Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Comprehensive Plan to Revitalize Domestic Economy and Reduce Dependence on Arab Oil

By LaNMaN2000 in Op-Ed
Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:03:32 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The following is a draft proposal that would allow the United States to help its own economy while reducing its dependence on Arab oil. With the instability of the Middle East, it is vital that domestic energy sources be utilized to their fullest potential and unique technologies be exploited.


1) Approve Democratic alternative to drilling in the ANWR. There is currently a lot of natural gas that is being released from the ground at nearby oil wells only to be lost because there is no pipeline for natural gas in Alaska. As the amount of natural gas lost far exceeds the amount of oil in the ANWR, this is a sounder long term strategy, especially given (2).

2) Offer government incentives for the construction of natural gas->gasoline conversion facilities. Both coal and natural gas can be converted to gasoline but natural gas is far more abundant in the U.S. and we have less use for it (coal can be more efficiently burned in power plants for electricity). The difference in cost between importing oil from the Middle East and refining it into gasoline and converting natural gas->methane->gasoline is not as large as you would think. Nevertheless, since the entire supply chain: excavation, transport, refining, etc. is limited to the U.S. and Canada, many new U.S. jobs will be created. Our domestic supply of natural gas is HUGE and the addition of (1) will ensure that we will be able to operate continuously for at least a few years without requiring Arab oil.

3) Impose trade duties on the import of Arab oil and use the revenues to fund the subsidies in (2). The price of oil is kept artificially high as a result of illegal collusion on the part of OPEC. This is why we would be allowed to impose duties on the oil that they export. The price for the consumer would still be relatively stable as the foriegn oil producers would be forced to compete with the new domestic gasoline production industry created as a consequence of (2).

4) Invest heavily in the development of fusion and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Natural gas is the best natural source of hydrogen and, as mentioned in (2), it is incredibly abundant. Our objective should be to set up a timeline for the commercial introduction of such systems and incentives should be offered for their adoption. In the long term, these technologies will be far cheaper for the consumer and this will leave room for the government to recover its initial investment through a modest increase in fuel taxes (still leaving the consumer with an overall cost reduction).

5) A "made in the USA" labelling standard should be developed for gasoline whose natural origin is within our domestic borders.

6) The decrease in overall demand for Arab oil will trigger a massive price drop. The CIA can utilize front corporations to cheaply stockpile tens of millions of barrels to protect us against an energy crisis should one of our domestic supplies be disturbed.

This would be a way to cheaply solve most of the current domestic crises without upsetting any of the lobbies. The energy industry will welcome the government grants for the construction of the new natural gas->gasoline plants as well as the trade duties imposed on OPEC that leave room for them to establish a domestic oligopoly. The environmentalists will appreciate that the ANWR will not be disturbed and subsidies will be offered for the development of clean power technologies, and consumers will be reassured that our nation's power supply is independent of the Middle East conflicts.

Even if gas prices rise nominally in the short term, most consumers will patriotically opt for the "made in the USA" gas that does not support Middle East terrorists. Companies will gleefully direct consumers patriotic fervor by exposing the Saudi Arabian terrorist connection and running ads that depict buying non-"made in the USA" oil as being responsible for thousands of American deaths.

This is possibly the only time in our history when we will have the ability to break free of Arab oil. We might as well take advantage of it.

Net Result: thousands of new jobs, increase in national security, appease energy lobby, appease environmentalists, offer an alternative to American consumers, and funding for the development of new power technologies. Sounds like a win, win, win, win, win to me.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Would You Support This Proposal?
o Yes 47%
o No 15%
o Arrogant American, I wouldn't support this proposal because I'm not in your stupid country. 36%

Votes: 44
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by LaNMaN2000


Display: Sort:
Comprehensive Plan to Revitalize Domestic Economy and Reduce Dependence on Arab Oil | 84 comments (79 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
Regarding Number 4 (2.66 / 3) (#1)
by Dlugar on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:35:01 PM EST

I truly doubt such would ever happen, since the "vested powers" have interests against it. The others, however, seem to do well in both keeping Big Oil at home happy and weaning us off petrol from the Middle East at the same time.

Dlugar

bravo, man! but... (3.75 / 4) (#2)
by sayke on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 09:37:19 PM EST

i would really like to see some numbers supporting your assertions about the amount of natural gas in north america (especially compared to the amount of oil in the ANWR), and about the efficiency of natural gas -> methane -> gasoline conversion.

the line about CIA front companies cracked me up ;)


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */

Bravo (4.00 / 4) (#3)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:06:48 PM EST

These are all excellent supply side ideas (although I think the DoE could probably handle the CIA's role).

What I think is missing from this (intentionally or not) is the equivilent measures on the demand side.

A 5% reduction in fossil fuel usage would go as far as any of the above measures (except possibly discovering cold fusion which would be fully k-rad).

We could get that reduction by increasing fuel milage on cars and trucks. Decreasing electricity usage (I'm trying to sleep without the night-light but its scary). Or even by turning down our thermostats (except for you people in Minnesota, you're exempt, it's damn cold there).

Still some good ideas.

Turning down thermostats (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:17:31 AM EST

No kidding about the thermostats. My wife saw a energy-saving suggestion the other day that said "Trying turning the heat down to 74". 74?? I have mine set at 68!

That said, on a sunny autumn afternoon my house is around 71-72. That's because I have large south facing windows. This simple construction idea (passive solar heating) could save billions but hardly anyone does it. And you can save even more with more sophisticated construction: trombe walls to store the heat overnight, ductworks and fans to distribute the heat, etc.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
65 (none / 0) (#61)
by paulT on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:08:47 PM EST

I just moved into a house and at night we set the thermostat down to 65 and set it at 68 in the day. The house is more than comfortable as long I wear long sleeves and such. Plus once we have the 40 year old furnace out and the new high efficiency in we're looking at cutting our heating bills in half.

We live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which is much farther north than Minnesota.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
65/68 (none / 0) (#76)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 08:46:23 AM EST

Actually, this is how my wife wants to set it. But a) we have two children under the age of 3 and their room has no thermostat. Can't have them getting cold. And b) we just got a high-eff (95% or so) natural gas furnace, so even after bumping it up a couple of degrees we are still saving energy/money.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Making a difference (none / 0) (#77)
by paulT on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 10:50:11 AM EST

Our high-eff furnance will be installed on November 7 and my wife just corrected me, we have our temp at 60 at night and 65 during the day. I screwed up the conversion from celsius (15 at night and 18 during the day).

Some of it is what you're used to as well. I was raised here in Edmonton where winter is a way of life. I find summer temperatures over 25 C (77 F) to be too hot and our current highs of 10 C (50 F) to be quite comfortable. In the high arctic Inuit children wander around barefoot in snow and we shouldn't forget all the current stories about Afghani's tolerance for the brutal cold of the high mountains there.

The bottom line is making the effort the conserve a little and whether that means dropping the temp from 70 to 65 or from 75 to 70 it still makes a difference.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
mmm... black gold (3.81 / 11) (#4)
by raaymoose on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:08:58 PM EST

Well, I like the fact this proposes development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. While I'm not a huge fan of the oil industry, I work in it at the moment, and you've forgotten your friendly Canuck neighbors in your plan. We've got scads of oil and wouldn't mind selling some of it (though technically it's forgein, but it's right next door instead of across a few oceans). There's major development in Alberta, especially in the Athabasca oilsands. At present, with Suncor Energy Inc's Millennium project coming online, the area produces ~600k bbl of oil a day, by 2008 this will be well above 1 Mbbl a day. There's enough here to fuel Canada's oil needs for 5 centuries. There is an estimated a 1.7 trillion barrels in the Athabasca deposits alone. (33% of known world petroleum reserves; how much is recoverable at present is debatable, 300 billion at least)


Suncor Energy
Syncrude
Albian Sands
And a general FAQ on the oilsands: Oilsands FAQ


Simple fix. (4.62 / 8) (#18)
by physicsgod on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:46:24 AM EST

Change the "Made in the USA" label to "Made in America". Still appeals to the patriotic impulse, still technically true while allowing our good Canadian (and Mexican and Venezuelan) friends in on the action.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
2B (3.83 / 6) (#5)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:15:05 PM EST

2B. Encourage the use of biodiesel and ethanol, thus increasing demand for the crops that are used in their production and further decreasing our dependence on foreign energy reserves.

Result: appease both the agriculture lobby (and possibly the environmentalists too), and yet more alternatives.

Question (none / 0) (#9)
by finial on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:53:40 PM EST

Would you support this if it required bioengineered crops to make it profitable?

[ Parent ]
Hell yes. (none / 0) (#13)
by Anonymous 6522 on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:38:26 PM EST

I don't have anything against the idea of GM crops in general, it's just that some of the implementations strike me as being wrong, like having to license your seed, etc.

[ Parent ]
Ponder II (2.00 / 2) (#10)
by finial on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:59:29 PM EST

What do you think the reaction would be to using farmland to plant crops used for production of fuel rather than to feed poor, starving Afghan (&c &c) people? And how long do you think it would be before that comparison is made?

[ Parent ]
Famine (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by Ludwig on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:17:38 PM EST

There's plenty of food to go around, it just doesn't always get to the people who need it. Starvation isn't due to lack of food production.

[ Parent ]
Yes, that's true but (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by finial on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:38:34 PM EST

Yes, that's true but there seems to be a huge collection of people who truly believe that it's impossible to do two things at once or who believe that everything is a zero-sum game. How many times have you heard things like "why should we help those people overseas when we have [x|y|z] problems in our own country" as if it is impossible to do both? I think this would be one of those cases. Those who believe that it is our responsibility to feed the world (whether it is or not) would use this as yet another example of how the US (presumably) is using its land in non- or counter-productive ways. And the rhetoric would double or triple since the only ones who would be likely to be able to produce on this scale would be someone like Monsanto or ADM or, perhaps, Philip Morris. And that would bring in the big-corporations-are-bad-mmkay anti-globalization crowd.

[ Parent ]
We don't care (none / 0) (#32)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:11:42 AM EST

If the wogs aren't shooting at us, who cares what happens to them? Do you think that more than a small fraction of the people in the US, or Europe, gave a damn about Rwanda?

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Won't work. Sorry... (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by weirdling on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:11:20 AM EST

Production of fuel by way of biomass is a bad idea. It's been tried before, back in the seventies, when ethanol and methanol were produced in large amounts. Some of my relatives went broke in that craze, building a large plant to produce the stuff. It takes practically zero mods to make an engine run on the stuff; many currently will. Of course, much of the gasoline in this country has some alcohol in it already.

As to biodiesel, the schemes I've heard aren't as effective as corn/ethanol in producing fuel in terms of gallons per acre per time period. Problem is that biomass fuel production is a terribly inefficient way to produce fuel...

No biomass solution is better than one percent efficient, afaik.


I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Didn't work once, might as well give up, huh? (5.00 / 3) (#37)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:24:06 AM EST

As I recall, the gasohol scheme of the '70s went bust not due to any technical difficulties or inherent flaws, it was simply because the gas crisis ended and prices went back down before it could be widely implemented. Americans, not known for taking the long view, had no interest in putting money into alcohol fuels without an immediate pressing incentive to do so.

The nice thing about bio-fuel is that it's renewable and implementable on a small scale. You don't need to be lucky enough to have a pool of crude somewhere nearby, you don't need to drill miles into the Earth's crust to get it, you just need some arable land and a still.

[ Parent ]

Have you done the calculations? (none / 0) (#68)
by weirdling on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:53:15 PM EST

Gasohol is prohibitively expensive. Since there's tons of fuel still available on the North American continent, and digging it out is always cheaper than farming it, there's not a lot of chance of actually doing this.

It's not at all shortsighted; there's significant problems with biomass fuel, such as that it produces so little fuel compared to what it uses. In other words, farming uses fuel, if done on any scale. Fuel is required for fertilizer, fuel is required to drive the machinery to do the plowing, planting, harvesting, etc. Fuel is required to move the resulting product to market. Digging fuel out of the ground is all gravy; making fuel farming is not.

It can work on a small scale with dedicated people, but will never work on the open market. Before biomass fuel becomes common, less lossy systems such as solar cells will be used for harvesting solar energy, as the efficiency of biomass is less than one percent, not counting fuel investment, but around ten percent for solar cells that can be produced cheaply enough right now to be used on a large scale.

Still, solar energy will not be up to the task of providing adequate energy for any industrialized world...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Domestic? (3.00 / 5) (#6)
by eann on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:15:35 PM EST

What does "domestic" mean? If some US-based petroleum company is drilling in what would otherwise be considered international waters in the Gulf of Mexico, does that count? What if the same company is running a rig in the North Sea? What if they're a major (or majority) investor in a Saudi operation that actually drills on the Arabian peninsula?

For everything else, I think you've made some good points, and it could possibly be refined (heh!) into a workable proposal.


Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


Reducing dependence (4.00 / 6) (#7)
by Ludwig on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:27:35 PM EST

Unless we reduce dependence on OPEC oil to zero, it won't make a difference. As long as you have to buy any oil from OPEC, they set the price of all oil. They'll just reduce their output enough to raise prices across the board. American petroleum producers aren't altruistic; they have no motive to undercut OPEC producers since there's still more demand than they can meet. (No one is choosing to buy Arab oil instead of American. This is why drilling in the ANWR would have no effect on gasoline prices.)

Imposing duties on foreign oil would raise prices for the consumer until your step 2 was done, something that would take a lot more than one election cycle -- political suicide. A long-term plan towards reducing oil demand through investment in alternate sources is a commendable goal, but one which I guarantee you that the Bush administration has no interest in whatsoever.

One more thing to take note of is that pissing off OPEC would increase instability in the Mideast, and not all OPEC members are Arab countries anyway. Although maybe we could interest Venezuela in a shift of alliance by including them in our own little cartel. How about WHOPR (Western Hemisphere Oil Producers and Russia)?

Instability in the Mideast (none / 0) (#31)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:09:18 AM EST

Is only an issue if we are buying oil from them. If we aren't buying their oil than we care no more about how they go about massacreing each other than we do about any other sort of wogs. Just ask the Rwandans.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Ok, but (3.50 / 4) (#8)
by Merc on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:46:26 PM EST

Once the US dependence on oil from the middle east is lessened, the US should no longer have any need to prop up the Saudi monarchy or to make sure Israel survives at all costs.

In that light, it should consider trying to help achieve a meaningful, lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. It should also try to help the Saudi people for a change, instead if just trying to help the Saudi king. Whether they are transitioned to a democratic system, or a muslim system more along the lines of the teachings of the prophet Mohammad, they should be encouraged to adopt a system that is good for the people, not just the royalty.

Otherwise what happened with Afghanistan will just happen again. The US did things right with Germany and Japan as far as I'm concerned. It might be the more difficult path, but in the end it pays off.



Greed or Altruism? (none / 0) (#27)
by sacrelicious on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:15:44 AM EST

In that light, it should consider trying to help achieve a meaningful, lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors.

You're forgetting that this will negate our possibility of cheap oil...

Greed or Altruism? I wonder which one our economic model is based on?

I'd like peace as much as the next guy... but I'm not holding my breath waiting.



[ Parent ]

Israel ain't got oil (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by mech9t8 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:24:35 PM EST

Once the US dependence on oil from the middle east is lessened, the US should no longer have any need to prop up the Saudi monarchy or to make sure Israel survives at all costs.

Saudi Monarchy? Yes.

Israel? Nope. Israel imports all it's oil - the land itself is pretty much completely empty of natural resources.

US support of Israel is based on the large and influencial Jewish population in the US itself... which influenced Israel's largely Western culture and democracy, and military and economic ties. But US support of Israel probably makes life more difficult for our oil interests.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Israeli Oil (none / 0) (#75)
by reeses on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 07:38:24 AM EST

Israel? Nope. Israel imports all it's oil - the land itself is pretty much completely empty of natural resources.
You're right here. However, it has been argued that the oil reserves under the Sinai Peninsula would be sufficient to meet Israel's domestic oil needs. Israel has seized the area on more than one occasion, only giving it back at the command of the US. It would not be unexpected that without the US backing Israel financially, the restraint we are able to impose would be gone. Larger neighboring areas would be seized, the Sinai Peninsula foremost among those.

[ Parent ]
It has also been suggested (none / 0) (#80)
by Jacques Chester on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 05:38:40 AM EST

That US involvement in the continuing Israel-Palestine saga is basically trying to keep enough pressure on the cooker to stop the lid flying off. How long would it take stuff out there to get Very Funky Indeed without some kind of superpower bending the local "gravity field" of power? Israel has long had "The Samson Option": nuke the middle east into green glass, starting with Baghdad. And if the US left them to their own devices, in a sea of mututal hatred, it might just happen. A definite not-want.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]
Coming tomorrow: (3.64 / 14) (#11)
by rebelcool on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:01:57 PM EST

My story on how to cure cancer, aids, and every other sickness.

I am not a doctor. I dont have a degree, in fact, i'm dont know a whole lot about chemistry.

But this is the internet, and by golly I can say I have a plan to fix anything even though I have little or no qualifications! The people will eat it right up!

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

But... (5.00 / 4) (#16)
by J'raxis on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:48:11 PM EST

But... did you stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Unconventional Thinking (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by LaNMaN2000 on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:56:14 PM EST

Sometimes, a problem is better approached by people who are not heavily invested (either financially, ideologically, or physically) in the current infrastructure. People in the industry would never suggest something so outrageous because they are taught to think within the context of the existing establishment.

There is a reason that buzzwords like "out of the box thinking" continue to float around. I'm not saying that I have the qualifications to implement the plan, but sometimes unrestricted brainstorming can raise some innovative ideas.

Lenny

-----------------
Lenny Grover -- link-spamming to make Google give me my name back!
[ Parent ]
Item 7) (4.41 / 12) (#15)
by mmcc on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:46:17 PM EST

Eliminate excessive and wasteful use of energy by citizens.



Anti-Waste campaign? A start in Cali (3.50 / 4) (#26)
by sacrelicious on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:08:11 AM EST

As a resident here in ground-zero of the "energy crisis", I am bombarded on a daily basis by gov't paid adverts that remind folks how to minimize the usage of energy in simple ways.

Of course, there's no "don't drive uselessly large cars" campaign, nor is there any mention of not using other resources wastefully.

On the gripping hand, the problem with the oil dependency is that it's a self propogating phenomena when you consider the INCREDIBLY powerful forces who stand to benefit from the current (both pre- and post-WTC) situation (large corps, US military, etc.).

Nice idea, but difficult to implement in the current political climate.


[ Parent ]
'Pain-Free' Energy Conservation (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 05:18:06 AM EST

Robert Kuttner writes, in his recent Boston Globe article "A Self-Sufficient Energy Policy?":

But as energy visionaries like Amory and Hunter Lovins, codirectors of the Rocky Mountain Institute, have been pointing out since the first energy crisis, the cheapest and most reliable source of cheap, plentiful energy is to use less, not to drill for more. Their work, increasingly vindicated by events and the realities of dwindling petroleum supply, takes on new relevance with the current crisis.

As they point out, better building technology to conserve heat and light as well as more efficient transportation could easily cut energy consumption in half without reducing living standards. Far from being utopians, Amory and Hunter Lovins today consult to large corporations that have grasped the fact that it increases shareholder value to reduce energy costs by using recycled materials in production and saving on energy use. Shell Oil, of all sources, recently heralded the end of the petroleum age and announced that it would emphasize the development of new, renewable technologies.

Even existing technologies - everything from wind-power to hybrid cars - could drastically reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Toyota's Prius car, a gas-electric hybrid, gets 50 miles per gallon, and the Lovins Rocky Mountain Institute is developing a variant of Prius technology to build a 100 miles-per-gallon car.

Read it. It's really good! I've ordered the book mentioned in the article - "Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage".

I personally agree with Stan Goff that the war on Afghanistan is actually about oil pipelines, not terrorism. Sep 11 just gave the US an unimpeachable cover story... whether his conspiracy theory is right is another matter, but I do agree about the oil pipelines.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Good ideas (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by weirdling on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:17:01 AM EST

I like the one about converting natural gas to gasoline. However, natural gas prices are sky-high right now thanks to the fact that use has been oversold. Anyway, increasing production would be nice, but I'm not certain I want to pay for it just yet.

The situation isn't desparate; let the market handle it. If oil prices really are going to skyrocket, then you and some friends can get together some money and build the pipeline or whatever and clean up.

Me, I'd like to put a giant ten-reactor nuclear generator in Nevada or Utah and sell power to states that aren't so good at planning ahead (you know who you are)...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Gas prices (none / 0) (#63)
by paulT on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:27:04 PM EST

Natural gas prices are actually quite low right now. They have been very volatile over the last year going as high at $8 per per million Btu but are now back in the $2 to $3 range. Utility companies that purchase in the futures market may still be covering high prices from the last year but my gas company which only buys on the spot market just dropped our residential rate by over 40 per cent. This is the second drop they've made recently and our current rate is now 37 per cent of what it was last winter.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Gas prices (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by paulT on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:28:36 PM EST

Natural gas prices are actually quite low right now. They have been very volatile over the last year going as high at $8 per per million Btu but are now back in the $2 to $3 range. Utility companies that purchase in the futures market may still be covering high prices from the last year but my gas company which only buys on the spot market just dropped our residential rate by over 40 per cent. This is the second drop they've made recently and our current rate is now 37 per cent of what it was last winter.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Good idea - needs more work (3.80 / 5) (#25)
by ragnarok on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 04:42:22 AM EST

There is currently a lot of natural gas that is being released from the ground at nearby oil wells only to be lost because there is no pipeline for natural gas in Alaska.

Waste not, want not. This should be a basic principle of all enterprise, whether Private or Public.

Impose trade duties on the import of Arab oil and use the revenues to fund the subsidies in (2).

How realistic is that? With the US being perennially panned for its preaching of Free Trade and its hiding behind every trade barrier it can find, that doesn't seem like such a good idea.

Invest heavily in the development of fusion and hydrogen fuel cell technology. ... Our objective should be to set up a timeline for the commercial introduction of such systems and incentives should be offered for their adoption.

Better idea - get the US government to get the ball rolling in America and then get the Canucks involved. Then use NATO to trial it in Europe, and once it is proved, license it as cheaply as possible to as many people who want to give the fingers to the big oil companies.

This would be a way to cheaply solve most of the current domestic crises without upsetting any of the lobbies.

But do we want to let the oil companies to escape with wings unruffled? Anything that changes the status quo is not in their interests, and frankly, I suspect the US government is the only entity strong enough to stand up to them.

Worth developing it further.



"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies
One easy way.. (3.37 / 8) (#29)
by henrik on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:06:23 AM EST

The number one easiest way to reduce dependancies on oil: Use less oil. That means owning cars that are fuelefficient, replacing old machinery with new that uses less energy. Problem solved - plus you're doing the enviroment a favor.

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!

Distribution of energy production and usage (2.72 / 11) (#30)
by rehan on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:36:50 AM EST

Here's a chart showing the distribution of energy supply and demand amongst the various sources and sinks.

It seems as if most of the oil is used in transportation and the most of the rest of the oil used in other areas can be shifted to gas or some kind of electricity production, requiring "only" an increase in electricity production.

Now, I'm not sure how much of that transportation part is planes and how much is ground/water transportation, but ground transportation is, or will soon be, completely replaceable by electric vehicles.

So it seems feasible that a method of reducing reliance on Middle Eastern oil is to reduce reliance on oil period.

The problems to be addressed would be planes and improving electricity production and routing. I don't know about planes but the electricity problem could, I think, be solved by renewable sources such as huge solar arrays in the south-western states, tidal, wind etc. There are easy pickings to be made in energy conservation too - heat pumps, insulation, ventilation, CFLs, solar water heating, etc.

Well, that's my "plan". Based on 10 minutes research as it is, I'm sure there's a fair amount of bollocks in there, which everyone else is now free to point out :o)


Stay Frosty and Alert


Some additional thoughts (4.33 / 9) (#33)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:07:50 AM EST

You mention fusion and fuel cell, but what about geothermal, solar, wind, etc? All of these are efficient at least in specialized niches (e.g. geothermal for home heating/cooling). "Bio"-diversity is good. Imagine the havoc wrought had a terrorist attack on oil pipelines/storehouses occurred on 9/11. A winter fuel shortage?? But they can't take away the warmth of the Earth easily...

Second, conservation. This is actually less important than people realize. Energy use in and of itself is harmless. It's the environmental impacts we really care about and if you have clean energy that's pretty low. Nonetheless, anything that helps reduce costs, especially during the transition period, is good.

And there are plenty of ways conservation can be ramped up painlessly. I've started buying flourescent bulbs for my high-usage lights. I've only noticed two differences 1) Very slight lag when I turn the light on. 2) No heat. There is no flickering or color difference. These bulbs use 1/3-1/4 the power of an incandescent and they last 10 times longer--which means not only do I save power but I also save money.

Another example is so-called "phantom loads". You'd be amazed how much power is wasted in your house by such things as VCR clocks, sensors that wait for a remote power-on signal, etc. Asking manufacturers to add a feature to disable these things (instead of having to resort to switchable power strips) would be a great thing.

From my understanding the HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) on the market are also relatively painless. And they get 40-60 mpg.

Yes, yes, I know. SUVs. The bugaboo of the "50 ways to save the earth" crowd. Switching away from SUVs would not be painless so you might as well forget about it. And anyway, if we start being economically minded and in addition raise the price of dirty energy (which we'll have to do if we dump OPEC), SUVs will fade away by themselves.

Play 囲碁
SUVs (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by paulT on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:06:05 PM EST

Yes, yes, I know. SUVs. The bugaboo of the "50 ways to save the earth" crowd. Switching away from SUVs would not be painless so you might as well forget about it. And anyway, if we start being economically minded and in addition raise the price of dirty energy (which we'll have to do if we dump OPEC), SUVs will fade away by themselves.

I am not sure why a switch away from SUVs would not be painless. The large number of SUVs on the road is not do to any practical consideration and is more the result of marketing. SUVs are in, so people by lots of them. Driving smaller cars will not result in any hardship for people who use SUVs to drive to work on freeways.

For those that need more space I suggest station wagons. My wife and I need space for gear when we head to the mountains and for hauling stuff around for the volunteer groups we're involved in. We do not use the car for commuting though.

I think economic suggestions you make, if implemented, would quite painlessly decrease the number of SUVs on the road.

One thing, I have heard that one reason SUVs have proliferated is that they are classified the same as work vehicles. These vehicles are subsidised to some extent to benefit farmers who need them as work vehicles. SUVs no longer seem to fit that category. I do not know whether or not this is true or not but if anyone does know I wouldn't mind some clarification.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Introduce carbon tax (2.50 / 6) (#36)
by Scrymarch on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 10:51:45 AM EST

If people want to drive those big, stupid cars they can pay to fund the alternatives. Saves painful stuffing around with protective tariffs too, they're just welfare for companies.

Already have it (none / 0) (#38)
by dennis on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 11:49:26 AM EST

We already have a gas tax, so people with big vehicles pay more since they use more gas. Should they be penalized more than that? Doesn't seem fair. Should someone who drives all over the country in a little car pay less than someone with kids and dogs who uses an SUV to cart them around town?

(I drive a subcompact, BTW.)

[ Parent ]

Different (none / 0) (#42)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:31:56 PM EST

A gas tax is flat. Low-efficiency vehicles pay more because they have to buy more gas per work-unit done, not because of any graduated penalty. A "carbon tax" would presumably be linked to efficiency, or maybe emissions.

The justification for this might be something along the lines of arguing that petroleum is not a simple commodity which you get to waste as much of as you can afford, but some sort of quasi-collective resource. After all, no matter how much money you have, you wouldn't be allowed to buy the local water reservoir and drain it. In a drought even the wealthiest country clubs are forbidden to water their fairways.

[ Parent ]

Flat? So what? (none / 0) (#49)
by dennis on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 03:11:11 PM EST

The point is, shouldn't the amount you pay depend on how much gas you use? How much carbon you burn? If a soccer mom burns a ton of carbon carting kids and dogs around town in her SUV, and a travelling salesman burns three tons in the same time, driving around the country in a subcompact, shouldn't the salesman pay exactly three times more? Is the SUV carbon somehow magically more damaging per ton?

People who drive SUVs don't necessarily do it for fashion - they do it for cargo, or passengers. Should someone who buys an SUV so they can carpool to work with six people pay more than another person who drives a subcompact alone?

If you want to encourage people to be fuel-efficient, a simple gas tax is ideal. You encourage people to drive less, to carpool, to get the most efficient vehicle to do the job; in short, you allow people to figure out for themselves how to be most efficient.

[ Parent ]

Riding Alone (or almost alone) (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Nater on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 04:02:48 AM EST

People who drive SUVs don't necessarily do it for fashion - they do it for cargo, or passengers.

I live in Chicago and I see a lot of SUVs. Sometimes waiting at an intersection for the sign to change from "Don't Walk" to "Walk" can be a boring experience, and I tend to fill that time with simple activities to keep my mind occupied. One of my favorites, when there is a lot of traffic, is to count the number of cars that have more than one person in them, or have more than two, or have drivers who are talking on the phone, or have people who aren't wearing their seatbelts... you get the idea. I've been doing this for a couple of years, and the last time I saw more than two people in an SUV was in 1998, and the driver and all the passengers of that particular vehicle were drunk, so I don't really hold any high regard for them for filling the thing up with people.

Of course, that's just me and my pitiful little anecdotal evidence.

Oh, and this is offtopic, but worth mentioning. One time I was waiting for the light at Congress and Lake Shore Drive in Grant Park and I decided to count drivers on cell phones. In the time it took the light to change I counted over 250. That's out of maybe a thousand or fifteen hundred cars that passed me (that may sound like way too much traffic for one intersection, but keep in mind that Lake Shore Drive is an eight lane expressway that turns into an eight lane street when it enters Grant Park and then turns back into an eight lane expressway on the other side).


i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


[ Parent ]
Generalisation (none / 0) (#53)
by Scrymarch on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:36:00 AM EST

Sure, there's already a petrol tax. A carbon tax would be a generalisation of that beyond carbon across the economy.

If people aren't conserving enough at the moment, up the tax. It's pretty low by world standards. Placing it in the context of a broader carbon tax avoids the accusation of punishing drivers that got a few European governments in trouble last year.

[ Parent ]

Hehehe (1.41 / 12) (#39)
by trhurler on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:50:31 PM EST

Look at all the whiney ferriners and leftists admitting the truth - even if we had all the energy we could use, they'd still be against us using it! There's no real point to the "save the earth" crap in this case, because the move to hydrogen is the solution there. Burdening people meanwhile won't solve much(not nearly as much as closing a few coal plants,) and will create difficulties you enviro-weenie college students probably can't comprehend while living in your dorm rooms and walking across the street to class and then down the street to work every day. The fact is, we should be moving to hydrogen - but we shouldn't be wrecking our society to do it, because the world is not going to end in the next two decades.

However, most "environmentalists" are really just people who are envious of their neighbors, and want to screw them over. Let's admit that and move on; how many wealthy environmentalists do you know? How many environmentalists do you know who actually have to work for a living in the real world? A few, to be sure - but is it 10% of the total? Even 5%? I seriously doubt it; most are high school and college kids who've yet to learn what "practical" means, and a lot more have "jobs" as activists, NGO wonks, and so on. I don't know a single individual employed in the private sector for more than 3 years for whom environmentalism is anything more than a lip-service cause. It is all well and good for these left-yuppies to talk about saving the earth, as long as it doesn't mean making any sacrifice bigger than carpooling to work occasionally and recycling their soda cans - they'll gladly talk about doing more, of course, but they sure wouldn't want it to actually happen!

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Huh?? (4.50 / 4) (#40)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:22:40 PM EST

I rarely explain my ratings but in this case I think I better. I had to give you a 1 because I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. It reads like a Usenet rant against the UN...posted to alt.binaries.pictures.kittens.

I can't figure out who or what you are responding to. If you were a user I didn't recognize I'd just ignore it or vote 1 and move on. But in this case I have to ask: Did you take your medication this morning?

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
Heh (1.33 / 3) (#41)
by trhurler on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:29:26 PM EST

I'm in a fine mood. Read the other comments on the article and you'll see what I was attacking; despite streetlawyer's complaint, the most common response to the article is "oh, but you fucking Americans waste so much energy anyway, so quit trying to solve problems and just drive mopeds like us!"

And I'm making fun of them:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I like to think I am a "thought leader" (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by streetlawyer on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 07:46:37 AM EST

but American cars are still ugly pieces of shit. Pontiacs are the worst, but even the best are still ugly.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
American Cars (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by lscharf on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:31:45 AM EST

but American cars are still ugly pieces of shit. Pontiacs are the worst, but even the best are still ugly.

I like my 1989 Ford Tempo, thank you very much. I thought it was ugly when I first baught it, but I like it more every day - especially since it still runs!



[ Parent ]
Er... (2.50 / 2) (#58)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:22:43 PM EST

In general, I agree that American cars are ugly, but that has about as much to do with energy as my ass has to do with cellular technology. I prefer Japanese and German cars, but that doesn't mean I buy three wheeled one seaters and whine about how the gas mileage isn't as high as my lawn mower.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
It has everything to do with it (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by streetlawyer on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 02:23:49 AM EST

I wouldn't necessarily mind being flooded out of my house due to global warming caused by reasonably attractive automobiles, but the idea of having the Thames burst its banks because of a Chevy Suburban really gets my goat.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Great Post! (none / 0) (#82)
by sonovel on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 10:41:53 PM EST

I tend to disagree with the assumptions behind your argument, but I love how you made it.

Truly excellent, really.

I'm not being sarcastic in the slightest.

I love the juxtaposition of aesthetics and environmentalism.



[ Parent ]
I know, IHBT. (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:47:15 PM EST

I don't know a single individual employed in the private sector for more than 3 years for whom environmentalism is anything more than a lip-service cause.

That says a lot more about your acquaintances (and the private sector) than it does about environmentalism.

Wealthier people are the only ones who can afford to worry about environmentalism. The starving peasants deforesting the Amazon jungle could give two shits about "Mother Earth's lungs" or whatever, they just need room to plant some food.

But looking at it from that angle, you'd be decrying "limousine liberals" (whatever that's supposed to mean) who are "out of touch with the working class" instead of college kids who are jealous because they don't get to drive a Lincoln Navigator -- and are out of touch with the working class. Keep it up and you'll squeeze your working class out of the argument like a watermelon seed.

[ Parent ]

Simple solutions (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by K5er 16877 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:35:38 PM EST

Simple solutions only work when they change basic assumptions. None of this really challenges the assumptions that have built the oil structures we have today. Most basic assumptions are difficult to even list because they are so engrained in our thinking. "Markets need electricity", "Consumers will pay money for gasoline", and "There is a scarcity of raw materials to produce electricty" are three examples. If an assumption turns out to be false, the entire structure that supports the status quo is in danger of collapsing. Simple solutions must violate assumptions. Complex solutions are exempt from this rule, but any complex solution to the US dependance on foreign oil is far beyond the scope of k5.

One Case For Change (5.00 / 3) (#62)
by Nater on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:15:22 PM EST

I rode my bike to work all summer. It's about a fifteen mile round-trip, so it's not a trivial thing. I was injured recently and haven't riden much in the last month, but I do intend to ride to work all winter and next year, too.

So what's this got to do with anything?

Simple solutions only work when they change basic assumptions.

Bingo!

One of the basic assumptions that permeates American culture is that everyone needs a car. This is in fact wrong. People who spend greater than %95 of the year within a 10 mile radius of home do not need a car, and that's true of most people who live in big cities.

Cars have also created the need for cars. It's a calculatable fact that if you add up the space occupied by all of the cars in the United States and divide it into the area of all of the paved roads and parking lots in the United States, the quotient is somewhere around ten (I forget what the exact figure was, but it doesn't really matter because it flucuates with the paving of roads and the production of cars). It's also a calculatable fact that about %40 of any given munipality's land area is paved public ways and parking space for cars. The result of relying on cars is that our cities spread outward -- urban sprawl -- and as they do so, it becomes more vital for a person to own a car because the distances involved in getting anywhere are that much greater. The simple solution is to live in a location where everything you need is near enough that you only need to use a car occassionally. The less you actually use your car, the more that ratio of paved space to occupied space can shrink, and therefore our cities need not devote so much space to cars. Over time, the metropolitan area itself will shrink making it easier for people to drive less and less as the distances they have to travel become less and less. This of course assumes that people can shake the belief that they absolutely must own a car, which I know is not true for a vast, vast number of people in the United States.

But, suppose it happens. With less driving, that means less time spent commuting (more time for, for instance, raising a family), more exercise if you walk or ride a bike instead, less emissions into the environment, less public spending on pavement (in other words, more for something else, or possibly less taxes), and, in keeping with the subtopic at hand, less dependence on any source of oil, including Middle Eastern oil.

Our dependence on oil does not truly exist. It is a function of choices that we do not have to make, but are compelled to make by the society we live in. I have chosen to ride a bike to get where I need to go. In part, that decision was based on a desire to reduce my personal dependence on oil (I do however, still use things made of plastic and occassionally ride the bus).

There is no denying that the United States government has taken steps to ensure that the West can get oil from the Middle East, and we can argue till the day we die whether those actions are good or bad or any shade of gray in a 1950's era rainbow. Whether they are in fact good, or are in fact bad doesn't matter. What matters is that regardless of what the United States does, it's going to piss off someone in the Middle East. Since democratic governments are in short supply in that particular region, that person, or more likely that group, won't have any means to express their grievances except through terrorism.

I couldn't possibly state it quite so eloquently, so here is a quote by Scott Frank (I have no idea who this is, but he's eloquent): "We can kill everyone involved in plotting this tragedy, but as long as we maintain our dependence on oil and the corresponding foreign policy, others will take their place."

So even though the Bush administration would prefer that we spend more, use more, and consume more, I urge you to actually think about whether or not that's a good idea for each resource that you use. I hope I have made the case in favor of actually using less oil, however you choose to do it.


i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


[ Parent ]
Changing people's minds (none / 0) (#66)
by K5er 16877 on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:57:05 PM EST

Any plan that relies solely on changing an ingrained belief is difficult to enact. Propoganda can work, but it is very difficult, expensive, and, in this age, not very effective. During WWII, a whole field grew up around the propoganda to facilitate the war effort in the US (Social Psychology). Levin and his folk worked with huge budgets, staffs, and schedules and faced little opposition. Grassroots methods work on a small scale and, at the margin, have an effect. Their size, however, does not scale well to the magnitude we are talking about.

For that plan to work, you would need to mobilize a huge propoganda machine. It's size would need to exceed the corresponding military-industrial complex's and the oil industry's spin machine. They are going to fight the lessening of the oil dependancy tooth and nail. That's a hell of a lot of money; more money than I can imagine.

Cynical? No, just pragmatic.

[ Parent ]

So (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by Nater on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:34:45 PM EST

You can be as cynical (or pragmatic) as you want about whether or not other people will do what you think is right. However, you're a fool if you let that stop you from doing it.

I'm really not interested in changing the world. But I refuse to be a part of what I perceive to be the problem. I was simply expounding on what would happen if people followed my lead.

As I mentioned in my original post, it's all matter of people making personal choices, and I've made mine. What's yours?


i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


[ Parent ]
Addendum to last post. (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by Nater on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:49:05 PM EST

I think you may have misinterpretted this statement from my original post:

This of course assumes that people can shake the belief that they absolutely must own a car, which I know is not true for a vast, vast number of people in the United States.

It can be rightly interpretted to mean either "This of course assumes that people can shake the belief that they absolutely must own a car, which I know most people won't." or "This of course assumes that people can shake the belief that they absolutely must own a car, which I know most people don't." In other words, we are in agreement and you might not have realized it.

Sorry if there was any confusion, it's the little things that make all the difference (how apropos!).


i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


[ Parent ]
Duties and laws (4.33 / 3) (#44)
by K5er 16877 on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:42:10 PM EST

3) Impose trade duties on the import of Arab oil and use the revenues to fund the subsidies in (2).

Such action would violate WTO rules and subject the US to massive (read thousands of millions of US dollars) fines.

The price of oil is kept artificially high as a result of illegal collusion on the part of OPEC.

By defination, illegal activity is the breaking of a law. Laws apply to a jurisdiction. In general, laws from one jurisdiction do not apply to another. What laws has OPEC broken? Whose laws? I highly doubt that Argentina or Saudi Arabia have laws making OPEC activities illegal. You cannot apply US anti-trust laws to foreign governments. The US has no jurisdiction over the legal affairs of foreign governments.

If we play by rules... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by AArthur on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:13:15 AM EST

I hate to say it, but the WTO can levy trillions of dollars of fines on the US, but because we are a superpower, nobody can make us pay them.

We haven't payed UN dues, because some members of our goverment think the UN goes against American interest (hello, compremise in the world interest).

Personally, I think the UN is far more important to particpate in then WTO. And the WTO is an organization for gready capitalists to get richer.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

U.S. number one monetary supporter of U.N. (none / 0) (#81)
by sonovel on Fri Oct 19, 2001 at 10:29:27 PM EST

The U.S. provides and has provided far more money to the U.N. than any other nation.

Even though we owe (rightly or wrongly) the U.N. about a billion dollars, the U.S. is and has always been the prime monetary supporter of the U.N. We held a _portion_ of our dues back, but are now even paying that. Payment for half of what is owed has just been authorized by President Bush.

So to say about the U.S. that "we haven't payed U.N. dues" is only partially correct.


[ Parent ]
Don't hold your breath... (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by ana on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:24:31 PM EST

Invest heavily in the development of fusion...

Been doing that for decades, and it's still decades away. This is a hard problem, with much in the way of plasma physics that's just not understood at all. And then there's the problem of what to do with the neutrons, which'll activate the reactor vessel walls, embrittle them, etc.

On the other hand, fission reactors, and thermal breeder reactors (breeding thorium into 233U are tested technologies, don't pollute the air, put all the entropy in one tidy package, and can be done (mostly) domestically. No science fiction involved.

Ana

Belief is no substitute for arithmetic
--Henry Spencer


Social science fiction (none / 0) (#48)
by DesiredUsername on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:47:46 PM EST

People are, rightly or wrongly, scared of fission power. You'd have a better chance of hiking the tax rate by 15% to spend all the extra on energy research than you would of getting enough towns to agree to fission in their backyards even if you promised them incredibly low power rates.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
This is not new (3.50 / 2) (#50)
by greydmiyu on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 06:24:35 PM EST

There was an article on just this topic at <http://www.alternet.org/print.html?StoryID=11715>. There is one problem with that article and this one. It is lumping all of the Arab world against the US when not all of the Arab world is against the US. For example in the above mentioned story Saudi Arabia is mentioned quite a bit.

Saudi's funding terrorism! We need to stop using Saudi oil! Oh, the Saudis are evil, evil people!

Yeah, that's why they're one of only two nations in the region to support US action against the Taliban.

Arab does not automatically mean anti-American any more than American automatically means anti-Arab even if there are Americans who are anti-Arab.

-- Grey d'Miyu, not just another pretty color.
Ambivalent (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by paulT on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 03:59:17 PM EST

From the reports I'm reading Saudi Arabia is extremely ambivalent about the current actions. It should also be noted that SA was one of only three nations to recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan. I believe they have since withdrawn diplomatic ties.

It strikes me that the House of Saud who rule the country, are very opportunistic in their rule. They will shift their allegiances as they see necessary and the presence of US troops in the country may have influences their public position.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
By the way (5.00 / 4) (#51)
by ariux on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:45:40 AM EST

Saudi oil accounts for about 10% of US consumption; Iraqi for 4%; Kuwaiti for maybe 2%.

By contrast, 18% comes from Canada and Mexico, and 38% from the US itself.

US top oil suppliers in 2000 were:

  1. US (2.1 billion barrels)
  2. Saudi Arabia (550 million)
  3. Canada (490 million)
  4. Mexico (480 million)
  5. Venezuela (450 million)
  6. Nigeria (320 million)
  7. Iraq (225 million)

Significantly, all imports taken together (3.3 billion barrels) outstrip domestic production, but Arab oil is only a small piece of the pie.

Statistics here.

(By the way, I'll bet you didn't know that Venezuela, Indonesia, and Nigeria belong to OPEC, while Oman, Yemen, Syria, and Egypt don't.)

Good god! (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by ghjm on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:52:29 PM EST

I didn't know Canada was the #2 oil supplier to the U.S. Do you realize what this means? If the NDP wins a Canadian election, we'll have to bomb Ottawa!

[ Parent ]
heh (1.00 / 1) (#78)
by theantix on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 04:57:07 PM EST

I didn't know Canada was the #2 oil supplier to the U.S. Do you realize what this means? If the NDP wins a Canadian election, we'll have to bomb Ottawa!
Heh, fortunately you don't have to worry about that. We have a new system in Canada, I call it "One Party, and the lunatics". We only have one sane party, the others are:
  • Led by a washed up ex-prime minister (Conservatives)
  • Led by a right-wing funamentalist Xian who scares 40% of the population (Alliance)
  • And a party decimated by scandals and incompetence (NDP).

    So you (and ottawa) got nothing to worry about (aboot?).

    --
    You sir, are worse than Hitler!
    [ Parent ]

  • You forgot one... (none / 0) (#84)
    by ghjm on Sun Oct 21, 2001 at 11:18:50 PM EST

    When enumerating the Canadian varieties of lunatic, how could you forget the Bloc?

    [ Parent ]
    How about this? (1.66 / 3) (#54)
    by boxed on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 07:36:17 AM EST

    Use your legs and trains! That'd be enough to never be reliant on arabic countries for oil for a very long time.

    renewable vs. non-renewable fuel sources (4.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Jim Madison on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:57:33 PM EST

    Impose trade duties on the import of Arab oil? Give me a break! You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding about energy policy.

    See, there is renewable and non-renewable energy sources. If we encourage use of US sources of non-renewable energy, sure we reduce our dependence on foreign oil in the short term.

    But what happens when it all runs out at home, in ten, twenty or however many years?

    No, I'm afraid you have it backwards. We should encourage use of foreign oil in the short-term. Perhaps we should invest in a reserve production system in case of crisis. More importantly, we should invest in renewable sources of energy (like solar, possibly nuclear, etc.) so that we can truly become independent.

    That's my $0.02.


    Got democracy? Try e-thePeople.org.

    To discuss (none / 0) (#69)
    by EriKZ on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:18:51 PM EST


    1) You say that there is more natural gas in Alaska than oil. I've never heard of this, please provide some sort of reference.

    Everything I've heard has said that there is far less natural gas in the US than Oil.

    Hmm, looked up the DOE files

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/

    22.2 billion barrels of crude,
    about 167,406 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

    Hell, I'm not sure how to compare the two. For those who want to take a crack at it, I found some helpful pie charts:

    http://www.environmentaldefense.org/programs/PPA/cg/or/

    http://www.naturalgas.org/PRODUCT.HTM

    2) Again with the HUGE. No data. Ok, so we increase taxes on crude, which immediately gets translated into higher gas prices. This affects the economy quite a bit. So for your new natural gas well jobs, you have knocked out more jobs out of the economy.

    3) I don't get it, the price of oil is high...so we tax it and make it even HIGHER? See 2. on ruining the economy.
    I think for your plan to work, you're assuming that OPEC would lower the price of oil to keep making the same level of income. I don't like to gamble.

    4) Why Fusion? As far as I can tell, it's just as radioactive as Fission, and that's not going over too well. Perhaps you mean "Invest in alternate sources of energy and offer incentives to use them." Well, the government did that with Solar. It flooded the market with cheap crap and it's taken the solar industry almost 20 years to recover.

    I like the idea of basic research though.

    5) Made in the USA doesn't do crap. I've yet to see a single item in the past year that hasn't been made in China.

    6) Will cause a massive price drop?! Woohoo! I'm going back to oil! It's so cheap! Why the hell do we need the CIA? Why don't we just stockpile the oil? It's easy. Either just do it buy building the facilities, or make a law that forces all oil companies to keep a certain % of stock on hand.

    The best way to reduce dependence on foreign oil is though market forces.


    comparisons (2.00 / 3) (#72)
    by raaymoose on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 10:29:40 PM EST

    Okay, some helpful bits:

    1 bbl = 42 US gallons = 158.984 L = 34.9726 Imperial gallons
    1 cubic metre = 35.315 cubic feet
    1 cubic foot of NG = 1000 BTU = 0.293 kWh
    1 bbl crude = ~5.8 million BTU = 1699.4 kWh

    But the standard typically used is:
    5487 cubic feet NG = 1 bbl crude
    (in terms of energy... Natural gas is converted to barrels of oil equivalent using a ratio of 5487 cubic feet of natural gas per one barrel of crude oil. This ratio is based on the actual average equivalent energy content of natural gas, and will vary from deposit to deposit.)

    So, as your source states, there's 22.2 billion bbl of crude, so converting your natural gas figure there's 30509568070 (30.5 billion) energy-equivalent bbl of NG.


    [ Parent ]
    hmm, I calculated differently (none / 0) (#79)
    by EriKZ on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 06:22:18 PM EST

    I wanted to convert to cubic feet of natural gas.

    22.2 * 5487 = 121811.4 cubic feet

    Which is less than the 160ish estimate of natural gas.

    Ok, there is more energy in natural gas in Alaska than crude oil.

    I'm surprised that the gas company isn't building some sort of pipeline to Alaska, last winter prices SOARED because there wasn't enough to meet demand. It takes years to develop a well though.

    [ Parent ]
    More energy, but less money (none / 0) (#83)
    by roystgnr on Sat Oct 20, 2001 at 09:19:54 PM EST

    Unfortunately, we've got a whole lot of infrastructure that runs on crude oil products but not on natural gas.

    It's hard to find comparable prices for the two, though. It seems that import prices in 2000 were around $25/barrel of oil and $3.1/1000cu.ft. of natural gas.

    That works out to $550 billion of oil and $520 billion of natural gas. Still quite comparable amounts, and the prices of each fluctuate so much that I'm sure at some point in time there was more value of natural gas than oil in Alaska... but I just thought I should point out that industrial planners don't think in terms of BTUs so much as bucks. Anyone know what the extraction costs look like for these Alaskan reserves?

    [ Parent ]

    Comprehensive Plan to Revitalize Domestic Economy and Reduce Dependence on Arab Oil | 84 comments (79 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
    Display: Sort:

    kuro5hin.org

    [XML]
    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!