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Old 03-09-2008, 11:14 AM   #21
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It amazes me that energy independence isn't a higher priority for our country. Other countries are determining the price of our energy. We are also funding our enemies in some cases.

IMHO, we should be persuing multiple sources of energy, nuclear, cleaner coal, wind, solar, etc. more that we are now. Should also be working to be more efficient.
Agreed. While I'm a pretty good free market libertarian, I take issue with the laissez-faire position on energy policy. Their idea is to just let "the market" decide when to develop alternatives. Given how long it takes to ramp up new technologies, if it REALLY hit the fan with oil, we'd be screwed for years. And would a severely damaged economy be able to handle the investments and production needed? Do it now while it's merely an inconvenience and an economic speed bump rather than a crisis, I'd think.

I believe energy security and independence are very real national security and sovereignty issues -- not just an economic issue.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:20 AM   #22
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I believe energy security and independence are very real national security and sovereignty issues -- not just an economic issue.
I agree, it is economic and strategic (in terms of national security).

We have too many foes in the world that will disrupt the supply or keep the supply low on purpose. The instability it produces is not acceptable. The only people opposed to it is the people that benefit from the status quo.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:46 AM   #23
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Just making the announcement would drop oil by 6-8% (on the day of the annoucement)
I doubt it. I'd bet that the demand from China and other developing countries would be increasing at a far faster rate than we would decrease our demand.

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Old 03-09-2008, 12:29 PM   #24
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Though I strongly advocate energy independence (I'd like to see an energy Manhattan project), I'm concerned with the biofuels approach.

For one thing ethanol has long served as an excuse to not do more in other areas. For example, automakers got around CAFE rules for years by building E85 capable cars and trucks and taking the CAFE credit, when in reality there were virtually no actual E85 gas stations to fuel those vehicles. Now that E85 is actually starting to ramp up, it has the unintended consequence of driving up food prices worldwide due to diversion of corn to distilleries. Also, other food crops have been switched to corn for the increased profit potential, making them more expensive due to reduced supply.

Because ethanol is a world commodity, other countries such as Brazil have jumped on the bandwagon and started cutting down more rain forests to plant sugar cane to be used for alcohol. In the US, farmers are putting fallow land back into production and planting every available acre which has an adverse effect on wildlife that traditionally depended on this land for survival.

So while biofuels have some potential, I'd like to see the government develop the political will to foster other alternative sources of energy and let the market take it from there as the technologies mature. I don't think government should provide all the answers, but I do look to it to provide national security. How long would it have taken free enterprise to develop the atomic bomb?
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:52 PM   #25
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We have all kinds of tax policy and rules designed to encourage or discourage certain activities. There was even a tax credit (now starting to run out) to encourage hybrid electric vehicles. Using this same kind of economic incentive, we could encourage private installation of photo-voltaic systems which would greatly reduce demand for new power plans (and fuel consumption by existing plants). We are right on the edge of having plug in electric or hybrid vehicles, which could be charged from the same photo-voltaic systems.

In fact, right now the only thing I need is a large capital expenditure and willingness to rely on experimental systems and I could have a vehicle with ZERO fuel costs for urban use. As an individual it doesn't yet make economic sense for me, personally, but it's getting close. These technologies could be developed to mass market reliability and costs with a little focused energy policy and government assistance in pretty short time.
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:19 PM   #26
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Like I said in another thread the arabs do not need to bomb any more american cities they just need to raise the price of oil to a point where it bankrupts america.
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:27 PM   #27
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Like I said in another thread the arabs do not need to bomb any more american cities they just need to raise the price of oil to a point where it bankrupts america.
Arab /= Muslim /= OPEC

OPEC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a large group of countries[1][2] made up of Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Ecuador
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:36 PM   #28
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My preference would be a vastly increased number of nuclear plants, with plug-in electric cars and electrified rail systems. Since we will always need some oil for lubrication, and to make aviation fuel, petrochemicals and plastics, I would also build a nuclear plant up in the Alberta oil sands or the Wyoming oil shale deposits to provide the energy needed to get that oil out.
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:55 PM   #29
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Build 3 Nuclear Power plants per state. It would revive the economy, it would put the arabs in Opec on notice that we here in the states will have as much electric power as we need. Let the Chinese buy the stinkin oil!
Well we've got 5 in Pennsylvania (and one really famous one...) so the rest of the country needs to catch up.
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:52 PM   #30
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Like I said in another thread the arabs do not need to bomb any more american cities they just need to raise the price of oil to a point where it bankrupts america.
newguy, you still don't grok the whole supply/demand thing, do you?

OPEC (not just Arabs, as Kahn referenced) cannot directly set the price of oil. They can agree to reduce output, which will cause prices to rise (offset by fewer barrels sold). Sure, they could refuse to sell a single drop, but then they wouldn't make any money, would they? Their impact is limited (from wiki):

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OPEC's influence on the market has been called into question. ...

OPEC's ability to control the price of oil has diminished somewhat since then (my note: 1973), due to the subsequent discovery and development of large oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea, the opening up of Russia, and market modernization.
Is Oklahoma City an American city? Let's not blame everything on the 'arabs', OK?

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Old 03-09-2008, 08:09 PM   #31
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newguy, you still don't grok the whole supply/demand thing, do you?

OPEC (not just Arabs, as Kahn referenced) cannot directly set the price of oil. They can agree to reduce output, which will cause prices to rise (offset by fewer barrels sold). Sure, they could refuse to sell a single drop, but then they wouldn't make any money, would they? Their impact is limited (from wiki):

Is Oklahoma City an American city? Let's not blame everything on the 'arabs', OK?

-ERD50
Come on Iraq is happening for one reason and one reason only, an american police station in the part of the world that has an awful lot of oil. We left saudi arabia after 9/11 .. Why?? Bin Laden said that was one of his reasons for the attacks on 9/11

Interesting. NO??

If we want to keep the happy driving around the good ole usa we better keep american troops in that part of the world.

Opec cannot pump more oil because there is not as much left as everyone thinks.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:17 PM   #32
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newguy, you still don't grok the whole supply/demand thing, do you?

OPEC (not just Arabs, as Kahn referenced) cannot directly set the price of oil. They can agree to reduce output, which will cause prices to rise (offset by fewer barrels sold). Sure, they could refuse to sell a single drop, but then they wouldn't make any money, would they? Their impact is limited (from wiki):

Is Oklahoma City an American city? Let's not blame everything on the 'arabs', OK?

-ERD50
+1 to ERD50 for the Stranger in a Strange Land reference. (And by the way, Newguy, he is correct -- oil is fungible)
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:17 PM   #33
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Come on Iraq is happening for one reason and one reason only, an american police station in the part of the world that has an awful lot of oil. We left saudi arabia after 9/11 .. Why?? Bin Laden said that was one of his reasons for the attacks on 9/11

Interesting. NO??

If we want to keep the happy driving around the good ole usa we better keep american troops in that part of the world.

Opec cannot pump more oil because there is not as much left as everyone thinks.
And how does any of that address my counter to the statement you made?
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Like I said in another thread the arabs do not need to bomb any more american cities they just need to raise the price of oil to a point where it bankrupts america.
In fact, if what you say is true(sources?), that OPEC cannot pump more oil, then prices will adjust all by themselves - no 'conspiracy theories' needed.

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Old 03-09-2008, 09:38 PM   #34
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(And by the way, Newguy, he is correct -- oil is fungible)
In my opinion it's the most fungiblest of the fungibles. Fungibly speaking, of course.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:21 PM   #35
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Many of the problems sited with Ethanol are really due to the fact that we have NO ENERGY POLICY. I think its a mistake to reject biofuels as one piece of a diversified long-range energy policy, given additional development is required. That's basically what's happened with Nuclear...no defined policy and private industry gravitates to the least risk path. The descriptions used in this thread such as "Manhatten Project" and "Apollo Program" are right-on, it really is that important, but there's just a total lack of leadership. Pols can barely utter the term "energy independence" but no real plan to achieve same, and don't dare utter conservation which is also a piece of the diversifed policy. I don't say conservation in the sense of cutting back on useful consumption so much as eliminating the waste.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:18 PM   #36
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I am with those who advocate diverse sources, with an emphasis on renewable domestic production. The problem with nuclear at the moment is the lead time (setting aside the waste storage issue). While we use little electricity for transportation and heating that can be changed relatively quickly. Solar (both photovoltaic and thermal), wind, and geothermal can be brought on line sooner than nuclear. There will always be NIMBYs trying to thwart any generation facility but nothing like to opposition to nuclear (which is fear based).

For you boaters out there with in-boards: do not use gasoline with ethanol. It will ruin your engine. Switch to diesel. Gasoline with ethanol has a short shelf life.
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Old 03-10-2008, 01:08 AM   #37
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Brazil fuels most of its cars using E85 and E100 produced from sugar cane. Their production process produces over 4 units of energy for every unit consumed because sugar cane practically bleeds raw sucrose sugar, and sucrose sugar is the ideal feedstock for making ethanol. Heck, when I was a student taking organic chemistry we used blackstrap molasses, a waste product produced while refining sugar cane, to make ethanol.

Corn, on the other hand, is more starchy than sugary and not a great feed stock for making ethanol. To make matters worse corn is also a very high-maintainance crop. So here in the US, where we have a powerful farm lobby that knows how to grow corn, we have a farm subsidy policy parading around like an energy policy drag queen and producing just over one unit of energy for every unit consumed.

Ethanol form corn is not a great idea. What we need is leadership that focuses in on what's a good energy policy instead of what's good politics.
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:27 AM   #38
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Lack of leadership is because the Bush clan made their money from oil.

If anyone is waiting for him to make that a priority... don't hold your breath.

He signed that recent bill only as a political move so it would not seem obvious.

Sad to say, McCain probably will not do it either. He is sticking with the line... let the markets decide. The problem with that is that big business will not react until we are caught in a vise. The massive infrastructure cost and lead time required for smooth transition will take government and leadership.

McCain seems to be too caught up in the Iraq war. He is so bent on proving (or getting people to believe) that the "Surge" worked that he is distracted from domestic problems.

McCain would have to do a 180 degree change to get my vote. Since he is trying to keep the ultra-conservatives energized... I do not expect that to happen. It is a good thing for him that he is not giving up his Senate seat. He is a good Senator. That is probably where he should stay.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:07 AM   #39
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............ So here in the US, where we have a powerful farm lobby that knows how to grow corn, we have a farm subsidy policy parading around like an energy policy drag queen and producing just over one unit of energy for every unit consumed. ..............
Well said.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:29 AM   #40
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Ethanol is a viable product because it can work with our current technology. It can be mixed with gasoline. We can produce enough of it help offset oil consumption. We do not have to be 100% ethanol.
But it still takes a LOT of OIL to break down the corn, so the net is almost no advantage........

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Something else that would help with the final product is for the US legislature to pass a bill that sets a nation-wide standard for a Gasoline standard instead of all the the different variations that states require.
yeah, that's a HUGE hurdle..........
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