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BS: Gas Prices II

UB Ed 24 May 01 - 05:10 PM
CarolC 24 May 01 - 05:19 PM
Kim C 24 May 01 - 05:38 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 24 May 01 - 05:55 PM
Jon Freeman 24 May 01 - 06:39 PM
Gypsy 24 May 01 - 11:10 PM
DougR 25 May 01 - 12:58 AM
DougR 25 May 01 - 01:35 AM
mousethief 25 May 01 - 01:46 AM
kendall 25 May 01 - 07:30 AM
kendall 25 May 01 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,UB Dan 25 May 01 - 09:56 AM
Kim C 25 May 01 - 09:56 AM
wdyat12 25 May 01 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,djh 25 May 01 - 10:09 AM
Kim C 25 May 01 - 11:22 AM
Grab 25 May 01 - 11:22 AM
Kim C 25 May 01 - 11:41 AM
DougR 25 May 01 - 01:37 PM
Kim C 25 May 01 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 25 May 01 - 02:19 PM
GUEST 25 May 01 - 02:43 PM
DougR 25 May 01 - 03:18 PM
Blackcatter 25 May 01 - 07:07 PM
kendall 26 May 01 - 01:29 AM
DougR 26 May 01 - 01:35 AM
Blackcatter 26 May 01 - 01:47 AM
Jon Freeman 26 May 01 - 04:32 AM
CarolC 26 May 01 - 05:02 AM
kendall 26 May 01 - 11:18 AM
DougR 26 May 01 - 05:53 PM
DougR 26 May 01 - 05:56 PM
CarolC 30 May 01 - 11:50 PM
DougR 31 May 01 - 03:22 AM
UB Ed 31 May 01 - 08:07 AM
Grab 31 May 01 - 09:44 AM
UB Ed 31 May 01 - 09:55 AM
Kim C 31 May 01 - 10:33 AM
kendall 31 May 01 - 12:39 PM
Jim the Bart 31 May 01 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 31 May 01 - 02:16 PM
mousethief 31 May 01 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 31 May 01 - 02:32 PM
UB Ed 31 May 01 - 02:42 PM
Jim the Bart 31 May 01 - 06:38 PM
CarolC 31 May 01 - 07:08 PM
kendall 31 May 01 - 07:20 PM
DougR 31 May 01 - 08:36 PM
UB Ed 01 Jun 01 - 09:31 AM
Jim the Bart 01 Jun 01 - 10:04 AM
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Subject: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 24 May 01 - 05:10 PM

Link to previous thread


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 24 May 01 - 05:19 PM

GUEST, UB Dan,

My source for the information about California was a panel speaker on a Public Television (U.S.) news program.

As for your question about whether or not I would prefer fossil fuel energy plants or nuclear energy, I would have to say that I would prefer natural gas energy plants over nuclear energy. Oil and coal are bad for the health of the planet in different ways than nuclear, but I think they are both bad to the same degree. Natural gas is cleaner to use, but it is a finite resource.

Kim C, as far as not telling people what to do is concerned, would you extend that statement to include the government not telling people they can't grow and use industrial grade hemp?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Kim C
Date: 24 May 01 - 05:38 PM

Yes, Carol, I absolutely would! Hemp is one of the most useful plants known to man and the current regulations on it are stupefying. It would also be a great boon to the paper industry as we wouldn't have to harvest so many trees. Personally I would love to grow hemp so I could harvest it for fiber and spin and weave my own cloth.

Sure, tall people can fit in smaller cars. But what about my firewood? Can't get much in the boot of a Ford Fiesta.

I used to want an MG Midget until I saw more than one accident in which such a small car somehow drove UNDER an 18-wheeler. A friend was killed in one such accident.

Now what about vans? I haven't heard anyone say anything about vans or buses either, for that matter. Or other large transport trucks.

Somebody mentioned diesel in the other thread. Diesel cars for some reason haven't ever gone over well in the US. I drove a diesel VW Dasher back in the 80s when diesel was cheaper than gasoline (at least here it was). Trouble was, when it broke, nobody wanted to fix it. Eventually it died and went to VW heaven. Nowadays, diesel costs just as much as everything else, and sometimes more, at least here in Tennessee. But lemme tellya, that bugger ALWAYS started.

I wouldn't personally mind driving a smaller vehicle for myself, for everyday use. I would LOVE a PT Cruiser. However, unfortunately, I can only afford one car payment at a time. The Buy Kim C a Smaller Car Fund is currently accepting donations if anyone would like to contribute. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 24 May 01 - 05:55 PM

DougR if you're selfish I'm entitled to challenge that attitude. But if you pin me down as to whether it's you or your attitude I'm at odds with, what's the difference? Surely we are our opinions.

But I guess if your defence hinges on being able to say "That wasn't me, it was just my opinion," the difference gets quite important.

In the post that annoyed you, I don't remember having a go at you at all - I was mainly thinking of those creeps who call the shots for your present president. Surely we can have a go at politicians from time to time?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 24 May 01 - 06:39 PM

Kim,

Deisel Engines are not as fast per engine size as a petrol version and are nosier but they are more economical and seem to have a history of greater reliability. In the UK, they have always (in my memory) been the choice for lorries and other commercial vehicles where these matters have been of greatest concern but their increase in popularity in family cars is more recent. Apart from economy becoming increasingly important, the turbo diesel, mentioned by Grab, problably helped their popularity by increasing their performance. I would guess that as these cars have increased in popularity, more (non-commercial vehicle) garages have learned how to work on them.

Vans, I had thought about them a few times in this thread but haven't got round to looking any information up. I wonder how some of the Ford Transits for example would compare to some SUVs in terms of fuel consumption. I'd quite like one... Could sleep me in the back - great for festivals, carry logs (yes my parents do have a wood burner - but get the wood delivered)...

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Gypsy
Date: 24 May 01 - 11:10 PM

4 cylinder van + trailer = woodhauling. Should be able to tow at least a tier. Which is about as much as i care to unload at a crack.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 25 May 01 - 12:58 AM

Fionn, ok, so you don't like me. That's your priviledge, and you probably have lots of company. To dislike someone because of their beliefs is not something I embrace, but you have that right. I don't dislike you, personally, because I don't know you! To me, you are just someone that I trade opinions with on the Internet. I do not agree with your political philosophy, you don't agree with mine, but what the hey!

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 25 May 01 - 01:35 AM

After all, now that the Democrats are in control of the U.S. Senate: We will see a reduction in gasoline prices immediately California will have no more black-outs All will be right with the world Right? DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: mousethief
Date: 25 May 01 - 01:46 AM

DougR: I know you believe the Republican propaganda, even though you shouldn't; don't believe the Democrat propaganda either. :-P

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 25 May 01 - 07:30 AM

They are all a bunch of self serving bottom feeders. The main difference is, the democrats are willing to share a clam or two, whereas, the republicans want the whole world for themselves, AND, Hell for a sheep pasture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 25 May 01 - 07:44 AM

That link to the cheapest gas in your area has been dis abled. Probably by the oil companies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 25 May 01 - 09:56 AM

Carol, I wasn't sure where the California story had come from and I was just poking around...mostly because it really interested me. I stopped looking just because I got side tracked by those other stories (mostly about Sweden's efforts to move away from nuclear power to renewable energy sources). I hope you don't mind all my follow up questions, but I am so pleased to get your answers. My kneejerk reaction is that obtaining natural gas would affect the environment as much as obtaining oil...e.g. drilling and transport...although I gotta admit I've never heard of a natural gas spill. Is gas "harvesting" similar to oil "harvesting"? Is it just not as widely used because of the cost? (I'm assuming its more costly)

Jon, I didn't get an answer to your question about emmissions, but I was poking around a bit at the following sites:
Automobile Emissions: An Overview
http://www.epa.gov/OMSWWW/05-autos.htm

Auto Emmissions ranking:
http://www.epa.gov/autoemissions/

The impression that I get is that emmission standards are ranked on a percentage, so I think a car could have a lower percentage but burn more fuel, resulting in a greater net amount of pollutants. Emmission standards are getting stricter but like I said, I see your point.

Kendall, be careful the oil companies are watching you now :) Seriously, the oil companies sell to retailers...they don't care what the retailers charge, they just care what they get to charge the retailer. I can see making a case that the oil companiess may fix prices...but disabling websites for local gas stations...really. No gas station drills its oil locally. That's like saying a supplier to the diamond market would be worried if you got earrings on sale at the jewelery store.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Kim C
Date: 25 May 01 - 09:56 AM

No, probably because they have just raised the prices again just in time for the Holiday Weekend!!! It was $1.65 for regular this morning.

Here's something I don't think we've addressed. One, not all SUVs have V6 and larger engines. The first Cherokee I owned had a 4-cylinder and was comparable to my Mazda in terms of gas mileage. Also most of the smaller trucks and SUVs have 4-cylinder engines. Additionally, there are a lot of midsize passenger cars out there - not luxury cars- that have V6 engines.

Sure, a trailer would be nice, but they're not going to let me buy one on my good looks alone. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: wdyat12
Date: 25 May 01 - 10:02 AM

Whatever happened to Hydrogen Fusion? Have the oil companies surpressed this alterative fuel research too?

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,djh
Date: 25 May 01 - 10:09 AM

Fionn , SURELY WE ARE OUR OPINIONS.
Do you really think? What of matters where we know little and our opinions are barely formed, what are we then?(sorry this has nothing to do with gas $) I find that opinion curious is all. Only a stoic could ever be known to anyone, even themselves if opinions were what constituted the self.
More to the point of the thread I think Republicans always tend to play the fear card, it is ugly. I think the biggest diffrence between most dems and reps in terms of the voters is that most Democrats are skeptical of both parties and are trying to choose the lesser evil. While most Republicans are party line pit bulls. I have yet to hear one republican admit Dubya isn't the fittest choice for the white house, but, they all wanted to throw a road scholar out over non-political dirty laundry.
Doug , is a fossil fuel peddler the best man to have addressing the energy crisis?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Kim C
Date: 25 May 01 - 11:22 AM

I am what I am.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Grab
Date: 25 May 01 - 11:22 AM

Carol, I wasn't suggesting we ignore the plastics and stuff completely - it's just that to get a total-impact cost of an item is seriously bloody hard! Focussing on one major point is just somewhere to start, since I don't have the whole week free to research this. :-) I've not heard about using hemp for plastics, that sounds interesting.

You're right about the renewable energy (actually not renewable, but it's from a source which isn't going to run out for a few million years yet :-) but that has drawbacks too. The 4 main renewable options are hydro, wind, sun and wave. Hydro requires large areas to be flooded, and the fluctuations in water level mean that birds and animals can't live there (as the level rises, the nests get flooded), plus farmers downstream get their water supplies cut off. Wind requires sodding huge turbines, which are unsightly and noisy, and the effects of the blades on birds and the low-frequency vibration on animals are not yet known. Sun requires large areas for the solar panels, and sunny areas too, which isn't much good in the UK! And wave power requires big unsightly barriers to be created which would block boats and could have an effect on sift deposition.

Apart from these drawbacks, there's also the impact of _creating_ the facilities for these. Hydro requires concrete dams, which requires some limestone area somewhere to be strip-mined, plus lots of complex machinery (metals and plastics). Wind, you need big turbines (metal and plastic). Sun, solar panels are very energy-intensive to produce, requiring metals, plastics, and lots of _seriously_ nasty chemicals. And waves, we're on metal and plastic for the barrier again. All this involves some serious impact on resources. I seem to remember that solar panels used to be a net energy _loss_ due to the energy effort involved in making them but I may be wrong, and the improvements in silicon technology probably means this isn't the case any more. Older solar technology uses mirrors to focus the heat to boil water and drive a turbine.

Kim, certainly the smaller the engine the better - I've no arguments with you on this at all. A V6 in a normal-sized car is rather excessive unless you want it as a sports car. SUVs still have the problems of more inefficient tyres and higher air resistance, though. Incidentally, I'm not trying to get at you personally - this is just a general observation on the state of SUVs. Oh, and I've seen your picture in the photo list - how much better looks to they want? ;-)

Wdyat, hydrogen fusion is still on the go, but it's a long way off being a practical electricity-generating proposition. It requires enormous investment in the hardware to do it, which rather limits how fast it can advance. Nuclear fission got its investment by being a step to nuclear weapons, but fusion isn't and so can't get any of the military-industrial money.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Kim C
Date: 25 May 01 - 11:41 AM

Thanks Grab. (blushing)

Personally I think NASA should be spending my tax dollars on research into teleportation. Then Scotty can just beam us up to wherever we need to go. Hey, don't laugh. A lot of stuff that was sci-fi 50 years ago has come true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 25 May 01 - 01:37 PM

"Should a fossil fuels peddler be in charge of solving our energy problems?"

I don't see why not, seeing as how fossil fuel is all we have right now.

Guest UBDan, aren't you aware that most problems of the world are the result of right wing conspiracies? Why not gas prices?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Kim C
Date: 25 May 01 - 01:49 PM

And all this time I thought it was the alien Druids from outer space...


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 25 May 01 - 02:19 PM

DougR, actually Carol has offered some very interesting ideas on alternate energy. There is also nuclear power...fossil fuel is not all we have...
but the problem is a U.S. national problem and George W. Bush is president of the nation. The problem existed before he took office, and it needs to be solved. So yes, he needs to be involved in solving it. To say George W. Bush should not be involved is just silly...it would be like having me say that we should just move to an alternate reality where there is no energy problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 01 - 02:43 PM

There are alternative avenues to explore Doug. The Oil co.'s are too powerful for such alternatives to see the light of day. I wasn't saying the president shouldn't be invovled just that he is the wrong man for the job.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 25 May 01 - 03:18 PM

No, no no! You misunderstand me, or I just haven't made my position clear. I am not opposed to alternative power sources! Not at all! I think we should definitely increase the number of nuclear power plants in the country. From what I have read, nuclear power emits practically no pollution into the air and with new technologies available, the safety problems have been greatly lessened. The major problem with nuclear energy is safely disposing of the waste, at least that is my understanding.

All of these aternate sources should continue to be studied, and if any of them can replace the use of fossil fuels, right on! It seems to me, though, that these sources might not be readily available for many years. Therefore we are stuck with fossil fuels until they are fully developed, and made available to the public.

With the population continuing to increase which creats the need for more and more energy, I simply believe that we must continue to produce more fossil fuel, and we should produce it in our own country.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Blackcatter
Date: 25 May 01 - 07:07 PM

Hi all

To me, the issue with SUVs is this.

SUVs are classified as trucks along with vans and pick-ups. Minivans are classified as cars.

The classification is important in that there are a whole litanty of different secifications for trucks vs. cars. Emission standars are lower and even some safety specs are different. Theses classifications stem from the years prior to the late 1980s when trucks were considered "specialty" vehicles, were much less popular - especially for the average person, and because of the nature of them, for the most part, being work vehicles, they had lower levels of standards.

Since that time, it seems everyone wants a truck, yet few people use them for what they were designed for. I remember when I lived on the Western Slope of Colorado in the late 1970s - nearly everyone had a 4X4, but many people ALSO had a regular car. In the few months without snow, our family used the car almost exclusively and in the winter we used the 4X4 - much of the time it wasn't even in 4 wheel drive - even on snowy gravel roads, the big 6 in the International Scout was plenty of power to get us around.

The US has steadfastly refused to modify the specs for trucks - and a lot of people get a kick out if a high-powered and tall vehicle that can intimidate "lesser cars" on the road. (I'm not saying that anyone on this list enjoys this).

On the other hand - I pass the occasional wreck and many times I see that the SUV involved is upside down (and crushed to some extent because most no longer have roll-bars which used to be standard because the makers KNEW they were more likely to roll over).

The sooner we burn all the oil in the world, the sooner we will find out how to live with out - I'm looking forward to that day.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 26 May 01 - 01:29 AM

My remark about the oil companies killing the gas thread was strictly tongue in cheek. I'm not THAT paranoid...yet. As I understand it, oil and natural gas are found together, so, you cant drill just for gas.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 26 May 01 - 01:35 AM

I figured that, Kendall, but I couldn't let it pass (gas that is)

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Blackcatter
Date: 26 May 01 - 01:47 AM

Oil and gas are found together, but they are found in different quantities. Some fields have almost no gas and a lot of oil and vice versa.

The sad thing is that a lot of natural gas is burned off as a "Waste" product because the price is low and some oil fields are not set up to pipe the gas to the public.

Ever see those big oil rigs out in the Gulf or North Sea with the huge flame burning off the side? That's natural gas. Sheeeeeeeesh.

Here's a question - how many of us have flourescent lights throughout their house. Compared to incandescent: They last 7-10 times longer, use 10 to 20% of the energy, and generate only around 25% of the heat - which saves on cooling bills as well. My house is totally flourescent and my electric bill has dropped an average of $10 a month. I'll pay for them all within a year with those savings and I'll have to change them years from now (that's cool, because I'm lazy).

pax yall


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 May 01 - 04:32 AM

I just looked to see what the energy saving bulbs we use were - I hadn't realised that they were mini-florescents. We don't use them throughout the house but we do use them for the living room and hall.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 26 May 01 - 05:02 AM

UB Dan,

"My kneejerk reaction is that obtaining natural gas would affect the environment as much as obtaining oil...e.g. drilling and transport...although I gotta admit I've never heard of a natural gas spill. Is gas "harvesting" similar to oil "harvesting"?"

I think I would tend to agree with you about that, and the posts of others seem to support that view. Here's your original question...

"Generally, would you prefer fossil fuel energy plants or nuclear energy plants."

If the question is which sort of plants I would prefer, I think I would prefer natural gas to nuclear, coal or oil. As far as extracting the gas and transporting it is concerned, I still think it is probably preferable to the other resources mentioned, but not enough to justify its long term use.

Grab,

Generally, I agree with you about hydro. Although I think if I had to choose between hydro, coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear, I would probably choose hydro, unless the survival of a species or a people would be threatened by it.

I think you are also probably right about it not being easy to assess the total impact cost of the different technologies. Part of what I'm using to form my opinions is potential long-term impact. What I'm asking is, what are the total costs/envionmental impacts for each energy unit produced (i.e., units of heat, units of electricity, etc.). I don't have any data on that, and if I did, I probably wouldn't know how to interpret it. But this is what I think...

As far as solar is concerned, the chemicals used in production are a one time deal per each solar panel. After that, energy is produced (captured), with little or no further impact to the environment. You're right, there are some places where solar power is not practical. Frequently, those kinds of places have good conditions for producing power with wind.

As far as wind is concerned, again, whatever impact on the environment results from the production of the turbine unit is a one time deal for that unit. After that, there is little or no further impact to the environment. Except for the possibilities you've mentioned. However, even those possibilities are restricted to the area that is local to where the turbine is in use. Fossil fuels and nuclear power pollute over a much broader area. In fact it has been suggested that there is no part of the world that is free of the toxins produced by the use of these resources.

Fossil fuels put pollutants into the environment whenever they are used to produce energy. That's on top of whatever impact there has been to the environment while they were being extracted, and in the case of oil and coal, while they were being processed for use. With nuclear, we have the problem of disposal of the waste and by-products, and also problems to the environment from extracting and processing the fuel. With nuclear, these problems persist long after the spent fuel is no longer in use, so the potential for long term negative impact is much greater.

I've heard about the problems with wave power. The impression I have is that that particular technology is not as far along as the other new technologies. Maybe someone reading this thread can give us more information about it.

As far as solar being a net energy loss, again, I'm thinking in terms of long term impact. The cost to someone like me of adding pollutants to the environment is very high. It means the difference between being able to use my body, and having a severely limited use of my body. One can argue that since it's just my body, the rest of the world needn't be concerned. The problem with that perspective is that the numbers of people who are loosing the use of their bodies because of environmental toxins is increasing. You or someone you care about could be next. It's a bit like playing Russian roulette. Do you want to take that kind of chance with your health or the health of a loved one?

So I would add that factor into the equation when I try to figure out the total impact cost of any particular energy resource.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 26 May 01 - 11:18 AM

Old Maine proverb, IT'S A DIRTY BIRD THAT BESHITS ITS' OWN NEST.

We are dirty birds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 26 May 01 - 05:53 PM

I saw on CNN today that at least one service station in California is selling Soy Bean Oil at the pump to replace diesel fuel. The cost is $2.99 per gallon. Some trucking companies are evidently using a mixture of that with diesel oil to cut the cost. Still better for the environment though.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 26 May 01 - 05:56 PM

I also noted a story in the newspaper this morning that the U. S. Congress is considering legislation that would require the auto manufacturers to design SUV's so that they could attain 27 miles per gallon. The manufacturers say, however, that it would not be possible.

I mention this because on another thread many mudcatters stated that they didn't read daily papers, so they may have missed the report.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 30 May 01 - 11:50 PM

I just heard on BBC World News that the rolling blackouts in California are the result of a failed de-regulation.

Does anyone have any background information on that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 31 May 01 - 03:22 AM

CarolC: California's problems were created by California politicians. There is no one else that can be blamed, althogh the Governor is trying desperately to lay the blame at the feet of President Bush, who has been in office less than six months.

Deregulation certainly has had something to do with it, but I think that the major problem has to do with the moratorium on the construction of power plants. The population of California grew tremendously during the past ten years creating a demand for more power , but some folks over there didn't want to build more power plants becaue of environmental concerns, so now there is a problem. I don't think there are any short-term solutions.

Governor Davis is begging the Feds for price caps on the power suppliers, but price controls have never worked, and Bush isn't being sucked in.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 31 May 01 - 08:07 AM

Let me add on regarding California:

No new power plants in 10 plus years due to the most strict environmental regulations in the USA.

Significant drought in US Northwest where lower water supplies mean lower hydroelectric output.

"Political Deregulation" where incumbent utilities had to divest owned generation, buy energy from the spot market exclusively from a state run hourly exchange and charge consumers capped rates that ultimately were below the price to acquire the power. Additionally, consumers only got to glimpse the "real" cost of their energy and subsequently freaked.

Now, regarding SUV's, there was an article in the May 30 Wall Street Journal reporting that SUV sales were down due to market saturation (no longer unique like a PT Cruiser) and fuel prices.

Hmmmmm. The cost issue again?


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Grab
Date: 31 May 01 - 09:44 AM

Blackcatter, that's less the case these days, particularly in the UK. Since power plants have converted to natural gas, I believe most do capture the gas and only flare as a safety measure in case of overpressures. There'll still be a small flame as a "pilot light" though.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 31 May 01 - 09:55 AM

Grab, Blackcat was talking about the harvesting of natural gas, not the use of it in a power plant...


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Kim C
Date: 31 May 01 - 10:33 AM

Oh yes of course it very well would be possible for SUVs and trucks to get 27 mpg and I am all for them having the same standards as passenger cars. They just don't want to go to the trouble.

I used to have a pet bird. Dirtiest pet I ever had.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 31 May 01 - 12:39 PM

Dubbya keeps chirping about regulations on pollution, and, no oil refineries being built in 25 years, but, he doesn't mention that the existing ones are constantly expanding, and that output is up 13 percent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:14 PM

Earlier this week I heard on NPR that the President trotted out the old line about price caps being counter-productive - "they just make the problem worse". As far as I can see, a capped price makes a supply problem worse only if 1)people use more energy because the price is lower or 2)suppliers provide less because there is less profit in it.

If #1 is true, the Pres is making an argument for conservation (less use), which VP Cheney has dismissed. If #2 is true, the problem boils down to greed on the part of suppliers. In either case, I don't see where capping the price is the real issue. Unless I'm missing something here, capping profit margins combined with conservation and cutbacks by users would go a long way to easing California's crisis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:16 PM

Kendall, I'm trying to figure out if your assumption is that Dubbya is making it up...Are you saying that there is no power shortage in California? Is the 13% rise in output that you are talking about, a sufficient rise? Aside from the fact that you don't like Bush and dirty birds have dirty nests, I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

CarolC. Thank you for your responses to my earlier questions. I see the distinction now between type of plant and method of obtaining natural resourrce. I wasn't ignoring them, I just thought the thread might have died over Memorial weekend.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: mousethief
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:21 PM

Guest UB Dan, I don't think Kendall's comment was meant to apply to California, but to the nation as a whole. Oil refineries and electricity generating plants are two completely different animals.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:32 PM

ohhhhhhhhhh...thanks Alex. I was just confused because the posts just before his were discussing the power shortage and power plants in California. Sometimes it takes me a minute to realize that a completely new topic has been introduced. I guess I'm still just not to sure of what to make of a 13% rise in production over the past 25 years...I would have thought it to be a lot more. Have there really been no new oil refineries in the U.S. in the last 25 years? We gotta be using more...is it just being refined outside of the U.S.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:42 PM

Bart,

Capped prices are bad if the cost to supply is greater than the cap which is what was happening in California.

Capped prices are also "not optimal" in that the ultimate consumer never gets to see the "real" price (cost) of the product and subsequently receives no incentive to modify their behavior.

The CA incumbent utilities are currently making up the difference between supply costs and delivered revenues because of the caps. Remove the caps and consumers will modify their behavior.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 31 May 01 - 06:38 PM

My understanding of the problem in California is that state laws have both capped the prices to consumers while hampering the way in which the utilities, which distribute to the consumer, purchase power from the generators. The utilities are not allowed to enter into the type of long-term deals that would guarantee a stable source of power at set rates. Instead, they are forced to pay whatever the producer demands at the moment without being able to pass that cost along to the consumer.

It is the power producers that are gouging; in this "crisis" they have been charging way more than is called for by increased costs in production. Capping the cost from the producers to the distributors is what Gov. Davis is after. Although the producers have been crying that the increased rates are called for by their increased exploration costs, they have been posting record profits.

The deregulation of the energy producers has created this situation; the power producers are no longer compelled to supply power to the utilities in California - they can sell anywhere they want for any price they can get. This was done, supposedly, to create competition and to lower prices. The reality is quite different. The same thing is going on in the telephone industry. All hail the free market.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: CarolC
Date: 31 May 01 - 07:08 PM

Thanks, Bartholomew. I think you may have answered my question.

I find this part to be particularly interesting as well...

...the producers have been crying that the increased rates are called for by their increased exploration costs...

...interesting in light of the fact that we are being told by the Bush administration that increased exploration is supposed to bring the prices down.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: kendall
Date: 31 May 01 - 07:20 PM

I dont dislike Bush personally, it's his politics I cant swallow. Actually, I think he would make a good drinking buddy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: DougR
Date: 31 May 01 - 08:36 PM

But he don't drink, Kendall, only Jenna drinks!

It would be nice of someone who can do blue clicky things would direct me to information that would confirm Bart's claim that the producers are gouging the purchasers. Anyone?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: UB Ed
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 09:31 AM

Doug, I don't believe there are any web sites dedicated to energy producer conspiracy theories. I would recommend a search on North America Electric Reliability Council (NERC) and Utilities.

There is a great deal of Speculation that the producers were gouging; that will ultimately be played in a court room. As with any attempt to implement a theory in the real world, skillful speakers can elegantly support contrary positions.

Reality One: The entire US is not deregulated. This is a process that is being phased in to cushion the blow for the shareholders of previosuly regulated entities as their organization recreates itself as a competitive entity.

Reality Two: Competition is supposed to be......Competitive! Darwinistically, can we blame the producers for taking advantage of a situation if we insist they behave competitively?

Reality Three: Our regulators and legislators driving electric choice and establishing the rules for competition are not necessarily the "best and the brightest". The electric utility industry is a highly complex industry based on physics and engineering principles that may not be fully appreciated by a political science or undergraduate economics major.

Anyway, my point is, if you want choice and competition, take off the caps. It doesn't matter where you cap the price; it still masks reality (whatever reality happens to be). If the producers' prices had been more transparent, I believe the result would have self-regulated.

Here's more on the Conspiracy theory:
Thursday, May 31, 2001 (AP) Regulators say they're close to proving power manipulation MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer

(05-31) 14:49 PDT SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A year after California's electricity price shocks began, regulators say they are close to proving how power wholesalers aggravated a crisis that so far has raised customer rates by $5.7 billion, saddled two utilities with $8.2 billion in losses and dumped a $13 billion bailout bill on taxpayers.
California lawmakers and regulators are determined to recover some of that money from the power wholesalers who have cashed in on the crisis.
Toward that end, the California Public Utilities Commission, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the California Electricity Oversight Board are trying to prove out-of-state wholesalers illegally manipulated the market to create artificial supply shortages that have driven wholesale electricity prices as high as $1,900 per megawatt hour.
Before California's power woes began in June 2000, wholesale prices on the spot market rarely climbed above $150 per megawatt hour.
California's Legislature also has formed two special investigative committees to look into the allegations of market misconduct. And at least five suits, including one filed by San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne, are seeking damages from power wholesalers on behalf of all Californians.
At the very least, the investigators say they will show the wholesalers violated federal laws against "unjust and unreasonable" electricity prices.
"I don't think these are going to be very hard cases to make," said Owen Clements, chief special litigator for San Francisco. "Even if they didn't break the letter of the law, they clearly have violated the spirit of the law."
The investigators also suspect that the wholesalers have orchestrated a variety of more sinister abuses, possibly by colluding. Those allegations will be hard to prove, according to legal and energy experts.
The power wholesalers say they have done nothing wrong, arguing that they are being turned into scapegoats by a 1996 deregulation law sculpted by California lawmakers and the two utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison, that have reported a combined $8.2 billion in losses since June 2000.
Michael Aguirre, a San Diego attorney handling one of the private suits, fears California regulators and politicians are spending more time rattling cages than digging into the labyrinthine operations of the power wholesalers.
"Investigations like this require a lot of hard work, not a lot of rhetoric," Aguirre said. "So far, everyone seems to be talking loudly while carrying a small stick."
The PUC investigation appears to be the farthest along. With the help of former utility workers hired to assist in the investigation, the PUC has been poring through power plant documents in an effort to prove that some facilities shut down unnecessarily -- sometimes at the direction of Houston energy traders monitoring the market over the Internet -- to diminish supply and drive up prices. Once prices spiked, the plants ramped up production to reap big profits, under the theory being investigated by the PUC and Lockyer's office.
"I feel very confident that we are finding compelling evidence to prove our case," said Gary Cohen, the PUC's general counsel.
Cohen said the PUC could file a civil suit against the wholesalers by the end of June. Lockyer expects to wrap up his investigation in late July, at the earliest.
"The (wholesalers) say they are just playing the market the way that it was set up to operate, and to a certain degree, that's true," Cohen said. "We need to come up with a legal theory to show what they did was wrong."
Both the PUC and Lockyer also are investigating allegations that the power wholesalers used industry Web sites to accumulate sensitive supply and demand information in a possible violation of antitrust laws.
To gain insight into the behind-the-scenes decisions made by wholesalers during the past year, Lockyer is offering multimillion dollar rewards to power plant workers and energy traders who provide the state with inside information that helps prove the power companies manipulated the market.
Power wholesalers say regulators are way off base in their probes. Industry officials maintain that the plants, many of which are 30 to 40 years old, shut down for legitimate equipment repairs and maintenance.
"No one in our industry cuts back on production so a competitor can make more money. It just doesn't happen, at least not on planet Earth," said Gary Ackerman, executive director of the Western Power Trading Forum, a Menlo Park trade group.

On The Net: California Public Utilities Commission: www.cpuc.ca.gov California attorney general: www.caag.state.ca.us


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Subject: RE: BS: Gas Prices II
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 10:04 AM

Try here:

click here

If my clicky worked you should be viewing an article called "California's Deregulation Disaster" in the Nation online. My information came from a series on National Public Radio, but I believe this article has the gist.

My point about the pricing of energy is that we, as users, have had our choices limited by the large energy producers. Oil is where the big bucks have been, so those in the oil industry (providers, processors, refiners, et al) have spent a ton on lobbyists who help maintain their competitive advantage. They do this by passing part of the cost of production on to the public; the rights to take oil from public lands, purchased at a fraction of the value of the oil, is just one example of this. The ability to walk away from the clean-up when a field plays out (see the desolation at the sites of the original oil strikes in Texas for an example of this) is another.

Now the plan is to subsidize coal as an "alternative" to oil in energy plants. The public is, once again, being asked to prop up a dieing industry, built on a non-renewable source. It makes no sense.

Any claim that "the market" will solve the problem is the standard capitalist line of bullshit. As long as "it takes money to make money", market equity will not exist. All you have to do is read the history of Standard Oil and the Rockefellers to understand this. There is no free market for energy - there never was a free market for energy - there never will be a free market for energy. Until we develop an energy policy that isn't gauged to squeezing out the last dime of profit from non-renewable energy sources we are at the mercy of the guys who hold the mineral rights.


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