far OT: $2 bucks a litre?

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by 37up, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. 37up


    Jun 16, 2002
    i'm really split on the gas issue.

    one side indicates, enviornment, stops urban sprawl, stops our dependancy on foreign oil, death to traffic, and that eventually oil will ultimately disappear. maybe we need to ween ourselves now.

    but another side indicates, not everyone works in the city, public transportation is not available everywhere, not everyone can afford to live in the city, and above all, it's not like our economy can simply switch off from petro just like that.

    so, i can only speculate on one major factor, probably the most important factor. that humans do not change unless they are economically forced to.

    but i fear. a tremendous shift will occur. before north america was the centre of manufacturing, now we are the center of "service" and "technology" based industry.

    i don't know what the new economy will be like.

    my old high school teacher said that during the 50's and 60's they saw a future where 10 people worked 4 hour days.

    who knew that it would instead translate to 3 people working 12 hour days.
  2. namaarie


    Aug 23, 2004
    I've wondered this as well. America needs to adapt here, but who knows how? Good thread, Dave.

  3. kamkazmoto


    Sep 14, 2002
    I just read an article in Travel and Leisure magazine about a couple that bought a Hybrid for a cross country trip, only to find out that when going over 25 mph is strictly operates on gasoline. Gas guzzler and no power. Live and learn, great thread.
  4. tychoseven


    Aug 9, 2005
    Personally, I can't wait. I'm probably in the minority, but I would welcome the collapse of Western society with joy and laughter. I'm going to bide my time and not make any predictions, dire or optimistic. We'll see what the long-term impact is eventually, and if it means economic collapse, I couldn't be happier. Humans aren't going to stop our cancerous growth unless forced to do so. It's the cultural values that need to change, and hybrid cars or more efficient appliances won't accomplish that. We could have been smart and used fossil fuels to build a sustainable society that would outlast oil, but instead we squandered it all making plastic junk that just ends up in the landfill 5 years hence.

    I, for one, am not split on the issue. Bring on the apocalypse. Or not, but I'm still checking out of this diseased society and living in the hills where I can have a nice view of the trees instead of the strip-mall.



    Aug 16, 2005
    Funny... I deleted my reply to the Rusty extra mag thread beacuse it included a question about whether to use the small SUV at ~15-19 mpg or the compact car at 40-45 mpg as the base carrier for a road escape. I thought the topic would be inflammatory and detract from the rest of the thread...
  6. Dave Rishar

    Dave Rishar

    Oct 25, 2004
    Well, Tycho, I suppose that that's one way to look at it.

    I look at it like this: we were going to have to adapt sooner or later. The oil ain't gonna last forever. We've passed the point where an easy transition is possible so now it's only a matter of how painful the lesson will be. There is no quick solution. There are a few stopgap measures available to buy some time (biodiesel being among them - the one alternative fuel that actually works) but I'm not sure that they'll be taken advantage of.

    Fortunately, as humans, we're built to adapt. We'll manage. Things will be different, but things are pretty different today from what they were when I was a child. This is nothing new.

    I haven't bought my bicycle yet but I've got the money ready. ;)

    The guys that were teasing me last year about buying a VW are the ones that bum rides off me today. Such is the way of things.
  7. BruiseLeee


    Sep 7, 2001
    I think the low birth rate will keep me employed for many years to come. Companies will hire all of the available skilled workers. Then they'll have to take second rate folks like me because there's no one else. :rolleyes: :p :)
  8. RMgX


    Aug 2, 2005
    As stated earlier there are other options available. Brazil allready use quite a lot of ethanol as a gasoline substitute, some farmers here have modified their machines to run on rape oil instead of diesel ( they can save a lot of money on this with a coldpress and their own rape that they make oil with ). When the productioncost of large scale biofuel production gets lower than gasoline/diesel production we will start to see a switch I believe.
    I do not think it will be that hard either, most of the western world agricultural production have heavy dependence on subsidies from the government, if those subsidies change to further encourage biofuel production ( instead of some of the insane things we hand out money for in the EU ) the supply will greatly increase.
    But I am pretty sure that the days of hauling around an extra ton or two of car in complete denial of gasprices will be comming to an end unless you have lots of extra money to do so...


    Aug 20, 2005
    i just saw a doc on air powered vehicles, they were neat cheap to run and very powerfull average speed top-- 110 kmh, and showed one towing a large 4-wheel drive. one tank would power it for 400 miles so great, cant wait till they are available commercialy. to fill the tank takes 2minitues for full load of compressed air, or plug in own home compresser overnight fill. neat hey. :)
  10. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    I've heard one of the hang up on hybrid cars has to do with good ol' American laziness. They have hammered into our head "You don't have to plug it in!" and we've eaten it up because it's easy and we get 48 mpg. However, i read an article on ABC's news site a while ago that for about 3 grand and little bit of know how you can turn that 47mpg non-plug into an 87+mpg plug-in. Hey, if i'm going to get almost double the fuel economy and all i have to do is remember to plug in my car, i'm all for it. However, it does have it's limitations. the battery system, if i remember correctly, is pretty limited to 15-30 miles. Not great for most of us, but might make a huge difference in the city. I also read where they were pushing a hybrid car to 270 mpg :eek: ...somehow. There are already companies that will convert your gas guzzler to a hybrid or your hybrid to a super-hybrid for about 12G's +/-. Kind of reminds me of the scene in Back To the Future: Part 2 where they were showing ads of converting your ground drivng car to a flying car :rolleyes: Who knew?
    I personally have started to try and ween myself off of gas to some extent. Like most of you guys, i like to be ready for anything. To me, that means a way to get cross country without using the roads. Nope, not in the battle plans anymore. I have traded in my ol 360 cherokee for a dirt bike. I only drive my V8 company truck to work when I know I am going to need it or it rains. Every other day I ride my Harley. 47mpg and a beautiful back way through the misty sun-splashed farm land. We traded in my fiance's oh so used up '96 Audi A6 for a safe, reliable Honda Civic. 36-38 mpg and will go about a million miles before it dies. I'd really like to see the end of Mommy SUVs. SUVs are great for those that need/actually use them. Having a 4 ton 4WD just to have it for picking up your spoiled little rug rats? Not needed and wasteful. Get a mini-van. Think they are ugly? Yeah, me too. Tough. That's why i'm keeping my brood small;)

  11. Dave Rishar

    Dave Rishar

    Oct 25, 2004
    Running engines on straight vegetable oil is a very old idea. Most (not all, but most) diesel engines will chug happily along on any liquid fat that you can get into it. Depending on your climate and the particulars of your engine, minor modifications and a dual-fuel setup may be required. The how and why is beyond the scope of this post but keep in mind that when Rudolf Diesel invented his engine, he wanted it to run on vegetable oil from the start. This is one answer.

    Biodiesel is another. Assuming that there are no natural rubber parts in the engine (and if it's been made in the last fifteen years or so, there shouldn't be any) no modifications are necessary. This doesn't cut petroleum out of the picture completely (yet) but it reduces dependancy on it. Europe seems to be running with this idea and I'm at a loss as to why we aren't.

    The problem with vehicles driven by air, hydrogen, electricity, etc. is that the "fuel" in this case is just stored energy converted from another source - that source is usually petroleum. We're merely shifting the blame. It's a start but we have a lot of work to do before we've solved anything. Hybrid cars are a great idea but we're merely improving efficiency, not changing our strategy. (And, as some have found out, there are limits to what they can achieve, marketing hype aside.)
  12. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    The oil companies have made money for years and are raking in record profits even last year.

    I believe that the president needs to set down with some economists and also with energy companies and set a price cap for gasoline that allows the oil companies to make a decent profit, but at the same time cushions consumers.

    An alternative would be to allow taxpayers to write off the cost of gas to and from work on their taxes, but this would not help the lower end of working folks because with the earned income tax credit they pay very little taxes anyway, so it would be better to control prices.

    HOWEVER- this price control would be only short term to cusion the transition, because without the price driving the market to look for alternatives we will continue to waste and depend on oil.

    Also there needs to be a massive public investment in development of alternative fuels and public transportation. We need to fall back again on water and rail to transport goods.

    In Europe and Asia they are far ahead of us on a lot of this stuff. Remember the world population will peak in 2030 so we gotta be working on this stuff now! :thumbup:
  13. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    Bill Clinton revealed new "greener-than-thou" environmentalist credentials last week, privately suggesting to heads of government and industry leaders at his world forum in New York that they should celebrate the recent spike in oil prices as the best opportunity to begin weaning their nations from fossil-fuel dependency.

    Such is his interest in alternative energy, Mr Clinton told The Independent on Sunday, that he intends asking local government officials in Westchester, New York, where he lives with his wife Hillary, to investigate supplementing the local grid with solar-generated power. His new presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas, has enough solar panels to provide one-third of its power needs.

    The environment was a key area of discussion at the former president's three-day forum on world affairs, held at a Manhattan hotel and dubbed the "Clinton Global Initiative". He also raised the issue of oil prices during the meeting's opening session on Thursday, during which he and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, engaged in a panel discussion about the world's immediate challenges.

    Teasing his guests on stage, who also included the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and King Abdullah of Jordan, Mr Clinton said he knew he could not ask the question directly, but perhaps they were not unhappy that oil prices had risen so sharply. The price of crude oil has doubled in two years. The rhetorical inquiry drew a broad smile from Mr Blair, who looked ready to blurt agreement. "A sitting politician can't answer that question, of course," Mr Clinton explained in conversation with the IoS. "But I think it is a good thing because, believe me, this is going to concentrate minds all around the world. It is quite clear that we are too dependent on hydrocarbons."
  14. tychoseven


    Aug 9, 2005
    Satori, this is my point exactly. I realize my post was bitter and negative, but honestly that's how I see the situation. We aren't looking for solutions, but rather a way to continue doing exactly what we're doing using a new energy source. This strategy is just a bandage for a fundamentally broken worldview, one that does not recognize the long-term ramifications of our actions. Whatever source of energy we find to replace oil will be used until it too is tapped out, and we have to start the search again. Maybe this time we'll be smart and build a renewable energy infrastructure, but even that is skirting the issue. Our energy needs are directly related to our cultural values, and this society places material comfort above idealized action that could truly solve problems. We'd have to change the way we live, work, and think...good luck with that one...it would really screw up the economy, and nobody wants that. Except for me, apparently.

    I live in San Jose, and sometimes I'll ride up into the mountains and look out over the valley...if you've ever seen Silicon Valley from the air, you'll know what I mean. 50 years ago this was farmland. Now, it's sporting the "wall-to-wall concrete" look. At night the sodium vapor lamps that stretch from SJ to San Francisco create a light dome so bright that you can't see but a handful of stars. It never gets dark, not really. Why do we burn all that energy lighting up the whole valley when most people are sleeping, and the ones that are awake would probably rather see the sky? Because it makes us feel safer? Am I the only person that thinks this culture is insane? People saw this oil crisis coming decades ago, and we're only now doing something about it (and even then, not really)?

    Well folks, that's my view from one far too crowded valley in California. It's not going to stop, and we're just going to keep on expanding until one day the house of cards collapses because we've paved over so much land that the ecosystem just can't support us any more. Hard choices need to be made, and currently most people aren't making them.

    Peace to you all. May we find the strength and wisdom we seek.

  15. firkin


    Jan 26, 2002
    Good post.

    Some points about "growing fuel":

    This requires arible land, water, and if it is to make any sense, the expediature of less energy to produce and deliver the resulting fuel than is the useful energy that is produced by burning the fuel. A further complication that many would want to consider is how "dirty" it is to burn the fuel to get that useable energy.

    Ethanol is less energy dense, you have to burn more to get the same work. Corn is a crap source of it. Brazil uses sugar cane. Distillation is energy intensive. If they aren't using ethanol to power the distillation, are they really being more efficient, or just converting some other energy source that might be otherwise more efficiently used into ethanol?

    What "makes sense" economically at present doesn't necessarily make sense from an energy efficient, sustainability, or thermodynamic standpoint, particularly when government subsidies are involved.

    Similar issues arise with biodiesel and vegetable oils.

    Show me a test farm and production plant that meet all of their energy costs, by running on vegetable oil, biodiesel, or ethanol, and have a worthwhile amount of product left over to sell,after delivery, and I'll be convinced. And let's not forget things like the energy cost of the fertilizer they use.

    What is needed is a crop that doesn't use much water, grows like a weed on sub-prime land of a type that we've lots of, and is either oil or fermentables rich. Even in this country, the proposition of using food and water for fuel mayn't be such a great idea. Not in the Southwest anyway.

    Sugar cane ain't it, even if we replaced all the everglades with sugar cane. Corn ain't it. How energy intensive is canola oil production? Stuff sure ain't cheaper than diesel (yet).

    The "outside of the box" has to include looking at new, possibly bio-engineered crops, or things like algae.

    Otherwise we'll have Archer Daniels Midlands merged with Exxon. And the overall picture might well be dirtier, less energy efficient, and more of a oligopoly than it is now.

    Implimented improperly, widespread use of ethanol, vegetable oil, or biodiesel might well fall into the category you've astutely placed air, hydrogen and (most) electricity.
  16. 50 Freak

    50 Freak

    Dec 16, 2003
    Frankly I'm glad the price of oil/gas has shot up. I'm hoping it doubles again.

    We as a country need to get away from dependence on foreign oil. Our nation's security and the enviroment would benefit if this comes true.

    I believe in "good ole American ingeniuty". I believe we need to put more research on solar, alternative fuel sources. Hell, even nuclear is fine. Anything else but selling our young to go fight for some oil in some god forsaken sand box millions of miles away from home.

    I personally love big engined sports cars and SUVs but drive a very economical 4 banger. Can go from SF to LA almost on one 11 gallon tank of gas. I hate seeing the soccor moms driving these huge gas guzzling tanks they call SUVs. Let them pay the high prices of gas. I know I fill up maybe once every 2.5 weeks and only pay 30 to 50 bucks a month for gas. Not 50 bucks every three days like a typical SUV owner.
  17. Dave Rishar

    Dave Rishar

    Oct 25, 2004
    Well said and an excellent counterpoint, Firkin. I'm not implying that vegetable oil and alcohol will save the world - merely that they'll buy us a bit more time and barring a stroke of luck, we do need more time. Something else will be required in the long run.

    I don't like discussing vaporware but this is exactly what I had in mind. There's been some (but probably not enough) research in this area. The goal is an algae that yields a high ratio of oil to total mass and grows on sewerage - a renewable resource if there ever was one.

    For now, though, we can be doing things better.
  18. RMgX


    Aug 2, 2005
    I have done no calculations of the production capabilities needed but to do destillation especially in a warm country like Brazil I think you could probably use some setup with solarpower using mirrors ( in the daytime ) to heat the water ethanol mixture.
    There are still energy sources like uranium which can probably be used for quite some more time, as energy prices increase it will be profitable to use lower yield ores than today.
    The big hope is of course that we one day will manage to make fusion power, then we will have enormous amounts of electricity which we can also convert into hydrogen to use in things like cars.

    We will probably see more research into farming methods if go go bigtime into biofuels, making ammonium nitrate is rather energy intensive and there is also the need of phosphorus compounds in fertilizers, and in the future it might not be possible to add these with regular fertilizer but instead using different croprotating schemes.

    That being said a lot of the transportation done by car today can be done by riding a bike, yes the need for food could increase then but there is allready a problem with people eating too much and riding a bike might just help them get an energy output that coresponds to their intake.
    On a decent bike if you are somewhat trained you can go rather fast, I think you would also spend less time being stuck like you do today during rushhour.

    Cold climates would have a problem during winter with biking, skiing isn't as fast, sleighgogs eat a lot and might be difficult to train and require some space, but bikes can solve a lot of problems and are allready implemented today and can be used without the need for large changes in todays transportation systems.
  19. 37up


    Jun 16, 2002
    remember to always think of the other side in this case. this is an issue that can only be resolved by thinking and working together. the moment sides are taken, what does that accomplish?

    again, bikes are very nice. but what of the farmer who needs to plow his field? what about the construction industry?

    biofuels. granted nothing is perfect, but this is a great sign of brainstorming. no one ever said the hybrid car was the greatest solution, but it may solve even that small % problem. let's not discourage people trying to bring solutions to the table.

    human nature. when there was a rumour that fuel would go to 2.35 a litre up here in polite Toronto, people were lining up to gas stations. fights were occurring.

    what can we learn from this? that rabble rousing sh*t disturbers have no interest other then causing chaos brought about by their own bitterness to society. Shut them out.

    and that's the bottom line.
  20. arty


    Oct 18, 2003
    I was in Norway in June, where gas was already over $6 a gallon. They drive smaller cars and SUVs, and import models form Japan that aren't sold here.
    Most of us don't need SUVs that weigh 4500-5500 lbs and have litle or no more room in them than smaller and lighter ones. Japanese and European car makers have a lot of nice models that aren't sold here.

    When I decided to replace my 20 mpg Windstar lemon in Jan. - I went with a much more fuel efficient Honda CR/V. We don't import many other available models - small vans or SUVs, but seem to prefer gas guzzlers that weigh much more. I would have liked the opportunity to try out some other Honda models that I saw in Oslo.

    People in Europe do fine with higher gas prices. They just drive smaller and lighter cars, vans and SUVs, and put their bucks into public transportation - rather than gas tanks.

    When I was in Utrecht (Netherlands), I noticed as many bikes on the roads as cars. They have special turn signals for bicycles. You get lots of MPFoot on a bike, and they are easy to park in the bike parking lot.

    I didn't see any fat people in Utrecht....not one.

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