Skip to main content

First, go have a look at this page. This is the full list of futures for oil, ie how much it costs you today to purchase a barrel of oil to be delivered at the date you want in the future.

While spot prices jumped by $2 yesterday, the longest-dated futures jumped by a whopping $9 (with more to come today). This is HUGE.

And this is how this is described in the Financial times this morning:

Shortage fears push oil futures near $140

Fears of a shortage within five years propelled long-term oil futures prices to almost $140 a barrel on Tuesday, further stoking inflationary pressures in the global economy.

Investors rushed to buy oil futures contracts as far forward as December 2016, pushing their prices as high as $139.50 a barrel, up more than $9.50 on the day. The spot price hit a record $129.60 a barrel.

Veteran traders said they had never seen such a jump and said investors were increasingly betting that oil production would soon peak because of geopolitical and geological constraints.

Neil McMahon, of Sanford Bernstein, said: "Peak oil views – regardless of whether right or wrong – are seeping into the market and supporting high prices."

Shortage is in big block letters on the front page of the paper this morning, and peak oil features prominently in the article.

It's about time "peak oil" made it to the frontpage of our business papers. Yesterday, the FT still had a positive spin on things, in an article saying that the US decline in foreign oil dependency is already becoming more visible, with imports making up 57.9 per cent in the first three months of this year, down from 58.2 last year. In other words, market forces are doing their job, nothing to worry about, move on.

Today's tone is quite different - maybe it's the $9 per barrel jump in one day, and the fact that it's long dated prices that are increasing more than short-dated ones, ie worries are now about future supplies, not current supplies, a change whose significance is hard to understate.

For politicians, the only heat they are getting is from fishermen and truckers who are being squeezed by higher costs (you'd expect that with such an across the board price increase, competition would not be impaired, and higer costs would be passed on to consumers, but the market power of big retailers still seems to limit that to some extent for now, so the problem remains localised within the fuel-intensive sectors rather than with the end-user consumers in the form of inflation), and from angry communters who are unhappy about spending more on gas.

And thus you get this, which deserves its very own exhibit in the future Museum of Grotesque Things done by US Politicians in the Bush Years:

U.S. House passes bill to sue OPEC over oil prices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure.

The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that U.S. companies must follow.

The measure passed in a 324-84 vote, a big enough margin to override a presidential veto.


"This bill guarantees that oil prices will reflect supply and demand economic rules -- instead of wildly speculative and perhaps illegal activities," said Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, who sponsored the legislation.

This may sound mostly pointless and silly, but it is also a stunning display of weakness by the US political class, which would rather remain in denial about the reality of the energy world, and look for scapegoats, than address problems, and it is also a pretty strong sign that they are followed in this respect by their electorate, which is all too willing to take such posturing seriously (or at least tolerate it) instead of seeing it as a sign of utmost contempt for it: Americans are not willing to face reality, US politicians pander to that, and nothing gets done.

:: ::

Not to worry, prices will increase until they cause new consumption patterns, for gas itself and for all products that embed oil, because demand WILL shrink in the face of stagnating supply and continued demand growth from oil producing countries themselves and emerging economies.

One thing which now appears obvious is that the current "boiling frog" price increases (ie, slowly and without a big shock) are unlikely to lead to shortages or rationing in the short term, because that's not where the problem is - the big problem is with respect to future supplies.

Of course, the good news of sorts is that, if the problem is access to oil or energy a few years out, then we have time to actually do something about it. Not much, but some. Awareness is key to that, but it has to go through a thick fog of denial, starting with Congress and those that vote for its blustering members.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:31 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar - 21 May (271+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pat K California, racerx, Canadian Reader, clb, Vince CA, Joe Bob, vicki, chrississippi, dwellscho, RedMeatDem, Phoenix Woman, Buckeye BattleCry, copymark, SarahLee, deben, Sparhawk, laurak, XOVER, miasmo, Detlef, Jeff G, 2pt5cats, NYmom, BigOkie, mattman, Disillusioned, Shockwave, wu ming, Sherri in TX, billlaurelMD, Lipstick Liberal, cotterperson, shycat, jakbeau, jdld, eeff, gecko, frisco, RFK Lives, wenchacha, mataliandy, Creosote, silence, Birdman, awnm, sardonyx, RubDMC, opinionated, raines, TracieLynn, BlackGriffen, howd, dlcampbe, Euroliberal, MD patriot, whenwego, grassroot, ask, Porfiry, mkfarkus, high5, samddobermann, AnneElizabeth, taonow, Ignacio Magaloni, sgilman, ClickerMel, dmsilev, heiderose1, wader, Janet Strange, stridergambit, kharma, nicta, Ryvr, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, Eddie in ME, pat bunny, f furney, BmoreMD, GW Chimpzilla, JimWilson, waf8868, Penny Century, joliberal, AbsurdEyes, onemadson, RebeccaG, Brian82, cevad, side pocket, plymouth, Wife of Bath, bablhous, kd texan, boran2, bibble, rapala, davidincleveland, 3goldens, playon, ManOnTheBench, Doolittle Sothere, NoMoreLies, franziskaner, OpherGopher, PBen, corvo, truong son traveler, eightlivesleft, Valtin, dewtx, Cmyst, stitchmd, Brooke In Seattle, david78209, Claybow, ratzo, Mz Kleen, farmerchuck, mojo workin, concerned, aaraujo, Overseas, lotlizard, Phil S 33, miguelmas, sbdenmon, loggersbrat, Pluto, jilikins, oibme, bookwoman, kkjohnson, Land of Enchantment, Prof Dave, third Party please, Paul Ferguson, BachFan, myboo, Milly Watt, cybersaur, alefnot, andydoubtless, brkramer, alphorn, Texas Blue Dot, dewey of the desert, mcartri, EthrDemon, NBBooks, tecampbell, Ashaman, Barry Leonardini, gatorcog, nilocjin, NearlyNormal, bleeding heart, justCal, Andy30tx, profh, doingbusinessas, RantNRaven, kurt, MadMs, kurious, bstotts, Snarcalita, Granny Doc, Temmoku, illusionmajik, DBunn, Cliss, One Pissed Off Liberal, Elco B, dotsright, Cronesense, dmh44, california keefer, godislove, offgrid, lemming22, Outrider, FishOutofWater, Nespolo, Jimdotz, terabytes, Seneca Doane, brentmack, jedennis, robynsmith, letsgetreal, cyncynical, jnhobbs, Bronx59, ImpeachKingBushII, keikekaze, TomP, gizmo59, rmonroe, 183skybear, JoeW, alkalinesky, Spoonfulofsugar, Brandon Friedman, Youffraita, afx114, Rick Winrod, wagdog, Johnny Rapture, Akonitum, wvablue, Its any one guess, Calamity Jean, Lujane, TomFromNJ, CenFlaDem, Cassandra Waites, tamasher, valsagem, CA Libertarian, xysea, Uncle Bob, BYw, CatfishBlues, goshzilla, Grass, RevenantX, Lib Dem FoP, papicek, statsone, ibinreno, forgore, ggwoman55, smellybeast, Neon Vincent, Uosdwis, DemocraticOz, Stranded Wind, imchange, SciVo, mrchumchum, mkor7, phatcat cane, Daily Activist, John Shade, The Mort Man, zbbrox, BDsTrinity, dansmith17, bfitzinAR, dsharma23, MAORCA, OffHerRocker, cs, romwriter, jfromga, FundaMental Transformation, chrisblask, Geronimoot, jazzy, Sheffield157, rossir, BigVegan, p gorden lippy, budr, elijah311, LauraSanborn, roadbear, Initiate Plan B
    •  Jerome, (45+ / 0-)

      I few diary posts back, I wrote about railway systems in America akin to what they have in Europe.

      I for one, even though it is hurting my wallet, want gas and oil to rise to the point where it forces Americans to give up their cars.

      John W. McCain, Bush's third term.

      by aaraujo on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:35:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

          •  trains, buses, bikes (20+ / 0-)

            All better alternatives than the glut of cars choking our roads and polluting the air while weakening our economy.

            •  bummer most cities (31+ / 0-)

              don't have the first two or the will (or the money) to build transit systems that make sense and reflect edge cities and suburban job sites. still too much "bring them to the CBD" thinking in all the official transit plans i've reviewed.

              Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

              by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:45:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I can't bike 30 miles to my work... (42+ / 0-)

              And who wants to raise a young family in the central business district, plus downsize our home to no yard and cut the size by 1/3 -- with 2 kids??

              This is the kind of situation most of the country's major cities face. The industrial old cities have mass transit. The rest simply were not built for it.

              More efficient transportation and power alternatives, with mandates from Congress, are the only feasible answers.

              "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins

              by TX Unmuzzled on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:49:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You nailed it (58+ / 0-)

                And who wants to raise a young family in the central business district, plus downsize our home to no yard and cut the size by 1/3 -- with 2 kids??

                Well, oil price increases are telling you precisely that the yard and big house are unsustainable in a time of scarce oil (they were made possible by cheap, plentiful oil), and the price will increase until you actually cannot afford them anymore, and downsize to something that you can (because it is less energy-intensive).

                •  Down size NOW (37+ / 0-)

                  while you still have some choice over your relocation.  If you wait the competition for the best housing options will be significantly reduced.

                  When staring the future in the face you can not close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and chant LALALALA...  But then, you know that.

                  No matter what happens ... somebody will find a way to take it too seriously." Dave Barry

                  by Granny Doc on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:59:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Already happening (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RichM, Creosote, BYw, Stranded Wind

                    Chicago has pushed the poor out of the inner city and built high-rise condos at exhorbitant prices.

                    •  Not True (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Phoenix Woman, miasmo, mataliandy, papicek

                      You can still get a home in Logan Square, 17 minute ride on the bluse line to downtown.

                      The entire South side is still wide open.

                      Humbolt Park, as long as ou have eyes in the back of your head.

                      A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                      by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:19:16 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Logan Square (2+ / 0-)

                        BTDT. I can't afford private school tuition for my three kids. But at least we have the bike lanes to cut down on the transportation costs of getting them to school - and with the way the Chicago Public Education is designed they would need transportation to get to any school (public or private), in our community they walk to their respective elementary, middle and high schools..

                        •  And your complaint is what exactly (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Phoenix Woman

                          Or are you just pushing air?  You came out like you are an expert in what is going on in the Chicago Real Estate market.  Can't afford the private school tuition, I'm not going to cry you a river any time soon.

                          A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                          by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:46:25 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  why should she put her kids (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Phoenix Woman, Bronx59, danna144

                            in a crappy school system just to live "closer to work" and pay ridiculous property taxes, or send them to private school?

                            that's her point.

                            until inner-city schools do away with the administrative bloat the cities and places like Logan Sq. will be the domain of Yuppies and homosexuals and inner-city dwellers.

                            Harrisburg SD for example--it's 36 MILLS. That's obscene, most of it going for administrative bloat and bueaucracy---NOT services. Only people willing to live here get an abatement or are yuppies, or are gay, thus making city dwelling increasingly unaffordible for families. And the School District gets no better (that said i like hburg a great deal but then again, if i had kids, i'd live in the 'burbs.)

                            Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                            by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:04:38 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't know that anyone is saying she should (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Phoenix Woman, bldr

                            but that's what is going to be forced, here.

                            If you force people to live closer to their CBD jobs, then the price of property in that region will go up, and eventually only "certain" parts of town will be affordable.

                            We're stuck.

                            ~Just an I-94 Yankee in Texas.~

                            by Texas Blue Dot on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:06:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that eventually does happen (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Texas Blue Dot, Bronx59

                            also drives up the price.

                            Hburg schools are bad because of administrative bloat. the kids aren't stupid. They just don't have books because they choose to pay superintendents huge amounts of money instead of buying them books. if they cut what needs to be cut---propert taxes would go down and city living would become much more attractive (but then, the price would get driven up.)

                            Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                            by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:10:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But have you ever heard of an innercity (0+ / 0-)

                            SD that was rated excellent?  So what's the overriding problem THERE?

                            ~Just an I-94 Yankee in Texas.~

                            by Texas Blue Dot on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:25:04 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  it's usually the magnet schools (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Texas Blue Dot

                            that get rated the best within cities. Masterman HS in Philly--inner city school but it's a magnet school. Best school in the state, or maybe 2nd or 3rd, it's up there.

                            again though, it's a magnet school.

                            Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                            by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:28:57 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your thought borders on idiocy, & you have issues (6+ / 0-)

                            until inner-city schools do away with the administrative bloat the cities and places like Logan Sq. will be the domain of Yuppies and homosexuals and inner-city dwellers.

                            We're talking about the city, so the mention of inner-city dwellers, I read that as Black, are
                            already living here. 1/3 Gone
                            Second, Yuppies & Homos don't have kids so in essence they subsidize the school system.

                            Harrisburg SD for example--it's 36 MILLS. That's obscene, most of it going for administrative bloat and bueaucracy---NOT services. Only people willing to live here get an abatement or are yuppies, or are gay,


                            You ever heat a school, get the toilets unclogged, manage the parents pta meetings, talk to the idiots wanting a special classes for theology lessons.  Grow up, 36 mills is nothing. She picked the burbs, she can finance the burbs & all that comes with it.

                            And you should know that the tax base for the schools in Chicago has been maxed every year to it's maximum allowed by law, by our Mayor for the last several years.  The schools in the system that are good have a waiting list to get into them; the property around that area gets sold even in todays market at unbelievable markups and always in the week they list. Good schools, good transportation, walk to everything. what's not to like.  You want to live with you're car as indispensable asset, Pay UP

                            And work on your issues, you seem to have a thing for grouping people, just saying

                            A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                            by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:33:49 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  36 mills is obscene for this part of PA (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            all of our neighboring towns pay less then 15 and have infinately better school districts.  You can google Harrisburg school district rankings yourself.  I can't imagine why 36 mills isn't buying us a district to rival all our neighboring suburban districts. Oh wait, I can, it's called administrative bloat and bureaucracy that needs to be cut.

                            even the distressed small town i grew up in, with a population of 900 people, had a millage rate less then where I live.

                            When I buy my house this year, I'm then going to work hard to elect leaders to lower the millage rate and reform the school district as it is the worst in the state, with a millage rate that should clearly make it the best. But the city chooses to pay the 6 (yes, SIX) superindendents 300k a year. That's obscene. And the district gets worse and worse. I wonder why that is? Clearly they get enough in tax revenue from what's left of the city's population.

                            If I had kids (and I don't and I'm not) I would not send them to this city's school district.

                            this is a city that can't even retain a population without a tax abatement.

                            You want to live with you're car as indispensable asset, Pay UP

                            I don't drive, douchebag. I live 2 miles from work and ride the bus daily. So do shut the hell up.

                            And work on your issues, you seem to have a thing for grouping people, just saying

                            I don't have problems with that. I have problems with people whining about their hate for the suburbs. Which is ironic, because the majority of the people on this site are probably suburbanites. The conservatives have a point when they mock liberals. Sometimes we ARE our own worst enemy.

                            Isn't that funny. the urban dweller who wouldn't live in a suburb if they paid him, can see that there's a ton of issues with city dwelling that others are clearly quite blind to.

                            Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                            by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:45:47 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry to have hedged before. (0+ / 0-)

                            The conservatives have a point when they mock liberals.

                             What point is made by mocking?

                            I don't drive, douchebag. I live 2 miles from work and ride the bus daily. So do shut the hell up.

                            I don't write anything that I wouldn't say in person.  You're not nearly so thoughtful, are you?

                            You're an Ass!

                            Good luck on the home purchase.

                            A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                            by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:27:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  thanks (0+ / 0-)

                            and we both agree---i am an ass :)

                            Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                            by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:32:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Me? Expert? (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            terrypinder, stitchmd, Bronx59

                            That's a very low bar.

                            I have lived in a variety of Chicago neighborhoods, and suburban areas, throughout many life stages. I would not be able to afford to give my children a quality education in Logan Square. It's that simple. Cry me a river? No, but as a parent I do not have the resources to put my children in the position of being urban pioneers.

                            Furthermore, my husband works in the suburbs. His commute would be more taxing on the environment near the ANY El line. If we lived in the city the children would have to take public transportation / be driven to any school or extracurricular activity. Now (with the exception of one activity) we mostly walk. We can walk to the parks, to social events with friends, to go out for lunch/dinner, to visit with family, to the library, to church...etc.

                            It is not a one size fit all cost-benefit analysis or solution. ALL aspects of living close to public transportation would be more expensive and by the fact that we would HAVE to use it, add a burden to the system.  

                            I think the answer is closer to enhancing/building on what it exists to bring it to where the people need it.

                          •  Im not even sure you know what you're argueing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            we would HAVE to use it, add a burden to the system.  

                            They'll make do.  They add buses to routes,all the time.

                            Hell we just got through upgrading 11 stations on one line to expand the stations to handle more train cars.

                            It involved condeming buildings, tearing up tracks, rerouting to buses, rebuilding the stations to go from 5 cars to 8.

                            They'll welcome you & your family with open arms.

                            A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                            by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:40:04 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course I know what I'm arguing (0+ / 0-)

                            Why would I want to move to Logan Square which would be more expensive for my family, negatively effect our quality of life, and require us to use more public and private resources?  The argument is that moving into the city isn't THE answer for every family. There are objective and subjective reasons for the choices that are made. Currently we use little transportation resources. Moving to Logan Square we would use more (and it would cost us more). How is that a responsible logical choice?

                            I thought it was just this winter that they were theatening to cut CTA and RTA services, but for my family of 5 public trans would be just communal limo service? Sign me up! I guess the state legislature came through in ways we could have never imagined.

                            As to welcoming my family with open arms in Logan Square or Humbolt Park (where it's a dandy place to live if you have eyes in the back of your head), I doubt it.  

                          •  The original thread (0+ / 0-)

                            I can't bike 30 miles to work

                            Jerome replied:  You nailed it

                            Well, oil price increases are telling you precisely that the yard and big house are unsustainable in a time of scarce oil (they were made possible by cheap, plentiful oil), and the price will increase until you actually cannot afford them anymore, and downsize to something that you can

                            To which some blockhead not knowing what they're talking about opinined the exact opposite of Jerome's post:

                            Chicago has pushed the poor out of the inner city and built high-rise condos at exhorbitant prices.

                            To which I replied:

                            That you can buy a home in Chicago, have a 17 minute ride to work. walk to everything you need and have good public schools. REduce your energy use overall.

                            Notice I didn't attack suburbanites, or lump city dwellers as all being yuppies, or gay , or anything else.

                            You want to argue that the suburbs are cheaper.

                            Fine tally it all up,   your car payments, insurance, property taxes, gas bills, utility bills.... All of it then look at what that would get you in the city.  Your personal issues, kids, job in the burbs might make it cheaper for you right now.  But the point of the diary, and this thread is that big houses in the burbs & gas guzzlers are linked together

                            (they were made possible by cheap, plentiful oil),

                            A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                            by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:35:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not a blockhead (0+ / 0-)

                            To which some blockhead not knowing what they're talking about opinined the exact opposite of Jerome's post:

                            Thanks, bldr. I actually agree with most of your point, but your assholeness has lost me.

                          •  your right (0+ / 0-)

                            you're not a block head. I apologize
                            But you use adjectives that you can back up, Exhorbinate prices?  If they sold they weren't exhorbinate.

                            See my analogy in the post below.

                            A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                            by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:56:18 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand the premise (0+ / 0-)

                            I have tallied it all up.  Thank you. That is my point. I live in a house that is older and smaller than some of the apartments I lived in.I can and do walk, have a shorter commute, use less resources than I would in the city. Plus my insurance and taxes are lower. And due to our employment situation we would always have to have a car.

                            As to the


                            idea, yes it has been happening, and happening for years. So I agree with that person. Definitions of affordable are very subjective. And home (or condo) ownership is very often not affordable at any price.

                            As to the big burbs and gas guzzlers, I agree with the premise. EXCEPT the people that insist that the city is more environmentally correct conveinently ignore that many, MANY city dwellers in places like Chicago own gas guzzlers. Don't believe me? Take a walk the Edison Park or Sauganuck (sp) or Jefferson Park.  I don't have the numbers but I am going to guess that looking at the comprables would be, well, comprable based on my experience.

                            The gentrification that makes places like Logan Square, Wicker Park, Bucktown, attractive is the same mentality of tear downs (clearly made possible by cheap plentiful oil - unless you are going to maintain that they were all green during this process) that exists in the suburbs. And not only the tear down of houses, but of the big box stores that weren't there when I was growing up, or even living there, certainly didn't sprout from seeds and sunshine.

                            And there is the issue that jobs ARE leaving the city, especially manufacturing jobs.  The infrastructure needs to be where the people and the jobs are.

                            The tear it down, build it bigger, buy it bigger, mentality does not exist solely in the suburbs and THAT is the real issue.

                    •  Phoenix too. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Disillusioned, papicek, gdwtch52

                      We're dealing with this dislocation almost daily in the inner city here.

                      •  get use to it (0+ / 0-)

                        Since the beginning of time, you like the cave someone had you got a bigger club and went at it, now you buy them out. tear it up rebuilt it and stay until someone else comes along with a bigger club, ie fatter wallet.

                        Who doesn't want to be able to walk to a bar, library, post office, and then be able to walk home. very few

                        Take some cash, look at the trend, and go make yourself some money.

                        A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

                        by bldr on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:39:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Then there is the issue of raising a family (9+ / 0-)

                      in Chicago. I lived there. Now I live in the 'burbs. Right now - at this minute - the costs balance in terms of the triple whammy of Cook County/City of Chicago taxes and property taxes, educational costs, and by the fact that I have no commute. I would have no commute in the city. Mr. 144 would have a longer commute if we lived in the city, even with access to public transportation.

                      But speaking of public transportation it astonishes me that as we go through this crisis we are cutting PACE service and making it less accessible and less desirable and that we aren't figuring out a way to get around the bedroom communities that really are not going to go anywhere in the current housing debacle.  

                      I recently went to a candidate coffee and while I did like a lot of what the candidate had to say, there focus was only on new technologies to address this issue. I agree we need more answers. But we also can't ignore some of the solutions we do have in place and figure out ways to adapt them and make them work in today's world rather than let them languish. Isn't part of the problem we are seeing in all areas the mentality of "tear it down and make it bigger, brighter, shinier," rather than looking at what we can salvage and make useful again?

                      •  It's not just about living in the city, (0+ / 0-)

                        it's about reducing your footprint and living where you work, go to school or do most of your activities.

                        You're already doing that, even in the suburbs. Don't feel obligated to change.

                        What needs to change in many suburbs, however, is the zoning that makes cars virtually mandatory, and other issues like lack of sidewalks, limited shopping/grocery locations, etc. etc. Many newer suburbs are recognizing that, and are developing 'towne centres' (pardon my sarcasm) that incorporate these ideas, and are trying to make areas that are more walkable, more based on community. As that progresses, and as there is more demand for it, I think there will be an increase in public transit opportunities, even in the suburbs.

                        And being married to an architect who specializes in adaptive reuse, historic preservation, and green design, I can't agree more with your last couple of statements. Spot on.

                        Civil marriage is a civil right.

                        by stitchmd on Thu May 22, 2008 at 07:27:55 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Interesting. China is building high-rise condos (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      FundaMental Transformation

                      for those who are moving into their cities.... hundreds of high-rise condos all going up all over Beijing and other cities.

                      In youth we learn, in age we understand.

                      by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:51:12 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  That yard may be indispensible for growing food (25+ / 0-)

                  as fertilizer & transporation costs make getting it from far away prohibitive.  

                  There's a great DVD called The Power of Community that shows how Cuba adapted to Peak Oil when the soviets abruptly stopped sending them oil.  Rooftop gardens, bikes, walking, organic farming on every horizontal surface.  The average Cuban lost 20lbs in that period, and they weren't heavy to begin with.

                •  I drive my truck 700 miles each week to work... (15+ / 0-)

                  because housing costs near Boston are so expensive that the cost of gasoline isn't significant.  The cost of buying a new fuel-efficient (40 mpg vs the truck's 24 mpg) car is greater than the cost of gas (even at $4 a gallon).
                  Bottom line: things aren't going to change until the price of gas doubles (again)... even at $4 it's still cheap.
                  My hope is that our next president will understand that a national effort to develop (e.g.) electric cars is part of a sound defense policy.

                  Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

                  by godwhataklutz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:17:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  35,000 / 24 mpg = 1,458 gallons (10+ / 0-)

                    So at $4 per gallon you are paying $5,833 per year for gasoline.

                    My Prius gets an average of 50 mpg (55 mpg in the summer, less in the winter), so a Prius would use 700 gallons of gas to cover that distance, saving you $3,033 per year.

                    How many years of that would it take to pay for the price difference between your truck ($17K?) and the Prius (paid $23K for mine).

                    When gas goes to $8 per gallon (all of Europe pays at least this, Netherlands $9.36), you will be forking over an extra $6,066 per year for the truck vs. the Prius.

                    So it seems that a logical person would sell that truck while you can, and buy a Prius.

                    •  The truck is a '96 Ford Ranger (7+ / 0-)

                      with 245K miles.  Runs like a champ.  Zero resale value.  So, the Prius would take seven or eight years of driving to make it worth buying.
                      Moving closer to work would involve an extra $1500 each month in mortgage payments, but that would still leave me with 300 miles of driving each week!  Living within ten miles of work is completely out of the question, and there's no (good) mass transit to my workplace... it's not in Boston's center.
                      The point I'm trying to make (using my own story as an example) is that $4 per gallon is a shock, but it's still not enough to change things on its own.  However, it is enough of a shock that (perhaps) some leadership in Washington can start moving us away from our excessive reliance on gasoline.

                      Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

                      by godwhataklutz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:56:52 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  maybe.. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Phoenix Woman

                    With your driving habits and listed mpg amounts (do you really get 24 mpg from a truck?), the savings would be $200 per month at $4/gal gas.  I think it may be cost effective for you to buy a used or even new small car (leases <$200/mo are available).</p>

                    BTW, the housing prices near Boston depend a lot on what neighborhood you are willing to live in -- not all homes in Boston cost $500k+ , there are plenty in the $300k range (not that $300k is that cheap...)

                    •  It's at least $450K for a decent house (0+ / 0-)

                      Yup, I could move the family to Brockton (land of my birth) for a lot less money, but I don't think that's a very good idea.
                      A lateral move (similar house and similar town) is double the cost of where I live now, and is still 40 miles from work.

                      Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

                      by godwhataklutz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:19:33 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  not in my neighborhood (0+ / 0-)

                        I live in Boston and there are houses in my neighborhood for $300k and pretty decent ones for <$400k.  I can walk 2-5 blocks to many good restaurants, shopping, and mass transit.  If you want fancy suburban towns then yes, $450k might get you a condo, but if you are willing to check out some neighborhoods in the city, you might be surprised.</p>

                    •  24 mpg in a truck? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Lipstick Liberal

                      I believe it. I have a 96 Mazda, the same truck as the Ford Ranger (they just slapped a different grill and brand on it). 155,000 miles, 4 cylinder, 2 wheel drive -- and I've always gotten 26 mpg on the highway. They're great little trucks.

                    •  Leasing (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TX Unmuzzled, NRG Guy

                      I think it may be cost effective for you to buy a used or even new small car (leases <$200/mo are available). </p>

                      Not if you drive 700 miles a week!  It's a bad idea to even finance a new car for more than 3 years at that mileage.

                      We are ALWAYS underdogs. The other side has infinite funds, skulduggery, domination of the media and legal system, and an electoral college advantage.

                      by Bronx59 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:20:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Have you planned for the future? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk, NoMoreLies, ZenTrainer

                    What if the price of oil doubles yet again, but there's no increase in mass transit, little increase in the availability of fuel efficient cars? Would there even be a job to travel to if gasoline, heat, and electricity was that expensive?

                    "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
                    -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

                    by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:55:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This isn't my immediate problem. (3+ / 0-)

                      My first concern is keeping my current job and taking care of my family.
                      I suggest that the folks in Washington should be taking the lead here.  It's time for someone to step up and start funding programs which will help us get out of our oil/gasoline addiction.  Businesses aren't doing it; Detroit is certainly not interested in any technology which obsoletes the gasoline engine.  The problem is one which arguably affects our national security, and so there's a real impetus for the federal government to take on the job.

                      Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

                      by godwhataklutz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:31:40 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Electric cars... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Only work if you have an electrical grid capable of serving them (we don't), and the power plants to create that electric (we don't).

                    We still need electric cars, mind you, but even if every car dealer had 100 on the lot at affordable prices, are problems would only be starting, not ending.

                •  And I suppose oil prices are also telling us (5+ / 0-)

                  that we cannot live in the northern climates because we can't heat our houses and businesses in the winter.

                •  Not quite (8+ / 0-)

                  there's usually a wide swath of area with little to nothing, and those developments outside the cities have NO shops, businesses, services, often not even schools or churches.

                  THAT'S what needs to change. Put some shops close to the houses. Have some doctors offices, some schools, some professional offices, a farmer's market.

                  Voila! A real TOWN, and some jobs. Not just a bunch of houses sitting in the middle of nowhere.

                  •  Precisely... (0+ / 0-)

                    They ought to use Valencia, CA as a model.  Too bad they haven't been doing it already with the spread of houses so thoughtlessly.

                    As I look at the link, I see why they haven't - money.  It's all so corporate and it's a primarily white community (not exclusively). So it definitely has a slant to it.

                    However it is the way cities need to go in the future.   If anyone is going to "6 flags magic mountain", take a whirl through Valencia and see how charming it is.  The have planned it really well with condos intermixed with businesses and miles of bike paths that do not cross intersections, and well as water preservation features, and parks mixed into every neighborhood.  Now they just need to make it affordable.   hahaha  

                    If you like Iraq, you're gonna love Iran.

                    by FundaMental Transformation on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:33:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I live in "Nowheresville" Florida (0+ / 0-)

                    I have three thrift stores, one grocery store, several gas stations, a nice hardware store, a woman's clothing store, a discount clothing store all within one mile.

                    A organic food store and a Wal-Mart is two miles away.

                    My friend lives in Southwest Washington, DC. Except for a trip to the wonderful Frager's Hardware store on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, he did all his shopping in the suburbs while I was there.

                    Jobs are a very different story.

                •  I have a big yard for my 5 kids.... in a city (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Phoenix Woman

                  I live in a mid-size city (110,000 in the city, 350,000-plus in the surrounding area) and can easily keep the kids happy in a big house with a big yard, in a neighborhood full of houses like this. I can walk, bike or bus to work. I'm no millionaire.

                  I am sure part of my luck is simply living in a middle-sized city. In a major city, what I do wouldn't be possible. But my co-workers who choose to live 15-20 miles outside town in a suburb don't get my sympathy, sorry. When gas hits $10 a gallon or so I predict the rennaisance of our old cities.

                  It is a different story for those in rural areas and I don't see any good choices for them. There's no way I know of to survive in farm country without using a lot of gas.

                  "A clown is like aspirin, only he works twice as fast" - Groucho Marx

                  by Morpheus on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:20:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If farmers - ethanol they "grow" on the farm. (0+ / 0-)

                    Also biodiesel can be made from animal fat, but you need to be in a warm climate - it solidifies at 40F.  (Fortunately, biodiesel can be mixed with petrodiesel in any proportion and used in a diesel engine - it's only straight veggie oil that requires modifications.)  For "regular folks" living in rural areas - I guess just hope you can carpool and/or telecommute.

                •  And, in most parts of the US, that nice lawn (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NoMoreLies, BYw

                  is highly unnatural, and sucks up way more water than it's worth.

                  And somehow, generations (up until even the 70s) made due with homes under 2800 sq ft.

                  "A word after a word after a word is power." -Margaret Atwood

                  by John Shade on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:31:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  what kind of car do you drive? (4+ / 0-)

                So have you done all you could to decrease your gasoline use?

                Buy that five-passenger Prius yet?

                What did you pay for your last vehicle?

                Tele-commuting works very well for many people also, I'm fortunate enough to mostly work from home, travel only an average of one day per week.

                •  I paid a hell of a lot less (13+ / 0-)

                  than the price-gouging Prius at $23,000+. And no, I don't go drag racing in my car, but I have to use the A/C here, though I only live 3 miles from my office.

                  If you would like to lend me say $10,000 I don't have so that I can go buy one of your holy Prius's, then we'll talk. Right now I can't afford to switch cars, despite how much I'd really like to, any more than I can afford to put solar cells on my roof.

                  But god bless the clean and righteous souls who can afford those things.

                  For us little people, we would like a little government and regulatory leadership please.

                  "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins

                  by TX Unmuzzled on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:17:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How about CAFE standards? (9+ / 0-)

                    My senator, the short sighted Sen. Mikulski, voted against them in the Clinton years to "save" the local GM gas-guzzler factory.   Two years later, GM left town and of course we then got the cheney-bush disaster.

                    You seem a little short on facts, and the Prius is certainly not price gouging, just WAY short on competition from the bush-cheney backing GM and Ford.

                    I see a huge percentage of cars on the road that cost much more than $23,000, and of course there is the Toyota Corolla at about $14,000 and with 38 mpg highway.

                  •  You live... (7+ / 0-)

                    3 miles from your office...and you drive?!

                    Game, point, set, and match. Defined American values in one.

                    I used to walk that back in the late 90's for 33 years. Columbia Heights to Georgetown, both ways each day. Great way to keep in shape as well. On a bike that would take about 20-25 minutes at a causal stroll pace.

                    •  Whoops (0+ / 0-)

                      3 years, not 33.

                    •  I agree except - I live 3 miles (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      from work and sometimes walk home (in nice weather, it's great), but it's uphill from where I live and my knees will not take that uphill climb on a regular basis.  However, I do either carpool or take the bus to get there.  I do understand the folks who have to drive - until I got this job, I had to.  The only regular bus system here is run by the university.  If you don't live or work near there you're out of luck.

                    •  Elitist is right. (0+ / 0-)

                      There is certainly something to be learned by my statement. But it is true. I can't bike or spend the hour to walk it. It's not safe as there are not sidewalks along the 4 lane highway (c. 55mph). And there are no showers or changing areas in my small office building. Frankly the commute doesn't use much gas at all.

                      When I lived less than a mile from work in Manhattan, of course I could and did walk everywhere I could. I was also in my 20's then. But my employer, a large consulting firm, would not allow employees to rollerblade or bike to work. Most large companies are that way -- they don't think it's a good image. Maybe that will change.

                      Of course in Manhattan you will pay $500/SF to find just an acceptable (not desirable) place to live. Half a million for 1000 SF. No way.


                      "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins

                      by TX Unmuzzled on Thu May 22, 2008 at 11:19:55 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Bravo, TX! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I drive a 1999 Buick Skylark. 30 MPH.

                    If it goes down, I'm on foot. I live on SSD.

                  •  This is an important comment (8+ / 0-)

                    And someone touched on this in a book I read a few years ago (Moore? Freakanomics?). The Prius' are great. And people who can afford them are fortunate or good planners or ahead of the curve or whatever it is that they are.

                    We are looking at a Prius as soon as we can afford one which means that we will be trading in a 15 year old sedan that gets OK mileage, just as many of our friends and family members are giving up their gas guzzlers for something more efficient. But these old cars don't just sit dissapear into the atmosphere. People who can't afford to buy new cars, or even newer cars or cars with newer technology [i.e. working class people] buy the gas guzzling used cars. Not because they are dumb or don't care about the environment or don't care about gas prices, but because they are doing what they need to to survive. And they need a car. And then they have to pay the price of gas which takes away from their disposable income and any potential savings they have to upgrade to a more expensive but more fuel efficient (therefore cheaper in the long run) car. And so the cycle continues.

                    •  The Prius (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TX Unmuzzled, Bronx59

                      is a hybrid vehicle that recaptures energy while the vehicle is being slowed or stopped.

                      It is best for stop and go traveling as is common on the Los Angeles freeways or on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC.

                      Hybrid braking energy recapture will do very little for a person driving 70 miles each way at a steady 65mph.

                      •  True (0+ / 0-)

                        Only a modest advantage over a small conventional car on the highway.

                        We are ALWAYS underdogs. The other side has infinite funds, skulduggery, domination of the media and legal system, and an electoral college advantage.

                        by Bronx59 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:15:10 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Amen. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Not everyone can pay $23000 for a car.

                    "Sell not Virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power." Benjamin Franklin

                    by Mewkey on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:49:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Throw in to the mix (6+ / 0-)

                    Not being able to afford a house, living in an apartment, having to get a kid to affordable daycare, and getting to the office. I am supposed to walk/bike that? I want all of these great things (solar panels, electric car, greengreengreen) but we need regulation and oversight and domestic investment to make it affordable. I can't put solar panels in my apartment. There is NO mass transit at all in Indianapolis (which is shockingly disgusting, IMO). Poor buy what they can to survive, what else really are they expected to do?

                    In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

                    by alkalinesky on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:09:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  green is unfortunately the new trendy thing (4+ / 0-)

                      meaning, it'll be the domain of  yuppies (although most yuppies are suburbanites, HA!) for a long time to come.

                      Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                      by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:58:24 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  But the good news is that... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        ... in most cases, what is common today follows something that started a trend years before.  So if today's trends are green - I mean really green, not greenwashed - then the future has some upside potential.

                        The unfortunate thing would be if people get on-board with the greenwashing - oil with green dye kind of thing -- then we are doomed.

                        If you like Iraq, you're gonna love Iran.

                        by FundaMental Transformation on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:45:49 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I hear ya - I've lusted after solar panels (0+ / 0-)

                      for years.  There's no way.  I want an EV.  No way.  It wasn't until I got this job that I had access to transit and/or carpooling (I do both).  And my kids are grown and are having to deal with these issues themselves in their own households.  But once the switch is made - more hybrids out there, etc. - there will be used hybrids (there are now, but are still out of my price range) and cheaper "greengreengreen" stuff that we'll be able to afford.  Of course, it will happen faster if we get a president and congress - and it will take both - to make the tax, subsidy, building, and investment changes needed to get us there.

                  •  Maybe you can afford solar panels... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Lipstick Liberal

                    ... Citizenre is fronting people the cost of the panels  and installation, and secures your utility prices at today's rates.  

                    I know $500 security deposit seems like a lot.  But I think this has a chance of taking off and having a positive effect.  At least I hope so.  I think there are enough people who can afford 5 hundy that it could get going sooner rather than later.

                    If you like Iraq, you're gonna love Iran.

                    by FundaMental Transformation on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:41:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Prius - 140 miles a day - 5 days a week (9+ / 0-)

                  I am what has been termed "an extreme commuter."  I work in NYC but live 70 miles away in Pennsylvania.  My wife also works in NYC, so we commute the 70 miles to Newark NJ, and then take the PATH train to Manhattan.  Before the Prius, we took a bus into NYC - two monthly tickets are now about $900.00 per month with parking - so the Prius is cheaper if we both use it.

                  We bought a home in the Poconos in 2001, something that was financially out of our reach in NYC, where we both grew up.  My son has now spent 6 years here in the Stroudsburg school system, which he likes - learned to read music and play the violin!

                  My wife would love to work in PA, and is slowly transitioning towards that goal.  I'm in IT, and it's tough to find well paying IT jobs in PA.

                  My sister, the REAL activist in the family, (ACORN organizer in 70's and 80's - all over the USA), thinks that it's just a matter of time before the spigot dries up, and all us extreme commuters will be in a pickle.

                  I hope that an Obama administration would put a fast track on the following -

                  1. High speed commuter rail transit.
                  1. Tax rebates/incentives for hybrid/all-electric vehicles.
                  1. Tax rebates/incentives on solar panels for homes and apartment houses.
                  1. Commuter lanes for ONLY hybrid/all-electric vehicles.

                  "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair." - George Washington

                  by PoconoPCDoctor on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:21:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I want the (5+ / 0-)

                    tax rebates/incentives on the solar cells yesterday. I would have them if I could afford them - but I can't.

                    It would be wonderful if the rebate put the cost to about the same as a regular roof. Then I would do it.

                  •  Tax incentives aren't enough (3+ / 0-)

                    I think we'd both like to see the same thing: an electric 2-seater which has 200 miles of range and can recharge overnight (and doesn't cost $50K).  The battery technology is getting close, but there's a long way to go (and it seems that a lot of the patents are held by Taiwanese!).
                    The feds have got to step up to the plate and start funding some of the research which will get this stuff into the marketplace, including all the concerns of manufacturing, repair, and recycling.
                    And if some foreign patent prevents rapid deployment of the technology, then the feds can throw a $billion at it and open it up for everyone.

                    Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

                    by godwhataklutz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:39:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Perhaps a van pool system can be set up (0+ / 0-)

                    They had them in the Virginia suburbs of DC at one time.

                    Perhaps one could drive the kids to school, park, fill up a van at the school, and drive to Netcong, NJ where there is a NJ Transit train to Newark and New York.

                    •  what about recycling the white elephant (0+ / 0-)

                      SUVs such as the expeditions and suburbans, and reusing these fuel hogs as van pool vehicles as stopgaps to make suburbs more sustainable in the early years of peak oil. A 13 mpg Ford Expedition carring 8 people gets the passenger-mile equivalent of a Prius carrying 2 people. At least we can then make some use of otherwise anachronistic road rolling stock.

                      These old SUVs can also be used to run localized demand-response jitney services, which are commonplace in third world countries and parts of Europe, filling the gap between fixed-route public transit and single-passenger vehicles and expensive taxicabs.

                      "Without our playstations, we are a third world nation"-Ani DiFranco

                      by NoMoreLies on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:01:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  1979 Corolla (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  northsylvania, Annalize5

                  About 1/20 the price of a Prius -- but 1.5X - 2X the gas consumption.

                  •  61 mpg this morning (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    polecat, barbwires

                    When I am careful - maintaining 65 mph or slower (riding in the right lane only) - I can get the mileage seen above.  Casual driving usually gets me about 52 mpg each day.

                    So I am happy about the mileage in the pricey Prius!

                    I got all the bells and whistles - GPS, lots of buttons on the sterring wheel for all the high-tech functions - the works, so mine did cost 23k.

                    "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair." - George Washington

                    by PoconoPCDoctor on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:53:27 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  53 mpg, 3cyl Geo Metro, $8 grand (8+ / 0-)

                      Bought the first one in '86 for $8,000. Bought the second one in '97 for $8,000.  NO one wanted them and so they sold off at cheap prices and then Chevy discontinued production.
                      I drove the first one to 245,000 miles before she died. This one is still young at 72,000. Yeah, they are the poor man's Honda, but I don't need a show off car, I just need decent wheels. It has been the most dependable car I ever had. I wish they would make them again.
                      I am having a hydrogen converter put on which should amp up the mileage even more.
                      A local guy has a solar powered car. Talk about indy.

                      "It is difficult to say what is impossible - for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow" - Robert Goddard

                      by ggwoman55 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:35:16 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How tall are you? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I rented a Geo Metro once and my 6 foot three inch frame felt really cramped.  Small is fine, but too small for the passenger is not so fine.

                        "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair." - George Washington

                        by PoconoPCDoctor on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:51:52 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Shorter than you (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Texas Blue Dot

                          by a long chalk. 5'6", but I've got long legs. It has always been a very comfortable ride even long distance like crossing the US.  
                          The size is deceiving. I have carried most anything in this car. It could take 3 of us camping for a week with all our gear (course we travel light), or 2 bales of hay and 3 50lb sacks of feed, I even drove a screen door home once.  Once when the bus system went down, 3 very ample women fit in the back and 2 of us in front to drive over the mountain. That wouldn't work for the long haul, but it is amazing what you can fit inside when it's your only option.
                          As far as safety, because it's so light it literally bounces off of things like a bumper car.  One late rainy night driving I hit a granite mountain at 50 mph going around a turn when I skidded and just bounced right off the mountain and into a ditch. Had a scraped bumper is all. A couple of guys passing by helped me lift it back onto the road and I was on my way.

                          "It is difficult to say what is impossible - for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow" - Robert Goddard

                          by ggwoman55 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:27:53 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Just because you are tall doesn't mean ... (0+ / 0-)

                          that the car has to be.

                          Long time ago, I had a boss who had to duck to get through doorways.   He had a hard time finding a car he could fit in.
                          Ended up picking a car that was shorter than many others in the parking lot - with the seat reclined way back.   It depends on the positions of the controls, visibility, seat adjustability, etc.  A telescoping steering column would help if your arms aren't long.

                          -6.25, -6.36 Worst. President. Dictator. Ever.

                          by whitis on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:54:51 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  I have been looking for used (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        NoMoreLies, ggwoman55

                        Metros or Honda CRX HFMs but they're few and far between.

                        My Scion xA is great, and I can get 41mpg out of it, but mrs now has sales calls in a 200 mile radius, so she takes it and I'm back in my SuperDuty work pig truck for a couple of days a week.  Just for the CO2 factor alone it's killing me.  

                        I knew a guy in the 80s, put about 250,000 on his geo metro, bought another one.  i never forgot that.

              •  no one wants to do that.... (23+ / 0-)

                BUT it will come to the point where we HAVE to do that.  We live a lifestyle in America that cannot be sustained long term without cheap energy.  The time of cheap energy for our sprawled out city designs is likely coming to an end, barring some amazing new technologies and some real concessions regarding who it is that actually OWNS the energy.  

                Do you feel like paying a corporation for use of the SUN?  Almost as bad as paying them for use of our DNA.  

                P.S.  I'm in quite an anti-corporate-stealing-the-commons mood this a.m.

                Can anyone tell me what's "centrist" about using the Constitution to wipe your ass? - ActivistGuy

                by billlaurelMD on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:54:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  What you're all not getting... (27+ / 0-)

                And I love you all, but what you're not getting is that humans do not have an "urban planning" gene in their body or brain that will cause a mass enlightenment to lead to coordinated mass migrations toward central hubs. That's preposterous.

                What CAN happen is that the economy fails so bad that we will see the only thing that does cause mass migrations: abject widespread poverty. That is why basically the entire country of Mexico lives in Mexico City. It's what drove farmers into the cities in the 19th century in the U.S.

                So is this what everyone is cheering for here? There is no "leave it to the markets" approach that will win here. That's Republican thinking.

                Government must get involved. Government must work with planners to effect sensible solutions. Government must lead a new energy "Apollo" program to get us the hell off international oil and fossil fuels. And we must create jobs in the process.

                Yes, let's create the technology, let's create the opportunity, let's create jobs. And let's force real leadership on the issues.

                If you sit back and wait for everything to go to hell, history shows that humanity does not have a good track record of saving itself from itself if left to itself.

                I wish it was easy as much as anyone here. I wish there were an elegant solution, like just rooting the price of oil up to $1000 a barrel and just watch what happens. But nothing would destroy this world faster than that alone.

                "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins

                by TX Unmuzzled on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:11:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Apollo Alliance: good jobs, clean energy (10+ / 0-)

                  Check out their website:

                  Apollo Alliance website

                  May 12, 2008
                  Apollo Feedback
                  Are We Up To The Challenge?
                  Absolutely says the Apollo nation
                  Last week we asked whether there was enough courage and smarts in the United States to respond to the economic, environmental, and political peril we face. Is America capable of writing a new compact with its people that sees the public interest as having greater priority than serving the private interest. That represents a sharp departure in the governing and cultural direction the nation pursued over the last quarter century. Your responses clearly indicated America is ready for a change that sees clean energy and good jobs as central to our greatness in this century.

                •  You're right. (3+ / 0-)

                  We've got to spread the word far and wide that we MUST do something NOW, before it is too late.  Write those LTE's, tell your relatives, friends and neighbors that we have to start changing our ways NOW!

                  If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

                  by Mz Kleen on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:18:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Absolutely correct (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  This has dragged on too long, and now we're scrambling looking for solutions when we could have been on our 2nd generation of PHEV by now, had Reagan not thrown it all away.

                  There is one thing that might work for you, as a bit of a long shot. If you install solar panels on your roof, they should cost in the neighborhood of about $15,000 for a 4 - 5 kW system. That would be enough to pay your electric bill. In a few years, plug in hybrids should be available, which could then use the 'free' electric power from your solar panels. It all depends on individual circumstances, but I've looked into it for myself, and it will probably be doable within the next couple years for me.

                  Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

                  by corwin on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:14:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I wish you'd write a diary on the thoughts you (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  netguyct, bfitzinAR

                  have here TX Unmuzz. Our version of the country-side poor flocking into the cities would appear to be the tide of immigration from the Hispanic regions and from other Third World countries.  I think it is human nature not to plan ahead, alas.  If China can move an entire city of over one million people and build those people an entire city in which to live, one would think we could be doing something at the forefront of revamping and improving our infrastructure.  But then, we don't have the money; we could borrow it from China, or heaven forbid, raise taxes here at home and be called 'tax and spend Liberals.'

                  In youth we learn, in age we understand.

                  by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:01:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Amen. (0+ / 0-)

                  If you like Iraq, you're gonna love Iran.

                  by FundaMental Transformation on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:54:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Change perspective. (13+ / 0-)

                Public spaces. We are giving them up and many people don't even understand what they are or were.

                One of the striking things about European cities that my wife noticed on her first trip (I'd grown so used to it I had to be reminded.) was the fact you saw people of all ages using public spaces giving charm and life to those cities. Evening in Madrid and you find strollers with babies and elderly sharing parks, outdoor cafes, streets and actually visiting. One hell of a shock is to go from one of our dead-after-work cities such as central Atlanta to a place such as Paris or Rome or Strasbourg that is full of life. You can even find tucked away spots to spend quiet time alone. It is all there. Better, step into the integrated transportation system and other sections of the city or even other cities are a comfortable, care/car free ride.

                Who needs a huge back yard or big house (as I have now) when the entire city is your living room? I'd love to be able to step out my front door, as my son can, and have dozens of sidewalk cafes and beautiful parks within a short stroll. Choices, lots of them, rather than the same old space and a lawn to mow (Something I'm trying to eliminate!).

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:35:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Amen for saying this, pelagicray (6+ / 0-)

                  I lived in Spain for eight years. Young (and not so young) people have places to go in the evenings besides the local mall.
                  I had a tiny apartment in Palma de Mallorca, but because of the numerous public areas such as parks, theaters, and promenades, the world was my oyster.
                  Despite all harrumphing to the contrary, we have very little sense of community in the U.S.: everyone wants to be just left alone on their little patch of earth. When the ethos of "each under their own vine and fig tree" becomes distorted into: "everything can be owned privately", society has become unbalanced, and antisocial behavior becomes the norm.
                  I am afraid that the whole sick system has grown to the point where it is self-feeding, heterodyning.

                  "Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes begging." - Luther

                  by Cartoon Messiah on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:48:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nice isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cartoon Messiah, BYw

                    Went out one evening in Seville, about eleven, and the mad Spanish were just starting. Don't know how they do it and I'm a night owl! Anyway, we were waiting to make a call back to the U.S. and standing on a tree lined street with sidewalk cafes, a small park, and some still open shops. Two young mothers were sipping wine while the babes in strollers sipped milk. Two old couples were visiting while watching what turned out to be grandchildren played in the park. They were later joined by a younger pair, apparently just friends. Saw much the same in Madrid. Lisbon, one of my favorite places, isn't as night owlish but has an even more relaxed feel in those public places.

                    In more than one case in Europe we've stopped to sit in a park, cafe or just stand and watch and soon been made at home in a way. A kid's ball rolls our way and we pitch it back and become part of the park. Another couple sits at the next sidewalk table and we find ourselves visiting. And that is with the European reserve that is quite real.

                    That is the point; the world is your living room and yard. You can go out and easily move about on foot or public transportation. Sit and find a group or tuck away and read a book in a great setting.

                    In our suburbs half the time we don't even know the names of someone living three houses away and know the closer ones by a wave and a "Hi" as we pull out of the drive. Instead of a world at our door we find ourselves cooped up in a house and car with ourselves.

                    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                    by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:15:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  this is one reason (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Detlef, BYw, pelagicray

                  im moving back to germany in 2 weeks

                  there is no sense of community here...

                  Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label:

                  by johnfire on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:16:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A sad thing is to hear, as I have, of people (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    forced to move back after years due to the collapse of the dollar.

                    Before some idiot starts bashing expats, the ones I'm specifically thinking of are ex-military, career people. Spain was attractive. No few old Air Force and Navy types either married there or without that retired there. Their retirement is in dollars. With the Bush squandering of our fortunes I've heard of some are having to move back.

                    My first trips to Spain, with Franco ruling, was to a poor place. The Guardia was frightening and pushy. Check the taxi entering the airport? Two little blue muzzles of machine pistols into the back window and "papers!" As lovely as the place was it was also shabby compared to northern Europe or the U.S. No longer but it is getting expensive.

                    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                    by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:26:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Kids grow up in apartments all the time (10+ / 0-)

                There was a story in the newspaper last year about all the kids living in downtown Seattle. People adjust -- especially children.

                There is nothing wrong with either place; some people just want their suburban wide-open spaces. There are just as many pedophiles and predators outside the city limits as inside.

                I grew up in Suburbia and I hated it. My dad worked downtown and drove in every day for 40 years, and that stress probably contributed to his early death. I would have gladly given up my backyard if it had helped him live past age 55.

                There is nothing wrong with the city. Ask any kid who grew up in NYC if they would have rather been raised upstate. Unless they really don't like the city now, chances are the suburbs would make them shudder -- just like it does me.

                What needs to happen is that politicians need to stop demonizing downtown areas and work on revitalizing them. They become dirty and crime-infested because nobody cares about them.

                If I had had to be a suburban soccer mom, I think I would have gone insane. I grew up around that way of thinking, and I wasn't about to subject my kids to that lifestyle. They are better people for not having lived it.

                •  I live in soccer mom land (0+ / 0-)

                  And I have to say the idea scared the hell out of me when we made this decision. But I'm glad I did. I don't regret it for a second. And the suburban soccer moms have NOTHING on the urban dance moms ;^).

              •  You could do like we did (0+ / 0-)

                Buy an abandoned warehouse in the city and use the roof as your yard.  Of course I realize not everyone has that oportunity, but there is a lot we can do to make our cities more liveable.  Better use of rooftops and creating more community greenspace helps.

                Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

                by protothad on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:45:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You know, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I have two kids, and while I don't live in the central business district, we did make the choice to live 'inside the beltway,' we live technically within the city of Baltimore. We have a decent sized yard, but we also have a park nearby, and the kids play in the alleyway with the neighbors. And up until recently, with two active kids, I was filling my gas tank on average less than twice a month.

                We have always lived in the city, and when we moved to a bigger house, we decided to stay within the city. Yes, we pay higher taxes, but there are other things like less driving that have made it beneficial overall.

                I realize not everyone can make that choice, but you asked who wants to live that way? I know more than a few people who do. And we enjoy it.

                (Personally, I can't stand the suburbs, nor can the spouse, and we both grew up in the burbs. But we all make our choices based on our preferences.)

                Civil marriage is a civil right.

                by stitchmd on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:28:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yes You Can (0+ / 0-)

                Stop complaining, a 125cc scooter will do just fine, otherwise that inner city 600 square foot warehouse unit will do for your family to live in after you sell your house for about an eighth of what you paid for it.

            •  How the heck would you know? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman, mmacdDE, Jbeaudill
              Seriously, you just said that you only physically commute one day a week.

              I guess you're talking about what's best for other people.  Well, I'm sure that 95% of car drivers would also agree that other drivers should take the train, but it's hardly a convincing argument.

              I live in city with decent public transport, but it would still take anywhere from 75 to 130 minutes to get to work via bus and train if they all run to time. Or I can drive in quiet, odor free comfort in 25 minutes.  That's 50 minutes each way, or an hour and forty minutes less that I get to spend each day with my children if I were to take public transport.

              Oh, and driving still costs me way less per journey than public transport, and yes, I will discount the overheads since I have the aforementioned two kids and need the car for evenings and weekends.  

              Cycling or motorcycling is not a practical option, mostly because I would be killed stone dead by all the cars - which is likely why nobody else gets out of their cars either.  Someone needs to be the first to do so, but my kids (remember them) would rather that it wasn't their daddy that steps out of the cage.

              So, persuade me.  Why is it to my personal pragmatic benefit, right now, to leave my car at home, and to pay more for a slower, less convenient, less reliable mode of transport?

              Don't get me wrong, I agree with you in principle, but I cannot see any circumstances in which public transport becomes a more attractive choice.  When I'm given no other choice, I'll use it, but I can't see how it will ever be a "better alternative" from my point of view.

              Practically, the only way to get people out of their cars is to prohibit them from using them, or to punish them for doing so to the point where public transport is a less bad option.  That may be what you're advocating, but it's hardly an argument that you can sell.

              Obama: Change!
              Hillary: Spare some change?


              by DemCurious on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:23:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tele-commuting works for many (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Phoenix Woman, Jbeaudill

                Do you work somewhere with a chance to add at least a few days a week of tele-commuting?

                My nephew works for GE and started with two days a week, now often three days per week of tele-commuting.  He's on his computer all day at work anyway, so why not tele-commute to really spend time at least physically close to his children?

                We have light rail here near Baltimore that is just barely adequate, it could be greatly improved so that more people chose to ride by choice rather than forced to use the system.  Too bad our $12 billion per month is going to cheney's cronies to bomb Iraq.

                Yes, I'm fortunate to work from home most days, but it sure makes sense since I'm at my computer terminal 90% of the day most of the time- why drive and sit when I can just walk to my computer in my home?

                •  You keep mentioning that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I have to tell you, it's starting to sound like gloating.

                  If I didn't have to be in the office, then do you really think I'd be here by choice?

                  Obama: Change!
                  Hillary: Spare some change?


                  by DemCurious on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:19:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I have the same problems you do, mostly... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MD patriot, Jbeaudill, bfitzinAR

                ...and what I'm going to do is move. Lived in Boston for 7 years, and I have easily spent more on cars in the last year I've been back in suburban Jersey than on eight months of my rent+transit in Boston. I used to take the T into the city for 30 minutes, then take a train out of the city for 45 minutes, giving me a total commute time of something like an hour and a half. That was vastly, vastly better than driving--at least if you like to read.

                •  Heh, that was the option that I avoided mentioning (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  I should move closer to my work but:

                  1) Kids, schools, sucky neighborhoods.

                  2) ZOMG ITS THE END OF TEH WORLD (at least regarding housing).  Buying, no problem.  Selling, uh...

                  3) My wife works close to our home, so if we moved closer to my work, we'd still have the same total commute distance between us.  Zero sum.

                  Obama: Change!
                  Hillary: Spare some change?


                  by DemCurious on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:29:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That is pretty rough... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...fortunately my wife and I don't have kids yet, so we're a lot freer to just up and go and worry about jobs when we get there.

                    •  Ah, heady days. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Spawning offspring certainly changed my perspective.  Now it's all about what's best for them, and that means:

                      1. A safe environment to grow up in.
                      1. Good schools.
                      1. Maximising the time that I can spend with them.

                      Telecommuting from the 'burbs would be ideal, but there are two problems with that (I like making lists):

                      1. The number of people that can do it are limited.
                      1. If you can telecommute from the 'burbs, you can telecommute from India.  Once a company accepts that people don't need to be in the office, they sometimes get to wondering if they need to be on the same continent.

                      Obama: Change!
                      Hillary: Spare some change?


                      by DemCurious on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:02:16 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  When I worked outside of the home (3+ / 0-)

                Getting children to and from daycare on public transportation (or foot) would have been impossible.

                This is another reality that we have to address.

                •  People without cars do it every day. (3+ / 0-)

                  When my daughter was born, my car was out of commission for almost a year, but I had to work and get her to daycare in Fort Worth, Texas, a city with limited public transportation.

                  I got a bicycle seat and a helmet for my baby, and off we went every day on my bike -- first her to daycare, then me to my office.

                  Of course, I was 26 years old and my knees weren't shot like they are now.

                  But in Seattle, people ride the bus with their kids all the time, and kids even ride the city buses to school. If you don't have a car, you've got to do something to get around.

                  The wait times are what is killer. They need more buses to run more often. If they did that, more people would ride.

                  •  In Texas or in a place with a bus service (3+ / 0-)

                    I couldn't put my baby/toddler on a bike in January in the Chicago area regardless of my phsyical condition.

                    Wait times aren't only a killer for suburban buses in my area they are impossible. Every hour on the hour, if you are lucky and depending on the route. So for me in the daycare arrangment that I was able to create that was both affordable and quality it would have required leaving at 5:30 am to catch a bus to go in the opposite direction from where I worked. Taking a half hour bus ride that would put me at the day care provider's place just after the next bus into the city requiring an hour wait for the next bus to the train. And if everything ran on time I still wouldn't make it to work.  Of course I could have started the commute at 4:30 and waited outside of the day care until it opened with my infant.

                    So our option with one car and was for my husband and I to leave at reasonable hour, drop off our child, drop me off at the train (which i could take if i wasn't relying on the suburban bus system) and then go to work in the opposite direction. This would not have worked if I did not have family that could help out by picking me/my child up when we needed it.

                    I am all for public transportation and less driving. But the reality is that physical environments, transportation systems, housing and education costs, daycare costs etc.. sometimes merge to make this an unrealistic avenue. There is also an element of luxury in having the time and resources that create the flexibility required for these alternatives that the working class just doesn't have.

                    •  Oh, I hear you. (4+ / 0-)

                      But there ARE women who do what you just described in order to get by.

                      We were both lucky enough to have family and/or cars in the mix.

                      Once we get the next administration started talking about transportation, they need to do something about quality child care for everyone too, since half the people working are women, and a large percentage of those working women have children for which they need care.

                      And I want to see more than some stupid tax credit. These are not helpful for the people who need them most.

                  •  Brooke, you'd have to leave at 0500 to get (0+ / 0-)

                    your kiddies to school if you lived in LA.  Our oldest son lives 12 miles from work; he checked out the bus schedules - it would involve 3 to 4 bus changes depending on time of day and would take him 1.5 hours. There is a wonderful entreprenurial opportunity here for someone to develop a personal bus service in metro neighborhoods.  One with comfortable clean windowed vans, with work space and wi-fi and offer home to work door delivery... but that's for the semi-rich, not for the lower-middle let alone the working poor.  I guess we'll know we are really in trouble when even the poor cannot get to work.
                       Or maybe we will become like Aspen and have to build an entire village just for our maids, chauffeurs and gardeners on the distant outskirts.

                    In youth we learn, in age we understand.

                    by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:17:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  One way to punish people/cars and force them (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cartoon Messiah

                to public transport is via 'congestion taxes' which can be levied when registering autos or applying for licenses. I believe NYC is considering this and London and Tokyo already have same.
                   Frankly I think we are on the cusp of violent change related to gas/oil. The current status of public transport in most cities are overcrowded tragic accidents waiting to happen.  I grew up in Boston, the T-line there, while it has expanded in its distance to suburbs, still has the same old tunnels, tunnel walls, tracks and civilian exposure to disaster that it had when I was growing up.

                In youth we learn, in age we understand.

                by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:10:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Transit can be more convenient, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but it totally depends on where you live.  It can even be cheaper, again depending on where you live.  When I lived in San Francisco, a transit pass cost me $24/month (OK, that was in the 1980s), but parking, should I have been able to find any downtown where I worked, cost over $300/month or equal to darned near half my rent.

                OK - some benefits of mass transit over driving - first off, you aren't driving which means your attention can be on lots of other things.  You can call it time wasted, but you can also call it time to get ready for that meeting, read a book you've been wanting to, write that letter to the editor - all the things you "don't have time for" that can be done sitting down for an hour, leaving you more "prime-time" with your kids when you actually are home.  When traveling with your kids - depending on the ages of your kids - you can give them your attention instead of the road (read stories, play traveling board games, explain all the "what's thats" the kids ask that you can't take your eyes off the road to look at.  Your particular situation doesn't seem to fit in this category, which I understand having lived in some of those kinds of places myself, but it doesn't have to be a police state to encourage use of mass transit - it mostly takes decent mass transit at a reasonable (which will be subsidized, just like driving is subsidized - who do you think pays for the roads) rate and a good advertising campaign to extoll the personal as well as public benefits.

            •  Those *are* great alternatives... (5+ / 0-)

              ...unfortunately suburban sprawl is friendly to exactly none of those options. Where I live the only trains and buses go directly to and from New York City, and the roads have no sidewalks, nor bike lanes, nor motorists eager to accommodate bicycles.

              The wife and I are moving back to a city the first chance we get.

            •  Bike trails along major highways (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cotterperson, zbbrox, bfitzinAR

              would be great too.  I would bike more places, but don't have the courage to get on the same roads that cars use.  

            •  Give us infrastructure. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman, bfitzinAR

              Most places have none.  These must be funded.  From public dollars?  From any dollars!

              There is no bus line near my home.  If there was, I would use it.  There is no train line.

              The housing market stinks, mortgages aren't being made.  Credit is not being extended.  So if the mountain can't come to Muhammad, maybe Muhammad should try to reach the mountain?

            •  I'm going carless for 6 months (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman, bfitzinAR

              I start a new out of state consulting contract soon.  Rather than drive the car there, I plan to take the train, get an efficiency apartment near the job site, and then buy a bike.  I used to bike everywhere when I was younger.  It should do my 40+ year old body good to get back to that.

              Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

              by protothad on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:08:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You can do it! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                My spouse was massively overweight when he came back to cycling in his early forties, after a long absence from two wheels.  He hadn't been biking very long before he was close to his old speed, and the weight started to melt off like butter on a hot griddle.

                •  Exercize (0+ / 0-)

                  It often seems to be the forgotten component in most people's weight loss program.  I've manage to improve my health quite a bit and drop about 20 pounds just by switching to healthier foods (I don't even count calories).  I figure by puting some exercize back into my routine, I'll tone up and get back to my ideal weight (I'm still about 10 - 15 lbs over).

                  It is amazing, though, what just a few diet changes can do.  I've eliminated high fructose corn syrup and deep fried foods, started shopping at the farmers market and the organic co-op, and it has made a world of difference.


                  Treasure each day like it will be your last, but treat the earth like you will live forever. -me

                  by protothad on Wed May 21, 2008 at 04:48:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Seattle: FREE public transit in the center city. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "Everything we do or say should be done or said consciously."

              by TheWesternSun on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:44:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Weakening our economy? (0+ / 0-)

              It'll be strong again if suddenly 300 million americans are reduced to traveling only as far as they can reasonably walk?

              I hesitate to say what it will do to pollution... I half expect some sort of counter-intuitive effect and it will be worse.

          •  $4.433 trillion required (11+ / 0-)

            I have calculated that building urban rail mass transit systems to the same density as New York City in the next 38 largest urban areas of the United States requires building 70,927 kilometers of new rail transit lines, at a cost of $4.433 trillion. It will require about two and one half years of total U.S. steel production.

            $4.433 trillion is just the construction costs – it does not even include the cost of new rolling stock and maintenance rail vehicles. It is a project that will create over 100 million new jobs.

            The numbers are based on an extension of the Los Angeles Metro Gold Line completed a few years ago, and is not adjusted for inflation.

            In New York City, over 80% of all people use mass transit. You find similar rates of use in European cities that have densities of rail transit networks similar to or greater than New York City.

            $4.433 trillion makes the present emergency economic stimulus package of $120 billion easily recognizable for what it is – a joke.

            Business as usual is going to kill us.

            I will be dairying this in about another week or two.

            Meantime, feast your eyes on what we can do with wind energy – and the problems we need to fix in our manufacturing base to make sure we and our children and grandchildren have a future: Can the U.S. achieve 20% wind energy by 2030?

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:14:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not necessarily (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoenix Woman, gatorcog, Jbeaudill, nhDave

            public transportation will never, ever be as convenient as private vehicles. Never.

            And realistically, how do you bring home 15 bags of groceries on a bus? Or haul 3 kids and sports equipment?

            This is the problem. Getting to work when you don't work close to home is also a problem, even if you HAVE public transportation.

            •  15 bags of groceries (8+ / 0-)

              Living in a fairly dense mostly single family housing neighborhood, I can say that many people here get around that by shopping every day or two, often on the way home from work.  

              Density is the problem, spread out suburbs and sprawling single story business parks are set up for private single occupant transportation.  At the time they were built, covering farmland with tilt-up construction surrounded by parking was the cheapest way to build commercial buildings.  If fuel gets expensive enough, those designs are not going to be practical, no form of powered transportation will be able to handle those low densities.

            •  Ah... (12+ / 1-)

              So now we're suppose to gouge everyone in taxes to subsidize your (and other suburb lovers) convienience?

              So the bar has now changed from helping the poor and helping get folks ahead in life to helping them keep the convient lifestyle they have gotten used to?

              Sheesh. What's next, demand the govt do something about expensive concert tickets?

              •  your user name certainly fits :) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Phoenix Woman

                Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:37:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He does have a point (6+ / 0-)

                  We are losing our choices due to physical realities.

                  I say that eventually peak oil will turn the US as poor as Mexico, turn Mexico as poor as Bangladesh, and turn Bangladesh into a boneyard.

                  "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
                  -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

                  by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:59:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  we'll see if it happens (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Phoenix Woman, GW Chimpzilla

                    but it's fascinating he thinks that way given that mmacdDE is a rural dweller, who are vaunted on this site.

                    it was a whiny bitchy comment and while I didn't HR it, i think he deserved it.

                    Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                    by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:16:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Actually, no (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk, awnm, incompleteness

                      It was a reasonable comment. Whiny and bitchy is to demand we all pay up to subsidize convenience. You have got to be kidding me.

                      I really like boats. Sailboats. I can't really afford to buy a decent one however. Can I have Uncle Sam take your money and give it to me?

                      Allow me to explain. No one has the right to a spiffy house in the burbs. No one has the right to an SUV or pickup truck. I like cities and population density. If it turns out that something makes that lifestyle uneconomic, I'm not going to steal from you to subsidize it.


                      •  should i subsidize yuppies in tdowntown lofts? (0+ / 0-)

                        cause you know we both do. They all get tax abatements in many cities. That's a subsidy.

                        hardly seems fair to subsidize a bunch of elitists so they can live downtown in their condos and eat pate all day. I mean if you're going to play the subsidy game I think it's unfair I have to subsidize highways when I actually don't drive. They should privatize them all. Toll Roads for Everyone! (And while I'd never write a diary about it here, I certainly am a proponent of tolling and highway privatization.)

                        Then there's the density argument. All for it, till I start doing the math and wondering how they'd be paid for. Either subsidies for developers (because it's expensive to build all those dense housing towers that we both know they want to make a profit on) or the gov't does them and they become slums.

                        and of course, is it fair for drivers to subsidize the non drivers like me? They whine it isn't. I really don't care.

                        not everyone wants to live in the city. not everyone CAN live in the city. I like my city the way it is. Any denser (if there were vacant land to make it possible, just TRY to get those downtown yuppies to give up their townhomes to densify downtown, just try it) and it'd be unlivable. Those suburbanites are not coming back en masse unless you people want crime ridden housing projects to reappear.

                        unless of course, we subsidize them

                        Just suck it up and deal. I don't care that suburbs exist and they're not ever going away. and Yeah I think it is a whiny and bitchy comment because YOU hate suburbs.

                        Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                        by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:46:19 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  that said (0+ / 0-)

                          thanks suburbanites for your subsidies so I never have to drive (i'm snarking.)

                          Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                          by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Absolutely not. (3+ / 0-)

                          You shouldn't subsidzie that. Nor do you, unless you live in a city, as those abatements are usually local.

                          And yes, the federal highway fund is a travesty as run. It now is well over 50% general taxation instead of gas taxes, so yes, people who will never use the highways are subsidizing all those extensions and exchanges which only serve to create more suburban/exurban sprawl.

                          But really...

                          1. The exurban/suburban subsidy is extensive beyond any urban or rural one. Simple reality, if we cancelled all the subsidies, we would go back to pre-Levittstown, with only cities and rural dwellers. The burbs are purely a subsidy creation.
                          1. This all leaves aside the concept of subsidizing ecological disaster. You want to subsidize the 'burbs? Great, you're subsidizing inefficient energy use and global warming.
                  •  Quite the Contrary (3+ / 0-)

                    While peak oil will affect everyone as adjustments are made -- the US and Mexico will be moving in opposite directions.

                    If you watch the Peso, Mexico is on its way to becoming the North American economic super power. There's a lot of reasons for that -- but an important one is that all Mexicans own their own homes with no mortages and they have no debt and superior resources and weather.

                    I say that eventually peak oil will turn the US as poor as Mexico, turn Mexico as poor as Bangladesh...

                    •  Mexico's Oil Production is Tanking (5+ / 0-)

                      It may be as soon as three years from now that Mexico becomes a net importer of oil. It would be even worse if they succeed in privatizing the oil industry.

                      Production chart.

                      Add to that the huge urban population growth which is unsustainable in times of oil shortage. Add to that the fall in small and subsistence farming being replaced by NAFTA-style mega farms being wholly dependent on fossil fuels and I see a huge disaster.

                      "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
                      -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

                      by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:01:35 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  We See It Differently (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I have no argument with your facts.

                        Keep in mind, however, that the "urban growth" and "Nafta farms" are American investments in Mexico.

                        Sustenance farming is alive and well in Mexico. They are, after all, Native Americans. And they are whip smart about things like this.

                  •  And if we weren't spending Billions in (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Iraq, things might have been different but not with oilmen in charge.

                    In youth we learn, in age we understand.

                    by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:29:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Doesn't have to. America (0+ / 0-)

                    has been the richest nation on earth because she had the most natural resources.  We've used up lots of them, but hopefully have learned some things in the process.  Energy is necessary to maintain a free and reasonably well-off society.  By well-off I mean adequate food, housing, clothing, and means of entertainment.  McMansions and SUVs aren't necessary to be well-off by any standards except this current generation of Americans.  However, electricity doesn't care what makes it - wind, solar, biogeneration - these are all very viable sources.  What we need to be doing right now is building the manufacturing base for the components of these new sources.  Once we are building the parts, we start building the electricity plants.  It's going to cost something upfront, of course, but the payback will be fantastic.  The only problem is getting started.  The time lag between starting the component plants and the working generators is something like 3 years.  And that's just starting the builds for the working generators.  I don't know if we have that much time, from a political, economic, or environmental perspective.

                    •  We have no foundation for this. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      The machine tool capacity of this country was butchered decades ago. What didn't fall into disrepair was crated up and shipped to places where they'd earn 10¢ a day using it.

                      It would take decades to replace.

                      And all for power plants that don't come anywhere near the energy density that coal and oil gave us.

                      •  We can rebuild this - and if we put (0+ / 0-)

                        the full mind and might of the American government backed by the American people, we can rebuild this in about 3 years.  That's what it would take, but it is possible.  And while it is true that renewable power plants don't have the energy density of coal and oil, there is vastly more of them (sunshine and wind), they are easily accessible, and they don't cause anything like the environmental problems.  Energy density is only an issue if you are dealing with a restricted feedstock or ability to utilize said feedstock.  But the Dakotas alone get enough wind to power the entire nation and have electricity left to sell to Canada.  If your water is coming from a well with a 10 gal/hour rate of return, you need to make every drop count.  If your water comes from a well with a 100 gal/minute rate, not so much.  It's the same basis as the "Wal-Mart theory" - a few cents profit on a whole lot of sales can make you more money than a whole lot of profit on just a few sales.

                        Consider "cradle to grave" instead of just the energy result of burning them.  There are actually ways to utilize fossil fuels that don't cause environmental problems, but there is no way to get them out of the ground that doesn't cause problems, even if the fact that they are FOSSIL fuels didn't mean we will run out of them eventually (by "run out" I mean it will not be economically or energy-use feasible to get them out of the ground).

                        •  3 years? (0+ / 0-)

                          In what bizarro universe could we tool up in 3 years?

                          To any significant degree, it takes that long just to train people on the first step of such a program.

                          How would we even buy it? On credit?

                          This would be politically unviable. You'd have to cut social programs to the bone, just to afford it. And all so you can give it away to corporations as subsidies for the tooling they refuse to build on their own?

                          Yeh right.

                          Or maybe you'll give it to small business, so that our industrial capacity is as inefficient as possible.

                          30 years to tool up, before we could start building the wind turbines or whatever it is you have in mind.

                          Energy density is only an issue if you are dealing with a restricted feedstock or ability to utilize said feedstock.

                          No, it's an issue because energy density is directly proportional to how scaleable a technology is. Which is indirectly proportional to how much energy a given civilization can generate. Which is yet again proportional to quality of life.

                          I won't even be a member of the outer party, once all this crap starts. You though, as a member of it, you can cheer when they raise the coffee rations, and grumble that you're only allowed to set the thermostat to 58° in winter.

                          But the Dakotas alone get enough wind to power the entire nation and have electricity left to sell to Canada.  If your water is coming from a well with a 10 gal/hour rate of return, you need to make every drop count.  

                          So, you want to pipe the juice all across a continent, when you're worried about making every drop count? What's the power loss on high voltage lines again?

                          There are legitimate concerns that we can't tool up in your 3 year timetable. Legitimate concerns that our electrical grid is primitive and unable to cope with our practice of generating the electricity hundreds or thousands of miles away from where it's used. Legitimate concerns about overall generating capacity.

                          And you want to use 30% of what little you can generate heating and sagging high voltage wire in flyover country. Nice.

                          •  The same bizarro universe that (0+ / 0-)

                            got Great Britain from reducing industry, especially in "war plants" all during the 1920-30s and being at full production by 1942.  We also had shut down factories during the 1930s, but started retooling and gearing up for war production (selling to the war participants) in very late 1939 and were at full production by the end of 1942.

                            You start building and train the operators as you build.  It takes about 18 months.  First year you get nothing off the line, second year you get a dribble.  Third year you get full production, although you don't see the "flood" til fourth year.

                            We can be upgrading our grid system at the same time we're building the plants.  We need to do that anyway, as the current system is not dealing well with the our current load.  The whole process of course will take longer than 3 years, but we can be in full production and seeing strong results in 3 years, just like we did in WWII.  This is a public-private cooperative effort.  Shift money from a number of counter-productive subsidies and tax breaks into a "green bond" system that loans startup funds to private enterprise to do this.  Combine this with a WPA-type program to rebuild and green infrastructure, including insulating homes for lower income folks and you have reduced demand, increased "green" output, and jobs all over the place pouring money back into the Treasury.

                            Of course, I'm not saying we WILL do this, but we CAN do it.  It will take leaders knowing what to do, Congress passing the laws to "make it so", and the American people getting gung ho behind them.  Folks have counted "effete Americans" down before and we "showed 'em" - get our attention and point us in the right direction and we CAN do the job.  Will we?  We'll see.

              •  Uprated to counter the HR (8+ / 0-)

                What's wrong with that comment?

                It's sadly true.

                I've seen people struggling on the bus with all their worldly goods and a couple of kids in tow, so I don't think there's anything wrong with saying it.

                It is kind of an elitist way of thinking. I must admit that until I moved to Seattle, I didn't realize how many people used public transportation and what they brought on board with them.

                It IS a pain to struggle with all your groceries, or your kid's soccer equipment and books, and try to keep your seat while the bus lurches around corners. It's worse when you see the fine young professionals with their designer briefcases turn up their noses at the young mother with a couple of kids trying to keep a dozen plastic bags of groceries from sliding away. The thing is, people do it every single day because that's their only option. So it really sounds snotty when someone says a variation of "But if you do that, it wouldn't be the way I want it any longer."

                Well, guess what. This whole country is about to be the way someone doesn't want it any longer. It hasn't been the way I've wanted it for a long time.

            •  Strange . . . (4+ / 0-)

              how do you bring home 15 bags of groceries on a bus? Or haul 3 kids and sports equipment?

              . . . how so few Europeans have problems like this.

              Imagine why.

              •  Heck, I don't have a problem with it.... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Detlef, xysea, bfitzinAR

                Well, I don't have the 3 kids, I'll grant you, but I've easily brought 15+ bags of groceries home on the bus. And I've seen plenty of other people on the bus bring home more. It would probably be easier to pop those groceries into a car trunk and drive on home, but that ease would be offset by the added hassle of having to deal with traffic firsthand, finding a parking space, and, most of all paying for the gas.

                Iraq -- "the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people"

                by seancdaug on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:28:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Aha but (0+ / 0-)

                  you probably live in a city. If you don't, there aren't any real traffic problems, there's no problem parking, and if there IS public transportation, you're talking a trip of possibly hours each way.

                  Oh, and did I mention that it's NOT CHEAP? Normally, gas, even at today's prices, is CHEAPER.

                  •  single rides aren't cheap (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    unlimited monthly passes that let you go anywhere for a flat monthly rate are considerably less expensive then car ownership and fuel.

                    but again, you are right, you need to be in an area where transit functions.

                    Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                    by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:20:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Washington, DC suburbs, actually (0+ / 0-)

                    Inner suburbs, to be sure (southern Montgomery County, MD), but suburbs nonetheless. I readily admit that I'm blessed to live in a progressive area with good public transit (both rail and bus), and that other people may not be as lucky. But I've also managed in far less hospitable regions (rural Ohio) to survive and thrive even without a car.

                    It's easier than most people think. Not saying that it's necessarily easy enough to be possible/worth it for everyone, but I know from plenty of conversations with my fellow locals that they automatically assume it's not possible without trying.

                    Iraq -- "the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people"

                    by seancdaug on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:47:58 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  But why? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, seancdaug, bfitzinAR

                  Why would you buy "15+ bags of groceries" on one trip?
                  Did you get a rebate or were the shops just that far away?

                  Maybe stupid questions but being a German I just can´t understand it.
                  3 or 4 bags I´ll grant you but 15+?

                  •  Poor planning on my part (0+ / 0-)

                    Nowadays, I seldom bring more than four or five bags with me at any given time. But in extreme circumstances, I have managed with more.

                    Iraq -- "the wrong war, in the wrong place, against the wrong people"

                    by seancdaug on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:53:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Partly because (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Detlef, bfitzinAR

                not all the women work - and those with small children have paid maternity leave so they don't HAVE to work.

                If you're not working 40/50/60 hrs a week, it's not a big deal to walk over to the shops (which are usually close, even if you live in a small town) and pick up a few things a few times a week. I did it, for years, with small kids.

                The kids don't have every minute structured, either.

              •  Is it? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                When your city was designed 1000 years ago by peasants that didn't so much as have a horse...

                Well, maybe things are slightly different. Imagine that.

            •  It's no longer about convenience - (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mmacdDE, NoMoreLies

              it will be about small, centralized service-based communities and survival.

              The old model is dead.  It's time to start focusing on the new model.

              •  Basically (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                xysea, bfitzinAR

                no more McMansion developments - but towns, with services and jobs.

                I could deal with that.

                •  Yes - centered around a city square (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NoMoreLies, incompleteness, bfitzinAR

                  with a doctor's office or clinics, stores, a school.  All the homes would be clustered around this one city square.

                  Everything would be walking distance, or public transportation-centered, making a car virtually unnecessary.  You could probably rent a car if you needed to travel far outside the city square.  Or public transport could be arranged to interconnect between city centers.

                  I'd live, rent and work there, too.

            •  You don't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Shop more, in smaller proportions.

              Europeans manage.

          •  I could care less about gas prices (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cotterperson, dansmith17, nhDave

            I ride a bike most days anyway. But wouldn't threatening to cut off arms shipments to the OPEC countries nip this in the bud. Or would they just go to China at this point. It seems to me that Bush and Congress are allowing the oil companies and the MIC to make obscene profits when one could be cut back drastically.

            The Saudis won't produce more oil and we could/should threaten to cut off arms shipments (we ought to really get out of Iraq). Is there something flawed I'm missing?

            With a big ol' lie And a flag and a pie And a mom and a bible Most folks are just liable To buy any line Any place, any time ~ FZ

            by f furney on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:22:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Saudis: Bush will be selling them more (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bronx59, dansmith17

              armaments and weaponry and now add assistance in building nuclear power plants. They had already decided to increase their oil output prior to Bush departing on his most recent Middle East jaunt, so don't think he achieved anything going over there hat-in-hand.

              In youth we learn, in age we understand.

              by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:35:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  But we could CERTAINLY do better than SUV's (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Very few people who drive them actually need them.  My wife and I spent a few days in Williamsburg, VA a couple of weeks ago, and on both the trip down there from Baltimore and the trip back, we got better than 50 mpg.

            And on many Interstate highways, you'll create a monumental traffic jam if you drive even 5 mph above the speed limit.  

            "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

            by leevank on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:25:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  When McCain chooses (0+ / 0-)

            Pawlenty as his VP, it will show McCain does not support mass transit. Opposition to mass transit has been Pawlenty's issue for a decade.

          •  True. But also . . . (0+ / 0-)

            . . . when enough people have been forced to give up their cars, we'll get better public transportation, because the transit system's new, non-poor riders will demand it.  The frequency and reliability of public transportation in Los Angeles is already improving slightly, though of course that's not saying much, given what it recently was.

            "Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure." -- White Rose letter no. 1

            by keikekaze on Wed May 21, 2008 at 01:04:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Gas is $8.28 per gallon in the UK (12+ / 0-)

          So naturally they have much better transit and drive more fuel efficient cars.  Too bad we have gone backwards during eight years of Bush 2- the worst president ever.

          McBush will continue the bush/cheney regime's scheme of invading to plunder oil while our dollar will suffer even more massive inflation.

          $200 per barrel of oil,   $8 per gallon of gas in the USA.

        •  SUV's disappearing in Phoenix (5+ / 0-)

          I've been out here in the SW for a few years now. When I first got here I hated driving in the city because I couldn't see over the giant wallowing beasts on the road. But in the last few months, those are pretty much gone (except amongst lower income folks who are buying them at firesale prices). They're being replaced by smaller passenger cars. People are still driving too fast, but it's a sign that behavior is starting to change.

          I'm even seeing motorbikes and scooters on the street now. I'm shopping for one myself.

        •  SUVs have their purpose (9+ / 0-)

          Around here the schools run SUVs as buses - six kids at a time plus cargo. Some of them have blades on the front to push snow. A full sized bus doesn't always fit the pick up/drop off schedule.

          They make fine vehicles for police/fire/ambulance duty ... especially as roads get rougher due to falling funds and rising bitumen prices.

          Where they do not fit is going down the road to the store with one person, AC blowing, and it's a nice summer day - walk, bike, or scooter.

          A friend's car dropped its transmission last night. I'm house sitting two blocks from the town center and I work from home - I just gave up my car for a week and I'll hardly miss it. I pity those who bought into the whole exurbs "country living" fantasy two years ago ... peak oil is "stretching" the world in an energetic sense - twenty miles out is still just twenty miles, but when gas goes from $2 to $8 ... that is still a quadrupling.

        •  INDY 500 sends wrong signals. How about.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Whimsical, xysea

          a super purse that rewards the fastest speed and the lowest gas usage? An oil company could fund this with chump change and get millions in PR advertisement.

        •  Remember this was the same Houser that refused to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          increase CAFE Standards.

          Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

          by DefendOurConstitution on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:15:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not ashamed to admit I'm looking into an SUV. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JohnnySacks, Bronx59, bfitzinAR

          It's more fuel efficient than a pick-up truck, and I need the space to haul lumber and other materials (picture a Toyota Corolla with 5 sheets of 4x8 plywood strapped to the roof, driving down the street, and you'll understand why.)

          What disgusts me is that the most fuel-efficient hybrid SUV available on the market gets about the same fuel economy as my car. My nearly ten-year-old car. Which, in turn, gets better MPG than about half the hybrids on the road. I simply can't give up my old car until I can find something with better fuel economy.

          In the last ten years, the fuel economy of our vehicles has gone backwards, rather than forwards. It's not a good trend at all.

          "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

          by EsnRedshirt on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:23:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Try Finding A Practical One (0+ / 0-)

            1998, living in NJ, we needed 4 wheel drive like a third tit.  Added $1,800 to the price, less mileage, and guaranteed astronomical front end service fees for life.  A V8 engine was out of the question also.  We seemed to be surrounded by pathetic morons all living out the same wilderness fantasy while dying a slow death daily in traffic.  Had $2,200 on the GM card so an S10 Blazer was it. (GM STILL pays me 5% in new car credits to use it, currently we're at $3,200!) Biggest dealer around, Reedman in PA, had over 230 S10 Blazers but only 3 had 4 doors and 2 wheel drive and 2 were total pimp-mobiles leather, power everything.

      •  We don't have the same geographical (11+ / 0-)

        clusters of population.  Instead of towns w/ centers, we have centerless  exurbs.  A good bit of our country was designed with the car in mind, so it'd be extraordinarily difficult to have viable mass transit.

      •  You'll be surprised to see (34+ / 0-)

        how much people are willing to pay for gas.

        One of my most enduring memories from being a kid in the 70s is all the announcements that "oil at $3/gal will bring riots", .... "oil at $5/gal will destroy the economy", ... etc - and nothing.

        Oh, smaller cars were more popular, ads started emphasising mpg rather than hp, but people kept on driving, the economy did not collapse and there were no riots.

        We've already seen this happening now with $50 oil, $70 oil, $100 oil, $120 oil - havoc was announced, and has yet to materialise.

        The thing is, oil has been extraordinarily cheap. Now its price is noticeable, but not yet unbearable, for the majority. It will go high enough as to be painful for large numbers of people, and we're still very far from that.

        •  then the price came down (17+ / 0-)

          I think those memories, instead of being the warning they should be, actually reassure people that "this too shall pass".
          i.e. the price went crazy before, hell, we even had gas lines, but then everything went back to normal (read "unsustainable").
          As you said, Americans are unwilling to face reality. Ain't THAT the truth.
          we seem incapable of imagining a future where there is less of anything (except, of course liberty, economic opportunity, access to health care, average life span, international prestige, job security, safety regulations, education...)

          Ok, it's the STUFF we can't imagine being without.
          And that's why we'll pay $10 a gallon while promoting speculation in the market, starting unwinnable wars, and driving ocean liners down to the corner WalMart.
          If it was a movie, it would be hilarious.

          Apparently only elections of Republicans have consequences. My bad.

          by kamarvt on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:53:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  True - Like my V8 (9+ / 0-)

          I need an adult passenger car for work. I didn't want an SUV. So I got a used, efficient V8 car.

          I've done the calculations. Even with gas at $5/gallon -- given my driving habits, the savings I could get from another car (let's say Camry 4-cyl) with c. 30 mpg just does not override the costs of trading in my existing car and buying a new/used car.

          Even if I amortize the capital costs of the transaction over 3 to 5 years -- IT STILL DOESN'T ADD UP.

          I want this country to be free of international oil and all fossil fuels as much as anybody -- I think it's a far greater security threat than Iran ever will be.

          But that doesn't give us license to ignore the math or the realities. That won't get us anywhere.

          "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins

          by TX Unmuzzled on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:56:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  12,000 miles = 240 gal at 50 mpg (5+ / 0-)

            So I pay $960 to drive my Prius 12,000 miles at $4 per gallon.

            You pay about $2,400 to drive your 20 mpg V8 12,000 miles, with $4 per gallon gas.

            So when gas is $8 per gallon, you will pay $4,800 per year, I'll pay $1,920.

            How many years of this will convince you to buy a Prius?

            At current prices, your $1,440 per year differential makes sense economically, but when the differential is $2,880 per year you might make a different decision.

            And what about global warming?  Do you have any concern about that?

            •  still part of the problem (0+ / 0-)

              In that instance you are still buying 240 gallons of gas a year! And you are driving 12,000 miles a year? WHERE THE HECK ARE YOU DRIVING???? I drive a two-door hatchback Hyundai Accent with a stick-shift. Call me un-American, but yeah, I change my own gears. I drive not even 4,000 miles a year. My car gets, what, about 30 mpg? Maybe a bit less since I only drive in the city. So, I will really low-ball my gas mileage and say I get only 20 mpg. Even if that was the case, I would pay only $800 a year in gas. Of course my tiny hatchback gets more than 20 mpg, so I save even more.

              Now, if I REALLY wanted to save on gas, I could walk 12 minutes from my house to the trolley ( I live in Philadelphia), then take the trolley about 30 minutes, and walk another 15 minutes to my place of work. That way, I would pay $ZERO on fuel.

              Oh yeah, my Accent cost me around $10,000 off the assembly line about 5 years ago.

              •  Actually I work at home- wife drives (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                My wife is a teacher, they still require that she get in front of her students in person!

                But we could cut down on a big chunk of that mileage, only about half is for commuting.  

                George Monbiot has  a book on cutting down carbon use to stop global warming, "Heat".  He says we need to eliminate the energy-wasting retail stores.  Just eliminate the stores altogether, ship right from the warehouses to the end users.  Mr. Monbiot also mentions that just one cross country airplane flight is your entire carbon allowance for the year- so end the airlines polluting our skies.

              •  Not everybody lives in the city (5+ / 0-)

                or wants to. Or works close to where they live.

                I don't. I live in a decent sized town. I can walk to most things if I want. However, walking to the store and bringing back 10 bags of groceries isn't feasible.

                And there's no public transit to where I work - 40 miles from my home. Don't tell me to move either - my husband works literally across the street. Besides, we've lived here 25 yrs, and have had jobs anywhere from across the street to 60 miles away - sometimes 3 jobs in one year, various distances from the house. I'm not moving every time we change jobs, it doesn't make sense.

                People also do things like visit family, take vacations, etc., that involve driving.

                We need better cars, better infrastructure of ALL kinds, and services/stores closer to where we live. Regardless of how far from the city that happens to be.

                •  you can get 4-6 bags in a granny cart (4+ / 0-)

                  however I do agree with the majority of your point.

                  i'm blessed to live 20 blocks from work--and will probably buy closer by the end of the year but there's a trade off that many people simply aren't willing to do and I understand that: i'll be paying an obscene 36 mills in property tax.

                  thus i'm for making transit work so it makes sense. 65% of Americans live in only 100 metro areas and work there, and most of them live in the 'burbs and many of the jobs are not downtown. So why build transit systems that take people just downtown? it's not efficient.

                  Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

                  by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:34:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Might be useful to post the math (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mz Kleen, nhDave

            Lots of folks may find themselves in a similar situation; if the community could develop some kind of worksheet it'd be useful.

            Since you'll be keeping the V8, there is the opportunity to optimize its mileage - keeping the engine tuned and the fuel injection system clean (Chevron's "Techron" is used in its gasolines and also sold separately), keeping speeds moderate (I use a max of 60 in our Aerostar and Accord), and so forth.

            •  gas prices are psychological (5+ / 0-)

              Most people don't actually do the math, and they sure don't seem to drive the speed limit!

              I nearly get run down since I actually drive the speed limit (55) on our local highways.  Mileage increases greatly when you drive 55 instead of 65, but that does not seem to matter to all the SUVs racing past me.

              The fact that the psychology of high gas prices might work to get people to use less is actually good, a decrease in US consumption might slow down the inevitable rise in gas prices.  So far we use more each year than the year before- will 2008 see a decline?

        •  some changes... (7+ / 0-)

          People will adjust. Gas could be $50 a gallon and many people will still drive around aimlessly going from Target to Wal-Mart to Best Buy etc. Most will adjust. Until somewhat recently, my wife and I, when we needed the "basics" (soap, shampoo, trash bags, etc) we would hop in the car and drive 25 miles or so round trip to a huge Target in a nearby suburb. Now, we are like, "uh, why don't we just drive the less-than-one-mile down the street to the dumpy K-Mart instead?". So that's what we do.
          When people are looking for new houses, most will soon take a closer consideration to distance to work. Until a few years ago, it was "Is this house really  worth the 20 mile commute?". Now, and for the rest of our lives people will say, "Honey, we can't afford the gas to drive those 20 miles. Let's by that nice house five miles from work instead". I don't think anything is wrong with that.

          •  Five miles from whose work? (16+ / 0-)

            One problem I rarely see addressed is that so many families are dependent on (at least) two jobs. LIve close to one, and often you have a long commute to the other. Given the sprawled nature of many cities, especially in the South and West, jobs are often spread out all over the place, with office parks and manufacturing facilities likely to be at the edges of cities rather than at the center.

            And people are less and less able to just quit the job with the long commute and find another closer to where they live. Layoffs are building and then there's the need to hang on to a job with health insurance. Not to mention people with two jobs, the jobs of the kids that are still living at home or who have moved back into their parents' homes.

            Too many cities have only very inefficient bus service as the only mass transit available. That can mean trading a half hour drive in a car for an hour and a half bus ride - and it's the kids that pay the price of their parents not being home for 2 or 3 more hours a day.

            "Move closer to your work" is a great idea, but the realities of actual families can make that difficult. Functional mass transit and intelligent city planning could help, but that will take years, even if we started tomorrow. And in the meantime?

            I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. - Barbara Jordan

            by Janet Strange on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:21:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Change starts with Obama as president (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean, RomeyDa

              If McSame McBush slinks into office we will continue to go backwards since he is essentially running for bush's third term, hey McBush serves a nice barbecue for the press, and is an interesting guy to "have a beer with", especially since his wife is a filthy rich beer distributor!

              •  Yes McCain Petroleum connection (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Sen. John McCain will visited Denver in March  to do what many politicians have done before him -- ask for money.
                But the fundraising trip to the posh Petroleum Club in Denver raises a central question of the 2008 campaign: would a McCain presidency simply reprise the oil-and-gas-friendly Bush Administration for another four years

            •  I wish I could rec this (5+ / 0-)

              a hundred times.

              I work 40 miles from home. My husband, however works literally across the street. But he didn't before. We've rarely worked close to each other.

              So where do you live? Somewhere in the middle (which won't be the middle if somebody changes jobs) where EVERYBODY has to drive? Close to one job (which, again, might not be there next year, next month, next week)?

              Do you move every six months, every time you change a job, every time one of you changes a job?

              This isn't 1950, where the man gets a job, has it for 30 yrs, you buy a house close by and live there forever.  

            •  decisions and trade-offs (5+ / 0-)

              People make decisions in their lives all of the time that involve trade-offs.  As gas prices rise, that will be factored into the decision -- the decision of what car to buy, what jobs to consider, where to live, where to buy stuff, how many long car trips to make, etc.  

              In the short-term it is difficult to change some of these things and it causes hardship, anger, or even denial.  Over the longer term, people will adjust their choices to reflect their priorities.  Is it worth an extra $200 of gas a month to work take that far away job?  is it worth an extra $800 in gas costs each year to buy that bigger V8 car?  Is it worth $10 in gas to drive the store with a better price on toilet paper?  

              The people who anticipate higher energy costs long term will be making better decisions and suffer less.

            •  And constantly moving of workplaces. (5+ / 0-)

              I bought in an old "burb" because it was nine miles from a new work site. Within five years the location was moved thirty-five miles and into another state. It is going to move again, though I'm long gone, about forty miles and back into the state it left shortly. No plans are being made about transportation impacts either on employees or the new location that will suddenly see its already overcrowded system swamped.

              Here in the Washington metro region our government is one of the worst offenders. Migratory agencies, often under political pulling, move from D.C. to Virginia, Virginia to Maryland and back again. The result is that many people, as I did, find themselves going from an easy ten minute commute because they bought smart to an across the region nightmare.

              One of the current horrors is the Bushie security mania driving (at least in theory) the concentration of agencies at Fort Belvoir that is going to impact Virginia transportation severely. Meanwhile, "conservatives" from downstate Virginia are crippling the state's ability to do much.

              For a nation that used to pride itself on engineering and practicality we sure are demonstrating complete breakdown! Or is it just spoiled people eating the seed corn?

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:37:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  it's the practical issues (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Janet Strange, Bronx59, bfitzinAR

              The metropolitan area I live in stretches about 25 miles east to west and maybe 35 miles north to south. Unless your profession is so generic and marketable that you can find a job anywhere, you are likely to end up working far away from where you live in a dual earner household. Transportation systems are so antiquated and inconvenient that you have to make a trek downtown first and then transfer to another line to get where you need to go easily doubling or tripling your commute time over car transportation. The ironic thing is, they are actually cutting bus service because of the increased diesel fuel expense!

              In addition, we decided to live outside of the city because of the pollution that regularly envelops the area. Then you have the usual American big city issues, such as expensive housing the more centrally located it is, poor schools and urban heat in the summer. None of this is easy to change and will take time. At least things may finally start changing, something I have not seen until now. But they're still building big box stores with acres of individual parking lots without a single tree in it and without thinking of people arriving by other means than cars. Change is hard.

              •  Bus access to shopping malls (0+ / 0-)

                ...has traditionally been considered the "kiss of death" in the real estate business.

                We are ALWAYS underdogs. The other side has infinite funds, skulduggery, domination of the media and legal system, and an electoral college advantage.

                by Bronx59 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:43:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  There's a lot of price inelasticity (14+ / 0-)

          in this country due to geographic, economic, and cultural factors.  Patterns of behavior that were established over 2 or 3 generations won't change b/c of the recent run-up in the price of oil any more than many generations of race relations won't change b/c of one presidential candidacy.

          Yes, the US must change in big ways, and yes, the last 8 years have seen us move in exactly the wrong direction.  Building better mass transit systems, restoring passenger rail transit, improving fuel efficiency, and developing renewables, however, will require major rethinking of our society's current governing assumptions.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:02:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  excellent point (12+ / 0-)

            I'm struck by how deep the cultural aversion to critiques of the 'happy motoring' lifestyle and economy is here in the US - and I'm from here!

            We're really not talking about rational economic policies or objectively discussing economic trends when we talk about about this stuff because we're really talking about culture, lifestyle, and differing beliefs about what constitutes the 'American way of life.'  The Bush administration said our current way of life was 'blessed' and was 'nonnegotiable.'

            The energy/transport debate is a fight to the death over what America means.

            Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

            by Benito on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:21:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bingo! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              awnm, dansmith17, bfitzinAR

              We do not have a god-given right to drive whatever we want..  

              The United States national sentiment toward driving is a testament to the power of marketing campaigns.

              The interstate highway system was built after WW2 because the autobahn had allowed Germany to move materiel much more quickly, and proved a tactical advantage at times.

              Somehow we got to the point of "you are what you drive" (gluttonous? overweight? oversized? self-indulgent?) and we will always have the right to drive, that the world owes us gasoline.

              Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and 1000 gallons of gas a year!

      •  CHEERS to that! (11+ / 0-)

        we need to be moving more trucks off the road.

        and a bit of Schadenfreude when i see all these fat SUV's barreling into the gas station to refill to the tune of $100 a pop.

        "None of this worries me -- Sept. 11, there were times I was worried," - Rudy Giuliani (on placing 6th in Iowa)

        by sedrunsic on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:44:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The extra money spent on oil in America (12+ / 0-)

        is the redistribution of wealth. Since it is not invested in infrastructure improvements of mass transportation the consequences will be disastrous.

        Has anyone mentioned windfall profits tax? Within the past week the House courageously (wink, nudge) passed legislation which empowers the DOJ to investigate and sue OPEC. Who do they think they are fooling? Someone, no doubt.

      •  I live in a rural area...that is not possible (5+ / 0-)

        here. It sounds good but we don't all live in cities.  Many people drive to work over an hour from where they live.  I know a gentleman who drives 2 hours each way.
        It is wonderful sounding but here it will devastate the economy and people.

        The Religious Right is Neither.

        by cyncynical on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:48:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  true, many don't live in cities (4+ / 0-)

          but a third of the population lives in metropolitan areas of 5 million or more, and 3/4 of the population lives on 2% of the land area.

          Either it changes so quickly that society falls apart, as economic collapse leads into  full breakdown, or it happens slow enough with enough people waking up to accept the changes that we reorganize into denser pockets with only the people that need to work in rural areas still living there.

          The old small town model is still valid, high density over a few square miles and rural outside of that.  Most people are within walking distance of basic needs, efficient transportation covers most of the residential and commercial area, and the small amount of individual transport handles the rest.

        •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Peak oil will devastate the economy and the people. At least rural communities have agriculture or subsistence farming for survival.

          Suburbs and exurbs have neither. That's where I wouldn't want to be. They're too loosely populated for reasonable mass transit, they have no local economic base. They're just fancy barracks full of people who earn their living somewhere else.

          "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
          -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

          by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:14:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We live in the suburbs (6+ / 0-)

            I think where we are is sustainable, there are small changes that we are already doing.  First of all, walking. Where we used to drive two miles down the road for groceries once a week, we now walk about 2-3 times a week to get our groceries. We had a German high school exchange student stay with us a few years ago and she would constantly tell us how lazy Americans were and how "everybody walked" in Germany. Well, now we walk whenever we run errands. Secondly, we have a fairly large back yard that at one point was just grass.  Well, we are in the process of turning it into a large family garden. We are going in with our brother in law on a real rototiller, my husband handbuilt a greenhouse (solar powered watering system) for a little under 1500.00, and are learning gardening - buy the way, a little shout out to Territorial Seed Company - I think having a yard that has no purpose other than grass is wasteful. Plant strawberries, blueberries, food, and herbs! Keep a compost pile and recycle everything that's compostable.  We do live within walking distance of public transportation and try to take that as often as possible.  Our oldest daughter lives downtown and uses public trans only. I personally don't think the suburbs are going to become a living hell, I think people will turn them into more sustainable living spaces.  I walk around and imagine a day where people actually walk to places and talk to each other and trade gardening tools. We can keep chickens in the suburbs!  I actually have room for 4-5 chickens and a large enough garden to feed myself and our children, if it's like the way it was in the depression, if you have a garden, and can grow food, we will be able to survive.  

      •  If you can guarantee me that America (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, Sparhawk

        will have railroads and transits like Europe [and Japan], I'd be happy to have oil at $100 per gallon!
        Why on earth we don't have transportation systems like Europe and Japan is just beyond me?  I guess it just shows the stranglehold our failing automotive industry is still able to wrench on us.

        In youth we learn, in age we understand.

        by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:46:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We don't have transportation systems (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          like those in Europe and Japan for two reasons:

          (1) We don't want them.  Trashing the rail system was part of the Eisenhower program when promoting the freeways, you know.  

          (2) In order to build such a system easily, with minimal contact between rail lines and streets (overpasses at $2 million a pop these days, you know), is to blow up a country and rebuild it.  Which is what happened to much of Europe and Japan.

          •  So what you're really saying to me is that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FishBiscuit, bfitzinAR

            in California, we have a chance!... I mean, at least after "The Big One" when we will be forced to rebuild.
            I was once asked what I thought was best for our little So Calif town; my response was 'a tsunami.'

            In youth we learn, in age we understand.

            by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:41:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There's a #3 - (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, Bronx59, dansmith17

            America is huge, as far as any single nation is concerned.  Texas alone is the same size as France.  We're over 2,000 miles from border to border and over 3,000 miles from "sea to shining sea".  And yet our transportation is, except the federal highway system (yep, thanks Ike - too bad you trashed the rail system to give use that "security" system), pretty much a state and local thing.  With rail its even worse - the great land giveaway that built them in the first place was all that gov't did for them - railroads are a perfect example of why "free market" doesn't work for some things.  Put the rails on the same status as the federal highways and we'd see a real comeback with the rail at least as far as freight is concerned.

      •  No you really don't... (6+ / 0-)

        The economic damage that will be unleashed by this is going to effect you whether you drive a car or not.  All of our infrastructure is built upon an assumption of low cost gasoline.  Your local grocery store has minimal stock because it's cheaper to centrally warehouse and ship directly from manufacturers and farmers on demand.  But of course with the price of gasoline going up, that suddenly ceases to be the case.

        We're in for hard times over the next few decades.  We should not be capricious about this fact.  Unless you are completely off the grid and self sustaining, you aren't going to be unaffected by this transition.  You might not be filling up a car routinely, but you'll still be paying more for everything you buy.  With less disposable income, the economy will slow down, and layoffs will follow as they already are.  The supply of labor, relative to demand will increase, and that will mean, even if you have a job, you'll likely be making less money doing it.  

        Right now, we're at the point that alternatives are more price competitive.  The ideal would be to remain where we are, with a moderate amount of pain, but still having time to transition without being deeply up a creek.  But that's not what we're going to get, and it's going to be ugly.

        Some of my best friends are wrong

        by sterno on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:52:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  gas is still too cheap in the USA (13+ / 0-)

      Everyone in Europe pays about $8 per gallon or more, so as long as we have the cheap gas here people will continue to waste it.

      This will hurt the working people first, the greedy rich have so much money that they will drive SUVs just to flaunt their wealth.

      Date Belgium France Germany Italy Netherlands UK US
      5/5/2008 8.65 8.25 8.45 8.39 9.36 8.23 3.84
      5/12/2008 8.68 8.32 8.48 8.58 9.52 8.28 3.94
      5/19/2008             4.02

      World retail Gasoline prices- US dollars per gallon

    •  Doesn't this seem speculative? (4+ / 0-)

      There is no doubt about the fact of an oil crisis, but this is snowballing so quickly that it feels very bubbleish.

      •  There most likely will be a respite (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Mz Kleen

        Nothing goes straight up. It could start today, if there's a bearish EIA report at 10:30.

        think of it as a buying opportunity.

      •  Yes, between $30 - $50 a barrel (0+ / 0-)

        That's how much of this price increase is speculative.

        No one has been able to explain to me why we simply cannot forbid speculation to drive the price back down.

        Admittedly, its a short term fix, but the time it buys us may be crucial.

        This country will NOT survive President McCain. Repeat until you get it.

        by Whimsical on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:47:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  speculation isn't limited to the USA (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, gatorcog

          so unless we're planning on invading all the countries that don't clamp down on speculation, that's only going to have a limited impact.

        •  You are suggesting that the US (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, ajpuckett, EthrDemon

          should somehow fix the price (say at 100$)?

          Now, since the same oil could be sold for a higher price elsewhere (outside US jurisdiction), how would the US be able to import any oil at all?

          Or what else do you mean by "forbid speculation"?

          The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

          by Lesser Dane on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:57:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Removing oil futures from the commodities market. (0+ / 0-)

            It seems simple enough- if its not on the market it can't be speculated in, no?

            This country will NOT survive President McCain. Repeat until you get it.

            by Whimsical on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:37:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Remove it from Which Commodity Market? (4+ / 0-)

              Some of us who play the global commodity markets would be happy if the US pulled out of the market.

              Their currency is worthless anyway and all they are playing with is debt rather than assets.

              •  That's a point I hadn't considered. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pluto, dansmith17

                Thank you.

                This country will NOT survive President McCain. Repeat until you get it.

                by Whimsical on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:47:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  US parochialism (0+ / 0-)

                That is one of the big problems Obama or whoever is about to face, in the 8 wasted years the rest of the world has moved on.

                If US refuses to buy Oil at $150 dollar a barrell the price will not go down it will just make life easier for the booming economies of China, India, East Asia etc as well as the growing economies which have planned for high oil prices like EU and Brazil.

                EU trasport Plans (Warning BIG PDF)

                EU transport projects

                The links show the EU investing heavily in improving an already better public transport infrastructure all the way out to 2020 and beyond, priorities include better high speed rail between cities to remove short level flights, improvements in frieght rail to get loads of the road, including major tunelling beneath the Alps or Pyrenees, and more integration between road, rail, and air, where appropriate.

                It also shows it takes time, the earliest of the French high speed rail lines which are now seen as a model across Europe were startted in the 70's after the fisrs oil shock, even within France there are plans to be still building in the 2020's, a intergated network across EU will still be being built in 2030's.

                The change people are talking about will take a generation and be very very painful.

            •  Um (0+ / 0-)

              How would that work, exactly? How do you know what price you have to pay to get oil?

            •  Also can't be bought by refineries (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

              Bring the WAR home

              Starve the corporate beast, buy local!

              by EthrDemon on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:08:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The only possible way to "forbid speculation" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            would be to threaten each country in which such speculation occurs with annihilation, nuclear or otherwise.

            I can imagine two of our three presidential candidates advocating that openly.  

        •  We Can Forbid Speculation (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          davidincleveland, gatorcog, Bronx59

 invading and occupying all the oil-producing nations and seizing the world's oil supplies.

          We have the weapons to do it.

          Sounds radical, doesn't it? Yet that is what the Neocon's Project for a New American Century is all about. And that has defind US foreign policy for quite some time.

          IMO -- it was Afganistan that was the distraction to make Americans thing we were chasing the boogyman. Iraq was the beginning of the real war.

          If you enjoy history, you can read this story (and it's inevitable ending) over and over again.

      •  Goerge Soros said this (0+ / 0-)

        in an interview on the NewsHour (PBS) last week.  He said the high gas price is a bubble similar to the housing bubble and the computer tech bubble of the late 90's.  I wonder what Jerome's take on this would be.  

        Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

        by gatorcog on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:33:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          minorityusa, NoMoreLies, gatorcog

          This is no bubble, because there is a very real link to supply-demand tensions here: supply is tight, and demand is increasing, not in the West, but in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia and China - those that have the oil, or those that are growing so rapidly that a recession means 5% growth instad of 11%.

          Soros is quite pessimistic on the overall financial situation, and he likely thinks that the global recession will bring demand down, but i don't think it will be enough.

    •  How much of this is the dollar? (11+ / 0-)

      How fast is the oil price rising in euros?  Seems I heard the dollar was sinking fast again, though I've not been watching closely.  With a sinking currency and oil prices disengaging from the dollar peg, Americans are going to see a lot of inflationary pressures thanks to corporate trade policies and ruinous Republican deficits killing off our currency.

      Hanoi didn't break John McCain, but Washington did.

      by Dallasdoc on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:53:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oil in euros (17+ / 0-)

        is also getting increasingly expensive.

        At $130/bl and $1.57 per euro, you get 83 euros/barrel, also in record territory.

        Dollar weakness probably represents only a third of oil price increases, roughly, I'd say.

        Of course, price increases in Europe are smaller, relatively speaking, because so much of the price we pay is taxes, and these move very little these days.

        •  Heh (9+ / 0-)

          No oil tax holiday in the EU?  

          Thanks for the substantive answers.  I'm hoping this summer's gas prices combined with the election campaign will finally prove the game changer for energy policy in this country.  We have to change so much here, and energy policy is up top of the list.

          Hanoi didn't break John McCain, but Washington did.

          by Dallasdoc on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:05:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And there is a real difference! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, NoMoreLies, Bronx59, bfitzinAR

          It certainly would be nice to think that our fuel increase was because taxes were being imposed to fund both public transportation alternatives and alternative energy research and development.

          If we had been imposing such taxes since the oil shock of the Carter days perhaps we wouldn't be a third world country in transport now when compared to Europe. Perhaps we too would have efficient, frequent and comfortable integrated transport in the urban areas and efficient rail and bus connections to exurban areas.

          Actually, the single thing that irritates me more than almost anything in our so called system is lack of integration. Take a train to Atlanta and see if you can quickly hop onto the public system. There is a bus stop across the street without a shelter, no clear schedule and that is all. The choice is a taxi or rental car that will pick you up at the station. By the way, all the rental companies are either closed or close early on the week-end, so arrange your schedule! Atlanta is not alone. You do better, much better, in New York and Washington but they are still not at the first world level. Idiocy, pure idiocy.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:52:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The MARTA Arts Center station (0+ / 0-)

            would be about a twelve minute walk south down Peachtree Street.

            •  That is integrated transportation? (0+ / 0-)

              Rolling a bag down Peachtree, perhaps in a pouring rain, is nothing like having train, bus and subway all sharing one terminal so that weather is not a factor. Having been there several times, including seven hour waits, there is no shuttle, not even clear signs directing one to the station. No, that is more like a computer with nothing but USB ports and a device with IEEE 1394 (FireWire, i.LINK) only, a "bloody" interface, not integration. It isn't a system at all.

              Neither is Alexandria, Virginia's situation where King Street Metro sits alongside the Amtrak station. There is no direct all weather, always open connection making them in essence one transport hub.

              Union Station in D.C. is such a place. One leaves the Amtrak area and takes an elevator or escalator to the Metro. That is the way most stations in Europe and Japan, where I first met high speed trains in the sixties, work. Frankfurt airport is another example of integrated transport. Arrive by regional or long distance train, take go directly up and you are in airline ticketing/check in. Local and long distance bus is also available.

              My favorite is one that is a bus station, car park, subway station and train station. There is a linked shopping center as well. That is Gare do Oriente in Lisbon. Trains arrive under that floating glass canopy, ticketing, subway and bus are below.

              That is the way it is done in places that engineer their transportation systems.

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:12:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Good bye gas guzzlers. (6+ / 0-)

      Big changes ahead.  First, we need a new politcial class, for the current one has failed miserably.

      "There is one man who knows in his heart that we have to build one America - not two - and that man is Barack Obama." John Edwards 5/14/08

      by TomP on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:45:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oil futures margins are app 10%. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And in the oil "swaps" market it's lower than that. Margin on stocks is 50%.Margins on oil futures should go higher.

    •  This reminds me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was hearing some Republican hack talking about their agenda for anti-depressant based change.  Some time during this discussion, they said they were going to reduce the cost of Gasoline.  My ass.

      Peak oil is going to suck, but perhaps, politically speaking, this will be a good thing.  It will finally wake people up to the reality of what politicians can really do about the physics of our world economy.  There is nothing that any politician is going to do that will lead to an immediate short-term decrease in the price of gas.  The only thing they could do is implement price controls and that would simply lead to shortages and rationing which would be worse.  

      With any luck, the varying degrees of mismanagement that we've had over the last 20 years or so will provide the motivation to really get a working government again.  One that plans ahead for all of our needs, invests in infrastructure, etc.

      Some of my best friends are wrong

      by sterno on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:40:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have many school buses (0+ / 0-)

        that could be run all day and could bar driving cars in certain areas, such as metropolitan shaded areas on Rand McNally maps.

        We can order SUVs off the federally funded roads unless the oil price is $80/barrel or less.

        We can ration gas based on price.

        We can order and pay auto makers to retool for smaller cars.

        Congress can issue privateering licenses "all you can purloin" against unlawful oil cartel oil.

        Anti-shipping mines can be "accidentally" released in European and Asian oil shipping lanes.

        •  School bus Yes, Anti shipping mines No (0+ / 0-)

          We can ration gas based on price.

          Already happening.

          School buses could be run all day and could bar driving cars in certain areas, such as metropolitan shaded areas on Rand McNally maps.

          We can order SUVs off the federally funded roads unless the oil price is $80/barrel or less.

          We can order and pay auto makers to retool for smaller cars.

          All good suggestions.

          Congress can issue privateering licenses "all you can purloin" against unlawful oil cartel oil.

          If you mean cartel within US borders you can do what you like, if you are suggesting hijacking forign owned Tankers on the high seas well do you really want to face down the navies of the rest of the planet, particularly when suddenly the USN is no longer welcome in any forign port.

          Anti-shipping mines can be "accidentally" released in European and Asian oil shipping lanes.

          and we retaliate by accidentaly mining the approaches to US ports or accidentally setting off a nuke on some US city.

          You have just suggested an act of war on most of your allies around the planet, the US has the most powerful military on the planet but it has been so integrated with those of the rest of the "West" for decades that the idea of war between them is thank god, all but unthinkable.

    •  more better Dems (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Bronx59, dansmith17

      is a hope and a need... but kneejerk stupidity will always be there.

    •  Sue ? I cant beive it ! This is ood old Amerikan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Capitalisim at its best..Called supply and demand and lets let the market dictate price..How come the congress critters dont want to sue fukin
      exxxon-mobil-halliburton-blaaakwaters-jkr root brown for gouging, over charging, not paying US taxes and creative billing and bookeeeping..What a fukin joke ! If we werent all hurting sooo baad, it would be funny..But we are and it aint..Where was I, oh yha, rantoverandidontfeelanybetter..! Who does

      "Better a little late, than a little never"..Doctor Julian Winston

      by Johnny Rapture on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:55:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Shortages and speculation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris, gatorcog, seancdaug

      Jerome, I know that you have argued that what we're seeing is the result of actual shortages rather than speculation, which is the cause some others identify.  I believe that you're right generally, but when I see jumps like this it seems that there must also be some effect of speculation as well.  Essentially, money that people want to be invested has to go somewhere, and wherever it goes (tech stocks, housing, commodities) it will tend to create a bubble.  So, even if the fundamentals suggest that shortages are real and permanent, don't you think that your analysis has to become a "hybrid" itself and accept that speculation is also a contributing factor on top of the fundamentals?  This in turn raises the question of how to tease the contributions of the two causes -- the three, if one includes the drop in the dollar -- apart.  It does not change the basic story of Peak Oil, but it would be shocking if people didn't use this as a reason to speculate in the commodity futures.

      I'm interested in your thoughts.

      Posting a diary on the nomination? Pay your McCain Tax!

      by Seneca Doane on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jerome, I know you're French but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris

      racial slurs are not necessary

      One thing which now appears obvious is that the current "boiling frog" price increases


      Thanks for the diary!

    •  Jerome, come on, let's emphasize "geopolitical" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Bush's bellicose actions towards Iran are leading to tremendous speculation on oil prices.

      I have a friend that is a high-priced consultant. He was present at a small meeting of banking officials at one of the biggest banks in the U.S. (I don't want to say which one, as I don't want him to lose his standing). He told me they were saying last winter they were advising their biggest clients that gasoline would be $5.00 a gallon by summer of 2008, and the U.S. would be in Iran (i.e., have gone to war with Iran).

      I tried to shrug this off as blustering. I should have known better.

      The oil magnates that back Bush are running up one last mother-fucking rape of the economy before their puppet Bush is kicked out of office, and possibly the reformers take power.

      I agree that peak oil is a huge issue, but a run-up like this... un uh... this is wartime speculation by insiders and now the investing public at large. This last jump comes after an Israeli paper says Bush intends to attack Iran before he leaves office.

      We are powerless before these criminal forces, and Congress is either criminal or impotent themselves.

      Destabilzation and sabre-rattling towards Venezuela isn't helping matters either, nor is a shaky Nigeria. Of course, Iraq oil is still largely off the market, and the Saudis have over 2 million bbls a day of unused capacity.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:33:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It plays a role (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Valtin, forgore

        but Iran being invaded will bring 4-digit prices, not just $150 oil. So today's prices reflect the markets's relatively low estimate of the probability of such a (disastrous) event.

        •  I know you know more than me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris

          But then there was this" at Energy Bulletin the other day:

          One analyst, economist Ismael Hussein-Zadeh, a professor of economics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, has a different explanation for the price rise, and American motorists and homeowners should pay close attention.

          "Oil prices have gone from the mid $20 range in the fall of 2002 to $127 yesterday - a rise of $100/barrel in just over five years," he says. "And the bulk of that increase can be attributed to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the threats of war against Iran."

          Hussein-Zadeh’s analysis looks at a number of ways that the Bush/Cheney wars have contributed to rising oil prices. Chief among these are two factors: the threat to supplies, particularly from the Persian Gulf region from which 20 percent of the world’s oil supplies come, and a falling dollar, because oil is priced in dollars, and as it loses value, oil producing countries raise their prices to compensate.

          In an article titled "Worried About the Price of Gas? End US Wars," Hussein-Zadeh writes, "Soon after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq the price of oil began to escalate in tandem with the escalation of war and political turbulence in the Middle East." Furthermore, he says, "Anytime there is a renewed US military threat against Iran, fuel prices move up several notches." If the US were to actually make good on Bush’s and Cheney’s threats to attack Iran, in Hussein-Zadeh’s view "the sky would be the limit" to oil prices, with $200/barrel being a starting point.

          War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

          by Valtin on Wed May 21, 2008 at 02:47:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  scary (14+ / 0-)

    maybe we should invade a country so that our oil futures would be secure.

    Oh, wait.

    "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent" --Gandhi

    by dsharma23 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:36:44 AM PDT

    •  I'm guessing Venezuela. (7+ / 0-)

      It's so close, after all.

      •  I was thinking Iraq (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman, corvo, Mz Kleen, oibme, ajpuckett, JoeW

        I hear we have some troops nearby that area.

        "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent" --Gandhi

        by dsharma23 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:41:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You Mean Iran? Because That Is (7+ / 0-)

          the single most important factor, IMO.  In many other's as well.

          Every damn time the war whores start yapping and rattling the sabres, the price  of oil spikes up.  If they'd shut their goddamn mouths and cut the crap out, you can just bet the bottom would fall out for the speculators.

          And you can take to the bank,  that if they actually DO start dropping bombs on Iran, then 200 bbl. will be just a faint fond, memory in the rear view mirror.

          You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

          by mattman on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:42:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe that's the reason (7+ / 0-)

            or at least part of the reason, that the war whores are yapping and rattling sabers.

            Those purchasers of that expensive oil have to have US Dollars to make their purchases. This helps to keep the value of the dollar from falling more than it would otherwise. Plus a lot of those petrodollars get recycled back through Wall Street.

            The history of relationship between the major oil companies and Wall Street and London banking goes back quite a few years.

            "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control people..." Henry Kissinger

            by truong son traveler on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:50:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent Points (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              truong son traveler

              all around.

              You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

              by mattman on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:11:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Every Damn Time I Hear (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              truong son traveler, seancdaug

              somebody complaining about the price of gas,  I tell them  "If you don't like the price, you should immediately demand  that your representatives do whatever is necessary to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and prevent a new conflagration in Iran. Because that is what is causing the huge price inceases."

              Then, I mention that just the talk of a new war could easily drive the price to 5 or six bucks a gallon - fast.

              THEN, I mention that the huge increase is making countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran very, very rich.  Just the talk of it will do it.

              If they challenge me, which hasn't happened yet, I tell them to check to price of oil in 2002. And  to watch the prices spikes EVERY time there is talk of war with Iran.  Like right now.

              And, BTW, even the Pentagon is complaining about the price of oil,  saying it's blowing out their budget and they will have to come back to Congress for a supplemental increase this year.

              You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

              by mattman on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:46:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  That's What the Columbia Free Trade... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Bronx59, John Shade

        ...agreement that the neocons are trying to push through congress is all about. Attacking Venezuela. The entire world knows this.

        I mean, what do American's think we wanted to trade with Columbia that is sooo imperitive? Food for cocaine?

        I'm guessing Venezuela

        The Democrats in congress know this as well. It's even in the SA newspapers. Why don't they come out and say it? Instead, they block the bill without explaining why. (As if they had been wiretapped and the government knows something about their sex life. Oh wait...)

        The answer to that question is what is dangerous to Americans. The democrats are part of the systemic corruption.

      •  One of our reconnaisance planes (0+ / 0-)

        was checking out the Venezuelan scenery just the other day.  I heard they got a little mad.

        Well, I guess I don't know what you mean by "equal justice under the law." - Bushy McSpokesperson

        by gatorcog on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:39:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why on earth (19+ / 0-)

    would anyone want to be president in the coming years?

    (Though I'm glad Obama does.)

  •  And, I thought yesterday was depressing....... (6+ / 0-)

    The big question is: Will the world DO something about it?
    Does  America have the willpower to say : We MUST start changing our sonsumption habits?

    I think we love our "toys" too much.

    •  Some leadership would help (7+ / 0-)

      but we're not going to see that coming from the failed oilman or his evil minder.

      I can only hope the next president shows more intelligence (and cojones) than the current one.

      Our economy is a house of cards. Don't breathe.

      by Youffraita on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:50:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Americans are already changing (4+ / 0-)

      their consumption habits.  The real question is will we start demanding policy changes.  And that will only happen if in fact we CAN scape goat the Saudis and the Oil Companies.  Then we can pass tax credits and other incentives for renewables and alternatives as a way of GETTING BACK at those who we view as our common enemy.    Americans aren't comfortable making people pay to fix their problems (yes, a bit of stupidity and arrogance on our part....none the less,) but we get very upset when we discover we have been cheated and if the right policies and leaders are in the right place at that moment, we will accept the most sweeping changes imaginable just to get even.  Of course with the wrong leader in place, we will get a lot of pandering and no real action.

  •  Lots of specualtion (7+ / 0-)

    Supply still currently exceeds demand (and by about the same amount it did 5 years ago).  Oil is much higher because of speculation by just about everyone (hedge funds, pension funds, investment banks, individual investors) not because actual demand for the product has increased.  A simple bill that would tax any profits on the sale of oil/gas contracts by non-users at say 90% would take about $50 off the price of oil in a day.  

  •  Good thing I got a car with geat mileage. (8+ / 0-)

    I expect to see $5 a gallon by autumn.

    On the positive side, Bush's oil policies have done more to promote green behavior in America than our allies. People are beginning to convert to solar, buy hybrids, etc. Never thought I'd see the day!

    Big boss ain't so big, just tall, that's all.-Written by Jimmy Reed. Belted Out by Koko Taylor.

    by TheFatLadySings on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:40:18 AM PDT

  •  Vicious cycle of OPEC speculation (20+ / 0-)

    For those who have been following Prof. Krugman in particular, he always asks "Where's the storage" i.e., if oil price is partly speculation, where is the excess being stored.

    I think there is a pretty good chance it is being held off the market by OPEC itself.  Here's why:

    If I'm  Saudi Arabia, if I can sell my oil for $125 today or $130 tomorrow or $150 next month (it seems), then so long as I believe that, why shouldn't I keep my oil in the ground?

    Here's the vicious cycle part.  Saudi Arabia's oil minister has said there will be no more pumping of oil so long as the dollar continues to slide.  Essentially, Saudi Arabia wants to buy X amount of superbaubles with its petro$$$ and is stamping its feet until it can do so.

    This is similar to what preceded and fed into hyperinflationary episodes in latin America, especially Argentina.  Unionized workers wanted to buy X number of things with their pesos, and as inflation eroded the real value of their wages, they pushed through further wage increases.  Which only added to inflation.  Which decreased their purchasing power.  Which caused them to demand higher wages still.  And so on and so on.

    Petrosheikhdoms are like the Argentine unionized workers of the 1970s and 1980s.  They don't realize that the ability to purchase X amount of superbaubles was a one-time-only event caused by the credit bubble earlier this decade.  So the price of oil increases, the dollar declines, they still can't get the "real" price they want, they keep the oil in the ground, the price of oil goes up, the dollar declines .... And on and on in a vicious cycle.

    "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

    by New Deal democrat on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:46:06 AM PDT


    Big Oil  -  big surprise.

    Electric cars destroyed

    I am now using an additive CA40 which has delivered as promised. I now get 60 - 80 more miles per tank. Hope someday to have an electric car that I recharge using my home solar power generation.

    It is possible just not profitable enough - yet.

  •  There are Texas Oilmen in White House... (19+ / 0-)

    What makes you think an ever-increasing oil price is undesireable policy for them?

    Pundits are speculating that Bush's recent visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss oil production levels was a failure. It was no failure; it ended the way Bu$hCo wanted.

    Barack Obama -- The President we were promised as kids!

    by Jimdotz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:50:50 AM PDT

  •  Let's beat OPEC by carpooling, walking, (3+ / 0-)

    riding the bus, making sure our tires are properly inflated, engines tuned, avoiding unnecessary trips, and hypermiling.

    It may also require sacrificing a few Hummers to appease the oil gods. Sacrificing usually involves pushing it off of a bluff.

    "Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long."

    by londubh on Wed May 21, 2008 at 05:56:28 AM PDT

  •  At what price, if any, does "tar sand oil" (0+ / 0-)

    become a competitive alternative, or is talk of developing tar sand oil technology just hype?

    •  No price (20+ / 0-)

      The problem is that producing oil from tar sands is very energy-intensive, so oil price increases translate almost directly into cost increases.

      What this means is that the EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of oil sands is pretty poor, and that they will remain a relatively marginal proposition at all times - until we've run out completely of the cheap stuff, at which point any EROEI above 1 will be profitable. But what prices we'll have then is anyone's guess...

      •  Where are the usual nuclear-power cheerleaders (0+ / 0-)

        ... with a suggestion that we simply build fission reactors near the tar sands to supply the necessary energy?

        The Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen (= “kids for kids”): is a world cultural treasure.

        by lotlizard on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:29:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here. I'm here. See me :-) (3+ / 0-)

          OK, I'm not one of the usual cheerleaders since I haven't commented on this before.

          Nonetheless, I do believe that new generations of nuclear technology deserve a really hard look. There are really 4 issues that I see:

          1. Safety - that is primarily an engineering design problem. Older designs had safety weaknesses that could only be addressed by maintaining sound human operational procedures - and that is always suspect. Newer, better designs are possible with a lot more attention to fail-safe design principles. I have a lot of confidence that the operating experience of the past 50 years provides enough knowledge for inherently much safer designs to be built.
          1. Disposal - that is still the serious issue and has no really good solution. I'm not that worried about transport (again that is a design problem), so it should be possible to move it - but to where? This is the problem we would have to live with for a long time in return for 'cleaner' energy.
          1. Water - power plants need huge amounts of cooling water. If the water supply is reduced (e.g., drought due to global warming), the plant would have to shut down. This almost happened to a plant in Alabama this winter.
          1. Fuel Source - Uranium is not that plentiful. Next thing we know, we'll be fighting over that.

          I see nuclear mainly as a potential non-greenhouse 40-50 yr stopgap to help bridge us over to a fully renewable energy model.

          Now flame away.

          -2.38 -4.87: Maturity - Doing what you know is right even though you were told to do it.

          by grapes on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:42:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Will there not be efficiency improvements? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Whimsical, ajpuckett

        I'm not advocating the oil sands, but as with most technologies, process improvements and breakthroughs are common as scale increases and R&D funds grow.

        I have a lot of confidence in the smart people of this world to improve all of the alternatives to oil.  What I see in their way is lack of investment and support behind them.  That doesn't mean it will be easy or that life will be the same as it is now. But I don't see high-oil prices as a bad thing if it encourage investment in R&D and changes in govt policy towards a post-oil (hopefully greener) future.

        Any reason I should think otherwise?

        •  No, there won't. (5+ / 0-)

          At least, not significant ones. They'll be able to shave a percent here and a percent here... but there are no breakthroughs coming up in processing this stuff.

          Basically, tar sands are... well... sand, PAINTED with a thin layer of tar around each grain. You've got to do something to scrape the tar off. Whether you blast it off with vortexes of boiling water (the current technique) or get trained hamsters with little X-Acto knives to chip the stuff off, it costs energy to do it. Then you get to deal with the fact that it's not very good oil.

      •  Not only this... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris

        ...but what's the production rate, also? I seriously doubt that we're going to be getting more than 1-2mbd out of all the tar sands on the planet (this is just a guess from a layman, but come on, even double it).

        So, being very generous, an extra 1-5mbd against a current consumption level of 85mbd. And this oil will be horrendously expensive to extract and refine both in dollar and in environmental terms.

      •  There Are Also Technologies (0+ / 0-)

        ...for converting shale (in the US) into oil developed by the Austrailians, I believe. They are expensive -- but -- at least we don't have to buy the shale. We already own it.

        I think we're more likely to see that than a big move in the oil sands (which creates a lot of pollution). Also, shale produces a better grade of oil.

      •  plus tar sands oil production is (0+ / 0-)

        highly destructive of the environment. Thousands of acres of boreal forest in Canada have been trashed, and lakes contaminated. This destroys local sustainability, and trashes forest, which is a carbon sink.

        Additionally, Murphy Oil in Wisconsin is seeking to create a huge refinery/terminal in Superior to process projected supply of tar sands crude, which will fill several hundred acres of wetlands, create a lot of local pollution in a fairly unspoiled area, and require local pipeline expansion to move the oil.

        "Without our playstations, we are a third world nation"-Ani DiFranco

        by NoMoreLies on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:43:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  tar sand oil (5+ / 0-)

      doesn't it take a whole bunch of oil to get the oil from the tar sands? I'm far from an expert, but I read something from James Howard Kunstler, I think, talking about that.

      •  Natural Gas (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joe Bob, corvo, Bronx59

        . . . which is also priced at record levels on the commodities exchanges. Same with coal. It seems that all energy prices are rising in concert with oil.

        "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
        -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

        by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:13:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what I'm worried about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, GW Chimpzilla

          When I look at my personal day-to-day life, a shortage of natural gas worries me a lot more than a shortage of oil. First, the power plants in my locale have converted or are in the process of being converted from coal to natural gas. Ergo, we're counting on natural gas to keep the lights on more than ever. Second, natural gas is how I heat my house, and there are limits to how much you can cut back.

          As far as oil/gasoline, I could cut my personal consumption by at least 30% without a radical change in lifestyle. Natural gas? Barring many thousands of dollars worth of energy efficiency upgrades, there's no way I could achieve that.

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:45:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  oh, we're past that point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, ajpuckett, Bronx59

      at 130 bucks a barrel tar sands is definitely profitable.

      two things though; one, you can't snap your fingers and make a giant tar sand mining operation appear, and two all it takes is the jerks at opec flooding the market with oil for even a short time to lower the price to the point that all the tar sand businesses would go under.

      look what happened back in the 80s when OPEC dumped oil on the market. yeah, we got $.70/gal gas, but all of the alternatives people had been working on suddenly became so unprofitable that they got scrapped.

      OPEC truly has us by the short ones here.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:12:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oil Shale will be profitable first (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      At least that's my guess.  It's a crap shoot which one will get a discovery first.  Either way processing is environmentally dirty, so it's going to have down sides.  The only advantage to oil shale over the tar sands is that the US has the worlds largest deposits of oil shale.

  •  What pisses me off the most (24+ / 0-)

    is when Bush says stupid things like, "there's no magic wand I can wave to decrease gas prices."

    Nobody expects you to have a magic wand, you phucking idiot, but a sane energy policy adopted 7 years ago when it might have made a difference sure would have been nice!

    •  Thats funny that you said that. (4+ / 0-)

      Cuz i was thinking the same damn thing as you were. What an idiot. Did we ask you for a magic wand? NO, we want leadership not a goddam magic wand.

      "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

      by dotdot on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:58:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The weird thing is, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrississippi, dotdot

        it's become a surrealistic pattern -- bludgeoning us over the head with his past incompetence to prove a point.

        It's like when he warns of the carnage that will result from pulling out of Iraq. Isn't that like saying, "don't you realize what a moronic mistake I made by opening this Pandora's box? Sheesh! 6 years into this total disaster and you STILL don't get it!"  

    •  He read it on a button! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have that button. It says

      "I'd love to help, but I've misplaced my wand."

      I have a bunch of smart-ass buttons like that ("Danger: Your Government is Out of Control" "Just give me coffee and no one gets hurt." Those kinds of sentiments.)

      He probably read that on someone's jacket or purse recently -- you know, all those kids hanging around for Jenna's wedding. Heck, it could have been Jenna herself!

      He isn't smart or clever enough to have come up with that on his own.

      The Pop-Culture President: A new way to govern!

  •  An attack on Iran = $200+ oil n/t (4+ / 0-)
  •  So most of this increase in the price of oil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is due to speculation?  Is that right?

    I read an oil article on the tubes yesterday that does give a grim warning of there being severe oil shortages come 2012.  That scares the beejesus out of me.  We are in big, big trouble.

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Mz Kleen on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:05:01 AM PDT

  •  The Bewildered Herd... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...must not stampede for the cowboys (US politicians) get US to the slaughterhouse corral (voting booth) where they will achieve their stunning victory. Most will then become inactive for another 2 to 4 years...

  •  Get rid of gas guzzler exemption for SUV's!!!! (16+ / 0-)

    Even my republican relatives can't stand that giveaway.  We could even pass the money on to Detroit for a few years to help stem the pain and aid the transition to building more fuel-efficient cars instead of SUVs.

    I would also suggest giving a gas guzzler tax to anyone who purchases a large truck who register's it as a personal or private vehicle instead of commercial.

    And how about a graduated luxury tax on horsepower?

    I know there will be grumbling but I'm a car lover. And I can afford much higher priced gas than we have now.  But I don't need a 400hp car or an SUV.  So if I want to have my "fun" I should pay for it.

    All of this money should be spent on building our future infrastructure in a post peak oil world.

    •  first two liters free, $1k/liter there after (4+ / 0-)

      There needs to be a tax on every liter above the magic 2.0 liter mark for new sales and used vehicles, too.

      We have to clean up that inventory and get people moving into scooters and high mileage cars. A tax like that will benefit municipalities where the sales occur ... just have to figure out how to keep those dollars out of the road fund.

    •  By the way... (0+ / 0-)

      I don't own a 400hp car.  I used to have a 235hp BMW, but recently traded it in for a Mini Cooper Clubman.  All 4 of us, plus our 75 lb. dog fit in it quite comfortably.  It's not a Prius (the dog would not fit), but at 30mpg (my average) it's a step in the right direction.  I still have my 250hp (22mpg) Audi station wagon, but it's sitting in the driveway for the 5 or 6 times a year I actually need it.

    •  I'm a car lover (0+ / 0-)

      And my all time favorite car was an Austin Healy Bugeye Sprite. Less than 1000cc. Handled like a go-cart. Now, the only cars out there are big fat pillowy overpowered slugmobiles.

      "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
      -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

      by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:22:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Geo Metros are selling on eBay for 5x (9+ / 0-)

    the blue book value.  Some people are paying attention.

  •  Shocking but most Congresscriters don't get it (11+ / 0-)

    Awareness is key to that, but it has to go through a thick fog of denial, starting with Congress and those that vote for its blustering members.

    Congress drank the KoolAid that the free market will take care of our energy needs. They are in denial and more to the point, in the middle of the 20th century.

    We have to actually design a civilization that is sustainable. It is getting late to start. Government has to lead the way and use the free market as a mechanism, not an end in itself. We are on the threshold of a massive change, and it is much greater than a change to the Democratic Party. If they don't get it they too will be run out of town.

  •  I don't disagree with the premise... (7+ / 0-)

    of this diary at all, however,

    This may sound mostly pointless and silly, but it is also a stunning display of weakness by the US political class, which would rather remain in denial about the reality of the energy world, and look for scapegoats, than address problems, and it is also a pretty strong sign that they are followed in this respect by their electorate, which is all too willing to take such posturing seriously (or at least tolerate it) instead of seeing it as a sign of utmost contempt for it: Americans are not willing to face reality, US politicians pander to that, and nothing gets done.

    I think perhaps that there is more to this run up than meets the eye and I think that Congress wants to have some sort of stick available for long term negotiations and even investigations. It is simple folloy to believe that congress is goijng to stand by and do nothing when it appears that by all means an economic war is being waged on the United States right now.

    That does not excuse the horrible policies of our representatives, but I think that the people deserve a bit of a break on this because of the incredible amount of deception that has been practiced by the elected officials for nothing other than ideological reasons. An awakening is occuring but I think that perhaps the foxes are looting the hen house as much as possible before the awakening is complete and everyone realizes just how much of a bill of good they were sold by the Republicans.

    I also am not of the opinion that OPEC cares one whit about the Republicans and or the neo-cons, no matter that they say in public, their actions speak much louder than their words. I don't think that they are happy with having their tribal brothers ethnically cleansed and murdered in the streets of Iraq and I imagine that their intelligence agencies have read through the materials on how this started out as a plan to break the back of OPEC.

    Nope, we're being punished as much as we were in late 70's, OPEC is in the driving seat in enabling change in our foriegn policy and I think they perhaps want to see how they fare with a democratic administration and congress...

    What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

    by laughingriver on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:20:30 AM PDT

  •  We need to investigate Congress to find out why (8+ / 0-)

    nothing has been done on energy for the past 25-30 years.  They have been on the take from oil and gas companies, and we will now pay a steep price for their corruption.

  •  Oil and IRAQ Invasion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, FishBiscuit, forgore, dansmith17

    Let us look, briefly at the oil market. When the United States invaded Iraq, we were told that $10 oil was right around the corner.

    Then, as the war went from triumph to tribulation...the oil price rose. Still, the war's backers believed they had done good. Higher oil prices couldn't last, they said. The National Review said oil was a "bubble" in '04, when it was at $50 a barrel. Then, Steve Forbes said it was a "bubble" at $70 a barrel in '05. Now...a Goldman expert says it will go to $200 a barrel

  •  Suing OPEC--so much easier (6+ / 0-)

    than actually doing something to fast-track alternative fuel development. They still don't get it.

    •  Oh, they get it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, kurious, Calamity Jean

      But fast tracking alt-fuels requires money which would have to come from either ending the war or ending the tax cuts for their rich buddies.

      Republicans are unwilling to do either, and Democrats don't have the votes to pass something on their own.

      Hence, meaningless sound-good, feel-good measures like suing OPEC

      This country will NOT survive President McCain. Repeat until you get it.

      by Whimsical on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:53:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Suing OPEC (6+ / 0-)

      is a doubtful idea. They should sue god for filling the damn oceans with salt water instead of oil. What was she thinking?

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:53:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it really isn't. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The basic legal principles are that OPEC conspired to fix prices, and that people paid elevated prices because there was not market competition in oil production. Of course, other factors are present in the current increase in oil prices.

        But all the same, I suppose asides from the procedural difficulties the House bill is meant to deal with I don't see how this is different from anti-trust suits against credit card companies for anti-competitive practices in that industry.

        And any damages that we do manage to squeeze out of OPEC can fund some of the projects people are proposing in the comments to this very diary.

        •  hmm, never thought of it that way (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, andydoubtless

          Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

          by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:18:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The difference is... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, corvo, dansmith17

          That OPEC is not subject to US anti-trust laws.

          There is already pressure from the second largest OPEC producer to move away from trading in Dollars to Euros, Yen etc...

          Suing OPEC is not only futile, but could trigger the collapse of the US economy as the world carries on trading without American currency.

          Unless there is a sudden find of 10M barrels a day of oil and the refining capacity to process it, America would have little choice but to buy on the foreign markets.

          Don't PANIC!, it's 42.

          by CarmenT on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:30:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OPEC is, to the extent Congress says so (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            and to the extent OPEC does business in the United States.

            And as I see it U.S. currency fluctuations and whether we continue to be the reserve currency are dependent on a great many other factors, which are mainly economic. If we reduce our budget and trade deficits so that we are no longer bleeding dollars all over the world, the dollar stabilizes. The dollar was never the default universal reserve currency in the first place because we won a popularity contest, but because we were stable economically.

            And just as antitrust judgments haven't really affected the viability of other industries that have been rocked by antitrust suits, there's no reason we wouldn't still be purchasing oil at the end of this one, albeit hopefully we will need much less of it by then.

  •  we finally put the car in "storage" (7+ / 0-)

    Hubby sure aint happy to be taking the train to wrk but we, who are still making ends meet with a little left over, can no longer afford the convenience of using the car for things like commuting to WORK.

    I wonder how many others out there are like us now?  no longer able to simply get into our car and 'tool around' whenever we want to.  NOW when we use the car we have to make specific plans for where we need to go and how best to maximize the trips as to use as little GAS as possible.

    Sheeesh, its gonna be a long HOT Summer around here

    "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" is NOT a coherent Mid-East Strategy Mr McCain!!

    by KnotIookin on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:52:11 AM PDT

    •  It took me a while (6+ / 0-)

      but I learned to prefer the bus. Rigid departure time, but also time to read the paper or do a little work. Same traffic, but it wasn't my problem, it belonged to the guy I was paying to drive.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:57:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  havent tooled in a long time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tacet, KnotIookin, nhDave

      I live in the exurbs with zero trains or other public transport.

      I have no choice but to use the car for commute (if I want to work and since I am the only one working in my house .. I have to work)

      Tooling around?  Have not done that since the early 90s.

      Last time I took a vacation?  1992.

      My family (my little kids, my husband and me)?  Never been on a vacation, period.

      Thats how tight our budget is.  With this increase in gas prices.. its not about lack of tooling.

      Its about lack of food.  My garden will not feed us for another 55 days or so.

      Its about finding $ to buy a protein source for the kids on a semi-weekly basis.

      I am also a white-collar professional (scientist with a piled higher and deeper degree) so its not like I am not making some $$..

      Visit our organic garden blog! Humble Garden!

      by nika7k on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:31:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  how are you in such a bad way? (0+ / 0-)

        What happened?

        Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

        by Benito on Wed May 21, 2008 at 02:00:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh how may I count the ways (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Its not such an atypical story

          I am the major breadwinner (meaning one income)
          mortgage (less than many people's rent actually, especially in this area)
          car (used the same one for 10 years, had to buy a new one .. just paid that off and then next month - car accident - not my fault but insurnace doesnt = another car)
          insurance (lots and lots of $$)
          frugal living costs
          student loans

          all of this leaves nothing to less than nothing at the end of the month

          No major medical expenses beyond insurance premiums
          no childcare costs (we do not have other people look after our kids)
          no major investments
          no savings
          no living beyond our means

          Dont know what else to say.  Cant cut any further to the bone.  

          Am very seriously considering getting a second job too tho its hard in this economy and its hard to find a weekend job when I am seen as overqualified for most things.

          I am trying to build up sales for photography ( but then again so is every other person on the surface of the globe so thats not going swimmingly.

          Hows that for honesty with a complete stranger!

          Visit our organic garden blog! Humble Garden!

          by nika7k on Wed May 21, 2008 at 02:18:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How long have you owned your house? (0+ / 0-)

            If it's more than a few years, interest rates have supposedly gone down.  Could you refinance to a lower rate?  That would reduce your payment.  

            Could your husband get a weekend job?  With you working weekdays, if he works weekends the two of you won't see each other much, but your finances would improve.

            Good luck.  I think you're going to need it.

            Renewable energy brings national security.

            by Calamity Jean on Sat May 24, 2008 at 05:59:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  we are all going to need it (0+ / 0-)

              He telecommutes now.  Have owned the house (built it) since 1995.  Have a low fixed rate.

              Main point really is that things were in balance but with a slim margin and no increase in actual pay in recent times (plus the pay is actually less as inflation on food and diapers and fun stuff like that) increases.. no that margin and more is gone and it has an immediate impact.

              Visit our organic garden blog! Humble Garden!

              by nika7k on Sat May 24, 2008 at 09:58:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I'm taking the bus lately so that (0+ / 0-)

      my husband can take my car (27 mpg) instead of his truck (13 mpg). The bus is much more practical for me than him because of the routes. He's hoping to be in shape enough to ride a bike to work by middle of summer. I'll probably stay on the bus and we'll park both cars for commuting.

      I often take my car one day a week so I can run errands on the way home or when I have appointments during the day.

      We're not at the point of this being necessity yet, but I have better things to spend the money on right now. I do miss the days of gassing up my car and hitting the open road just for the enjoyment of the drive. I haven't done that in a few years.

      It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. - William G. McAdoo (-3.38, -3.38)

      by awnm on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:43:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An antitrust suit is no energy policy, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, terrypinder, mrchumchum

    at the same time it's interesting from a separate policy viewpoint. Part of the U.S. market system is the ideal of competition. For a company to violate that ideal through conspiracies to fix prices creates anti-trust liability. While a great many civil procedural hurdles would have to be cleared to extend this liability to Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC countries (and no doubt the House bill is intended to clear some of these), there's no real reason not to extend liability where foreign governments have participated in the precise same conduct for which U.S. companies would be liable.

    Imagining the OPEC countries on the hook for treble damages, especially when you consider the economic magnitude of the damages in the first place (which I think would be the difference in cost of all the oil consumed by the United States since OPEC was established and the cost the United States would have incurred during the same period in a world where market competition determined oil prices), makes my head spin. And considering the magnitude of some of these countries' investment in the United States, the risk for them could be significant depending on what sorts of assets, owned by whom, can be attached as part of a judgment against these countries.

    At the very least, this could be the end of the partnership between the United States and the House of Saud, which is probably why Bush vetoed the bill.

    •  One other note about the suit. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, terrypinder, mrchumchum

      If the federal and state governments were to join the suit as plaintiffs (much like the states did during the tobacco litigation of the nineties), claiming that they purchased billions of dollars of fuel over decades at inflated costs, then they could use any damages or settlement money in subsidies for the infrastructure costs associated with more widespread mass transit and encouraging clean renewables.

    •  As I indicated above... Anti-trust laws (5+ / 0-)

      are US laws.

      OPEC is not a US organization.

      While many might think it to be the case, US law does not apply in the rest of the world.

      The reason gas prices are shooting up is the massive US debt. Countries like China that hold trillions of US dollars are looking to swap for other more stable currencies, precipitating the value of the dollar.

      If the dollar was worth the same in real terms as when Bush went into office, oil would be $70-$80 a barrel.

      Don't PANIC!, it's 42.

      by CarmenT on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:34:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  US laws do apply... (3+ / 0-)

        to foreign entities doing business within the United States.  Like OPEC does.

        Timothy Noah has been writing articles in Slate about suing OPEC under antitrust law for years.  Here's one of the latest, from last summer: link

        •  Only to the extent that they can exert penalties (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, dansmith17

          or prevent future trading.

          Not exactly an ideal solution when they have something we need.

          All it will do is to trigger a mass exodus of OPEC from the dollar to the Euro, killing US cashflow, devaluing the dollar even further, China will dump it's dollars and/or buy up more of the US and there will be a massive recession.

          So... sure... lets go ahead and sue... forget the consequences... Triple fine them... we'll just wait till they come crawling back to us... we don't need oil... we are all prepared to stop driving so we can punish OPEC... can't wait for the smile to be wiped off their faces.

          Saudi Arabia basically told Bush to f-off when he went begging to them. I'm sure suing them will help to make them more amenable. On the other hand they might just cut supplies to the US and just sell to China, India, Russia and Europe.

          BTW: Iraqi banks have decided to move away from the dollar already, and Iran stopped trading oil in dollars last December.

          Don't PANIC!, it's 42.

          by CarmenT on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:58:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure why (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean

            (1) you presume the anti-trust suit would mean either we would stop buying or they would stop selling us oil.

            (2) you think these countries would denominate their currencies away from the dollar punitively. The best way to keep the dollar strong is sound fiscal policy and reducing the trade deficit. If the dollar is otherwise strong, nations are not going to flee it to punish the U.S. and thereby reduce the value of their own earnings in the transactions. The point of the examples you use is actually that Iran, despite its being an enemy of the United States, denominated its oil trades in dollars for thirty years, and that Iraq, despite being a client-state of the U.S., is shifting its trades to other currencies now. They are both doing so because of the poor economic fundamentals of the United States right now.

            •  I don't have to think it... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ... it has already happened.

              1. In the 1970s, OPEC cut supplies of oil to the US, triggering a recession. Also, the Saudis just refused to increase production at the request of Bush only a few days ago.

              So, yes, they can, have and are likely to reduce oil supplies and at the very least, maintain a carefully calculated control over production and exports.

              1. Iran, the second largest producer of oil in OPEC, opened it's own oil trading exchange last year, and now trades in most of the world's currencies EXCEPT the dollar.

              Iraq was about to do the same when Bush invaded.

              I agree that IF the US has a strong economy and sound fiscal policy it would be attractive for foreign trade, however, that is not the situation we are in at the moment. There are other economies in the world that are perceived to be stronger and more stable.

              However, the other condition is that it should be perceived as a 'free' and 'competitive' market. Instituting unilateral anti-trust laws as a short term measure makes the US less attractive to trade with.  

              If we fine them they can just cut supply just wait a few months, sell their dollars, devaluing the currency by a further 10-25% and then start selling oil again. The rest of the world woudln't see the increase but the US price would be $150-$200/barrel.

              Don't PANIC!, it's 42.

              by CarmenT on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:27:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I should confess something here: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                My attitude towards a confrontation with OPEC and a devaluation of the dollar are somewhat difficult than yours. Making foreign imports--especially in the energy sector--prohibitively expensive, while making US exports remarkably cheap, could be one of the best things that could happen to the U.S. economy, long-term.

                After all, the world economy is not simply a competition to see who has the most highly valued currency. There are strategic reasons the yuan is purposefully undervalued.

                •  I can understand your position... (0+ / 0-)

                  and in fact if you look through my diary history, I have even advocated the contentious solution of raising gas taxes as a way of reducing dependence on oil.

                  However, I wonder if a devalued dollar would have the beneficial effect that the undervalued yuan has had in China.

                  As a nation, China has a massive trade surplus. Demand for high value foreign goods is relatively low and neither the basic infrastructure nor the expectations of the population are affected by high cost of imported goods.

                  America on the other hand is the reverse. Luxury items are the equivalent of Aldous Huxley's 'Soma' in Brave New World. Large TVs, computers and other luxury imports are an 'essential' component of the 'happiness' of the population. The economic infrastructure depends on imported technology goods. Many of the components in the computer you are reading this on came from the far east, as did those in your cell phone, the engine management system in your car, the controller in your washing machine, the computers in banking, defense etc.

                  The solution could be to buy American goods. It would stimulate manufacturing, R&D, create jobs etc...  However, there would have to be a period of many years during which the rest of the world marches on with cheap imports while Americans make do with less.

                  It may be a bold and arguably necessary step, though I doubt any politician could get elected by promoting a self administered depression.

                  I'd be interested to read your reply and discuss this further.

                  Don't PANIC!, it's 42.

                  by CarmenT on Wed May 21, 2008 at 04:19:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  That's just retarded (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          They can refuse doing business with the US. There's plenty of paying customers lining up already.

          A "centrist" is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

          by nicta on Wed May 21, 2008 at 01:27:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The quick and dirty version here (0+ / 0-)

        is that when you set out to do business in a country or export your goods to it you avail yourself of the possibility of being sued there. This is how it works according to U.S. law, which I think is fair.

        The other thing is that your point about the role of the value of the dollar isn't really material. What the court would consider is the cost added by OPEC over time to the total cost that would otherwise have been determined by competition. So oil could be $20 a barrel, but if that is twice the rate it would otherwise be in a freely operating market, then they're still liable for the $10 they added to the cost.

        •  I don't doubt that one could create (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Calamity Jean

          a 'valid' legal case against OPEC.

          However, I believe it would be more than a trifle naive to assume that OPEC would take it lying down and just pay up.

          Bush has backed the US economy into a corner and there are few options remaining to prevent a major recession.

          Anti-trust laws may result in fines to OPEC, but they can't force OPEC to sell oil to America in the future.

          When you are in a cage with a lion, threatening to remove its claws rarely results in a safer situation.

          Don't PANIC!, it's 42.

          by CarmenT on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:11:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  many levels of analysis - but lack of legal remed (0+ / 0-)

       for corporate behavior that is, in the long run, harmful, is the very essence of Republicanism -

        The plunder,  of economic resources, whether human, intellectual or, in this case carbon - for short term gain, with absence of accountability is the very thing tort reform and trivializing lawsuits is intended to accomplish.

       the chickens from that policy are coming home to roost.


  •  heating oil fillup last week (6+ / 0-)

    4.75 a gallon, over $900. I don't think I can afford the 4-5 fillups a year. My house is just 1500  sq ft. and in the current market unsellable.

    I want to put in a wood stove, but I'm not certain I can come up with the 3000-4000 a contractor would charge.

    We are so screwed.

    fact does not require fiction for balance

    by mollyd on Wed May 21, 2008 at 06:57:59 AM PDT

  •  I wish I could rec 100X! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, FirstValuesThenIssues
  •  The rise in oil, I'd think, (3+ / 0-)

    is also a result of the lowering of the value of the dollar, apart from the entire issue of oil supplies & reserves.

    This is also a Congress that is solving our financial problems by having the Fed "print" more and more currency--the time-honored tradition for making the currency worthless.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:01:48 AM PDT

  •  With apologies to car drivers (6+ / 0-)

    for whom I know this is very, very difficult.  This is very good news.  Of course, Congress' meaningless effort against OPEC is a joke.  As you said, Monsieur, behavior will only change when we feel the pain.  I guess it's easy for me to say, though, bc. I'm a city dweller who's grateful every day that I don't have a car.  

    Actually, my worry is that this is a speculative bubble and oil prices will precipitously drop - and everyone will forget that we have a crisis of epic proportions looming.  Aren't new supplies coming from Venezuela and the Gulf?  I've heard that there's a large number of off-shore rigs coming online in the next few years.

  •  Time for Sen Obama to push 50mpg cars in 5 yrs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, FishBiscuit

    Why am I giving such a short time period

    Honda gets it. They know that business will keep coming their way with energy efficient cars. I would imagine Honda and Toyota could have 50 MPG cars tomorrow if allowed by the oil industry.

    There is no hydrogen or electric coming on board anytime soon so let's make cars as fuel efficient as possible as quickly as possible.  

    Sen Obama make this one of the first things you do as President.

    •  Priuses get 50 mpg TODAY (2+ / 0-)

      My wife and I did better than that on a recent roundtrip from Baltimore to Williamsburg, VA.  And in order to avoid being TOO much of an obstruction to traffic, I set the cruise control on a couple of mph above the speed limit on the Interstates.

      "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

      by leevank on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Free Market Solution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All they have to do is temporarily allow us to import any automobile which exceeds 50mpg and there would be a huge number of efficient cars available.

      "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
      -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

      by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:30:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You realized to do that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        we need to suspend our emission and safety standards for a time?

        •  Oh yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, phatcat cane

          But Europe's emissions standards are IMO superior to ours because they consider CO2. Also, I think their safety standards are superior because they consider things such as low-speed pedestrian-hitting standards.

          I really like Japan's special Kei car designation. They have special rules for a style of car which is less than a certain width, length and height and the car's engine must be only 660cc or less. We really need those here in the US! Honda's first import into the US was a Kei car, the Honda 600. They still make Kei cars, it is now called the Honda Life.

          "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
          -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

          by GW Chimpzilla on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:36:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I get over 40 MPG today in my 1997 Honda Civic (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, jkb246, FuddGate, FishBiscuit

      simply by driving reasonably.

      People drive like total assholes on the roads.


      We could cut national gasoline usage in pass cars 15 to 20% TODAY if people stopped driving like total jerks.

      "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.

      by shpilk on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:43:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Man... (0+ / 0-) should be where I live. The assholes continue to drive their POS monstrosities, and act as if nothing is going on.

        "The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by FishBiscuit on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:27:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Reality check (5+ / 0-)

    Gas isn't high enough.  For example, my family and I took a trip to DC in April.  We checked-out Amtrak and the round-trip price for the 4 of us (2 adults/2 children) was $688.  Even if gas were $10 a gallon, it  only cost around $315 for the trip. My actual cost was around $125 and that was in my station wagon which probably only got around 18-20mpg with all the traffic I was standing still in.

    Flying was even more expensive.  So until gas is much more expensive, it won't move this country to action.

    •  Sorry typo (0+ / 0-)

      Amtrak was $588 not $688, but point is still the same.  

    •  Sadly I agree (0+ / 0-)

      It is already starting to have a major impact on SUV sales, used & new. I don't relish the thought of paying $4-5/gallon.

      I think what would bring the price of gasoline down is a 50cent to $1/gallon gas tax. The funds would have to go for our crumbling infrastructure. With such a spike in prices people would be forced to conserve. Fuel prices would fall as demand dropped. So after an initial spike because of the tax it would drop down to current prices or slightly below.

      It won't matter if we pay $10/gal for gas if we don't have drivable roads or passable bridges.

      "Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long."

      by londubh on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:33:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the reason for the price increases: (9+ / 0-)

    All figures from :

    Total world petroleum SUPPLY (millions of barrels per day):

    1. 79.62
    1. 83.12
    1. 84.63
    1. 84.60
    1. 84.59

    INCREASE: 6.24%

    Total world petroleum DEMAND (millions of barrels per day):

    1. 79.61
    1. 82.33
    1. 83.65
    1. 84.62
    1. 85.35

    INCREASE: 7.21%

    Even the Congress should realize that when demand increases faster than supply, prices are going to go up, sometimes quite rapidly.

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Wed May 21, 2008 at 07:48:18 AM PDT

    •  todays EIA stock report (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Demand in the US is down a whole 1% or so from last year. Refineries are cranking up a bit, mostly to make diesel/heating oil:
      Petroleum Stocks                                                           % Chg fr
      (Million Barrels)                    05/16/08  05/09/08  05/16/07      Prev Week   Yr Ago
      Crude Oil (Excluding SPR) (9)            320.4     325.8     342.8            1.7    6.5
      Total Motor Gasoline                     209.4     210.2     199.7            -0.4     4.9
        Reformulated                            2.0       2.0       2.0             0.0     0.0
        Conventional                          101.8     101.5     109.5             0.3    -7.0
        Blending Components                   105.6     106.7      88.3            -1.0    19.6
      Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel                    40.1      40.4      40.8            0.7    1.7
      Distillate Fuel Oil (7)                  107.8     107.1     122.8             0.7   -12.2
        15 ppm sulfur and Under                67.4      67.3      64.9             0.1     3.9
        > 15 ppm to 500 ppm sulfur             18.0      17.7      23.3             1.7   -22.7
        > 500 ppm sulfur                       22.5      22.1      34.5             1.8   -34.8
      Residual Fuel Oil                         40.9      39.3      37.5             4.1     9.1
      Propane/Propylene                         34.0      31.3      33.0             8.6     3.0
      Unfinished Oils                           88.0      87.5      94.7             0.6    -7.1
      Other Oils (10)                          137.2     136.8     141.8             0.3    -3.2

      Total Stocks (Excl SPR) (7)              977.9     978.3   1,013.1             0.0    -3.5
      Crude Oil in SPR (11)                    702.7     702.0     689.8             0.1     1.9
      Total Stocks (Incl SPR) (7)            1,680.5   1,680.3   1,702.9             0.0    -1.3
      EIA Special File

      •  Stocks outside the SPR are still down (0+ / 0-)

        Both from a week ago, and from a year ago.  I've said this before, but the problem isn't lack of refining capacity, since crude oil prices are up even more than refined petroleum prices (or at least that was the case a couple of months ago, when I last did the analysis, and I'm pretty sure it's still the case).  If the problem was plenty of crude chasing too little refining capacity, we should be seeing the opposite trend.  Instead, what we're seeing is what we'd expect to see if there was inadequate crude oil supply to utilize any increased refinery capacity even if we were to bring it online.

        And I'm uncertain where you find a 1% decrease in DEMAND in the figures you cite.

        "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

        by leevank on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:12:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In the text at the link (0+ / 0-)

          the Special File is quite large; I just pulled out the stock summary.

          Anyhow, this is the relevant quote; (it changes quite a bit from week to week)

          Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 20.3 million barrels per day, down by 1.3 percent compared to the similar period last year.
          Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.3 million barrels per day, down by 0.4 percent from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand has averaged nearly 4.2 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up 0.7 percent from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is 5.6 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.

      •  Even if U.S. demand is down... (0+ / 0-)

        worldwide demand is up, so up go prices.

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Sat May 24, 2008 at 06:31:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! Oil is at $132 intraday (4+ / 0-)

    Jerome, $200 seems just around the corner.

    The huge drop on inventories seems to be the proximate cause on the jump.

    A possible attack on Iran has to play a role with speculators too.; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:08:13 AM PDT

  •  I give up, I am buying a scooter and moving 3rd W (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, gdwtch52

    Third world here I come! Oh I  could just wait 10-15 years and I would be there :)

    •  Scooter (0+ / 0-)

      Love scooters. After I first got married, we had a scooter as our "family car" for two years. Went for ever on less than a gallon of gas.

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Electric cars get 90 mpg (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's time for states and feds to force automakers to mass produce electric cars again.  I'd love to have one myself, but can't afford 80,000 for a custom made one.

    •  They don't need to cost $90K (0+ / 0-)

      And if you have any land, you can use solar to produce hydrogen out of water and burn that instead of oil.

      The answer is right in front of all of us: the technology to produce hydrogen locally is underfunded.

      It should be a national security priority.

      "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.

      by shpilk on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:42:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hydrogen's a bad battery. (0+ / 0-)

        What's the conversion efficiency there? On top of a technology that's not so efficient anyway, and moderately scarce (unless we learn to wish billions of square feet of PV into existence).

        And yet, people will continue to juggle all these different technologies together, hoping against all hope that if they can just manage to get the right combination, magic will occur and life can go on as it always had...

      •  Hydrogen out of water? (0+ / 0-)

        Hydrogen comes from petroleum, oil and natural gas.  Making hydrogen out of water is not very efficient, and it's expensive as all get out.

  •  Jerome, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, dansmith17

    What is the best source on what kind of govt subsidies that oil and coal get?  

  •  How far have we fallen - law is "weak" & pointles (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andydoubtless, dansmith17

     this basic theme - that the fundamental process for achieving just ends is "weak" & "pointless"  is the bedrock Republican talking point - but it has so saturated our culture that apparently even the author has bought into it.

     Indeed, had we, as a nation, not spent the last quarter century denigrating and emasculating that source of unique American pride, then the tort system would have worked as it ever did - to make economic decision makers make rational decisions that involved longterm interest - not just short term plunder.

     It is a complex history - but when you fillup - you are paying the tort reform tax - and the attitude of the author reflects why we are now so helpless.  

  •  "A stunning display of weakness" (5+ / 0-)

    Oh boy. Is that ever the truth.

    I feel ill.

    -2.38 -4.87: Maturity - Doing what you know is right even though you were told to do it.

    by grapes on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:29:44 AM PDT

  •  Bill for OIL Imports (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Oil imports are running at about 12 million barrels a day (crude plus products).

    At $130/barrel that about $1.5 billion A DAY! With that kind of bill you would think that someone in charge would be encouraging conservation ... but NO, we can't have that. Let's just let the market ration who gets the oil. $200 here we come.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:35:23 AM PDT

  •  Let's see if I got this straight... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...By consistently raising the price of crude, OPEC is for all intents and purposes holding a gun up to our heads and daring us to stop them. I see two routes: economically(with the latest example of Congress threatening to sue) or as I like to say, "hit them with their purse"; or the tried and true Bush way-the military way. Well, they sure picked the right president if they wanted to provoke an all-out shooting oil war-with real bullets not just a war of words. Bush is wrong about most things, and at this point the only thing he has left of any self-respect at all is on the line now.

    Does OPEC really think that this current president, who is the commander of the most potent military force the world has ever known--who still has 8 LONG months left in his term of office in which to strike them a blow they'll never forget, is just going to submit to these bullies while they try to extort every ounce of our blood from us? If you were Bush, what would you do? They should think about that cold, hard reality. Barack Obama isn't our president-yet! And Bush is no negotiator with terrorists, whether they be holding box-cutters or holding the lions share of the world's oil fields.

    You all know how I feel about war in general, how much I abhor wars of aggression, that the only time war is acceptable is in self-defense. If anyone has ventured to their local gas station lately, and decided to fill their tanks as opposed to, let's say buying groceries this week, everyone knows, (including OPEC)our every survival depends on oil. They are directly threatening it. A wise OPEC would take that to heed, before they provoke to anger the sleeping giant and risk their own destruction.

    If they wanted to bring down the House of Saud and us along with them, they couldn't have timed it better. We've got the right megalomaniacal sociopath in office to do the job for them!

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:37:29 AM PDT

    •  Huh (9+ / 0-)

      By consistently raising the price of crude, OPEC is for all intents and purposes holding a gun up to our heads and daring us to stop them.

      That's not how it works.

      By consistently fighting to get access to the available crude, consumers are constantly proving that they are willing to pay almost any price to avoid using less.

      Think of it as a giant e-bay auction. The price just keeps going up and up until bidders drop out.

      The Saudis don't set the price anymore. Its the Chinese, Indians, and SUV drivers that do.

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:40:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  been here over 2 years & I read bondad... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...and jerome a lot, and I know how the oil markets work. But you gotta understand, in Bush, we're not dealing with a mind that is capable of understanding the intricacies market system, or rational thought. He shoots first, then ask questions later. I paid $20 for 5 gallons of gas yesterday. I have two vehicles. The lady next to me paid $80 to fill-up. She told me, as we were pumping, "I don't know how I'm going to make it". Good question: How is anyone going to "make it"?
        Bush is a lot of things, but he's not going to sit there and watch what's left of his legacy go down the tubes, without acting-out in the only way he knows best of all: war.

        "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:50:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  War (6+ / 0-)

          a war with Iran would take oil to $200 pretty darn fast.

          And as for gas prices, work out the total cost of running a car, insurance, repairs, purchase price (or lease or interest costs) etc and gas is still not that big of a factor. Gas should be $10 a gallon, given its intrinsic value and finite availability.

          I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

          by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:15:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Raise Interest Rates which will firm up the (0+ / 0-)

          dollar, then you will see a drop or at least a long pause in upward gas prices.

          "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark US AG

          by Mr SeeMore on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:00:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Making it. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sorry but the rest of the planet has been paying more for Gas for Decades as the Governments deliberatly increased Tax to a level it would change consumer behaviour, as the big increase has come on Tax has been reduced or at least not increased so the net effect in recent years has been not as great as in the US.

          Oil is a finite natural commodity required by every country on the planet. If OPEC was price gouging then you would have the support of Japan, and Australia and Europe, but they are not it is just the markets operating. Until you are paying $10 a Gallon get over it.

          If you can not "Make it" get a raise, if the boss will not give you a raise, go on strike, if you go on strike and get fired demand congress change the laws. Increase Minimum wage, in UK Gas is approaching $10 a gallon but Minimum wage is approaching $12 an hour, with a MINIMUM 28 days paid leave a year.

          Oil is going up.
          Oil is staying up
          Deal with it.

          If you can not afford your present lifestyle with paying more for Gas then either you need to change your lifestyle or your income.

    •  Uh... (0+ / 0-)

      OPEC is not raising the price.

    •  So you actually think George W. Bush cares? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Bronx59, FishBiscuit

      Wow. I mean, wow. Just when you think you've heard it all on Daily Kos someone goes and pulls the rug out from under you.

      My personal opinion is that about this time next year, when Bush is going on speaking tours of obscure Gulf principalities charging $5 million an hour and taking his figurehead executive positions on international oil conglomerates, the reason he has not been more vociferous in protecting the Amrican consumer these eight years will only be too obvious.

      You don't really think he's been on the side of the United States, do you?

      I think it's as likely that Hugo Chavez or Vlad the Impaler has our best interests at heart as our actual, point-of-fact president.

  •  Refinieries are operating at 80% of capacity, so (4+ / 0-)

    I heard a few days ago. There's no shortage of oil, at least not in the near term. OPEC is refusing to increase output because Bush is a lame duck. They don't owe W any more favors.  

    But quite frankly this is serving to reduce consumption, so it's good anyway. About time civilization learned the real cost of energy, anyway.

    The extra money should be going into developing new alternative technologies, not into the hands of oligarchs, dictators and terrorists however.

    It's time to start looking at sequestering and using methane that only adds to GCC, manufacturing hydrogen locally by way of either solar or some other green way and CONSERVING more.

    "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.

    by shpilk on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:39:26 AM PDT

    •  HUH (10+ / 0-)

      There's no shortage of oil, at least not in the near term. OPEC is refusing to increase output because Bush is a lame duck.

      Please show me where the excess available capacity is. Mexico has declining production, The US has declining production, Russia has declining production, and the North Sea has declining production.

      The only "excess capacity" may be in Saudi, which "May": have another 1 million bpd of crap high sulfur crude that no one has the capacity to refine.

      OPEC doesn't increase production because IT CAN'T.

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:43:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OPEC has the ability to increase output (0+ / 0-)

        The Saudis are not the only ones with excess capacity.

        Depending upon which goon says it, they have anywhere from 6 to about 10% excess capacity. It's not all high sulphur Saudi junk.

        "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.

        by shpilk on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:56:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Tell me where, a country.

          Heck even Indonesia an OPEC member is having to leave OPEC because it is now an importer.

          I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

          by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:12:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i suspect Venezuela and Nigeria (0+ / 0-)

            are the nations shpilk are referring to.

            Central PA Kossacks"Obama can hope all over me!" Si se fucking puede!

            by terrypinder on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:38:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not much hope there (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerome a Paris, Bronx59, dansmith17

              Venezuela has fired most of its competent oil company employees. They are having trouble keeping production even stable. They also need the money so if they could pump more, they would.

              Nigeria ... what a hellhole. They are not going to pump more until someone figures out how to share the wealth. Not going to happen anytime soon.

              Anymore "available capacity" out there?

              OPEC in the past has leaked like a sieve when prices went up, but the fact that they are not producing more now shows that they can't.

              I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

              by taonow on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:45:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I think the point is there is no IMMEDIATE (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        reason for a lack of supply to be causing the sharp increases. It's 99% speculators. The only way a GENUINE shortage would influence price is if people were unable to purchase fuel, gas lines, etc.

        TODAY, this is not the case.

    •  Refineries operating at less than capacity ... (0+ / 0-)

      doesn't mean there's no shortage of crude oil.  It may mean that there isn't enough crude oil to permit the refineries to operate at capaciy at a price where people are demanding refined petroleum products.

      For example, if the supply of crude oil suddenly went to zero, refineries would be operating at zero percent of capacity.  And if production declined by 50%, there would be lots of surplus refinery capacity.  I realize neither of these are realistic short-term prospects (although I think a 50% reduction is a very realistic prospect for people who are now alive over their lifetimes), but it illustrates that surplus refinery capacity certainly doesn't mean there's plenty of oil.  It just demonstrates that the problem isn't lack of refinery capacity.

      "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

      by leevank on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      At the prices for oil we have now, they'd be insane not to pump as much as they can. If they wait years, hoping to cash in at $300 a barrel, they might discover that someone has given everyone alternatives, and no one wants the shit anymore.

      So they'd pump now if they could.

      More likely... no more will come out of the ground, no matter how hard they try. For the past 15 years, they've been forcing so much water into the wells, trying to force the oil out, that it's been a 50/50 mix of the two.

  •  Hello overshoot... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taonow, Benito, NoMoreLies, corvo

    Business-as-usual champions of indiscriminate exponential growth are taking us down.

    "In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy."

    by Akonitum on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:40:51 AM PDT

  •  Suing OPEC... what a dumb sxxt idea! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59, FishBiscuit

    In youth we learn, in age we understand.

    by Jbeaudill on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:43:34 AM PDT

  •  It's the war, you stupid ignorant assholes! (5+ / 0-)

    The price of oil has been skyrocketed since our invasion of Iraq, and political uncertainty continues to drive the market.

    Supply and demand simply hasn't changed enough to account for the jump.

    We're pro-choice on everything! - Libertarian slogan

    by CA Libertarian on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:30:06 AM PDT

  •  The Chevron guy is making amazing sense (5+ / 0-)

    He's saying that the very best thing we could do in the short term is reduce demand for oil by improving energy efficiency, improving insulation, developing alternative energy sources, etc.  He's right, although I'm amazed that an oil company exectutive is saying it.

    Congress if an oil energy executive can tell us that we need to improve efficiency, why can't Congress see it?

    "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

    by leevank on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:46:26 AM PDT

  •  Sue OPEC! (3+ / 0-)

    Right, and I'll sue congress!

  •  Thanks again, Jerome... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, seancdaug, dansmith17

    While I am glad that our legislators have awoken from the Bush-induced coma, I am shocked by their idea for action.  As far as I'm concerned, suing the OPEC is a sure fire way to convince the world that we have become a laughing stock.

    The problem is not with OPEC, the Problem is with Americans who have been put in charge of this situation and have been blinded by one thing or another (personal gain, naivete, being lied to, etc) as to the temperature of the frog-stew.  Now we are just about cooked, and suing anyone, is not going to change that.

    Our leaders should focus on activities and actions that are gonna make a positive difference.  Not just stir up the hornets.  'Cuz this line of action is gonna get us stung.

    If you like Iraq, you're gonna love Iran.

    by FundaMental Transformation on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:05:24 AM PDT

  •  Decentralization: (4+ / 0-)

    That's what this is going to take; a massive restructuring of society.
    Cities will have to be abandoned completely, in favor of numerous small towns. These towns will replace the financial and political nerve centers that our large cities are currently.
    This is not only feasable, but given the technology of the innertoobs, quite logical as the next step in habitation methods for homo sapiens sapiens.
    For travel between small towns, rail could be used.
    Local, in-town travel would be acheived by bycicle, walking, or by some form of tram system. Each town would be a mini-city, complete with residential, business and commercial districts, and special areas for the promotion of culture and recreation.
    As there would be no center, an approximation of a grid system could be used, including diagonal vias of inter-town transportation.
    This would free up more land for agriculture, make our country safer from attack (as Robert A. Heinlein pointed out some fifty years ago), heal urban sinks, and make working close to home, in a community environment, not just easy, but inevitable.
    Electric cars would remain as first-response units, and for occasional off-grid travel (eg vacation).
    The downside of all of this is that a centralized social structure is how power is maintained in this and most other nation-states: those who benefit from the status quo are unwilling to change it.

    "Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes begging." - Luther

    by Cartoon Messiah on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:14:33 AM PDT

  •  We here in the States will be in (4+ / 0-)

    absolute denial until the day the wells run dry.  Just like we are still in denial about global warming.
    Back in the late 70s, when I went back to college to finish my education, an Earth Science professor predicted the world would run out of oil within 50 years.  Looks like he was not too far off the mark.  If he knew that, so did others and yet nothing has been done to wean us off our dependency because the ruling class in this country has made too much money from oil and they are gonna squeeze those wells for every drop.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

    •  Future fuel? (0+ / 0-)

      I doubt that by the time oil flow has slowed to a crawl we'll be ready for it. Given that hydrogen infrastructure still probably won't be ready at the time, and we don't have enough lithium on the planet for everyone to drive an electric car, we'll be greatful for the ethanol infrastructure we have at the time, wasteful though it may be. And public transport will make a seriously quick comeback.

      Anyone interested in driving a flywheel car?

      Hate global warming? Don't Google. Blackle.
      "Elitist"; code word for "uppity".

      by Decih on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:36:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wonder what he meant... (0+ / 0-)

    Of course the Earth will never RUN OUT of oil. Did he mean peak oil?

  •  The "localized" problem is one of time. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, Bronx59, FishBiscuit

    For all too many, the answer isn't on "the showroom floor" - it hasn't been built yet.  Mass transit just isn't there in many places and will take years to get in place.  Especially if we're talking rail, the most efficient method out there.  Ditto freight - rail is most efficient, but there are many places where even if they have tracks and a train passes through once or twice a day, they have NO depots.  Where I live, in Fayetteville, AR, for example, they've pulled up some of the tracks (made a pretty hike and bike path where the tracks were), but still have a usable/used set - however there is absolutely no place left for a train to stop and unload, no side rails left connected to uncouple and push a car or two off the line to be unloaded and picked up later.

    We've got to rebuild our transportation sector and return rail to the workhorse position it had before America got car and truck happy in the 1950s - and we really need to "nationalize" the rail - have tracks themselves (the building and maintenance thereof) lumped into the federal transportation budget with the highways and the airlines.  (I'm not talking about nationalizing the rolling stock any more than the trucking industry is nationalized just because they run on federal highways.)  It will take time.  And the longer before we get started, the longer it will take.  Meanwhile, the folks getting hurt by the higher prices will need relief of some kind, just to stay in business (and until we get the replacement system in place, we really need them to stay in business).

    The personal vehicles - hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs - aren't here.  We have a few, not the most efficient, but stuff that's available in other countries aren't even legal to import to America.  Retooling auto manufacturer "lines" will take a minimum of a year.  Don't expect to see sizable numbers hitting the streets for at least 18 months after the retooling is done.  And then it's about 7 years to change out the majority of what's on the road.  Meanwhile, we have the very minor victory of a Farm Bill (that W threatened to veto) switching most of its ethanol supplements from corn to non-food sources.  We'll see major results about 2 years after we get started.  Whenever we get started.  If ever we get started.

    •  This... (0+ / 0-)

      we really need to "nationalize" the rail - have tracks themselves (the building and maintenance thereof) lumped into the federal transportation budget with the highways and the airlines.  (I'm not talking about nationalizing the rolling stock any more than the trucking industry is nationalized just because they run on federal highways.)

      sounds like a good idea.

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Sat May 24, 2008 at 06:57:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Europe is much better prepared (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, seancdaug, FishBiscuit

    for peak oil than the United States. They have been willing to confront this issue and will be in a better economic position because of it.

    The U.S. will have to play catchup in renewable energy in order to remain competitive in the world economy. This is one of the reasons I've been bullish about the Euro.

    Many people think China and India will be the economic powerhouses of the 21st century. I can't help but wonder what effect peak oil will have on their economic prospects. If they don't invest in renewable energy resources now I believe they will hit a brick wall.

  •  Who voted against? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Obviously a bipartisan majority voted for ... but who voted against?
  •  Musing on this very topic . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mveit, Cliss, FishBiscuit

    The New York Times has an article on an analyst who correctly foresaw the increase that we are experiencing now and prophesizes that the oil will be $200 per barrel before year's end.  

    Reading that reminded me of the energy projects of the 1970's (I'm that old) when the Ford Foundation Energy Policy Project commissioned a series of books on what the country could do to conserve energy while preserving "our way of life."

    The Ford Administration drew up "Project Independence", a longish report on what SHOULD happen to stave off an energy crisis.

    Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House and wore sweaters in the winter to remind people to save energy. The speed limit was lowered to 55 mph to conserve oil.

    All of which were signs that the country was on the right track.

    Enter the Reagan Administration:  Solar panels removed, reports shelved, and everyone made fun of Jimmy Carter's sweaters as they turned up the thermostat.  

    Then we got the SUV.

    And now we are back to where we were 30 years ago with a lot less oil in the ground and a lot more people above the ground wanting that oil.

    And the response by Congress (nevermind the administration; it's hopeless) is to sue OPEC. . .

    Right . . .

    •  Meanwhile the rest of the planet prepared ..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as Carter had proposed.

      since the mid 70's Gas Tax in Europe gradually increased to allow consumers time to adapt behavior which gets smaller cars, better public Transport etc.

      Gas is around $8-9 a Gallon but has been that way for years.

      Nuclear is a much larger part of the energy mix in France, Japan and some of the rest of Europe.

      Brazil goes heavily for Ethanol substitution in Cars.

      China already has higher fuel efficiency standards for cars than the US.

  •  ~ 154 million (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    According to the US labor statistics, that is how many people were employed in April '08 in the US

    Do 154 million people need to go to their place of work every single day to do their jobs?

    I don't think so.

    Gasoline should be taxed to decrease consumption and collect funds to provide employers with incentives to improve their network systems so some of their employees are  able to work from home.

    If we could have 15 million working from home some of the time, the amount of gas we could save in a year would be in the million of gallons.

    Create different scenarios and do the math. For example: how many gallons  could be saved  if 33% of the 15 million could work only 1 day a week, 33%, 2 days and the other 33% 3 days at home?

    I am sure some could stay at home weeks at the time with sporadic visits to their office during the month.

    "All we are saying is give peace a chance" (JL) Make noodles - Not war (FSM)

    by duende on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:38:46 AM PDT

  •  Iraq Oil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The Iraqi government claims that new seismic data from respected sources estimate proven reserves at 350 billion barrels, which would be the largest of any country on earth."


  •  God forbid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, Bronx59, dansmith17

    It might break congress in 1/2 if they just made mandatory fuel efficency standards.
    30 miles per gallon , 40, whatever. No, sue Saudi Arabia-AWESOME!
    Why not TAX EXXON ,BP AND CONOCO FOR THEIR profits from their profit sharing agreements with the House of Saude?
    That might cost campaign donations, so it will never happen. Why don't they just end Homeland Security grants and subsidies to big oil?
    Once again, we are proving to be weak willed when it comes to treating the wealthy fairly in this country.

    Why not sue Exxon and such over what they are charging for the oil they own in Africa? Yeah, that would point the blame right at our uber wealthy-we can't have that in an election year.

    All symbolic BS. Are there really 2 parties or is it just a myth?

    •  Indeed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cliss, Bronx59, dansmith17

      Shaking our fists at OPEC has produced no results whatsoever. If we're to be free of our dependence on oil we will have to demand results from American industry -- now. The ultimate revenge would be driving their prices down over the next decade because we don't need them anymore. Why don't our politicians focus on that? Oh, right, they're bought and paid for buy the oil industry.

      Some say we need a third party. I wish we had a second party. -- Jim Hightower

      by joe m on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:15:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They can't mandate the standards quickly enough. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Everyone talks like the 35mpg thing is a joke... well it is.

      What if they were to mandate real standards, on a real timeframe? 75mpg by 2012? It's not even close to politically viable. It's the same thing as California banning incandescents by 2012... the market itself will have that effect long before the law does.

      The trouble with waiting for the market, is that it waits til the absolute last minute.

      Why not sue Exxon and such over what they are charging for the oil they own in Africa? Yeah, that would point the blame right at our uber wealthy-we can't have that in an election year.

      Why bother? Do you think that in a fair trial, they'd ever lose? Do you advocate giving them an unfair one, or none at all?

      It'd be a feelgood gesture, nothing more, and at the moment I don't really care to have one of those.

      All symbolic BS. Are there really 2 parties or is it just a myth?

      Since the ballot access laws were put in place by both parties in the early 20th century, there's really only been one party pretending to be two.

      •  OK (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        So suing Exxon would be a feel good gesture. What is suing Saudi Arabia?
        Since Exxon, BP, Conoco, Tosco and Shell all have huge profit sharing agreements with Saudi Arabia, wouldn't suing them be the same thing?

        As I recall, PSA's are 32%. Why not tax that? Or just tax the oil coming in? At $114 a bbl. thats $36.48 a bbl. in profit.

        If we just taxed the worlds richest fairly it would be a better world

        •  It would be a better world. (0+ / 0-)

          But then the world's richest just raise the prices on the things the world's poorest need, and guess who ultimately pays?

          •  Ah hah (0+ / 0-)

            price caps !
            Price caps is the way to go. Gas should be capped at $3.58 a gallon-period. That allows for huge profits even at $150 a bbl. Considering the tax breaks, grants and subsidies Big Oil has received over the years, it should be expected by them at some point

            •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

              That will help the working poor. They'll be able to afford it, assuming of course that they can afford to sit in the gas lines for 12 hours at a time, and that there's any left for them when their turn is finally up.

              Price caps for all! Please save us, magical price caps!

              •  Hold on (0+ / 0-)

                I am no economist, I don't claim to be. I have ideas.
                Our current tax system is wealth redistribution , from the bottom to the top.
                I am sick of it. I am sick of it not being addressed. I am just sick .

                Price caps may not be the answer, but is suing Saudi Arabia? If we sue Saudi Arabia, wouldn't we also be suing Exxon, Conoco, Valero, BP, Shell , Occidental and the rest who buy oil from them considering sweetheart profit sharing agreements?
                Am I nuts, or does that sound logical? When the worse PSA is at 32% and the best at 36% thats a hefty chunk of change Saudi Arabia doesn't ever see. At $100 a bbl. they only get $68 to $64 a bbl. for their oil-Big Oil gets a nice chunk.

                I know it pains people to bring up Occidental , but it is a must.
                Saudi Arabia is a puppet at best. We aren't even talking about how the oil fields in Nigeria or the rest of Africa, obtained illegally according to international law (congress won't address that in an election year) cost Exxon $23.50 to get to our shores, labor and shipping included , and they reap a heftier profit when oil is priced as is.

                The suing of Saudi Arabia should bring riots to our streets. They make Bush almost effective by allowing him to veto it-I am actually shocked he is. Suing Saudi Arabia and the rest of OPEC ignores corporate responsibility  and blames almost victims for finally wanting a piece of the pie.

                Big oil is the criminal, not Saudi Arabia.

                •  The only answer... (0+ / 0-)

                  (and I do not know that it is correct) would be for us to start using a 21st century energy technology. Oil is 19th century. It was bound to run out eventually. It was never all that clean.

                  Some think that wind and solar is that 21st century technology. I vehemently disagree with them. But even if they have the technology wrong, they are right on principle.

                  Our government should have been, and should still be, pursuing research in such technology. As a libertarian, I would tend to favor private enterprise for this... but it will almost certainly fail to give us something in time. But, neither will government, it seems.

                  So, we can try to rearrange deck chairs, I suppose. Price caps, lawsuits against foreign nations (Which aren't at fault... what do you think would happen if Saudi started selling barrels at $70 per? Do you think that the chinese wouldn't buy up every last drop, and gas prices wouldn't remain where they are here, with the poor suffering?), ration cards and all that crap.

                  We won't be able to do any of it, it wouldn't fix anything if we could. (Nice example: got into an argument with a 17 yr old on reddit about this, who claimed it would be unfair if all schoolchildren were forced to take the school bus, instead of filling highschool parking lots with cars that mommy and daddy bought them.)

                  We're royally fucked. You won't believe me, I suppose, but I will be sporting and give you a warning. You have 2, maybe even 5 years, with which to squirrel away as much money as possible to buy yourself as many PV panels and wind turbines as you can afford. Beyond that, figure out a way to live where you will need as little gasoline, diesel (beyond any veg oil you grow yourself), and heating oil as is possible. This isn't survivalist nutjob stuff, this isn't y2k panicing, this isn't religious crackpot armageddon.

                  The saudis are pumping out every last drop they possibly can. And it just isn't coming out.

                  Big oil is the criminal, not Saudi Arabia.

                  If that makes you feel better, tell that to yourself.

                  They account for what, 20% of the oil sold worldwide? That's not a monopoly. Don't get me wrong, they're raking it in. But even if they were doing it at cost, your gallon of gas would be $3.50 instead of $3.75. Not enough to matter.

                  •  Private enterprise? (0+ / 0-)

                    The problem we have been having since satan, whoops, Ronald Reagan (I get the 2 confused) has been private enterprise.
                    The problem tends to be unregulated corporations.
                    Atlanta Corporatizing (aka Privatizing) their water. It has been shown that corporations want profit, do no long term maintenance, over charge the customer  while cutting services. Private enterprise has been the problem.

                    Regulating enterprise , I can see that. It is a trust issue. Few if any companies due the right thing because of the republican battle cry of letting them make money-at some point the people have to be protected. If we subsidize the research and development we should have a price break on the back end-and that should be regulated.

                    We have oil for at least 100 years, but that is no excuse to not move past it. But so few know how much it plays a part in our daily lives . From makeup , to paint, to candles, to paint remover, to weed killer, to house cleaner, to varnish, to plastic, to DVD's, to Ipods, to computer chips to any number of things .
                    Independence for our energy is the biggest step to regaining our sovereignty and freedom from the fascist government we a falling into .

                    We may well be screwed, but private enterprise going unregulated would be a huge part of that.
                    Solar and wind are possibly the best way, nuclear is a bigger mistake than oil, so more than likely it will be nuclear.

                    We probably agree on a lot

  •  Jerome, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, dansmith17

    I thought of you when I heard the price of a barrel of oil this morning. I remember your posts about oil on its way to $100 barrel. Smart, very smart.

    "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

    by lilypew on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:26:19 PM PDT

  •  My husband is a salesman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, dansmith17

    and he has to drive (in a fuel-efficient car, not an SUV) to see his clients.  He gets a gas allowance, but it's buying less and less.  I am truly worried about this.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:35:04 PM PDT

  •  Forget Ethanol use Methanol (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Methanol can be produced from garbage and animal (including human) waste products.  There was a book written 32 years ago called Methanol and Other Ways Around the Gas Pump (1976) by John Ware Lincoln where he makes the case for methanol.  He wrote the book during the height of the mid-70's energy crisis and it needs to be added back into the debate.

    This is a major reason why the cities should have NEVER privatized their sanitation and sewage services.  Cities need to reclaim their sanitation services and start producing methanol.  That would be an answer to the current mess.

    We should have done this years ago but Reaganomics unfortunately took hold and the baby boomers were too busy trying to "get rich" and now that wasteful period has come back to bite us.

  •  $200 by August. Of 2008. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, dansmith17

    Anyone want to calculate what that will do to the price of a gallon of diesel?

  •  At $200 a barrel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    most of the southern US would grow sugar cane for ethanol.

    What the US Congress needs to do is to remove the taxes and legal restrictions on ethanol production.

    I have 22,000 square feet of suburban lawn ready for sugar cane production.

    How big is a freakin' barrel?

Deep Dark, joe, ElitistJohn, RichM, bink, clb, vicki, nofundy, dwellscho, northsylvania, RedMeatDem, Phoenix Woman, nu, Rayne, copymark, SarahLee, deben, Sparhawk, laurak, XOVER, chassler, lipris, Detlef, Jeff G, Geenius at Wrok, 2pt5cats, gaspare, Powered Grace, NYmom, BigOkie, mattman, sacrelicious, JTML, Disillusioned, Shockwave, Sherri in TX, Lipstick Liberal, tacet, ericy, brendan1963, LEP, Midwest Meg, jdld, eeff, ThirstyGator, xynz, gecko, rlamoureux, frisco, mataliandy, exNYinTX, Creosote, silence, Vitarai, sardonyx, RubDMC, humbucker, opinionated, raines, PeteB2, BlackGriffen, whenwego, Janie, grassroot, ask, PBnJ, Porfiry, mkfarkus, rickpickett, Aquarius40, roses, taonow, Ignacio Magaloni, sgilman, CodeTalker, luku, exconservative, corncam, HooverWhoWontSuck, dmsilev, Chrisfs, wader, kharma, nicta, Ryvr, minorityusa, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, pat bunny, superscalar, leevank, GW Chimpzilla, cometman, waf8868, Penny Century, nika7k, joliberal, betson08, AbsurdEyes, Green Tea, alizard, Brian82, cevad, side pocket, Redbug, Wife of Bath, bablhous, kd texan, malcontent, mm201, environmentalist, oortdust, davidincleveland, phasmatis, Leslie H, 3goldens, pattyp, Doolittle Sothere, NoMoreLies, Bensch, lilypew, franziskaner, OpherGopher, PBen, corvo, nyc175, clammyc, truong son traveler, eightlivesleft, Valtin, basquebob, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, denisedh, Claybow, reflectionsv37, ratzo, mojo workin, aaraujo, Overseas, Phil S 33, lasky57, jane123, Synergy, techno, palachia, wulidancer, oibme, bookwoman, Land of Enchantment, Reptile, third Party please, andreuccio, BachFan, The Sinistral, myboo, Milly Watt, alefnot, BlueInARedState, andydoubtless, Gorette, borkitekt, koNko, The Wizard, a gnostic, dewey of the desert, mcartri, SarekOfVulcan, people for truth, NBBooks, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, Tanya, Ashaman, gatorcog, NearlyNormal, bleeding heart, profh, doingbusinessas, va dare, The Lighthouse Keeper, RantNRaven, kurt, Jbeaudill, jatkin02, kurious, bstotts, Snarcalita, Granny Doc, Temmoku, Nulwee, BentLiberal, DBunn, One Pissed Off Liberal, Elco B, Cronesense, Cat Whisperer, dmh44, california keefer, moodyinsavannah, offgrid, Outrider, edsbrooklyn, Downpuppy, FishOutofWater, terabytes, londubh, Unbozo, Strabo, bnasley, brentmack, jedennis, robynsmith, letsgetreal, cyncynical, netguyct, sldulin, jnhobbs, Bronx59, ImpeachKingBushII, JML9999, keikekaze, sable, willb48, mall teacher, TomP, gizmo59, FishBiscuit, JoeW, alkalinesky, seriously70, glutz78, Spoonfulofsugar, Mr SeeMore, Bill Evans at Mariposa, TheFatLadySings, NRG Guy, Brandon Friedman, Youffraita, Involuntary Exile, Cat Servant, Rick Winrod, wagdog, Akonitum, Its any one guess, Calamity Jean, Lujane, Cassandra Waites, moneysmith, valsagem, CA Libertarian, xysea, aigeanta, BYw, pelagicray, CatfishBlues, Executive Odor, RevenantX, lgcap, rhutcheson, p 8 n, papicek, statsone, ggwoman55, smellybeast, Neon Vincent, Texanomaly, Madeleine Crowd, DemocraticOz, fatbeagle, Stranded Wind, imchange, kocab, ScientistSteve, SciVo, ExclusivelyGreen, mrchumchum, rnaworld, EquationDoc, Daily Activist, The Mort Man, BDsTrinity, PaulMorel, dansmith17, bfitzinAR, synductive99, OffHerRocker, cs, orangedem, jfromga, FundaMental Transformation, Shocko from Seattle, Geronimoot, voila, BigVegan, budr, elijah311, Debbie Cook for Congress, BenDisraeli, Initiate Plan B, AronBlue, fleisch

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site