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View Poll Results: Future gasoline price relative to inflation?
Much lower (inflation - 4% or more) 1 0.96%
Lower (inflation - 2-3%) 4 3.85%
Same as inflation (+/- 1%) 13 12.50%
Higher (inflation + 2-3%) 39 37.50%
Much higher (inflation + 4% or more) 47 45.19%
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:21 AM   #41
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What's the status of ethanol from switchgrass?
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:41 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I agree 100%. But Congress does not have a good track record in such things.

The money wouldn't even need to be used for credits/research. It could just be returned to the public in the form of a higher standard deduction, making it revenue neutral. So, on average it wouldn't 'cost' people anything, but the relatively higher price of fossil fuel would drive free market alternatives.

The problem I have with Congress determining alt energy credits/research, is that you are letting politicians make technical/economic decisions. Look at ethanol - an alt energy disaster funded by Congress. I say let the free market respond. The only incentive required is higher fossil fuel prices. Entrepreneurs will fill the demand with creative solutions.

-ERD50
The BBC did a poll in 21 countries that included questions on raising taxes on "energy sources". Americans are more negative on this than most other people. However, if you say "raise taxes on energy and earmark the revenue for 'clean' energy", then 74% of Americans are in favor. If you say "raise taxes on energy and lower other taxes so the net is zero", then 64% of Americans are in favor.

My preference would be $1 or $2 per gallon on crude oil. Rebate the tax on a per-person basis like ERD50 says. We use so much oil that, we would get $1,000 or $2,000 per person rebate on our income tax returns.

Like ERD50, I wouldn't use any of it for a gov't run program to support 'clean' energy since I think the market will do better at finding the winners.

I'm not sure how the $1 or $2 tax would be split between consumers and producers. Consumers will pay some in higer pump prices, producers will pay some in lower world market prices for crude. But all the tax revenue goes to reduce our taxes.
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Old 11-07-2007, 09:50 AM   #43
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Example of misguided government regulation:

How silly is this? Imagine: There goes a working-class stiff in a little Chevrolet Aveo with a traditional gasoline engine that gets 30 mpg or more and that meets the nation's toughest clean-air standards. But because she is not driving a gas-electric car, she must -- in many metropolitan areas nationwide -- use the congested regular traffic lanes commuting to and from work.

But there goes the owner of the company that employs her. The boss can afford the $112,000 price tag of a 2008 Lexus LS 600h L super-luxury sedan. Never mind that it gets substantially worse mileage than the Chevrolet Aveo. Never mind that its overall energy costs -- production, distribution, end disposal -- are measurably higher. Never mind that it is, for purposes of this argument, only carrying its driver. Because it is a gas-electric hybrid, in many urban areas, it gets to run in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane with only the driver inside.

Ah, and never mind that the electric portion -- the gasoline-saving part -- does its best work in congested city traffic and hardly works at all on the highway, meaning that allowing the hybrid luxury car to run freely in the HOV lane defeats the design intention of its own technology as that of the HOV lane, which is meant to reduce traffic congestion by encouraging carpooling.
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Old 11-07-2007, 10:39 PM   #44
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What's the status of ethanol from switchgrass?
T-Al, there was an update on Science Friday a few weeks back. I forget the exact numbers, but 10-20 years?

They made it easy to understand:

Set a piece of bread outside in the rain. It falls apart and starts getting broken down by microbes in short order. This is like making ethanol from grain.

Set a 2x4 out in the rain. It can take years for it to decay. This is like making ethanol from cellulosic materials.

They need to continue doing work to genetically modify 'bugs' to break down the cellulose. Uh-oh, GMO fuel?

Excellent (but sad) examples of misguided policy in that last post. It is just so crazy, but every one of those may have been enacted with the best of intentions.

But it is just throwing solutions at symptoms rather than thinking through the root of the problem.



-ERD50
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:15 AM   #45
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T-Al, there was an update on Science Friday a few weeks back. I forget the exact numbers, but 10-20 years?

They made it easy to understand:

Set a piece of bread outside in the rain. It falls apart and starts getting broken down by microbes in short order. This is like making ethanol from grain.

Set a 2x4 out in the rain. It can take years for it to decay. This is like making ethanol from cellulosic materials.

They need to continue doing work to genetically modify 'bugs' to break down the cellulose. Uh-oh, GMO fuel?

Excellent (but sad) examples of misguided policy in that last post. It is just so crazy, but every one of those may have been enacted with the best of intentions.

But it is just throwing solutions at symptoms rather than thinking through the root of the problem.



-ERD50
Changing the way we live here in the states. Railroads smaller communities, suburban sprawl is so over and unsustainable without cheap oil. Then IF we had leaders with vision.. Why don't we have those european high mileage diesels here in america?? 50 to 60 mpg small cars?? Oh the american public doen't want them?? I here that all the time. BULL. We need a leader to TELL the american public that high and VERY HIGH gasoline prices are here forever, that the big vehicle here is OVER that we will give you a big tax credit to get rid of the suv and get into a smaller high mileage car. This will be a temporary way of life until new technology is developed to move us around on the ground.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:00 AM   #46
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Changing the way we live here in the states. Railroads smaller communities, suburban sprawl is so over and unsustainable without cheap oil. Then IF we had leaders with vision.. Why don't we have those european high mileage diesels here in america??
Until Congress gets the EPA to relax their air quality standards, those cars won't be sold here. If we modified them to meet our air standards, the mpg drops about 30% or so.............

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Oh the american public doen't want them?? I here that all the time. BULL. We need a leader to TELL the american public that high and VERY HIGH gasoline prices are here forever, that the big vehicle here is OVER that we will give you a big tax credit to get rid of the suv and get into a smaller high mileage car. This will be a temporary way of life until new technology is developed to move us around on the ground.
Remember the world we live in, our politicians ONLY real goal is REELECTION. So, you think they CARE about real life for the average American??
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:39 AM   #47
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50 to 60 mpg small cars?? Oh the american public doen't want them?? I here that all the time. BULL. We need a leader to TELL the american public that high and VERY HIGH gasoline prices are here forever.
The only thing that is going to make the American public 'want' small, high-mpg cars (Like Europe) is permanently HIGH gasoline prices (Like Europe).

TELL them about high prices? Hah! No one is going to listen to a leader if they don't deliver on what they say. Roughly half the public won't listen anyway. They have to HAVE high prices before they will ACT!

Isn't is that simple? Supply/demand?

Heck, for me personally, I keep looking at ways to reduce my upcoming heating bills. Bottom line, almost everything except turning down the thermostat (even further!) and putting on another sweater is just too expensive. I'm gonna have to buy those gloves w/o fingertips next....

-ERD50
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:40 AM   #48
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What's the status of ethanol from switchgrass?
Why switch when you can have alcohol ethanol AND grass...
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:34 AM   #49
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They have to HAVE high prices before they will ACT!
Isn't is that simple? Supply/demand?
Absolutely! There is zero possibility that Americans will band together to reduce energy consumption so that demand drops and prices stay low. It will never happen. Rather, high demand will cause prices to increase, which will moderate demand.

Aren't they paying approximate $9/gal right now in Europe? And life goes on ........

In retirement, I may drive 20k miles a year. (It was much less than that during my first year of RE, but lets use 20k as a talking number since DW and I would like to travel around the country extensively in the future.)

We might average 20 mpg splitting the miles between a high efficiency car and our F150 pulling a small RV.

That would be 20k/20mpg = 1k gal/yr. At $3, that's $3k/yr for gas.

At $9/gal, yearly cost for gas would be $9k, an increase of $6k.

Those are the kind of numbers you need to build into your RE budget if you're planning consuming much energy. Oh yeah, don't forget other consumables increasing in price driven by high energy costs!
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:37 AM   #50
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Yes. Here in the UK we pay $9 a gallon for regular gasoline. More efficient diesel, very popular now in economy cars, is $10 a gallon.

In most of Europe it's about 25% less.

Something has to pay for free medical care!

Oh, and you see a lot more smaller cars over here.
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:39 PM   #51
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But it is just throwing solutions at symptoms rather than thinking through the root of the problem.
What do you think is the root of the problem?
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:54 PM   #52
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Here's my prediction: at some point oil producers will get concerned about the development of alternative fuel vehicles, and drop prices substantially.
It's completely clear to most people who aren't politicians that a plug in hybrid is going to be be the most efficient and useful vehicle for the next few decades. Given that the plug in hybrid still can use gas, I don't think the oil companies are worried too much.

Hydrogen and even ethanol are mostly just political distractions to keep us from noticing that our development of electric and hybrid vehicles isn't progressing as fast as it could. The oil companies know that hydrogen and ethanol are not going to be able to change the status quo in our lifetimes, so the oil companies are probably very happy at the diversion.
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:05 PM   #53
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Higher gas prices may not be able to push hydrogen any faster, but they sure will push pure electric out the door a lot quicker (which I will be quite happy with).
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:13 PM   #54
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What do you think is the root of the problem?
Well, in the examples you gave, govt tries to encourage conservation of gasoline through all sorts of convoluted and indirect methods. That leaves all sorts of loopholes and gaps.

So, to get to the root of the problem, the first step is - define the problem. In this case, it seems to be 'we use too much gasoline'. What is the simplest, most direct, and time-proven method to get someone to purchase less of something? Raise the price of that thing - simple.

So if the govt wants to encourage conservation of gasoline, raise the price of gasoline. People and businesses will figure out ways to conserve, and there are no 'loopholes'. People will buy more eff cars, car-pool and do more things than congress could ever think of to save gas. And it could be done with one simple law that would set taxes on gas, not a zillion different 'conservation' laws that leave gaps, loopholes, unintended consequesnces and missed opportunities.

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Old 11-10-2007, 11:16 PM   #55
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Bring me one of those small diesels from europe that gets 55 mpg.
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:29 AM   #56
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40 mpg on gasoline is achievable with one of these now.

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Old 11-11-2007, 11:00 AM   #57
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So, to get to the root of the problem, the first step is - define the problem. In this case, it seems to be 'we use too much gasoline'. What is the simplest, most direct, and time-proven method to get someone to purchase less of something? Raise the price of that thing - simple.
I still see this as treating the symptoms, and see the root cause as: too many people. If the world population were 1.5 billion instead of 6 billion, there would be no energy problem.

I agree that in the short term (and probably also in the long term) there's nothing we can do about this root cause, and agree that price increases are one way of treating the symptom.
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:20 AM   #58
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I still see this as treating the symptoms, and see the root cause as: too many people. If the world population were 1.5 billion instead of 6 billion, there would be no energy problem.

I agree that in the short term (and probably also in the long term) there's nothing we can do about this root cause, and agree that price increases are one way of treating the symptom.
OK, you are digging deeper down in the root structure.

So, I'll frame my response a bit. If we wish to conserve gasoline in the USA w/o population restrictions..... raising the price is the way to go.

While I don't disagree with your premise, the actual numbers you use might not hold up. I'd have to check the actual numbers, but if all of the 1.5B people used energy at the rate that the average US citizen does, we might be using more energy than the current 6 billion? Something tells me that if we restricted population to that level, ALL those people would be expecting a high standard of living?

I think we would still need conservation efforts, it would just seem so available, we'd probably burn it all up and impact the environment, even if there were fewer of us. Just an observation, I probably can't back it up, more of a gut feel.

Maybe not exactly on-topic, but I heard a great quote on Science Friday recently. They were talking about peak-oil, and one guy said, 'The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones'. So, maybe at some point, what are now 'alternate' energy sources will just be viewed as 'better' energy sources? Maybe we will never 'run out' of oil?

-ERD50
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:56 AM   #59
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I will never forget the day about two years ago when we were talking in a class of high school seniors and something came up about driving a car and the price of gasoline when a hand went up and out comes this beauty...

Mr, C I wonder... What happened to all of the bicycles the chinese used to ride??

In reference to our discussion of others in the world wanting the trappings of what we have in american society.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:26 AM   #60
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The only thing that is going to make the American public 'want' small, high-mpg cars (Like Europe) is permanently HIGH gasoline prices (Like Europe).
This is probably true.

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Heck, for me personally, I keep looking at ways to reduce my upcoming heating bills. Bottom line, almost everything except turning down the thermostat (even further!) and putting on another sweater is just too expensive. I'm gonna have to buy those gloves w/o fingertips next....
We just got out our kotatsu for the winter. A super cozy and economical way to keep warm. Who needs central heating?
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