My hometown is largely based on petro-chemica industry. (And bananas)
I can't count how many oil guys I know who are very much in demand to
drill, build related industries all over Canada.
But the oil companies know a good thing when they see it: a conflict
in Egypt.."Hey let's screw over our customers with a price hike" even
though the actual amount of oil going through the Suez Canal is a mere
pittance of what we need here.
Ahhh yes, that good-ol' fear-driven marketing strategy, works in
politics too."LOOK OUT!! A boogaboo under your bed!!!"
Not to mention the refinerys that go down for maintence or repairs. The
local news paper tells us how this particular refinery in Oklahoma being
down is going to affect the price of gasoline because of it not producing.
BS! Any one refinery produces the "drop in the bucket" in the grands scheme
I have no doubt that the petroleum market is one of the [if not THE]
most manipulated commodities on the planet - think Enron. You have to
wonder if a lot of the volume isn't being traded back and forth between
brokers just to artificially inflate the price. And, you have to wonder
that if it costs less to produce a domestic barrel (shouldn't it?) why
producers still get the global price for a home grown barrel. Well, I guess
anybody can guess that.
As for refineries, the majors have been wailing for years about the
government regulations and red tape, not to mention the cost, of building
any new facilities. They also like to cite how the public is 'NIMBY.' And
I think that's BS. "Squeezing" the supply line helps to keep the price of
their inventory inflated. Then again, if BP wanted to build within 10 miles
of my home I'd cry NIMBY, as loud as the next guy.
Dave in Houston
As Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy and he is us".
Major part of the problem is the size and patch work list of gasoline
blends legislated across the country, often changing as a function of
time of year.
A refinery does a "turn around" to set up the refinery to produce a
list of products and do maintenance.
This can happen several times a year.
Problem is, the market has become so segmented that it is not
profitable or even possible for more than one or two refineries to
produce the same products at the same time.
The result is an unexpected interruption of production can't be
covered by another refinery.
There simply is no real off line spare capacity.
There will never again, or should there be IMHO, another "grass roots"
refinery built in this country.
Economics have made sure of the above, which is all the more reason to
pursue development of alternate energy sources.
But the falicy with that popular explanation is that there is no supply
shortage because of that interruption. I have not seen a gas line since the
early 80's. I'm still not drinking the KoolAid.
The only valid reason to find alternative energy sources is to increase the
competition. Remember about 10 years ago when all the oil companies began
to merge? They were essentially eliminating 1/2 the competition and through
loop holes and alternative means came up with a creative way to price fix.
In the last 30 years I have not once felt the effect of a gasoline shortage.
I have not seen a gas line except when hurricane Rita threatened Houston a 6
years ago. If there were truely shortates we would see lines at the pump,
basically we would actually see shortages. The media is what sets every
thing up for the refineries to raise prices.
You must have been asleep during the Carter years (was that thirty years
But you're right. There is no shortage of gasoline, only a shortage of CHEAP
As demand goes down, supply increases and prices drop. When prices rise,
demand falls off.
A city government can cut its gasoline supply by a significant amount by
simply parking its police cars instead of them patrolling around. They
answer calls, of course, but no more cruising.
When I was a cop, we put between 200 and 300 miles on the car in an 8-hour
shift. During the Carter oil fiasco, we parked and put maybe 50 miles on the
patrol car each night. Ate a lot of donuts...
Individual citizens make the same trade-offs.
Agreed, the "media" sensationalizes a lot of the news but I can't buy
that argument where the price of oil is concerned. If the media were the
cause then what's the effect? Panic buying by the gullible public that
drives the price of fuels up? Panic hoarding?
I don't think the gullible audience has any say-so what-so-ever. What I
think happens is that commodity brokers use any excuse to bid the price of a
barrel up and up and up. What I think is that the higher the price of a
gallon of regular goes the more ways the gullible audience looks to save a
little here and there.
Dave in Houston.
As a country? I wish there was an easy answer to that. As a country
we're spread out unlike most of Europe. Myself, I regularly drive between
my home in NW Houston and another house we have SE of San Antonio and often
back and forth between there and a ranch another 30 miles SE. If I hunt
both morning and evening on a given day I'm liable to return the 30 miles
back to the house to take care of some pressing issue and then back to the
ranch for the afternoon sit. That's 120 miles for two round trips. My
soon-to-be 10 year-old F250 7.3 Power Stroke (230k miles) gets 17 mpg on a
good day (keep it at 70, flat terrain with a tailwind). I would gladly
drive a Tacoma-sized P/U if Toyota would only give us a 3.5 or 4 liter
diesel - make it a diesel hybrid. I'd love to get 26 or 28 mpg. But, in
the meantime, how would you propose I/we wean myself/ourselves from fossil
fuels? I'm willing to alter my lifestyle to a certain extent but I still
have the need to move materials or tow a tandem axle trailer and tractor or
sacks of feed or fencing material or dead deer(!).
Just like health care, some on the lower end of the economic scale, a
growing demographic, may well get priced out of the market.
Dave in Houston
"Dave In Texas" wrote:
IMHO, you do not represent "low hanging fruit".
There are much easier opportunities with greater ROI.
For example, in NYC there are a lot of buildings with flat black
I forget the details, but a simple coat of white paint would increase
the reflectivity so that summer air conditioning load is dramatically
reduced at minimal cost thus reducing electrical consumption.
It's a little thing but it has a measurable impact and there are a lot
of flat black roofs in this country.
Start a program to upgrade the insulation of our buildings including
A program like that could get the construction industry healthy in a
hurry and be paid for with power savings..
Here in Los Angeles, the entire public bus system has been converted
to natural gas. It took 18 years, but it got done.
It's a 2-fr, reduced pollution and lower energy costs.
Start converting the 18 wheeler fleet from #2 diesel to natural gas
including a network of refueling stations.
Might take 20 years, but so what?
Here in California we are blessed to have all the following forms of
alternate energy generation.
Geo Thermal electrical generation.
Direct solar photo voltaic electrical generation.
Solar-thermal-turbine electrical generation.
Hydro-electric electrical generation.
Bio-mass electrical generation.
Wind mill power generation.
This does not include the little box eBay is using for a big piece of
their power requirements.
None of these methods are free standing, but they all reduce the
fossil fuel load which reduces our balance of payments issue.
They also give us some time to develop better personal transportation
methods which is where your F250 comes in..
There are ways out of this problem.
Bitching about the cost of gas while filling up isn't one of them.
But NONE of them reduce oil imports, since virtually all oil imports are
used in transportation.
Since much of the natural gas used for electric generation in California
comes from western Canada, you can't say much about the balance of payments
About 12% of California's electric needs come from renewable resources:
Whale oil, timber, hamster wheels, etc.
This is not an insignificant amount.
I recall all this alternative energy stuff going out of controll when
gasoline prices/ oil prices went up in the mid 70's. If the government is
behind the alternative fuel BS you know that is not worth the time invested.
Remember gasihol, a total wash at best. Untill we actually run out of oil
there will be no serious drive for another source of energy.
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