Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gettin' Raped

Day before yesterday, gas was $3.01 per gallon here. Last night, it was $3.05 per gallon. I hate to see what it'll be tonight. I wouldn't mind so much if all these billions were going into some fund to create an alternative to oil. But they aren't. The oilmen are raking it in and piling it up. Which goes to show that oil and the open market don't work once we're past peak oil, which we probably are.

If there was someone making, say, widgets, and piling in billions in profits, someone else would start making widgets too. But ain't nobody makin' no more oil. What we've got, is what we've got. And the alternative energy guys still aren't getting enough money to come up with some viable alternative to oil. It'd be easy enough to do -- just whack an oil windfall profits tax on the oil companies. But it ain't happenin'.

Gotta go, gotta get dressed in all my motorcycle duds to get 50+mpg on my morning commute...

-- Badtux the Raped Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 3/08/2007 08:38:00 AM  


Next you will need a small loan to buy gas
# posted by Ole Blue The Heretic : 8/3/07 9:14 AM  

There is a glimmer of hope here in Iowa Badtux Sweetie.
We're cranking out more and more Ethanol and building more and more wind farms.
Once residential wind power set-ups become a bit more affordable, I'm putting one up on my farm.
Actually, that would have helped a lot when I had no electricity for four days last week.
Hmmmmm ... I wonder how resilient those wind mills are to ice storms.
# posted by cornfield jane : 8/3/07 9:23 AM  

Hey, the reason my gas is $3.05 is because of effin' Iowa. Our gas here in Kah-lee-foh-nee-ah is now mandated to be 10% ethanol year-round. ADM is rakin' it in. But you could plant all of America in rapeseed plants and there still wouldn't be enough alcohol to power our transportation infrastructure (alcohol has only 2/3rds the energy of gasoline, remember).

As for alternative energy, California is actually one of the leaders in that area, along with conservation. My electric and gas bills combined last month were $47, thanks to double-pane windows and lots of insulation and the fact that I have other apartments on four sides of me (top, bottom, rear, right). So windmills aren't going to do me much good until there's cars around that can be powered by windmills...

-Badtux the well-alcohol'ed Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 8/3/07 10:07 AM  

Ethanol is a classic boondoggle. It's an "alternative" to oil that requires oil to produce. What do you think they make the pesticides that fertilize the massive agri-business farms that grow all that farm? Yeah, oil. Ethanol is a net energy loser that requires more fuel input to produce than it give out.

Or, as someone (possibly Jim Kunstler?) quipped: "We're gonna burn off the last six inches of Iowa's topsoil in our gas tanks."
# posted by Gerald Fnord : 8/3/07 2:53 PM  

Sorry, that should have read "farms that grow all that CORN." My brain is broken today.

If we as a country started right now to pump massive sums into the R&D needed to create new alternative energy sources, we might survive the coming Energy Crunch relatively unscathed. But we aren't, so we won't.

Best get acquainted with the joys of subsistence farming now. It'll come in handy in a few years.
# posted by Gerald Fnord : 8/3/07 2:56 PM  

get ye a diesel and run bio-diesel...cheaper fuel, good for the environment, engine runs forever and fuel mileage out-of-this-world!!
# posted by azgoddess : 9/3/07 7:33 AM  

Which goes to show that oil and the open market don't work once we're past peak oil, which we probably are.

shhh, you'll make the baby jesus cry!
# posted by Sir Oolius : 9/3/07 9:04 AM  

It's times like this when I'm grateful for NYC's subway system. Yeah, there are "sick passengers," inexplicable delays, and weekend-long track work that puts subway lines out of commission. But I don't worry about them pumps.
# posted by The Truffle : 9/3/07 9:40 AM  

Ethanol production is beginning to improve it's dependency on oil too.
Just this week approval was obtained for a factory in Emmetsburg, Iowa to produce ethanol from biomass, such as crop waste, garbage and citrus peels. It will also be using crop waste for it's own factory fuel.
# posted by cornfield jane : 9/3/07 2:21 PM  

I was thinking about that, too. I don't think I'll fix the bike, just yet, but did decide to look to see what the shops in the nearby towns have to offer... and of course, prices.
# posted by oldwhitelady : 9/3/07 9:36 PM  

Can't buy a diesel. Diesel cars with less than 8500 miles on them are illegal here in Kah-lee-foh-nee-ah 'cause the soot from diesel exhaust causes cancer...

There's some folks who have a diesel engine for my KLR-650 motorcycle. They say they get 100+mpg out of it. Hmm, that would give my bike a range of 700 miles! Oooh! I hope they release the engine for consumer use soon, I'd buy it in a heartbeat if it were less than a few thousand bucks...

-Badtux the Motorcycle Penguin
# posted by BadTux : 9/3/07 9:42 PM  

Not to worry, badtux. The mere fact that energy (oil) is more expensive will itself attract more investment in alternatives...
# posted by Anonymous : 10/3/07 3:32 AM  

Well, Anonymous, it already is attracting additional investment. VC's here in the Silicon Valley, for example, have funded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of alternative energy projects this year alone. The problem is that it requires a *LOT* of investment. It takes 5 billion dollars to design a modern mass-produced automobile, for example (that's *BILLION* dollars), and that's for a *conventional* automobile, not some highly efficient diesel-electric hybrid that could easily achieve 100mpg while running on vegetable oil (diesel alone can get 50mpg in a passenger car, a diesel-electric hybrid gets far better).

Furthermore, some of the alternatives simply are not doable by private enterprise. For example, building high-speed electric-powered rail lines between all cities and towns with a population greater than 50,000 (powered by solar and windpower) is no more doable by the magic fairydust of "free enterprise" than the Interstate highway system was. Let us not forget that the State of Louisiana tried using that magic fairydust of "free enterprise" to build its highway system... and the result was that in 1927, there was a total of five miles of paved highway in the entire state. Some things just take massive government intervention to build, and transportation networks seem to be one of them. The automobile as we know it is not going to be viable without oil (alcohol and vegetable oil can *not* fully substitute for all the oil we currently use), meaning that we need to start mass investment in highly-efficient electric-powered mass transit systems *now*, while we still have enough oil to transport their pieces around the world to get them together. Waiting until after we're out of oil will make it incredibly difficult, because building this stuff when there's no functioning transportation system (because it collapsed due to lack of oil) is going to be difficult -- or maybe even impossible, in which case we have a mass die-off of large portions of the human race and widespread ecological disaster as the remainder quickly chop down every forest in existence in order to burn them for wood to keep from dying.
# posted by BadTux : 10/3/07 9:55 AM  

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