Ornery Oil

September 25, 2011

“If you don’t want it to be the most expensive year [for gasoline prices,] you’re surreptitiously rooting for an economic debacle.”
— Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service (via the Washington Post last week)

(Illustration found here).

Yesterday, I put another $20 worth of fuel in my old Jeep Comanche and still at $4.09 a gallon for regular. The big sign at the Union-76 seems stuck, or lost in some Twilight Zone episode, where this guy wakes every day for weeks, thinks he’s a groundhog, but gas prices are the same.

Last time the pump price was way-high around here was in early June — then at $4.29 a gallon.

Oil is acting as crazed as a GOP de-bate — from Time last Friday:

The price at the pump was supposed to be a heckuvalot cheaper by now.
In early August, gas prices appeared poised to plummet, with experts forecasting the national average for a gallon of regular would decrease by 1¢ per day.
For all sorts of reasons, the dip never occurred, though.
Gas actually cost more one month after the predictions were made.
Now, however, with average prices dropping 7¢ over the last seven days, it looks like the extended, long-awaited price break at the pump is upon us.

Despite all kinds of negative influences, from war to directly causing massive environmental harm, everything oil keeps on keeping on — Time reports the current national average for a gallon of regular is at $3.54, while noting the average at the same time one year ago was $2.72.
About the same time in 2005, the average pump price stood at $2.62 (and that in the shadow of Hurricane Katrina).
In March 2000, just more than 11 years ago, it was only $1.54.
Grinding on upward — the US is getting closer to European prices (scandalous to Americans): England in the area of 130.68 pence a liter ($8.06 a gallon), or Italy, 1.438 euros a liter ($8.17 a gallon).
US peoples have had it easy at the pump, but we like to gripe.

Even as we truck to the gas pumps worldwide, that conveniently-speedy mechanical existence so taken for so granted for so long is inconveniently-quickly now so-near.
Since modern civilization exists through oil, the world is approaching what’s been considered as a mega-serious “resource crunch.”

The Guardian in October 2008 discussed The Living Planet report just then released from the conservation group WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund.
Key note:

This had led the report to predict that by 2030, if nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to sustain its lifestyle.
“The recent downturn in the global economy is a stark reminder of the consequences of living beyond our means,” says James Leape, WWF International’s director general.
“But the possibility of financial recession pales in comparison to the looming ecological credit crunch.”

And that living beyond our means will soon include gas for my Jeep Comanche.

As we ponder through our days, going about our normal-maybe-mundane lives, working, running around paying bills, doing laundry (which I did this morning), grocery shopping, making lunch, talking with the kids and so on — just doing life nowadays creates a kind of mass fantasy, the reality of this resource crunch is hard to fathom.
Peak oil isn’t the end of oil, just the beginning of the end of the cheap shit, and gas will soon be either unavailable or just too expensive for the average Jack American.

From Professor Bulent Gokay of the UK’s Keele University, co-author of a report about oil and the future: Oil ruled the 20th century and shortage of oil will rule the 21st century. This is the secret ticking time bomb under the global capitalist system; we are nearing a real emergency scenario. In less than 10 years, many ordinary people will not be able to afford to use their cars.”

Last year, a report emphasized this crunch is coming fast.
According to the research, carried out by consulting firm Arup and funded by the U.K. Peak Oil Task Force (fronted by billionaire Richard Branson), the crunch will start to destabilize economies, politics and society in general as early as 2015.

Can the world keep churning, keep on its current course, especially with a gnarling, energy-insatiable China.
Despite some recent indicators showing there’s a possible slowing down of the giant Chinese economy — China’s growth rate to be more than 9 percent this year — the country will continue to be an enormous suck hole on the world’s resources for years to come.
And most-likely, a fatal suck hole.

Too many people and too many vehicles.
In keeping with that futuristic scenario, there’s a most-interesting piece at Energy&Capital on China and its massive need for power to keep its industrial engine running — a look at 2035 China vs the rest of us.
Some key points:

  • By 2035, income per person in China will reach the current U.S. level.
  • China’s 1.38 billion people will use 80 percent as much paper as is produced globally today. That will leave 20 percent of the paper for the remaining 84 percent of the population.
  • China would also need 1.5 billion tons of grain annually to feed those 1.38 billion people. That’s 70 percent of what the world produces annually. Will the remaining 30 percent of grain be enough to feed the remaining 7.1 billion people in the world?
  • China will also have 1.1 billion cars by then. That’s as many as are currently in the world, so imagine every car in the world today being in China…
  • By 2035, China would need 85 million barrels of oil per day. That’s about equal to the TOTAL daily global production.
  • Yes, China will need all the oil in the world.

Indeed what’s left is nothing.

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