Ford sees no end in sight for the high gas prices and cutting truck and SUV production as a result.
Looks like the specific cuts will be announced in September but will definitely impact St. Paul.
The change will result in more downtime at Ford's St. Paul Ranger Truck plant as well as nine other plants, officials said.
Dang -- just as all this energy policy stuff was getting interesting, a bunch of smart Irish guys have figured out how to get clean free energy! So much for worrying about whether global warming is real, since it turns out basic physics is what turned out to be a hoax. Rather than waste time on those science journals (who would just try to ruin the party), they've taken out a full-page ad in the Economist challenging scientists to prove there's no dragon in their garage.
What I haven't figured out is how they plan to make money on this scam -- it seems like an awful lot of effort just to get email addresses to sell spammers.
Several blogs have been abuzz with a remarkable story from the Chicago Tribune. Paul Salopek tracked the origin and route of gas pumped from a nearby station. In essence, he de-fungized oil.The oil industry largely refused to help him. Only Marathon - a gas station that consistently offers the cheapeast price in southern suburbia - aided Salopek's mission by sharing some data. He actually volunteered dozens of times to work at a gas station where he interviewed people (disclosing that he was a reporter) between janitorial tasks. He finished with a 4 part series for the paper. I would be surprised if he does not develop a book out of it. I grew apprehensive at the first Matthew Simmons quote and discussion of peak oil, but Salopek integrates it well and does not become sidetracked with the peak oil debate. This is good reading. It mixes the daily lives of gas station attendents with those on the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. It hops between lecture and human interest. It even seems to be rather balanced.
U.S. refineries have dwindled from more than 300 to just 145 over the last 25 years. Industry blames this perilous bottleneck in the nation's gasoline production on environmental red tape and public opposition to new oil infrastructure--BANANA they call it, Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody. But critics claim that Big Oil actually likes the status quo; the inevitable shortfalls drive up gas prices.
This article may seem lengthy, but it rolls many insights into a few paragraphs.
Americans already get more oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia. By 2015, oil experts say, African states will supply a quarter of all U.S. imports, up from 15 percent today. The United States quietly signaled this shift in 2002, when the State Department declared African oil a "strategic national interest," meaning in diplomatic code that U.S. troops may intervene to protect it.
"I think the U.S. military would find our swamps worse than Iraq," snorted Austin Onuoha, a Nigerian human-rights activist who specializes in oil issues. "But at least they might build some infrastructure after they invade. Americans always do this, right?"
Onuoha's sarcasm was well-earned. He was talking in the dark, from his blacked-out house in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The electricity in Africa's petro-giant had winked out again. And this fit sourly into his main thesis: Oil is rotting Africa's frail democracies.
As for the people who think the United States need to install a windfall tax to capture some of the "unfair" profiting of oil companies, they must seriously freak out when they consider how it impacts the areas from which it is extracted.
Both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune's Red Eye edition recently had articles on the growing popularity of environmentally conscious lifestyles. On Sunday, The New York Times published an article about manhattan's green apartment buildings and Monday's Red Eye piece covered a broader selection of social trends towards environmentalist consumerism
While they do discuss the 'fad' potential, one thing they don't discuss are the demographics of interest in these things. My speculation would be that there's a bias towards childless members of the upper middle class.
Last week's "This Week in Petroleum" by the EIA discusses the BP pipeline shutdown, the phasing out of MTBE, and low sulfur diesel.
The second major transition is the move to ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) for highway use. In June, refiners and importers of highway diesel fuel were required to begin providing at least 80% of their highway diesel fuel with no more than 15 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur, compared to previous highway diesel at 500 ppm. Terminals must be ready by September 1 with the new fuel, and retail facilities must be ready by October 15.
Nice Opinion in the Washington Post talking about the impacts of the next oil price shock...
The city of Cape Town has signed a deal to buy wind-generated electricity, in what is set to be South Africa's first fully fledged wind power project.
The Danish government and the Development Bank of South Africa have provided most of capital for the establishment of the Darling Wind Farm.
They may be late in the game, but have an ambitious plan to provide 10% of its demand in 2020 by sustainable sources...
The Energy Blog is covering a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) which looks interesting. Apparently it runs silently and does not run the risk of destroying itself in high speeds. It doesn't produce much power at low wind speeds but it seems like it might have some uses in urban environments if priced low enough.
I have long enjoyed reading Michael Klare books and columns. He is a Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College. Mother Jones interviews him about him Blood and Oil book. He paints a bleak future of resource wars and focuses on the importance of oil for the U.S. military. I particularly like his reaction to this energy independence talk.
And the administration talks about 'energy independence' from the Middle East, by which they seem to mean, exclusively drilling in Alaska and other protected environmental sites. So, I want to avoid that word, because I think it’s become a sham expression to cover up a failed policy.
I just posted a rather long-winded comment under the Vail post about how wind energy functions on the MISO market, if anyone cares to read it.
In this Op Ed, Jonah Goldberg levels some strong criticism toward current US agricultural policy. I post it here because of the strong influence that ag policy has on renewable energy policy. In particular, in Minnesota where the push to ethanol, produced from home grown crops, is so strong.
I don't think that the interconnection is fully understood but it certainly exists. It is also very complex and convoluted. One effect is what is sometimes called ag-driving-energy. This can be seen by the fact that the two leading sources of renewable liquid fuels are corn and soybeans...also two of the largest agricultural crops and also two of the heavily subsidized crops. Current US ag policy has been often criticized for its effect of reducing the varieties of crops grown by farmers. This affects energy in that it can result in a smaller established markets for those commodities of more interest for use in energy production; cellulosic biomass crops being the most significant.
Another impact is on the other side of the current successful liquid fuels production markets is that the farmers are seeing less of the benefit of increased demand for corn because of agricultural subsidies. For corn farmers, the largest form of subsidy is that of the loan guarentee. The way it works is that, for loans granted under this program, if crop prices are not above preset levels the government will kick in a portion of the difference to ensure that the farmers are able to avoid defaulting on their loans. Even if ethanol pushes corn prices above that preset level that portion of the increase necessary to cross the threshold needs to be ascribed as a benefit to tax payers not to the farmer.
I have not seen any good studies, yet, on the impact of agricultural policy on energy policy and vice versa. One good book that touches on many of the factors is 'Agriculture as a Producer and Consumer of Energy' with articles by Vern Eidman and Doug Tiffany at the University of Minnesota.
It was a busy day today in the local paper on energy items. This AP article in the Star Trib shouldn't be any surprise to anybody keeping up on energy issues. I filled up the car yesterday (we drive so little these days that I don't think to check and almost ran out on the way to a meeting) and the price was $3.066 at the BP down the road. Sounds like we can expect another 5 to 10 cents due to the pipeline shutdown. What I'm suspicious of is that, with all the publicity it's received, the oil companies will apply the price increase early and milk a few more profits out of the system before they feel the pinch.
The Star Tribune's Neal St. Anthony recently explored the role of ethanol in the future. He correctly notes that ethanol can only ever be a part of the solution.
I have to wonder though - is the ethanol industry exploding too quickly? A recent "ethanol booms" article in the Bemidji Pioneer calls ethanol a modern day "bit of a gold rush."
A recent Science Friday episode on ethanol said that it would take the entire Iowa corn crop to meet the demand from all the Iowa ethanol plants. Is this a bad situation? Is there too much ethanol investment now?
During her recent ethanol tour, Nancy Pelosi said
"I believe you are going to change the economy of our country," she told farmers. "You are going to save the auto industry."
If she is talking about continuing to subsidize suburban sprawl, I hope ethanol offers as little promise as I think it does.
BP is shutting down 8% of U.S. oil production by closing an Alaskan pipeline. The pipeline is in danger of causing a big spill if not repaired. It is going to take days to shut down the pipeline. I cannot find an estimate for how long it will take to repair overall. Oil prices are up and may actually overtake the early 80's high according to some analysts.
yes pat robertson has finally been convinced that global warming is happening. is this a good thing?