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The price of gasoline and diesel fuel hit record highs in 2011 while the U.S. exported record amounts of refined petroleum products to south America, the Caribbean and Europe. The high cost of gas in the U.S. drove down demand, but high prices were maintained by exporting over twice as much refined fuel in 2011 than was exported in 2007.

In 2007, U.S. exports of all kinds of fuel held steady throughout the year at 1.24 million to 1.25 million barrels a day, according to Energy Department statistics.

But by 2011, exports of diesel, gasoline and other products surged. In November and December, U.S. fuel exports averaged between 2.77 million barrels a day and 2.89 million barrels a day, the highest ever.

Meanwhile, U.S. drivers paid an average of about $3.50 a gallon for gasoline during the year, also the highest ever.

Gasoline stocks have ranged from normal to above normal in 2011, but prices have gone up despite dropping demand. This apparently paradoxical situation is occurring because supplies of conventional crude oil have peaked while growing economies in South America have increased demand for refined fuel.

image source:US EIA


image source:US EIA

The U.S. imports far more crude oil than it produces, but it now has more refining capacity than required to meet domestic demand. U.S. refineries now import foreign oil to sell refined products overseas for profit. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a way to get more oil to Gulf coast refineries which have access to ports for shipping refined products overseas.


image source:US EIA

Heating oil costs directly track the price of diesel fuel. With diesel at record levels this year, heating oil costs are also at record levels. The northeastern U.S. which continues to use heating oil will be hard hit this winter by the high costs of fuel. Nine million families, mostly in the northeast, have relied on federal assistance to stay warm.

Drastic cuts to fuel cost assistance to the poor through the LIHEAP program will be hitting the poor hard this week as a polar outbreak blows into New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Temperatures in central and northern New England are forecast to drop below zero Fahrenheit. The elderly, who are very sensitive to cold, may have to chose between food or heat. Some seniors could freeze to death this week.

Mary Power, 92, doesn’t know anything about that. She only knows her state heating assistance is being cut by $400 and she can’t afford the kerosene needed to keep her West Roxbury trailer warm. How will she get through the winter?

“I don’t know. I have no idea. I guess that I just have to wrap up in blankets and stay under the covers,”

 Declining stocks of distillate fuels will keep heating oil costs high through the winter.

image source:US EIA


image source:US EIA

Meanwhile Republicans in Congress push the Keystone XL Pipeline to bring dirty Canadian tar sands crude to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast so that the Koch Brothers can make higher profits by exporting more diesel fuel to south America and Europe. Read about the Koch Connection by Crashing Vor.

The Keystone XL Pipeline could actually raise fuel prices in the U.S. and cost jobs by increasing fuel exports. A Siegel explains how Keystone XL could cost U.S. jobs by raising domestic fuel costs.

Back in Canada, tar sands exploitation is creating an enormous environmental disaster. NASA photos capture the cancerous growth of tar sands waste lands from space.

1991

image source:NASA
2001


image source:NASA

2011

image source:NASA

We must renew our efforts to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.

We must pressure congress and the president to increase heating assistance to seniors, the disabled and the poor to save lives. We cannot tolerate letting our elderly freeze so that the Koch Brothers can increase their billions of dollars of wealth and further corrupt American politics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (146+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, matching mole, palantir, Puddytat, Maggie Pax, citizenx, Burned, hester, boatsie, vacantlook, john07801, semiot, jimstaro, frisco, LamontCranston, phonegery, jguzman17, Dreaming of Better Days, Steven D, akeitz, citizen dan, CA Nana, Anne was here, cotterperson, marsanges, blueoasis, frostbite, millwood, ms badger, doppler effect, CA ridebalanced, whyvee, asterkitty, eeff, fixxit, opinionated, Horace Boothroyd III, LucyGoose, mrsgoo, cai, Pluto, Sapere aude, Lujane, emal, jcrit, Polly Syllabic, jacey, antirove, RLMiller, DawnN, where4art, Publius2008, JekyllnHyde, Ellinorianne, geodemographics, splintersawry, kevinpdx, Shockwave, Dallasdoc, NoMoreLies, zaka1, maryabein, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, wiseacre, jamess, Just Bob, ekyprogressive, Gorette, vet, bnasley, a gilas girl, CTLiberal, Randolph06, temptxan, howd, triv33, sillia, peagreen, skyounkin, passionateprotagonist, zerelda, randomfacts, thePhoenix13, Nulwee, sailmaker, notdarkyet, drawingporno, shopkeeper, pat bunny, Terra Mystica, Randtntx, bronte17, jimreyn, bluicebank, old wobbly, trueblueliberal, Bluefin, sgary, mofembot, bear83, JayDean, Mathazar, SolarMom, cosette, robbinsdale radical, LaFeminista, freesia, ColoTim, elwior, Marjmar, Zydekos, Floande, anodnhajo, Minerva, dRefractor, letsgetreal, MartyM, SneakySnu, radarlady, Quilldriver, Matt Z, murrayewv, DiegoUK, Hopeful Skeptic, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, parse this, pfiore8, jayden, Oh Mary Oh, James Wells, billlaurelMD, dark daze, Robobagpiper, ctsteve, J M F, jennifree2bme, DefendOurConstitution, OleHippieChick, A Siegel, Preston S, Medium Head Boy, MKSinSA, PBen, Simplify, ferallike, barbwires

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 04:17:18 PM PST

  •  So much for the GOP meme (44+ / 0-)

    of supply and demand affecting prices.  Clearly there is so much supply and so little demand that it's being exported.  Supply and demand aren't affecting prices.  Big Oils monopoly and greed is.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 04:31:13 PM PST

    •  Puddytat - supply and demand are worldwide (9+ / 0-)

      Why would you think that as it relates to petroleum products that supply and demand would be only in the US? The fact that the US is exporting refined products is a positive, it keeps US refineries operating at higher capacity and the exports help our balance of payments. Why are exports of refined oil products a bad thing, these are worldwide markets.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 04:55:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The use of gas and oil is going down in the (17+ / 0-)

        but worldwide the demands continues to go up. Prices would be even much higher if much of the world would not be in a depression. Sadly oil companies have no interest regarding the welfare of American consumers. If refine gas can be sold for a penny more per gallon outside our country, American consumers can go to hell.

        This diary make a number of good observation relating to the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the cost. This will profit Canada and Big Oil in the US at taxpayers cost.

        The data use for job production is deliberately false. New claimed jobs due to this project is based on false research. Also most all of jobs will be very temporary. Even jobs created in Canada are counted. The steel used and the construction of the pipeline materials will be done overseas--more jobs overseas. The environmental danger has been greatly distorted. The forecast of one spill  every 20 years is a joke. Fourteen spills have already occurred during the first year of operation on the preliminary stages.

        Finally, since this project will increase the cost of fuel, this will be damaging to the economy, and will likely lead to a loss of jobs.

        War is costly. Peace is priceless!

        by frostbite on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:29:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  frostbite - I didn't comment on Keystone (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sky Net, Nulwee, LeoQ

          First, the public, multinational oil companies "Big Oil" collectively own less than 5% of the world's oil and natural gas. The big owners are countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela who control the price of crude oil through their cartel OPEC. Even the US based members of Big Oil have most of their oil reserves, and many of their assets and employees, outside the US and are owned by the public, including many shareholders who are not Americans. If they can sell refined products in other markets why should they sell them in the US at below market prices? How could they justify that to their shareholders?

          As noted in the subject box, I made no statements about Keystone in my earlier comment, nor in this one.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 06:12:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did not say that you had commented on Keystone (0+ / 0-)

            put ignoring the pipeline is somewhat looking at our total energy production with blinders.

            I said in my comment that "This diary make a number of good observation relating to the Keystone pipeline from Canada to the cost. This will profit Canada and Big Oil in the US at taxpayers cost."

            War is costly. Peace is priceless!

            by frostbite on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 06:52:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  That gas will find its way to a market, Asian / US (0+ / 0-)

          I agree that the jobs created will be a fraction of those promised.

          But it's still a no-brainer.

          The Keystone Pipeline is necessary, and I expect President Obama to give it the go-ahead in the next few months.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

          by PatriciaVa on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 08:29:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ahh the aroma of laissez faire (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skyounkin, bronte17, Puddytat

        National security and domestic interests should trump the need for stateless, mercenary multinational corporations to make a few extra billion.

        Which side are you on?

        by wiseacre on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 06:13:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you agree with the republican Meme of (0+ / 0-)

        drill baby drill?

      •  Less so for Natural Gas (0+ / 0-)

        I agree with the thrust of your statement, but natural gas is an exception because it's so difficult to export, localizing supply/demand dynamics.

        The price of natural gas in the US (about 3 dollars per BTU) is far below that in other countries that have not used technological advances to wring the commodity from rocks.

        Thanks to fracking, the US consumer is spending billions less a year than they would be spending without that technological breakthrough.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 08:26:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  but we'll see how much the "externalities" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, frostbite

          wind up costing in public health, won't we?

          "Mitt Romney has more positions than the Kama Sutra." -- me

          by billlaurelMD on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:09:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  NG is cheap because of a glut (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          The fracking boom brought too much gas to market and made the resulting price below cost. Drilling is down 43% from the peak and emphasis has shifted towards fracking for oil. As the over supply drops, $3 NG will creep back up over $8 (per mmbtu not btu).

          It is actually much cheaper to produce NG without fracking, but the easy gas has been produced. Prices rarely passed $4 until 2003 when production fell off a cliff. Higher prices made fracking economic, and the price to drill a well went from $1 million in 2002 to $4 million in 2007.

          This glut helps explain the net export numbers. While you can't easily shift away from gasoline in your car, industrial users can easily shift from fuel oil to natural gas. It is a lot cheaper to burn $3 NG, so capital costs to switch are quickly recovered. Increases in fuel oil exports are a lot higher than increases in gasoline, which makes sense given the drop in industrial demand.

          The biggest increase in exports in the last year has been to Mexico. Mexican production has hit a wall, and is dropping fast. This increased semi-local demand did pop up the crack spread over 2011, but the spread has been dropping back into normal range. Gasoline prices in the US have dropped significantly over the last few months despite oil prices that have increased in the same period.

    •  People often confuse economics with business (29+ / 0-)

      Economics is an academic pursuit that can at times help explain market behavior.

      Business is whatever someone can get away with to make a profit.

      Big Oil is a business and a particularly nasty one at that.  Unlike the drug cartels entire countries' military forces are at its disposal.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 04:59:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Um, you might want to reread (10+ / 0-)

      There is excess refining capacity in US due to recession, but demand is UP globally, and global supply (production) is flat.

      Basically, US consumers are competing with consumers in growing economies that are willing and able to pay high prices - and it's going to get worse in the medium-long term as old fields with low lifting costs decline and the cost of new developments continues to rise.

      I don't get the "monopoly" comment as the international oil companies (IOCs) control less than 10% of global production. There are 7 different publicly traded super-majors, all strictly regulated by US, UK, EU and other jurisdictions' antitrust laws. All of the top ten oil producing companies are actually national oil companies (NOCs) like Saudi Aramco, etc.

      I'll have to agree with the "greed" comment (IOCs), however, as publicly traded corporations are amoral institutions whose mission is to make money for shareholders (that's why we need intelligent regulation and enforcement). The NOC's are more of a mixed bag and some have other considerations than greed (e.g. national self-interest, in some cases of oligarchies, but in other cases, for present and/or future public interest).

      If you want to limit US refined product exports, the US would certainly lose big time as the world's largest oil importer.

      As for Keystone XL, the Athabasca  oil sands will be developed if the Canadian/Alberta govt's don't stop it; the question is whether that oil will come to US refineries, Canadian refineries, or Asian refineries. Probably the US is the cheapest solution, but the others will also be profitable at current or higher oil prices. The real driver for Keystone was to fix artificially depressed oil price at Cushing OK, where Canadian and Bakken oil produced a local glut overwhelming mid-continent refining capacity. A different company recently announced reversal of an existing pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, and the price discount for WTI vs. Brent narrowed from over $20/bbl to $9/bbl.

    •  supply and demand do indeed affect prices (0+ / 0-)

      GOP meme? I don't get it.

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 06:42:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Something amiss (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, Nulwee, MGross

    The point here seems to be that if we don’t import crude oil, refine it and then export refined petroleum products, gas prices will be lower in the U.S.  But why would this be the case?  If we forbid companies from exporting gas, they simply won’t import the oil that they're using to create the exported products.  That wouldn’t have any effect on U.S. gas prices, we’d just be losing a valuable industry that employs tens of thousands of people.

  •  I try to follow (15+ / 0-)

    why are the prices then so high. In the face of lower demand. You say that now the refineries have found a willing cutomer overseas - willing to pay a high price in any case. So that the refineries, if the Americnas dont want to pay the high price, just say fine, then we´ll ship it to Brazil. Did I understand that well?

    So basically the prices are still high, because US demand may have lowered, but overall demand in the practicable delivery region hasnt because Latin America makes more than up for it?

    This is very interesting because this is looking like the beginning of a reversal where the emerging markets will begin to dictate commodity prices to the (impoverished) traditional markets. Very interesting. Will this be the way of the future?  

    thank you for solving a puzzle that has bothered me for a while. Now I can go to bed. Good night & thanks for all you do.

  •  Who decides how much oil can be exported? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Pluto, Nulwee

    Do I read this right, that keeping the price high is a political ploy in favor of K-XL?

    •  Keystone-XL (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, mightymouse

      would be a factor in increasing oil prices at Cushing OK, to be more in line with global oil prices (e.g. Brent). OTOH, oil prices on the Gulf Coast are already that high, so the net effect, nationally, will probably be very small. In fact, other infrastructure changes are already occurring to get oversupplied mid-continent oil down to the Gulf Coast refineries.

      •  A pipe was recently bought & flow reversed (7+ / 0-)

        to bring crude from Cushing to the Gulf. The disparity bewteen Cushing & Brent has decreased.

        Keystone XL would get even more crude down to the Gulf coast refineries for easy export.

        I agree, price predictions are perilous. Click on the linked diaries to see the points they made about the Kochs and fuel prices.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:39:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you mean to say that the Keyline projects (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, Gorette

        intent is to ship the dirty oil from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf.

        War is costly. Peace is priceless!

        by frostbite on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:42:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  From what I can see of the South Texas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, A Siegel

        Eagle Ford Formation those Gulf Coast refineries are going to be swimming in oil real soon.
        I live there, and the changes in the last two years, to an area that has always been mostly a sparsely populated backwater, are incredible!
        (think of those pictures of the Australian Outback or African Veldts and you have an idea of much of it, a tough country)

        Not just oil field development and construction projects all over the place.
        Huge amounts of housing and business construction is underway to accommodate the many thousands of incoming workers. There are new housing subdivisions, apartment complexes, banks, stores, motels, trailer parks/farms, restaurants, infrastructure everything, springing up all over the place in little towns (from 100's-a few 1K's in pop) that a few years ago were on their deathbeds with abandoned, falling down buildings in the downtowns.
        It is literally like those old goldrushes. I'm sure it differs from other areas, like the oil plays in PA/NY/OH in that they have an overabundance of existing housing; not here, there is a severe shortage of it.

        It's an insane boom, I've never seen one like it, and I have lived through just a few Texas boom and bust cycles.
        I guarantee that y'all from other parts of the country can barely grasp the idea (or the scale) of it.
         But if any of y'all are looking for work you most likely could find it here, although housing might be a bit of a problem (and the climate is so much better than the Dakotas). A lot of the workers are living 20 to a rented double-wide mobile home in the trailer farms that have sprung up.
        If you have a travel trailer or motorhome, bring it on down. Even if you don't want to stay here or need to live in it, you can sell it for a lot more than you paid for it.
        It would be well worth the price differential to haul it down here, if you were otherwise thinking of selling it.

        Do I like it? Hell no, the place is never going to be as it was, a nice quiet place to live with lots of uncrowded things to do. I can't stand city living, having spent a lot of time working (on temp assignments) in them.

        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

        by Bluefin on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 09:38:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The American Colonists have no say. (8+ / 0-)
      Who decides how much oil can be exported?

      The actual private owners of US oil. They can do whatever they wish. Their job is to maximize their profits and fill their pockets.


      Most people, when knocked over by the truth, have a tendency to pick themselves up, brush themselves off...and then hurry away like nothing had ever happened.

      by Pluto on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:32:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "who decides?" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, trueblueliberal

      Individual refining companies (owners of the oil) determined to maximize profit in a changing global marketplace.

    •  "Deliberate" is questionable, but not impossible (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      On the one hand, oil is fungible, so no oil is "ours" or "yours." It's all international spot market oil. Gasoline is, on the other hand, a refined product.

      Remember the giant price spike after Katrina? The justification for that was that refineries in New Orleans were flooded. I.e. oil was as it had been, but no gasoline production. Idiots will point out that energy independence is impossible if Saudi Arabia imports gasoline, but S.A. has no refineries. Oil != gasoline.

      So, controlling the refineries could manipulate gasoline price at the pump more effectively and acutely than scaring the oil market, but oil spikes control the price long term. So, if an oil company takes its refinery off line for "maintenance" at the same time others do, there will be a shortage. If speculators buy up all of next month's oil on the future's market so that there isn't any for the refineries, the price will go up.

      Theoretically, these wouldn't happen. Realistically, so much consolidation of capital and capability has occurred that both can happen, and it is more than possible for someone to f*ck with gasoline price for a project.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 05:45:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sheesh. Didn't you bitch at me last month (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, DawnN, skyounkin

    ...for breaking the news that US oil exports were on the rise?

    In any event, you did a great job on this piece. Very classy presentation.


    Most people, when knocked over by the truth, have a tendency to pick themselves up, brush themselves off...and then hurry away like nothing had ever happened.

    by Pluto on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:24:27 PM PST

  •  This is huge: (14+ / 0-)

    Read what this geologist was doing while working for Koch Exploration from 2005 to 2011:

    http://ca.linkedin.com/...

    These parts are the most relevant:

    Koch Exploration explores and delineates heavy oil and bitumen resources and partially develops and markets these assets to production companies. Koch is one of the largest holders of oil sand assets in Alberta.

    (snip)

    Thermal Projects
    Wabiskaw - Recognized the potential for cost-effective thermal recovery of a 2.0 billion barrel bitumen deposit in the Grand Rapids Formation within the Woodenhouse area. The early stage recognition of the resource allowed Koch Exploration Canada (KEC) to acquire a considerable acreage position for significantly less than competitors paid for similar acreage.
    Oil Sand Lease Sales--2006-2008 - Directly involved in purchasing 2 million acres of oil sand leases in the Athabasca, Cold Lake, and Peace River oil sands regions.

    I think the Koch brothers are far more deeply involved in this dirty business than many of us were aware.

    Legalized corruption is destroying our democracy.

    by geodemographics on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 05:42:32 PM PST

  •  As far as the heating part goes. (4+ / 0-)

    Maybe we need a program to subsidize switching domestic heat from fuel oil (expensive) to natural gas (presently relatively cheap). US natural gas is less than $3/mcf or the BTU equivalent of about $18/bbl of oil. In other words, in heating value, natural gas is currently about 1/6 the price of oil.

    •  Short term vs medium term issues (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnN, mightymouse, old wobbly, freesia

      I don't want grannies to freeze.

      I agree with you about helping people get away from heating oil.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 06:03:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  little difference (0+ / 0-)

      in reality. I have oil heat, many family members have gas heat, same style houses, and we still each pay around 400-600 a month just to heat our houses during  A NE winter month.

      ITS ALL RIGGED

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:17:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about ... (0+ / 0-)

      vastly increased investments in energy efficiency to deal with this truism:

      - Those who can afford the upfront costs to be efficient can afford to be inefficient.

      -  Those who can't afford to be inefficient (in energy use) can't afford the upfront costs to be efficient.

      Much better, in my opinion, to create a path where LiHEAP is a lesser requirement year in-year out as we foster greater efficiency with reduced fossil fuel demands (of any type of fossil fuels) than to be in a situation where the cost burdens are renewed (and worsened) each year.

      Re 'natural gas', yes the costs are far lower and natural gas is a far cleaner burn at the end user, but fostering greater reliance on natural gas is riskier (on multiple grounds) than working to reduce demand.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:06:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  At least we don't have to ration food (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    to our children as they are in the Congo.

    The little ones can eat today, tomorrow the older ones.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 06:25:58 PM PST

    •  why? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      we have plenty of hunger in the US as well. 1 in 5 of our kids live in poverty, and yes that means going to bed hungry many nights.

      USA USA USA

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:19:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read the article? Explains the (0+ / 0-)

        much dire circumstances there. As one who lives in poverty myself, I'm well aware of the hunger here, believe me.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:32:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry (0+ / 0-)

          I dont buy into the hunger tier.  Hunger is hunger, poverty is poverty.

          Parts of every american city are third world like, and often more violent.  335 murders in Philly last year alone, just one city.

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:17:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've lived in America my entire life, and (0+ / 0-)

          on more than one occasion when I was a child I went without so my younger brother and working mother could eat. My experience is that most Americans believe one of two absurd things about poverty in America: 1) that our poor are richer than "real" poor people in, e.g., the Congo and that that kind of poverty doesn't exist in America; 2) that the number of our poor who are actually in such dire straights as those elsewhere is so small as to be (practically) inconsequential (or else a condition of their own making, etc.).

          The percentage of the population impacted may be greater, but the depth of the hunger and poverty isn't. Americans are in just as bad a shape, "some", "most" and similar qualifiers notwithstanding. The fact that any American is even close to what people in a ravaged, decimated nation have to deal with should make anybody re-think their assumptions about what America is really like.

          American poverty isn't just Simpsons-style "working poor." It exists, and it's more third-world-hellhole than it is blue-collar-poverty.

  •  Funny how (12+ / 0-)

    climate deniers say that Americans will never put up with paying extra for fuel in order to you, know, avoid cataclysm, but it's apparently A-O-K to pay extra for fuel so that oil companies can make money exportng fuel to South America.

    We shall not participate in our own destruction.

    by James Wells on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 07:17:29 PM PST

  •  We should nationalize the American oil (5+ / 0-)

    companies.

    Enough fucking around with peoples lives and well being to profit.

    "I'm not scared of anyone or anything, Angie. Isn't that the way life should be?" Jack Hawksmoor

    by skyounkin on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 07:27:41 PM PST

  •  let's not forget about the bubble already (3+ / 0-)

    growing from Wall Street's speculation that's been happening practically since the day after the commodity bubble popped in 08. Good old Goldman Sachs. It's hard to decide whether to laugh or cry hearing someone say regulation harms the economy when the deregulation of commodity markets has done such obvious direct harm to all Americans not on Wall Street.

  •  You can't have it both ways! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, Sky Net, A Siegel

    You want lower gas prices (while oil is 1/2 of the trade deficit), and you don't want the tar sands (cheap supply). Wow!

    Listen for now (until we have alternate energy in massive quantities) there is only one solution to the trade deficit and to saving the environment/global warming - and that solution is MUCH HIGHER PRICES. There is no god given right to a lifestyle based on wasting the earth's resources, sorry!

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Mon Jan 02, 2012 at 08:07:38 PM PST

  •  Time for gas tax pay for $5T oil wars, $5T warming (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution, A Siegel

    We've spent about $5T gearing up for and fighting oil wars in the Middle East over the last 30 years, time for gasoline to pay off its debt.

    Then there's the $5T in environmental damage we need to repair and the $20T in looming damage from continued oil based global warming.

    10 year payback...lets see....$7.53 a gallon tax for next 10 years does the trick.

    Side benefit we meet Kyoto 10 year greenhouse gas reductions, eliminate our $300B oil trade deficit, no need to spend for oil war weapons, saves $500B year and then we avoid the $20T future costs of global warming.

    $7.53 sounds cheap.

    •  I never thought it would come to this (0+ / 0-)

      But the USA is regaining its international economic power by exploiting natural resources.

      Our oil refining muscle has become our biggest export provider.  Our oil refining technologies are advanced to the point that we can provide cheap gasoline across the globe. That provides hundreds of thousands of family wage jobs in depressed areas.

      Soon our superior technology that produces cheap natural gas will also feed the maw of worldwide energy needs.  There are a half-dozen liquified natural gas (LNG) export shipping terminals in the works.

      And China, the biggest nation in the world hungers for our coal.

      I would rejoice, but for that climate change problem.

      And what does this mean for our goal of electing more and better democrats?  Democratic candidates in these energy producing states have to tread lightly on these issues.

      After 150 years, we've lost West Virginia on the coal issue. Can we hold onto Montana and get back into the Gulf States and the Dakotas if our candidates start talking climate change and no Keystone Pipeline?

      1000s of folks working in those oil and gas fields want Keystone so the Baaken oil in the Dakotas can get to markets. Environmentalists in Port Arthur Texas want Keystone to generate more refinery jobs.

      I don't like the Kochs, but they own just one single refinery out of 30 along the Gulf.

       

      •  US losing economic muscle due to oil. (4+ / 0-)

        US trade deficit is mostly due to oil, 50% about $250B a year, that's $3T tax on US economy over last 30 years.

        Add in $3T for military spending over last 10 years from oil wars in Middle East.

        An economic disaster for US and one that is growing daily.

        Price of gas is about $5 gallon in Europe vs. $3.50 in US.  No accident Europe is 50% more energy efficient than US.

        Pick you number for cost of global warming and oil pollution past, present and future.

      •  what? (0+ / 0-)
        But the USA is regaining its international economic power by exploiting natural resources.
        umm, learn your history, exploiting natural resources is the sole reason we came into being a power in the first place.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:22:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope. Power defined by industrial base. (0+ / 0-)

          not ag and resource based.

          It was after US Civil War which drove manufacturing in the US, pushing the trends of industrialization and urbanization.  Abundant resources are big but it was and is the industrialization to use them that makes a country an economic power.

          China today which has limited natural resources. Europe which has limited natural resources.

          Both rule by their industrial development and expertise.

          •  you are simply incorrect (0+ / 0-)

            industry is NOTHING without resources.

            You say china has limited natural resources?  really?  Europe only has limited resources because they plundered them centuries ago.

            ThE us wouldnt be close to the country it is, or was, without the natural resources and the exploitation of them.

            Hell we wouldnt even be a country probably if it wasnt for tobacco.

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:15:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  History says otherwise. (0+ / 0-)

              US a debtor nation until post Civil War industrial base made US economic and military power.

              China's current example.

              Germany's current example.

              Both relatively resource poor.  The two leading economies in the world. When you want money or mfg's goods, you go to Germany or China.

    •  fyi (0+ / 0-)
      .$7.53 a gallon tax for next 10 years does the trick.
      study show at 7 bucks a gallon, our entire commerce as a country shuts down. AT that point it makes no sense to plant the fields, as harvesting is to expensive, nothing gets shipped for truckers lose money the minute the start up a truck, and on and on.

      So unless you enjoy empty food markets, and food riots, and total civil uprising and riots, I would rethink that.

      this country is always only 3 days from chaos. Katrina should of showed you how close to the edge we live.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:26:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Baloney. Gas use could drop 50% easy. (0+ / 0-)

        Europe is demonstration of it since they use 50% less per capita and per GDP dollar.

        US is wildly energy inefficient. Top selling "car" in the US is an inefficient pickup truck.  Everybody into the Volt, US stops importing oil and no cares about gasoline at all for 90% of their driving.  End of that bogus claim.

        Gas spiked at $4 a gallon a while ago, nobody even noticed much less "world collapse"...what nonsense.

        Add $1 this year to gas tax, no one would notice.  Add $1 next next year and the next and the next.

        People would stop wasting gas and start buying fuel efficient vehicles and US and world would be way better for it by every measure, economic, environmental, national security, political.

        •  so (0+ / 0-)

          so you know more than the people who have studied and researched this?  umm dont think so.

          again, its around 7 that commerce shuts down in the us.  You of course didnt address on thing the research said, this isnt about you driving your kid to soccer practice, this is about trucking, commercial farming, etc

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:09:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Honest challenge is how to implement (0+ / 0-)

      without too strong a shock on the system ...  Imagine the LiHEAP implications if a $7.53 gallon "tax" were put in place over night.

      How about implementing a steadily growing fee on gasoline?  For example, 2.5 cents / gallon increase every month?  That $3 / gallon at the end of a decade falls far short of the $7.53 but would go a long way to fostering changed investment patterns related to oil use.

      How, of course, there are other polluting energy options that need to be captured in this as well.   Coal ... natural gas ...

      And, as a note, "fee" is a much better term than "tax".  After all, we charge a fee for dumping a mattress in the county dump, we should charge a fee for dumping pollutants in the air my children breathe.  (See: Global Warming Impact: An agenda item for 2008 and beyond? )

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:13:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You carefully leave out the fact that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, Medium Head Boy

    it is the Obama administration that had proposed slashing LIHEAP by 50% for 2012. Congress settled on a smaller cut, against the PRes's proposals. Talk about cold cuts:

    http://www.liheap.org/

    12/16/2011

    House Releases Conference Report and Moves Closer to Vote – LIHEAP Funded at $3.478 B

     Today, the House is expected to take up the Omnibus FY2012 appropriations package, which contains funding for LIHEAP in the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee.  The House recently released their Conference Report.  With the current CR expiring today, both chambers will have to move quickly to approve this package.

     As reported yesterday, the bill provides $3.478 B for LIHEAP.  In what appears to be a compromise between the House and Senate on the formula distribution, roughly $3 billion would be distributed under the old formula (tier 1).  There is no reserve for contingency funding. Additionally, $3 million would be provided for Training and Technical Assistance.

    This overall funding is less than current year’s level ($4.7 billion), but higher than the President’s request of $2.57 billion.

     Now that this joint statement has been released, we have additional information on other programs of interest:

     Weatherization Assistance Program:  $65M is provided, with another $3M for training and technical assistance.  This is a rather large cut from the $174M in FY11.

     State Energy Program:  It is the higher Senate level at $50M.  This was the same level as FY11.

     12/8/2011

  •  Not convincing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net, murrayewv

    I'm for protecting sensitive areas of the planet and protecting the environment of the Earth as a whole, but I'm not going to fight oil companies and miners for every square inch of pine barrens on the planet.

    Back in Canada, tar sands exploitation is creating an enormous environmental disaster. NASA photos capture the cancerous growth of tar sands waste lands from space.

    It's not cancerous... the "cancer" is limited to the area where the tar sands exists, or, more precisely, a mining district that is a subset of that area.  

    This area is not particular unique among the vast boreal forest of Canada-- one of the largest ecosystems on the planet, and one of the least biodiverse, to be blunt about it.

    What is being created is a large reforestation project in a spot on the planet that few people would choose to go on purpose.

    This is a far more appropriate place to extract oil than from offshore areas in populated areas in the States, for example-- areas where there is far, far less oil to extract, and far, far greater potential for a true environmental disaster.  Yet if the tar sands are not exploited, supply goes down as demand stays the same, so prices go up, and the pressure to get oil from these other areas increases.

    And I find it ironic that the same diary that calls this a project a cancer on the planet makes a complaint about high gas prices.  Anybody who really thinks is a full-blown envirornmental disaster of global proportions should be cheering higher gas prices, so that people will use less.

    •  He didn't actually complain about gas prices in of (0+ / 0-)

      themselves. And guess what? Senior citizens need heat in bitter winter cold no matter how high gas prices get. The very poor already do their damndest to consume as little as possible because they already can't afford it.

       But thanks for your concern for the inevitable loss of human lives!

      •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

        When people try to imply that I don't care about loss of human life, I just shrug my shoulders, becasue I know just the opposite is true.  Issues are complex, and it is demonstratively impossibe to reconcile every negative consequence of every policy position.  

    •  I don't cheer high prices because poor people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, skymutt, A Siegel

      are hurt by them. I oppose increasing the rate of destruction and emission of greenhouse gases in Canada by increasing tar sands production. I realize the apparent contradictions that arise from the complexities of these problems.

      If you take a look at the photos you will see that a major river system is being badly polluted. I disagree with your assertion that this is a low environmental value area that we should be willing to sacrifice.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 05:44:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see a river going through the project... (0+ / 0-)

        but obviously, you can't tell how much pollution gets in the river from a satellite picture.

        Because there are competing priorities, they should be weighed in a sitiuation such as this where there are negative consequences for shutting something like this down.  It is a complex situation.  But I have never read anything about this project that has convinced me that this is a true environmental disaster.  Obviously, the local environment there is being sacrificed for a period of time, but I'm familiar with other areas not that dissimilar from this which are returned to forests within decades, and I know the Canadians are planning to reforest this area.

    •  fyi (0+ / 0-)

      we are experiencing a full blown environmental disaster as we speak, with fukushima.  Its effecting the whole world, and notice how no one even mentions it.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:29:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sigh ... (0+ / 0-)

      Environmental organizations, over the years, have been in agreement that this is one of the worst -- if not the worst -- industrial projects on the planet with far greater environmental implications than the limited nature you suggest in your comment.  A bit dated but with plenty of sources:  Tar and Feather

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:16:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see any relationship between US gasoline (0+ / 0-)

    exports and oil prices. Gasoline stocks in US are fine and US demand for gasoline is down as it usually is in winter. Cuts in energy assistance are unfortunate but they have to do with budgetary decisions and not with gasoline prices.

  •  Let's not forget (0+ / 0-)

    Let's not forget cuts to LIHEAP was proposed by a Democratic president.

    http://thedemocraticdaily.com/...

    Drastic cuts to fuel cost assistance to the poor through the LIHEAP program will be hitting the poor hard this week as a polar outbreak blows into New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Temperatures in central and northern New England are forecast to drop below zero Fahrenheit. The elderly, who are very sensitive to cold, may have to chose between food or heat. Some seniors could freeze to death this week.

    This travesty should land squarely in this administration's lap.   Obama opened that door.  

    Go team!  Yeah, 4 more years.  

    Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:22:45 AM PST

  •  Silver lining- maybe, just maybe, we will conserve (0+ / 0-)

    (not just the minority that is environmentally conscious, but everyone by necessity).

    Yes, FOW is right that it's Republicans (or at least the oil corporations that own Republicans) that are responsible for the high fuel prices.  This amounts to a tax on fuel users and a subsidy to their patrons.

    I agree that a real tax would be better as it could be used for so many budget priorities, but that will never happen as too many Dems are also in bed with big oil.

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

    by DefendOurConstitution on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:40:34 AM PST

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