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Vanity---Alternative fuel

Posted on 11/16/2005 1:46:45 PM PST by dangerdoc

I am disgusted as I read the news. We buy oil from petty tyrants. South American thugs bad-talk us and threaten to shut off the tap. Middle-East royalty, two generations from living in mud huts fund jihadists who want to cut off our heads. We compete with communist slave-workers for oil driving up the prices. We may or may not be running out of the stuff creating the real possibility that we are going have to find a replacement anyway.

Honestly, our oil economy is going to hurt us at some point. I don’t know if it will be now in the form of sending our wealth out to people who want to harm us or from having to go off the stuff cold turkey at some point in the future. I personally believe it will be the former. I am concerned about oil funded nuclear technology going to oil funded terrorists brought into our country because of our lack of foresight.

Last century a petrochemical economy made sense. This century things are changing and we need to stay ahead of the curve.

If we need to replace oil what should we replace it with?

Hydrogen? Don’t believe what you hear. The best source of hydrogen is petrochemicals. It is not economical to produce, transport or store. Hydrogen fuel cells are not very efficient when you figure in the inefficiency in getting to the vehicle and trying to store enough in the car to get anywhere.

Ethanol? Corn farmers love it but it is too inefficient to produce and we would need to actually give up food production to provide enough.

Biomass? I have spent a few weeks google searching biomass, synthesis gas and associated chemistry. It seems like a reasonable approach. Synthetic gasoline and diesel should be fairly easy to produce on a commercial scale. It would be no more obtrusive than an oil refinery and would use fairly similar technology. It has not been commercially pursued because of the cost. Although synthetic fuels could probably be produced for less than $2 a gallon, the concern is that OPEC would respond by flooding the market with oil and bankrupt any company that invested in this type of technology. I’ve seen some conspiracy theories that the oil companies are trying to suppress biomass but I don’t think that makes sense. The oil companies’ expertise would lead them to dominate the field. Almost every step in conversion exists in modern petrochemical cracking plants. As an added bonus, it would divert money from overseas and back to the farm economy.

I’ve read that Saudi Arabia can deliver oil at less than $10 a barrel and would deplete their reserves as quickly as possible if a reasonable oil replacement were ever seen on the horizon. This is not a conspiracy, just simple economics. They have a limited supply and will work to get as much for it as possible. If a their product will be made useless, they will try to sell all they can while they can. All of this prevents companies from investing in alternative fuel technology even though the prices keep going up.

I really don’t like the government getting involved in economics and I know that the free market will solve the problem eventually but I am very concerned about where our oil dollars are going. I see this as a security issue. Can we begin development of a replacement strategy in a step-wisemannor. Do we need some sort of a price support structure to encourage the development. Do we need to summon the resolve and stop or ban the import of oil. I see real problems with almost any strategy that involves the government.

I am curious about people’s thoughts. I have numbers showing biomass is reasonable from an economic standpoint based on current oil prices.

Specifically I am curious if there are any petrochemical engineers, economists or even politicians out there with an opinion. I can share specifics but there are literally hundreds of pages and everything I have is available on the internet.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alternativefuel; biomass; oil; opec; terrorism
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1 posted on 11/16/2005 1:46:46 PM PST by dangerdoc
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To: dangerdoc
If I were to put my money on one major move, it would be biodiesel. We could keep most of our infrastructure the same and just offer more diesel cars. It would not require government intervention, just market demand.
2 posted on 11/16/2005 1:50:28 PM PST by mnehring (My Karma ran over your Dogma)
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To: dangerdoc

This will give you enough information to make your head explode... from an accomplished engineer (and top-notch writer):

http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2004/06/AnewManhattanProject.shtml


3 posted on 11/16/2005 1:51:24 PM PST by thoughtomator (Bring Back HCUA!)
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To: dangerdoc

Can we extract energy from vanity threads?


4 posted on 11/16/2005 1:51:32 PM PST by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave
Can we extract energy from vanity threads?

talk about global warming.. some vanities have so much hot air.... (not this one..)
5 posted on 11/16/2005 1:52:30 PM PST by mnehring (My Karma ran over your Dogma)
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To: dangerdoc
Honestly, our oil economy is going to hurt us at some point.

Its not just our economy that is run on oil, the entire planets economy is driven by oil. People hear oil and think of gas, diesel, oil for their engine, and other forms of fuel. But there are literally MILLIONS of products on the shelves right now that are made from oil. MILLIONS!

6 posted on 11/16/2005 1:53:14 PM PST by Phantom Lord (Fall on to your knees for the Phantom Lord)
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To: dangerdoc

The governor of Montana, a Democrat, was on the Glenn Beck show recently, where he said that interests in his state can make and sell oil from coal for under $30 a barrel. 'Course, he can't get investors until everyone is sure that the usual sources will not suddenly undercut that price.


7 posted on 11/16/2005 1:54:39 PM PST by Sam Cree (absolute reality)
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To: dangerdoc
I say build Nukes to generate electricity.

Then either generate H2 thru electrolysis, or drive electric vehicles.

8 posted on 11/16/2005 1:56:31 PM PST by bikepacker67
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To: dangerdoc

If the situations were reversed, and we had the oil and the jihadists had the weapons and military might, I know what they would do....

They would take our oil fields first and solve the energy problem and the "funding our enemy" problem with one whack.


9 posted on 11/16/2005 1:56:56 PM PST by RobFromGa (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran-- what are we waiting for?)
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To: abner; Abundy; AGreatPer; alisasny; ALlRightAllTheTime; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; Angelwood; ...

Anybody care to comment? My energy policy would be for government to get the h*** out of the way and let America produce and trade energy, but there are those national security situations (Saudis, Chavez, and so on).


10 posted on 11/16/2005 1:57:41 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Freedom of speech makes it easier to spot the idiots! --kellynla)
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To: dangerdoc

I'm normally against government interference in the free market.

However, with oil, it is not a free market. OPEC controls the cost of crude.

If OPEC weren't artificially inflating the cost of crude, oil would be much less expensive until it started actually running out, then the price would rise as it became scarce and it would become cost-effective to invest in new sources.

What we have now is OPEC raising the prices to scarcity levels, but preventing any alternatives from coming on line by its ability to quickly drop prices in retaliation for any company investing in alternative sources.

Because of this environment, I would support some sort of very limited government intervention, such as an import tax to encourage domestic and alternative production, or (my preference) perhaps some level of incentives and regulatory streamlining to encourage domestic drilling - especially on public lands.

Additionally, it is pointless to do anything about crude without doing something about our limited refinery capacity.

As far as alternatives, I don't think any of them will be cost effective with the pricing situation as it is today. The turkey oaffal thing sounds interesting, but unil more specifics are released on the process, it still is an unknown. I like shale oil harvesting, but there has to be some reasonable guarantee on a return on the significant investment or it isn't worth the risk. With OPEC the way it is, you can't guarantee that a shale oil production facility will be able to produce at or below the crude price OPEC decides to set once the facility is online.

Just MHO.


11 posted on 11/16/2005 1:57:47 PM PST by babyface00
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To: dangerdoc
We are not running out of oil. We have a huge supply right here in North America. It is gradually coming on line.The tar sands on Alberta are being exploited and there is oil shale in Utah. Either source could well have enough oil to keep all our cars running unrtil we are all in personal spaceships running on antigravity rays.

All it takes to keep these sources producing is for the price of oil to remain above about $35 or so until it is in full production. Then the price will likely go lower due to the extent of the production and the initial costs will be past and it will cost more to shut down than to continue to produce at the lower prices. If prices stay in the current neighborhood then we have some centuries' worth of oil waiting to be converted from coal.

12 posted on 11/16/2005 1:58:34 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: dangerdoc
I like to think that supply and demand economics will fix the problem when market conditions dictate. High prices spur incentives for industry to find and develop alternate sources or energy. At $100+ per barrel, within 5 years we would be well on our way to saying bye bye to oil. Might take 50 years to accomplish but it would be enough to start the aircraft carrier turning.

BTW, I like the idea of generation energy from vanity posts, which is why I responded.
13 posted on 11/16/2005 1:59:24 PM PST by leadpencil1 (I am job.)
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To: mnehrling

Bio diesel will never be more than peripheral. Tar sands, shale oil, and oil-from-coal will provide plenty of oil for many years.


14 posted on 11/16/2005 2:00:23 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: Uncledave

>>>>"Can we extract energy from vanity threads?"<<<<

If it doesn't get strained through MSM or a professional media hack it just isn't worth reading much less responding to, eh?

TT


15 posted on 11/16/2005 2:06:26 PM PST by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: dangerdoc

I say that we buy up as much of the Arab oil as we possibly can, as fast as we can. That will expedite their economic demise, and conserve our resources for future use.


16 posted on 11/16/2005 2:12:21 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: dangerdoc
If we need to replace oil what should we replace it with?

Something that market forces dictate, not something dreamed up by self-satisfied, starry-eyed, know-nothing dilettantes.

17 posted on 11/16/2005 2:12:25 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam Factoid:After forcing young girls to watch his men execute their fathers, Muhammad raped them.)
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To: arthurus

>>>Bio diesel will never be more than peripheral. Tar sands, shale oil, and oil-from-coal will provide plenty of oil for many years.<<<

Thank you!!!!

My diesel truck will run just as well on Diesel from coal, tar sands, shale oil or sunflower seeds hemp or whatever... diesel is diesel.

The US needs to start building more vehicles that have high effiency Diesel Engines and everything else (with the help of the free market) will fall into place. The rest of the world has seen the light.

TT


18 posted on 11/16/2005 2:13:23 PM PST by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: thoughtomator

Wow, you are right it will make one's head explode. so I am going to bump this for later reading also


19 posted on 11/16/2005 2:13:25 PM PST by mel
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To: dangerdoc

I've seen several break-even numbers put out for oil shale and coal gassification, with $40.00 per barrel being the highest, so put a "floor" on the price, at $40.00 per barrel, with all revenue generated by this directed to funding research in private industry on promising technological advances in alternative energy sources.

Prices will stay higher than they should, but this is still lower than we are now, and domestic resources can come online and lessen the cycle of dependency.


20 posted on 11/16/2005 2:13:58 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: arthurus

Bio diesel will never be more than peripheral.



If we are talking about the process of turning cooking oil into fuel, then I agree. Ater all, there isn't much difference between growing corn to generate corn oil for biodiesel, and growing it to generate corn sugar to ferment into ethanol.


21 posted on 11/16/2005 2:14:19 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

That is why I am against drilling in Alaska presently. Use that as last resort.


22 posted on 11/16/2005 2:16:28 PM PST by mel
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To: dangerdoc
Even if you artificially set prices high for oil in this country to establish alternate sources such as biomass the only people you will be hurting is the people in this country. For example, lets say you do manage to move our huge demand for oil towards alternative sources our demand for oil would drop dramatically making oil dirt cheap for the rest of the world that competes with us. Energy costs is a basic cost of production. From farming to manufacturing. Whenever you try to force economics into an unnatural state, it always comes back to bite you. The longer you keep in an unnatural state the harder the bite.
23 posted on 11/16/2005 2:21:35 PM PST by DB ()
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To: dangerdoc
"We may or may not be running out of the stuff..."

Boy, that pretty well sums up the entire controversy, doesn't it?

But how does that create "... the real possibility that we are going have to find a replacement anyway."???
------------

"I have spent a few weeks google searching biomass, synthesis gas and associated chemistry. It seems like a reasonable approach."

Wow, that much time??
Some people spend their entire lives studying these subjects and yet aren't willing to make a conclusion like that!

24 posted on 11/16/2005 2:22:27 PM PST by Redbob
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To: TexasTransplant
My diesel truck will run just as well on Diesel from coal, tar sands, shale oil or sunflower seeds hemp or whatever... diesel is diesel.

Not when the new emission regs kick in.

25 posted on 11/16/2005 2:24:05 PM PST by VoiceOfBruck (But what does chicken taste like?)
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To: TexasTransplant

You are right about diesel. the enviros will oppose it strongly because it is more efficient and would "delay" the day of reckoning.


26 posted on 11/16/2005 2:25:14 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: dangerdoc

What's the real difference between biomass and ethanol?
The best (partial) answer is Nuclear.


27 posted on 11/16/2005 2:25:28 PM PST by expatpat
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To: dangerdoc
ONE solution (at least in the short run) is vegetable oil driving diesel engines in cars & trucks.

fwiw, you can convert a Dodge Cummings diesel-engined pick-up to burn WASTE VEGATABLE OIL (WVO) for less than 400.oo.

MOST diesels run BETTER/quieter/much longer on WVO!

free dixie,sw

28 posted on 11/16/2005 2:27:36 PM PST by stand watie (Being a DAMNyankee is no better than being a RACIST. DYism is a LEARNED prejudice against dixie.)
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To: TexasTransplant

The envirokooks are trying to outlaw diesel engines, because of their higher NOx emissions. There are solutions, but they are going to be somewhat costly.

But, you're right...the way to go is with compression-ignition (diesel) engines.


29 posted on 11/16/2005 2:28:02 PM PST by B Knotts
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
see #28.

as soon as i can find a Dodge Ram diesel PU ,that i can afford, i'll take myself off the commercial fuel line.

free dixie,sw

30 posted on 11/16/2005 2:29:05 PM PST by stand watie (Being a DAMNyankee is no better than being a RACIST. DYism is a LEARNED prejudice against dixie.)
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To: mel
That is why I am against drilling in Alaska presently. Use that as last resort

Me, too. What's the sense of pumping oil down into the Strategic Oil Reserve at the same time as pumping it UP from arctic Alaska?

31 posted on 11/16/2005 2:29:21 PM PST by expatpat
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To: B Knotts

I'm so glad that others are saying it - I've felt like a voice in the wilderness saying the medium term solution to the problem is to encourage the use of diesel. That will reduce fuel consumption dramatically.

Regards, Ivan


32 posted on 11/16/2005 2:31:49 PM PST by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: Sam Cree
...coal...'Course, he can't get investors until everyone is sure that the usual sources will not suddenly undercut that price.

That is what has been said about tar sands and shale oil. The tar sands in Alberta are bit by bit coming on line and will put a ceiling on the price of oil somewhere above the $30-40 range. Once Alberta's sand andUtah's shale are fully online, Arabia as a source for our oil will dwindle. It will not be this year or next but it is inevitible. The continuing increase in production from Alberta may well be having an effect on oil futures now.

33 posted on 11/16/2005 2:32:01 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: dangerdoc

Biodiesel from algae seems promising, but there's a big up-front investment required, and a lot of land needed, which the envirokooks will oppose.


34 posted on 11/16/2005 2:32:05 PM PST by B Knotts
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To: MadIvan

I drive a diesel, so yes, I agree. We are wasting a lot of fuel unnecessarily, due to public perception of diesels in the U.S. (and due to unfair emissions regulations, which are modeled around gasoline emissions).

The EURO5 thing looks like it will put the kibosh on small diesels, though. That will unquestionably result in higher CO2 emissions.


35 posted on 11/16/2005 2:34:23 PM PST by B Knotts
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To: DB

"For example, lets say you do manage to move our huge demand for oil towards alternative sources our demand for oil would drop dramatically making oil dirt cheap for the rest of the world that competes with us."

The problem of manufactured scarcity, with wide and disruptive variations in price, would be greatly diminished or even eliminated. The geostrategic risk associated with importing so much of our fuel for domestic energy needs, from such an unstable part of the world would also be greatly diminished.

So, demand might eventually fall worldwide, and the price would follow. I don't see the problem there, for the US or any other country, excepting the OPEC nations.


36 posted on 11/16/2005 2:34:27 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: dangerdoc
Private enterprise, without Government interference, could solve this problem relatively quickly (in a short period of time) the biggest shackles that we have is Government dictating who what where and how.

Bill Clinton used to create / sign Laws (Stroke of the Pen Law of the Land) why can't President Bush do the same?

Open up lands for exploration, remove or reduce high Federal Sales Tax, remove restrictions on mining methods... the list is much longer, ANWR is a little puddle but it would go a long way in setting a mindset or an example or just flat telling the Tree Huggers to ride their bicycles to China and clean that place up first.

Government Regulation is far and above our biggest problem, not lack of resources or innovation.

(The Enemies of the US know this, which is why they came up with the Kyoto Treaty, no other Country would actually follow it's guidelines, but many would / have signed it)

TT
37 posted on 11/16/2005 2:35:36 PM PST by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: babyface00

OPEC, by limiting production is bringing forth supply that has before not been counted.
Actually the oil price is not so far out of line as it would seem. Gold is almost double what it was in the late nineties and the price of oil relative to gold is not so onerous. The price of gold is an accurate measure of inflation. We don't see the inflation now because we subtract the price of oil and of housing from the CPI and start talking abourt Core CPI which is the CPI without the things that are going up.The inflation is here and it is manifest in oil and housing. That's where all the extra dollars are going. If/when oil and housing decline then the prices of most everything else will rise.


38 posted on 11/16/2005 2:37:47 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: MadIvan

BTW, in my neck of the woods, one can get soy-based biodiesel locally. When petroleum-based diesel fuel was running close to the same price, I was using it (B99). Made my old oil burner run a little smoother, but the fuel economy went down a little. Now, though, petrodiesel is quite a bit cheaper ($2.55/gal vs. $3.20/gal).

Do you have biodiesel available over there?


39 posted on 11/16/2005 2:38:33 PM PST by B Knotts
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To: leadpencil1

Not bye bye to oil but hello to domestic production of maybe all we need from Alberta and Utah and coal.


40 posted on 11/16/2005 2:39:06 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: dangerdoc
I'm still waiting for


41 posted on 11/16/2005 2:40:24 PM PST by stacytec (Nihilism, destorying an "ism" near you!)
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To: Phantom Lord

Good point. My understanding is that 45% of the oil used in the U.S. is used in the form of refined gasoline. The other 55% is used as diesel fuel, aviation fuel, lubricants, plastics, etc.


42 posted on 11/16/2005 2:41:00 PM PST by Alberta's Child (What it all boils down to is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.)
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To: Beelzebubba

Even with the elevated price of oil now ethanol still requires ggovernment subsidy to be marketable. It is a pretend alternative that is pushed and subsidized to keep tax money going to "the farmers."


43 posted on 11/16/2005 2:41:03 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE.)
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To: B Knotts

It's in limited supply, but yes we do. There are two other conversions you can get for your auto - one, you can set it to run on vegetable oil: some hobbyists have done that with good results (it's by far the cheapest - only 2p a mile cost), and also one can set it to run on natural gas (more expensive, but less than petrol).

Diesels are less taboo over here - you can get many small diesel cars.

Regards, Ivan


44 posted on 11/16/2005 2:41:17 PM PST by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: RegulatorCountry

Because we would still be locked into a higher cost of energy than our competitors world wide. That would hurt us. As far as biomass being stable, that's unlikely. Crops vary significanlty. It rains too much, it doesn't rain enough etc.


45 posted on 11/16/2005 2:41:18 PM PST by DB ()
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To: babyface00
OPEC has almost no influence on the price of oil, as less and less of our oil comes from OPEC countries. One turn of events this year that didn't get a lot of attention is that Canada has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest supplier of oil to the U.S.

And Mexico is now #3, which means two of our three largest suppliers are non-OPEC countries.

46 posted on 11/16/2005 2:42:53 PM PST by Alberta's Child (What it all boils down to is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.)
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To: MadIvan
I'm familiar with SVO/WVO conversions, but that seems like a pain (and the extra tank takes up too much space, IMO).

Here in the land of (beer) homebrewing, a number of people are instead starting to homebrew biodiesel. In fact, there's a co-op preparing to do so in decent quantities.

47 posted on 11/16/2005 2:45:10 PM PST by B Knotts
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To: Alberta's Child

Years ago Saudi Arabia was less than 10% of the total oil consumed in the US. So it sounds like it is even less now.


48 posted on 11/16/2005 2:45:56 PM PST by DB ()
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To: DB

"Because we would still be locked into a higher cost of energy than our competitors world wide."

Competitors? Who are we competing with on price?

I guess you're saying that you'd prefer that we us just continue to gyrate wildly, like a yo-yo on a string, while games are played with the current sources of supply? This doesn't sound like a good course to pursue.

And, biomass isn't the only game. Oil shale, oil sands and coal gassification, plus expanded nuclear power generation are doable now, provided OPEC doesn't pull the rug out from under it again by dropping to $20.00/bbl., and they will, if the past is any indication.


49 posted on 11/16/2005 2:52:48 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: dangerdoc

"Ethanol? Corn farmers love it but it is too inefficient to produce and we would need to actually give up food production to provide enough."

If the food value of corn really matters, then why is corn selling for $1.80 a bushel now and corn sold for $2.00 a bushel in 1965? Given the rate of inflation that bushel is worth about 25 cents 1965 dollars. Yeah, the production costs have gone up considerably with $3.00 a gallon diesel fuel and double digit inflation of fertilizer prices.

Might as well make ethanol and the incidental side product of high protein livestock feed rather than give corn away to feed the hungry who obviously aren't paying for their corn flakes..because they cost $4.00 a box for 12 ounces.

Let me see.... a bushel of corn is 56 pounds. At $4.00 a box times 70- 12 ounce boxes, somebody is making $280.00 a bushel minus the $1.80 paid to the corn farmer, or $278.20 a bushel.

We just as well burn corn as to get shafted. The land is already there. Farmers pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do the oil companies. Farmers still manage to invest in infrastructure. something oil companies have neglected to do given the huge profits of late.

We need the fuel. And the ethanol can be produced much cheaper than a box of corn flakes, which has about as much energy value as it has food value.


50 posted on 11/16/2005 2:58:49 PM PST by o_zarkman44
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