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Sarah Palin's image already appears on the newer nickels.

calendar   Tuesday - December 13, 2011

The Greening Of The Fleet

Or should I have called this post “The Fleecing of the Green”?

Navy gives bio-fuel a try, orders up nearly half a million gallons ...
At only 4 Times Regular Cost



A California company has been hired to provide 450,000 gallons of advanced biofuels to the U.S. Navy – the “single largest purchase of biofuel in government history,” according to the Navy – at $15 per gallon, or about four times the market price of conventional jet fuel.

And gosh, you’d better sit down for this one: Solazyme, the company that got the contract, not only is the recipient of $21.8 million in Obama’s Green Stimulus deal, on the company’s board sits T.J Galuthier, Clinton’s Deputy Secretary and Chief Operations Officer of the Department of Energy from 1999 to 2001, who also served on President Obama’s White House Transition Team, where he worked on the energy provisions of the stimulus package. A triple coincidence, imagine that. The guy who wrote the green stimulus is now in charge of a company that got a big fat green stimulus handout.

[Secretary of the Navy] Mabus notes that this 450,000-gallon buy — while comparatively large for military biofuels — is still tiny compared to the amount of fuel the Navy and the commercial airline industries consume. He’s promised that as the Navy buys more fuel, economies of scale will kick in, and prices will drop. But an MIT study of alternative jet fuels, conducted in association with the Navy, found that even under optimal conditions — with dozens of refineries up and running — the price of bio jet fuel would still be twice as high as the cost of the traditionally made stuff.

Read all about it here. And here. And here.

It ain’t easy goin’ green. Especially when we have enough regular oil right here in our own country, to run the military for the next couple of centuries. And I do hope that this algae derived fuel they’re buying works a whole lot better than the recycled french fry oil bio-fuel that’s out there. That stuff tends to clog the heck of diesel injectors on tractors and bulldozers and stuff whenever it gets cold. Oops.

I gather the whole carrier group is going to use this fuel on a test trip across the Pacific. I wonder how big the Navy’s fleet of tow trucks tow ships is?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/13/2011 at 02:24 PM   
Filed Under: • MilitaryOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Monday - December 05, 2011

New Panamax Green Solution

Just because I’m a Conservative doesn’t mean I’m not in favor of green technology. The ones that work, I’m all for. Here’s one that might be able to cut the mustard.


Carbon Neutral Oil Tanker In The Works



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covered in solar panels and using 20 high tech sails, this New Panamax tanker has 75% less carbon footprint



You may have heard that the Panama Canal is being enlarged. It’s a multi-year project that is well under way. A new set of locks, much larger than the original pair, is being built on both sides. The project seems to be running on time. These new locks will allow much bigger ships to transit Panama. One ship builder is using those new size constraints to design a far more efficient VLCC oil tanker, and while they’re at it they’re adding on everything they can find to add to that efficiency.

The smallest dimensions of the [current] locks are 110 ft (33.53 m) wide, 1,050 ft (320.04 m) long, and 85 ft (25.91 m) deep. Because of clearance issues, the usable sizes are somewhat smaller (for example, the maximum usable length of each lock chamber is about 1,000 ft (304.8 m). The maximum size of the ships that can transit the canal is known as the Panamax.
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The new lock chambers will be 1,400 ft (426.72 m) long, by 180 ft (54.86 m) wide, and 60 ft (18.29 m) deep. They will use rolling gates instead of miter gates, which are used by the existing locks. Rolling gates are used in almost all existing locks with dimensions similar to those being proposed, and are a well-proven technology.

imageIn late August [2009], traffic jams at the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the Panama Canal impeded a healthy chunk of the world’s maritime commerce. Each day, on average, more than 40 massive ships, many of them three times as long as a football field and piled high with cargo, rode at anchor in impromptu fleets that stretched across the horizon. On the Atlantic side, most of the ships carried grain from the American heartland, bound for markets in Asia; the vessels on the Pacific side from the Far East were jammed with cars and electronics destined for the U.S. East Coast. Some ships with daily operational costs of $40,000 waited as long as a week for passage.

Ninety-three years after it first opened for business, the Panama Canal is finally maxed out. Designed before the Titanic was even on drawing boards and while the Wright brothers were still learning to fly, the canal today handles more traffic than its builders could have ever imagined. About 14,000 vessels carrying 5 percent of the world’s ocean cargo—280 million tons—pass through the waterway each year. Despite running the canal around the clock—at close to 90 percent of its theoretical maximum capacity—canal officials are struggling to keep up.

A VLCC tanker is an oil tanker built to carry about 2 million barrels of oil. That turns out to be the largest practical size for these giant ships; a few ULCC ships have been built but they are too large for most waterways, including the English Channel. Crude oil is a liquid, and 2 million barrels worth is a fixed volume. The new locks on the Canal will allow ships to be built that carry that same volume, but in a longer, shallower, relatively slimmer hull design, and that immediately translates into increased efficiency, even with the same basic shaped hull. Use a modern high-tech super hull design, like the ones used on racing yachts, and the efficiency increases even more. Now use the latest generation of pod propulsion motors and you’ve got a huge ship that’s fast and nimble with significantly reduced operating costs. Want to go further? Cover the massive ship in solar panels, and stick on a couple of dozen super efficient dynawing sailmasts, and it not only produces a large part of the electricity needed to run those motors, it also uses the wind to help move the ship along. Lastly, install high efficiency engines that run on LNG to help run the generators, and put a set of scrubbers in the smokestacks. Bottom line: a faster tanker that sails across the world for a whole lot less time and cost, and produces only a fraction of the pollution that the current ones do. And that’s exactly what Sauter Carbon Offset Design came up with. Nice going. Now build one and prove your concept.

Richard Sauter of Sauter Carbon Offset Design released his design for the “solar hybrid supertanker” today. If the ship is ever built, you can bet that some big oil company will be using it to tout its “green” credentials in short order.

Sauter’s certified carbon offset projects are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from super yachts and ships. His design team, Sauter Carbon Offset Design creates ships reducing greenhouse gas emissions down 50-100 percent by using all the technology available.

SCOD Presents Deliverance, a DynaWing Solar Hybrid Supertanker that qualifies as the Largest and by far the Greenest Post Panamax Vessel to be built and as such is the most Economical form of Crude Oil Transport to and from any part of the Globe.

To reduce fuel consumption and GHG emissions by up to 75% this superior fluid dynamic Emax Supertanker obtains half of her power from LNG and the other half from the latest advances in Solar and Wind Power Technology.

The Emax Deliverance is a 2 million barrel 330,000dwt Supertanker designed specifically for the newly enlarged locks of the Panama Canal which will accommodate vessels that have a maximum length of 426m, a beam of 54m and a draft of 18 meters.

Being longer, narrower and having less draft than previous 2 million barrel VLCC’s, the hull of the Deliverance produces less drag which in conjunction with twin CRP Hybrid Propulsion Pods reduces fuel consumption and GHG emissions by 35%. An additional 20 to 30% reduction is achieved her 5,000 sq. meter
DynaWing Boom Furling sails and another 15 to 20% reduction by her Solbian Solar Power generating array. The realization of up to a 75% reduction is made possible by Mitsubishi’s Bubble Hull and Wartsila’s Coded Hybrid power system.

Generally speaking the total power requirement for a conventional 330,000dwt Supertanker is 30MWs.By comparison the total power requirement for the advanced 330,000dwt Emax Solar Hybrid Supertanker is 20MWs; 10MWs from LNG, 10MWs from the Sun and Wind.

Nice. Even when the sails are furled, the material that they’re made from will work as Fresnel lenses to concentrate light on the solar panels, making them that much more efficient. And lest you think this is all some kind of daydream, it isn’t. It’s pretty much built using off the shelf parts. The ‘bubble hull’ already exists. So do the engines, the solar panels, and the propulsion pods. Even the high tech Dynawing thing is proven tech - it’s the kind of sail used on the latest America’s Cup racing yachts.

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The Dynawing design gives the same amount of thrust as a more conventional sail on a mast 25% taller. Shorter means sturdier, and sturdier means cheaper in the long run. But with 20 of these on the Deliverance, totaling half a million square meters of sail area, what it really means is quite a lot of thrust that took no fuel whatsoever to create. Sailboats don’t have exhaust fumes.

Roll it all up and you’ve got a supertanker that can save as much fuel cost in 4 years of operation as it took to build the ship in the first place. Which means it pays for itself, even if the thing cost 15% more than regular ships to build. And with a 25 year lifespan, that means 3 million tons less CO2 in the atmosphere. Nice. Why pollute if you don’t need to?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/05/2011 at 11:31 AM   
Filed Under: • High TechOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Pricesplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Soylent Power

Old Aunt Edna Is Worth 150kWh



How’s this for the ultimate give-back to society? Extreme recycling? Or just more “journalism” designed to keep people upset?

Burning deceased humans will produce electricity
Turbines at crematorium will convert heat into as much as 150 kilowatt-hours per corpse

In Durham, England, corpses will soon be used to generate electricity.

A crematorium is installing turbines in its burners that will convert waste heat from the combustion of each corpse into as much as 150 kilowatt-hours of juice — enough to power 1,500 televisions for an hour. [which would give REAL meaning to the old “This broadcast sponsored in part by viewers like you”!] The facility plans to sell the electricity to local power companies.

Some might find this concept creepy. Others might be pleased to learn that the process “makes cremation much greener by utilizing its by-products,” in the words of cremation engineer Steve Looker, owner and chief executive officer of the Florida-based company B&L Cremation Systems, which is unaffiliated with the Durham enterprise.

In Europe, tightening regulations on crematorium emissions, coupled with the high price of energy, will lead more and more facilities to go the way of Durham in the future, Looker said. Will crematories in the United States follow suit?

According to Looker, whose company is currently testing different methods of utilizing cremation waste heat, the expensive turbine systems being installed in Durham are not yet economically viable for crematories here. “In the U.S., most crematories don’t have enough throughput,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries. “Cremation in some parts of Europe is over 90 percent, but it is not over 50 percent yet here.” That is, less than half of Americans opt for cremation. Most are buried.

Consequently, while burners in Europe typically run 24 hours day, ones in America operate only eight hours each day, Looker said. “A typical turbine system would cost somewhere between $250,000 to $500,000. If it’s running 24 hours a day, that’s a five-year payback. If it’s running eight hours a day, that’s a 15- or 20-year payback, which isn’t feasible,” he said.

However, Looker is hopeful that the situation could change in the near future. “Over the next 10 years, with the baby boomers coming through, cremation is going to reach 75 to 80 percent. Then, this might be feasible.”

Furthermore, a turbine designed by a company called Thermal Dynamic Engineering, which produces just 50 kilowatt-hours of energy but is much less expensive to install than the Durham system, will be available in the near future, Looker said.

Thus, it may indeed come to pass that deceased baby boomers will someday help power your household appliances.

Boy howdy, this ought to end the prejudice against the overweight. Think how much extra energy they’ll contribute! OTOH, it might provide the wrong kind of incentive to the more twisted types. Now put those twisted types in charge of the government ... or at least the judicial or health-care corners of it. Can you see a problem arising, mein fuhrer? Nein, es ist nicht ein problem auf allen! In some ways, this is nothing new to Europeans at all.

Huh, seems to me I read a sci-fi story similar to this ages and ages ago ... the aliens took all the fatties and wired them up to suck the energy out of them ... it was the greatest diet ever, until they ran out of chubsters.

Soylent Green is already here. It’s called ”bio-energy”, and a whole lot of unusual ideas can hide under that umbrella. But are they sick, or sensible?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/05/2011 at 08:19 AM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Monday - October 31, 2011

Another Drop In The Bucket

Next Green Failure



This one is almost too small to notice, not even $100 million. Still, it’s your money, and it’s gone, and I bet if you could turn over this rock you’d find Obama donor roaches on the board, scurrying for the shadows. Crony socialsim and a “green bubble”. Any fool with a green scam plan got fat wads of cash from the gov, while proven energy companies got the shaft. Or, as is the case with the oil drilling and the coal mining industry, they got the shaft taken away!


(Reuters) - Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial U.S. Department of Energy program.

The move comes about two months after solar panel maker Solyndra also filed for bankruptcy, setting off criticism of the government loan program.

The department guaranteed $535 million in loans to Solyndra, and Congress is investigating whether political influence played a role.

Beacon Power used the government-guaranteed-loan to build a 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York.

The company said in documents filed with Delaware’s bankruptcy court that it had $72 million in assets and $47 million in debts.


A flywheel energy storage plant. A flywheel energy storage plant?? Excuse me, am I reading this right? The government handed out a fortune for a perpetual motion scheme? Horry clap. Can you get any more naive than that????


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/31/2011 at 09:53 AM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentCorruption and GreedOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Saturday - October 29, 2011

Pollution? Solution!

Frack This!

New large scale efficient water purifier could silence Greenie objections to deep shale gas drilling

And save the rest of the world as a side effect



File this one under Why We Win. Via Eaglespeak.


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A new desal [desalination] technology has emerged that not only can desalinate water at an affordable cost, but can also simultaneously remove harmful chemicals and disease microbes from the water.

It all started years ago when a scientist working in a small lab at a university in Arizona, had an idea. Dr. Jim Beckman, a professor at Arizona State University, asked these questions: Why couldn’t desalination technology avoid using pressure, metal parts, and large amounts of electricity? Why couldn’t the technology use no pressure and instead rely on plastic parts to avoid corrosion, and thus use almost no electricity? So Beckman went to work – and after years in the lab, he produced a system that can do just that. In order to treat the water, Altela technology uses the simplest of Mother Nature’s processes, making rain.

What does this mean, in practice? It means that all water coming from the Marcellus Shale natural gas wells, known as “frac water,” can be made cleaner than drinking water before going into the river. It means that runoff from a landfill, water that pollutes the streams, rivers and oceans ultimately can be treated on site before it is released. And it means that every village in Africa can have a small water treatment plant to stop the deaths of 3.5 million people every year from a lack of safe drinking water.

In fact, Altela’s facility in Albuquerque is busy churning out modules to do just that. Its AltelaRain® 600 systems have also been installed in Pennsylvania and are processing water from natural gas wells to keep the industry going, despite new regulations, and sustaining 156,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.

“We set out to revolutionize the desal treatment, and we ended up finding a solution to water treatment all over the world, from the Marcellus Shale, to the smallest village in Africa,” said CEO Ned Godshall

Altela has redefined the fundamentals of water purification, which has world-changing implications, yet the AltelaRain® technology has entirely practical and realistic applications. In straightforward terms, it takes the simplest of nature’s processes for purifying water (making rain) and through revolutionary technology, re-creates that process using readily available materials and low energy compared with conventional thermal distillation.

Because it is so simple and elegant, the technology can treat the most highly-challenged water in almost any application. And it meets or exceeds even the strictest U.S. government environmental protection (EPA) standards for discharge of the purified water.

Even the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) validated that Altela’s system can successfully treat the water stream onsite, providing distilled water as the product.


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The AltelaRain® 600 is a revolutionary modular-based water desalination system that excels at treating highly challenged wastewater. Each Module consists of twelve Altela Rain Towers and one center chase that contains all the water, air and steam plumbing to and from the twelve towers, along with the required controls, steam boiler and pumps.
The Module treats approximately 25,000 gallons per day, the equivalent of 600 barrels per day.

It looks like each module can come in on 3 flatbed trucks and be assembled on site. Each module consumes either a moderate amount of natural gas (12,000 cu ft /day) and electricity (1 Kwh); they can be run on solar power. The modules are scalable, and require only 5 hours of maintenance per week. All the dirt removed from the water is collected in tanks that can be easily swapped out and emptied or trucked away. It’s a liquid; approximately 10% of the input water. A smaller model (the ARS-4000) exists that can be shipped on a single flatbed truck and produces 4,000 barrels a day.

The AltelaRain® technology recaptures energy 3 times, and thus makes 3 gallons of pure distilled water from the energy required to make 1 gallon from conventional thermal distillation. And, Altela is the only water desalination company in the world that uses no pressure (and therefore 99% of the energy is NOT from the electricity required to operate high-pressure pumps.) It is therefore perfectly married to the burgeoning sister industry of Solar Thermal (ST) – passive solar – because Altela uses (for free) the two-thirds energy of passive solar that presently now gets wasted as low-grade low-temperature waste heat.

Such low-grade waste energy is available for water desalination when co-located with such an ST location throughout the southwest U.S. in states like New Mexico, Arizona and southern California, as well as abroad in areas such as the Middle East.
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Through the use of its proprietary patented AltelaRain® technology, Altela desalinates and decontaminates highly challenged water using an evaporation/condensation process like nature’s own process: clean rain water from undrinkable ocean salt water. The technology is simple, elegant, and disruptive. 

I like it. Fresh water from the oceans. Mine water put back into streams that’s cleaner than what comes out of your faucet. Altela is a publicly traded company. If I was a player in the stock market, I’d give them a serious look ‘n see.

As for those anti-fracker folks who cry that a) this extraction process will steal all our drinking water, and b) even if they use produced water (water found underground at far deeper levels than the regular water table), dumping such waste water back on the surface will pollute the world and kill us all ... it looks like Altela has them beat. With a nice heavy stick. Every hour on the hour. Their system removes all the oil, dissolved gas, heavy metals, and dirt. It can even remove radioactive particles.

Produced water is water trapped in underground formations that comes to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. It occurs naturally in formations where oil and gas are found and is millions of years old. When oil or gas is extracted, they’re brought to the surface along with this produced water as a combined fluid. The composition of this produced fluid includes a mixture of either liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons, produced water, dissolved or suspended solids, produced solids such as sand or silt, and recently injected fluids and additives that may have been placed in the formation as a result of exploration and production activities.

Nice. Now all we need is another company to produce bags of minerals to add to the distilled water, to make it proper drinking water. A little salt, a little calcium, maybe a little fluoride, whatever. Just the good ones. Heck, mineral packs could come in flavors to imitate your favorite blend of bottled water. Great Bear. De Sani. Deer Park. Poland Spring. Evian. Your choice. Those water softeners already exist. So do some of the salts. Carbonation not included.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/29/2011 at 06:47 AM   
Filed Under: • EnvironmentHigh TechOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Friday - October 14, 2011

We doan need no steenkin Alternate Energy

Another Major Natural Gas Find in California



Royale Energy Discovers Natural Gas in Sacramento Basin

Royale Energy (ROYL) revealed on Friday a new natural gas discovery in the Sacramento Basin that has increased the company’s optimism over its growth potential. The discovery and the additional drilling capabilities are expected to increase its production.

“With a strong balance sheet and an aggressive pace of exploration in Royale’s core area, the company is confident in its outlook for growth,” the company’s co-CEO Donald Hosmer said in a statement.

While the company was drilling to a depth of 7,150 feet, the well intersected natural gas filled sands in each of the targeted upper, middle and lower Mokulumne sands. [also spelled Mokelumne in other places]

The lower zone has been completed and is flowing over one-million cubic feet a day on a restricted choke. The company said it will reserve the middle and upper zones to be completed following the production of the lower sands.

Fear not, friends of this good Earth. I think they found the new gas field by simply drilling a pre-existing well deeper. That well is already in production, so the environmental impact is ZILCH. And if it is a new hole, then it’s just one more hole in an area with hundreds more, where farmers and outdoorsmen have happily coexisted with the wells for generations.

The Pacific 1-3 was drilled to a total depth of 7,150 ft. and wireline logs have been run. The well intersected natural gas filled sands in each of the targeted upper, middle, and lower Mokulumne sands. The lower Mokulumne has been completed, flowing over 1,000,000 cubic ft. per day on a restricted 10/64’s choke. With the strong results of the lower sand, the company will reserve the middle and upper Mokulumne zones to be completed following the production of current zone.

The company has also added new production with the recompletion of new zones in several of its existing wells.

Andrus Island well is now producing 250,000 cubic ft. per day from a shallower formation in the well. Andrus East was recompleted with a high pressure of 1100 psi and will be placed into production this month.

The title of the first article is a tiny bit misleading. Natural gas extraction has been going on in the Sacramento Basin since 1936. Trillions and trillions of cubic feet have been harvested. The Basin is the area between the coastal mountains and the Sierra Nevadas; it is the Sacramento Valley and the San Joaquin Valley and the backwaters of the San Francisco Bay. The Rio Vista gas field lies a few miles southwest of Sacramento and a few miles northwest of Stockton; the Thornton field is just to the east, due south of Sacramento. This is the heart of the gas producing region. Andrus Island is just southeast of the Rio Vista field, on the edge of the backbay where the Mokelumne River meanders in from Lodi a few miles to the east.

The thing about the Basin is that the sediments there are very deep; in between the two mountain ranges silt piled up for millions and millions of years, reaching 7.5 miles in depth at some points. And it’s all gas bearing sand and shale, layer after layer, with only a couple of oil producing areas. This find might revitalize the whole zone, which I gather has been depleted to such an extent that the land is sinking and people have even considered using the old wells as CO2 hiding areas. Injecting all that naughty CO2 - the depleted fields could hold many gigatons would not only support the upper soils, it would also help push out the rest of the gas. Like frakking, only without water or dynamite. But now that Royale has shown that at least one whole new layer of gas exists further down (and that hole still isn’t even halfway through the sediment layers) this could revive the whole area. Nice.

I like that the test well is flowing a million cubic feet a day, even through a restrictor; the implication is that it could flow even more, perhaps half a billion cubic feet per day, without one. That’s what a good well can produce. And there are two other proven gas layers above it, left in reserve. Sweet.

Playing the market? Royale Energy (NasDaq: ROYL) stock was down .3 to only $3.23 per share even after making this announcement yesterday, having recovered from a low of about $1.80 in late September. They’re at < href="http://thestockmarketwatch.com/stock.aspx?stock=ROYL">$3.52 right now and have been tagged as a “big mover” stock to watch once again. The company increased revenue by 34.5% last year, reduced expenses 11%, and paid 12¢ per share even though their net profit was only a bit over $1 million. It’s not a giant company. With this strike they could be set to take off, as their proven reserves were already nearly 4 years worth of production, and large investments (and low wellhead prices) from 2009 begin to pay off.

Crude oil and natural gas prices are on the rise again, although gas’ wellhead price is around $4.27/MCF, just about the lowest price in a decade if you ignore 2009’s midyear slump. That means that this new well, even with it’s choke in place, is earning $4270 a day and could have an unchoked revenue of $2.14 million per day.

PS - Can somebody explain this one to me? Looks to me like wellhead price is up $0.04 since February, import price is down $0.11 in the same time frame, yet residential price is up a WHOPPING 55%! And this is after a whole year full of new gas finds, the shale frakking thing, etc - we have lots and lots and lots of natural gas. There are no new national pipelines that need paying for, are there? The nation has more than 3.5 TRILLION cubic feet of the stuff in tanks, which is pretty much how much stock on hand we always have this time of year. So what gives?? We’re getting ripped! Corporate Greed!!!11! Occupy Natural Gas Street!!!!!!!1111!!!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/14/2011 at 11:55 AM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Monday - August 08, 2011

Some Good News

Oil Prices Plummet Along With Stock Market

Gas demand at lowest ebb since 2003

Well yeah, duh, nobody can afford to do any but the most essential driving!

Oil Plummets 6 Percent to 2010 Low on US Downgrade

Oil plunged 6 percent on Monday, crashing below technical support levels as the historic downgrade of the U.S. debt rating hammered markets and stoked concerns of an economic slowdown.  U.S. light, sweet crude traded down $5.57 to settle at $81.31 a barrel, the lowest close since Nov. 23. Brent crude dropped $6.56 to $102.81 a barrel, breaking strongly below the 200-day moving average of $106.89 a barrel, after pushing through the key technical level during intraday activity on Friday before settling higher. Brent crude broke through the 200-day moving average after shedding nearly $13 a barrel since the start of August in the first session since Standard & Poor’s cut the United States’ top-tier AAA credit rating.

“In the tumultuous aftermath of the U.S. downgrade from S&P, the world also is downgrading the oil market,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at PFGBest Research in Chicago.

Trading volumes spiked as the sell-off picked up speed late in the day, triggered by a rapid drop off in stock markets that sent the S&P 500 Index down 6 percent in the biggest daily drop since late 2008.

“We’re watching the $80 area (for U.S. oil) after taking out the morning lows, and the 1,100 area for the S&P 500, but there is so much uncertainty and fear about a double-dip recession that it’s hard to say we’ll find any support at those levels,” said Gene McGillian, analyst for Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
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The S&P downgrade added to concern about demand in the world’s top oil consumer, where gasoline demand for July fell to the lowest level since 2003, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Analysts warned oil prices could fall further if a second recession takes hold, but both Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs maintained their 2012 price forecasts.

The Double Dip isn’t just idle speculation anymore. It’s coming, if it isn’t here already.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/08/2011 at 03:50 PM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Monday - July 18, 2011

Gas Too Costly? Blame The Weather

Midwest Heat Wave Threatens Corn Crop

Ethanol Prices Surge



Doesn’t that just suck? It’s bad enough we have to pay more whenever Mid-East unrest increases, or a storm hits the Gulf, or when the seasons change. Now the price of gas will also be impacted by the weather in the Heartland. Oh, and it gets worse than that too. Ethanol is the most bold faced hustle that ever was, right up there with carbon credits.


Ethanol futures climbed to the highest price in more than three years in Chicago as a heat wave blanketing the Midwest threatens the corn crop.

The grain-based additive gained as temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) move across the corn-rich U.S. Midwest. Ethanol is made mostly from corn in the U.S., with one bushel making at least 2.75 gallons.

“It certainly is related to the grain market,” said Rich Nelson, director of research at Allendale Inc. in McHenry, Illinois. “Though corn didn’t close at its highs, people are expecting higher prices due to the heat right now. The way ethanol is priced, which is off of corn, the two are directly tied together.”

Denatured ethanol for August delivery gained 3.6 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $2.873 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price since June 27, 2008. Futures have gained 78 percent in the past year.
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On a spot basis, an average ethanol mill in Iowa is making 20 cents on every gallon of the fuel, while a typical plant in Illinois is pocketing 26 cents, according to Ag TraderTalk, a Clive, Iowa-based online grains information service.



More Corn Now Used For Ethanol Than For Food


Amid all the talk of budgets, tax laws, and debt last week, one telling nugget of government data went unnoticed: The Agriculture Department last week estimated that this year, for the first time ever, America will use more corn for ethanol than for any other purpose.

Last week, the USDA published its regular report “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates,” which calculates that in the current corn “marketing year” (September 2010, through the end of August 2011), 11.43 billion bushels of corn will be consumed in the United States. As usual, a small fraction will be used for food or seed: 1.4 billion bushels, or 12.1 percent of the total. Also, as usual, a sizable chunk will be fed to farm animals: 5 billion bushels, or 43.7 percent. But for the first time, the largest chunk will be turned into ethanol: 5.1 billion bushels, or 44.2 percent.

So, the single biggest use of corn in the United States is now highway driving.

Oh, and those subsidies? They just changed form, with the end result that the ethanol processors are now getting even more of a handout from the government!

Congressmen of both parties are putting on a show of rolling back federal subsidies for this alcohol fuel, but these proposals have the backing of the ethanol industry because they would actually increase taxpayer support for ethanol.

Last month, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, R., and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D., proposed the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act. The bill ends the most famous ethanol subsidy, a handout to ethanol blenders called the “Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Incentive.” While the government accounting books treat the VEETC as if it were a tax credit against the fuel excise tax, it is really just a transfer payment from the Internal Revenue Service to anyone who blends ethanol with regular gasoline. Blenders simply fill out a form stating how much ethanol they mixed with gasoline last month, send it to the IRS, and then wait for a check amounting to 45 cents per gallon. You can get this credit even if you pay zero excise tax.

Historically, this blender’s subsidy boosted ethanol demand by bringing down the effective price of a gallon of ethanol. But the 2005 energy bill created an ethanol mandate, requiring refiners to use a certain amount of ethanol every year. The 2007 energy bill expanded the mandate, and in 2011, refiners are required to use 13 billion gallons of ethanol. This mandate now sets demand, with the tax credit having little or no effect.

For more on the phony reforms, the false “fuel saving” plans that actually increase demand, etc, read this.




Bad enough, but it still gets worse:

See More Below The Fold

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/18/2011 at 09:23 AM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Tuesday - June 28, 2011

Never Enough For Obama

This is a Smart Car. You may have seen them around. It’s the tiniest little thing you’ve ever seen with a windshield; the Smart Car has a 73 inch wheelbase, is just over 5 feet wide, and is less than 9 feet long. With it’s 1 liter, 3 cylinder engine that makes just 70hp and gives the two seater an anemic 12.8 second 0-60 time, the Smart Car delivers 33mpg around town and 41mpg on the highway.

image

According to Obama, this vehicle is way too big for you, way too powerful, and gets terrible gas mileage.


Obama: 56mpg for 2025



WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is considering a fleetwide average of 56.2 miles per gallon for all new cars and trucks sold in the US by 2025, The Wall Street Journal reported late Saturday citing two people briefed on the matter said.

The proposal would roughly double current fuel-economy targets, and would likely raise the price of some cars by several thousand dollars.
...
US officials presented the proposal to representatives of Detroit auto makers last week to determine the costs of such a proposal, said one of the people briefed on the matter. This person emphasized that the 56.2 mpg figure was floated as a means to kick negotiations among California, environmental groups and the auto industry into the final phase, and that the numbers could change.

The administration has said previously that it is looking at requiring cars average between 47 and 62 mpg by 2025.

Environmental groups and the state of California have pressed for the 62 mpg target or something close to that, while the industry has lobbied for a target on the lower end of the administration’s range.
...
The targets for 2025 would build on the administration’s requirement that autos average 35.5 mpg by 2016.

Fleetwide average. That means that he wants cars and minivans and light trucks that deliver far, far greater mpg than average, to balance out what few larger or more high performance vehicles are allowed to be sold. Which could mean that the above vehicle, which looks like a frog with wheels attached, could be the SUV of the future. Because it gets such awful gas mileage.

Now that’s the Change I’ve been Waiting for.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/28/2011 at 12:12 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Pricesplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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calendar   Wednesday - June 15, 2011

Our Brave Republicans In The Senate

Republican Democrat Majority Senate Votes Down Bill To End Ethanol Subsidy

Ensuring Continued High Gas and Food Prices For Citizens

51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and 2 Independents, and the vote went 59-40. Somebody crossed the aisle, for sure.


Yup, that’s Change We Can Believe In, alright.


UPDATE: Yup, I goofed it, because I was so pissed off at this stupidity I wasn’t thinking straight. I’m outraged that a single (R) voted for this garbage, and I’m outraged that any person of either party would continue throwing good money after bad when the purse is already empty. 6 billion here, 5 billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. And we need to cut 2 trillion.

Nor do I really give a rat’s ass whether the (R) votes to kill this amendment were from “farm states”. Phooey. ALL STATES ARE FARM STATES; it’s just that some states have more farms than others do. And the time for special interest pork is over. Vote for the good of the nation and to get us out of the financial depression we’re in, or earn my enmity.

Republicans voting to kill this amendment, along with the majority of Democrats:
Blunt (R-MO)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kirk (R-IL)
Moran (R-KS)
Portman (R-OH)
Roberts (R-KS)
Thune (R-SD)
Wicker (R-MS)

Looks like a pretty solid chunk of “flyover country” doesn’t it? The red meat of the Red States. Proving once again that the Republican party is just as much in the bag to the special interest groups and the pork barrel BS as the Democrats are.

Democrats and Independents who might have America’s best interests at heart, along with the majority of the Republicans:
Cantwell (D-WA)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Manchin (D-WV)
Pryor (D-AR)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)

The ethanol industry yesterday praised the U.S. Senate for voting down an amendment by Senator Coburn (R-OK) to repeal ethanol tax incentives, including the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) or the “blenders’ credit” by a vote of 59 to 40.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Executive Director Brian Jennings said the vote sends the “right message” to the American public.

“This vote is a major victory for the biofuels industry and American consumers and a setback for those clinging to our status-quo dependence on oil. It proves political stunts aimed at ethanol won’t be tolerated in the U.S. Senate. Now we can focus on continuing our work with the White House and both chambers of Congress to support meaningful and responsible legislation to reform ethanol policy, such as S. 1185, the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act, introduced by Senators Thune, Klobuchar, and many others this week,” Jennings said.

Jennings added that ethanol supporters should also be praised for the work that they did in defeating Senator Coburn’s amendment.

“ACE grassroots members from around the nation took the initiative to make phone calls and send emails to Senate offices, making a persuasive case that this vote was important and could make a difference at the pump and in the pocketbook. We thank our members for their efforts and we urge them to stay involved as these discussions continue to develop in the months to come,” Jennings said.

Jeff Broin, Chairman and CEO of the world’s largest ethanol producer, POET, said the ethanol tax credit had been responsible for building America’s “most successful renewable fuel into 10 percent of our gasoline supply”.

The Senate refused Tuesday to end $6 billion in ethanol subsidies, defeating an amendment by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that crystallized a larger ideological split within the GOP over whether removing tax subsidies is a tax increase or is a legitimate way to trim the $1.5 trillion federal deficit.

The amendment became a test vote in this summer’s struggle to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Republicans insist a debt-limit increase be accompanied by trillions of dollars in spending cuts and no tax increases. Democrats say tax increases must be part of the equation.
...
More than 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop now goes to ethanol, an alcohol fuel made from corn and added by law to gasoline. The fuel puts upward pressure on corn prices, harming dairy, livestock and chicken farmers who feed corn to their animals and face record $8-a-bushel corn because of flooding in the Mississippi Basin.

Ethanol gets three levels of government support: a 45-cent-a-gallon tax credit paid to refiners set to expire this year; a 54-cent-a-gallon tariff that blocks cheaper and more energy-efficient, sugar-based ethanol imports; and a federal regulation that in effect required a 10 percent blend of ethanol into gasoline.

Seems to me I recall that even Al Gore said that this thing was a flop. And if Mr. Blinders can see that, and admits his support was mostly for political reasons, what excuse does anyone else have?

It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol. One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.

Glad to know that our elitist Betters in DC won’t listen to him either, and that they remain beholden to big bucks special interest groups. So we won’t be saving that piddling $6 billion in handouts any time soon.

Only in America do we pay farmers to grow food to burn to run our cars. If they can’t make ethanol from grass clippings and scrap plant waste, it’s worthless. And if they can’t make a distillation process that uses less energy than the ethanol that comes out, it’s asinine. And that’s where we are today. Worthless and asinine, just like our Senate.

PS - I didn’t have $15,000 in cash sitting around a year or so ago, so I wasn’t able to trade in my older economy car for a newer flexi-fuel economy car in that Cash For Clunkers program. My car gets about 10% less mpg on this 10% gasohol, or cornoline, or whatever they call the damn mix. I hate it.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/15/2011 at 04:36 PM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas PricesRepublicans •  
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calendar   Thursday - June 09, 2011

A Month’s Supply

Drill here, drill now

Exxon Finds 700 MG Oil In Middle Of Gulf

Exxon makes major oil discovery in Gulf

Exxon Mobil said Wednesday it has discovered an estimated 700 million barrels of oil equivalent at a deepwater well off the Louisiana coast, a major find that a top House Republican argued should push the administration to speed up offshore permitting.

“This is one of the largest discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico in the last decade,” Exxon Mobil Exploration Company President Steve Greenlee said in a statement.

Exxon Mobil made the discovery after the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) approved an application in March allowing the company to resume exploratory drilling. Drilling at the well was halted in the aftermath of last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The well is located about 250 miles south of New Orleans in about 7,000 feet of water, Exxon Mobil said.

“This is the exact reason why Republicans have been pressuring the Department of the Interior to issue offshore permits—America has abundant oil and natural gas reserves, we simply need to allow the hardworking men and women in the energy industry to do their job,” Hastings said in a statement.

Republicans and drill-state Democrats have alleged that the Obama administration is slow-walking the issuance of Gulf drilling permits. But the administration insists that it is working diligently to approve permits under a new regulatory scheme that includes beefed-up safety and environmental standards.

Peak US consumption is said to be 20 million barrels a day. So that’s 35 days of oil for the entire country, from one well. A month without a drop of imports. A relative drop in the bucket, but it ought to be enough to mitigate the market for a bit.

Now, who wants to place bets on whether the wise and wonderful Lord Obama will look down his regal nose and wave the royal arugula and allow them to drill?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/09/2011 at 01:13 PM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Saturday - May 07, 2011

too right

image

If there’s one thing I’ve learned under the Obama regime, if there’s smoke, look for the fire somewhere else. It’s been OBL 24-7 for most of a week now, so the real question is: What other shenanigans are the Dems up to right now that isn’t getting any media attention at all? Even Holder’s gun running to the Mexican cartels is getting some play, but there’s always something those rats are trying to sneak by when we aren’t looking.

And the price of crude is down something like 10% in the past week and a bit, although I haven’t seen that reflected yet at the pumps. Soon I hope.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/07/2011 at 12:26 PM   
Filed Under: • Obama, The OneOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Friday - April 29, 2011

I need better email

Here’s the latest Crowder. A day and a half late. I checked my email a bunch of times today. Nothing. Finally, at 10:30pm I looked again, and there it is. Mailed out yesterday. WTF. I’m getting tired of this. Everybody else on the list has it before I do, and it’s been out on YouTube long enough to garner nearly 900 comments. My mail server sucks.

Anyway, this one is sorta funny, as Steve does a bunch of celebrity impressions. Not that that is going to bring down the price of gas. Jeez Louise, $22 got me less than half a tank today, not even 6 gallons. So glad The Won can take a few billion in stimulus money and give it to Brazil so they can drill, but the US gets shut down a year ago and stays that way. This cloaca squeezing of a present has to go. And he can take his anal fellating jizz bunny news media with him. A couple years ago when gas was less costly than it is now, they couldn’t find anything else to talk about, 24-7, and pointed their self-righteous fingers straight at the White House. Now? Not even crickets chirping. Total. Silence.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/29/2011 at 09:36 PM   
Filed Under: • HumorOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Monday - April 11, 2011

A Different Kind Of Freedom

Texas: 80mph isn’t enough. We want 85mph!




The speed limit on some highways in Texas may be raised to 85 mph, the highest in the nation, under legislation the Texas House approved Wednesday.

The measure passed on a voice vote was part of a larger transportation bill. It would authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on designated lanes or entire stretches of roads after doing engineering and traffic studies, The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday.

The Senate is considering a similar bill.

“They have high-speed roadways in Europe, and there could be some merit in having some of those highways in Texas,” said Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who introduced the bill. “Given the right engineering, we should consider it.”

Texas has more than 520 miles of interstate highways on which the speed limit is 80 mph.

One such stretch of Interstate 10 “is as nice a road as you can build; it’s flat with a long line of sight, wide lanes and good shoulders,” said Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso. “For people like us who travel that long distance, it could be good” to raise the limit to 85 mph, he said.

Some auto insurers oppose the measure, citing safety concerns.

“Obviously, the two things that kill most people on our highways are speed and alcohol. Increasing it to 85, or even 75, will have a dramatic impact on the death and injury rate on those highways where it’s implemented,” said Jerry Johns, a spokesman for the Southwestern Insurance Information Service.

He said drivers already exceed 70 mph highway speed limits.

“But 85 mph is simply too fast to drive even on a flat road. Any little hitch can cause an accident at that speed. There is still traffic on those roads, and to drive 85 mph is simply ludicrous,” he said.

85 is ludicrous? And just too dangerous? So I guess this means that all those people in those bitsy little wind-up cars in France, Italy (where you can go 93mph on the big highways), Germany (das autobahn, duh) must all just fall over dead non-stop. Give me a break. Even in tiny little Ireland the speed limit is 75mph.

But it’s for your own good! And besides, driving fast wastes gasoline!

Some car insurers, however, oppose the bill:

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds were a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes in 2009. The faster you’re traveling, the greater the distance needed to bring your vehicle to a complete stop and the longer it takes a driver to react to emergency situations, according to IIHS. If an accident does occur at a higher speed, there is a strong likelihood that the crash impact will exceed the protection available to vehicle occupants.

On top of safety concerns, speeding increases fuel consumption. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

To that last point I call bullshit. No, I am not denying the physics, I understand how doubling the velocity quadruples the amount of work done, which is another way of saying that it’s much harder to push a car through the air at higher speeds than it is at lower speeds. My counter point is that most cars in America are simply geared wrong for driving at those kinds of speeds. I’m certain that this can be overcome.

Look, I drive a mangy old Saturn. It was no hot rod to begin with, with it’s 1.9L 124hp/122 lb/ft engine and a 5 speed. While the car is quite aerodynamic, that little engine is spinning way too fast at 85mph. In 5th gear that’s about 3500rpm. Hey, I live in NJ, and on the weekend there is no speed limit on the highways. NONE. No, that’s not true. The speed limits are almost never enforced, and the entire state gets out on the highways and drives around like Al Unser, making up for the bumper to bumper traffic plodding they do on the same roads at rush hour M-F. So they’re out there going 80, 85, 90 ... and you’ll still have some damn SUV or mongo pickup truck tailgating you, or some idiot passing you on the right and diving in right in front of you. But that’s Joisey; only the strong survive. My point is that I’m pretty certain my car could hold that speed if the engine was turning 1000rpm less, maybe even 1250rpm less. I find myself looking for an extra gear every time I get up to 70mph. My secondary point is that 85mph or faster is the reality in tiny little NJ, with the most dense population in the country. We do it and manage not to die constantly. So big old wide open Texas should be able to handle it with no sweat. And our deer population is at least as big a road hazard as their armadillo population.

My wife’s Spec V has a 6 speed, and her car has almost half again more power than mine (175hp/180 lb/ft). The two vehicles are about the same size and weight; hers is way faster than mine. But her 6 speed is a very close ratio one, and even in 6th at highway speeds the engine is turning far too much. At 80mph her car could easily turn 2000rpm less and hold the speed even on a moderate grade. As it is right now, at 85 in 6th her car is just waking up and starting to get rowdy. Tap the gas and it leaps to 100 in a couple seconds. Her 2.5L engine has enough pull down low so that you can drive around town at 30mph in 6th gear and not lug the engine. It has the wrong gears for the amount of engine, period. 6th should run the engine at idle at 50mph. It shouldn’t be usable at all outside of the highway.

And we both drive weak little 4 cylinder cars compared to the V6 and V8 vehicles everyone else has, where 250hp is below average. Given a proper overdrive gear designed for this speed, they’d get the same highway gas mileage they do at 65mph, because their engines are already providing far more power than required. So let’s see some better gear ratios, m’kay?

As for the safety angle ... well, I’ve got a couple ideas. The Staties everywhere should patrol the highways and give out more tickets for following too closely than they do for speeding. Speed doesn’t really matter, it’s how far away you are from the car in front of you when somebody does something unexpected. Paying attention helps a lot too, and Americans utterly suck chunks at that. We’re too busy eating, texting, talking on the phone, fiddling around with the music, etc to pay any heed to the road. And our big fat asses are sunk into those big plush seats in our cars with their super soft ride and total sound insulation: even the driver is just along for the ride. It’s hard to find a car or truck that even has a manual transmission. Shifting gears is too much to ask of us. We aren’t really involved in the process.

In the same vein I’d set standards for breaking distance. Fill the car or truck up to it’s rated carrying capacity, and a full tank of gas. Now from 65mph it has to stop 10 times in X distance or less, then it has to stop in Y distance or less from 90mph, 10 times in a row. Doesn’t matter at all what size vehicle it is, whether it’s a moped or a city bus or a cement mixer. If it can go that fast, then it has to be able to stop properly. Vehicles that can’t handle the high speeds carry a rear window sticker with their maximum rated speed, and woe be unto the driver going 85 in a truck only brake rated for 60.

Vehicle inspections would be stricter as well. New Jersey would have to go back to that shock absorber thing they used to do, where some gizmo made your car bounce up and down. They don’t do that one anymore. Come to think of it, the state run outsourced inspection rather sucks, but to “save money” they give you a 2 or a 4 year sticker.

In Germany I’ve heard that the highway police check your tires when they pull you over, and if you’ve been out on the autobahn going 150mph and your tires are only rated for 85mph ... well, they don’t like that very much. And they’re Germans. So you know what happens. (what, you mean they invade Poland? Again?? No wise-ass, they fine your butt off, big time)

So 85mph on American highways can be perfectly safe. We need to make sure we have the right kind of vehicles for it, in good repair, we need to learn how to actually drive instead of riding along, and we need to learn to give the guy ahead plenty of room. And if you are the guy ahead, that means you move over to the next lane when someone comes up behind you. You hear that Pennsyltucky drivers? Try and wrap your pointy little heads around that one: you don’t own the fast lane, so move the EFF over when someone comes up behind you. Geex.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/11/2011 at 01:48 PM   
Filed Under: • Oil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Pricesplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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