If we depend on oil, how do we deal with it?
-- David Letterman
-- President Truman, excerpt from a speech on revenue sharing, May 17, 1952
Enter your zip code in the site below to find out which gas stations have the cheapest prices (and the highest) on gas in your zip code area. It's updated every evening. You will see a map of your area and then scroll down and you will get a listing of gas prices in your area with addresses and brands starting with the cheapest and going up.
Between 2002 and 2005 U.S. oil consumption has
by about 4%. During this time, our population has increased by
(or 3.2 million a year). In other words, there's a direct
between the population inctrease of the last three years and the
increase in oil consumption. Many prominent geologists agree that
we are at or approaching "peak oil," the point where daily oil
will hit a ceiling and then begin a slow decline. Geologists now
agree there are few major reserves yet to be discovered. Most
fields in the major producing countries are old and declining in
or about to decline. Dr. Colin Campbell, founder of the
for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) and former Amoco Company Senior
says his best estimate of the date of "peak oil" is 2006.
OPEC and other oil producers have a perhaps impossible task in sustaining production levels over the next two to three decades. New discoveries are needed just to offset production declines in aging fields. Furthermore, some technologies for increasing production are stop-gap measures that actually damage fields, reduce total production over the long term, and lead to more rapid production declines in the future.
One should not be misled by optimistic reports of large new finds or break-through technologies for recovering hard to reach oil. Consider that the world currently uses approximately 84 million barrels of oil per day, so each "new" billion barrel reserve adds just 12 days worth of oil at current levels of consumption.
The United States uses approximately one-quarter of all oil produced annually, but this does not account for the total of the U.S. energy consumption. Other sources of energy are natural gas and electricity produced from coal, hydro, wind, or geothermal. Yet, for the foreseeable future, only oil is available in commercially significant quantities for certain key uses such as transportation. This is because it is both protable and has relatively high energy content. In 2000 the U.S. consumed 98.94 quadrillion British thermal units )Quads) of energy. Of that total about 39% came from oil alone. Natural gas provided 24%; coal 23%; nuclear poawer 8%; and renewable energy sources the remaining 6% (less than 1% from solar and wind).
This means that nearly two-fifths of energy supplies for the U.S. come from petroleum. Counting natural gas, non-renewable petro-chemicals account for nearly 65% of our energy, and their prices have been rising rapidly in recent months. The two most prominent renewable energy source -- solar and wind -- contribute almost nothing, a situation not likely to change soon.
(Data from John Attarian, "Oil Depletion Revisitied: Why the Peak Is Probably Near," The Social Contract, Winter 2004-2005, p. 142.)
Additionally, worlwide demand is rising. Developing nations like the People's Republis of China (PRC) and India are increasing oil use at double-digit rates (the U.S. rate of increase is 1%-2% per year). This means that many more people will be competing for the same or a declining amount of oil in the near future.
(Figures from the Washington Times, April 8, 2005, p. 1.)
"Declining availability of oil will collide with population growth, so less and less oil will be availbable per person.... Whereas in 2000 enough oil was extracted for each person [in the world] to have 4.41 barrels, there will be 1.28 barrels per person...in 2050." (Quotation from Attarian, p. 143)
U.S. Oil Consumption - Thousand Barrels Daily
"You can spend a lot of money on research, but if you let the oil industry censor the research after you complete it and if you don't act on the findings, you might as well burn the money on the White House steps."
--Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope during an interview on Democracy Now responding to President Bush's claim that the U.S. leads the world in dollars spent on climate change research.
--Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope during an interview on Democracy Now responding to President Bush's claim that the U.S. leads the world in dollars spent on climate change research.
Armed with a tire gauge and a desire to protect our lands from oil drilling, sixth-grader Savannah Walters is leading the fight to encourage drivers to conserve fuel. Savannah started her website -- PUMP 'EM UP! -- in 2001 when she became concerned by proposals to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She found out that the U.S. could save as much oil as would be produced by Arctic drilling if drivers simply pumped up their car tires to proper inflation levels. In 1995, the Energy Department said that underinflated tires waste an estimated 4 million gallons of gas daily in America.
Read "Rising call: Cut US oil imports" in the Christian Science Monitor.
WASHINGTON, DC, March 28, 2002 (ENS) - World demand for energy is expected to rise by 60 percent over the next two decades, predicts a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency says the increased energy consumption, led largely by oil, will boost releases of carbon dioxide by as much as 3.8 billion metric tons per year in 2020.
This website reveals that within five years
Since Bush's decision to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, various European and environmental groups have been directing boycotts and protests of US oil companies, namely ExxonMobil (which seems to be at the forefront of opposition to Kyoto), Texaco, and Chevron. The European Federation Greens Parties and Greenpeace have given these companies 10 days to detach from Bush's decision, although it is unclear how thay intend to take action after the 10 days.
Conoco was the target of a protest earlier this month when Greenpeace occupied a US rig chartered by the company off the coast of Scotland. It should also be noted that Conoco is a member of the Republicans' "Team 100" donor group, and contributes $175,000 every four years to the party.
US Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb, a global warming skeptic and vocal critic of the Kyoto Protocol, received contributions during the 1996 election from BPAmoco, Chevron, Mobil, Shell, Tenneco, and Texaco. However, it seems as though some of these companies have switched their positions as of late:
Texaco withdrew from the Global Climate Coalition (a group countering global warming theories), became a "green power" advocate, and has invested a substantial amount of resources in fuel cells. But, the company is being sued in Ecuador for dumping millions of gallons of polluted water in the Amazon.
BP/Amoco has also withdrawn from the GCC and has pledged to meet CO2 emissions reduction targets. The company, which was once opposed to Kyoto, is now lobbying for reassessment of emission reduction regulations along with Shell, the EU, and environmental groups. BP had pledged to devote $1 billion a year to solar commerce by the end of the decade, but seem to be doing little in the way of moving "beyond petroleum", as they had promised. Environmental groups have accused the company of failing to honor their renewable energy commitments. And, the company is a supporter of ANWR oil exploration.
Others that have pulled out of the GCC and are working to meet emissions reduction goals are Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Sunoco. Shell is also creating a $500 million company to work with renewable energy. This may be in response to all the negative publicity regarding their environmental and human rights violations in Nigeria and elsewhere. Sunoco is another "green power" advocate -- they've also endorsed the CERES principles.
To find out about other large companies, check out www.responsibleshopper.org, Co-op America's new online consumer tool, where hundreds of corporations' practices have been profiled. The oil industry is not yet a part of Responsible Shopper, but is currently a research priority and will be included in the near future. And be sure to check back often, as the site is consistently being updated and revised.
It is understandable that we Americans feel an
reflexive need for unanimity in trying times like these. As a nation,
we are rightly consumed with responding to the terrorist attacks on September 11th. But, at some point -- and I think we're beginning to get there -- we need to take a long-term view even as we are reacting to the current crisis. Really important domestic issues facing us before all of this happened -- education, energy and the environment, health care -- still have the same dimension and consequence. But we have to recognize that it's much more difficult to discuss and debate them in the aftermath of Sept. 11th. Unfortunately, disagreement is sometimes characterized as unpatriotic during times such as these and open, thoughtful discourse is somewhat muted. The gravity of the current situation is not lost on any of us and we all want to do what's right to insure our national security. It is with this in mind that I felt compelled to write you today.
A handful of determined U.S. senators, encouraged by the White House, are arguing that national security requires the Senate to rush a pro-oil energy bill into law. They have vowed to hold up normal Senate business and attach the bill to every piece of legislation that comes to the Senate floor. So far they have failed in what The Boston Globe is calling "oil opportunism." But with President Bush, himself, now calling for rushed passage of this disastrous bill, intense pressure is building on Senate leaders to succumb to the emotions of the moment. Using our national tragedy as an opportunity to advance the narrow interests of the oil lobby would not be in the best interest of the public. This bill, already passed by the House, would not only open the Arctic Refuge to oil rigs, it would also pave the way for energy companies to exploit and destroy pristine areas of Greater Yellowstone and other gems of our natural heritage. As important, it would do nothing to address energy security.
I'm asking for your immediate help in stopping this legislation. After reading my letter I hope you'll take action at http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/index.asp?src=ab0110a
and the forward this letter to your friends and colleagues.
Last spring, the Bush administration and some members of Congress said we had to pass the president's oil-friendly energy bill because we were facing the most serious energy crisis since 1973. But here we are, a mere six months later, and the energy crisis has vanished. Due to a slowing economy and falling demand, the prices for gasoline, natural gas and home heating oil have plunged. Meanwhile, the much-feared "summer of blackouts" in California never happened, largely because consumers and businesses made dramatic cuts in energy use by launching the most successful statewide conservation campaign in history.
With no energy crisis to scare us with, the administration and pro-oil senators are now promoting their "Drill the Arctic" plan under the guise of national security and energy independence. Don't buy it. It would take ten years to bring Arctic oil to market, and when it arrives it would never equal more than two percent -- a mere drop in the bucket -- of all the oil we consume each year. Our nation simply doesn't have enough oil to drill our way to energy independence or even to affect world oil prices.
We possess a mere 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, but we consume fully 25 percent of the world's oil supply. We could drill the Arctic Refuge, Greater Yellowstone, and every other wildland in America and we'd still be importing oil, still be paying worldwide prices for domestic oil, and still be vulnerable to wild gyrations in price and supply. As The Atlanta Constitution put it: "Burning through our tiny oil supply faster will not make our country more secure." I'd go further: increasing our dependence on oil, whether that oil comes from the Persian Gulf or the Arctic Refuge, practically guarantees national "insecurity". And we know that it will bring more habitat destruction, more oil spills, more air pollution, and more global warming. The public health implications will be devastating.
If our nation wants to declare energy independence, then we have no choice but to reduce our appetite for oil. There's no other way. We need to rely on smarter and cleaner ways to power our economy. We have the technology right now to increase fuel economy standards to 40 miles per gallon. If we phased in that standard by 2012 we'd save 15 times more oil than the Arctic Refuge is likely to produce over 50 years. We could also give tax rebates for existing hybrid gas-electric vehicles that get as much as 60 mpg. We could invest in public transit. We could launch an "Apollo Project" to bring fuel cells and hydrogen fuel down to earth, allowing us to begin the mass production of vehicles that emit only water as a by-product. The list goes on and on.
In this climate of national trauma and war, it is up to us -- the people -- to ensure that reason prevails and our natural heritage survives intact. The preservation of irreplaceable wildlands like the Arctic Refuge and Greater Yellowstone is a core American value. I have never been more appreciative of the wisdom of that value than during these past few weeks. When we are filled with grief and unanswerable questions it is often nature that we turn to for refuge and comfort. In the sanctuary of a forest or the vastness of the desert or the silence of a grassland, we can touch a timeless force larger than ourselves and our all-too-human problems. This is where the healing begins. Those who would sell out this natural heritage -- this spiritual heritage -- would destroy a wellspring of American strength. What's worse, their rush to exploit the wildness that feeds our souls won't do a thing to solve our energy problems.
There are plenty of sensible and patriotic ways to guarantee our nation's energy security, but destroying the Arctic Refuge is not one of them. Please tell that to your senators. They urgently need to hear it because the pressure is on to move this pro-oil bill to a vote in the next few weeks. It will take you only a minute to send them an electronic message from NRDC's SaveBioGems website.
Go to http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/index.asp?src=ab0110a
And please forward this message to your family and friends. Millions of Americans need to know about this cynical attempt to promote the interests of energy companies at the expense of everyone else.
WASHINGTON, DC, January 4, 2002 (ENS) - Energy legislation emphasizing renewable fuels could help boost the U.S. economy by $300 billion and create as many as 300,000 new jobs by 2016, an independent analysis suggests. The study, sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board, finds that increased use of American made fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol would generate an additional $71 billion over the next 15 years.
QUITO, Ecuador, January 10, 2002 (ENS) - Oil from an abandoned exploratory oil well in the Ecuadorian Amazon is spilling uncontrolled into the environment months after government authorities were first notified, according to an international wildlife conservation group.
WASHINGTON, DC, January 17, 2002 (ENS) - The National Park Service has given its initial approval to a proposal to drill thousands of holes and detonate thousands of underground explosions in a search for oil beneath Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida.
WASHINGTON, DC, January 21, 2002 (ENS) - America uses a quarter of the world's oil, but has only three percent of known reserves. A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Union of Concerned Scientists offers a five-step plan to cut the oil needed for our cars and light trucks in half, saving five million barrels per day by 2020.
"Dangerous Addiction: Ending America's Oil Dependence," says domestic drilling won't solve the problem. "The only way to end the economic and security risks of this imbalance is to cut our import dependence by using better cars and better fuels," the groups say.
That would mean big savings for consumers at the gas pump. The report estimates that a person buying a 40 mpg car in 2012 would save a net of $2,200 over the life of the vehicle. Total consumer savings from all policies suggested would equal nearly $13 billion per year in 2012, and almost $30 billion by 2020.
"Washington has been dragging its feet on energy security. Now we face the risk of finishing another war with Middle East origins without a solution in place," said John Podesta, former White House chief of staff, now a senior fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "It's time for the president and Congress to reverse course, and tackle this national security priority."
Events since September 11 highlight the danger in turning a blind eye to oil dependence. The challenge is to reduce the amount of oil we use to run our passenger vehicles, using American technology and know-how, the two groups say.
"Detroit has the technology to end our oil addiction," said Jason Mark, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at Union of Concerned Scientists. "If cars and trucks live up to their technological potential, by 2010 we can save more oil annually than we currently import from Saudi Arabia."
The report recommends that Congress should steadily increase standards for the combined fleet of cars and light trucks to 40 mpg by 2012 and 55 mpg by 2020.
Mass production of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, which get double the mileage of today's cars, is recommended. Lawmakers should provide consumer tax credits to support the transition to this new technology. Toyota and Honda already have hybrids on the road.
The report recommends expanding use of renewable, non-petroleum fuels, such as ethanol made from crop wastes, by steadily increasing requirements for "renewable content" in gasoline.
Putting hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles on the road is a recommendation that lines up with a new program announced last week by the Department of Energy. The groups' report suggests that Congress should use incentives and requirements to ramp up production to 100,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2010 and 2.5 million by 2020.
Encouraging "smart growth" instead of suburban sprawl to increase transportation choices and make communities more livable with less driving, is a recommendation consonant with what the National Governors Association supported in a policy paper released adopted at the governors' 1999 annual meeting, and reaffirmed at last year's annual meeting.
proposals are the best way to curb our reliance on Middle Eastern oil,"
said Podesta. "We can regain control over our future by providing
consumers with the safest and best performing passengers vehicles in
world. This is the road to increase our national security, strengthen
economy, and protect our environment."
Oil drilling in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska has resulted in more than 350 spills, explosions and fires, according to government studies released by the National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) studies also found that oil drilling is linked with high numbers of deformed wood frogs.
The groups' report, "Toxic Tundra," details a contaminants study and a frog study, which was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The studies point to the need for further study of damage caused by oil production in Kenai and other National Wildlife Refuges, as well as the importance of keeping industrial development out of the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the groups say.
"In spite of all the industry's promises, oil drilling in Kenai and other national wildlife refuges has left behind a disgraceful legacy of contamination, toxic chemical spills, and lasting damage to wildlife and wildlife habitat," said Robert Dewey, vice president for government relations at Defenders of Wildlife. "With such a sorry record, does anyone honestly believe the oil companies' fatuous claims that they'll do better next time, if we just throw open the doors to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?"
Established in 1941 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to protect the large population of moose on the Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for 200 species of birds and wildlife, including bald eagles, trumpeter swans, brown and black bear, caribou and wolves. Industrial oil development within the refuge includes almost 200 wells within three oil and gas fields that total 30 square miles. The wells are supported by 46 miles of oil and gas feeder pipelines, a 3,500 foot airstrip, 44 miles of roads and more than 60 individual well pads.
"More than 270,000 gallons of oil, produced water and other contaminants have been released into the wildlife refuge," the report notes. "Groundwater in some areas of the wildlife refuge shows contamination at 10 times the legal limit established by the Environmental Protection Agency."
"Oil drilling in a national wildlife refuge is simply an awful idea," said Lois Schiffer, Audubon's senior vice president for public policy. "There can be no question, in light of these studies, that oil drilling would be a disaster for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."
Every time you fill up the car, you can avoid putting more
into the coffers of the Middle East. Just buy
from gas companies that don't import their oil from the Middle East. Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling
that every time I fill-up the tank, I am sending my money to people who are trying to kill me, my family, and my
friends. I thought it might be interesting for you to know which oil companies
are the best to buy gas from. Major companies that import Middle Eastern oil (for the period 9/1/00 -
Chevron/Texaco....... 144,332,000 barrels
Exxon /Mobil........... 130,082,000 barrels
Marathon................. 117,740,000 barrels
Amoco...................... 62,231,000 barrels
If you do the math at $30/barrel, these
amount to over $18 BILLION! Here are some large
that do not import Middle Eastern oil:
Citgo 0 barrels
Sunoco 0 barrels
Conoco 0 barrels
Sinclair 0 barrels
BP/Phillips 0 barrels
Hess 0 barrels
All of this information is available from
Department of Energy and can be easily documented. Refineries
located in the U.S. are required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing They report
on a monthly basis. Keep this list in your car; share it with friends. Stop paying for terrorism............. But to
have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of gas buyers. It's really simple to do. Now, don't wimp out at
this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people . I'm sending this note to
about thirty people. If each of you send it to at
least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)... and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) .. and so on, by
the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION
consumers! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have
been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it..... THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE.
Robert Baer, a former CIA agent and the author of "The Fall of the
of Saud" (May Atlantic), discusses the perils of our dependence on
Arabia and its precious supply of fuel.
"A dependence that's so strong it's almost like a narcotic. You don't question the pusher." It may sound like the language of drug addiction, but in fact Robert Baer, a former CIA agent in the Middle East, is describing American dependence on Saudi Arabia and its oil. In "The Fall of the House of Saud" (May Atlantic), Baer details the United States's absolute reliance on oil from a country that is deeply, dangerously unstable.
- The U.S. consumes 25% of the world’s oil, but has only 3% of it’s oil reserves.
- China’s oil consumption increased 40% this year to surpass Japan as the world’s second largest importer of oil, behind the U.S.
- One-third of the U.S. trade deficit over the past 30 years, over $1.16 trillion, has gone to oil-producing countries. The DOE estimates that each $1B in trade deficits cost 27 thousand U.S. jobs. That calculates out to 31.3 million jobs!
- 19 of the 20 hottest summers on record have occurred since 1970.
- The U.S. produced about one-fifth of the total global greenhouse gases in 1994 (source: EPA).
- The Columbia River Basin area is expected to have 35% less snow pack by 2050 (source: Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans Climate Impacts Group, U of W).
- Since 1751, roughly 283 billion tons of carbon have been released into the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels. Half of these emissions have been released since the 1970s. (Source: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center).
- Wind energy production in North Dakota alone could produce a third of the United States' energy needs. (Source: The Official Earth Day Guide to Planet Repair).
Many of the facts above are gleaned from the website http://www.apollopac.com.
"To show that his energy bill is about more than drilling for oil in Alaska... This week President Bush visited a plant in Virginia that turned soy beans into a clean burning diesel fuel which the president hopes one day will be used to fuel oil drilling machines in Alaska."
--Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update
WILD AND UNDEVELOPED PLACES ARE ONCE AGAIN UNDER THREAT FROM OIL AND GAS DEVELOPERS AND ORV-USERS IN EASTERN UTAH
Stretching south and east from Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah is a striking expanse of wind-scoured plateaus, flourishing wetlands, and banded cliff faces. But under a new plan by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), this ecologically extraordinary region would be forever altered by opening nearly the entire monument to oil and gas leasing and unfettered off-road vehicle use.
We need your help to raise an outcry over this plan. Please click
link below to tell the BLM that their proposed plan should not go
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The Greater Dinosaur/Book Cliffs region spans a huge range of biological and geological diversity, from the rugged cliffs and spires of the White River Proposed Wilderness to the lush green river bottom of the unjustly named Desolation Canyon. Sage grouse, elk, pronghorn, and mule deer traverse the wide, sage-brush plateaus along their seasonal migration routes, while black bears and mountain lions keep watch in the high forests of the Book Cliffs and Bitter Creek Proposed Wilderness.
Hikers, backpackers, river runners, and hunters treasure the area for its abundant whitewater opportunities, big game, and backcountry wilderness. The BLM's proposed plan opens 93% of this spectacular country to incursions by energy developers and ORVs.
The Utah Wilderness Coalition has urged protection of the wilderness character of almost 720,000 acres in this region for its unspoiled character. But the BLM's plan offers no alternatives that adequately protect the special resources possessed by places like Wolf Point, Lower Flaming Gorge, and Moonshine Draw.
EXHAUST, EROSION, AND ENERGY EXPLORATION
In this place of majestic isolation, the BLM's plan does nothing to prevent an army of spinning wheels and revving engines from tearing through the desert, causing heedless destruction to sensitive wildlife habitats and fragile landscapes.
In addition to the noise and chemical pollution off-road vehicle
(ORV) use delivers deep into the wild, it is attended, as well, by erosion and compaction of delicate soils, destroying fragile ecosystems that depend for their survival on a fine balance of water, soil, and sun. The Citizens' plan recognizes the multiple-use charter of the the BLM, but reasonably restricts ORV use to areas where its damaging effects can be reduced or contained.
The BLM's plan opens the area to the potentially destructive effects of oil and gas drilling, as well. From habitat fragmentation and erosion caused by networks of service roads and pipelines to the aesthetic blight of acres of foul and unsightly rigs and miles power lines, the explosion of natural gas development has already vastly impaired the delicate ecosystems and recreational value of Western landscapes.
While it may be impossible to avoid entirely the surface damage and noise pollution that attends the juggernaut of energy development, these effects can be mitigated by limiting the areas on which drilling is permitted, requiring the use of less invasive surveying and drilling technologies, and requiring more thorough reclamation measures to restore areas that have been damaged by previous projects.
The concept of sustainable mobility will surely change many times
our lifetimes. Today we define it as transportation with minimal
or no fossil fuel dependency and we aim to cut CO2 emmissions.
we may be looking at transportation that actually produces valuable
Ironically, new sustainable solutions come with the rising cost
If our oil supply has hit its peak and started decreasing and global demand is still rising, there is only one price direction for fossil fuel: straight up. Consumers and businesses are feeling the pressure to figure out how to manage their costs. Oil will eventually get priced out, forcing the transition to another energy source. If we were to tap into unconventional sources of oil we would still be looking at a much higher cost of production without considering the environmental costs.
Cars impose a heavy public burden. By some estimates, over 50% of all America's urban land is devoted to accommodating cars. Furthermore, most of America's cars are parked over 90% of the time. That means a lot of urban land and a lot of vehicles aren't being used very efficiently.
Sustainable mobility can be addressed through increasing the options for alternative transportation and fuels.
Google, for example, runs a biodiesel shuttle between its main office in Mountain View and San Francisco. The company calculates that, based on reducing employees' driving back and forth in cars, it is saving some 2,325 gallons of gas per week.
Austin, Texas is taking an active role in promoting plug-in hybrids (the city also owns the electric utility).
Ultimately, though, for any of this to work, the bulk of us have to want it to work. We've been through one oil crunch a few decades back, and had we maintained a path of efficiency and conservation, we'd be in a different situation right now.
Why is it so hard to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation or their bikes or even just walking? Habit and preference? Being able to go where you want to, when you want to, with a minimum of physical effort, a maximum of comfort, and little immediate visible downside?
It is not a phenomenon associated with just the U.S., although we are currently the extreme example of it. There have been a number of studies done on the direct correlation between economic development and vehicle-miles traveled. This is one of the reasons that the rapid development of the Asian economies will have such an impact on global oil consumption.
"To counter the individual impulse, you need a combination of education and incentive/disincentive (stick your hand in the flame, it burns; drive a big gas guzzler, pay a lot of extra money). The incentive/disincentive can be altruistic (I want to improve, not befoul my world) or pragmatic (I can't afford to drive this beast)". - Mike Millikin
Government comes into play for both incentives (tax breaks, investments in new technologies) and disincentives (carbon tax, fuel tax, etc.). But the market ultimately will have its say.
So what does the future automobile look like? Well, If you bought a new Prius recently you know that alot of people are interested in the 47 miles to the gallon it gets. The Oak Ridge National Lab last year did some work forecasting possible hybrid share of the vehicle market in the U.S. They calculated that diesels and hybrids together could capture 40 percent or more of the light-duty vehicle market by 2012.
You can now also find biodiesel distributors serving just about every state, but most especially on the two coasts and in the Midwest. The National Biodiesel Board estimates that U.S. producers have a combined current capacity of 150 million gallons per year, although in 2004, they produced only 30 million gallons. So the potential to meet demand is there, but when will demand meet the potential? There are also people out there who have been driving fully-electric cars for years and have not been to the gas station once in that time. Yet present-day electric-vehicle technology (which allows you to plug into the power produced by residential solar panels, for example) is not being talked about by mainstream media. The same thing (relative oddball obscurity) would have happened to hybrids, were it not for the doggedness of Honda and Toyota. A new technology needs a resolute champion. Some of the more amazing success stories needed corporate "parents." No automaker took on electric vehicles in that manner. Honda and Toyota did take that role with hybrids, even though it did not necessarily look like a winning strategy.
Common sense tells us that the hydrogen fuel economy is many years away at best, especially when considering the larger issues of infrastructure and support. The vision of hydrogen generated from renewable energy or bio-sources is a compelling one. The vision of hydrogen reformed from natural gas (as 95 percent of U.S. production is currently), is not environmentally or financially beneficial. As the price of natural gas rises, and as natural gas peaks and declines, the projected cost of hydrogen soars. However, there are plenty of opportunities for commercial fleets to convert to hydrogen produced on site with renewable technologies (wind, solar, bio-mass). Those efforts should be encouraged, as the more knowledge and experience we get, the better off we'll be in having a shot at making this a reality in the passenger car market.
We need time to do it right, time we can get by relying on other technologies (plug-in hybrids, electrics, biodiesel) to reduce our fuel consumption. We can not use the coming hydrogen economy as an excuse to not take immediate action now.
Unfortunately, the issues of global warming and fossil fuel depletion are less than immediate for the majority. People tend to generalize based on immediate experience. It doesn't seem hotter, so how can the world be warming? They also read or hear contradictory reports.
"The end of our oil-based economy will be the single most
event in the long history of human civilization, and each of us will
to see it and be responsible for dealing with it". -
“We’ll have fun, fun, fun till her Daddy takes the T-Bird away”.
- The Beach Boys
On any given day headlines might say (a) the
of oil is going up, (b) the price of oil is going down. Most
don't have the time to sit down and actually sort through everything.
there's a media coverage issue there. In other words, there's no
foundation for agreement (or belief) for most people. Without strongly
held convictions, you don't have activism.
Most dramatic change occurs when the objective conditions become so intolerable they force activity on a sufficient number of people to make the change. That hasn't happened yet with global warming or with oil depletion.
But when faced with hard evidence or an impact that affects us directly, we can change course rapidly in this country. It happened after the first oil crises. It happened in California after the major blackout, voluntary measures cut electricity consumption to the point where we didn't have a repeat. It's starting to happen with auto purchases (sales of full-size SUVs dropping).
One of the tricks in building awareness and active responses to global warming and depletion is to make it more immediate. One way it becomes more immediate for people is for them to understand what others are doing and why. Ask around, I bet you'll find someone you know who has made a switch.
So back to passenger vehicles. What do you do with your old Subaru Outback when you can't afford a new hybrid or a diesel? Vehicle maintenance and driver behavior play very important roles in maximizing fuel efficiency and minimizing emissions in older cars. Keep the tires at the right pressure, keep the filters clean, the engine tuned, and so on. Basic stuff.
In terms of driving, you can make a big difference by not speeding. Studies have estimated that on the highway, some 50 percent of the energy required to keep rolling is aimed at overcoming aerodynamic drag. As speed increases, the aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance increase. Cut the speed, conserve fuel. A rule of thumb says that an increase in passenger car speed from 65 mph to 70 mph typically results in a 10 percent decrease in fuel economy. The 10 percent decrease is not a linear relationship -- there is an increasingly greater increase in fuel consumption as speed increases. The 55 mph speed limit was originally established 30 years ago in response to the set of oil crises then.
In traffic, you can cut your engine at traffic lights, or if you're stopped for more than a few seconds. As an example, the Japanese government is taking a campaign for such manual "idling stop" from buses and taxis and other commercial vehicles to the general car-owning population in an effort to save fuel and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In tests run by the government, idling-stop reduced fuel consumption by 13.4 percent. We are now seeing automatic stop-start systems appear in even non-hybrid new cars.
How quickly do people worldwide need to change their consumptive nature in order to stop the wrecking ball of unsustainability? A useful perspective comes from the Hirsch report, prepared for the Department of Energy, on strategies for mitigating the impact of depletion:
Waiting until world oil production peaks before taking crash program action leaves the world with a significant liquid-fuel deficit for more than two decades.
Initiating a mitigation crash program 10 years before world oil peaking helps considerably but still leaves a liquid-fuels shortfall roughly a decade after the time that oil would have peaked.
Initiating a mitigation crash program 20 years before peaking appears to offer the possibility of avoiding a world liquid-fuels shortfall for the forecast period.
So urgency varies with assumption of the date of the actual onset of depletion. If we actually hit peak production within the next year or so, as many are increasingly thinking, we're in for a rough decade at the minimum, more likely two. And that's in the scenario of a peaceful, rational response to depletion. A possible worst case scenario would be a bloody series of resource wars, expending state treasure and lives in pursuit of a waning resource.
Information, in part, was taken from Grist and Mike Milllikin, publisher of green-car blog: http://www.greencarcongress.com/
For comprehensive information on alternative fuels and vehicles that use them visit: http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/index.html
Are you having fun yet? What¹s a
No sense of humor? You didn¹t enjoy watching Venezuelan President
Hugo Chávez addressing the U.N. General Assembly and saying of
Bush: ³The devil came here yesterday, right here. It smells of
still today.² Many U.N. delegates roared with laughter.
Oh well then, you must have enjoyed watching Iran¹s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad breezing through New York City, lecturing everyone from the U.N.
to the Council on Foreign Relations on the evils of American power and how the Holocaust was just a myth.
C¹mon then, you had to at least have gotten a chuckle out of China¹s U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, trying to block a U.N. resolution calling for the
deployment of peacekeeping troops to Sudan to halt the genocide in Darfur. I¹m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the China National Petroleum Corporation owns 40 percent of the Sudan consortium that pumps over 300,000 barrels of oil a day from Sudanese wells.
No? You¹re not having fun? Well, you¹d better start seeing the humor in all this, because what all these stories have in common is today¹s most infectious geopolitical disease: petro-authoritarianism.
Yes, we thought that the fall of the Berlin Wall was going to unleash an unstoppable wave of free markets and free people, and it did for about a decade, when oil prices were low. But as oil has moved to $60 to $70 a barrel, it has fostered a counterwave ‹ a wave of authoritarian leaders who are not only able to ensconce themselves in power because of huge oil profits but also to use their oil wealth to poison the global system to get it to look the other way at genocide, or ignore an Iranian leader who says from one side of his mouth that the Holocaust is a myth and from the other that Iran would never dream of developing nuclear weapons, or to indulge a buffoon like Chávez, who uses Venezuela¹s oil riches to try to sway democratic elections in Latin America and promote an economic populism that will eventually lead his country into a ditch.
For a lot of reasons ‹ some cyclical, some technical and some having to do with the emergence of alternative fuels and conservation the price of crude oil has fallen lately to around $60 a barrel. Yes, in the long run, we want the global price of oil to go down. But we don¹t want the price of gasoline to go down in America just when $3 a gallon has started to stimulate large investments in alternative energies. That is exactly what OPEC wants ‹ let the price fall for a while, kill the alternatives, and then bring it up again.
For now, we still need to make sure, either with a gasoline tax or a
tariff on imported oil, that we keep the price at the pump at $3 or
to stimulate various alternative energy programs, more conservation and
a structural shift by car buyers and makers to more fuel-efficient
If Bush were the leader he claims to be, he would impose an import fee
right now to keep gasoline prices high, and reduce the tax rate on
Security for low-income workers, so they would get an offsetting
in income,² argued Philip Verleger Jr., the veteran energy
That is how we can permanently break our oil addiction, and OPEC, and free ourselves from having to listen to these petro-authoritarians, who are all so smug ‹ not because they are educating their people or building competitive modern economies, but because they happen to sit on oil. According to Bloomberg.com, in 2005 Iran earned $44.6 billion from crude oil exports, its main source of income. In the same year, the mullahs spent $25 billion on subsidies to buy off the population. Bring the price of oil down to $30 and guess what happens: All of Iran¹s income goes to subsidies. That would put a terrible strain on Ahmadinejad, who would have to reach out to the world for investment. Trust me, at $30 a barrel, the Holocaust isn¹t a myth anymore.
But right now, Chávez, Ahmadinejad and all their petrolist pals think we are weak and will never bite the bullet. They have our number. They know that Mr. Bush is a phony that he always presents himself as this guy ready to make the "tough" calls, but in reality he has not asked his party, the Congress, the people, or U.S. industry to do one single hard thing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Mr. Bush prattles on about spreading democracy and freedom, but history will actually remember the Bush years as the moment when petro-authoritarianism not freedom and democracy spread like a wildfire and he did nothing serious to stop it.
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
Harry O. Rakfeldt<></> <>
But “oil” is probably the one area that almost no one thinks about when considering practical choices as, “What can I do to improve equipment performance, reduce my vehicle operating costs, or offset record fuel prices?”<>We strive for conservation and efficiency in many areas – so why not in our lubricants?</>
Oil today is a frequent, prominent news topic. We’re faced with reduced crude oil output and record fuel prices. And most of us think these are beyond our control.<>One reason is that most people are unaware that all “oils” are not equal. Another -- because crude oil-based lubricants dominate the scene, accounting for 93%-95% of all usage -- we don’t even consider that there may be something better or different. </> <>
Good News </>
What are synthetic lubricants?</>
Conventional lubricants are refined from crude oil, the majority imported. True synthetics are designed through organic synthesis (molecular engineering). And synthetics are Made in the USA.
[Ethylene is a plant hormone that differs from other plant hormones in being a gas. It is released by many fruits, e.g., apples, oranges, avocados, as they approach maturity. Ethylene promotes the ripening of the fruit.
Ethylene is catalytically polymerized to form polyalphaolefins [PAO’s ] which are liquid synthetic hydrocarbons.]
“Energy efficiency is the single most cost-effective step to
that leads to global warming.”
David Nemtzow, President,
Fuel mileage was tracked on a salesman's Ford Taurus. Before using synthetic oil, mileage averaged 24.3 mpg. Mileage increases using (brand name) premium 0W-30 synthetic engine oil measured 3.8 to 5.2 mpg.</>
Even in production, synthetics tread more lightly on the environment. Because synthetics perform much longer, fewer products overall are produced for a given customer’s needs. This translates also into less packaging, less resultant waste, less disposal, less energy overall is used in production and distribution.
Synthetics outperform conventional lubricants in all criteria and applications and excel because of three predominant characteristics:
Synthetics are very stable. Their contaminant-free chemistry is very resistant to thermal and oxidative breakdown. Premium synthetic engine oil, for example, can be safely used for extended drain intervals up to 11 times longer than conventional oil! Drain intervals of 7,500, 15,000, 25,000, and 35,000 miles a year are possible with synthetic engine oils. There are Class 8 trucks (the large tractor-trailer combinations) that regularly achieve 70,000 to 200,000 miles between oil drains.
• In early 1998, The State of Alabama Department of Finance Fleet Services began testing AMSOIL premium synthetic engine oil 5W30 and AMSOIL oil filters in a group of 1998 FORD Taurus AFV's (Alternative Fuel Vehicle). In FY 2000, the entire 'rental fleet' of about 190 vehicles was converted to AMSOIL products. Annual average vehicle mileage is 23,000 plus with only one oil and two filter* changes during the period. Cost for oil, filters, and labor per each 25,000 miles of vehicle operations now was less than half the
cost of the former program that used conventional
aftermarket filters, and short drain intervals, saving precious
Annual fleet mileage averages 4.2 million miles -- all on the AMSOIL program.
(*In 2006, AMSOIL’s new nano-fiber technology EaO oil filter with its one year or 25,000 mile life span was integrated into the maintenance program, delivering even further savings in inventory, disposal, and man-hours.)
The low coefficient of friction reduces friction and heat very effectively, greatly reducing component failure and rate of component wear. With friction reduced, equipment runs cooler and lasts longer<>
"...The common law of
business balance prohibits paying a
little and getting a lot -- it can't be done..."
John Ruskin, 1819-1900, English author, architect and economist
The value of synthetics lies in the ability to provide a unique solution to a lubrication consideration.<>The initial higher price for synthetics is offset by the long-term value of the solution provided. The price of a premium synthetic engine oil, for example, can be set against lower oil consumption, lengthened drain periods, increased parts life, reduced maintenance costs, better performance, reduced emissions, and resource conservation; overall -- cost effective.</> <>(Some Related Insight -- Synthetic lubricants are as different from each other as they differ from crude oil based lubricants. There is no single, accepted definition for “synthetic” lubricants. Price is not a differentiating benchmark. Some synthetics sold in specialty/sporting equipment stores are priced very high. For many conventional oil companies, synthetic lubricants represent only token interest compared to their conventional products. And there is at least one popular major brand product marketed as a synthetic that uses highly refined crude oil for its base stock.)</>
World Turmoil<>In 2003, the
Turmoil and growing
demand have placed the
For most of us, synthetic lubricants represent an unrealized opportunity.<>Whether you’re a soccer mom, operate a lawn care firm, drive thousands of miles as a Realtor, crunch tax numbers, go RV’ing, build web sites, enjoy boating, have a hay farm, operate a fleet of vehicles -- put premium synthetic lubricants to work for you, your pocketbook, and the environment. When it comes to “green,” this is a practice all of us can do. </>
-Reduced fuel consumption –
-Extended application intervals – improved productivity
-Longer equipment life – higher return on capital investment
-Informed decision-making – enhanced maintenance
quality products – maximum value
-Reduced dependence on foreign oil
-Reduced environmental impact
-Higher Quality Costs Less
Synthetic lubricants are a worthy option. You can be Green, save money, help our planet – all with “oil!”
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