Debate and Discussion

American Fuel Prices decreasing - Is this fooling anybody?
SpANG at 8:47AM, Dec. 19, 2008
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Enjoying the low cost of gas? You may be screwing yourself in the long run.

It happened in the late 70's. When gas was rationed, everybody was doing what they could to save, or use alternative energy. Jimmy Carter even put solar panels up on the White House. Car companies were getting killed by foreign competition, so they decided to put some effort into fuel efficient cars. Then, all of the sudden Reagan takes over, and (after his contrived hostage ‘saving’ )there is a dramatic drop in fuel prices. The solar panels get ripped down in the White House and Americans are lulled into a false sense of security about energy consumption. And here we go again.

American fuel prices are dropping for one reason and one reason only. The powers that be want you to FORGET about alternative fuel. Have you noticed there is hardly any talk about alternative fuel anymore? The funding for entities making cleaner or cheaper alternatives is drying up because of lack of interest. We are going to lose these guys, and there is probably nothing that can be done about it.

It's happening again. If the American public doesn't WAKE UP and see what's happening, it will be too late. We can't let old oil run the world anymore.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
Hawk at 10:10AM, Dec. 19, 2008
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I have a friend doing an internship in the auto industry who tells me that anyone who doesn't think the government is investing in alternative fuel sources is in for a surprise. Apparently a LOT of money is being put toward oil-alternatives, and the oil companies are doing everything they can to fight it. While he couldn't tell me some of the classified stuff, he did tell me of a few projects being hindered by bureaucratic red tape because oil lobbyists are getting laws passed to inconvenience them.

If you're saying that lower oil prices are stunt being pulled by the oil companies themselves, I'd fully believe it. But I'm starting to get the impression that at least our government is starting to realize what a problem our reliance on oil is.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
rufus_edge at 11:40AM, Dec. 19, 2008
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It's good to see a liberal admit that Jimmy Carter actually existed.
The energy crisis and his handling of the hostage situation were disgraceful. He was the one that allowed it to go on forever and bungled the rescue attempt. If you think the release of the hostages was Reagan's “contrived hostage ‘saving’”, you may be a “nutty conspiracy theorist”.

Conspiracy Theories in American History: http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1654


I do think the price of gas was artificially high, but we allowed it to happen by continuing to buy it at $4.50 and not “properly inflating our tires”. Also, the rising and falling price of oil affects the entire world, not just the United States and OPEC.

The reason that it's low now is because of the global financial crisis and falling demand. The prices may be manipulated, but it clearly isn't “dropping for one reason and one reason only”.

LINK 1: http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/19/markets/oil/index.htm

LINK 2: http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/17/markets/oil/index.htm

Reliance on foreign oil is a huge problem. Everybody has understood this for decades. Why do you think we bought Alaska? Why does every president promise energy independence?

A better solution is to increase production of domestic energy supplies, and develop alternative fuel sources over the sixty years that it gives us.

The Government
According to federal government data, the U.S. has enough oil and natural gas to fuel more than 65 million cars for 60 years and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. In fact, the U.S. government estimates that there are 30 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil on federal lands currently closed to development.

In addition, a recent study by ICF International shows that more access to domestic energy resources could generate $1.7 trillion in government revenue, create thousands of new jobs and enhance America’s energy security by significantly boosting energy production here in the United States.

It doesn't make any sense to rely solely on the hope that these miracle fuels come around during the next ten years and have no drawbacks. Where would we be now if we were relying solely on ethanol?

The solution is much wider than just funding alternative fuel research.
We need to build new nuclear power plants, increase exploration, drill off both coasts and in ANWR (which is “perfect for drilling” ), and do much more (including properly inflating our tires and wearing sweaters in the White House).
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
arteestx at 12:09PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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SpANG
American fuel prices are dropping for one reason and one reason only. The powers that be want you to FORGET about alternative fuel.
Honestly, I don't think this is true. I think oil has come down lately due to simple supply/demand in a global recession. The “powers that be” don't want oil *this* low, which is why OPEC is dropping production. It's artificially low now and will go back up in the next year or two, probably not quite as high as this past summer. At least not yet. But oil consistently at $150 a barrel is coming eventually.


rufus_edge
A better solution is to increase production of domestic energy supplies, and develop alternative fuel sources over the sixty years that it gives us.

The Government
According to federal government data, the U.S. has enough oil and natural gas to fuel more than 65 million cars for 60 years and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. In fact, the U.S. government estimates that there are 30 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil on federal lands currently closed to development.

In addition, a recent study by ICF International shows that more access to domestic energy resources could generate $1.7 trillion in government revenue, create thousands of new jobs and enhance America’s energy security by significantly boosting energy production here in the United States.
Do you have a source for this? According to the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, of the US govt, we use 20.68 million barrels of oil a day, or about 7.5 billion barrels a year. And according to the EIA again, we have anywhere from 20-29 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. At 7.5 billion barrels a year, that lasts us at MOST 4 years.

And let's assume that the unproven reserves quoted above at an additional 30 billion barrels is accurate (which I'm dubious of and would like to see a source for). So if we have 60 billion barrels of oil in this country, that would still only last us 8 years, and that's assuming we don't increase our national consumption rate.

So what's the source for the claim that the US has enough domestic oil to meet our energy needs for 60 years?

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
rufus_edge at 1:20PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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116.4 billion barrels of oil is enough to power 65 million cars for 60 years.
650.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is enough to heat 60 million homes for 160 years.

Source:
United States Mineral Management Service
United States Bureau of Land Management
American Petroleum Institute

http://www.api.org/aboutoilgas/upload/truth_primer.pdf


last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
isukun at 2:59PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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Gotta agree with arteestx here. Where are you getting 60 years from? Even if you go with this 116.4 billion barrels number, you still have 135 million cars and 110 million trucks/SUVs. That's not even counting commercial class vehicles or motorcycles. With the number of vehicles you would need to power, you're looking ten years tops without relying on outside oil.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
rufus_edge at 4:33PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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I already said what the 60 years is. See PDF.

You say there are 245+ million vehicles in the U.S.
If we consider that there are approximately 300 million people in the country and approximately one quarter aren't old enough to drive that gives us 225 million. That is 20 million less than your number right there. After that, you consider that there are 20-30 million illegal aliens in the country, most people in cities rarely have any need for cars, plenty of old and disabled people don't drive, plenty of eligible drivers have suspended or revoked licenses (although many of them still drive), people that are in prison can't drive, it's impossible to use more than one vehicle at the same time, public transportation vehicles are already exploring alternative fuels, there are plenty of registered vehicles that aren't actively being used, et cetera, et cetera…

Is 65 million a reasonable estimate for the number of active vehicles in the country, after all things are considered? Maybe, but I'd say closer than 245 million.

However, I've already said that the issue is much more complex than that.

Nobody knows how much time we'd have if we did everything. That includes drilling, exploring, building nuclear power plants, intelligently using wind, water, geothermal, and solar power, increasing production and intelligent use of natural gas, making Iraq pay for the cost of liberation by giving us oil (boo hoo), carpooling, wearing our sweaters, inflating our tires, not bankrupting the coal industry…

The solution is not just concentrating on alternative fuels, especially when it destroys the economy.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
ozoneocean at 5:24PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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Spang, unfortunately you're drawing a long bow here man. It's mostly all just a confluence of factors: coincidence. As some people have said here, the value of oil was artificially very high. The trouble was a lot of rather thick people (and rather unscrupulous people as well), chose to blame under-supply for the high cost of oil. That was completely false. The high cost was caused by the movements of investments on the international markets and the reasons for that were various but mostly they concerned worries about the Iraq war, as well as all the other little conflicts in the middle east; speculation on the security of supply. And with the way those things go the value created more value: this thing is worth so much, doing so well, I'm a sheeplike investor and had better join in!

Now with the weakness in the markets, with hegefunds collapsing etc. these people have withdrawn their influence from the energy sector, so the price collapses…
Of course a side effect of the high oil price was that OPEC countries were badgered into over-production in a hamfisted attempt at countering the price movement (that never really worked), that that also helps in the downward movement of the oil price, but not as much as you'd think. Not at all.

In future it could go up or down again, so don't hold your breath… But don't for a moment think that these things are easy to control by any particular agency or group! Even what I say “investors” or “speculators” that's not an easily quantifiable , assessable, identifiable bunch of people with similar aims. The movements of the markets at that scale are like the weather (so many influences and forces), all you can do is point to major trends and where areas of force and influences are coming from.

—————————–

Questions of long term supply here are an minor sidetrack. Whether we have enough for 10 years only (as they say when they factor in GROWTH of industry and use according to current and projected trends), or the fantasy they it could be never-ending, it's all just one minor factor in influencing the markets, which will move on regardless of what supplies our energy.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
isukun at 6:57PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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You say there are 245+ million vehicles in the U.S.

Actually, according to the Department of Transportation, there were over 250 million passenger class (that would be vehicles of two axles or less) vehicles registered in the US in 2006. Somehow I doubt that number has gone down to 65 million in two years. Also consider that there are a lot of people out there who have more than one car that fit different purposes. One for driving to work, one for toting around the kids or groceries, one for fun, etc. It isn't uncommon for families to have two or more cars. You also have a lot of corporate vehicles out there, things like utility vans, pickup trucks used by construction or landscaping companies, mail or delivery vehicles, rental vehicles, and so forth. These are cars that see everyday use in addition to those used by the drivers to get to and from the office/depot. Quite often, your corporate vehicles will see MORE use than your average consumer vehicle. Not every car in America is owned by an individual and it is possible for one person to have or use multiple “active” cars.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
rufus_edge at 7:26PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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A person that owns fourteen cars isn't going to use fourteen times as much gas as a person that owns one car.

The number of registered vehicles in the country doesn't mean anything.


last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
SpANG at 8:36PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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I wonder why it's so easy for people to believe…
“The cost of gas was obviously ”artificially inflated“ which spurred people to find alternative fuel.”

but it's so hard for these same people to believe…
“The same powers that INFLATED it ”artificially DE-flate“ the price so that the public loses interest in finding alternative fuel.”

Anyway, Hawk, I hope you are right. But it seems like we are repeating history.

Under President Carter, US Synthetic Fuels program launched in 1980, pushing methanol from coal for auto fuel. But in 1985, just as his technology was starting to produce results, oil plummeted. In today’s inflation-adjusted dollars, oil went from $53 a barrel to $28, with pump prices falling from $2.20 a gallon to $1.60. The next year, President Reagan pulled the plug on the US Synfuels program.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:53PM
arteestx at 9:06PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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rufus_edge
116.4 billion barrels of oil is enough to power 65 million cars for 60 years.
Source: United States Mineral Management Service, United States Bureau of Land Management, American Petroleum Institute
http://www.api.org/aboutoilgas/upload/truth_primer.pdf
There are so many things wrong here, I barely know where to begin. But I'm going to focus on the two largest, in my view.

First of all, going to your link, pg. 18 is where I assume you're referring to. I looked for the source of their numbers and found only this: “Source: MMS, BLM, and API calculations”. No footnotes, no endnotes, no reports, no descriptions of these calculations, no way to verify anything. And that always makes me suspicious. The graph claims the oil is “technically recoverable,” meaning it can be drilled using current technology irrespective of economic viability. But *is* this oil economically feasible to get? How realistic are these numbers? They don't say so I don't know.

Secondly, they say 116.4 billion barrels (bb) of oil will power 65 million cars for 60 years. Maybe that's accurate. But what they don't say or want you to know is that the US uses 9.3 million barrels (mb) of gasoline a day, which equates to about 3.3 bb of gasoline a year. That's a realistic number of the amount of oil/gas we need to run in this country. And even using their number of 116.4 bb of oil, and assuming that the current number of cars on the road never goes up (a bad assumption methinks), that would only last 35 years, nowhere near 60 years.

In fact, let's get serious about reality. Let's assume for a moment that we decide as a country to forgo the environmental risk and drill, baby, drill. How long would this oil last in the US, for cars and all our energy needs? At 7.5 bb a year (see previous post), 116.4 bb would last 15 years. And that assumes the oil companies would drill and sell this oil ONLY to the US and not put it on the global market, which is a joke. Even if it were possible to separate US market from the global market, oil companies are about making money so they're going to sell, baby, sell. The world uses 83.6 mb a day (refer to same EIA link), or 30.5 bb a year. How long would all this estimated oil last on the global market? Less than 4 years.

These API people are misrepresenting numbers, telling us this oil could last 60 years. It's a numbers game and they are lying to us. They don't show their data or calculations because they don't want you to know if and how they're fudging the numbers. They use artificial metrics, like “powering 65 million cars” instead of using current gas/oil usage. And talking about powering cars, as though we don't need oil for powering anything else. They are twisting numbers. Why would they do this?


ozoneocean
Questions of long term supply here are an minor sidetrack. Whether we have enough for 10 years only … or the fantasy they it could be never-ending, it's all just one minor factor in influencing the markets, which will move on regardless of what supplies our energy.
I agree that the price of oil will move in the market irrespective of these estimates. But I think Spang is closer to the truth in this case: there are people that don't want us to lose our addiction to oil just yet. So they create these phony groups like API and concoct these imaginary numbers to convince people that we have plenty of oil, no need to conserve, no need for regulation, no need for CAFE standards, etc. And that's what irritates me. I'm sure these same people do try to influence the market price of oil as Spang suggests, like OPEC changing production for example, but their influence is only but so much. It's their misrepresenting reality in order to convince the American public that we have plenty of oil that rubs me the wrong way.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
ozoneocean at 9:09PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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SpANG
I wonder why it's so easy for people to believe…
“The cost of gas was obviously ”artificially inflated“ which spurred people to find alternative fuel.”

but it's so hard for these same people to believe…
“The same powers that INFLATED it ”artificially DE-flate“ the price so that the public loses interest in finding alternative fuel.”
It's not that simple, even if the language makes it sound that way. ;)

“Artificial” inflation doesn't suggest “deliberate” or contrived increase in cost, just an increase beyond what normal market forces would dictate if those normal market forces were the only factors in determining that cost, which they weren't. It's a fact of our globalised, increasingly integrated world economy that industries don't run in little partitioned, safe boxes. They never did, but now that's even less the case.

The “people” (companies, funds etc.) putting the most amount of money into and taking it out of oil have almost no concern for the actual industry itself or whether you prefer to ride a bike or drive an electric car instead, it's just the movement of money into a commodity. If it's not oil, it's steel, it's gold, it's tech stocks, even fine art.

At the end of the 90's tech bubble, most tech stocks were very cheap. That wasn't because of artificial “deflation”, that was because at the end of that bubble the price collapsed with the tidal outflow of funds. That part isn't hard to understand. :)

——————
As for “powers” or “them” having an influence for “their” malign ends; just be careful you don't get Kyupoly about it. YES politically motivated people and those with a lot of money can whisper the right words in the right ears, they can lobby, set up fake foundations, do fake “scientific” studies, release propaganda, they can even make wars happen! But no matter how big those prods appear to be, in terms of what we're talking about here they're clumsy little pinches and pricks, as likely to achieve the opposite of their goals. World financial markets are wild untamed beasts that no one fully understands or controls.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
isukun at 9:58PM, Dec. 19, 2008
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A person that owns fourteen cars isn't going to use fourteen times as much gas as a person that owns one car.

And the people who own fourteen cars and let them rot in a garage as collectors items don't account for 75% of the registered vehicles out there, either. If that were the case, the auto industry wouldn't be in the bind it's in now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
imshard at 1:35AM, Dec. 20, 2008
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Fooling? there are so many factors in play when it comes to fuel prices that it boggles the mind. Just looking at the process of getting the oil out of the ground transferred, purified, tanked, refined into its constituent chemicals, processed, distributed, etc, etc. Each step costs a variable amount of money, and any of them could have a noticeable effect on price tags. Then there are the other indirect forces at play as mentioned. Marketing, price setting, taxes, regulations, investors, etc. I know that the price was held high for as long as the market could sustain it. I expect the prices to go back up at least marginally given the season (winter means increased fuel consumption). Just like any other price it will continue to go up and down normally for at least another 20 years.

People in general have short attention spans and limited concern for things outside their immediate field of view. Its not that people have been lulled into ignoring the fuel crisis or thinking its not a problem. Its that they just don't give two shits about it. The rank and file consumer is somewhat aware of the worrisome noises the talking heads on the tele are making, but for their intents and purposes it really doesn't matter. Human nature, apathy and resistance to change by habit or conscious ignorance are the big enemies here.

I don't believe in “big oil” conspiracies any more than I believe the theories where the politicians are all robots being controlled by a mothership orbiting Venus. I do believe in greed and company executives who have a different perspective on the issue and are looking to ensure their livelihoods. Insidious? no. Suicidal? no. stupid an/or uncaring? Probably. Save the doom and gloom though. Production and development of viable alternate fueled vehicles is up by ~87%. The main perpetrators of the status quo, have backed themselves into a corner from which they'll either go bankrupt or be forced to change.

Not to worry. Better times are on the way, and in this case the mistakes of the past are recent enough for folks to remember them and act accordingly.

BTW: have you SEEN some of the new EV cars? They're amazing! I converted my Nissan into an EV an long time ago. I can't get over 60 mph and a 55 mile range. Now automotive startups are offering EVs and hybirds that can get over a hundred miles at high way speeds. They don't look like crap anymore either. Most of these companies are heavily subsidized. Not something you'd see if the “powers” wanted to bury the idea.

http://www.fiskerautomotive.com/
http://www.teslamotors.com/
http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/
http://www.milesev.com/
http://www.modeczev.com/
http://www.venturi.fr/-Home-page-.html
http://www.zenncars.com/
http://www.lightningcarcompany.co.uk/
http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
rufus_edge at 4:14PM, Dec. 20, 2008
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I also look forward to the day that the 25 million American children that drive themselves to work every day can do so in cars that are powered by nothing but hope and change, but until then, we have to realize that fossil fuels are not the enemy.

What is API: http://www.energytomorrow.org/About/
Write to them if you think they are making shit up.

The following is from API's http://www.energytomorrow.org/Energy_Rhetoric_vs_Reality.aspx
There are other topics that can be found there and on the rest of the site.

There are many factors affecting the price of gasoline.
More than 80 cents of every dollar spent at the pump goes to the price of crude and taxes. The price of crude oil is set on global markets, not by oil companies, and it accounts for more than 70 cents of every dollar of gasoline price. And the government takes nearly twice as much in taxes (13 cents) as the industry makes in profit (fewer than 8 cents).

While gasoline prices have increased dramatically this year, the price of crude oil has increased by $1.21 per gallon in 2008, compared with the price of gasoline, which is up 80 cents per gallon.

Demand is strong in both mature economies and the developing world, especially in China, India and the Middle East. The market impact of tight supplies has been exacerbated by political instability, resource mismanagement and weather. Finally, the decline in the value of the dollar against other currencies has put American consumers at a disadvantage.

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry invested almost $100 billion between 2000 and 2005 in emerging energy technologies,
including $12 billion in non-hydrocarbons and $42 billion in greenhouse gas emission mitigation technologies from 2000 to 2006.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that fossil fuels will continue to meet at least 80 percent of energy demand
both in the United States and globally, through 2030, even with tremendous growth in alternative and renewable sources of energy.

The industry has researched and developed breakthrough technologies,
such as 4D seismic imaging and multi-directional drilling, which have helped reduce the industry’s environmental footprint dramatically. For example, today it’s possible to develop nearly 80 square miles of area below the surface from a single two-acre site on the surface.

America has vast resources of oil and natural gas
enough oil to power more than 65 million cars for the next six decades and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years, according to government estimates. We may have considerably more resources, since the government conducted their last true inventory in the early 1980s using old data from now-outdated seismic equipment.

There are many examples of how the government’s initial estimates dramatically underestimated the amount of actual resources. For example:

Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oilfield has produced more than 15 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids, and is still producing. Government agencies forecast the region would produce no more than 9 billion barrels, total.

In the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey now says 3 billion to 4 billion barrels of undiscovered oil are available – 25 times more than the original estimate made in 1995.

In 1987, the MMS estimated that there were 9 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. By 2006, after major advances in seismic technology and deepwater drilling techniques, the MMS resource estimate for that area had ballooned to 45 billion barrels.

There could be much more oil than previously known, and new technologies allow us to access resources previously thought unreachable. Without additional domestic access, the full potential of America’s offshore and mainland resources may never be realized.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
imshard at 12:50AM, Dec. 21, 2008
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Rufus, those numbers are a bit on the optimistic side, but not by much. For the most accurate estimates try the USGS surveys, and IGC or IUGS commissioned studies.

We are not in fact in danger of running out of fuel anytime soon. The most pessimistic amongst us believe peak oil has already occurred (it hasn't and won't for a few decades). Even if peak oil has occurred it would still take YEARS to feel or observe a significant difference. That means plenty of time for us to develop and switch to alternatives.

My point is that alternatives are already available, or that we have the technology to make them available. To me these discussions and endless worry are unnecessary. Within a six month period the major automotive manufacturers went from having no plans to offer alternatives to most of them realizing the need and announcing prototypes and pre-production vehicles. There will be no crisis. There is no need to panic. In fact panic and nay saying are exactly the primary things that COULD lead to trouble.

Regardless of how many resources are left I think it is agreeable to all parties that we switch to new technologies. Technologies that are sustainable, cleaner, and more reliable. We have plenty of time to make the change no matter how you cut it. Fossil-fuel has taken us as far as it can, and now we have the freedom time and ability to change.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
arteestx at 9:29PM, Dec. 21, 2008
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rufus_edge
America has vast resources of oil and natural gas, enough oil to power more than 65 million cars for the next six decades
And America has enough oil to power more than 30 million cars for the next 120 years. In fact, we could power 5 million cars for over 500 years. Heck, we could power 1 car for 300 million years. Of course, this is all meaningless nonsense.

According to Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are over 250 million registered vehicles in the United States, including 135 million registered cars, 99 million trucks/SUVs, 6 million motorcycles. You say the number of registered cars is meaningless? Then consider this: if 116.4 bb of oil can power 65 million cars for 60 years, that assumes that 1.9 bb of oil are used by these 65 million cars per year. Statistically we know that we in fact use 3.3 bb of oil for gasoline each year (see previous post for EIA link), so assuming the same ratio of gas/car, that comes out to around 110 million cars using this gasoline each year. Either way, unless you're voluntarily giving up your vehicle, then any statistic that discusses powering only 65 million cars is pointless. And it's a deliberately misleading number designed to make people think we have plenty of oil.


rufus_edge
There are many examples of how the government’s initial estimates dramatically underestimated the amount of actual resources.
Yes, Prudhoe Bay and the Bakken formation are producing more oil than initial estimates. But oil production in this country has been dropping consistently since the 1970s. In fact, if you look at a history of US crude oil field production, you will see that the numbers being achieved in the last few years are roughly the equivalent of what we were producing in the mid-40s. That isn't because of stifling environmental regulations, after all this decline continued during the deregulation years of Reagan and Bush; it's because we only have but so much oil in this country. That's the basic truth. Some fields are going to yield more than initial estimates, and conservatives love to point out the big counter-examples, but overall our estimations are pretty darn good. And even if you include all that offshore drilling, our production is not going to be what it was in the 1970s. Our proved reserves are dwindling, our new resevoir discoveries in old fields are going down, and we are not discovering new oil fields. Bakken, Prudhoe, and all the offshore fields aren't going to change these facts.

You cannot separate the US oil market from the global oil market. And the world is using roughly 30.5 billion barrels of oil a year. So even assuming that China, India, and other developing economies do NOT go through an expansion (which of course, they all say they *are* going to do) and the world keeps that rate consistent over the next several decades (a bad assumption methinks), all the US oil will still barely make a dent. And realistically assuming the expansion of developing economies, our oil reserves won't do squat. Even if our estimates are considerably off, our reserves will not meet the world's increasing demands for oil. Period. Drill, baby, drill is not a viable option, in the long run or the short run.


imshard
We are not in fact in danger of running out of fuel anytime soon. The most pessimistic amongst us believe peak oil has already occurred (it hasn't and won't for a few decades). Even if peak oil has occurred it would still take YEARS to feel or observe a significant difference. That means plenty of time for us to develop and switch to alternatives.
I agree with some of what you say. We are not in danger of “running out” of fuel anytime soon. We will be an oil-based economy for a couple more decades. I will say that although we won't know until years afterwards when peak oil will have occurred, the petroleum geologists I've talked to say that if it hasn't happened already, it will most likely happen within the next 7-10 years at most. But it will be many many years before we know for sure.

I disagree that we won't feel or observe a significant difference anytime soon. The cost of extracting oil is going to go up and up, and the demand for oil is increasing while our ability to produce oil is not going to keep up. The price of oil this past summer was a brief taste of what definitely lies before us. Once the current global recession is over, the price of oil is going to shoot through the roof as it did this past summer. Prices will always fluctuate, but I predict the price of oil will go back to being consistently at $150 a barrel, if not more; that won't happen in the next three years, but definitely within the next 5-10 years.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
imshard at 11:01PM, Dec. 21, 2008
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arteestx
imshard
We are not in fact in danger of running out of fuel anytime soon. The most pessimistic amongst us believe peak oil has already occurred (it hasn't and won't for a few decades). Even if peak oil has occurred it would still take YEARS to feel or observe a significant difference. That means plenty of time for us to develop and switch to alternatives.
I agree with some of what you say. We are not in danger of “running out” of fuel anytime soon. We will be an oil-based economy for a couple more decades. I will say that although we won't know until years afterwards when peak oil will have occurred, the petroleum geologists I've talked to say that if it hasn't happened already, it will most likely happen within the next 7-10 years at most. But it will be many many years before we know for sure.

I disagree that we won't feel or observe a significant difference anytime soon. The cost of extracting oil is going to go up and up, and the demand for oil is increasing while our ability to produce oil is not going to keep up. The price of oil this past summer was a brief taste of what definitely lies before us. Once the current global recession is over, the price of oil is going to shoot through the roof as it did this past summer. Prices will always fluctuate, but I predict the price of oil will go back to being consistently at $150 a barrel, if not more; that won't happen in the next three years, but definitely within the next 5-10 years.

For once I'm in agreement with arteestx. Peak oil is a major question where I live. A lot of Oklahoma's economy is based on the petroleum trade. Ironically we do well when OPEC hikes their prices because our own product also becomes more valuable. Drive around and you find endless fields reserved for future expansion, with massive untapped oil pockets under them. Even so our habits WILL catch up to us soon. We ARE on the verge of maxing out expansion, and the need for crude grows daily. I know fully that we have an infrastructure based on oil. In reality the bulk of that is transportation. Not just cars and trucks either. Trains, planes, and ships will still need fossil-fuels. Fortunately practical alternate-fuel replacements have been created for all theses machines.

NOW is the time to act on it. Currently the timing is right to avoid a calamity. $150 a barrel doesn't worry me. $500 a barrel does. When we hit that point and still have no progress, THEN you'll see me arguing the points on oil shortages and supply. When I see massive riots at gas stations and more abandoned drill sites then I can shake a stick at, THAT is when I'll worry. When they close or nationalize the Geology schools that litter my home city I will be concerned. Until then its fear-mongering. Fear-mongering that I laugh at as I recharge my car off a utility pole and go to work knowing that its as easy as NOT going to the Buick dealership next time I need a car.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:58PM
bravo1102 at 5:13AM, Dec. 22, 2008
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Why would any group inflate a commodity's price which starts talk about alternatives to the use of that commodity just to deflate the price again (and lose money) so that the alternative fuel talk subsides?

Am I being naive or am I missing something? All the numbers miss the point of the simple indicatros mentioned by ozone. It was a bubble. Bubbles inflate and then deflate.

If petroleum powered cars vanished tomorrow there are still plenty of ships, planes and industries that use lots of petroleum. The market would just shift to them. I doubt anyone's notice that the cost of plastic consumer (and luxury) goods increased? The price of plastic model kits went up 15-28%. For the most part those prices never come back down.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
isukun at 7:32AM, Dec. 22, 2008
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Either way, unless you're voluntarily giving up your vehicle, then any statistic that discusses powering only 65 million cars is pointless. And it's a deliberately misleading number designed to make people think we have plenty of oil.

I don't think the numbers are deliberately misleading, just that they aren't saying what Rufus seems to think they're saying. There are far more than 65 million active vehicles in this country, just as there are far more than 60 million homes that typically need to be heated each year. These numbers aren't supposed to support total energy independence, but show that our own oil resources can help a decent portion of our country's energy needs. Rufus is taking it out of context.

While gasoline prices have increased dramatically this year, the price of crude oil has increased by $1.21 per gallon in 2008, compared with the price of gasoline, which is up 80 cents per gallon.

There's a lot wrong with that statement and I really have to wonder how old it is. according to the EIA, crude oil started out at 95 cents to the gallon at the beginning of 2008. It hit its highest point in July at $1.40. Since, it has dropped to under 50 cents a gallon (currently around 46). So the increase over 2008 was only 45 cents per gallon, not anywhere close to this $1.21 figure. As one might expect from a 45 cent increase, gas prices went up a little over a dollar (in most areas, we did have that ridiculous price gauging down here in the South where gas prices went up a good $2-$3 in some places for a few weeks, funny how that happened right as crude started dropping). When the cost of crude went down, we saw prices plummet to their current rate about $2 cheaper. Seems the oil industry is on top of things, since it takes a little over 2 gallons of crude to make a gallon of gasoline, they don't seem to be short changing themselves like API claims.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that fossil fuels will continue to meet at least 80 percent of energy demand both in the United States and globally, through 2030, even with tremendous growth in alternative and renewable sources of energy.

That's nice, but how does it support your energy independence claims? This is the global market, not just us.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
vexx78 at 8:55AM, Dec. 22, 2008
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All I know is that if we don't start changing our ways we will destroy the planet and our children will suffer for it. It really doesn't matter why the prices are the way they are, we just need to get away from using fossil oil. I'm so sick of these oil companies saying they're looking in to alternative ways but I know all they care about is finding more oil. We are doomed unless we show these oil companies we won't stand for this anymore.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:40PM
rufus_edge at 9:14AM, Dec. 22, 2008
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You're the one who is taking things out of context.
The total number of adults in the country is approximately 225 million. It's extraordinarily clear that your definition of “car” as “registered vehicle that isn't rotting in a garage” isn't even close to API's definition of “car”. I don't see how anybody can possibly not understand this.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
arteestx at 12:13PM, Dec. 22, 2008
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vexx78
I'm so sick of these oil companies saying they're looking in to alternative ways but I know all they care about is finding more oil.
I don't agree with what the oil companies do publicly, but I will say this: these people are not stupid. They all know that we're at or nearing peak oil, oil is going to become much more expensive to acquire, the price of oil is going to rise to a point that people will look for other ways to fuel cars, heat homes, etc. They know all this. Of course, they've invested a lot of money into rigs, refineries, and all the infrastructure needed to support the oil business, so they want to keep it going for as long as possible to get as much money out of the current system before the whole thing goes away. So they create groups that send misinformation, trying to muddy the water for the American public, in hopes of prolonging our oil usage.

Meanwhile, I can assure you that Exxon is not going to go bankrupt when oil no longer becomes economically viable. They *are* looking into other energy technologies, but until they know what the new energy infrastructure will be, they can only do so much. This is where the govt comes in. The govt has to subsidize some of these new energy technologies to see which ones will work, are cost effective to build, etc. But the push to get us off our addiction to oil is not going to come from the oil companies, it needs to come from the govt and ultimately from us. Which is why “drill, baby, drill” is the stupidest attitude we can take right now. We need to push and push hard immediately for alternative energy sources.

So I think the oil companies have a lot to be blamed for, but I *do* think they are looking into alternative energy technologies, even as they publicly continue to push oil.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
rufus_edge at 2:29PM, Dec. 22, 2008
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Everything vex77 said is refuted in that link from energytomorrow.org

*
“drill, baby, drill” is the stupidest attitude we can take right now.
But your first post implies that you understand the laws of supply and demand.

Supply increase+steady demand=lower prices

Supply: As we “drill, baby, drill”, supply increases.

Demand:
Robert Puentes
Americans now are driving on a yearly basis about the same number of miles they drove in 1998.
American driving reached a peak in 2004 and began to flatten.
Americans drove less in 2007 than the year before for the first time since 1980.
On a per-capita basis, the numbers have been going down annually since 2005.
Nationally, total miles driven on rural roads have been decreasing since 2004, while urban roads experienced the most recent dip in 2007.
I expect alternative fuels to decrease demand for gas for cars, the demand to use planes to decrease, and demand for petroleum products to remain the same.

Also:
ICF
The development of America's vast domestic oil and natural gas resources that had been kept off-limits by Congress until recently could generate more than $1.7 trillion in government revenue, create thousands of new jobs and enhance the nation’s energy security by significantly boosting domestic production.
Full Report: http://energytomorrow.org/ViewResource.ashx?id=5270

Unless you think enjoying low prices, creating thousands of new jobs, and increasing government revenues is screwing yourself, “drill, baby, drill” is a good thing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
arteestx at 8:58PM, Dec. 22, 2008
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Robert Puentes
Americans now are driving on a yearly basis about the same number of miles they drove in 1998.
Not according to the US Dept of Transportation (pg. 2).


Robert Puentes
American driving reached a peak in 2004 and began to flatten.
Americans drove less in 2007 than the year before for the first time since 1980.
On a per-capita basis, the numbers have been going down annually since 2005.
First of all, here's the oh-so-dramatic plunge in American driving being referred to. Hey, I hope it is the start of a larger trend, but no honest statistician would use 2-3 years like this to claim a larger trend.

But more importantly, miles driven is being used as a proxy statistic to represent oil/gas usage in this country. Makes sense, fewer miles driven should mean lower usage, right? However, instead of discussing a proxy, how about we discuss what oil/gas usage has actually been? Note how there is no drop in usage, even since 2004. Our usage continues to go up, so I don't know why you would claim demand is decreasing overall. Ok, a dip in 2008 due to the global recession wouldn't surprise me and I expect that. But overall demand is not going down, at least not yet. Eventually it will, once the price of oil gets so expensive that other forms of energy technology become more prevalent. But why not push for alternatives sooner than later? Why wait? And why would a statistician use miles driven instead of oil/gas usage? Probably to imply the gasoline usage has gone down, which isn't true.


rufus_edge
Unless you think enjoying low prices, creating thousands of new jobs, and increasing government revenues is screwing yourself, “drill, baby, drill” is a good thing.
The notion that drill, baby, drill would lower prices is a complete fantasy. Have you seen US crude oil production? It is going down and down and down. It's not the environmentalists, it's not pesky regulations preventing us. We don't have the resources. And if we accessed all that continental shelf oil just waiting to be drilled? Let's turn to our friends at the EIA again….

EIA
The projections in the OCS {Outer Continental Shelf} access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil… {A}nnual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day {without OCS access}. Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/otheranalysis/ongr.html
In other words, if we drill in the continental shelf as API suggests, we would get an extra 200,000 barrels of oil a day. Remember, we use 20 million barrels a day in the US and 80 million barrels a day worldwide. You honestly think adding 200,000 is going to make a difference? It's a pittance, an impact of 1/100th of 1%, a virtual drop in the oil barrel. So if we drill, baby, drill, there will be such a small impact as to be negligible. Technically, extra drilling would increase supply. But all the work, all the environmental risk, all of it would amount to diddlysquat. Drill, baby, drill is the equivalence of thinking a $500 bonus means you can afford to buy a $50,000 SUV. It makes absolutely no sense. Obama was right; inflating your tires would have more impact on our oil supply than drill, baby, drill. By far.

Drill, baby, drill wouldn't even take one cent off your gas price (ok, it'll take 1/100 of a cent off). It might create some jobs, but I suspect just as many jobs, if not more, are waiting in the alternatives field. And whatever energy we use, be it oil or something else, I have no doubt that the govt will take its share and then some no matter what. Drill, baby, drill, even thinking about it as part of a package with other efforts, would have virtually no impact on our oil supply or our energy problems.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
bravo1102 at 5:00AM, Dec. 23, 2008
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If a population increases and the number of cars per capita remains steady, the number of miles driven will increase. If a population increases and because of various resons the number of cars per capita increases, the number of miles driven will increase. The number of cars increasing due to increasing population will lead to increasing fuel usage.

Our use increases because there are more people and would increase even if each person did not use more fuel or have a vehicle that on the average did not have worse gas milage.

Decrease the number of vehicles? decrease the population? Decrease the need to drive as much? increase the gas milage? Each would be a drop in the bucket, but combine them and it might make a dent as would drill, drill, drill. Nothing in isolation will usually solve such a massive problem, but all together…

By the way since the 1970s there was a change to alternative fuels among public transportation. The natural gas fueled taxis and buses? That was a result of the push for alternate fuels after Jimmy Carter. He was in over his head big time. It's doubtful that Ford could have done any better. Sadly, if Nixon had made different choices about Watergate, he probably would have. And then there was the Republican party's messiah; Ronald Wilson Reagan. He wasn't as magnificently successful as some like to paint him, but then neither was FDR.

Will getting mired in numbers solve the problem? Doubtful. Look at the trends, the big picture, leave the numbers to the statisticians and make something happen. Look at Brazil. They saw the trends and are trying to do something different and it is working a lot better than how the USA (and definitely China and India) is working out these problems.

Is it perfect? Is it effective? It's better than nothing and hoping for some future technology that will solve all our problems. What can be done now? Reading and arguing over numbers or using the numbers to form a workable plan of action?

Angels dancing on the head of a pin.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
isukun at 8:24AM, Dec. 23, 2008
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You're the one who is taking things out of context.
Not how I see it. Relate the 65 million cars number to the 60 million homes number and you'll see how unrealistic you are being. So we've got enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes? What about the other 40 million homes and the many millions more commercial buildings throughout the country? The 65 million number is NOT supposed to represent our TOTAL fuel needs, just a fraction. Our country cannot get by on those numbers. API is not trying to suggest we can. If you can't see that, then you really are kidding yourself.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
rufus_edge at 9:55AM, Dec. 23, 2008
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usukin: you don't have a clue what I'm talking about or what you're talking about. I didn't say that fueling 65 million cars is the only thing the country needs fuel for. I did say that the 65 million “cars” is probably closer to total number of “cars” in the country than 250 million, because I didn't think anyone would be insane enough to be personally offended by it. If you're so angry that you're looking for things to complain about, you can go to that “crazy conspiracies” topic.
Also, watch out for the 25 million American children driving around on your way there, they can be kind of wild.

arteestx: We're never going to agree on any of that.
http://energytomorrow.org/ViewResource.ashx?id=5270
I think this is a good thing; you don't think so
I think the government “pushing hard” for alternative fuels will destroy the economy (I'm aware of the irony); you don't think so

bravo1102
Decrease the need to drive as much? increase the gas milage? Each would be a drop in the bucket, but combine them and it might make a dent as would drill, drill, drill. Nothing in isolation will usually solve such a massive problem, but all together…
I think you're underestimating the impact of each of these, but otherwise, that's what I've been saying all along. There are plenty of other things that can help, including building new nuclear power plants.

Ethanol works well in Brazil because of sugarcane. Corn-based ethanol has been a complete disgrace so far.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:12PM
arteestx at 8:53PM, Dec. 23, 2008
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bravo1102
Decrease the number of vehicles? decrease the population? Decrease the need to drive as much? increase the gas milage? Each would be a drop in the bucket, but combine them and it might make a dent as would drill, drill, drill. Nothing in isolation will usually solve such a massive problem, but all together…
I generally agree with this attitude. I mean, every little bit helps to be sure. My main contention, however, is that all drops are not equal, and drill baby drill is a horrible drop to consider.

Compare inflating your tires to drill, baby, drill: we would save significantly more oil per year by inflating tires than by drilling all of the Outer Continental Shelf. Inflating tires is cheap (where I live, air is either free or costs 50 cents at a pump) and involves everyone. Drilling is expensive, time and labor intensive, and poses significant environmental risks (despite the best intentions of the oil companies) but yields very very little gain.

Compare alternative fuels to drill, baby, drill: alternative fuels would be a drop right now, but the ones that are successful have the potential to be a river or a gushing flood. Drill baby drill can never be anything more than a drop, that's all it is and all it ever will be. So why spend expense and time into something that is only a drop when we could spend expense and time into finding the fuel(s) that can lead us forward?

So yes, let's explore many different energy fuels–wind, solar, nuclear, all of it. Let's be creative and find many different avenues to help us achieve energy independence. I just don't think IMHO that drill baby drill is a smart choice to include.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM

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