Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

How much of high gas prices are because of bush/chenney?

80% of the increases
7
35%
50% of the increasese
4
20%
25% of the increases
5
25%
0% of the increases
4
20%
 
Total votes: 20

doddles
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Re: Gas Prices are Bush's fault?

Postby doddles » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:32 am

kurt_w wrote:Paradoxically, I would add raising taxes on gasoline (or much better yet, on crude oil imports), starting the day Bush took office in 2001. Sure, there's no way that it would have happened. But it would have essentially traded slightly higher gas prices in the past few years, for slightly lower prices in 2005 and onwards. We need to start reducing US oil consumption; we should have started doing so years ago; and the longer we delay, the more painful the transition is going to be (and the more our kids are going to suffer for our profligacy).


I'm with Kurt on this one. It's been known for some time that the useful life of oil supplies is limited, and with China now undergoing huge expansion, the need to wean ourselves off oil is more urgent than ever. The only way that's going to happen is to provide relative incentives for alternative energy, and relative disincentives for oil use. Increase taxes on oil.

Europe is, BTW, way ahead on this one. They've been taxing the hell out of oil for decades. As a result, the cars they do have are smaller and far more fuel efficient, or use alternatives.

But far and away the biggest impact from oil supply problems is with commercial transport - trains and trucks basically. Higher oil prices are going to raise the prices on everything. Europe has an incredibly extensive electric rail system, which can be powered by whatever mix of energy sources makes the most economic and strategic sense. Coal, natural gas, nuclear. If hydrogen fusion becomes viable, they can power their main transport system with it, just by plugging it into the grid. The US has no such option.

How long, and how much money would it take to build such an electric system in the US? I shudder to think. But if they'd started decades ago, then the situation wouldn't be as precarious as it is today.

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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:56 am

Mister_A_In_Madison wrote:
pulsewidth modulation wrote:Oh yea, environmentalists? How much have they been involved in blocking the ... domestic exploration of oil???


Oh, yes. There is a good long-term supply of energy.


I never claimed it was dumb ass, on top of that, the original post NEVER asked for long term supply sources. They simply blamed "high gas prices" on an easy target. Yet, I pointed out the demand side as a major culprit in regards to long term price stability in relation to plateauing supply.

If your going to quote me out of context, do it right.

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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:17 am

Mister_A_In_Madison wrote:Seeing how BP has been doing with their infrastructure reinvestment, I shudder to think about what their research arm has has done with their share of the record profits.


The above nonsense makes for great left wing political posturing, but does little to address long term solutions.

Ever hear of PR? BP has been doing a lot of this while addressing its future plans. Yea, yea, yea, the left says: "What are they doing now"? Total red herring... and counter intuitive to your original out of context quote.

Obviously they have been reinvesting, the company wouldn't be in business after all these years if it acted in the manner your are characterizing them. Do you think the research money for hybrid technology, bio fuels, and reductionism propaganda just appeared out of thin air? Yea right. Part of what people pay in gas prices pay for these things.

Enough with the silly attacks already.

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Postby PaleoLiberal » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:36 pm

In general, kurt made an excellent post, but I have a few quibbles. But then, nobody's perfect.


kurt_w wrote:
Ned Flanders wrote:Yes, everything is Bush's fault.


No, only some things, as we will see below.

Kindly disregard that fact that [environmentalists] have blocked the exploration for and extraction of domestic crude,


"Reduced slightly", not "blocked". And that has nothing whatsoever to do with the price of gas.

US oil production has been declining for thirty-six years, not because of environmentalists, but because there just isn't enough oil here.

In order to produce oil, you first need to discover it. As it turns out, in any given region (e.g., the US) oil discovery follows a roughly bell-shaped curve. There will be a few discoveries at first, then more and larger fields will be found. As time goes by, only increasingly small fields are left undiscovered, and the curve tapers off.

Oil discovery in the lower 48 states peaked in the 1930s. You could throw open every national park, every wilderness area, and every piece of privately owned land in the US to exploration, and it still wouldn't change this picture much.

Image

Oil production follows a similar bell-shaped curve, which lags the discovery curve by several decades. The easiest and cheapest oil is extracted first; what's left for later is more expensive and more difficult to extract.

US oil production peaked ca. 1970, and its decline since then is an inevitable result of the fact that most US oil has already been extracted and what's left is increasingly hard to get.

Image

The only effective responses are to reduce our demand for oil, to find oil elsewhere, or to develop "unconventional" oil supplies.

In the 1970s we moved into Alaska, and in the 1980s we moved offshore. The total technically extractable quantity of oil in Alaska's ANWR region is roughly 7.7 billion barrels. That's enough to provide slightly more than one year of US oil consumption. All other untouched oil fields are smaller.

There are several "unconventional" oil sources that the US has access to. One is oil shale in the western US; the other is Albertan oil sands, which our Canadian neighbors have to share with us thanks to the wonders of NAFTA. Oil shale is basically too expensive to produce currently, meaning that Canadian oil sands will be (are being) exploited first. But the costs (monetary and environmental) and the difficulty of production means that oil sand is a long-term proposition, not something that is going to provide a significant part of US oil supply in the next five years.


An interesting situation here. During the gas crises of the 1970s, the US and Canada both invested in developing these alternative sources of fuel. When Reagan was president, the US stopped research on oil shale, while the Canadians continued research on oil sands. These days, the Canadians are exporting fuel from oil sands to the US, while the oil shale remains undeveloped, and will remain undeveloped for a long time. Still, you are correct that neither of these will be a significant source of energy in the near future. Nor can we expect these sources to take the place of oil.


kurt_w wrote:Back to Ned:

[environmentalists] have blocked the construction of new refineries


A red herring. Given that oil supply is going to be dropping over the next couple of decades, building more refineries doesn't make economic sense, and few companies are seriously interested in it.

have required hundreds of regional fuel blends


Another misleading statement. Some of the demand for "boutique" fuels is in response to legitimate concerns about air quality and human health. Ignoring those concerns artificially pushes the actual costs of gasoline off of the transportation industry and onto the health-care industry. From a purely economic perspective, that's inefficient and undesirable.

Secondly, pressure for boutique fuels doesn't come just from environmentalists. Agribusiness is one of the biggest drivers of mandates for specific fuel blends (read: ethanol). For example, see this press release from Ned's own Republican senator, Norm Coleman:
    COLEMAN VOWS TO PROTECT MINNESOTA ETHANOL AND BIODISEL FUEL BLENDS

    April 28th, 2006 - St. Paul, MN - Concerned that steps to eliminate certain boutique fuel blends in an effort to rein in gas prices may unintentionally threaten Minnesota�s nation-leading 10 and soon-to-be 20 percent ethanol requirement for gasoline and its 2 percent biodiesel requirement for diesel fuel, Senator Norm Coleman today announced he will work to ensure renewable fuel blend requirements are not classified as boutique fuels as the U.S. Senate considers legislation to restrict the number of boutique fuel blends. [...]
That's not some lefty environmental group; that's Minnesota's junior senator pandering to his state's agribusiness industry.




Ethanol, if produced intellegently can be a significant source of fuel, as it is in Brazil. It is questionable whether the corn-based ethanol used in the US is worthwhile.

kurt_w wrote:

Thirdly, the impact of fuel-blend requirements is lessened by the fact that the Federal government has the power to waive those requirements when they appear to be causing supply problems. The Bush administration waived these requirements thirty times in 2005.

and have blocked the construction of new nuclear power plants.


Yet another only marginally relevant issue. How many cars run on nuclear power?

Nuclear power would replace other forms of electrical generation, primarily natural gas and coal. Less than 5% of the US electrical supply is produced from oil. We could build a hundred new nuclear plants in the US tomorrow and have zero impact on the price of gas. Sorry, Ned.



No, having more nuclear power plants, as well as wind, solar and geothermal power, would make a huge difference. We are starting to see electric cars come onto the market. Also, if we ever use hydorgen fuel cells, we need a lot of electricity to produce the fuel. Fuel cells are a means of energy storage, not an energy source. Furthermore, if we move to electric powered forms of public transportation, we will need the additional electricity. Otherwise, how will Mayor Dave's trolleys run. :wink:


kurt_w wrote:
If the gov't was really concerned about the cost of gas in the sort term they would reduce the federal fuel tax. Good luck on that one.


That would be just about the dumbest thing we could do. It would lead to a big increase in oil company profits; a big increase in the federal and state budget deficits; a small temporary decrease in the price of gas; and a corresponding increase in the demand for gas.

We need to be reducing US demand for oil, not increasing it. All Ned's suggestion would do would be to hasten the day when prices rise even higher.

A year or so ago I pointed out that the number of miles driven on Wisconsin's roads each year is enough to drive from the Earth to Pluto and back 9-10 times. Most of those miles are driven in vehicles that get no better mileage than was available 20 years ago. Our children will curse our names for wasting this oil.



Nothing to argue with there. One thing few people ever bring up is the rate of immigration into the US. That is, there are estimates that the US takes in more immigrants (legal and otherwise) than the rest of the world combined. A bill recently passed by the Senate could increase the population of the US by around 100 million (estimates vary). Since Americans use about 5x the energy as the rest of the world, is it wise to greatly increase the population of the US as we are running out of oil? This was an issue that greatly concerned the late Gaylord Nelson, among other people.

In addition, when the population increases, that can cause increases in the per capita fuel consumption. More population leads to more sprawl, which leads to greater fuel consumption.



Paleo Liberal


edited to correct formatting

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Postby Mister_A_In_Madison » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:47 pm

pulsewidth modulation wrote:
Mister_A_In_Madison wrote:
pulsewidth modulation wrote:Oh yea, environmentalists? How much have they been involved in blocking the ... domestic exploration of oil???


Oh, yes. There is a good long-term supply of energy.


I never claimed it was dumb ass, on top of that, the original post NEVER asked for long term supply sources. They simply blamed "high gas prices" on an easy target. Yet, I pointed out the demand side as a major culprit in regards to long term price stability in relation to plateauing supply.

If your going to quote me out of context, do it right.


The context that I quoted you in was your disdain for environmentalists for blocking domestic oil exploration.

Why should I quote other parts of your comments when they do not pertain to that?

And I never expressed that you thought it was a good long-term solution... simply that those who do have a bit lacking.

While I agree that demand has been the major culprit, the blank check that this administration has given to big oil has not really helped.

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Postby donges » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:55 pm

PaleoLiberal wrote:We are starting to see electric cars come onto the market. Also, if we ever use hydorgen fuel cells, we need a lot of electricity to produce the fuel.

GM fuel cell car. Quite cool.

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Postby Mister_A_In_Madison » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:57 pm

pulsewidth modulation wrote:
Mister_A_In_Madison wrote:Seeing how BP has been doing with their infrastructure reinvestment, I shudder to think about what their research arm has has done with their share of the record profits.


The above nonsense makes for great left wing political posturing, but does little to address long term solutions.

Ever hear of PR? BP has been doing a lot of this while addressing its future plans. Yea, yea, yea, the left says: "What are they doing now"? Total red herring... and counter intuitive to your original out of context quote.

Obviously they have been reinvesting, the company wouldn't be in business after all these years if it acted in the manner your are characterizing them. Do you think the research money for hybrid technology, bio fuels, and reductionism propaganda just appeared out of thin air? Yea right. Part of what people pay in gas prices pay for these things.

Enough with the silly attacks already.


The current corrosion issues are just part of larger systemic problems or do you just like your big oil propaganda too much?

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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:18 pm

Anti-nuclear political ramblings usually distract from the fact that it's easy to use multiple sources of energy to run a vehicle or anything requiring mechanicals for that matter. These products are already on the market and it's only a matter of time before factories start to re-tool in order to make more of them. Wanna make $$$? Very soon you will see a high demand for hybrid mechanics. Pumping more electricity into the grid could supplement gas in order for the transitional period to happen. Electricity can be generated from any number of sources, and I�m sure we will see more of these sources over time. We will need to set the oil aside to construct this infrastructure. It all comes down to when do we want to get started, who will take the initial risks, and who will make money off of those risks. As long as there are socialists currently demanding profits be shared after the spoils are discovered, tested, and sold on the market, they will block the profit motive which drives innovation. You want to move post oil? Get out of the innovators way�

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Postby kurt_w » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:57 pm

PaleoLiberal wrote:No, having more nuclear power plants, as well as wind, solar and geothermal power, would make a huge difference. We are starting to see electric cars come onto the market. Also, if we ever use hydorgen fuel cells, we need a lot of electricity to produce the fuel.


I was responding to Ned's suggestion that somehow if we'd built more nuclear power plants in the past few years, gasoline would be less expensive today.

Nuclear power would only help reduce energy costs in transportation if a significant part of the vehicle fleet were running on natural gas, electricity, or hydrogen fuel cells. That's not the case today, nor will it be so in the immediate future. Less than 0.1% of the US fleet runs on CNG, and the fractions represented by electric and fuel-cell vehicles are much smaller than that (there are probably no more than 10,000 electric cars in operation in the US, out of a fleet of roughly 200,000,000 vehicles).

Currently none of the mass-production hybrid car models permit plug-in ("grid-connected hybrids"), and while a handful of people will do conversions to permit this, it's not widespread and the results are very limited (grid-connected hybrids generally have much lower ranges on their batteries than "traditional" fully-electric vehicles).

I agree that in the medium term, alternative fuel vehicles will have to play a role in the transition away from oil. And the three types I mentioned will probably be part of that, by allowing nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro to be used in transportation. But here and now in the present, nuclear power has zero impact on the cost of gasoline.

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Postby kurt_w » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:16 pm

This article from the CS Monitor last week underscores the dilemma with nuclear power nicely. Basically, there is no good answer here, and anyone who is fanatically pro- or anti-nuclear is probably ignorant of the arguments on the opposing side.

Our civilization is dependent on electricity. Non-nuclear sources have major environmental and/or public health problems. Shutting down all nuclear plants worldwide would probably require replacing them with coal (thus contributing to global warming, respiratory disease, and environmental damage associated with coal mining).

On the other hand, even in Sweden -- one of the most technologically advanced and responsible societies on the planet -- nuclear power plants can suddenly come remarkably close to a meltdown.

There's no easy answer here.

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Postby snoqueen » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:42 pm

That's why we need a national discussion about nuclear energy.

As the Swedish incident shows, it's not reliably safe.

But look at the known dangers of petroleum-based power:

-- global warming, with unforeseeable consequences

-- extensive particulate and gaseous pollution in the lower atmosphere, causing an uncalculated number of illnesses and deaths

Sooner or later we will be asked to face the choice to phase in nuclear-generated electricity (as Europe has done). Because more decentralized power generation is contrary to our customs and economic policy to date, nuclear is going to have the advantage over other generation modes in this debate. We need to get ready, arming ourselves with facts.

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Postby boone » Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:10 pm

snoqueen wrote:That's why we need a national discussion about nuclear energy.

As the Swedish incident shows, it's not reliably safe.



China is developing nuclear power plants that are not hot.

Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom

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Postby Marvell » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:40 pm

boone wrote:
snoqueen wrote:That's why we need a national discussion about nuclear energy.

As the Swedish incident shows, it's not reliably safe.



China is developing nuclear power plants that are not hot.

Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom


And you are trustfull of the word of the Chinese government - the most mendacious organization in the last 30 years of human history - why?

China = environmental hell.

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Postby boone » Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:58 pm

Marvell wrote:
boone wrote:
snoqueen wrote:That's why we need a national discussion about nuclear energy.

As the Swedish incident shows, it's not reliably safe.



China is developing nuclear power plants that are not hot.

Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom


And you are trustfull of the word of the Chinese government - the most mendacious organization in the last 30 years of human history - why?

China = environmental hell.


I've never been a big fan of nuclear power, but if it is going to be used I believe it should be done in the safest possible method.

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor]Pebble bed reactor
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]

The pebble bed reactor (PBR) or pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) is an advanced nuclear reactor design. This technology claims a dramatically higher level of safety and efficiency.

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Postby Mike S. » Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:26 pm

Bush is entirely, deliberately responsible. Here's why.

1. The Iraq War was based on lies. Worse, it could have been ended quickly, but a prolonged occupation was enforced so that Bush's cronies could ram through all sorts of weird economic proposals through the interim government, then try to make them binding on the successor regime. The net effect is that Iraq production has dropped from 2 million barrels a day under Hussein to 0.1-0.2 million barrels a day.

2. The damage from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans could have been avoided with well-publicized levee reinforcement projects. Excellent predictions were made of the damage throughout the region, and an effective relief plan could have reduced disruption. These failures contributed to the Katrina price spike, which helped lubricate the American consumer's backside for continued price-gouging.

3. Cesar Chavez controls one of the major oil-producing countries, and as oil prices go permanently over $30 a barrel they will dominate more expensive production from oil-bearing rocks - they'll be the Saudi Arabia of the next century. Bush backed attempts to displace him by coup and by ballot, which both failed. It's dumb luck that Venezuela is still producing oil at all and that the wells aren't up in flames now from some long bitter civil war. If that had happened, god knows what oil would cost. As it is - it can't have helped.

4. Bush has never even dreamed of trying to rein in price-fixing or to tax the extraordinary profits of the oil companies during this period. That would be contrary to everything he stands for.

5. Bush is not exactly a leader in alternative energy, conservation, improving vehicle MPG and so on.

6. By caving in to Osama bin Laden's principal demand and withdrawing all American troops from Saudi Arabia, he has weakened the American position for trying to talk them into increasing their production or allowing other OPEC nations to do so.

7. Bush has maintained the regional EPA gas-refining standards that ensure that there is reduced competition between refineries to sell to any given area.


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