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Archive for Friday, September 28, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Oil addiction

September 28, 2012

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To the editor:

The United States, a country that boasts of many freedoms, is fettered by the chains of a most grievous addiction. To speak more plainly, America’s drug of choice is petroleum.  

In a democracy originally intended to promote the common good, citizens’ pocketbooks shrink as we face ever-rising, unregulated gasoline prices. Meanwhile, special tax breaks and subsidies add even more billions to the coffers of oil barons while depleting our national treasury because of lost revenues.

Our addiction casts a dark shadow over foreign policy. Is our military presence in oil-producing countries, especially the Middle East,  primarily to ensure the spread of democracy? If so, why does the U.S. have a history of making devilish pacts with authoritarian regimes in exchange for guaranteed access to their petroleum resources? For instance, the architects of the American Revolution would be appalled at our intimate arms-for-oil alliance with Saudi Arabia, a tyrannical monarchy known for suppressing human rights. Lastly, oil production and consumption are devastating our environment and changing climate for the worse.

“Cold turkey,” of course, is out of the question. Nevertheless, we must drastically reduce our dependence on oil. As individuals, for example, we can refuse to purchase Detroit’s gas guzzlers, support lawmakers who envision a government assisted rebuilding of public transportation, and finally, be aggressive in pursuing new, greener ways of living.   

Comments

atiopatioo 1 year, 6 months ago

Why an Islamic Revolution in Saudi Arabia Is a Surefire Way to Send Oil to $300 a Barrel

Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist September 28, 2012 8:20pm GMT

By Marin Katusa, Casey Research

There is little that would rock the oil world more than a revolution in Saudi Arabia.

But with a coming leadership crisis, it is becoming all too likely.

Saudi is facing major economic challenges as dramatic increases in social spending and domestic fuel consumption eat through the kingdom's all-important oil revenues.

Saudi Arabia is smack in the middle of the Middle East, an ever-tumultuous region currently rocking and rolling more than usual as the Arab Spring challenges longstanding autocratic assumptions, while war-torn Syria and defiant Iran tip the delicate Sunni-Shia religious balance in the world's most important oil region.

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/why-islamic-revolution-saudi-arabia-surefire-way-send-oil-300-barrel?ppref=CRX417ED0912A

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atiopatioo 1 year, 6 months ago

From an interview with Diana Furchtgott-Roth in NRO:

Hydrofracturing, or fracking, is a new technology that is enabling us to tap into our reserves of oil and natural gas. This is the new American energy revolution. In North Dakota, home of the shale boom, the unemployment rate was 3 percent in July, the lowest in the nation. We now have a 200-year supply of inexpensive natural gas, which can lower households’ electricity bills and is attracting manufacturing industries back to America.

Green-energy studies that show the benefits of green technologies turn logic on its head by concluding that more expensive, mandated technology will increase economic growth and job creation. Such studies have many flaws, including a failure to account for the economic activity displaced through investment in the new, green world; failure to account for the economic costs of higher energy prices; using multiple erroneous assumptions; falsely claiming the development of new industries; and falsely claiming higher numbers of well-paying jobs.

Green-jobs policies are based upon raising government spending, increasing households’ electricity bills, forcing Americans into lighter, less-safe cars — with no gain except feelings of moral superiority. An alternative approach would allow consumers more choice over the types of power that they use and the vehicles that they drive.

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/09/energy-interviews-daniel-yergin-and-diana-furchtgott-roth/

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Constitutional_Malfeasance 1 year, 6 months ago

Just another bozo, you seem to know all The pitfalls Of fossil Fuels but what is your solution? And before you blame republicans, consider Solyndra and Obama's failed energy policies.....rather a lack of a coherent energy policy.....the guy who said he'd heal the planet. On a side, you insult in nearly every comment. What is the forum standard?

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 6 months ago

Take a look at my reader's blog for today - it's the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass in San Francisco, plus additional articles and pictures of bicycles helping to create less oil usage and more community spirit - including in Africa.

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/kansas-150th-birthday-is-almost-over/2012/sep/28/critical-mass-celebrates-its-20th-annive/

I'm glad that this letter appeared at about the same time, thanks to Neil Brown!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 6 months ago

How fossil fuels were formed is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is that it took millions of years to happen, and, for all practical purposes, releasing all of that sequestered CO2 at once is what's causing global warming/climate change.

It's a fact, Jack. If that creates cognitive dissonance w/respect to your ideology, might I suggest adopting a new ideology that's rational and respectful of facts and the scientific method?

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In_God_we_trust 1 year, 6 months ago

We need to promote and fund inventors that focus on devices that can exceed 100% electrical efficiency for electrical production for cars, houses, military and so on. It would enhance our future and our children's future. It would relieve the dependency on oil and provide clean affordable energy. It would also provide jobs, good jobs.

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Liberty275 1 year, 6 months ago

We were going to lunch and the exhaust (with two mufflers) from the Vette set off 2 car alarms just idling by. Cops have rolled down the windows on their squad cars and told me it sounds nice. If you stand behind it, it is in stereo. If you stand in the kitchen, you can hear it rattle the dishes.

That's what you have to fight to take away our oil. You won't.

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beatrice 1 year, 6 months ago

Petrolium? I thought this letter was going to be about Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Damn that Rachael Ray for getting us all addicted! We will forever be the slaves to Italy because of her cooking ways.

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Armstrong 1 year, 6 months ago

Barry has done well with his energy policy

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atiopatioo 1 year, 6 months ago

Oil is not a result of dinosaurs. Oil is a result of decaying algae.

Crude oil is created through the heating and compression of organic materials over a long period of time. Most of the oil we extract today comes from the remains of prehistoric algae and zooplankton whose remains settled on the bottom of an Ocean or Lake. Over time this organic material combined with mud and was then heated to high temperatures from the pressure created by heavy layers of sediment. This process, known as diagenesis, changes the chemical composition first into a waxy compound called kerogen and then, with increased heat, into a liquid through a process called catagenesis.

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 6 months ago

"Solar power can be very promising..." As long as you don't need electricity after the sun goes down.

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Trumbull 1 year, 6 months ago

Solar power can be very promising.....and supply approximately the same megawatts as a mid-sized coal burning plant. See this on the mojave desert solar farm. BTW this is even old technology (mirror reflection).

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=mojave%20desert%20solar%20farm&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FSolar_power_plants_in_the_Mojave_Desert&ei=tNNlUKXfJYrQqwGt-IHgDA&usg=AFQjCNE4k8goq2nOolmHs5o-gSC-HZqXwg

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headdoctor 1 year, 6 months ago

More regurgitation of Fake News by a right wing troll.

So closing eight coal mines out of as many as 150 by one company is a panic. The EPA rules that are being blamed for this don't go into effect if they ever do until 2015.

If anything the coal plants are backing off because of much lower rates in natural gas, market manipulation, and focusing on metallurgical coal to compete with Australia for the booming Chinese market.

I am sure you wont bother to let facts get in the road of a perfectly good rant. http://alnr.client.shareholder.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=707455

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Constitutional_Malfeasance 1 year, 6 months ago

So, we the people would need to get by with (fill in limited alternative energy source of your choice) while elected officials and elites in Hollywood and the media continue to drive around in big gas guzzling Suburbans and fly to and fro in jets. Sounds like more of what's coming. How about trains and trucking? We only allow fossil fuels for those? We the people eat cake. And wait until that Lasko fan you buy at Wal-Mart is not $20.97, but $40.97. Gung-ho alternative energy advocates don't have a back-up plan. They don't even have a plan. Coal fired electricity is already about to hit us as hundreds of plants are closed or closing due to unelected officials with carte blanche powers in the EPA dictating new policies. Thousands of jobs---gone.

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jafs 1 year, 6 months ago

Some folks don't seem to understand how the government subsidizes solar energy.

In addition to a failed attempt like Solyndra, the government has been offering homeowners rebates on solar electric systems for a while now.

That means that if I buy a solar electric system, a percentage of that will be paid to the installers/manufacturers from the government rather than by me. So many solar companies are partly subsidized and successful, partly due to these rebates.

And, in all likelihood, more homeowners have installed such systems because of the rebates.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 6 months ago

Nice letter but would it not be easier and quicker to transition if we used the resources we have to move toward independence while transitioning to a less petroleum intensive environment??

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Chris Golledge 1 year, 6 months ago

" the architects of the American Revolution would be appalled at our intimate arms-for-oil alliance with Saudi Arabia"

Economics makes strange bedfellows.

Choices based on economics tend to be based on near-term results, but have long-term consequences.

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Chris Golledge 1 year, 6 months ago

Eventually we will reduce or eliminate our use of fossil fuels. This will either be because we have shifted to non-fossil fuel sources of energy, or because the world population has been reduced as a result of climate change induced wars and famine.

The human population has been through bottlenecks before; there's no guarantee it won't happen again. And yes, likely the species will survive, but it would be an experience I'd rather avoid.

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headdoctor 1 year, 6 months ago

There isn't much in the way of truly green in our world. Even returning to the days of people power and horse drawn power would have its own set of consequences. Trying to be more green is in constant stalemate because of politics and economics. The prices on some energy saving appliances have finally after several years come down some. The bottom line is the average person is not going to pay three times the price plus 10 or 15% just to go more green. Under the circumstances of the negative influences the best most people can do is just try to cut back. It does little good to buy an electric or hybrid car when the manufacturing, maintenance and disposal of the car is anything but green. Our power plants are not going to produce cleaner power because they do not want to spend the money on the technology to do it with even though the cost is within range to do so.

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dwendel 1 year, 6 months ago

I rode my bike to work today. No oil cost. VIrtually no environmental impactt. Minimal road-wear cost. Better health = less health care costs. Loads of fun too.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

How many republican party's can we afford? NONE!

They are polluting the nation with their home loan scams and blowing trillions in an effort to control the world's oil supply. The oil conglomerates love it that we taxpayers are protecting their selfish interests around the world.

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 6 months ago

How many more Solyndras can we afford?

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atiopatioo 1 year, 6 months ago

Teet you say? So stop sucking. Here let the EPA help.

EPA Mandates How Much Gas You Must Buy

September 25, 2012 By eric The government can force you to buy health insurance – so why not gas, too?

The EPA has just issued another mandate – this one requiring that people who buy gas at stations where E15 (15 percent ethanol content) is sold buy at least four gallons of fuel. (See here for the news story.)

Why, you ask?

http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/09/25/epa-mandates-how-much-gas-you-must-buy/

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes oil products are big time pollutants = enough reason to cut wayyyyyyyyyy back.

Yes most all toxic lawn treatments such as toxic pesticies/herbicides and toxic chemical fertilizers are of the petro chemical industry.

If a zillion USA automobiles are burning natural gas we'll be looking at Iran to supplement our supplies. Iran is loaded with natural gas.

How does natural gas impact Climate Change/Global Warming/Further Depletion of our Ozone protection?

Like it or not electric vehicles backed by cleaner electric sources is the most logical approach which removes our dependency on others. And creates tons and tons of jobs for the USA.

Let's talk bicycles for a bit.

Bicycles require the least amount of toxic energy. Which is to say more people riding bikes locally would do plenty to reduce dependence on other types of energy across the board.

And we wouldn't have local politicians telling us we need a 40 million $$$$ field house project to restore our health because we have taken personal responsibility by way of bicycles. The cost of a bicycle would be wayyyyyyyyyy less that the cost of taxes per household.

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Ken Lassman 1 year, 6 months ago

We tout our economic model to other countries around the world to emulate, especially developing countries, and yet we are losing much international influence because of the transparency of our oil subsidies, including our military interventions around the world to keep those pipelines secure, even at the price of democratic regimes. Just as with automobiles in the 80s and 90s, the tables shifted on us as we no longer were the sole sources of good products, and our exports suffered terribly in the industry because we cared more about profit margins than providing a product that met the needs of the world. We have come to a crossroads in our designing and product development capacities, which are still the envy of the world: will we produce products that consume less energy and leave a smaller carbon footprint for the world, becoming world leaders, or will we be stuck in the past and fail to respond to the new realities. If you think global warming is a hoax, tell the hundreds of millions of people around the world who will be facing displacement due to rising sea levels, extreme weather, desertification and the rest and think about what they will be thinking if we are still selling the same old technologies that are responsible for their situation. C'mon, America is better than that.

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Liberty_One 1 year, 6 months ago

"unregulated gasoline prices"

So you'd rather return to the days of waiting in line for gas?

No thank you. Regardless, the price of gas hasn't gone up barely at all the last few decades. It's just that the value of the dollar has fallen.

"oil production and consumption are devastating our environment and changing climate for the worse."

This is false. Oil consumption is cleaner today than it ever has been. And of course the whole "Global Warming" farce is not worthy of sober response.

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grammaddy 1 year, 6 months ago

Germany now gets almost 50%of their energy from the sun. Why can't that be done here??

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tbaker 1 year, 6 months ago

The US is sitting on recently discovered, game-changing supplies of crude oil that rival the largest fields ever found in the Middle East. It is entirely within our ability as a nation to be completely crude oil independent in the next 5-7 years and become a net exporter of crude oil and natural gas. We also have the technology to cut transportation costs for passenger vehicles by 2/3 (not to mention a huge reduction in air pollution) if we switch to compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of gasoline for passenger cars and light trucks. The US government should be doing everything in its power to help set the most favorable conditions possible for business and industry to bring these new oil fields into production, and switch the transportation infrastructure to CNG.

Sadly, the government is not.

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JonasGrumby 1 year, 6 months ago

Hears an ideal. How about we produce more oil at home?

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 6 months ago

"..Give subsidies to automakers..." Because that's worked out soooooo well with the Volt.

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Number_1_Grandma 1 year, 6 months ago

We can start by demanding ( electing ) congressmen/women who will get off oil standard in this country and switch to cleaner burning natural gas vehicles like they have over in Europe. Yes, US automakers are leaders in producing these vehicles in Europe but won't dare to sell any here in US, why? Demand it. Same for production of electricity. Don't burn nasty coal when we could be using cleaner, cheaper natural gas. We need to get off dependency on foreign oil and turn to domestic natural gas for our immediate solutions. Give subsidies to automakers who build natural gas cars and not to billionaire oil companies. Natural gas is our immediate solution if we don't want to stay foreign oil dependent or big oil company dependent. Did I say that natural gas pumps would be around .25 a gallon too. Natural gas cars and electricity production. Solar and wind generation, with the help of natural gas plants producing electricity is a way for US to tell big oil company and nasty coal burners of electricity plants to stick it! Cleaner, happier lives with no foreign land dependency....sounds nice doesn't it?

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