November 14, 2011

Yesterday, I put another $20 worth of gas in the old Jeep, the pump price still at $3.99 a gallon for regular — a fixture now at the local Union 76.
Although those numbers have not moved here on California’s northern coast for at least two months, the overall gas/oil theater appears on some kind of upswing-bowel movement.

The oil scene, however, is a slow news generator right now, buried among some horror stories, like the ugly, disgusting ugly shit at Penn State (hence, the double-ugly), or the coyote-female-ugly from Herman Cain, or the blockhead, dumb-ass utterings of Rick Perry, or the clashing OWS crusade, or the fiscal escapades of the Europeans, or….you get the not-so-pretty picture.

Unlike climate change, the oil/energy situation is a slow-coming catastrophe — disaster seemingly right now measured in pennies.

(Illustration found here).

According to all indications, oil prices are starting another climb upward, even as the Libyans start cranking back up its own oil production, supposedly to be back to pre-revolt levels within months.
From liveoilprices: Brent oil prices closed Friday’s trading session at $114 a barrel as the spread between Brent and US WTI oil moves back to around $15 as US oil supply data pushes the American oil contract higher, back near the $100 mark.
And WTI is following suit: WTI oil futures end the week near $99 a barrel which is a 4 month high as traders cheered positive sentiment data out of America and the US dollar was trading lower which typically fuels commodity prices to rise.
And if the shit gets deeper in the Middle East — Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, or something similarly dumb — oil could go whacky: “It is the $200 a barrel scenario.” says Philip Verleger, an independent consultant who correctly predicted in August 1990 the price rally after Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Touchy, touchy.

The pump prices in northern California are still more than a dime more than down south, and is still higher than the US as a whole, but some folks are worse than others.
I guess it’s all in how it’s handled locally.
Despite all the obvious indicators, no one is shouting out the coming calamity — no one playing playing the role of a Paul Revere in proclaiming the quick-coming-end of cheap oil.
Only business as usual.

The LA Times on Saturday:

The Energy Department says surging diesel prices have “provided incentives to refiners to shift some production away from gasoline.”
The result is more expensive gasoline.
The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. on Friday was $3.438, up 57.4 cents from a year earlier, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
That’s 32.7 cents a gallon higher than the old record for this time of year, set in 2007.
The average cost in California on Friday was $3.839 a gallon.
That’s 70.4 cents a gallon higher than a year earlier and 47.3 cents a gallon higher than the record for fall reached in 2007.

And in October, US peoples spent 8 percent of their household incomes, or an estimated $332.40, at the gasoline pump — and in a time when traditionally pump prices go down, the numbers are spiraling up.
The experts claim next year will be a female dog: “We are at the highest fuel prices ever for this time of year, even though they have dropped a bit in recent weeks,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. “I think we will see prices in 2012 that will break … records.”

What do we do? Drill, baby, drill?
President Obama continues his wishy-washy, environmental bullshit by announcing last week a proposal to open some Arctic areas to oil drilling, and such in the words of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, “…we must proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best science available.”
Incredible amount of bullshit — need some high waders.

The LA Times had a most-excellent opinion/commentary last week on the subject, titled, “New oil leases in the Arctic: How dumb is that?”
Money bit:

It’s a discouraging time to be a friend of the Earth.
The Obama administration, seemingly, is looking for some way, any way, to approve another environmental nightmare, the Keystone XL pipeline.
And last week came this cheery bit of news:

The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped last year by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.
Really now, is this the best we can do?
In October, the world’s population hit 7 billion; most of those people are busy doing their part in heating up the planet by burning fossil fuels — and our response is to go looking for more of the stuff?
If the world were named Michael Jackson, and fossil fuels were called propofol, someone would be going to jail about now.
Forget stopping the bullet train.
We need to stop the doomsday train.
A few years back, I attended an engineering day at Stanford. One presentation on oil and the environment featured this quote, from a Saudi oil minister: “The Stone Age didn’t end because of a lack of stones.”
There’s only one way to save those polar bears — and ourselves — and it’s not by drilling for more oil.

Don’t the people in charge know there’s no hanging onto oil?
Not only is the shit finite, but it’s bringing an end to civilization as we know it.

In a timely time, today Dr. Richard Muller, the climate-change “skeptic” who changed his tune, will speak at a US Congressional climate briefing: “Undeniable Data: The Latest Research on Global Temperature and Climate Science” — heffy title that, kind of like the ‘undeniable‘ part.
Should be interesting.

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