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White House Explains Transport-Energy Future 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-a-bike dept.
blair1q writes "Today on the White House Blog, the President (ok, his staff) released an infographic showing various facts about transportation energy, and how current gas prices need not be so worrisome. Highlights include rapidly increasing domestic production and rapidly decreasing prices for electric-car batteries, requesting Congress to shift tax breaks from oil producers to wind/solar/geothermal energy producers, and increasing domestic oil production (yes, there's a conflict there)."
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White House Explains Transport-Energy Future

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you magically shifted to 100% domestic production overnight, at the current burn rate of 20 million barrels a day, the known reserves of 20 billion barrels would be all gone in 1000 days. Also known as "about 3 years". All gone forever. So be careful what you wish for.

    • by Surt (22457) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:02PM (#36051794) Homepage Journal

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

      134 billion barrels known, just requires more work/legislation to get at some of it. So 18 years. Still, your children would get to experience a Mad-Max style collapse of civilization.

      • by lgw (121541)

        And that's not including oil shale and oil sands (which we'd need to annex Canada to get most of, but that's just a minor technicality).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Oil shale is the Thunderdome of oil production: two barrels of oil go into making one come out.
          -Masterblaster!

        • by Rei (128717) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:05PM (#36052362) Homepage

          It's also not including the fact that the known global reserves keeps growing, not declining, despite our huge rate of consumption. In 1920, the world estimate was 60 billion barrels of reserves. In 1950, 600 billion barrels. From 1970 to 1990, estimates increased from 1,500 to 2,000 billion barrels. In 1994, the USGS estimated world reserves at 2,400 billion barrels. In 2000, the same estimate was raised to 3,000 barrels. Note that these estimates are not limited to "proved reserves" and only cover conventional crude. In short, we've been finding conventional crude faster than we've been taking it out of the ground, and faster than we've been expecting to find it -- at least in the long term.

          There's a lot of distortion about oil reserves from the doomer crowd. For example, doomers love to point to graphs like this:

          Link [rowetel.com]

          Dear god! Run out and panic, right? Well, no. This graph is about as distorting as a graph can get. It's all based on backloading data. For each field, its current proven size is marked at the point in time when the field was discovered. What that should tell you is that regardless of however the actual rate of oil discoveries, you'd expect that shape on the graph! Oil fields aren't suddenly proven at their maximum capacity they're discovered. An oil field isn't proven until you start to produce from it, and there are even supergiants out there that we haven't started producing from yet. And the proven size continues to grow as you expand and explore the field. So for example, Ghawar, when it was first discovered in 1948, it was estimated to have "billions" of barrels. This grew to "60 billion barrels" in the 1970s. It's now produced 65 billion, and is estimated at 100 billion. Graphs like this backload that whole 100 billion to the 1940s.

          It's trivially easy to disprove graphs like this. Let's just list some of the more noteworthy discoveries of the past decade or so. Jack 2 (3-15B), Noxal (~10B), Azadegan (~42B), Ferdows/Mound/Zagheh (~38B), Sugar Loaf (~25-40B), Tupi(5-8B), Jupiter(5-8B), West Kamchatka (10.3B), Tahe (29B), Jidong Nanpu (7.5B; potentially 146 in all of Bohai Bay), Kashagan (9-13B), and on and on. See those on the graph? But I guarantee you that a graph like that made a few decades from now will have them all conveniently showing up for this point in time.

          There's this notion that "the biggest fields are found first, then everything else goes on the decline". Really? The US drilled its first well in 1859. It took us another 109 years to find Prudhoe Bay. And today we've got the absurdly massive Bakken field looming which back in the 1970s was assumed to be small and impossible to extract (Elm Coulee has proven otherwise). The same can be pointed to all over the world. Just simply pointing to Ghawar is not a counterexample. Look at coal; a single subsea coal deposit found off Norway in 2005 more than triples the world's known coal reserves [energybulletin.net]. Or natural gas -- Israel has spent pretty much its whole existence in a vain search for sizeable deposits of oil or natural gas, only to hit the motherlode last year. How is this sort of thing possible? Simple. New exploration tech beats the pants off old exploration tech; new production tech makes far more things that used to be unviable, viable; there's always more "down" (especially with advancing technology); and most of the world haven't even been surveyed at all or has been only poorly surveyed -- sometimes even in known oil-rich areas (a good example of this is Iraq, which due to decades of war and sanctions is poorly explored and has just been living off its earlier finds).

          Hubbert Peaks are the epitamy of fitting a particular curve to whatever arbitrary dataset you want (sometimes by hand) and the insisting that it matches. The US is a popular one, but the best-fit curve for the US is closer to a poisson than a normal (the US oil production

          • There's a lot of distortion about oil reserves from the doomer crowd.

            Of course there's no distortion from oil companies who's stock price is partially based on the size of the reserves they control. Nor is there any distortion from the Saudi's and other oil producing hell-holes, who's only leverage in international politics is the size of their reserves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ArcherB (796902)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

        134 billion barrels known, just requires more work/legislation to get at some of it. So 18 years. Still, your children would get to experience a Mad-Max style collapse of civilization.

        Well, with the increase of production, oil prices would drop substantially. With lower oil prices, we could tax imported oil by the barrel and still have us paying less at the pump. Take the money you make from taxing imported oil by the barrel and invest that money into "green energy" research. With that much money invested, we will either find a cheap, sustainable energy source or it there's not one to be found and we're all screwed anyway.

        *Note: The reason you tax imported oil only is to spur domesti

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Americium (1343605)
          It's impossible to get cheaper prices by increasing prices (taxing imports). With the current rate of monetary expansion it's impossible for oil prices to go down. Unless the dollar stops falling in value we won't be getting cheap oil anytime soon.
        • by cdrguru (88047)

          Sorry, can't tax imports. That would be against WTO rules.

          Some idiot thought it would be a good idea to put our collective futures into the hands of the WTO in the name of open and free trade. We have seen now how free trade works - it is neither open nor free when your trading partners simply have a complete block on importing most anything for various cultural and quality reasons. So we have this huge trade imbalance that can't ever be resolved.

          And for some reason, we are still in the WTO. Until we ge

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Mad-Max style collapse

        Disagree.

        That sort of future didn't seem to have any alternatives. Just an ever-dwindling supply of go-juice.

        We, both deliberately and through natural economic forces, are moving towards energy systems that can give us mobility without raising the cost of a gallon of gas to a literal arm and a leg.

        The most important stat on that graphic is the learning curve of pricing for the car batteries. It's got a half-life of about 2 years. About 3-5X as fast as I thought it might be. That's an implosion of the co

      • Saw this recently:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/02/environmental-fixes-all-greens-lost [guardian.co.uk]

        Last week something astonishing happened: Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, revealed that peak oil has already happened. "We think that the crude oil production has already peaked, in 2006." If this is true, we should be extremely angry with the IEA. In 2005 its executive director mocked those who predicted peak oil as "doomsayers". Until 2008 (two years after the IEA

        • by bunratty (545641)
          I don't think anyone expected an immediate horrible crisis upon hitting peak oil. When we hit peak oil, we would see prices rise dramatically as supply cannot keep up with demand. Isn't that what we're seeing?
      • by couchslug (175151) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:24PM (#36053054)

        "Still, your children would get to experience a Mad-Max style collapse of civilization."

        Just move to Detroit and beat the crowd!

    • by biek (1946790)
      Also running with the 20mil/day consumption figure, having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 will save us less than two days' worth of consumption per year
      • by blair1q (305137)

        Replace 2/3 % of the gas guzzlers with non-gas guzzlers and you end up saving 2/3 % of the gas.

        Is that not supposed to work out that way? You're expecting some amplification?

        • What cars use is a drop in the bucket compared to ocean going vessels, powerplants, plastic production and everything else Oil is used for.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            1. Ocean going vessels burn bunker oil
            2. powerplants don't burn oil normally, that is the most expensive thing you could use coal and gas are far cheaper
            3. plastic can be made from other sources, or more likely glass will make a comeback

  • by operagost (62405)
    How do we expect to continue increasing oil production when he's not approving permits? The fact is, people are not going to be able to afford heating oil and gas for their home this winter.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How do we expect to continue increasing oil production when he's not approving permits? The fact is, people are not going to be able to afford heating oil and gas for their home this winter.

      the good news is, if all the poor people freeze to death next winter we can finally hear about something else whenever domestic policy is discussed.

      much as you "progressives" like to talk about your love and compassion for the poor fact is, if there were no poor you wouldn't have a political platform. something that would actually help the poor stop being poor would mean no more winning elections for you. do the math. who benefits from poverty more than politicians who use it as their core campaign issue

      • by causality (777677) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:57PM (#36052292)

        so right now the top 10% income earners pay 73% of federal income taxes. the bottom 40% not only pay no taxes but actually get credits, so they pay negative taxes. you progressives, just answer me this one simple question. what is your goal? at what point will you say "ok, the rich paying their fair share is now a solved problem, time to stop talking about this and move on to other issues"? do you even have a goal that you'd like to achieve?

        Someone modded this down to -1 but honestly, I'd like an answer to this question myself. It really is a simple question. It's also a legitimate question. Answering a legitimate question would be much more respectable than modding it down and hoping it goes away like an insecure person. So, is anyone of the Progressive persuasion willing to put numbers to this?

        Of course, I say that knowing that in politics you don't advance your career by actually solving problems so that they aren't problems anymore. There's not much "political capital" to be gained in coming up with solutions, particularly not practical and relatively simple solutions that don't require the creation of new bureaus to perpetually administer. But I'm not a politician and neither is anyone who is likely to respond, so I am hoping to receive a real answer here that I won't see in the media anytime soon.

        What I want is for someone who truly believes in Progressivism to attempt a real answer at this question, even if you sincerely feel that no politician is adequately representing your position: at what point would you be satisfied and feel that you have gotten everything you wanted with regard to the tax code?

        I usually try not to be this blunt but it's appropriate this time: anyone who knee-jerks and feels an overwhelming temptation to respond with something like "but the other party did so and so" should frankly shut up because the adults are talking. Tired of wading through the "us against them" noise whenever a serious question is asked.

        • by gtbritishskull (1435843) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:16PM (#36052992)

          Someone modded this down to -1 but honestly, I'd like an answer to this question myself. It really is a simple question. It's also a legitimate question. Answering a legitimate question would be much more respectable than modding it down and hoping it goes away like an insecure person. So, is anyone of the Progressive persuasion willing to put numbers to this?

          It was posted AC. They are guilty until proven innocent as far as trolling is concerned.

          What I want is for someone who truly believes in Progressivism to attempt a real answer at this question, even if you sincerely feel that no politician is adequately representing your position: at what point would you be satisfied and feel that you have gotten everything you wanted with regard to the tax code?

          I believe in income redistribution when it comes to the tax code. Let me get that out right up front. Globalization has been very good to the United States. I have not seen any economists argue that we should have or should now economically isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. But, the middle class and lower class has not benefited from Globalization. All the money and power has gone to the Upper-Middle and Upper classes. That is why income inequality is so high in this country. In the 60s and 70s, the difference between a CEO salary and the average worker salary was something like 20:1 or 30:1. Now it is somewhere around 300:1. They are getting most of the benefits from our system of government. Why should they not shoulder the higher tax burden?

          My view of the "American Dream" is that it should not matter where you start in life. If you are the best, smartest, and hardest working then you should be able to become one of the richest. And you can measure this by measuring Intergenerational Mobility [wikipedia.org]. And you find that the US ranks pretty low on the list. If you are rich in the US, then your descendants probably will be as well, no matter how stupid or lazy they are.

          The tax system that I would theoretically like to have (though would have no idea the best way to actually implement it) would be one that aims to have a income distribution in the population (most likely would be a poisson distribution). If the rich are getting richer, and the middle class is getting left behind, then the rich should be taxed more (relatively). If there are not enough poor people, then the middle class should be taxed more (relatively). I am leaving out of the discussion how much taxes we should aim to collect. I am positing a system that stays revenue neutral. Now, I still want poor people. I think that we should build in opportunities for them to make something of themselves, but I still want people to be motivated to work knowing that if they don't their life will be uncomfortable. But, I also want the working man to have the incentive to work real hard, knowing that a few rich families at the top do not have a monopoly on real wealth. I do not want to assign an arbitrary tax percentage that is "enough". It is enough when it makes this a better country.

          Also, I want to correct the previous post. The 40% do not "not only pay no taxes but actually get credits". They get a credit on their federal income taxes. They still pay FICA taxes (medicare and social security) which account for 15% if you count what the employer has to "match". They also pay sales taxes, possible state income taxes, gas taxes, property taxes, and whatever other taxes there are. I would also like to point out that those taxes tend to be regressive taxes. So, as a percentage of income, the middle class and below pays a much higher amount of tax than the upper class does.

          I hope that was the kind of response you were asking for.

        • by urbanRealist (669888) on Friday May 06, 2011 @09:05PM (#36053684)
          At he height of of our prosperity, the top marginal tax rate varied from about 70% to about 90%. I feel about 50% is fair, and I also support a new bracket beginning at somewhere between $500,000 to $1 million annually to which the 50% marginal rate would apply. Moreover, Social Security contributions should not be capped. Spending should then be reduced below revenues until the debt is paid off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei (128717)

        so right now the top 10% income earners pay 73% of federal income taxes.

        1) They have approximately 80% of the wealth.
        2) Income tax is a giant red herring. Income tax its those who are well-off hard, but not the super-wealthy. It's capital gains that hit the super-wealthy, and only at a measly 15 for long-term capital gains. Anyone here remember the challenge to Fortune 500 CEOs to demonstrate that their secretary pays a lower percent of their net income in taxes than they do?

        the bottom 40% not only pay n

        • by causality (777677) on Friday May 06, 2011 @07:04PM (#36052876)

          1) Have you ever even filed your own taxes? Do you not know how tax credits work? You make it sound like you think that the government cuts you a check if you come up negative.

          They do, actually. If you come up negative, the tax return you receive after filing is greater than the sum total of income taxes you paid that year. Though technically they probably won't cut you a check. In most cases they will deposit the money electronically into your account. So maybe that was your point?

          Jests aside, it's a form of welfare though we strongly prefer not to call it that. It'd be easier for us all to admit that there's something seriously wrong with our economic system if mass media openly acknowledged that some 40% or more of all adults are receiving a type of federal welfare. Most people who work for a living, pay their bills, etc. would like to feel independent, and would not like to think of themselves as welfare recipients.

          A more neutral (though also loaded) term would be "redistribution of wealth". Euphemisms like that help keep the average person from realizing that we're seriously doing something wrong. That, in turn, preserves the status quo and that seems to be the only thing that matters to the people who run the show.

          • by Rei (128717)

            Unless you're talking about the EITC, no, they don't. They simply refund you what you had withheld, nothing more. If you're talking the EITC, that's not anywhere *close* to 40% of the public. In 2004, it was about 7% of the population [irs.gov] who claimed it, and most of those did not receive more back than they spent on income tax alone, let alone all taxes combined (EITC was designed to offset payroll taxes). The number of people getting more back than they spent on all taxes combined, including local and sta

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          1) Have you ever even filed your own taxes? Do you not know how tax credits work? You make it sound like you think that the government cuts you a check if you come up negative.

          Have you ever filed a 1040ez? The Earned Income Credit says just that:
          "The Earned Income Tax Credit or the EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit."
          http://www.irs.gov/in [irs.gov]

    • And this is a bad thing? I'm sure not approving permits when prices are sky high will get him elected?
    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      How do we expect to continue increasing oil production when he's not approving permits? The fact is, people are not going to be able to afford heating oil and gas for their home this winter.

      Yeesh!

      Better stock up on insulation!
      http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index [energystar.gov]

    • by d34thm0nk3y (653414) on Friday May 06, 2011 @06:41PM (#36052646)
      How do we expect to continue increasing oil production when he's not approving permits? The fact is, people are not going to be able to afford heating oil and gas for their home this winter.

      Obama administration approves fourth Gulf deepwater drilling permit [thehill.com]
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday May 06, 2011 @04:48PM (#36051688)

    The amount of energy you get out compared to the amount you put in.

    Oil from Saudi huge. Oil from Canada, not so much.

    The lower EROEI is, the larger the proportion of the economy must be dedicated to energy production.
     

    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 06, 2011 @04:55PM (#36051740) Journal

      Good. Consider it a jobs program. The benefits of efficiency accrue only to the wealthy anyway, so what should the rest of us care?

      • by BBnet3000 (777476)
        The oil industry puts lots of money into expensive equipment, not much into jobs. The benefits of efficiency do NOT accrue to the wealthy....
        • by wiggles (30088)

          There's a lot of labor going in to that expensive equipment, much (most?) of it to American manufacturers like Caterpillar. Jobs will be created one way or another.

      • by Dasher42 (514179)

        "The benefits of efficiency accrue only to the wealthy anyway"

        You are so very right in this in any system where a bit of "green" technology is swapped in like a spare part for a broken, crazy machine. We're not going to get anywhere by switching a bulb or an appliance or a way to keep doing something with a huge waste of electricity.

        If we designed our homes with the mind for convection and efficiency that we're designing our servers, and took advantage of the energy that's already there, we'd not need to w

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          All that works great when you have a bit of land to put the house on. While I won't say that when you are trying to fit a 1200 square foot home on a 1400 square foot lot only current construction techniques are possible, I will say that having walls two feet thick isn't going to work out all that well.

          I think the first step is to empty out the cities and reduce the US population to around 10 million people. Then we can start talking about sustainable construction and green, environmentally friendly living

  • by penguin_dance (536599) on Friday May 06, 2011 @04:51PM (#36051712)

    And then charge us for how many miles we drive because gas consumption decreases. As discussed yesterday. [slashdot.org] Move us to clean energy and then tax the wind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oGMo (379)

      And then charge us for how many miles we drive because gas consumption decreases. As discussed yesterday. [slashdot.org] Move us to clean energy and then tax the wind.

      Or not, for those with a clue [slashdot.org]. But sure, if those conspiracy theories are what give meaning to your life, keep believing them.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Friday May 06, 2011 @04:52PM (#36051724) Journal

    I don't see anything in the graphic about urban planning. If they incentivized development near light rail hubs and discouraged car-dependant suburban development it would do a lot.

    First, there's the carrot of new development projects. There's the houses themselves, and the light rail. Secondly, don't tax the suburbs as that would be very unpopular and counterproductive. Instead, simply give Federal money to jurisdictions based on their ability to reduce non-walkable development. This would reduce the *supply* of this type of development. Buyers who still want 0.25 acres of grass and a 5 mile drive to the store would see their home values increase due to the supply side effect.

    Done right, we could kill two birds with one stone: The real estate slump, and gasoline consumption.

    • by couchslug (175151) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:13PM (#36051898)

      Just use the Reverse Pol Pot method, forcibly relocate the population to hives, and empty the countryside.

    • by Dasher42 (514179)

      The existing concept of the suburb is crazy and wasteful, especially with all the irrigated and chemically sprayed lawns, but you have only to turn those lawns into food gardens, to get neighbors talking, to set up things like "tool libraries" to share resources that a lot of people are up to their ears in, and make some space for people to enjoy being - and then, you get zero food miles, reduced transportation costs, and given good land management an eco-positive development.

      Most of our best soil is covere

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I never thought I'd see a President pretty much ACTUALLY SAY THAT.

    Obama's an amalgam of the worst of Jimmy Carter, Bush I, and Bush II.

    Does that mean we're going to be lucky enough to have Hope and Change limited to four years?

  • by Dracos (107777) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:03PM (#36051804)

    If the commodities speculators weren't running amok, the price of gas (and every other commodity) would come down. I read somewhere recently that oil speculators add $.70 to the price of a gallon of gas at the pump.

    • by maxume (22995) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:10PM (#36051862)

      I read it in a Slashdot comment.

      Is your source more reliable than that?

      (A company like Southwest Airlines is a huge oil speculator, they spend money today to make sure that a certain amount of their future supply is available at a predictable price. Is the benefit Southwest gets from that activity really such an evil thing?)

    • by Quila (201335) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:31PM (#36052060)

      Speculation does not exist in a magic vacuum. For every point speculated for higher prices, there's essentially someone else who speculated a point for lower prices. You can't make a bet with no one, you need someone to take that bet.

      Don't believe the excuse of the day meant to distract from the government's failures.

      If you want to lower price, think taxes. Direct taxes on gas average 50 cents per gallon. On top of that, the oil companies are heavily taxed, Exxon alone paid over $26 billion last year in taxes, half its profits. Who pays corporate income tax in the end? You do, by paying more for that corporation's products.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Sounds great, gas will be cheap and we will have no roads on which to drive our cars. Any other genius ideas?

      • by xaxa (988988)

        If you want to lower price, think taxes. Direct taxes on gas average 50 cents per gallon.

        In my country, the tax is about US$5 per gallon.

        Your government failed by tying you to your cars. For many people in Europe a car is a common luxury, a convenience, but not a necessity.

        (Also, where do you thing those 50s go? They don't just disappear, if there was no gas tax the money would need to come from somewhere else.)

        • by Zan Lynx (87672)

          I just found out this week that the US government has been spending money from the gas taxes on mass transit while letting the road infrastructure suffer at the same time they're bleating about not having enough tax money to keep the roads in good repair. So in a sense that 50 cents did disappear. It hasn't all gone into road maintenance, that's for sure.

          The federal government needs to stop wasting the money on mass transit that no one rides. If that mass transit was, you know, actually useful and desirable

          • by dr2chase (653338)
            References for your claims, please. What I've read suggests that gas taxes do not cover the expenses of maintaining and operating the roads (Road Work, Brookings Institution). In addition, the mass transit where I live not only runs full, when they plan to work on the Longfellow Bridge, they will close car lanes to keep the subway line running, because it has higher capacity and carries more people. Where mass transit works, if it were not for mass transit, we would need far more roads (expensive eminent
      • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Friday May 06, 2011 @10:26PM (#36054102)

        Who pays corporate income tax in the end? You do, by paying more for that corporation's products.

        The price is set by supply and demand. When demand far exceeds supply, as it does with oil, taxes don't figure into the price, they just cut into the oil company's very substantial profits.

        I don't know where you come up with the $26 billion figure. What I have found is Exxon claiming they pay substantial taxes and proving it by pointing to sales taxes and payroll taxes.

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      Government loves to blame everybody else for the inflation the government is causing by printing money.

      Speculators enter markets that are hot, they do not create these markets. The markets for commodities become hot because of all the money that the government prints.

      The real culprit - Federal reserve of USA as well as other national banks, which peg their currencies to the US dollar (what a joke of a 'reserve' that is.)

      Sure, speculators can increase volatility in the market, but they also do at least 4 oth

  • Side note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by netdigger (847764) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:07PM (#36051844)
    I just want to put it out there that this energy crises that we are having has as much to do with our habits as it does with the conflict in the middle east. We are stuck in a rut with our large cars. How many of you can fill up for under $40 and have that last for the month. We need start to drive smaller cars. You will find that your wallet will stop hurting as much.

    Im not saying that we all have to go out and buy a hybrid or electric vehicle. I would caution against it. It is still expensive to manufacture those batteries and i dont think that the technology isn't there yet. Wait a few years.

    Just as a tip for saving money, don't drive as much. Carpool, dust off that old bike in your garage, take the bus or train, even walk. These are all alternate modes of transportation and are a lot cheaper then driving. I personally make the effort to ride my bike more miles then I drive in a week and as a result i can fill up about once a month.
    • I blame moronic urban planning for much of the late 20th century that forever locked us into the suburban, car-addicted model.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      I used to live within three minutes of my job in the suburbs. I could easily fill up for less than $40 and have that last for a couple months back then. Then I got a better job downtown, and gas prices started rising. I thought about moving downtown, but the housing downtown is either in bad neighborhoods or too expensive (or both). The gas prices still don't force me to buy a house downtown even though they're now over $50 for a fill up once a week. No Train. No Bus. Bike, are you kidding? Walk, im
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        A mazda2 can be had for $10k or so, are you suggesting that larger cars are free?

    • I can currently fill up my tank for about $40 (9 gallons * $4.20 or so a gallon.) With my Prius (which apparently i shouldn't have bought) that gets me about 400 miles a tank, which lasts me around two weeks.

      Now i certainly could get that down to one refill a week if i tried some alternate forms of transportation. Let's see, the commute to work is definitely well over half of my fuel usage so i'd have to start there. I don't have a bike, but if i was willing to buy one and learn how to use it Google maps
    • by couchslug (175151)

      The multi-vehicle solution works well for me. Ride a motorcycle when that's the best choice, drive the F-150 when that's the best choice, or use the 460-powered F-250 for heavier hauling.

      One new hybrid would cost more than many years of fuel and wouldn't be nearly as versatile. I'm a mechanic and would love to have a hybrid or PHEV to play with, have the cash to buy it outright, but that's not an economic choice at the moment.

  • Timing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by black6host (469985) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:10PM (#36051866)

    If the tax breaks are eliminated, or decreased, before we are fully prepared with alternative energy sources what do you think will happen. We will pay the difference at the pump, is my opinion.

    • by robot256 (1635039)

      If there is no market pressure to actually prepare the alternatives, then the government will have to pay the full cost of research, development, and deployment of the alternatives. Reducing the subsidies on gas prices will gradually push the market in the right direction so that economic forces can decide the best alternatives, rather than the politics of research and development grants. Artificially-low gas prices only perpetuate the current state of using more fossil fuels and depressing investment in

  • ...as soon as Obama's High Speed Bus Plan [theonion.com] gets put into place!
  • I didn't see anything in his presentation about the rare earth minerals that are (currently) needed to produce all of those "green" electric cars. Does the US have enough rare earth reserves to put all of these cars on the road, or will we be dependent on China?

    • you have more than enough but due to some Nimby's you cant mine them....

      • ... and that's not likely to change any time soon. So far as I know, there isn't any way to mine for them without doing some pretty significant ecological damage to region where you mine. China has gotten away with it by pretty much ignoring the health hazards to the workers and the surrounding area. That's not as likely to fly in the U.S. This also brings up the dramatic drop in cost predicted. Seeing as how China pretty much controls the market, we can't predict future prices without asking them what they
    • by kf6auf (719514)

      You necessarily don't need lots of rare earth elements to make an electric car. Sure, when Toyota was designing the Prius in the mid 1990s, they chose to go with rare-earth magnets in their motors because they were the latest, fanciest, lightest magnets you could buy. On the other hand, Tesla Motors (and other companies) in the 2000s took a more cautious direction and built their propulsion motors without permanent magnets, therefore using no rare-earth elements there (the power windows probably still hav

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:22PM (#36051978) Homepage Journal

    First, we already know from various scientific papers, that you can use wind energy to provide power for full scale freight trains in Canada, using fuel cell engines, and do so while reducing both carbon emissions and particulate pollution. Economies of scale kick in, you just split the H20 into fuel cell engine components at the wind farms along the route, which also allows you to handle the variable nature of wind.

    Second, it supposes that our insane blockade of Cuba and other countries cane ethanol will continue, and that we will continue to divert corn food/feed crops to ethanol with massive farm and energy subsidies that are unsustainable - the most anti-capitalist thing we could be doing.

    Third, it assumes that our country won't shift from using mostly air travel (high energy) to rail travel along the dense urban corridors in the East, South, and West. It also ignores Boeing's and SA's and Airbus higher mpg planes and jets and the use of turboprops and algae/switchgrass biodiesel to get twice the air miles using mostly alternative non-oil-based jet and turboprop fuels.

    It is an insane plan written by deadenders who fail to understand that the world has already changed, and that all our exports and imports already have a carbon tax imposed on them - when we sell to NZ, Australia, Canada, Mexico, South America, and the EU we get charged for our lack of a carbon tax and end up paying a higher amount of taxes on the exports - and the imports already have a carbon tax built into them, which we don't get a refund for, since we lack a carbon tax.

    EPIC FAIL.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      First, we already know from various scientific papers, that you can use wind energy to provide power for full scale freight trains in Canada, using fuel cell engines, and do so while reducing both carbon emissions and particulate pollution. Economies of scale kick in, you just split the H20 into fuel cell engine components at the wind farms along the route, which also allows you to handle the variable nature of wind.

      Can you point to some of these papers? In particular the wind-power one. Large scale wind farms are just that - large scale so I'm curious how maintenance of a thousand turbines fits into the economics. Plus I'd like to see studies about environmental effects of these large scale wind farms.

      Second, it supposes that our insane blockade of Cuba and other countries cane ethanol will continue, and that we will continue to divert corn food/feed crops to ethanol with massive farm and energy subsidies that are unsustainable - the most anti-capitalist thing we could be doing.

      Agreed - using food crops for fuel is a bad idea in many ways and is likely a net loss in energy.

      Third, it assumes that our country won't shift from using mostly air travel (high energy) to rail travel along the dense urban corridors in the East, South, and West.

      The graph only goes out to 2030 - there's not likely going to be a large scale shift to rail by then because there's likely

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        There is not much maintenance on wind turbines these days. The environmental impact is damn low since the blades are honking huge so the birds avoid them.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:24PM (#36051994)

    Detailed here [powerlineblog.com]:

    1) oil depletion allowance, [which is only available to smaller, independent companies, not "big oil"]
    2) expensing indirect drilling costs, [which is an accelerated expensing schedule. It changes the timing of expense writeoffs, not the amount.] and
    3) a tax credit for taxes paid to foreign nations during foreign operations (foreign tax credit) [which every multinational company gets, not just oil companies.]

    When you hear about oil company "subsidies", this is what they're talking about.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      4) free military interventions in oil-rich but politically unfriendly nations.

    • by Ichijo (607641)

      Don't forget minimum parking requirements and non-user fees (sales taxes, etc.) used to finance freeway construction!

  • by Sporkinum (655143) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:27PM (#36052026)

    I like the fact they post that the more efficient mileage will save $3000 over the life of the car. So I should spend $15000 more than I just spent so I can save $3000. Doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

    BTW, I went from car that averaged 30 mpg to one that averages 20. I enjoy having 300hp vs 130hp, and not having car payments.

  • It still floors me how far we've come in the last 20 years in the computer industry. By comparison, we should be beam-me-up-Scotty teleporting by now, or at least running 1000% more efficient than 30MPG. Gee, I wonder which one of the greedy fuckers in the oil industry is paying off anyone and everyone to keep all that technology under wraps.

    Oh, and nice collection of industry-stifling patents you got there too...

  • I got my Leaf a few weeks ago, and that graphic looks like it came right off the Leaf customer web site (where you login to see all the data the Leaf uploads about energy usage etc, "Carwings"): the colors, the style, the fonts.

    Not that I disagree with it...just sayin'...

  • about prices when they exceeded $3 and nearly had a cow when they were at $4.

    Just wow.

    They don't concern themselves with current gas prices; watch this change in months leading to the election; because it doesn't fit their model. See, we, the public are too ignorant, too stupid, etc, to do what is right so those who are obviously much smarter than us have to "hurt" us because they love us so much, even though we don't really deserve it.

    The sad part is, the people who propose policies rarely would ever adhere to them for their personal consumption. Thats for the little people, leaders need exceptions to rules and laws to be effective, y'know, after all they are so much better and smarter.

  • Smart to Import Oil (Score:5, Interesting)

    by retroworks (652802) on Friday May 06, 2011 @05:55PM (#36052274) Homepage Journal
    Accepting as fact that oil reserves are finite, we should be importing more, not less. The reserves will be more valuable later. When the Arab oil runs dry, they can buy oil from us at a much higher price based on the scarcity. If there were only two canteens available for a hike across the desert, would your policy be to consume your own canteen of water first?
  • by currently_awake (1248758) on Friday May 06, 2011 @08:55PM (#36053644)
    If you are desperate for power build breeder reactors, subways and electric street cars. That will eliminate 1/2 the oil imports and drive down oil prices world wide. It would buy you time to do something.

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