Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

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IndyBrit
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by IndyBrit »

It is potentially naive to think nothing is going wrong. However, it can also be very damaging to assume something is wrong when it is not, or more specifically, to assume something that is not wrong is the thing that is wrong. In either case, we will be working on the wrong problem, and exacerbating the right problem.

I think what is needed is objective evidence, not table pounding and finger-pointing. In this case, we have been blocking oil companies from drilling, we have not allowed new refineries in years, we have been increasing gasoline consumption with no serious attempt to improve efficiency or to seek alternatives. The simpler explanation, in my mind, is that years of neglect on energy are catching up with us.

We tell the oil companies to serve us with cheap oil, and then we tell them that they can't actually go get any oil. Now, as demand is approaching a supply that is stagnant by design, price spikes are a conspiracy by them?

Has anybody here read Atlas Shrugged? I'm pretty sure I can read off a few pages from it that come right out of the news stories on the Congressional hearings.

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Palehorse »

In this case, we have been blocking oil companies from drilling, we have not allowed new refineries in years, we have been increasing gasoline consumption with no serious attempt to improve efficiency or to seek alternatives. The simpler explanation, in my mind, is that years of neglect on energy are catching up with us.
So why not redistribute their profits to play catchup in alternatives and efficiency. They (oil company execs) are on capital hill today asking to drill more (among other things). That is, at best, delaying the inevitable. It is as if they are saying, trust us to find the afffordable energy you need, when the reality is, they likely can't, and it is not in their short sighted financial interest to do so. By investing in no new infrastructure, and laying off employees, they can simply let the speculative demand curve push their stock growth based on market fear of shortages.
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IndyBrit
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by IndyBrit »

PH:
What would "infrastructure" entail, if not new refineries and new drilling, which we won't let them do?

How can you "redistribute profits" without them passing that cost on to the consumer and exacerbating the price of oil, or potentially exiting the market? Exxon paid $30 billion in taxes in 2007. What are we doing with that redistribution?

Let's say the conspiracy theory is true, please tell me:
1) how are they able to prevent others from entering the market to produce oil and drive prices back down?
2) what would you do about the conspiracy?
3) what would be the secondary effects of your actions in (2) above?

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Palehorse »

What would "infrastructure" entail, if not new refineries and new drilling, which we won't let them do?
It is in their financial interest to NOT invest in infrastructure, to sell or scrap existing infrastructure. Why pay to increase production and lower selling price?
How can you "redistribute profits" without them passing that cost on to the consumer and exacerbating the price of oil, or potentially exiting the market? Exxon paid $30 billion in taxes in 2007. What are we doing with that redistribution?
Those are my goals, along with ratcheting up taxes on fossil fuels. The increased consumer fuel cost increases tax revenue in the short term, making new Federal Grants for alternatives and increasing consumer demand for alternatives. The degree to which energy companies avail themselves of those opportunities to adapt determines whether they survive.


1) Who owns the mineral and drilling rights in the US? How many Americans don't know they don't own those rights to their home lots or farms? Even if you own, do you have sufficient air rights to access them?

2) Rather than repeal the General Mining Act of 1872, or revisit Law of Capture precedent, simply start a geometric increasing real-time tax on retail fossil fuels to push consumers and producers both, away from their continued exploitation. Use that in the short term to proliferate light water reactors under the direction of the DOE and DON (the Navy having by far the longest track record with such technology). Retool the highway grid with power up stations for plugin EV's. Once energy independence is achieved, push forward on the other alternatives.

3) Well, obviously, there will be more depleted nuclear fuel for Yuca Mountain or wherever. That and all those new reactors might just "scare the humans" and nobody wants that. On the other hand, you can't get much safer than a water moderated reactor, but try explaining that to Hillary's electorate LOL. Years of lawsuits from big oil might just derail the whole country much less the process. The are known for their legal departments.
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Lokelo »

Well, I finished my literature review about the production of biodiesel from microalgae a while ago. However, the work is probably going to be published next year, so I can't post it here (yet).

Here is an interesting video from Seambiotic, the worldwide leader in biodiesel production from algae. http://www.youtube.com/user/SeambioticIsrael

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by dragonshinobi_old »

algae?

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IndyBrit
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by IndyBrit »

Good stuff. Let me know when you can say more. :D

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petevas
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by petevas »

Prices here in greece are at about 1.20-1.30 Euros per litre...
IMHO bio-fuel only shifts the problem to something else, all have seen how grain prices have skyrocketed..

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Comadevil »

Bio-Fuel is an illusion. It won'T let us keep up the mobility we have right now. E.g. Germany if it will use all its fields for BIO-Fuel would get only max. 10% of its fuel need.
U also cannot import it because there will be much more harm done to tropical forests who will be burned down to get the fields for bio fuel. So the enviroment balance is quite negative

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Lokelo »

Bio-Fuel is an illusion. It won'T let us keep up the mobility we have right now. E.g. Germany if it will use all its fields for BIO-Fuel would get only max. 10% of its fuel need.
U also cannot import it because there will be much more harm done to tropical forests who will be burned down to get the fields for bio fuel. So the enviroment balance is quite negative
Well, that is the beauty of biodiesel production with microalgae. It is much more productive (per unit area) than terrestrial crops (soybeans in the US and own in Germany) and it doesn't even require arable land.

here is a table from my review
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I'm not saying we will ever cover our ever increasing fuel demand without some restrictions (smaller cars, more economic driving etc.), but microalgae is one of the few ways that could be sustainable in the long run without any damage of the environment.

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by petevas »

But harvesting microalgae wont disturb the ecosystem (not that the other things dont :roll: )?

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Lokelo
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Lokelo »

Watch the movie I posted. Microalgae are not harvested from the ocean (would be unsustainable, unpredictable and the production much too low) but from open pond systems. And it does not need freshwater but brackish water. CO2 from a conventional powerplant (e.g. coal) could be used to enhance the production of algae AND reduce the CO2 output of the powerplant. And nutrients could for example come from a sewage plant, so it could be used to actually clean sewage water.

Yes, the CO2 would get back into the atmosphere when the biodiesel from the microalgae is used. But this is CO2 that already would have been in the atmosphere before, biodiesel is therefore CO2 neutral or even negative.

Only the lipids are used for biodiesel production. The remaining algal cake could be used as feed for cattle or as fertiliser for crops. It could be buried deep in the soil as a carbon sink (removing CO2 from the atmosphere). Or it could be used to produce bioethanol.

The production of biodiesel from lipids produces glycerol as by-product. Glycerol (in another form) could be used as fuel additive to enhance the already great performance of biodiesel.

Below you can see an emission profile a 20% blend of biodiesel with diesel and 100% biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel:
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Last edited by Lokelo on Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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petevas
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by petevas »

Watched the video, it seems very intresting ;)

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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Kaiser_von_Nuben »

I have to say that after reading everyone's posts that we have quite a learned clan; I am happy to be part of it.

At the risk of reviving the debate, I will volunteer my $0.02 on the gas price crisis. First off, I live in Chicago, where city taxes push the average price per gallon to about $4.29. High-test costs almost $5.00. Granted, these prices are not as severe as the prices most Europeans must pay, but Americans have a car fetish like no other nation on earth, and they take enormous offense at any circumstances that impact their "freedom" to drive when and where they want. Some soccer moms are not driving their Hummers and Ford Expeditions as much as they used to, but the SUV menace is still alive and well; whether the oil companies are conspiring or not, most Americans are going to guzzle oil no matter what. It is in their nature. Many have no choice: With distances between destinations as great as they are here in the New World, many people simply MUST drive 30, 40 or 50 miles a day just to work or get groceries. Others are simply crassly indulgent, like the 500-pound lady who drives her car across the street (too many cars and obesity... is there a link??) There is an oil consumption taste for every palate here.

Frankly I can't stand the big-car craze in America. I am always deeply impressed whenever I go to Berlin where I see that most people drive much smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Or they simply don't drive at all because they can depend on efficient public transportation (I use the subway here in Chicago, which is primitive by German standards, but it gets me to work--sometimes :evil: ).

Obviously we need to explore alternative energy sources. Indy and Soccer know a lot more about the possibilities, so I won't try to contest their excellent analyses (great writing to you both...I'm amazed by your knowledge!). But in the meantime I think it is important simply to understand why the oil prices are so high. My favorite theory is that speculators and futures contracts are to blame. Namely, market-players with massive funds are buying up huge quantities of oil and betting that oil prices will be "higher or lower" on some future date. If they bet right, they get the oil AND a premium. The problem is that the seller doesn't release the supply until the "bet date" is past, which could be several months or years down the road. If supply is artifically choked like this, then the price will naturally rise for the rest of us.

I am an unabashed satirist, and my satirical solution to the "oil crisis" is to "get mercantilistic in our foreign policy." That means not just occupying Iraq, but establishing colonial administration (The United States Middle East Company) and extracting resources in huge amounts before shipping them back to the mother country. That's what the Europeans did to North America, India, Africa and Asia for centuries: Conquer and take. I wrote a satirical essay about this: "We have a huge military. Let's use it to lower everyone's monthly expenses and take what we want." (THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH IS A SATIRE AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE TRUE BELIEFS OF THE AUTHOR !!!)
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Re: Can Gas Cost get any Higher ?

Post by Soccerman771 »

Kaiser, here in good ol’e corporate America it seems the real problem is that we have become very short-sighted. We work to meet the projections of the next quarter to make the ‘public’ share-owners happy driving up stock prices and etc. The issue here (from my perspective) is that there is little incentive to spend money now and invest in solutions for 5-6 years from now. It’ll be the next CEO’s problem. It used to not be this way. The second part of the problem is that too many companies see that they aren’t meeting cost numbers (i.e. spending too much) and instead of cutting their own obnoxious salaries (who needs 12 million a year to live?) they go and cut $$ from R&D. This is easy to do, but to the detriment of the company and research. The third problem here is that Americans spend too much money on crap. The recession we are in is much needed and will help make the planet a better place. Does a $200 I-Pod for 14-year old’s really make life better? Yeah, it’s cool and all and helps the ever important social status, but why not save yourself $180 and buy them a book to read? Guess I’m just old-school….

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