What If - Gasoline is $5 a gallon in 2010?
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While I have no doubt that $5 gas would impact all transportation, I don't beleive this is so. As others have pointed out, there are too many factors in that decision. Besides...there is not enough market space near the cityat today's prices...and if demand were to go up, it would get even worse.
For many folks that drive 40 miles to work and have a 15 mpg vehicle, they could switch to a 30 mpg vehicle and reverse most of that increase. 40 miles @15 mpg costs $5.33 at $2. That goes up to $13.30 at $5/gal. Switch to 30 mpg @ $5/gal, it would go back down to $6.67.
It is not on the green list because the EPA & CARB have not tested them with ULSD or biodiesel. According to VW Engineers the TDI PD engine in the Passat will pass all of CARBs 2007 regulations when used with ULSD. Currently it is rated only one step below the Honda Civic Hybrid when Non California high sulfur gas & diesel is used.
Your cynical remarks about people driving large SUVs may have some merit. Most people that are driving new Excursions, Navigators & Hummers could care less about the cost of gas. In the case of my sister & brother-in-law with their 7 children a Suburban was one of the only vehicles they could legally carry their children in. They live 35 miles from Albuquerque with 5 miles of dirt road. They only go to town on Sunday to church and do their weekly shopping. My brother-in-law rides a motorcycle to work at Sandia Labs. I am sure high gas prices will have a big impact if they take a vacation. Or they may have to skip their vacation this year.
If gas was $10 a gallon it would not impact my lifestyle in the least. I feel for those that are not able to buy all these fancy high mileage cars. The people that are waiting on your table or doing your dry cleaning. They are stuck in the old Ford & Chevy tanks that were cast offs from those that have the money to buy a $30k to $50k car. A lot of people in this country are struggling to buy an old used $2000 car. For you to laugh at their plight is rather sick.
Now to the Passat TDI. I did not buy it for the maximum mileage. I bought it for the option of using biodiesel. If gas goes to $5 per gallon which I seriously doubt, biodiesel will become a very viable alternative. It is being processed and sold in Hawaii very close to # 2 diesel in the $3 per gallon range. Modern diesel engines burning B100 biodiesel are far more environmental & economically friendly than any hybrid on the market in the USA.
Lastly we are still a long way from the true cost of gas that peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We will have to go somewhat higher to pass the highs of the early 1980s. In 2004 dollars the price of oil was $80 per barrel in 1979.
If the price of gasoline relative to wages were comparable today to what they were in 1920, we would be paying almost $10 a gallon for gas.
On a related note, finding biodiesel should get easier in a year or two. There are plans to build the largest biodiesel refinery in North America at Minot, North Dakota. The facility will produce about 32 million gallons (100,000 tons) of biodiesel per year. They plan to use canola crops as a source (355,000 acres). This represents about one percent of all the crops planted in the state. That sets an upper limit on how many plants we could supply with feedstock for biodiesel. I would guess 10 plants if we could get the farmers to plant enough canola or soybeans.
Are you sure that $10 a gallon costs will not impact your lifestyle? Have you considered the indirect costs?
What's the difference between 1920 and now? From the sheen that protects your .37 stamp to the 10% plastic content of your "cotton" sweatshirt the "oil" factor of so many of our present day products is almost incalculable.
Forget about the stupid gas that you put in your stupid car. Haven't you been reading the business news for chrissakes?
The slow realization on the part of the business press that "Oh no, these increases in energy costs might actually force us to raise prices for our goods", is finally sinking in. How much more bad news do you think it is going to take to put either GM or Ford or some other blue chip company in a position that stockholders are no longer going to sit still for the trillionth excuse as to why they should hold on for the next reorganization? GM is currently responsible for over one hundred and sixty-five billion dollars of debt. Sales of GM products (and Ford too) are down considerably as people are reconsidering their purchases in reaction to higher gas prices. In the mean time the UAW has stated that renegotiating the health care portion of past agreements is off limits.
We are sitting on the edge of a tenuous cliff. We have had fun along the way. We have assumed the debt that fun demands from the less than rich. And the fun we've been having wasn't limited to individuals. The companies and the very government that continues to just barely govern joined in the merriment. The very same people that promised little Suzy and Johnny that they were wonderful children and should have everything that their little hearts desired at home, went to work every day and took those same sentiments to their jobs.
Complete health, dental, eye coverage? Not a problem. Inflation adjusted wages? Sure..why not? Fine...in a vacuum. But nature abhors a vacuum. Other workers in other places said, "Dental, what the hell is dental? I need rice for the kids. Where' s the pick and shovel? You only want me to work 12 hours? When do I start?"
This post started out, "what if gas costs x by x?" And everybody jumped into the fray about their driving habits. On and on and on we went as if the price at the pump was the real story. Our personal driving choices, regarding rising energy costs, are so insignificant that the lack of this realization is frightening.
It's not about you in your gas guzzler or your gas thrifty pod driving down the highway of life. It's much larger than that. In fact, the impact of rising energy prices will dominate the headlines from this point on. Wars have and will continue to be fought as the availability of energy shifts from one area to another. The viability of entire continents will rise and fall as a result of their access to energy changes.
My answer to, "What if gas is $5.00 by 2010?" Well, my answer is that it will be a small miracle if that is all the higher gas is by then. And if it isn't higher by then it will be because the price has been suppressed because we have entered into a fairly serious recession. And that means that plants will have been closed and people laid off. And that will mean a lower tax base. And that will mean that government services will be lessened. And that means that even if I personally can still afford to put gas in my tank I will be driving around in a greatly diminished America.
There is a big picture that is being overlooked on this forum. It is based on a self serving smugness that never has and never will provide a solution to the challenges that we are about to face. Pogo once claimed, "We have met the enemy...and the enemy is us." Pogo might have only been a cartoon but at least Pogo had a clue.
The cars built on the Golf platform the New Beetle and Jetta all get in excess of 45 MPG. Many report getting in the low 50s out on the highway. The Passat is bigger & heavier with a larger TDI engine and a 5 speed automatic transmission. I felt that getting mid 30s was good considering a new car and the speed we traveled much of the last half the trip. As you have pointed out the production of biodiesel is on a rapid rise. This is good for our economy and environment. Biodiesel is Green House Gas neutral making it a much better fuel than gasoline or regular diesel. I will be ready when it is available with a car that can use it.
As far as $10 gas, my gas budget is smaller than most smokers tobacco budget. So I don't see it bothering me as much as it would the economy as a whole. It would probably cause a recession or worse. Having worked in the oil fields for the last 25 years I don't see the big panic. I am sure it is a political move to get some new infrastructure into place which will relieve the pressure for another 30 years. We need additional refineries and means of transport. It is not an oil shortage it is an oil production & transportation problem.
My Jetta TDI on the other hand (owned since Jan 2005) has never gotten below 48.8 mpg for my 20-mile round-trip 85% highway commute. My best is 52.7 mpg and I'm hoping to top that now that warmer weather is here.
By the way, I currently employ 20 people down from 40 two years ago all thanks to so called necessary increases in workers compensation insurance, liability/auto insurance and energy costs. All with no claims in the last ten years of business!
“More and more countries are tipping over into absolute decline. There are 18 major producers and 32 smaller ones in decline already – that adds up to 29% of world production,” said Skrebowski."
Full story here:
I'm seeing and hearing anecdotal evidence of this from auto sales professionals as well as published reports like the above.
2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93
It sounds more like there is a man power shortage that is bigger than the Oil shortage. The so-called civilized countries have slowed their population growth to where there are no young people to do the work. That is why many companies are paying top dollar to keep us old dudes around. I would like to retire and they keep throwing more money at me. Young people better get educated and start carrying the load or they will be in for a real eye opener in 30-50 years when the real oil shortage starts to show up. New technologies will not happen without educated people to make it happen. Sounds like we need more engineers than we need environmentalists, lawyers and philosophers.
-Richard Smalley- Nobel Prize Winner, Chemistry
If you think its going to take 30 to 50 years for "the real oil shortage to show up", than I want you to send me some of that weed you've been smoking. In view of the mountain of evidence that indicates a much shorter time-frame, you could not possibly be sober to continue to hold that view.
I remember being told we were OUT OF OIL 30 years ago. yet here we are, significantly more of us, driving more than ever in more efficient cars. Same for the impending ice age, killer asteroids, and California going to fall into the sea by the year 2000!
Being prepared is one thing, but when I look at selected quotes from an authority like a Nobel Prize winner, I'd like to see some possible solutions offered, not just "How can we possibly survive??" type of questions.
Should we have acted on the advice that "experts" were giving back in the 70's to melt some of the ice caps before the ice sheet covered New York City by the end of the century? Pardon me for being a skeptic, but most of this has the same kind of panic mentality running through it.
It's time for the semi-informed to get informed. Who said we were out of oil 30 years ago? Please cite some examples. Ice caps? I haven't mentioned anything about ice caps. I've always thought that that tale was filled with science of a very suspect nature.
There is not a single major oil company (gagrice's BP and Mobile/Exxon included) that have come anywhere close to replacing the amount of oil used last year with new finds this year. If I'm using more oil every year than I continue to find do you not give that the assignation of "running out of oil?" I know I do.
Head in the sand, you say? Look, this is not rocket science. We are not finding adequate replacement for the amount of oil we are currently using. Forget about projected increased demand. WE ARE NOT FINDING ADEQUATE LEVELS TO MEET CURRENT DEMAND.
You'd like some possible solutions offered? Who the heck wouldn't? The thread that keeps winding its jolly way through this discussion is "everything's fine. I can keep on doing what I've always done regarding my energy usage. I can afford it. Not only that I can continue to afford future price increases too. And if you can't you're a looser. Eat my exhaust sucker."
Oh, woe is us? Yeah, woe is us. If we continue to deny what is repeatedly being confirmed by a number of experts in a number of fields and blindly stumble down the same path then...WOE IS US. I'm sorry if this discussion is a little unsettling to some "semi-informed." This needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
Our government has a tremendous track record of coming up with solutions in crisis situations. In the past we have had the luxury of time to pull us through some very dicey situations. You yourself want to see some "possible solutions offered." I haven't read anyone who has claimed that the solutions you seek won't take quite a bit of time to achieve. I keep reading things like, "Well when the price of oil get high enough, we'll go back to nuclear power." Uh huh. Even though we haven't built a new nuclear facility in 30 years we're just going to dust off the blue prints and bring a few thousand on line in a few years?
This doesn't even address the issue that as the price of oil increases there will be less money available to invest because if you spend more money for energy, guess what? You have less money to invest.
FDR said, "the only thing we have to fear.. is fear itself." Wrongo. My fear is we continue along with the mailaise that has become all too prevalent because its "frightening" to think about these unpleasantries. That's my fear and it is reinforced daily from the uninformed, selfish postings that I read on this forum.
"That piece of the portfolio as a whole is declining around 3 per cent," he told an energy conference"
Full story here:
Full story here:
``We're damn close'' to the peak in conventional oil production, Boone Pickens, who oversees more than $1 billion in energy-related investments at his Dallas hedge fund firm, said in an interview in New York Feb. 16. ``I think we're there.'' Suncor Energy Inc., the world's second-biggest oil-sands miner, is his largest holding.
Full story here:
bruce, I KNOW you didn't mention ice caps. Those were all examples of "critical" problems that we've been informed of by so-called experts over the years. All of them sounding VERY authoritative with lots of letters behind their names. And a LOT of people believed what they said, even though they turned out to be pretty much dead wrong when all was said and done.
I appreciate the fact that you're concerned about the energy situation, but honestly, I don't think that anything anyone could say would make you consider the possibility that things might not be as close to disaster as you feel they are.
If your total input to this discussion is going to be to post quotes from articles and then, when you actually decide to post some of your own thoughts, you question whether people who disagree with those positons are using drugs, then this discussion is pretty much over and can be retired to the archives.
Even though the US has been stymied on building new nuclear reactors, the rest of the world has not. This Alaskan Village is excited about getting a nuclear facility that will cut their electric bills to 1/3 of what they are now. There are very efficient nuclear reactors available. Remember France uses nuclear for 70% of their electricity.
The 4S is a sodium-cooled fast spectrum reactor -- a low-pressure, self-cooling reactor. It will generate power for 30 years before refueling and should be installed before 2010
Did it ever occur to you that these oil company executives that are wringing their hands feeding you the "Doom n Gloom", may be part of the political process to get ANWR opened up. They all want a shot at those leases. Prudhoe Bay and the other North Slope fields are just about as easy to get oil from as the Saudi desert. Most of the gas fed wells produce 1500 + barrels per day. The average cost to get the oil in the Pipeline headed to market is 83 cents per barrel. They are calculating a huge margin of profit even if oil were to drop back to $10 per barrel. Plus the additional fact that people will not be so adverse to building more refineries that are needed to alleviate these shortages when an accident occurs, such as the BP refinery fire. Exxon & BP have taken more than 250 billion dollars worth of oil out of Alaska. They are convinced there is more than that left. A pretty good incentive to make people change the laws on ANWR.
Regarding your Alaskan village reactor. The article states"...if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves it -- which could cost millions of dollars to Toshiba -- the 4S reactor could be installed by 2010." So, it hasn't been approved yet. Again, this is my point. How much time does it take to get one of these approved? "Should be installed" and "could be installed" are two entirely different scenarios.
I think it will be approved. It is a very remote site accessible only by air. That gives it a better than average chance. The people are all for it, so you don't have NIMBY as you do in most areas of the USA. It will depend on how many environmental lawsuits hold it up in court is my best guess. If we could cut off the oil to a few environmental groups things would get done a lot sooner, for a lot less money.
"Oil futures show crude prices will stay close to $40 a barrel until 2011 because of rising demand, spurring investment in projects once considered to be marginal."
Given that the runup in the oil market has prices north of $50/bbl, I was kind of surprised to find that quote in the same story. If you wanted to paint the worst picture possible, you certainly cherry picked the right ones for your post bruce.
How about this gem from the same article?
Companies will produce 10.1 million barrels of oil a day by 2030 from projects in Canada and Qatar, more than Saudi Arabia does today, according to forecasts by the International Energy Agency in Paris. That's 8 percent of the world's total.
Sort of paints the picture a different way doesn't it?
So I guess we're back to having to agree to disagree about this. Once we got to the point of questioning people's sobriety and asking folks to "prove" things, I'm thinking were about ready for final comments in this one.
The long winters without large volume transport requires the town to maintain very large fuel tanks - the total storage capacity is more than 3 million gallons between the town and the airport, which equates to more than 4,000 gallons for every resident.
When this topic appeared, I assumed it was going to be about how increased gas prices would affect what we drive, how we drive, what vehicles we buy, what the manufacturers would come up with as far as new vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles. All of that stuff. We're hopelessly off into OPEC, ANWR, oil reserves, drilling, etc...
Time for this one to be put to rest.