Energy Open Thread

It seems lately that nearly every discussion inevitably leads back to a reference to energy.  Yesterday the President touted fuel efficient vehicles as one of the solutions.  GM and the American public don’t seem to have gotten the memo.

Much to the chagrin of his supporters on the extreme environmental Left, President Obama admitted that we’ll still be running transportation vehicles on gasoline in 2025:

In his weekly radio and online address Saturday, Obama said Detroit automakers are on track to build cars that average nearly 55 miles per gallon by 2025, doubling current mileage standards.

So where do we go from here?  And, for a change, lets keep ideology and insults out of the conversation and concentrate on solutions.  Contrary to what Left and Right constantly throw at each other on this blog, I still believe we all essentially want the same thing, a free, prosperous America.  If you don’t want that, either stay out of the conversation or explain why what you want is better.

 

87 thoughts on “Energy Open Thread

  1. neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 11:46 am

    You have skirted racism and gotten away with it but enough is enough. No more references to ghettos or the “former white house” in any way or anything else you think is borderline enough to pass or you will follow others who have every post deleted. // Moderator

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 11:47 am

      spook

      (That time will be FORCED upon us by the left and talking nice will just hasten it.
      If you believe that dialogue will solve our ills, I have such a deal for you in the Everglades development.)

      ment to be humor, not an insult….. 🙂

      • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 11:58 am

        Neo,

        Although I tend to sympathize, if not agree with your position regarding the ideological war we’re in, your first post was not what I had in mind for this thread — but you knew that, right?. Let’s see if for once we can have a civil, idea-based conversation. I’m sure all our progressive friends have tons of ideas they’re willing to share.

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 12:53 pm

      You try to play this game and it will not work. Agree or not, the term in any form will get you deleted and possibly for good. // Moderator

  2. bozo March 3, 2012 / 11:57 am

    Those of us on the left have gotten more than a heaping helping of chagrin served to us by this president. But it beats the alternative.

    Yesterday’s headline in USA Today said “car buyers shrugging off $4 gas.” We are a proud, stupid, suicidal nation of underpants gnomes.

    • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 12:01 pm

      Also not exactly what I had in mind, Clowny. We’re not getting off to a very good start here.

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 12:24 pm

        We’re not getting off to a very good start here.

        sorry…. 😦

      • bozo March 3, 2012 / 2:34 pm

        Sorry. You’re right. I was bemoaning the disconnect between complaining about high prices while buying low mileage cars. I just don’t get that. Detroit would be cranking out 50 mpg cars now except that no one wants them. We seem to be seduced by “power” and repulsed by “efficient.” I can’t find anyone else to blame but ourselves, but I’ll keep trying 🙂

        Someone remarked that about 56 cents of every gallon of gas is speculator markup. There does seem to be a trader’s component to the current spike in gas prices, since production is up and demand is down. Wall Street speculators are supposed to stabilize prices with options trading, but they seem to be just skimming for themselves. Not sure if there’s a federal solution to this.

        There was a post here not that long ago pointing out how gas demand is tanking as an indicator of bad times to come. Don’t know if that’s true, but the drop in demand would seem to portend a drop in prices, which hasn’t materialized.

    • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 8:33 pm

      But it beats the alternative.

      In what way? More government intrusion into our lives? Higher energy prices? Worse economic growth? More Czars? Less accountability? Less transparency? What have we see in the last 3 years that you want more of? More years of over 8% unemployment. More years of $1 trillion + deficits? More crony capitalism (Solyndra)? More years of housing market in the toilet? More undeclared wars? GITMO remaining open (with a new $3/4 million soccer field)? I can’t think of a single thing that this administration has done that the alternative wouldn’t be better, particularly energy policy, since that is the topic of this thread.

      • bozo March 4, 2012 / 3:09 am

        Confusing. Topic is. Yes.

        Ok if I discuss your post?

        More government intrusion like transvaginal probes?

        Worse economic growth like a stock market double vs. Bush’s end-of-term tank?

        Czars like: “The White House czars are presidential assistants charged with responsibility for given policy areas. As such, they are among the president’s closest advisers. In many respects, they are equivalent to the personal staff of a member of Congress. To subject the qualifications of such assistants to congressional scrutiny — the regular confirmation process — would trench upon the president’s inherent right, as the head of an independent and equal branch of the federal government, to seek advice and counsel where he sees fit”. – The writers are partners in the D.C. office of Baker Hostetler LLP and served in the Justice Department under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.”

        You’re complaining about Gitmo? You think McCain/Palin would have closed it?

        Solyndra? Really?: “In late 2007, Solyndra was one of 16 clean-tech companies deemed eligible for $4 billion worth of loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy.” McCain/Palin would have denied Bush’s loan?

        You’re a dreamer. It’s good to have dreams….

      • RetiredSpook March 4, 2012 / 11:09 am

        You’re a dreamer. It’s good to have dreams….

        Well, when you put it that way, of course I can see why you want 4 more years of the same. Is the theme of your dreams, “this time it will be different”?

      • RetiredSpook March 4, 2012 / 12:12 pm

        Confusing. Topic is. Yes.

        Ok if I discuss your post?

        More government intrusion like transvaginal probes?

        Not something I would have pushed, but it was proposed at the state level where it’s at least constitutional, and where, if the majority of voters oppose it, they can easily vote out those who supported/proposed it.

        Worse economic growth like a stock market double vs. Bush’s end-of-term tank?

        The fact that you would equate the artificial, manipulated rise in the stock market via HFT’s financed with free money from the Fed since March 2009 with economic growth says you’re pretty ignorant about both areas.

        WRT Czars, FDR had quite a few, but from Truman through Bush 41, they were virtually nonexistent. They came back into favor under Clinton, increased dramatically during the Bush 43 years and have increased further under Obama. So I assume, from your comment, that you’re in favor of an ever-increasing number of non-elected, not vetted Czars. If Obama is re-elected, I’m betting you’ll get your wish.

        You’re complaining about Gitmo? No, I’m not complaining about Gitmo. It was the Left in 2008 that was clamoring for it to be closed, and Obama who promised to do so as one of his first priorities. Are you saying you want it to stay open?

        There’s a lot of information (and misinformation) out there about Solyndra. Depending on which souce you choose, Bush either put a hold on the loan guarantees in January, 2009 or he attempted to push them through. Regardless, the loan guarantees were pushed through (and I mean pushed) by the Obama Administration in March, 2009, when there was ample evidence that the company was in real trouble. There’s also ample evidence that principles in Solyndra were big Obama donars. And it’s undeniable that the tax payers lost over a half billion dollars, and it happened on Obama’s watch.

  3. J. R. Babcock March 3, 2012 / 12:12 pm

    Demand for gasoline has dropped off a cliff in this country, and yet the price continues to skyrocket. What difference will it make if cars get 55 mpg if the price of gas is $8/gal, as some in this administration would like?

    Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, then candidate Obama touted his goal to have 1 million plug-in hybrids (think Chevy Volt) on the road by 2015. His supporters ooohed and aaahed and said, “what a noble goal”, never stopping to think that 1 million plug-in hybrids was 4/10ths of 1 % of the 250,00 million passenger cars and trucks on the road, so clearly plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly the wave of the future, certainly not the foreseeable future.

    The only way this country gets back on a prosperous track is if we have an abundant supply of economical energy. Someone in a previous thread mentioned compressed natural gas as a transportation fuel, or, at the very least, a bridge fuel until something better is developed. I wholeheartedly agree with that concept.

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 12:18 pm

      We have enough oil to meet the demands 100 years out.
      We lack leadership, and vision by leftist officials and eco wackos.
      Oil is a weapon and they are using it to destroy our nation.

    • Cavalor Epthith, Esquire, D.S.V.J March 4, 2012 / 10:19 am

      JR it would make a big difference. An SUV with a 16 gallon tank that gets 14 miles to the gallon at $4 per gallon yields 56 miles for each dollar. A car with a 10 gallon tank that gets 55 miles to the gallon at $8 per gallon yields 68.75 miles to the dollar. What it comes down to is that Americans will not sacrifice power, size and comfort to save money.

      • Amazona March 4, 2012 / 11:26 am

        Awwww, those greedy selfish Americans who still cling to the belief that in this country, anyway, there is the freedom to make personal decisions and not have decisions made for by ruling elites.

        This clearly offends you.

        Awwwwww

      • J. R. Babcock March 4, 2012 / 12:16 pm

        What it comes down to is that Americans will not sacrifice power, size and comfort to save money.

        Yeah, that’s one of the differences between us and you Euro-weenies.

  4. J. R. Babcock March 3, 2012 / 12:20 pm

    G.M. said it had about 3,600 Volts in inventory. Last year, officials repeatedly dismissed questions about low sales numbers by saying the company could not build enough of the cars to meet demand. It ended up selling 7,671 during the year, instead of the 10,000 it had anticipated.

    I know there are a couple lesser-known plug-in hybrids on the market besides the volt, but at 7,671 per year, it’ll take over 130 years to reach a million.

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 12:28 pm

      We have some of the largest coal deposits in the world
      we have some of the largest natural gas deposits in the world
      we have some of the largest oil fields in the world
      we have some of the largest shale oil deposits in the world
      we have the best ability to produce nuclear electricity in the world

      so why is there a problem and high costs of fuel?

      • Amazona March 4, 2012 / 9:05 pm

        Wahhhhh wahhhhh wahhhhh

        Big mean speculators!

        Because “to speculate” means, well, uh, eh, uh, something inherently BAD !! Because, well, uh, it just DOES !

        You Lefties crack me up.

        Your infantile knee-jerk reactive spasms of hostility to all these words you don’t even understand is amazing, but it is also what defines you.

    • Amazona March 4, 2012 / 11:28 am

      How many of these Volts were sold at full price, without taxpayers having to pay part of the cost?

      • RetiredSpook March 4, 2012 / 11:57 am

        As far as I know, none. And now the Obama is proposing raising the tax credit from $7,500 to $10,000. Your tax dollars hard at work.

  5. dbschmidt March 3, 2012 / 1:06 pm

    I have kept a close eye on the markets for solar and other methods of electrical generation that would take me off the grid and nothing comes close to the Kw cost of coal until someone runs that price up to meet what solar costs in order to make it appear cheaper. I am restricted (so far) from replacing my heat pump with a Geo-thermal based unit. Forced to buy my water and sell my waste to the government at ridiculously high prices per unit.

    CART standards are not the answer for transportation (unless increased death on the highways is acceptable to you) and even when I still had my Mini Cooper–I had to put the rear seats down on a large grocery shopping trip. Hybrid and electric cars are still 20 or 30 years away from daily use and how much coal-based electrical power does it take to recharge one of them things plus are we going to need more Yukka mountains to dispose of the aftermath?

    If this country was being run even close to what is written in the Constitution–what I pay in Federal taxes would being going to my State and vice-verse. If I had an issue with that I could vote with my feet. Regulations would protect and not punish new ideas and development and America could solve this issue in short order without the restrictions put onto entrepreneurs by a government that could not even turn a profit three years running when it took control one of the best known whorehouse and liquor establishments in the nation–the Bunny Ranch.

    Our biggest issue is with 535 people we let steal us blind while imposing draconian measures on all of us.

    • bozo March 3, 2012 / 2:43 pm

      I went solar this year and after a couple months online, my meter is negative. My bills were running around $100 a month, so it’s making me over a grand a year. Tax free. On a nine grand investment.

      Any way you slice it, it’s a win. I got a rebate from my utility company, who needs the additional noon-day juice my panels generate, so it was subsidized, but they would have to build SOMETHING soon, so it’s a win-win there. I’m not on batteries. I just sell back my excess when they need it most.

      Bottom line: Nine grand invested for a $1200 annual return. Try getting that from your savings account. if rates go up, which they will, I am immune from it. And my “Sunny Boy” inverter tells me I haven’t dumped an ounce of carbon into the air in months in order to run my household – without sacrificing any creature comfort I’ve become used to.

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 3:08 pm

        blowzo

        factor in growth on that nine grand you will not receive, The fact it will take you nine years to recover your initial investment, deduct any maintenance costs you WILL incur, plus the life of most systems is ten years….beep beep.

      • bozo March 3, 2012 / 4:00 pm

        25 year warranted full spec output on German-engineered Aleo solar panels. 20 Year inverter warranty. $1200/year means payback in just over 7 years, but that’s not the whole picture. Because this is expense reduction, it’s like tax-free income. If I spent nine grand on a vending machine that made me $100 a month, I’d pay income taxes on that. Not so with solar.

        The real clue to this well-kept secret is all those companies offering to install solar on your roof “for free” if you just lease it from them and pay them a reduced utility rate. They’re putting out the cash up front, charging you for the use, and still making a profit. Install them yourself, and ka-ching.

        Where else could I get 12+% annual “growth” on nine grand? With a 25 year warranty? Tax-free?

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 4:14 pm

        I work on – with inverters weekly, believe me they DO FAIL,
        You have to have batteries, life = 3 years most.

        pumps?,
        25 year panels but not roofs they are mounted on…….but hey if you want to believe in the Easter bunny……..I have this prime property!

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 4:17 pm

        a 2-3 year payback is industry retrofit standard, 7 + years ?
        time will tell, good luck with that.

      • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 4:28 pm

        I’ve got a huge barn/arena complex with a south-facing roof, and depending on electrical needs of a business I am considering I may install flexible film adhesive PV strips between the standing seams. It’s amazing technology, and for a system this big I am told I can probably buy used “telephone batteries” from places like hospitals and computer-dependent companies, batteries which are tested a few times a year and then have to be replaced to comply with the law. They are too big for household use but supposedly would do well for me in a commercial operation that does not have stringent requirements, like hospitals do, for updating of equipment.

        And of course there is the sell-back option, where no batteries are needed, power is taken from the local electric supply company when necessary and excess electricity is sold back to them.

        Rather than worry about transmission of electricity from centrally located solar generators, I would like to see individual homes set up with their own systems. Enough of these would bring the price down, and even batteries would improve in efficiency and price.

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 4:58 pm

        Ama

        Encapsulated in 3 mil Polyester
        Operating Voltage 7.2VDC
        Operating Current 100 mA
        Typical Voc 10.5V
        Typical Isc 125 mA
        Total Size 270mm x 90mm (10.6 x 3.5 inches)
        Aperture size 240mm x 75mm (9.5 x 3.0 inches)
        Thickness 0.2mm (8mil)
        Weight 5.9g (0.2oz)

        this entire system relies on charging batteries, used batteries would be a nightmare. there is a reason they are replaced every 3 years.

        Inverters are pesky electronic packed devices, though they do work beautifully.

        Parts for them are very costly and inverter technicians usually get $90. – $125.00 per hour to trouble shoot, repair, and program them.
        NO components last 20-25 years

        If you have access to natural gas a gas run generator can be very efficient., especially if you have your own gas well. (not kidding)

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 5:02 pm

        PS

        batteries take lead, acid, oil to produce them They are environmentally unfriendly from mining, smelting, shipping and disposal.
        they are the backbone of solar and will never make the grade over time.

      • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 8:49 pm

        Neo, are you saying that the thin-film PV generators can’t be used with a system integrated into the power grid? I thought that all PV systems could either be on-grid systems feeding unused power back to the power company OR to charge storage batteries.

      • dbschmidt March 3, 2012 / 8:57 pm

        Ama & Bozo, et.al.,

        I like the sound of the buy-back based systems and my place in Miami, Florida could have benefited (it had solar water) but up here in NC my house is set all wrong. That never kept me from building another out-building though. My problem with both house and auto, which will be the next big breakthrough, is the battery or whatever method of storage is finalized. At this point I can not see spending $0.12 per KwH (including maintenance) when I can buy it for $0.04.

        If our government would just let us Americans do what we do best–invent, adapt, overcome without onerous restrictions–people will solve it for the profits found down the road or for entry into the kingdom of geekery. I am somewhere in-between. I was testing hydrogen and am now a fan of both bio-diesel & CNG. I could see this filtering out between personal cars (CNG) and commercial (Bio). I am the special type of stupid that is jigging a frame so I can build a recumbent scooter and putz to work and back (one fully recovered) on a gallon a week which I may change to CNG before I am finished.

        Maybe giant capacitors to replace the batteries? Outside my specialties and I already have a coffee mug at the two local hospitals with my name on them. I best leave this to someone smarter than I in this area.

      • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 9:13 pm

        I agree, batteries are problematic. But I figured as long as the big telephone batteries are already in use, and already have to be recycled, using them for a few years beyond the span legally allowed for places like hospitals would be a solution for me.

        And I do like the grid-tied system, for places like where I live.

        BTW, I was very surprised to learn that solar had not been very successful in the part of Wyoming where I lived…..it was a lot more overcast than my Colorado place and the people I talked to all told me that big solar systems had not performed very well. I was on a plateau with unimpeded southern and western exposure and learned that people with similar exposure had been very disappointed. Once I started talking about it, I realized that we really did have a lot of overcast days.

        Now WIND generation would have been a very different story.

      • dbschmidt March 3, 2012 / 9:46 pm

        Ama,

        I haven’t had the time nor the inclination (due to my new location) to delve much deeper into wind energy but I was following a lead on the sails used by the Calypso (in remembrance of Jacques Cousteau) and sailed by his son Pierre-Yves Cousteau.

        Years ago when I was watching a special on the re-launch of Calypso it’s sails look like factory smokestacks but had more “power” than a standard weather (triangular shaped) sail. From what little I could quickly dig up–they were like a vertical turbine which would allow the craft to sail in any direction including directly (or near directly) into the wind.

        Being interested in sailing and as a licensed falconer–I put 2 and 2 together (got 5 for extremely large values of 2) and wondered if this could be the replacement to windmills that kill off so many birds. Might be worth some time for both of us once again as with the nasty storms we have been getting here I could put one or two to use.

      • Amazona March 5, 2012 / 11:19 am

        db, you and I think alike. I looked at the big-vane wind generators, at the bird kills, at the size and the noise, and at the fact that vibration is the biggest problem regarding damage and maintenance, and I started asking wind generator people at various venues that have featured alternative energy why they couldn’t use what I called “basket” turbines. It seemed to me that cylindrical turbines mounted end to end on a horizontal or vertical axis could provide a lot of energy with less vibration and be easier to mount, safer for birds, etc.

        I was told this had been tried, that all shapes and styles of turbines had been tried, and that they simply did not produce the energy needed. This was a few years ago and I don’t remember all the details, but evidently there were problems as well.

        I still think the idea has promise, especially if one big-vane turbine could be replaced by several smaller cylindrical turbines—maybe not a solution for commercial installations, but workable for homes.

      • Amazona March 5, 2012 / 11:33 am

        BTW, neo, I was referring to a product which is a roll of thin-film PV cells, the width of the distance between standing seams on a metal roof. It is cut to length, an adhesive backing is peeled off, and it is laid down between the seams. Then a ridge cap is connected to the upper ends of the panels, the eave ends are sealed with another strip that clicks into the ends, the ends of the ridge cap are connected to the inverter or batteries, and you are set to go.

        Depending on the color of the underlying metal roof this is invisible or nearly so, and it turns as much of the roof as you like into a giant solar collector.

    • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 4:17 pm

      db, I agree with every word of your excellent post, except for one—I suggest that our biggest issue is with 635 people stealing us blind. Don’t forget the Senate.

      • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 6:08 pm

        Bad math, Amazona. House = 435, Senate = 100.

      • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 8:49 pm

        My bad……you are so right.

  6. Morepatrioticthanu March 3, 2012 / 1:24 pm

    Your repeated posting of a disgusting photo and your comments about it have you on the “delete” list. // Moderator

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 1:28 pm

      the thing is we do not have to get off fossil fuels for the next 100 years, by then there will have been massive strides made, this rush to alternatives is pure 1000% political.

  7. bagni March 3, 2012 / 2:10 pm

    matt spook
    thanks for the last paragraph in your post
    now on to the subject at hand

    maybe there’s a “hybrid” mix to this solution???
    drilling domestically at least reduces shipping costs from the mideast
    it reduces our trade deficit
    but won’t reduce the pump price….ever
    do you really think bp, exxon, shell, etc…are going to charge less for a barrel produced here?
    no…they will charge for a barrel what the going rate is…period
    actually if we produce lots more oil domestically than opec will cut their production to keep the prices high…..right?
    so
    the only way to beat the cartel (who sets price)
    is to eliminate the monopoly of oil as the only transportation fuel
    think….natural gas, compressed nat gas, liquid fuel methanol, electric
    so it’s imperative…..we do have to get off fossil fuels as the only source
    it doesn’t matter there’s 100 yrs worth in the ground (getting it out is another story)

    petroleum products drive 97% of all air, sea, land in our country
    opening up the market to good ole american competition is key
    congress should pass laws requiring car makers to enable fuel competition in their product lines, to encourage them to look for new alternatives and commercialize them
    flex fuel, all electric hybrid electric or any other method the auto makers choose to implement the law that requires this
    we can have energy independence but through competition and that’s not through oil alone

    p.s. solar, wind, biomass sources (which has been reco’d by the ‘bamster and btw also sold hard by mccain/palin in the last election) is a whole ‘nother subject to discuss later…..

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 3:04 pm

      chasing 50 MPG cars, high efficiency appliance etc is all a fools game.
      Didnt we learn from the carter years when businesses were forced to have thermostats at 78 and 68 respectively. What happened?
      electrical CONSUMPTION went down and so did PROFITS, what happened?
      massive price increases while sitting in dark, cold or hot homes and offices.

      If we had cars that gave us 500 MPG gas /oil / LPG etc would be $75.00 a unit, the only way out of this is to massively produce.

      I remember my first PC cost in access of $6K and had a 20 MB hard drive. Mass production fixed that.

      • bozo March 3, 2012 / 4:02 pm

        Unfortunately, Moore’s Law does not apply to commodities.

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 4:23 pm

        why was my response to blowzo deleted?

        Rule of 72
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        Jump to: navigation, search

        In finance, the rule of 72, the rule of 70 and the rule of 69 are methods for estimating an investment’s doubling time. The rule number is divided by the interest percentage per period to obtain the approximate number of periods (usually years) required for doubling. Although scientific calculators and spreadsheet programs have functions to find the accurate doubling time, the rules are useful for mental calculations and when only a basic calculator is available.[1]

        These rules apply to exponential growth and are therefore used for compound interest as opposed to simple interest calculations. They can also be used for decay to obtain a halving time. The choice of number is mostly a matter of preference, 69 is more accurate for continuous compounding, while 72 works well in common interest situations and is more easily divisible. Felix’s Corollary provides a method of estimating the future value of an annuity using the same principles
        Sorry, hit the wrong key. Moderating several blogs today. // Moderator

      • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 4:34 pm

        mod

        LOL OK
        I FINALLY behave and thought I got spanked any way 🙂

    • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 4:14 pm

      baggi, while some of what you say sounds OK on the surface, what you always come back to is what the GOVERNMENT ought to do.

      THE GOVERNMENT ought to “pass laws” requiring businesses to do all sorts of things.

      I think this comes from an unquestioned conviction that capitalists will never do anything that will benefit the environment, on their own, without the prodding or threat of government.

      Let people buy what people want to buy, and let manufacturers make what people want to buy. It’s really that simple.

      Some people will want to buy electric cars. Some are like my friend Gary who just loves new technology, some will think they are “saving the planet”, others will have other reasons. But trying to create a market for them by artificial means will not work, not in the long run.

      Some people will want to convert their engines to run on compressed natural gas, again for a variety of reasons, and let them do this. If enough people want to do it, companies will start to sell CNG in more places. For now, most of its users are in urban areas, where so many public buses and government vehicles also run on it and it is available. Increase demand so people can take off on cross country trips with assurance they can find fuel, and the market will fill the need.

      I’m a big diesel/biodiesel fan, and have seen interest in this grow, along with usage. It’s been slow, but like so many new technologies it will reach a tipping point and its attractiveness will escalate. Even now, farmers in the Dakotas have formed co-ops to assign some of their crops to the manufacture of biodiesel, which they then use in their farm equipment. Someone is going to come along with the energy and capital to promote this product, get information about it out there, and it will take off.

      And so on.

      If there is going to be any government involvement at all, it should be at the state level, where a state like North or South Dakota could, for example, offer tax incentives to manufacturers of biodiesel, or Colorado could continue its state-sponsored tax credits for solar energy. That’s fine with me. But I object to a knee-jerk mentality that says any solution has to start with government, or be dependent on government. And I object to federal involvement.

      What is seldom discussed is “environmentalist” objections to so many alternative energy projects—no wind farms in so-called wilderness areas, no building of transmission lines to carry solar-generated electricity from the desert to where it is needed, objections to mining of silicon to make PV panels, etc.

      What has to be considered is the tradeoffs of some forms of currently popular alternative energy products, like ethanol—the additional water needed to grow the corn, the additional fuel needed to harvest it, and so on.

      So far I have not seen objective balanced consideration of any alternative energy or transportation product, so I don’t see how anything can be seriously considered.

      • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 11:50 pm

        Amazona,

        Or you could just take your Ford Excursion to this guy.

        Goodwin leads me over to a red 2005 H3 Hummer that’s up on jacks, its mechanicals removed. He aims to use the turbine to turn the Hummer into a tricked-out electric hybrid. Like most hybrids, it’ll have two engines, including an electric motor. But in this case, the second will be the turbine, Goodwin’s secret ingredient. Whenever the truck’s juice runs low, the turbine will roar into action for a few seconds, powering a generator with such gusto that it’ll recharge a set of “supercapacitor” batteries in seconds. This means the H3’s electric motor will be able to perform awesome feats of acceleration and power over and over again, like a Prius on steroids. What’s more, the turbine will burn biodiesel, a renewable fuel with much lower emissions than normal diesel; a hydrogen-injection system will then cut those low emissions in half. And when it’s time to fill the tank, he’ll be able to just pull up to the back of a diner and dump in its excess french-fry grease–as he does with his many other Hummers. Oh, yeah, he adds, the horsepower will double–from 300 to 600.

        “Conservatively,” Goodwin muses, scratching his chin, “it’ll get 60 miles to the gallon. With 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. You’ll be able to smoke the tires. And it’s going to be superefficient.”

        He laughs. “Think about it: a 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and does zero to 60 in five seconds!”

        This is a long but really interesting article. Go read the whole thing. And even though it’s from 2007, it illustrates just what the automotive industry could do if they really wanted to.

      • Amazona March 4, 2012 / 9:08 pm

        You’re right, I should.

        And then paint flames on the sides……..

  8. bozo March 3, 2012 / 4:14 pm

    Conservatives have got to get over their solar bias. It’s not Al Gore juice from the sky. It the exact same source of power you burn in your car now.

    Gas is sun energy that fell on planet earth millions of years ago (thousands for you religious types). Photovoltaics just skip the photosynthesis/decay/compression process and immediately turn sun into watts. You homeowners probably signed away the drilling rights below your house when you bought, but you didn’t sign away your drilling rights to the sky above you. Right now there is power, and money, falling on your rooftops. All it’s doing now is raising your air-conditioning bill. Catch it, convert it, and not only does it shade you existing roof, it powers your a/c, lights, computer, toaster, tv, etc. while eliminating a consumption tax if your utility charges one. You’re not a consumer, you’re a producer.

    • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 4:34 pm

      What does skepticism about the future of solar energy have to do with a political philosophy that the United States Constitution is the best blueprint for governing the country?

      What is it about you people? Are you truly so bone-deep ignorant of all political philosophy (not just your own) that you really do not understand that it is about how best to govern and not about personal opinion, personality, identity, or any of the other things you keep trying to conflate with it?

      Stupid comments like this just illustrate blind, hateful bigotry toward something that exists only in the feverswamp imaginings of some desperate to find an Other to hate.

      • bozo March 4, 2012 / 3:15 am

        Man, this is a broad topic blog…

      • RetiredSpook March 4, 2012 / 10:01 am

        What does skepticism about the future of solar energy have to do with a political philosophy that the United States Constitution is the best blueprint for governing the country?

        Bozo could just as easily have said, “Americans should get behind solar energy,” Instead he fell into the trap of making it a Left/Right issue instead of an energy issue. The Left does the same thing with global warming/climate change. I think it’s simply a crutch they fall back on when the facts aren’t on their side.

      • Amazona March 4, 2012 / 11:34 am

        It’s also ongoing proof that they don’t even know what conservatism IS. To the bozos of the Left (sorry for the redundancy) “conservative” is just a catch-all phrase to cover anyone they don’t like, anything their minders tell them not to like, anyone who doesn’t agree with them on anything, and anything they either truly find offensive or pretend to at any given moment.

    • neocon1 March 3, 2012 / 4:37 pm

      Blowzo

      really not a solar bias, just solar is not a technology to replace fossil fuels and mass production of electricity and gasoline for decades to come.

      meanwhile DRILL baaby DRILL!!!
      and INVENT baby INVENT!!

    • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 5:55 pm

      Conservatives have got to get over their solar bias.

      Bozo, could you expand on that thought a bit, because I don’t know ANY Conservatives who are biased against solar energy. It won’t work in my current home because I live in a pretty dense woods with 10 acres of 80-100 foot trees just to the south of my house. But our previous house had solar panels on the 10/12 pitch, south-facing garage roof that heated our hot water in the summer, and switched over in the winter to boost the closed ground loop of our geothermal heat pump. It was the first such installation in our area. Our current home has an open loop geothermal system which is pretty efficient, but we still have to send a check to the electric company every month.

      • bozo March 4, 2012 / 3:22 am

        “Reagan” ring a bell?

      • Amazona March 4, 2012 / 11:34 am

        .????

        Do you EVER try to make sense?

  9. bagni March 3, 2012 / 5:15 pm

    matt zona
    the government will have to get involved whether state or fed
    it’s worked successfully before (and yes, it’s failed also)
    as you said, it’s about how best to govern
    i think your buddy robert mcfarlane ex-reagan cabinet would agree
    he’s a big flex fuel, pro market, govt reg on this subject
    i happen to agree with him

    will disagree with matt neo…..drilling to pull more out is only a short sighted answer that does not lower price
    but to actually agree with matt neo inventiveness will be key
    and despite his dislike of solar it will eventually develop and be optimized for efficiency
    when bio diesel first emerged most scoffed and complained
    so glad to hear you’re a user
    i have a client whose tech support vehicles are all bio diesel

    the enviro concerns will be abated went financial considerations over rule
    it’s the law of numbers and it’s starting to kick in
    with fuel, energy, and especially water……

    p.s…..what’s up with the ‘you people’ terminology?…..last time i checked you were a you too ::))

    • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 8:52 pm

      Awww….how did you learn that Bob and I hang out? Here I thought we were being so discreet.

  10. doug March 3, 2012 / 5:43 pm

    Just returned from Washington state caucus. Our precinct was 50/50 half Ron Paul and half not-Ron Paul. The county was close to the same amount, maybe 40% Ron Paul and 20% each for the other three.

    Delegates to the county convention, though, trouble, Ron Paul supporters look like they got over 90% of the delegates to the county convention. It’s a small county, but the Ron Paul folks were very mobilized (and trained on how to manipulate the voting) and there could be a surprise when the results come out.

  11. Cluster March 3, 2012 / 6:42 pm

    It’s a shame that we don’t have the political will to explore, extract and utilize our vast resources of natural gas and oil, particularly at a time when we really need to. Millions of Americans could be employed almost over night with good paying jobs, consumer confidence would soar and energy prices would come down. And contrary to the current global market, we don’t have to sell all of it. We could hold back a reserve specifically for the united states, and furthermore maybe do something along the lines Palin did in Alaska, and have the oil companies pay the American people for those reserves.

    Ironically, we will need to utilize our domestic reserves of crude and gas reserves in order to rebuild the economy which will allow the private sector the time to develop alternative means. Our own oil reserves will be enough to sustain a healthy economy for the next 50 years and it would be important to use that time wisely because oil is after all a finite reserve.

  12. bagni March 3, 2012 / 6:51 pm

    hey clust
    agreed on holding back a reserve
    and job creation
    but energy prices will not drop due to these moves
    will need a law(s) to make that happen
    ie…govt intervention

    otherwise oil corps must sell at fair mkt value, right? ie….current opec pricing
    under their current public corp status they have to / max shareholder returns
    unless they turned themselves into b corp status
    which won’t happen in a million fossil fuel development years
    ::))

    • Cluster March 3, 2012 / 7:22 pm

      Bags,

      The high prices are mainly due to speculators concern of ME uncertainty and America’s lack of wany real effort to do anything about it, and anti oil attitude. Steven Chu said that the admin is not all that concerned with the high prices.

      • bagni March 4, 2012 / 2:04 pm

        cluster
        have read, but not too deep that speculation adds about .50 per gallon???
        you got any more info on that?

    • Amazona March 3, 2012 / 8:55 pm

      Seems to me that transportation costs would be in play here…..a question of net cost vs gross cost. Not loading expensive tankers to haul crude a few thousand miles has to be factored in.

      • RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 11:36 pm

        It would be interesting to know what the difference is between the well head cost and the delivered price to various locations around the world.

  13. RetiredSpook March 3, 2012 / 7:30 pm

    Two previous periods of robust economic growth; the mid to late 80’s and the late 90’s were highlighted by huge drops in oil prices. Economical and abundant energy, as J.R. notes, is a virtual necessity for prosperity. We like to think that the prosperity of the late 90’s was largely an Internet/tech driven bubble, and to a large extent it was, but gas was also incredibly cheap. The last time my wife and I went skiing out west (Park City, UT) in 1998 we drove to Kansas, dropped our dogs off at my daughter’s and flew from KC to Salt Lake. On the return trip, I recall paying less than 80 cents a gallon in Lawrence, KS. Not saying we’re ever going to see gas at under $1 again, but $2 is certainly not unreasonable, and I think you’d see the economy take off like a rocket, as it would have a ripple effect throughout the economy.

    • dbschmidt March 3, 2012 / 9:14 pm

      Kind of OT but;

      Yours is just another example of what I believe GMB, among others, have felt for a long time and is another tactic of the Progressives to overtake America as we knew it and turn it into what I do not know because socialism is only a stepping stone towards…?

      I have found out it is called Hegelian dialectic and in this case I will use your previous response to show my point.

      Not saying we’re ever going to see gas at under $1 again, but $2 is certainly not unreasonable, and…

      Which is two giant leaps forward (IIRC, GW Bush left office at approx. $1.85 and current is approaching $4) so the goal is to get gasoline up over $4 or $5 per gallon and then “relief” comes which brings the price back to ~ say $2.50 before it starts up again. Instead of $1.85 being the old standard–now it is $2.50 and then what $3.00?

      The reason I mentioned GMB is because I finally understand, even though I have almost always agreed, that if we don’t fight for the original intent of the Constitution then we are settling for a sub-standard version based on whatever the compromise was. There is no room for compromise.

      • bozo March 4, 2012 / 3:26 am

        When Bush left office…that’s a good one! Sound really good unless you ignore the rest of his term:

      • bozo March 4, 2012 / 3:31 am

        Strike “unless” – *as long as you*

        Dhoh!

      • neocon1 March 4, 2012 / 8:54 am

        Contrary To Popular Belief, Gas Prices Aren’t Rising

        February 29, 2012 by Bob Livingston

        While politicians deflect, defend and blame and consumers grouse about Big Oil, large profits and offshore drilling, almost no one is discussing what’s really happening to the price of gasoline at the pump.

        Conventional wisdom is that gas prices are shooting through the roof. But that’s not the case. In fact, gas prices are right at their historical average.

        Gas prices are reflecting inflation. As I have explained before, inflation is not rising prices. It is an increase in the money supply. Rising prices are a product of inflation, and the increasing numbers on the signs at gas stations are a reflection of inflation. Or, to put it another way, they reflect a decrease in the value of the dollar.

        This is explained in detail at Forbes. But following is a simple version.

        Since Jan. 1, 1971, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil compared to gold has averaged 0.0602 ounces of gold per barrel. Gold is currently trading $1,789 per ounce, and WTI is trading at $108 per barrel. That’s a ratio of 0.0603, and it’s right on the statistical average.

        So who or what is to blame for “higher gas prices?” Look no further than the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke (and Alan Greenspan before him) and their money-printing policies.

        You see, gas prices aren’t rising. The value of those green slips of paper in your wallet is shrinking.

      • dbschmidt March 4, 2012 / 12:19 pm

        I agree with you Neo, and Bozo–my comment had nothing to do with Bush v. Obama or the price of gas for that matter but rather another tactic that seems to have skirted over your head.

        It doesn’t matter how the new normal is reached–it is that Progressives want us to accept the new normal as the new launching point for their next attack–not the one that has always been. I could bring up examples in every field or endeavor plus the reasons behind Wilson’s changing from Constitutional law to case law. Right up there with the Overton window.

      • bozo March 5, 2012 / 3:18 am

        I agree with neo on this one, too. It isn’t supply and demand. It isn’t drill baby drill. It’s the tanking of the value of the dollar, ALL worldwide currencies in fact, against the worth of tangible goods. While trillions of dollars worth of unexploded “collateralized debt obligation” ordinance lies waiting for a spark, and the criminals who assembled these bombs successfully pawn them off to governments and taxpayers, the value of the fiat currencies they represent fall like a rock (that’s a cartoon version of an extremely complicated subject…but you get the idea).

        The solutions seem to be either print more cash or let all affected nations collapse. I dunno…hard to decide.

    • Amazona March 5, 2012 / 11:40 am

      I’d sure need to see more than 1000 hours of testing, but it is interesting.

      Running diesels, as I do, in cold climates, as I do, I have to wonder how an engine that requires heat to start (as diesels do) would work at, say, 40 below zero—a common early-morning temperature at my mountain ranches. (And why I no longer have a mountain ranch, but that is another story.)

    • neocon1 March 5, 2012 / 4:56 pm

      blowzo

      a very interesting conception didnt tell us how many MPG we would expect from it.

      Do you remember the wankle rotary engine?
      It was supposed to be the best thing since the piston driven combustion engine?
      A NASCAR driver was going to produce them and was scheduled to race a 500 with one, right before the race FORD bought the rights to it stopped the car from racing and it was never heard about again.
      The same as the Cornell aeronautical lab that had developed a 75 MPG carberator….sold the rights and BINGO…………GONE!!

      • RetiredSpook March 5, 2012 / 6:13 pm

        and it was never heard about again.

        Not true — I drove a 1981 and a 1988 Mazda RX7-GSL with a Wankel engines. One of the smoothest accelerating cars I’ve ever driven.

    • RetiredSpook March 5, 2012 / 6:09 pm

      This thing looks promising

      So does this, and this new Chevy bi-fuel pick-up goes into production later this year, in the GM plant about 20 miles from my house.

      Courtesy General Motors

      The 2013-model Chevrolet Silverado bi-fuel truck, seen here, combines the ability to run on gasoline and on compressed natural gas.

      Last updated: March 5, 2012 2:22 p.m.

      GM bi-fuel pickups made here to be available this fall
      Automaker to take orders beginning in April
      Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette

      General Motors Co. today announced plans to build pickup trucks that run on both compressed natural gas and gasoline.

      The 2013 bi-fuel Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 heavy-duty extended-cab pickup trucks will be assembled at the Fort Wayne truck assembly plant. They will be available in standard and long truck beds with either two- or four-wheel drive.

      The Vortec 6.0L V8 engine transitions easily between compressed natural gas and gasoline, GM said in a written statement. The combined range is more than 650 miles, the Detroit-based automaker said.

      Dealers will begin taking retail and fleet orders for the vehicles in April.

      Ed Peper, general manager of GM Fleet and Commercial Operations, said in a written statement that the alternative fuel appeals to consumers because it burns clean and is produced in the U.S.

  14. Amazona March 5, 2012 / 11:42 am

    db, this comment of yours should not have passed without response or at least acknowledgement. It is the core of the changes we are now trying to undo, and should be the focal point of any political discussion.

    Progressives want us to accept the new normal as the new launching point for their next attack–not the one that has always been. I could bring up examples in every field or endeavor plus the reasons behind Wilson’s changing from Constitutional law to case law.

  15. bozo March 10, 2012 / 2:18 am

    You bastards, eh? Keystone XL is a giant screw job for midwest diesel buyers like, oh, farmers. Just ask TransCanada:

    “The firms involved have asked the US State Department to approve this project, even as they’ve told Canadian government officials how the pipeline can be used to add at least $4 billion to the US fuel bill,” Philip K. Verleger, president of PKVerleger LLC, a Colorado consulting firm that specializes in research on oil market economics, wrote in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune commentary last March.

    US farmers who spent $12.4 billion on fuel in 2009 could see those costs rise to $15 billion or higher if the pipeline goes through, he projects. At least $500 million of the added cost “would come from the Canadian market manipulation,” he wrote.

    “Millions of Americans will spend 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel as tribute to our ‘friendly’ neighbors to the north,” the highly respected Dr. Verleger wrote. “The Keystone XL pipeline will move production from Canadian oil sands to a deepwater port from where it can be exported.”

    But that is not merely Verleger’s opinion. It’s based on findings of the economic consultants hired by TransCanada – contained in their analyses of the pipeline’s impact on Canadian oil producers and in official testimony before Canada’s National Energy Board.

    “Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally [the US Midwest], are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil,” concludes a 2009 analysis on behalf of TransCanada by Purvin & Gertz, Inc., an oil economics firm based in Houston. “Access to the [US Gulf Coast] via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in [the Midwest market] by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude.”

    You people really do hate this country.

  16. Ricorun March 11, 2012 / 6:21 pm

    I wish I could comment on this thread.

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