Gas Price Manipulation

According to a recent online poll at Daily Fuel Economy Tip.com [via Digg], an astonishing 79% of respondents think that gas companies are manipulating gas prices to achieve record profits. While online polls like this are highly unreliable, I believe that it is indicative of the general population.

What is sad is that it is absolutely true that gas prices are being manipulated. By tree-huggers, Democrats and vote-seeking Republicans that are stopping us from drilling in the gulf and building refineries, and by over-regulation of an essential industry.

The free market, in this case, is not free.

And we pay for it with every mile that we drive.

Posted May 25th, 2007 Filed in Energy

Corrosive Ethanol

Ethanol is being forced down the throat of American consumers as a feel-good alternative to foreign oil (God knows we can’t drill in Alaska or the Gulf to get our own oil!) and as a Republican vote-buying tactic as they kowtow to the increasingly smaller farm delegation.

Ethanol:

Now there’s one more thing: they think that it is so corrosive that destroys the pumps that we will use to stick it in our cars:

E85, a blend of 85 percent corn-based ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, could be eating away at metal and plastic parts in pumps being used to dispense the fuel at gasoline stations, Underwriters Laboratories, the private product-safety testing group, said this month.

BP, the British oil company, said on Thursday that it would delay the expansion of E85 at its American gasoline outlets until the laboratories certified an E85 dispensing system. “BP is tracking this issue very closely,” Valerie Corr, a company spokeswoman, said.

More corrosive than gasoline? It eats away at plastic and metal parts? And you want me to put this overpriced, underperforming syrup in my car?

If it wasn’t for the War on Islamofacism, I’d say it was time for a good old-fashioned revolution.

Posted October 28th, 2006 Filed in Energy

7-11 Severs Citgo Ties, Blows PR Opportunity

Boycott Citgo7-Eleven has announced that it will no longer use Citgo as a gas supplier, severing a 20-year relationship:

7-Eleven officials said Wednesday that the decision was partly motivated by politics.

Citgo Petroleum Corp. is a Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil company and 7-Eleven is worried that anti-American comments made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez might prompt motorists to fill-up elsewhere.

I’m thinking, “Great! I’ll drive miles out of my way just to go to a 7-Eleven.

And I’m thinking that 7-Eleven will become the Gas King of Middle America because there’s a whole lot of people that would feel the same way.

But no, 7-Eleven was quick to put a knife through the heart of any perception that a business decision has anything to do with keeping Americans from funding anti-American regimes or protecting Americans from terrorist-friendly, hate-spewing madmen:

The company’s decision appeared to represent a broadening of U.S.-Venezuela tensions, which previously had been little more than a war of words between Chavez and the Bush administration, but 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris told Reuters that was not the case.

The decision to drop Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA, was made well before the speech, she said, and based on 7-Eleven’s desire to sell its own branded gasoline.

“People are making it out to be more than it is,” Chabris said.

Further, 7-Eleven’s official position is that Americans should keep funding anti-American socialist regimes:

The 7-Eleven statement said it was not calling for a boycott of Citgo, which employs 4,000 people in the United States, and supplies 14,000 US retailers.

“Americans with no substantive connection to Venezuela would be economically harmed by boycotts,” the statement said.

In other words, 7-Eleven believes that a boycott that harms one thousandth of one percent of Americans is a bad thing. But giving millions billions of dollars every year to a nation that harbors Arab terrorists, openly declares support for Syria and cozies up to China is just fine.

I’ll not be stopping at a 7-Eleven again. Ever.

Posted September 27th, 2006 Filed in Boycott, Energy, International, War on Islamofascism

Glenn Beck Video

A great summary of the Whys and Why Nots of the Kyoto Treaty from political entertainer Glenn Beck (5.3 MB download).

Glenn Beck Kyoto Treaty

Or if you prefer, here it is hosted on YouTube (uploaded by Terror Free Oil). But my copy doesn’t have the annoying headline scroll at the bottom of the screen.

Posted September 27th, 2006 Filed in Energy

Wicked Fast, For a Price

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Pictured is a roadster prototype from the first auto company to come out of Silicon Valley, Tesla Motors.

This baby does 0 to 60 in about four seconds. For comparison’s sake, a Lotus Elise “zips” from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds and Porsche’s latest 911 Turbo rips from zero to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds.


What’s more, the darn thing runs on laptop batteries. You heard me: 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.


Check out the journalist’s experience:

He releases the brake and my head snaps back. One-one-thousand: I get a floating feeling, like going over the falls in a roller coaster. Two-one-thousand: The world tunnels, the trees blur. Three-one-thousand: We hit 60 miles per hour. Eberhard brakes. We’re at a standstill again — elapsed time, nine seconds.

The vehicle gets 250 miles to a charge (although judging from my experience with laptop batteries, that will fall off after a few months and in a couple of years you’ll be lucky to get to the other side of town and back) and takes three and a half hours to recharge using a 240 volt outlet (you can charge it using a standard 110, but that takes longer).


This model is almost ready for mass production but will cost a whopping $80,000 or more. But the company is already working on a lower-cost sedan that may be out as soon as 2008. And remember, the motor has only one moving part: the rotor. No spark plugs, timing belts, turbochargers, or catalytic converters to keep maintained. Even the transmission is simpler: only two forward gears (first gear takes you up to 70 mph and to go into reverse the motor just runs backwards, which theoretically means you could hit top speed of 130 in reverse!). So I don’t imagine this puppy will be spending much time in the shop (except to replace those batteries).


This is yet another example of why we don’t need the government investing wasting taxpayer dollars on alternate energy research. When the market creates a demand, American innovation will step up to the plate.


I hope this pans out. It would be nice to drive a car that sounds like “a jet preparing for takeoff 5 miles away”.


[HT to Instapundit via non-blogging Advised by Wolves]


Update: Future Pundit notes:

Tesla’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list claims the batteries will last for 500 recharging cycles. In theory that gives 100,000 miles before replacement. In practice you might get less since most people aren’t going to want to run their batteries all the way down and therefore will charge up less than every 250 miles. …

What I’d like to know: First, how much do the batteries cost? Second, how quickly will the battery costs drop? Third, how quickly will the energy density go up for lithium-based batteries?

But if you are interested in this kind of thing, I highly recommend Slashdot’s article, Electric Cars and Their Discontents, which begins:

The most hotly contested issue raised by yesterday’s post about the lithium-ion battery-powered Tesla roadster is only tangentially related to the car itself; instead, it’s the energy generation and storage required for electric cars more generally to operate. Read on for the Backslash summary of the conversation, including several of the comments that defined the conversation.

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Posted July 24th, 2006 Filed in Energy

What Do You Get when Sharing a Milkshake with a Pig

Imagine one milkshake and two straws, only the person on the other straw is greedy and selfish:

Cuba is exploring in its half of the 90-mile-wide Straits of Florida within the internationally recognized boundary as well as in deep-water areas of the Gulf of Mexico. The impoverished communist nation is eager to receive any economic boost that would come from a major oil find.

“They think there’s a lot of oil out there. We’ll see,” said Fadi Kabboul, a Venezuelan energy minister. He noted that the oil fields Cuba is plumbing do not respect national borders. Any oil Cuba finds and extracts could siphon off fuel that otherwise would be available to drillers off the Florida coast and oil-thirsty Americans.

A point that I’ve made before.

Where is the competition coming from? From the same article:

  • Cuba is drilling for oil 60 miles off the coast of Florida with help from China, Canada and Spain
  • Canadian companies Sherritt International Co. and Pebercan Inc. already are pumping more than 19,000 barrels of crude each day from the Santa Cruz, Puerto Escondido, Canasi and other offshore fields in the straits about 90 miles from Key West
  • Spain’s Repsol oil company has announced the discovery of “quality oil” in deep-water areas of the same region
  • Cuba’s state oil company, Cubapetroleo, also has inked a deal with China’s Sinopec to explore for oil, and it is using Chinese-made drilling equipment to conduct the exploration

I continue to be dumbfounded by the inability of our elected officials to recognize that stopping American companies from drilling off our coast hurts no one but us. Billions in revenues are going to other countries. Crude is going to other countries and we remain dependent on foreign, often hostile regimes for the energy to drive our economy and our very survival.


As I’ve said before, exploring for and extracting oil is not a danger to the environment. Spills occur during transport: tankers go aground or pipelines burst. Oil is rarely spilled during exploration and production and when it is, usually less than one barrel is lost.

Every time a tree-hugging hippie tells you that they are against drilling in America because they want to protect the environment, ask them to tell you the last time that drilling caused an environmental problem. And every time a politician tells you that we need to protect our coasts from American oil, call him a liar.

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Posted July 24th, 2006 Filed in Energy

Nuke Renaissance

With gas prices going up because of Congress’ bungling of a coherent energy policy,and with improvements in design that ensure safe reactors, the Americans are increasingly looking favorably on nuclear energy:

Mr. Kerekes of NEI agrees the future looks bright for nuclear power.

“We have 103 nuclear reactors operating in the United States, which represent 2,500 combined reactor years. So we have compiled quite a lot of experience.” …

A national survey last summer confirmed that Americans view nuclear energy favorably. In a poll of adults living within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, 83 percent said they favor nuclear energy, and 85 percent gave the plant near them a “high” safety rating. Seventy-six percent said they would be willing to see a new reactor built on the site near their home.

Count me among the 76%. Heck, I’d work in one.

Now if only we can get congress to quit mucking around and over-regulating things, maybe we’ll get some clean energy.

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Posted June 18th, 2006 Filed in Energy

The Missing 11 Trillion Dollars

According to the Consumer Alliance for Energy Security, in 2000 it was estimated that there were over 160 billion barrels of undiscovered but conventionally recoverable oil in US territory. And that didn’t even include Utah, in which a billion barrels of oil were discovered by a wildcat company last year.


Oil Rig in the Gulf
With prices hovering around $70 a barrel, that means that our elected servants are keeping U.S. companies from developing over eleven trillion dollars worth of resources. That’s 11 trillion of income that won’t get taxed, billions of hours of jobs for everything from roughnecks to accountants, not to mention ancillary industries that do everything from making drill bits to supplying paper forms to ferrying workers to and from remote sites.


Eleven trillion dollars that won’t feed our economy. Eleven trillion dollars that will probably go even higher as China feeds its voracious appetite for oil, reducing supply and driving prices ever upward.


Eleven trillion dollars that we won’t exploit because we don’t trust home industries with our environment, even though Mexico, Cuba and even China is drilling off our coasts.


Caribou Love Oil Rigs in the ANWR
Truth is, spills occur during transport: tankers go aground or pipelines burst. Oil is rarely spilled during exploration and production and when it is, usually less than one barrel is lost.


And remember that not one drop of oil was spilled during the devastation of Katrina, even with incidents like a sunk platform and an oil rig that was ripped from its moorings and thrown downriver to be smashed against a suspension rig.


So the next time a tree-hugging hippie tells you that they are against drilling in America because they want to protect the environment, ask them to tell you the last time that drilling caused an environmental problem. And the next time a politician tells you that we need to protect our coasts from American oil, you can can him a liar.


Oh yeah, and what about natural gas? Over 275 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered reserves at over $6/MMBtu (because the price has dropped), comes out to another 1.6 trillion dollars. And a whole lot of energy.

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Posted June 11th, 2006 Filed in Energy

Holy Crap, Dems that Have a Plan!

Check it out:

U.S. Senate Democrats on Wednesday offered a plan to cut U.S. oil import dependence 40 percent by 2020 by requiring more use of alternative motor vehicle fuels like ethanol.

Of course! With China teaming with Cuba to pump the oil out of gulf fields just 50 miles off our coast, and with Mexico already producing from rich finds in the waters they share with Texas, the Dem answer is to grow our oil. Never mind taking what God has given us in the gulf. Never mind building a jobs boom in the economically depressed regions populated by hungry eskimos. Never mind using proven technologies like nuclear reactors.

No, we should run our cars on moonshine!


Of course, the drive for biofuels in Europe is destroying rain forests. But who needs them? I’ve never been to one and if I need to see a monkey I’ll go to Washington. It’s closer and their antics are more bizaar and thus more entertaining.


Of course, consumers get between 25 and 40 percent fewer miles per gallon when gasoline is diluted with ethanol, so one wonders how many miles per gallon a car burning pure biodiesel would get. But hey, so what if you have to stop at the pump on the way to work . . . every day. The farmers will be happy!


Of course, ehtanol can’t be shipped by pipeline so it has to be trucked in (or “rail roaded” or “barged”). Hmmm, I wonder . . . just how much ethanol would a truck carrying ethanol would burn if it had to go from the farms of mid-America to the highly populated (and highly fuel consuming) coastal cities in California and New York? Especially given that whole “miles per gallon” hit it would take burning corn oil. And so, just how much would the biodiesel end up costing once a few drops out of the tank truck made it out there? But so what? Maybe those bastards will bike to work instead of queueing up at the pump to pay through the nose for soy oil, thus saving us all a lot of work.


Of course, it takes more energy to produce biodiesel and ethanol than they create. But I’m sure Dems will come up with a plan. Maybe we’ll use coal to refine ethanol so we can drive little Suzy to school.


Of course, our farmers can’t keep up with current demands for ethanol and all we want to do is blend a little with gasoline. Never mind the preposterous 54 cents per gallon tariff that is imposed on imported ethanol, which is just one of the reasons we are paying artifically inflated prices for gas to begin with.


Yes, using an energy-deficient biodiesel that we can’t produce in sufficient quantities to meet current demands and can’t efficiently distribute to consumers has just got to be the answer!

With plans like this, it is stunning that Dems lost the House, the Senate and the White House.

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Posted May 29th, 2006 Filed in Energy

After “Big Oil” is Taken Down

After our gas prices go ballistic because of “windfall” taxes, what will come next? Here’s one possibility:

Yet sure enough, by dinner U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had announced a wide-ranging investigation into price gouging by shoe designers, shoe stores and shoe leather producers, domestic, foreign and terrorist.

“Who is this Choo, anyway, and how much did he pay himself last year,” Schumer snarled. “No one can tell me this leopard print is worth anywhere near $700. It’s a slingback and doesn’t even have laces. I’m going to drop the other Rockport on this, and if President Bush is involved, well, that’s what Impeachment is for. We all know who is to blame for this outrage.”

Read it all. Hilarious!

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Posted April 30th, 2006 Filed in Energy