free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 166. A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

166. A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

We've heard a lot from the peak oil pessimists about the impossibility of conservation in the U.S., but the times they are a-changin'. It's interesting that Christians and conservatives are playing a key role in this process.

Senate Group Unveils Oil-Saving Plan

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press, Nov. 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - Efforts to stem America's appetite for oil, nearly two-thirds of it imported, are getting new attention in Congress with a push from an unusual coalition of environmentalists, evangelical Christians and conservatives.

The diverse groups are putting pressure on lawmakers to find ways to curtail oil use, especially in transportation, and to promote alternative fuels and new technologies less dependent on fossil fuels.

Environmentalists view reduced oil use as a way to curtail pollution and lower the risk of climate change. A number of conservatives and others argue the dependence on oil imports poses a security threat.

Both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans in Congress are listening.

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation Wednesday they said would save 2.5 million barrels of oil a day within a decade and 10 million barrels a day by 2031. The country now uses a little over 20 million barrels of oil a day, most of for transportation.

"Failure to act, we fear, will make America like a pitiful giant, tied down and subject to the whims of small (oil-producing) countries," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., calling U.S. dependence on foreign oil a national security risk.Source

-- by JD

25 Comments:

At Wednesday, November 16, 2005 at 7:12:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

People do seam to be starting to come together and getting coopertive about energy use reductions. The only problem I have is that all that most want to talk about is fuel economy in the American car fleet. I fear that there will be a massive effort to subsidize cars as a means of dealing with energy shortage & PO. That will be the worst thing we can do for conservation, IMO.

We need to go in the direction of reducing wasteful driving instead. Unfortunately nobody, including many environmentalist and well meaning leaders, want to go there.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 2:02:00 AM PST, Blogger Markku said...

Please don't underestimate the importance of driving fuel efficient vehicles. By switching to European and Japanese style fuel efficient cars, the USA could cut its crude oil consumption by millions of barrels per day within a decade. The best way to achieve this and many other goals would be raise motor fuel taxes gradually. US automakers and the public would have to be given time to adjust to more expensive fuel.

Higher fuel taxes would simultaneously spur investements into more fuel efficient technology, force people to cut down on wasteful driving, boost multi-purpose zoning, restrict sprawl leading to long commutes, and considerably improve US trade balance.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 8:10:00 AM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

I disagree with the fuel tax thing but not because it won't do what you say it would do. It would be a political hornets nest. In a time of rising motor fuel prices, politicians that aim to raise fuel taxes will get voted out of office in a hurry.

I think a more practical approach would be to implement congestion charging to finally give driving a market pricing mechanism, like everything else in our economy. By charging people to drive based on distance and time of day, there can be control over the volume of cars which would increase fuel economy. It also would get people to limit their driving in a rational way.

Right now there is very little difference in the price for driving 20k a year vs 1k a year. In fact is practically zero. If we treated food prices the way we treated urban diving, the average weight would be 300 lb and there would be long lines (congestion) at the supermarket checkouts. More people need to point out this major flaw and start finding ways to end it.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 9:17:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the average American was made aware exactly what the extra costs of that cheap gasoline were they might not object to a tax on it.

After all, we spend the bulk of our defense budget securing oil supply lines, we put our economy at risk with supply so tightly close to demand, a shitload of people die each year in auto accidents (if the roads weren't so congested it wouldn't be as bad), and new city planning continues to emphasize sprawl over smart planning.

I consider myself an average American, and after learning the facts am more than willing to pay a tax on gasoline (hell since learning the facts I drive 1/10 as much as I used to, the bus is now my friend)

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 10:36:00 AM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

Americans are constantly reminded about the extra costs of gasoline. That has not done any good. They just continue driving, driving, driving. Perhaps that has to do with our government imposed car dependent environments, would ya think? Here in So Cal every place you go there is abundant parking, usually free to the driver, that is mandated by the local planning departments. And now we are to keep those awful policies while some other government body raises gas tax to discourage fuel consumption?

No wonder the public is confused.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 11:08:00 AM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

I think raising gasoline tax is the only good approach. Any way you look at it, it is a supply and demand thing. Since the supply can not go up, the demand MUST go down. The demand can not be reduced volunteerily, there is only one thing to force a demand reduction (or demand destruction), namely, raising cost of gasoline.

The cost of gasoline is mainly composed of two parts: government tax plus the big oil profit. It doesn't matter which of the two parts contribute more on the total cost, the demand destruction will respond only to the figure of total cost.

A good thing is by heavy taxation, it does not increase the total cost. Since the total cost will only increase to the point where demand is suppressed enough. The end result is more money flow into the pocket of the Feds instead of big oil. The reverse is also true, by reducing tax, the gasoline cost will NOT be reduced, it merely help the big oil to profit more. So I would support heavy taxation, knowing that at least my money does not go into the pocket of big oil.

Quantoken

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 2:40:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

I agree that high fuel taxes would be a fantastic thing, particularly if the revenues go into alternative energy.

In reality though it seems unlikely to happen. Most people are angry with politicans now because oil prices are so high. They think a politican's job is to keep oil prices down, not up. Few politicians in the US or Australia would even think about mentioning the possibility of raising fuel taxes.

I think prices will get very high by themselves in the coming years. I hope this will cause people to realise that politicans have little control over oil prices and hopefully spur some serious efforts to reduce oil dependence.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 5:33:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

I'd like to add that here in the US, 100% of the revenue collected from motor fuel tax goes into building more roads (and then municipalities contribute as well to road building). This in effect is a tax on fuel consumption to pay for the infrastructure of ever more fuel consumption. This is totally skewed toward getting people into cars and the building of car dependent sprawl. Just awful!

I wonder if we would be better off eliminating this tax then to keep this highway fund disaster going.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 5:51:00 PM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Chris:

The point is eliminating tax would NOT make the gasoline any cheaper. The price will simply go high again until enough demand is suppressed, and more money end up flowing into the pockets of big oil. I'd rather see the money being collected as tax so it can be used on something good.

Now what do we do with the money. Expanding roads would leads to less road congestion, which is good for fuel economy. You argue that will encourage vehicle usage. I don't think so. People have to drive NOT because there is road and they drive for fun.

Basically you are suggesting to use the inconvenience of congested roads hence inefficient usage of gasoline, as a mean to suppress consumption, rather than use high price. That's not smart at all.

Certainly the tax money can be better used for alternative energy source research. But that's another story.

 
At Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 6:08:00 PM PST, Anonymous Wildwell said...

In the medium-long term, expanding roads always leads to more driving and more congestion (and more oil use). If you can find one decent road scheme that has reduced traffic let us all know.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 1:04:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or... according to Dr. Stanley Monteith, Peak Oil is a myth...

http://www.newswithviews.com/Monteith/stanley.htm

JD, why are you debunking a myth and we're not talking about the doomer myth, but PO in the geological sense.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 10:57:00 AM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

quantoken wrote:"Basically you are suggesting to use the inconvenience of congested roads hence inefficient usage of gasoline, as a mean to suppress consumption, rather than use high price. That's not smart at all."

Congestion is not a product of too little roads for people to drive their "necessary" commutes on. Congestion is a product of having absolutely no pricing mechanism to respond to demand. Driving in cities is way too cheap. When you build more roads for people to drive on so cheaply those roads fill up in no time. This explains why all road expansion projects never relieve congestion as promised.

If electricity were free to use like roads there would be rolling brownouts on a daily basis. The pubic would respond to free electricity by air conditioning their backyard patios even when they are not home. Fortunately this hypothetical market distortion is non existent because electricity use is metered and charged to the consumer. The price rates fluctuate to reflect peaks in demand. This helps to create the balance between supply and demand.

Taxing fuel to pay for roads is supposed to be a form of charging for road use. But the problem is that this does not and cannot respond to congestion. And when you put a small tax on motor fuel that is very cheap, drivers are not given the proper price signal to drive within supply limits. And even if the tax was high enough to force people into high MPG cars, there would still be the highly energy inefficient congestion problem. Hybrids are equal to Hummers when it comes to traffic jams.

This is a big problem that is far too neglected.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 11:29:00 AM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Chris:
Your assertions are totally false. People drive on the roads not because they want to have fun in driving or because it's free. They have to get to work, do shopping etc. And pricing do work in the supply/demand scenary. But people do consider all things: congestions, time, price, safety. If there is public transportation solutions that costs less time and less money, I don't see why people would not want to choose them. If it takes two hours to get to work between bus changes and walking, then I would rather prefer a congested highway which gets me there in one hour.

Forcing people to abandon driving altogether and sit and stay at home instead of going to work, is not a solution.

You do not see road expansion relief road congestion fully because we have a limited amount of tax money and only the worst congestion gets prioritized to be reliefed, and the relief can only be partial. However such money spent saves much more than the investment in saved gasoline in reduced congestion and reduced waste of commute time.

It's ridiculous for you to say Hybrids equals to Hummers. I am driving a Prius and gets 65 MPG in average. Unfortunately this can not be a solution for every one. As popular as Prius is, they are selling no more than 100,000 per year in North America. I do not see any good solution to the pending economy collapse due to oil shortage, much less so because it simply has not come to the agendas for the politicians to consider yet.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 2:35:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

quantoken first wrote:
" Your assertions are totally false....But people do consider all things: congestions, time, price, safety. If there is public transportation solutions that costs less time and less money, I don't see why people would not want to choose them."

And then quantaken immediately contradicts himself:

"If it takes two hours to get to work between bus changes and walking, then I would rather prefer a congested highway which gets me there in one hour."

If people do consider price, as you stated in the previous sentence, then why can't price be a factor in your hypothetical 2hr bus vs 1hr car scenario? It is obvious that price is too low resulting in so many taking the car as opposed to taking the bus. People consider price right? Then the price of driving is too low. There's my Econ 101 lesson for you today.

My point stands as I previously stated. Congestion is a product of grossly under priced driving-- not too little road capacity. Thank you, quantoken, for helping to establish that as fact.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 2:56:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

quantoken wrote: "I am driving a Prius and gets 65 MPG in average. Unfortunately this can not be a solution for every one. As popular as Prius is, they are selling no more than 100,000 per year in North America. I do not see any good solution to the pending economy collapse due to oil shortage, much less so because it simply has not come to the agendas for the politicians to consider yet."

This statement reflects a great bit of confusion on your part. If we have a "pending economy collapse due to oil shortage" then certainly there is no good a hybrid car will do anybody over getting a Hummer. Really, if when oil peaks and the economy is toast, then who's going to need either vehicles. So you might as well have gotten the Hummer and enjoy the ride until the end civilization. And if you could stretch out your payments long enough, then you may have been able to get the end of civilization discount.

You should have gotten the Hummer.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 3:43:00 PM PST, Blogger James said...

Anon said:

Or... according to Dr. Stanley Monteith, Peak Oil is a myth...

http://www.newswithviews.com/Monteith/stanley.htm

JD, why are you debunking a myth and we're not talking about the doomer myth, but PO in the geological sense.


He, and the site that article on is conspiracy theorist heaven. I wouldn't take anything said on that site seriously.

Abiotic oil, abiotic oil!

LOL

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 4:35:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris: Even in an economy collapse (at least the early stages), having half the gas bill helps.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 4:54:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

Why,Anonymous? So we can get better MPG as we out motor the marauders on the way to the mall?

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 4:57:00 PM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Chris:
Pricing people out of driving and force people to stay at home is not a solution. Don't ask me what's the solution. I don't see any. Economy collapse will occur and there will be massive die off. The reason I switch to a Prius and do other preparation things is that hopefully those driving Hummers will dies off first. When enough die off occured then the demand is destructed enough to allow me to continue to drive a Prius and continue to survive.

Industry civilization as we know it will end. But humanity itself may survive and learn to live in a sustainable way, after a massive die off to reduce population. So there will be survivors.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 5:29:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

quantoken:"The reason I switch to a Prius and do other preparation things is that hopefully those driving Hummers will dies off first."

LOL

You must be totally kidding, right? Too funny.

Oh yes, The Angel of Dieoff Death is going to walk upon the land and strike down all those heathens who drive SUVs. But he will spare the sustainable ones who went into the showrooms and put a down payment on a brand new Prius.

That should great thing for clearing up traffic congestion.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 6:25:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris: He said "economy collapse", which made me think Great Depression, not dieoff. Now, clearly, he means something different...

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 6:25:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you can't afford to drive, you're more likely to die.

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 6:32:00 PM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Chris:
There is nothing funny and this is not a laughing matter. It's a matter of survival.
Individually, I believe that one who prepares himself for the coming crisis is highly likely to survive. Driving a prius is just one of the many small things, and just something transitional. Set up solar panels, plant your back yards, try to utilize biomass energy, etc. Hopefully one can convert into a lifestyle which is sustainable on itself. Robinson managed to survive 19 years on an island.

But globallly most people simply can NOT do the same and survive. Most people will not be able to acquire a Prius. There are not enough produced due to the resource restraint. If every one rush to buy one, it could end up being too expensive to have one and your money can best be spent on something else. Most people will NOT be able to cover their rooftops with solar panels, either. There can never be enough solar panels produced to cover even a small fraction of all the roofs of the world, again due to resource restraint. Once again if every one rush to buy solar panels, it will become so expensive that you might as well better spent your money on something else.

If one dig a hole a hundred feet deep, and circulate water between underground and your house, using electricity powered by solar panels. You have perfect air conditioning without consuming any electricity. However once again, this can not be done on a massive scale. Digging holes and setting up geothermal heat pumps takes equipments and consumes large amount of energy. When every one rush to do it the cost becomes too expensive and you might as well spend money on something else.

The point is each and every contengency approach all consumes large amount of energy and resource, and so they can all be good ideas for individuals but can not be carried out on a massive scale.

Now think about the Noah'a Ark story. Every one laughs at Noah but that's exactly the reason why he was able to collect his woods at cheap price and took his time to build his Ark before the flood came. Should every one realize it. Then every one would wanted to built his own Ark and there would not be enough wood for any one and Noah would not have survived.

Quantoken

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 7:24:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Quantoken,
If you believe in a die-off, and you're driving a Prius, you are in deep denial

 
At Friday, November 18, 2005 at 7:50:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do doomers even care what we think?

We are all going to die anyway, so why should our ramblings on an internet blog even be of the concern of one of these mountain-men who shall carry on the human race after us "flat earthers" have long perished?

 

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