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TODAY'S QUESTION: Are you worried about gas prices rising?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | 12:12 p.m. CST; updated 12:32 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gas prices rose about 14 cents this week in mid-Missouri. Analysts believe the protests in the Middle East have caused the price of oil to go up.

Currently, Libya is the world's 18th-largest oil producer. However, analysts say the country's protests will still affect gas prices in the United States. 

A major reason why Libya is an important oil producer is due to its sweet crude oil — which is in high demand because of its low sulfur content. 

These factors have many believing gas prices could continue to rise.

What do you believe? Are you concerned about gas prices rising? 


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Comments

Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 12:16 p.m.

Goood

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Derrick Fogle February 23, 2011 | 12:30 p.m.

I'm glad I use a bicycle for transportation. High fuel prices will hammer the whole economy, though, even if it doesn't directly impact my personal budget very much.

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Red Doogan February 23, 2011 | 1:25 p.m.

Hip, Hip, Hooray! Keep on rising and we will see the economy tank...congrats to Obumer and his foreign policy causing all the unrest in the Middle East.

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Corey Parks February 23, 2011 | 1:30 p.m.

I guess America is getting what they wish for. Interestingly enough when the prices went up last time it was blamed on 2 people but this time not so much.

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Mark Foecking February 23, 2011 | 1:34 p.m.

Adapting to high fuel prices caused by political problems will (hopefully) help us plan for high fuel prices caused by fundamental supply problems. The latter, once it starts, won't go away.

Bring 'em on.

DK

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Ellie Funke February 23, 2011 | 1:43 p.m.

I'm really not getting the 'Supply' connection. Libya doesn't even make honorable mention on the D.O.E. import report. Could it have more to do with unreasonable market jitters? http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petro... "Canada remained the largest exporter of total petroleum in November, exporting 2,510 thousand barrels per day to the United States, which is an increase from last month (2,345 thousand barrels per day). The second largest exporter of total petroleum was Mexico with 1,363 thousand barrels per day."

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Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 1:45 p.m.

Yes RED. The people protesting a dictator who's home was bombarded by the order of Ronald Reagan is Obama's FAULT. I'm sure that Reagan would not have wanted to stir up any activity in such a place. They would all be compliant with their dictatorship if we just had Reagan in office. Maybe this is Obama's FAULT because we have observed this result WITHOUT launching a major war or even an airstrike.

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Paul Allaire February 23, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.

So we don't get to say "We support the troops." Does that take all the fun away?

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Jimmy Bearfield February 23, 2011 | 3:16 p.m.

"I'm really not getting the 'Supply' connection. Libya doesn't even make honorable mention on the D.O.E. import report."

One reason is because Libya holds the largest oil reserves of any African country and the ninth largest in the world. Another reason is because there are 50+ foreign oil companies there, so if the country goes to hell in a handbasket, a lot of companies and their countries will feel the pain. All of that fuels the market jitters you mentioned.

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Christopher Foote February 24, 2011 | 10:07 a.m.

The US has one of the lowest prices for gasoline in the developed world. Once our economy stabilizes, I think increased gas taxes would be an excellent source for additional government revenue to shore up our growing national debt. Moreover, if the tax floated to allow for ameliorating swings in prices it would provide a mechanism for stabilizing energy prices. I recall quite a bit of ink was spilled attributing the lack of corporate hiring to uncertainty in the operating costs of businesses. If that argument was not specious, it seems that variations in energy costs would contribute to a higher level of price uncertainty and thus higher unemployment than whether one's income tax rate would or would not increase by 3 percent.
It seems increasingly likely that in the near future diminishing reserves combined with decreased production are going to generate a substantial amount of volatility in the oil markets.
Lastly, whether we accept it or not, our economy and lifestyle will need to adapt to a world of high energy costs. The halcyon days of cheap energy are coming to an end, it would behoove us to plan for the future accordingly. Unfortunately, farsightedness seems to be a trait the electorate selects against (see our most recent federal election as an example) .

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John Schultz February 24, 2011 | 10:31 a.m.

Ah yes, it all comes down to Republicans voting out Democrats since they are so different at the federal level.

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frank christian February 24, 2011 | 2:05 p.m.

Christopher F. - You are usually entertaining but today's is hilarious:"I think increased gas taxes would be an excellent source for additional government revenue to shore up our growing national debt."

As soon as Carter's Windfall Profits Tax on oil companies was signed, the Democrat controlled US Senate debated for 10 days where to spend it, before they had even determined how to collect it. If enough Republicans exist the Debt will be addressed. If enough R's exist there will be no "increased gas taxes". Your statement is either funny or far-fetched. I vote far-fetched.

It is noted that all the bicycle riders say "bring it on" to high gas prices. Only one refers even remotely, "High fuel prices will hammer the whole economy, though," to the seriousness of the problem.

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Christopher Foote February 24, 2011 | 2:44 p.m.

@Frank,

It is going to happen anyway. You don't think it is prudent to prepare for it in a reasoned manner? If you don't plan for $200 a barrel oil, it doesn't mean it won't happen. It just means you'll be ill prepared and suffer the consequences. Note that those consequences will be severe with respect to our ability to compete in a globalized economy, because every other developed economy has already taken steps to address the problem.
See here for example:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/images/0608...
Note how the "z" axis (consumption) correlates with tax rates. That is what we need to address. In addition to weakening our ability to compete on the international stage relatively high oil prices will significantly reduce our GDP, decreasing not only our economic output but also increasing unemployment.
See here for a detailed economic analysis of how elevated oil prices affect the economy:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/otherana...

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Jack Hamm February 24, 2011 | 2:57 p.m.

@ Frank

"It is noted that all the bicycle riders say "bring it on" to high gas prices"

Point to one cyclist that said "bring it on". Maybe you are referring to DK who said that this energy crisis may help us deal with future energy shocks that are actually due to decreases in aggregate supply? I did not read anything in there about cyclist though and you can’t blame a guy for looking for the silver lining. I did not see one other post about cyclist other than Foggle’s. Are you referring to Paul by chance? So you took one person’s post that did not even mention cycling and then used it as a way to slap an entire group of people? I must say that I am not shocked by your lowest denominator way of debate and logic.

“Only one refers even remotely, "High fuel prices will hammer the whole economy, though," to the seriousness of the problem.”

What are you offering? Where is your post about the seriousness of the problem and what we should do about it? That’s right, you don’t have one. Instead you wait until other people have a mature discussion about a serious topic and then run it flinging insults and calling people out for something they did not even do but you did!

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frank christian February 24, 2011 | 3:53 p.m.

Chris F. Nothing in post #2, 244p written or shown refers to new taxes, as you did in #1 1007a. I'm more than guessing (am certain about UK) that those countries imposed those taxes long before any thought was given to any coming shortages. Those taxes were/are used to perpetuate the spending extravagance of their socialistic gov'ts, the same waste as any new tax on our energy would create. "Tax energy", is the only proposal that I can recall from liberals in their "plan" for $200. oil. Except of course the billions Obama is giving away for green sources. A few B's could have helped UE start a new reactor. No way, too busy "saving" public jobs.

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frank christian February 24, 2011 | 4:22 p.m.

J. Hamm - You make an excellent point. I have not proven that C. Foote is "frothferous" tho I and others have asked and he has not denied. Froth was/is a bicyclist and we don't have a question about the other two. Another problem to one as concerned as you,I believe that Fogle had advocated energy taxes,but have to entertain the possibility that he has not.

Could you entertain the certainty that if our Democrat controlled gov't had/would allow the recovery of our own oil and gas, the problem in Libya would matter to us much less? That right, you won't. Sorry to have upset you.

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Jimmy Bearfield February 24, 2011 | 4:41 p.m.

Frank, Foote is Froth. At one point, his profile said so.

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Derrick Fogle February 24, 2011 | 5:57 p.m.

h4x354x0r says, "Bring it on." There, a bicyclist said it.

Now all of Frank's arguments are completely and totally valid! Except the parts where: he said a bicyclist had already said that; how if you elected all Republicans it would fix everything; that if we just allowed the recovery of our own oil and gas then Libya's oil supply wouldn't matter to us; that other countries raised their fuel taxes to reduce fuel use without any comprehension or acknowledgement of the probability of rising energy costs; the charge that 'more gas taxes' is the only solution any "lefties" have got, and the speculation that I have advocated more energy taxes. Other than those parts, he's spot on!

I don't advocate new energy taxes, but I sure do advocate getting our butts to work on conservation and renewable energy sources, including through the application of "government" (i.e. taxes) money. I advocate cycling as a very effective method of energy conservation. I advocate the automation of our transportation system to increase fuel economy. I advocate a drastic (i.e. 80%) reduction in nuclear energy regulatory costs. I advocate more localization of agriculture to reduce the use of energy for shipping. I advocate a near-vegetarian lifestyle to reduce the massive amounts of fuel needed for meat production. I advocate living a bit more simply sometimes.

I guess the charge that we leftists don't have any solutions to offer is one more exception to all of Frank's pithy, chewy, newfound validity.

Fact is, we have plenty to offer, just not the idea that "drill baby drill," and otherwise continuing on like we have been, is a viable energy strategy.

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frank christian February 24, 2011 | 9:26 p.m.

Thanks Jimmy,as I have stated, I'm an amateur with operation of my computer,I would have probably never thought to look at Foote's profile, just as I never thought I might have to prove how he moves himself from place to place.

I thot I'd be happy to hear from Fogle, after criticizing his snow sculpture (wifey said it wasn't that bad)but here he goes again. Not going to waste time enumerating his overstatements in first paragraph. Derrick, if you don't see a difference in what I wrote and what you say I wrote, one of us has a serious problem. Do you oppose a cap and trade program? Our capitalist entrepreneurs have been working for sometime (Boone Pickens, wind,natural gas. Claims Obama could put Federal transportation on natural gas with a stroke of his green pen)on alternate sources of energy and what have we got? More government spending to "get us off all that foreign oil" I would submit that more than 80% of the nuclear regulatory costs you reject were/ are imposed by the political party you support, Democrats. "I advocate a near-vegetarian lifestyle to reduce the massive amounts of fuel needed for meat production." Really? "I advocate living a bit more simply sometimes." What is that supposed to mean? If energy costs more than one can afford to pay, one lives "simply" all the time.

Hamm, this is what we've got. You don't like my opposition to it or the way I espouse my opposition. I guess my only answer can be, Too bad.

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Mark Foecking February 25, 2011 | 5:46 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Could you entertain the certainty that if our Democrat controlled gov't had/would allow the recovery of our own oil and gas,"

This is less of an issue than a lot of people like to make it. Only about 20% of offshore reserves are off limits to drilling, and you know as well as I do that we will drill them eventually. The fundamental problem is we have only 3% of the world's reserves (of conventional oil) but use 25% of the world's oil.

I'm not so worried about what a fuel tax would be used for, though I think domestic production could be encouraged by putting a floor under the price of domestic oil. The main thing is, if you knew that gas would be $8/gallon in 5 years, would you take steps now to use less of it? Most people would, and while parts of the economy would suffer, others would benefit, as people, businesses and governments spent money on doing things differently.

As far as natural gas as a transportation fuel, you might ask yourself why it isn't used to any extent now. It's because liquid fuels are much easier to handle, far more energy dense, and much less dangerous in case of a leak. Also, I would not count on hydrofracturing to continue for long after the gas companies get sued for contaminating groundwater. One large shale gas play is in New York state, right under where New York City gets its water from. Can you imagine what would happen if this aquifer got contaminated?

DK

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Ellis Smith February 25, 2011 | 6:34 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

Two points. First vehicles operated using compressed natural gas have been around for years. There don't seem to be many of them, and care to guess who owns the vehicles? Natural gas suppliers. How does one know this? Because those company vehicles have wording on their exteriors stating that they are fueled using "clean burning" natural gas. My understanding is that conversion of the engine isn't all that extensive, but you are so right about the placement of the gas tanks and possible hazards. The cars are usually the size of a Ford Crown Victoria (standard police or highway patrol sedans); by the time you put the pressurized tanks in the trunk there's not much luggage space left! I can understand why these companies do that: it's cheap advertising, and over the use period of the vehicle they save some money.

The public can readily understand why, when you take farm land and turn it into paved streets and commercial and residential buildings, the land isn't ever going to revert back to its original use.

What the public may NOT appreciate is that when you take land with mineral resources and turn it into paved streets and commercial and residential property YOU ARE GOING TO PLAY HELL EVER RECOVERING THE VALUABLE MINERAL WEALTH THAT'S THERE. Get the minerals out first.

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 9:11 a.m.

Mark F. - I maintain, our gov't, under Democrats have not allowed recovery of our own oil.

According to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), “Once developed, U.S. oil shale resources will be similar in extent and energy potential to Alberta’s tar sand reserves. When oil shale and tar sands are considered together, the United States and Canada will be able to claim the largest oil reserves in the world.”

2/09, K. Salazar, brand new Sec of Interior, shut down research on U.S. shale oil in CO,UT,WY.

B.Pickens, in an interview explained how easily NG could supplant oil. He suggested "stimulus" $ could be spent putting a NG pump at service stations, that our Federal gov't. fleet on NG would mean big reductions, 1/3?, in our oil imports. Next, would be our diesel highway shipping fleet. This in my opinion is planning for absence of oil. Pickens said he had spoken with President Obama on the subject. Anybody, heard of any action by our gov't?

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John Schultz February 25, 2011 | 9:57 a.m.

I'm not sure T. Boone was in it for the US as he was for ol' T. Boone. There was some speculation he was fixing to use eminent domain to claim water rights along the new lines he would run, in other words, even more corporate welfare.

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 11:59 a.m.

Right, John, we don't want anyone fixing our problems if they are only doing it for the money,and only Obama's "green" companies deserve corporate walfare.

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Derrick Fogle February 25, 2011 | 12:13 p.m.

Frank: Do you oppose a cap and trade program?

h4x354x0r: Yes.

Frank: [Pickens claims] Obama could put Federal transportation on natural gas with a stroke of his green pen)on alternate sources of energy and what have we got?

h4x354x0r: Lots of resistance to the idea. We've got bickering, but no movement.

Frank: ... more than 80% of the nuclear regulatory costs you reject were/ are imposed by the political party you support, Democrats.

True enough, except my love for Dems is tenuous at best. They're all just a bunch of clowns in a big circus. I don't understand why you're so enamored of one specific brand of politician.

Frank (Quoting me): "I advocate a near-vegetarian lifestyle to reduce the massive amounts of fuel needed for meat production." Really?

h4x354x0r: Yes, really. And the wide-eyed look of incredulity? Priceless!

h4x354x0r continues: First, there's all the energy used for agriculture to produce feed for the livestock. Then there's all the energy used tending and eventually harvesting the livestock. Meat production is extremely energy intensive. Don't forget all the methane production, either.

Frank (+quote): "I advocate living a bit more simply sometimes." What is that supposed to mean?

h4x354x0r: Pretty much this:

Frank: If energy costs more than one can afford to pay, one lives "simply" all the time.

h4x354x0r: Exactly. Just like the government spending way more money than it can collect in a year, just like all the consumers taking on debts that they can't reasonably repay, our species (but mostly the USA) is consuming far more energy than we could possibly produce without oil. Oil is a finite resource. It will run out. Not today, not tomorrow, probably not for a while. But... it WILL run out.

How simply is our species prepared to live? Like the Amish, but with cell phones?

If we don't solve the energy deficit problem, we will experience forced, and probably very severe, conservation. The fact that every "Green" alternative (even when they're all put together) is just a small shadow of what's really needed, tells us how big the problem really is. It's... Ginormous!

Huge government deficits, huge energy deficits, massive personal debt... They're all tied together Frank. They *ALL* need solved. Or, we prove our species no more intelligent than bacteria in a petri dish.

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John Schultz February 25, 2011 | 1:49 p.m.

Frank, I would be all for T. Boone making money and solving the energy crisis as long as he does it with his own money and doesn't take people's property in the process for his own enrichment. How about you, are you that principled? If his plan is so great and being a billionaire, shouldn't he be able to see it to fruitition without needing Obama's blessing?

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hank ottinger February 25, 2011 | 1:52 p.m.

Frank writes, "only Obama's "green" companies deserve corporate walfare."

I don't know what "walfare" is, but if he means "welfare," then you gotta be kidding. Ever checked on the federal subsidies to oil, nuclear, ethanol, etc? Any stimulus bucs to green tech pales ion comparison to these long-entrenched subsidies.

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 3:08 p.m.

DF - Sometimes I wonder. Deficits, Energy, Personal debt, our big problems. Two out of three caused by Democrats. Obamas spending easily illustrates the first. You admit the second, at least in the area of nuke then ask "why you're so enamored of one specific brand of politician." The "people" are responsible for the third, but have taken first step toward removal of cause of first two. No "wide-eyed look of incredulity" here. Most of us have been reading this stuff for years. Remember the word "wacko"?

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 3:43 p.m.

Dear spellcheck, I was being facetious and the only assertion was that green ones would probably feel that only green projects deserve gov't subsidies. Your quick response suggests to me that the assumption would be correct. Believe Bush oil subsidies were quickly removed by Pelosi & company and understand Boehners bunch has ethanol on the cutting table.

btw, what does "ion", mean?

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 4:04 p.m.

John - The point is Pickens has a plan and no one in the WH is paying any attention. My principals are such that I believe plans for problems of these enormous proportions should be examined,and chances of success determined. To my knowledge this ain't happening with this administration on any level.

I don't know or care much about Pickens, except I believe he took a big hit on his wind farm. As I recall when asked, he said "yes, but it has happened before!" Also, he gave 147M$ to the athletic dept. of Okla. State U., his Alma mater.

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Derrick Fogle February 25, 2011 | 4:44 p.m.

Frank, you're grossly underestimating the scope of the 2nd problem.

Our nation's #1 position in global energy usage per capita is a sign of success over the past century. You're blaming that on Democrats? OK.

Do you seriously believe we can de-regulate ourselves out of our energy supply/demand imbalance?

Yes... I remember the word, "wacko."

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Derrick Fogle February 25, 2011 | 4:51 p.m.

And yes, absolutely, I think the ratio of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry vs. the "green" energy industry (and perhaps more importantly "green" conservation) should be inverted. It's time to start working on the next century's challenges, instead of clinging to the past century's mindless consumption habits.

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hank ottinger February 25, 2011 | 4:57 p.m.

Frank writes, "Believe Bush oil subsidies were quickly removed by Pelosi & company...." and understand Boehners bunch has ethanol on the cutting table." Not.

I'll wash your car if Boehner & Co. do way with ethanol subsidies and supports.

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Derrick Fogle February 25, 2011 | 5:00 p.m.

@Frank: "I don't know or care much about Pickens, except..."

...that he was supposed to be a good straw man for this argument?!?

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Paul Allaire February 25, 2011 | 5:43 p.m.

I'll pay ten bucks a gallon if I can watch Frank have to walk himself to work/the store/the hospital.

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John Schultz February 25, 2011 | 5:47 p.m.

Frank, I am going to have to invoke an edited version of Sheriff Buford T. Justice on this fine Friday. The blankety-blank Obama Administration's got nothing to do with it. If T. Boone's plan is sound, he can implement it without getting Obama's permission.

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 6:29 p.m.

D Fogel - You continually write of "energy" as if it is a finite entity that we must conserve. "First, there's all the energy used for agriculture to produce feed for the livestock. Then there's all the energy used tending and eventually harvesting the livestock." It is not,it is the product of all our efforts to improve the lives of people all over the world. Am I supposed to feel guilty of being a citizen of the country that represents, "Our nation's #1 position in global energy usage per capita". You wrote that in response to my contention that D's would rather reduce the U.S. economy than solve our problem with oil.

Our consumption of "energy" cannot be restricted. That from one concerned for the people on the planet you claim to be worried about. We developed most of the sources of energy we now use more than others and have used them to the benefit of people around the world. In my opinion and many, many others, the Progressive Democrats in our gov't are more interested in the reduction of our economy thru lack of energy and abundance of taxes which will expand the control of that specter, hovering, the United Nations.

"Do you seriously believe we can de-regulate ourselves out of our energy supply/demand imbalance?" How did that come up? It would be helpful, if you would word questions to have some similarity to the subject of discussion. Was Pickens--straw man supposed to make some point?

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frank christian February 25, 2011 | 6:36 p.m.

John S.- "If T. Boone's plan is sound, he can implement it without getting Obama's permission." Silly contention. Nobody can do anything in the field of energy or most anything else in the U.S. without approval of Obama and the environmentalists.

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Derrick Fogle February 25, 2011 | 11:01 p.m.

Yes, Frank, Pickens = Straw Man is the point. You brought him up first. That's OK; you're just *so* cute when you play dumb. It's adorable!

So, you think it's impossible to restrict our energy consumption?

I disagree. If the energy is simply not there, or it takes so much energy to get it that you have a very low net yield, consumption will be restricted. There simply are no viable replacements for the amount of energy we currently consume by burning fossil fuels. It's not because technology is lame, either; it's because we simply use *so* much energy compared to what the earth produces on a yearly basis.

Almost all of our (humans, collectively) wealth is derived from the energy we get when we extract and use fossil fuels. Almost all the debt in the entire world is leveraged against the continued extraction and consumption of this cheap, high-density energy source. What if that energy source dries up?

I think we're already here: constraints in global energy availability are restricting the world's economy and causing volatility. What you see as a scorecard between political parties is just one facet of a much larger problem. That much larger problem is global energy supply vs. demand.

Furthermore, I don't think any single private corporation, or even a group of them, is capable (or willing) to tackle the problem. I think it's going to take the collective will of an entire society to overcome our energy problems.

Whether we manage to accomplish it, or not, is yet to be determined.

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frank christian February 26, 2011 | 10:38 a.m.

d fogle - You add fuel to my(and many) notion that (how can I identify you and yours with a label you won't reject? Anything but conservative? Seriously, I'm conservative, what are you?)your "bunch" is more interested in the reduction in our economy and standard of living than any "alternative" source of energy that would get us off of oil.

Boone Pickens has invested millions in alternate sources and lost much, while still trying. Read, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/busine.... Seems to me, if you were sincerely interested in the "global energy supply", you would be touting and rooting for him, not sluff him off as a "straw man" for my argument.

"cannot" be restricted, was a poor choice of words. Of course it "can" as evidenced by the proponents of cap and trade and gas taxes. "Must not be" is more appropriate. Again,my concern is for people. Remember Obama Treasury Sec Geithner's proclamation to the world? "America won't be there to help in the future"? If those two have their way, Americans will suffer at home, around the world, others will undoubtedly die. For that reason our consumption of energy must not be restricted.

Sorry,but your "chicken little" attitude does not wash with me. Like all human beings I don't know is going to happen, but I don't accept the "shiver at home 'til time to bike to work" existence which all of you are promoting. whether you can admit it or not.

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Mark Foecking February 26, 2011 | 1:56 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"For that reason our consumption of energy must not be restricted."

I have no problem with consuming energy. I have a big problem with wasting it.

Europeans use half the energy per capita that we do, and they have a comparable standard of living. They have smaller (and fewer) cars, more mass transit, smaller and more efficient houses. Actually, by several polls, they're happier than we are.

If we could figure out how to live like them, we could actually be self sufficient in oil (for a decade or so).

It is far less disruptive to restrict energy use voluntarily than to have it restricted by war or geology. I thought we would have learned that lesson in the '70s, but we felt it better to ignore it and go on squandering our resources, for no other reason than comfort and convenience.

I don't shiver in my house, nor do I find it a problem to bike to work (or anywhere else). My gas bill is usually $25 and my utility bill is about $45. I use about 10 gallons of gasoline every year. I don't consider myself inconvenienced in the least. Of course, not everyone can live like this, but if people would at least try, we'd be a lot less dependent on foreign oil (as well as a lot of other foreign things). Is this somehow anti-American?

DK

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 26, 2011 | 2:53 p.m.

@Mr Foecking,

Do you have gas heat? What sort of infrastructure changes did you make to your house to result in such a low amount of natural gas consumption?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 26, 2011 | 3:14 p.m.

You may know I have an EPA approved wood stove, and use that mostly for heat, but I made a lot of insulation and sealing upgrades even before that.

One of the things I've always done is to acclimatize. It's 55 degrees in here right now and I'm very comfortable. It's the same in the summer - it'll be 85 in here and I'm still OK with it. A long time ago, people would let the temperature of their houses swing 35+ degrees with the seasons and it wouldn't bother them. Why should it bother us?

DK

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Derrick Fogle February 26, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Frank, our standard of living is based on consuming way more energy than the planet can sustainably produce in a year's time. Until you understand and accept this fundamental supply/demand imbalance, it's *very* hard to discuss solutions to the problem.

As for my "bunch" wanting to reduce our economy and standard of living, you are completely, totally, point-blank WRONG. I very much want to avoid economic hardship and reduction in our standard of living.

You might believe the source of energy that supplies our standard of living - fossil fuels - is infinite. I do not. It's not a matter "wanting" to see our economy collapse, or our standard of living reduced; it's a matter of understanding what feeds those things and realizing that source of energy will not last forever.

If we don't voluntarily embark on conservation AND develop alternative energy sources, conservation will be forced on us, and a reduction in our standard of living will be far more severe than if we aggressively tackle the problem. I think lots of people will die no matter what, but we'll have a much lower body count if we get to work on the problem NOW.

My goal is to develop and produce the alternative energy supplies, and increase conservation, to the point where humans *can* maintain some reasonable standard of living without cheap fossil fuels. My goal is to accomplish this task before the energy source we need for the work will become too scarce and expensive. The cost of developing alternatives will go up exponentially as oil supplies dwindle.

But it will take a tremendous effort and a lot of money no matter what. Again, this isn't because Pickens is fundamentally wrong, or that technology is lame; it's simply because we use so incredibly much energy to achieve our standard of living.

I'm also calling you out for using "standard of living" as another nebulous straw man. Would high-speed electric rail, which can move passengers almost as fast as air travel, but with a small fraction of the energy use, be a reduction in our standard of living? If so, why? Your insistence that our "bunch" want to "reduce our standard of living" is full of vague fearfulness, but lacks any specificity or substance. Exactly what "standard of living" are we trying to reduce?

BTW, if you're looking for the correct label for me, I'm the Hack Man. That's who I am.

If you're looking for some socio-political label for me, you might as well use "liberal." To you, it's denigrating and insulting, so using that label should make you feel bigger. If you're looking for a label that actually irritates me, good luck. I reserve the right to mock any label you apply to me.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 26, 2011 | 5:55 p.m.

Well said, Mr. Fogle. But much of your assessment, perceptive as it is, will fall on deaf ears, notably Frank's, because so much of our populace is stuck in a lame (some might say, failed) paradigm in which if there is more demand, then by golly, we better ramp up the supply. More astute--and prescient--to regard demand and how it can be reduced. And that doesn't mean a reduced standard of living (as Frank fears); rather, it means assessing how conservation and efficiencies can be exploited. It means shifting to a different mindset of decentralized power sources; it means embracing efficient public transportation; it means conservation, perhaps as insightful as Mr. Foecking's suggestions.

Had we (the U.S., that is) paid attention to (and at this point, Mr. Christian will detonate) former President Carter's admonition that energy policy was "the moral equivalent of war," we might not find ourselves in such a predicament. We would be world leaders--instead of followers-- in modern, forward-thinking energy development. We would not shudder as revolutionary, destabilizing events ripple through the Middle east; we would be selling this stuff to the rest of the world.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 26, 2011 | 6:01 p.m.

Derrick - Until you learn to pay attention to the doings of our Gov't, I agree debate is useless. Your bunch, we now can identify, Liberal, Democrats ok? absolutely are trying to shrink our production of everything. You never address any specific I refer to. You don't want fuel taxes or cap and trade, but they sure as hell do and another thing you can't consider, A law authorizing a tax only to conserve energy would provide the track for increase upon increase whenever people like Obama ,Geithner, Summers,SOROS etc deemed it necessary.

I've got to go, but why haven't you looked into high speed rail before you throw it around as "conserving fuel. An avowed Liberal with Miami Herald wrote a piece after Obama sent FL, I think 2B$ for rail Tampa-Orlando. They have studied it to death down there. D Gov L. Childs said that dog won't hunt and Jeb Bush killed a bill for it when he was Governor. Couldn't find the article, but got this reference: "Carl Hiaasen, the Miami Herald columnist and longtime witness to Sunshine State wackiness, nailed it. Florida’s high-speed rail’s “prospects for profitability are the same today as they always were: Nil,” he wrote recently. The “money delivered by President Barack Obama . . . should have come with a note: ‘Here’s a gift from Uncle Sam. Now go build yourselves something you can’t possibly afford to operate.’”

So why do you and Obama keep promoting (he giving away money) it? Look around you, ask questions, maybe, so many of your answers won't be wrong.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 26, 2011 | 7:18 p.m.

Frank, your "specific" points are kooky political potshots. They usually aren't worth addressing, because they are at best tangential to the subject at hand.

But, let's examine your accusation that I don't address your specific points. You asked me a series of questions yesterday, and I answered them, point by point. I've asked you several questions in return, and (for example) in response to asking whether or not energy-efficient high-speed rail would lower our standard of living, and why, you came back with what politicians have done with Florida's project, and a reporter's determination that profitability would be nil.

I did not ask about what Jeb Bush did to a bill, or about profitability. I asked about how high speed rail would change our standard of living. From your answer, should I come to the conclusion that, for you, profitability is "the* one and only measure of our standard of living?

Also... What assumptions about jet fuel prices did the reporter make when deciding the profitability of high-speed rail was nil? Are you aware that the airline industry is not actually profitable, either? It survives only because of government support and subsidies.

I'm talking about national and global energy supply and demand from a non-political perspective. All I can get back from you is: Obama! Taxes!! Democrats want to take away our standard of living!!! SOROS!!!! You're so wrapped up in politics, you can't see beyond it.

I've officially become bored with this conversation. I'll catch up with you on another discussion thread soon. I'll try to hop in on a political thread, so your points have more relevancy.

In the meantime, this Liberal, Democrats h4x354x0r wishes you all the best.

(Report Comment)
David Karr February 26, 2011 | 7:22 p.m.

Good grief Frank--can you at least give a *reason* why you would cite Carl Hiaasen as an authority on the viability of high-speed rail?

****By the way, I do agree that high-speed rail will not work without a deep cultural shift among suburbanites in this country. Until they decide to moderate their obsession with the "freedom" (ahem) of automobile culture (a freedom possible only through cheap oil), mass transit will remain an infrastructural bit player in this country. And I don't think the "if you build it, they will come" model will work well.

****But the last thing I would do is go on some 10-second Google search, locate some 2nd-rate "investigative" reporter from the useless state of FL, and use his editorial non-expertise as a rejoinder to a carefully-reasoned argument like Derrick's. You risk making conservatives look shallow and lazy when you do that. Make a good argument, please.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 26, 2011 | 10:16 p.m.

What a mess! Even when a liberal relates history correctly, as Hiaasen did, he is renounced by the shallow, lazy, inane liberals on this blog. One proudly announces he is not concerned with "profitability" in this regard. he is of course content with the loss of money occurring annually with our marvelous Amtrack system. Another admits,"Until they decide to moderate their obsession with the "freedom" (ahem) of automobile culture." Translation: when no other mode of transportation is available to the average American. Explanation: When Gov't, through taxation and regulation makes automobile ownership feasible only to the wealthy elitists, now promoting this "crisis"as did the "forward thinking" J E Carter in his four years of stagflation (fact, not detonation). I forgot none of you can handle fact. I could continue, word for word, with these ridiculous posts,but it is Saaaday and not being a pseudo-intellectual such as those whom have attacked a factual, informative reference to the practicality of hi-speed rail in this country, by myself, I'll leave. Derrick, you may read me on another post, but you'll never in a million years "catch" me. Nite all.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 26, 2011 | 10:59 p.m.

Frank: I did not say I was not concerned about profitability. I only said that is not the question I asked. I framed it that way because you were accusing me of not answering any of your questions.

If you want to talk about profitability, fine. But then you'll have to come to grips with the fact that the airline travel industry, which hi-speed rail will augment, is not profitable without government subsidies either.

Furthermore, the automobile industry could not survive without massive government subsidies. How much do you think a car would cost, and how few roads would really be useable, if the auto manufacturers also had to pay for and build all the roads their vehicles use?

But no, all you do is take a potshot at my concern over profitability, then start throwing rocks at Carter. Finally, you state you "could" continue word for word, with these ridiculous posts, but...

Frank, I'm saying point blank that we (the whole world, but especially the United States) use way more energy than we will be able to get in the long run. What's ridiculous about that? What evidence do you have that indicates there will not be an energy availability crisis in the future?

Can you answer me? Can you actually address the issue of ongoing global energy supply and demand?

I still love you, Frank, but your political tunnel vision reaches nut-job status. Is it even possible for you to post a comment without referencing politics or the left/right, Dem/Pub paradigm?

(Report Comment)
David Karr February 27, 2011 | 5:36 a.m.

Frank--you still haven't given a reason *why* you cite Hiaassen (who to my knowledge is not, by the way, seen as any sort of voice of progressive opinion in the US) as an authority on the national viability of mass transit in this country. As to your (frankly whacky) idea of a gov't conspiracy to make car travel unfordable except to wealthy elitists (a giveaway tinfoil-hat term), Derrick has correctly pointed out the fact that automobile culture was only made affordable to the masses in this country through government subsidy of transport infrastructure, and gov't subsidy of artificially low oil prices, which, as even rampant free-marketers agree, have long distorted true energy costs.

*****Now, back to why you cite Hiassen: Do some thinking on your thought process leading to that, and you might come to some self-reflection on your basic style of argument. A bunch of unquestioned assumptions and Google do not make for strong arguments.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 27, 2011 | 11:08 a.m.

Derrick - So far three States, Wisconsin, Ohio and now Fla. have rejected Obama's billions for funding hi-speed rail in their states. Why should I waste time in prattle with you about it? Even Barney Frank backs off from the fray, when "we don't have the votes". Forget it.

Why would anyone not "throw rocks" at Carter? In four years he did irreparable damage to our Gov't and our country. Education Dept. Improved our education? Energy Dept. contains our "secret" nuke technology. Why? To keep it from shutdown? Look up his mandated presence to assure honest, fair elections in Venezuela. He was shown gov't totals, saw nothing wrong, thus, signed off, his statement, and gave the world President Chavez.

"What evidence do you have that indicates there will not be an energy availability crisis in the future? Prove a negative? Not easy. You belatedly add, "the whole world" to your list of culprits. Most only blame U.S. and are intent upon collecting reparations from US for the "whole world" I know you can't/won't consider that you are only joined in your disastrous predictions by a group of liberal leaning people whom can only find new taxes as the way to solve the problem. I was going to tell Mark Foeking that he appears to have a completely worry free life, except for the specter of "Americans burn too much oil" in the back of his mind all the time.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 27, 2011 | 11:32 a.m.

D. Karr - Have you ever read one word of Hiaasen's piece? I did not refer to him because of any explicit credentials he possesses on the subject of fast rail, which you, of course,think you have. It was because he accurately related all the years of study done by Floridians who do have credentials. You prove yourself typical by rejecting the messenger because you don't like the message.

"the fact that automobile culture was only made affordable to the masses in this country through government subsidy". Another simple statement that needs translation. Government owns everything, including the money and in its benevolence has allowed the people inexpensive transportation and the necessary infrastructure for its its use.

People like you have decided it is now time to discontinue those kindnesses and are incensed because people like me object. If you don't like my "basic style of argument" don't read me.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 27, 2011 | 12:43 p.m.

Frank, and what have the Republicans done to get rid of Carter's Department of Energy and Education. NOTHING! They are just as bad as the Democrats, except you believe them after they continually play the small government card with you.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 27, 2011 | 3:50 p.m.

asks Frank: "Is it even possible for you to post a comment without referencing politics?"

Frank: "Obama" "Barney Frank" "votes" "liberal leaning"

Answer: No.

Sure, Carter was an ineffective boob as president. No argument here. But I think you're actually giving him way too much credit for the things that happened back then that you don't like.

Worldwide oil usage. Here's the graph: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_oi...

The US uses as much oil as the next 7 countries combined. Two of those countries, China and India, have a combined population about 9 times larger than the entire US.

Oil consumption from 2001-2007:

China: 5.6Bbbl/yr to 7.6Bbbl/yr = 65% increase
India: 2.2Bbbl/yr to 2.7Bbbl/yr = 22% increase
US: 19.7Bbbl/yr to 20.7Bbbl/yr = 5% increase

THIS is first and morst important reason why we need to get working on alternative energy and conservation right away. There's a population 9 times larger than ours on the other side of the globe that's increasing it's energy demand more than 10 times faster than we are. If you are a firm believer in open market competition, brace yourself for it. We've got 30 years until China and India are demanding as much or more oil from the market as we are.

Your statements of "disastrous predictions" and "the specter of "Americans burn too much oil" in the back of his mind all the time."

...leads me to the conclusion that you don't think the oil is going to run out, or you're confident that something else will come along in time to replace it.

And you're right, it won't run out. But it will run down, especially in relation to demand. That's what this article is about: Increasing fuel prices.

Which leaves us with something else coming along in to replace it. And that's exactly what I'm saying we need to get moving on, at a national scale. Alternative energy, efficiency, and conservation.

I'm sorry I must throw conservation in there, but we really do use a LOT of energy. With current technology, we can't replace the amount of oil we use at any cost, in any way.

So we will either advance technology to meet the gap, or we will conserve to meet the gap. Or how about this idea: we do *both* to close the gap faster.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 27, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

Truthful post, Mr. Fogle. And of course, one way to conserve that precious resource is to rely more on public transportation--something Mr. Christian dismisses so flippantly, citing a column (not a study, not an article) by Carl Hiasson, a delightful novelist, a glib and clever writer, and a columnist with an opinion. And yes, I read it.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 27, 2011 | 8:14 p.m.

This really is getting ridiculous. Why am I wasting my Sun evening with astute contradictions to my accusations like, "I think you're actually giving him way too much credit for the things that happened back then that you don't like." Please!

What I am seeing here is what the left does so well. Reiterate the problem over and over with no legitimate solution, just make others "aware". If your concern is that we make best use of oil still available, why don't you go after the POLITICIANS that held us back with regulations while China recovers oil 90 miles from Key West? And lends 2B$ to help recover oil off Brazil?

We certainly do now understand the problem as you see it and I can tell you your best bet to get the lifestyle changes that you describe as "technology and conservation" is to contact,politicians, tho they be, some Republicans. you have noticed, I'm sure, that most D's are already with you. In the outside chance you can accept it, Americans, as prices rise naturally, will conserve more as when Mr. Carter manipulated gas delivery to cause shortages at the pump. He did so and had hoped to get a fifty cent gallon tax in the 70's passed thru Congress. They fooled him, reduced usage drastically. I guess this is one reason I am so leery of all the mandatory taxes and regulations being proposed, such as the necessity for high speed rail and the billions being given away to plan them. If Mr O has read the Hiassen piece, he surely knows of the 55 page study produced 13 years ago by James Madison Institute, showing the fallacy and unbelievable cost of the venture to the State of FL. The study showed 600 permanent jobs most of which would be filled from other areas which would have to be discontinued. He may have also noted that CA's plan for high speed has escalated nearly 10B$ in the 4 years they have been working on it. He may have noted that those in favor of this extravaganza are predominately Democrats who always want the money. Poor, liberal Carl Hiassen, just can't get no respect.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 27, 2011 | 10:47 p.m.

Frank sez: "What I am seeing here is what the left does so well. Reiterate the problem over and over with no legitimate solution..."

At least you're not disputing the fact that the data I've given represents a problem. You're only claiming I'm not providing "legitimate" solutions.

Here are a few of the apparently illegitimate solutions I've offered so far:

Cycling as a very effective method of energy conservation.
The automation of our transportation system to increase fuel economy.
A drastic (i.e. 80%) reduction in nuclear energy regulatory costs.
More localization of agriculture to reduce the use of energy for shipping.
A near-vegetarian lifestyle to reduce the massive amounts of fuel needed for meat production.
Living a bit more simply sometimes.
And one more I'd like to add now: More telecommuting when and where it can be done.

Your legitimate solutions, again, are? To elect Republicans?!?

Frank asks: "...why don't you go after the POLITICIANS that held us back with regulations while China recovers oil 90 miles from Key West? And lends 2B$ to help recover oil off Brazil?"

Because more oil recovery is only a temporary, short-term solution. We can't drill our way out of an eventual shortage, and the fact that China is elbowing in on oil recovery in Brazil and near Florida simply reinforces the fact that they are actively competing with us for this resource. Expect that to get a LOT more intense.

Exactly how do you propose to stop their projects? Military intervention? Invent a time machine to go back and stop events in the '70's that you think led to projects? Wonder why none of your Republican heroes since then have corrected those problems?

Once a problem exists, you can't make it go away by saying that someone made a mistake and it shouldn't have happened. You have to deal with the problem.

How? Here's one: As you point out, people conserve when price goes up. It's ironic you should use this argument, after spending most of this discussion thread railing against conservation as a solution to the problem. You've equated conservation to reducing our standard of living, and associated it with socialist (Obama!) government control. Yet here you are, telling us this is exactly the first thing people do when they are faced with higher prices for energy.

Fact is, conservation works. It reduces spending. It reduces use. It's both quick and very effective. Why not promote it?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 27, 2011 | 11:50 p.m.

One final visit on the high-speed rail, since I brought it up. I never did get an answer about how it might affect our standard of living. I've only gotten a pageful about how it won't be profitable.

In the short term, that's very true. But what if the cost of jet fuel is 4X+ higher in 20 years? 8X+ higher in 30 years? The price of oil has already gone up about 4X in the last 10 years.

The cost of just the jet fuel to fly 100+ million people around the country every year will rival the cost of the entire high speed rail system infrastructure and all the fuel needed to move the trains.

Furthermore, the trains would be able to run on nuclear and other sources (solar, wind, etc.) of electric power. Expensive, yes. But planes take so much energy, they can't fly on electricity. The US only owns 3% of the known oil reserves on the planet. Synthesizing jet fuel from other sources (mainly biomass) takes so much energy it's just like rocket science: 98% of the fuel needed to get a rocket into space is used just to lift the fuel.

Any completely new infrastructure project will look incredibly expensive compared to ones we've already largely built and paid for (with taxes, BTW). That's one reason I advocate retrofitting our existing auto infrastructure with automation to increase efficiency: it leverages our existing infrastructure.

But we've made transportation changes like this before: changed from livestock and wagons, to trains, to cars, added airplanes... But, OMG NO! We can't make any other changes, like adding in new high-speed rail service?

And the reason we can't do this is because it's so big it would have to be a government-scale project, and it's going to cost a lot of money up front, and there might not be a great deal of profit (for who?) in the project?

Gosh, you must be right. Goodness knows we wouldn't want to do anything socialistic that would benefit the whole country in the long run and provide private enterprise with opportunities, like building an auto transportation infrastructure at great public cost, so private automakers could profit, or build an airline industry infrastructure at great public cost, so private airlines could (pretend to) profit, or build utility distribution systems at great public cost, so private industry had reliable utilities to make a profit, or fight wars overseas at great public cost, so war doesn't come to our own soil and disrupt our profit, or fight a war on drugs on our own soil at great public cost and erosion of personal rights, so private prison businesses can profit (while actual drug use and prohibition-related problems just keep getting worse).

No, we can't do any of those things, despite the fact that some of those things are the very hallmarks held up today to represent our "standard of living," because taxing people and using the money for the common good of the country (including private enterprise) is... SOCIALISM!

Brilliant argument, really. Just... brilliant.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 28, 2011 | 8:30 a.m.

derrick - Do you believe your stated solutions are yours in origin? Every one has been promoted for years. #3 has been promoted Only by R's for years. It seems to me, the only thing left for you to do, is take your sign to the Post Office as often as possible.
"China is elbowing in on oil recovery": we can beat China or anyone else at about anything but only if we are allowed into the contest. Democrats have made us disinterested bystanders with energy on many fronts. Ask Mr. O what he thinks of nuke energy.
"You've equated conservation to reducing our standard of living": I've equated voluntary conservation with forced governmental restrictions used to extract more wealth from the people. Trusting Gov't over people, you will never understand this.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 28, 2011 | 10:10 a.m.

dk - just lost a bunch of sage info somehow. will try to restate it. Your concern for limited oil is huge. Why not the same for tax payer dollars? In my opinion you lose much credibility with your disdain for "profit". "or fight wars overseas at great public cost, so war doesn't come to our own soil and disrupt our profit". The wars are fought to prevent others from "Killing Our People" here at home. You see fast rail as best for the "masses" so it should be built! Never mind it won't/can't sustain itself, just spend more tax $, no more of those funds? Print or borrow the money, (5.2T$ debt, last 4 years). Haven't we been there, done that, enough? Ask google, "who wants high speed rail" and note that Democrats are for all practical purposes the only ones. I relayed that three States have rejected high speed funds. Their Governors are of course R's, whom you can't trust. CA D' controlled gov't would love to have the money. Their estimates of cost have risen nearly 10B$ in last four years. See how the Chinese are doing with their speed rail:
Ohttp://chovanec.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/chinas-high-speed-rail-dilemma/ffice Proves, you can build it but they probably won't be able to come. Last visit is right. I'm outta here.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 28, 2011 | 10:34 a.m.

dk - trying to make this work. Chovanec is a prof at a Chinese university.
http://chovanec.wordpress.com/2011/01/14...

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking February 28, 2011 | 10:42 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"we can beat China or anyone else at about anything but only if we are allowed into the contest."

We put ourselves out of the contest, and government didn't really have a whole lot ot do with it. High wages, and safety and environmental regulations, have made our costs of production so high that we can't compete. I can't imagine workers would want to give up wages and safety regs, or clean water and air, just to have more jobs.

Actually higher oil prices will do more to bring industry back to the US than any amount of deregulation. However, we'll be paying higher prices for our goods. There is no free lunch.

"Ask Mr. O what he thinks of nuke energy."

He's for it. That's been one of the progressives great criticisms of him.

As far as the high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando, the opposition is less that high-speed rail is a bad idea, it's that not that many people need to get from Tampa to Orlando on any given day. If it was possible, the powers that be down there would rather install local train service in Tampa and Orlando, to reduce traffic congestion and the perceived need for new roads. However, the money was earmarked only for high speed rail between cities.

In a fuel shortage (and it's coming whether you like it or not), we'd be glad we had efficient alternatives to cars and airplanes. I'd like to see any increased fuel tax partially go to a renaissance of passenger rail. It's also important to do it soon - once shortages start happening from geological causes, building this infrastructure will be far more expensive.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield February 28, 2011 | 12:07 p.m.

"It's also important to do it soon - once shortages start happening from geological causes, building this infrastructure will be far more expensive."

Not necessarily, especially if those shortages spark another deep, protracted recession. Then we might get the kinds of discounts that we've gotten over the past couple of years (e.g., road and construction projects coming in way under budget because material costs have dropped due to declining demand and because contractors will price aggressively to get what little work is out there).

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 28, 2011 | 12:20 p.m.

dk - It is becoming apparent you make up your statements as you go.

China - oil exploration. your answer, totally false. Our companies "chomping at the bit" to find oil. Federal Regs. stop them not "competition" and you must know it.

Hank Ottinger For nuclear power for energy? "The Sierra Club opposes building new nuclear reactors, both fission and fusion, until specific inherent safety risks are mitigated by conservationist political policies, and regulatory agencies are in place to enforce those policies.[27] The club currently opposes nuclear fusion due to its "probable" release of the hydrogen isotope, tritium." How then does he retain this chair with the "Club"? He either chaired or was a member of a city task force mandated to identify energy sources 20 years hence. The findings were questioned even by Waters 3 of the Tribune for omitting Nuclear from their recommendations.

You limit your rebuttal to FL with some ridiculous assertions of what they Really want in that state. The opposition is everywhere, except for liberals whom will take the money whenever, wherever, it is available. I did forget the response to "how would high speed rail reduce our standard of living." That is not the proper question. Try "how will high speed rail Improve our standard of living" Now I'm really out of here!

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 28, 2011 | 12:29 p.m.

Mark, - I blew it. Thought I was answering DF while my lunch awaits. I take back, if I may, "It is becoming apparent you make up your statements as you go." Everything else seems pretty much in order.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 28, 2011 | 1:08 p.m.

Frank, you need to hone your memory. Nuclear was off the table of the energy task force on which I served for several reasons: one, the time frame of the TF was only 10-15 years, far shorter than any Missouri nuclear power might be available; two, the engineering firm with which the city worked ruled it out. As for HJW3 questioning the issue, so be it; I don't think his position lends any weight to your argument. Incidentally, I was not chair of the TF.

And for the record, stepped down as chair of the local SC chapter. Nevertheless, I abide by the national SC position on nuclear for reasons that you no doubt find spurious if not treasonous.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 28, 2011 | 3:52 p.m.

Hank O - I guess my memory is failing. I had thought the quest was for energy 50 years hence, but a debate with an avowed member on the other venue showed me it was for 20 years. I thought I had read that the consultant when asked revealed they omitted nuclear "at the request of the commission". The other member said pretty much the same thing about Waters. Guess it's just that damned Tribune.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith February 28, 2011 | 3:59 p.m.

Discussions about shortages of refined petroleum products tend to center on problems or potential problems with petroleum sources and ignore the "500 pound gorilla" standing in the room.

The "gorilla" is the state of U. S. oil refineries as well as their capacity. We haven't built new, more efficient ones, and present ones are in many cases living on borrowed time, as they say. It wouldn't take the simultaneous outages of more than three major refineries to throw this country into a panic and a possible economic tailspin. (Importation of refined petroleum products is feasible, but at what delivered cost?)

There's no chance new refineries will be built soon, unless the federal government is going into the petroleum refining blusiness. (Now there's a frightening thought!)

High-priced gasoline is still preferable to NO gasoline

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 28, 2011 | 4:49 p.m.

Ellis: Why is the Federal government the only entity that could pull off a new refinery? I'm not disputing you, I'd just like to hear your take on why.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 28, 2011 | 5:20 p.m.

Frank "...equated voluntary conservation with forced governmental restrictions..."

I understand from this you're blaming forced governmental restrictions for all or most of the last 10-year trend in oil price increases. Is that correct?

No, none of the suggestions I'm making are original. Must they, to be valid?

I'd be happy to supply you with detailed justification for each item. You know I'm an endless well of made-up liberal gibberish! Last post here: 2997 characters. Do you really want to see all that stuff on your screen?

I didn't think so, but I'd be happy to supply it if you ask.

I also don't think our history of trade imbalance with China has "beat them" written all over it. Our economies have become fairly entwined; I doubt either side could significantly damage the other, without suffering damage themselves. But their population is still about 5 times the size of ours, and hungry for energy to raise their standard of living. This fact concerns me, whether or not it concerns you.

I'm also very disappointed in Mr. O's management of domestic nuclear energy policy. I did ask about NE policy at the post-SOTU online QA session. A lot of people asked. O's Aides did a lot of hemming and hawing in their response. I wasn't impressed. I've let Whitehouse.gov and my House and Senate critters know.

What else should I do?

BTW, a toast to the post office poster people! We've made Frank's official villan list!

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 28, 2011 | 5:29 p.m.

Mr. Fogle writes, "I'm also very disappointed in Mr. O's management of domestic nuclear energy policy. I did ask about NE policy at the post-SOTU online QA session. A lot of people asked. O's Aides did a lot of hemming and hawing in their response. I wasn't impressed."

You must mistake me (assuming I'm the "Mr. O" in your post) for someone who has (or had) power on this task force. I was just one of a dozen more members, learning as I went along. I'm by no means a mover and shaker--or "manager" when it comes to these issues. Given the time frame of the TF, nuclear just wasn't considered as an option in Columbia's energy mix over the next 15 years. When the Integrated Resource Plan is revisited in seven or eight years, perhaps it will be.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 28, 2011 | 8:06 p.m.

@Hank: I meant Mr O as in Obama, not you. I'm belatedly realizing I might have mistaken who Frank was actually referring to. D'oh!

I understand your situation on the task force. Nuff said. :-)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 1, 2011 | 6:16 a.m.

@Derick Fogle:

Technically the federal government is not the only entity that could "pull off" a new refinery. (If the federal government were to "build" one, the job would almost certainly be contracted to private entities. Does the federal government actually build military fighter jets, tanks, etc.? No, they're built under contract by private firms.)

We're talking FINANCIAL RETURN - in this specific case, lack of financial return. We know how to build better, more efficient petroleum refineries, but with regulations and other red tape it is a financial "loser" to try. I damned sure wouldn't invest in such a venture, and neither apparently would others.

So we keep "patching up" and operating older, less efficient refineries. The private sector of this country is not in business to lose money (although, as we all know, sometimes that does happen).

A situation is going on with glass melting tanks. This is how most of the glass you see around you (in your home, car, etc.) is produced. Glass tanks are thermally inefficient. Nobody cared about that when fuel was cheap, but now there's a designated group of people in the glass industry and in academia (including Missouri's own MS&T) who are designing new, efficient, fuel-saving tanks. The tanks will be built, because there will be sufficient payback to justify doing so and the regulations involved - and there are of course regulations -can be financially dealt with.

That's why I suggest that the federal government build at least ONE refinery. Who knows, they might actually learn something. :)

To some extent the nuclear power situation has been similar.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield March 2, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

On the plus side, U.S. oil production in 2010 was the highest since 2002, and we're on track to increase production another 25% by 2015.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire April 14, 2011 | 7:30 p.m.

It was because the democrats wanted to block production because they want to destroy you because they hate your freedom.

(Report Comment)

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