triangle' or some other entity.

I'm more convinced than ever that much of the damage peak oil is going to wreak on us is self-imposed and thus somewhat avoidable.

"It is argued that Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., long-time president of GM in the early 20th century, developed a business strategy to expand auto sales and maximize profits by eliminating streetcars. In 1922, according to GM's own files, Sloan established a special unit within the corporation which was charged, among other things, with the task of replacing the United States' electric railways with cars, trucks, and buses."
General Motors streetcar conspiracy
terrific link! here's another


 It seems after financing 'public' education campaigns against EV's then Chevron Texico bought out patent rights to the Olvonic NiMh battery and subsequently sued Toyota to prevent it's use in the Prius.

 The suppression continues, but now the hybrid is out and the (mass produced) plug-in is likely. http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/06/gm_plugin_repor.html

There is speculation that Toyota developed it's Prius program in part as a response to vehicles like the EV1.

Toyota has now taken it's 60,000 unit quota out of the energy bill. The 'big 3' are lagging. China is doing a fair amout with electric vehicles including busses.


The EV1 certainly showed what is possible and could be much better today. It remains to be seen whether the big 3 will really take the bait (beyond the EV Ranger and the GEM). This next round of fuel price hikes could do it.....or how many people have to get priced out of the market.

We forget sometimes how much this all affects the price of fuel in 'developing' countries and makes food production there more difficult.

"Ovshinsky also remarked about the viability of his NiMH battery, "The people who are saying that battery technology isn't ready are absolutely wrong. It's part of the party line. It's self-perpetuating. It's very sad. You tell a lie big enough and long enough, and people start to believe it. The fact of the matter is volume. That's the only reason batteries are the cost that they are. [79]""

"In mass production, the NiMH battery that could give an EV 200 miles range promises $150 per kWh storage, but Chevron Texaco bought the patent from General Motors and refuses to sell the batteries at an affordable price for automotive application, General Motors who refuses to mass produce electric cars because they are near maintenance free."

Tell Toyota to stop stalling.

It is 'conventional wisdom' that the current oil price has been driven up by high demand from China and India.
This typical quote is from Roger Bezdek being interviewed at Global Public Media :
"Well, the major cause of the current problems is the rapid increase in demand for liquid fuels caused by not only US requirements, but much more particularly by the increase for the demand for oil in countries such as China and India, especially China, as well as other countries in Asia. "

But a quick look at "BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2006)" shows oil consumption for India as :
2004    2.573 Mb/d
2005    2.485 Mb/d
which is a fall of 3.5% and is the biggest fall in terms of barrels of any country.

Is this a problem with the definition of "oil" or "consumption" or is the concept just plain wrong ?

Dave K

Many topics here. BP's data is 6 months old, as are many of the numbers we discuss here. It's the best we've got. Numbers are another topic. Nobody here can agree on what we can or cannot trust. All best tries. China reads flat for 2005, I believe as well, with ultra-high growth the previous few years. All anecdotal evidence from the last six months shows a resumption  of high growth. Yet price is certainly an issue. More so now because it is that much higher than it was two years ago. I'm not sure exactly what the concept you mean is.
Anything God says to me privately I believe.

Others I question.

I can always tell when he's lying. He has this weird way of instructing the angels. And then, almost on queue, a bunch of Indonesians die in a "tsunami". Yeah right, "tsunami." God hates Indonesians. I swear. Loves thems Saudis. Loves them Gringos. But Blacks. Southeast Asians? What's the deal? I think he had some thing worked out with the Devil a long, long time ago and he knows it's wrong, but he is still trying to unroll the position. That's why I never trust anyone. especially when they call themselves God.
Scientifically speaking, where do you think God hides but within the beliver's head?