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Thread: Fuel costs and the local variety store

  1. #26
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    You need to rework your math here. First you need to account for ethanol being 25% less efficient than gasoline.
    My Taurus gets 1-2 mpg less on E85 than gasoline. My math tells me that that is not 25% of 26MPG. That was from last February through today. I need to find the study you quoted and see what time period they looked at for the US Production, there is rapid improvements in technology so even a couple of year old data is not current.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
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  2. #27
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    This E85 thing is looking pretty appealing: http://www.cleanairchoice.org/outdoo...elVehicles.asp

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    Because air-conditioners don't use energy, nor are they needed to maintain the quality of life in the south and west.
    I don't think I understand this response.

    How many people in the South and West use oil or gas to power home air conditioners? Not many, they use coal-generated electric power - and coal prices have barely moved in years.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jtmnkri
    I don't think I understand this response.

    How many people in the South and West use oil or gas to power home air conditioners? Not many, they use coal-generated electric power - and coal prices have barely moved in years.
    When the price of one type of energy increases, others follow because people try to substitute the higher priced energy with a cheaper source. See natural gas in the last 20 years. See others in the future. What is the capacity to use coal to meet our energy needs? (BTW, I'm not talking about mining capacity)

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    When the price of one type of energy increases, others follow because people try to substitute the higher priced energy with a cheaper source. See natural gas in the last 20 years. See others in the future. What is the capacity to use coal to meet our energy needs? (BTW, I'm not talking about mining capacity)
    It is slightly off-topic, but the pressing issue with coal is only partly the ability of mines to produce it, and much more so the ability of the railroads to carry it. The decrease in mainline trackage ocer several decades has produced bottlenecks in the system. In some still-viable mining regions, track was removed when the mines closed.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #31
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    My Taurus gets 1-2 mpg less on E85 than gasoline. My math tells me that that is not 25% of 26MPG. That was from last February through today. I need to find the study you quoted and see what time period they looked at for the US Production, there is rapid improvements in technology so even a couple of year old data is not current.
    Let's say that E85 is only 5% less efficient than gasoline. Heck, let's say you get the same gas mileage. How much land is it going to take to grow what we need?
    How much energy will it take to deliver the product to market - from start to finish? What will the environmental effects be? What will the effects be on food prices?

    The math for that still needs to be reworked because you can't get 660 mpg (of fossil fuel) on an E85 hybrid, as mallen said. He's completely discounting the fossil fuel necessary to produce the ethanol in the first place.

    The study was just released in July -
    http://www.aibs.org/bioscience-press...petroleum.html


    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    It is slightly off-topic, but the pressing issue with coal is only partly the ability of mines to produce it, and much more so the ability of the railroads to carry it. The decrease in mainline trackage ocer several decades has produced bottlenecks in the system. In some still-viable mining regions, track was removed when the mines closed.
    None of us are saying that energy won't be available. None of us believe that energy sources are just going to disappear one day. Of course there will always be something around to burn. The issue is how much it's going to cost and how the price of it will effect everything else.

    The price of coal has more to do with the demand for the finished product that it supplies (electricity) than how easily accessible it is. As more households in the northeast switch from diesel to natural gas for heating the price of natural gas will rise. This will then effect natural gas fired power plants raising the price of electricity all across the grid. I get form letters from Green Mountain (my electricity provider) every third month now explaining that, no, the price of wind doesn't go up but that wind, solar, coal, etc. all go into the same grid and thereby all cost the same after they turn the meter at your house.

    When more people start plugging in their hybrids, electric scooters, and start using their golf carts more to get around town this will increase demand from the grid. The price of oil, natural gas, and coal will rise, the price of hydro will rise, the price of wind and solar will also rise.

    It's already happening, and as it is happening, the price of everything that is produced using energy rises with it.

    It's not some crazy "bring down suburbia" cult. It's real. Just because the price of oil jumped temporarily after Katrina doesn't mean it won't climb back up there on its own in a year or two.
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...art-usat_x.htm
    Last edited by jresta; 08 Sep 2005 at 2:51 PM.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    The math for that still needs to be reworked because you can't get 660 mpg (of fossil fuel) on an E85 hybrid, as mallen said. He's completely discounting the fossil fuel necessary to produce the ethanol in the first place.
    As I mentioned earlier (and I probably didn't do a good job of stressing it), my discussion about E85/Plug-In Hybrids was not intended to offer it as the cheap oil solution. I was also not trying to imply that everyone buys a plug in hybrid, pour in E85 and everything is fine. jresta is absolutely correct that there are genuine logistical problems and issues. But there is a real potential there that exists today. Kunstler argues that people are banking on wishful technology to save the day. I contend that it is not wishful technology, but simply non-yet implemented technology.

    That is what I really wanted to demonstrate. I believe that there are many, many truly viable options. People basically say that because we haven't used these sources, then we can't. I disagree. There simply has not been a need to develop those options because of the great flexiblity of cheap oil.

    For example, Kunstler argues that we can't use wind energy because it would take too much oil to make the windmills and we will be out of oil by the time we need them. Well, that may be the case if humans are TOTALLY incompetent. Inventive, self-serving, greedy people (god love 'em) will find a way to make lemondade out of lemons.

    It is true that cheap oil permeates our society in many, many ways. But as gas reaches $5.00 per gallon, people will adapt, habits will change, and more oil will remain for other uses (plastics, asphalt, etc). Those other uses will eventually adapt too (even finite resources). You may have read recently about how not too long ago people were concerned that the cost of copper (a finite resource) would spiral out of control. Well it didn't because we changed from copper wires to fiber and wireless and other alternatives.

    As I said earlier, I believe the crash will not be so much a crash as a soft landing and adaptation. Humans are a very adaptable and creative creatures. (Often stupid too, but in the long-run very resilient).

  8. #33
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    Let's say that E85 is only 5% less efficient than gasoline. Heck, let's say you get the same gas mileage.
    How much more of your information is flawed? Lots of folks throw around that 25% less efficient figure, it's just not true.


    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    The math for that still needs to be reworked because you can't get 660 mpg (of fossil fuel) on an E85 hybrid, as mallen said. He's completely discounting the fossil fuel necessary to produce the ethanol in the first place.
    Most of the studies that I have read over count it, they use input data from studies done in the 80's and fertilizer and fuel cost per acre have come down some since then.

    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    The study was just released in July -
    http://www.aibs.org/bioscience-press...petroleum.html
    I tried to find the study, I saw that the study was recent, I want to see what time frame their data was from.




    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    None of us are saying that energy won't be available. None of us believe that energy sources are just going to disappear one day. Of course there will always be something around to burn. The issue is how much it's going to cost and how the price of it will effect everything else.

    The price of coal has more to do with the demand for the finished product that it supplies (electricity) than how easily accessible it is. As more households in the northeast switch from diesel to natural gas for heating the price of natural gas will rise. This will then effect natural gas fired power plants raising the price of electricity all across the grid. I get form letters from Green Mountain (my electricity provider) every third month now explaining that, no, the price of wind doesn't go up but that wind, solar, coal, etc. all go into the same grid and thereby all cost the same after they turn the meter at your house.

    When more people start plugging in their hybrids, electric scooters, and start using their golf carts more to get around town this will increase demand from the grid. The price of oil, natural gas, and coal will rise, the price of hydro will rise, the price of wind and solar will also rise.

    It's already happening, and as it is happening, the price of everything that is produced using energy rises with it.

    It's not some crazy "bring down suburbia" cult. It's real. Just because the price of oil jumped temporarily after Katrina doesn't mean it won't climb back up there on its own in a year or two.
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...art-usat_x.htm
    Likewise, the alternative energy folks don't think prices will stay the same forever, or that one alternative will solve every problem. I for one, get real tired of folks throwing bad data around when any alternative is mentioned. I have great confidence in the human race to figure out what to do when the cheap oil runs out. Will things be very different? Yes, but will the world as we know it end? probably not.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  9. #34
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    As I mentioned earlier (and I probably didn't do a good job of stressing it), my discussion about E85/Plug-In Hybrids was not intended to offer it as the cheap oil solution. I was also not trying to imply that everyone buys a plug in hybrid, pour in E85 and everything is fine. jresta is absolutely correct that there are genuine logistical problems and issues. But there is a real potential there that exists today. Kunstler argues that people are banking on wishful technology to save the day. I contend that it is not wishful technology, but simply non-yet implemented technology.

    That is what I really wanted to demonstrate. I believe that there are many, many truly viable options. People basically say that because we haven't used these sources, then we can't. I disagree. There simply has not been a need to develop those options because of the great flexiblity of cheap oil.

    For example, Kunstler argues that we can't use wind energy because it would take too much oil to make the windmills and we will be out of oil by the time we need them. Well, that may be the case if humans are TOTALLY incompetent. Inventive, self-serving, greedy people (god love 'em) will find a way to make lemondade out of lemons.

    It is true that cheap oil permeates our society in many, many ways. But as gas reaches $5.00 per gallon, people will adapt, habits will change, and more oil will remain for other uses (plastics, asphalt, etc). Those other uses will eventually adapt too (even finite resources). You may have read recently about how not too long ago people were concerned that the cost of copper (a finite resource) would spiral out of control. Well it didn't because we changed from copper wires to fiber and wireless and other alternatives.

    As I said earlier, I believe the crash will not be so much a crash as a soft landing and adaptation. Humans are a very adaptable and creative creatures. (Often stupid too, but in the long-run very resilient).
    I also believe people will adapt. The problem remains, however, that cheap energy has allowed world population to mushroom in the last 125+ years from about 1.5 billion people to somewhere around 6.2 billion today.

    The fact remains that the cost of energy will continue to climb. People need to be prepared to drastically reduce their energy consumption with more efficient appliances, vehicles, etc. or they need to be ready to do without.

    Consumption needs to start falling quickly in the next 5 years. We both agree that much of that technology already exists. Our difference in opinion on that matter seems to be how fast these technologies will be brought to market, how much they will cost, and how much energy it will take to produce them. Either way we're not really having the same conversation. You're seeing this as a matter of reducing energy demand. If we reduce our demand quickly enough we'll have a tough go of it but things will be OK in the end. I'm looking at in economic terms and and if we'll ever recover and how it will effect worldwide food production and distribution . . . and what kind of wars it could spawn. Ultimately, i'm saying that we have 5 years to get all of this technology on the shelves, otherwise we're screwed.

    Right now I don't see that direction coming from Washington. I don't see the tax breaks for R&D. I don't see the president's 'Task Force on the Reduction of Energy Consumption'. In fact, the last i heard him speak on the matter was something along the lines of "we don't need to reduce our energy use, we need to open up alaska and the west to more drilling"

    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    How much more of your information is flawed? Lots of folks throw around that 25% less efficient figure, it's just not true.
    I understand that you're from a part of the country with a vested interest in the success of ethanol. Rather than saying a peer-reviewed study (published in a widely respected scientific journal) is "flawed" and saying that "lots of people throw that number around" maybe you should show us your own data.

    If you want to pay the $10 to buy the article go for it. In the meantime i'm not saying we shouldn't produce ethanol or that we shouldn't have been using it all along. I'm saying that it's not going to make that much of a difference and i'm saying
    that the people overstating its benefits are the people trying to sell it.
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 09 Sep 2005 at 1:17 PM. Reason: double reply
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  10. #35
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    Right now I don't see that direction coming from Washington. I don't see the tax breaks for R&D. I don't see the president's 'Task Force on the Reduction of Energy Consumption'. In fact, the last i heard him speak on the matter was something along the lines of "we don't need to reduce our energy use, we need to open up alaska and the west to more drilling"
    I agree with you 100% on that. I don't see leadership from Washington on the issue. In fact, there is (and will be) a lot of counterproductive efforts attempting to address the higher fuel costs.

    Society will be the front runner on this issue. But higher fuel costs are inevitable componets of lack of supply. Society will not accept unreasonable costs. A better mousetrap WILL result.

    As an aside, I did a little analysis with an article about a wind production project a while back. It was for an $80 million dollor faciilty that would generate enough power for 21,000 homes. I don't have the article anymore, but I extrapolated the data generally. Basically, using the numbers from that article ($80 million serves 21,000 homes), then for the cost of Iraq War so far ($200,000,000,000.00 that is $200 billion), we could have powered 52,507,219 homes with wind power. Yes, that is accurate, 52 million homes. If we simply used said $200 billion to subsidize wind production to make it cost effective with cheap oil, then we would really be onto something.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian
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    Strengthen public transit systems

    Maybe more and more people will begin to use public transit systems. But in many cities the systems are in very bad shape. So maybe the retail stores should donate some of their revenues to the transportation agencies of the cities to help adding transit lines.
    English is my second language, but the earth is my first hometown

  12. #37
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by back yard
    So maybe the retail stores should donate some of their revenues to the transportation agencies of the cities to help adding transit lines.
    That's called taxes .

  13. #38
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    I understand that you're from a part of the country with a vested interest in the success of ethanol. Rather than saying a peer-reviewed study (published in a widely respected scientific journal) is "flawed" and saying that "lots of people throw that number around" maybe you should show us your own data.
    I didn't say the whole study was flawed. I said I wondered about it, but not enough to pay $10 for it. Folks do throw that number around and I gave you empirical evidence that it was wrong. When you abandoned that figure in your second post it made me wonder about the rest of the argument.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  14. #39
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    As an aside, I did a little analysis with an article about a wind production project a while back. It was for an $80 million dollor faciilty that would generate enough power for 21,000 homes. I don't have the article anymore, but I extrapolated the data generally. Basically, using the numbers from that article ($80 million serves 21,000 homes), then for the cost of Iraq War so far ($200,000,000,000.00 that is $200 billion), we could have powered 52,507,219 homes with wind power. Yes, that is accurate, 52 million homes. If we simply used said $200 billion to subsidize wind production to make it cost effective with cheap oil, then we would really be onto something.
    I agree that our priorities need to change - and quickly. On the other hand, much of the success of wind power lies in proper placement. Most of the high-output facilities are located on windswept hill tops or mountain passes. A lot of those areas are now protected from such development and even when they no longer are I think we'll very quickly find that they're in short supply. A lot more of them are going to have to placed offshore, which will raise the cost.

    Again, I have no doubt that we'll build that better mousetrap. Most of them are already built. The problem is how much it will bring down the cost of energy. It took us 50 years to complete the change from wood to coal, 50 years to change from coal to oil (my old house still had the original coal chute and i was still using the original oil tank), and 50+ years to complete the eletrical grid. We have, at most, 15 years to make that change complete - worldwide.

    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    I didn't say the whole study was flawed. I said I wondered about it, but not enough to pay $10 for it. Folks do throw that number around and I gave you empirical evidence that it was wrong. When you abandoned that figure in your second post it made me wonder about the rest of the argument.
    I didn't "abandon" the number. I was saying that it didn't matter if that number was right or wrong - it wasn't central to my argument.

    Empirical evidence would come from a professional (or semi-professional) study that looked at different vehicles and different types of vehicles run under a wide range of driving conditions and weather. Fuel consumption would be monitored more closely than with just a fuel gauge.

    Driving around in your own car, eyeballing it, isn't empirical. It's anecdotal - there's a big difference.
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 09 Sep 2005 at 1:16 PM. Reason: double reply - please consolidate replies into a single post
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    That's called taxes .
    I mean in addition to taxes.
    English is my second language, but the earth is my first hometown

  16. #41
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    I didn't "abandon" the number. I was saying that it didn't matter if that number was right or wrong - it wasn't central to my argument.
    Ok, point taken.

    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    Empirical evidence would come from a professional (or semi-professional) study that looked at different vehicles and different types of vehicles run under a wide range of driving conditions and weather. Fuel consumption would be monitored more closely than with just a fuel gauge.

    Driving around in your own car, eyeballing it, isn't empirical. It's anecdotal - there's a big difference.
    Granted my evidence is anecdotal, but do you think that if a study was done like you describe, that my car would be a huge outlier in the data? The fact that a study like that has not been done also should prevent folks from touting the inefficency of ethanol as well. By the way, my data isn't just eyeballing with the fuel gauge, it's eight months and 20,000 miles of calculating mpg.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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