What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby Davy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:01 pm

Well, maybe we can pray for a gamma ray burst to take out China.

:twisted:

(But then, I suppose it won't matter any more for any of us, will it?)
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby J » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:54 pm

There are a few questions that come to mind:

1) Wasn't a huge deposit discovered in the North Dakota area that, if utilized (for only us and of course Canada since it's on their side of the border too), end our dependence on imported oil? I wish we could at least stop importing from countries that hate us in the middle east.

2) We COULD produce more ethanol, couldn't we? I know Hawaii, Florida and parts of the gulf states could produce a lot from sugar cane, A LOT more corn could be planted even here in MA, where there's literally thousands of acres of abandoned farmland, particularly in western MA. And then there's switchgrass. Yeah I know, 25% less fuel economy, but the tax credits big oil gets could easily get diverted to ethanol producers, to the point where E85 never surpasses 75% the cost of 87 "regular unleaded" (even if it drops to 50 cents a gallon). And by the summer, when a gallon of gas is
over $7 in CA (conservative estimate from news sources), E85 would be like 25-30% that. Of course you'd need a flex fuel vehicle, but they exist and we need more! I could go into the emissions improvements, but it would turn into a novel.

3) How many of you think the problem isn't because we can't do anything about it, but won't or think we're too powerless?

I apologize for being somewhat harsh here. I have nothing against Lane, anyone who's met him knows he's a nice guy, somewhat quiet (like me most of the time I swear!), but I don't like the industry he's in, and find it indefensible.

And you have to admit this thread, although not a happy daisy (for lack of a better term), has brought some much needed life back to the boards. I seriously thought this was the end of SA.com. Been around for over 10 years. Perhaps another 10? (at least?)

PS, Davy, are you an astronomy geek like I am? You know what a gamma ray burst is? Cool!

As for China, yes, they're driving more, but are light years ahead of us in the renewables. Enormous and widespread wind farms (to the extent that make ours laughable in comparison), huge solar, biofuel, ethanol and hydrogen products/production, etc. Yes, they're becoming ginormous (I hate that word but will use it here cause I can't think of anything better) energy consumers, but at least they're a lot more serious about the renewables than we are.
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby furface » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:31 pm

1. North Dakota Oil: It's the Bakken Shale deposit and about ½ of it is in Canada. They've known about it for decades and have drilled there in the past. However; until recently it hasn't been commercially/technically feasible to drill there. The average exploitable deposits are 10K feet+ down. Recent advances in drilling and recovery technology have made it possible to go after the oil; but it's still expensive. General estimates are 10 million per well. There's also an investment that must be made in the transportation infrastructure in the area. The western part of the Dakotas is sparsely populated and the roads won't handle the traffic required for the tankers etc.

Imported bpd (barrels per day): Canada 2,150K, Mexico 1,215K, Saudi Arabia 1,000K, Nigeria 968K, and Venezuela 950K. Remaining exporting countries provide <500K each.

2. Ethanol: We could, but.... Ethanol from corn is from feedstock corn, human consumable type. The 'trash' (stalks, cobs, leaves) are not suitable for making ethanol. Sugar cane stalks work well along with the pulp from the crushing mills. Brazil does this currently. There is a hitch though; that ethanol is of lower fuel capacity than the corn variety, less power/unit capacity. You can't use as much in the fuel and it doesn't work well in high efficiency engines, flexfuel or not. There's also the thorny issue of having to use petroleum fuels to produce the corn and process it into ethanol. While it's a good step in the right direction; it's no where near an even swap oil for ethanol to reduce dependence. (I know J isn't implying that at all.)

Ethanol is not currently, and may never be, a solution to petroleum consumption. exploring it may lead to something more promising and feasible.

3. Powerless or apathetic: I think a bit of both. We can't see ourselves as individuals having much impact on the problem, and we haven't really been smacked upside the head with the reality of declining lifestyle and spiraling cost of living.

There's also the interesting thought process that goes into our use of fuels: we want the high performance - period. Gotta have the SUV with it's own ZIP code, the muscle care that'll do 150 and < 3 seconds for the ¼ mile. Never mind that neither of those things is useful in everyday life. The complete, for the most part, loss of neighborhoods. Other than a few older cities, the US has made the individual vehicle king. Live in the 'burbs and I doubt you can walk to the grocery, pharmacy, cleaners, a restaurant, etc. You've got to drive. Mixed residential/commercial use is an anathema in planning here.

Add in the utter lack of public transit and reliable rail service (high speed or not), and the individual vehicle continues to reign supreme.

A few other facts to consider....

Fuels are less than 50% of the products from a barrel of oil. Petrochemicals are required to make most plastics, many dyes, most synthetic fabrics, many paints, all sorts of lubricants from industrial greases to personal lube. They are used in many drugs and pharmaceuticals, insulation for wires etc., paraffin for wax paper, packaging and canning. Tires, gaskets, drive belts of all sorts, vinyl upholstery, and more.

There are other valuable alternative sources of energy; wind, solar, methane, biomass to mention a few. Each come with a huge N.I.M.B.Y. tag attached. No one wants a wind farm in their line of sight. No one want a solar farm as a neighbor, let alone a biomass facility. Hell, most folks don't ant to live near a farm 'cause it smells 'funky'.

A guy that worked for me in VA had a family farm in NC that had been in the family sine the late War of Northern Aggression(as he so quaintly referred to it). For the last 50+ years they were into commercial production of swine, 5K pigs per year. Just beyond the tree line beyond the back of the property a developer put in a 'luxury' housing development. His sales folks never explained there was a swine farm next door. The new folks tried to force Dale and family to shut down the farm and the methane recovery facility that used the manure as source material. Family farm won.

It's just not as simple as BIG OIL BAD! 'MERICANS SPECIAL, DESERVE CHEAP FUEL. It really requires a complete change of outlook and usage to effect a change or the better. Look beyond the price of a gallon. Loo at how much 'stuff' you consume from the petrochemical cornucopia. Look at the useless junk you buy 'cause it's cool or hip or the latest thing. Look at the plastic crap you consume and don't recycle: water bottles, packaging, soda bottles, and more.

If you want to make a real change; forget about boycotting Big Oil. They can and will sell the products elsewhere. Push the politicians,local on up, to allow real neighborhoods, build usable public transit systems, invest in high speed rail, cuts subsidies to marginal projects, and anything else you can think of to promote efficient use of the resources and fuels we have.
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby Rico » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:41 pm

furface wrote:If you want to make a real change; forget about boycotting Big Oil. They can and will sell the products elsewhere. Push the politicians,local on up, to allow real neighborhoods, build usable public transit systems, invest in high speed rail, cuts subsidies to marginal projects, and anything else you can think of to promote efficient use of the resources and fuels we have.

Well said, and you had me totally in your pocket until your last paragraph. :) You are absolutely right that we have to "push the politicians" to do those things, but you and I both know that what pushes politicians is money, and the big oil money and the auto money (not so much now) have pushed America and the politicians for decades in the opposite direction because doing those things would cut too much into their profits. I think before anything meaningful happens in this area, we have to reform the entire political system in the United States which is much easier said than done.
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby nimby » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:40 pm

At the equilivant of $5.45 per gallon where I live, I have to go back with Jay and agree that we are being ripped off, especially since the price of crude oil is actually declining. Yet people don't do anything, they just shrug their shoulders and say, "what can we do?"

2008: Oil =$147/barrel & gas = $4.17 a gallon
2011: Oil =$107/barrel & ga s= $4.23 a gallon

People we are being ripped off.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby J » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:05 pm

Thanks Lou for your answers to those questions.

Sadly, I've been watching the price of 87 go up about 9 cents every day (or every other day at the most). And nobody seems to care.

At the equilivant of $5.45 per gallon where I live, I have to go back with Jay and agree that we are being ripped off, especially since the price of crude oil is actually declining. Yet people don't do anything, they just shrug their shoulders and say, "what can we do?"


Which is probably what will happen when it hits $5-$7 ($6-$8 in places like CA) by the summer. I think I've resigned myself to the mentality that even if everyone boycotted for say a year, the price would still go up. I guess there's not much we can do. I've made some modifications to my car and quit driving anywhere except to work. If I could afford a Chevy Volt I'd get one, but that's not in the forseeable future. :(
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby J » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:09 pm

furface wrote:1. North Dakota Oil: It's the Bakken Shale deposit and about ½ of it is in Canada. They've known about it for decades and have drilled there in the past. However; until recently it hasn't been commercially/technically feasible to drill there. The average exploitable deposits are 10K feet+ down. Recent advances in drilling and recovery technology have made it possible to go after the oil; but it's still expensive. General estimates are 10 million per well. There's also an investment that must be made in the transportation infrastructure in the area. The western part of the Dakotas is sparsely populated and the roads won't handle the traffic required for the tankers etc.


Which brings me to my last question: If the Dalton Hwy was built to transport oil from Prudhoe Bay (on Alaska's artic coast), then wouldn't some type of infrastructire be feasible in the western Dakotas?
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Earl Butz » Wed Apr 20, 2011 4:40 am

Aw. I thought "Big oil can suck me off" was a more amusing title. :P But as to the question....

Unrest in Libya
Offshore drilling suspended because of the Gulf disaster
Ethanol is a useless boondoggle
Large vehicles still on the road wasting gas
People sitting in heavy traffic going nowhere wasting gas

Imagine the price of gas in the year 2050....when there will be none left. Uh oh. :shock:
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby J » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:02 am

Earl Butz wrote: Aw. I thought "Big oil can suck me off" was a more amusing title. :P But as to the question....


Earl Butz wrote:Unrest in Libya

We import less than 2% from Libya. The price has jumped WAAAAAAY more than 2%.

Earl Butz wrote:Offshore drilling suspended because of the Gulf disaster

Yet record profits continue to be made (swindled?) and drilling/transportation from the Dakotas couldn't be much more expensive, if not cheaper, than those offshore oil rigs.

Earl Butz wrote:Ethanol is a useless boondoggle

That's what big oil wants you to believe. Granted, ethanol from corn isn't the greatest, but more feasible options exist and get very little attention and funding. Methanol is also an option, but that gives even less MPG and has worse environmental effects in its production. There is E85, but if there was an E40 option (with tax breaks/subsidies), cars were all built to take anything from 100% petroleum to 100% ethanol and gas tanks held 2-3 more gallons, MPG would decrease by maybe 15% (again, hopefully offset by lower prices and slightly larger gas tanks) and of course, high performance vehicles would love it (higher octane). But big oil doesn't like alternative energies and spend a lot of money (billions?) debunking it.

Earl Butz wrote:Large vehicles still on the road wasting gas

Yes, but at least the SUV craze is over. I don't drive over 60 on the highway anymore (if you can believe that). People pass me going 75-85. I laugh at them. I guess they like paying those prices?

Earl Butz wrote:People sitting in heavy traffic going nowhere wasting gas

Especially in California, where they will likely be paying 8 bucks a gallon this summer.

Earl Butz wrote:Imagine the price of gas in the year 2050....when there will be none left. Uh oh. :shock:

I personally hope it all dries up before that. We'll be forced to seek the alternatives rather than remain complacent and energy dependent.
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby furface » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:25 am

J wrote:
furface wrote:1. North Dakota Oil: It's the Bakken Shale deposit and about ½ of it is in Canada. They've known about it for decades and have drilled there in the past. However; until recently it hasn't been commercially/technically feasible to drill there. The average exploitable deposits are 10K feet+ down. Recent advances in drilling and recovery technology have made it possible to go after the oil; but it's still expensive. General estimates are 10 million per well. There's also an investment that must be made in the transportation infrastructure in the area. The western part of the Dakotas is sparsely populated and the roads won't handle the traffic required for the tankers etc.


Which brings me to my last question: If the Dalton Hwy was built to transport oil from Prudhoe Bay (on Alaska's artic coast), then wouldn't some type of infrastructire be feasible in the western Dakotas?

Of course; but that investment would have to come before the drilling and extraction of the oil.

The Prudoe oil deposit has been known since the mid-sixties and confirmed in 1968. It took the '73 oil crisis to make the investment and extraction economically feasible. It took 3 years of very hard work to build the road and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline which opened in '77. There was, and still is, hard opposition from environmental forces to the job. Current environmental impact studies would delay any such infrastructure project(s) in the Dakotas and the total cost of the 'prep work' would have to be factored into the cost of the oil. Unless, and until, the up front costs are such to allow a reasonable return/profit (whatever that means) from the crude oil, no one, including government is going to put up the funds to extract it.

My point was, still is, it's not as simple as 'There's oil there. Go suck it up and make gasoline.' It's both complicated and expensive. There are 1,000s of capped wells in Texas that can produce oil. They're capped because it currently costs more to extract (pump, store, transport) the perfectly good oil than it can be sold for in the market.

Like it or not, oil is a supply and demand driven global commodity market for profit.
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby furface » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:46 am

Rico wrote:
furface wrote:If you want to make a real change; forget about boycotting Big Oil. They can and will sell the products elsewhere. Push the politicians,local on up, to allow real neighborhoods, build usable public transit systems, invest in high speed rail, cuts subsidies to marginal projects, and anything else you can think of to promote efficient use of the resources and fuels we have.

Well said, and you had me totally in your pocket until your last paragraph. :) You are absolutely right that we have to "push the politicians" to do those things, but you and I both know that what pushes politicians is money, and the big oil money and the auto money (not so much now) have pushed America and the politicians for decades in the opposite direction because doing those things would cut too much into their profits. I think before anything meaningful happens in this area, we have to reform the entire political system in the United States which is much easier said than done.

Agreed, and I have no illusions that'll be easy.

I push hardest at the local level where contact is both easier and more personal. Another thing, at all levels, is a 'hard copy' communication verses electronic. It makes an impact on the pols when they get a 'real' letter over an email. They tend to put more weight on it because they realize someone took the time to think, create it and mail it. Most pols rank constituent communication as follows (high to low): personal meeting, telephone, hand written letter, printed letter, postcard, email, tweet, online poll.

Money is powerful, but don't underestimate the power of the pen and constituent contact, especially locally. As Tip O'Neill famously said "All politics is local."

One thing that could help is to draw districts based solely on population, no gerrymandering to insure a particular party has an lock on a seat. That alone might put actual discussion back into politics over partisan lockstep and invective.
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Re: Big oil can suck me off!

Postby J » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:53 am

furface wrote:
J wrote:
furface wrote:1. North Dakota Oil:Like it or not, oil is a supply and demand driven global commodity market for profit.


I guess I'll just bike to work this summer. It's 5 miles each way, but zero gas, zero emissions and health benefits.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby furface » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:06 am

Be sure to invest in a good deodorant along with the bike. :wink: :mrgreen:
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby J » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:13 am

furface wrote:Be sure to invest in a good deodorant along with the bike. :wink: :mrgreen:


In the humid summer months (though not as bad as yours) you can bet on it! :wink:
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Rico » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:02 pm

Earl Butz wrote:Aw. I thought "Big oil can suck me off" was a more amusing title. :P But as to the question....

Unrest in Libya
Offshore drilling suspended because of the Gulf disaster
Ethanol is a useless boondoggle
Large vehicles still on the road wasting gas
People sitting in heavy traffic going nowhere wasting gas

Imagine the price of gas in the year 2050....when there will be none left. Uh oh. :shock:

Not exactly correct in this case. Although any or all of the above contribute to the price in one way or another, this current spike is attributed to Wall Street speculation. IOW...the oil companies and Wall Streeters are raking in billions in easy money by pure manipulation and greed.

Wall Street usually denies the impact of speculation. What's unusual this time is that they got got. http://www.bnet.com/blog/financial-business/when-goldman-sachs-warns-that-speculation-drives-oil-prices-listen-up/12722
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Davy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:42 pm

Looks like the government is starting to look into price gouging: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/21/holder ... tml?hpt=T1

Somebody needs to go to jail for this price gouging. I hope there is a very public perp walk when oil executives are hauled into court in shackles and jumpsuits.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Rico » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:28 pm

Davy wrote:Looks like the government is starting to look into price gouging: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/21/holder ... tml?hpt=T1

Somebody needs to go to jail for this price gouging. I hope there is a very public perp walk when oil executives are hauled into court in shackles and jumpsuits.

Davy -- I doubt anybody is going to do a perp walk since most of this is activity is legal because of a 2000 law deregulating speculator trading in oil and other commodity futures. This speculation causes prices (and profits) to rise regardless of supply, demand or any other natural market forces. It's the only type of thievery that I know of that's perfectly legal.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby nimby » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:49 pm

Over the last few decades, the climate of business has changed. Pure greed rulkes the roost. The main purpose of business is to exploit natural resources for as much profit as possible (econonics 101). But the shift has moved towards humans. PEOPLE ARE NOW THE MOST ABUNDANT NATURAL RESOURCE ON THE PLANET. We are the ones being exploited for maximum profit.

-gasoline
-food
-electriciy
-water
-interest rates
-health care
-insurance
-real estate
-medicine
-education
-yada yada yada...

There is no end to profits and "speculation", thus there will be no end to gouging the populace. What this society needs is a massive and destructive shake up that will bring big business to it's knees. I really believe we need it, but I hope I'm not around when it happens.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Rico » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:36 pm

nimby wrote:There is no end to profits and "speculation", thus there will be no end to gouging the populace. What this society needs is a massive and destructive shake up that will bring big business to it's knees. I really believe we need it, but I hope I'm not around when it happens.

You know, capitalism wouldn't be such a bad thing if the capitalists actually practiced it! Instead, they seem to have rigged the system into a quasi-socialist-corporate welfare system to benefit themselves, in which all of the benefits flow toward them.

I'll spare everyone my favorite Henry Ford story because I'm sure I've said it before, but Ford realized that paying people more would enable workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy. Ford explained the policy as profit-sharing rather than wages. Today's business leaders don't seem to see the consequences of their greed.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Earl Butz » Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:04 pm

Yeah. Interesting post, Nimby. I think the anger here should be directed at capitalism, not the oil business. The big banks make as much or more pure profit as the oil business. Car insurance and the American health care system are also huge scams. Exploiting people for pure greed is the evil at work here.

This is what politicians should be talking about on a daily basis. But they're part of the problem too. They're in it for their own selfish reasons as well. They all whistle dixie and do nothing.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Davy » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:24 pm

Earl Butz wrote:Yeah. Interesting post, Nimby. I think the anger here should be directed at capitalism, not the oil business. The big banks make as much or more pure profit as the oil business. Car insurance and the American health care system are also huge scams. Exploiting people for pure greed is the evil at work here.


Don't get me started on the evils of capitalism. I might find myself writing a novel.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby J » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:10 pm

I'll just say I'm a Socialist and leave it at that.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby nimby » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:24 pm

Nothing wrong with stating your feelings, J. Good for you.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby Davy » Mon May 02, 2011 3:39 pm

The special session does not look like it is going to produce a billion-dollar tax break giveaway to the oil companies, despite the hard work of their stooge who (sometimes) resides in the governor's mansion. Therefore, the oil companies are socking it to us. Gas went up to $4.18 over the weekend.

Keep in mind we have the lowest gasoline tax in the nation ($0.08/gallon). We have two refineries that produce every drop of gas used in the state (none of it is barged in from Texas or Saudi Arabia). Those refineries use oil that is pumped out of the North Slope and fed to the refinery directly from the pipeline (again, no shipping costs involved). We also do not have the stringent environmental standards of, say, California. Yet we pay what they pay in California at the pump. Figure that one out. It isn't hard.
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Re: What's causing this 9 cent per day increase?

Postby nimby » Mon May 02, 2011 4:06 pm

Easy. P-r-i-c-e f-i-x-i-n-g.
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