Upcoming Energy Bill

Thanatoast

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Dec 3, 2002
1,005
134
Denver
From the NYTimes:
WASHINGTON, Tuesday, July 26 - House and Senate negotiators came to agreement on broad energy legislation early today, hoping they have put together an overhaul of national energy policy that can clear Congress after years of stalemate.

"We hope to have the bill on the House floor on Wednesday and I think the Senate is going to put it up on Thursday,'' said Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, as he concluded negotiations shortly before 3 a.m. Eastern time.

The measure touches on virtually every aspect of American energy production and consumption, including the electrical grid, hybrid cars, traditional oil and gas drilling, and incentives to develop new energy sources. But it does little to immediately lower the price of gasoline at the pump.

As they wound up their talks, lawmakers agreed to a significant new requirement to add corn-based ethanol to the gasoline supply, which will build support for the measure from farm state lawmakers.

Working furiously to try to strike an energy deal, the negotiators killed two major provisions aimed at curbing consumption of traditional fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal. They also agreed to slow the potential takeover of Unocal by a Chinese oil company to allow for a study of the national security and economic implications of the acquisition.

In a decision that could cost support for the bill from some coastal state lawmakers, negotiators beat back efforts by Florida and California House members to strip from the measure a provision that would allow an inventory of offshore oil and gas resources. Some lawmakers view the inventory as a precursor to a push to allow drilling off states that have opposed it.

"I'm here to say that the people of North Carolina right now don't want drilling,'' said Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina. "We can force it on them or wait until they are ready.''

The House and Senate reached similar agreement on energy legislation in 2003, but the measure stalled in the Senate over objections to a plan to provide producers and distributors of the gasoline additive MTBE some legal immunity from lawsuits. In a decision that helped the bill's prospects this year, lawmakers on Sunday abandoned that plan. Hoping to dodge another obstacle, senators on Monday rejected a House proposal to relax some clean air standards.

Approval of the legislation would be a victory for President Bush, who has pressed for a new energy policy since taking office in 2001 and urged lawmakers to deliver a plan before leaving at the end of this week for a monthlong summer recess.

"Four years is long enough to wait for comprehensive energy legislation," the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said Monday.

The final version of the energy plan is certain to come under attack by some lawmakers and conservation groups who consider it too heavily skewed in favor of traditional oil and gas companies, which it showers with billions of dollars of aid and tax breaks at a time when high oil prices are producing huge profits.

As the nine-hour negotiating session was nearing an end, Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, failed in an effort to eliminate some of the relief from drilling royalties that the industry would receive through the bill, arguing that it was wrong to let oil companies escape fees for drilling on public land. "We might as well be giving tax breaks to Donald Trump and Warren Buffett here tonight,'' said Mr. Markey. The Republican-led House majority on the conference committee quickly rejected his proposal.

In a disappointment for environmental advocates, House members on Monday rejected an effort to incorporate a plan passed by the Senate to require utilities to use more renewable energy like wind and solar power to generate electricity. They also defeated a bid to direct the president to find ways to cut the nation's appetite for oil by one million barrels a day within 10 years.

Backers of the initiative to identify the oil savings said it was an alternative to the politically difficult approach of increasing automotive gas mileage standards and would demonstrate that Congress was serious about cutting the nation's dependence on oil imports.

"We are having an energy bill that is doing so much on the supply side that we need to address the demand side," said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, who said the goal was the "bare minimum of what we ought to be doing."

But Republican opponents of the plan said the fuel savings target could lead to unpopular restrictions like mandatory car pools and put too much responsibility for achieving the goal in the hands of the president.

"Just telling the president to wave a magic wand and tell each and every one of us that we need to conserve may sound good," said Mr. Barton, who was in charge of the House-Senate negotiations, "but those of us elected by the people every two years have a different view of that."

Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the senior Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said his plan to require power plant operators who now rely on coal, oil and natural gas to increase their use of renewable fuels was a low-cost, market-driven approach to cutting demand for fossil fuels and easing air pollution.

Under the proposal, which has repeatedly passed the Senate, utilities would have to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity through renewable fuels by 2020.

But opponents of the initiative, known as the renewable portfolio standard, said it would drive up the cost of electricity, conflict with similar state initiatives and put a burden on utilities in some regions where acceptable alternative fuels are in short supply.

While House and Senate negotiators on energy policy met into the night in an effort to agree on an energy measure that could clear the House and Senate this week, a separate group of lawmakers was trying to hash out the tax elements of an energy proposal.

Lawmakers and aides said they expected the tax breaks and incentives to cost in the neighborhood of $11.5 billion: more than sought by the House and White House but less than approved by the Senate. Should lawmakers agree on that figure, the tax package was expected to include a substantial emphasis on tax credits for energy efficiency.
link

And once again, conservation is given back seat to tax breaks for oil companies which incedentally posted record profits last year. McClellan says that four years is long enough to wait for an energy bill. I'd gladly wait four more years for a good one.

And then saying the President has little power over gas prices - um, how much has the price of a barrel of oil gone up since we invaded Iraq? 10, 15, 20 dollars? Also, if the President was pushing for stricter standards rather than bigger tax breaks, guess what? We'd probably have stricter standards and less tax breaks. The President cannot affect the specifics, but he can set the tone and the priorities. The WH is copping out. Surprise.

They took four years to even admit that the companies producing MTBE shouldn't be shielded from clean-up, and that the clean-up (from another source) will be mainly government funded. State and local, mind you, not federal.

What a bunch of corporate stooges.

I've written many a letter to my congressmen and senators, and almost always get a response - from a flunky, at least. But I have to wonder if the message is actually getting through. Congress always seems to do the opposite of what I think is the correct course. I mean, are there millions of Americans writing their representatives saying "please, we don't think oil companies are getting enough help from the government"? Or, "senator, could you please make sure that my next car won't have higher gas mileage?" Or "I would like the Senate to emphasize more pollution-generating energy sources instead of looking towards alternative/renewable energy." ???
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
Thanatoast said:
are there millions of Americans writing their representatives saying "please, we don't think oil companies are getting enough help from the government"? Or, "senator, could you please make sure that my next car won't have higher gas mileage?" Or "I would like the Senate to emphasize more pollution-generating energy sources instead of looking towards alternative/renewable energy." ???
seemingly, given this quote from the article, "but those of us elected by the people every two years have a different view of that."

i think that when people aren't voting from fear, they're voting from their wallets. high gas prices = bad, while low gas prices = good. the means to those ends are a little much for people to care about, apparently.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
There was a NYT article some days back talking about the record profits of oil companies. Finally, down near the end of the article, there was a comment that profits were running about eight percent. The long-term average for major corporations used to be in the four to six percent range; it's been below that in recent years. While it's a lot of dollars, it's not much of a big deal in terms of ROI.

As far as tax breaks and drilling, Big Oil generally doesn't do drilling in the US. The biggies get the offshore leases and do platform drilling, but on land the drilling is subbed out. On-land drilling is most commonly done by multitudes of independent operators. That's why in places like Odessa you'll see bumper stickers with, "Lord, just give me one more good well. I promise I won't piss it away this time." For that matter, many of the wells are owned by independents, who then sell the oil and gas to independent refiners as well as the Biggies.

I've read that the recent jumps in gasoline prices cut SUV sales by some 27%. Does anybody have any later info? Seems like the marketplace will be self-healing as to consumption, if more folks are buying high-milers instead of gas hogs.

'Rat
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
Desertrat said:
I've read that the recent jumps in gasoline prices cut SUV sales by some 27%.
great news, hopefully it's just a start.

now, how 'bout some congressional / WH leadership on increasing CAFE mileage standards?
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
I'm not sure increasing the CAFE is necessarily the best way to go. I've long favored a weight tax, with the monies to go into highway maintenance funds (not construction). Lighter vehicles just naturally get better mileage, particularly in town. One problem with the idea of pushing the CAFE is that it hits the sedan market the most: You wind up with flimsy, no-acceleration junk. Too many people who don't need full-size pickups buy the damned things (4,500 pounds and more), and you flat-out aren't gonna get a full-size pickup to get better than around 20 mpg.

I'd like to see a change in the tax laws about company vehicles. Now, if the GVW is at or above 6,500 pounds, it's a 100% writeoff regardless of cost. That leads to giantism is "company vehicles" such as one-ton 4WD Suburbans and suchlike. Quit being mad at Corporate America and let them write off 100% of anything, with maybe an upper $$$ limit of $40,000 or $50,000 instead of the $13,000 limit on cars with a GVW under 6,500 pounds. That would get rid of a lot of Cowboy Cadillacs...

'Rat
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
Come on 'Rat... I wouldn't call an Accord flimsy or say it lacks acceleration capability. If they can do it, why can't others?
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
Desertrat said:
I'm not sure increasing the CAFE is necessarily the best way to go.
i'm not talking about upping it, say, 10 mpg in a year. what about .5/mpg per year for 20 years? give the reluctant US automakers some time to plan ahead.

and i'm open to all sorts of ideas, including weight taxes. if we're all this clever part-time, why can't our full-time reps be even more so?
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
Hey, mac, Hondas are among the best there are. Those engines are built like watches. I did a rebuild on a Civic, and some buyers' checks on several Accords for a buddy of mine.

There's always gonna be price competition within a given model class, which means that if you want to sell a given car for a given price, if it costs more to provide the more economical mpg package, something has to give. Either a smaller motor (less acceleration on a freeway ramp) or thinner sheet metal and bumpers--or thinner metal in suspensions and axle housings. TANSTAAFL.

zim, the incremental bit would drive all manufacturers nuts. They work on multi-year cycles. Better to go for, say, a 10% improvement as a goal for, say 2008 or 2009. Let it be known that that would be The Deal for some ten years. That gives the engineers and sheet-metal folks time to get packages put together that would have reasonable reliability.

A ten-percent increase in fuel mileage would mean a serious drop in demand for gasoline; coupled with the marketplace impact of higher prices and (maybe) a weight tax, the bottom line could be maybe a 20% reduction within a few years. That's noticeable. It also gives time--as important to our nation as it was to Napoleon--to bring more alternatives on line. It seems to me that right now our whole energy deal is a transition period, and it's not an overnight thing.

One thing in the article about the energy bill that's as serious as a heart attack was the comment about re-election. The public at large won't tolerate serious disruptions in a lifestyle without its being gradual. Draconic changes would bring about promises of free Bubble Up and you'd see all manner of advancing to the past.

Separately, given that none of the non-transportation-fuel portion of a barrel of oil is wasted, if we use less gasoline--and thus less crude oil, what happens in the prices of products derived from petro-chemicals?

'Rat
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
Desertrat said:
A ten-percent increase in fuel mileage would mean a serious drop in demand for gasoline; coupled with the marketplace impact of higher prices and (maybe) a weight tax, the bottom line could be maybe a 20% reduction within a few years.
sounds good to me. now let's add tax incentives to buy vehicles that meet certain high mileage and low emission criteria, coupled w/ tax disincentives on vehicles w/ the opposite characteristics, and more carpool lanes where traffic offense payments go towards public transportation, and i think we've got a good start.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
"...low emissions criteria..."

What do you mean when you say that? I recall from some EPA commentary back in the last century ( :D ) that some 93% of the removable toxic stuff had been removed from auto exhausts. The mix of chemistry in the fuel, the higher combustion temperatures and the catalytic reactors have done about all that can be done.

It's historical fact that as the mpg goes up, people drive more and the total demand for gasoline has increased right along with this. Factor in the distances people now commute--which I think is one of the contributions to both total use and smog. I don't know about Old Farts and RVs, as to a percentage of total use. CAFE doesn't affect them.

I haven't googled around for it lately: Anybody know the present auto population of the US? And, what's the present sales rate of new cars, per year? Anyhow, you divide the former by the latter and that will give you some feel for how long it would take for any sort of new measures to show effectiveness...

'Rat
 
Spend 4 years on an energy bill that manages little more than a promise to "look into" alternative energy sources and conservation. Oh, and throw in a few million in tax breaks for Big Oil why we are talking about it. That is just asstastic. At some point in time, we have to sit down and talk about reducing the need for oil because no matter how much you think is out there, oil is not infinite and it is not renewable. There isn't an alternate source that can provide as much specific energy, that is a known fact, but surely subsidizing our current oil use with alternatives can help. I have a few ideas, most of which aren't new, so feel free to poke holes. Remember, most of these are just small things that could help when combined.

CAFE standards need to be increased and the concept of "light truck" needs to be redefined. Right now anything with a flat load floor constitutes a truck, which includes mini vans, wagons, and car based SUVs. This is stupid.
A tax should be added to any vehicle that is not within 20% of the recommended MPG for its class.
A tax reduction on any vehilce that has 20% better MPG than its class.

As Rat said, as MPG goes up so does distance driven. Let's mandate fuel tank size based on the concept of total range. And instead of almost 400 miles, lets reduce that to 300 miles. So, if a car like my Civic averages 30 mpg urban, it should have a 10 gallon (approx) tank. Then, no matter how efficient a car is or isn't, a driver is filling up every 300 miles like everyone else. I think needing to fill up more often could convince people to drive less.

Reduce tax on diesel and biodiesel. Expand tax incentives on biodiesel and bioethanol based vehicles.

Instead of depreciating based on GVW, allow businesses to depreciate vehicles that meet fuel economy standards, with seperate standards for trucks and cars.

Tax on gasoline powered reacreational equipment like boats, ATVs, etc. Extra tax on 2 stroke powered equipment.

Tax on reacreational fuel for boats, jet skis, snowmobiles, ATVs and lawn equipment. Basically, anything you put into one of those red fuel containers should be taxed. Tax on 2 stroke oils as well.

Tax break to single vehicle households

Tax break/bond incentive for buying a primary residence in an "urban zone" My state offered a bond for first time home buyers that paid the down payment on my house. This was based on total income, house price, and relative urbanization. I then had more money to make improvements to the property. If a program like this could be combined with a annual tax break, I think that suburban flight could be slowed somewhat, which would definitely aid in fuel consumption.

Additional "energy guzzler" taxes on homes over a certain square footage.
Tax incentives on the most efficient insulation and home building materials.

A higher overall gasoline tax is probably needed as well, unfortunately. Unless you pushed a windfall tax on Big Oil.

None of these ideas are that great, but even a few not-so-great ideas could offer a better future than no ideas at all.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
"Tax policy is public policy." For instance, the deduction of interest for home loans is an expression of public policy favoring ownership of one's home.

Similarly, use of taxation can be a public policy expression concerning conservation of energy. The big problem is that all the ideas that have been expressed about taxation and vehicles insofar as usage are brand new to Joe Sixpack. If Joe gets the perception that he's being treated unfairly, he'll happily leap into bed with whatever lobbyists seem to be helping him.

Right now, "Five acres, five miles from town" is a powerful, emotional "thing" that's going on. Some of this is enabled by the Internet, insofar as working at home. Some of it is us retired Old Farts.

And some of us have lived for years where a Honda Civic just won't do very well. (Today's picture.)

'Rat
 

Attachments


diamond geezer

macrumors regular
Jan 26, 2004
156
0
Check out this letter:

link

$1.5 Billion Giveaway Secretly Slipped into Energy Bill, Waxman Says
By Rep. Henry Waxman
YubaNet.com

Wednesday 27 July 2005

In a letter to Speaker Hastert, Rep. Waxman writes that after the energy legislation was closed to further amendment in the recently concluded conference, a $1.5 billion provision benefiting oil and gas companies, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas, was mysteriously inserted in the text.

The text of the letter is below:

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Speaker
US House of Representatives
H232 Capitol
Washington, DC 20515-6501

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am writing to draw to your attention a provision in the Energy Conference Report that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure. Before the final energy legislation is brought to the House floor, this provision should be deleted.

The provision at issue is a 30-page subtitle called "Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources." This subtitle, which was taken from the House-passed energy bill, was mysteriously inserted in the final energy legislation after the legislation was closed to further amendment. The conferees were told that they would have the opportunity to consider and vote on the provisions in the conference report. But the subtitle was not included in the base text circulated to conferees, and it was never offered as an amendment.

Instead, the new subtitle first appeared in the text of the energy legislation only after Chairman Barton had gaveled the conference over. Obviously, it would be a serious abuse to secretly slip such a costly and controversial provision into the energy legislation.

On the merits, the subtitle is an indefensible giveaway to one of the most profitable industries in America. The provision establishes a $1.5 billion fund, up to $550 million of which would be dedicated direct spending, which is not subject to the normal congressional appropriations process. Although the name of the subtitle refers to "ultra-deepwater and unconventional natural gas," it appears that the $1.5 billion fund created by the subtitle can in fact be used for many oil and gas projects. According to the language of the subtitle, oil and gas companies can apply for funds for a wide variety of activities, including activities involving "innovative exploration and production techniques" or "enhanced recovery techniques." While oil and gas companies could be required to contribute to the costs of their projects, the subtitle expressly provides that the Department has discretion to reduce or eliminate any such contribution.

The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Ordinarily, a large fund like this would be administered directly by the government. The subtitle, however, directs the Department to "contract with a corporation that is constructed as a consortium." The leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas. Halliburton is a member of RPSEA and sits on the board, as does Marathon Oil Company. The subtitle provides that the consortium can keep up to 10% of the funds - in this case, over $100 million - in administrative expenses.

The subtitle further provides that members of the consortium, such as Halliburton and Marathon Oil, can receive awards from the over $1 billion fund administered by the consortium.

In short, the subtitle provides that taxpayers will hire a private consortium controlled by the oil and gas industry to hand out over $1 billion to oil and gas companies. There is no conceivable rationale for this extraordinary largess. The oil and gas industry is reporting record income and profits. According to one analyst, the net income of the top oil companies will total $230 billion in 2005. If Congress has an extra $1.5 billion to give away, the money should be used to help families struggling to pay for soaring gasoline prices - not to further enrich oil and gas companies that are rolling in profits.

In recent years, Congress has been repeatedly embarrassed by the mysterious insertion of provisions in omnibus legislation. Last year, for example, we learned only after House action that the 3,000 page, $388 billion omnibus spending bill allowed members and staff of the Appropriations Committee to examine the tax returns of ordinary Americans. We should not allow this to happen again. The Energy Conference Report should not be brought to the House floor until this objectionable provision is deleted and there is ample opportunity for members to read the legislation and delete any other problematic provisions.

Thank you for your attention to this problem.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member

cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Just amazing.
 
Desertrat said:
"Tax policy is public policy." For instance, the deduction of interest for home loans is an expression of public policy favoring ownership of one's home.

Similarly, use of taxation can be a public policy expression concerning conservation of energy. The big problem is that all the ideas that have been expressed about taxation and vehicles insofar as usage are brand new to Joe Sixpack. If Joe gets the perception that he's being treated unfairly, he'll happily leap into bed with whatever lobbyists seem to be helping him.

Right now, "Five acres, five miles from town" is a powerful, emotional "thing" that's going on. Some of this is enabled by the Internet, insofar as working at home. Some of it is us retired Old Farts.

And some of us have lived for years where a Honda Civic just won't do very well. (Today's picture.)

'Rat
I agree. But (there is always a but) the two energy conservation proposals that will have the smallest impact on Joe Sixpack's daily life (increasing CAFE standards across fleets and requiring energy companies to power 10% of their grids with alternative sources) keep getting booted by short-sighted lawmakers who seem to feel that as long as we ignore the problem there will be plenty of "texas tea" in the ground.

I guess I could start a letter writing campaign to Detroit: "Pretty please Mr. GM, could you increase the fuel economy in your V8 Silverado, I have been a real good boy this year."

Or even better: "Dear American Electric Power, I am writing to inform you that if you do not convert 10% of your power generation to wind farming or some other alternative energy source within the next 5 years I am going to stop paying my bill."
Goodbye MacRumors, hello candles and a flashlight.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
The energy industry spent over $300 million lobbying congress during the last 2 1/2 years. Now, that might seem like a lot of money to you and me, but it was a great investment, which paid off with a handsome $11 billion transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the industry -- just like the rigged slot machine it is. And for all that, the "energy bill" isn't going to result in the production of a significant amount of new energy. It won't have any impact on the cost of your next fill-up, or the one after that or the one after that... or any fill-up, ever!

Just keep voting for those Republicans, boys and girls. They're certainly looking after your interests.

If you're an oil company.
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
IJ Reilly said:
The energy industry spent over $300 million lobbying congress during the last 2 1/2 years. Now, that might seem like a lot of money to you and me, but it was a great investment, which paid off with a handsome $11 billion transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the industry -- just like the rigged slot machine it is. And for all that, the "energy bill" isn't going to result in the production of a significant amount of new energy. It won't have any impact on the cost of your next fill-up, or the one after that or the one after that... or any fill-up, ever!

Just keep voting for those Republicans, boys and girls. They're certainly looking after your interests.

If you're an oil company.
This is whats going on, Congress is for sale to most these corporations. Also dont forget the Automakers who give big time which has given us MPG standards that come from the 80s. We can do better but until the american people cut off corporation purse strings, congress will allways be doing business for special interest at the cost of every American. Congress has made Bribes a way of doing its business.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
Back in the 1970s when I worked on the Coastal Zone management Program, a joint NOAA/state deal, I met a lot of movers and shakers in Big Industry. A large number of them are truly puzzled as to why they're picked on, when their jobs--as they see it--are to give the public what it wants in the way of products.

If, somehow, people in general didn't have the "keep up with the Joneses" attitude, would they buy the luxury gas hogs? Would small families buy/build five-bedroom houses?

How do you persuade people to act in both their own interest and that of the country as a whole? I don't have any sort of free-society answer. Without forcing, how do you persuade or educate folks into the idea that big, heavy vehicles are poor investment decisions for transport of only one or two people and a few groceries? How do you persuade folks that incredible quantities of material "stuff" aren't necessary to achieve True Happiness?

Or, maybe, how is it that so many people equate tons of material possessions with True Happiness?

'Rat
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
Desertrat said:
How do you persuade people to act in both their own interest and that of the country as a whole? I don't have any sort of free-society answer.
Desertrat said:
"Tax policy is public policy." For instance, the deduction of interest for home loans is an expression of public policy favoring ownership of one's home.

Similarly, use of taxation can be a public policy expression concerning conservation of energy.
I think you do have an answer.

You don't force. You suggest. You incentivize the interests of the country so people have a reason to put the country's interests higher up on the priority list.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
I wandered over to http://www.whiskeyandgunpowder.com and found this guy's views:

http://www.whiskeyandgunpowder.com/Archives/20050726.html

Oil folks can lobby and Congress can dither, but sooner or later the icy teeth of reality will bite folks on the butt.

I've been watching the various bits and pieces about the economies and demands for oil and other commodities of China and India. It's hard for me to argue with some of the author's conclusions.

Developed nations depend on energy and transportation. Economies, standards of living, etc. People go to war over that stuff...

'Rat
 

mpw

Guest
Jun 18, 2004
6,364
1
Desertrat said:
...It's historical fact that as the mpg goes up, people drive more and the total demand for gasoline has increased right along with this.....
Not sure I buy that.

True over time the demand for gasoline has increased becuase people more poeple drive and more people drive more. The mpg of the average vehicle has also improved with time.

Your quote seems to imply that it's the better fuel economy that has caused the explosion in car use but I think it's just a fact that car use would have grown as it has even with poor gas mileage. America, I think it's fair to say, has about the highest car use but the average American car has a low gas mileage.

Average gas mileage could be massively improved if:-
We didn't add 100kg of sound insulation etc. to a new car just as we improve its gas milage by a couple of mpg.
There was a move to manual transmission from autos.
Fashion didn't dictate that everyone drive SUV's
We accepted that the speed limit, whether legal or practical, means there's no point in having a car that can reach 208mph with four passengers.

Elsewhere in the world of energy saving.
I read an article recently, from a UK paper, about the amount of electrical energy that is used by household appliances on stand-by. I was shocked to find out that for example a dishwasher uses around 50% of the power it uses while working when it's sat on stand-by at the end of a cycle! The list was extensive and shocking in that if people, in the UK, put their water heaters on a timer so water wasn't constantly being heater overnight etc. the power saved could power the lighting requirements in a major city.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
More and more, we're actually moving to on-demand water heaters. They cost more up front but are highly desired by homeowners because they consume just about zero energy when hot water isn't being used. They also install in the wall rather than taking up space on the floor. The technology has improved quite a bit in recent years too.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
I'm trying to think of an important energy saving technology that was invented in the US or wasn't adopted here last if at all. On-demand water heating just one technology in use just about everywhere -- but not in the US. Why isn't making them more popular part of the energy bill? Could it be because this administration and this congress really don't believe in energy conservation? Could it be that they're completely in the thrall the energy producers, who haven't got any financial interest in seeing the US consume less energy per capita -- and who richly reward members of congress for not caring?

Yeah, those poor guys in the oil and gas industry -- they are so unfairly picked on. They scarf up $11 billion of our tax dollars for essentially nothing and some of us have the actual temerity to notice the fleecing. Tell me another bedtime story...
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
"Yeah, those poor guys in the oil and gas industry -- they are so unfairly picked on. They scarf up $11 billion of our tax dollars for essentially nothing..."

IJ, that's not at all the point. Whether car makers or big ranchers or oilmen, they see themselves as supplying a demand. They meet the demand. They don't understand why that's seen as bad.

Further, they don't see themselves as screwing the public, whether they are or not. They don't think that way. They love to "get over" on other oil companies, but insofar as their lobbying efforts, it's purely and simply to protect the bottom line.

What you're talking about is the effort to direct governmental interactions within a business sector. Big Oil is in business to make money; government actions affect the money, so Big Oil tries to affect government. This process is the same for any special interest group.

Your gripe oughta be with those in Congress who let themselves be persuaded to our detriment.

'Rat
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
IJ Reilly said:
I'm trying to think of an important energy saving technology that was invented in the US or wasn't adopted here last if at all. On-demand water heating just one technology in use just about everywhere -- but not in the US. Why isn't making them more popular part of the energy bill? Could it be because this administration and this congress really don't believe in energy conservation? Could it be that they're completely in the thrall the energy producers, who haven't got any financial interest in seeing the US consume less energy per capita -- and who richly reward members of congress for not caring?

Yeah, those poor guys in the oil and gas industry -- they are so unfairly picked on. They scarf up $11 billion of our tax dollars for essentially nothing and some of us have the actual temerity to notice the fleecing. Tell me another bedtime story...
Nice post and i so agree, democrats and republicans both are fighting over who can screw us harder.