August 27, 2014

Well this sucks.

Cheap headline, but you get what you pay for.

I read a few good articles on Obama's backdoor, sidestep, pen-and-a-phone treaty to fight global warming. Last time advise and consent was sought, the Senate voted 95-0.

Yet without switching 62 of those nays and driving the other five in for a vote, how will we join the enlightened Europeans?

Consumers are only now noticing Regulation 666/2013, adopted by the European Commission last year and taking effect next month, which bans the manufacture or importing of vacuum motors whose power output exceeds 1,600 watts, with the limit dropping to 900 watts after Sept. 1, 2017. Thank the climate-change lobby for your dirty floor: The measure is intended to help the EU meet its energy savings target for 2020. Consumers are snapping up more powerful vacuums while they still can.

The regulation is classic Brussels. The 11-page, jargon-ridden text of the directive contains barely any cost-benefit analysis and fails to consider that consumers will simply use weaker vacuums for longer to achieve the same cleaning result.

Meanwhile, as consumer groups complain about less choice for no discernible benefit, the European Commission has persuaded itself that its regulation will be good for European vacuum manufacturers. "EU industry adapts quickly to higher requirements, which is often less the case of companies outside the EU," a spokeswoman wrote on an EU website recently.


Those plucky ee-you-vians! Bless their grit, spunk, and perseverance!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:35 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

666? You made this up, right? Onion?

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2014 7:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Ze Honion as you say is powerless against Brussels!

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2014 7:54 PM

August 20, 2014

Renewable Energy Idea

IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. (AP) -- Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays -- "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.


I put on my engineer's hat and have come up with some improvements. (Granted, it is a software guy's hat, so I'll ask my hardware brothers to chime in.)

Solar plants torch birds and wind plants julienne them. Wouldn't it be better to cut out the middleman and just build large incinerators which burn birds for fuel? You could put bird seed and carrion around the edge, then have a fan that sucks them in: finches, hawks, eagles, condors, herons -- a clean and renewable fuel source.

First, I'm gonna need a government grant...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:13 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It's a feature, not a bug. Birds emit CO2 when they breathe. Killing a few hundred thousand of them a year will help to lower the Earth's greenhouse gas load.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2014 5:53 PM

August 14, 2014

Don't Frack My Mother...

We're number eight!

In an annual report of the top 10 oil states put together by the financial website 24/7 Wall St., New Mexico supplanted Oklahoma with 965 million barrels of proven oil reserves.

Oklahoma actually saw its oil reserves increase by 55 million barrels in 2012, but it couldnít keep up with the increase New Mexico made.

Hereís a look at the top 10:
1.Texas
2.North Dakota
3.Alaska
4.California
5.New Mexico
6.Oklahoma
7.Wyoming
8.Colorado
9.Utah
10.Louisiana


Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2014

"Windy" the Wind Imaging Laser System

This amazing device was developed by some friends of mine. Check it out and please share it widely.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2014

Gotch'r Green Energy Policy Right Here...

I didn't get a lot of love for my support of algae (to recap, I want to breed organisms that eat dog poop and excrete diesel. I don't think it that far fetched and my Condo/subdivision stands at the ready to supply our country's energy needs). Look forward to a Review Corner of Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell by Dennis Bray. But I am ready to move on to my next transformative idea.

A Facebook link suggests Toyota is going to release fuel-cell cars in hopes it can build on its hybrid share. As long as I am not subsidizing it with taxes, I think it's a marvelous idea.

Where's the Hydrogen coming from? That's where I'm stepping in. And I'll even spend government money. How about a $10 Million X-Prize-ish award to develop a container-sized device to separate H2 and O2 from Fracking fluid or waste water using power from waste gas flares?

I'm not a knee-jerk environmentalist but I am a very frugal person. Perhaps canine feces is waste-able and lacks the KCals/Kg to be worthwhile. But how many wells and cracking towers are burning tons of waste gas, thus contributing CO2 without any net gain? Capturing something from that has attracted me for years but I suspect some sharp minds with good budgets have looked at it more deeply.

But a simple turbine could generate mounds of electricity. The Hydrogen would be a good storage mechanism, and the general infrastructure around wells and refinery would seem to facilitate storage and distribution.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2014

Randall O'Toole, Call Your Office!

They do love to push mass transit. Get rid of that unplanned, individualistic automobile driving and we'll both save the planet and inure the citizenry to further control. But, the plebes complain -- even in Canada! Canadians don't complain about anything!

A geyser of unrest from streetcar riders erupted Tuesday after the National Post published a columnist's account of his "horror show" streetcar commute. Readers from all over Ontario sent more than 50 emails and posted 500 comments online; our hashtag #streetcarnage trended Tuesday on Twitter. Travellers detailed their own streetcar nightmares and offered suggestions for improvement.

"I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day," said Steve Tartaglia, who regularly rides the streetcar from Liberty Village to King and Adelaide.

He called his commute an "absolute circus."

During one notable trip, the streetcar he was riding hit a garbage truck. During another, a man smoked in the back of the car, arguing he was allowed to because he held his cigarette out the window. The worst trip ended in injury when the driver of an over-capacity car slammed on the brakes, leaving our reader arriving at work with scratches on his face, and a woman screaming after a man dumped hot coffee on her.


#streetcarnage -- gotta love that! Hat-tip: Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:30 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've ridden jeepneys in Batangas and tricycles in Lipa. You want #streetcarnage? I can guarantee you Canada has nothing on this. At least Canadians will politely tell you they're sorry.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 16, 2014 8:16 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt! But I suggest that if Canada cannot pull it off, it cannot be done.

I joke about mass transit as a blow to freedom, but there is a permanent bureaucratic wing of government devoted to keeping people in high-density housing and using mass transit. Randall O'Toole has written extensively and eloquently about it for CATO.

The great takeaway is "I used to be a big supporter of the streetcar until I started riding it every day."

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2014 10:00 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I used to be a big supporter of gun control until I got mugged."

"I used to be a big supporter of public health initiatives until I tried to buy a Big Gulp."

"I used to be a big supporter of single payer health care until I tried to see my doctor."

"I used to be a big supporter of government solutions until I tried them."

"I used to think snake oil actually worked."

"I used to believe in The Wizard."

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2014 12:09 PM

Pollution Research Reportage

In a cringe worthy article, KDVR Fox31's Shaul Turner informs readers that NCAR air pollution study is largest in Colorado.

Dr. Gabriele Pfister of the NCAR said pollution can affect more than the air.

"It also can damage plants (and) it can damage crop yields," Pfister said.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Garry Kaufman said the project will also track pollution from wildfires.

"We see emissions from across the ocean coming to impact Colorado's air," Kaufman said.

Experts say this is just the beginning, results will be useful for decades to come.

Your intrepid blogger, however, first read the scientific description of the study, complete with a cool graphic, on a NASA webpage.

Two NASA aircraft are participating in field campaigns beginning this month in Colorado that will probe the factors leading to unhealthy air quality conditions and improve the ability to diagnose air quality conditions from space.

The NASA aircraft will be joined by a research aircraft from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for flights July 16 to Aug. 16 from the Research Aviation Facility maintained by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.

The main study area extends along the Northern Front Range from the Denver metropolitan area in the south to Fort Collins in the north extending eastward from the mountains as far as Greeley. This area contains a diverse mixture of air pollution sources that include transportation, power generation, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, natural vegetation and episodic wildfires.

The region being studied often experiences ozone levels in summer that exceed national health standards. Ground-level ozone is chemically produced from the combination of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions in sunlight.

Did we mention oil and gas extraction?

I'm all for scientific research but please forgive me if I'm overly sensitive to the political application of such research results. Quite honestly, I looked into the story out of curiosity whether NASA's King Air and P-3b Orion or NSF's C-130 Hercules aircraft happen to comply with new EPA emission regulations for FAA-controlled aircraft. Since the planes are not new my guess is, not so much.

It was a bonus to discover a prime example of Word Crimes in the big-time media. Sorry Shaul but you gotta try harder wit da English.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

Gotta sting a bit.

A true revolution would be a new breed of climate activist who admitted what they didn't know and toned down their absurd pretense that they're going to ban or seriously curb fossil fuel by fiat. If they were smart, they would put all their effort into winning government funding for battery research. But there are reasons, quite apart from lack of imagination, which is the nicest explanation of Mr. Steyer's shrill imposture, that this doesn't happen.

Our political system is adept at making use of people like Mr. Steyer. Democrats will gladly spend his $100 million, then go back to their real environmental business, which is green cronyism. Happily Mr. Steyer's fate won't be that of the Hemingway character [in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"] --who finally got to prove his merit while accidentally being shot in the head by his wife. But like Al Gore before him, Mr. Steyer will be able to say of his impact on the climate debate: I softened up the public to be milked for green handouts that did nothing for climate change. -- Homan Jenkins


Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

I'm going to have a hard time taking a guy seriously if he thinks that Francis Macomber was shot accidentally.

Posted by: AndyN at July 9, 2014 4:37 PM
But jk thinks:

"But how is one to know about an American?"

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2014 5:00 PM

July 2, 2014

Jared Polis in Two Minuites

The entire show -- as usual -- is worth a watch.

But first. And then after. And then another time. Watch from 20:49 - 22:49. Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen and Jon Caldara destroy rich-kid Rep. Jared Polis ($$$ - CO) who wants to run the state because he has dough.

And, watch it again.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:46 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Littwin's a frequent guest and I like him well enough. But I really have to say he gets his clock cleaned on both fracking and climate change, which he brings up as a "gotcha" laugh line.

I'm not so naïve (stop laughing!) that I think property rights is a big sell to the low-info voter, but I think it can be positioned.

Laugesen makes a great start with the retired folks and middle-class investors; I have wanted to push the Willie Nelson Farm Aid angle. A lot of family farms can now continue to operate because of mineral revenue. A lot of families make $7,000 a year farming and get a $90,000 check from EnCana (peace be upon their holy name...) That lets them continue a tradition and lifestyle that is important to themselves and the community.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

You're out in the Weld hinterlands . . . am I wrong?

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My dirt-farming neighbor recently bricked over the exterior of his old farmhouse. He sure didn't get the money for such "extravagance" from selling hay, corn and barley. On a recent visit they seemed the happiest folks in the world. Not the kind of "we can't make ends meet" depression that is all to common in rural communities.

But that angle will have zero impact on the highly fertile Birth Control Voter. She might respond better to Laugesen's "billionaire on vacation wants to make blue collar guys stop working" angle. MIGHT.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 12:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking more low-info, not hopelessly-wrong-and-proud-of-it info.

For out-of-staters and in-state intellectuals: things are getting good on Colorado TV. Poor Ken Buck got slaughtered in 2010 by constant #WarOnWomen ads with little response. Those are starting against Cory Gardner (Too Extreme for Colorado, would you believe it?), but there are some very good outside ads in his favor. In my favorite, a Millennial-aged female looks into the camera and says her generation cannot get jobs because of Sen. Udall's spending. Boom: engaging, understandable and -- !!! -- factual!

The pro-fracking forces are also defining the issues well beyond "we're really not poisoning your kids too much."

Homey may not be playing that this year, I'm reluctantly optimistic.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 12:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Independence Institute has done the editing for you. Here is Wayne's 47 seconds on Polis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nuRE_DR66OM

"Out of touch." That's what comes to mind when I watch this.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2014 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

SWEET! (Though I don't know that 50 seconds is enough). I posted it on the George Leing FB Page.

Thanks.

Posted by: jk at July 3, 2014 5:40 PM

June 29, 2014

The new Eco-Incandescent light bulbs are here!

Just when you thought you'd never again see a good-old light bulb because that mean nasty government made them illegal, geniuses at GE and Philips have found a way to make them all over again. [Thomas Edison - call your office.] They're called "eco-incandescent."

This is news, because they just hit the market, but it isn't a surprise as I explained it in a January 2011 blog post comment after carefully reading the 2007 federal law that "banned the light bulb." Bulbs could only be sold if they were more efficient than standard bulbs by, if I remember correctly, at least 20 percent. The new eco-incandescents are (magically) 28% more efficient.

GE%20Reveal%20eco-incandescent%2060W%20770_400.jpg

They are also (less magically) several hundred percent more expensive. Thanks mean, nasty government!

Back in 2011 I accused lamp makers of manipulating the market via regulation, so that "Competitors can no longer undercut each other's cheapest products and saturate the market with them." But Hank Rearden, or is it the Chinese, is not deterred. "Eco-Smart" brand bulbs undercut more expensive models by GE and Philips. Depending on wattage, they are one to two bucks each.

What a country!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I hate to criticize my blog brothers on something as picayune as category choice, but. I think you left out We're from the government and we're here to help.

Who but gub'mint could bring us a 60 Watt bulb that uses only 43 Watts (and costs a buck and a quarter). The stupid! It hurts!

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2014 9:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop. I should have reflexively added "WFTGAWHTH" after typing the words "what a country!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 11:37 AM

June 18, 2014

David Harsanyi, Call Your Office

And Ben Franklin, and everybody who has even pointed out the evils of Democracy.

It seems their property rights can be stolen from under their feet by ballots while they are abroad defending ours by bullets. The Colorado Observer: Military Voters Won't Get Ballots in Loveland Fracking Fight

frack_mil_ballots.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 1:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2014

GOP Policy on Energy and Climate

"We will address our energy needs and any externalities with science and innovation; they will use politics."
Maybe it is too late, or the media narrative too established, but I think Republicans could expose the lefties' anti-science predilection and possibly turn the tables.

I know Solyndra was about 11 scandals ago. But the Democrats (read The Mark Udall for Senate Campaign) have designs on playing up "denialism." How can you consider voting for a troglodyte, flat-earther who doesn't even believe in Climate Change?

To combat this, I offer, free of charge (excepting my normal Koch Brothers stipend), a GOP Energy and Climate Plan for 2014 & 2016:

Addressing Energy Needs and Climate Concerns with Science

1. Research
Offer a series of sizable "prizes" for substantive progress in raw R&D. Forgive me libertarians and strict Constitutionalists, but compared to the alternative, $10 Million for each of these is a bargain (and a prize is far less distortionary than subsidies or mandates):

  • Dime-a-watt Photovoltaics
  • CO2 Sequestration/Recovery for coal combustion
  • Flare capture/recovery
  • Direct algae production of usable fuel
  • Kudzu-diesel
  • Some wind metric...

The non-distortionary nature of a prize makes it harmless. The cost for any of these producing significant advancements would be good value. And you're supporting research institutions and American can-do-ism.

2. Defined metrics for regulation.
Why do we have Ethanol mandates, and Solyndra, and not the Keystone XL Pipleline? Some very large campaign contributors have more than a bit to do with it. EPA regs, LNG Exports, Pipelines, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the Designated Hitter will be evaluated -- in a ThreeSources' Administration -- on actual impact and cost/benefit projections: not campaign contributions.

3. Funding for Climate Science
Again, I apologize to Mister Madison, but continued grants to study not only "Global Warming" but ocean acidification, possible mitigation strategies, &c. are small compared to the current, devastating regulations.

We're not denying anything -- except that our opponents schemes have been more about science than rewarding political constituencies.

UPDATE: So, if I include a link, it is not "a Rant?"

The proposed EPA rules would cost approximately $51 billion a year and destroy 224,000 jobs each year through 2030. The poor and people on fixed incomes will be hurt the most. And all this pain will be for absolutely no gain: It will have no impact at all on the global climate, according to reports published by the libertarian Heartland Institute--based on peer-reviewed climate science.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Chuckle. Yer still good if your rant has a link to the Koch-Brothers (TM) Heartland Institute.

One question: Is there any room for safe, carbonless, nuclear power under the big energy tent?

Okay, two questions: How does this new spending on research prevent further and greater spending on subsidizing bad ideas - you know, the ones that can't sustainably survive in the market without subsidies?

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2014 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

SIDENOTE: As you can imagine, Robert Bryce's Book was pretty keen on noocyuler power from a density perspective -- hard to beat mc2

I'm in a trading mood. Applying rational, methodic, quantitative evaluation likely gets rid of all ethanol mandates and subsidy. Boom, baby! I just paid for my x-prizes ten times over.

The straight grants will fund some nonsense, no doubt. But if we are performing cost-benefit analysis before promoting bad ideas to policy, I'm in.

People lose their minds over "$3 million to give monkey's cocaine!" or "$600,000 to study parakeet flatulence!!" -- or whatever the outrage of the week is. You can bash science grants from a libertarian or Constitutional perspective, but you cannot tell me that's what is breaking us. I shrug pretty vocally at those.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2014 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't say it well enough - by "subsidizing bad ideas" I meant, handing out much greater grants, or mandates, or rules, or loans (you can pay us back when you are profitable, wink wink) for cronies to start businesses based on one or more of those bad ideas. Perhaps its unfair to expect you to fix everything, but I think those ventures must be off limits with gub'mint dough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:46 AM

June 4, 2014

Family Guy Does Colorato Politics

Can't say I'm a fan of "Family Guy," but that may have to change:

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Don't bring me down, bro'!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 4:34 PM

May 20, 2014

Falsus Libertario Delenda Est!

Having recently escaped Colorado's Second Congressional District, I consider myself well-informed about Rep. Jared Polis (Libertarian? - CO).

He is currently the darling of the big-L Libertarians who are certain to have discovered the elusive "Libertarian Democrat:" cryptozoology's greatest prize! Rep. Polis is a regular on "The Independents" on FOX Business Channel. He received positive coverage in Reason:

A conventional Democrat in some respects, he also supports many causes that matter to libertarians: legalizing marijuana and hemp, restraining NSA surveillance, reforming copyright and patent laws, and making space for the virtual currency Bitcoin.

"A conventional Democrat in some respects." Yes, the obligatory disclaimer for interviewer Scott Shackford. Let me help you, Scott. He is a conventional Democrat EVERY FREAKIN' PLACE AND EVERY GORRAM TIME THAT IT COUNTS. Minority Leader Pelosi does not have to worry about his vote (including yea on ObamaCare on March 21, 2010).

When he's on his own, he pens a Libertarian Editorial in the WSJ. And he accepts campaign contributions in Bitcoin! He's like Mises reincarnate!

If they looked a little deeper, they'd see not only "A conventional Democrat in some respects," but a wellspring of dirigisme. The Blueprint [Review Corner] chronicles Polis as one of four überfunders of statehouse races providing the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado which brought us draconian gun laws and insane regulations on energy -- especially to rural Coloradans. Thanks, Jared! Or shall I call you Murray Rothbard?

Today, he is in the press for using his considerable funding to force his energy views on the entire state. (Remember when Hayek did that?)

DENVER -- Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it's tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.

One Polis group, Coloradans for Local Control, donated $1.45 million to another Polis group, Coloradans for Clean and Safe Energy, which is running the campaign to place a slew of anti-fracking measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

That one donation--the only contribution so far to the Polis-sponsored issue committee--exceeded the combined $900,000 raised by two energy-backed coalitions during the two-week reporting period ending May 14, although their overall fundraising tops the Polis campaign's at $3.77 million.


Those damned oil companies and the nefarious Koch Brothers outspent in one day! By a statist who is feted as a "Libertarian."

If that's what they're like, I definitely want out! Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Snap! This is a kick-ass takedown of Jared NIMBY-King Polis and his Reason puff piece. This should be tagged in the Rant category. I'm going to come back and read it regularly whenever I'm feeling down.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2014 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

As I did lapse into all caps, it does indeed belong under "Rant" (added). I had self-visualized better self control when I started :) As the great philosopher Peter Green said, "Oh, well."

Thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2014 5:11 PM

April 21, 2014

Duh!

Talmey-Drake Research and Strategy Inc. said in a written report to the county [Boulder, CO] that focus groups have shown that "support for alternative transportation efforts is driven not by what would get a person out of their own car, but by the hope those programs get others out of their cars so the roads are less congested for them as they continue to drive."

Wow, who saw that coming? Certainly not the people who wrote this:

By investing in such programs as those that support cycling, walking, car pooling and public transportation, "Boulder County strives to make it easier for people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, while conserving natural resources and living an active, healthy lifestyle," the county said in a report detailing its sustainability programs.

But what if people don't want those things?

Here's my prediction: Boulder County residents will get the least popular "alternative-transportation program:" Making personal transportation advisers available to advise residents and businesses on how to shorten commutes and reduce car use. That'll get their heads right.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2014

In Boulder???

There's hope! I hate to share company stuff on ThreeSources -- trust me, my opinions do not represent those of the corporation with Boulder's 80301 zip code.

But, I gotta. Even the Tofu Crowd has better things:

smart.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Let's be precise: You're talking about the private sector Tofu Crowd. Government tofu munchers would show up, rain or shine, interest or non. After all, they do NOT have better things.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2014 2:27 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What leads them to believe that interest will be greater later in the year?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 25, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

They're also offering discounted Denver Nuggets tickets, br; their optimism knows no bounds.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2014 1:55 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

A better incentive this year would be, "If you participate, we won't make you go to a Nuggets game."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 26, 2014 4:29 PM

March 21, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"A lot of people who were out of work during the recession are now working because of oil and gas, and energy in general," Hale said.

From Loveland (CO) Reporter-Herald - 'Oil and Gas Impact Loveland's Economy'

Last year, Hale counted up the number of jobs in Loveland directly tied to oil and gas in 2012.

She said 52 companies in Loveland employed 497 people who worked directly in the industry. The companies paid $37.4 million in gross wages, with an average salary of $75,232, according to Hale.

All this despite no drilling in city limits. All of this business is to support drilling in nearby Weld County.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2014

Other than that, not much

Hey there, who's for some progress? Maybe an 11-fold increase in average incomes, doubling global life expectancy, stuff like that? This IBD Editorial explains how Progressives ignore the real benefits when calculating government required cost-benefit analyses.

Hydrocarbons provide 81% of world energy. Most important, the positive relationship between fossil fuel, economic growth and CO2 emissions is strong ó supporting $70 trillion per year in gross domestic product.

Under accepted benefit-cost analyses, proposed regulations would pass muster if the rules' benefits exceed their cost by a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. But employing the government's own carbon "cost" figures demonstrates that the ratios are dramatically reversed.

The benefits of using carbon-based fuel outweigh hypothesized "social carbon costs" by orders of magnitude: from 50-to-1 (using the inflated 2013 costs of carbon of $36/ton of CO2) to 500-to-1 (using the arbitrary 2010 $22/ton estimate). Any cost estimate is lost in the "statistical noise" of carbon and CO2 benefits.

If the world is serious about economic growth, living standards and affordable energy, fossil fuel is essential. Restrictions on hydrocarbon energy and faulty carbon cost analyses will only undermine progress in these areas.


Posted by JohnGalt at 7:08 PM | Comments (0)

Otequay of the Ayday

"This issue is one of common sense and fairness - if a community decides to ignore all the science and all the facts and ban responsible energy development, those communities shouldnít be able to line up at the trough and benefit from responsible oil and gas development occurring in other parts of the State. It is the height of hypocrisy for the Boulders and Ft. Collins of the world to benefit from oil and gas taxes so long as they have an oil and gas ban in place." [the Peak emphasis]

FRAC YEAH! Where do I sign?

From Colorado Peak Politics - No Fracking Dollars for No Frack Communities Headed to Voters

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2014

Colorado Democrats' Anti-Frac Front is, well, Fracturing

Valerie Richardson in The Colorado Observer:

"You look at the kind of Democrats who have been elected in the last few election cycles, and they are to the left, way to the left of center in Colorado, and they'll support this fracking ban," said Wadhams.

The Democratic Party's ability to keep its far left in line and avoid fractious battles on issues has helped it win the support of the business community, which values political stability. That could change if business leaders suspect Democrats are aligned with the anti-fracking forces.

"So you're watching the fracturing of the base, but also as important, theyíre going to alienate the business community and [even] the progressive business community," said Ciruli. "I don't think those people won't give to Hickenlooper, but they might not give to these Democratic Senate campaigns."

So Hick might still get donations but his base will not be behind him.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

Our Sad Addiction to Fossil Fuels

Don't tell blog friend JC, but SUVs for paramecia are on their way

Boffins demo FIVE MICRON internal combustion engine

Getting an engine that small isn't easy. As the researchers, led by the Netherlands' University of Twente's Vitaly Svetovoy, explain in their Nature paper, even the mechanism by which they've managed to get combustion happening is debatable.

"It is not obvious that the reaction in nanobubbles and performance of the microscopic actuator are related. Nevertheless, we speculate that the gas combustion in the chamber happens via combustion in transitional nanobubbles," they write.

The search for a Liliputian V8 might sound silly, but the researchers say "a fast and strong actuator ... can be applied in microfluidics, micro/nano positioning, or in compact sound/ultrasound emitters".

Posted by John Kranz at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2014

Post to Polis: Frack Off

Pinch me!

Still, the more gas is available worldwide, the less leverage Putin will have in bullying neighbors and in talks with European powers such as Germany, which also depends on Russian gas.

That's the Denver Post Editorial Board speaking. And if that doesn't sound enough like the words of Republicans Cory Gardner and Rand Paul [starting at 5:00], among many others, the Post continues:

Not everyone agrees, of course. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., was among 20 House Democrats last fall who wrote to the energy secretary expressing concern LNG exports "would lead to greater hydraulic fracturing activity," which is probably true. But we would hope most members of Congress appreciate that fracking can be done safely, and that America's new energy bounty offers a huge opportunity to assist pro-Western governments abroad.

Read more: Liquefied natural gas as a geopolitical tool - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/editorials/ci_25314888/liquefied-natural-gas-geopolitical-tool
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Take that, Democrat.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

What do you expect from a party that would nominate an "anti-civil rights, anti-choice, anti-marriage equality" troglodyte to the Federal Bench?

Polis was on "The Independants" last night (Libertario Delenda Est has its own TV show and it is Purdy good). The topic was Bitcoin and he gets a sympathetic audience on the show. He can point to great libertarian bona fides.

Yet he gets a pass on his reliable votes for dirigisme because he pens the occasional liberty-friendly OpEd.

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2014 11:56 AM

March 3, 2014

The real reason Putin wants Ukraine

Much has been made of the Russian naval base in the Crimea region of Ukraine, which Russia has a long-term lease upon. Why send troops to protect other troops? So the cover story is "to protect ethnic Russians" an excuse at least as old as the start of World War II. Sudetenland, anyone?

But what hasn't been reported, until this morning, is the vast network of natural gas pipelines in Ukraine, where about 80% of her neighbors get their natural gas, sourced from Russia. But the stakes are even higher for Ukraine herself, as she gets 65% of her own natural gas from Russia, who has not been shy in reminding them who's boss. Consequently, Ukraine has been working toward construction of compressed natural gas (CNG) terminals in Odessa, Ukraine, for the purpose of free trade consumption on world markets. Perhaps this taste of freedom is something Putin can not stomach.

Commander Victor Vescovo, USN retired, writes in Real Clear Defense:

The key to Ukraineís energy independence from Russia and, therefore, its ability to determine its own political future lies in Odessa -- the city, its port area and energy infrastructure, and the access to Black Sea it provides. Crimea is likely lost. But if Ukraine is to survive, all of its current focus should be on Odessa and preventing any Russian movements against this vital region from Crimea, Transnistria, or Russian territory.

Cdr. Vescovo outlines a fairly simple strategy to protect Odessa but also explains, with the help of a map, that Odessa, like Crimea and eastern Ukraine, is majority native Russian speaking.

russianspeakers.jpg


UPDATE: From Investor's - Seven Energy Policies to Make Putin Pay Over Ukraine, Crimea

1. Start fracking in Europe
2. Expand fracking in the US
3. Promote LNG exports
4. Allow U.S. petroleum exports
5. OK Keystone XL
6. Expand, not contract, nuclear power in Ukraine
7. Unify Cypress and build a new pipeline

"Finally, smart energy policies also would undermine other energy autocrats around the world, including Venezuela." And Iran.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2014

Something of worth from the DAWG Crusade?

HAV-304_2837234b.jpg

A hybrid aircraft, this goofy looking vehicle is capable of heavy lifting and long flight times thanks to the buoyancy of helium gas. The UK Telegraph article that describes it touts its "low carbon" and "green" attributes. I call it a possibly cost-effective vehicle for heavy transport and other specialized uses - provided it is economical in its use of the non-renewable commodity, helium gas.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Mmmmmkay, but am I alone in thinking all the "Green" accomplishments always harken back to centuries-old technology repurposed?

All the things we gave up are suddenly brand new. My buddy, JC, gets angry every time I bring up Karl Poppers "back to the caves," but green tech always seems more "Downton Abbey" than Star Trek TNG.

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2014 1:56 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If the whole heavy-haul thing doesn't pan out, they can always use it to drop promo coupons over arenas.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 3, 2014 10:22 AM
But AndyN thinks:

You have a point, JK, but it's also true that there are perfectly good uses for old technology that were set aside in favor of something more flashy but no more effective.

When I saw someone trying to push renewed use of lighter than air craft it reminded me that at least as recently as the mid-80s the British Army was teaching young paratroopers to fall out of the sky by putting them in a balloon tethered to a winch, unwinding a few hundred feet of cable, and ushering them out the door. At the same point in the training cycle, the US Army was fueling up a C-130 and flying new paratroopers from Georgia to Alabama, then loading them in deuce and a halfs and driving them back.

I don't think markets necessarily have the patience to wait for that new hybrid aircraft to make deliveries, but I'd be surprised if there weren't commercial uses for something that just needs to go more-or-less straight up and come straight back down. Does a local traffic reporter really need to burn helicopter fuel, or would sitting in a balloon with a big lens work? How close together would the border patrol have to put balloons to monitor the entire US/Mexico border (assuming an alternate universe where the US border patrol actually wanted to monitor the border)?

And of course, let's not forget that while they're pushing all sorts of centuries-old technology that doesn't really work all that well, but from which political contributions can be wrung, they're banning the centuries-old use of wood, coal and tungsten to effectively create heat, electricity and light.

Posted by: AndyN at March 3, 2014 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good commentary all around. I liked it mostly as an engineering achievement. The application of hauling goods into Canada's Northern Territories and taking away some Ice Road Trucker business, I thought was a good one.

As long as its development is privately funded it is likely to meet market needs. To the extent it is government funded, it is doomed to be an expensive failure.

Posted by: johngalt at March 3, 2014 2:56 PM

February 28, 2014

Government CEO: "What's in it [Keystone XL] for us?"

That's my new favorite term for 'politician' - Government CEO - because each and every decision seems to be based on how much the government, and consequently he, can profit by it. Take FL9 Representative Alan Grayson who wrote,

Well, the Chinese have figured it out. They're going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country. They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil. They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing. So Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker.

And there at last is the real issue. Since the oil originates outside the country, state and federal governments can't charge confiscatory excise taxes. And whatever is sold outside the country escapes any consumer fuel taxes. Grayson offers a possible solution, however:

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States. Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline? But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own. Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sucker?

Because increasing supply will drive down costs, Uncle Douchebag. No, you won't get any revenue to buy votes with but American consumers, whose transportation costs represent 17% of the average household budget, will get some pocketbook relief. Then again, you wouldn't want any of your constituents thinking they could be happy and prosperous without your beneficience, would you?

UPDATE:

AP columnist and financial planner Richard Larsen writes in this week's column, 'America's Beleaguered Middle Class:'

Domestic energy prices have likewise increased dramatically. Over the past 10 years, energy prices have more than doubled as government energy policy has become increasingly ideological and counterintuitive. Increasing energy costs adversely affect the middle class disproportionately.

And this informative chart from the "17 percent" link above.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

Look, Obama administration, if you don't want to build the Keystone Pipeline, just come out and say so. Take the political lumps and get it over with. Enough of this perpetual "well, we just need to review it a few more months" limbo. To put the length of time of this review in perspective, when they first sought approval to build the pipeline, the fossils that make up the fossil fuel of the oil were still walking around. -- Jim Geraghty
(Pointing out even my-former-Senator-your-former-SecInterior Ken Salazar is for it.)
Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And, what, make these guys mad?

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2014 1:13 PM

February 6, 2014

Drill Baby Drill, Drill

I really need to visit Minnesotans for Global Warming more often. This is from 2011 but still as relevant as ever.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

California's project is one of several lingering on drawing boards since being promoted by President Obama's first-term stimulus bacchanal. To call these projects "high-speed rail" is to stretch a concept. They involve dollops of federal money dangled in return for states agreeing to talk about high-speed rail, draw up plans for high-speed rail, conduct studies of high-speed rail, pour concrete and move earth around in ways vaguely suggestive of high-speed rail at some point in the future. -- Holman Jenkins, Jr.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heck, they may as well post a sign.

"Whistle, Piss and Argue." Learn somethin' new ev'ry day.

Posted by: johngalt at January 15, 2014 2:52 PM

January 3, 2014

Another "dirty little secret" of renewable energy

I wonder if readers will be as surprised as I to learn that the energy required to produce a 1,000 watt solar panel is on the order of 20,000,000 watt hours? That is the gist of this 1997 Australian whitepaper - Can Solar Cells Ever Recapture the Energy Invested in their Manufacture?

It depends on the particular type of panel of course, and efficiencies may have improved but still, I wonder how many solar PV evangelists know that the energy produced in the first 2-10 years of their system's operation all goes to pay back the energy consumed to create the things in the first place? "Woo hoo, halfway through my solar PV warranty period I'm finally net energy positive! Feel the clean power baby!"

I heard this topic discussed on a local liberty-oriented radio show last night, where the claim was that the energy of manufacture exceeds the energy produced over a lifetime. While that may be true at extreme latitudes it's a credibility-destroying exaggeration.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:17 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

And the batteries in that plug-in Prius already have 40,000 miles of equivalent impact on them.

Talking with a friendly on FB (yeah, there's one -- I met him at LOTR-Flatirons), I'm concerned about something else photovoltaic: From Dr. Gray's Global Warming speech, the solar energy hitting earth is ~4W/m2 -- is that not a maximum? 5 x 5 m to light a 100W bulb? Good thing they're illegal.

Me missing something?

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 5:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, 4 watts is way low. Click the Atlantis Farm Weather widget on the sidebar any time to find a graph of real-time solar radiation in watts per square meter. In winter the peak is about 500 and in summer about 1000. Even averaged over a 24-hour period it is about 80 watts in winter and 160 in summer.

Which means, now that I think about it, a 1kW peak power panel can't produce that much year-round, which means the years to break even is higher than advertised.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2014 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Very cool, thanks. Me need to read Dr. Gray again.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 6:13 PM

December 16, 2013

If I Drove a $100,000 Car, I'd wear Armani

Like some others on this blog, I am torn. The Tesla is a cool car and an engineering marvel. But this freedom lover is pretty tired of seeing it hailed as a "success story" of government involvement. If they sold a couple hundred to some rich Hollywood guys and had hopes of expansion I'd be a big booster. But the company exists only because of subsidies, and I have seen many a weasely exec or supporter dance around any such question.

Ergo, I have to withdraw support -- and giggle uncontrollably at the difficulties facing folks whose six-digit playthings do not have sufficient range in cold weather.

For now, drivers are looking for creative ways to cope with less heat, especially on long trips. On the Tesla forum, one Model S owner recommends buying heated jackets and gloves designed for wearing on motorcycles. Dahn says the solution is "snowmobile suits."

Hat-tip: Insty, who also has a link about global cooling. Better get a Thinsulate™ Snowmobile suit, Teslans! The link contains this embed; Weld County is Home Sweet Home to a few ThreeSourcers.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

May I respectfully suggest, a higher energy heater?

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2013 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh yeah! Musk should build one of those into the dash. My buddy had a Corvair with a catalytic heater. You could cook a roast on the front seat and not wait one second for anything to "heat up."

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2013 5:05 PM

December 12, 2013

Save the Eagles!

Blog Brother jg is on a campaign to protect our majestic national bird. He may have an ally in the do-nothing 113th Congress, if they can only dig deep and live up to the sobriquet:

The media are saying that the 113th Congress is on track to be "the least productive" on record--as if that's bad for the country. Let's hope gridlock lasts long enough to kill the crony capitalist special known as the wind production tax credit.

This subsidy that was supposed to be temporary is now 20 years old, providing a taxpayer gift to wind companies of 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The handout would cost $18 billion over the next five years. The good news is that it is due to expire on December 31 unless Congress acts to extend it, so House Republicans can accomplish something for taxpayers by doing nothing.


The subsidy covers much of the cost of production, allowing the bird murderers to pay utilities to put their blood-soaked product on the grid. It's time we spoke up and did nothing!

Refrain from clicking Like to show your support!

Like

Posted by John Kranz at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2013

"Rewards?"

A better word would be subsidy.

To summarize the CBS Denver 4 report:

Electric company establishes surcharge to customers to subsidize boutique power.
Initial kickback set at about 50 percent of installation cost.
Chinese "predatory pricing" and old fashioned competition drive costs down.
Electric company reduces surcharge.
Non-competitive boutique power installers whine that they "can't afford to pay employees."

Rilly? You were able to pay them when you paid half the cost to start with. What gives?

Oh, it's harder to sell your product to customers. I see.


Shadenfreude,
Shadenfreude,
Every morning you greet me.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:40 PM | Comments (0)

T-Shirt Meme of the Day

SAVE THE WHALES!

SAVE THE OWLS!

SAVE THE EAGLES!

End the insanity - ban wind power!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's telling that my first reaction was "They're playing the 3-9-1 Vikings this week, and Petersen is doubtful. How much more saving do they need?"

I wonder whether eagle paté tastes like chicken.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2013 4:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

[WARNING: NERD REFERENCE}

The eagle failed to make its saving throw versus Wind Farm.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 11, 2013 4:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't read the O-admin's jackass rule yet but it is entirely possible that they've made it legal, under federal law, to kill eagles but not to possess their feathers. Although if they did have enough forsight to exempt employees, the only persons in North America legally authorized to possess eagle feathers would be Native Americans and wind farm workers.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2013 6:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I stand corrected on my initial comment - the Vikings are now 4-9-1. The Eagles failed to make their saving throw versus Minnesota.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 16, 2013 1:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

The Eagles made their saving throw, it just came in an odd form called the Green Bay Packers. Just as the Broncos saving throw came from some guys in orange and blue with Dolphins on their shirts. :-)

Posted by: dagny at December 16, 2013 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Yaaaaay Dolphins!!!

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2013 1:26 PM

October 30, 2013

Meanwhile, in the Private Sector...

I hate to take my eye off the unfolding ObamaCare® debacle (really, I do, it is too much fun!) But we must wonder sometimes what magic might happen in areas where government left a modicum of opportunity for freedom and innovation.

Three stores in the Internet Segue Machine:

1. Energy fact of the day: Within months, the US will have three oil fields producing more than 1 million barrels per day

Recent U.S. production growth has centered largely in a few key regions and has been driven by advances in the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. Given the importance of drilling productivity trends as a driver for future domestic production, EIA has been developing new approaches to assess the productivity of drilling operations.


2, Natural Decarbonation U.S. carbon emissions fell in 2012, thanks to the oil and gas industry.

The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week, to too little media fanfare, that U.S. energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions declined 3.8% in 2012, bringing C02 emissions to their lowest level since 1994. The only year since 1990 with a steeper decline was 2009 amid an economic recession. The 2012 decline occurred even as the economy grew 2.8%

.
3. -- let me know if you'd like a copy mailed over the paywall -- The Coming Carbon Asset Bubble Fossil-fuel investments are destined to lose their economic value. Investors need to adjust now by Al Gore and David Blood

But when investors mislabel risk as uncertainty, they become vulnerable to the assumption that since it cannot be measured, they might as well ignore it.

That is exactly what is happening with the subprime carbon asset bubble: It is still growing because most market participants are mistakenly treating carbon risk as an uncertainty, and are thus failing to incorporate it in investment analyses. By overlooking a known material-risk factor, investors are exposing their portfolios to an externality that should be integrated into the capital allocation process.


Don't everybody get on E-Trade at once to dump their XOM! It's not ObamaCare, it was not designed to handle this kind of volume!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:29 PM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2013

Why not tax those who don't buy ethanol?

The WSJ Ed Page brings word of an disturbing escalation.

In its zeal to impose the ethanol boondoggle, Congress has mandated it, subsidized it, and protected it from competitors. Now some Senators are siccing prosecutors on those who still won't get on their ethanol cornwagon.

That's the gist of a recent letter from Iowa Republican Charles Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, demanding the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission investigate the oil industry for "anticompetitive practices aimed at blocking market access for renewable fuels." That's Senatorial Cornspeak for saying oil companies should have to put their gas stations in the service of Big Ethanol.


It seems a Phillips 66 service station in Kansas (you think you can make this stuff up) converted pumps to sell E85 and E15. Then The Man intervened:
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, Phillips 66 insisted that the franchisee use at least one of its tanks to sell Phillips' premium gasoline. Phillips 66 refused to comment on a private customer arrangement, though it "strenuously" denies it is trying to frustrate ethanol use.

They will not quit. "Access to Ethanol!" is the newest human right.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:05 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Rentseekers.

In that single word is summed up the entire situation and a multitude of wrongs committed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2013 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

& underpinning the unholy "Bootleggers and Baptists" coalition of ADM and Greenpeace.

This Reagan guy is pretty tired of hearing about the great old days of The Gipper & Tip O'Neill's bonhomie. That was then and I take nothing away from either.

But the nation cries out for compromise (I am told constantly) and our political class is letting them down. And Burger King has some new fries with less fat.

But compromise got us where we are. Republicans and Democrats can always find common ground to grow government: "I'll vote for your ethanol if you vote for my windmills and light rail." Senators Paul and Cruz do not have a natural partner in discussion to stop growth or (gasp!) pare back the Leviathan.

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2013 2:43 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Compromise? "There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction."

And Leviathan ought to check into those healthy fries; I hear tell the beast grows fat and its arteries clogged. If it doesn't cut back on the cholesterol of its own accord, it may come to its own end of natural causes, without the tree of liberty needing to be watered.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2013 4:59 PM
But jk thinks:

With the High-LDL blood of tyrants as Mister Jefferson told us...

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2013 5:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yes and yes. Great analysis of the perils of Sens. Paul and Cruz but I must insinuate you meant to say they have no natural partner in the government in discussion to (...) pare back the Leviathan. For they do have a natural partner in the governed.

One proposed strategy for destroying Obamacare is to just step back and let it collapse of its own gargantuan ineptitude. Curiously, this is the same strategy we are forced to follow for destroying Leviathan. I prefer a more proactive strategy against the ACA.

1) "Obamacare is a disaster. It will make most health insurance more expensive. It should be repealed."

2) Consumers find their healthcare costs skyrocketing.

3) "That's what we were trying to tell you."

4) Repeal Obamacare or you're fired!

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2013 2:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've got your proactive strategy right here:

http://is.gd/3CZj0K

Or, as Misha puts it more colorfully (language warning for the faint of heart):

http://is.gd/qgENB7

Wanna stop the motor of the world?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 9, 2013 4:25 PM

October 2, 2013

So that's how the Obama campaign raised so much cash "on the internet"

This could be an "Otequay of the Ayday" post:

ďWeíre all familiar with the J-curve in private equity,Ē said Joseph Dear chief investment officer at the California Public Employee Retirement System in March. ďWell, for CalPERS, clean-tech investing has got an L-curve for Ďlose.íĒ

ďOur experience is this has been a noble way to lose money,Ē Dear added.

From an article at thefederalist.com -- The Venture Corporatists - "Saving the planet" has made lot of investors richer. Taxpayers? Not so much, which concludes:

As long as green technology remains not simply an economic venture but a moral one, taxpayers will continue to nobly lose money as politically connected ďsocial entrepreneursĒ reap a windfall.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

Who Says There's No Good News?

It takes a great man to admit he was wrong. And, as Captain Mal would say, "I'm allright." On July 30, I wrote:

Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Ahem:
Last evening I asked the President that my name be withdrawn from further consideration as his nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It appears that my nomination will not be reported favorably by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. I am withdrawing so that the President can move forward with another nominee, allowing the FERC to continue its important work with a full complement of commissioners.

I cannot remember the last time it felt this good to be wrong! Hallelujah!

Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yesssss! #EnvironmentalismBacklash

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 12:24 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hugh Hewitt noticed today (or was it Rosen? I drove to H.Ranch today...) that M.Landreaux - from an oil state - and the senator from W.Wa (Shhh, coallll) were not swayed by his out'n out lies about his part in building up Ritter's renewable energy 'portfolio' but all-but demonizing coal & gas.

Yes, Colorado, there IS a Santa Claus !

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:34 PM

September 26, 2013

Energiewende

Energiewende means "energy revolution or transformation."

According to IBD, Energiewende has transformed electricity from a commodity to a "Third World Luxury."

Talk about turning back the clock.

Der Spiegel reports that German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier is asking his countrymen to live as if they are trapped in a backward Third World economy that can't keep the lights on. He has put together a list of energy-saving tips that surely makes the average German think he's living in Uganda rather than Europe.

Sounding a lot like Jimmy Carter, Altmaier suggests consumers avoid preheating ovens, fuzz their television pictures (because poor picture quality requires less energy), cook with lids on the pots and live with refrigerators that don't keep perishable items quite so cool. Sounds like East Germany all over again.

But this is what the Germans wanted -- in fact, it's what they almost rioted for.


Coming here soon! Matt Ridley, call your office.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

German energy retrograde presaged by Three Sources in 2011.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2013 3:35 PM

September 20, 2013

Tweet of the 13th and 21st Centiries

Hat-tip: Jonah Goldberg. [Matt Ridley Review Corner]

Posted by John Kranz at 3:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2013

Yes, Still Whining

American Automobile Association observes that Gas Prices Surpass $3.00 per Gallon for 1,000 Consecutive Days in Longest Streak Ever.

"Motorists took notice when gas prices crept past $3 per gallon," continued Darbelnet. "Spending more on gas concerns consumers because it reduces savings and spending for everything else we need. Our leaders can help alleviate this economic burden by encouraging a national policy that stimulates production, limits price volatility, ensures greater efficiency and promotes alternative energy."

I have argued that Stealthflation contributes to higher fuel costs, but regulation is probably the larger culprit. Mandates and limitations on production, refining, blending and distributing all make fuel more expensive and less plentiful. The author previously concluded "the reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives" but if "our leaders" were to alleviate this economic burden, as he later suggested, then the 62% of people who believe gas is too high when it reaches $3.50 per gallon wouldn't have to "stop their whining." After all, the average household pays only about 4 percent of pre-tax income on gasoline. That's less than the portion it spends on food prepared at home.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Some guys cannot declare victory and move on.

Fuel is the best example of my contention: even though oil is denominated in dollars, the monetary inflation component of gasoline prices is minimal.

I get your "sucks to pay $60 to fill the minivan" point, really I do. But as we select whether Janet Yellen, Matt Damon, or Maya Angelou is to be the next FOMC Chair, I suggest there is value in bifurcating monetary inflation versus the costs of regulation (and everything else).

If one separates the monetary component, one sees that monetary inflation is not a big problem at this time. Buying Gold and demanding immediate unwinding of the Fed's prodigious balance sheet will not ease gas process. Building the Keystone Pipeline, fracking in update New York, removing biofuels mandates and eliminating boutique fuels requirements, conversely, will have a huge impact.

Call things by their right name, attribute effects to their proper cause and we can all get along.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 3:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Your buddy, Prof. Mark J. Perry, has an interesting piece today comparing what a young person could buy with a summer's minimum wage wages.

Just interesting...

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 4:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yep and yeah. I agree. Maybe I wasn't dismissive enough of the Stealthflation component of fuel prices but I couldn't pass on tying in with Perfessor Perry's "quit your whining" dismissal.

(Still, the Stealthflation component IS non-zero.) Moving on is overrated. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2013 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

> 0 on purpose. I am "old school" enough that I accept a 1-2% inflation target because the risk of deflation is so much worse. Some people I respect say that fear is overrated, but when it happens it always seems to be bad -- I'll keep my caution.

It is hard on mattress-savers, but if it is predictable and stays < 2 an investor can plan around it. Plus, like the just-linked Perry piece, disinflationary pressure from trade, productivity and innovation should easily eclipse it.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2013 10:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A true Prosertarian wouldn't be so willing to let government absorb the lions share (okay, would you admit "a healthy portion?") of productivity and innovation gains, for any reason. Isn't a fear of deflation akin to buggy whip price supports? Wouldn't it be better to let the market creatively destruct some businesses and deliver greater prosperity to one and all in the process? The whole inflation targeting thing just seems so 1974 to me.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2013 3:36 PM

September 10, 2013

$1,200 in your pocket from Fracking

Given the unambiguous atmospheric benefits of fracking -- it produces far fewer greenhouse gases than coal or traditional petroleum products -- and the big savings it's producing across the economy, expect the attacks on it to become more heated and vitriolic. Because the only thing many environmentalists hate more than a cheaper, cleaner potential energy source is an actualized one.
So says Nick Gillespie on a study of the positive effects of hydraulic fracturing. It adds $1200 to the average household. So: more protests!
Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2013

EV Price War

Following Nissan's lead, manufacturers of electric or hybrid electric vehicles are slashing prices by the thousands as they all chase a wafer-thin 0.5% share of the new car and truck market. And one of them, Honda, has added a new sweetener - unlimited mileage leases! Which sounds good until you think about how far an EV can go on a charge, and how many hours it takes to recharge, and how many hours there are in a day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

"Double your IQ or NO money back!" "I dunno, it sounds pretty good to me...." -- Gary Larson

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2013 3:20 PM

July 30, 2013

Today Colorado, Tomorrow the World!

Get ready for Ron Binz, America. His efficacy in raising our utility rates and regulating beyond the bounds of law has been recognized in high places and he is in line for a big promotion. The WSJ Ed Page does not seem to be a fan:

Yet that will seem minor if the next FERC chairman is Ron Binz--the most important and radical Obama nominee you've never heard of. An electric regulator in Colorado from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Binz is the latest Presidential nominee who doesn't understand the difference between making laws and enforcing them.

No, that's unfair. Mr. Binz doesn't care about the difference. In a recent interview with the Association for the Demand Response and Smart Grid trade group, reflecting on the lessons of his Colorado job, he nodded at the "judicial role" of regulators. But then he mused about their "legislative role" too: "I saw the commission not simply as an umpire calling balls and strikes, but also as a leader on policy implementation."


Oh boy. Binz will now be bringing those umpiring skills to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which used to be a quiet overseer of electric transmission and interstate pipelines
FERC was a sleepy regulator until the Obama Presidency, but it has statutory powers that could be turned into anticarbon weapons, such as the authority to impose fines of up $1 million per day for what it claims are violations. They also include the power to block energy mergers and the construction of terminals, pipelines and transmission.

You can bet that Mr. Binz will be creative and political, and don't be so sure his only target is coal. At an Edison Foundation panel this March, he called natural gas a "dead end" technology because "on the carbon basis, you hit the wall in 2035 or so." He added that "We have to do better on carbon than even natural gas will allow us to do." This is unusual in that the greens usually pretend to support gas to make outlawing coal seem more reasonable. Mr. Binz let the mask slip.

Mr. Binz is part of the White House's damn-the-voters strategy of imposing through regulation what Congress won't pass, and now he wants to glide into FERC without protest. But the Senate's advice-and-consent role is especially important because a FERC chairman has broad powers, much like a CEO's, even if other commissioners dissent--and the chairman is not supposed to carry Mr. Obama's banner. Mr. Binz's record and methods deserve far more scrutiny than they have received.


Odds of Binz's not being confirmed? Zero? One in 100? Over-and-under anybody? Of course he we will be confirmed and the War on Coal will be escalated to Natural Gas.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The gas industry is enjoying a "first they came for the coal and I said nothing" moment at present.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2013 11:57 AM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational manís life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive workópride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

July 11, 2013

Some Rational Optimism for Thursday

Very much in the spirit of his "The Rational Optimist" [Review Corner]. Sadly very much not in the style of "saucily exhibiting Kelly Slater's package".

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

How much would we have to pay Kelly to recite this speech for a promo video?

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

STOP NET REFORESTATION NOW!

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lies! All lies! Ridley is obviously a shill for Big Prosperity.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:54 PM

July 10, 2013

Pipelines vs. Choo-choos

Rail tragedy in Canada underscores the reality that pipelines like Keystone XL are the safest way to transport oil

Railways suffer spills 2.7 times more often than pipelines. The State Department said trains spill 33 times more oil than pipelines. "The evidence is so overwhelming that railroads are far less safe than pipelines," says Charles Ebinger, director of the Brookings Institution's energy security initiative.

Hat-tip: @Mark_J_Perry

Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I love trains. I also love oil. In this case though, I gotta go with "pipeline."

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2013 10:10 PM

July 2, 2013

What are you smokin'?

I have been a big Willie Nelson fan for a long time. I have recently upgraded him from "great songwriter and troubadour" to "guitar hero." Do yourself a favor and buy his most recent "Let's Face the Music and Dance." He does the great American songbook -- which is awesome -- but most notably, he seems to say "I'm Willie Nelson -- and I'm doing a guitar album."

Buy the album, get a T-Shirt, celebrate a great American legend by all means. But DO NOT buy his economics. Here he is on Facebook:

We like to root for safe technology and the little guys. Tesla Motors has a mission to use technology in electric cars that will make them affordable and help lesson global dependence on petroleum-based transportation. State legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Sign this petition to help Tesla Motors defend their right to sell directly to consumers:

I went around this topic with my pal JC, and I agree that the dealers are rent-seeking. I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep on either side of this issue. But my new favorite guitarist -- like my most honest progressive buddy -- sees Tesla as this great victim. I see them as a great leech. They would not sell 11 of their $100000 'lectric cars with no accompanying government bribes.

Willie likes to "root for the little guys." Please, we are shoveling money at Tesla and its customers as fast as we can so they can provide $100000 sports cars to the 1%.

Note that this is not the first time Nelsonomics has been discussed. Bob McTeer had some suggestions:

Economics majors understand the nonintuitive reality that real progress comes from job destruction. It once took 90 percent of our population to grow our food. Now it takes less than 3 percent. Pardon me, Willie, but are we worse off because of the job losses in agriculture? The would-have-been farmers are now college professors and computer gurus or singing the country blues on Sixth Street.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

Mondo Heh:

insty130625.gif

Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2013

FrackNation

For alls of y'alls that missed it at Liberty on the Rocks -- looks like there's another chance. Stealing this from LOTR-F doyenne, Allison:

Have you heard conflicting stories about fracking? Have you heard rumors about how devastating it can be and are worried about the impact it will have on the earth? It can be super confusing, and knowing even the most basic facts can seem cumbersome. It can't just be me that feels this way.

Will you come with me to a free event tomorrow night at 6:30pm, at the Boulder Marriott (2660 Canyon Blvd, Boulder)? The creator of "Fracknation" will be screening his 1 hour documentary and answering questions about fracking. Did I mention it's free?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2013

Get your regulations off my wallet!

As the Colorado legislature considers SB 252, a Progressive's wet-dream of wind and solar energy company subsidies and payola - a bill that even the windmill lovin', Pigouvian tax endorsin', make people buy things they don't want advocatin' Denver Post says is "unnecessary and very likely unwise" - I've been over at the Keep Electricity Affordable FB page, picking fights.

I had plenty to say on plenty of threads but I just couldn't resist sharing this little gem here. A joke, that I made up all by myself.

Q: What did the windmill and the solar panel say to the hydroelectric dam? A: Nothing. It was a calm night.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2013

Hooray for Governor Hickenlooper!

Defender of our rights and freedom!

At least where fracking is concerned... Co Springs Gazette:

Thank you, Gov. John Hickenlooper, for standing up to the bullies who aim to control oil and gas deposits they do not own. By standing his ground, and defending private property rights, the governor protects the interests of a majority from a small community of extreme activists who use the environment as their cause.

Just don't frack with a 11-round magazine!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Yay. Colorado's governor is not COMPLETELY feckless. I really did give him serious credit for this. Then he signed the gun restriction bills, and tried to convince voters they are "reasonable." I will never forgive him.

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2013 1:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Agreed. The problem is that party matters -- and his party has Evie Hudak and Joe Salazar. I suspect Jon Caldera is right and that he was a happier Guv with a GOP legislature that wouldn't send him crazy crap like this one will.

If the geologist truly holds on fracking, that will be a win. That is hated worse than guns by his left flank, I will be interested to see if he holds up.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2013 9:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, predicts [about a minute in] that America will be energy independent "in the next five to seven years." Why? "Nonconventional energy in shale oil and gas" that is produced by ... fracking.

Oh, by the way, this energy independence will precipitate economic recovery, "particularly in the U.S."

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2013 11:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Not if my Facebook friends have a say.

This is Mommy against Big Oil. Mommy versus guns has the benefit of the 2nd Amendment and a hugely successful lobby. I'm actually quite concerned that this will not be developed.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2013 11:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the video. Though I am pessimistic that we will take advantage of energy technology, India makes me bullish for long term economic prospects and human innovation and progress. See the growth and prosperity that China facilitated last decade and imagine it repeating in a country with a strong foundation of British Rule of Law.

This guy will save us from the Stockman Scenario. His message is very tailored to the Indian palette. I don't think you'll sell many copies of Ayn Rand books on the sub-continent, but you might move a lot of Hayek and Milton Friedman.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2013 12:11 PM

March 5, 2013

NOT YOKO!! NO!! WE'LL STOP!!

Celebrity "fractivists" Conflicted:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The scene: a Manhattan art-house theater. The cause: a campaign against the gas drilling process known as fracking that's being led by more than 100 celebrities, including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo and Mario Batali.

You guys can keep at it, but if Yoko is going to sing, I'm ready to quit fracking. And heat. And electricity.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2013

"Renewable" Electricity - Even More Expensive than we Thought

Being more expensive sources for electrical generation than just about every alternative, wind and solar generated electricity never became a sizable player in the electrical market until goverment made it illegal to not use them. Now that government's "Renewable Energy Mandates" have nearly achieved their goal of 33% of all domestic generation the irregularity of their supply (at night or on calm days) has become the gorilla in the room. IBD Editorial:

One is that people pay for power on the assumption that it's there when they need it, not when the weather pleases. Another is that unreliable sources have to be backed up by reliable ones.

And here's the most expensive truth: The more you spend to subsidize unreliable renewables, the more you need to spend on backup power as well.

Either that, or you learn to live with routine brownouts.

Given the premise that Americans will not settle for the same availability of electric power seen in postwar Iraq, this means that the "replaced" natural gas generating plants will have to be maintained, in service and on-line, as backup to the fickle and failure prone generators preferred by the Church of Human Sacrifice. But since those plants aren't selling power on a daily basis, their existence must be ... class, class, anyone, Buehler? Subsidized.

So one big subsidy ó for renewable energy ó may end up begetting another ó for backup energy made necessary by the over-reliance on renewables.

And both will come out of consumers' pockets, through either higher power bills, higher taxes or higher prices for goods and services charged by businesses saddled with higher rates and taxes of their own.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2013

Pollution-Free Coal Power

Detractors like to say "Clean Coal doesn't exist" but Dr. Liang-Shih Fan is one of many scientists laboring, and succeeding, in accomplishing it.

Liang-Shih Fan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and director of the Clean Coal Lab, has just completed a 203 hour test of a radical new way of obtaining energy from coal. Typical coal-fired power plants burn coal to boil water, and run the resultant steam through turbines to produce electricity. Fan's process, a new technology called "coal-direct chemical looping," does not burn the coal. Instead, it chemically converts coal to heat in a sealed reactor chamber. Tiny iron oxide beads help to deliver oxygen to the coal particles, which are then cycled through an airflow chamber for re-oxygenation, then run back through the reaction chamber. This is the "looping" in the technology's name. The process gives off no air pollution, and the captured carbon dioxide is ninety-nine percent pure, enough to make it a valuable commodity.

The test, which was run on a lab-sized reactor, produced a continuous twenty-five kilowatts of power.

25 KW! That could power a house! Or a car! Oh wait - carbon dioxide? Hasn't the EPA decided that carbon dioxide, necessary for plant growth, is a pollutant? Never mind. Back to windmills and bicycles.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:38 PM | Comments (2)
But Alexc thinks:

I was pleased to see that there is a NASCAR stock car sponsored by "Clean Coal"

This is good news.

Posted by: Alexc at February 28, 2013 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought so too brother, but when I saw it wrecked last weekend I couldn't help wondering what kind of smear ad the Church of Human Sacrifice might make from it.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2013 11:59 AM

February 21, 2013

No Peak Oil, but who will refine it?

Vaclav Smil in the American wonders "Is it too much to hope that even some catastrophists and peak-oil cultists will find it impossible to ignore the latest numbers?"

Yes. But the numbers do look good:

The reversal has been impressive: from 2008 to 2011, extraction rose by nearly 50 Mt to just over 352 Mt, a level last seen in the year 2000; the increase over those three years was more than the total 2011 output of such oil powers as Indonesia or Azerbaijan. North Dakota (Bakken shale) has been the principal locus of this production renaissance. At the beginning of the year 2000 there were fewer than 200 oil wells producing from the Bakken deposits, averaging about 10 barrels a day per well; by October 2012, there were nearly 4,800 wells with average daily flow of about 140 barrels of oil per well. North Dakota's oil output was 37 percent ahead of Alaskaís North Slope extraction and behind only Texas and the offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico.

A forecast by the U.S. Department of Energy sees a possible production increase of as much as 140 Mt/year by 2025, and the most recent review by the International Energy Agency (IEA) even sees the United States as the world's largest crude oil producer as early as 2017. That may be too much to expect but, in any case, U.S. oil output disproves any preordained and immutable validity of Hubbert's curves (which attempt to infallibly predict U.S. and world oil output for decades to come! No wonder that Leonardo Maugeri, the former senior executive vice president of strategies and development for Italy's largest oil and gas company, ENI, speaks about a genuine oil revolution).

So that's why gas is so cheap!

Kudlow and his panel have the answer. A million bbls. of refined capacity has been taken off the market over the last year.

Thirty years since we built a refinery, but we shut them down regularly (~2:00). What are the odds of building one -- can you imagine that's happening?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:48 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm going to come out in favor of government funded research into car and truck engines that can run on a new "alternative" fuel: crude oil.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2013 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Statist! What's the matter with Brother JohnGalt's Home Cracking Tower? $299.95! Order before midninght and we'll include a barrel of WTI.

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2013 4:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just seein' if you are paying attention. :)

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2013 10:09 PM

February 6, 2013

Global Warming Solved!

By ThreeSources favorite, Jeremy Clarkson's innovative P-45

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Just days ago I witnessed an above average girthed gentleman piloting a "Smart" Car. He appeared to be painted to the inside of the glass. Dear Jeremy would now probably give the clothes off his back for the spacious cabin of a "Smart."

Any word yet from UK enviro-police about the gratutitous spill of 0.3 litres of petrol?

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2013 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

You would not expect it from an MR2 guy, but I loathe the smart car. It's more ostentatious than economical and lacks small car handling -- get a real one like a Mini Cooper or a Mister or a Beetle.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2013 4:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"Innovative"? Puh-leeeeze. The Japanese had it twenty years ago - and called it Mobile Suit Gundam. Except they had more horsepower. And they flew. And had weapons.

My first glance at the license plate, I misread it as "R2D2."

Of course it's British. It's a Dalek, with a coat of white paint.

And for the record, the placement of the filler cap is mildly suggestive. Along the lines of "is that unleaded, or are you just happy to see me?"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 6, 2013 5:06 PM
But Mrs. Keith Arnold thinks:

Shades of Mr. Bean sans the Rowan Atkinson's hilarious facial expressions.

Who thinks up this stuff?

Posted by: Mrs. Keith Arnold at February 7, 2013 6:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The English, dear MKA, the English. They are right looney, the lot of them.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2013 7:48 PM

January 29, 2013

QOTD II

Except six years later, little has changed. The cellulosic ethanol industry produced zero gallons in 2011 and zero in 2012. But the EPA still required oil companies and refiners to buy 6.6 million gallons in 2011 and 8.7 million in 2012--and then to purchase millions of dollars of "waiver credits" for failing to comply with a mandate to buy a product that did not exist. This is the sort of thing that led to the Protestant Reformation. -- WSJ Ed Board
Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2013

Boulder's Respect for Differing Opinions

Weld County MILF (umm, that's Mothers In Love with Fracking) Amy Oliver talks to Jon Caldera. I embed because I have referenced this clip a couple times. The whole thing is worth a watch, but be sure to see how the sweet peaceful hippies of Boulder behave (7:00 - 10:00) when encountering a discussion of science.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for posting. This story can't be over exposed. I spent my college days in Boulder and it was similar to this when the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center organized traffic-blocking street demonstrations against nuclear weapons, nuclear power, pesticides, or any number of other things that have never produced the "child poisoning" these, ahem, 'science awareness advocates' then foretold. But this is worse. Perhaps they are emboldened by the growing acceptance of the tactics of al Qaeda, or the Weather Underground.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2013 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, I was wondering when Caldera's fond remembrance of Kumbaya peaceful discussion days occurred. I did not show up until 1988 -- the civility was long gone by then.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2013 10:36 AM

November 28, 2012

A little shopping for myself on "75 Watt Wednesday"

Next-year's verboten lighting device:

"SYLVANIA 12510 75-Watt 130-Volt A19 Household Bulb, 24 Pack 75A CVP 24PK"
Tools & Home Improvement; $15.27
In Stock
Sold by: Amazon.com LLC

Contraband warm light and a possible currency in Second Term President Obama America.

Buy it through Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, they're down to $11.19 per 24 pack now! (from "Life and Home")

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2012 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeahr but -- no Prime® It's a racket I tell you.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2012 3:46 PM

November 26, 2012

'Lectric Cars! The Wave of the Future!

...for over 100 years now!

A pessimistic assessment by Vaclav Smil in the American is full of schadenfruedeny-goodness. But I was struck by the news that Toyota has elected not to dive into the briny deep:

Perhaps most tellingly, in September, just a few days before Toyota's mini-electric eQ city car was to make its debut at the Paris Motor Show, the company announced that it was cancelling its plans to mass produce the vehicle. According to Takeshi Uchiyamada, the company's vice-chairman, "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge." If a company that has been in the forefront of innovative design, high-quality production, and consumer satisfaction and that in 2012 reclaimed its title as the world's largest carmaker (lost in the wake of the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake) comes to such a conclusion, I do not see how other major competitors can succeed where Toyota refuses to even tread.

Surely there are some subsidies we could offer...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Obama dogma make bad Karma.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 26, 2012 8:42 PM

November 14, 2012

Ellis Wyatt, Call Your Office!

If I read this right, did the world's "proven oil reserves" just double?

Drillers in Utah and Colorado are poking into a massive shale deposit trying to find a way to unlock oil reserves that are so vast they would swamp OPEC.

A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that if half of the oil bound up in the rock of the Green River Formation could be recovered it would be "equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves."

Both the GAO and private industry estimate the amount of oil recoverable to be 3 trillion barrels.

How are we going to stop this?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

http://is.gd/itPX5v

"The amount of oil recoverable is estimated to be 3 trillion barrels -- three times more that the whole world has consumed in the past 100 years."

Drill, baby, drill.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 14, 2012 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"The technology for assessing oil reserves is pretty good," Rusco said. "I don't say there isn't a wide margin of error, but you can have great confidence that there is a very, very large amount of oil trapped down there that could be recovered. It's just that, so far, it can't be recovered at a profit."

That's not a problem. In this country the "new energy economy" is based on using taxpayer dollars to "stimulate" not-yet profitable technologies so they can then grow large enough to support themselves. Paging Dr. Steven Chu.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2012 3:40 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

"You have reached the voice mail of Ellis Wyatt. I'm sorry I can't take your call right now, but after the results of November 6, 2012 I will be vacationing in an undisclosed location until approximately the time your power goes off...for a couple of years. Feel free to leave a message. And if you think the Obama Administration will allow enough oil production to get you inexpensive gas, good luck."

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 14, 2012 4:10 PM

October 31, 2012

Obama's Solar Panel Cronyism: Move On, Nothing to See Here

"You better let him know that the WH wants to move Abound forward."
- Executive Director DOE Loan Programs, June 25, 2010

Composite video below from RevealingPolitics. Story based on DOE emails obtained by CompleteColorado.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nice -- and further supported:

The new emails contradict claims by Obama and others in his administration that all decisions on the $20 billion DOE clean energy loans were made by career executives in the department.

Most recently, Obama told a Denver television news interviewer on Oct. 26, 2012, that the loan decisions are "decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics."

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2012 5:35 PM

October 11, 2012

or "Schadenfreude"

It's not like I didn't warn them. Germany's misguided effort to replace all nuclear power plants with "green" energy sources is already leading to higher costs, more taxes and frequent blackouts. Predictibly, the poor are the first to suffer as an estimated 200,000 households on government assistance had their power shut off due to unpaid bills.

Far from a well-conceived plan, and how could it be when reliable power sources are eschewed for wishful ones, the effort has led to chaos.

Merkel's Blackout - Energy Plan Plagued by Lack of Progress

Meanwhile, Germany's 16 federal states are developing their own concepts, some of which are at odds with each other. Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer says that his state plans to develop a self-sufficient energy supply. But David McAllister, the governor of the northern state of Lower Saxony, has a plan based on supplying Bavaria with large amounts of electricity from wind farms off the North Sea coast.

What some grid operators, power plant owners and scientists are doing today is nothing short of flabbergasting. There are power plants that are not connected to the grid, power masts without lines, and power lines leading to nowhere.

"There is still quite a lot to do here," Rösler said when he emerged from the boiler room in Hönow. Petra Röfke, the owner, nodded. Rösler added that he couldn't have imagined so much waste. "It's crazy, isn't it?"

Crazy indeed. The last of the 3-part series German Energy Revolution, of which the linked article is part 1, ends thus:

Despite all the criticism, the experts still believe that the energy turnaround is the right thing to do. It just has to be done correctly, says Löschel.

When Environment Minister Altmaier was traveling this summer, he was often asked about the nuclear phase-out. In these conversations, his English-speaking counterparts matter-of-factly used Energiewende, the German word for the energy turnaround. The term has apparently become established worldwide.

Altmaier was pleased. But it remains to be seen whether talk of Germany's Energiewende will be taken as a compliment in the future, just as kindergarten and autobahn have entered the English language as largely positive terms, or whether Energiewende will become more of a derisive term, like "German angst."

... or "Schadenfreude."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Sie haben keine Einhörner?

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2012 3:43 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

As a lover of the German language...remarkably applicable to power grids: Eine Kette ist nur so stark wie ihr schwächstes Glied!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 11, 2012 4:10 PM
But Steve D thinks:

Of course the poor suffer. That's the whole point of the exercise.

Posted by: Steve D at October 11, 2012 7:11 PM

October 4, 2012

America: Frack Yeah!

How many times have we heard the left make baseless claims that Big Oil uses its money and influence to stamp out competition wherever it can, and thereby maximize their own profits? Investors Business Daily printed an editorial yesterday that now, finally, substantiates that claim. But it's not what you might think. In this case "Big Oil" equals Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia's state-owned oil monopolies.

Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous.

(...)

This week, the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey found that United Arab Emirates-owned "Image Media Abu Dhabi" financed "Promised Land," a Matt Damon film that shows U.S. oil and gas companies as greedy behemoths out to poison America's small towns.

(...)

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing radical environmentalist groups through foundations to undercut oil sands production in Canada, which is America's top supplier.

If you have to ask why they oppose American energy production, here is the answer:

All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.

If fracking and the combination of investment, high tech, expertise and geography enable the U.S. to produce natural gas at $3 a unit, while Russia can only do it at $10, the threat is obvious.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (3)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Yes, yes, YES. American inexpensive energy explosion coming even if Obama gets reelected...he'll try to stop it, of course, but I don't think he can. Private land still exists!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah, the idealism of private property. Don't bet that he can't stop it. Private property owners don't own the air, don't own the underground water, don't own the snail darters and wooley amoebas.

Good NED man, have you not read the book? (He asks, knowingly.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2012 3:36 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I will revise and expand my remarks...I don't think Obama in his second term will have the political capital to kill the American energy revolution. Congress won't let him and a lot of union folks are counting on it. His theoretical Gaiaean Marxism will clash too much with reality. Objective reality!

Thankfully, I think we have a good chance of a different President who will be pushing the car DOWN the track instead of putting on the brakes as hard as possible. But as in "the book," there is the possibility that Wesley Mouch will be appointed "Czar" with the power to screw things up. I don't totally discount that.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:51 PM

September 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

I know that someone is thinking that gas prices are going up, and when they do, electric cars will prove to be a smart thing. I'm not so sure. The CBO provided a breakeven on this line of thinking. If gas prices go north of $6, electric starts to make sense. When gas goes to $10, all of the vehicles break even to conventional autos. The problem I have with this line of reasoning is that if gas were to go to $8, the US economy (and the rest of the world) would come to an economic halt. In that environment a fellow would be grinning if he had an electric car, but he would probably be out of work, and most of the stores he would want to drive to would be closed. What good does the electric car create for him if things go very bad? Not much. -- Bruce Krasting Business Insider
Hat-tip: Insty imposter Ed Driscoll
Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2012

One for Brother JG

I enjoyed this article, but I was disappointed because I knew I was not enjoying it as much as Johngalt would. I could be wrong, but there's a taste:

When it comes to energy, most discussions focus on narrow specifics: Should we use less oil? Should we use less coal? More nuclear? Wind power? Solar power? Should we use less power altogether? All of these questions are important, of course, but they are too often discussed in the complete absence of context. The bigger picture is that biology and anthropology tell us something very interesting about human beings: We are not simply beings that use energy, we are beings that exist only because we harnessed energy, and our use of energy has shaped our bodies and culture for millions of years.

Kenneth P. Green asks "Homo Sapiens or Homo Igniferens?" He answers that our use of energy drove our evolution, instead of some lucky break when these hairless large animals with the small teeth discovered fire.

It is easy for an engineer or economist to wax about our relationship with energy -- the biology and anthropology is interesting as well.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:47 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, we did build that fire. Us and our opposable thumbs.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 19, 2012 11:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, YES!

Politicians like to talk about how Americans are "addicted to oil" or "addicted to cheap energy." It would be more accurate to say that humans are biologically and culturally adapted to reliance on energy. Are we addicted or adapted? It makes a big difference in how one perceives the role of energy in our civilization.

After reading that article, and this excerpt from near the end, I need a cigarette.

Lemmie see, where was that comment again?

And finally, I can't help but credit cheap and abundant energy, together with means to use that energy to do work, for the standard of living that modern man has become not only accustomed to, but takes as a natural and automatic condition - one that will "always be that way." Let Hollywood live on the beach and make movies without electricity or fossil fuels for a few years and we'll likely see a shift Eastwood in their philsophy and politics.

Man produced enough to subsist on with the energy he liberated from burning wood, and later coal, and even began creating heavy machinery that used those fuels, but th date when petroleum was discovered marks the dawn of humanity's metoric advance in prosperity.

Thank you for linking this brother. I see it is part of a larger series.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2012 2:48 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"After reading that article, and this excerpt from near the end, I need a cigarette."

Yer killin' me, man!!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2012 4:54 PM

September 4, 2012

Idiot Quote of the Day

"The reason the economics fail in the US is not a failure of Wind, its a failure of greedy corporations to allocate costs in a manner that is for the common good. Energy is like air - it comes from God and should not be for-profit. COOPs are the most cost efficient way to deliver electricity. Remove the corporate overhead with multi-million dollar salaries for CEO's and the economics of wind are obvious."

Posted 3 hours ago as a comment on a blog post at one of my engineering trade magazines. The post itself is noteworthy, for it represents the first I can remember where the realities of alternative energy sources are given as much weight as the pollyanna political correctness.

And then there is the cost of wind per MW hr with the subsidy included. Without the subsidy - fuggedaboutit. And it looks like the forgetting will be happening soon. The tax credits for "alternative" (read unreliable) energy have not been renewed. What was that again? Renewables have not been renewed? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? There is a simple explanation.

Wind power does not succeed by capturing wind. It succeeds by capturing government.


Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... the economics of wind are obvious..."

I've got your "obvious" right here...

http://is.gd/DMfhCI

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 4, 2012 3:43 PM

August 30, 2012

What Government Program Again?

Smith Dairy paid for the facility and trucks from its own corporate funds, executives said.
I don't normally open a post with an excerpt, but Dammit Jim, I'm a pundit, not a grammarian!

The quote is pulled from a story on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a motor fuel. Smith Dairy uses this in its [What has a horn and gives milk?"] delivery vehicles. They opened a station to both service their trucks and sell the fuel to the public.

The station currently sells CNG at the equivalent gasoline price of $1.95 per gallon. The station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and takes credit cards. The natural gas comes in via a normal gas pipeline buried under the street and is compressed on site using two made-in-Ohio Ariel Corp. gas compressors.

I hear every day that we need government to provide the infrastructure for a conversion (T. Boone Pickens and blog brother Silence Dogood) or that it must mandate fuel types to automakers (Bob Zubrin) to provide demand.

But here's a dairy company (ice cream cones at the grand opening) fueling its vehicles and others with $2 gas. It is clear from the article that it is done purely to save the planet. But I wonder if somebody might be able to somehow make a buck at that.

Hat-tip: @Mark_J_Perry

Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

Doesn't UPS do the same thing? Seems like a bunch of the UPS trucks I see say they are Natural Gas Fueled vehicles.

Posted by: dagny at August 30, 2012 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Fleets are using CNG -- the hook here is making refueling available to others and the public.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2012 4:19 PM

July 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

Capitalism is not, Monbiot is forced to admit, a fragile system that will easily be replaced. Bolstered by huge supplies of oil, it is here to stay. Industrial civilization is, as far as he can now see, unstoppable. Gaia, that treacherous slut, has made so much oil and gas that her faithful acolytes today cannot protect her from the consequences of her own folly. -- Walter Russell Mead
Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know about Fracking

And then a dozen more pages!

Kidding (sortof).

Independence Institute's Frack Attack: Cracking the Case Against Hydraulic Fracturing by Donovan D. Schafer looks very good. At 33 pages, I sent it to my Kindle for later consumption.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2012

CFLs Give You Cancer

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/07/another-reason-to-unban-the-bulb/

Posted by John Kranz at 4:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2012

Better than Sand Millionaires!

Why oh why do leftists want to conscript poor children to poverty?

LORDI, India -- Sohan Singh's shoeless children have spent most of their lives hungry, dirty and hot. A farmer in a desert land, Mr. Singh could not afford anything better than a mud hut and a barely adequate diet for his family.

But it just so happens that when the hard little bean that Mr. Singh grows is ground up, it becomes an essential ingredient for mining oil and natural gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing.

The increase in guar prices is helping to transform this part of the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India, one of the world's poorest places. Tractor sales are soaring, land prices are increasing and weddings have grown even more colorful.


Hat-tip: @adamsbaldwin

Posted by John Kranz at 1:59 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So enriching a few privileged children in rural India is important enough for you to risk a 0.000000001 percent chance of that guar contaminating the groundwater used by American children? That's why people like you and Mr. Romney should never be president. Unlike President Obama, you don't care enough. (/sarcasm)

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 6:19 PM

July 16, 2012

Dozens of "Sand Millionaires"

Not a phrase one expects to encounter. But that good fracking sand has to come from somewhere, don't it? Why not "America's Sandbox?" Prof. Mark J,. Perry:

I spent the weekend along the Mississippi River in Buffalo City, Wisconsin, about 120 miles south of Minneapolis-St. Paul (across the river from Winona, Minnesota), where there is a growing controversy in sand-rich southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin ("America's Sandbox") about mining for frac sand (the silica sand used for hydraulic fracturing). While starting my drive this morning to the Minneapolis airport, I took pictures of the two signs above that help tell the story of the controversy

Free markets make millionaires out of sand farmers.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:52 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

A challenge to the "fixed economic pie" crowd: Whom are the sand millionaires taking wealth away from in the process of their personal enrichment?

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2012 6:54 PM
But jk thinks:

You're just a shill for Big Sand!

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2012 7:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's a little more esprit de l'esclaier:

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "go pound sand."

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2012 6:06 PM

July 11, 2012

Under the President's Bold Leadership!

The Peace Garden State's oil production has surged.

All of this in spite of vigorous Republican opposition and obstructionism!


Posted by John Kranz at 5:54 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Another Obama "accomplishment." "See what can happen when we get those $#*&?#! Republicans out of the White House?"

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2012 3:28 PM

July 9, 2012

W. R. Mead on the Energy Revolution (Part I, the Losers)

We all seem to be WRM admirers here, more or less, so it was probably only a matter of time before one of the blog brothers posted this but...is it wrong of me to be so happy about these losers?:

If the US, Canada and Israel are the likeliest big winners, the biggest losers in the coming shift will be the Gulf petro-states and Russia. Their Gulf losses arenít going to be economic; the Gulf will still have the worldís cheapest oil to produce and so its oilfields will be the most profitable at any given price point.

Russia, on the other hand, is going to have a harder time. Its oil and gas are more expensive to produce and so Russiaís profit margins are likely to fall.

But regardless of the simple economic impact, in different ways and different degrees the Gulf countries and Russia are going to lose a lot of the political advantages that their energy wealth now gives them. They will have less ability to restrict supply and to manipulate prices than they have had in the past. Oil and gas are going to be less special when supplies are more abundant and more broadly distributed.


The Whole Thing is here.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 4:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2012

Oh No, Mr. Bill!!! Noooooo!!!

George Monbiot is realy, really bummed that "We were [really, totally] wrong on peak oil. There's enough to fry us all."

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. In 1975 MK Hubbert, a geoscientist working for Shell who had correctly predicted the decline in US oil production, suggested that global supplies could peak in 1995. In 1997 the petroleum geologist Colin Campbell estimated that it would happen before 2010. In 2003 the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes said he was "99% confident" that peak oil would occur in 2004. In 2004, the Texas tycoon T Boone Pickens predicted that "never again will we pump more than 82m barrels" per day of liquid fuels. (Average daily supply in May 2012 was 91m.) In 2005 the investment banker Matthew Simmons maintained that "Saudi Arabia Ö cannot materially grow its oil production". (Since then its output has risen from 9m barrels a day to 10m, and it has another 1.5m in spare capacity.)

Peak oil hasn't happened, and it's unlikely to happen for a very long time.

The horror. The horror.

(Note, I am about to head out to the wilds for 24 hours or so, sorry but next 5 Best Song not quite ready...)

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:50 PM | Comments (0)

All Hail Harsanyi!

Herewith, this sixth day of July, Anno Domini 2012, I do coin Kranz's Law: "The token member of the opposition party in the cabinet will undoubtedly become the greatest embarrassment to both parties."

Videlicet: Secretary Ray LaHood:

It's not every day you hear a cabinet member praising authoritarians abroad. Then again, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unleashes so many preposterous statements he makes Joe Biden look like a high priest of Vulcan.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 3, 2012

JK Links Rush

Mister Limbaugh that is -- not the Canadian, Objectivist Rockers. These are the end times. But when the man is right...

If youre in the DC area, are you happy you don't have an electric car? Yeah, with the power outages, are you happy you don't have an electric car? Because two million, five million, three schmillion, whatever. Aren't you glad you don't have an electric car? By the way, how are those windmills working out for you? How are the windmills and solar panels working out? Are they running your air-conditioning for you? As you sit there and sweat away, how are things doing in the nation's capital? All those windmills are really working out, huh? Solar panels, yeah, man, that's the future. There you are, sitting there, sweating, stinking like a stuck pig for three days, and it's gonna be this way for another week..."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Cheap shale gas will save us! Thank you to all my friends in the industry.

The watermelons will no doubt do their best to kill it (well, they're already trying) but see here, not only is the gas cheap, carbon dioxide emissions are probably down to 1990 levels!

How anyone could be against this would be a conundrum, unless you've read that little book Atlas Shrugged. They're people who worship pain.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 3, 2012 2:54 PM

June 28, 2012

Ellis Wyatt, New at Three Sources

"Ellis Wyatt" is the nom-de-blog of a man who has spent the last 14 years in politics and government. A great admirer of the works of Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein, his approach to life is perhaps best represented by the Neo-Victorian phyle in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

He believes that his country, the United States of America, has been weakend spiritually, philosophically and educationally by Marxism and its branches: feminism, postmodernism and the quest for radical equality of outcome.

He has the desire and the Will to take action to return the culture to its former, higher level. However, he does not advocate government power as the means to this end. Instead, he advocates that leaders, and all citizens, speak and write and create art to convince individuals to perform the actions that lead to the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

He believes people should work for a living, take care with their appearance and possesions and contribute to their community through charity, volunteer work and mentoring, but knows damned well that the government can never force individuals to do these things. Neither can government save the irrational and the foolish from the consequences of their actions. Government is a powerful and dangerous tool, as the Founders of the United States well understood. It is suitable for a few big things: military defense of the nation, relations with other nations, protection of individual rights and the prevention and punishment of force and fraud.

Ellis is not nearly as much of an ultra-uptight, upright a****** as you might expect from the above blah-blah, and his activities and pursuits include firearms and hunting, archery, chess, history and biography, and the moderate but hearty consumption of martinis, good scotch and Sam Admas lager. He has a liberal arts degree from a modest but high-quality university, and truly loves producing oil and gas but believes that if things don't change, at some time in the futre he may set his wells on fire and move to Colorado.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 6:31 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
But Robert thinks:

Well "Ellis," you sound like a pretty fine fellow but have you actually read Aristotle? And for someone with such high standards, what's with all the typos?

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 8:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ha ha ha! Hey Robert, Down boy! :) As Heinlein would surely say in this situation, "Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the na√Įve, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best." Not that I think you are any of young, na√Įve, or unsophisticated.

Welcome to the blog, brother ew. (Better than brother eeew.) If you have anything at all to do with oil production, even in spirit, you're already a friend of mine. We'll quibble about all of those capitalized words later but for now, a fine starting point.

And I couldn't tell - are you still in government? If so you are one brave sonofa-

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 10:00 PM
But Robert thinks:

Didn't mean to sound too harsh. Ellis seems like a fellow traveler, and if he likes RAH then he's already on my good side...and I've read only about half of Aristotle myself so humility might be in order.

Posted by: Robert at June 28, 2012 10:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did I miss the original Aristotle reference? I've looked and looked and haven't found it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 11:42 PM
But Robert thinks:

I was taking the capitalized Good, True and Beautiful for Aristotle's Transcendentals.

Posted by: Robert at June 29, 2012 12:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My public school education fails me again. Look out brothers. The bar has been raised 'round here!

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 12:45 AM

June 27, 2012

Headline of the Day

Economists Without Calculators
Be wary of op-eds in the New York Times that tout an "environmental revolution."
Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2012

Innovation vs. Government Direction

Tempted to start a Facebook fight with this. It's been a while, and this speaks well to my point. Yet this is our third day of triple digit heat, I fear there are two new fires (le Condo d'Amour is covered in dense smoke), and it is unlikely that anybody is in the mood. Of course, that has not slowed down my reason-deficient interlocutors.

But Walter Russell Meade points out -- and Insty links -- that free market innovation is doing more for the environment than (don't laugh) the UN and top-down controls:

As activists in Rio and around the world mourned the failure of yet another useless summit to do anything about climate change, good news on the CO2 front was coming from the country greens love to hate: the US.

While Europe has adopted a plethora of expensive laws without any significant effect on CO2 emissions, the US is substantially reducing its emissions even as air pollution levels drop. As a CNN report puts it:

[SPOILER ALERT!] IT'S FRACKING!
Right now, fracking is doing more to control carbon emissions than all the efforts of all the greens in the world. And by promoting American (and Chinese!) domestic energy production, it is doing more to lay the foundations of world peace than all the peace activists and disarmament campaigners in the world. And by creating more well paid blue collar jobs both in gas and oil extraction and in the manufacturing industries that will grow to exploit the new cheap energy sources, fracking strengthens the American economy and the tax base, providing revenues for both federal and state governments.

UPDATE: Well, I did put it on Facebook. Hang on...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Schumpeter/Hayek/Bastiat- 1
Pigou/Keynes/Gore- 0

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2012 2:19 PM

June 10, 2012

Denver Post Scolds Sierra Club

Last week I noted that Sierra Club is preparing a "Beyond Natural Gas" advocacy effort as part of its "none of the above" energy strategy. Today the reactionary big-oil shills at the Denver Post editorial board joined my disapprobation.

The executive director of the influential environmental group recently wrote: "It's time to stop thinking of natural gas as a 'kinder, gentler' energy source."

To be blunt, no, it is not time.

We are dismayed that this group is repositioning itself as an anti-gas group, going as far as to proclaim that it will lobby to stop all new gas-fueled power plants.

It seems to us that as market conditions and technological advances have led to a boom in availibility of cheap natural gas, the backtracking is born of fear ó fear that this nation will come to rely on this "transitional fuel" as a long-term solution.

Disapprobation of environmental extremism deserves approbation. I don't say this every day but ... bravo, Denver Post, bravo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Bravo, indeed!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2012 1:38 PM

June 7, 2012

Beyond Magical Unicorn Farts

That is where the American environmental extremist group Sierra Club must intend to take American energy consumers.

On Monday I wrote about the use of natural gas as a political alternative to more prevalent and less costly coal as a source of electric power. That effort is supported by Sierra Club in their "Beyond Coal" campaign. But they aren't waiting for Phase I of Operation Nineteenth Century to be completed before launching Phase II: "Beyond Natural Gas." (Not "natural" enough?) Sierra's strategic coordination leaves much room for improvement.

Natural gas drillers exploit government loopholes, ignore decades-old environmental protections, and disregard the health of entire communities. "Fracking," a violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes. If drillers canít extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas. [Emphasis mine.]

After the requisite "what do you mean 'we' Kemosabe" the next thing I notice is how this message is designed to appeal to the feeler-perceiver contingent of the public but offers no evidence for the thinker-judgers among us. Fear, uncertainty and doubt anyone? Showing a glass of drinking water doctored with contaminants so expertly as to make Don Draper proud, the campaign against the hydraulic fracturing process seems to revolve mostly around the shorthand name for the method containing letters "F" and "K".

Blogger Jay F. Marks explains that Sierra Club took millions in donations from natural gas corporations for the purpose of bashing coal, but new Sierra Club director Michael Brune opened a new chapter in the war on reliable and affordable energy.

The Sierra Club once had a cozy relationship with the natural gas industry, taking more than $25 million in contributions from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries to fund the fight against coal.

Brune ended that relationship when he took over as the environmental groupís director in March 2010. He said the club originally worked with Chesapeake because staff and volunteers concluded natural gas might be a viable alternative to coal in electricity generation, but some local chapters developed increasing concerns about gas production.

Let's fast forward, shall we?

Incoming Sierra Club executive director Barnaby Owleton said today that building and maintaining thousands of acres of monstrously large industrial machines to convert wind to electricity is a thorougly discredited process and a clear danger to migratory birds across the nation. "Extinction of multiple species is not just a possibility, but a certainty, if we don't act immediately to move Beyond Wind."
One or two election cycles later...


Woody Weederstein, in his first official statement as new Sierra Club director, slammed the solar electric energy industry for the consequences imposed upon the areas of our planet that are permanently and unavoidably shaded by solar power conversion panels. "In the name of all that is green" he said, "we as Americans have no moral choice but to move Beyond Solar."

And after they succeed in eliminating energy produced by magical unicorn farts the only remaining strategy to "save the planet" will be energy efficiency, which is just another name for rationing. I have a better idea: Hey Sierra Club - Frack off.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2012

President Obama's War on Heat and Light

Last week I wrote about the Denver Post's utter bewilderment that presidential candidate Mitt Romney would give a stump speech in rural Craig, Colorado (after all, there haven't been any layoffs there ... yet) and countered with the news coverage of the event by Routt County's Steamboat Today.

Today that much more objective publication runs an editorial by Rob Douglas that delves deeper into the contrast that Governor Romney is offering.

Agree or disagree with Obamaís goal, one fact is undeniable. When Obamaís intent became public, every man and woman working in coal-related jobs realized that Obama had placed a bulls-eye on their livelihood. Many of those men and women call the Yampa Valley home.

So when Romney sought the perfect venue to confront Obamaís claim of an ďall-of-the-aboveĒ energy policy, Northwest Colorado was a natural choice. Romney is calculating that he can increase his odds in November by siding with folks employed in fossil fuel industries in states like Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania ó all battleground states this year.

After all, Romney has a point when he argues that Obama has continued his war against coal.

This spring, having watched his cap-and-trade legislation die in the U.S. Senate when Democrats abandoned the bill in 2010, Obama bypassed Congress and used the Environmental Protection Agency to start implementing mercury emission, cross-state pollution and greenhouse gas regulations that will kill the coal industry.

But Douglas articulates a much more important message - one I have recognized but as yet not really written about: Coal is not the target. Pragmatic politicians cannot merely "sacrifice" the coal industry conifident in the fact that lost jobs will be replaced by growth in the natural gas industry. If coal is ever defeated the next environmental villain will be natural gas.

Coincidentally, on the same day Romney was speaking to the crowd gathered at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to the International Energy Agency, ďglobal exploitation of shale gas reserves could transform the worldís energy supply by lowering prices, improving security and curbing carbon dioxide emissions, but the industry might be stopped in its tracks if it doesnít work harder to resolve environmental concerns.Ē

Of course, everything after the ďbutĒ in that last sentence is where the battle lies. Because as can be witnessed even here in the Yampa Valley, there are some who will never accept fossil fuels as part of Americaís energy policy. And just as coal is under attack, these individuals and organizations are mounting battles to prohibit the use of fracking to extract oil and gas ó the same oil and gas that Americans have been led to believe could replace coal as an energy source.

And hydraulic fracturing is only the first battlefront in the coming War on Natural Gas. That little "feature" of natural gas called "curbing carbon dioxide emissions" will be its undoing for natural gas is not without CO2 emissions, and once its use has been predicated on reducing that "pollutant" it can hardly remain a viable energy source since it can also be shown to be a "dirty" fuel.

"First they came for the coal, and I said nothing."

Not me. I *heart* coal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 1, 2012

Green Energy

In January, the Spanish government ended absurdly lavish subsidies for its renewable-energy industry, and the renewable-energy industry all but imploded. You could say it was never a renewable-energy industry at all. It was a government-subsidy industry where in exchange for creating conscience-soothing but otherwise inefficient windmills and solar panels, the government gave the makers piles of cash consumers never would have. -- Jonah Goldberg
Bloody spaniards! I'm glad we are so much more sophisticated over here.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2012

Move along, nothing to see here

Mitt Romney made a whistlestop visit to Craig, Colorado on Tuesday after seeing this video, which was sent to him by Frank and Kerrie Moe, the hotel-owning couple who star in it. The event was covered by the Denver Post and Steamboat Today, and one is left wondering if the Post's Sara Burnett was at the same rally as was Steamboat Today's Scott Franz.

In 'Routt County Republicans meet Mitt Romney' Franz opens, "Nancy Buchner said the sour economy motivated her to drive to Craig on Tuesday morning to see Mitt Romney." But in 'Mitt Romney in Colorado calls for government as "ally of business" Ms. Burnett implies that everything's just peachy.

Unemployment in Moffat County was about 8.3 percent in April ó higher than the state average, which increased slightly to 7.8 percent last month. But local miners and the mayor of Craig said the local coal industry has been stable, with no layoffs or reduced hours at the local mines or the power plant.

According to Franz, however, local resident Buchner sees life differently in the remote coal-mining and power generating town:

"We really believe Romney has the tools and the knowledge to get the economy going," Buchner said, adding that she only recently became politically active because of the economy. "When I talked to different people (at the rally), they were worried about money. People cannot get jobs. This is not an election to sit out." She said she doesnít think President Barack Obama can turn the economy around.

Not to worry though, Burnett says:

The Obama campaign counters that the president's "all of the above" energy approach includes clean coal, as well as wind, solar, natural gas and other sources renewable energy sources. They also note the president made one of the most significant investments in development of clean coal technologies with $3.4 billion in stimulus funding.

Now, one has to wonder if Burnett and "the Obama campaign" agree with Al Gore who says "clean" coal "doesn't exist." Clearly this administration will spend billions of taxpayer dollars on something while at the very same time regulating it out of legal existence.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Merciful freaking Zeus! FOX31 did this story -- together with the "Amercia" typo -- as a "The Wheels are coming off the Romney Campaign" story. It seems production is up and unemployment is less than surrounding areas. Ergo, yes, everything is fine and Governor Romney is insane to suggest there are any problems. They were astonished that the campaign would not retract this obvious "lie."

I weep.

Posted by: jk at May 31, 2012 4:25 PM

May 22, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

While Boulder County and the city of Boulder are developing a Climate Change Preparedness Plan, "we would never waste our money on something like that."

"We respect property rights in Weld County. I wouldn't say the same for the Boulder County commissioners." - Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Excellent. If things get too warm here, I can drive right over the line.

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2012 4:40 PM
But jc thinks:

Hardly worth commenting on but I couldn't resist! ;-)

Denial of the facts (burying your head in the ground) does not justify inaction or mockery. How the human race reacts and responds to change is the crucial element here. We may not agree with any of the actions or responses of Boulder or Weld county in this matter. However, we better get our collective butts in gear and start thinking outside the box if we intend to add another millennium to the clock of human history on planet earth.

Posted by: jc at May 25, 2012 9:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Your comments are always welcome around here.

But it is neither denial nor dismissal. To live long and prosper on this planet will require ingenuity and innovation. Weld sees a future of discovery, Boulder fearfully seeks to preserve an idea of a lost past.

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2012 11:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"We?" What do you mean, we, Kemosabe?

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2012 12:08 PM

May 9, 2012

Governor Romney visits Atlantis Farm

Sort of. Yesterday afternoon my dad emailed that "Mitt is speaking in Ft. Lupton tomorrow." I pressed him for more and he sent me a Denver Post press mention that sent me into search mode for an invitation. Having just exchanged emails with Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call the day before, I decided I'd try to ask him for an entree. Waiting nervously for his reply I also called my county commissioner with the same request. Both of them came through and before I knew it I was on the list. "We would love it if you could attend. Thanks for your support!" Turns out, it was set to happen in an oil field just a few miles away.

The setting was idyllic, considering it was one of those "environment destroying, wildlife maiming" oil wells. Governor Romney used the occasion to criticize President Obama's "all of the above" energy policy. "I've been trying to figure out what he means by that," Mitt said. "I've concluded that he supports any form of energy that is above the ground. He doesn't like those that happen to be under ground."

He also cited the President's statistic that America has just 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. "But this is old thinking" Romney said. "Recent discoveries and new technologies like horizontal drilling and fracking have created a new reality where the United States could become the world's leading producer of oil based energy." He extended this future vision to "an explosion in American industry and manufacturing, leading to greater prosperity for everyone." Of course, "Energy isn't the only factor in this equation, but it is a big factor."

Belated apologies to any local blog brothers who missed out on the opportunity. I would have posted the news and offered to share the RSVP info but had two other appointments that kept me busy.

I also captured the entire speech on video and might post some excerpts down the road.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:00 PM | Comments (11)
But johngalt thinks:

It's a composite photo from the "panorama" function of my Windows phone. After putting it in that mode you push the button once then pan sideways along a guide line on the screen until a guide dot meets a reference circle and it automatically snaps another frame. Repeat once more in the same direction then it automatically stitches the three frames together. It works better with landscapes or when the people are further away.

I was trying to capture the spectacularly clear view of the front range. The weather was perfect!

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2012 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The panorama function is very cool but not quite perfected yet. I believe it's still evolving.

Posted by: johngalt at May 10, 2012 2:45 PM
But dagny thinks:

Update on the Shameless Self Promotion part: I have now had 2 acquaintances ask, "did you go to the Mitt Romney rally?" Apparently the TV news clips [0:21] included very recognizable shots of our oldest daughter and her electric red hair watching from Daddy's shoulders. In case there was any doubt, jg family political leanings have now been broadcast statewide to anyone watching network news.

Posted by: dagny at May 11, 2012 12:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Couldn't have been there in any case, JG. Been locked in 15 hour days with a client in Newark, NJ. Whomever dubbed it the Garden State certainly has a sense of humor. Make that a sick sense of humor.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 11, 2012 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did nobody see me at the Obama rally in Boulder last month?

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2012 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Evolving.

Posted by: jk at May 11, 2012 6:11 PM

April 25, 2012

If I wanted America to Fail

Here we see that Francisco d'Anconia now has a contemporary counterpart with his own YouTube channel.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:49 PM | Comments (0)

The 110,000 Million-Dollar Plan

A favorite TV show growing up was Lee Majors starring as the "Six-Million Dollar Man." After crashing the test flight of an experimental aircraft, Steve Austin was fitted with "bionics" that made him "better, stronger, faster." President Obama has been trying the same thing in America's energy market, with less success. Investors Ed Page says Obama Fought Oil and Lost; Now it's Back to Reality.

In other words, even a fast-forward to 23 years from now doesn't reveal an energy economy substantially different from today's. Obama has run up quite a price tag trying to deny this reality.

By one recent estimate from analysts sympathetic to the green-economy agenda, the government spent $110.3 billion in tax credits, loans and grants to promote the green economy from 2009 to 2011.

The Obama administration also has leaned against oil and toward the environmental lobby whenever the two were in conflict -- most notably in his decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline. What do we have as a result? High gasoline prices, a bigger federal deficit and not-ready-for-prime-time electric cars.

Energy is bound to be one of the key issues in this year's presidential election, and for once the question won't be about managing scarcity. It will be about how to take advantage of the abundant resources under our feet. Barack Obama fought oil and lost, and the next president can learn from his mistake.


Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"So I'm supposed to be more upset by what Romney does with his own money than with what Obama is doing with mine."

That comment was one of two shared with me this morning in the aftermath of the GOP primary results from last night. It's a comment that probably ought to resonate with all of us here...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 25, 2012 5:03 PM

Quote of the Day

Come on. Sure, gas prices are high in Greece, but that's a country with enormous public debt, slow economic growth, excessive bureaucracy, no fiscal discipline in its lawmakers, an electorate of spoiled and entitled citizens who expect generous social-welfare programs and other people to pay for them, increasing economic activity on the black market, a ludicrously complicated tax code . . . they're nothing like us! -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2012

Defending those eeevil speculators!

All the cool kids are doing it!

James Hamilton:

Here I have a modest suggestion. If Representative [Joseph P. II] Kennedy knows a way to go out and produce another barrel of oil somewhere in the world for $11 a barrel, he would do a world of good if he would actually go out and do it himself, as opposed to simply asserting confidently in the pages of the New York Times that it can be done. People with far more modest fortunes than Kennedy inherited are out there using their resources to try to bring more of the physical product out of the ground.

And many, many more would be attempting the feat if it were remotely possible to produce a new barrel of oil for anywhere close to $11.

If you want to prove me wrong, Mr. Kennedy, then don't talk about how easy it is to produce more oil -- just go do it.


The whole piece is great. He asks the Kudlow question, viz., Whyizzit that speculation drives crude prices up but natgas prices down? Only one side is evil?

Some sense and clarity for your Monday -- Hat-tip: Mankiw.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2012

JK Agrees with Senator Murkowski

"Dogs and cats living together..."

But the good Senator (Pork -- AK) makes an excellent point in a guest editorial today. It is now ten years after we were told it would take ten years to get product from ANWR:

But the most blatant excuse is one that officially expires this week. Because oil might take up to 10 years to reach market, we were told that the nonwilderness portion of ANWR could not be part of the solution to our energy challenges. Nearly every senator who spoke against the amendment in 2002 listed this as a factor in his or her decision.

Now, 10 years later, it is plain to see that the argument was not just wrong, but backward. Instead of being a reason to oppose development in ANWR, the time it takes to develop the resource should be treated as a reason to approve it as quickly as possible.

Consider what would be different today had the Senate agreed to open those 2,000 acres a decade ago. If production were coming online right now as expected, it would be providing our nation with a number of much-needed benefits--including a lot more oil.


I'm wondering about sending that mortgage payment in this month. Man, it'll be 15 years before it is paid off...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

More like, "Stopped clock right twice-a-day."

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2012 4:21 PM

April 11, 2012

'Lectric Car Battery Explodes in Lab

Government General Motors researches new battery technology at its Alternative Energy Center in Warren, Michigan. They had a bit of an accident there last Wednesday.

Warren Mayor James Fouts described the injury to the hospitalized worker as being serious. Fouts was in his office when he received a call about the explosion.

"I just want to say how very fortunate we are that only one person was seriously injured," said Fouts, who toured the site after the fire was extinguished. "There were 80 people in that building, but only one person received a possible concussion and some chemical burns, from what I've been told."

According to Fouts, the building housing the research lab received considerable damage.

"It was significant structural damage. Three very large windows were blown out and thick, fortified doors were forced open by the blast," Fouts said. "Our fire commissioner said the blast went straight up in the area where they test lithium batteries. The building was stuffed with personnel and equipment, but it was designed very well."

Fouts said he noticed a chemical taste in his mouth when he was at the blast site.

Meanwhile...

prototype%20gas%20tank%20search.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Clearly, this shows the effectiveness of the powerful Oil and Gas lobby using its leverage to expunge bad press. Cinch up the foil a little above the ears -- you'll get it.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2012 3:26 PM

April 6, 2012

Look for the Union Label

Maybe the President has more problems with Unions over the Coal issue than I suggested:

Posted by John Kranz at 4:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2012

Anti-Obama Union Boss!

It was only a matter of time...

While the United Mine Workers of America likely wonít actively oppose President Obamaís reelection bid, Roberts said the new EPA regulation could prevent the union from endorsing the president.

ďThatís something that we have not done yet and may not do because of this very reason. Our peopleís jobs are on the line,Ē Roberts said, adding that Obama has ďdone a lot of great things for the country.Ē

Roberts's [sic] comments underscore the vehement opposition to the new EPA regulations in coal states whose economies rely heavily on the fossil fuel.

I also really enjoyed this quote:

Roberts, in Tuesdayís interview with host Hoppy Kercheval, took aim at the Sierra Club, arguing the environmental groupís campaign to shut down coal plants is killing jobs.

ďThis is a broader problem for me than it is for the Sierra Club or the EPA,Ē Roberts said. ďAnd Iím convinced, Hoppy, that if you give the Sierra Club enough money, they could shut your job down. I donít know how theyíd do it, but theyíd figure out a way.Ē

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yet they will line up to reelect him. The rank and file might wander behind the closed curtain (Taranto Metaphor Alert!) but the leadership will do all they can to give him another term.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2012 4:38 PM

April 2, 2012

Great Volt News!

Thanks to record sales, GM may cancel the extra week's hiatus they added to "control inventory."

Spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said GM may cancel the additional summer shutdown week at the factory if sales continue to be strong as expected. "We're going to see what market demands are between now and then," she said today.
They shut down production for lack of sales. Then they extended the shutdown a week. Now, they might cancel the extra week's shutdown. I just wish I owned GM stock. Oh, wait a minute...

Orwell weeps.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I have two questions that come to mind. The first is, who's doing all this new buying of Volts - private buyers, or might it happen to be government agencies and Red China?

The second is, if it is private citizens doing the buying, then how many of them are buying them as a result of being motivated by the spiralling price of gasoline (primarily the result of Federal policies driving up the price of petrol), and how many of them would not choose the highly-priced Volt if it were not for the fact that taxpayers are picking up the tab for twenty percent of the sticker price?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 2, 2012 2:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

General Electric has pledged to buy 12,000 of them, amounting to 20% of the initial sales forecast and over a quarter of the revised target.

Not sure though which GE is closer to: private buyer or government agency?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2012 3:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG: given how friendly Jeff Immelt has been with this administration, I'd that the boundary between the two is somewhat porous.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 3, 2012 5:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True enough, but Immelt's promise to buy Volts from Obama was clearly made during happier times.

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2012 5:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Here's a scary thought. What if the incentives have done nothing?

The purchases are made by people who have a special need, or don't completely care about the price. Maybe the 10-grand giveaways are not doing it.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2012 6:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Plus GE stands to benefit from wide acceptance by supplying charing stations. So the cronyism goes beyond politics.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2012 6:10 PM

Quote of the Day

Obamaís "green" preferences have already done GM immense damage by politicizing the Volt--a genuine engineering achievement that was supposed to cast a "halo" over Chevrolet's entire car line, but whose failure to achieve sales goals has instead become a widely publicized embarrassment. It's now a reverse-halo car. ... If the President really wanted to boost GM sales to the sort of red-blooded Heartland types who still buy American carsĖpeople who are probably not O.F.A. members--he should have said he plans to drive a Camry when he leaves office. -- Mickey Kaus
Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 1, 2012

A Rare Win?

My least favorite act of lefty nonsense passed with little fanfare this year.

In fact, the only reason I know that the "North Korea Hour of No Power" happened at all was that I saw several posts in opposition. Not even one of my beloved moonbat Facebook friends was talking it up this year.

On March 31, some people will be sitting in the dark to express their "vote" for action on global climate change. Instead, you can join CEI and the thousands of people around the world who will be celebrating Human Achievement Hour (HAH). Leave your lights on to express your appreciation for the inventions and innovations that make today the best time to be alive and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion.

Of course, there was one FB post about "not buying gas on April 15 this year." XOM trembles...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Jeeburz, anti-prosperity nonsense isn't quite as sustainable as the neo-statists had hoped, is it? They'll get another chance to try again, in about three weeks, on "Earth" Day.

(A special treat: Click through at the link for an old-timey Rick Santorum nugget.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2012 2:46 PM

March 29, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

There are lies, damned lies, and then there are Obama's charts. -- Investors Business Daily editorial
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Like squared.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2012 3:04 PM

March 13, 2012

It's the price of gas, stupid

Keep it up Mister President. IBD's Andrew Malcolm:

Showing his keen grasp of free market forces, Obama has ordered Justice officials to investigate oil speculation. Of course, there's oil speculation. It's called the futures market. And watching Obama's policies instead of his words, those experts see higher prices coming ahead, as do most Americans in the poll.

When taking office, Energy Secy. Stephen Chu expressed a desire to drive U.S. gas prices to the European levels of $8-$9 a gallon, much like taxation on cigarettes to discourage their use. This administration has achieved more than half that European goal already.

And voters are taking note:

A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll this week finds about two-out-of-three Americans now disapprove of the Chicago Democrat's job on gas prices, whatever that's been.

Maybe if he started reminding them he "killed bin Laden..."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The official Democratic talking point on this is "No Silver Bullet." The President said it in his speech and I heard two DNC representatives echo it.

Perhaps there's no single thing that would easily and immediately bring fuel prices down, but I can't help but feel if the administration stopped shooting them at every person or company that tries to produce energy, it would be a start.

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2012 4:05 PM
But jk thinks:

And never underestimate the timeless electoral appeal of "The Republicans are coming for your ladyparts!"

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2012 4:25 PM

March 9, 2012

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

James Taranto has forcefully and eloquently taken on the ridiculous "fact checker" sections of media. All any of them are is an extra opportunity to add bias. Piling on is probably not worth the ones and zeros, but...I am almost in tears over today's WaPo "Fact Check."

Obama's $8,000 in gas savings a year -- oops, over a car's life

It's a misstatement, so it gets the lightest sentence of "One Pinocchio." Fair enough, we all make mistakes. Asserting, in front of a cheering crowd, that the 20-26 year savings "over the life of the car" is annual savings seems like a large one, but I am all smiles and compassion today. The crowd was assured that there would be no math, but $8000 a year is $21.92 a day. What will you buy with your savings? If you bought five big SUVs, you could save $100 every day!

Okay, so I am more smiles than compassion. But assuming that is still a mono-pinocchial offense, the fact check goes on to show additional perfidy.

When Obama does say this talking point correctly, note the careful wording -- "$8,000 at the pump over time." He's talking about the savings on gasoline, the happy part of the story. But he has left out part of the total picture -- the costs of compliance with the new rules.

The standards are coming in two phases. The first, which affects cars in model years 2012-2016, will increase the average cost of model 2016 car about $950, while saving $4,000 in fuel, according to government estimates. So the net savings is about $3,000. The second set of standards, which affects cars in model years 2017-2025, will add $2,200 to the cost of a model 2025 car, while reducing fuel costs by $6,600, for a net lifetime savings of $4,400. (Gasoline is presumed to cost about $3.42 before taxes.)


There's "a complicated method" to get to $8,000 fuel savings:
  • If you disregard the cost
  • On a rule that kicks in in five years
  • That Kessler does not even document

Is anybody else's b******t detector going off? Glenn Kessler -- who does this for a living -- is prepared to forgive every sin except multiplying by 26?

Read the article six times, and you'll encounter no suggestion that the President nor his policies are not saving a gorram dime for nobody. You choose to buy the car you buy (unless he gets a second term) and factor in the mileage as part of your decision.

How many will put off buying a new, more efficient vehicle because of the $6600 addition to the sticker price? (Hey, if he can use 2017-2025 figures, so can I!) That's a side of CAFE that gets way too little attention.

MAD Magazine had a "What's wrong with this picture?" spoof where there were obviously many things amiss. The answer was "The headline: This was supposed to be the 'What 1,000 things are wrong with this picture?' picture." In reverse, there are a thousand things wrong with the President's claim to be saving his unquestioning minions eight grand a year. Kessler finds one.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

March 8, 2012

Condor Cuisinarts™

Piling on wind power...

The renewed focus on bird kills is coming at a bad time for the wind industry, which is being hammered by low natural-gas prices and a Congress unwilling to extend the 2.2 cents per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit that has fueled the industry's growth in recent years.

Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks--as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act--are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.

A pernicious double standard is at work here. And it riles Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who wrote the petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He told me, "It's absolutely clear that there's been a mandate from the top" echelons of the federal government not to prosecute the wind industry for violating wildlife laws.


I enjoy tormenting my Facebook friends with this. Their response? "More birds are killed by cats." I guess that is the new standard -- if your technology kills fewer wild animals than natural predators do, everything is copacetic.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

How many cats are killed by leaks from oil pipelines?

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2012 5:54 PM

March 7, 2012

A Bad Wind Blows this Way

Hope Brother nb is on the road this week, as we've been harshing on the mellow of wind power.

But the WSJ Ed Page reports that a 20 year old subsidy, designed to give the nascent industry some funding so that it could compete in the free market is up for renewal (I mean, really, what can you accomplish with technology in a mere twenty years?)

The most dishonest claim is that wind and solar deserve to be wards of the state because the oil and gas industry has also received federal support. That's the $4 billion a year in tax breaks for oil and gas (which all manufacturers receive), but the oil and gas industry still pays tens of billions in federal taxes every year.

Wind and solar companies are net tax beneficiaries. Taxpayers would save billions of dollars if wind and solar produced no energy at all. A July 2011 Energy Department study found that oil, natural gas and coal received an average of 64 cents of subsidy per megawatt hour in 2010. Wind power received nearly 100 times more, or $56.29 per megawatt hour.


Pigs at the government trough. Glad none of my brave Republicans are particip -- umm, wait a second.
Most Congressional Democrats will back anything with the green label. But Republican support for big wind is a pure corporate welfare play that violates free-market principles. Last week six Republican Senators--John Boozman of Arkansas, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Charles Grassley of Iowa, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jerry Moran of Kansas and John Thune of South Dakota--signed a letter urging their colleagues to extend the production tax credit.

"It is clear that the wind industry currently requires tax incentives" and that continuing that federal aid can help the industry "move towards a market-based system," said the letter. What's the "market-based" timetable--100 years? In the House 18 Republicans have joined the 70-Member wind pork caucus. Someone should remind them that in 2008 and 2010 the wind lobby gave 71% of its PAC money to Democrats.


Senator Chuck Grassley for an energy boondoggle? Mai Non! I refuse to believe it!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I love these opportunities to bad-mouth Republicans. What if?

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2012 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

That's it! I'm never saying "you were right" again.

No. Totally different. Admitting Chuck Grassley is a putz, and decrying the bad positions of others is -- repeat after me, kids -- "holding your party accountable."

Saying there is no difference between Ds and Rs in 2011, and that Governor Romney would be no better friend to liberty than President Obama is counter-productive. And false.

Posted by: jk at March 7, 2012 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. I don't endorse the Napolitano rant entirely, just the underlying theme.

Wasn't trying to "gotcha." Just integrating post themes.

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2012 4:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm here and I can take it. Been some personal drama lately... barely even back to lurking. Shewt, I had a good study from somewhere's about subsidies... but the DOE study is more clean: $/MWhr is the way to look at it.

Off to ID on Monday to climb 90 meters up into one of those spendy white boondoggles.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 8, 2012 1:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Hope you also saw the Volt thread where technology was appreciated in spite of subsidies. We've all got a streak. I'm an algae man even after the President used it as an excuse to not issue drilling permits or pipe oil from Saudi Oh Canada.

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2012 10:52 AM

March 6, 2012

Quote of the Day

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world's energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine -- despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide. -- Matt Ridley, via Kenneth P Green.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:41 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Is this the Hope that President Obama promised us? I'll take it!

Excellent article on the double click-through:

The subsidising of useless wind turbines was born of a deep intellectual error, one incubated by failure to challenge conventional wisdom.

It is precisely this consensus-worshipping, heretic-hunting environment where the greatest errors can be made.

And this was in the UK news magazine 'The Spectator' not Minnesotans for Global Warming.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2012 3:05 PM

Best Car of the Year!

Why, it's the Chevy Volt of course! It's won several prestigious awards. It's just that nobody wants to buy it... Joann Muller at Forbes, delivers the bad news. But she is painfully even-handed in her appraisal.

Critics quickly jumped on that news as evidence that the Volt is a wasteful folly and the federal government shouldn't be meddling in the auto industry. Never mind that the Volt was conceived long before GM's 2009 taxpayer-financed bankruptcy. As investors with a 32% stake in the world's largest carmaker, taxpayers ought to be pleased by GM's uncharacteristic discipline in matching its vehicle production to real demand. Instead of overproducing Volts, and then heavily discounting them to get people to buy, GM is protecting its investment.

Bursting with pride, Joann, I'm bursting with pride! But...
The Volt's hefty pricetag, $41,000, no doubt scared away some buyers. Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, it's a lot to pay for a four-seat Chevrolet. The lease price isn't bad at all -- $350 a month, with $2,500 down -- but consumers have somehow missed that marketing pitch, and that's GM's fault. There have been other issues, too: a government investigation into post-crash test fires (much ado about nothing) and the challenge of making people understand the Volt's unique gas-and-electric technology.

You see, ThreeSourcers, you don't have to pony up 40K and wait for your tax refund -- you can lease a volt for $350 a month with $2500 down!

Those critics. What a bunch of losers, eh?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Her "painfully even-handed" sure sounds a lot like Mark Antony, coming not to praise the Volt, but to bury it. The noble Forbes has told us it is a worthy car, and it must be true, for the writers at Forbes are all honorable men.

After all, it's won several prestigious awards! Would you disparage the winner of a prestigious award? Does it not deserve the same respect that you would haved for the winners of other prestigious awards - such as Nobel Peace Prize winners Barack Obama, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Al Gore, and the IPCC? Such as Rhodes scholars Richard Lugar, Paul Sarbanes, Kris Kristofferson, David Souter, Wesley Clark, Robert Reich, Bill Clinton, Michael Kingsley, EJ Dionne, Russ Feingold, and Rachel Madcow?

Perish the thought.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 6, 2012 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the best thing about buying the $41,000 (base) car, [$48,000 nicely equipped] is that you'll "save a crapload of money."

Speaking 100 percent objectively now, I love the technology in the Volt. It's not even half bad looking. And the apparent fact they can make it for less than $50K is something of a marvel in itself. As true bleeding-edge tech it's a slam dunk success.

But the subsidies and the mandates are what kills it, along with the crony capitalism that stole General Motors from its secured creditors and handed it over with a pretty bow to the UAW, at further taxpayer expense no less. It is a symbol for all that is wrong with 21st century American industry and commerce, and the government that bespoils them both. For this it must suffer the vicissitudes of the market. Consumers who can afford it are also the ones most likely to recoil at what it stands for.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2012 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother Keith: the twitter link I followed had me expecting a brutal takedown. Ms. Muller has more good things to say about the Volt than I am used to.

Brother jg: Much technically to like about the Volt, but -- and I'll admit to jaundice -- they missed on the promise of an all-electric drivetrain (likely a good idea, but how do you give twice the Federal Jack for it than a plug-in hybrid?) They missed as well on the date and the price point. Now they miss on sales.

If I wasn't a coerced 32% equity-stakeholder, I would not care, but if I may paraphrase Donne: "Everie abscense of Volt sales affekts me, for I am part of mankinde!"

A good and fair essay on the Volt -- with a nod to your points -- can be found here.

The basic problem with the Volt isn't that it's a bad car that nobody could ever want; it is, in fact, quite an engineering achievement and a rather impressive drive. And if GM had said all along that it would serve as an "anti-Corvette," selling in low volumes at a high price, nobody could now accuse it of failure. Instead, GM fueled totally unrealistic expectations for Volt, equating it with a symbol of its rebirth even before collapsing into bailout. The Obama administration simply took GM's hype at face value, and saw it as a way to protect against the (flawed) environmentalist argument that GM deserved to die because of "SUV addiction" alone.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2012 2:24 PM

March 2, 2012

Be Fearless!

"Even with sales up in February over January, we are still seeking to align our production with demand," said GM spokesman Chris Lee.
Adding a shift? Doubling capacity? Oh, wait a minute, no...

Chevy Volt "Temporarily" Halts Production.

The late great Andrew Breitbart would not mince words and I will try my hand at courage: I hate that damn car! It is the symbol of crony capitalism and disrespect for property rights, the fifth amendment, and the capacity of capital markets to drive innovation. The President and captive cronies at GE cannot make up for the markets' disinterest. Good Good Good!

Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In California we call that "on hiatus." As in, "After airing thirteen episodes, the show went on hiatus."

In a perfect world, Firefly will resume production before the Volt.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 2, 2012 7:05 PM

I Wonder What Robert Redford Thinks?

Thanks to Facebook frineds, and MoveOn.org. I know.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

*sarcasm*Personally I think it's an outrage that Hollywood studios are free to just make new films whenever they believe a market demand exists for it!*/sarcasm*

Pipeline supporters use "Repeatedly and wildly exaggerated jobs numbers." You oughtta know.
"...voted down real jobs projects." Pedal-powered automobiles.

Keystone means enviros can no longer claim we must "reduce our 'dependence' on foreign oil." With North American oil bursting at the seams it's now all oil we must eschew.

"Energy security comes from reducing our dependence on oil." Classic static society theory.

"Pay close attention and search out the real facts." Good advice Bob.

And what's up with that CO2 and carcinogen spewing wood fire burning behind you? Is that still legal where you live? You and your boys cut and split all of that fuel wood by hand? Haul it around the woods by horse-drawn wagon?

*/rant*

Posted by: johngalt at March 2, 2012 3:22 PM

February 27, 2012

Where's my White Leisure Suit?

I'm on record as being extremely interested in fuel from algae. You needn't bother searching for approbative remarks. But I differ with the President in thinking that it will be part of our fuel mix in the near future or that its promise justifies impeding petroleum production.

Ergo, I am not the least bit inconsistent in sharing a second Jim Treacher joke. To the tune of the Rolling Stones' "Angie:"

Algae, algae
When will those cars you run appear?
Algae, algae
The process still ain't too clear

To Obama we give thanks
As we're fillin' up our tanks
You can say he patronized
Algae, algae
His excuses: agonized

Algae
You're plentiful, yeah
But your worth is undefined
Algae
I slipped on ya
On that boulder at low tide

People think youre kinda gross
As you squish between their toes
Scrub you off, you reappear
Algae, algae
With our drains you interfere

Oh, algae, how you creep
In the shallows and the deeps
Can we use ya when we drive?
Algae, algae
Barry's hopes will you revive?

To Obama we give thanks
As we're fillin' up our tanks
You can say he patronized
But algae, we still love ya, baby
Some use for you we will devise
There ain't a fuel source that comes close to you
At least that's what we theorize

But algae, algae
You're called nori when you're dried
Algae, algae
Hey, at least Obama tried

Posted by John Kranz at 7:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2012

Tweet of the Day


Posted by John Kranz at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

Schadenfreude

Could this story possibly get any better?

[Soylendra] plans on paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up its own property in Fremont, Calif., but a separate leased property in nearby Milpitas sits vacant with barrels of unknown chemicals and lead-contaminated equipment, attorneys for the landlord, iStarCTL I L.P., said in recent bankruptcy court filings.

Okay, maybe barrels of goo with a picture of the Vice President on each...that would be better.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2012

There's Hope!

Heritage highlights a Rasmussen Poll. It seems Americans are not completely keen on paying ten grand for some rich ass****'s 'lectricar (and I'd love to see the results if they used my wording):

Just 29% of Likely U.S. Voters favor $10,000 government subsidies to encourage the purchase of electric cars, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-eight percent (58%) are opposed to such subsidies. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

29% of likely voters are in need of a trip back to school - or we should at least require an explanation from them as to why they think we all need to pay for a piece of someone else's car.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 21, 2012 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I caught a man-at-the-pump interview this morning wherein the subject, probably one of this 29 percent, said, "Gasoline is a precious resource but it is a dwindling resource and the only way to get us to use less of it is to make it more expensive." As though organic hydrocarbon molecular chains are some sort of "endangered specie" that must be preserved for posterity. If it is dwindling then we'll use less of it when we "run out."

If George W. Bush (or some other Republican) were in the White House the press would be screaming "Big Oil price gouging" and "profiteering." But while the same oil companies make the same higher profits on President Obama's watch the narrative is, "fossil fuels should cost more, in order to pay for their harm to society and nature." Note to "Big Oil:" Should Obama be granted a second term, prepare to be nationalized - either de-facto or "in"-facto.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2012 6:50 PM

Yeah, but what about supply?

I'm pretty reluctant to argue with Richard Epstein. I might challenge Jeremy Lin to a game of one-on-one first. But, with all due respect, Professor Epstein...

Without question, the problem [high price of oil] can be traced back to a renegade Iran. For good and sufficient political reasons, the West has come to see that the Iranian nuclear threat is not just bluster. Indeed, it poses far greater risks to world peace and the political order than even a major disruption in oil supplies.

Hence an anxious West has now put into place a reasonably effective concerted effort to cut off Iran from the world's banking system, and to block the use of Iranian oil internationally, which has been made easier by the Saudis' willingness to expand their own shipments into the world markets. Nor have the Iranians sat back idly. They have cut off exports to the United Kingdom and France, a move that is largely symbolic. But the Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about one-third the world's oil supplies travel, is not symbolic. Nor is the movement of the U.S. aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, into the Strait of Hormuz, merely symbolic.

You are dead right that markets should set oil and gas prices. I'll also concur that both parties and most of the presidential candidates are prepared to use the issue stupidly (in Speaker Gingrich's case, profoundly and stupidly) wrong to attract votes.

But I read a great tweet last night. Sorry I have forgotten attribution, but some 140 character genius celebrated the tenth anniversary of the enviros rejecting ANWR drilling because "it would take ten years for any of that oil to come on line." In a just world, this would get a little press.

Oil futures would respond positively to not only the Keystone pipeline but also liberal permitting in the gulf, and a strong defense of fracking in the States which permit it.

UPDATE: Brother Keith's cartoon deserves an embed:

Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The tweet you reference brings to mind a cartoon done a few years ago by the great Michael Ramirez:

http://townhall.com/political-cartoons/michaelramirez/2008/04/30/1468

According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know...) drilling in ANWR has been a political hot topic since 1977. Even someone who attended the California public education system could tell you that was 35 years ago. Think of what the price of a gallon of gas might be today if we were pumping that today. Think of what state our economy might be in. Think of how much less important certain Middle Eastern nations might be if that were online today.

Of course, speaking of California, we have all these rich oil fields right offshore. Good thing we have all those resources that we could be leasing out to oil companies, keeping this state from bankruptcy...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 21, 2012 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Very good 'toon!

My understanding -- and know that I get all my info from FOX News or Koch Brothers-funded corporate shills -- is that the Santa Barbara oil of which you speak just leaches out into the sea and that drilling would likely relieve the pressure and clean things up. Am I listening to the wrong crowd on this?

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2012 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"... the Saudis' willingness to expand their own shipments into the world markets."

Does Epstein mean to say that, in Saudi Arabia, "big oil" can just arbitrarily adjust output to fit market conditions in real-time, without any restriction or limitation? Gosh, what if every oil producer in the world had such ... freedom?

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2012 2:23 PM

February 17, 2012

Craig Colorado vs. Renewable Energy mandates

A five minute (Embedding disabled by request, sorry) video that is well worth a watch.

"An attack on the very energy sources that have powered our economy, that have made this engine run."

Also love the display of output (~2:05) of the Craig coal plants and the Unicorn farms.

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | Comments (0)

Not Taxed Enough, Yet

dagny shares a financial "article of the day" via email. "The interesting thing about this is the comments" she writes. "The majority of commenters seem to think that reducing business taxes (i.e. letting business keep the money they made) is a, 'handout,' or, 'corporate welfare.' Betcha they don't think that about refundable tax credits like the EIC."

And why wouldn't commenters such as Chicago's own "gsdfhdgjhfdhjjjjjkgkjgjks" believe that accelerated depreciation and an R&D tax credit are handouts to corporations. President Obama and groups like Clean Energy Works are turning the entire English language upside down:

A memo circulating from Clean Energy Works, an alliance of about 60 groups, outlines a strategy of framing tax benefits the industry receives as corporate welfare. The memo calls the messaging plan a "line of attack" to counteract the description of climate legislation as a national energy tax.

(...)

"What they don't want anyone to know is that the American people already have a national energy tax -- The Big Oil Welfare Tax -- in the form of billions of dollars in subsidies to the wildly profitable big oil companies," the memo adds.

So first, "subsidies" to specific corporations equate to a "tax" on individuals. Well, I can see the logic here if the effects of economic growth spurred by a larger (and cheaper) energy supply and continued government spending on unrelated programs are ignored. But this misses the real point that taxing something less than it might be taxed can not in any sense be considered a subsidy. The government is taking wealth from wealth-producing companies. In English this is known as "taxation."

But even if one believes, as I do, that "Big Oil" should be taxed just as much as any other industry it is erroneous to examine a few specific tax categories where rates may differ and proclaim preferential treatment.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the industry's effective federal income tax rate is more than two-thirds higher than the average for all manufacturing industries.

Furthermore, those throwing stones at the oil industry over corporate welfare would do well to first look in the mirror, for the vast majority of them are vocal proponents of so-called "renewable" energy.

Another EIA study shows renewable energy industries enjoy double the incentives of those for oil and natural gas."

But punitive taxation is nothing new in America or anywhere else where wealth is produced and standards of living have been raised. And despite taking one-quarter or more of the freely created wealth of for-profit corporations and individuals, they still manage to keep working and producing and, getting the shaft. Our commenter from Chicago put it succinctly in the comments to the original article. In reply to a previous sarcastic comment which read:

"Nice. kick businesses in the teeth--the ones who hire the most-- and increase gov spending and deficits. Now THAT'S the way to make jobs!"

gsdfhdgjhfdhjjjjjkgkjgjks wrote:

Still works so far
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, as long as our government is kicking job-producing business in the teeth:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/02/not-from-atlas-shrugged.html

The text from the bill now in Congress (or is that, "incongruous"?) includes the following text. Where have I read something like this again?

"(4) REASONABLE PROFIT.‚ÄĒThe term ‚Äėreasonable profit‚Äô means the amount determined by the Reasonable Profits Board to be a reasonable profit on the sale."

And people think Rand wrote fiction...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 17, 2012 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Keep in mind, you'd be grouchy too if your parents had named you "gsdfhdgjhfdhjjjjjkgkjgjks"

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2012 5:32 PM

February 14, 2012

Thousand Words

Even Kenneth Green says so:


Posted by John Kranz at 3:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2012

Internet Segue Machine™

UT Knoxville: UT Researchers Find China's Pollution Related to E-Cars May Be More Harmful than Gasoline Cars

KNOXVILLE--Electric cars have been heralded as environmentally friendly, but findings from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers show that electric cars in China have an overall impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles.

Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, and graduate student Shuguang Ji, analyzed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities, focusing on dangerous fine particles. What Cherry and his team found defies conventional logic: electric cars cause much more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars.

Well, that's in a command-and-control top down economy. Here in the good old USA, surely the market will be able to sort this out. Right?

Daily Caller: Obama hikes subsidy to wealthy electric car buyers

The White House intends to boost government subsidies for wealthy buyers of the Chevy Volt and other new-technology vehicles -- to $10,000 per buyer.

That mammoth subsidy would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year.

But the administration wants to get 1 million new-tech autos on the road by 2015. The subsidy cost of that goal could reach $10 billion.

The planned giveaway will likely prompt populist protests from GOP legislators, but it will likely also will be welcomed by auto-industry workers in the critical swing state of Michigan.

Stupid Chinese! Why don't they follow our example and adopt free-market principles?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2012

Keystone XL Pipeline Economic Impact is "Settled"

As luck would have it, President Obama actually saved US and Canadian energy companies billions of wasted dollars by using the power of the regulatory state to stop construction of their "disastrous" tar sands pipeline. How do I know this? Al Gore says so.

"The analysis from the final EIS, noted above, indicates that denying the permit at this time is unlikely to have a substantial impact on U.S. employment, economic activity, trade, energy security, or foreign policy over the longer term." Source: Climate Progress

This is an important win not only for the thousands of activists who risked arrestóand for the hundreds who went to jail--but for all of us who want to try and role [sic] back the effects of the climate crisis, not magnify them.

And who could doubt the objective fiscal evaluations of Climate Progress?

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2012

I'm a Uniter -- Not a Divider!

We may support different candidates, but we'll all share revulsion with Cato's Patrick Michaels as he surveys the Gub'mint Motors Chevy Volt.

At the Detroit Auto Show this week, CEO Dan Akerson admitted that General Motors may have to cut back production of the Chevrolet Volt because the 4,600-plus Volts on the market now are about three times the monthly sales. Other figures put the GM hybrid carís inventory at an outrageous 120-plus days.

And, yet I read about their big month last month. It was great! They sold 1529! Man, things are really turning around. And all those naysaying bloggers are going to have to eat their... Umm, what?
More than a third of those were fleet sales to corporations. None of these were the traditional large-fleet purchasers, i.e. Hertz, Avis and the other big rental companies. They were more like Verizon and General Electric -- with GE having committed to buying 12,000 and having already purchased unspecified "hundreds," with continued "daily" deliveries, as The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

Then there are the direct taxpayer buys. Fifty to New York City. The city of Deland, Fla., brags about buying five with an Energy Department grant. The federal General Services Administration has bought 101 so far, but President Obama has ordered it to procure only hybrid or high-mileage vehicles by 2015. (The taxpayers buy about 60,000 cars a year for GSA.)


So, in addition to our taxpayer subsidy of $11,467,500 (no, that's not a lot in government speak -- but it's for fifteen hundred cars) we're buying the damn cars?

CATO suggests "Kill the car now. It's not cost-effective, and it's irritating taxpayers in an election year." But some folks might lose their jobs. And Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry wouldn't like that.

(Ooops, I said I was gonna be nice...)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2012

Rainbows and Unicorn Sweat!

Starting with a more family-friendly -- if less poignant -- version of a favorite jg line, I give you Kenneth P. Green with a a classic of the genre. His short post encapsulates everything that is wrong with renewable fuels mandates. Nope, not gonna excerpt.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Awesome comment from the post:

Lew Schuerkamp says:
January 11, 2012 at 11:03 am
You left out the contradiction of requiring more ethanol in gasoline and at the same time imposing higher mpg requirements. Since all forms of Alcohol contain roughly 33% less energy per unit volume, immutable laws of physics dictate that mpg will drop at a rate commensurate with the portion on Alcohol in the gasoline.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 11, 2012 4:36 PM
But dagny thinks:

Since when do immutable laws of physics apply to Democrat ideas?

Posted by: dagny at January 11, 2012 4:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

When conquering generals returned to Rome in triumph, they were followed in the parade by a person who constantly reminded the general, "Memento mori! Remember that you a but a man, and must die!"

Democrat officeholders need to have a similar functionary - a Chief Engineering Czar, to remind them "I canna change the laws of physics! I'm giving her all she's got!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 11, 2012 5:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Politicians never really care if their policies work. All they care about is moving the money around under very large walnut shells, and sometimes some of it happens to fall out in fortuitous (for them) places.

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2012 6:01 PM

January 5, 2012

Big News!

IT'S NOT A "RECALL," IT'S A "CALL BACK:" GM to call back 8,000 Chevy Volts."General Motors will strengthen the structure around the batteries in its Volt electric cars to keep them safe during crashes, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday. GM will ask Volt owners to return the cars to dealers for structural modifications, said the person, who did not want to be identified because GM executives plan to announce the repairs later Thursday." -- Instapundit.
They sold 8,000 ????

UPDATE: GM Recalling Volts, White House Headed to Detroit to Celebrate?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 3, 2012

Short Bisquik®!

Chevy Volt "selling like hotcakes!" sez Democrat, Michigan, Superannuated Congressman.

Romney is the only fellow in the United States who appears to think that the Volt is an idea whose time has not come. Clearly it has not come to him. The Volt is selling like hotcakes. -- John Dingell (D - Dreamland)

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 5:56 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2011

Magnitudes of Bull****

Oh man! Or, as they say on ESPN, "C'mon Man!" I'll be the first to concede that the figure of 250,000-in-federal-jack-per-Volt is a salacious, audacious figure. It's a headline grabber, it's link bait. It's a bit high.

But now that I have read the defense, it's standing up firmly. Insty links to Sebastian Blanco at AutoBlogGreen. Blanco disputes the $250,000 figure, with a flourish:

Oh, how easy it is to go viral on the Internet. All you have to do is be really, really bad at math. Or have an agenda.

The folks propagating 250K had an agenda. But were they bad at math? They divided subsidies by the current production. Likely that is not fair. Investments -- coerced from the taxpayers or not -- should be amortized over a longer run or perhaps all of production,

The Street.com goes looking for the denominator:

Here is the point: Why divide whatever amount -- $1.5 billion or otherwise -- by the number of Chevrolet Volts sold to date? If he had done this study one year from now, when we could be looking at 60,000 Volts made, as GM repeatedly has promised, the headline number would be $25,000 per car -- not $250,000.
[...]
Thus, if you divide this $1.5 billion "investment" over 60 million cars over the next 25+ years instead of the 6,000 made over the last year, or the 60,000 to be made next year, the alleged government subsidy comes to $25 per car, or what you will pay for two movie tickets in Manhattan, popcorn excluded. That's very different from the nasty $250,000 per Volt headline floating all over the Internet in the last couple of days.

Less than two Manhattan movie tickets, you cheapskate! When you realize the government is designing the next 60 million cars! That's nuthin'!

I suggest the Street.com's stirring defense actually provides a realistic figure of $25,000 -- which I consider completely and totally insane. Twenty five K of tax money to build a $40,000 car for a buyer who makes (avg) $170,000 per annum. I trust ThreeSourcers would be upset at $25 (enumerated powers, anybody?) but the whole nation should be upset at $25,000.

Of course if you divide by everyone born in the next million years...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The fallacy is in the presuppositions. They presume GM will build, and sell, 60,000 Volts in the next year. Based on recent sales figures, that would be wildly optimistic, unless you presume that the guv'mint will either buy them all themselves, or put a gun to our heads and force us to buy them.

Which they might.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 27, 2011 5:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed, ka. And that is to get to the only $25,000/car figure.

Full of Christmas generosity, call that a few years' production, which will be that most influenced by our [cough!] investment. That is what causes me to take the 25K figure as accurate.

That's about what I paid for my MR2 in 2004...

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2011 5:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fans of government "investment" will retort, "$1.5B is far less than was spent on the moon program, and look at all the benefits that accrued humanity from that." But the real difference is not in the dollars, it's in the technology. NASA had to oversee the invention of hundreds of new technologies to go to the moon. Electric cars were invented in the 19th century.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2011 2:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Plus, Tang®

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2011 2:30 PM

December 22, 2011

Colorado's First 'Lectricar!

Oh joy, the future has come to the Centennial State:

Passarelli said the sticker price on his [Nissan Leaf] was about $38,000 -- OK, so it isn't exactly a gift -- but with federal and local tax credits and rebates, the final price was about $26,000.

The other $12,000 will be provided my magic wands and faerie dust...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:57 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

... and Mary Katherine Ham, et. al.

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2011 5:19 PM

December 5, 2011

Addicted to Oil?

Take this shiny new "The World According to DP" category out for a spin...

Amy Oliver responds to a guest editorial:

The Denver Post gave Greg Wockner of Clean Water Action prime newspaper real estate in Sunday's perspective section. Wockner's guest editorial "Is Colorado Addicted to Oil?" was nothing more than a list of typical anti-fossil fuel questions that he tried to associate to Colorado's and Weld County's economic struggles as a result of the Great Recession.

Oliver's response is the jewel. Are you "addicted" to civilization?
Are we addicted oil? Only if you enjoy and are "addicted" to a modern lifestyle made possible by the discovery of fossil fuels. I'll revisit this question at the end of this series of blog posts.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2011

Tick....tick...

I usually use 60W bulbs and stocked up on those and 75s this summer.

But Instapundit's admonitions have sunk in, I don't want to be caught without access. And -- let's just say it's my way of sticking it to the man! I bought 24 100W incandescents.

Here's an insty-supporting link if you care to join me.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2011

A Colorado Soylendra

Amy Oliver pens an interesting column on "A Stupid Energy Policy." I hope my Facebook friends don't see it, it uses logic, reason, physics, and economics.

Narrowly Avoiding a Colorado 'Solyndra'

In early 2009, then newly appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) touted the prospects of Ascent Solar, a Colorado solar panel manufacturer, and the plans for a new facility to add as many as 200 new jobs for the state's "New Energy Economy." Then-Governor Bill Ritter and U.S. Senator Mark Udall, joined their fellow Democrat in offering pleasant platitudes about the "green energy" panacea.

Ritter was effusive with his praise and optimistic about Ascent's future. "The New Energy Economy is leading Colorado forward and will be one of the keys to bringing us out of this recession. Colorado and Ascent Solar's success are a model for how America can and must re-tool our entire economy," declared Ritter. Even the local media couldn't help but promote such rosy projections.

Fast-forward less than two years. Ascent, perhaps recognizing the fragility of the market, or at the very least, an unprofitable business model, conducted a "market pivot" and a change in business strategy. That switch meant cutting staff--instead of growth of nearly 200 jobs Ascent pared its staff back by half, mostly in production.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2011

Hook this Baby up to some Soylendra Panels!

Actually, the Soylendra investment makes a lot of sense, when compared to the Fisker Karma. Obligatory picture of really cool car here:

Warren Meyer at Forbes points out that under Clinton-era EPA comparisons for electric vehicles, this "electric car for the 1%" gets worse mileage than an average SUV -- either in electric or gas mode. And, had I not already conferred QOTD:

Given the marketing pitch here that relies on the unseen vs. the seen, maybe we should rename it the Fisker Bastiat.

But, like I said, hook this baby up to your Soylendra panels and it is all go all of the time!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2011

Solar Panels Don't Work

That's not my headline. It was written by solar industry CEO Ray Burgess.

If you listen to the mostly-Chinese manufacturers, solar panels work great. They can be expected to degrade about 0.5% a year. So that is how we build the economic models to finance, insure and subsidize the larger solar systems.

In the real world, we are just starting to find out how bogus many of those predictions are. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that panels can degrade as much as 4.5% a year. Or more. Put that in your pro forma and see what your banker and insurance agent -- or Congressman -- say about that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:


The author sells PV monitoring equipment and doesn't cite an actual NREL study; he cites an AOL page that points back to his own article.

I think the jury is still out on this one....

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 2, 2011 12:29 AM

October 26, 2011

It comes from where?

Somehow, inexplicably, nobody has called to ask that their connection to coal fired power plants NOT be restored.

DENVER -- The October snowstorm is being blamed for numerous power outages.

More than 40,000 people from Fort Collins to Littleton were without power as of 5:30 a.m. By 9 a.m. that number had increased to more than 90,000 without power, according to Xcel's website.

Power outages forced the closure of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and the Boulder County Criminal Justice Center in Boulder.

In the Boulder area, Xcel is handling 157 outages affecting more than 13,000 people.

Boulder officials are treating the fast moving storm as a civil preparedness exercise, in the event that the Utility Municipalization ballot measure passes and city council takes over management of the power company. "The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine," said Boulder's Mayor.*

* Quote is *ahem* non-attributable.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2011

Quote of the Day

In other words, this is just like Obamanomics in general. It provides a short-term gimmicky gain at incredible expense that is designed to do nothing except give politicians a headline and a photo op. It would be cheaper in the long run to buy politicians a camera and get them a blog. -- Ed Morrissey, Obama's green-jobs training program a flop
Posted by John Kranz at 4:59 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Most of you know I work with WindPower, although not as much as I used to. I don't believe in MMGW (and think the recent cooling has stopped), I just think Wind Power is cool. Damned geekiness apparently is still not out of my system.

I'm cognizant of the studies that show that 1 green job created = 1.6 (other) jobs lost. It's on my list to parse through them and issue a prognostication. But that's lagging behind real life and a post on energy subsidies.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2011 12:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I think wind power is cool too. I just want to see it compete. (Looking forward to your subsidies post.)

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2011 12:17 PM

September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

As major Solyndra investor and Barack Obama donor George Kaiser told a crowd of his fellow Oklahomans not long after Obama's stimulus was announced in 2009, "There's never been more money shoved out of the government's door in world history and probably never will be again than in the last few months and the next 18 months. And our selfish, parochial goal is to get as much of it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can." -- Matt Welch (a Reason guy, writing for CNN, is the space-time continuum safe?)

The linked article is "Why the $16 muffin matters." I must disagree a bit with my big-L Libertarian friend. Every word he says is true, but it propagates the lie that we can have all the government we want if we just elect candidate x who will clean things up. No need to stop developing programs for the poor and new middle class entitlements, we'll take it all out of pastry savings.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2011

Can I like both?

The new Fiat 500 commercial has me checking to see if I can fit the whole family in it.

The new Prius commercial? Not so much.

Creepy.

Apparently the 2010 version wasn't ghastly enough. I just can't shake the whole "one world, one people" commune thingy.

And another one, if you're into that sort of thing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:08 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Saw the Fiat spot a bunch of times yesterday. It is a very good commercial.

Insty had a post that Toyota expects hybrids to be 20% of the market in 2020. It's an interesting bet, but I can see it coming up short. If they miss, I think they'll have a tough time holding share. I'm still a fan but I don't want to be way long.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2011 10:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Insty also links to this commercial under the caption of "The Worst Car Commercial of All Time?"

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/128337/

Just shows to go you that men of good will can agree to disagree...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 21, 2011 2:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow! The further you click, the more people hate it. I wouldn't buy JLo's music on a bet, but the whole thing seems very hip and fashionable.

A couple grizzled IT people once asked our HR manager why she had booked our bi-departmental Christmas Party in Downtown Denver. She said in her delightful Chilean accent "Eees Fashion!" And I added a phrase to my lexicon.

Why do I like this spot? Eees Fashion!

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2011 7:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They clearly haven't seen the Prius ads.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2011 12:00 AM
But jk thinks:

Saw the Prius ad last night (at the GOP debate on FOXNews, no less). Creepy.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2011 10:15 AM

Chavez-Obama and International Law

Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez, having looted all the private wealth in his country, moves to protect his wealth.

ExxonMobilís shareholders can join Chryslerís bondholders on Obamaís enemies list. If that seems a tad harsh, consider this: When made to choose between millions of American shareholders and one South American dictator, the Obama Administration chose Chavez.

Why is the Obama Administration sitting in paralyzed silence while Chavez removes himself from international accountability? Is it perceived ideological comradeship, a loathing of investors, simple dereliction of duty or some other reason? Now that is a mystery.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

Headline of the Day

Mr. President! Tear Down These Loans!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2011

Whither Wind Power?

Unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes rejected by environmentalists in the Green Mountain State.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2011

Wot Green Jobs?

Here I thought Insty's link would talk about California. Nope, it's James Delingpole at the Telegraph. Replete with Unicorn pictures, the article mentions green boondoggles in the UK and that "Obama's America" is just as bad.

There is one thing we share with the motherland:

Yep, it seems like thereís one rule for the political class and its cronies -- and another one for the rest of us. If, say, you're Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt the father-in-law of the British prime minister you can make getting on for a £1000 a week from the wind farms on your estates; if youíre the wife of the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg you can make hundreds of thousands of pounds as a legal adviser to the Spanish wind farm company whose unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes are going to be wrecking the British countryside.

If on the other, hand you're an ordinary punter, youíre expected to sit there and take it as the cost of your energy is doubled, your standard of living lowered, the countryside you love is ruined, and the destruction of your ailing economy is accelerated by the policies of a Government which no longer gives a damn what you think about anything.

"unsightly bat-chomping eco-crucifixes" I may have been born in the wrong country...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2011

QOTD II

Solyndra -- Obama's Enron?

The showcase firm is now filing for Chapter 11 in an embarrassing blow to the premises of Obamanomics. At least the Obama administration can't be accused of practicing industrial policy the old-fashioned way and picking winners. It is evidently quite ready to pick losers, too. -- Rich Lowry

Posted by John Kranz at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2011

Epic Fail

It is almost enough to make a person disbelieve in government's paying people to make things that nobody wants to buy. Almost. WaPo:

A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration's effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans.

Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company's Silicon Valley headquarters.


Ooops.
Although Wednesday's announcement came as a surprise, House Republicans and government auditors had questioned the wisdom of the administration's loan guarantees to the company, backed by capital from billionaire Democratic fundraiser George Kaiser. In July, a House subcommittee subpoenaed White House documents related to the guarantee, and after Wednesday's developments, Republican lawmakers vowed to continue investigating.

Lots more at Instapundit. Even the WaPo and NBC can't spin this as anything but an Administration failure. Can't wait for the "jobs speech."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

John Hinderocker had a nice line:

It would be interesting to know what Harrison meant by ‚Äúregulatory and policy uncertainties.‚ÄĚ Was he complaining about the same regulatory disaster that countless non-green CEOs have fingered as the enemy of job creation? Is it possible that the Obama administration can‚Äôt even do crony capitalism right?

He refers to Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison's complaint that, "Regulatory and policy uncertainties in recent months created significant near-term excess supply and price erosion." What he's saying is 'Nobody will buy our crap, even when we slash the prices.' Why? Because government regulations and policies don't FORCE them to.

While I'm sure the O Admin. is so incompetent they can't even succeed at crony capitalism, even if the press doesn't make them do it in smoke filled rooms, what he's actually complaining about is a lack of regulation.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2011 3:16 AM

August 30, 2011

Bill Gates Jr. on Home Solar PV: "cool" and "cute"

It struck me as possible choir-preaching but since even my darling dagny, who's lived with my rantings for nearly a decade now, still needed to ask, "Do we want to put solar panels on our new house?"

To be fair her goal is self-sufficiency and not being "with it" or reducing the euphemistic "carbon footprint." That same morning (yesterday) the talk-radio segue machine came to my rescue with Mike Rosen reading from this interview with Bill Gates Jr.

Anderson: When you look at the big picture, where should we be focusing besides nuclear? On massive solar plants in the desert? On middle-size stuff for office roofs? Or is there a reinvention that could be done right in the home?

Gates: If youíre going for cuteness, the stuff in the home is the place to go. Itís really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof. But if youíre really interested in the energy problem, itís those big things in the desert.

(...)

Anderson: Imagine a world where we have made a transition to electric cars, and we have a smart grid, and storage is distributed on some level. Can you imagine that microgeneration would make more sense in a world where we have the ability to use, say, electric car batteries as local storage and have a microgrid model?

Gates: No. We should all grow our own food and do our own waste processing, we really should. But scale has some significant advantages in terms of reliability, and electricity is something you want to be reliable. Also, this is dangerous stuff: For solar to work well, you have to generate very high temperatures. Do we want everybody to have that on their roof? No. Itís just not going to happen.

Anderson: So suffice to say we will find no solar cells on the roof of the Gates residence?

Gates: Oh, we like to be cute like everyone. For rich people, this is OK. Rich people can do whatever they want.

We're not rich. We're going to stick with a diesel generator.

Click continue reading to see what he has to say about batteries and subsidies. I don't always agree with this rich tech genius but in this case, he's right.

You have to think of two types of batteries. One is a battery for a car, and it has to be light and crash-proof, but the total amount of energy it has to store is not all that large. Now, that doesnít give you an environmental benefit unless your grid has somehow changed. But at least it gives you a security benefit, because youíre sourcing your coal for your grid locally. The harder battery problem is the second typeóthe grid battery. If youíre getting, say, 50 percent of your energy from solar, and the sun only shines during the day, then you have to be storing enough energy for the night. And that is a mind-blowing problem. I mean, thatís more demanding by a factor of a hundred than any other battery challenge we have today.

I think people deeply underestimate what a huge problem this day-night issue is if youíre trying to design an energy system involving solar technology thatís more than just a hobby. You know, the sun shines during the day, and people turn their air conditioners on during the day, so you can catch some of that peaking load, particularly if you get enough subsidies. Itís cute, you know, itís nice. But the economics are so, so far from making sense. And yet thatís where subsidies are going now. Weíre putting 90 percent of the subsidies in deploymentóthis is true in Europe and the United Statesónot in R&D. And so unfortunately you get technologies that, no matter how much of them you buy, thereís no path to being economical. You need fundamental breakthroughs, which come more out of basic research.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The other entity on this planet with money confers:

Beijing appears to be rethinking its singular focus on electric vehicles as a way to reduce fuel consumption and seems ready to revise its alternative-energy vehicle estimates as it becomes increasingly evident that the city's electric vehicle targets were completely unrealistic.

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2011 4:09 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Grow our own food? Sure, for the same reason I write my own operating systems and build my own PC hardware.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 1, 2011 12:18 AM

August 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

Make no mistake, many states are well positioned to realize the same energy production benefits as North Dakota and Texas. These include, at a minimum, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming -- each of which has ready access to abundant resources of the same shale oil and shale gas that is fueling economic growth in North Dakota and Texas. Energy production and economic strength in North Dakota and Texas are the results of wise and courageous policy decisions designed to encourage rather than stifle energy production (something that fellow Forbes columnist Joel Kotkin pointed out in his recent piece on Texas). Going forward, the question is which leaders in which states have the political courage to stand up to environmental activist groups and their media allies who routinely vilify energy production? -- James Taylor
Posted by John Kranz at 8:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2011

Hank Reardon, Call Your Office

Ken Salazar's Interior Department moves to prevent Exxon from developing a billion-barrel oil field it discovered in deep water Gulf of Mexico in 2007. Because of feared oil spills? No. Because it might impair the mating habits of the Gorite-dwelling shoestring eel? No.

Employing an extreme technicality, these regulators claimed that Exxon's request in 2008 for a short suspension of activity to upgrade and make safer its drilling operation amounted to an abandonment of three of its five permits, simply because Exxon hadn't signed a contract with another partner, Chevron, by the time the suspension was completed.

In the past, such glitches were no problem ó after all, it's obvious Exxon, which spent $300 million on exploratory wells, hasn't abandoned the operation.

But in the Obama era, which demonizes oil production in American waters by American companies, the bureaucrats came up with this permit technicality to effectively expropriate the entire operation.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

I would say "unbelievable!!" but sadly nothing is anymore when it comes to this bullpucky.

Posted by: Terri at August 22, 2011 3:47 PM
But jk thinks:

This was a day in the WSJ Ed Page's Week in the life of the Obama Recovery

Consider the headlines only from last week, a slow week by Washington standards, with Congress out of session and President Obama campaigning for three days before going on vacation. Even in the dog days of August, your government was hard at work undermining economic confidence.

Holler if you would like it mailed over the pay wall, it is devastating.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2011 3:54 PM
But Terri thinks:

Nope, I got it, and had read it first thinking you missed a ht to the WSJ, but then compared the quotes. Same song. Same, sad, sad, song.

Posted by: Terri at August 22, 2011 7:21 PM

August 19, 2011

jk Agrees with Rep. Maxine Waters

Write down the date. Cache the page. I may never admit it. But the gentle lady from California is right about "Green Jobs:"

"Of course, we want to be a part of the new innovation and the green jobs," Rep. Maxine Waters said on MSNBC Thursday. "But you know, the green jobs have been about a lot of talk and not a lot has been happening on that." A few hours later, also on MSNBC, Waters said flatly: "All of this talk about the green jobs never materialized."

Waters is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Last month, the chairman of that group, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, told the Huffington Post that green jobs had little meaning for his constituents. "African-Americans out there were saying, 'What do we have in common with this new, green technology?'" Cleaver told the website.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (3)
But Robert thinks:

Well, anyone who believed in the "Green Jobs" blather in the first place gets points taken off. I thought the Gentlelady from CA was a fool, but I never supsected she believed BHO's campaign trail talk was anything more than BS. I suppose they're not entirely imaginary: All it takes to create a $50k/year Green Job is $1.5 million in Fed subsidies.

Posted by: Robert at August 19, 2011 5:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HA! But if you think about it, that's a pretty efficient rate-of-return for government.

Welcome to the commentariat Alaska Robert.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2011 8:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Likewise, Robert! Remind me not to challenge him to a game of chess. (Y'all should click "Robert" to see his blog).

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2011 11:36 AM

August 18, 2011

Ms. Bachmann's Turn

Earlier this week neophite presidential candidate Rick Perry garnered lots of pub by calling another round of quantitative easing by Ben Bernanke "almost treasonous." Today Michelle Bachmann rolled out her own red meat issue by promising,

"Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again," Bachmann told a crowd Tuesday in South Carolina. "That will happen."

Naturally the press thinks it's impossible, ably demonstrated by Charles Riley who penned the CNN Money article linked above. I searched other reports looking for any that weren't dismissive but struck out. Apparently nobody within reach of a keyboard knows how easy it would be. "I will then, said the little red hen." From the Three Sources Oil and Energy archives:

Pique Oil - February, 2011

Within five years, analysts and executives predict, the newly unlocked fields are expected to produce 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil per day, enough to boost U.S. production 20 percent to 40 percent.

Tightly Controlled Oil Supply Slips Into Surplus - November 2008

The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

Casey at Bat - July 2008

Every few months some Democrat decides that oil companies are to blame for high prices.

Except they're not. It's Democrats who are at fault.

And I'm not even including the price hiking effect of regional fuel blends mandated by government, although I'm sure we have a piece on that somewhere.

So bringing prices way, way down is a relatively straightforward goal. But how far down they can go is affected more by the value of the dollar than by the supply/demand balance for oil and refined gasoline. We've been debating whether or not we're actually in an inflationary period but according to the divergence of the two lines here (computed from "CPI-All Urban Consumers for all items less energy") inflation has been gangbusters since about 2004. But with this huge caveat, what should be the market price for a gallon of gasoline without government "help?" About 60 cents.

A Market Price for Crude Oil - June 2008

But for nearly 20 years between the two "oil shock" periods noted the price was roughly half that - 60 cents per gallon in constant [1979] dollars.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:50 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Nicely done. I rolled my eyes when I first heard it. It concerned me because it plays into the narrative of how important government it. Blame it when things are bad and fete it when times are good.

I just hope that Rep. Bachmann can make the point as effectively as you. "Hey, we don't set gas prices but we can keep from driving them up." No, on second thought, the "Hey" is too Sarahpalainish...

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2011 5:23 PM

August 3, 2011

Quote of the Day

You see, they claim that the reason the Volt isn't selling is that they can't keep enough cars on the lot. A GM spokeswoman recently claimed that they are "virtually sold out." Which is virtually true. Mark Modica called around his local Chevy dealers and found plenty of Volts waiting for an environmentally conscious driver to bring them home. -- Jonathan V. Last
Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2011

The Refugee Apologizes

The Refugee has just learned that, in addition to fleecing his blog brothers, filling his truck with E85 has deprived a starving person of a year's worth of corn. From today's WSJ:

"The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year." [renouned environmentalist Lester Brown] said.
So there we have it: the enviros want us to burn someone's dinner in our cars. How many meals are burned every day?

The same article also noted that it would take an area three times the size of the continental US to replace one third of our oil requirements with biofuels. Guess the enviros never did the math.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:03 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Enviros. Math. Heh. That's a good one.

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2011 10:16 AM

July 19, 2011

Green Jobs!

Quick Charge Trucks Will Save Your Stranded EV

Hat-tip: Instapundit

[Standard disclaimer: if people bought electric cars with no tax incentive, I would applaud the innovation of support infrastructure]

Posted by John Kranz at 6:13 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...and a short eight hours later, he's ready to roll.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 19, 2011 10:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Bwaa ha haa. Bwaaaa haaaa haaa haaaaaa. BWAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Hey buddy, can I give you a lift somewhere?

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2011 4:03 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It would be slightly more cost-effective if the truck simply used the charging cable to tow the copper-top home.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 20, 2011 7:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Proof of the level of comfort, security and prosperity we have reached in life on earth is the ability one has to spend his waking hours seeking a recharge for his overpriced car instead of having to toil every possible moment to secure his family's sustenance.

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2011 7:39 PM

NYTimes Rebuked by ... NYTimes

Jon Entine at The American, gives props to the NYTimes ombudsman:

The New York Times' public editor, Arthur Brisbane, weighed in on the much-criticized reporting on natural gas by Ian Urbina, issuing a sharp rebuke of the staff's reporting and editing.

I agree that "Thankfully it has the integrity to wash its dirty laundry in public." But I fear that the retraction will not create the buzz that the original piece did. Entine describes:
The Urbina "the sky-is-falling" express went off the rails completely on June 25 and 26 with two front-page stories asserting that shale gas reserves are being hyped by the natural gas industry. Urbina and the sources he quoted suggested parallels to Ponzi schemes, Enron, and the housing bubble.

Scientists at MIT and elsewhere, who have confirmed massive shale gas reserves but whose research was not referenced in the piece, immediately issued sharp rebukes of the Urbina narrative. As I noted in a critique for RealClearPolitics, the Times' article left out key editorial framing details, such as the dubious credibility of the only two identified sources. And as Michael Levi of the Council of Foreign Relations pointed out in his blog, this latest critique of shale gas consisted almost entirely of cherry-picked comments from anonymous sources.

I was pretty surprised by the original piece. Yes, it was the Times, but this was a serious anti-fracking hit piece on the News pages -- maybe I was in the tank for Big Gas after all. It successfully instilled doubt.

That's what I get for believing the New York Times.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2011

"Reality Hasn't Cooperated"

There's a phrase of the day for you: "Reality hasn't cooperated."

The 2007 energy bill vastly increased the volume of corn ethanol that must be blended into gasoline, though it also included mandates for cellulosic ethanol. These are the second-generation fuels made from stocks like switchgrass or the wood chips that George W. Bush invoked in his 2006 State of the Union. At the time, no such fuels were being produced on a commercial scale, but cellulosic producers and the green lobby assured Congress they were just about to turn the corner, and both the Bush and Obama Administration furnished handsome subsidies.

The EPA set the 2011 standard at six million gallons. Reality hasn't cooperated. Zero gallons have been produced in the last six months and the corner isn't visible over the next six months either. The EPA has only approved a single plant to sell the stuff, operated by Range Fuels near Soperton, Georgia. The company used to be a press corps favorite and has been lauded by the last two Presidents, but it shut down its cellulosic operations earlier this year to work through technical snafus.


The arrogance of our King Canutes in Congress mandating things they do not understand is high on the list of depressing affronts to liberty and dynamism. It is one thing to make the Soviet Five-year plan assertions that President Obama loves "242,000 vehicles with 16.5 inch tires by October 19th!" But it is worse to actually enact them legislatively.

Bonus Unicorn reference at the link (sans flatulence, sorry...)

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2011

Screw 'Em -- They can Stay Poor!

Stephen Hayward's Energy Fact of the Week (and you though ThreeSources was bad...):

The motion graphic below demonstrates the relationship between rising energy use and falling poverty from 1981 through 2009. The vertical axis represents the number of people living on less than $1 a day in China, while the horizontal axis plots China's total energy use.

Chinaís total energy consumption during this period increased 406 percent. In concrete terms, it means that for every increase of 1 quadrillion BTUs, 8.2 million people were lifted out of poverty. Everyone likes to wring their hands over Chinaís coal use, but these figures work out as follows: for every additional 4.5 million tons of coal used in China, or for every additional 450,000 barrels of oil consumed, 1 million people were lifted out of poverty.


My enviro friends refuse to accept this correlation when I suggest it. And, I'm certain that when I send this the next time it happens, they'll assert that it could be done with solar or wind or magic beans (jg's friend's "unicorn farts" remains the best shorthand). But it is clear that it is cheap and available (scalable) power which is lifting these people out of poverty.

VP Gore can invest in geothermal for his two mansions, that is not available to help these people move form <$1/day to the middle class,

Posted by John Kranz at 2:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2011

Yeah, This Is Going to Work...

Boulder is going to start its own environmentally friendly utility:

The prospect of Boulder turning out a major, investor-owned utility and creating a municipal operation is being watched across the country.

"If a large community like Boulder can do it, it sets an example for everyone," said Ursula Schryver, a vice president at the American Public Power Association, which represents the country's 2,000 municipal electric utilities.


This is not a joke, or at least a good enough one to fool The Denver Post

Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think the phrase I am looking for is "What could possibly go wrong?"

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2011 7:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In an effort to keep Boulder's business Xcel has proposed building an extra 200 megawatts of wind power capacity to generate "renewable-energy credits" for Boulder. "Boulder would, however, be liable for costs associated with wind power - adding, by Xcel estimates, up to $4 a month, or 7 percent, to residential bills."

That sounds like a bargain. Why don't they take it? Longmont [Colorado's] municipal owned utility charges about 30% more per kwh for wind power than for coal generated watts.

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2011 1:42 AM

July 10, 2011

A Stirring Defense of Cynicism!

The ethanol lobby has filched taxpayers for so long that it's only natural that the Senate's move this week toward rationalizing the industry's subsidies would be described as a "momentous shift away from federal assistance," as the Des Moines Register put it. But please don't believe that the government is about to "drastically cut the financial support" for corn ethanol, as another newspaper reported.
Another newspaper that does not happen to rhyme with All Greet Myrna, that is.
It's delightful that the ethanol lobby has lost for once in Washington. Really it is. But the industry will still enjoy a mandate that consumers buy its product every time they pull up to the pump. The 2007 energy bill requires the sale of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. Meanwhile, both the Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association came out cautiously in favor of the Senate deal. And might there be a reason that Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin are also in favor? Just asking.
Next time we go to coffee, br, you drive.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Dammit! Why are there no wooden stakes in Washington D.C.! The contention that only cockroaches will survive nuclear armageddon is specious. Rent-seeking political lobbyists will be right there with them.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:20 PM

July 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

I don't think of myself as a connoisseur of pretty much anything. I can, for instance, identify good bread or good gin or sheets with a high thread count, but I can also very easily tolerate the crummy stuff if that's what's available, because it's just me, right? I'm not a princess; I can deal. Then the CFL bulbs came out, and I discovered that I am the snob to end all snobs . . . when it comes to light. Fluorescent lighting makes me feel like I'm dead, and am just haunting whatever room I happen to be in. It makes me feel like the top of my head has been replaced with something clammy and toxic. It makes me feel like filling up my 15-passenger van with overpriced gas and barreling nonstop to Al Gore's house and smacking his silly, fat face around until he admits that his main goal is and always has been to make each and every day for the entire human race a little less bearable. -- Simcha Fisher
Hat-tip: Insty
Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | Comments (7)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It's not the St. Crispian's Day speech, nor is it V's introduction of himself to Evey, but 'tis poetic aplenty - plus, smacking Al Gore's silly, fat face definitely resonates with me, and that's not merely poetic, that's epic. It's positively inspiring.

As for the "overpriced gas," just think: Taco Bell, dollar menu.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 8, 2011 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, "overpriced gas" makes me think of DeBeers. But in this case it's not a South African private corporation that is artificially restricting supply to inflate prices, it is the United States Department of the Interior. (Hmmm, that's in the Executive Branch, no?)

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2011 7:25 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

ThreeSourcers will have a vested interest in this part of the Dept. of Interior website: http://on.doi.gov/pST7Xm

"Climate change is affecting every corner of the American continent. It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe... The glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park are melting so quickly, they're expected to disappear in the next two decades..."

Who writes this crap?

"... At the U.S. Department of the Interior, we manage one-fifth of the land in the country, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf..." And that's why, when you elect me President, my Secretary of the Interior will be tasked with exactly one job - to deed every possible square inch of America back to the states within six months, for them to do with as they and their citizens please - make them public parks, cut them down for timber, build suburbs and tract homes, drill them for oil, or strip-mine them. Thank you for your vote.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 9, 2011 9:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Unreal.

The Congressional Democrats keep demanding "more revenue" in the debt deal. I say we go all bipartisan on their ass and sell off a few national parks.

Got Prince Harry, but "V and Evey" forced me to Google. Damn, the allusions around here work me like a dog!

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2011 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The good brother asks, "Who writes this crap?"

He knows the answer but I'll spell it out: The same sort of dirty hippies who run and/or advise the other government agencies e.g. FDA. In that example it was charity leeches from Public Citizen, National Breast Cancer Coalition, New America Foundation... They are paid not for the soundness of their analysis, but for the evocative power of polar bear and baby seal images to elicit monthly donations from puppy lovers and cat people. Undoubtedly some know what their donations beget, but certainly the majority believe it is spent on Purina Panda Chow.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I know the V and Evey speech but not the other one. I guess that means between the two of us we're as literate as our Cali brother, though I concede you are the anchor on that rope.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:26 PM

July 7, 2011

Yay

Nanobrewer was celebrating this, but it has seemed too good to be true. Yes, Virginia, they may really cut the ethanol subsidy...

WASHINGTON--Key Senate lawmakers have reached a deal to end two ethanol subsidies by the end of the month, sooner than expected and a sign of how tax policy can change as attention focuses on the deficit.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, Calif.) said in a statement that she had reached an agreement with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D, Minn.) and John Thune (R, S.D.) under which a 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline would expire on July 31. A 54-cent-a-gallon tax on imported ethanol would also expire at the end of the month.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:20 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Umm, me too.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2011 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From the article:

"About 90% of the gasoline sold in the U.S. contains at least 10% ethanol, indeed the E-10 fuel blend is the most popular at the U.S. pump."

and...

"The loss of the subsidy would be a blow to gasoline companies because they are the ones who received it for blending ethanol, said Joel Karlin, an analyst for Western Milling, but the effect on ethanol companies and corn farmers would be minimal."

Gosh, I wonder if the latter has any bearing on the former. (It's definitely not because consumers clamor for a fuel that carries them a shorter distance per gallon and ruins their engine in the process.) And they're now telling us that the ethanol subsidy benefitted not ethanol companies and corn farmers, but big oil? WTF! No more special tax breaks for big oil!!

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2011 7:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Yup, I am last in line to believe. I'm not generally cynical, but circumspection is warranted in the sport of government subsidy killing. Do you get up and leave the theatre the first time Freddy Krueger dies?

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2011 12:04 PM

June 24, 2011

The Future of the American Car

Friday Funnies from Reason:

Posted by John Kranz at 4:06 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Pixie dust will be opposed by the Big Flubber lobby and the enviros will sue for an environmental impact study on Neverland Island. During the study, they will find an endangered crocodile and will demand that the DNR halt production. No one will be able think enough happy thoughts to get anything off the ground.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2011 6:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

At first I thought it would be easier simply to mount a Mr. Fusion on the rear deck of all of our DeLoreans - until I realized that Big Tire, which doubtless has several Senators in their pockets, will pressure our legislators to block the production of flying automobiles.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2011 7:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd have included Obama Administration as one of the tags for this entry.

Hope. Change. Pixie dust.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2011 2:23 PM

June 21, 2011

Bye-Bye E85

I think we've just learned how candidate Romney can afford to take a pass on calling for an end to the ethanol subsidy. Because Congress just took a giant step toward ending it before he might ever take office.

Ethanol subsidies have been a sacred cow in American politics since the late 1980s, and their demise came Friday not with a whimper but with a bang. By a vote of 73 to 27, the Senate declared an end to what Republican Senator John McCain called the "corporate welfare" that had gone on for far too long, and that had become enshrined in presidential politics as a ticket of admission to the Iowa caucuses. Now the legislation moves to the House, where deficit-conscious Tea Party conservatives could provide a similar winning margin.

Read the article to see how Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS-OK) was the key figure in the watershed vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Dude. Out of politeness, you should warn when you link to Eleanor Clift. I suffered a bad batch of McLaughlin Group flashbacks...

I love how she positions it as a rebuke of Grover Norquist.

But I need me some elucidatin'... I heard that this was an amendment on a bill that will never pass and that any interruption to brother br's subsidized truck fuel was completely symbolic -- is this a different amendment or bill?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought you would appreciate the effort to shore up our "we read everybody" cred.

However, in reliance on Ms. (if there ever was anyone to whom that salutation applied) Clift's term "demise" I took it as a completed bill on its way to the House. In fact, it was an amendment to S.782, Senator Feinstein's 'Economic Development Revitalization Act.'

But Dr. Senator Coburn hints at the potential fast-track process in his press release:

In light of today‚Äôs lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity,‚ÄĚ Dr. Coburn said.

So those wacky TEA Partiers in the GOP controlled House need to draft a bill on this, pass it, and forward it to the Senate where they will presumably vote in similar fashion.

(Hey, a guy can hope.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, by all means link. We should link to and read a variety of sources. I was just thinkling of a little in-line warning like [DANGER! LINK GOES TO ELEANOR CLIFT!] something simple.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I waited impatiently for someone to challenge my title. Maybe E85 won't go away. It has become quite entrenched with vested interests and a modicum of pious consumer's demand. But at the very least I want to see the demise of E10 (the 10 percent ethanol routinely blended with gasoline to create a false demand for ethanol reduce emissions (and corrode the insides of the fuel systems in our cars.)

And at the very, very least - get the crap out of NASCAR!

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:30 PM

Quote of the Year?

A good friend of this blog nominates Professor Althouse for quote of the year:

Does the NYT care about the carbon footprint of its wonderful pizza-cooking technique?
"Heat the oven and pizza stone at 500 degrees for one hour..."

Oh, hell! Shut up about my light bulbs. Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

If you people really believed in global warming in the form that you would like to foist that belief on the common folk, that quoted line above would have sounded to you as something on the moral level of first, torture a small, cute kitten....


I read it to myself, laughed out loud, then read it to the lovely bride. It's pretty good.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The Great State of Texas has thumbed their nose at Washington on this - and I give Misha extra credit for the Firefly reference: http://nicedoggie.net/?p=1716

Texas - God bless 'em - looks prettier every day.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 21, 2011 2:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen to that. I fear it will run afoul of Wickard v Filburn, but oral arguments would be fun if it got cert.

Segue-digression-alert: a good friend of the blog I have not heard from in a while emailed to ask if I am "on the Rick Perry bandwagon yet?" The Texas Miracle is lookin' pretty shiny.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 2:59 PM
But jk thinks:

...and no, it's not the same one. This blog has two "good friends." Kinda like Instapundit with a blue theme.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Still trying to reconcile the tone of this post with yesterday's. Those of us with a "Climate Change is a hoax" litmus test aren't demanding that the candidates tell the alarmists to "shut the F up." That's a bit, err, dogmatic.

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2011 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Not at all inconsistent. I prefer the self-rising crust at home, but order thin-crust from Dominos, where they have the very hot ovens to properly bake the crust.

Oh, you meant attitude. I'll defend that as well. Prof Althouse forcefully and colorfully accuses a NYTimes journalist -- and indirectly the publication, and less directly the media monolith it represents -- of hypocrisy.

There is no assertion of whether DAWG is true or false as in yesterday's post, just a suggestion that she be allowed, in Hayekian spirit, to choose her methods of conserving versus sensual enjoyment, as the NYTimes reader is allowed.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:42 PM

June 14, 2011

EPA: "Employee salary is our highest budget priority"

On his radio show today Mike Rosen read a copy [2:00 to 4:55] of an internal memo from EPA Regional Administrator James Martin to all Region 8 EPA employees. Subject: Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Decisions.

I want to update you on the status of Region eight's budget. The most important thing to tell you is that we continue to protect salary for our on-board EPA employees. It is our highest budget priority and that has not and will not change.

Our OCFO has been able to provide us with some relief for our payroll shortfall. This will allow us to maintain our support services at the current levels as we work to meet our agency's mission. We are continuing to work with headquarters for additional relief. In the meantime, to meet the remaining payroll needs we'll be reducing our programmatic funds by 30 percent, as well as some regional support funds.

A distinct difference, to be sure, from EPA's stated policy on private sector jobs.

EPA: Jobs Aren't a factor when making new regs

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2011

Three Cheers for Black Gold

It seems the good folks at Exxon have drilled down in 7000 feet of water and found 700 million barrels of wind, solar, and geothermal Oil!

The great energy irony of recent years is that governments have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars at wind, solar, ethanol and other alternative fuels, yet the major breakthroughs have taken place in the traditional oil and natural gas business. Hydraulic fracturing in shale, horizontal drilling and new seismic techniques are only the best known examples.

Private companies must innovate to survive, and they have the profit incentive to do so, while government cash is usually steered to politically favored companies that may or may not know what they're doing. If you live off federal grants, you need to work the corridors of power more than the technology. Federal grants for cellulosic ethanol are rife with political earmarks, for example. This is why these columns have argued that the political fad of alternative energy has misallocated scarce capital when the economy can least afford it.


I was partially remonstrated (ouch! but better than defenestrated) on Facebook by blog brother jg for agreeing with a new energy proponent that I looked forward to oil's being replaced when a superior source was technologically appropriate and economically viable. I stick by the comment; something new will be cool someday. But my brother was right that I should not join the petro-apologia. Cheap, safe, easily transportable power from oil and natural gas is indeed swell.

Perhaps more interesting in the WSJ Editorial was this tasty nugget of anti-regulation:

Far more important for safety is the effort that the oil industry is taking to contain future deepwater spills. ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell and Chevron have led an effort, since joined by other companies, to form the Marine Well Containment Co. to build a spill containment system that will be permanently placed in the Gulf starting next year.

The companies are attempting to apply the lessons from the BP fiasco, and their expectation is that the system would be able to handle a blowout as if it were a contained well at depths of up to 10,000 feet. The companies have committed $1 billion to the project, and we're told the cost could reach $1.5 billion. If you believe Big Oil companies are inherently evil, you'll think this is one more confidence trick. But no rational company or CEO wants to endure the reputational damage that accompanied the BP spill.


Oil and financial services are among the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Yet all that government did not prevent the BP spill or the Panic of Oh-Eight. I suggest that the $1.5Billion consortium will prove a lot more effective.

I will mention this to a lefty friend or two. They put so much faith in regulation, when it is demonstrably insane. You get legislation written by guys who really do not understand the thing they are regulating, shaped by the firms being regulated, then subject to regulatory capture, graft, incompetence or all three. Versus the drillers putting up private capital to truly fix the problem or limit damage/losses.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:22 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Giga-heh!

At face value this story is a vindication of those who dared criticize the narratives of "peak oil" or "new energy economy." But unless more people follow the examples of David Horowitz and David Mamet the regulatory claws of the welfare state will eventually force even the "animal spirits" such as these in the U.S. energy industry to succomb to its suffocating will. That is the lesson of Atlas Shrugged: Dagny Taggart can repeatedly defeat both the challenges of her industry and the punitive power of the state, but if her customers continue to reward her punishers instead of her accomplishments she will, eventually, stop.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2011 3:45 PM

June 3, 2011

Germany *HEART* Coal!

As a wild-eyed capitalist I've bragged before about how I love coal as an energy source. Now, we can add PhD physicist and Prime Minster of Germany, Angela Merkel to my club. NY Times: Germany, in Reversal, Will Close Nuclear Plants by 2022

"If the government goes ahead with what it said it would do, then Germany will be a kind of laboratory for efforts worldwide to end nuclear power in an advanced economy," said Mark Hibbs, a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "No other country in the world is taking those steps."

I would call it a laboratory for something else - economic self-destruction.

The powerful Federal Association for German Industry, known as B.D.I., sent a letter on Monday morning to the chancellery, warning her about the consequences for German business.

"How will the international competitiveness of German industry be guaranteed?" Hans-Peter Keitel, B.D.I.ís president, wrote. "Industry last year accounted for two-thirds of Germanyís economic upswing."

What could possibly go wrong?
Hat Tip: Wikipedia's "in the news" section. (I sure didn't read it first in the Times.)

UPDATE: The reader may wonder at my connecting this Times story to coal, since it never mentions that fuel which provides half of Germany's electricity. It was, however, mentioned in a reference cited in the Wiki entry. There's also a picture of the very down-to-earth Environment Minister who dismisses more cautious and practical energy strategies. Minister Tritten:

"Ten years ago people told us that there would never be enough capacity to have a relevant share produced by wind - now the same people tell me we have too much wind, and have to export electricity because we have such a huge share of wind energy," he stated.

"So I can't take these arguments seriously."

He stressed he was "convinced" Germany would reach its target.

And he dismissed Dr Pfaffenberger's concerns about cost out of hand.

"He is wrong - simple," he said.

"To hear such arguments from people who haven't learned anything in the last half century - I am very calm on that."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2011

End Subsidy Gifts to Big Oil!

Sarah Palin channels JohnGalt:

Palin: End All Energy Subsidies

"I think all our energy subsidies need to be re-looked at today and eliminated," Palin told Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics during a quick stop at a coffee shop. "And we need to make sure that we're investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren't going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can't afford it."
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)
But Kudzuisedible thinks:

Energy subsidies to alternate energy forms frequently take the form of outright transfers of money from the U. S. Treasury to private corporations that make solar cells, wind turbines, etc. or to utilities purchasing these products. Does "Big Oil" receive any such subsidies as those?

Big Energy (producers of oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, and distributors of traditional energy products) pays Big Taxes. Frequently, what the left calls "subsidies" are standard tax breaks received by all or most corporations, like depreciation allowances on equipment and buildings or domestic tax deductions for taxes paid to foreign governments. The left wants to single out "Big Energy" for punitive taxation beyond that imposed on other large corporations. Shouldn't "Big Oil" in fairness get tax treatment at least as favorable as Microsoft or Walmart?

Since Big Energy pays Big Taxes, the net flow of revenue to the U. S. Treasury for most producers of traditional energy forms remains positive. They could be considered to be paying for the so-called subsidies from which they benefit. By contrast, most producers of "alternative energy" are engaged in economic activity which makes no sense unless massive government subsidies are in place. For many of these alternate energy producers, the Federal subsidy substantially exceeds the corporation's gross revenue from sales. Such folly obviously should be stopped at once. If alternate energy producers were trimmed to only those "subsidies" that benefit "Big Energy", most if not all of the alternative energy market would dry up and blow away.

The profit from corporations that is transferred to stockholders, or the profit from private businesses that is taken as income by the business owners, is personal income taxed by the Federal government. Is there a clear reason why businesses and corporations should pay any taxes at all, beyond the taxes paid by those who derive income from the businesses and corporations?

Sarah Palin should be looking at the option of repealing all taxes on the private sector other than individual income tax. After all, those corporate taxes are simply being passed on to the consumers of goods and services as higher prices, distorting our markets and unfairly taxing the citizens with lowest incomes disproportionally.

Posted by: Kudzuisedible at June 2, 2011 4:03 PM

May 27, 2011

Crazy Ass Conservatives

If you need to put together an example of smarmy journalism into a time capsule at your Memorial Day shindig this weekend, might I recommend this archetype from Penelope Green.

Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline "As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each." Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

Fifty Dollar Light Bulbs! Can't those wingnuts read? The bulb could cost as little as $40!

Anyhow, the whole thing is a) Not a problem at all! and b) Is Completely George Bush's fault!

The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

GOT THAT THICKHEADS???? They can still make incandescents, they just have to make them conform to a government design AND STOP SNIGGERING IN THE BACK!!

Hat-tip: Incandescent-Insty, with a link to stock up that profits him directly. Capitalist Pig!

UPDATE: I emailed the Professor asking him how he could seek to profit from light bulb lies and he replied "I'm just a shill for Big Bulb." Heh.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:16 PM | Comments (7)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

A while back, I stocked up when my local Home Depot had Philips incandescent 4-packs for 99 cents.

Let's see, a 25-cent/1000-hour incandescent, or a $40/50000-hour LED -- which need tints unless you like bluish light. No wonder it takes several years to break even via lower electricity consumption, and that's if an LED really is reliable. Having used LEDs for the, uh, 27 years I've done electronics, I couldn't count how many I've burned out.

Better count on plugging your lamps into surge suppressors, because one lightning strike taking out incandescents isn't so bad, but how about a dozen LEDs throughout your house?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 28, 2011 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And when your 25-cent bulb burns out in 700 (or 200, or 10) hours instead of its rated 1000 you throw it out and possibly grumble about having to get the ladder out again. When a bulb costing as much as three 12-packs of microbrew burns out in 10,000 hours instead of its rated 50K you're looking for the warranty card and the 800 number and the pro-ration schedule and ...

Aren't these being touted by the same crowd that wants us to consume less and "simplify" our lives?

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2011 5:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The first CFCs I ever bought (which burned out in days) had to be mailed back for "free" replacements. It was years before I dared risk any more, and the only reason I bothered is because one circuit in our house has old wiring that supposedly can't handle more than 60 watts.

Let's also not forget the occasional $2000 mercury cleanup should a CFC break.

"it seems that Bridges was apparently given quite poor advice on this issue because she could have safely cleaned up the broken bulb herself."

I suppose every liberal in the world is ready to prove how safe these minute amounts of mercury are, by breaking CFCs in their homes and cleaning up themselves? These are the same goddamn wackos who warn us about mercury in fish.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 30, 2011 9:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother PE, was there meant to be a link in there somewhere? And it's CFL's. CFC's are what supposedly fried the ozone layer, since debunked if I'm not mistaken.

Oh, and brother Keith, I meant to give you credit for an awesome paraphrase of 'Anthem.' I was seriously prepared to search my electronic copy of that title for the passage that matched your comment.

Posted by: johngalt at May 31, 2011 1:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Err, yeah, CFLs. Pardon me while I release some hairspray into the atmosphere!

I can't find the link I had meant to include (did I forget to close the tag?), but here's a pro-freedom perspective on the woman who spent $2000 to clean up a broken CFL in her kid's room. There are environmentalists who say, "Oh, the mercury isn't THAT much," but are any of us going to take a chance with our families? I sure as hell wouldn't.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1825609/posts

"Just gently clean the glass up, sprinkle with fine sulfur powder, and vacuum it up in a week or two. Or just vacuum it up straight away." Yes, I'm sure we all keep powdered sulfur around, and we can forego the use of a room for a week.

Environmentalists just don't deal with reality, and their goal is to take us with them.

I've only once broken a mercury thermometer, only because I was young and curious if this 1200-degree thermometer could withstand a gas flame. I've never experienced a broken mercury switch. But good lord, dealing with a CFL bulb is almost like handling toxic waste.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 31, 2011 10:27 PM
But jk thinks:

HTML tags fixed. Reasonable rates, top customer service.

It's a link worth fixing.

Posted by: jk at June 1, 2011 9:55 AM

May 23, 2011

More of them Green Jobs!

Somebody's got to rip out all of those ineffective, illegal wind turbines they put up.

Now, according to Watts, another miracle may happen: "A judge ordered the removal of 45 wind turbines on the grounds that planning laws were violated. There was no "general municipal plan" establishing a "reserva del suelo"--i.e., the land was not legally declared appropriate for the erection of wind turbines.

Of course, this will also be portrayed as green job creation, as the judge has ordered that the turbines be demolished, and that the vegetation in the area be restored. That'll be fun, since according to one domestic manufacturer, modern wind turbines are about as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and sit on concrete pads that weigh in the vicinity of 327 tons each and use 15 tons of steel reinforcement.
Kenneth Green suggests Don Quixote might need a little help on these...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Honestly, this seems like a travesty of justice. After wading through the intermediate links I found the translated original article from Spain.

"The tolerance in this matter leads to an unacceptable situation of fait accompli whereby, without any rules whatsoever and coverage under mere licenses and authorizations, is implemented, more or less, general systems like the one in question, the impact, at least that they behave landscape, "says the judge.

"Coverage under mere licenses and authorizations?" If one can't build something with licenses and authorizations how CAN he build it?

Further insight via Anthony Watts: According to another article going back to January 22nd, Spanish architects from the Autonomous Community (state) of Cantabria complained that windfarms will make it impossible to have the southern valleys declared World Heritage Area, despite the many romanesque churches and buildings making them worthy of that designation.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2011 3:45 PM

A Great Leap Backward!

I try to like the Nissan Leaf®. Sure, I have to subsidize its sale to preening Yuppies who make four times what I do, but -- unlike the garage-torching Volt -- the good folks at Nissan developed it with private capital, wagering their innovation resources against the cruel, Schumpeterian vicissitudes of the market. (Yeah, a market distorted by US subsidies, but...)

The Postrellian in me should applaud, but I cannot. My inner Popperian sees this as a trip back to the caves: providing, of course, the caves are within 40 miles, and the weather is good.

The previous day's usage had left me in a pickle. With the 12 miles left and only nine-and-a-half hours charging time at 120V. Of course if I constantly had to remind myself, if I had a 240V charging station at home this would be a non-issue as the Leaf would have been completely full. However, my situation as it was, the Leaf was perhaps a hair over 40% charged when I left for work with the range indicator displaying 59 miles, hopefully enough for my 57 mile drive.

Since I needed all the juice I could get to make it to Burlingame I decided to forgo the pre-heating and let the Leaf charge to the very last second. Fortunately this morning was a hair warmer than the day previous being a brisk 40 degrees. Unfortunately the temperatures and humidity conspired to fog the windscreen. Without sufficient power to make it to work and use the defogger, I chose to defog the old-fashioned way: windows open.

Maybe someday they'll develop transportation that can be quickly and safely refueled.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Or roadside hazard indicators that don't require electricity...

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I also like to remember that these are on brand new batteries, motors and drivetrains. Three years in the elements, I don't know this thing will make it out to buy beer.

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2011 1:29 PM

May 20, 2011

A Tagline for the Brochure

Of course, most battery-powered vehicles can be plugged into a conventional wall outlet, making it possible to recharge them -- slowly, at least -- almost anywhere.
You can recharge them slowly almost anywhere! Where do I sign?

Hat-tip: Insty, from an interesting post on buyers' being more influenced by savings than environmental factors. Yeah, I know, the lies these oil company shills print...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2011

Wind Power Blows

Scotland's John Muir Trust (yes, that John Muir) has supported a study which concludes that wind turbines "cannot be relied upon" to produce significant levels of power generation.

Statements made by the wind industry and government agencies commonly assert that wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year, it said.

But the research found wind generation was below 20% of capacity more than half the time and below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.

But industry [damn, it sure feels good to call these environmentalist loons "industry"] spokesmanperson Jenny Hogan, director of policy for Scottish Renewables, was quick to defend the shortcomings of wind power saying, "No form of electricity worked at 100% capacity, 100% of the time."

"It could be argued the trust is acting irresponsibly given their expertise lies in protecting our wild lands and yet they seem to be going to great lengths to undermine renewable energy which is widely recognised as one of the biggest solutions to tackling climate change - the single biggest threat to our natural heritage.

"We have yet to hear the trust bring forward a viable alternative to lower emissions and meet our growing demand for safe, secure energy."

Climate WHAT? Oh yeah, that.

Hat Tip: A side link from JK's UPDATE.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

You're just one of those troglodytes that has yet to accept that The days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end, the head of the power network said yesterday.

Families would have to get used to only using power when it was available, rather than constantly, said Steve Holliday, chief executive of National Grid. Mr Holliday was challenged over how the country would "keep the lights on" when it relied more on wind turbines as supplies of gas dwindled. Electricity provided by wind farms will increase six-fold by 2020 but critics complain they only generate on windy days.
Mr Holliday told Radio 4's Today programme that people would have to "change their behaviour". "The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030," he said. "We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It is going to be much smarter than that.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 3:23 PM
But jk thinks:

Britons in this "smarter" world will no doubt have to learn to eat when there is food, drink when there is water and be warm when the sun is out.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2011 3:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stop. Yer killin' me! I'm not supposed to laugh this hard.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On a more serious tangent, Britons will also soon learn to vote for politicians who promise power "all the time" over "smart" power that goes away when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 8:17 PM

April 23, 2011

Has the President been spending his leisure time with Marion Berry?

"President Obama's suggestions that "there's no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away" and that one of the "few things we can do" to ostensibly bring prices down is to "finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year" are both ludicrous.

To bring down gas prices right away simply suspend federal regulations dictating specific formulations for specific regions during specific seasons. Reducing the logistical requirement to just "regular, premium and mid-grade" nationwide would allow productivity gains that would flood the market with affordable petrol.

And how exactly is taking money away from oil companies going to bring gas prices down? Not that I oppose eliminating those and all corporate subsidies but please, are we idiots?

But the crown jewel of the President's cheap gasoline plan is "We need to invest in clean, renewable energy. In the long term, that's the answer. That's the key to helping families at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil."

With as much respect as I can muster for the office of President of the United States, investing in so-called "renewable energy" to help families at the pump is like asking alchemists to replentish the kingdom's treasury after his highness has given all of the realm's treasures to China and Brazil.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:13 PM | Comments (0)

If this is true, I'm buying a Hummer®

AP -- President Barack Obama says one answer to high gasoline prices is to spend money developing renewable energy sources.
Walt Disney said one answer to higher gasoline prices is "Wishing will make it so."
Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Wild and Crazy Idea time:

I propose dividing the federal government into two competing divisions - The United States of Red America and The United States of Blue America.

Each will be established and governed exclusively by Republicans and Democrats, respectively.

Red America will be a Constitutional Republic and Blue America will be a Democratic People's Republic (if that's what they really want.)

Red America will repeal the 16th, 17th and 18th amendments, abolish two-thirds of executive branch departments, respect private property rights manage a reserve currency based on Friedmanite principles. Blue America will repeal the Constitution, institute single-payer national healthcare, guarantee a government job to every citizen and run the Fed the same way they do now.

Every American (and resident alien) can elect to live under the authority of one or the other but not both of these governments. On April 30 each year citizens will be able to switch to the other government at no charge, but will have to abide completely by the rules of that government for the entire year and will NEVER be able to vote.

Crimes will be adjudicated in the government of the victim.

Red America will provide for the national defense and Blue America can piggyback along for free. Why not - the rest of the western world has been doing it for centuries.

I'm probably missing a few details but I'm sure we can work them out.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2011 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, and to put into context for the post it comments to ... Red America will not infringe on private development of energy resources.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2011 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

On first read, I thought you were talking secession. The spirit of John C. Calhoun haunts these pages on occasion.

Reading it correctly, there's much to like. Hans Hermann-Hoppe talks about competing governments at the end of "Theory on Socialism and Capitalism."

I confess I cannot quite get my mind around the actual implementation. It sounds good on paper, but what keeps my (blue) neighbor from hauling my (red) ass into court for Section 3.4.981: Crimes again Gaia with an Incandescent bulb? (To be fair, the Red courts will incarcerate the blues for medicinal marijuana and sodomy.)

Hoppe is a protogee of Murray Rothbard. And while I appreciate the intellectual rigor, we wittingly carve out a slice of life where we allow a Lockean Police to protect us from real abuses by others. I appreciate that the force component is regularized and restrained by, in our case, the Constitution.

Having to evade the blue police (mandatory recycling) and the red (daily "Pledge of Allegiance") seems too much.

Beyond my flippant examples, there are real externalities. The energy extraction will have a non-zero pollution component, the strict wage equality laws will retard economic growth. Looking at Wisconsin, I find it hard to see the two living peacefully together for too long.

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2011 10:46 AM

April 20, 2011

Hybrid and Electric Cars Suck

My dad recently emailed us a column from an engineering trade rag that bore the same title as this post.

So I am not going green with a hybrid/electric. No offense to Prius owners who are doing their part. It is just not for me. I am sticking with a regular gasoline car that gets good mileage but also has good performance. My other car, a 2010 VW GTI is one of those. It is a blast to drive. The 0 to 60 time is sub-6 seconds and it gets 31/32 mpg on the highway. Cost only $25K too. A real winner.

My dear Hawaiian auntie asked, "Does anyone know how much it costs to "fill one of these cars up with electricity"? I've never seen a quote,only how far you can drive & how long it takes to charge them. I realize it depends on how much your electrictricy costs are,but I've never even seen any estimates. Also how many windmills is it going to take to make all this extra electricity. Just wondering."

She's right. The only time the "fill-up" cost is ever talked about they just say "a few dollars." So I did some calculating from data I found at Wikipedia for the Nissan LEAF. [Yes, I know it's a bit long winded but I think you'll enjoy this.]

The Nissan LEAF has a 24 kwh (kilowatt hour) battery. At 10 cents per kwh and assuming perfect conversion of line current to DC and then battery charge the cost to charge the battery from empty would be $2.40.

But it isn't just the cost of the charge that needs to be evaluated. There's also the TIME to recharge.

On 240VAC 30 amp circuit the charge time is 8 hours. On 115VAC 15 amp household outlet the charge time would be about 4 times as long, or 32 hours. They provide this type of charging for "convenience use when making stops or for emergency charging." They tell you to count on about 5 miles of range per HOUR of charge time by this method. Nissan has developed a fast charger that can fully refuel 80% of the 100-mile range of a LEAF in ... 30 minutes. You can buy one for $16,800. (Be careful though, because "Nissan warns that if fast charging is the primary way of recharging, then the normal and gradual battery capacity loss is about 10% more than regular 220-volt charging over a 10-year period.")

IT'S JUST ALL SO COMPLICATED!!!

Enviros and 'Lectric car apologists will try to tell you that all of these limitations are just because the technology is "new" and it will improve rapidly as more people buy the things and by becoming mainstream the car companies will compete with each other and solve all the problems. But electric cars are NOT new. I rode in one in Denver that dad took from the University to Cinderella City to show off to normal people. That was about 40 years ago. FORTY!

Why can gasoline engines get the same range on a couple gallons of gasoline that 'Lectrics get on 32 hours worth of power into the biggest electric heater you can plug into your wall socket? Even though gasoline engines are less than a quarter as efficient as electric motors? Because gasoline has a TREMENDOUS energy content.

I'll quote from a blog post I wrote in July 2008:

"A single gallon of gasoline contains 131.76 megajoules of energy, compared to 2.1 megajoules in a stick of dynamite. 1 gallon of gas therefore equals 63 sticks of dynamite.
An average lightning bolt releases 500 megajoules, or 3.8 gallons of gasoline energy."

Now, going full circle back to the Nissan LEAF ... that 24 kwh battery pack it carries can hold 86 megajoules. That's 0.65 gallons of gasoline. (86 MEGAjoules sounded like a lot for a second there, didn't it!) Cost to fill up: $3.69 per gallon equivalent. Well, at least it's got that in common with gasoline powered cars.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:01 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I been thinkin' 'bout this...

1) You left Chevy Volt Catches Fire, Again out of an otherwise comprehensive post.

2) I just bought a battery for the mister2. Fossil that I am, I winced when AutoZone® said $102. Hybrid buyers are warned that they will have to replace the batteries in five-seven years. I don't think many internalize that and I suspect fewer consider that prices for replacement and disposal might escalate in that time.

I picture seven year old Prii being worth as much as my old HP inkjet printer with empty ink cartridges. A clever person might innovate a better third party replacement by then. But it is a Beta none include in calculations.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2011 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Part of my original email to auntie that was left on the 3Srcs cutting room floor was this from the Wiki page:

"It is estimated that each battery pack costs Nissan US$18,000 (as of May 2010[update]), and this cost is expected to be halved by mass production."
Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2011 12:13 PM
But jk thinks:

I think it will be halved -- but by Schumpeterian gales, not "mass production." Batteries? They don't mass-produce those?

I wonder if the new packs will retrofit, how much people will pay for scheduled maintenance on a five year old car, and whether disposal of the old packs might become pricey. (We're reaching a point where you pay as much to dispose of your old flat-screen TV than to buy the new one.)

These are the Bic® lighters of cars, are they not?

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2011 12:32 PM

April 4, 2011

New Energy's Failure to Launch

Some may know that Colorado's latest ex-governor has golden-parachuted into academia in Colorado State University's "Center for the New Energy Economy." Today I learned that ex-guv Ritter's salary as the director there is $300,000 per year. (No word on the pension details.) But the news here is not his ridiculous salary. Rather, it is his apparently complete lack of knowledge on the subject of his office. He recently attended an organized debate at NYU where he and a "new energy" partner attempted to persuade some of the 33 percent undecideds in the audience of the premise: "Clean energy can drive America's economic recovery." From Vince Carroll in the Denver Post:

Before the Oxford Union-style debate, 46 percent of the audience registered support for the proposition, 21 percent were opposed and 33 percent were undecided. Afterward, opinion had made a dramatic shift, to 43 percent in favor, 47 percent against and 10 percent undecided.

And no wonder. Ritter and his colleague, Kassia Yanosek of the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance, relied upon anecdote, personal experience and hopeful thinking more than hard data ó and seemed frustrated the other side kept rattling off facts.

So Ritter was so "persuasive" that over two-thirds of the undecideds left the debate agreeing with his opponents. He even managed to scare off one in twelve of those who came in already agreeing with him. I think Carroll closed this story best: "The New Energy Economy is a catchy slogan for a political campaign. But it leaves something to be desired as a substitute for substance."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2011

I can be succinct, providing the conditions are right and the meaning is not obscured and ...

President Obama's Energy Speech:

"Drilling should be safe, legal, and rare."

Longer and Better: Kenneth Green's Same Silliness, Different Day.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So that line is a JK original? Awesome.

Ken Green's laundry list of energy policy conflicts with reality is fairly complete. One observation I'd intended to make yesterday relates to the ironically named Green's 6th bullet: With his "100 percent alternative fuel or electric vehicle" mandate for federal agencies, the president has announced his own plan for a government shutdown.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2011 2:12 PM

March 30, 2011

But None of the Others Was So Awesome!

President Obama will soon call for a one-third drop in oil imports. He never seems to tire of these soviet five year plans: "a 47% crunchier frozen pizza crust by 2041!"

On this, he and the WaPo admit that every president has failed:

In 1973, Nixon called for a "Project Independence," an effort he said should summon the spirit of the Apollo space missions or Manhattan Project and achieve self-sufficiency by 1980. Instead, the United States was importing more oil by that time.

In January 1975, President Gerald R. Ford said that "Americans are no longer in full control of their own destiny, when that destiny depends on uncertain foreign fuel at high prices fixed by others."

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter called the energy challenge "the moral equivalent of war" and proposed conservation, alternative energy, higher gasoline taxes, ethanol fuels and wider use of nuclear power. He too set a goal of reducing oil imports by a third, to 6 million barrels a day by 1985 from 9 million a day in 1977.

That target was surpassed by 1982, thanks to a rise in Alaskan oil production and the virtual end of the use of oil by electric utilities and manufacturers. But soon imports resumed their relentless climb as a share of U.S. oil needs. By 2006, Bush was calling on Americans to end their "addiction" to oil , warning of "danger and decline" if the country continued to rely on "unstable" countries. He urged a 75 percent reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025.


But President Awesome is on the case now! Time to short the tanker stocks...

UPDATE: AFP's Phil Kerpen was less than impressed:

Obama also touted a so-called Clean Energy Standard, and by "clean energy" he means politically-favored, economically-questionable, and highly-unreliable windmills and solar panels. Of course, the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. You can't run a modern economy without affordable coal, oil, and natural gas. Countries that have tried -- like Spain, Germany, and the U.K. -- have ruined themselves economically. (And of course green groups will sue to block "clean energy" the same way they sue to block everything else.)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

President Awesome was obviously not so awesome in his science classes back in junior high school. I'm fine with reducing dependence on foreign oil. Alternative energy, though, is limited by the laws of physics - and I canna change the laws of physics, Captain:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/2469/Understanding-E-=-mc2

Recent events in the news may have colored some opinions about the use of nuclear energy, and I totally understand. The only action, though, that can achieve that goal of energy independence is embodied in just four words: DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 2:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm sure JK will back me in declaring there is nothing wrong with importing oil, if that oil costs less than producing it domestically. What IS wrong is when government makes the cheapest sites for domestic production "off-limits" with regulations and restrictions.

This presidential "initiative" stands no serious chance of making any difference. It is just another sheet of paper in his re-election portfolio: "I've called for increased domestic oil production" he will boast, while his EPA, his DOE and his BLM do everything in their considerable power to stop it. What an asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 2:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If only we had someone running the country who would eliminate the EPA, the DOE, and the BLM! Then we'll have all the gasoline we need!

No disagreement from me on importing. As for your closing comment: again - Spaceball One.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 30, 2011 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep, you had that one covered... The problem with Corporate saying "portray him as an 'asshole'" is that the term applies equally well to so, so many government officials.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I seem to have loosened the metaphorical sphincter...such a nice blog we used to have...

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2011 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It is important to maintain decorum and reasonableness. Also, dagny advises that "asshole" is not a descriptive term and conveys no information about what is wrong with the President's actions. Given all of this I must revise and extend my prior missive: What a duplicitous asshole.

Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 9:22 PM

Seriously?

Dilbert.com

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

The geek-police may be around to reposess my propeller beanie for so gleefully posting this 'toon but it is clearly true more often than not. From the first link in JK's post above:

In addition to political obstacles, Obama faces technical ones. Legislation signed by President George W. Bush in 2007 called on oil refiners to use minimum amounts of biofuels, including 16 billion gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol by 2022. Though substantial amounts of venture capital ‚ÄĒ and government subsidies ‚ÄĒ have gone into pilot plants, commercial viability has remained elusive.
Posted by: johngalt at March 30, 2011 2:54 PM

March 23, 2011

Green Jobs of the Future

Scooping up the dead birds after they're killed by wind turbines.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:34 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

We could become the Saudi Arabia of dead birds.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 5:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Two words: Bio mass.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2011 5:43 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Mulch for your organic arugula garden

Posted by: Lisa M at March 23, 2011 6:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

At some point, this becomes **soylent** green jobs of the future.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 23, 2011 7:29 PM

March 21, 2011

Not That Much Change

Forbes' Patrick Michaels called General Motors a liar for the claim that their Volt hybrid is an "all-electric vehicle" and the onboard generator is only to extend its range. That's a serious charge, considering the huge federal subsidy to buyers of the car is based on that dubious premise.

Motor Trend dishes the tech: [Last October, I should note]

"It's not a hybrid! It's an electric car with a range-extending, gas-powered generator onboard." That was the party line during most of the masterfully orchestrated press rollout of what we've been promised will be the most thoroughly new car since, what, the Chrysler Turbine? The Lunar Rover? Well, the cat is now out of the bag, and guess what? It is a hybrid, after all. Yes, Virginia, the Chevy Voltís gas engine does turn the wheels. Sometimes.

The salient difference between the Volt and the Prius is that the Prius' gas engine turns on at 60 mph and the Volt's at 100 mph. Motor Trend explains this as a second electric motor giving the Volt its top-end boost but glosses over the fact that the second motor, called a motor-generator, doesn't appear to recharge the battery through regenerative braking as the Prius does. In their diagram they show only "power in" from the engine and motor-generator of the Volt.

So is the Volt better or worse than the Prius? Or even really that much different?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (7)
But jc thinks:

Here's some change for you and your FFF brothers:

http://blogs.forbes.com/greatspeculations/2011/03/22/three-key-technologies-for-energy-independence/

Posted by: jc at March 22, 2011 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

You permanently misunderstand. Other than perhaps AlexC who works in Oil extraction, none of us has a great love of fossil fuels.

Ganos (in your link) suggests that "venture capitalists should have their checkbooks handy." I'm all for it and have annoyed a couple of my friends to no end with my belief in biomass -- specifically engineering microbes to consume dog poop and excrete biodiesel.

But Mister Ganos and I are content to wait for some bright kids to develop the ultracapacitor or superconnective cable, or lightning capture (or dogpooppower!) There's no shortcut. Throwing billions at ethanol or synfuels just delays and defunds what will be the real successor.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 5:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For those not familiar with the acronym, FFF stands for "fossil-fuel freedom." It's a bit of an anachronism though since the discovery that geological hydrocarbon fuels don't come from dead dinosaurs. Nonetheless, I'm proud to be a proponent of FFF.

And you can count me with brother AC for our great love of conventional geologic fuels. Repeat after me: "CO2 is not a pollutant." Poof - filtered combustion of hydrocarbons is no longer a threat to earth-kind.

Of the three proposed energy dreams you may be surprised that I put the most faith in the harnessing of lightning. Super capacitors have an inherent problem with spontaneous instantaneous self-discharge (explosion) and even if and when room-temperature superconductors are developed we can waste loads of cheap energy before spending as much as those new materials will cost to replace aluminum conductors.

And by the way - I'm suspicious of the 70% loss claim. Let's see the data on that one. It's probably closer to 7%.

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2011 7:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Bussard fusion holds no special place in brother jg's oily heart?

I would like something that is cheaper and would not support Hugo Chavez. And if it is dog poop, my condo complex is the Saudi Arabia of dog poop...

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2011 7:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does it require a government subsidy? If so, its gotta go. Seriously.

Want something that is cheaper than oil or natural gas? Dream on. They're regulated and taxed to death and still can't be beat in the free market without subsidies to their competitors.

"Saudi Arabia of dog poop." Awesome line, but I think you had some competition in the Wisconsin state capitol rotunda for a few weeks last month.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 1:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Lest readers think I have no imagination, nor faith in technology, I must explain that I put great personal value on finding new ways to cheaply and safely power our abundantly prosperous lives. BUT - the incessant drumbeat of "oil is evil" must be opposed. Now. It is a column of communist tanks. I welcome any lover of liberty to stand with me in its path. With you or without you, I'll be here with my hand up.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2011 1:32 AM

Joe Biden Railroad

Sorry, Mister Stossel, I am lifting one of your posts in its entirety today:

It's amazing how modern politics resembles scenes of Ayn Rand's best-seller Atlas Shrugged.

Like the one in which a high-ranking government official pumps millions of dollars into a failing railroad company. The grateful railroad CEO rewards the government official by renovating his hometown train station and naming it after the government official. The renovation costs $5,700,000 more than expected.

Then comes the ribbon cutting ceremony. The CEO gets on one of his trains to go to the ceremony, but it breaks down. No surprise there: One out of every four trains his company runs is late. The CEO, chuckling at the irony, abandons the train and takes a car to the ceremony.

Unfortunately, that wasn't a scene in Atlas Shrugged. It happened this weekend.

The government official is Joe Biden.

By the way, the first of three Atlas Shrugged movies opens next month, appropriately on April 15th.


Taranto piles on:
In other Biden news, the Daily Caller reports that the Wilmington, Del., Amtrak station was rechristened the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station on Saturday. Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman was there, but no thanks to Amtrak. He was on a train from Washington that got stuck in Baltimore, so he got off and went by car. Sounds like something right out of "Atlas Shrugged," doesn't it?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Classic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 21, 2011 6:30 PM

March 17, 2011

Gub'mint Motors

Brother br emails with an emergency posting suggestion. "... you've gotta post this for JG:"

Agreed. Forbes:

The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.

This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.
[...]
Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.

Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board?


Posted by John Kranz at 5:24 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants..."

I appreciate the Atlas Shrugged reference, but a different book comes to mind. This sounds a lot more like Milo Minderbinder has gotten out of Egyptian cotton and into auto manufacturing.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 6:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

KA, this gives me an idea: I'll write a check to you for $1 million and you write one me for $1 million and we'll both be rich.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 17, 2011 6:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You first...

On second thought, I'm sure the guv'mint will insist of taxing both tranasctions. We'll each have paid a million, and received a million less the tax. Think about who profits on that deal, and who loses.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 17, 2011 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm very grateful for the post. It would have gone otherwise unnoticed.

One might wonder why there is no "one to a customer" restriction on the federal rebate. One might suspect a big corporate fleet buy such as this was GM's backstop from the start.

If I may be sarcastic for a moment, "There's no wonder why wind power has yet to be adopted widely in the United States with irresponsible corporate shills like Patrick Michaels writing inflammatory lies like, 'GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power."

Posted by: johngalt at March 19, 2011 12:18 PM

March 11, 2011

WTF?

The repercussions of the 7th largest earthquake in recorded history are just being understood but there's still time to take a shot at the happiest city in America and one of her sacred cows - windpow .. pow .. poof.

Whilst driving my one-ton diesel pickup (by myself) to pick up a lunch burrito I happened to pass Boulder's swank new "multi-use" development that occupies the old Crossroads Mall site. It's called Twenty-Nineth Street. (No, not 29th Street, "Twenty-Nineth Street.") On the most prominent corner of the property, 28th and Arapahoe, they've installed one a them newfangled "wind turbines." "Free energy from the earf" I think they call it. And on a day when wind had whipped a "controlled burn" out of control in the mountains, the weather reports warn of "60 mile per hour gusts" and the average wind speed at Atlantis Farm has been 15 mph or higher all morning the wind turbine is - not spinning. It twists in the wind alright, and the blades aren't completely frozen but if it completes a full revolution in a minute I'd be surprised.

Could it be that these things require, not just subsidized installation but subsidized maintenance? Stop. Stop! You're killing me!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

More of them green jobs, man! Somebody's gotta fix those things!

I wonder if they lock in high winds. The one in front of the Lafayette library never spins when it's really whippin', yet I frequently see it spinning in a lighter breeze. Safety issue?

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2011 3:58 PM

March 7, 2011

Hey O, Hows About Dese Jobs Over Heah!?

Linked from Carpe Diem, who linked from WSJ: Time to Get Serious About American Oil

Even as the energy sector necessarily diversifies, oil will continue to be a key piece of our national energy profile for many decades. And yet Alaska and the Gulf states have been blocked from developing America's oil by politically driven federal policy, much of it aided by misinformation. If Americans wonder what our economic Achilles' heel is, they need look no further than the federal regulatory system that delays permits for domestic exploration and production.

As we watch fuel prices rise, inflation take hold, and government debt reach record levels, Alaskans and those in other oil-producing states are frustrated. We wonder why the Obama administration is openly hostile to a sector of our economy that has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, kept the country on an even keel even during the recession, and produces a global commodity we depend on every day.

Authored by the Governor of Alaska
(No, not that one.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2011

Subsidy Folly

Facebook friend JC linked to a DOE report on energy subsidies in a comment to this post that is about to scroll off the page. I think he may have thought I'm a fan of oil subsidies, since I am an avowed supporter of oil and oil companies. But I want the market to decide, not my congressman. (Well, maybe if it was only my congressman without the other 434, but I digress.) The linked report offers this nugget on the ability of subsidies to produce more product.

Notwithstanding the doubling of Federal energy-related subsidies and support between 1999 and 2007, and a significant increase in most energy prices over that period, U.S. energy production is virtually unchanged since 1999 (Table ES2). Basic economic principles suggest that higher real energy prices together with the significant incentives provided to various production segments of the energy sector would tend to raise domestic energy production. A variety of factors unrelated to prices or subsidy programs such as State and Federal statutory limitations imposed on onshore and offshore oil and natural gas exploration in environmentally sensitive areas, uncertainty regarding future environmental policies possibly restricting future emissions of greenhouse gases, and declines in future production from previously developed domestic oil and natural gas resources may have impeded growth in energy production despite modest growth in consumption.

[Emphasis in original.]

Did anyone else notice that none of the regulatory restrictions affected wind, solar, ethanol or biogas? Yet energy production was unchanged. Go figure.

(Graph moved to "Continue Reading)

DOE%20report%20table%20E2.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

The Right Conclusion

Victor Davis Hanson calls out President Obama for his "confused" foreign policy in the face of the Mideast unrest.

Until only recently this administration did not have a consistent policy of promoting nonviolent evolution to constitutional and secular government across the Mideast. Can't we oppose Iranian theocracy or Libyan thuggery with the zeal we showed in castigating the Mubarak dictatorship?

But despite the uncertainty we face as Middle East autocracy reshuffles the deck chairs, Hanson articulates the obvious path for America to take right now.

Meanwhile, to preserve our autonomy and options, we need to stop borrowing money and drill like crazy for oil and natural gas, as we fast-track coal and nuclear power. Anything less is near-criminal negligence.

Near criminal indeed. Those who call for the impeachment of President Obama over his birth certificate or the Defense of Marriage Act would better serve the future prosperity of the United States by refusing to stand by while oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy are throttled in the name of supposed economic viability for wind, solar, biogas, and sundry other "magical unicorn fart" energy make-believe.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2011

What's an EV Button?

Computer folk are the worst. And it is only a short blog post. But is it editorial failure or the Heartbreak of Old-Fogeydom?

The term "EV Button" is never defined in "Plug in Cars: Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid missing critical EV button" not Professor Reynolds's link. I suppose it gets an im-context definition:

[Plugin cars' reviewer Bard] Berman argues that the Prius' lack of an EV button that would "allow drivers to absolutely keep the gas engine off when they know it's not necessary" is a critical omission on behalf of Toyota.

I remain proud to motor fugally if exclusively on gas. But I hate to be caught so unhip on an acronym.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Thus proving that there's no satisfying the enviros. How about this Mister Birkenstock: Don't want your plug-in hybrid to use any gasoline? When the tank is empty, don't refill it. Voila - E friggin' V.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2011 2:47 PM

February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

Been a while since I gave one to George Will. But spring training is in session:

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they--unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted--are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Time was, the progressive cry was "Workers of the world unite!" or "Power to the people!" Now it is less resonant: "All aboard! -- George Will


Posted by John Kranz at 6:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2011

Silly Governor, Laws Don't Create Jobs

Yesterday I wrote about thousands of "clean energy" jobs that could be eliminated if Colorado's largest power company cuts its solar power subsidy in half (per installation). I suggested that those jobs probably wouldn't have existed without the subsidy, which distorted market signals to create economic activity for an economically unviable product.

Today our former Governor explains how these unsustainable jobs were created and still has the gall to suggest we do even more of it.

Building this new economy starts with understanding how clean energy legislation can create jobs. During my four-year term in Colorado, I signed 57 pieces of clean energy legislation. In 2007, for example, we doubled the proportion of energy in the state that is required to come from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020. In 2010, we increased that to 30 percent for our biggest utility. As a result, Colorado now ranks fourth among the 50 states in its number of clean energy workers per capita, and 1,500 clean energy companies call our state home ó an 18 percent increase since 2004. Wind- and solar-energy companies that have built factories and opened offices in Colorado have brought in thousands of new jobs.

But governor, have you not heard that the American economy is no longer robust enough to support elective boutique energy "just in case" environmental scientists might be partially correct? It's about as popular with voters right now as free pensions and sweetheart health insurance for unionized Wisconsin teachers. Feel-good energy layoffs are happening now in the U.S. European plants are closing now. Why not just wait until the science and technology is sufficient for sustainable energy to be sustainable? It will save a lot of wasted money and effort building new plants and then closing them.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The answer to your most excellent yet rhetorical question is a review corner.

I'm a crazy mad fan of Virginia Postrel. I bought her "Substance and Style" for everyone who has ever worked for me since it came out. Yet, somehow I had missed her "The Future and its Enemies." With the title props to Dr. Popper, and my appreciation for the author, I cannot believe I let 12 years go by.

I got a hardcover as a freebie for a Reason donation (yes, and the T-shirt in the coffeehouse vid). I had left the Kindle® in the car yesterday and decided to read a real book.

Merciful Zeus! Just a couple chapters in, but she resurrects the famed "Baptists and Bootleggers" theory to bifurcate stasists and dynamists. The enviros want us living in caves so we don't spill a drop of oil, the Buchananite conservative wing wants us living in a tiny village so nobody can be divorced or gay, and the VP Gores of the world want to control every facet of life for everybody.

What Hayek calls the "Party of Life" and she "Dynamists" are thusly badly outnumbered.

She wrote it in 1998 with the full promise of the Internet in front of us. But if she had waited for the "Green Energy Economy," she would have a perfect example. With apologies to Swift and Toole, the dunces are truly arrayed in confederacy against us.


Posted by: jk at February 28, 2011 11:12 AM

February 26, 2011

"Sustainable" Energy Unsustainable

Live by the subsidy - die by the subsidy.

More than 200 supporters of solar energy rallied on the west steps of the state Capitol this afternoon to protest Xcel Energy's decision to cut incentives for solar system installations.

Had this been a "Teabaggers" rally the narrative would have been "Nearly 200 opponents of the Obama Administration rallied ..." But I digress.

"It has created a lot of fear in the industry. My job is on the line," said Gary Gantzer, a Boulder resident and installer for Namaste Solar who was at the rally with his two young children.

About 5,300 people work in the solar installation industry, and insiders estimate half those jobs could be at risk if the Public Utilities Commission lets the proposal stand.

So what you're saying is, those jobs might never have existed in the first place had those subsidies not been given. Given by whom, you may ask. Ratepayers.

A 2 percent charge on utility bills supports the program and other efforts to promote renewable energy development.

How much subsidy, you may ask.

Since 2006, the program has provided $274 million in incentives for 9,346 installations on homes and small businesses.

9,346 incentives over a 5-year period is about 1,870 subsidies per year. And the average cost of each subsidy: $29,317.

Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? 306 (and 5 months.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:25 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Mike Rosen took on this subject in his third hour today. His first impression was the same as mine - Subsidies created those jobs in the first place!

He also did a good job exposing how this is average rate payers helping solar proponents put expensive power systems on their homes at little or no cost to themselves.

And many callers defended the program on the basis that "fossil fuels have huge subsidies too." Yet not a single one of them could give an example of said subsidies. To paraphrase multiple callers - "I just read that they're there, and they're numerous, and they're huge." (No word whether it was from an authoritaritive source, like the internets.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2011 3:00 PM
But JC thinks:

Here is an example of subsidies.
Please comment to let me know if this resource is acceptable to you.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf

Posted by: JC at March 4, 2011 1:35 PM
But JC thinks:

"Just for fun - Number of years the average solar subsidy could pay the electric bill of an average American home? ...306 [years] (and 5 months.)"

Just for MORE fun:
Estimated number of people on the planet = 6.9 billion
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/popclockworld.html

Estimated global subsidies for oil in 2008 = 312 billion
http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2010/11/23/global-fossil-fuel-and-renewable-subsidies/

Estimated U.S. Energy Subsidies (tax expenditures (TE)) = 6.74 billion (subtracting TE subsidies for ALL renewables)
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/execsum.pdf
Hold that thought - this is for U.S. subsidies alone

How many years could these U.S. subsidies power a single, average American home if every person on the planet had an average American home? Well? How many?

Thought experiment: What kind of impact would there be on global energy markets if every person on the planet had an "average American home"? (frightening)

Subsidizing Big Oil:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/vehicle_impacts/cars_pickups_and_suvs/subsidizing-big-oil.html

Posted by: JC at March 5, 2011 10:22 AM
But jk thinks:

You asked if the DOE site was an acceptable source. To be fair, I was still thinking about it -- I place moderate faith in gub'mint statistics and the DOE is toward the bottom.

Then you link to far more partisan sources.

We don't agree on much around here, but I suspect all ThreeSourcers would agree that neither oil, ethanol, nor unicorn farts should be subsidized. Let them all compete in the free market.

However, what many opponents call subsidies are simply standard features in the tax code. I'd love to clean up the tax code, but in the meantime, the only way a large company can exist in the US is to take advantage of all the loopholes.

GE and Whirlpool use these to pay pretty much zero taxes, but because they're making Energy Star appliances -- and grease the right palms -- they get less flack than the big bad oil companies.

Real subsidies need to go bye-bye, no arguments 'round here. But do you think they just happened last week? You want to subsidize "green" energy? In decades, that will be what's keeping us from transitioning to something better.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2011 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for bringing the debate here from Facebook JC. When my online time is limited it will go to this page before any other.

If you have a point to make other than villification of American prosperity then you'll have to spell it out for me. That's a lot of info there.

But I think you may have mistaken the fun I poked at callers having no clue how government subsidizes oil for my personal approval of said subsidies, or denial that they exist. I want them ALL killed. All corporate welfare, whether for conventional, productive energy or for alternative, wishful energy companies - zeroed. We can argue about research later but I think we should agree on the corporate subsidy point. (Caveat: Namaste Solar and other small, local businesses fall under the heading of "corporation.")

It took until recently for me to realize it but when a Republican politician says he is for "all of the above" on energy policy he isn't just saying he is pro-drilling. Unless he says otherwise you must assume he is "pro-subsidy" for "all of the above." And if this can be verified, OFF WITH HIS HEAD! (Electorally, of course.)

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2011 11:23 AM

February 25, 2011

Come home, Bill, we need you!

President Clinton comes out against Ethanol:

America's political addiction to ethanol has consequences, from raising the price of food to lining the pockets of companies like Archer Daniels Midland. So we're delighted to see another prominent booster--Bill Clinton--see the fright.

"We have to become energy independent" but "we don't want to do it at the expense of food riots," the former President told an agriculture conference Thursday. He urged farmers to consider the needs of developing countries--the implication being that the diversion of corn to ethanol production limits food supplies and artificially raises prices.


Yes, he opens with the un-Ricardian sop to "energy independence," and one suspects an ADM donation to the library may have swayed #42 steely resolve. But I think we might be nearing a turning point.

Synfuels and Mohair are ancient history to people today. But the environmental movement watched ethanol, rooted for it, and supported its subsidies. Now it is a perfect poster child for all that is wrong with government intrusion: more expensive, worse for the environment, and now contributing to global famine! A trifecta!

Cui bono? Why Archer Daniels Midland, of course! You cloth-eared-gits have sold your soul to further the profits of a multinational corporation. It really doesn't get any better. Enviros can see what a sham it is and how difficult it is to dismantle. Of course, the ones I know still believe the next government energy pick will be good. But baby steps. Baby steps.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2011

Don't Want to Throw "the H word" around Lightly...

But Florida Gov. Rick Scott is having a Hoss moment, rejecting a high-speed rail boondoggle jobs-producin'-federal-stimulus project.

My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:

-- First -- capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

-- Second -- ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million Ė $575 million over 10 years) ó Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

-- Finally --if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.


Brother Keith says he doubts rail, but here's one that brings in 16.25% of its operating budget from passenger revenue. Man, where can I get in on a deal like that?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2011

Two.

The WSJ Ed Page answers brother Keith's question.

Messrs. Obama and Biden argue that the U.S. has to invest in high-speed rail to stay competitive with the world. Only if we're competing in the Debt Bowl. Two high-speed railways in the world have broken even, and those are in densely populated areas of France and Japan where people drive less because gas prices are twice as high as in the U.S., and many foreign intercity highways levy tolls.

Two. And they didn't so much make money as break even.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Amtrak delenda est. QED.

Of course this is going to be another Big Dig, a hole into which money is poured. But when has that ever stopped our elected overlords from spending? Exhibit A: Obama's new proposed budget.

The only way high-speed rail loses money faster is if they put Gomez Addams in as the Rail Czar.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 14, 2011 2:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Love the Addams Family reference KA. I always wished they had more scenes with the trains.

Quoting David Harsanyi, The president "mentioned railroads six times, because how else are we going to win the 19th century back?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2011 3:29 PM

February 11, 2011

Fracking EPA

A companion story to BR's Pique Oil: The EPA shall let no low-cost oil go unpunished.

The EPA has proposed examining every aspect of hydraulic fracturing, from water withdrawals to waste disposal, according to a draft plan the agency released Tuesday.

Does this come as any surprise? With so much new oil becoming accessible through the new process the energy nazis at EPA have to find some way to put a halt to it.

The EPA proposal notes that 603 rigs were drilling horizontal wells in June 2010, more than twice as many as were operating a year earlier. Horizontal wells can require millions of gallons of water per well, a much greater volume than in conventional wells.

One point of contention is the breadth of the study.

Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy in Depth, said he understands the need to address any stage of the fracking that might affect drinking water, but he's skeptical that water withdrawals meet the criteria.

Hey EPA ... Frack off.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:47 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If the EPA ever had any usefulness - and I doubt it - then it has outlived it. We have a Department of Justice turning justice on its head, a State Department in a state of disarray, and now this. If ever you questioned whether government continues to serve the people of this nation, question it now.

On a highly related subject, let's watch a movie. I would value your thoughts on this trailer: http://tinyurl.com/64t8oe3

My only serious quibble so far it thier having updated it. I'm sure it will not seriously damage my reaction. I'm sure this will be a thread of it's own - on April 16.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 12, 2011 2:06 AM
But jk thinks:

That's the Samizdata rule. They have "Ministry of.." instead of "Department of," but they say Ministry of X is always the thing best poised to destroy X. As you enumerate, it is frighteningly accurate.

A beloved but misguided relative has devoted years to establishing a Department of Peace. I'm certain if such a thing ever transpired, the Shakers and the Amish would be shooting each other in the streets.

I thought the trailer looked purdy good!

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2011 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I was surprised that the movie has a contemporary setting, but not disappointed. The dialog in the trailer is not recognizable as Rand's. It has been modernized as well. This is probably a good thing. For devotees and neophites alike it will be more appealing, just as "Enterprise" could appeal to young and old Trek fans. And anyone who wants the original dialog can find it in one of about 7 million places.

I'm excited and looking forward to multiple viewings. That Dagny looks like a fireball, eh?

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2011 12:50 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

'Scuse me while I peel myself off the ceiling.

The reason that drillers started drilling horizontal wells - at higher cost - was because the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the EPA, Department of Interior, multiple state agencies and every "conservation" organization in the country were having little tiger kittens over the footprint and environmental impact of drilling platforms; they might interrupt with the copulation of Prebble's Tit Mouse. So, instead of drilling seven conventional wells on seven platforms, they drill seven horizontal wells from a single platform. These guys will shamelessly say and do anything to inhibit oil exploration merely for the sake of inhibiting it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 12, 2011 9:40 PM

Pique Oil

"Peak oil" has been forecast for about as long a stingy-haired, berobed sandal-wearers have been holding signs on street corners warning that the end is near. Somehow, technological advances just keep proving the predictions wrong.

Yesterday, the AP carried a piece describing new drilling techniques that could open reserves in the mid-US that exceed the Gulf of Mexico. This is the Niobrara formation under Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers.

[...]

Petroleum engineers first used the method in 2007 to unlock oil from a 25,000-square-mile formation under North Dakota and Montana known as the Bakken. Production there rose 50 percent in just the past year, to 458,000 barrels a day, according to Bentek Energy, an energy analysis firm.

[...]

In the Bakken formation, production is rising so fast there is no space in pipelines to bring the oil to market. Instead, it is being transported to refineries by rail and truck. Drilling companies have had to erect camps to house workers.

Unemployment in North Dakota has fallen to the lowest level in the nation, 3.8 percent ó less than half the national rate of 9 percent. The influx of mostly male workers to the region has left local men lamenting a lack of women. Convenience stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked with food.

[...]

Within five years, analysts and executives predict, the newly unlocked fields are expected to produce 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil per day, enough to boost U.S. production 20 percent to 40 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates production will grow a more modest 500,000 barrels per day.

Of course, back during the ANWR debate, 1,000,000 barrels per day was "insignificant" and the 10 years-to-market was too far in the future to be meaningful. Never mind that such production would be online today and boost domestic production another 10 percent.

Hat tip: foxnew.com and denverpost.com

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:39 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

First: ten points for the headline.

Second: a speculative segue. I also saw a short piece that claimed communications exposed by WikiLeaks show that the Saudis are finding it difficult to maintain current production.

Twixt this find and the Canadian tar sands, what Joel Garreau called "The Empty Quarter" of North America might become "the Saudi Arabia" of oil.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2011 11:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Over the weekend I intended to write about how the increased exploration activity in the region is fueling economic development in my home town of Fort Lupton. Seems a big oil concern is enlarging their existing facility there. Anyone ever hear of an outfit called Halliburton?

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2011 4:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is the story I was referring to from last weekend. The "energy corridor" between Fort Lupton on the north and Brighton on the south largely consists of Halliburton (in Lupton) and Vestas in Brighton. I'm now taking bets for which will outlast the other. Odds are currently 10:1 against the windmills.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2011 8:49 PM

February 1, 2011

The Greatest Automotive Review of All Time

And I only read the first page out of five. It gets a little dull. But Page One...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Fun article. As for the car, I'm waiting for what Jeremy Clarkson says!

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2011 3:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Br'er JG: as long as you're invoking the literary distinctives of your blog nom de plume (see above re: Rearden Metal), I'm shocked that you haven't commented that the Volt power plant is nothing compared to one that runs on ambient static electricity.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at February 1, 2011 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some things aren't for discussion outside of the valley.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2011 7:34 PM

January 29, 2011

Energy Sadness

The revoltionary unrest in Egypt is bound to cause a spike in world oil prices, even if Egypt's 2 million barrels per day continue to flow. The reason is fear. Fear that any slight disruption in the flow of oil through the stages of refinement and distribution will cause shortages. And that fear is well founded. Recall the story I posted in Autumn '08 highlighting how tightly the world oil supply is controlled to match demand.

The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

So what does "oilman" T. Boone Pickens tell us about the situation in Egypt? Speaking with FNC's Cavuto this morning-

Pickens: "What this is gonna do, let's go over to the United States. We have "resources" in America that we should be using. And we shouldn't be sittin' here when somethin' like this comes up, here we're all runnin' around sayin' what in the hell is gonna happen to us, ya know, how's this gonna affect America and everything else. When we should be getting on our own "resources." Uh, it's just, it's the saddest thing in the world that your leadership doesn't take you in the direction of independence."

Cavuto: "When the administration announced this past week that it's going to end oil subsidies, focus on some of these alternatives ... too little too late for you?" Not enough?"

Pickens: "Well, what was said was in 2035? We're gonna be over to renewables? My God, that's twenty-five years from now. We can do this much, much sooner. And we need to do it sooner. And, it's available to us. What I want the president to do is say look, all federal vehicles in the future will be on our own "resources." Domestic "resources." And we have 'em, we can go to it. It can be done. And it should be done. We're gonna do it now. I think this is gonna push us over the edge."

[Emphasis and scare quotes on "resources" mine.]

I scare-quoted resources because Pickens never explained what he meant by the word. Certainly he can't mean wind power, which he declared "dead as hell" early in the first year of the Obama administration. He might be thinking of natural gas, of which America does have huge a domestic supply.

But we also have massive domestic reserves of oil and coal. If everyone could be free to risk his own investment in developing the energy source he thinks best then the marketplace would enjoy a full supply of every known energy source and could pick and choose from them as needed at any time, accomodating any crisis. America does not need government "leadership" in this area. In fact, government leadership invariably goes in the wrong direction. What is needed for energy independence is economic and regulatory independence. That America doesn't have or demand this is what's really "the saddest thing in the world."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The saddest thing in the world is to have a successful oilman lose faith in free markets. Wind may be dead as hell but when I see him on Kudlow he's pushing to convert the federal fleet to natural gas to coerce manufacturers to support it.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2011 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That confirms it. When he said, "What I want the president to do is say look, all federal vehicles in the future will be on our own resources" he meant "natural gas."

Which is not surprising considering he owns a natural gas fueling station company.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2011 4:35 PM

January 21, 2011

Then We Can Subsidize Them

Great News, you'll soon be able -- through your tax dollars -- to help Wall Street Fat Cats® buy $70,000 automobiles:

Mercedes-Benz' AMG models pound the pavement. The AMG lineup consists of vehicles that can dash from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a flash and exceed legal speed limits with ease. In short, AMG models have always been, and will continue to be, focused on performance. However, it appears as though even they aren't immune from the drive to improve fuel efficiency that's sweeping the automotive industry.

Then they'll get the tax credit. Cool, huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2011

"Green Job" Flight

In President Obama's first year in office there was a major push to create "green jobs" in the U.S. In October of that year his Commerce Secretary said, "Building a green economy isn't going to be easy, but if government and businesses work together, America can and will be a world leader in clean energy."

Oops. Evergreen Solar to Shut Down U.S. Manufacturing, Move to China

CEO Michael El-Hillow commented: "While overall demand for solar may increase, we expect that significant capacity expansions in low cost manufacturing regions combined with potential adverse changes in government subsidies in several markets in Europe will likely result in continuing pressure on selling prices throughout 2011. Solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry. While the United States and other western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint."

"Low cost manufacturing regions..." and their "low manufacturing costs" put the U.S. at a "disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint." Perhaps there are forces at work here other than generous government subsidies for preferred sectors. Maybe it's just too damned expensive to hire employees in the U.S.

ďThese new numbers show that even though global wage differentials are narrowing, policy-induced costs in the United States, especially corporate taxes, continue to undermine manufacturersí ability to compete with our largest trading partners,Ē Duesterberg said.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

So, our government is borrowing massive amounts of money from China, which we're using to subsidize "green economy" jobs, and the companies offering those jobs are moving their production (and those job openings) to China. We're paying interest on the borrowed money to facilitate China expanding their own industrial base.

I'm not certain how this is supposed to work, but I've got a pretty good suspicion it ends with:

"3 - Profit!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 14, 2011 12:20 PM

January 12, 2011

Brown Energy

One for my brothers: 'Brown' Energy Brings Prosperity

Quick--which state produces more oil: Alaska or California? Thatís easy. Alaska, du-uh. And that's wrong. California passed Alaska in daily oil production in June last year (561,000 bbls per day for CA; 533,000 bbls per day for AK).

But Alaska and California are both restricting extraction, sending the prosperity to...North Dakota.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Many thanks! I hadn't seen this. That mention of the "strangely" named 'National Petroleum Reserve' is inspiring:

"Gosh, I'm sure glad we've set aside a national reserve for petroleum. Imagine if our great-grandchildren were never able to know what wild crude oil was like in its native habitat!"

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2011 2:30 PM

January 4, 2011

Great Balls of Fire

Ausgetzeichnet! German genius businessman selling efficient, earth-friendly "Heat Balls®" to EU customers.

The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up really taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb.

Awesomest thing all year so far! Hat-tip: Instapundit


Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

I like this passage from the linked post:

"The problem is that people will buy Heat Balls primarily as a way around the ban on incandescent bulbs. Rotthaeuser's Heat Balls could end up taking off in a market starved for the familiar warmth of the incandescent bulb."

Not to worry. This "problem" can be resolved by outlawing "Heat Balls."

Seriously now, at least in the U.S., the "incandescent light bulb" has not been banned. Lamps lower than a specified lighting efficiency have. What is that efficiency threshold and who established it? It is the boundary between inexpensive "general purpose" lamps and more costly halogen type incandescent lamps, and it was lobbied for by - wait for it - lamp manufacturers. Competitors can no longer undercut each other's cheapest products and saturate the market with them. Consumers will be forced to purchase larger quantities of more expensive lamps. (Think of it as a sort of minimum-wage law for lightbulbs.)

Have no fear, the incandescent lamp is not going away (unless government jacks up the efficiency limit in a future law) they're just getting more expensive.

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2011 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not risking it. I am waiting for a family member with a larger car to visit, and I will buy lunch for a trip to Home Depot to stock up. I plan to put a few cases in the storage closet.

While it sounds black helicopterish, I don't see a downside: misallocation perhaps of a small amount of capital, some scarcity of storage...

But I get a protected supply of something I'll likely use anyway. Next year, when they're gone, I'll trade you for ammo.

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2011 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I suggest Target or WalMart instead. I love Home Despot but their lightbulb selection is putrid.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 2:15 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or, buy 'em by the case! "(while supplies last)" Ya gotta love it!

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 2:23 AM
But jk thinks:

Good old Amazon comes out pretty well. Two cases of floods for traclights and two 24 count cases of 60 Watt Soft White Heat Balls for $57.14, Free Prime shipping. No lunch purchase required.

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2011 6:08 PM

December 23, 2010

The Free Market Can't Possibly...

Two very bright and well intentioned friends have assured me that gub'mint intervention is required to transition from fossil fuels because "the infrastructure is not in place" to support biofuels, electric, what have you.

Huh:

Itís the first McDonalds to have a Level 2 Electric Charger in the U.S., though Cracker Barrel is adding EV chargers to 24 restaurants in Tennessee. The idea of filling up your belly and your electric vehicle at seems to be catching on with Americans and American companies. The company that revolutionized fast food could have a dramatic impact on EV charging, should it so decide. Imagine if all of the more than 12,000 McDonalds restaurants in America had charging stations? Youíd have a hard time arguing that the infrastructure for electric vehicles arenít in place.

Now I happen to remain unconvinced that plug-in hybrids and electrics are the answer, but I love the idea of McDonalds and Cracker Barrel and Walmart* providing this elusive infrastructure as a way to secure customers. Instead of tax revenue.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2010

Sky Blue, Sun Rises in East

After some sunny days cheering Tea Party wins on tax and spending, the news-skies have turned a bit grey: net-neutrality (read John Fund's devastating look at the forces behind it), continuing ethanol subsidies, wind subsidies, executive power grabs under the auspices of ObamaCare®...

Permit me a moment of the famed jk understatement. We really have not won yet.

Not even rising to five worst list? "Obama's Electric Car Cult." Here's Charles Lane in the WaPo:

Last year the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council concluded: "Subsidies in the tens to hundreds of billions of dollars. . .will be needed if plug-ins are to achieve rapid penetration of the U.S. automotive market. Even with these efforts, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are not expected to significantly impact oil consumption or carbon emissions before 2030."

Yet, like a rural voter clinging to his guns, the Obama administration brushes aside the experts because - well, who knows why? Perhaps subsidizing electric cars helps a Democratic administration make corporate welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy seem progressive. It's possible President Obama feels bound by his grandiose campaign promise to put a million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015.


Did somebody say misallocation of capital? Bueller?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the dying breaths of the 111th really are quite noxious.

But really, he cites the National Academy of Sciences? Those ivory tower guys are such obvious shills for "Big Oil."

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2010 3:15 PM

December 20, 2010

Hybrid Chic

Q- What do you get if you build a car with two motors (a gasoline-electric "hybrid") and let the driver use both of them at the same time?

A- Honda's new CR-Z "sport hybrid."

So market forces can even conquer the hair-shirt principle of the eco-mobile. Young buyers value "green" cars but still care what they look like when cruisin' Main Street. No surprise there. How long until the modifier "hybrid" is as non-descript as "GT?"

Worth mentioning: Honda's commercial (bottom right corner of linked page) for the new kid-rod, which implies that fire and ice can coexist. "Complete opposites, in complete harmony."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2010

Told You So

Give me 40%. Discussing the Freddy Kruegeresque re-corporealization of the ethanol blending mandate, I said "Two words: Chuck Grassley."

The correct answer was "Five words: Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley."

grassley_harkin.jpg
Roll Call/Getty Images

The ethanol extension is the bipartisan handiwork of Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, who both regularly abandon their professed principles (fiscal conservatism for the Republican and equity for the Democrat) in the service of agribusiness.

Discredit also goes to the environmental lobby and its running game of bait and switch. The greens have turned on ethanol because of its carbon emissions, but their tax bill support has also been purchased with extensions of such energy subsidies as a Treasury grant program for wind and other renewable projects that were part of the stimulus.


Brother jg and I are involved in a soon to be three-digit Facebook thread. It started with the brit PSA blowing up the children -- 'member that? Our interlocutor considers it essential that we stop burning fossil fuels immediately. While he admits that ethanol is a waste and a boondoggle, he still expects the government to choose the right one next time. (No, pig, breathe from your diaphragm! Rounded tones...Maaa-may-meee-moo-muuuuu...)

Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2010

"Addicted to Foreign Coal"

That's the future rallying cry of back-to-the-cave types in China, Japan and Korea. And the source of that "evil" "foreign" coal? Colorado.

The New Elk Mine was opened in 1951 by CF&I Steel Co. to provide metallurgical coking coal for its blast furnace iron and steel production plant in Pueblo. In 1981, Wyoming Fuels purchased the facility and operated it until 1989. The coal preparation plant continued operating with coal from other nearby mines until 1996.

The mine will produce metallurgical coal that will primarily be exported to Asian countries, including Japan, Korea and China.

No mention anywhere of a government subsidy or incentive. Just buyers and sellers. How quaint.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2010

The "Tax Bill" Christmas Tree

Blog patriarch JK thinks we "did not know what we got till it was gone" in the Obama/Boehner deal to not raise taxes on "the rich." For my part, I didn't make numerous treks to the capitol steps over the last two years and spend numerous weekends knocking on neighbors doors to sign up GOP absentee ballots just to keep taxes and spending at their 2010 levels.

And then, to make matters worse, there's this:

Despite opposition from academics, environmental organizations, libertarian organizations, editorial boards across the country, and dozens of other groups, the ethanol tax credit and resulting tariff is said to be locked into the tax bill that will be passed before the end of the year.

How many stakes must we drive through the hearts of Congressional Democrats to be rid of their Frankensteinian monsters?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:58 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Two words: Chuck. Grassley.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I've been called out by name a couple times today. I still think that the Obama/Boehner deal would be good for the economy: avoid a new year's tax increase and year end tax selling. Offer a down payment on better policy in the 112th and, for NED's sake, send our 535 elves home for Christmas.

But Mutual Forbearance is me and Mister Van Buren. I offer to compromise on today's WSJ Ed Page position (that Brother br linked). This, but no more:

Republicans would be fools to give Democrats a single new concession, even a token one. They certainly shouldn't let Mrs. Pelosi think she can get away with such blackmail in the next Congress. If Democrats defeat the current deal in the House, Republicans can return as a majority in January and write a bill that is better tax policy and more popular with their voters. Democrats will have been responsible for the tax increase, and Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will have much less leverage. That's why we think the Pelosi Democrats are really hostage fakers and will fold if their bluster is called.

Apart from the near-term economic damage, the stakes in this debate are highest for Mr. Obama. In November voters repudiated the policies of his first two years, but the polls show a reservoir of respect for him as a leader. If he can be pounded into retreat by a soon-to-be-former Speaker whose approval rating is barely north of 10%, Mr. Obama is headed for the unhappy resting place for failed Presidencies known as Carterville.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2010 5:08 PM

December 6, 2010

Threatened Subsidy

The move not to renew ethanol mandates is chugging along like a John Deere on biodiesel. The WSJ page reports a broad right-left coalition:

Last week, no fewer than 17 Senators signed a letter calling ethanol "fiscally indefensible" and "environmentally unwise." Led by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Jon Kyl, the group said Congress shouldn't extend certain subsidies that expire at the end of the year, including the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline and tariffs on cheaper imports. Conservatives like Tom Coburn dislike this costly industrial policy, while liberals like Barbara Boxer and Sheldon Whitehouse are turning against the hefty carbon emissions that come with corn fuels.

Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu seems to have found the anti-ethanol religion. Speaking at the National Press Club last Monday, Mr. Chu said that "ethanol is not an ideal transportation fuel" and that the government's focus should be "on ways that we can actually go beyond ethanol." Like most greens, he still supports so-called advanced fuels that aren't made from corn and also aren't commercially viable, but we'll take his partial conversion.

The ethanol industry is responding by predicting disaster if it loses its taxpayer feeding tubes, with the Renewable Fuels Association evoking massive job losses and another Dust Bowl. But what kind of business can't survive without subsidies when government also mandates that consumers buy its products? As the Senators dryly noted, "Historically our government has helped a product compete in one of three ways: subsidize it, protect it from competition, or require its use. We understand that ethanol may be the only product receiving all three forms of support from the U.S. government at this time."


Hope. Change.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:53 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Rational news from D.C. on a Monday morning? Pinch me!

Posted by: johngalt at December 6, 2010 2:58 PM

December 4, 2010

Symbolic Vote

Like the pay freeze, this can be derided as small potatoes (corn, actually...), but I would see it as a new dawn of freedom!

At the stroke of midnight on December 31 of this year, the 45Ę per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), commonly known as the blenderís credit, and the 54Ę per gallon tariff on imported ethanol, will expire.

A bipartisan group of 17 senators, led by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), say itís time for these special-interest giveaways to go gently into the night. A broad coalition of environmental, taxpayer, hunger, free market, and food industry organizations are urging House and Senate leaders to let the VEETC meet its statutorily appointed fate.

An exciting prospect ó for the first time ever, Congress may decide to put the general welfare of consumers and taxpayers ahead of the corporate welfare of the ethanol lobby.


Of course, maybe if you mix ethanol with mohair, you might have a cure for cancer. All of us free market types would be pretty sheepish then...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2010

Literary Hour

Prof. Ann Althouse does a nice riff on incandescents and incandescence, including a line from Tennessee Williams:

Look, Mother, do you think I'm crazy about the warehouse? You think I'm in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that - - celotex interior! with -- fluorescent tubes?! Honest to God, I'd rather somebody picked up a crow-bar and battered out my brains -- than go back mornings! But I go! Every time you come in yelling that Rise and Shine! Rise and shine!! I think how lucky dead people are! But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams and the Laniers are the illustrious wing of my family, including Tennessee, the poet Sidney Lanier, and even Red Barber. And their great-great nephew is not going to live under CFL tyranny. I am going to fill the garage with incandescents before the calendar turns 2011.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Keep your laws off my lightbulbs!

(Bummer that they don't have a T-shirt version.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 30, 2010 11:32 AM

November 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Popular Mechanics tries to explain the 99 MPG EPA fuel rating on the all 'lectric Nissan Leaf:

Or maybe they're claiming the number is infinite, but the spreadsheet they used will only display two-digit integers, so 99 was as high as they could list. (Programmers are funny that way: 99=infinity, but only for very large values of 99, and other stuff like that.) -- Mike Allen

That never gets old. Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2010

I *heart* Coal

I've been desirous of an "I love Coal" T-shirt for quite a while now, probably since Climategate hit the news - possibly in response to Colorado's legislature voting to subsidize coal's competition. I've been a denier since before it was cool, but now it's cool! I thought I would have to design and print my own. False.

I%20heart%20coal.jpg

Anyone who wants to join me can use this refer-a-friend link and reward me with a $10 Cafe Press credit (because you're so thoughtful.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

If Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is humming any tune these days, it might be: "I fought the law, and the law won." That sums up the Obama Administration's record trying to defend its response to the BP oil spill in court. -- WSJ Ed Page
And less poetic, but expository:
Federal Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans last week unceremoniously dumped the 10 safety regulations Mr. Salazar slapped on the drilling industry in June in the wake of the spill. The judge found Interior had ignored clear rule-making requirements. Public "notice and comment were required by law. The government did not comply," and so the rules are void, declared Judge Feldman, who is the same judge who previously threw out the Administration's deep water drilling moratorium as unjustified by either science or safety.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:39 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Wha-uh... can't the Administration get the case remanded to the Ninth Circuit? The judges in Louisiana are so obviously part of the "backward thinking" crowd.

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2010 3:46 PM

October 21, 2010

70 MPG Mazda

Lemme get this straight.

If I buy a Chevy Volt -- like any patriotic American would do -- that gets a bit under 50 MPG when not using electricity from 1920s-era coal-fired power plants, I will be gifted with a $7500 tax credit.

If I buy, however, the new Mazda2, that gets 70 MPG, does not require a $2500 charger, and does not use gigacoulombs of coal produced charged particles, I get, um, nothing.

Mazda, which has no hybrid engine systems of its own, has taken to vastly improving its line of gas and diesel engines to compete with hybrids. If these rumors are true, not only are they competing, but completely blowing the competition out of the water. A 70 mpg gas-only car would outdo every hybrid on the planet.

Sorry, Mazda, the US Senate has already decided how to make fuel efficient, earth-friendly vehicles. And it requires two power trains, lots of extra weight and complexity, and hundreds of pounds of batteries with toxic heavy metals. Your silly scheme of making cars more efficient is of no interest to us in the good old USA. Thanks for trying.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Apparently you don't understand, JK. </sarcasm> The $7500 of other people's money that hybrid buyers are awarded with serves to pay for that $2500 charger and a $5000 share of the unnecessarily complex powertrain's higher cost. (Of course this "incentive" award is only temporary, until the hybrid hipness hype fades away all cars are hybrids and high volume brings costs down to a par with current car prices.)

But then, the Mazda 2 still has things that hybrids don't: It gets 70 mpg and "it certainly is a cute car."

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2010 12:09 AM

October 19, 2010

More fallout from the Dr. Hal Lewis Resignation

One of the Update links at the linked article in the Dr. Hal Lewis resignation story was a copy of the APS's public response with rebuttal by Dr. Lewis and two others interspersed in context. While the resignation letter itself is scathing evidence of Global Warming as hoax, it doesn't directly address the issue of "well-funded people believing" and thus, it "not going away." This does: [First the APS' statement, then Lewis' rebuttal.]

Dr. Lewisí specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding.
The chair of the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) that re-endorsed the 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change sits on the science advisory board of a large international bank http://annualreport.deutsche-bank.com/2009/ar/supplementaryinformation/advisoryboards.html The bank has a $60+ billion Green portfolio, which it wishes to assure investors is safeÖnot to mention their income from carbon trading. Other members of this board include current IPCC chief Pachauri and Lord Oxburgh, of Climategate exoneration fame. The viability of these banks activities depends on continued concern over CO2 emissions. Then there is the member of the Kleppner Committee (that reviewed the APS 2007 Statement prior to POPA) who served on that committee while under consideration for the position of Chief Scientist at BP. The position had been vacated when Steve Koonin left to take a post in the administration at DOE. Soon after the Kleppner Committee report in late 2009, this committee member took the BP job. BP had previously funded the new Energy Laboratory at Berkeley, which was headed by current Energy Secretary Steve Chu.

UPDATE: Reformatted for clarity and bolded text for emphasis.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2010

Global Warming takes another body blow -

- This time from a renowned nuclear scientist.

Last November 20 I posted this first news of Climategate, which included James Delingpole's headline: Climategate: The final nail in the coffin of 'antropogenic global warming?'

JK was more circumspect but by December 1 admitted that the scandal was a "game changer." Yet, he still hedged: "But it does not expose a hoax as some have claimed. The believers truly believe. As long as well funded people believe, it is not going away."

Today, or rather October 8, the hoax is exposed.

Harold Lewis - Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, Presidentís Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board - resigned from the American Physical Society over events that have transpired since Climategate.

In discussing the publicly released resignation letter Anthony Watts says,

This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.

From the letter:

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

He then goes on to expose the calculated lengths that APS management went to defeat his efforts to establish a Topic Group on Climate Change within the APS. Sharp, smart and irretrievably damaging to APS and the Climate Change movement.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Put me down as still hedging, brother. The letter you link says "What I would really like to see though, is this public resignation letter given the same editorial space as Michael Mann in today’s Washington Post." I fear this sermon will be heard only by the choir.

It's "Green Week!" at work. Thankfully, as a remote worker, I am impervious to all but eye rolling. Onsite workers went without lights for some time today and were told to shut off and unplug computers overnight for baseline current measurements.

This is from a private company, headed by a CEO who doesn't generally buy in to such nonsense. I guess they are buying off the earnest young employees. Whatever the case, we ain't won yet.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I included your complete original "hedge" on purpose, to show it's a step-by-step process.

The believers do still believe, and as long as well funded people believe it is not going to go away. BUT, this does expose a hoax.

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2010 2:44 PM
But JC thinks:

No hoaxes here just a bunch of horses blowing hot air out their tail pipes! I have been studying this issue for several years. Based on the recent increase in reputable scientific organizations that accept "antropogenic global warming" as fact, Harold Lewis' single resignation letter fails to provide "an important moment in science history". The one and only effect of his resignation letter is that of providing fuel for the bloggers and non-believers.

Posted by: JC at April 1, 2011 9:47 PM

More Trouble in Green Paradise

Jason Bieber Murphy! What are we gonna do with all this Ethanol?

There is so much of this unwanted crap, they've had to increase the amount that can be blended with gasoline -- to try and get rid of it.

So the EPA decided that more ethanol should be mixed with less gas, lifting the cap to 15% for model years 2007 and later, or about one out of seven cars and light trucks currently on the road. The decision came in the nick of time for the ethanol industry, which is at market saturation and producing a glut that the government is not requiring anyone to buy. "We have lots of gallons of ethanol chasing too few gallons of gasoline," Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen told the New York Times in May.

Mr. Dinneen was displeased by the EPA's ruling, even though it is an opening wedge for his larger demands. In a statement, he complained that "ethanol producers are hitting an artificial blend wall today." You've got to love that "artificial"--for a fuel that is more expensive than gas, gets worse mileage than gas, increases carbon emissions more than gas does, and that few consumers would willingly buy unless required by law.


This will require new pumps, and warning labels to ensure drivers do not harm their older vehicles (kinda glad to be driving the '04, now that you mention it).

In other news, "Shares in Archer Daniels Midland, the second largest U.S. ethanol maker, rose to a near 28-month high." Oh. No. Wait. That's in the same editorial.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Here are some suggestions for the economic planners to reduce nationwide stocks of ethanol:

1. Lower CAFE standards, thus increasing gasoline consumption and ethanol along with it.
2. Tax ethanol producers.
3. Get out of the fuel business and let the market take over.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2010 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Are You Joking?

ADM stock would plummet!

Think, man. Think.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Though number one would work...

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 3:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Here are some suggestions of my own:

1. Eliminate CAFE standards; let the market forces drive what cars will be built and what fuels will be desired by the buying public.
2. Reduce taxes on fuel producers, and place gasoline, ethanol, and all other fuel producers on equal footing.
3. Eliminate the Department of Transportation, and deed all roads and highways back to the states in which they exist.
4. Eliminate economic planners.

I might also point out, brethren, that there is one very minor correction I'd like to point one in jg's comment: ethanol producers are quite heavily taxed - unless they're producing it for your gas tank. As the good folks at Jack Daniels how big a cut of the take the revenuers collect...

When I become President, my items 1-4 will be in my first hundred days' agenda. Count on it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 18, 2010 3:41 PM

Trouble in Green Paradise

Governor Ritter touted the benefits of the "new energy economy" as including not just new jobs, but clean jobs in clean energy. Alas, it seems that reality still exists. Fort Collins Coloradoan: Vestas Using Potentially Harmful Chemicals

A two-month investigation by the Coloradoan shows that a handful of employees working at the Vestas facility, 11140 Eastman Park Drive, have been injured by an epoxy resin used in the blade manufacturing process.

(...)

OSHA fined Vestas $1,500 and cited the company twice with eight separate violations for failure to train employees how to properly use respirators as well as a failure to complete incident report forms for injuries at the facility.

Vestas has had similar problems in Europe.

More than a year ago across the Atlantic, Vestas found itself in a similar situation. In June 2009, the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper in the U.K. reported that Vestas Blades Newport turbine factory, which has since closed, was fined almost $800,000 for health and safety violations pertaining to 13 employees who suffered dermatitis after exposure to epoxy resin between 2005 and 2007.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahhahahahahahaha! That's the greatest thing I ever read. If only some children had contracted cancer working 15 hour days, it would be truly perfect.

The only thing close is Penn & Teller's show on Recycling. Everybody is touting "all the great jobs" created. P&T go to a sorting facility and stand in waste deep trash crying "why oh why do we have to be Las Vegas entertainers when there are great jobs like this?"

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 12:12 PM

October 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I did not have a mechanical connection with that drive wheel!" For an unconvincing pro-GM attempt to maintain the claim that the Volt isn't just another hybrid, see here. . . . -- Mickey Kaus
Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

From the link within the link: "That got me thinking: What exactly is the definition of a hybrid?"

A: Dual power sources in the same vehicle. If you want an electric car with the ability to get back home again you have to add an IC engine to recharge it. Hybrid.

Posted by: johngalt at October 15, 2010 2:45 PM

September 22, 2010

How Dare You Employ Logic on Me?

The WSJ Ed Page crucifies the Administrationís new report which shows that job losses from the Deep Water Drilling Moratorium were not so bad.

For an Administration that loves to tout stimulus projects that create a handful jobs here or there, it takes some nerve to describe the loss of up to 12,000 high-paying Gulf jobs as a triumph. Also unmentioned in the report is that if the Administration had listened to its own outside experts--who insisted a moratorium was unnecessary--the jobs lost would have been near zero. It is the White House that handed the Gulf these pink slips--not the spill, or a poor economy.

But the best is to capture the Keynesians on stimulus. It seems the precious multiplier is less than unity when government destroys spending, yet greater when they artificially boosts it (you see, phlogiston in metals has negative mass...)
The report's numbers also violate the very logic the White House offered earlier on the stimulus spending. According to the authors of the stimulus, every $92,000 the government injected in the economy was supposed to create one job-year. Yet according to the moratorium report, pulling $92,000 out of the economy doesn't result in the reverse. Instead, the authors offer several imaginative explanations for why it is important to "discount" that $92,000 by 40% to 60% when estimating how many jobs will be lost because of the $1.8 billion decline in spending on Gulf drilling. Thus they arrive at 8,000 to 12,000 lost jobs. Louisiana State University Professor Joseph Mason, who has penned a rigorous critique of the report, notes that if the government had not engaged in such "ad hoc" discounting, the estimate of lost jobs would be about 20,000--in line with prior estimates.

Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2010

Let There Be Light!

Rep. Barton outlines plans not only to whack ObamaCare®, but to bring back light bulbs (OpinionJournal video).

Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2010

Colorado "Public Climate-Change Commission"

One week after publishing the story I linked about the Colorado PUC chairman colluding with Xcel Energy (to mandate the use of natural gas to replace coal for electrical generation) the author, Peter Blake, wrote this article about the same PUC chairman and another commissioner, which gives details on that collusion.

As early as last Dec. 8, Binz noted that the commissioners ďare being engaged by gas producers to examine the potential for replacing coal with gas in the dispatch order.... (fellow commissioner) Matt (Baker) and I have talked to reps from IPAMS, COGA, Noble and Chesapeake.Ē

Engaged by the gas producers? Why would regulators, who are essentially jurists, be holding unilateral talks with just one side in the energy business?

(...)

Coal, though still the cheapest provider of 24/7 baseload energy, was never involved in discussions and didnít know the bill was coming. Ritter, in a moment of candor, explained why to a renewable energy conference in Aspen last Saturday. ďWe didnít believe that coal was going to be really able to add to the conversation,Ē he said, claiming its lobbyists would have pushed for a study instead.

Let me translate: "We hate coal."

There are state laws designed to prevent this sort of thing. From the 8/26 Blake piece:

But there is in fact a law requiring commissioners to disqualify themselves ďin any proceeding in which their impartiality may reasonably be questioned.Ē

There is an even stronger law requiring their removal by the governor should they ďlend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of others,Ē or ďconvey the impression that special influence can be brought to bear upon them.Ē

But what if that special influence is being brought to bear upon the governor too?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2010

Unintended Consequences

Professor Mankiw links to an Economist article that suggests solid state lighting will not reduce energy use -- it will simply increase the demand for light.

The light perceived by the human eye is measured in units called lumen-hours. This is about the amount produced by burning a candle for an hour. In 1700 a typical Briton consumed 580 lumen-hours in the course of a year, from candles, wood and oil. Today, burning electric lights, he uses about 46 megalumen-hoursóalmost 100,000 times as much. Better technology has stimulated demand, resulting in more energy being purchased for conversion into light.

That, at least, is the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics by Jeff Tsao of Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and his colleagues. They predict that the introduction of solid-state lighting could increase the consumption of light by a factor of ten within two decades.


Just as the efficient vehicle owner finds himself driving more miles, so these will increase consumption. This would be good news to me, but blog brother jg is more concerned about light pollution than I.

Either way we can agree that the ridiculous nannying toward adopting these devices will -- mirabile non freakin dictu -- not achieve the nannies' goals.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:11 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, an Anthem reference. Nice!

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2010 10:39 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The quote from Economist begged for it; that, or a reference to a petition from candlemakers and allied industries regarding sunlight, to protect advances in our lighting technology. Fidelity to Rand and Bastiat are both valued among the lot of us...

Seriously, though - if we humans are clever enough to create advances in any science, then why should we not enjoy the fruits of our labors? We don't invent more efficient lighting to stick to the antiquated consumption budget; we invent more efficient lighting to create more light. Were we to suddenly discover a new, plentiful fuel source for cars (be it massive oil reserves or an engine that ran on ambient static electricity), then why should we continue driving gutless, underpowered four-cylinder cars when we could savor the wind in our hair and the thrill of triple-digit speed?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 1, 2010 11:54 PM
But jk thinks:

To the pantheon of Rand and Bastiat, let me add my hero, Dr. Karl Popper (the only man by whom John Maynard Keynes ever admitted to be bested in debate).

Germane here because a footnote to a footnote in The Open Society and its Enemies talks about "those who would send us back to the caves." Working in Boulder County, that represents almost everybody I know. As we celebrate light, a beloved cousin pushes the whole family to establish a weekly candlelight dinner: not for romance mind you, for "the environment."

Humans, pace the late Discovery Channel Gunman, do not deserve heat and light -- and certainly not fun in transportation.

But, brother, please rethink your aversion to tetracylendrical automobiles.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:15 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Adjectives, my good jk, adjectives - my aversion is to *underpowered* four-bangers. Remember, the 1986 Mustang SVO also ran on just four... plus an intercooled turbo package. 'Twas a NICE four.

Having said all that, I'd almost be willing to wager serious money you didn't buy that MR2 solely for its mileage per gallon, and the reasoning in the original post still reigns supreme. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2010 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

@JK- To your cousin, doesn't he/she realize how much CO2 is emitted by candle flame? I think you should propose dinner in the dark. (If you REALLLLY want to be environmentally friendly...)

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2010 7:24 PM
But jk thinks:

What? You mean replacing all electric light with candles would not help the environment? Man, if only she had a cousin who cared enough to tell her these things...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 7:42 PM

August 24, 2010

Another Boulder Power Boondoggle

Perhaps you've heard about the "green" power initiative called "smart grid." According to Wikipedia, "A smart grid, is, in essence, an attempt to require consumers to change their behavior around variable electric rates or to pay vastly increased rates for the privilege of reliable electrical service during high-demand conditions." Well, who in their right mind wouldn't want THAT in their home?!

As it is often eager to do, the city of Boulder, Colorado wanted to be a pioneer in transforming the smart grid into reality so they colluded with utility company Xcel Energy to wire up 23,000 homes at a projected cost in the neighborhood of $20 million. Now that the experiment is over and the final price was $45 million Xcel says, "We would not do that again over the whole service area," But in bailing out on the added cost Boulder says, "There is not a clear consensus among the members of the Boulder City Council with regard to the value of SmartGridCity in its present state or the prudence of this investment."

What? Boulder City Council considering the "prudence" of "investing" residents' money based upon "value?" Pinch me!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've spotted the fallacy in your text. You have the phrase "... who in their right mind..." in a discussion of Boulder politics. That's like saying "... what thinking voter..." in a discussion of California politics. Sort of a sociological division by zero; logic fails, the fabric of the universe is rent asunder, Cthulhu awakens, and in the end, chaos.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 24, 2010 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not exactly a fallacy, merely sarcasm. For anyone who jumps up and says, "OOOh, pick me, pick me" to have his behavior dictated by the capricious pricing schemes of do-gooder utility bureaucrats (who couldn't explain a BTU with both hands) is most certainly not in his right mind.

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2010 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm just glad I saw "couldn't explain a BTU with both hands" before I drank my coffee, Five stars for that'n.

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2010 3:13 PM

August 19, 2010

"Public" Utilities Malfeasance

Colorado's HB 1365, which I railed against last March, directed electric utility company Xcel Energy to "study" the economic benefits of converting existing coal-fired plants to use natural gas. But don't confuse them with any facts.

Xcel now says building brand new gas fired plants and tearing down the coal units would be cheaper still. How? Well, there are some tax benefits, but there's also a new 10-year contract with natural gas provider Andarko Petroleum.

It almost sounds as though it were a fixed-price contract, but one that long would be most unusual. Historically gas contracts run only a year, said Stutz.

Wouldnít it be easier to make his case if the gas contract were made public? Perhaps, but he said the gas contract is proprietary information.

Hmmm. Proprietary information? Public utility?

But don't expect the Public Utilities Commission to look out for the public. Ron Binz, the chairman of the Colorado PUC, is an environmental activist.

Historically commissioners have not been involved in negotiating controversial legislation that they may end up implementing. A hands-off approach makes sense if youíre supposed to be a neutral arbiter. You rarely hear of judges at any level participating in legislation.

But Binz was quite active in the negotiations involving HB 1365 before it was introduced, as e-mails uncovered in a court proceeding revealed.

Heís also an advocate for climate-change legislation at the national level, and heads the climate task force of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

To quote Mythbusters' Jamie Hyneman, "Well THERE'S your PROBLEM!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2010

The Chevy Volt Dance

Brother AlexC posted this on Facebook, but I wanted to make sure everybody saw it.

Now who can say that the bailout didn't work, huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:43 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Yikes. First the kiddies took over government and now the kiddies have taken over marketing at a major multinational corporation. What's next? Oh, I forgot: medicine.

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2010 3:22 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Hey, if the Volt at my local Chevy dealer came with one of these dancers, I would buy it too. ^_~

Posted by: T. Greer at August 4, 2010 5:38 PM
But jk thinks:

They're all government workers, tg, you'll be paying for their healtcare the rest of your life.

Posted by: jk at August 4, 2010 6:13 PM

July 30, 2010

Tweet of the Day

The Volt is the Emperor's new car. --@terraM

Posted by John Kranz at 7:35 PM | Comments (0)

Proud to be a Republican

We're the party of thought and ideas and ideals. And the ONLY thing that can mess it up is when we win majorities and have to govern.

Rep. Paul Ryan has superb plans for entitlements, Rep Tom Price has an excellent plan for budget and Federal discretionary spending.

Now Kim Strassel shares California Rep. Devin Nunes's Energy Roadmap. And it strikes me as a thing of beauty.

Mr. Nunes's interest is how to answer these concerns in a more free-market way. The Californian's road map is the product of years of work, most recently with Mr. Ryan and a handful of Republicans with energy expertiseóIllinois's John Shimkus, Utah's Rob Bishop, and Idaho's Mike Simpson. It's a bill designed to produce energy, not restrict it. It returns government to the role of energy facilitator, not energy boss. It costs nothing and contains no freebies. It instead offers a competitive twist to government support of renewable energy.

Both Strassel and I would prefer that renewals "sink or swim" ("...and swim just left town...") but Nunes funds them with royalties from extraction and introduces a pricing mechanism, and -- gasp! -- competition and scoring.
It would divert all the federal resource royalties into a fund. Companies or individuals with proven renewable technology would take part in a reverse auction. They'd bid for government bucks; those that can produce the most megawatts for the least money win. Auction winners forego other federal handouts. And consider this: The more fossil fuel extraction, the more royalties (potentially hundreds of billions of dollars) available to boost alternative energy.

Noocyulur power would not be subsidized, but regulatory hurdles would be dealt with. Like the Green Lobby, it would be put up or shut up time for the denizens of deuterium:
Rather than throw federal loan guarantees at uncertain nuclear plants, the legislation attacks the true problem: bureaucratic roadblocks. It streamlines a creaky regulatory process, requires the timely up-or-down approval of 200 plants over 30 years, and offers new flexibility for dealing with nuclear waste. Mr. Nunes likes to point out that his nuclear provision alone would do more to reduce carbon emissions than any Democratic proposal in existence. And it would in fact create, ahem, green jobs. Imagine that.

Now if we can just do something to keep the GOP out of power for a few more years so that these great ideas keep coming.

UPDATE: And then there's Senator John Thune:

He is best known for being the man who retired Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004, but GOP Senator John Thune of South Dakota is now striving for some policy and political visibility. He's just made a sweeping proposal to reform the clearly broken Congressional budget process.

Last year, Mr. Thune became head of the Republican Policy Committee, a leadership post that puts him in charge of generating the party's position on key issues. He's also being talked about as a dark horse presidential candidate by Republican strategists who aren't enamored by any of the likely 2012 contenders.


Minus ten points for "line item veto." Conservatives have got to jump off that train if they want to keep any Constitutional cred. Love the idea of President Christie stripping pork but I'm less keen on President Obama stripping out the tax cuts and pocketing the spending increases.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:26 PM | Comments (0)

Yet Some Still Doubt Government's Investing Prowess

Below, the Wall Street Journal suggests that that the Feds might not make $1.1 Billion the CBO projected with their scheme to invest in banks and funnel loans to small businesses. Well that's the WSJ Ed Page -- whaddya expect?

Now their right-wing buddies at the New York Times Opinion page carry a guest editorial by Edward Neidermeyer which calls the Government Motors Chevy Volt "a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car."

Quantifying just how much taxpayer money will have been wasted on the hastily developed Volt is no easy feat. Start with the $50 billion bailout (without which none of this would have been necessary), add $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Voltís Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for ďretoolingĒ its plants, and youíve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

In the end, making the bailout work ó whatever the cost ó is the only good reason for buying a Volt. The car is not just an environmental hair shirt (a charge leveled at the Prius early in its existence), it is an act of political self-denial as well.

If G.M. were honest, it would market the car as a personal donation for, and vote of confidence in, the auto bailout. Unfortunately, thatís not the kind of cross-branding that will make the Volt a runaway success.


Effing Nascar Retards...

Hat-tip: Jonathan Last

Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

How's this for great minds thinking alike? JK just got the category wrong.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 30, 2010 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

And six minutes late! It's nice of you guys to let me play with you.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2010 12:37 PM

July 16, 2010

BP Spill - Tale of the Tape

Over the previous 87 days of the oil spill "disaster" every attempt to plug the leak had the dominant liberal establishment mass media looking over BP's shoulder and then rushing out with breathless reports of "another failure." It's curious that now, with flow stopped for the moment, they all find it within themselves to counsel caution. Better late than never I suppose.

But what is the total damage done by the leak? The linked story cites a leaked volume of four million barrels of raw crude oil. Alright, let's put that in perspective. 4 million barrels is 22458333 cubic feet. From a well head located roughly 5,000 feet below the water's surface this amounts to a column of oil extending from the well to the surface that is about 23 meters (about 75 feet) in diameter. For a geological feature measured in nautical miles this really does amount to a "drop."

Dilution is the pollution solution.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2010

It's not Easy Being Green

If you've never cared for the song (or if you have) I recommend Sophie Milman's version. But I digress.

Two Insty posts deserve a reciprocal segue:

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS ABOUT THE PLUG-IN PRIUS: ďSo far, the Inside Line team has racked up more than 500 miles in the plug-in Prius and the experience has to be considered somewhat of a let down. The team has averaged 62 miles per gallon, a good number for sure, but one that many drivers of the more conventional Prius have easily achieved on a regular basis. . . . Given the plug-inís slightly improved efficiency, one would have to drive 215,100 miles to make up for the additional cash laid out to start

And
ECO BOOST: Ford Mustang V6 Gets 48.5 MPG Around Bristol Race Track.

Okay, Tangerines and Tangelos. But Look at Gallons per 100 mile:
  • Super cool, fun, babe-magnet* Mustang: 2.06186

  • Doofy, expensive, pretentious Prius that has to be plugged in at night and which will require multi-thousand dollar battery replacements at regular intervals: 1.6129

So, every 100 miles, the Plug-in Prius owner saves almost a half a gallon of gas. Seventy five gallons in a 15,000 mile year.

*Granted, the women in Brother Ka's life require the V8, but letís race the V6 against the Prius...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:19 PM | Comments (9)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Harrrrumph!

The woman (singular, take special note) in Brother Ka's life is happy driving the 232 V-6, so long as it's the ragtop. Mrs. Ka felt at the time that the V-8 was a trifle peppy. And inasmuch as she drives just like I do, I'll put serious money on her behind the wheel of her Mustang - and she'd probably spot the sissy Prius a hundred yards in a quarter-mile dash to prove her point.

As for the Mustang's environmental impact:

http://www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore/13334/environmental-progress-parked-mustang-test/henry-payne

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 29, 2010 5:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And the Prius' impact, on the other hand...

"To compare, the Toyota Prius involves $3.25 per mile in energy costs over its lifetime, according to CNW, while several full-size SUVs scored lower. A Dodge Viper involves only $2.18 in energy per mile over its lifetime. The Range Rover Sport costs $2.42, and the Cadillac Escalade costs $2.75."

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 5:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not so loud, jg - or someone will cite you as proof positive that the Prius deserves a taxpayer-funded subsidy to put it on an equal footing. The'll demand eighty cents a mile in subsidy to make it competitive with the Range Rover.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 29, 2010 6:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

DUDE! Where've you been?

Federal Tax Incentives

(Thanks for the hanging curve ball.)

But seriously, yes they can always ask for another subsidy... because this one is clearly not big enough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2010 7:46 PM
But jk thinks:

You guys makin' me laugh!

At the same time: Tesla Raises $226 Million in IPO, Stock Gains 40% on First Day

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2010 1:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

JG, I am definitely not, NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT clicking on that link.

Coulda been worse, I suppose. It could have been a Helen Thomas as an example of a liberal "babe"!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2010 2:00 PM

June 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

I stay out of the global warming dispute, and I mean completely. I don't argue that we need to do things because the world is coming to an end or going to shift because we have endangered ourselves. I mention global warming in the movie but don't focus on it, and the reason is because I think it's a red herring. If we focus on money, and the bottom line, and we look at what kind of cost savings and profits can be gained through energy efficiency, it makes the global warming argument look like people who just don't understand where the value is. We need to focus on value, because the major change for the green revolution has to happen at a business level.

If you don't provide businesses with value, they won't ever change. They don't care what's happening to the world. Corporations aren't run with a set of moral directives. They are run with one thing in mind, and that's profit. For me, for my work, even for the Fuel film, the question was always: How do we get away from these didactic arguments that just go around in circles and leave people with less understanding, less information, less ability to make informed decisions than they had when they began? How do we give them really clear, insightful information that they can use to actually better their lives? It's great that it betters the planet as a result. And it's great that it improves the air. Of course it's going to reduce carbon emissions. Because at the end of the day, it's an efficiency equation. -- Josh Tickell, the director and star of the award-winning documentary, Fuel


Posted by John Kranz at 1:38 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I call BS:

"Corporations aren't run with a set of moral directives. They are run with one thing in mind, and that's profit."

To the contrary - the profit motive IS a proper moral directive.

Do you see how even men who are favorably inclined to capitalism are defeated by the ideas of altruism without even knowing it? (Not that Mr. Tickell is necessarily or even slightly one of those men.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2010 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

MISTER TICKELL! I missed that. It sounds like a product VP Gore orders on the internet late at night from one of his lonely mansions...

Each can decide the credit he or she wants to extend Tick, but I was pretty impressed that a documentary filmmaker (I think about Spurlock and Michael Moore) would push profit motive and market value as the goal for alternative energy sources. You read it as anti-Rand, I read it as pro-Milton Friedman (a Corporation’s only goal is to provide value for its shareholders).

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2010 3:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Half-empty... half-full.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2010 12:42 AM
But Giggle T thinks:

I agree. You have to give businesses and corporatios financial incentives to go green. It has to be practical for them to really they their ways of doing things.

Posted by: Giggle T at June 27, 2010 6:55 PM

June 23, 2010

Smackdown Indeed

The WSJ Ed Page is impressed by the pointedness of Judge Feldman's (loved him in Young Frankenstein!) "legal rebuke" of the Obama moratorium on deep water oil drilling.

Oil-services companies brought the case, which is supported by the state of Louisiana, arguing that the White House ban was "arbitrary and capricious" in exceeding federal authority, and Judge Feldman agreed. He noted that even after reading Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's report on safety recommendations (which included the ban), and Mr. Salazar's memo ordering the ban, "the Court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the findings and the immense scope of the moratorium."

Quite the opposite, said the judge, "the Report makes no effort to explicitly justify the moratorium." It does "not discuss any irreparable harm that would warrant a suspension of operations" and doesn't provide a timeline for implementing proposed safety regulations. There is "no evidence" that Mr. Salazar "balanced the concern for environmental safety" with existing policy, and "no suggestion" that he "considered any alternatives." The feds couldn't even coherently define "deep water." Ouch.


Ouch indeed! Whole read the thing.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2010

Judicial Slap-Down

Not so fast, Barack: Judge Rules Against Obama Drilling Ban

Judge Feldman noted in his decision that the Supreme Court has explained an agency rule as being arbitrary and capricious "if the agency has relied on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider, entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence before the agency, or is so implausible that it could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the product of agency expertise."

"That rationale resonates in this dispute," Judge Feldman wrote in his decision.

Translation: You did ALL of these things you jackasses!

The Republic strikes back.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:57 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Huzzah for Judge Feldman and huzzah for tripartite government!

Larry Kudlow mentioned the injunction last night but I was not at all optimistic.

Makes one proud.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2010 5:02 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Aw, you guys are missing the point on this one. The judge saved the Obama Administration from itself. Hizzoner took an ecological disaster and expanded it to an economic disaster as well. Had the judge not made this ruling, Obama & Co. would have held the bag for the whole catastrophe. Now, Obama has the political cover with his Leftist base, but won't suffer the consequences of the decision. Somewhere Barry and Michele are fist-bumping.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 7:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No. I think not. This Reagan-appointed judge made an objective reading of the law and concluded that the administrative branch can not "arbitrarily and capriciously" deem a legal business to be illegal, even temporarily.

Without rulings like this Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez would be fist-bumping.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2010 7:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Don't get me wrong, I think it was the right decision as a matter of law. But, I don't think that you can deny that the judge saved Obama from himself, politically.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 8:05 PM
But jk thinks:

President Obama has a plan: he's going to put fifteen judges on teh Fifth Ciruit in time for the appeal.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2010 11:03 AM

June 17, 2010

How Cap and Tax will be Passed ... THIS YEAR

For several months now I've taken scant comfort in the belief that "after the healthcare disaster there's no way that congress or the American people will allow the energy tax bill to pass." Then I read this analysis by RCP's Jay Cost:

The only reason to pass such a major piece of legislation during a lame duck session is because the proposal is unpopular. If Democrats could sell the bill to their constituents, they would pass it before the November elections then campaign on it. Party leaders must also expect that the political will for this bill will not exist in the 112th Congress after the voters have spoken in November. In other words, the new representatives coming in are not going to vote for it - so Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama had better get the representatives who were just fired to support it before they're forced into early retirement.

But Jay says the president would be wise to use caution, lest he hurt his own chances for re-election in '12:

Passing health care reform over howls of popular protest then jamming energy reform through a lame duck Congress might solidify the impression that this President is a bully who doesn't care what the people think. That would hand the Republicans a great valence issue for 2012. Nobody likes a bully, after all.

But if the president has already acquiesced to a belief that his re-election is doomed anyway...

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Obama's energy tyranny was legislatively stalled. The oil rig exploded when Obama needed such a thing the most, and the timing couldn't have been better if Obama's goons had planned it. As Rahm Emanuel said, never allow a crisis to go to waste.

Meanwhile, the American people are stupid enough to swallow the guff about "offshore drilling," when it's federal regulations that prevent them from safe, plentiful drilling on land and in shallow waters.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 17, 2010 3:52 PM

June 12, 2010

"Unfettered" Capitalism

JK recently invoked a long-standing theme put forth by Blog Brother Silence: That without government guidance a capitalist economy necessarily results in an extreme gentrification of society, or a "Dickensian" world if you will. I noted in the comments that "it is not only the wealthy who can create wealth. At every level of the economic ladder, when value is traded for value wealth is created." A more thorough explanation of this fact is offered in a Wendy Milling essay: 'No Thomas Friedman, Capitalism is Perfect.'

Some degree of economic malady exists and will continue to exist under any system, including capitalism. It is not the responsibility of capitalism to eliminate, and it is not a feature of capitalism, but of a special facet of reality: Man's free will.

Individuals must perform mental and physical work in order to attain material values, but this requires an act of free will. The existence of free will means that some people will choose to have a different value system, and some will choose not to have values at all. In a pure capitalist system, the opportunity to achieve whatever prosperity level desired is available to everyone.

(...)

It is not the proper purpose or function of a politico-economic system to override the free will of man, and any attempt to do so is immoral. It would be an attempt to violate the rights of the virtuous for the sake of those who reject virtue, because in reality, the only way to start equalizing results for people who have chosen to reject effort is to rob from those who have not. To insist that people who demonstrate no commitment to achieving material values, value the materials anyway-and then blame capitalism for their not having them-is to border on the psychotic.

Now, what Wendy has described is only valid in a special place we like to call "reality." Opponents of capitalism can't prevail in the face of these facts using reason. In fact, many deny that reason exists. Instead, as Wendy writes, "they rely on obfuscations, equivocations, and an attitude of militant evasion. One trick is to make inappropriate demands of capitalism, then stomp and pout and denounce capitalism when those demands are not met." She calls this approach "crybaby metaphysics." That is apt teminology, and the reacton to the BP oil leak by President Obama casts him as Crybaby in Chief. ("Just plug the damn hole!")

Milling concludes by answering Friedman's sneering taunt, "But what say the tea partiers today? Who will step forward now and demand that the Ďenergy market' be rescued from regulatory bondage?"

Observe that the government, beholden to an insane environmentalist ideology that views nature as an intrinsic value and superior to human beings, forbade oil companies to drill nearer to the coast line where there were shallow waters. In the shallow areas, an oil leak could be directly accessed. Instead, companies were only allowed to drill in areas too deep for current technology to address.

The liability risk in deep waters was too great for the oil companies to accept. This is an example of the inherent safety features in a free market. However, because we need the oil for our economy, politicians had to entice companies to drill there by capping liability limits on accidents, legally shielding them from the consequences of failure they would bear under a capitalist system. It is government that removes the safety controls and engenders unacceptably risky situations.

There is no regulation that can override the reality of a fundamentally flawed set-up like this, which is why the statists do not offer to explain why such regulations were not already in place in one of the most heavily regulated sectors of the economy.

It is also an open question what the actual economic damage will be, what it would be were the federal government not interfering with local authorities' attempts to mitigate the spill, and what adaptations the private sector will make to counter the new adversities.

Thus, if it were not for government interference, there might still have been an accident at some point, but there would have been no "disaster." Statism was the problem, and laissez-faire would have prevented this situation.

Capitalism is not to blame for the flaws of our mixed economy, the do-gooders' "fettering" is.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

June 7, 2010

One Two, Futility, Three, Four!

ThreeSourcers who wish to extract an I-told-you-so can search for posts in which I argued against the European ('nuff said?) method of measuring fuel economy by the reciprocal: liters per 100 kilometers. Just a different scale said I.

And a logarithm is just a number and an exponent is just like a factor and -- what did you say your major was in school? Mea Maxima Culpa, I was "wrong as pants on a trout" to quote Mister Quint.

If you really want to see the effect on fuel economy, the reciprocal form conveys more important information. Y'all may be way ahead, but I had to play with some numbers. Imagine vehicles that get 10, 20, 25, 33, 50 and 100 mpg. The jump from 33 to 50 looks pretty substantive, as when I trade my MR2 for my sanctimonious in-laws' Honda Hybrid. But trading your 20 mpg truck for a 25 mpg hybrid or minivan. why bother?

We don't have to use metric, but let's look at those in terms of gallons per 100 miles. This is a measure of how much gas you'll buy and burn. 10,20,25,33, 50, and 100 equal 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 gal/100mi.

Little different, n'est ce pas? Moving from 20 to 25 has the same fuel savings as from 33 to 100 or 50 to 100. Or even 100 to zero!

And that's the significance of this story, claiming that "over half of the 130,000 hand-raisers for the Nissan Leaf, currently own a Toyota Prius."

That's a pretty significant signal to us. It tells us that there is a segment of eco-friendly consumers who are interested in going to the next level. They own a hybrid vehicle. But if the next step is available, they want to take it.

Well <southparkvoice>Good for You!</southparkvoice> But you're saving a marginally small amount of fuel.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: On the other hand:
lance_leaf.gif

UPDATE II: And, for those interested, 100 / 7 = 14.28, as in Ashton Kutcher's New Ride:

ashton.JPG

If Ashton were to upgrade to a Hummer...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, a few too many typos there to keep up with, but the point is a good one. So I'd like to offer an attempt at clarification.

Gallons per mile -> miles per gallon

5 -> 20
4 -> 25
3 -> 33 (and a third, but who's countin'?)
2 -> 50
1 -> 100
0 -> infinity

So, for a troglodyte like my brother to trade in his 20 mpg SUV for a 25 mpg one saves as much fuel as when Ed Begley gives up his plug-in hybrid for sandals.

More importantly, moving from a 10 mpg vehicle to one that gets 100 mpg cuts fuel consumption by 90%, and any further reduction from there is, by comparison, negligible. You can be the government will still be mandating it though.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2010 8:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Fixed (one) typo. And by the way. I think you mean "Gallons per 100 miles."

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 9:54 AM
But jk thinks:

But I'm not gonna make a big deal of it...

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 9:56 AM
But jk thinks:

Oh, and was that "you can bet the government...?"

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2010 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, per 100 miles, and yes, "bet" the government. Gee, this blogging thing is complicated!

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and I hear that Ashton drives his new ride when he goes to visit Al Gore's house.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2010 3:15 PM

June 3, 2010

"Fossil" Fuels: A Renewable Resource?

From a news article in Laser Focus World magazine:

Scientific evidence supports the origination of petroleum reserves from the decay of carbon matter such as ancient dinosaur and vegetation remains. However, researchers (...) have used laser heating in a diamond anvil cell (DAC) to demonstrate that high-temperature compression of natural elements in the upper mantle of the earth do indeed create hydrocarbons that could be transported through deep faults to shallower regions of the crust and contribute to petroleum reserves in an abiotic (having nothing to do with biology) process.

In other words, not coming from decayed dinosaurs or vegetation, hence the scare quotes in the title. (A more apt term would be geological, or geo-fuels.)

Naturally occuring subterranian gases, under extreme heat and pressure, appear to "partially reacts to form saturated hydrocarbons (ethane, propane, and butane), molecular hydrogen, and graphite. These hydrocarbons are a primary component of petroleum and were detected in the experiments using Raman spectroscopy."

I asked my PhD physicist friend, who sent me this article and told me that crude oil may well be a renewable resource, Would this mean that Peak Oil is a myth?

"Yes."

Update - June 09: A caller to Mike Rosen's show this morning asked Robert Bryce, author of 'Power Hungry - The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future' about the abiotic oil theory. He claimed that most of the oil company experts discount it, at least with regard to crude oil. Natural gas is apparently a better fit for the theory.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

A Dogma de Fide tenet of ThreeSources truth:

April 19, 2008

July 27, 2009

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And here JK proves that johngalt's memory isn't worth 4 bits, but allow me to summarize. The 2008 post discussed a theory. The 2009 post hailed experimental evidence (the same evidence I linked). Today's post linking a May, 2010 magazine article about it shows that Laser Focus World is slower than Eureka Alert.

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2010 7:20 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't expect anyone to remember much of the general nonsense I post, but this is a long time belief of mine (my conversion dinner would have been 1978 or 79).

It is just oddball enough that I am pretty sensitive. Watching a news clip on dispersion of the oil spill, the announcer said "Oil is biodegradable -- it is after all made from dinosaurs." My eyes rolled.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2010 10:07 AM

June 2, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill - The Real Threat

"Could we really take over BP?" Robert Reich is apparently serious.

Q: But why should we expect government to do any better job than BP?

A: BP would still be at the job -- and its expertise, equipment, and other assets would continue to be utilized. But the federal government would be in overall control of the operation -- weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public.

Yeah. That'd work.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:53 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

"weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public"

Yeah, the absolute sweet spot of government competence! You're re-reading Atlas, what page is this again?

Posted by: jk at June 2, 2010 4:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm in Chapter 6, 'The Non-commercial' which relates more to the MoDo column below. My guess is I'll get into more of this in chapter 7, 'The Exploiters and the Exploited.' Then of course there's chapter 12, 'The Aristocracy of Pull.'

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 4:22 PM

'lectricars! Green Jobs!

Our story (a story on loan from Holman Jenkins, Jr.) opens in Sunny California. And it has cool cars, high livin' entrepreneurs, dreams-a-plenty, and I'll work in some bikini-clad blonde women if you give me some time.

Everybody's favorite $100,000 'lectricar is coming into production! Huzzah!

Tesla is the dreamchild of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, but not even Mr. Musk's ample bank account is capable of providing financing on the scale required to bring a car to market. Especially not when it's already being drained to finance his unprofitable space-rocket company and now a divorce. In February, Mr. Musk told a judge he's "out of cash" and living off loans from "friends."

Among the friends he didn't enumerate is the federal government, which under a law Mr. Obama keeps bragging about has become Tesla's biggest supplier of working capital, in the form of $465 million in federal loan guarantees. But there's a wrinkle: This money can't be used directly to put Tesla's new "Model S" into production, but will be available only after Tesla raises the necessary funds from private investors.

Bottom line: Tesla needs an IPO, even in today's inhospitable market and despite its unpromising business plan. Mr. Musk himself especially needs an IPO to refloat his lifestyle by converting some of his Tesla stake to cash.


Huh, that didn't sound too good did it? Well, no doubt it is going to get better because 'lectricars are THE thing now, and everybody agrees that the $100,000 Tesla 'lectricar is the coolest!
What we have here is a political kludge of the murkiest order. Tesla reportedly was within hours of closing a deal for a plant site in Downey, Calif., when the Toyota offer materialized, thanks in part to undisclosed state incentives orchestrated by Mr. Lockyer. ("Downey is awesome," Mr. Musk wrote to city fathers apologizing for the last-minute jilting.)

Hardly was the deal announced before White House aide Jared Bernstein was on a conference call urging Tesla to rehire laid-off UAW workers. And already scheduled was Mr. Obama's campaign, er, presidential visit to Northern California, in which he was pleased to take credit for the deal.

Within days too, a bipartisan cabal of legislators introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to ladle out fresh subsidies for electric cars, including $5 billion to reward "deployment communities" or "corridors" (in California, say) that sponsor local schemes to spur sales of electric cars.


Kudlow fans will know Jared Bernstein as the sweet, loveable but highly misguided lefty foil who can be counted on to oppose anyone with reason. He entered the Administration early as VP Biden's Economic Advisor (Big Bird was unavailable?) I guess he's running GM now.

Jenkins suggests that California and the US could use some business that might, um, if I can broach the topic, generate revenue instead of mop up subsidies. But no, this calls for a victory lap. 'lectricars! Green Jobs! Bankruptcy!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

For an unvarnished review of the Tesla watch Jeremy Clarkson explain the obvious in his original style here. [Caution: advertising boondogle required for viewing.]

"...undisclosed state incentives organized by Orren Boyle, err, Mr Lockyer."

Question: Is "bikinied" a legitimate adjective?

Posted by: johngalt at June 2, 2010 3:08 PM

May 28, 2010

King Barack the Verbose

On the heels of Charles Krauthammer's King Canute reference, [third comment] Mark Steyn fills us in on the background.

In the age of kings, we were taught that kings were human, with human failings. Now, in the age of citizen-presidents, we are taught that government has unlimited powers over "heaven, earth and sea." Unlike Canute and Alfred, the vanity of Big Government knows no bounds.

You won't be sorry if you read it all. He even takes a whack at the Euro.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2010

Looks Like We'll Need Bigger Subsidies

Is The Electric Emperor Naked? asks American.com

Hondaís R&D chief thinks he may at least be in his underwear.

What Honda knows about electric cars is considerable. But what Honda, as one of the worldís leading manufacturers, knows about the car business is even more considerable. And as to the electric part of that business, Kawanabe says ďWe lack confidenceĒ in it.

ďWe are definitely conducting research on electric cars,Ē he recently told Bloomberg News, ďbut I canít say I wholeheartedly recommend them.Ē

Why? As a leading engineer for the builder of some of the worldís most popular cars, Kawanabeís answer is right to the point. ďIt is questionable whether consumers will accept the annoyances of limited driving range and having to spend time charging them.Ē

Kawanabe is not saying anything new, but he is saying something that is either ignored or has yet to sink in with electric enthusiasts. EVsóincluding the very best of themódonít go very far. They go even less far if they go fast. They go even less far if they contain passengers or any significant cargo. Or if it is very cold. Or if it is very hot.


I think that Honda has a good gift for planning strategically and taking the long view. The electric car fanatics are developing a technology that is years away in popular availability and adoption. The article suggests that 10% of the market in ten years is optimistic.

I'd suggest that predicting as faddish a trend as 'letriccars five or ten years into the future is pretty difficult. A little caution looks wise. Tesla is sui generis, the Chevy Volt is appealing to the firm's political owners, Nissan is free to bet on the Leaf. But all of these will come out of other R&D, and the 2013 Honda line might show a company that made the right pick..

Posted by John Kranz at 7:06 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, but you know those engineers... always focusing on the possible. What a bunch of naysayers.

By the way, have I ever told you that all of us in Galt's Gulch drive electric SUVs with on-board electricity concentrators with as much horsepower capacity as you'd care to pay for at the time of order? Jus' sayin'.

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2010 8:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Silly people; using your brains and thinking the vox populai is anything but a quaint myth.

The California cognoscenti have spoken, and have told us how 2% of the cars on the road _shall be_ EV's as of.... oh, ten years ago?

Ooops. I think we're coming up on the anniversary of the mandate hitting 5%. Someone better speak up!!

Who remembers? I do....
http://www.acterra.org/ev/archive/CARB_STAT.html

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 25, 2010 1:39 AM

May 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

"[T]hink of what's happening in countries like Spain ... where theyíre making real investments in renewable energy. They're surging ahead of us, poised to take the lead in these new industries," declared then-President-elect Barack Obama back in January 16, 2009. -- Ron Baily
A meta-QOTD today, the whole post is superb. (HT: Instapundit)
Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"And when the subsidies go, so, too, go the much-vaunted "green jobs" that depend on them. Climatewire reports that some 30,000 green jobs have evaporated in Spain. Earlier studies found that it cost nearly $750,000 to create each new green job in Spain's renewable energy sector."

Maybe they can "create" some more new jobs removing the solar panel eyesores.[first comment]

Then there's this: "Prices charged for solar power were 12 times higher than those for fossil fuel electricity." Strange that "free" energy costs so much, eh? I guess it's because of all those subsidies to oil and gas companies. Oh, wait...

Posted by: johngalt at May 9, 2010 9:58 AM

May 1, 2010

"Clean and Safe" alternative energy

Unless you're a bird. (Warning: Content may be disturbing to some viewers.) [No, I'm not kidding.]

Hat tip: M4GW

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:34 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I have been meaning to take and post a picture of the new Lafayette Solar Farm on Hwy 7 not too far from the "Condo of Love" that I call home.

I don't think I'll march or blow it up (though there's a big fertilizer store a mile away... Fifty Pounds of Ammonium Nitrate to a gallon of fuel oil if I recall from college...)

Nah, but I did have a Senator Kennedy moment. The flatland prairie around here is very attractive. Everybody loves the mountains, but the high plains are pretty to me. We have houses and farms and some commercial development that all seems to fit.

And now all of sudden there a few acres of black photovoltaic panels that are an absolute eyesore; nit huge but definitely ugly. I know all the denizens in Lafayette society are tickled pink that .0319% of their electricity is "renewable" but I gotta drive by this thing every time I go into town.

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2010 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of "Senator Kennedy moments"... Interior secretary approves nation's first offshore wind farm at Cape Cod

I'm all for bucking the NIMBY interests of the Kennedy family or specious "undersea indian burial grounds" claims but the federal subsidies being devoted to build these delicate engineeringing curiosities in the middle of the ocean really get me wee wee'd up.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 1:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

WSJ has some numbers that put the (not likely to be built soon) offshore wind project in perspective.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And finally, the Kansas City Star (my dad's old hometown paper) has a brief pro-con piece between Brian Merchant, Treehugger-dot-com, and the Boston Herald editorial staff. The latter says

Of course, there are those ‚ÄĒ and we count ourselves among them ‚ÄĒ who are huge fans of wind power but in the appropriate place and at a sustainable cost. Cape Wind fails on both of those scores.

(...)

While people may argue about the aesthetics of turbines on an ocean horizon, there can be no argument that this will be among the most expensive sources of energy ever devised by mankind. And that's not counting any possible public subsidy. [my emphasis]

Don't forget to vote in their online poll!

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2010 2:08 PM

April 1, 2010

I Could Not Have Decided for Myself

Don't worry, the AP suggests you're coming out okay:

WASHINGTON Ė Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they'll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars.

The new standards, announced Thursday, call for a 35.5 miles-per-gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 mpg from now.

By setting national standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, the government hopes to squeeze out more miles per gallon whether you buy a tiny Smart fortwo micro car, a rugged Dodge Ram pickup truck or something in between.


Where do you start with the awfulness of this policy? First principles. Government does not create more fuel efficient cars -- like the minimum wage, it just makes some purchases illegal.

It seems that citizens could choose whether they wanted to pay more for a more fuel efficient car. But as subjects, we are told.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:41 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Read this post to my dad. He pointed out that those new government-approved cars aren't more fuel efficient they're merely more fuel economical as a result of being smaller and lighter. [And I add, less comfortable and more dangerous.]

Today Jason Lewis said, "Just when you thought the world hasn't gone completely insane..." as the lead in to a story.

I couldn't help wondering, "Who thinks that?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2010 9:20 PM

March 23, 2010

No Nukes!

Haw about a little energy scarecrow? I'm sick of health care.

I saw this on a Stossel clip on Hulu and meant to ask the ThreeSources' cognoscente about it. Stossel has a blog post about it today. Key 'graph:

I thought that nuclear power is a wonderful underutilized energy source, hampered only by idiots who believe the scaremongering pushed by the likes of Jane Fonda and The China Syndrome. After all, France gets 80% of its electricity from the atom, and they handle the nuclear waste without a problem.

But Cato Institute energy analyst Jerry Taylor set me straight. Yes, the waste is manageable, he says, but affordable nuclear power is a Republican energy myth: ďTake a Republican speech on energy and cross out nuclear, replace with wind and solarÖand youíve got a Nancy Pelosi speech on energy. Exact same thing.


I won't say Cato is never wrong, but I am disinclined to say that he's nuts on this.

Cognoscente?

Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | Comments (12)
But Lisa M thinks:

No jg, I meant efficient--the quote form the Cato guy seems to imply that nukes are as inefficient as wind and solar, which I don;t think is a fair comparision. Additionally, since I was distracted and in class, Perry makes a point I was going to make, which is that government regs artificially drive up the price of nukes, thereby making it less economical.

That all being said, I admit to being pretty ignorant to actually knowing how nukes compare to other forms of energy in the realmsof economics and efficiency. It would not surprise me at all that the French were using an inefficient power source for 80% of their supply.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 23, 2010 11:53 PM
But jk thinks:

<animalhousevoice>I'll not sit still while Perry runs down Cato!</animalhousevoice>

I think, to be fair, Cato's on your side, Perry. The comparison to wind and solar is that none competes well on a level playing field. Doofy Right Wingnuts like me have been assured that nuclear power would be competitive if gub'mint "got out of the way" but I fear he (and jg) may be right.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2010 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Lots of thoughts in as few words as possible:

Coal is less popular in the east because those sources are intrinsically higher in sulphur (read: "acid rain") than western coal.

I never found a reference by Cato guy to efficiency of generation, which is what I assumed Lisa meant. He touches on efficiency of greenhouse gas reduction but not really compared to wind and solar, that I could see.

The efficency of wind and solar is not their fatal flaw - availability is. Wind energy peaks at night and in the winter - solar is effectively limited to a 4-6 hour period mid-day. Peak electric usage is summer afternoons and evenings year-round.

The efficiency of nuclear isn't really an issue since the fuel source is so magnificently concentrated. Perry's government regs. and concommitant costs/risks are the problem. (So now, finally, I'm prepared to agree with Cato guy that NUKES ARE NOT THE ANSWER! though not for the flower children's reason.) If gub'mint got ALL the way out of the way then nookyuler would have a chance to compete - but that ain't gonna happen.

The major battle line in this country today is coal vs. natural gas. Production advancements in natural gas have massively increased supply, therefore lowering cost vs. coal. But it still costs more than coal, notwithstanding gas guy's claims on the Mike Rosen show yesterday.

Hey gas guy, if gas really is "as inexpensive as coal" then why do you need Colorado law to keep utilities from buying coal?

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 3:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I wasn't quite done.

My last point refered to Colorado outlawing coal. I just updated last week's blog on that issue here.

And in this link to the coal industry website you can see, state by state, average electric rates along with the breakdown of fuel sources. Compare CO to CA or TX on the high side and WA on the low side.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2010 4:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm not "running down" Cato, but I'm pointing out something that their analyst doesn't appear to have considered. There's no such thing as a truly private nuclear power plant in the United States: there are so many requirements and regulations that they're state-run, even if ownership is ostensibly in private hands. When I first started researching nuclear energy, ahem, 19 years ago, I was shocked to find that you can't build a new plant based on an existing working design. You still can't, as far as I know. Nuclear energy can never be viable while regulations prevent operators from "Xeroxing" a practical design. This adds millions before the site can be considered for approval.

Take Indian Point, in my home county. Its electricity is expensive not because nuclear energy itself is that expensive, but because the envirowackos have completely hamstrung the operations. There's always a lawsuit or near-lawsuit to shut down the place, and applying for a license renewal is an extremely long and costly process.

But remember that I'm a staunch believer in markets, so I'm only saying about the Cato analyst, "Maybe correct, but here's something to think about." It's one thing to say that an apple costing 50 cents should be cheaper than a pear costing 40 cents after a 20-cent subsidy. But you can't say that the pear is cheaper or more expensive in a free market when the government has made it more expensive for the pear grower.

If someone can make something work, let him. If he can't, failure will be a lesson to the next guy (whether it's not to try it, or to try a different way). Some people once thought dirigibles were the future, and that airplanes would be limited to mail routes and sma.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 24, 2010 4:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oops, trailed off at the end. Meant to say, "smaller passenger routes."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 25, 2010 10:05 AM

March 17, 2010

Colorado following California into Anti-Coal Stupidity

Watch out Pennysylvania, you're probably next. Yesterday Colorado's lame-duck governor announced a "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that looks like it's on the fast track through the state legislature, having "bipartisan" sponsorship in both the house and the senate. The sponsoring GOP senator, in particular, draws my ire. It's been a while since I've felt the need to publish outside of the friendly confines of ThreeSources, but I wrote the editor of the Denver Post about it.

Re-thinking Josh Penry

Dear Editor,

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry has been making a name for himself in conservative circles but it may be time to reconsider. The Post reported Tuesday that he co-sponsored Governor Ritter's new "Clean Air - Clean Jobs Act" that outlaws coal power in Colorado. Have we not learned from California's mistake? Electricity costs 40% more there, largely due to their coal ban. Why do it?

Penry isnít quoted but reasons given include anticipation of federal regulations that could ďlead to a 4 to 6 percent increase in rates.Ē Thatís still 34% less than California. Xcel Energy and natural gas companies support the plan. The latter because coal always wins in a free-market; the former because theyíll get money for new plants and cover for raising rates. Itís like light bulb manufacturers encouraging the ban on cheap light bulbs.

And then there are coalís higher carbon emissions. As Curtis Hubbard alluded last month on his Post blog, if the events of the past year havenít convinced us that the whole ĎClimate Changeí issue was a fraud we have reason now to at least ask the question.

UPDATE - March 24, 2010:

Not long after my post I heard radio ads SUPPORTING this bill. They were paid for, if I'm not mistaken, by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a natural gas lobbying group. [No, I just heard it again. It's America's Natural Gas Association.] Jackasses.

Fortunately, the coal guys are fighting back. Today I heard the first ad against the bill deriding the mad rush to pass the bill "and raise electricity costs for Colorado residents for decades to come." The ad was paid for by American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a coal lobbying group.

Which to side with? The one that doesn't want to restrict the market - Coal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 5, 2010

I'm from 'Big Oil' And I'm Here to Help

I'm not quite ready to address the question of why the secular French and Russian revolutions "made such a hash of things, when the relatively devout American [revolution] succeeded." As a warm-up exercise I'll attempt to explain why America's elected leaders insist on cutting the nose off of America's energy policy. Hint: It is to spite America's face.

I remember wondering 20-odd years ago in my college days if environmentalists who lobbied government for ever greater restrictions on oil and gas development (and every other productive activity, it seemed) seriously believed that elected leaders would do something so obviously harmful to the American standard of living. Looking back now it clearly wasn't as obvious to our elected leaders as I had assumed. More importantly, however, it's also no longer obvious to a huge portion of the electorate. For decades the environmentalists and their minions, through vehicles such as global warming and Avatar movies, have lectured Americans that we are evil earth killers. For most of that time there was little in the way of self-defense on the part of "big oil." I'm pleased to say that has changed. "The US oil and natural gas industry is moving ahead with a long-term educational advocacy program to build understanding and appreciation of the role the industry and its products play in fueling the nationís economy."

But just why has the industry felt the need to undertake such a program? Red Cavaney, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), provides some context. ďLike many industries, especially those with roots dating back a century or more, we have traditionally focused on just getting our job done, if you will,Ē he says. ďTo the extent we communicated externally, our companies have tended to focus on their brand.Ē

Cavaney explains that on issues related to public policy, the industry has tried to be responsive to a policy-maker audience. ďThe industry has not, however, engaged stakeholders and others more broadly about its irreplaceable role in fueling our nationís overall economic growth or its contribution to an improved quality of life for the American consumer,Ē he says.

As my high-school history professor Doc Ton used to say, "The pendulum always swings back."


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Add to that Karl Popper's famous "those who would take us back to the caves." Boulder is full of folks who would like us all to be poor dirt farmers even if we could get clean abundant energy from kissing rocks.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2010 4:45 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

As a Boulder native, The Refugee will attempt to shed light on the average Boulder psyche. Most of them don't, in fact, want everyone to be dirt poor farmers. They want all of the 60" flat panel TVs, 6000 sq ft homes, three cars, iPods, etc. They want everyone else to be dirt poor farmers so that they can by organic produce and feel good about.

An interesting article appears in the WSJ on Feb 13: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704320104575015920992845334.html?KEYWORDS=boulder+green+energy. The point of the article was that even in an uber-environment outpost like Boulder, individuals valued convenience more than energy savings:

"Since 2006, Boulder has subsidized about 750 home energy audits. Even after the subsidy, the audits cost each homeowner up to $200, so only the most committed signed up. Still, follow-up surveys found half didn't implement even the simplest recommendations, despite incentives such as discounts on energy-efficient bulbs and rebates for attic insulation.


The City of Boulder prides itself on being an eco-conscious town. So how come it's been so hard to get residents to reduce their dependence of fossil fuels? WSJ's Stephanie Simon reports.
About 75 businesses got free audits; they made so few changes that they collectively saved just one-fifth of the energy auditors estimated they were wasting."

Once again, the Liberal Left shows it's true colors.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 5, 2010 10:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome link br. Thanks!

Posted by: johngalt at March 8, 2010 11:37 AM

Got Jobs?

The House of Representatives recently passed its own version of the largely symbolic, but very expensive, 15 ba-billion dollar jobs bill. What frustrates me most of all about this is how they ignore a simple and inexpensive way to create real, private-sector jobs, increase tax revenue, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. EnergyTomorrow.org sez:

Increasing access to oil and natural gas resources could generate nearly 160,000 new, well-paying jobs, $1.7 trillion in revenues to federal, state and local governments and greater energy security. And according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry already supports 9.2 million American jobs and contributes more than $1 trillion to the national economy, or 7.5 percent GDP.

Our nation has vast on-and-offshore oil and natural gas resources that could be produced safely to put this country's economy back on its feet.

But it's not just domestic oil and gas that will provide the jobs and energy our nation needs. Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north and top supplier of oil, will continue to play a vital role as we seek greater energy and economic security.

According to a recent CERI study, the economic impact of Canadian oil sands development is expected to lead to 342,000 U.S. jobs between 2011 and 2015, and an estimated $34 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 and $42.2 billion in 2025.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Many answers to our economic woes are easy to find; if government hacks really intended to fix the economy they would do it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:29 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2010

America's Next Superfund Sites

It isn't enough that billions of dollars (and euros) have been wasted in the construction of wind energy "farms." Get ready to spend billions more tearing them down.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:38 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Jobs, jobs, jobs! Is there no end to the prosperity of the Green Revolution?

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2010 4:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Y'all are just too racist to recognize what Obama is doing. He's simply following FDR's programs of people digging holes and filling them up again, which averted economic disaster by creating aggregate demand.

Pardon me while I throw rocks through my windows to create jobs for the local glassmaker. And the feds can enact lots of new compliance regulations, requiring a separate report for each, to ensure employment for my boss and me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 15, 2010 10:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Better yet - let's throw 'em through White House windows. I'm sure they'll be replaced with only the best.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2010 11:32 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

OK, I'll take this one up, as the resident Libertarian-Wind-Phile.

I find the AT article slightly disingenuous, as I often do for the O/L pubs from the reaching Right (worst example was loosely linking Enron to EPact). Still, I don't disagree with it's main point: wind and solar have gotten a lot of subsidies. What is mainly lacking is a comparison with the subsidies wind gets (for production), to those gained by oil, coal & gas for land use and their own depreciation shell games. Even the greenie-weanies rarely draw this comparison. He also doesn't properly explore the shameless shell game that wind proponents play with need a new wind subsidy _title_ every 5-10 years (tax credit: discredited), they get the PTC, then they get a RPS, then they get the ITC, now... it's something else... I forgot which.

As such, I'm not such a firm believer as I once was that wind could complete on a truly level playing field, but I'd like to see a detailed subsidy comparison.

Prof. Calzada's presentation on Spain's Green-going-into-the-Red was very powerful.
http://www.heartland.org/bin/media/newyork09/PowerPoint/Gabriel_Calzada.ppt

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A picture is worth 32,850 words (every year for fifty years.)

Those who rail against coal, oil and gas subsidies generally forget to consider the immense taxes those industries pay in return. But fine, eliminate ALL of the subsidies. Oil wins in a cakewalk.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:48 PM

December 23, 2009

Getting tired of asking for permission

LetMyPeopleDRILL.jpg

Get yours here.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:35 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2009

Evolution to Extinction

Sanctimonious progressives ridicule social conservatives for refusing to acknowledge the validity of the theory of evolution. Too bad they are too dense to see the obvious parallel with their refusal to acknowledge the lessons of history. But IBD's Michael Ramirez sees it.

ramirez%2015DEC09.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:50 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith thinks:

I thought they all died in the Ice Age. These dinosaurs oughta stay away from the Gore Effect:

http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/03/gore-effect-strikes-again-giant-dc.html

Posted by: Keith at December 17, 2009 6:11 PM

October 12, 2009

A Trike for Silence

This post Insty linked to made me think of ThreeSources's token left-of-center Silence Dogood. We may not vote alike but we frequently think alike.

One smart comment of his is that government regulation in fuel economy and transportation safety have stifled the development of hybrid vehicles -- not gas-electric hybrids, but scooter-motorcycle, cycle-car skateboard-bus vehicles which might find a market yet cannot be brought to market because of governments need to stratify and classify.

bmw-simple-concept-1.jpg

BMW's 120MPG hybrid motorcycle-car-stealth-bomber-thingy might make some sense but one finds it hard to see its coming to market.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

This MR2 owner could not agree more,

Posted by: jk at October 13, 2009 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Too complex and too many variables to predict every time, but the empirical evidence is conclusive.

I considered posting this link yesterday. It came in an email from my dear ol' dad last month. I refrained. But now I have to say you've asked for it.

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&um=1&q=smart+car+wreck&sa=N&start=20&ndsp=20

Posted by: johngalt at October 13, 2009 1:49 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Johngalt you must have been confused by the name "Smart". Did they learn nothing from the vans of the early 70's? Namely, you need some crumple space between you and the front of your car. Has nothing to do with your size or weight. Speaking of weight, 1800 lbs for this thing? They saved a whole 500 lbs from a Honda Fit? And gas mileage of 33/41? Seriously, this thing doesn't get 80 mpg? The Smart Car is pure marketing.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at October 14, 2009 12:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Boulder lefties get mad when they see a Hummer; I get mad when I see a smart car. They are so completely lame -- just a hair better gas mileage than my Mister2. It's all about showing how much you care, I suppose.

BTW engineering section: another mea culpa. I've completely changed my tune on reciprocal gas mileage -- the Europeans do have a better idea there. Looking at gallons per 100 miles, the difference between the MR2 and StupidCar® look as negligible as they are.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2009 10:07 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You're absolutely right Silence, the so-called Smart Car delivers all of the hazards and inconveniences with little of the intended advantages of a smaller, lighter car. Like hybrids, I consider them the automotive equivalent of a hair shirt. But don't crumple zones necessarily make any given car larger and heavier than it would otherwise have been?

On the stealth tryke, zero to sixty in ten seconds? That's one way to get high mpg - tall gears and/or a throttle limiter. I think concept vehicles like this are a very worthwhile endeavor, if only to demonstrate what has to be sacrificed for a few more miles per gallon (or fewer litres per meter.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 14, 2009 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On a related note, I just saw a commercial for the new 2010 Subaru Outback. They billed it as "the original SUV alternative" immediately followed with "now bigger and better."

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2009 11:45 AM

September 28, 2009

'Bout That Peak Oil...

BP announces `giant' oil find in Gulf of Mexico

LONDON (AP) -- BP PLC said Wednesday that it had made a "giant" oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico but had not yet determined the size and commercial potential of the find.

The well, in Keathley Canyon block 102 about 250 miles (400 kms) southeast of Houston, is in 4,132 feet (1,259 meters) of water, the company said.

The Tiber well was drilled to a total depth of 35,055 feet (10,685 meters), making it one of the deepest wells ever drilled by the oil and gas industry, BP said.

BP has a 62 percent interest in Tiber, while Petrobras holds 20 percent and ConocoPhillips has 18 percent


Hat-tip: Scrivener.net

UPDATE: A ThreeSources friend tells me that the wife of another ThreeSources reader played a large part in the find -- well done!

Posted by John Kranz at 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2009

Realistic technologies

The German automakers' laudable "go diesel" media blitz continues with a review of Audi's Q7 TDI and Mercedes' GL320 Bluetec. Reviewer James Schembari must be some sort of genius:

The diesel has become so seamless and the mileage so good that you canít help but wonder if the technology could become the most realistic high-mileage solution for large passenger vehicles until other technologies are perfected.

This observation isn't notable so much for it's brilliance as its obviousness, and its similarity to other such observations. For example:

- The automobile has become so comfortable and convenient that you can't help but wonder if the technology could replace the horse and buggy until other technologies are perfected.

- The electric lamp has become so safe and economical that you can't help but wonder if the technology could replace the kerosene lamp until other technologies are perfected.

- Centralized generation of electric power from fission fuels has become so clean and ubiquitous that you can't help but wonder if the technology could replace fossil fuel generation UNTIL OTHER TECHNOLOGIES ARE PERFECTED.

I wonder if the Germans will ever show us the way on that too.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

But realism implies reason, which the "green" community lacks. Don Surber has more on Save the planet, kill an eagle.

Diesel just doesn't "feel" as good as an electric vehicle full of heavy metals and toxic acids, powered by electricity from an old coal plant - now that's environmentalism!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2009 1:42 PM

September 22, 2009

Citizens or Subjects?

Or, a better title might be "Gimme That Old Time Paternalism..."

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu "sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons." WSJ:

ďThe American publicÖjust like your teenage kids, arenít acting in a way that they should act,Ē Dr. Chu said. ďThe American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.Ē (In that case, the Energy Department has a few renegade teens of its own.)

The administration aims to teach themóliterally. The Environmental Protection Agency is focusing on real children. Partnering with the Parent Teacher Organization, the agency earlier this month launched a cross-country tour of 6,000 schools to teach students about climate change and energy efficiency.

ďWeíre showing people across the country how energy efficiency can be part of what they do every day,Ē said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. ďConfronting climate change, saving money on our utility bills, and reducing our use of heavily-polluting energy can be as easy as making a few small changes.Ē


Don't. Know. What. To. Say. Anymore.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:33 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"... a few small changes."

Few?

Small?

Pfffth.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2009 11:50 AM

September 17, 2009

Audi Preaches JG's Gospel of Petroleum

You may have seen the new Audi commercial with barrels of oil rolling through the streets and back onto the tankers that brought them here from overseas producers. "If 1/3 of us drove a TDI clean diesel vehicle, we could send back 1.5 million barrels of foreign oil every day."

Well, since I love oil, I went to Audi's website looking for a copy of the commercial and found their "Diesel - it's no longer a dirty word" flash presentation.

Some highlights:

A TDI engine is revved several times while a white hanky is held near the exhaust pipe. Spotless.

"One drop of diesel fuel has 12% more power than one drop of gasoline."

I'm ready to do my part to reduce global warming-
"If 1/3 of Americans switched from gasoline to diesel, it would be the equivalent of planting 2.2 billion trees."

"so if you take the combination of phenomenal performance with reduced emissions and the positive impact that has on the environment there can truly be no compelling argument against the adoption of clean diesel technology for use on the roads in the United States."

Well, except for the fact that it would obliterate all of the "crises" that environmentalists have concocted to take us back to the caves.

Hey Obama, stimulate THIS!

[UPDATED to add video of the commercial from YouTube.]

Also of interest, a history of diesel cars in America since 1979. Via AudiofAmerica on YouTube. They call it Audi TDI: TRUTH IN DIESEL

By the way, did I mention that I love oil?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Our German bruderin who expected that? I would add the VW Commercial: How does your hybrid sound? Makes me laugh every time.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2009 12:58 PM
But Keith thinks:

What time is it? It's time to unpimp your Prius...

Posted by: Keith at September 17, 2009 2:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, now I'm really, really, ROFLMAO.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2009 3:44 PM

September 8, 2009

The Condor Cuisinart

You'd think the Audubon Society might be celebrating the Petrosesquicentennial. You would, of course, be wrong.

But as Brother JG and I seek to crowd more people into the petroleum evangelists' revival tent, some bird lovers might want to consider baptizin':

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birdsónearly all protected by the migratory bird actóare being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont's turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon's tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.

"Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card," Mr. Fry told me. "If there were even one prosecution," he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade association, each megawatt of installed wind-power results in the killing of between one and six birds per year. At the end of 2008, the U.S. had about 25,000 megawatts of wind turbines.


This from a WSJ editorial decrying the double standard in enforcement, as oil and power companies have been levied with huge fines based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Gotta love oil.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Understood Keith, but the Condor salad generated by your basic 400KW turbine takes away the subtleties of the endangered species's distinctive flavor.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2009 2:25 PM
But Keith thinks:

Frankly, I prefer my terrine with the beak and feathers removed, thank you...

Posted by: Keith at September 8, 2009 2:59 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The larger point is that none of these industries should be subject to enviro-harassment through the courts that the present system permits. Limits on environmental lawsuits and endless impact studies should be an essential part of tort reform. Unfortunately, that has less of a chance than a condor in a windmill blade collision.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 8, 2009 6:24 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I always wondered about that. I have seen the Altamont farm and it is huge, at one point there are windmills as far as the eye can see, up and down each hill. Double standard indeed. Don't forget that Hydro doesn't get a pass either, a couple of dams along the Sacramento river had to put in fish ladders for the spawning salmon.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 9, 2009 12:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And more than one dam has actually been demolished in the name of fish habitat. It's almost as if environmentalists don't want ANY energy sources. Hmmm.

This was long before the internet so any references are only on microfiche somewhere but I recall during my college days - it made an impression on me as an idealistic young electrical engineering student - the early days of wind turbine R&D led to howls of protest from environmental groups because of bird strikes. They were dubbed "bird blenders" at the time. If wind turbines should ever become a predominant source of electricity those same old voices, the very ones that now give wind power a pass, will rise in opposition once again. The good news is, there's virtually no chance of wind power becoming a major player in the energy market.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2009 12:56 PM
But Keith thinks:

Well, in that case, I highly recommend we appoint Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III to the position of Wind Farm Czar. Seems to me he has some experience with bird blenders, has the ability to keep his wits about him during a crisis, and may have a personal stake in seeing to it that no tern is left unstoned to protect the infrastructure. In fact, I might go so far as to presume he has a personal axe to grind...

Posted by: Keith at September 9, 2009 3:54 PM

September 7, 2009

I Love Oil

(And why everyone else should too.)

JK recently heralded America's Petrosesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the first American oil well. We are quite enamored of the "black gold" on these pages. And why not? 3.8 gallons of oil derived gasoline (you may have heard of it - it's been used as a primary motor fuel for nearly a hundred years) which can be purchased on any street corner for about ten bucks, produce as much energy as an average lightning bolt (about 500 megajoules.)

And the safety of this miracle fuel is such that anti-industrial zealots like those on Dateline NBC have had to use remotely detonated explosives to recreate accidental fuel tank explosions.

But there's more to oil than gasoline. Much more. Modern necessities made from oil include jet fuel, propane gas, plastics, asphalt, and dozens of petrochemicals essential to hundreds of industries we could hardly imagine living without. (Paints, fertilizers and textiles to name just a few.)

I went searching for the historical significance of the Petrosesquicentennial and found the following graph of world population and income since 1500. It shows a precipitous rise in population around the time of the Industrial Revolution. But the per capita world GDP rose only 31 percent in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution (1820 to about 1870). In the next 30 years however, inflation-adjusted individual incomes went up another 45%, and 20 years later nearly doubled from there. Finally, by the end of the 20th century, individuals earned a whopping SEVEN TIMES what their ancestors did at the time commercial oil production began.

(Click on graph to enlarge)

While the Industrial Revolution began in the early 1800's without oil it "centered on improvement in coal, iron and steam technologies." The truly modern developments "steel, electricity and chemicals" were hallmarks of the Second Industrial Revolution which, though not clearly delineated from the first, roughly coincided with the commercialization of oil in America.

So if you love iPods, cell phones, jet planes, mass transit, modern medicines, supermarkets, artificial light, white collar jobs ... and the income to pay for all of these and more ... you'd best come to grips with your closet love affair with oil.

UPDATE [10:43a EDT]: As often happens, I omitted a key argument in the thread. The point of all this was to set up the assertion that the advent of cheap and abundant oil was not only coincident with the Second Industrial Revolution, but catalyzed it. Try to imagine the course of the industrial age without it. Certainly a gallon of gas could have been replaced, say with 121 cubic feet of natural gas or 9 pounds of coal, but extracting and using a liquid fuel proved far more practical and economical than those gaseous or solid ones, at least for some uses. And I contend those uses were - and remain - important. Add to this the less obvious fact that many chemical uses of oil may be irreplaceable.

Oil has clearly fueled prosperity. Not only that, it did so for everyone.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

And let's not fail to celebrate John Rockefeller, who gave non-wealthy Americans the gifts of affordable heat and light. His nickel-a-gallon kerosene provided productive hours of reading and working to those who could not afford dollar-a-gallon whale oil.

For this generous gift to our nation's poor and his unprecedented philanthropy, we call him a "robber baron."

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2009 11:23 AM
But JC thinks:

"Enamored with oil"
The terms "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind with the mountains of scientific evidence pointing to the fact that we need to migrate away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have served as a valuable resource and a sturdy bridge to where we are today. That bridge is about to collapse and if we fail to engage fully in the deployment of alternatives, we are going to be challenged with how quickly we can migrate to another planet! I have a poster on the wall that says "If you can't adapt, you get left behind." Those words are positioned strategically over the fossil remains of a plesiosaur.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA516815

http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/31000/31900/31911/RAND_TR652.pdf

NAVY responds to RAND report:
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/01/25/navy-fires-salvo-at-rand-alt-energy-report/

http://www.aces.edu/waterquality/faq/faq_results.php3?rowid=4638

As the "sweet crude" (easy to refine) sources dwindle, we see the industry shifting to tar sands and shale. The added cost to extract usable fuels from these "hard" sources are being passed on to the consumer while the global oil giants amass huge profits in preparation for energy intensive extraction processes.

Time for a paradigm change!
Every single day our individual homes are awash in energy (wind and solar being the primary). What percentage of that energy did you capture today? Still dependent on the ever-increasing costs for fossil fuels? Still denying the advantages of migrating to alternatives? Prepare to become fossilized! :?

Posted by: JC at May 30, 2013 9:23 PM

August 28, 2009

Petrosesquicentennial

Blog Brother Cyrano sent a link that I wish I had posted yesterday. I am claiming coinage for the title word, though I am not sure when it will be used again.

But August 27th was the 150th anniversary of the first American Oil well -- and if that's not a better cause for celebration than Labor Day, I'll drink a quart of 10W30. IBD Ed Page:

On that day in 1859, Edwin Drake struck black gold with the first commercial oil well ó creating an industry that would provide the lifeblood for modern civilization.

And yet no one seems to care.

In previous generations, the birth of the oil industry was celebrated, and deservedly so. Oil has sustained and enhanced billions of lives for more than 150 years by providing superior, affordable, ultraconvenient energy ó and is as vital today as ever.


I celebrate modernity today and link to an extended, director's cut of my favorite TV commercial (embedding disabled, sorry!): Putting the 'No' in Innovation!

Happy Petrosesquicentennial!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:18 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

Pennsylvania, ahem..... to be sure....
they were drilling near Oil Creek, so it was a sure thing. ;)

Posted by: AlexC at August 28, 2009 1:36 PM

July 27, 2009

My "Truther" Theory

I always wonder why my conspiracy theory accepting friends are never dissuaded by the number of opposing views if not by Occam's Razor. To be sure, truth is not a democracy, and I have been proud to stand for many minority positions. But when I see "9-11 Truthers" and a few friends who believe that five billionaire families meet in Germany once a year and plan everything that happens everytwhere, I wonder that the tidal forces don't affect them.

And yet, my favorite wacko belief got linked by Instapundit today: Hydrocarbons in the deep Earth? I heard it called "outgassing" and had the pleasure of a personal presentation by Dr. Sterling Colgate, who was a former President of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a good friend of a(nother) guitar player in my band.

His pitch was that almost every hunk of rock we see floating around kicks out low level hydrocarbons, when these comets and asteroids clearly did not have millions of decaying dinosaurs to create oil. Maybe, just maybe, Earth was no different and these small molecules were compressed into more complex organic structures as they came through the intense heat and pressure of the Earth's mantle.

This was in an apolitical part of my life and I had no dog in the fight. I admittedly got a pitch from a charismatic and obliviously brilliant physicist, but it has always made more sense to me.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:45 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So experimental efforts to "sequester" carbon by burying it underground could actually promote the natural creation of more hydrocarbon fuel deposits? The irony is delectable!

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:14 PM

July 13, 2009

With Success Like This...

[Austin] Statesman.com:

Austin Energy officials say that times have changed and that the nation's most successful (by volume of sales) green-energy program, which offers the renewable energy only to those who select it, might no longer be the best way to carry out the city's goals. It now costs almost three times more than the standard electricity rate.

"I think it's time to sit back and look at the philosophy behind GreenChoice," said Roger Duncan, the head of Austin Energy and the chief architect of GreenChoice.

"It was our intent to use it to stimulate the market for renewables, which it did, and then eventually phase it out," Duncan said. "It was never intended to go on forever."

Duncan said part of the solution might just be adding new wind, solar and other renewable-energy projects into the bills of all Austin Energy customers, which could increase rates for everyone


A perfect blueprint for the nation! Create a bunch of green energy that is too expensive to find a buyer --- and then make everybody buy it.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 2:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2009

Don't Tell Blake Carrington!

Colorado ranked worst place for energy industry to do business

Surveys and magazine rankings routinely list parts of Colorado as the best places to live. But one survey says for oil and gas companies Colorado is the worst place in the country to do business.

The survey covered 143 locations worldwide. Colorado ranked last among the states and 81st in the world.

In 2007 Colorado was among the best places for oil and gas.

Some executives say Colorado has fallen out of favor because of new regulations.


Hat-tip: @RockyMtnRight

Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don't you see what a good idea Obama's cap-and-trade is? The One will make Colorado equal with everywhere else...by bringing down everywhere else to Colorado's level.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 27, 2009 2:23 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

On the plus side, the Rockies have won 19 out of their last 22 and are just 7 1/2 games out. Who cares about economics when you have baseball?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 29, 2009 10:55 AM

June 26, 2009

"Balanced" and "sensible" climate change bill passes House

That's the spin thrown on the bill by President Obama yesterday. Surely it was far from either of those qualities at the time, but prior to passage another 300 pages were shoe-horned in ... at 3 am this morning! [What in the hell is the fixation that Washington politicians have with that time of day?] Minority Leader Boehner said the obvious:



And here are a few floor quotes:

Rep. Geoff Davis, a Republican from Kentucky, said the cap-and-trade bill represented the "economic colonization of the heartland" by New York and California.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) called the bill a ďscamĒ that would do nothing but satisfy ďthe twisted desires of radical environmentalists.Ē
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) called it a ďmassive transfer of wealthĒ from the United States to foreign countries.

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that, without the bill, the United States would remain energy-dependent on people who want to ďfly planes into our buildings.Ē

I'd hoped to insert a bulleted list of ways that this bill is a colonoscopy for America but then I realized, Who the hell knows what it does... it jumped from 1200 pages to 1500 overnight!

But it's far from law yet. Next stop: the Senate.

(Note that as the lions share of H.R. 2454 was written by the environmental lobby this post qualifies for the coveted "dirty hippies" category.)

And kudos to JK for naming the 8 RINOs who voted for this treasonous piece of crap. Just four of them switching sides would have spiked it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:55 PM | Comments (6)
But AlexC thinks:

That jagoff Kirk wants to run for Obama's former Senate seat.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: AlexC at June 26, 2009 11:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Of the 44 Democrats voting no, one is from Colorado and four are from PA. I'll tell you what - my respect for John Salazar (CO-3) just grew three sizes larger.

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2009 10:06 AM
But jk thinks:

Well done, Mister Leader!

I tend to give up before trying on my representation, but Colorado's two freshman Democrat Senators could well feel a little heat on this issue.

To take up an Instapundit riff, having the next Tea Party outside of Senator Udall's or Bennett's office might be a better blow for freedom than a photo-op outside the Capitol.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2009 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If Mark Udall might face heat on this issue in 2010 he doesn't seem to feel it at the moment. One of the stories I read yesterday said a few senators were working the halls of congress twisting arms for a yes vote. Mark Udall (D-CO) was the one mentioned by name.

I'm in for a TEA (Taking Energy Away) party at one of Markey's offices. Instead of pitchforks we'll carry empty gas cans. (Shall we try to organize something for next week?)

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2009 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm thinking we'd have better luck with Bennett, but that it would be a good exercise to scare Senator Udall. He is used to catering to CO-2 collectivists and a reminder that Boulder is not the whole state, dude, might be a good lesson.

They're pushing on Twitter for GOP defectors (great Twitter tag #capandtr8tors) to change their vote as you suggest with Markey. Is that realistic? I cannot imagine that the same effort would not be better directed at the Senate, but I am open to discussion.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2009 6:29 PM
But HB thinks:

Best quote:

‚ÄúI look forward to spending the next 100 years trying to fix this legislation,‚ÄĚ said California Republican Brian Bilbray.

Posted by: HB at June 27, 2009 10:15 PM

May 15, 2009

For Sale: The Golden State

I really wanted to include a little graphic showing the state of California with a FOR SALE sign planted in it right about at Sacramento. Well, just use your imagination.

California's Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed selling a number of state landmarks (state ownership of which is in some doubt) to raise cash and balance the state budget. One-time proceeds are estimated at $1 billion. The budget shortfall is $15.4 billion, just for the next fiscal year. Obviously state officials need more stuff to put in their garage sale. Hmm, I wonder what California has that someone might be willing to pay cash for (other than federal bailout dollars, that is.) Gee, that's a tough one!

According to this handy interactive graphic the total government lease royalty revenue that would result from lifting current oil and gas production moratoria is $1695 billion and of that amount, $1386 billion of it comes from the outer continental shelf (Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf regions combined.) A summary report here provides numerous tables showing the breakdown by area but none were clear enough for me to cite specifically. Let it suffice to say the California budget shortfall, at $15.4 billion, is a bit over 1 percent of the possible OCS government windfall. If the Governator would simply work toward responsible development of his state's natural resources he could balance its budget overnight, and for decades to come.

As an added bonus, the productive half of America might even throw in legalization of pot!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:46 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I'm just happy the Governator is listening to Reason TV as they point out some of the goodies that are available.

Great point on the revenues from energy production. If we could duct tape Senators Boxer and Feinstein in a box* for a couple of days and override the bans, would the Golden State's production be viable at current prices?

*ThreeSources does not recommend or condone violent behavior directed at legitimately elected officials. This was merely a dramatic device to suggest possible passage of legislation that the current Senatorial representation of California has long opposed.

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2009 11:42 AM
But Keith thinks:

California going bankrupt while refusing to pump all that nice, shiny, revenue-producing oil isn't far removed from half a billion people starving in India while porterhouses and top sirloins on four legs walk around unmolested and uneaten on their city streets.

THERE'S a worthy run-on sentence to make a well-deserved point. The picturesque tone of voice is just a fringe benefit.

All that being said, I must once again apologize to the whole nation for my state. Let's just face it: we're heap plenty stupid. We gave you Feinstein, Boxer, Schwarzenegger, Waters, and come next Tuesday, we'll see whether we're still stupid.

I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry.

Posted by: Keith at May 15, 2009 4:32 PM
But jk thinks:

A feller in the 2nd Congressional Colorado district is not going to cast any stones (not without a permit, Kieth).

The Reason video reminded me the hope I had for Ahnold. All humor of the video aside, it underscores just how bankrupt (philosophically) the system is. Watch those union folk -- those teachers "Ain't got none attention of giving nothing up!"

Schwarzenegger was a rare chance: he had the star power to get elected as an individualist in a collectivist-leaning state and he had toughness to stand up to the opposition. The California Public Union Sector trained him like a puppy. Is there another one left, Yoda?

Posted by: jk at May 15, 2009 5:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I see today evidence that the "sell Cahl-ee-fohrn-ya's state landmarks" proposal was little more than a campaign stunt. It was aimed at bolstering support for tomorrow's tax increase ballot measures (which Keith alluded to in his comment.) The half-dozen or so initiatives would raise taxes to collect, as I understand it, an additional $6 billion per year for 3 years from CA taxpayers (read: those "white people" who gathered on Capitol steps nationwide last month). If they fail, as the polls suggest most will, the supposed result will be "deep spending cuts."

Good NED, can we get some of those ballot measures in OUR state too??

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2009 1:36 PM
But Keith thinks:

johngalt: for more on tomorrow's wacky ballot measures in California, see here:

http://tinyurl.com/ooehz7

I did an update yesterday pointing my readers back here, and we have a lively conversation going among my readers in which you're always welcome to participate. Heaven knows a good lesson in free-market economics and the proper role of government is sorely needed by Californians, especially our elected overlords...

Posted by: Keith at May 18, 2009 1:55 PM

May 13, 2009

We'll Pick Winners, We're Just Not Good at It!

Scrivener.net has a little fun with the Obama Administrations abandoning funding for Hydrogen cars. He links to a WSJ blog with the sorry scoreboard:

ďWeíre very good at starting programs. Weíre not so good at deliveringĒ on the promises made by those programs, Mr.[Robert] Fri said. For example, President Nixon called for a low-emissions car in 1970. Jimmy Carter urged the reinvention of the car in 1977. The Clinton administration started the ďPartnership for a New Generation of VehiclesĒ in 1993. President Bush launched the FreedomCar project in 2003. Meanwhile, General Motors only put Hummer up for sale this summer, when gasoline hit $4 a gallon.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2009

Fuel Economy Buffoonery

It was bound to happen: The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - "The most fuel efficient mid-sized sedan in America." EPA rated 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway.

You read that right, brother. It is supposedly MORE fuel efficient in town than on the open road. ("Smart" drivers will doubtless pull over and stop every mile or so to improve their highway mileage.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:39 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith thinks:

I'm assuming - more efficient in town than on the four-lane because in town, the carbon-based engine shares duty with the electric motor, while freeway speeds on the four-lane require full-time use of the gasoline burner, because battery power can't push you along at a speed needed for freeway driving?

Alternative cynical theory: getting out and pushing can be done on city streets only.

Posted by: Keith at May 11, 2009 4:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, more or less. And the salient point is this: What is the battery's state of charge at the beginning and end of the test?

Posted by: johngalt at May 11, 2009 5:17 PM

April 30, 2009

Shreveport is Forgiven

I got beat up very badly when my band was traveling outside Shreveport, LA. We were, as AlexC would point out, a bunch of dirty hippies, but still I have harbored some less than positive feelings about the place.

Now, however, Shreveport may deliver our country from shortages on Natural Gas -- and with any luck obviate some of the nonsensical subsidies for "Green" energy. Those who realize CO2 is not a pollutant must concede natural gas to be one of the cleanest fuel choices.

CADDO PARISH, La. -- A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation's energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery -- known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains the gas -- could hold some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That's the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years' worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.

"There's no dry hole here," says Joan Dunlap, vice president of Petrohawk Energy Corp., standing beside a drilling rig near a former Shreveport amusement park.


It's a little too far North, but I'll still extend them a heartfelt Lasseiz rouler les bon temps!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2009

More bad news for the wind power industry

Can the green power bubble really be popping already?

From the Guardian UK via American blogger Anthony Watts: 'Britain's Only Wind Turbine Plant to Close' A small excerpt:

"The UK has large wind resources and it's a priority for the government but the orders didn't move. That's why we're telling employees that we're not reinvesting there.

"We are waiting to see in the coming period if the government initiative announced last week will get the market to move again. At least it gives some hope but it's too early to tell."

Those pesky government-induced markets are a real bugger. Be sure to follow the link though and watch the impressive video of a wind turbine exploding. It's not described but appears to me as an overspeed condition. Too windy?

Found this while searching for the Governmentium joke. That old blog has been replaced by this new one by Anthony Watts - Watts up with that? Looks like good stuff.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2009

How Much CO2 is REALLY reduced by wind and solar? 30-40% at BEST

Here is more evidence for brother Nanobrewer that wind power doesn't work as well as advertised. This time, on environmental and not merely ("merely" - sheesh) economic terms.

Co-written by former Secretary of Energy James Schlesinger, under whose leadership the National Renewable Energy Laboratory was established in Golden, CO, this Washington Post article explains that "the sun doesn't always shine and that the wind doesn't always blow." (Stay with me here.)

The climate change benefits that accrue from solar and wind power with 100 percent fossil fuel backup are associated with the fossil fuels not used at the standby power plants. Because solar and wind have the capacity to deliver only 30 to 40 percent of their full power ratings in even the best locations, they provide a carbon dioxide reduction of less than 30 to 40 percent, considering the fossil fuels needed for the "spinning reserve." That's far less than the 100 percent that many people believe, and it all comes with a high cost premium.

The economic disadvantages are mentioned too, if you care to read the article, but I figured you're already tired of reading about those.

NB, I'd be happy to discuss if you care to. Either in the comments, in person or via email.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:09 PM | Comments (0)

Drill Baby, Drill

So why doesn't 'big oil' diversify and use some of its wealth and expertise to find [fill in your favorite cuddly adjective - clean, renewable, alternative, sustainable, holy] energy technologies to replace their "reprehensible" products? Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson says it's because if his company were to go into that field then congress would immediately cancel the tax subsidy. Actually what they would do is they would just cancel it for us," he said. He added: ďIn reality, that is what I fear would happen. So we are not going to go into investments that are dependent on a government providing a tax system to make them viable.Ē

By the way, Exxon said it was increasing its capital budget by 11% and will spend $29 billion next year on finding, drilling and refining fossil fuels and chemicals. So, theyíre not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2009

"Dead as hell"

That's how wind champion T. Boone Pickens describes the market for wind energy projects in the wake of the mortgage banking crisis.

Wind power developers have long relied on complex tax-equity financing to bring most of their projects to market, but that system, once hailed as innovative, has collapsed over the last year, leaving the wind sector flailing for the cash it needs to make generation projects a reality.

This ought to give some insight into the economics of "alternative" energy in general and wind power in particular. Nanobrewer recently said he was convinced that wind power "works" economically and I suspect these complex tax-equity financing schemes are the biggest reason for that belief. But nothing about the scheme that made it "work" was the result of a free market. There are myriad ways for the house of cards to crumble. And now, in the wake of AIG and investment banking failures, even last year's most popular wind champion has to admit defeat.

So how badly is the sector hurting? Oil tycoon turned wind speculator T. Boone Pickens recently described the wind market as "dead as hell" to the Wall Street Journal. Richard Saunders, director of project development at GreenHunter Renewable Power, said Pickens was not far off.

Saunders estimates that in 2009, about 4,000 megawatts in new wind capacity will come online. That would be down significantly from the 8,400 MW built last year. And much of the new capacity is "really just things that are carrying over" from permits already issued in 2008.

"They've slowed down their activities tremendously," Saunders said. "They can't get the money."

If wind power "worked" economically then none of this would be happening. Consumer demand for the stuff would bring investment capital in torrents.

I also enjoyed the following point-counterpoint between wind industry analyst Tyler Tringas and ARI's Yaron Brook: "He [Tringas] added that he does not believe in government meddling, but he does think lawmakers need to account somehow for the cost of carbon." Brook's reply - "I don't believe there's an externality cost to CO2," he told Tringas.

UPDATE: This may (or may not) be the WSJ piece where Pickens first made the "dead as hell" assessment. I can't tell since it's subscription only and I only get the preview. Nonetheless, it bears mention for this:

Hit hard by the recession, the clean-energy industry is on the ropes. Governments are injecting stimulus money in hopes of keeping it alive, but what the industry ultimately needs is a far bigger dose of private investment.

In the space of a few months, the recession has slammed the brakes on what had seemed a full-tilt push for new ways to power the planet while emitting less pollution.

Umm, wasn't government "investment" supposed to create millions of "new energy jobs" that would pull America out of recession? If the recession itself has "slammed the brakes" then how can ANY amount of government "stimulus" make any difference?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"If wind power "worked" economically then none of this would be happening. Consumer demand for the stuff would bring investment capital in torrents."

Exactamundo. I've meant to blog about this for a long time, ever since T. Boone started his hogwash.

He's looking at wind power because he sees a profit opportunity. If that were the end of it, I'd say "Power to him" and not blink an eye. However, he's seeking profit via government coercion: he's lobbying hard so government will skew markets in his favor, whether it's forcing energy producers to use more windmills or giving tax breaks to Pickens because he built more windmills early on.

He can go ____ himself up the tailpipe with one of those large windmills, and then go to hell.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 27, 2009 2:20 PM

April 21, 2009

Truth to Power

That whooshing sound you hear is the whole Upper West Side gasping for breath.

Science Editor John Tierney tells it like it is in the New York Times in Use Energy, Get Rich, and Save the Planet.

1. There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumersí passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology ó and that, believe it or not, is good news, because...

2. The richer everyone gets, the greener the planet will be in the long run.


A little choir preaching -- but ThreeSourcers should cherish every word, and then store the link to rebut their acquaintances.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:39 PM | Comments (4)
But T. Greer thinks:

I have always liked Tierny. He is a pragmatist first and foremost, and has never been afraid to tell environmental activist crowd when they are scare mongering. In addition, he has always been fair to the adaptation advocates, whom I count myself among.

*sigh*

I wish more science editors had his backbone.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 21, 2009 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen to both. Tierney is great.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2009 7:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I just noticed. That's, uh, Upper West Side. :)

And if it's the NY Times building, that's still midtown.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 23, 2009 1:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks to our NYC editor for keeping me honest. I have since corrected West Upper Side to Upper West Side (dang it, even I know that). And I was looking more for the true believing subscribers than the publisher.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2009 2:03 PM

April 13, 2009

We Should All Go

At the Boulder Theatre, tomorrow night:

Boulder Weekly Films & Center for ReSource Conservation:
FUEL
Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 pm

FUEL is an insightful portrait of America?s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. From Rockefeller?s strategy to halt Ford?s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney's petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation to revealing available solutions to "repower America" ? from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel.

More Info


They forgot to say "No Moonbats Allowed!"

Posted by John Kranz at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2009

Quote of the Day III

What kind of lazy-ass blogger posts three "QOTDs???"

Well, what could one possibly add to this?

No one at GM ever said that the first-gen Volts would make money, but Troy Clarke, president of GM's North American operations, recently told Automotive News that the second-generation vehicles might also be a red entry on the books. Of course, "as we get a chance to change the generations of technology, we'll lose less and less," he said, adding that, "It's not our intention to lose money forever." Well, that's something. -- autobloggreen.com
Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | Comments (8)
But Keith thinks:

Crikey! It's like they brought Madman Muntz back from the dead to run GM. The Muntz Jet may actually resume production at last - complete with an in-dash four-track tape deck, for your listening pleasure...

Posted by: Keith at April 7, 2009 3:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What'm I gonna do with all my old 8-tracks? Granted, the "Jesus Christ Superstar" tape is broken, but I've still got "Tommy"...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2009 11:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't heard this discussed anywhere yet but this seems like a good time and place: After Obama Motors cancels the "gas guzzling" but profitable SUV car models I'd like to see some enterprising billionaire spin them off into a new auto company - he could call it "Specific Motors" - and put the profitable models back into production. It would be interesting to see if consumer demand could defeat layer upon layer of government coercion as Obama Motors uses its power of force to "compete" with the desirable cars.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2009 11:28 AM
But Keith thinks:

jg: I like your idea, but it won't happen. Were GM/Obama Motors to do away with the popular models you describe, it would be done in the the name of the environment and in the name of fuel consumption. Being at the behest of government policy, your spin-off company won't be ALLOWED to manufacture the now-contraband autos, and if necessary, legislation will be enacted forbidding the popular gas-guzzlers.

It will probably be an amendment to Directive 10-289.

That being said, the gubmint can have my gas-guzzling V-8 Mustang GT when they pry the five-speed shifter out of my cold, dead right hand - if they can catch me first.

Second, "Specific Motors" is a name that needs improvement. It needs to be named after the founder, like "Taggart Transcontinental," "d'Anconia Copper," or "Wyatt Oil." A generic, faceless name like "Amalgamated Switch and Signal" or "Associated Steel" just won't do.

Wouldn't it just be sweetly ironic to see this happen under the banner of "Galt Motor Works"?

Posted by: Keith at April 8, 2009 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Lunching with ThreeSources friend Silence Dogood, I just suggested that the government could "fix" Chrysler and GM by saying the CAFE standards are forgotten, have a nice day. A little simplistic, but I'd love to see it tried.

Okay, Keith we need more data -- what year is the horse?

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2009 8:06 PM
But Keith thinks:

jk: 2004 (Fortieth Anniversary), dark gray - so I have no fear on highways where you see the sign "Patrolled By Aircraft." I'm the same color as the pavement. Low-tech stealth, and producing a CAFE-curdling 17-18 MPG - just a hair greener than the mileage I used to get on my 1986 Jeep CJ-7.

I like your idea of deep-sixing CAFE. I'll add one to counterbalance it, since we're also going to have to do something, throw a bone to the global warming crowd. I once proposed that here in California, they print the IQ of every licensed driver on their license, and allow them to drive at speeds up to their IQ rating. Here in California, that would keep the average down to Jimmeh Carter's gas-saving 55...

Posted by: Keith at April 8, 2009 9:20 PM

March 9, 2009

Why politicized economic development is dangerous

I recently wrote on the danger of politics driving scientific research. The obvious case of this now is all of the government "investments" being proposed in the name of "saving the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change."

But even if man-made climate change was real (sorry tg, is real) and even if "renewable" energy sources were beneficial to counter it, the least effective entity to make them a reality is - wait for it - government.

Consider the following essay on "One Reason Governments Spend So Much" from the 'Uncle Eric' book: Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

Industries generally develop in three stages. First is scientific feasibility, second is engineering feasibility, and third is economic feasibility.

Using the airline industry as an example, the question in the 1800s was: "Is long-distance air travel possible?"

In the 1800s, balloons were already in use but were not practical. The problem to solve was the heavier-than-air machine.

The Wright Brothers in 1903 proved scientific feasibility. They risked their time, money and lives to show that a heavier-than-air machine could fly.

Lindbergh, in 1927, proved engineering feasibility. He risked time, money and his life to show that long-distance air travel was possible.

This gave investors enough confidence to risk their money in the aircraft industry. In 1935 the Douglas Company came out with the DC-3, which was the beginning of economic feasibility.

The modern airline industry resulted from all this risk-taking. Today, a middle-class American can go anywhere in the world much faster, and in much greater comfort, than a Roman emperor could. Travelers fly because the benefits are greater than the costs. This is economic feasibility.

This three-step model explains why governments are terrible at economic development. The "experts" who comprise the government gamble with other people's money, so they tend to confuse scientific and engineering feasibility with economic feasibility.

Once science and engineering prove something can be done, those who comprise the government will do it - even if the costs are greater than the benefits. [emphasis mine]

This economic development of the economically unfeasible is precisely the modern story of:

Wind power
Solar photovoltaic power
Ethanol (both glucosic AND celluosic)
Biodiesel
Hydrogen fuel cells
Dual-mode hybrid cars
The list goes on...

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:38 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith thinks:

Just to add to the entertainment value: "But even if man-made climate change were real..." is the grammatically accurate construction. Heh.

JohnGalt: great post, and the model of three-stage development makes plain, even to a poor, dumb country boy like me, why government-run economic development doesn't work. And to boot, it's much more elegant than me just saying "a government that can't even balance its own checkbook has no business fiddling with the economy."

I'd only propose one small change to the quote rfrom the essay. Where the author wrote "Once science and engineering prove something can be done, those who comprise the government will do it - even if the costs are greater than the benefits" in the last paragraph, it seems to me that the last phrase should omit the word "even" and the hyphen, thusly: "... those who comprise the government will do it if the costs are greater than the benefits." If the benefits are greater than the costs, entrepreneurs and private industry will do it, without the necessity of government meddling. Profit motive being what it is, and all that.

Ergo, government will ONLY do it if its benefits do not justify its costs, and that applies to every item in your list. QED, yes?

Posted by: Keith at March 9, 2009 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Ahh, the punchline from a great old gag can be trotted out:

I congratulate Keith on his use of the subjunctive.
Posted by: jk at March 9, 2009 4:32 PM
But Keith thinks:

Thanks, jk...

Say, on the subject of government and the economy, I've been reading in the news today that Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying the U.S. economy "fell off a cliff." I've read that three times today, and every time, all that comes to mind is...

"It was pushed."

Posted by: Keith at March 9, 2009 5:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wellll, I was trying to have some fun with TG, saying "was" as in "past tense" ... before it was largely discredited, then replacing it with "is" as a sop to him since he's not yet comfortable with the "denier" badge of courage.

I admit - sometimes my jokes trip over their shoelaces.

Oh, and yes, I do fully agree with your improvement of the closing paragraph. Well done!

Posted by: johngalt at March 10, 2009 12:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Tough room, jg, you know that as well as anyone.

Posted by: jk at March 10, 2009 1:34 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Eh, I though the post was funny. I also think you have highlighted one of the biggest problems with the Eco-stimulus crowd. What they call progress is in actuality a retardation (word?) of Western civilization.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 11, 2009 12:19 PM

March 6, 2009

Why Politicized Science is Dangerous

Yesterday I commented that there's "another important dragon to be slain before" the next elections for congress and for president. That dragon is the myth of man-made global warming caused by our use of economical, safe and abundant energy sources. Many of us have long contended that the idea is founded upon pseudo-science. The late Michael Crighton agreed and in an appendix to his wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking novel 'State of Fear' he wrote "Why politicized science is dangerous."

Imagine that there is a new scientific theory that warns of an impending crisis, and points to a way out.

This theory quickly draws support from leading scientists, politicians and celebrities around the world. Research is funded by distinguished philanthropies, and carried out at prestigious universities. The crisis is reported frequently in the media. The science is taught in college and high-school classrooms.

I don't mean global warming. I'm talking about another theory, which rose to prominence a century ago.

Read on below-

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-a.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-b.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-c.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-d.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-e.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-f.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-g.jpg

State%20of%20Fear%20Apdx%201-h.jpg

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:10 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Careful, jg, TR has some strong followers around here. Sure he wanted to control capitalism from Washington, lock up his enemies and kill the enfeebled, but he displayed prodigious intellectual powers, looked good in casual clothes, and said "bully!" a lot.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2009 2:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One of Crighton's points is how, after the horrors perpetrated in the name of the theory became widely known, "nobody was a eugenicist and nobody had ever been a eugenicist."

You'll recall I suggested not long ago that we start a permanent record of Global Warmists today, for the historical record.

My favorite thing about TR was "speak softly, and carry a big stick."

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2009 3:47 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jg: I read that book and thought it sucked. (Tidal waves=result of climate change?) On the other hand, I thought the appendix you link to was quite insightful. It is rather sad to me that one's views on AGW are determined by your political affiliation. These days it seems that if you believe in "protecting the environment" then AGW is a self-evident fact not worth examining, while if you are of the free-market crowd, there is no way the climate could ever be linked to man's activities on the Earth.

This is a false dichotomy. It is perfectly acceptable to hold that warming may be influenced bu man and that free markets should not be interfered with for the environment's sake. Indeed, this is the exact position I hold.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 6, 2009 5:30 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jk: Hahahha. Enough already! I think we have covered this before- Roosevelt's views on eugenics never led to anything more than a desire to make immigration laws stricter. Vilifying him for politicizing science makes no sense. Everything else you have listed is irrelevant to the subject of this post and has been discussed already.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 6, 2009 5:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'll leave TR alone.

I enjoyed the Lomborg clip. He inspired the D in DAWG and I think his position is reasonable and defensible.

I hold that the debate was politicized by the left: those who Popper said would have us go back to the caves. Suddenly, the inefficacy of their ideas was meaningless: we had to take on the whole Nader-Kucinich platform or all of our children will die!

The DAWG advocates then claimed that "the science was settled" because a poll was taken. Popper, again, pointed out that science is not really done that way.

Yes, it is too bad that something important has devolved into childish bickering -- but, Mommy, they started it!!

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2009 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But it isn't called global warming anymore tg, it's "climate change." That way the charade can be continued whether the trend is warmer or cooler. Which is fortunate for them since now, it's cooling.

The market interference you allude to is the setting of arbitrary limits on emission of mammal breath. "First they came for the dioxins, then the beneficial pesticides, then the fluorocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur compounds, and when they came for carbon dioxide there were no pollutants left to say - you can't regulate non-pollutants!"

Posted by: johngalt at March 7, 2009 8:11 PM

December 19, 2008

Millions of Green Collar Jobs!

Candidate Obama promised his administration would create millions of "green collar jobs," and to most it was a successful platform. Myself, I heard "Wasted $Billions and stifled innovation from government intrusion" but I am a partisan hack.

I'd bore whoever would listen with "when the government picks winners in the energy sector we get Synfuels and Ethanol." Let the Senators decide what projects get funded and don't be surprised if we're all driving our cars on Iowa's major export. Had Senator Craig had not been busted, I suppose we'd be developing a potato-fuel infrastructure.

In addition to creating more greenhouse gases, costing more, and adding to volatility in world food markets -- how's that Ethanol decision panning out? Instapundit links to this story about the collapse of North Dakota's ethanol industry and the evaporation of subsidies promised to keep the economically unviable industry afloat:

North Dakota has an annual capacity of 333 million gallons of ethanol. Due to this yearís excessive commodity fluctuations, VeraSun, the stateís largest producer (which recently filed for bankruptcy), is itself eligible to claim a full $1.6 million from just one quarterís worth of production. Over the past two months the price of corn has dropped sharply, leaving producers with very expensive inventories.

It remains to be seen if this fund is essential to North Dakotaís ethanol producers and if they can weather the storm without it.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith thinks:

Denier? Pshaw. Think of him as that kid with enough nerve to point out that the emperor was out parading in the buff.

Being the only person in the house to see the truth and act on it does not make one wrong.

Posted by: Keith at December 19, 2008 6:59 PM

December 1, 2008

Never Saying You're Sorry...

I don't have to remind ThreeSourcers of my high esteem for Instapundit. Professor Reynolds gets the lion's share of my hat-tips and I find it hard to imagine his equal in effectively voicing a pragmatic, little-l libertarian philosophy.

We differ on immigration, but I accept that. I differ with many I respect on that topic.

But I remain muchly vexed with Reynolds's unequivocal support for flex-fuel mandates, specifically the Zubrin Plan. I join him in looking forward to powering our cars and trucks on kudzu. But I wholly reject the idea of government mandates in the name of "energy independence."

To his credit, he offers the flip side today, if without mea culpas:

For the 2008-2009 period, fully 61% of vehicles had exemptions to run on gasoline. The mandate resulted in flex-fuel vehicles purchased for Puerto Rico and Hawaii, where E85 pumps donít exist as itís quite expensive to ship large quantities of ethanol. In some locations, said pumps are nearby but donít accept government credit cards. So, despite all good intentions, the result is an increase in government gasoline consumption. Not mentioned in the article was that the billions of dollars in purchases went almost, if not wholly to the Detroit 2.8, as import manufacturers (still) donít offer many flex-fuel cars or trucks.

Perhaps we could recoup the energy of Hayek spinning in his grave. Government does not have the information to dictate automotive design, nor would I trust them to make the right decision if they did. When those 0.99/gallon KudzuCo stations start opening up, consumers will demand flex-fuel vehicles where they are appropriate.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"a pragmatic, little-l libertarian philosophy."

If Reynolds were a real libertarian (capital L or not), then he wouldn't be supporting government mandates of any kind. Where is the liberty in forcing fuel standards on me or anyone else?

With that post today, he can't even admit the failure of his "pragmatism," can he? He can call himself a libertarian until the day he dies, but he's just another pseudo-libertarian who wants the government to regulate certain markets he thinks are failing/can fail. Real libertarians know that free markets work and can fix themselves better than any government bureaucrat can (Hayek, knowledge problem, Q.E.D.). Real libertarians don't want the government intervening, not just in things I like that don't harm others, but *especially* in things others do that I personally dislike but do no harm to others.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 1, 2008 4:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I wondered if he would relate that post of his to his ongoing support for the Zubrin Plan. I even sent him an email (there go my chances for a link in 2009, eh?)

To be fair, Perry, I think he would be the last one to stake a claim to being a "real" L|libertarian. And I think he does a great job advancing little-l philosophy. The race for the purest Libertarian fills the most comical pages of Brian Dougherty's Radicals for Capitalism: only the purest is allowed to stay in the room.

I still support the Iraq War -- excuse me, I mean "The Debacle in Iraq" -- so it's pretty clear from reading Gene Healy and David Boaz last week that I'm not invited to the party. I still believe in the importance of Deepak Lal's Liberal International Economic Order and will support blood and treasure to preserve it.

I do think the most trenchant description of libertarianism ever occurred on Instapundit when a reader said "I dream of an America where millions of happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons." That remains a good, quick definition for me.

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2008 4:54 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

And I think he does a great job advancing little-l philosophy. The race for the purest Libertarian fills the most comical pages of Brian Dougherty's Radicals for Capitalism: only the purest is allowed to stay in the room.

You don't have to be "pure," just not so diluted. Reynolds is to real libertarians what a light beer is to San Miguel. There are superficial similarities until you realize the difference in depth and complexity.

Sean Hannity has claimed "We're pretty libertarian on this show," and witness the emergence of "libertarian Democrats." It only goes to show the term is losing all meaning. It has to have clear definitions. It has to mean something.

I still support the Iraq War -- excuse me, I mean "The Debacle in Iraq" -- so it's pretty clear from reading Gene Healy and David Boaz last week that I'm not invited to the party.

It's a matter of why you supported the Iraq War. Do you believe in pre-emptive wars and nation-building? I felt Saddam was still a threat to the U.S. and have mixed feelings only because of how we handled the aftermath. By and large, we *were* welcomed as liberators. We just didn't know what to do once we toppled his government.

A libertarian can justify the action because Saddam had previously kidnapped Americans and was continually violating the cease-fire. If Saddam had not done those, then I couldn't have justified toppling him. But Ron Paul was right: we should have dropped all the political pretenses and had Congress formally declare war. If anything, it would have prevented the Kerryism of "I voted as a last resort, I didn't think we'd actually do it!"

Of course, all this would be irrelevant if Bush Sr. hadn't been a UN-heeding pansy, and Bubba was worse. There's nothing in libertarianism that says you can't retaliate in full force when your citizens are kidnapped, e.g. Jefferson's response to the Barbary pirates.

I still believe in the importance of Deepak Lal's Liberal International Economic Order and will support blood and treasure to preserve it.

Which isn't quite what Lal is talking about. The state can protect people, but the extent of what you're talking about is giving far too much credit to the state for protecting people. The danger is that people start relying on military protection of land and sea trade routes, much like Americans rely on police instead of themselves.

"I dream of an America where millions of happily married gay couples have closets full of assault weapons."

That's his own individual opinion, you see. The real libertarian way puts it more generally. I forget how Jefferson put it so wonderfully succinctly, but this is an expanded version: "I dream of an America where people have their unalienable rights to life, liberty and property: essentially, the freedom to do what they want -- including but not limited to forming legally enforceable contracts with homosexual partners, or owning whatever weapons they so desire -- so long as they do not infringe on the unalienable rights of others."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 2, 2008 10:25 PM

November 25, 2008

Tightly Controlled Oil Supply Slips Into Surplus

In June I posted a Cato Institute article "Get Ready for the Oil Price Drop." At the time I read (but never linked) a separate article on American.com that showed the careful balance between world supply and demand for oil that allows relatively small inventory changes to effect relatively large price changes.

The data available at the time was only through the end of 2007 and was still showing a supply deficit. The latest data, updated earlier this month, shows the first surplus since 2005 occurred in the second quarter of this year. It's not difficult to understand, then, how the predicted oil price drop materialized in the form of $1.70 gas replacing the $4 variety.

World%20Oil%20Balance%20November%202008%20%2870%20percent%29.bmp

The graph above is my own, created from EIA's Excel data, to which I've added the "Total World Supply Balance" data line comprising supply minus demand. Note that I had to multiply the resulting data by 10 in order to see plus or minus movement on the same scale as the overall supply and demand. The take away from this should be that adding as little as 1.9 million barrels per day (2.3%) to the world oil market at any time in the last 2.5 years would have put the market in surplus at the time. Remember that the next time someone says, "The small amount of oil we could produce domestically would not lower prices for 10 to 15 years."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2008

Cheap Gas

I'm tired of hearing this, and I've only heard it twice. Here's GM doyen Bob Lutz:

"We may hate high fuel prices, but they've been driving us in the right direction when it comes to fuel economy. If we suddenly went to $1 or $1.50 a gallon, that would be really bad."

Rilly, rilly bad as Thomas Pynchon might say (Vineland -- five stars!) but I digress.

Larry Kudlow had a guest last night (not listed on the blog, sorry), an ostensibly conservative money manager, who was peddling this line. He wants $140 oil because he does not want to lose momentum in alternative energy. Kudlow suggested that it would have to drop to $50 or below to threaten that, but Mister Guest thought that the psychological value of oil had a huge influence.

'Scuse me fellas, but is anybody paying attention to what is happening? Three dollar gas will be a huge break for small business and the American consumer. It's one a few things that überoptimist Kudlow can seize onto.

I know Lutz has put all his chips on an electric car that will lose money at three times the price of a comparable combustion vehicle. I'm a Friedmanite and will support his defense of what's left of his shareholders' value. But for any responsible economist to root for more "back to the caves" (That would be Karl Popper, also five stars, but good luck finding it!) to prevent us from global warming has perhaps not noticed the correlation of per capita income and environmental concerns.

Bring back dollar gas, I'm in.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | Comments (11)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The screed highlighted by tg is not news to The Refugee, either. However, it is usually followed by the line, "...and that's why we need higher gas taxes." The Refugee has no quarrel with the market driving up the price of gas and making alternative fuels economical. His problem is with governments stiffling production (supply) and increasing taxes to dampen demand.

Back to the original point, however: Lutz says,"We may hate high fuel prices, but they've been driving us in the right direction when it comes to fuel economy," as though he is powerless to make design decisions. If he wants to design a bunch of rubberband driven cars he can do it. The Refugee bridles at his attempt to used gas prices as an excuse for inaccurate market forecasting (to wit, Toyota got it right) and poor product design decisions. Those decisions were driven more by a union-based cost structure than "what Americans want." He was lucky it lasted as long as it did.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 14, 2008 10:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And another thing: The Refugee is willing to bet that Kudlow's money manager has a lot of money riding on alternative fuel investments that would be jeopardized by lower gas prices.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 14, 2008 10:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

br (refreshingly) writes, "The Refugee has no quarrel with the market driving up the price of gas and making alternative fuels economical."

tr (curiously) writes, "T. Greer, confident in the future of democracy."

But what br's quote describes is democracy in action in the marketplace, while tg brings us the voices of America's enlightened youth claiming that high gas prices are "the solution."

As br and I have both asserted, high gas prices are an artificial result of authoritarian regulations and market interference on the part of government. (That the government was purportedly seated through democratic means does not innoculate it from the charge of authoritarianism.)

So what tg means is that he is, "confident in the future of democracy to force "the solution" upon ignorant rednecks who don't understand the urgency of wiping out the worlds most economical fuel source."

Democracy uber alles, except in the case of free markets. (Or any other instances when the majority wants the "wrong" thing.)

And while there's been nothing but the sound of crickets chirping on dagny's open letter to Obama supporters the ideas espoused in these comments from tg explain as well as I've seen how anyone could support Obama: For all their self-espoused enlightenment, Obama-tons just can't see how their beliefs are manipulated by the flowery rhetoric of statism.

Posted by: johngalt at October 15, 2008 3:27 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jg: Almost correct. You forgot the phrase that ends the sentence:

I am confident in the future of democracy to force "the solution" upon ignorant rednecks who don't understand the urgency of wiping out the world’s most economical fuel source for that we may save humankind and Planet Earth.

The most curious thing about this is that many of the members of these high-gas-groups are Republicans. Furthermore, it has been my experience that most young Republicans use similar rhetoric and reasoning to defend current Republican planks.

~T. Greer, not quite sure that it is wise (or possible) to use statist means to accomplish libertarian goals.


Posted by: T. Greer at October 15, 2008 5:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, I didn't forget the phrase "so that we may save humankind and planet Earth." (I did forget the apostrophe in "world's" however.)

No, the phrase at issue is implicit in the title "ignorant rednecks" along with many other phrases like, "spreading the wealth around is good for everybody" and "the cause of radical Islamic terror is American exceptionalism." You see, we ignorant rednecks don't "know" that continued use of gasoline will wipe out the planet and all of humanity along with it. We still adhere to quaint notions such as proof, evidence, causality, logic, reason.

We don't turn into drooling zombies at every mention of the latest crackpot hypothesis out of post-modern ivory towers merely because someone, somewhere, has the temerity to call it "science."

In order to "know" that gasoline is the harbinger of the end-of-days one must have "faith" in the preachings of his particular clergy who bring this important message from his particular deity.

As for this "ignorant redneck" ... I'm not a theist, therefore I don't "know" how evil gasoline is.

---

I do agree with you that it is impossible to use statist means to accomplish libertarian goals. So what sort of goals do you suppose statists really have?

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2008 3:16 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Aye, point taken. Although I would note that things like "We need to stop giving those oil barons money they don't deserve" is often just as much a reason cited as any environmental concern there may be with the practice of consuming gasoline.

Before I answer your question, I think a distinction must be made.

There are statists who wish we would use statist methods to reach statist goals.

Then there are the folks who would balk at being called a statist, but who have been trained to think that the government can solve all of our problems, and as such, can't help but support statist methods to reach statist goals.

One who thinks that America should nationalize various industries so that the government can wield greater influence, provide greater security, or obtain a bigger budget is of the first sort.

One who thinks that it would be a good idea for the government to send a $200,000 check to every American family (see here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/issues/alert/?alertid=11976981&content_dir=ua_congressorg) in order to ease America's financial woes is of the second sort.

The goal of the second person is to strengthen America's economy. This is not a goal exclusive to statists. Yet the means of accomplishing the goal -redistributing income- are undeniably statist.

I find the second man much more frightening than the first. It is easy to rob a statist of his masks. It is quite a bit harder to break that Faustian bond of big government and great expectations.

~T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at October 16, 2008 5:23 PM

October 7, 2008

Flex Fuel

Professor Mankiw has his damned (pronounce two syllables) Pigou Club and Professor Reynolds has his Zubrin plan. I should let it rest, but every time they push it I wonder how those two can be so off.

Dr. Zubrin massacres the Obama Energy proposal today. It lacks any mercy at all and should be read in full, several times a day. The lone happy note at the very end of the piece is that -- like Zubrin -- the Obama plan calls for mandates to force automakers to produce "flex fuel" vehicles.

The best part of Obamaís plan is his strong support of biofuels. In contrast to John McCain, Obama favors both the renewable fuel standard and ethanol production subsidies. These subsidies cost taxpayers $0.45 per gallon of ethanol produced but save the nation $3 in foreign oil purchases at the same time. Why John McCain prefers to send $3 to Saudi Arabia instead of $0.45 to Iowa is difficult to understand, especially given the strategic nature of the commodity in question, and the fact that the foreign oil money helps to finance acts of war and terror against the United States. Yet he does. So on this question Obama has it right and McCain has it badly wrong.

Moreover, there is one part of the Obama plan which is absolutely splendid, and that is his explicit promise to require flex fuel capability on all new cars sold in the USA by the end of his first term. This is indeed a potential real game changer, especially if the flex fuel standard is written to include not only automobile compatibility with gasoline and ethanol, but methanol as well. Methanol compatibility only adds about $30 to the cost of an ethanol-gasoline flex fuel car (which itself is only about $100 more expensive than a comparable gasoline-only car), but multiplies its versatility, since methanol can be made out of any kind of biomass without exception, as well as coal, natural gas, and recycled urban trash.


Now, I think biomass methanol and cellulosic ethanol are exciting technologies. I also like puppies and would like to see kids drinking clean water.

But Zubrin wants to pick the winner today. Screw the market, we'll mandate $130.00 extra cost to new American cars. T. Boone wants CNG cars. I am leery of some of his plans but CNG cars seem to make sense just on their own.

I propose that if you make $2 gallon Kudzu-ethanol, you will have a lot of Americans demanding flex fuel vehicles or upgrading their own. The $2.40 CNG on the Pickens Plan Commercial could do the same.

We might also find algae output that could go straight in a diesel engine or landfill waste or a rapid adoption of plug-in hybrids. Let's not have the gub'mint pick a winner first. And. Dr. Z, don't be shocked that Senator McCain would rather willingly send money to Saudi Arabia than be forced to send subsidies to Iowa. The difference is coercion, not geography.

Hat-tip: Instapundit, of course, who links favorably

Posted by John Kranz at 4:50 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If we'd drop the tariffs on foreign ethanol, Brazil may well supply all we need. Then, we might not need to send $.45 a gallon to Iowa and Nebraska. Unfortunately, Grassley and Hagel have something say about it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 7, 2008 6:24 PM

September 15, 2008

Democrats on Energy

My illustrious Senator, Ken Salazar, was picked to provide the Democratic response to the President's radio address. I'm sure nobody missed hearing that, but let's go over some of our favorite parts, as the Senator sent me a copy:

Democrats are working for change, and it starts with being honest about our energy future.

We consume 25 percent of the worldís oil, but we have less than 3 percent of the worldís oil reserves. We simply canít drill our way to energy independence.

In Colorado, weíre doing our part on drilling. We have more than 34,000 active gas wells. And weíre going to drill a whole lot more in the coming years.

But we also know that drilling alone is not sufficient. Yet that was the only idea that John McCain and his friends at the Republican National Convention offered. ďDrill baby drillĒ Ė thatís not enough.

We need it all.

We need to replace the oil we import from countries that donít like us with alternative energy sources that we produce right here at home. Biofuels. Wind. Solar. Hydrogen. Geothermal. Clean Coal. American energy, American jobs. Thatís what we need.


There's more but you get the drift. Here's the audio if you want to relive the excitement!

This strikes me as one of the most amazing misrepresentations I have heard since "I did not have sex with that woman." Drilling was the only idea at the RNC? GOP legislators have been pretty clear about an "all-of-the-above" strategy with all of Senator Salazar's kumbaya fuels plus nuclear plus expanded offshore drilling. Salazar downplays the environmentalism that he knows won't sell too well with his rural constituents, completely ignores nuclear, and misrepresents the rest.

I'm a big boy. I can handle and dig a little spin, a little shading, and a little aggressive positioning. But this is an outright lie.

And it was heard by at least ten or twenty people!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2008

Millions of Green Collar Jobs!

It's -- like -- Senator Obama is already President!

Thin Film Solar Companies Raise Hundreds of Millions in Funding

Companies that make thin film solar cells continue to raise huge amounts of money from venture capitalists.

The latest thin film company to announce a large venture round is SoloPower, which raised close to $200 million, according to VentureWire.

In August, Nanosolar announced a $300 million fundraising round and AVA Solar raised an undisclosed, nine-figure sum, according to VentureBeat. In July, Miasole raised around $200 million, according to VentureWire.

Thin film solar cells, which are made from a material called copper indium gallium selenide, are cheaper and thinner than the crystalline silicon cells used in the vast majority of solar panels on roofs.


This could reduce our dependency on foreign oil, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and provide jobs in the clean energy sector! This is awesome stuff! I read the post twice, however, and could not figure out which government office or division was making this happen.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2008

Thank You Mister Stossel!

I wince at quite a few things that Democrats say. But a bipartisan wince-inducer is the call for "energy independence." John Stossel points out "how ideas with no merit become popular merely because they sound good."

To be for "energy independence" is to be against trade. But trade makes us as safe. Crop destruction from this summer's floods in the Midwest should remind us of the folly of depending only on ourselves. Achieving "energy independence" would expose us to unnecessary risks -- such as storms that knock out oil refineries or droughts that create corn -- and ethanol -- shortages.

Trade also saves us money. "We import energy for a reason," says the Cato Institute's energy expert, Jerry Taylor, "It's cheaper than producing it here at home. A governmental war on energy imports will, by definition, raise energy prices".


I ask people who champion this whether they are "food independent." "What if King Soopers decides to stop selling you food tomorrow? Your family will starve!!!" (I don't seem to get invited to as many parties as I used to...)

Stossel rips this one out of the park

Don't Obama and Pickens realize that we get something useful for that money? It's not a "transfer"; it's a win-win transaction, like all voluntary trade. Who cares if the sellers live in a foreign country? When two parties trade, each is better off -- or the exchange would never have been made. We want the oil more than the money. They want the money more than the oil. They need us as much as we need them.

Whole. Read, Thing. The. Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2008

Your New Friends, Governor.

We need to switch to renewable energy, but we can't build anything. Environmentalists don't want to build the transmission lines to connect T. Boone Pickens's wind farms with consumers.

Even smaller scale projects are getting axed.

WSJ Ed Page:

In California, hundreds turned out at the end of July to protest a connection between the solar and geothermal fields of the Imperial Valley to Los Angeles and Orange County. The environmental class is likewise lobbying state commissioners to kill a 150-mile link between San Diego and solar panels because it would entail a 20-mile jaunt through Anza-Borrego state park. "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior," Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently. "They say that we want renewable energy, but we don't want you to put it anywhere."


Go ahead, say "It's kind of schizophrenic behavior" in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice -- I'll wait.

My buddies on the Ed Page have discovered the real agenda:

In other words, the liberal push for alternatives has the look of a huge bait-and-switch. Washington responds to the climate change panic with multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidies for supposedly clean tech. But then when those incentives start to have an effect in the real world, the same greens who favor the subsidies say build the turbines or towers somewhere else. The only energy sources they seem to like are the ones we don't have.

Let the bastards freeze in the dark!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:12 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Exactly right. They don't want "alternative energy sources;" they want "alternatives to energy sources." The only energy they'll endorse is naturally harvested sunlight and the only commercial product they won't oppose is hemp.

Unlike Charlie Brown, Americans will eventually recognize that the greens keep pulling the football away. I'm seriously hoping that a majority do so before November 4th.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2008 3:06 PM

August 15, 2008

Roan Blown

The oil and gas lease auction for Colorado's gas-rich Roan Plateau was held yesterday and generated $114 million, just 1/20th of what some had predicted. Those who have followed the Roan process and debate know that Gov. Ritter and the Democrat legislature have been working diligently to raise taxes on energy producers, including proposed referendums and radio ads demagoging these producers. Senator Salazar has been working in Congress to increase the already-byzantine permitting process to make it simply not worth the effort. The significantly lower lease bids demonstrates that producers factored higher taxes, increased administrative costs and greater uncertainty and thus discounted their bids accordingly. Perfectly rational.

Do you suppose that Ritter, Salazar (the senator who would said he would not support expanded domestic drilling at $10 a gallon) and the Dems learned a lesson in basic economics? Do you further suppose that they now understand that companies are tax collectors, not tax payers? Maybe they concluded that raising taxes leads to lower revenue? Of course not. Who did they blame? President Bush, of course. The Refugee hopes that Ritter is merely playing politics not just plain stupid.

The Refugee, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, has been pleasantly surprised by previous Democratic governors (ie., Dick Lamm and to a lesser extent Roy Romer.) However, The Refugee had low expectations of Ritter, expectations that Ritter continues to fail to achieve. This guy is terrible, and Colorado's tax coffers are suffering as a result.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Great post; I had missed that entirely. All these same Democrats will prohibit companies from exploring and drilling -- and will then ask "why companies are not using the leases they have now?"

Our state is lost, and I see little hope in the Colorado GOP or new voters' having the capacity or wisdom to resist it. I'm usually pretty upbeat. But I think brother jg is right: the state coffers are a golden goose to be fleeced by those who oppose the policies that created the gold.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2008 2:48 PM

August 13, 2008

Energy Freedom Day

Sign the petition created by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) calling on Congress to let the drilling bans expire on October 1, 2008.

The related blog page can be accessed here.

Hat Tip: Human Events via Wayne at jeremiahfilms.com

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2008

Pelosi blinking

A week or so after telling democrats in competitive races it's OK to blame her for congress' inaction on energy legislation she now tells Larry King she's willing to allow a vote.

Pelosi, speaking Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live," said "We can do that. We can have a vote on (oil drilling)."

Why the sudden change of heart? Republicans are threatening to shut down the government.

In a letter from DeMint to Reid, DeMint indicates the GOP has the votes to sustain any veto of a continuing resolution that might get 60 votes.

But if Congress can't agree to a continuing resolution before Oct. 1, the government shuts down.

What do you call it when Republicans force a vote on lifting the drilling ban AND shut down the government in the process? I call it eating one's cake and having it too - killing two birds with one stone - bre'r rabbit getting thrown into that thar briar patch. Let's do it!

Unfortunately, Pelosi wants her precious government purse badly enough that she'll cave on the energy vote. She certainly also has known for some time what is now being reported: That the offshore and shale oil drilling bans will automatically expire on October 1 unless renewed by an affirmative act of congress. Sounds to me like a vote might be required in there somewhere.


SPECIAL BLOG BONUS!!!

I report - you decide - The fifth paragraph of the Fox News article I cited reads as follows:

This is setting the stage for a showdown in September with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and most other Demorats who oppose this drilling.

I'm not making this up - that's how they spelled Democrats. Is it in their spell check dictionary that way or did they just click "ignore?" Either way, I smell a rat! :)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (2)
But Wayne thinks:

Great news ... updated Jeremiah Films' House Recess Really? post and added link to your post

Posted by: Wayne at August 13, 2008 2:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks Wayne! I particularly enjoyed this Human Events article also linked from your site.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2008 3:14 PM

August 7, 2008

Drill, Drill, Drill and King Dollar

I guess it is safe to say, sadly, that I am more like Larry Kudlow than Paris Hilton after all.

My comment on the Everyday Economist referenced in my Paris Hilton post engendered a thoughtful response from the EE. With his permission, here it is:

1. I mostly agree with your centrist position.

2. The government already uses the SPR to manipulate prices. The government has stopped filling the SPR, which reduces oil demand each day. Also, it uses the SPR when it believes that oil is priced above its fundamental value each time there is a natural disaster that creates supply disruptions and even did so during Desert Storm.

3. I do not believe the oil price reflects fundamentals. This is not to say that I know the correct price (although if you ask Vince Farrell he will tell you that oil typically trades at marginal cost, which is currently around $75). As you know from reading my blog, I do not believe in market failure -- at least as it is defined by mainstream economists. Markets are efficient so long as voluntary transactions are taking place as this signals that each individual is better off. However, we are not talking about free markets here. A large number of oil producers are countries rather than companies. In addition, the world remains awash in liquidity and the Fed is holding interest rates at artificially low levels.

4. A temporary increase in the supply of oil would lead to a decline in the price -- even if individuals know that the increase is likely temporary.

5. The Drill! Drill! Drill! plan will not be successful if real interest rates remain low. If the expectations of future prices are rising anywhere above zero at the moment, it is in one's best interest to keep the oil in the ground. One of my biggest pet peeves is that people fail to mention this on Kudlow's show when the Democratic talking points about unused permits gets thrown around. We need a three step process: (1) release some of the SPR, (2) Begin raising interest rates, and (3) start drilling. The problem is that there are too many players involved to believe that any combination of the three will take place. Instead, we will get promises of windfall profit taxes, rebate checks, "accountability", etc.


We're not way apart, and he his dead on most of his points and his conclusions. I don't hold out much hope for higher interest rates and disagree that drill-drill-drill by itself is not a great step.

It is my understanding that oil fields vary widely and wildly in their marginal cost; the $75/bbl figure he offers would be an average. By opening more fields, I expect they will find some that are more than 75 -- and probably some more than 150. But won't they also locate some more fields that are less than 75? Then they could pump the cheaper ones now at a profit at today's cost. They could leave the more expensive oil in the ground, discounted at his negative interest rate, against future rate increases and expectation of better future extraction technology.

Though I think it would be specious, I suggested it might be good politics to open the SPR and tie additional drilling to refilling. This would silence the "won't help for 750 years" crowd, prop up the Obama campaign, and provide instant additional supply without compromising future protections of the SPR. Drain it and refill it with new production. The feds could even hold futures to fill it as part of the bill.

Me, Larry, and Paris...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I fear this macroeconomics discussion is far above the heads of most of our readers. I know that some of it is over my head. I'll trust JK to ensure it's not mere obfuscation.

I will go out on a limb and challenge EEs assertion that nobody is incentivized to extract oil during this period of expensive (I figured about double the typical market price) oil merely because "real interest rates remain low." I can't say much about the effect of interest rates but if I had reserves in the ground I'd be trying to get them to market right now.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2008 3:40 PM

August 6, 2008

I'm Just Like Paris Hilton

Like Ms. Hilton, I have found a centrist position between two schools of thought on energy.

School of thought #1 is well represented by blog friend The Everyday Economist. In an interesting post, Hendrickson links to "an advanced copy of Paul Davidsonís article on oil speculation prior to its publication in the July/August issue of CHALLENGE." I recommend the entire post and linked article, but the EE gives us a synopsis:

As I have previously expressed, the rise in oil prices cannot be fully attributed to supply and demand because interest rates are at historically low levels (short-term real interest rates are negative). Thus there is little incentive to extract oil from the ground when the rate of interest is below the rate of growth in the price of oil.

Davidson's article recommends the use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to break speculators, who have bid up the price beyond what Davidson says is supported by supply and demand.

I left a long comment on the EE site, but the short version is that I trust a vibrant international commodities market above government manipulation of supply with the SPR, and believe that a large and continuing addition to supply through drilling would have more impact on futures.

School of thought #2 is represented by one Lawrence Kudlow. Drill, drill, drill!

The drill, drill, drill political scenario coming out of Washington and spreading throughout the country is really helping Fed policy right now. Since President Bush launched his offensive to roll back the drilling moratorium, the oil price has dropped more than $30 from near $150 to below $120. The barrel price is actually down again today to around $118. In connection with the big oil drop, gold has fallen and the dollar has appreciated. Gas prices at the pump have come off about 25 cents. Presumably, headline inflation will moderate a bit next month.

So you might say drill, drill, drill along with reduced energy demands is lending a big helping hand to the Fedís inflation worry.


Like Paris, I don't find these positions mutually exclusive. Let's open drilling both on the Outer Continental Shelf and in ANWR. Then, let's use the SPR to speed this new production to market, releasing a significant amount with the understanding that it will be refilled from new supply sources.

I'm pretty hot myself, huh bitches?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

It's a photo caption:

ďSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid walks from his Chevrolet Suburban (left) to attend a news conference on energy efficiency Wednesday in Upper Senate Park. Reid rode in the sport utility vehicle from the Capitol to the event, which was across the street.Ē

Posted by John Kranz at 2:04 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."

I wish I could remember who said that.

Posted by: AlexC at July 17, 2008 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For those who can't tell AlexC's tongue is planted firmly in his cheek (like I was until I looked up who said this) here's the reference: Link

I knew it sounded familiar! :)

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2008 7:39 PM
But jk thinks:

The competition is quite stiff, but I think that line is my least favorite Obama quote so far (some of our bitter Pennsylvanians might feel differently).

As if collectivism isn't bad enough, he has to add knee-jerk Malthusianism to the mix. This quote caused the Wall Street Journal to suggest he was running for the Second Carter Term.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2008 10:34 AM

July 9, 2008

Oil Math

Way back in January 2007 some good folks at the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) published the chart below along with an explanation that proposes a "Cubic Mile of Oil" as a new unit of measurement for the vastness of world energy consumption - along the lines of the light-year for measurement of distances in space. I find it more enlightening to use it as a measure of "alternative" energy sources:

One commercial wind turbine equals 0.000 000 61 CMO

One residential solar panel equals 0.000 000 000 22 CMO

ncmo01.gif

Before you say, "Wow, a cubic mile of oil must be a tremendously vast amount" consider this:

1 cubic mile of oil would cover the entire state of Pennsylvania to a staggering depth of: 1-3/8 inches.

The truth of the matter is that oil is an incredibly high-energy fuel. One gallon of gasoline has the same energy as 63 sticks of dynamite. An average lightning bolt, comprising 500 megajoules of energy, equates to just 3.8 gallons of gasoline. (Think about that the next time you talk on your cell phone while filling your tank!)

Click "continue reading" to read the comment I posted to the IEEE article. It's still being vetted by the webmaster.

I'm a little late to this conversation (and am amazed there's only 1 comment after all this time) but Mr. Rogers' comment compels me to add one of my own.

When I first learned of this article yesterday I found it a brilliant distillation of an immense subject - annual worldwide energy consumption - into terms that could be easily grasped and compared. A "cubic mile" of crude oil is far easier to visualize than is 26.2 billion (or is it million in the UK?) barrels.

More important is the comparision of the energy content of that fuel to various other sources. One finds that the lowly cubic mile of crude is quite potent - equalling fifty years worth of energy from a staggering collection of "alternative" energy sources.

I'll include a few more equivalents of my own:

A cubic mile of gasoline (one of the lowest energy components of crude oil) equates to 34,676 megatons of high explosive.

The largest fusion bomb ever detonated on earth (by the Soviets) was 50 megatons. A cubic mile of gasoline contains the same energy as 693.5 such bombs.

A single gallon of gasoline contains 131.76 megajoules of energy, compared to 2.1 megajoules in a stick of dynamite. 1 gallon of gas therefore equals 63 sticks of dynamite.

An average lightning bolt releases 500 megajoules, or 3.8 gallons of gasoline energy.

Crude oil truly is a "miracle fuel" and the alternative energy alchemists who try to replace it with air, sun or water will continue to require government subsidies to even begin to compete.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:47 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm bullish on PV electric generation too, because of their passive nature and virtually zero operating cost, but its uses are limited.

But be careful about comparing Moore's Law (which applied to integrated circuit density) to the efficiency of solar cells. The latter has a limit of 100% where the former related to size and not efficiency. While something can be miniaturized almost without limit, PV cell efficiency can only double about four times before it reaches the end of the line at 100 percent. At that point its CMO equivalent will be a whopping 0.000 000 000 88.

Whew - almost takes my breath away.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2008 8:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Here's some more math. One cubic mile is
1,101,117,150,000 gallons. That's over 1.1 trillion gallons.

There are 42 gallons in a standard barrel of oil. So one cubic mile of oil is 26,217,075,000 barrels.

World oil production has stagnated at 85 million barrels per *day* for the last three years (and yet there are so many idiots who think there's no supply problem!!!). At current global production levels then, it takes approximately 308.436 days to pump a cubic mile of oil.

So to replace what we could get from 308 days of global oil production, it would take 52 nuclear power plants 50 years. Or putting it another way, as much energy as 2600 nuclear power plants will produce in one year, or 3078 nuclear power plants in 308 days. To account for fluctuations, let's say 3000 nuclear power plants.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 9, 2008 10:05 PM
But jk thinks:

If we were on Kudlow, it would be time to bring out the boxing gloves animation -- looks like a ThreeSources Rumble!!!! I exaggerate. But I do disagree with two basic points:

-- jg: TJ Rodgers has put considerable money where his mouth is on PV (JG, TJ, PV, JK...) He does not see a limit and when Mister Moore was pontificating at Intel, I would expect only the wildest of futurists imagined the chip I have in my humble little $900 desktop. There is a limit to the energy in a mi3 of oil, there is not technically a limit on how much can be collected from the sun. Whether by nanotech or some yet unseen development, I think today's solar panels will be the 4MHz 286s of tomorrow.

-- Perry: You a peak oil guy? Say it isn't so. (Not the Perry I thought I --nevermind). I think the "supply" problem that you describe is a lack of will to drill by the United States, combined with a third-worldism and comfy cartelization of other suppliers. When they find a field, it always seems to produce a lot more than original guesses. New extraction technology rejuvenates legacy fields. Tar sands, anybody? I think there is sufficient oil supply.

Jonah Goldberg talks about 19th Century concerns that we were going to deforest the Continental US to power trains. We solved the urban horse manure problem and the deforestation problem (and the whale shortage) with petroleum. Do we really think nothing will come along to supersede it?

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2008 11:01 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"This is not the Perry I knew"?

I do believe, firmly, that there's a supply problem. A severe one. And it's entirely man-made, because we're not drilling where we could. At this rate, we *will* have "peak oil," because of the tree-huggers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 10, 2008 1:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Kumbaya, Brother Perry, we are on the same page after all. A self-imposed supply problem, absolutely.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2008 5:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I know I did that "Che" thing for April Fool's Day last year, but you should know me well enough by now! :)

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 11, 2008 2:27 PM

July 1, 2008

Casey At Bat

Every few months some Democrat decides that oil companies are to blame for high prices.

Except they're not. It's Democrats who are at fault.

This time it's Senator Casey's turn.

The federal government is so poorly staffed to investigate oil speculation and price gouging that its agents might as well be ďcops going after criminals with water pistols,Ē said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

In a meeting Monday with the newspaper's editorial board, the Pennsylvania Democrat called for a national effort to define price gouging and make it illegal.


... because frankly their semi-annual effort has failed.
Oil and gas woes dominated the discussion with the editorial board as Casey cast doubts on what he called shortsighted proposals to expand drilling along the U.S. coastline and in the Alaska wilderness.

ďRepublicans believe we can drill our way out of this problem,Ē Casey said. ďBut only a small percentage of the area available for drilling is now being used.

ďIt would take about 10 years [to drill in Alaska] and we'd only get about six months' worth of oil out of there,Ē he said, noting that ďthose would be a really nice six months.Ē But, he added, we would lose a chunk of pristine wilderness forever.


Six months worth of oil: Lie. If we got it all out immediately and refined it and sold it our current consumption rates that's "possibly" what it would take. But you cannot drain an oil reservoir that fast (nor would you want to, you need to replace the oil volume removed with water to maintain pressure).

Even the oil volume potentially produced in those six months is not true. You cannot (and the Senate damned sure cannot) forecast advances in oil production and drilling technologies. Oil that was out of reach even 10 years ago is being produced with new techniques. Who's to say what big oil companies or service companies like Halliburton or Schlumberger will develop in the coming years?

Don't bet against ingenuity.

The 10 years of drilling is also a lie. It does not take 10 years to drill a well.

It takes weeks to drill a well... and one rig can only drill one well at a a time. So it might take years to bring more and more wells to production.

But first you must do exploration... which usually amounts to dragging microphones over the surface looking for oil.

We can't even do that.

If we took Senator Casey's (and the Democrat) acreage complaint to heart, it would only lead to more dry holes being drilled. If you do non-invasive exploration and no oil is found, of what use would drilling into nothing be? Of no use.

Once a company determines there's potentially oil under a lease, then they do exploratory drilling.

If they establish there's financially producable amounts of oil beneath a lease, THEN they go into production mode.

In the Alaska oilfields (an area with I have personal experience), if there is a production facility nearby, it's generally a matter of plumbing at that point.

However, all of the existing leases have already been explored and re-explored. All the oil that can be found in those location has been identified.

So when you hear dishonest Democrats saying "they have 80 million acres of leases"... this is true. But not every acre has oil under it!

If oil is discovered, and the nearest processing facility is thirty or forty or fifty miles away, a production facility needs to be built... which means years of environmental permitting and lawsuits.

It's not 10 years, it's more like 5.

If five years is too far out for oil, why should we spending billions or trillions to tackle .4 degrees of global warming in fifty?

Posted by AlexC at 12:19 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Again, do these people do laundry or maintain their property? He is part of the 110th Congress of a 220 year-old nation. I can't see that thinking a whole freakin' decade out is too much for these people.

Martin Feldstein has a great piece today on how future supply would lower today's prices. (HINT: it rhymes with Weevil Escalators...)

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2008 1:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Casey's "...area available for drilling" reminds me of the old joke:

What are you looking for under this street light?
I dropped a contact lens. Will you help me find it?
Sure! Where do you think it landed?
Well, I dropped it way over there but the light's better here.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2008 3:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've heard 6 years thrown out as the time from drilling to refinement. That still begets the question, so why didn't the Democrats let us start drilling 6 years ago? Oh, they couldn't have predicted the future? Nor can they now.

Good examination of the microeconomics by Feldstein, but I didn't see that he boiled prices down to a simple concept: prices reflect supply versus demand, not just in the present time, but in the *future*. All it would take is for Congress to approve drilling in ANWR, and before a single rig is set up, oil prices would start falling immediately.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 1, 2008 4:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Exactly right, Perry.

And the fact that speculators keep pressing the price higher and higher is proof positive of their conviction that it [ANWR drilling] won't be happening anytime soon.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2008 7:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Exactly right, Perry.

And the fact that speculators keep pressing the price higher and higher is proof positive of their conviction that it [ANWR drilling] won't be happening anytime soon.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2008 7:41 PM

June 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

My response to those who say that increased drilling is pointless because it won't yield immediate results -- like Arnold Schwarzenegger --is why worry about the greenhouse effect, then? Nothing we do will cool the planet immediately. Yet we're told immediate action there is vital. In fact, we're told that by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the very same speech. -- Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds
I wonder if these people do laundry ("won't have clean clothes for hours!") or repair their homes ("guy said he couldn't come out to fix the roof 'till Tuesday -- I told him to $%&* off!")? Never have people been so proud to lack any forward thinking.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

A Market Price for Crude Oil

Yves Smith asks in Slate Does Anybody Know How Much Oil There is in the World? The answer appears to be mostly "no" with various technological attempts to measure reserves throughout the world sometimes receiving the climate change slur "junk science." But there is evidence that despite International Energy Agency foreshadowing of current estimates being exaggerated, there is much more oil underground than anyone has previously been led to believe.

Indeed, some old oil hands argue that the entire method for computing reserves is fundamentally flawed. Richard Pike, president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, who spent 25 years in the petrochemical industry, contends in an article in the Petroleum Review that published estimates are less than 50 percent of their actual level. As the Independent summarized his argument:
Companies add the estimated capacity of oil fields in a simple arithmetic manner to get proven oil reserves. Ö However, mathematically it is more accurate to add the proven oil capacity of individual fields in a probabilistic manner based on the bell-shaped statistical curve used to estimate the proven, probable and possible reserves of each field. This way, the final capacity is typically more than twice that of simple, arithmetic addition.

Pike is no oil-industry shill and contends that producers understand this issue but prefer show lower totals, to help support high oil prices.

So what is the actual market-based price that oil would gravitate toward without all the meddling and misinformation on the part of so many disparate interests?

Japan's oil minister said, based on fundamentals, the price of crude should be $60 a barrel, not the $130 to $140 we see today. During congressional testimony, five oil-industry CEOs each gave estimates of where oil "ought" to be, with results ranging from $35 to $65 a barrel to $90. Even the implacable Saudis are reportedly about to increase production by half a million barrels a day, a sign that they are concerned that the current price is too high. Yet BP's chief recently said current price levels are warranted, and the oil bulls at Goldman forecast a "super spike" to $150 to $200 a barrel.

That last estimate is not really a "market price" figure. It is a speculator's prediction which takes into account all of that meddling and misinformation that won't be going away anytime soon. But what if it did? That's the question the others were answering. Their figures ranged from $35 to $65, or possibly as high as $90 per barrel. This is roughly half of the current "oil shock" price. Yet it's reasonable to expect such prices to return before long.

Consider this graph of U.S. gasoline prices adjusted for inflation since April of 1979.

gasprice%201979%20dollars.png

In the much more valuable dollar of 1979, premium gas cost about $1.20 per gallon in 1980 and, interestingly, is about the same price today (although it appears to be trending above that ceiling). But for nearly 20 years between the two "oil shock" periods noted the price was roughly half that - 60 cents per gallon in constant dollars.

These various data points give lie to the claim that oil prices are at record highs because the world is "running out" of oil. Instead they show that petroleum based motor fuels have been and continue to be the best bargain since the Louisana Purchase - excluding the backdrop of currency inflation, and absent the efforts of those who wish oil to cost more than their own "pet alternative fuel" preference.

Hat Tips: Slate article - The American Magazine; Fuel graph - johngalt's dad.

Correction: I had previously titled the graph "world oil prices" since corrected to "U.S. gasoline prices."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Very well argued, JG.

The Refugee attended a computer-related speech by a Chevron exec some time ago. He said that you cannot unlink known reserves and price. In other words, if you say, "What are our reserves at $4/bbl, the answer is zero. Even the Saudi's can no longer produce oil at that price. However, if you say, 'What are our reserves at $200/bbl,' the answer is trillions of barrels. At that price, many options are economical. Recoverable capacity is a function of price."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 1, 2008 4:42 PM

June 25, 2008

Mad As Hell

Drop what you're doing and click over to Eidelblog. ThreeSources friend Perry Eidlebus takes on these two adorable little girls:


pyper_sadie.jpg


It seems Mommy and Daddy are cutting cable to pay higher fuel prices and Pyper and Sadie have taken to the streets. Perry educates the young ladies with a lesson a lot of grown-ups in Congress should learn (were there any grown-ups in Congress...)

Welcome to the real world, girls. Welcome to the lower quality of life that's inevitable when people let themselves be ruled by environmentalists. Those are the people you should be blaming, girls, not oil companies! Oil companies would love nothing better than to supply us with more oil and gas, and at lower prices: when you do the math, lower prices mean higher sales, so they earn more profit while we consumers still benefit from cheap, plentiful carbon fuels.

Instead of blaming the oil companies, Sadie and Pyper need to learn who's really at fault.


He even has an adorable picture of a polar bear enjoying a tasty snack. Awesome.

UPDATE: Taranto links to an AP pick up of the story. It points out that Sadie "carried a sign asking drivers to honk to lower gas prices" and ends with a sympathetic supporter:

"I think it's great," said Hamid Tayeb, who was walking past on his lunch break. "It's unfortunate that kids are doing it before we do."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2008

President Reagan on Energy

A nice clip Larry Kudlow ran of his old boss:


Posted by John Kranz at 6:05 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Damn, I forgot how good it could be to have a conservative president who speaks deliberately and forcefully on principle. Could it have been his acting background? Is it too late to nominate a conservative movie actor for '08?

Willis/Romney2008.com

Can't you just see President Bruce Willis saying "Yippee Kai Yay..." to Al Gore?

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2008 1:01 PM

June 12, 2008

Drill! Drill! Drill!

That's Daniel Henninger's title in today's Opinion Journal column explaining how America is the only nation on earth that refuses to harvest its petroleum reserves. More of this stuff in media on a daily basis is just what this country needs. A tidbit:

Nikita Khrushchev said, "We will bury you." Forget that. We'll do it ourselves.

I emailed Dan to say, "If we could just get this message onto American Idol where the majority of Americans might see it then Pelosi, Reed and Nelson (and McCain) would change their tunes in a heartbeat."

The closing line - hammering McCain - is priceless. I won't copy it here. You gotta go read it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:34 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

This will be a great campaign issue for November as the Democrats put their environmental and regulatory constituencies ahead of the American economy. Then, the GOP nominee can step up to the plate and...oh, wait...never mind...

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2008 3:16 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is an interesting year of cognitive dissonance for Democrats. The mantra of "The war is lost" is at odds with reality as is the "We can't drill our way out of this" platitude. The Refugee hopes that it takes Americans no more than four months to figure out that Democrats are living in an alternate (and fictional)universe.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 17, 2008 2:29 PM

June 8, 2008

Get ready for the oil price drop

After crude oil jumped by $11/bbl in two days, Cato Institute's Alan Reynolds writes that the price hitting $200/bbl in the near future is "quite impossible."

Market analysts often claim oil prices are almost entirely determined by supply. Demand is said to be insensitive ("inelastic") to price. The standard example is that many Americans have to drive to work and most gas-guzzling SUVs will still be on the road even if the affluent few can trade theirs for a Prius. Whatever the price, we'll pay it.

This idea rests on two fallacies. The first is to exaggerate the United States' importance when it comes to ups and downs in worldwide oil demand. In fact, America is using no more oil than we did in 2004.

The second fallacy is to greatly exaggerate the importance of passenger cars in the United States. It's true that Americans are driving less and buying four-cylinder cars - but that's not where we should be looking for serious "demand destruction."

Reynolds goes on to explain that industrial use of oil fuels is already declining in most sectors, one of which we witnessed last week as airlines parked planes, cancelled some routes and reduced employment. But even without a US recession, Reynolds says, oil prices will still fall with industrial declines elsewhere.

In the United States and Britain, industrial production is nearly flat - only 0.2 percent higher than it was a year ago. In many other countries, however, industrial production has dropped over the past 12 months. It's down by 0.7 percent in Japan, 1.1 percent in Austria, 2.5 percent in Italy and Denmark, 2.9 percent in Canada, 5.4 percent in Greece, 5.7 percent in Singapore and 13.3 percent in Spain.

In April, industrial production also fell in India and China. Shrinking industry around the world shrinks demand for energy in general - and for oil in particular.

My college physics professor took great joy in explaining that alarming trends, such as population growth, never continue at the same rate for a very long time. The meteoric rise in the cost of oil is yet another of those trends.

Hat tip: 'The American' magazine

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:24 PM | Comments (2)
But AtTheWaterCooler thinks:

Great research, I linked to your post from Time to sell oil futures short?

Posted by: AtTheWaterCooler at June 11, 2008 2:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the link. As far as shorting oil goes, I think the old joke applies here:

"The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent." - John Maynard Keynes

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2008 6:58 PM

June 6, 2008

The Perfect Pigouvian Tax

Jim Glass takes Mankiw's Pigou Club to new heights.

Imagine a simple, single tax that can help avert global warming, de-fund Arab terrorists, save scarce natural resources, reduce pollution AND remedy the government's approaching funding crisis for Medicare (by heading off the coming diabetes epidemic, etc.) ... save private individuals billions of dollars of medical costs from avoided heart attacks and strokes and blood pressure medication prescriptions ... make the general population lean and good looking ... and improve your sex life too! That's the Fat-Gas Tax.

What's not to love?

Hat-tip: Don Luskin.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2008

More On Algae

I tried but failed to sell JohnGalt on being an early adopter for Algae farmin' (or is that Ranchin'?)

This Popular Mechanics article provides a sober look at the hype as well as the real cause for excitement under the hype.

Just choosing which kind of algae to start with is a herculean task. There are well over 100,000 species, each adapted to grow in different environments at different rates, and each capable of producing different amounts of oilóor none at all. The government collected more than 3000 different strains from all over the world in the 1980s, 300 of which were deemed promising. Today, many algal strains have been engineered into genetically modified superplantsóthe secret formulas of biofuel startupsóbut there is, as yet, no proven winner. Not to mention, there remains the small matter of how to make the algae flourish, how to cheaply dry several million gallons of subsequent slush, and how to get the oil out of minuscule cell walls and into the metaphorical barrel.

At the end, I have to think that straight photovoltaics offers a rosier path, with T.J. Rodgers saying that Moore's Law will apply to PV. Yet I still find the algae story intriguing.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Today, many algal strains have been engineered into genetically modified superplants..."

Visions of Cylon Centurions dance in my head...

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2008 11:42 AM

May 27, 2008

Democrats and Gas Prices

The truly scary thing is that Democrats might actually use their stance on energy to augment their leads in the House and Senate. Even NYTimes writers are laughing at them:

The lawmakers played their parts, too ó showing mostly outrage and fury. ďYou all are gouging the American public and it needs to stop,Ē declared Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee. Other Democratic lawmakers openly questioned whether the companies were illegally fixing prices to hoard profits and voiced suspicions that they were in cahoots with Vice President Dick Cheney to enrich the energy industry.
[...]
In one of the more pointed exchanges, Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, seized on the record $40.6 billion profit of Exxon Mobil in 2007. She pounded on the companyís senior vice president, J. Stephen Simon, demanding to know if gas prices would be lower if the company earned a few billion dollars less.

At another point, Ms. Waters brazenly suggested that perhaps the American oil industry should be nationalized, acknowledging that it was an ďextreme stepĒ but one that might be necessary if outsize profits and exorbitant gasoline prices continued.


Hat-tip: Gregory Mankiw, who excerpts Rep. Waters's quote and says "Oh Yeah, That Should Work"

Posted by John Kranz at 6:16 PM

Wi-Fi Allergy

Stop the earth - I want off.

Seriously, didn't most people have that same reaction to the 1970's nutjobs who wanted to outlaw drilling for oil in this country because it was "dirty?" Leave the idiots alone and look what it gets you - politicians who say things like "gasoline prices are not based on supply and demand, they're being driven up by reckless speculators and obscene oil company profits" and "we can't drill our way out of this problem" when, in fact, that is the ONLY way to bring gasoline prices down. And it makes us "less dependent on foreign oil" at the same time.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM

May 13, 2008

Cap'n Trade

The Wall Street Journal Ed Page nails all the failings of Senator McCain's proposed Cap and Trade program for carbon credits:

The problem is that once government creates an artificial scarcity of carbon, how the credits are allocated creates a huge new venue for political rent-seeking and more subsidies for favored industries. Some businesses will benefit more than others, in proportion to their lobbying influence and how well they're able to game the Beltway. Congress itself will probably take the largest revenue grab, offering itself a few more bites out of the economy and soaking politically unpopular businesses.

Where I am not sure they are right is the politics:
But he will never be green enough for the climate-change fundamentalists. The Obama campaign and Democrats were already dinging Mr. McCain yesterday for half-measures. His concessions won't help him much in November, but they will make his governing decisions in 2009 that much more difficult if by some chance he does win.

My YouTube question for the GOP Debate was to ask which, if any, of the candidates would stand up and say that climate change is not sufficiently proven to threaten disruption of the energy markets. I was looking for somebody brave enough to say that it might be "hooey."

But we have the best candidate for 2008. I sure wish Senator McCain would propose something less intrusive than C&T, but I will concede that the "denier" I was looking fir would not have a chance in this "tick! tick! tick!" climate. It's Game Over and we have lost. I'd rather elect a free trader even if he is badly misguided on this issue.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Just when I was starting to warm up to McCain, he pulls this loo-loo (pun intended). I was thinking, "Wow, we can really draw a stark contrast against Obama based on policy, because we sure aren't going to win on personality." It's a small consolation to realize that I was half-right.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 13, 2008 1:36 PM
But jk thinks:

It's real bad, br, I cannot dress this pig up. But, as Larry said, we all knew it was coming. It will be hard to stay enthusiastic this fall, but it is worth it for free trade and the continued existence of Israel.

Posted by: jk at May 13, 2008 4:48 PM

May 7, 2008

Do You See The Light?

Support for Ethanol subsidies are now out of favor with the green elite. According to a WSJ editorial, the WaPo and TIME magazine have both "concluded that food-to-fuel mandates have failed."

All we can say is, welcome aboard. Corn ethanol can now join the scare over silicone breast implants and the pesticide Alar as among the greatest scams of the age. But before we move on to the next green miracle cure, it's worth recounting how much damage this ethanol political machine is doing.

To create just one gallon of fuel, ethanol slurps up 1,700 gallons of water, according to Cornell's David Pimentel, and 51 cents of tax credits. And it still can't compete against oil without a protective 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imports and a federal mandate that forces it into our gas tanks. The record 30 million acres the U.S. will devote to ethanol production this year will consume almost a third of America's corn crop while yielding fuel amounting to less than 3% of petroleum consumption.


Just because everyone now knows it's a sham, don't look for subsidies to be repealed, mandates to be lifted or tariffs on imported Brazilian sugar cane to be reduced. And that's another trouble with gub'mint solutions. Perhaps the mandates might be scaled back, but the subsidies will be around 'till the end of time. As far as I know, the Federal government still subsidizes mohair because it was a vital component in WWI military uniforms.

Will anybody learn? It was clear from Senator Obama's speech last night, that the Democrats are poised to double down and harness the power of Government to "create millions of green jobs, &c..." I love Megan McArdleís' take:

Gack. Now Obama is ranting about how he's going to make the corporations give us super fuel-efficient cars, find awesome new sources of oil, make renewable energy affordable, and invent a really delicious fat-free ice cream. However did we manage to get through the first 200 years without Barack Obama to beat some progress out of the corporations that have been holding us back?


Posted by John Kranz at 12:44 PM | Comments (3)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

The 17 bazillion gallons of H2O is incorrect ... corn for fuel is not irrigated like food-stock corn.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at May 7, 2008 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Interesting -- is fuel corn significantly different from feed corn? I'm city folk, the accent is just affectation.

Posted by: jk at May 8, 2008 10:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Under the heading "You learn something every day" some non-irrigated hybrid corn varieties apparently can out-yield the best irrigated varieties:

http://www.garstseed.com/GarstClient/GarstNews/news.aspx?NewsItem=10101

Posted by: johngalt at May 12, 2008 3:30 PM

May 6, 2008

Getting. Dumber. All. The .Time.

Blog Brother AlexC is flying (one of them newfangled Wye-Fye planes, I guess) and sends a link to MyDD:

Make it against the law for oil companies to pass the price of the windfall profits tax on to consumers, and then audit the oil companies' books. It is not a difficult accounting exercise to tax excess profits above a certain gross percentage per barrel of oil, or gallon of gas. Every major oil company has sophisticated profit segmentation reports that go to the very senior management of the company. These reports identify revenues, costs and profit at each level of the vertically integrated operation, broken down on a per barrel basis by product type, marketing region, you name it.

And if they pass along the cost of this tax, we'll...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:56 PM

1,147th. Dumbest. Idea. Ever.

ThreeSources friend Everyday Economist has signed an Open Statement Opposing Proposals for a Gas Tax Holiday.

Being a fair guy, he also provides a link to Bryan Caplan, who disagrees.

The American people want to "do something," and Hillary's tax cut will at least do little harm.

I think I'll throw my lot in with Caplan on this. I think the holiday is a gimmick and I think it will be completely ineffective and likely counterproductive and it's stupid and it will never happen. But this is campaign season with daily displays of foolish gimmicks and bad policy. I don't know that I'd pick this one to sign a petition. (In fairness, ex-guitar player would not be sufficient academic credit if I wanted to.)

Having three active candidates provides a bad idea every eight hours. The summer gas tax holiday seems, like Caplan says, one of the least harmful. The discussion around it has been rather informative. Senator McCain all but admits that it's a gimmick, but he just wants to give a little guy a little break. Senator Clinton wants to "pay for it" with a big tax on oil companies. Senator Obama gets points for recognizing its gimmickry, but I take a couple off for laughing that "it will only save 28 bucks!" If you live in a $3M mansion, $28 per person may seem laughable. But to masses of bitter white trash, Senator, that's a lot of arugula down at Whole Foods.

Stupid, yes. Compared to cap-and-trade for CO2, socialized medicine, re-importation of pharmaceuticals, windfall profits taxes, it seems pretty harmless.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:10 AM

May 4, 2008

Dumbest. Plan. Ever. WSJ's Take.

Here's what the WSJ editorial page has to say about Obama's election year plan to lower gas prices by raising the marginal corporate tax on oil companies ABOVE it's present level of 35%:

Mr. Obama is right to oppose the gas-tax gimmick, but his idea is even worse. Neither proposal addresses the problem of energy supply, especially the lack of domestic oil and gas thanks to decades of Congressional restrictions on U.S. production.

(...)

Last week Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski introduced a windfall profits tax as part of what he called the "Consumer Reasonable Energy Price Protection Act of 2008."

And about energy policy politics in general:

This tiff over gas and oil taxes only highlights the intellectual policy confusion Ė or perhaps we should say cynicism Ė of our politicians. They want lower prices but don't want more production to increase supply. They want oil "independence" but they've declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?

But there is hope:

Late this week, a group of Senate Republicans led by Pete Domenici of New Mexico introduced the "American Energy Production Act of 2008" to expand oil production off the U.S. coasts and in Alaska. It has the potential to increase domestic production enough to keep America running for five years with no foreign imports. With the world price of oil at $116 a barrel, if not now, when?

So does the AEPA have a chance of passing instead of the CREPPA? The chances may be slim but as Wayne Gretzky used to say, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:46 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Shamelessly commenting on my own post-

Disregard for a moment whether either of the proposed Acts would or could actually achieve its stated goal and instead consider the competing intents:

D-PA: "Reasonable" energy price protection for consumers.

R-NM: American energy production.

That pretty well sums it all up, doesn't it?

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2008 3:21 PM

May 2, 2008

I'll Stand Up For Grandpa

The Wall Street Journal Ed Page discusses the Rockefeller Scions who are beating up on Exxon-Mobil for, well, selling oil.

One luxury of being a Rockefeller is that you are wealthy enough to live in style even if Exxon's performance starts to slide. The same can't be said of millions of pensioners and small investors for whom Exxon's profits may be the main source of a secure retirement. If John D.'s heirs aren't satisfied with Exxon, they're welcome to invest elsewhere. Our guess is that few will, given how much money they've made over the decades on fossil fuels.

Companies create value for shareholders, that's their highest calling. I defended Google against freedom lovers on that account, I certainly will defend XOM against whiny, pampered heirs. Larry Kudlow tore into the scions last night: "they've never seen an oil field, they've never worked a day in their life..." (Especially Senator Jay, I'd add.)

But I come to praise John D. We call him a robber baron, but he made his money bringing heat and light to poor people. Bastard! Rich folk could buy wood or whale oil and have servants to tend it. Rockefeller brought five cent gallons of kerosene to the masses, who could now read or work past dark. He used more of the harvested oil than his predecessors who cracked it for a small part and threw the rest away.

Then, of course, he devoted much of his fortune to philanthropy. We should be building statues and not calling him names. And, as the WSJ says, if the grandkiddies want to invest in windmills or perpetual motion (algae maybe?) they certainly can.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM

May 1, 2008

Pretty Cool

Biofuel from algae? Selective hydrocarbon out? This seems pretty cool:





The highlight says "[W]e could grow all the fuel the United States needs using 1/10th of the land space of New Mexico." My musical career used to entail criss-crossing the great state of New Mexico. One tenth of its area is pretty big. All the same, it sounds more efficient than Ethanol. Maybe some of the "Big Algae" Senators will step up to the plate and subsidize this!

Hat-tip: His Instyness.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Well, if efficiency compared to ethanol is the yardstick then just about everything is an improvement.

Posted by: johngalt at May 2, 2008 3:51 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear you. Though I was giving this credit for being potentially magnitudes more efficient. Instapundit once also linked to a home ethanol distiller that cost $9995 and brewed $1/gal Ethanol out of sugar.

The algae project does not intrigue me about covering 10% of New Mexico. But I do wonder about making a 20' diameter silo that could sit on a fellow's farm in, say North Central Colorado that could fuel all its owners vehicles, heaters, and itself. Crazy talk?

Posted by: jk at May 2, 2008 4:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"And itself?" Perpetual motion machine?

In the video I see an electrically circulated solution being exposed to solar radiation, so I guess that's a principal input. And plants require CO2 for respiration (or whatever you call it in plants) so that's another input. But the plants I grow (various forage grass species) also require nutrients. This spring's crop just received $1000 worth of petroleum derived nitrogen fertilizer. I'll need to see the complete cycle diagram with cost inputs before I invest in this plumber's nightmare.

One thing I DIDN'T see in the video was the giant vessel of "vegetable oil" produced at this quite impressively sized plant.

In north central Colorado I'll also have to shut it down and winterize it in late September. For a system primarily powered by solar energy I'm still leaning toward organic photovoltaic panels. (But not until all the fossil fuels are depleted - probably not in my lifetime.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2008 1:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps it's not for a sober, measured man such as yourself. I was thinking of a Randian family with some millenarian, survivalist instincts who would pony up a little extra to get "off the grid" and enjoy self sufficiency.

Winter would suck (New Mexico looks better and better) but I have no problem envisioning this as viable. It's not perpetual motion; it is essentially a solar play. My memories of pond scum would suggest that they don't require too expensive a nutrient medium.

I agree that I'd like to see the vegetable oil or the jet fuel before I signed up -- how complex is the extraction? Compared to Ethanol, jg...

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2008 7:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oooh, sarcasm - I LIKE it! But I've already told you how I'm going to get off the grid: http://www.threesources.com/archives/005036.html

And I can use the waste heat to warm my wife's new riding arena in the winter.

I do need to work on a large capacity electrical storage system though. Electrochemical batteries are so passe. Hey, I know: hydrogen fuel cells!

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2008 3:29 PM

April 29, 2008

Global Food Crisis

Not content with helping Senator Obama to a victory in Pennsylvania, Senator Casey turns to solving the global food crisis.

How?

Government.

President Bush had previously requested $350 million for the year. Durbin and Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) held a press conference Monday calling for an additional $200 million in food aid to be added to the upcoming war supplemental bill.

ďThis global food crisis now risks creating a series of failed states, as anger at inadequate food stocks spur riots and political instability,Ē said Casey. The Democrats said the additional $200 million would go primarily to the U.N.ís World Food Program, which provides emergency food aid for up to 78 million people annually.

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Dana Perino said the administration is monitoring the situation closely; the administration recently announced it was releasing an additional $200 million in wheat reserves to be sent to developing countries.


Oh, and let's give it to the UN, of all people. A model of efficiency.

The President doesn't escape blame, but is anyone in government willing to look at the real cause of the global food crises?

Government.

... specifically the US and EU mandates for Ethanol production and consumption.

When it pays better to burn food for fuel than it does to sell it for food, is anyone, outside of Democrats and liberal do-gooders, really surprised?

Posted by AlexC at 2:58 PM

April 19, 2008

Outgassing

Insty links to a topic near and dear to my heart: where does oil come from? We all learned in school that it's rotten dinosaurs, everybody knows that.

When everybody knows something, look out. When I was in college, I was in a band with a PhD candidate in Physics (who was a pretty good guitar player as well). He had me over for dinner one night with the former President of the school, Dr. Sterling Colgate. Colgate has forgotten the cube of the physics I'll ever learn and was a fascinating personality.

This was in the late 70s when world oil supplies were a concern, and Dr. Colgate was adamant that the Earth, like most every other celestial body its size, was kicking out more hydrocarbons than we puny humans could ever be expected to burn. I was young and took the word of my intellectual betters. For better or worse, I have believed this ever since. The core of the planet "outgasses" small hydrocarbons and the pressures in the crust produce larger molecule versions.

I never hear this discussed at any level. Until today:

What does Gold have to do with the recent Brazil oil find? In 1999, Gold published "The Deep Hot Biosphere," a paper that postulated that coal and oil are produced not by the decomposition of organic materials, but in fact are "abiogenic" -- the product of tectonic forces; i.e., deeply embedded hydrocarbons being brought up and through the earth's mantle and transformed into their present states by bacteria living in the earth's crust.

The majority of the worldís scientists scoff at Gold's theory, and "fossil fuel" remains the accepted descriptor of oil. Yet in recent years Russia has quietly become the world's top producer of oil, in part by drilling wells as deep as 40,000 feet -- far below the graveyards of T-Rex and his Mesozoic buddies.

Is it possible that Thomas Gold was right again, and that the earth is actually still producing oil? It's tantalizing to think so. Meantime, whether or not Brazil's recent find adds support to Gold's theory, for sure it's good news for Brazilians: Government-run Petrobras is one of the world's leaders in ultra-deep offshore oil extraction, and Sugarloaf Mountain alone could transform Brazil into another Venezuela or Saudi Arabia.


I feel like a 9/11 truther or something, but I find this theory a lot more believable than the dead dinosaurs.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)
But pquist thinks:

I recall reading Gold's theory in the late 70s or early 80s in the WSJ. Like you, I have never been able to totally discount the idea. The view that oil derives from fossils is dominant, but I do not believe that it can be proven.

Posted by: pquist at April 20, 2008 4:02 PM

March 3, 2008

I'm Thinkin' 't He's Drinkin' 't

Robert Zubrin did a podcast with Glenn Reynolds a while back, and I am thinking that he slipped a bit of biomass ethanol into the good Professor's drink. Glenn has since run about 754 positive blurbs about "The Zubrin Plan" to mandate that new cars sold in the US can run on gasoline or ethanol.

"You had me up until 'mandate,'" says I.

The proponents wash over the mandates with the assumption that these will replace other and worse pieces of legislation. The way Professor Mankiw sells his carbon tax as being better than cap and trade, The Zubrin Plan is always better than some other government abomination -- yet there's very little evidence our benighted 535 won't give us both. Reynolds and Zubrin claim it is better than CAFE standards and are likely right. But how bad would increased CAFE standards and mandated flex-fuel capability suck?

Zubrin defends himself from the mean old attackers at Science Magazine and the WSJ Ed Page -- and Reynolds dutifully links. Where Reynolds likes biomass ethanol, Brother Zubrin is still pretty pleased with the corn ethanol subsidies. By his math they provide a 600% ROI:

Let's start with the allegedly misbegotten incentives. The United States invests roughly $3 billion a year through a 51-cent per gallon credit to promote the production and use of renewable fuels like ethanol. The return on that investment? Taxpayers are saving approximately $6 billion that would otherwise be spent on counter-cyclical crop price supports, plus an additional $15 billion reduction in the country's petroleum import bill.

"The attacks continue." "That, not a blind and dangerous reliance on the status quo, should be our course." Defensive much? It's like watching Senator Clinton complain about getting the first question at debates.

I remain pretty excited about biomass. But I don't want to mandate solutions onto car manufacturers. Mr. Zubrin does his cause no favors with a petulant essay.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM

WSJ: Supply-Demand Thingy Works!

As crude-oil prices climb to historic highs, steep gasoline prices and the weak economy are beginning to curb Americans' gas-guzzling ways.

In the past six weeks, the nation's gasoline consumption has fallen by an average 1.1% from year-earlier levels, according to weekly government data.
[...]
This time, however, there is evidence that Americans are changing their driving habits and lifestyles in ways that could lead to a long-term slowdown in their gasoline consumption.


The article then points out that a rally in crude prices has kept this from feeding back into lower gas costs, so don't reprint the textbooks just yet.

I point it out because I see a new promising free market solution to our soi disant oil addiction every week, and yet the insane calls for gub'mint solutions come every day.

I think Economics textbooks will be updated in a few years to include the folly of subsidizing corn-based ethanol. A corn-producing state has two powerful Senators, one in either party, so the government throws [insert magnitude here]s of dollars at a "solution" which costs more, requires more energy, and emits more greenhouse gases -- a policy trifecta!


Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM

February 15, 2008

A Green Hero

Free market deity, T.J. Rodgers, is bringing Moore's Law to Solar Power. He wants to save the world and make a pile of cash. What a guy!

I had a brief and very unsuccessful stint in my younger days selling ad space for "Photovoltaics Magazine." My problem was that I was not a good closer; the PV industry's problem was that it competed for Silicon with the likes of Intel and Texas Instruments. One sold a square inch for $300 and one sold 4 x 8' sheets. You get the idea.

Rodgers saw a similarity others did not: Moore's Law. It was a semiconductor industry and the advances in chip fabrication would pay off in solar power. He bought a power company with his own money when his board would not go along and now "SunPower is rapidly becoming a more important business to Cypress than semiconductors themselves."

So, it goes without saying that when the word "green" comes to mind, T.J. Rodgers, the ultimate free market libertarian, is probably the last person you'd ever think of. And yet, here he is, at the absolute epicenter of the Green Revolution, helping lead the charge that will likely very soon make solar power as inexpensive as other sources of electricity.
[...]
The story of how T.J. got to this point is one of the great untold business stories of the new century. And it should serve as an object lesson to those who wish to change the world by fiat, rather than by market forces.
[..]
The husband of a woman I grew up with has worked for T.J. for many years in international sales. It's been a good job, so when I heard a few years ago he was being transferred to SunPower, I felt sorry for him, figuring it was a demotion. These days he's adding new wings to his house

These are from a great piece by Michael Malone on abc.com. Read it all and send a copy to your favorite Democrat.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:29 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

A fledging Loveland, Colorado company named AVA Solar is on the verge of pilot production of a new type of low-cost photovoltaic panel. They claim to have an infrastructure cost comparable to the same kwh generating capacity using fossil fuels. The difference, of course, is that operating costs for solar photovoltaic are virtually zero since there is no fuel cost.

I believe a German company is already in production with a similar technology.

It appears that solar electric generation is on the cusp of an energy economy revolution that will make ethanol, biodiesel and methane composters seem like just a bad dream.

You may have noticed that hydrogen fuel cells are missing from my list of failed energy gambits. That is because hydrogen is not a fuel, and fuel cells are not engines. Instead they are analogous to batteries and have the capability of being "charged" by solar photogenerators. I'm not endorsing this, just saying that it will remain a competitor for future energy storage applications. (At least until the first "Hinden-yugo" explosion on an urban motorway.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2008 10:32 PM

February 7, 2008

A Physics Hoss

I am linking to a one hour and 35 minute video. It's a huge investment. But I know we have some geeks around here and I encourage each to ignore politicians and pundits and spend some time with a true genius. (Hat-tip: Samizdata. Dale Amon says "For those who have not spent a lifetime watching the world of Physics, Dr. Bussard is one of the elders of the field. He is no outsider and no crank. He is one hell of a serious physics dude."

The talk is all Physics, but quite a bit of politics and economics unwittingly enters.

ABSTRACT This is not your father's fusion reactor! Forget everything you know about conventional thinking on nuclear fusion: high-temperature plasmas, steam turbines, neutron radiation and even nuclear waste are a thing of the past. Goodbye thermonuclear fusion; hello inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IEC), an old idea that's been made new. While the international community debates the fate of the politically-turmoiled $12 billion ITER (an experimental thermonuclear reactor), simple IEC reactors are being built as high-school science fair projects.

Have fun: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1996321846673788606

Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM

January 15, 2008

Jeremy!

It is probably too late to start a draft Jeremy Clarkson for President campaign, Especially since we would need to amend the Constitution to allow the foreign born star of Top Gear to hold the position. And his general contempt for America and her people would be a PR challenge.

But I still wonder:

A couple of weeks ago, plans for a wonderful new coal-fired power station in Kent were given the green light and I was very pleased.

This will reduce our dependency on Vladimirís gas and Osamaís oil and, as a bonus, new technology being developed to burn the coal more efficiently will be exported to China and exchanged for plastic novelty items to make our lives a little brighter.

Itís all just too excellent for words, but of course galloping into the limelight came a small army of communists and hippies who were waving their arms around and saying that coal was the fuel of Satan and that when the new power station opened, small people like Richard Hammond would immediately be drowned by a rampaging tidal swell.
[..]
Iíve argued time and again that the old trade unionists and CND lesbians didnít go away. They just morphed into environmentalists. The redís become green but the goals remain the same. And thereís no better way of achieving those goals than turning the lights out and therefore winding the clock back to the Stone Age. Only when weíre all eating leaves under a hammer and sickle will they be happy.


Senator McCain he ain't!

Hat-tip: Samizdata

Posted by John Kranz at 5:11 PM

January 4, 2008

Uniquely American

You see one of these "Cold Fusion" stories every month or so. I'm still waiting for the nation to be powered by the scraps from the Tyson poultry plant.

Yet I hope that this one is true because it represents a uniquely American solution.

ďCheck it out. It's actually a jet engine," says Johnathan Goodwin, with a low whistle. "This thing is gonna be even cooler than I thought." We're hunched on the floor of Goodwin's gleaming workshop in Wichita, Kansas, surrounded by the shards of a wooden packing crate. Inside the wreckage sits his latest toy--a 1985-issue turbine engine originally designed for the military. It can spin at a blistering 60,000 rpm and burn almost any fuel. And Goodwin has some startling plans for this esoteric piece of hardware: He's going to use it to create the most fuel-efficient Hummer in history.

Goodwin takes the largest American cars and fits them with electric drive and a fat burning jet 60KRPM jet to recharge supercapacitors. "Like a Prius on Steroids," he says. Well, Mr. Goodwin, I know Steroids. Steroids are a friend of mine. And your solution goes beyond steroids.

Let our beloved, European allies buy smaller and less powerful cars. Whether Goodwin's approach ever sees an integral market share or not, this is the way for Americans to beat the "fuel crisis:" with big, fast, mighty cars, If it indeed runs on french-fry grease, we might just get energy-independence after all.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM

October 28, 2007

Imagine...

"Imagine if a two hundred and fifty year supply of energy were right here at home."

"Black hydrogen" never looked so good.

Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I'm sold on coal.

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2007 5:16 PM

September 30, 2007

Did somebody say bubble?

The NYTimes reports an ethanol "glut."

Only last year, farmers here spoke of a biofuel gold rush, and they rejoiced as prices for ethanol and the corn used to produce it set records.

But companies and farm cooperatives have built so many distilleries so quickly that the ethanol market is suddenly plagued by a glut, in part because the means to distribute it have not kept pace. The average national ethanol price on the spot market has plunged 30 percent since May, with the decline escalating sharply in the last few weeks.

ďThe end of the ethanol boom is possibly in sight and may already be here,Ē said Neil E. Harl, an economics professor emeritus at Iowa State University who lectures on ethanol and is a consultant for producers. ďThis is a dangerous time for people who are making investments.Ē

While generous government support is expected to keep the output of ethanol fuel growing, the poorly planned overexpansion of the industry raises questions about its ability to fulfill the hopes of President Bush and other policy makers to serve as a serious antidote to the nationís heavy reliance on foreign oil.


We did talk about an alternative energy bubble last week. As long as Senator Grassley breathes, however, I think ethanol providers are safe. And the article makes clear that the problem is not a lack of demand as a lack of distribution, so I am not flying my schadenfreude flag just yet.

UPDATE: The WSJ weighs in as well:(paid link)

Financing for new ethanol plants is drying up in many areas, and plans to build are being delayed or canceled across the Midwest, as investors increasingly decide that only the most-efficient ethanol plants are worth their money.

Some ethanol companies are "under deathwatch" now, says Chris Groobey, a partner in the project-finance practice of law firm Baker & McKenzie, which has worked with lenders and private-equity funds involved with ethanol.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | Comments (4)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Watch for an interesting flux in the (corn) feed futures.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 1, 2007 10:32 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I wonder when the American corn industry will do as French winemakers have, and demand more government subsidies so they don't lose money from the glut that government subsidies created in the first place.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 1, 2007 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

The WSJ article goes on to say that ADM and the big players will still do well, so I think you have a Baptists & Bootleggers alliance that will keep Grassley and Harkin out. ADM will use the downturns to buy the little guys.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2007 3:27 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Well,..there may be a good side to this. With a corn glut, tacos will be cheaper in Mexico and that should decrease the flow of illegals into the US,....um,....right??

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 2, 2007 10:15 PM

September 22, 2007

The Power of Regulation

Professor Reynolds links to this as good news:

"The economist reports that Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems that capture and focus the sun's rays to heat a working fluid and drive a turbine, are making a comeback. Although the world's largest solar farm was built over twenty years ago, until recently no new plants have been built. Now with the combination of federal energy credits, the enactment of renewable energy standards in many states, and public antipathy to coal fired power plant, the first such plant to be built in decades started providing 64 megawatts of electricity to Las Vegas this summer. Electricity from the Nevada plant costs an estimated 17 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but projections suggest that CSP power could fall to below ten cents per kWh as the technology improves. Coal power costs just 2-3 cents per kWh but that will likely rise if regulation eventually factors in the environmental costs of the carbon coal produces."

To be fair, Instapundit doesn't give it a glowing endorsment, but the link asks "A BRIGHT FUTURE for large-scale solar farms?"

I expected to read of a technological breakthrough in Photovoltaics, inspired by nanotechnology -- or something. Instead I read that Federal regulation and "public antipathy" are now deemed sufficient to rethink a process that is six times less efficient than existing mechanisms. Oh boy.

Where can I go long public antipathy? I think that's a growth market.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM

August 30, 2007

Big Oil Collusion

Are you sure about that?

Big oil companies did not conspire to raise U.S. gasoline prices last summer, as it was high crude oil costs and supply problems that caused the spike in pump prices, government investigators said on Thursday.

The Federal Trade Commission said that about 75 percent of the rise in gasoline prices was due to a seasonal increase in summer driving, higher oil costs and more expensive ethanol that was blended into gasoline.

The other 25 percent of the price increase stemmed from lower gasoline production as refiners moved to using ethanol as the main clean-burning fuel additive and lingering damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita that reduced refining capacity.


So what they're saying is that fluctuations in supply and demand cause prices to go up (and down?) Not some cabal of evil white men?

Get outta here.

Posted by AlexC at 3:33 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

They buried the lede: 25% was caused by ethanol mandates (government intrusion). It was evil white men, ac -- Sen Harkin, Sen Grassley, Sen Lugar, Sen Durbin...

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2007 4:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I'll be your conspiracy theorist. Ever notice how gasoline prices rise quickly and fall slowly? My hypothesis is that the retail price rises immediately whenever the wholesale price goes up, but when the wholesale price drops the retailers only lower their price as much as they have to as dictated by their nearby competition.

Not everyone plays this game, however. While 91 octane premium still commands 3.13 to 3.35 per gallon (north Denver metro) Costco gasoline has been selling their Sinclair wholesaled 91 octane for 2.99 for at least a month.

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2007 11:55 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

JK,..I direct you to this piece on ethanol:

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/pa/20070828_Kudos_to_kudzu_as_source_of_energy.html

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 1, 2007 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

I liked it just fine until they suggested genetically modified kudzu. I'm no Luddite, but one can easily see GMK taking over and destroying all life on Earth.

I'm actually very keen on biomass energy and have long been intrigued with generating power from poultry offal and by-products. Just as long as it's neither subsidized nor mandated, sign me up.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2007 5:36 PM

July 24, 2007

No War but the Price War

I love these things.

A price war with the Hess station across the intersection at Union Boulevard and Airport Road had seen gas prices down more than a dollar a gallon.

The Wawa and Hess stations were charging $1.94 for a gallon of regular. That was $1.02 below the national average of $2.96, a savings that had long lines of cars waiting to fill up.

So many people arrived, that the crowding became an inconvenience for the very food and beverage customers the low gasoline prices were intended to draw into the stores.


The margins on pump gas are so incredibly low (pennies per gallon to the retailer) that the majority of the station's profit is generated from burnt coffee and old hot dogs.

But losing a buck a gallon doesn't seem like it could go on very long.

Posted by AlexC at 1:48 PM

July 21, 2007

Drilling Ordered to Stop

Newsday/AP

A federal appeals court has ordered Shell Oil to stop its exploratory drilling program off the north coast of Alaska at least until a hearing in August.

The order, issued Thursday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, comes after the federal Minerals Management Service in February approved Shell's offshore exploration plan for the Beaufort Sea.

"Vessels currently located in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas shall cease all operations performed in furtherance of that program, but need not depart the area," the order said.

Opponents contend that the Minerals Management Service approved Shell's plan without fully considering that a large spill would harm marine mammals, including bowhead and beluga whales. They say polar bears could also be harmed, and they question whether cleaning up a sizable spill would even be possible in the icy waters.


Oil is at $75 per barrel in case you missed it.

Posted by AlexC at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The Ninth Circuit -- wow, that will never be overturned...

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2007 12:48 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I can't help but wonder what's in these judges' portfolios...

September 07 crude was almost $76.50 on Friday, the day after the announcement. August 07 gasoline was over $2.15 -- the wholesale price, mind you. Prices have dipped a little since, but only a little. And then you have all the idiots who cry "gouging" when it's the courts that **** things up like with this bull**** ruling. From a purely business standpoint, there's no such thing as raising prices only when the more expensive shipment arrives. Gas stations have to raise prices *today* so they can afford to buy the next shipment.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 24, 2007 4:26 PM

June 22, 2007

Again, Bullwinkle?

That trick never works. So say Senators J. Bennett Johnson and Don Nickles in a guest editorial in todayís Wall Street Journal. (Paid link, TNSTAAFE[ditorial])

If the American people are suspicious of bold pledges from Washington about energy independence and reform, they have good reason to be. Since the first energy crisis almost 35 years ago, our nation has had a very expensive education in such matters. Whether it was President Nixon's Project Independence that called for the elimination of foreign oil imports, or President Carter's mandate that 20% of all domestic energy be supplied by solar technologies -- both of which were set to be achieved by 2000 -- projects have come and gone to no avail.

Wishful thinking is again on full display this week as Democrats and Republicans alike have assembled an ambitious energy policy agenda. Our hope was that Congress would embrace past lessons and forge pragmatic and workable solutions. But that hasn't happened.


They then enumerate a frightening list of Congressional intrusion: price-gouging, alternative energy mandates, renewable fuels standards, windfall profits tax, &c.

The bipartisan team, to be fair, hails from the oil states of Oklahoma and Louisiana. But they puncture each mandate and ask the current Congress to "recognize and act upon the difference between hope and reality."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM

June 20, 2007

Thirtieth Birthday

A project to which I quite literally owe my livelihood to celebrates it's 30th birthday today.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

Figurin' that I'm about thirty years from retirement, here's hopin for another thirty!

Posted by AlexC at 7:57 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I'm hoping for 30 years of ANWR oil as well.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2007 9:42 AM

June 4, 2007

Regulating Gas Prices

Yeah, this will work.

State Rep from Washington County Mike Solobay wants to regulate gasoline like milk, and wants to duplicate a bill California drafted years ago.

"It basically set up a board similar to our Milk Marketing Board, but it gave the authority to a public utility commission to regulate the pricing and cost of what the pricing could be for fuel and processing of gasoline and different oil products."

He's planning to talk with folks at the PUC and the milk board, then draft a blueprint to help prevent gouging at the pumps.


Did anyone notice that milk, like cigarettes are sold at state minimum prices? Those prices are act as an artificial floor for cigarettes and milk. The government of Pennsylvania is actually costing you money. Milk and smokes could be cheaper. Really.

Think of the millions of poor who are overpaying for those sundries.

What "needs" to be done is setting a state maximum price for gas... which always leads to shortages.

If the high cost of fuel is really a problem, surely the state could forsake it's cut of your gallon of gas. They didn't drill for it. They didn't produce it. They didn't refine it. They didn't deliver it. They didn't store it. They didn't even sell it!

Pennsylvania collects $0.32 per gallon of gas. How much would that save you per week?

He's a Democrat, btw...

Posted by AlexC at 12:19 PM

May 25, 2007

Gouge 'em

The lead WSJ Editorial today suggests that Congress look in the mirror if it wants to know who is causing "excessive" gasoline prices. The big anti-gouging law will only enrich a few lawyers.

What does "gouging" mean anyway? No one on Capitol Hill can answer that question. The House bill prohibits energy companies from charging a price that is "unconscionably excessive." There's a precise legal term. It further explains that it shall be a crime whenever "the seller is taking unfair advantage of unusual market conditions" or "the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably."

Still confused? Perhaps this will help. Gouging occurs, says the bill, whenever "the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the price" sold at the pump "and the average price at which it was offered for sale by the seller during the preceding 30 days." That could cover any price spike for any reason. Or gouging may occur when "the amount charged grossly exceeds the price at which the same or similar crude oil, gasoline, or natural gas was readily obtainable by other purchasers in the same geographic area." So if your oil supplier charges more than a competitor's does and you then raise prices, you could be a felon.

In other words, we are all criminals now. No one seriously believes this law will lower prices for consumers, but you can bet that brigades of lawyers will earn fat fees sorting out what exactly is meant by "unreasonably," "gross disparity" and "excessive."


Now that this law has passed, prices are sure to plummet.

UPDATE: link changed to free site -- thanks to johngalt.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:11 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

The link was public this morning: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010132

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2007 12:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The line that caught my eye, and sent me looking for the story, was this one: "Now that this law has passed..." What? Did the Senate vote on it? Has the president signed it? No, it appears that only Pelosi and Soros' House of Representatives has passed it.

Once actual grownups begin debating this measure, sponsored by the aptly named "Bart Stupak" (D-MI) someone is sure to point out that it will cause gasoline shortages during price spikes. Faced with the government imposed alternatives of selling their product at a loss or comitting a felony, retailers will do neither. Instead they'll just turn off the pumps and wait for the government to cave.

Bart STUPak needs to read this cartoon and the 'Who is Gouging Whom?' excerpt that follows it.

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2007 12:15 PM

May 21, 2007

Sounds like my diet...

I have had this story in a browser window all day. I don't know what to say but it is too good not to share.

The Wall Street Journal details (paid link, sorry) what pig farmers are feeding their livestock as corn is being diverted to Ethanol production.

GARLAND, N.C. -- When Alfred Smith's hogs eat trail mix, they usually shun the Brazil nuts.

"Pigs can be picky eaters," Mr. Smith says, scooping a handful of banana chips, yogurt-covered raisins, dried papaya and cashews from one of the 12 one-ton boxes in his shed. Generally, he says, "they like the sweet stuff."

Mr. Smith is just happy his pigs aren't eating him out of house and home. Growing demand for corn-based ethanol, a biofuel that has surged in popularity over the past year, has pushed up the price of corn, Mr. Smith's main feed, to near-record levels. Because feed represents farms' biggest single cost in raising animals, farmers are serving them a lot of people food, since it can be cheaper.

Besides trail mix, pigs and cattle are downing cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups. Some farmers mix chocolate powder with cereal and feed it to baby pigs. "It's kind of like getting Cocoa Puffs," says David Funderburke, a livestock nutritionist at Cape Fear Consulting in Warsaw, N.C., who helps Mr. Smith and other farmers formulate healthy diets for livestock.

California farmers are feeding farm animals grape-skins from vineyards and lemon-pulp from citrus groves. Cattle ranchers in spud-rich Idaho are buying truckloads of uncooked french fries, Tater Tots and hash browns.

In Pennsylvania, farmers are turning to candy bars and snack foods because of the many food manufacturers nearby. Hershey Co. sells farmers waste cocoa and the trimmings from wafers that go into its Kit Kat bars. At Nissin Foods, maker of Top Ramen and Cup Noodles, farmers drive to a Lancaster, Pa., factory and load up on scraps of the squiggly dried noodles, which pile up in bins beneath the assembly line. Hiroshi Kika, a senior manager at the company, says the farm business is "very minor" but helps the company's effort to "do anything to recycle."


Of course, if we did not provide 50 cents a gallon subsidies for Ethanol and apply 51 cent tariffs to a gallon of Brazilian Ethanol -- never mind, you know the rest.

My wife just hopes they don't find a way to make biofuels out of coffee.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:31 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

...are downing cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups.

Sounds like the desk of the lieutenant at the firehouse!

;-)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 21, 2007 10:47 PM

May 8, 2007

Chuck Schumer: Feel the Love

Perry at Eidelblog refers to the Senior Senator from New York as:

  • biggest Congressional hypocrite of all time

  • such a goddamn putz

  • Moron

  • satanic rectal spawn

What a great post!

Seriously, one of his constituents on a blog points out what no newspaper or magazine will dare. The good Putz Senator cannot oppose every refinery project, every drilling project, and every attempt to lighten the regulatory burden on refineries -- and then attack the oil companies for under production.

If Schumer wants to know the fundamental problem with American refineries, he need not look anywhere but a mirror. The New York Times reported two years ago that "Over the last quarter-century, the number of refineries in the United States dropped to 149, less than half the number in 1981." Worse, the United States hasn't seen a new refinery built since 1976. Every time a company would like to build one, they can't get past the hurdles that Congress, and state and local governments too, made to satisfy the tree-huggers. The blame falls mainly on Democrats, but also on "environmentally minded" Republicans who'll court any vote to win elections.
[...]
However, when it comes to getting people to vote for you, truth just doesn't compete with creating fear, including the fear that somebody just might have more than you. So Schumer will continue to harp on "income inequality" and oil companies' supposedly obscene profits, notwithstanding that, as my friend Josh Hendrickson pointed out a while back, oil companies' profits are hardly the highest compared to other industries, when you look at the percentages.

Well done.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

You had me at "satanic rectal spawn!"

ROFLMAO!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 8, 2007 9:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I can't take credit for that one. 'Twas one of my friends who feels much the same way about Chuck the Schmuck.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 8, 2007 11:15 PM

April 26, 2007

Windfall Profits Taxes, Again.

It will save us money at the pump.

No, really. Ask Bob Casey.

In response to the new round of oil profits, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., introduced legislation Thursday that he hopes will curtail rising gas prices. Casey's bill would impose a windfall profits tax and close certain tax loopholes for big oil companies and use the money for research into biofuels and other related projects.

Follow the logic here.

1) Oil companies make excessive profits.
2) Levy a windfall profits tax (level to be determined)
3) Oil companies say, "you know, you're right, we're going to lower our prices to avoid the tax."

Be careful not to laugh too hard.

In the real world, step three would be.
3) Oil companies say, "damn, profits are eroding, let's make that up by raising prices" (thereby passing the tax on to the consumer)

The "real" step three never crossed Bob Casey's mind? Governor Ed Rendell had the guts to lie to us and say he'll prevent the oil companies from passing on the tax... perhaps Casey thinks we won't notice?

Posted by AlexC at 5:41 PM

February 7, 2007

Another Liberal Idea

that could lead to famine.

Tens of thousands of people have marched through Mexico City in a protest against the rising price of tortillas.

The price of the flat corn bread, the main source of calories for many poor Mexicans, recently rose by over 400%.

President Felipe Calderon has said the government will clamp down on hoarding and speculation to ease the problem.

But some blame the rise on demand for corn to make environmentally-friendly biofuels in the United States.


You're kidding overhyped subsidized demand for a dubious product raising it's demand? You learn something new everyday.

Posted by AlexC at 12:02 AM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

And what does Josh say about the reduction in available labor for auto mechanics, welders, electricians, and brain surgeons when all those grown up farm kids head back to Metropolis to grow a crop for which the demand is more genetically altered than the seed corn is? Or the price of other crops that are crowded out by government corn? Or the spike in demand for scarce irrigation water that is already in a semi-natural balance? Or...?

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2007 2:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'd also like to call attention to a comment by El-Visitador (that languished in the junk comments bin for far too long due to more than one embedded hyperlink): *** CORRECTION *** No corn mandate *** (sixth comment)

In addition to the correction of his previous assertion he adds, "Ethanol could be made in the U.S. from a cheaper, more efficient per acre source: sugarcane. But sugarcane is heavily dutied and protected (which is why sugar is 4 times costlier in the U.S. than in most places around the world), whereas corn is subsidized. This is why most ethanol is currently made from corn."

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2007 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Good point -- I don't want to take a great blogger (and valued commenter) out of the 'sphere. I think he might lease some of that permafrost tundra prime farmland to ADM or Cargill, and they could turn it for him.

The point is that subsidies interfere with but do not invalidate the market. I don't want to encourage ethanol subsidies, but rising corn prices is a bogus argument, when there are a million good arguments.

Mexico, as was noted in the same discussion, has import quotas on US grain and now flirts with price controls. The enemy of my enemy may or may not be my friend, but to argue against ethanol subsidies because of tortillas is the wrong reason.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2007 4:58 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hmmm ... pound your chevy's into plowshares ... Forget corn, sugar-beet is the wave of the future boy! And yes, the Mrs would castrate me should I even mention the IDEA of moving back to the wilderness where you live in the 'town' if you can see your neighbor's house. Even if it is 10 miles away.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at February 7, 2007 10:01 PM
But El-Visitador thinks:

"subsidies interfere with but do not invalidate the market. I don't want to encourage ethanol subsidies, but rising corn prices is a bogus argument, when there are a million good arguments."

Agreed 100% with JK.

But I just enjoy pointing out to the do-gooders that their ethanol mandate is sending hungy kids to bed in thirld-world countries.

Posted by: El-Visitador at February 8, 2007 11:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, that is too good to leave on the table, isn't it?

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2007 10:54 AM

February 3, 2007

Fuel Efficiency

Hooray! Alternative fuels come to Philly!

The Shell gas station at 12th and Vine Streets now offers ethanol and biodiesel fuels.
Customer John Maratay's truck can run on regular gas or e85, a fuel is comprised mostly of ethanol made from corn byproduct.

On Friday, he filled it the first time with e85 gasoline.

"You know the carbon footprint might be a little smaller now," said Maratay.

Customer Jack Waterloo said he drove 25 miles to test out the gas station's biodiesel pump.


Would I brag about driving 25 miles out of my way to get some biodiesel?

Probably not.

Think of the CO2 emitted. He's killing polar bears and contributing to global warming climate change so he can feel better about himself.

No, I wouldn't brag about it unless it's less than used to drive for a biodiesel fix.

ďI'll drive this car from this gas station on biodiesel to Miami, which is 1,200 miles away, without refueling. I'll average over 60 mph per gallon,Ē said Waterloo.

He said he's done it before but had to drive to Baltimore[105 miles. -ed] to fill up.


Saving the environment or feeling better about yourself? You be the judge.

Someone get this guy a Pious.

1002_its_a_hybrid.jpg

Posted by AlexC at 12:40 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

If you follow the link in my Ethanol Myth post you'll see some related articles (subscription required) that discuss ethanol fuel:

Hot topics in the ethanol debate says - "Considering the entire ďwell to wheelĒ process, including growing and harvesting the corn, and producing, shipping, and burning the ethanol, David Friedman, the clean vehicles research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says that E85 made from corn provides an 8 to 15 percent reduction per mile today. That is countered by Tad Patzek, professor of geoengineering at the University of California at Berkeley. He says the ďequivalent CO2 emissions from corn ethanol are 50 percent higher than those from gasoline.Ē

Tests of ethanol vs. gasoline shows NOx emissions from gasoline as 9 ppm vs. 1 ppm from E85, but HC and CO emissions are identical at 1 pmm and 0 ppm, respectively.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2007 6:00 PM
But Guy Montag thinks:

Yep, if they were driving the kind of 'hybrid' I drive this would not be a problem at all :)

Still debating Holly or Edelbrock hydrogen delivery systems for the six-pack . . .

Posted by: Guy Montag at February 4, 2007 2:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Edelbrock! That's what feeds the 340 4 bbl. in my convertible '68 Barracuda.

Posted by: johngalt at February 4, 2007 6:23 PM
But Guy Montag thinks:

Fuel efficiency is defined by turning fuel into horsepower at the fastest rate possible.

Posted by: Guy Montag at February 4, 2007 8:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I had a 6-pack Holly in my younger days. I could never get the linkage adjusted properly. It was a 2-barrel until floored when all six would kick in.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2007 10:30 AM
But Guy Montag thinks:

Was that on a MOPAR or something else? On MOPAR the outboards open from the vacume, not a mechanical linkage.

Posted by: Guy Montag at February 7, 2007 4:46 PM

January 29, 2007

Silver Lining?

All the sturm und drang about energy has seemed to have no upside. Like Paul Gigot, I enjoyed Senator Grassley's giddy abandon when ethanol subsidies came up at the SOTU, but I expect government meddling and spending and interference will make things worse, not better.

Maybe there is a bright spot (a glowing lump of U-235?) The Wall Street Journal reports a rush to license and build noocyoolur plants.

A flood of applications seeking permission to build at least 30 reactors, primarily in the South, is expected to pour into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission beginning late this year. If built, the reactors would boost the nation's electricity supply by more than 30,000 megawatts, or 3%. A megawatt is enough to power at least 500 homes.

'A Horse Race'

Under recent legislation intended to jump-start development, Congress is dangling more than $8 billion worth of subsidies, plus loan guarantees, in front of the first few plants that get built. Practically speaking, companies must apply to the NRC this year or next to qualify for the special assistance -- a process that can cost $50 million apiece.

"It's like a horse race," says Adrian Heymer, senior director of new plant development at the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization. "Most companies are striving to submit applications as fast as they can."


Of course, they wouldn't have to pony up billions in subsidies if they'd establish reasonable criteria for permitting and licensing. In the end, however, I think nuclear power is our best bet for clean domestic power. Nuke plants powering plug-in hybrids could fill a lot of needs with present or near-term technology.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM

January 26, 2007

Whither Pigou

I part with the beliefs of Greg Mankiw reluctantly. I respect the good doctor. But his recent pushing of Pigouvian taxes and creation of the Pigou club have left me cold.

Today, Charles Krauthammer joins the Pigou Club and is applauded by ThreeSources's own LatteSipper. I sense an unholy alliance building between LS, Mankiw, and Krauthammer -- a triumvirate I'm not prepared to consider.

Josh at Everyday Economist has a thoughtful post on the topic today. Like me, he's a Mankiw fan but like me he is unconvinced.

Individuals respond to incentives. So, if a tax is placed on a good, individuals will be inclined to change their behavior. Pigouvian taxes work especially well on things like cigarettes and alcohol. The increased taxes cause many to cut down on their unhealthly habits; or even quit. However, there is something quite different between tobacco use and automobile use.

Most people use their cars to drive to work, the store, and to see friends and family. If the tax on gasoline was raised, Mankiw argues, individuals would consume less. However, individuals would still have to go to work, pick up the groceries, and presumably visit with family. Thus there would be little wiggle room for reducing consumption.


With regard to Charles Krauthammer's piece, I hate to interrupt the comity implied by LS's improbable link, but I can't agree with that plank of his piece either. Krauthammer has a three-part path to energy independence: "Tax gas. Drill in the Arctic. Go nuclear."

If my friend LatteSipper will sign on for all three of those, I'll compromise on the gas tax. Building nuclear power plants and increasing domestic drilling would be good moves. As far as Krauthammer's Pigouvian leanings, I think he makes a big mistake confusing economics with capitalism:

No regulator, no fuel-efficiency standards, no presidential exhortations, no grand experiments with switch grass. Raise the price, and people change their habits. It's the essence of capitalism.

I would suggest that capitalism would be allowing the market to decide the balance of energy sources and trusting the pricing model to spur innovation.

Sorry, LS, the big group hug is put off 'till another day.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:13 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Well, I'm certainly glad that ONE of us read Latte's link. That Latte is a sneaky guy!

I'm also thrilled to learn the academic source of Washington's belief that it can alter reality by raising taxes: English economist Arthur Cecil Pigou and his "Pigovian tax."

I daresay that thinking like his is what brought us the very idea of DAWG. Like class-action lawyers beating the bushes for plaintiffs, proponents of Pigou's "Economics of Welfare" needed a club with which to malleate a mostly free world market into something more to their liking. DAWG is, without a doubt, the closest they've come to date.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2007 2:59 PM

The Ethanol Myth

That's not just this gas guzzlin' global warming denier talking, those are the words of the respected consumer journal Consumer Reports.

A recent Harris Interactive study of vehicle owners found that more than half were interested in purchasing an FFV, mostly for reduced dependency on petroleum and improved fuel economy.


But after putting a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe FFV through an array of fuel economy, acceleration, and emissions tests, and interviewing more than 50 experts on ethanol fuel, CR determined that E85 will cost consumers more money than gasoline and that there are concerns about whether the governmentís support of FFVs is really helping the U.S. achieve energy independence.

CR goes on to explain how:

- The fuel economy of their test SUV dropped 27% when running on E85 compared with gasoline.
- When gasoline was $2.91 per gallon, the mileage equivalent price per gallon for E85 was $3.99.
- A tankful of gasoline would take the SUV 440 miles; a tankful of E85 goes only 300 miles.
- Most FFVs are large SUVs which use more of whatever fuel you run them on.
- E85 is almost nonexistent anywhere outside of the upper midwest.

And finally, the real reason for the boom in FFV production:

The FFV surge is being motivated by generous fuel-economy credits that auto-makers get for every FFV they build, even if it never runs on E85. This allows them to pump out more gas-guzzling large SUVs and pickups, which is resulting in the consumption of many times more gallons of gasoline than E85 now replaces.

But this isn't all. The Wall Street Journal explained Who Is Hurt By Oil's Fall (paid link) in the January 19, 2007 issue. The lede says it all. "Drillers, Ethanol Makers Lead Pack Of Stocks That Could Be Hit Hardest" This is because the cost of producing ethanol fuel is so high relative to gasoline. Not because the oil economy is subsidized, but because it requires only refinement to become a fuel, not an elaborate and energy intensive fermentation and distillation process.

Still want more? There's a huge debate raging over this issue with claims such as "it cannot contribute to the formation of deposits" coming mostly from domains such as ilcorn.org, mncorn.org, ncga.com (national corn growers assn), and contradictory claims of "increased intake valve deposits by more than 350%" from the addition of just 10% ethanol to gasoline. (This sounds a lot like the global warming debate, with opposing sides making bold claims. I wonder if either of them could be bending the truth a bit?) I suspect the ethanol messiahs are conveniently ignoring the corrosive effects of moisture that is naturally absorbed by anhydrous ethanol.

when AlexC wrote The Dark Side of Ethanol yesterday I wondered, what is the bright side?

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:24 AM | Comments (2)
But lattesipper thinks:

Rare is the day I agree with JohnGalt and Charles Krauthammer (Energy Independence?)

Posted by: lattesipper at January 26, 2007 8:43 AM
But Everyday Economist thinks:

Okay, I will be the first to stand up and complain about government subsidies of ethanol. However, this analysis by Consumer Reports purports to dispel the "myth" of ethanol when, in fact, their analysis is flawed.

First, it is unfair to compare the current cost of ethanol to the current cost of gasoline because in most areas ethanol is monopolistically priced. Ethanol is only available is certain areas of the country. Further, even in areas of the country where it is available, it is offered at only a few places.

Second, if we were to allow Brazilian ethanol to be imported, ethanol would be much cheaper. After all, that which is produced in the United States is done by an infant industry that has yet to develop economies of scale.

These lower prices would make ethanol more practical and more affordable.

The "myth" associated with ethanol is that we can subsidize the industry to the hilt and thus immediately reduce our oil dependence. Even if the industry becomes successful in the future and is able to produce ethanol at a much lower cost, it is not a short run solution.

Subsidizing industries has more to do with "creating" jobs than it does with solving the problem. Subsidation is not the panacea that the government pretends it to be.

However, ethanol is not the problem; it is the ignorant subsidation of an American ethanol industry.

Posted by: Everyday Economist at January 26, 2007 10:35 AM

January 24, 2007

The Dark Side of Ethanol

It's like something out of the twilight zone.

Hungry Mexicans.

Soaring international demand for corn has caused a spike in prices for Mexico's humble tortilla, hitting the poor and forcing President Felipe Calderon's business-friendly government into an uncomfortable confrontation with powerful monopolies.

Tortilla prices have jumped nearly 14 percent over the past year, a move the head of Mexico's central bank called "unjustifiable" in a country where inflation ran about 4 percent.

Economists blame increased U.S. production of ethanol from corn as an alternative to oil. The battle over the tortilla, the most basic staple of the Mexican diet, especially among the poor, demonstrates how increasing economic integration is felt on the street level.


It's good to know that Big Oil aren't the only ones blamed with collusion.
The federal government's antitrust watchdog announced this week it was investigating allegations companies were manipulating corn prices, and making deals to limit the supply of corn to boost prices of tortillas.

For low-income Mexicans, who earn about $18 a day on average, the increasing prices have hit hard. According to the government, about half of the country's 107 million citizens live in poverty.

"When there isn't enough money to buy meat, you do without," said Bonifacia Ysidro, but "you can't do without" tortillas.

Posted by AlexC at 9:26 PM | Comments (7)
But Everyday Economist thinks:

Price manipulation?

The increase in the price of corn will cause corn producers to produce more. As supply increases, the price of corn will fall as will the price of the tortilla.

We heard this same argument with regards to oil just a few short months ago, yet the price of oil has plummeted. Go figure.

Posted by: Everyday Economist at January 25, 2007 12:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, EE. You're dead right in a real market. My concern is the government manipulation through subsidies. The tortilla baker has to compete against a subsidized ethanol plant.

No wonder Senator Grassley was weeping tears of joy.

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2007 1:46 PM
But Everyday Economist thinks:

Subsidies are unlikely to push up prices. In fact, a government subsidy often encourages overproduction and thus lowers the price. This is why foreign farmers find it so hard to compete with countries with large farm subsidies.

Unless the United States were to develop some type of New Deal-style subisidy that was designed to limit the supply, it is unlikely that we will see a sustained rise in corn prices.

The idea behind the ethanol subsidies is to encourage more production. Currently, both tortilla-lovers and ethanol producers are competing for the same scarce resource. The subsidies will eventually lead to increased production and thus lower prices.

Posted by: Everyday Economist at January 25, 2007 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm afraid our friend Everyday Economist is vastly oversimplifying the situation by failing to account for the myriad ripple effects of government manipulation of the marketplace.

He's also mistaken about just exactly what the subsidies JK mentions are for. It is not corn production that is being subsidized, but ethanol production. That, combined with the "maize only" mandate that El-Visitador claims (the validity of which I have no reason to doubt), creates an artificial spike in demand, which has a predictable effect on price.

Meanwhile, ethanol as a practical fuel is a disaster.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2007 1:17 AM
But El-Visitador thinks:

*** CORRECTION *** No corn mandate ***

I appreciated johngalts' comment regarding my comment, but it made me reflect on what my source was. And my source was my memory, which has been known to fail from time to time.

So I looked at a number of sources, including the Act itself, the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Corn is not mandated by law at all.

Nonetheless, most ethanol in the U.S. is made from corn, which obviuously results in rising corn prices. And the U.S. does produce (or at least formerly produced) 70% of worldwide corn exports; therefore, any increases in the internal U.S. market have immediate consequences in the (mostly poorer) countries elsewhere that import corn as either human or animal foodstock.

Ethanol could be made in the U.S. from a cheaper, more efficient per acre source: sugarcane. But sugarcane is heavily dutied and protected (which is why sugar is 4 times costlier in the U.S. than in most places around the world), whereas corn is subsidized. This is why most ethanol is currently made from corn.

some sources:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm1053.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005

Posted by: El-Visitador at January 26, 2007 2:46 AM
But jk thinks:

You're both right (I'm a uniter). I'll do a post about this, but Cafe Hayek has more on tortilla-gate. It seems Mexico has a quota to limit imported corn:

So because of a bad law in the United States (the requirement to put ethanol in gasoline), the Mexicans have decided to pass a bad law that can only lead to a tortilla shortage.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2007 10:16 AM

January 23, 2007

Gas Prices Dropping

Do you hear that?

It's the sounds of 10,000 conspiracy theorists silenced.

Todayís Patriot-News survey of 10 stations in the region put the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded at $2.164, down 9.3 cents from last week and 16.6 cents since Jan. 9.

Prices dropped at all 10 outlets, and ranged from $2.03.9 to $2.22.9.

On the national scene, prices also continue to drop. Todayís AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report was at $2.158, down 7.1 cents from last week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Monday posted an average of $2.165, which was down 6.4 cents from Jan. 15 and 17.1 cents lower than a year ago.


... and here I thought gas prices were being manipulated by the President for his electoral benefit. (Well, there was that SOTU address)

Actually, as someone in the petroleum business, I should be crying. But strangely, I'm not. It's like a tax-cut for consumers. Yay, capitalism!

Posted by AlexC at 11:43 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

$1.99 for regular unleaded around these parts.

I read yesterday that GM is actually concerned about low gas prices. Now that they are betting the farm on hybrids and smaller vehicles they do not want to see demand drop.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2007 10:25 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

The thing that bothers me the most: Citgo has the lowest price in the area and 3 new stations have been opened near me. Fargin' Hugo.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at January 24, 2007 10:28 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I just a pre-approved credit card from Citgo. Voided it and sent it back with a note saying "We don't support South American dictators here. Stop soliciting my name and address. Remove both from your mailing lists!"

Other than that, give me Sunoco, or give me death!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at January 25, 2007 9:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Catchy!

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2007 10:17 AM

January 5, 2007

100 Hours

Well this didn't take very long.

    Opponents of oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge are going on the offense after playing defense for a quarter of a century. They want the new Democratic Congress to make an oft-challenged drilling ban permanent.

    Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Friday would make the oil-rich 1.2 million-acre (490,000 hectares) coastal strip of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a permanently protected wilderness and end repeated efforts to open the area east of the Prudhoe oil field to energy companies.

    "The consensus is that there should not be drilling in the refuge, so the logical next step is to pass legislation which turns it into a wilderness," Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and chief sponsor of the legislation, said in an interview.


He's introduced it before, but with Democrat majorities, it's going to be a lot easier.

Posted by AlexC at 5:54 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

If there's a consensus that there should not be drilling in the - ahem - "refuge" then why must further debate be prohibited? Could it be that Democrats are afraid that, one day, the consensus could be different? How much more proof does one need that Democrats value democracy only when the majority happens to support their priorities?

And just what is the difference between a "refuge" and a "wilderness" anyway?

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2007 12:20 PM

December 7, 2006

Open Markets

I'm really digging the blog, Open Market.

A sample post today: Let them use Solar!

    Itís a heart-warming ad, literally. A poverty-striken mother and daughter sit freezing in their unheated home in the dead of winter, trying to warm themselves with a small cooking stove. But then a fuel truck pulls up and a band of smiling deliverymen pile out and fill up the familyís oil tank. Now theyíll be warm.

    The tagline, if I remember it correctly from when I saw the tv spot earlier this week, is ďlow-cost oil for those in need, brought to you by the good people of Venezuela and Citizens Energy.Ē


Read the rest.

Open Market is a blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Posted by AlexC at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

CEI could not buy the publicity they've received from the Rockefeller-Snowe letter. I trip across something of theirs once a day now.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2006 4:21 PM

December 4, 2006

DAWG Bites DAWGMA

Wikipedia tells us that Claude Allegre is a "French geochemist and politician" and "member of the French Socialist Party." Google news search tells us... nothing. (Well, nearly nothing. There's a letter to the editor of the BYU paper mentioning what I'm about to mention.) The French (tabloid? newsmagazine?) L'Express.fr printed an editorial by Msr. Allegre stating, in part, "So, the question that arises is whether there is climate warming or not? [...] Greenhouse effect plays no significant role in these processes." (English translation here.)

Fox News Channel told me, and the Majority members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works corroborates, that Allegre's skepticism is "newfound" and that "one of the most decorated French geophysicists has converted from a believer in manmade catastrophic global warming to a climate skeptic."

The Senators write:

Allegre's conversion to a climate skeptic comes at a time when global warming alarmists have insisted that there is a ďconsensusĒ about manmade global warming. Proponents of global warming have ratcheted up the level of rhetoric on climate skeptics recently. An environmental magazine in September called for Nuremberg-style trials for global warming skeptics and CBS News ď60 MinutesĒ correspondent Scott Pelley compared skeptics to ďHolocaust deniers.Ē See: http://www.epw.senate.gov/fact.cfm?party=rep&id=264568 & http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2006/03/22/publiceye/entry1431768.shtml In addition, former Vice President Al Gore has repeatedly referred to skeptics as "global warming deniers."

This increase in rhetorical flourish comes at a time when new climate science research continues to unravel the global warming alarmistsí computer model predictions of future climatic doom and vindicate skeptics.

Allegre concludes:

Glaciersí chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious. But the exposure of manís responsibility as regards global warming allows us to sit idly by (the effect of the measures advocated will be felt only in half a century!). On the other hand, the crusade against extreme theories can be led with tangible results! However, as this is not fashionable, we choose to remain passive. In the meanwhile, the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!

Which is more incredulous: That a long-time DAWG might actually recant, and, become active for a "not fashionable" cause, or that the only source for this news in America is a bunch of Republicans on a senate subcommittee? Wait - don't answer that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Dammit, jg! If you keep supporting this "Obfuscation agenda," the US Senate is going to shut ThreeSources down.

"Glaciersí chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena."

Writing your own Taranto headline is left as an exercise to the reader.

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2006 3:58 PM

November 29, 2006

Oil, That Is

In case you were wondering...

    About half the oil and more than a quarter of the natural gas beneath 99 million acres of federal land is off-limits to drilling, the Bush administration says in a report that had been sought by industry to highlight environmental and other hurdles to development.

    Just 3 percent of the oil and 13 percent of the gas under federal land is accessible under standard lease terms that require only basic protections for the environment and cultural resources, according to the survey, which was ordered last year by Congress.

    An additional 46 percent of the oil and 60 percent of the gas "may be developed subject to additional restrictions" such as bans to protect animals and sensitive terrain during parts of the year.


Another example of government being the primary obstacle to lower gas prices. They're in the way, as usual.

Posted by AlexC at 1:12 AM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hey, the fact we buy oil abroad which funds terrorists is a good thing. I mean, when was the last time a terrorist tried to blow up a rock that the seven toed blind newt was using as a breeding crťche. Now, if we could get Al Kookda to declare a fatwa against the flora and fauna of America as well ... oh, boy. The Nature freaks would ... well, freak.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at November 29, 2006 11:12 AM

November 20, 2006

Monopolies

I came across this great ad from 1976 the other day, I wish I knew the complete context behind the it.

monopoly_thumb.jpg

It struck me as interesting in two ways.

First, it's an ad in National Geographic by an oil company taking an unapologetic look at the state of it's industry. It's actually pretty aggressive in it's own defense.

    You're looking at some of the brands and names of companies that sell gasoline. Some people say oil companies are a monopoly. If so, it's the world's most inept monopoly.

    This "monopoly" is so inept, it offers the world's richest country some of the world's most inexpensive gasoline.

    This "monopoly" is so inept that it lets everybody and his brother horn in on the action. Did you know that of the thousands of American oil companies, none has larger than 8.5% share of the national gasoline market?

    In fact, this "monopoly" is so inept, that you probably wouldn't recognize that it is a monopoly, because it looks so much like a competitive marketing system.

    People who call us a monopoly don't know what they're talking about.


Self-defense from a company or industry is always fascinating. The American Petroleum Institute did this a year ago when they compared their profit rates with other industries. Oil came in in the middle of the pack at about 7.5 cents on the dollar. Banking was at 20%.

There's also a great defensive cartoon from the 50's.

Secondly, thirty years later, some things have changed.

ExxonMobil, the largest American oil company now controls something like 15% of American gasoline refining, Roughly double the "largest" block in 1976. By contrast Coke and Pepsi are at 41% and 31% of the soft drink market, respectively.

Of course that's comparing apples to oranges. Coke and Pepsi compete globally. There is no OPEC of dyed sugar-water. XOM's market is artificially manipulated.

Looking the companies shown, you have ask yourself, how many of these are still around? Most have been merged into other brands. Perhaps only Sunoco, Shell and Tesoro are the only companies still existing in the same sense as 30 years ago.

Of the large oil companies listed above, Gulf, Sohio, Texaco, Conoco, Amoco, Getty, Chevron, Union, Arco, Union, Exxon, Mobil, Phillips 66, Hess and Citgo have all been acquired by another or merged with each other in some way... and that's without counting up the minors and regional players.

Overall, pretty neat stuff.

(graphic from GasSigns.org)

Update: An email from a friend of mine who really should be blogging.

    In 1976 the oil companies a.k.a. "big oil", were under attack not only for their usual evilness but also for the companies' operations known as "vertical integration". (A term that came and went like so much political wind.) Which meant they held ownership of upstream and downstream companies; the entire oil delivery mechanism. There was political talk about breaking that "monopoly" up.

    As ever, it was a politically motivated extortion threat generated out of the heat for Congress to "do something" after one or more of the '70s oil shocks. The McCain-Feingold act of the time, sorry, I can't remember its name, forbade the companies from donating directly to politicians. Political Action Committees (PAC)s were the result. I suspect the ad that you show - and a zillion others of the time - was financed by one of the oil company PACs.

    PACs probably still exist but have probably morphed into a "Section 1701" or some similar techno-lawyer rubbish term for the same thing.

Posted by AlexC at 2:25 PM

November 19, 2006

Dems to Raise Gas Prices

Apparently the latest drops in fuel prices have really sent the Dems into a titter.

To rectify this problem, it's time (yet again) to stick it to the oil companies.

    House Democrats are targeting billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks for quick repeal next year. A broader energy proposal that would boost alternative energy sources and conservation is expected to be put off until later.

    Hot-button issues such as a tax on the oil industry's windfall profits or sharp increases in automobile fuel economy probably will not gain much ground given the narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

    Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an outline of priorities over the first 100 hours of the next Congress in January, promises to begin a move toward greater energy independence "by rolling back the multibillion dollar subsidies for Big Oil."


So which subsidies are they going to do in?
    -Tax breaks for refinery expansion and for geological studies to help oil exploration.

    -A measure passed two years ago primarily to promote domestic manufacturing. It allows oil companies to take a tax credit if they chose to drill in this country instead of going abroad.


That's the top of their list.

Say hello to three dollar gas soon, and a screeching halt to the current boom in oil field projects and workers.

Posted by AlexC at 12:23 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I'm a big fan of big oil, ac, please don't take my question the wring way, but: "Is it wrong to end subsidies in such a profitable industry?"

Precisely for the reasons that I would argue forcefully against windfall profits tax, the subsidies you mention seem anti-market. It seems if you craft some way to get government the hell out of the way, refinery capacity would skyrocket without tax breaks. Ditto for domestic drilling.

If gas costs three dollars without government subsidies, that's what it costs. Now a coffee subsidy...

Posted by: jk at November 19, 2006 1:36 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I don't think it should be anyone but the shareholders business what the profits of a company are, and "are they enough?"

I think the fact that a "subsidy" like this exists is a symptom of the fact that some government inspired imbalance in the free-market exists.

Rather than asking "Should be cancel tax breaks?" the question should be, "What has government done that we need to do tax breaks?"

In that sense, we agree. But it's government "solving" a problem of it's own creation.

In the end, we don't know what gas costs. It's being meddled with innumerable ways.

Posted by: AlexC at November 20, 2006 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I absolutely agree with AlexC, although it took his reply to jk's comment before I realized we'd both been snookered by NoCal Nancy's misleading terminology.

When is a subsidy not a subsidy? When the money at issue was looted from the beneficiary in the first place! Nancy nearly persuaded us of her delusion that those "multibillions" belong to "the people."

JK even referenced this in his comment: "...if you craft some way to get government the hell out of the way, refinery capacity would skyrocket without tax breaks, [i.e. getting government the hell out of the way.] By the time you include regulatory limitations, some of which are defensible but most are not, the burden upon "big oil" is disproportionate in the same way as the burden on individuals - those with a "greater ability to pay" are compelled to do so.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2006 5:40 PM

October 29, 2006

The Power of Cane

Investor's Business Daily

    Bill Clinton's back, now touting tax hikes for ethanol to California voters. "If Brazil can do it, so can we," he said, claiming an ethanol switch ended Brazil's need for foreign oil. Once again, he's telling whoppers.

    Brazil did achieve independence from foreign oil all right. It happened this past April. But Clinton, true to form, doesn't quite recall the critical point showing how it was done.

    Here's a clue for the semi-retired former president and policy wonk: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva didn't celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field.

    No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil's vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil's oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil.


Brazil's independence has been touted by politicians all over the American left.

The numbers were never practical for the United States. There's simply not enough room to grow all of the necessary ethanol.

Turns out there isn't enough in Brazil either.

I wish I knew who to tip the hat to. Damn.

Posted by AlexC at 10:41 PM

October 24, 2006

Windfall Losses Rebate?

When oil prices were rising, oil executives were called in front of preening Senators to explain why -- dammit why -- they were making so much money. These "windfall profits" were deemed to be worthy of special taxation. After all, why should the oil companies get to keep the money they made?

I wonder if Debbie Stabenow will have a hearing to discuss tax rebates for big oil. It seems their profitability is hurt by falling prices as it is helped when they rise.
The Wall Street Journal reports:

oil_price_profit.gif
Even before the steep drop-off in prices, earnings had been blunted by side effects of the commodities boom. Oil-field costs have skyrocketed for many projects because of higher demand for everything from steel to software among energy companies eager to cash in on the boom. Competition for new prospects has heated up, ratcheting up auction prices for fresh exploration acreage.

If oil prices stabilize or drop further, cost inflation could also subside. But costs generally take time to catch up with swings in commodity prices. That poses a growing challenge to profitability in the short term.

Neil McMahon, a London-based oil analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, says recent trends of lower commodity prices and higher costs mean quarterly results this time around aren't likely to offer much positive surprises for investors. In a note to clients Friday, he said he expects to see further evidence of cost pressure when companies report this week.


Commodity boom huh? Sure glad I didn't jump in on that. (Kidding, kidding.)

Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

I think we're perilously close to time for a Chrysler style corporate rescue.

Posted by: AlexC at October 24, 2006 11:49 AM

Google Shmoogle

Since JK's "gratuitous swipe" last Thursday, GOOG's share price has soared another 54 points, an increase of more than 12 percent in just two trading days. Which means it is finally almost 10 points above its all-time high of $471.66 on 11 January, 2006. I'm sure this comes as a relief to the many casual traders who bought in January since the share price has been largely under water since then prior to last week.

Google's year-to-date appreciation is indeed about 16%, but stodgy old Exxon-Mobil checks in with nearly 25% gain since January 1. And, has dividends to boot!

goog ytd.gif

Add to this that XOM's P/E ratio is 11 while GOOG's is 61 and the same dollar invested in Exxon delivers more than five times the earnings as does that slick tech fad.

When I said in January that paying $400 a share for Google would earn you the moniker "moron" it was because Google is the exact same formula that created (and burst) the 1999-2000 tech bubble: Hype and buzz and very little hard assets. If you want to ride that firecracker again then don't let li'l ol' me stop you!

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:54 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well played, friend, well played.

I'll agree with your premise of XOM over GOOG, but dispute that the current GOOG run is all hype or comparable to pets.com.

Does your cool charting tool do PEG ratios? I contend that Google's high P/E is supported by growth of earnings -- exactly what the bubble stocks did not have.

I should point out to anybody choosing sides that jg has a farm to bet and I lost everything on a start-up I was working for. I take my gratuitous swipes from a house of glass.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2006 10:11 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I have to admit to not knowing what a PEG ratio is but I've since learned that it isn't generally a charted value, presumably because it doesn't change very fast. I also learned that a PEG ratio (P/E ratio divided by expected long term growth rate) of more than 1.0 is poor, less than 1.0 is good, and less than 0.5 is excellent.

Finance.yahoo.com lists the 5-year expected PEG ratios for GOOG and XOM as 1.58 and 1.53, respectively. These are virtually equal, which tells me that Exxon's earnings growth is not great (to be expected for the leading company in a mature market) and that Google's earnings growth is almost good enough to counteract its huge P/E ratio.

One may conclude that investing in Google is as wise as investing in Exxon Mobil, except for that insane share price. And why does Google keep it so high instead of splitting it down to the 25-50 range? I'm just guessing but I suspect the founders restrictions on the selling of shares are tied to number of shares instead of percentage of outstanding shares or dollar value. If shares are worth $500 each then they can cash out bigger faster. More investors buying Google only helps them more.

Posted by: johngalt at October 26, 2006 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps they're big Berkshire-Hathaway fans...

I brought up the PEG ratio to show that Google's higher multiple is supported by its highert growth rate.

Posted by: jk at October 26, 2006 4:23 PM

October 20, 2006

Black Gold

Most obvious geological prediction ever.

    A University of Washington economic geologist says there is lots of crude oil left for human use.

    Eric Cheney said Friday in a news release that changing economics, technological advances and efforts such as recycling and substitution make the world's mineral resources virtually infinite.

    For instance, oil deposits unreachable 40 years ago can be tapped using improved technology, and oil once too costly to extract from tar sands, organic matter or coal is now worth manufacturing. Though some resources might be costlier now, they still are needed.

    "The most common question I get is, 'When are we going to run out of oil?' The correct response is, 'Never,'" said Cheney. "It might be a heck of a lot more expensive than it is now, but there will always be some oil available at a price, perhaps $10 to $100 a gallon."


Any economist would have told you that.

We're not going to leave the oil age for lack of oil. It's going to because something new (and cheaper) showed up.

Posted by AlexC at 8:39 PM

October 9, 2006

Up Yours, Chavez

Blood is thicker than oil.

    In Alaska's native villages, the punishing winter cold is already penetrating the walls of the lightly insulated plywood homes, many of the villagers are desperately poor, and heating-oil prices are among the highest in the nation.

    And yet a few of the small communities want to refuse free heating oil from Venezuela, on the patriotic principle that no foreigner has the right to call their president "the devil."

    The heating oil is being offered by the petroleum company controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, President Bush's nemesis. While scores of Alaska's Eskimo and Indian villages say they have no choice but to accept, others would rather suffer.

    "As a citizen of this country, you can have your own opinion of our president and our country. But I don't want a foreigner coming in here and bashing us," said Justine Gunderson, administrator for the tribal council in the Aleut village of Nelson Lagoon. "Even though we're in economically dire straits, it was the right choice to make."

Posted by AlexC at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Well, shit. I'm guessing that the DNC is not really all that interested in the Aleut Vote after that.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 9, 2006 10:47 PM

October 5, 2006

Dead Sea Oil

An Israeli company has found some small amounts of oil in the Dead Sea.

    Initial tests have found that the site would yield between 100 to 150 barrels daily, said Eli Tannenbaum, geologist for the Ginko oil exploration company. While this is minuscule by global standards - No. 1 producer Saudi Arabia produces 9 million barrels a day - Tannenbaum said there are signs that larger amounts of crude are nearby.

This stuff is everywhere. You just have to have the right market to produce it.

Posted by AlexC at 8:26 PM

September 30, 2006

The Sky is Falling!

For my record, first time ever, fitfh consecutive blog post I'm going to talk about ... alternative energy. You know, the alternative you can buy at any street corner for less than the cost of Perrier - gasoline. Some of what I'm about to say is based on this article in India's Rediff.com. Much of the rest is pulled straight from a dark place so fact checking by AlexC is encouraged.

Gasoline comes from oil. Oil comes from geologic deposits underground. The entire earth has been surveyed and all existing oil reserves have been located, mapped and accounted for on a gigantic spreadsheet at Iranian Oil Company. In fact, A M S Bakhtiari there says "peak oil" (the day when oil production reaches its maximum and begins a steady decline until it is gone in 40-50 years) will occur in 2006-2007. Shell oil experts disagree. They posit that the date will actually be in 2025 or later.

So who is right? Probably neither. Energy economist C M Lynch says there is "no visible peak."

All of this is reminiscent of the "population explosion" hysteria in the seventies. That fallacious prediction was based on extrapolation of then current birth rates, ignoring the reality that birthrates change over time. Similarly, the "peak oil" and "no more oil" predictions are based on current KNOWN reserves and historical rates of discovering new reserves (like Chevron's recent find in the Gulf of Extralegalalienville). But rates of discovery, like rates of baby making, are not constant over time. Large areas of the US remain untapped because the oil deposits are relatively small. Technology now exists to pinpoint these pockets and they are becoming economically viable to collect. And the prospect of actually running out of oil will cause monumental efforts to locate more and more oil in the coming decades.

These and other factors make the fossil fuel "alternative" a very attractive one. Not the least of these factors is that many currently vogue fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel have an EROEI factor (energy returned on energy invested) of less than 1. Like bin Ladin's, the reports of fossil fuel's death have been greatly exagerated.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:56 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, no commentary by AlexC yet. Either my "dark place" punditry is spot-on or he's commuting to or from the 49th state again.

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2006 5:19 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

An Iranian talking about Peak Oil? I'd sooner believe Ted Kennedy talking about how alcohol makes one a better swimmer. Hmm, wonder why Iranians would be talking about this. Could it be because we're finding new deposits all the time, depressing prices and thus rendering Madman Mahmoud's "oil as a weapon" as effective as spitballs?

I call the Peak Oil doomsayers, the ones who genuinely believe we're running out as opposed to those trying to create a false panic to drive up market prices, Malthus' philosophical descendants." I look to much earlier than the 1970s, John, for the first instances of "population explosion" Chicken Littles: we're all living proof that Malthus' 1798 prediction of mass starvation was pretty boneheaded. Similarly, the oil doomsayers are being proved wrong as we speak.

http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2005/05/malthus-philosophical-descendants.html

Last year I wrote about John Tierney's bet with oil doomsayer Matthew Simmons. The latter thinks we'll have such a scarcity that by 2010 the price per barrel will be over $200 (in 2005 chained dollars). In hindsight, I think they shouldn't have bet an absolute number of dollars ($5000), because what if the price is $199? It would have been better to negotiate some sort of option, where Tierney can make his own prediction of oil's future price. That way the winner's profit would increase with how correct he was.

http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2005/08/call-it-dumb-call-it-clever-ah-but-you.html

Let's say Tierney thinks oil will average $60 per barrel for 2010, so they contract that Simmons will buy 100 barrels from Tierney at $130 each (the midpoint). If oil averages $60 per barrel, then Tierney will profit $70 per (less broker fees). If oil averages $200 per barrel, then Simmons will profit $70 (again less broker fees). And the more the winner is correct, the more he'll profit.

Anyway, in that entry, I noted Don Luskin pointing out how our *proven* oil reserves are constantly increasing. As you guys noted last month, U.S. reserves are now up by an estimated 50%, 15 billion barrels. That's on top of the Chinese buying PetroKazakhstan (owned by Canada -- will the wonders of globalization never cease?) so they can explore tar sands in Alberta, and OPEC nations developing their own reserves. The latter for years have *already* been pumping (pun intended) profits back into exploration and development.

Strictly speaking, I won't say "we" should be going nuclear. There are lots of us who are content with fossil fuels for specific reasons, although I think nuclear reactors are great for household electricity. All I ask is that you don't have to subsidize my choices, that I don't have to subsidize yours, and that you don't force me to trade in my gas-powered car before I'm ready. The new nuclear pellets are very promising indeed, but the Department of Energy subsidized the project, while Congress still has environmental regulations that keep nuclear power too expensive, or entirely restricted in a lot of jurisdictions. Sigh.

Indian Point, which is pretty antiquated, and I are on opposite sides of Westchester County. There are two radii for determining evacuation, depending on the severity of any problems. I'm inside the second, I think, but I don't worry about it. The biggest problems are the perpetual ones keeping the damned warning sirens working. The occasional reactor problem is far less dangerous to me than the idiot drivers along I-684 and Route 22.

The environmentalist nutjobs are always trying to shut down the reactor. They know they can't, but their lawsuits make IP much more expensive to operate. Thus its electrical output is much more expensive than it should be, in addition to all the environmental restrictions. Some putz years ago tried telling me that nuclear energy is the most expensive kind, and I had to educate him on why.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 1, 2006 9:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I actually think we're all in agreement here (mirabile freakin' dictu!)

Sorry for the side road. I certainly don't want to take away anybody's gasoline or subsidize any alternative. I believe that nuclear power is economically feasible without subsidy if we could protect the utilities from excessive regulatory burdens.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2006 10:27 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hmmmm, if all the parties agree, does that mean that 3Src has jumped the shark? All here in favor of building Nukes and stop buring oil for electric say Yeah! All against? (crickets...)

Ok, next order of business is that confounded wormhole technology allowing us to suck matter from the core of a black-hole and convert it directly into energy. If that damned Enron Front company had not failed, we could have kept it under wraps until our Alien Associates gave us the key-codes to unlock the regulator. When is Karl getting back from Plantet Halliburton?

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 2, 2006 11:38 AM
But AlexC thinks:

I disagree. Not all of the earth's surface has been surveyed for oil. I'd venture to say that most of the oceans have NOT been completely surveyed.

In fact, known oil fields are re-surveyed as seismic technology improves.

Not to mention improved methods of production.

Let's conserve (it's good to be efficient), and let's explore (it's good to provide what people want). But let's quit with the hysteria.

Posted by: AlexC at October 2, 2006 7:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for sharing your thoroughly enjoyable prose on these here pages, MDM. (This is just a glimpse of his greatness, folks. For more see http://www.mdmhvonpa.blogspot.com/)

And yes, we are still all in agreement as my assertion "all existing oil reserves have been located, mapped and accounted for..." was said with tongue in cheek. I was counting on the "gigantic spreadsheet at Iranian Oil Company" for the proper context. (Poorly written, I know.)

Excellent conclusion AlexC: Quit with the hysteria. (But how else for the environmentalist nutjobs to change what "people want?")

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2006 11:33 AM

September 22, 2006

Chavez Offers US Foreign Aid

Grrr.

    Margaret Williams of Hughes in the Interior said it doesn't matter who's providing the heating fuel, which costs about $6 a gallon in the Koyukuk River village of 69.

    "We sure could welcome it," she said. "As long as we don't have to pay."

    In the Kobuk River village of Ambler, heating fuel is running more than $7 a gallon.

    Residents in the village of 283 and surrounding villages are ecstatic, said tribal administrator Virginia Commack. "It's a miracle," she said.

    Each household will save more than $700 in fuel costs this winter, freeing cash for people to spend on gasoline so they can hunt more caribou and moose, she said.


Ooh. There's a bargain for liberals. They've got to stick it to the caribou so that Chavez can stick it to the President.

An unsigned Anchorage Daily Worker News editorial piles on the snark.

    Alaska has a similar program funded entirely with federal dollars. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program distributes funds to needy Alaskans to help pay the high cost of heating oil. But federal funding is at the same level today as it was 20 years ago, which means it's far short of what is needed. Gov. Frank Murkowski this year asked legislators to appropriate $8.8 million in state cash to supplement the program, but lawmakers gave the governor -- and low-income Alaskans -- the cold shoulder and rejected the request.

    Good thing for those Alaskans that another country is coming to help.

    BOTTOM LINE: If you're cold and can't afford fuel oil, who cares about the political motives of the giver?

Posted by AlexC at 12:34 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Doesn't the state of Alaska give each and every state resident an annual oil royalty check in the thousands of dollars? How can ANY Alaskan claim to not afford heating oil?

As for Chavez's stunt, even 100 million barrels of free oil given to the proletarians of 18 states is not going to change any votes. How many proletarians vote GOP anyway? It's like paying an eskimo to wear a coat!

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2006 1:19 AM

September 21, 2006

Oil

$61.92 a barrel, if you haven't noticed.

Posted by AlexC at 11:11 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent. I'll take three this month. Would you have one of your boy's help me out to the truck with them?

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2006 12:25 AM

September 15, 2006

Blaming Bush, Again

MyDD's Chris Bowers looks at George Bush's approval ratings vs the price of gasoline.

    Bush's approval is not up because of his speeches on terrorism, or some other baseless, purely conjectural reason. Bush's approval is up because gas prices are down. This is probably related to releasing part of the strategic reserves this spring, just as in 2004 around election time it was related to making a deal with the Saudis to increase oil production. It didn't stop raining because God stopped peeing. Bush's approval is not up because he is using better talking points in his speeches.

    That gas prices are dropping around election time is no surprise at all. In fact, I predicted it would happen five weeks ago. When a power-mad administration is this marinated in the oil industry, and when it isn't exactly a state secret (except, apparently, for journalists) that Presidential approval has long been tied to the price of gas, of course the Bush administration was going to do something to lower the prices of gas around election time.


I don't think Chris has any idea about the oil supply line and market reaction times.

If releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the spring cuts prices in September, how can Saudi production increases "around election time" have an immediate affect on gas prices? Shouldn't they both be instant? or both delayed?

The post begs the question, why "a power-mad administration this marindated in the oil industry" that has enough control over the price of oil, would allow fuel prices to rise? Why not keep us all fat, dumb and filling our Hummers? It's easier for a President to get his way if he's liked.

But don't sweat the details. According to Mr Bowers, there's no need for concern about the numbers unless the Republicans can gain another three or four points.

He doesn't say what that means, but since we're in conspiracy mode, I think it means that Republicans are in Diebold range.

Update: Incidentally, lest you believe that this is a fringe liberal idea... here's a picture of Chris Bowers meeting with former President Bill Clinton the other day.

Posted by AlexC at 2:59 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I disagree AlexC. We're not quite in Diebold range yet and I think we'll have to keep African-Americans from voting.

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2006 3:20 PM

September 11, 2006

Energy Users Pay Kyoto Cost

I love the idea of a "Chinese Wall" between a newspaper's Editorial and News departments. The New York Times could add a few bricks and touch up the mortar of theirs.

But I wonder if the Wall Street Journal news staff writers ever go out to lunch with -- or read the work of -- their counterparts on the back of the A Section.

Jeffry Ball, in a bylined piece today (paid link) delivers the miraculous news that energy users are paying the costs of Kyoto compliance, while the utilities have played the market disruptions to their advantage.

Because CO2 emissions now carry a cost, Germany's largest utility, RWE AG, is spending to improve the efficiency of its aging coal-fired power plants, including its biggest power station here in the country's industrial heartland.

Carbon dioxide also is padding the profits of RWE and other utilities, because they have been able to raise electricity rates to more than cover the new costs. Manufacturers that use a lot of juice are fuming. "The utilities get a huge amount of windfall profits, and the energy users get windfall costs," complains Markus Weber, a manager responsible for CO2-allowance trading at steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG.


I don't think this caught Gigot & Co by surprise. This is a pretty obvious conclusion and a good reason to not follow the articles suggestion that such controls are headed across the Atlantic.
Although the U.S., the world's biggest emitter of CO2, has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, many U.S. business leaders say it is only a matter of time before the country imposes some sort of carbon constraint. Earlier this year, Congress discussed how such a nationwide cap might be structured. Last month, California passed a law that will impose the U.S.'s first cap on global-warming emissions. Now the state has to figure out how to put that mandate into practice.

I repeat my call. We can debate its existence and causes, but let's agree to not damage the economy while we determine the best course to take.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:38 AM

September 5, 2006

Texas Tea

Black gold, that is.

    A trio of oil companies led by Chevron Corp. have tapped a petroleum pool deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico could boost the nation's reserves by more than 50 percent.

    A test well indicates it could be the biggest new domestic oil discovery since Alaska's Prudhoe Bay a generation ago. But the vast oil deposit roughly four miles beneath the ocean floor won't significantly reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil and it won't help lower prices at the pump anytime soon, analysts said.


...
    Chevron's well, called "Jack 2," was drilled about 5.3 miles below sea level. Chevron has a 50 percent stake in the field, while partners Statoil ASA of Norway and Devon Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City own 25 percent each.

    During the test, the Jack 2 well sustained a flow rate of more than 6,000 barrels of oil per day, but analysts and executives believe the payoff could be much larger than that.


It's hard to understand how they know they've got a super-mega field based on one well and a few tests... no doubt there is some insider information that we're not privy to, but it's good news for our energy interests.

... but it goes to show that all the easy oil's been had.

Except for that enormous patch in Alaska.

Posted by AlexC at 5:19 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Josh at The Everyday Economist reminds that this was caused by high oil prices, i.e. the market working: http://everydayecon.wordpress.com/2006/09/06/oil-discovery/

Not to be a wet blanket, but where are we going to refine this? How about refineries in Mexico?

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2006 11:40 AM
But silence dogood thinks:

Thank you johngalt! Now, if you don't mind me usurping your point, how about applying it to ethanol, wind, solar, nuclear, etc? That being, why is the argument against all these things that in and of themselves and with current technology that they will not single handedly meet all our energy needs? It seems akin to the Wright Brothers looking at their Flyer, concluding that it will never fly passengers across the Atlantic, and thus deciding that it is not worth it.

Posted by: silence dogood at September 8, 2006 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

May I suggest Federal subsidies as the difference? If Wilb & Orv had cozied up to Senator Thurmond (I think he was there) and got a hunk of US largesse to promote aviation, I think you might have heard complaints.

I love alternatives, I just question funding those that don't seem viable. Ten points for including nuclear though, I bet all ThreeSourcers are in. You're a uniter, not a divider.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2006 3:28 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Thanks JK. I too am a nuclear fan. There is waste, yes, but everything is a tradeoff - the manufacture of solar cells and batteries has environmental effects as well. As for funding are you really going to claim that oil exploration is not federally funded? There are some whopper big tax breaks out there which seem to me to be funding by a different name.

Posted by: silence dogood at September 9, 2006 9:30 AM
But silence dogood thinks:

Oh yes, maybe Wilb and Orv didn't get get federal funds, but those confounded flying machines were only up in the air for a little over a decade when Uncle Sam noticed their military application. From then on it has been military spending that has given us every major aviation advancement. It's hard to argue that commercial aviation would not have grown on its own, but I don't think we would have gotton from Kitty Hawk to commercial trans-atlantic service in under 40 years without some Federal funding.

Posted by: silence dogood at September 9, 2006 9:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Stop me if I'm beating this to death but:

I'll join you in cutting subsidies to oil, they're not there to celebrate my beliefs. Yet if I wave my magic wand and remove them, the oil business carries on, barely wobbling in its axis. If I remove Ethanol subsidies the Ethanol industry shrinks to one tenth of its size.

It's also hard for me to take military procurement out of the free market and in with subsidies. Buying fighter aircraft that advance technology seems pretty Hayekian to me.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2006 10:25 AM

August 8, 2006

The WSJ Imitates AlexC

The Prudhoe Principle


Opponents of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling have long argued that the supply wouldn't make a difference to prices. Well, that claim took a spill yesterday with BP's announcement that it is shutting down its operations at Prudhoe Bay due to a damaged pipeline that could take months to patch.

U.S. crude soared $2.25 on the news, taking oil to nearly $77 a barrel, with experts predicting another five- or 10-cent a gallon price increase at the retail gasoline pump -- possibly to a new high. This market reaction came as some surprise to various newspaper scribes and politicians, given that Prudhoe Bay "only" supplies about 400,000 barrels a day, or less than 2% of daily U.S. oil consumption.

These are the same folks who've delighted in informing Americans in recent years that opening up nearby ANWR to drilling would "only" result in an extra one million barrels a day. This argument -- that ANWR isn't worth the effort -- might have some currency if oil were plentiful and gas prices were still "only" $1.50 a gallon. But with the margin between global oil supply and demand so thin, any supply counts. ANWR is exactly the sort of home-grown oil cushion that would help smooth out supply disruptions from the likes of Katrina or the BP leak, if "only" Congress could get a clue.

As it happens, House Republicans are mounting yet another effort to get ANWR legislation past John Kerry and his fellow Senate filibusterers. A majority of the Senate supports it. The latest bill promises to devote federal ANWR revenues to "alternative energy" programs, an enticement that has already gathered some Democratic support. If Congress really wanted to impress voters when it got back from its August recess, it'd use the BP mess as an excellent reason to increase U.S. energy supplies.


I may have to turn in my ThreeSources Optimist badge, but I see this as a net loss for ANWR. This will contravene the assertions that the work will be environmentally friendly and the environmentalists will use it to play up the dangers.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

I disagree.

It's an example of them catching the problem AHEAD of time. It's no secret that things will degrade in a 30 year-old field.

They were watching.

Posted by: AlexC at August 8, 2006 6:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I hope you and Mr. Gigot are right. Once again, though, I find myself in the position of hoping the voter is paying attention and being rational. While the anti-ANWR folks can just show pictures of oil covered birds from the Valdez spill.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2006 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's no secret to anyone who's mechanically inclined that pipelines require maintenance. Voters, on the other hand...

But what I wonder is, why didn't it occur to BP? How many times do we hear about pipelines being shut down for repair? Don't most pipeline operators have plans in place to minimize downtime? The fact that this one is operated by BP, the oil company that apologizes for being an oil company, makes me wonder if they have any idea what they're doing up there.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2006 12:33 AM

Political Opportunists

I've come to the conclusion that Democrats simply don't stand for anything outside of bashing big business.

Now some are calling for Congressional investigations. Congressman John Dingell, the House Energy and Commerce Committee top Democrat.

    "This sudden loss of [400,000 bbls of] production will dramatically increase oil prices and the American people will be footing the bill for this combined failure of DOT's regulatory oversight and BP's corporate responsibility," he said.

    Congress is now out for its month-long summer recess, and any hearings on the shutdown would not take place until lawmakers return in early September.

These Democrats are the same ones that argue that ANWR's additional oil production will only be a drop in the bucket.

Especially when the Energy Information Administrations thinks that there might be anywhere from 600,000 to 1.9 Million bbls per day available from ANWR.

Either an additional 1,000,000 bbls is important to our nation, or 400,000 isn't.... and based on the doomsday rhetoric from the media regarding the Prudhoe Bay shutdown, it sounds like it is.

Posted by AlexC at 8:06 AM | Comments (3)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I heard that nearly 5 barrels of oil spilled ... where is the Sierra club when you need them! Greenpeace? Hello?

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at August 8, 2006 12:43 PM
But AlexC thinks:

No no no.... Despite oil only being measured in barrels, you have to say 5*42 = 210 gallons!

Posted by: AlexC at August 8, 2006 6:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

795 liters! (pardon me, "litres")
3,360 cups!
161,280 teaspoons!
Wait... 795 million microliters!!

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2006 1:19 PM

July 20, 2006

Subsiding the Rich(er)

Does the PA government really need to be involved in this business?

    The state will give $500 to Pennsylvania residents who buy a hybrid electric vehicle.
    State Sen. Jake Corman said it's the second round of funding through the Hybrid Electric Vehicle program.

    The initial rebate program issued $1.5 million in rebates in fewer than 10 months.


Let's call it what it is, a handout to the rich.

Hybrid owners make on average $100,000 per year.

An average family's income? $70,700

Posted by AlexC at 4:25 PM | Comments (6)
But steve f thinks:

well a part of that is wrong. Smug people who brag about own hybrids make over 100k.

a prius is no more then a accord, camry, legacy or maxima.

average income of these car owners are middle america at 45-70k.


If i had the money for a Prius i'd prolly put some LIthium polymer batteries in at. If your comute is under 150 miles round trip youd burn 1 gallon of gas.

Posted by: steve f at July 20, 2006 8:09 PM
But steve f thinks:

for some dumb reason it wont let me post about e85.

E85 is pointless. Here is why. Its subsidized by the state and federal goverment .

here is how much 60-80 cents a gallon.
its generally 20-30 cents a gallon cheaper.

What happens if we remove all the subidations?
Well gas around here is $3.20 a gallon we dont get e85 here so lets jsut take off 25 cents a gallon and be in the middle of the raod

Okay so that makes E85 2.95 a gallon here. Lets remove the goverment kick backs state and federal 70 cents a gallon.

so now E85 is $3.65 a gallon. But theres more goverment pork barreling going on here. on raw corn. its very high corn is one of the indursties where you make money throwing the crap out. So if we remove that it would ad about 15 cents a gallon.
so now E85 costs $3.80 a gallon. so it costs 60 cents a gallon more.
But sadly there is even more. E85 has 20% less BTUs then gas. So now you gotta buy 1.2 gallons of e85 to go the same distance on gas.
That now makes gas $4.56 a gallon to go the same distance.


Now here are problems. E85 cant be put in a pipeline it collects water so it must be shipped via rail and truck. So if it was to be offered anywhere out of the Mid west then it would go up about another 50 cents if a refinery wasnt with in about 500 miles of you.

Now for those who like in smog state where the MTBE was replaced with 10% ethanol. This is a reason why your gas is abotu 20 cents a gallon above the national average. Since ethanol has less energy then gas whats the impact on your MPG?

just about nothing. Here is how you can figure it out. e85 85% ethanol 15% gas. yet it takes 1.2 gallons to get the same energy as gas.

So take 1.2 and devide by 85% thats the impact of each percent of ethanol has on the BTU value of gas since the goverment requirs 10% ethanol in 15 states thats 1.4% less MPG then pure gas.

Why does the govermetn make us get it?

Good question back in the day it would trick the car into running lean so it wont pollute as much.

This has been made obsolete with the invention of the o2 sensor. yes its been obsolete since modern electronic fuel injection IE 20-25 years ago.


So what good does ethanol do? Even with the engery needed to produce it. Its carbon nuetral which means it takes the same amount of carbon from the earth when its made as co2 as it makes


steve

Posted by: steve f at July 20, 2006 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Steve. Thanks for the comments. I am especially interested in O2 sensorsí' obsolescing oxygenated fuels. We have a 10% mandate in the Colorado Front Range. If you have a link to any information on that, I'd love to read it. I'll Google a bit.

Regardless of the income and pricing, there are two huge flaws with this. One, you are asking people who cannot afford a new car to pitch in $500 for someone who can. And two, you are interfering with market innovation mechanisms. Pennsylvania will be sending $500 checks to hybrid owners long after better technology is available.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2006 9:55 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

You know, I should buy a hybrid just to get my state income tax back. Spite, it's what's for dinner!

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at July 21, 2006 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Good for Yoooooou!!! (with a South Park "thumbs-up")

In all seriousness, I don't see it at all wrong to accept a tax break even if you disagree with it. You pay enough taxes with which you don't agree.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2006 11:57 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

JK, I'll put in an unsubstantiated thought on oxygenated fuels, according to a CU professor that my buddy used to work with (part of my vast liberal left network), all the testing was done at standard temperature and pressure. This is common for chemical experiements, but it was instituted before the effects could be proven here at 5200 ft.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 22, 2006 12:45 PM

June 25, 2006

The Case Against Ethanol

Jeffrey Alan Miron

    The first alleged benefit is, in my view, routinely overstated. There is no "oil weapon" because Middle East oil producers must sell their oil somewhere. In a world market any refusal to sell to the U.S. is irrelevant.

    The second and third alleged benefits are also likely emphemeral. Given that ethanol production requires substantial energy use, any reduction in pollution or greenhouse gases has to be minor.

    So who benefits from ethanol subsidies? Corn farmers in the Midwest and the politicans who have caved to their interests. Taxpayers and the economy are the losers.


The greater Philadelphia area has recently had a 10% Ethanol blend introduced into the system. What does that mean?

Gas is still about $3.05 for the cheap stuff. In neighboring Berks County, but "outside" the area, I paid $2.83. I've always attributed the discrepancy due to the boutique blends, but it's never been so large.

Not to mention since the switch, our Mini Cooper has had trouble on it's first start in the morning. So much so that we switched from Premium to Midgrade on recommendation from Mini. I'm also convinced that my highway mileage in the Magnum has dropped from 27-ish to about 24.

Posted by AlexC at 12:25 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

For a couple of decades, the Colorado Front Range counties have had an "oxygenated blend" of at least 10% Ethanol or MTBE mandated in the winter months.

When it was enacted, my mechanic begged me not to put ďthat stuffĒ in my 1979 280Z. But driving 100 miles to refuel is a losing proposition.

I didn't test mileage or anything but after a lot of fear, I don't remember anyone having troubles. Are we paying more? Hell yeah, but that's government intrusion fer ya. (And I'd've dreamed of 24 mpg in that Z...)

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2006 4:18 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

"Given that ethanol production requires substantial energy use, any reduction in pollution or greenhouse gases has to be minor."

I've always been a believer in market-driven technology. At some point, demand for ethanol will produce:
1 - A sensible network of delivery, similar to the oil pipelines in place now

2 - Higher-yielding corn strains, capable of producing more ethanol per pound

3 - A more efficient method of converting the corn to ethanol.

Just a reminder, Brazil, which is swimming in sugar cane, has a mandate to go all-ethnaol by 2011.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 25, 2006 10:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Or, in a free market:

4 -- It will be shown to be non viable considering the climate at his latitude and the opportunity costs for arable American farmland.

Sadly, #4 will be not be given a chance. The Greens and the Ag lobby have both parties too frightened to concede that.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2006 10:49 AM

June 12, 2006

Cheap Oil

Platts (don't you read this everyday?)

    Oil prices are "very likely" to fall from current levels of around $70/barrel to $40/barrel in the medium term and could dip as low as $25/barrel in the longer term as new reserves are developed, BP chief executive John Browne predicted in an interview published Sunday.

    But Browne, talking to German magazine Der Spiegel, said he expected prices to remain high in the short term.

    Asked whether he though it possible that prices, currently trading above $70/barrel, were likely to return to levels below $40/barrel, Browne said: "Absolutely. Prices can hardly be expected to drop sharply in the short term, but it is highly likely that in the medium term prices will be at an average of around $40. Very long-term, even a price of $25-30 is conceivable."

    He did not define short, medium and long term.


Cheap energy drives our economy. But it's also a testament to the strength of our economy that it's doing so well with high oil prices.

It would be out of control with $25/bbl oil!

Tip to Cato@Liberty who writes...

    The interesting thing to me about the ďare we running out of oilĒ debate is that those who know the most about the oil business and with the most at stake in the answer - the major investor-owned oil companies - by and large arenít worried. The further away you get from the oil producers themselves, the more you encounter worriers.

True story. The oil patch workers I work with are not concerned with "peak oil." At least not "global peak oil."

Sure, each field has a peak oil event. But the real key is dollar / barrel lifting costs. At some level, depending on the field, it's no longer economical to produce. Operations & Maintenance costs eventually become too high.

But peak oil? It's not an issue. Because globally, we'll never reach it.

Posted by AlexC at 10:43 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Which do you think will appear in the Smithsonian transportation museum first: Hummer or Prius?

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2006 2:35 PM
But AlexC thinks:

It depends. How heavily armed is the Hummer?

50 caliber roof mounted lead throwers?

Posted by: AlexC at June 13, 2006 3:08 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Yes, but what you are (correctly) saying is that it is more about production capacity and production and refining costs than about finding resources. As to the power and knowledge of Exxon and BP executives, their companies are really small potatoes compared to the big boys, the governments of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela. Which of these is so stable that their investing in oil production infrastructure for the long term is a good bet?

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 3:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Actually, I think Iraq is probably the most stable of those you cited. But Silence is right. American oil companies really should get off their asses and start producing from the known resources in and around our own country. What the heck are they thinking?

(Sorry, I've been in an unusually beligerent mood ever since the MSM failed to find a cloud around the silver lining of al Zarqawi's al destruction.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2006 1:45 AM

June 7, 2006

"Defending Yourself"--Comment

Thanks AlexC!! I enjoyed that!! I recommend the "Destination Earth" video, too; here is what I say:

Once upon a time, people had a much cleaner epistemology -- for the non-philosophers, that means they could understand the world sharper and more clearly, because they followed better rules of logic and reasoning than most people now-a-day. (Well...should I say, simply, they followed rules at all!!)

Following the post of AlexC (thanks!!), I highly recommend you watch the short cartoon ďDestination EarthĒ, made in 1956.

Here is a good review of it:

Reviewer: jr0dy - - December 26, 2005
Subject: Makes Economic Sense

This was a great piece of animation and an even better explanation of market forces. Essentially, Ogg is any statist, command economy that publicly owns the means of production - most likely an allusion to Stalin, particularly because of his mustache. The sequence that shows the Martian energy source as an enslaved Martian running on a gear is probably allegorical for the fact that under Stalin's rule, his economic plan consisted primarily of collectivizing farms, seizing all crops produced, and selling them and using the money to invest in state-owned industry, despite the mass starvation of those working the farms. A theme of Austrian economics, particularly F.A. Hayek's variety, is the fact that collectivism is slavery - which is exactly what it is shown as in this film. Competition, the use of market forces to more efficiently distribute scarce resources, is obviously the better alternative. I also loved the way in which Ogg arbitrarily chose the Earth as Colonel Cosmic's destination - a great critique of central planning, as essentially all decisions made by planners are misinformed and to a large degree arbitrary. Only the free market can provide reliable information and provide a guide as to where resources would be best allocated. In addition, I particularly enjoyed the way in which it showed that the oil industry has its own costs with which it must contend, showing why it cannot simply be distributed freely, as some people seem to think it should be. Furthermore, price acts as a signal and a method through which oil can be rationed and distributed to those that need it most urgently. When price is high, it acts as a signal not only to current oil producers to rev-up production and increase quantity supplied, but also acts as a signal for new producers to enter into the market. This is where competition comes into play. The more firms acting in a market, the higher the liklihood that some will invent new cost-cutting measures that will allow them to cut prices and supply the consumer with more oil at a cheaper price, essentially the paradigm of any free economic system. Our own economy was consistently a laissez-faire prior to the Progressive movement of the early 20th Century - it worked, plain and simple, and it was the most efficient and best for all involved; there is no "optimism" necessary. I do not consider this film propaganda in the least, but instead a call to return to the economic system that served us so well in the past. Sure, perhaps a laissez-faire system would be the best for the oil companies that produced this film, but the truth is it would be the best for anyone and everyone; the film serves as a great example of the way in which the private ownership of the means of production can bring about an unprecedented high standard of living, and in the Martian case, facilitate the overthrow of a totalitarian dictator. The Martians did not want to be forced into going to see Ogg and Colonel Cosmic speak, let alone labor for Ogg as he told them to, they wanted to do their own thing, decide how best to apply their own faculties and labor to better themselves - shouldn't everyone be given that ability? C'mon Americans, if the Martians gained this ability, shouldn't we reclaim it?

I highly recommend the cartoon. It gets a lot right, and is a joy to watch. You will be hard-pressed to find anything like it today.

Unfortunately, the film makers did not grasp that capitalism is based on natural, individual rights. It is NOT based on "competition." Competition is a secondary by-product -- one that has great benefits, as the film points out, but still secondary.

Yes, they point out the importance of freedom, but still, that is not fundamental enough. What grounds freedom in reality? Only the concept of natural, individual rights can do that. You have freedom in society because, in this universe, you are rational and self-sovereign, and own what you create -- if you are the cause of something, it is proper to you...i.e., it is your property. That applies to the good you do, and any harm or evil you do -- you are responsible, and reap what you sow.

Since you are rational and self-sovereign by nature, it is right and proper that you should be free in a social context -- i.e., that you should not be subject to coercion by other people. But that means only coercion they initiate; they are free to defend themselves against any coercive action you might make against them. It is proper that each person take whatever action he sees fit to take, as long as he does not initiate force against another.

It would be better if the film makers pointed out how capitalism is based on reason and objectivity -- but that would be way too much to expect of them...

The short cartoon ďMake Mine FreedomĒ, from 1948, is also good, but not as good as "Destination Earth." And it has the same shortcomings.

The short ďWhat We HaveĒ, from 1950, is lame. It white-washes communism and totalitarianism. If you want to see what totalitarianism is like in practice -- outside of living there -- read We the Living by Ayn Rand. Rand tells it like it is: harsh, brutal, and hazardous to human health.

One idea in "What We Have" which is wrong, is the idea that 'there are the same brains and brawn' in a dictatorship as in a free society. (The same ideas is seen implicitly in "Destination Earth.") They are totally off the track here -- downright derailed. Minds do not function under coercion. The society on Mars in "Destination Earth" could not invent and maintain the technology it did independently. Like any other dictatorship, it would decay and collapse under its own malignant weight. Minds, trained in the educational system to obey orders, not to see things independently, would stagnate through the years.

There are other features of the short film which make me call it lame, but We the Living will clear up enough...

Posted by Cyrano at 9:56 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent stuff, Cyrano. Thanks.

Another film in the same vein, although feature length rather than a short, is the 1944 adaptation of Pearl S. Buck's 'Dragon Seed.' If you can get past the idea of Katherine Hepburn as a Chinese woman the movie is quite excellent. (It's also notable as a part of the filmography of actress Agnes Moorehead. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? ... She played Samantha's mother Endora on TV's 'Bewitched.')

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2006 3:51 PM

Defending Yourself

Cato @ Liberty wonders why Big Oil doesn't stand up for itself like it used to.

    Check out this 1956 short film produced by the American Petroleum Institute. Now THATíS what a self-confident, take-no-guff industry looks like. Someone should tell ďBig OilĒ to take itís thumb out of itís mouth and start defending their right to exist.

It's actually pretty neat for the 1950's cartoon camp.

Posted by AlexC at 4:12 PM

May 19, 2006

Supply & Demand

AP

    The House rejected an attempt late Thursday to end a quarter-century ban on oil and natural gas drilling in 85 percent of the country's coastal waters despite arguments that the new supplies are needed to lower energy costs.

    Lawmakers from Florida and California led the fight to maintain the long-standing drilling moratorium, contending that energy development as close as three miles from shore would jeopardize multibillion-dollar tourism industries.

    "It's a grievous assault on Florida and other (coastal) states," declared Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., of attempts to end the drilling prohibitions that Congress first imposed in 1981 and has reaffirmed every year since.

    The moratorium bars oil and gas development in virtually all coastal waters outside the western Gulf of Mexico, where most of the country's offshore oil and gas wells are concentrated.


Is Congress tone deaf or incredibly stupid?

Last time I checked high oil prices were a collossal problem in this country. Yet, we're intentionally keeping oil sources closed? While Cuba and China are drilling in nearly the same places?

Good thinking.

Posted by AlexC at 10:28 AM | Comments (3)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Hmm, and we should not put windmills off of Nantucket either ... because of the tourists. Soon enough, when the tourists cannot afford to travel to Florida and California, we will hear the California Whine of how we should have drilled on the North Slope, eh?

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at May 19, 2006 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This really is outrageous. Impeach congress!

It also serves as evidence that there is NOT an oil crisis. If there were then you can bet this vote would have fallen the other way.

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2006 11:14 AM
But jk thinks:

Millions of Americans believe that prices are high because of "gouging." Not even the Republicans will dissuade them from this nonsense.

Somebody needs to tell people about supply and demand. I don't know who that's gonna be.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2006 11:29 AM

May 3, 2006

Living for All Of Us

Sometimes you have to wonder how, after all these years, and the rock and roll lifestyle, Keith Richards is still alive.

    His spokeswoman said Richards suffered a mild concussion while on vacation in Fiji and went to a hospital as a precautionary measure. She gave no details on what happened or what his condition is.

    According to New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times, Richards fell out of a coconut tree and suffered a serious headache. The paper reports he felt well enough to get on a jet ski, but then got into an accident.


For the record, this cements my "Rolling Stones are better than the Beatles" flamebait. Ringo would never climb a coconut tree... nevermind falling out and getting on a jet ski. Neither would those other guys.

Posted by AlexC at 11:52 AM

Gas Wars

Two gas stations get in to an old fashion gas war dropping prices on each other.

So what happens?

State Police break it up.

    Matuszky, manager of Glassmere Fuel Service about a quarter-mile east of the BP station, noticed the price change Tuesday morning. She soon got orders from the store's corporate headquarters to lower the price 7 cents per gallon, bringing the regular fuel rate to $2.89.
    An hour later, Seeger countered by lowering BP's regular fuel price to $2.89 as well.

    The gas war had begun.

    "I was told that every time they change the price, we change the price, so that's what I did. Now they started a war," Matuszky said.

    By late afternoon, fuel prices at both businesses had plummeted another 50 cents per gallon, which drew dozens of motorists as lines of cars and trucks grew to five deep at most pumps. More drivers waited along Route 30.

    "They're pretty much giving it away, so I'm filling up," said Anita Copelli, of Latrobe.

    At one point, prices dropped to $2.36 per gallon.


$2.36 is $0.53 cheaper than it is my neck of the woods!
    The price war ended almost as fast as it started following a minor accident involving cars stopped along Route 30.

    State police asked the owners of both stations to help alleviate the traffic jam, and both agreed. BP raised its price to $2.89 per gallon for regular and Glassmere raised the price to $2.86.

Posted by AlexC at 11:35 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Thankgawd the local authorities were there to stop it!

Posted by: jk at May 3, 2006 12:28 PM

April 30, 2006

Supply & Demand

Tim Russert had the Energy Secretary on this morning's Meet the Press to discuss high gasoline prices.

In today's show, Mr Russert, former demonstrated complete ignorance of supply and demand.

    MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Secretary, if, if demand is up but supply is down, why are the profits so high?
    MR. BODMAN: For that reason.

    MR. RUSSERT: No, think about that.

    MR. BODMAN: You know?

    MR. RUSSERT: Play it out.

    MR. BODMAN: Demand is up.

    MR. RUSSERT: Correct.

    MR. BODMAN: Right?

    MR. RUSSERT: Right.

    MR. BODMAN: So youíve got more demand, youíre going to force price up.

    Youíve got, youíve got limited supply, and youíre going to haveÖ


Expose the Left has more of the transcript and video!

Posted by AlexC at 11:50 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Across the dial on the evil FOXNews network, Juan Williams accused the oil companies of price gouging. Bill Kristol said that profits were up 7% on sales that are up 8%. Williams thought that that demonstrated gouging....ooooookay...

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2006 10:13 AM

April 29, 2006

Gas price "fix?"

This gas price hysteria we've been subject to lately is really something else. The price of gas went from $2.50 a gallon, where everything was apparently hunky dory if the lack of attention it received was any indicator, to 3 bucks, which apparently signifies the end of days. For those like Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (for whom every problem is a nail) there is only one possible explanation: Corporate malfeasance. The proof? Exxon Mobil's chairman recently retired and was awarded, gasp, a retirement bonus.

Very well then, let's just regulate the cost of gasoline nationwide so that "Big Oil" no longer has the latitude to gouge innocent consumers ever again. How about fixing the price of a gallon of gas at the pre-hysteria price of $2.50 per gallon, allowing increases only for the rate of inflation of the dollar. That ought to fix their wagon, and protect the consumer, right? Not so fast comrade commisar!

Check out the chart below that shows historical gasoline prices in constant 2006 dollars. (from www.factsonfuel.org)

US Pump Prices 1918-2006.jpg

If gas prices had been fixed at $2.50 (2006 dollars) in the past then we'd all have been OVERPAYING by more than 50 cents a gallon for the 22 years since 1984. Who's the gouger now mister price control?

While it's true that gasoline now costs roughly 50% more than when I was born, and roughly 20% more than when I got my driver's license, it still hasn't reached a record high price. The real cost of gasoline was greater than today's at two times in history: One was at the birth of gasoline as a motor fuel in 1918, and the other was the transition between the Carter presidency (when oil supplies were pinched and inflation soared) and the Reagan era, when supply tightness eased and inflation was brought back to earth. In all likelihood the prices we see today are as transient as those of the early 80's.

Is it possible that we'll see record high prices? (Over $3.25/gallon as an annual average.) Yes, but this wouldn't negate my transitory argument. It would merely illustrate the power of the government to add more costs than have been eliminated by efficency improvements made by "greedy capitalists." (Such a development would also be an awesome marketing tie-in with the new 'Atlas Shrugged' movie!)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:00 AM

April 28, 2006

The Energy Plan

So I've been meaning to write a little about the latest plan from the Senate leadership on cutting prices at the pump.

But honestly, it's hard for me to get excited about.

Included