Reasons the Saudis Refused

Blogospheric commentary on President Bush’s failure to persuade the Saudis to pump more oil in an attempt to lower prices has largely centered on glee at the president’s discomfiture or outrage at the temerity of the Saudis (depending on which side of the political fence you sit on) and, as John Burgess notes, Saudi-bashing. There hasn’t been nearly enough analysis of the Saudis’ reasons.

The Reason They Gave

The State Department release (hat tip: John Burgess) gives the official explanation:

The Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, announced that the kingdom decided on May 10 to raise production by 300,000 barrels at the request of customers, including the United States. He said that increase was sufficient.

“Supply and demand are in balance today,” he told a news conference. “How much does Saudi Arabia need to do to satisfy people who are questioning our oil practices and policies?”

As the oil minister is undoubtedly aware, that’s double-talk. Supply and demand are in balance at any equilibrium price. That’s the definition of an equilibrium price. If the supply were to increase, supply and demand would be in balance at the new equilibrium price. Presumably, the Saudis are happy with current prices and don’t have a great deal of interest in the price of oil falling.

Sticking One in Bush’s Eye

That’s Pat Lang’s explanation:

It is most unusual for the Saudis, always the most polite of men, to act like this. It is the measure of their unhappiness with Bush and his policies that they can bring themselves to act in so boorish a way. It must make them uncomfortable to do so.

It used to be prattled in the media that the Saudis loved the Bushies (and the Bushes) and would always do what could be done to help them in the matter of oil production. It should have been clear then, and it is very clear now that this was never so. The Saudis are, like all people, concerned with their own wants and desires.

A continuing war in Iraq in which American policy has placed the despised Shia in control of the country is not among the things the Saudis would have hoped for. An unremitting hostility towards Iran which demands Saudi acquiescence in a policy likely to involve Saudi Arabia in war with Iran is not among the things the Saudis would have hoped for. The Saudis believe in dealing with problems like Iranian expansiveness with; some subtlety of negotiation, minimal but effective violence, and strategically useful bribery.

While there may be some truth in what Col. Lang has to say, once the Twin Pillars policy collapsed after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 some degree of confrontation between the KSA and Iran, the pillars, was inevitable.

They Can’t

Is it possible that the Saudis are unable to produce significantly more oil and are turning necessity into a virtue? From the Financial Times:

The fact that Russia’s oil production declined almost half a percentage point in April, the first drop in a decade, was shocking enough news from the world’s second biggest oil producer, whose output was growing at a rate of 12 per cent just five years ago. But Russian oil executives have gone a step further: Leonid Fedun, vice-president of Lukoil, told the Financial Times the country’s production may have already reached its peak.

Just days later Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer and by far the largest exporter, confirmed it had put on hold plans to increase the kingdom’s production capacity. Ali Naimi, Saudi energy minister, said the demand forecasts he was reading did not warrant an expansion past the 12.5m b/d capacity Saudi Arabia’s fields will reach next year, following a laborious investment of more than $20bn (£10.3bn, €12.9bn). King Abdullah, the country’s ruler, put it more bluntly: “I keep no secret from you that, when there were some new finds, I told them, ‘No, leave it in the ground, with grace from God, our children need it’.’’

Most other forecasts show the world will need Saudi Arabia’s oil. Thus the kingdom’s reluctance to invest further in its fields has led some to ask whether Saudi Arabia can boost production or whether, after 75 years, the world’s biggest oil deposit has been cashed.

Friday’s announcement by Mr Naimi that Saudi Arabia would pump slightly more oil did little to ease prices because it failed to reduce concerns over supply: when the kingdom produces more oil, it eats into its cushion of spare supply. This means such measures sometimes backfire, driving prices higher — the opposite of what US President George W. Bush, who requested the increased output, had in mind.

One problem is that nobody really knows what is going on inside Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. Riyadh is so guarded that analysts from Sanford Bernstein, the financial services company, took to spying on its activity via satellite. They spent nine months monitoring the country’s drilling activities and measuring whether Ghawar, the world’s biggest oil­field, had subsided. Their conclusion: Saudi Arabia is having to work harder than the country’s engineers and geologists expected in 2004 to squeeze more out of the northern part of the ageing Ghawar field.

Also, see this lengthy, highly technical article at The Oil Drum which suggests that Saudi reserves might be a lot less than they’re claiming.

It Doesn’t Make Sense for Them

In the final analysis it doesn’t make a great deal of sense for the Saudis to pump more in order to drive prices down:

In the 1990s the OPEC cartel was eager to pump more oil in a grab for cash as prices — like today — were going up, passing what then was viewed as a healthy sum in the $20-plus range. But then the Asia economic crisis struck and oil prices plummeted to below $10 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia and other producers got burned.

“They remember that and they’re not going have that happen again,” says Robert Ebel, an international energy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They understand the market just as well as we do.”

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Frankly, I grow weary of Americans acting like victims in all of this, who are forced to kiss Saudi butt.

    In the final reading, who CARES what the Saudis want, or think?

    As I said at my place afew days ago, now:

    We could be avoiding most of these problems by getting our heads out of this sack the environmentalists have us in, and increasing domestic drilling. We have more in the way of oil here in the the US than all of what the Saudis own or influence…. an amount which would certainly change the game. We handed OPEC all the aces when we decided to eschew drilling ANWR, and off our coasts.

    Like it or not, our future will involve oil, at least in the short term and possibly the long term as well. The much ballyhooed alternative energy sources are not ready for prime time and it’s doubtful they will ever make it beyond a ‘nice to have’. Sorry, Enviro-left, dem’s da breaks.

    So why are we insisting on playing the victim, here, of everyone who has the courage and foresight to drill for oil? Why are we so opposed to making use on the world stage, of the energy we have as a controlling factor for all this gamesmanship by OPEC? I hasten to point out that our immediate price problems would ease long before such domestic sources came online. All that needs doing is to show the world we’re not playing the victim, anymore. How to do that?

    Drill, refine, repeat.
    It’s that simple.

    Oh… there is the added dimension of telling the enviro-whack jobs to sit down and shut up. But, stop at any gas station, and tell the people paying twice what they should for fuel, that they’re saving the Snail Darter. After you remove the gasoline hose from your mouth, (and barf up a few gallons of the stuff they’ve poured into you) and get several attackers off of you, you’ll begin to understand that there is a groundswell of anger against the left and the enviro-whackjobs on these issues. The only out here is increasing supply.. and making a commitment to keep domestic oil supplies flowing. We do have the power to do this. Such an increase doesn’t need to supply all our needs, but needs to be enough to change the rules of the game OPEC is playing… because what affects OPEC will also change the rules of the speculation game that’s now going on, and keeping our prices high. The person, the party which makes that commitment, that does all that will be unbeatable come November.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Bithead, you are aware that most people aren’t particularly concerned about the source of the oil used to make the gas they put in their cars (mostly Canada and Mexico for us) but are mostly worried about how much it costs for them to do so? And that the most optimistic projections of the results of new domestic production would have a negligible impact on the price of oil?

  3. Bithead says:

    Of course I know that Dave.
    Two points; Are these the same people who predicted that the clean air standards and the governmental nonsense imposed on gasoline and disel wouldn’t raise the prices by enough to worry about? (A look at prices in california and Chicago will of course counsel otherwise)

    Are these the same people who predicted that Prudoe Bay wouldn’t last ten years, and wolnd’t make a dent in world oil production? (A look at the operation as it enteres it’s 3th year… old enough that replacement of the pipeline has become a concern, will of course counsel otherwise)

    Are these the same poeple who predicted that E85 was ‘the answer’ and that food shortaes wouldn’t be an issue?

    The predictions you’re apparently listening to, Dave, are based on raw figures, most of which are only estimates…(More correctly, wild-ass-guesswork) and such have proven to be well too conservative in the past, as demonstrated above.

    As I say, the amounts brought online need not be enough to serve all our needs, just enough to change the rule sof the game OPEC and the speculators are now playing. I suggest that since the vast majority of the increases we are now seeing are based on speculation, we need to turn some degree of attention to what will mollify the speculators, what will make them operate on the idea that our supply is more stable. The answer to that is a committment to drilling where we need to to supply the nationa’s energy needs. It’s no accident that prices started up this skyrocket trail within a month of ANWR being vetoed by Clinton. The world saw us in a dependency mode. I suggest the reverse is also true.. that perception can be reversed with a little commitment.

  4. Larry says:

    This is a predictable outcome of policies which placed political expediency before national security. Despite what pundits may say, history will see Reagan as the president who sold us up the river, and Carter as the one who actually cared about national security. If the alternative energy programs and conservation had been pursued we could be completely energy independent now. Instead Reagan came in bribed Iran with arms, cheap oil flowed once again, and got called a hero for delaying the day we dealt with the energy issue.

    There is still time to shift away from oil but its going to be much more painful than it should have been. We are going to need to rebuild this countries mostly destroyed public transit infrastructure. Build massive solar (google solar thermal) and wind installations. All this while energy costs spiral to the moon. If you think prices are bad now what do you think its going to look like as the OPEC fields go into decline? Every other major field in the world is in decline, the Saudi’s have been a bit better at extracting more oil than other countries, but if not for massive efforts Ghawar would be in decline right now as well. The scary thing is when the decline starts it going to go fast, advanced extraction leads to a much faster down slope. Its like drinking a milk shake with a bigger straw, you get more out faster, but the end comes abruptly.

    Want to cash in? Invest in alternative energy technologies that work. Solar thermal in the desert is proven technology and only needs investment to scale up. Boon Pickens is investing in gigawatts of wind power. Transit is also seeing a boom, bus companies which where once the domain of the down and out may soon see middle class ridership again. Increased ridership by affluent riders will far offset the effect of increased fuel costs.

  5. Michael says:

    We have more in the way of oil here in the the US than all of what the Saudis own or influence….

    Numbers? Also, please compare the related costs of acquiring the oil in those locations. Thanks.

  6. Bithead says:

    I suggest you start your research with the American Petrolium Institute. They’ve been quite good about supplying information.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Micheal… you actually want bit to back up one of his tirades with facts? You are an optimist…

    I still remember the first day of Sociology 101…”Things are the way they are for a reason”.

    And one of the reasons things are the way they are is because the Saudi’s pretty much own the Bush family.

    Nothing more to add, Larry summed up the situation well.

  8. Floyd says:

    Bit and Dave;
    There is no cost to having a democrat introduce legislation to drill Anwar or off shore.
    While we only discussed it OPEC would change it’s tune!

  9. Michael says:

    I suggest you start your research with the American Petrolium Institute. They’ve been quite good about supplying information.

    Yes but you’ve obviously already done the work, otherwise you wouldn’t have made so confident a statement, so there’s no need for me to duplicate your work. You can simply state the numbers and reference your source.

  10. Floyd says:

    ANJIN SIN;
    Something tells me that you and your ilk are gonna miss President Bush more than the rest of us![lol]

  11. anjin-san says:

    I have an “ilk”? Wow!

  12. Bithead says:

    Micheal… you actually want bit to back up one of his tirades with facts? You are an optimist…

    If you’ll look, I gave him ths source.

    Yes but you’ve obviously already done the work, otherwise you wouldn’t have made so confident a statement, so there’s no need for me to duplicate your work

    Yes, thtere is. Because if I offer it you can always dismiss it. If you find it yourself, it’s far harder to do so.

  13. Michael says:

    If you’ll look, I gave him ths source.

    No, you gave me an institution, not a source reference. Probably you meant to link to one or more studies published by that institution?

  14. Bithead says:

    Oh… add this to the research list.

  15. Michael says:

    Yes, thtere is. Because if I offer it you can always dismiss it. If you find it yourself, it’s far harder to do so.

    That’s why I requested a source reference too, because presumably the source includes the evidence to support your claims. Then the onus is on me to refute the validity of that evidence.

  16. Bithead says:

    No, Mike, I meant for him to look at that org as a source and do the research to find it himself.

  17. anjin-san says:

    Really Bit, just once, document your claims. The “look it up yourself” thing would be weak coming from a 10 year old. If you have done the research, just provide a few links to back up your position. Its a standard practice here, and a routine courtesy. It would take you about 2 minutes.

    Of course if you are talking thru your hat, it would be pretty difficult to provide any documentation.

  18. Michael says:

    Oh… add this to the research list.

    Linked article claims a possibility of 112 billion barrels of US oil reserves.

    Wikipedia says KSA has an estimated 264 billion barrels of oil reserves, or more than double the largest estimate for US oil reserves.

  19. Michael says:

    No, Mike, I meant for him to look at that org as a source and do the research to find it himself.

    The problem with this approach is that your debate opponent could simply say “I looked it up and found nothing to support your claims”, and the onus is immediately back on you to provide supporting evidence.

  20. Bithead says:

    Wikipedia says KSA has an estimated 264 billion barrels of oil reserves, or more than double the largest estimate for US oil reserves.

    True, but look at the date. I kind figured you’d notice that. Sorry I over-estimated your power of observation.

    The estimates in question do not include recent finds, such as Bakken, for example, along with a few others.

    Also keep in mind the known reserves that are no longer labeled as such being held off limits by the Federal government… park land in Maine, for example.

    Understand; I don’t intend to be spoonfeeding you this stuff. I’m asking you to research and to actually THINK.

  21. Bithead says:

    Really Bit, just once, document your claims

    Really, just once trust something other than what the usual crowd feeds you. Show us a little brainpower in use.

  22. Bithead says:

    Since you insist on being spoonfed….Here’s a string I want you to go and find:

    The Department of Interior estimates there are 112 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil beneath U.S. federal lands and coastal waters. That’s enough oil to fuel 60 million cars for 60 years, when you take into account the average yield of gasoline from a barrel of crude oil and the average number of gallons of gasoline consumed annually by a passenger vehicle.

    Now, here’s a little thought excersize; add 122b to the reserves you’ve listed. Follow your nose.

  23. Michael says:

    True, but look at the date. I kind figured you’d notice that. Sorry I over-estimated your power of observation.

    The estimates in question do not include recent finds, such as Bakken, for example, along with a few others.

    Sorry, you don’t get to provide a source, then blame me for using that source. If you based your claim on more relevant numbers, you should be sourcing them instead.

    Wikipedia says Brakken contains oil shale, not crude oil, and that the recoverable oil from the site is no more than about 4.3 billion barrels of oil.

    That leaves us still about 147 billion barrels of oil short of validating your claim. Please post your sources for these other reserves, thanks.

  24. anjin-san says:

    Show us a little brainpower in use

    Well at the moment I am at work, building the kind of functionality that allows people such as yourself to function on the internet, and I cannot give this discussion much attention.

    I am curious why you continually try to paint me as some sort of left wing ideologue, when even a cursory reading of my posts shows that this is not the case. If I stuck to what “the usual crowd” says, I would not even be on this blog.

    Your continual taunts to “try to think” and “show a little brainpower” are juvenile and they display the weakness of your arguments. Why don’t you show us a well articulated argument that might actually sway someone with an opposing viewpoint?

  25. Michael says:

    Also keep in mind the known reserves that are no longer labeled as such being held off limits by the Federal government… park land in Maine, for example.

    I haven’t seen anything that would indicate that the term “oil reserve” excludes oil in federal lands.

    Understand; I don’t intend to be spoonfeeding you this stuff. I’m asking you to research and to actually THINK.

    You make people think by presenting them your data, not by withholding it.

  26. Michael says:

    Now, here’s a little thought excersize; add 122b to the reserves you’ve listed. Follow your nose.

    Where did that 122 billion barrels come from?

  27. steveplunk says:

    While one “ilk” argues with the other “ilk” perhaps someone from the left side of the debate would like to explain why we should not be drilling. Set aside the arguments of why it’s not enough or that it will do no good and just explain why we shouldn’t allow private companies to drill and develop? Since it’s their money at risk I would assume they know better than anyone what the potential rewards would be.

    While I agree with Bit 99% I would have to add other steps need to be taken. Conservation is still a good strategy that can have an immediate effect on supplies and help drive the speculators out of the market. Flex fuel vehicles could do the same and increase the incentives for free market ethanol/methanol. Government mandates should also be relaxed when it comes to fuel mixes and sulfur content.

    The dueling facts and figures basically make a lot of us dizzy. We can read all day and still come up with what is no more than best guesses about all of this. There are people who are willing to risk their own money (not the governments)to try some things and I just don’t get why so many are opposed to that.

  28. Michael says:

    Set aside the arguments of why it’s not enough or that it will do no good and just explain why we shouldn’t allow private companies to drill and develop?

    Because we don’t need it now, and because we might need it later.

    We could clear-cut all the redwoods in California and burn them at our coal plants, but just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

    There are people who are willing to risk their own money (not the governments)to try some things and I just don’t get why so many are opposed to that.

    Because they’re also risking the government’s land, which is our land, and will one day be our children’s land. If some company thought they could make money by burning the rafters on your neighbor’s house, would you say your neighbor should let them?

  29. anjin-san says:

    perhaps someone from the left side of the debate would like to explain why we should not be drilling

    What would we accomplish if we completely disregarded any environmental considerations and gave the oil companies a blank check to drill as they please?

    Would we put the day of reckoning off 10 years? 20? 30? Regardless, the day will still come. Is making it our kids and grandkids problem the best we can do?

    Why not stop focusing on how to perpetuate our dependence on 19th century technology and put good old American know how to work and come up with long term answers for this century?

    Or is the right just too firmly stuck in its “this is hard, America can’t solve the big problems” frame of mind?

  30. Michael says:

    Government mandates should also be relaxed when it comes to fuel mixes and sulfur content.

    You mean like allowing leaded gas and acid rain?

  31. Bithead says:

    Where did that 122 billion barrels come from?

    Well first the earth cooled. And then the dinosaurs came but they got too fat and lazy so they all died. And then the arabs came and they bought Mercedes …

    (Ahem. Sorry.)
    Good Lord, man, do you actually read what I post?
    Try again:

    The Department of Interior estimates there are 112 billion barrels

    See it now?

    Steve;

    While I agree with Bit 99% I would have to add other steps need to be taken. Conservation is still a good strategy that can have an immediate effect on supplies and help drive the speculators out of the market.

    (I’m not slapping you upside the head, here, so don’t misread me) I’ve never argued otherwise. I simply go after the larger target first. the issue of conservation should not get down to mandating what we as individuals drive, however, which is what is so often being proposed, and government enforced.

    As I have so often said; If higher MPG’s, say 50mpg is the desired goal, fine, go after it. Create something that can tow 6000lbs and doesn’t fold up like an altoids box in a crash, and can fit a family of 5 comfortably. Great. Fine. Build it. I may even look at it seriously, and I’m sure it’ll sell like hotcakes an a maple festival. Until you actually manage to do that however, leave me something that actually works. Failing an ability to do that leave what I have, which works, alone, and stop trying to tax it off the road.

    And meanwhile, let’s attack the largest part of the problem.

    Flex fuel vehicles could do the same and increase the incentives for free market ethanol/methanol

    Private momentum isn’t going to happen unless and until the government gets out of it.

    Government mandates should also be relaxed when it comes to fuel mixes and sulfur content.

    Complete agreement.

  32. Bithead says:

    Would we put the day of reckoning off 10 years? 20? 30?

    Current estimates are on the order of 60 years, as the quote I posted, indicated… and that’s just what we can’t get at currently. Add that to the stuff we can already get at.. that the government hasn’t banned us from getting yet, and you’re talking another 100 years, total… and that’s just on domestic supplies.

    There is simply no reason to make oil artificially painful, which is in reality what the government is doing, here.

  33. Bithead says:

    I am curious why you continually try to paint me as some sort of left wing ideologue

    Well, now, let’s consider that question for a just a second… because that’s all it’s going to take.

    On what, other than what you write, would I be making that judgement?

  34. Michael says:

    See it now?

    No, I still see 112, not 122. I’m pretty sure I don’t have dyscalculia, so it must be you.

  35. Michael says:

    Current estimates are on the order of 60 years

    The estimates said 60 years for 60 million cars, thats:

    60m cars * 60 years = 3600m car years.

    Given that we currently have 247m registered cars in the US, thats:

    3600m car years / 247m cars = 14.57 years.

    Again, since I don’t have dyscalculia, it must be you.

  36. anjin-san says:

    The estimates said 60 years for 60 million cars, thats:

    60m cars * 60 years = 3600m car years.

    Given that we currently have 247m registered cars in the US, thats:

    3600m car years / 247m cars = 14.57 years.

    And lets not forget that India has an inexpensive car coming soon, wonder how many of them will be on the road in 10 years…

  37. Michael says:

    And lets not forget that India has an inexpensive car coming soon, wonder how many of them will be on the road in 10 years…

    None in the US, it doesn’t satisfy safety requirements.

  38. Bithead says:

    No, I still see 112, not 122. I’m pretty sure I don’t have dyscalculia, so it must be you.

    Oh, goodie. The typo police.

    None in the US, it doesn’t satisfy safety requirements.

    But it does get 50 to the gallon.

    Given that we currently have 247m registered cars in the US, thats:

    Heh. Clearly, you don’t read what I write and consider the angles before replying. Look again, where I suggest that the oi we produce doesn’t need to provide for all our needs, just enough to change the game.

    You make people think by presenting them your data, not by withholding it.

    Not in my experience.
    Yourself, for example.

  39. Michael says:

    Oh, goodie. The typo police.

    Typos in words are allowed, because we will usually understand what you were trying to type anyway. A typo in a number actually changes what you are saying.

    Heh. Clearly, you don’t read what I write and consider the angles before replying. Look again, where I suggest that the oi we produce doesn’t need to provide for all our needs, just enough to change the game.

    What you quoted said quite plainly that the estimated oil reserves on federal property could run 60 million cars for 60 years. Doing exactly that would buy us an additional 14.7 years if the number of cars on the road and their fuel efficiency remains constant. It doesn’t really matter if we use all 14.7 years worth in immediately, or over the course of the next 50 years, it will still only produce enough oil to extend things 14.7 years.

  40. Michael says:

    Now that I know you meant 112 billion barrels of oil, let’s revisit your earlier posts.

    The Department of Interior estimates there are 112 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil beneath U.S. federal lands and coastal waters.

    and

    USGS believes the U.S. has 112.3 billion barrels of oil

    There is nothing I can see that indicates that these are not the same 112 billion barrels of oil, so even adding in the 4.3 billion from Brakken, you’re still 147 billion barrels of oil short of supporting your original assertion:

    We have more in the way of oil here in the the US than all of what the Saudis own or influence….

  41. Michael says:

    Not in my experience.
    Yourself, for example.

    You haven’t presented me with your data, so how could I possible be an example of what happens when you do?

  42. anjin-san says:

    Current estimates are on the order of 60 years, as the quote I posted, indicated… and that’s just what we can’t get at currently. Add that to the stuff we can already get at.. that the government hasn’t banned us from getting yet, and you’re talking another 100 years, total… and that’s just on domestic supplies.

    Heh. Clearly, you don’t read what I write and consider the angles before replying. Look again, where I suggest that the oi we produce doesn’t need to provide for all our needs, just enough to change the game.

    Where do I start? Ahhh Bit, which story is it? Please pick one and stick to it…

    Or are you just making things up so fast you can’t keep track?

  43. anjin-san says:

    … we are getting pretty close to where Bit flees to another thread

  44. steveplunk says:

    Michael,

    A good number of people make a reasonable argument we need it now before this ruins our economy. As for the acid rain I believe that was mostly the fault of older coal burning electricity plants not higher sulfur fuels. I didn’t say anything about leaded gasoline. What about the seasonal mixture requirements?

    Drilling creates a very small print on the land and like you say it’s all of our land. Let’s say half of us want more drilling can we open up half the resource land? Or perhaps a minority wants to lock up all the land? There are reasonable accommodations that can be made without spoiling the environment. But the left wants no part of compromise.

    Anjin-san,

    You ol’ lefty. Of course I’m not saying ignore all the environmental protections. You should know better than to try that game.

    The “day of reckoning” you speak of could be more than 100 years away so why turn our back on such a resource? In comparison to other sources of energy from the past it’s a pretty good deal. Would you support nuclear? Clean and, with reprocessing technology, much safer than the old days.

    Why ignore what we have as we make the transition to other sources?

    Bit,

    Thanks. I know you are much too reasonable to not think about the other points. I just wanted to throw them in. Like you I see an all out assault on all fronts as the key. If you talk conservation you must also talk about drilling for more at the same time. If you talk alternatives you must also talk about easing some regulatory burdens. It’s a hundred different things all put together.

  45. anjin-san says:

    The “day of reckoning” you speak of could be more than 100 years away

    And it could be quite a bit sooner than that.

    Why this attachment to oil? Oil powered internal combustion engines are a 19th century technology. Why not move on to something that is easier on the environment and has less geopolitical cost?

    What happened to the days when America was the leader, the shaper of the future? Are we going to sit on our butts and watch China develop a hydrogen economy?

  46. Bithead says:

    And it could be quite a bit sooner than that.

    Why this attachment to oil?

    Because it works, is why. What is being offered as alternatives do not. If you think oils going to fail in so short a time, then I’d advise you to get cracking with inventing the 50MPG pickup truck, kid. You’re wasting time, here.

    Are we going to sit on our butts and watch China develop a hydrogen economy?

    Oh, spare me. First of all, we’re being told that China is part of the ‘shortage’ problem. If they’re on a hydrogen kick, they’re not shoing it. ANd you may also want to check out what they’re driving over there. Caught a news release last night about how tey were finally opening up a factory again that closed down because of the earthquake. The factory builds SUV’s.

  47. M1EK says:

    I can’t believe you guys are letting this know-nothing bonehead get by with the fiction that pumping a little more US oil would somehow give us more than trivially cheaper oil overall.

    FUNGIBLE. FUNGIBLE. FUNGIBLE.

    FUNGIBLE.

  48. anjin-san says:

    Bit,

    As I have told you before, I am 50 years old. Calling a contemporary “kid” does not do much except make you sound kind of lame.

    I use the China/hydrogen reference simply to make a point. If we do not lead, eventually we will follow. China and India are both moving to become world powers. We can stay out in front, or we can fall behind. Its that simple.

    Because it works, is why.

    I have an old rotary wall phone, circa 1968 in a box in the garage. It works too. You know what? I prefer an iPhone.

    What is being offered as alternatives do not

    Mature technologies do not spring into existence overnight. A great number of the things we rely on every day did not work all that well, or at all when they were new.

    It is astonishing to me that the right does not think America is capable of moving beyond 19th century technology. On the other hand, this probably explains why such a huge percentage of our countries progress, innovation and growth comes out of California.

  49. Bithead says:

    I can’t believe you guys are letting this know-nothing bonehead get by with the fiction that pumping a little more US oil would somehow give us more than trivially cheaper oil overall.

    FUNGIBLE. FUNGIBLE. FUNGIBLE.

    FUNGIBLE.

    Spare me this mantra of yours.
    A competetor will cause far more than his weight in price drop. The problem is, we’ve removed ourselves form the feild of production.

    Or don’t you trust the power of the open marketplace?

    I have an old rotary wall phone, circa 1968 in a box in the garage. It works too. You know what? I prefer an iPhone.

    Yes, and so do I. And when something comes long that works better in personal transport, we can both buy it. Problem is that hasn’t happened.

    I say again, when you can come up with something that works on cheaper less polluting fuel, gets incredibly good mileage out of it’s power source, can tow 4000 or so lbs and can hold a family of 5 comfortably while doing it, by all means, let’s see it. At the moment, such a vehicle does not exist. Until it does, stop trying to get us out of what does work.

    Clear?

  50. anjin-san says:

    At the moment, such a vehicle does not exist.

    Yep, and the people who benefit from the status quo have fought long, hard, and with great success to keep it that way.

    Look I love my car, it is a joy to drive. Nothing I would rather do than hop in and head up to Mendocino. It gets only so so mileage, but I only put about 5k a year on it so I balance it out somewhat.

    But we need to get off our asses as a country and move beyond fossil fuels. Pretending that auto makers and oil companies are not part of the problem is delusional.

  51. anjin-san says:

    If we do not lead, eventually we will follow.

    Anyone disagree with this?

  52. Bithead says:

    Yep, and the people who benefit from the status quo have fought long, hard, and with great success to keep it that way.

    Oh, nonsense. What governmental agency has prevented any private concern or individual from developing any vehicle at all? That’s where invention happens… not with governmental involvement.

    If we do not lead, eventually we will follow.

    Anyone disagree with this?

    Follwing certainly caused us to be where we are. Leading would entail domestic drilling.

  53. Larry says:

    Yes, and so do I. And when something comes long that works better in personal transport, we can both buy it. Problem is that hasn’t happened.

    It need not work better, it needs to work sufficiently. If your running out of pasta you don’t refuse to eat because you prefer it to potatoes.

    Rezone areas to put stores within walking/biking/short drive distance of suburbs.

    Building a decent public transit infrastructure would remove or reduce the need for oil for starters. I don’t own a car, my transportation expense per month on transit is about on par with one semi fancy meal.

    The Tesla has demonstrated a high performance electric car with a decent range. Its basically a prototype, economies of scale will bring the price way down. Electric cars are far simpler than gasoline, and may be cheaper in the end.

    I say again, when you can come up with something that works on cheaper less polluting fuel, gets incredibly good mileage out of it’s power source, can tow 4000 or so lbs and can hold a family of 5 comfortably while doing it, by all means, let’s see it. At the moment, such a vehicle does not exist. Until it does, stop trying to get us out of what does work.

    Thats a red herring, most oil isn’t burned going out on family boating trips, its burned on long commutes usually by a single person. Thats the need that needs to be addressed first. Take one lane of highway, put in train service, put parking lots next to the highway, you’ve just hugely cut oil consumption and made peoples commutes far more pleasant.

    As far as replacing something that works. It no longer works to consume oil at the rate we are. Your family vacation may be technically practical with gasoline, but only the wealthy will be able to afford it.

    Drilling more in the US won’t do it for long. The worlds major oil fields are in decline, there is no source of oil available to make up for that long term.

    We need to work on replacing oil as the foundation of transportation. It can be done, most alternative energy technologies most easily provide electricity. Between direct drive of trains and busses, and batteries in cars its quite possible.

  54. anjin-san says:

    Oh, nonsense. What governmental agency has prevented any private concern or individual from developing any vehicle at all? That’s where invention happens… not with governmental involvement.

    The government has kept mileage standards low, for one thing. Guess who has been pulling the strings?

    Follwing certainly caused us to be where we are. Leading would entail domestic drilling.

    OK, who were we following? Actually we were leading in the area of caring about the environment. We all have to breathe and drink water to live.

    You are still hard at work on your bridge to the 19th century I see.

  55. Bithead says:

    It need not work better, it needs to work sufficiently. If your running out of pasta you don’t refuse to eat because you prefer it to potatoes.

    Point taken, but I suppose that to depend on how you define ‘better’. Better would be, same performance, lower operating cost, or some reasonable balance thereof. I would say what I listed would be a minimum requirement.

    The Tesla has demonstrated a high performance electric car with a decent range. Its basically a prototype, economies of scale will bring the price way down. Electric cars are far simpler than gasoline, and may be cheaper in the end.

    Possibly for small cars… VERY small cars. Too small, in factc. Let me illustate it this way; to meet the requirements I specified, you’re talking about the power plant needing to generate on the order of 235KW of power. (That’s more or less the current rating of a medium sized 6, generating around 250 HP)

    Battery power won’t cut it… it doesn’t even come close.

    Thats a red herring, most oil isn’t burned going out on family boating trips, its burned on long commutes usually by a single person. Thats the need that needs to be addressed first

    Not in the least, unless you’re suggesting that we’re all to be forced into buying yet another vehicle, keeping the more capable unit in the driveway until needed. Sorry, that won’t fly. Most people simply don’t have the room in their budgets or their driveways for such an arrangement. THey buy one vehicle that will meet ALL their needs, all at once. Those needs are not decided by government fit, nor should they be.

    Drilling more in the US won’t do it for long. The worlds major oil fields are in decline, there is no source of oil available to make up for that long term.

    As I’ve demonstrated, we have another century or longer, just on what we know about now… and that amount is likley to expand even further as our technology does.

    Again, if you want to invent something to fill the need, fine. INvent it. I may even buy it, if it meets my needs. But until then quit trying to regulate what we have now out of existance.

  56. Bithead says:

    The government has kept mileage standards low, for one thing. Guess who has been pulling the strings?

    Mother nature. You can only get so much out of a gallon of fuel. We’ve reached into the impractical and the downright dangerous in an effort to get MPG’s artificially high. We’re killing people to save fuel. But boy, we’re saving the planet, aren’t we?

    OK, who were we following?

    OPEC.

  57. anjin-san says:

    We’ve reached into the impractical and the downright dangerous in an effort to get MPG’s artificially high. We’re killing people to save fuel.

    What on Earth are you talking about? The Prius has the best mileage of any car in America. Please demonstrate how they are killers.

  58. Michael says:

    Take one lane of highway, put in train service, put parking lots next to the highway, you’ve just hugely cut oil consumption and made peoples commutes far more pleasant.

    That would only work if the train either takes you to your destination, or takes you to another hub where you can take another form of public transportation to your destination. The problem the US has with public transport is entirely in the first and last mile, not the long drive in between.

    Figure out a way for me to put myself and my car on the train a couple miles from my house, then let me get off with my car a couple miles from my office, and I’ll pay the train fare. Asking me to park my car, ride the train, get off the train and on a bus, ride the bus, then walk half a mile to my office, and I’d just as soon pay the $3.79/gallon to drive the whole way.

    Drilling more in the US won’t do it for long. The worlds major oil fields are in decline, there is no source of oil available to make up for that long term.

    They can help in the short term, and we will still need petroleum in the long term, even if we move to mostly renewable sources of energy. Oil drilling isn’t bad, it’s just a question of costs and benefits.

    We need to work on replacing oil as the foundation of transportation. It can be done, most alternative energy technologies most easily provide electricity. Between direct drive of trains and busses, and batteries in cars its quite possible.

    Yes, it is currently possible. The problem is that it is not currently economically desirable. Until the renewable energy becomes more desirable than fossil fuels, most people won’t switch. As stated above, while a train ride and a bus ride may be cheaper for me, and more ecologically friendly, it would be significantly less convenient. Right now, the cost of gasoline is less than the benefit of convenience, so I continue to drive. Change that balance, and I will change my actions.

  59. Michael says:

    Possibly for small cars… VERY small cars. Too small, in factc. Let me illustate it this way; to meet the requirements I specified, you’re talking about the power plant needing to generate on the order of 235KW of power. (That’s more or less the current rating of a medium sized 6, generating around 250 HP)

    Battery power won’t cut it… it doesn’t even come close.

    Is that power rating at the engine or at the wheels? You lose a lot of power between your pistons and the road. Batteries, capacitors and fuel cells can all produce the desired amount of power, the problem right now is that all of those are either big, expensive, or unreliable.

    Not in the least, unless you’re suggesting that we’re all to be forced into buying yet another vehicle, keeping the more capable unit in the driveway until needed.

    That’s the beauty of hybrids, you effectively do have 2 vehicles that occupy the space of one.

  60. Michael says:

    Mother nature. You can only get so much out of a gallon of fuel. We’ve reached into the impractical and the downright dangerous in an effort to get MPG’s artificially high. We’re killing people to save fuel. But boy, we’re saving the planet, aren’t we?

    No, we’re killing people to save money. You can make a light-weight car that is as safe as an all-steel land yacht, but it will cost a significant amount more to do so and nobody will buy it. We all like to say “safety is our top priority”, but in reality we will all trade off some safety for a reduction in cost.

  61. Bithead says:

    Is that power rating at the engine or at the wheels?

    At the engine, I imagine.

    You lose a lot of power between your pistons and the road.

    True ’nuff.

    Batteries, capacitors and fuel cells can all produce the desired amount of power, the problem right now is that all of those are either big, expensive, or unreliable.

    Again, true. And I’m praying some yutz doesn’t get the shockingly bright idea of governmentally mandating wew all go to hybrids, iven that will stifle developoment of other paths.

    That’s the beauty of hybrids, you effectively do have 2 vehicles that occupy the space of one.

    Well, yes, and no. For bigger SUV’s it works fine. Say, the Tahoe, for example…. though I’ll be interested in their record of repair in a few years. In smaller rigs, the Escape works well… but both of those only work somewhat better htan the straight gas rigs, and then only in city driving. OTR, they’re actually a shade worse. Since a good deal of commuting (to say nothing of the odd weekend run) is done at highway speeds, where there is really no difference in gas milage, what we buy with that technology is less than clear. Then, too, there’s all the lead in the batteries….

  62. Bithead says:

    Mike, you bring up costs and benefits, as reards oil. Well, I can give you a perfect list of things to do to create a shortage situation:

    —-

    Create shortages in the oil markets by ensuring domestic oil supplies can never be used. This will force us to get oil from the least stable spots in the world, thus forcing not only higher prices, but forcing us to fund people intent on destroying us.

    Regulate domestic suppliers out of business with NIMBY, and enviro-whackjob policy, and regulations and of course, the great leveler, taxes.

    Make sure that no new refineries are built over a period 30 years, to meet the need.

    Mandate that everyone buys only governmentally mandated formulations of gasoline, thus creating shortages of the ingredients.

    Make sure that each area of the country has it’s own mandated formulation, which will strain the already over-strained existing refining infrastructure, thus raising prices.

    Create even further price increases by ensuring that each area of the country moves to seasonal blends, which will create even more havoc on the refiners, thus raising prices even further.

    Mandate that all these regional blends contain MBTE, which is a creation of one of your biggest contributors. Make sure it’s added in the name of saving the environment. don’t tell anyone how this raises the price of fuel.

    Mandate that all these regional blends do not contain contain MBTE, which is a creation of one of your biggest contributors, but now we find after actually LOOKING at it thtat it creates more of a problem than it solves… very much an indicator of government based solutions. Make sure it’s removed in the name of saving the environment, but also, require that the removal of MBTE does not affect tailpipe emissions… regardless of the cost. Don’t tell anyone how this raises the price of fuel.

    When product shortages cause increased prices at the pump, blame the refiners, and increase their taxes as punishment, which can only have the effect of raising pump prices still further.

    When pump prices go up again, raise taxes again, as indicated, even to the point of taxing 60% of their total profits… and nearly 70% of the puump price is the result of taxes and mandated nonsense…. while continuing to blame oil companies for the prices.

    Make lots of noise… most notably from the aforementioned enviro-whackjobs and pols about how we need to get off oil, which has the effect of minimizing investment in new sources of oil, creating even further shortages.
    -0-

    Now, that’s only a partial list, but note that in each case, the problem is government, which thinks itself at each turn, the solution.

  63. Michael says:

    Since a good deal of commuting (to say nothing of the odd weekend run) is done at highway speeds, where there is really no difference in gas milage, what we buy with that technology is less than clear. Then, too, there’s all the lead in the batteries….

    I’m not real familiar with the hybrid designs in use, but using a gasoline engine to generate electricity to drive the wheels would generally be more efficient than running the wheels from the gasoline engine itself. My parent’s have a Prius, and I think that’s how it works, based on their descriptions of when the engine toggles on and off.

    I’m not sure what materials are used in the batteries, are they still using lead acid? I’d have thought they’d be using Lithium ion or NiMH batteries.

    Now, that’s only a partial list, but note that in each case, the problem is government, which thinks itself at each turn, the solution.

    Yes, all of those things could contribute to making the switch to renewable energy sources more economically desirable. They’re only a “problem” if that end isn’t the goal.

  64. anjin-san says:

    Bit – Undoubtedly the regulatory climate on the gasoline side has issues. How effective are additives? What does the cost benefit equation look like?

    What about the other side of the street? Oil companies are making record profits at a time of record high prices. Why does this not interest you?

    Also, why do you refuse to recognize legitimate concerns about the environment? Not everyone that cares about it is a “wacko nutjob”. Let’s look at what is being done to protect the environment, how well is it working, and what are its costs.

    Meantime, lets create tax breaks to encourage innovation in technologies that will allow us to have the transportation that we all want with less impact on the environment and less geopolitical cost.

  65. Michael says:

    What about the other side of the street? Oil companies are making record profits at a time of record high prices. Why does this not interest you?

    They’re making record profits at a time of near-record consumption.

    Unless you want to charge collusion, which I think the profit margin on a gallon of gasoline would disprove, then the oil companies are truly “making up for it with volume”. I find it hard to object to that. If you don’t like the profits they’re making, buy less of their product.

  66. Bithead says:

    I’m not real familiar with the hybrid designs in use, but using a gasoline engine to generate electricity to drive the wheels would generally be more efficient than running the wheels from the gasoline engine itself. My parent’s have a Prius, and I think that’s how it works, based on their descriptions of when the engine toggles on and off.

    Well, that’s the point; At freeway speeds it doesn’t turn off often, if at all. So what you end up with is an underpowered rig, that gets the same MPG was the one with the big gas or diesel engine.

    I’m not sure what materials are used in the batteries, are they still using lead acid? I’d have thought they’d be using Lithium ion or NiMH batteries.

    You’re likely correct on that specific, but that still leaves us with some fairly serious waste product to deal with, seems to me.

    Yes, all of those things could contribute to making the switch to renewable energy sources more economically desirable. They’re only a “problem” if that end isn’t the goal.

    Aha. So, you’re willing to stipulate that our current prices are artificially high, and government is the cause?

    Undoubtedly the regulatory climate on the gasoline side has issues. How effective are additives? What does the cost benefit equation look like?

    As the MBTE debacle shows, though, government isn’t the place for those chocies to be made, government having demonstrated itself as signularly unable to deal with the technical issues at hand.

    Oil companies are making record profits at a time of record high prices. Why does this not interest you?

    Again, I tend to stick with the biggest part of the problem. Exxon/Mobil’s profits ran 40BUSD last year, if you don’t count what they spent on researching new sources of oil, and what they were forced by goverment to spend on researching ‘alternatives’. Yet, their taxes were over 100BUSD, and the amount of money they spent on unfunded mandates added to that huge sum. So, you tell ME….which is the larger concern, here? Government makes better than half the total take at the pump (Not counting direct taxes that were added at the pump itself), and yet the problem is the ones who actually produce the product? That you dont see that as the larger of the evils, is a concern.

    Also, why do you refuse to recognize legitimate concerns about the environment? Not everyone that cares about it is a “wacko nutjob”.

    I think the vast majority of it is utter nonsense… overkill, aimed at reducing our advantage on the rest of the world. we’ve long past the state of diminishing returns on this stuff,a nd we’re costing ourselves well too much in the way of energy doing it. Oddly, nobody seems to note that the measures you’re talking about, Kyoto, for example, are planned and arranged for us by that rest of the world who would like to see our role in the world diminished. Well, with the cuurent economic concerns beacuse of energy costs, I’d say they’ve got their wish, wouldn’t you?

    Meantime, lets create tax breaks to encourage innovation in technologies that will allow us to have the transportation that we all want with less impact on the environment and less geopolitical cost.

    That would include tax breaks (and frankly, breaks on the over-regulation) to encourage domestic drilling. Are you really sure you’re willing to go that route?

  67. Bithead says:

    They’re making record profits at a time of near-record consumption.

    Unless you want to charge collusion, which I think the profit margin on a gallon of gasoline would disprove, then the oil companies are truly “making up for it with volume”. I find it hard to object to that. If you don’t like the profits they’re making, buy less of their product.

    Correct, as well.

  68. Michael says:

    Well, that’s the point; At freeway speeds it doesn’t turn off often, if at all. So what you end up with is an underpowered rig, that gets the same MPG was the one with the big gas or diesel engine.

    Going from engine rotation to current to wheel rotation has a smaller heat loss than going through mechanical transmission, so you should still get better fuel economy. High-temperature superconductors could eliminate nearly all of that heat loss, much progress has been made on that front lately.

    Aha. So, you’re willing to stipulate that our current prices are artificially high, and government is the cause?

    There’s no such thing as “artificially high”, only “higher than it would be if we remove some market factor”. If you removed 50% of consumers from the equation, it would significantly reduce the cost as well.

    That would include tax breaks (and frankly, breaks on the over-regulation) to encourage domestic drilling.

    You wouldn’t need tax incentives to get people to expand domestic drilling, so that would be a waste of money. Nobody is doubting that there is money to be made in the endeavor. Renewable energies are still an investment gamble, because while everybody knows that there is money to be made, nobody knows which technology will actually be the one that accomplishes it.

  69. Bithead says:

    You wouldn’t need tax incentives to get people to expand domestic drilling, so that would be a waste of money. Nobody is doubting that there is money to be made in the endeavor.

    And the reason incentives are needed is because the government has been the only one to make any money. Are you aware of the costs involved with simpy getting through the governmental hoops for a new drill site, and the legal costs involved with just that? That’s before one bit of equipment is moved into place.

    Understand; given all of that, I would consider a reasonable reduction in regulation to be an incentive, since the level of over-regulation we have going just now acts as such a DISincentive.

    There’s no such thing as “artificially high”, only “higher than it would be if we remove some market factor”. If you removed 50% of consumers from the equation, it would significantly reduce the cost as well.

    Well, let’s see. No oil for Democrats? That’s about 50%, isn’t it? (Snort)

  70. Bithead says:

    Going from engine rotation to current to wheel rotation has a smaller heat loss than going through mechanical transmission, so you should still get better fuel economy

    Perhaps, but that factor is more or less offset by the added weight of the system. Which is why the OTR MPG of the Escape hybrid, for example, is somewhat lower than the OTR of the Escape straight gas rig with the smaller of the two engines. (They released the Escape for a while with a 4cyl engine not unlike what they use in the hybrid)

  71. Michael says:

    Are you aware of the costs involved with simpy getting through the governmental hoops for a new drill site, and the legal costs involved with just that? That’s before one bit of equipment is moved into place.

    I’m guessing it’s a couple orders of magnitude less that the # of barrels of recoverable oil * the current price of a barrel of oil.

    Well, let’s see. No oil for Democrats? That’s about 50%, isn’t it? (Snort)

    More like 51%.

    Perhaps, but that factor is more or less offset by the added weight of the system. Which is why the OTR MPG of the Escape hybrid, for example, is somewhat lower than the OTR of the Escape straight gas rig with the smaller of the two engines.

    Yes, the batteries are heavy (the “big” I mentioned several posts up). Super-capacitors will hopefully become viable in the near future, which will remove a lot of that weight.

  72. M1EK says:

    Bithead, you’re as ill-informed about hybrids as you are about economics. The Prius outperforms every other midsized car on the highway by a long-shot (it outperforms all mainstream cars, as a matter of fact).

    Why is the battery useful even on the highway? Because you wouldn’t tolerate a car that big with a gas engine that small without the assist from the battery to accelerate up to highway speeds.

  73. anjin-san says:

    I have a few friends who do heavy commutes in Prius and they LOVE them. Perhaps Prius has an advantage in that it is an active hybrid, my understanding is that others are passive and cannot run in a strictly electric mode (I may be wrong about this…)

  74. anjin-san says:

    Well, that’s the point; At freeway speeds it doesn’t turn off often, if at all. So what you end up with is an underpowered rig, that gets the same MPG was the one with the big gas or diesel engine.

    My understanding is that one of the main advantages of a Prius is that in bumper to bumper traffic it can run in a strictly electric mode, thus eliminating the use of the gasoline engine during the most inefficient type of driving. I imagine there is a big reduction in emissions as well. Of course we do have to allow for pollution involved in production of the necessary electricity.

  75. Bithead says:

    Bithead, you’re as ill-informed about hybrids as you are about economics. The Prius outperforms every other midsized car on the highway by a long-shot (it outperforms all mainstream cars, as a matter of fact).

    You own one, I take it.

    In any event, what you say may be true, but hw much of that gas mileage (I hesitate to call it performance) is the design of the remainder of the car? THe every reason I chose the vehicles I did was that there are pure gas models to draw a comparison to.

    My understanding is that one of the main advantages of a Prius is that in bumper to bumper traffic it can run in a strictly electric mode, thus eliminating the use of the gasoline engine during the most inefficient type of driving. I imagine there is a big reduction in emissions as well. Of course we do have to allow for pollution involved in production of the necessary electricity.

    Well, of course, many do that, or most do. I know the Tahoe does, for example. Now, what about those of us who don’t spend much time in traffic, hmmm?

    I’m guessing it’s a couple orders of magnitude less that the # of barrels of recoverable oil * the current price of a barrel of oil.

    No. Wherein lies the problem, and is why we’ve had such a problem with development of new fields.

  76. anjin-san says:

    Bit you still have not told us how Prius’ are killing people…

    We’re killing people to save fuel.

  77. M1EK says:

    The battery in the Prius also evens out the peaks and valleys in highway driving (uphill/downhill; headwind/tailwind). But it’s more important that its mere presence allows a midsize car with acceptable acceleration to have a Geo Metro sized gas engine.

    (i.e. the Geo Metro got similar highway mileage; but you’d never be able to get people to buy a Prius with that gas engine and no battery, because it would take 25 seconds to get up to highway speed, if ever).

    anjin, you’re thinking of plug-in hybrids, which have yet to make it to the real world. All of the energy in the Prius battery was created originally by burning gasoline.

  78. anjin-san says:

    M1EK… thanks, that makes the Prius a more attractive option. One of my friends has a very expensive Mercedes parked in the garage because she prefers the Prius.

  79. Bithead says:

    Bit you still have not told us how Prius’ are killing people…

    Mostly because I’ve said it often enough before.

    Which leads me, finally, to a personal comment, to those of you who think small cars are “safe”.

    I hesitate to say this.
    Twice now, I’ve been at the scene of an accident… once where I knew the victims personally, and once where I happened upon an accident before the police arrived. Both fatal accidents, both one car accidents, and both situations where the person would have lived had they had something better than a Ford Fiesta in one case, or a Prius, in the other. In both cases, they valued a gallon of gas over their own lives, and paid the price…. And I’m left with the horrible memory of those two incidents.

    I will *never* drive such a vehicle, and I don’t give a hot crap WHAT kind of gas numbers it turns in.

  80. anjin-san says:

    Bit, your opinion is not proof. While I agree that a Fiesta is an inferior car in every sense of the word, I think people buy them because they cannot afford better. I doubt mileage figures into it.

    Simply because you once saw a fatal accident, and you think a bigger car might have changed the outcome, does not prove a thing.

    I could easily argue that huge suvs and trucks are killing people because they are more likely to feel invulnerable in them and drive recklessly. Or that they have poor visibility and maneuverability, thus are more dangerous. There is probably some validity to it too. But it is just an opinion. Try bringing some facts to the table.

    The truth is that you are the flip side of the far left extremists that you despise. You are exactly like them, except that you hold views on the opposite side of the spectrum.

  81. Bithead says:

    Bit, your opinion is not proof. While I agree that a Fiesta is an inferior car in every sense of the word, I think people buy them because they cannot afford better. I doubt mileage figures into it.

    Oh, please. Don’t you recall when the Fiesta was instroduced? It came online in reaponse to the Jimmy Carter gas crisis, and was sold on gas mileage. As did the Vega, the Escort and a few others.

    In both cases I spoke of, MPG was the thurst of the argument for buying the things. There’s no frame in either of them; Just a thin floorpan. No structural integrity to speak of. But boy, we’re saving the planet, aren’t we?

    I have a neighbor down the way drives one of those things. Puts her two small kids in the back of it. I shudder every time I see that. Wouldn’t take much more than a Harley to take the back half of that thing clean off.

    I could easily argue that huge suvs and trucks are killing people because they are more likely to feel invulnerable in them and drive recklessly

    .

    You could, certainly, but it wouldn’t sell. You’d have to show me an increased crash rate on a per mile basis, and then attach a higher fatality rate to that crash rate. Even you will have to admit that’s a lot of ‘if’.

    Simply because you once saw a fatal accident, and you think a bigger car might have changed the outcome, does not prove a thing

    In a former life (Snicker) I was trained as an accident investigator. I actually wanted to be a cop for a few years, there, before I got into radio in the middle 70’s. I learned enough to be able to read the signs, in these cases. I know what it was I saw and how to read those signs. I have all the proof I need to make my choices.
    Thanks, I choose LIFE.

    Or that they have poor visibility and maneuverability, thus are more dangerous. There is probably some validity to it too

    Depends how they’re set up, really. Most SUV’s these days, at least as they come from the factory, hand as well as any car. My Rainier certainly outhandles most of the cars I’ve had in my lifetime, and comes darned close to some of the sports cars I’ve driven. Then again, that’s the All Wheel Drive (Not 4wd) and the air ride working.

    The truth is that you are the flip side of the far left extremists that you despise

    The truth can be pretty extreme.

  82. anjin-san says:

    You could, certainly, but it wouldn’t sell. You’d have to show me an increased crash rate on a per mile basis, and then attach a higher fatality rate to that crash rate

    Thats interesting, because you have not provided anything along these lines…

  83. anjin-san says:

    My Rainier certainly outhandles most of the cars I’ve had in my lifetime, and comes darned close to some of the sports cars I’ve driven

    Cool lets race for pink slips…

  84. Bithead says:

    Thats interesting, because you have not provided anything along these lines…

    Well, two things. First, you have this upside down.
    Secondly if you are, as I suppose, sugegsting I’ve not given any facts and figures to that point, you clearly didn’t read the link I posted.

    NHTSA figures report that 64% of SUV deaths are blamed on lack of seatbelts, not of vehicle design. And of those, a sizeable number are related to tire failures, which in turn are caused by lack of tire maintenance… simply keeping the tires up to pressure, and THAT in fairly isolated cases. When those incidents are factored out, the death rates in SUV’s are actually LOWER than for the kind of tincans the left would have us in.