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Shamalama 
Posted: 15-Mar-2005, 10:28 AM
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We're hearing a lot of people screaming about gasoline prices, and how today's prices are setting records. So here are a few facts to calm down the hysteria.

Newscasts continue to lead all over the country with the lie that gas prices are about to reach an all-time high. Gas prices, in fact, are nowhere near the "all-time high." The mainstream media never takes into account inflation. You simply cannot compare the purchasing power of a dollar today to that of 20 years ago. Likewise with prices.

So what is the all-time high for gas prices? In March of 1981, gasoline cost $3.08 a gallon, adjusted for inflation.

Americans have an insatiable thirst for gasoline, and with sport-utility vehicles continually growing in popularity we are only getting thirstier. Americans drive more than 2.5 trillion miles per year in automobiles, light trucks and SUVs, according to a MEMA report. That's equal to 14,000 round trips to the sun. Today, we drive almost twice as much as we did in 1980 (1.5 trillion miles), when gas prices were at their highest.

The United States consumed an average of 20 million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) in 2004, according to the Department of Energy. Of that, 45 percent was used for motor gasoline. The rest was used for distillate fuel oil, jet fuel, residual fuel and other oils. Each barrel of oil contains 42 gallons (159 L), which yields 19 to 20 gallons (75 L) of gasoline. So, in the United States, something like 178 million gallons of gasoline is consumed every day.

Price increases generally occur when the world crude-oil market tightens and lowers inventories. Also, growing demand can sometimes outpace refinery capacity. In the spring, refineries perform maintenance, which can place a pinch on the gasoline market. By the end of May, refineries are usually back to full capacity.

The biggest portion of the cost of gas, about 45%, goes to the crude-oil suppliers. The refining of crude oil makes up about 13% of the price of gasoline. Distribution, marketing, and profits accounts for about 13%.

But taxes, including federal and local, account for about 31% of the total price of gas in the United States. Federal excise taxes are 18.4 cents per gallon, and state excise taxes average 20 cents per gallon.

In some regions of the country, gasoline is required to meet higher environmental standards in order to reduce the amount of smog created by burning gasoline, resulting in higher prices. California and the Chicago and Milwaukee areas are prime examples.

Most expensive gasoline per gallon (as of September 2000):
- Hong Kong: $5.38
- London, England: $5.05
- Oslo, Norway: $4.54
- Seoul, South Korea: $4.52
- Paris, France: $4.28

Least expensive per gallon:

- Caracas, Venezuela: $0.40
- Jakarta, Indonesia: $0.45
- Kuwait City, Kuwait: $0.76
- Manama, Bahrain: $0.82
- Abu Dhabi, UAE: $0.92

The single largest entity impacting the world's oil supplies is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a consortium of 11 countries: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Together, these 11 nations are responsible for 40 percent of the world's oil production and hold two-thirds of the world's oil reserves. When OPEC wants to raise the price of crude oil, it simply reduces production. This causes gasoline prices to jump because of the short supply, but also because of the possibility of future reductions. When oil production dips, gas companies get nervous. The mere threat of oil reductions can raise gas prices.

it may be surprising to know that the United States is the world's second largest producer of oil. In 2003, the United States produced about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil each day. The biggest production region is around the Gulf of Mexico, and the largest producing state is Texas. The Gulf Coast region is home to two important producing areas: the Permian Basin, located in west-central Texas and eastern New Mexico, and the federal offshore portion of the Gulf. Other big oil-producing states include Alaska, Louisiana, California, Oklahoma and Arizona. Hopefully ANWAR will be added to this list soon.

The US maintains the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). As of February 2004, it stores about 645 million barrels of oil in underground salt caverns along the Gulf of Mexico. Given that the United States imports about half of its oil, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve holds about a 60-day supply of oil if all imports were suddenly and totally cut off.

So, we have a small number of options:
- build more refineries in the US (Gulf of Mexico, for example) to weaken our dependance on foreign oil
- start drilling in ANWAR
- keep driving SUV's, continue buying Saudi oil, but stop complaining about prices
- sell your Lexus for a Prius (only $20,875 MSRP)


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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 15-Mar-2005, 01:02 PM
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Good story.
A major point mentioned was refineries. The US has not built a new refinery in 25 years, but our thirst for gasoline has grown!
And wait till China and India start taking their share of the worlds gas.

I unfortunately drive alot for my job. It irks me to see no attempt to become less dependent on oil: foreign or domestic. We continue to buy monster SUVs with no regards to the consequences.

You are right. Buy a Prius.

And that is another thing. I understand that US carmakers are 10 years behind Europe and Japan in developing hybrid technology.
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Shadows 
Posted: 15-Mar-2005, 01:54 PM
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My 1991 Geo Metro still gets over 55 mpg and has 275,000 miles on it!

What ever happened to this type car! I have only had to repair minor things... muffler, headlights, and just this year a new starter!!!! Oh yea last year I replaced the "original " break pads!

See we can make them to last and get good mileage, but the gas industry soon sees that this type car goes away!!!!!


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MDF3530 
  Posted: 15-Mar-2005, 05:51 PM
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QUOTE
And that is another thing. I understand that US carmakers are 10 years behind Europe and Japan in developing hybrid technology.


That's because they're in the pockets of the petroleum companies.

When I do get a new car, it's gonna be either a Mini Cooper (I know it's been a few years since the remake of The Italian Job, but I still love those cars biggrin.gif )or a Prius.

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BTW, I just heard on NPR that GM is scrapping the EV-1. Not just doing away with the pilot lease program. They're turning the cars into scrap metal.


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Shamalama 
Posted: 16-Mar-2005, 02:57 PM
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With American know-how we can build anything we want.

The problem is that we don't have enough want for alternative-fueled autos. We want the 2 ton Expeditions and H2's.

Remember back in the 70's when the quality of American-built cars dwindled? We started buying Hondas, Toyotoas, and Datsuns. The "big three" here in America saw their market share drop, and suddenly we started seeing quality-built cars coming out of Detroit.

If every 10th person bought a high-mileage car (be it hybrid or not) the automakers would, once again, feel the pinch of having to produce what the consumers were demanding.

In some ways I hope the gasoline prices at the pumps go to $5/gallon so that the average person will dump those land yachts in favor of something that sips gas instead of guzzles it. That's where our dependance on foreign oil comes from.

Again, it's easy to blame the automakers, or the oil companies, or the government, but the real blame comes right back to ourselves. We're getting exactly what we've asked for - capitalism in it's purest form.

Brother jpmoore makes an often-overlooked observation: "The US has not built a new refinery in 25 years, but our thirst for gasoline has grown!" The environmentalists and the "not in my back yard" people have prevented any new refineries being built for 25 years, yet there are many more miles being driven every day. All that extra gasoline has to come from somewhere. Since the tree-huggers won't let the gas come from America we not have to buy it from terrorists. Yep, we just sent another $1 million to al Qaeda but the brown-spotted rat keeps his winter habitat.

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MDF3530 
  Posted: 16-Mar-2005, 05:00 PM
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QUOTE
brown-spotted rat keeps his winter habitat.


I thought only us liberals were allowed to call Dubya a "brown-spotted rat" biggrin.gif !

Seriously, though, I hope more and more people start buying Mini Coopers and Priuses, along with putting pressure on the government to fund more research of alternative fuels. Unfortunately, the Oil Baron-in-Chief, who doesn't want to piss off his friends in the Saudi royal family, won't let that happen.
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Swanny 
Posted: 17-Mar-2005, 09:57 AM
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I would submit that if there were a market for alternative fuels, you would see much more development. So long as people don't demand those fuels, there is little incentive (aside from altrusim) to develop them.

If you want people like me to switch to alternative vehicles, you are going to have to provide an alternative vehicle that meets MY needs and desires. The same holds true for most Americans. Therefore, to make such a vehicle popular enough to have an impact it needs to appeal to more than just the pasty-faced tofu eating wannybe sophisticant crowd.

The vehicle needs to be powerful enough to meet performance expectations, large enough to haul a bunch of kids and accoutrements, and stylish enough to meet current aesthetic tastes.

This is not a job for government. Government will only booger it up and boggle it down. It's a job for the private sector. The person or corporation that is successful will no doubt make a ton of money. That is the only incentive that is likely to prevail.

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Mailagnas maqqas Dunaidonas 
Posted: 17-Mar-2005, 11:37 AM
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I have no doubt that there are people for whom gas guzzling SUV's make sense, but it drives me crazy when I saw someone using something like an Expedition for commuting, with a cell phone stuck in one ear, while weaving across two or more lanes of traffic, in an area where the roads are all paved, and the condition of the Expedition makes it obvious that it is not likely to have never carried anything more than a distracted commuter who is obviously oblivious to the problems being created.
Government regulation and "incentives" are not the answer. At some point, I expect China and India to drive up the demand for oil enough that, if the Feds don't provide subsidies, the price will go up enough to force consumers to make wiser choices, and thereby create the demand needed for alternative fuels. Of course, that's assuming that the Chinese, to whom we have mortgaged our country in the pursuit of more cheap goods than anyone needs or can use, don't use the IOU's they're piling up to wreck our economy--but that's a rant for some other thread.


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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 17-Mar-2005, 12:05 PM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 17-Mar-2005, 09:57 AM)
I would submit that if there were a market for alternative fuels, you would see much more development. So long as people don't demand those fuels, there is little incentive (aside from altrusim) to develop them.

If you want people like me to switch to alternative vehicles, you are going to have to provide an alternative vehicle that meets MY needs and desires. The same holds true for most Americans. Therefore, to make such a vehicle popular enough to have an impact it needs to appeal to more than just the pasty-faced tofu eating wannybe sophisticant crowd.

The vehicle needs to be powerful enough to meet performance expectations, large enough to haul a bunch of kids and accoutrements, and stylish enough to meet current aesthetic tastes.

This is not a job for government. Government will only booger it up and boggle it down. It's a job for the private sector. The person or corporation that is successful will no doubt make a ton of money. That is the only incentive that is likely to prevail.

Swanny

Actually Swanny makes a very valid point. Market will drive the developemnt of alternative vehicles and fuels. I think if Detroit or Japan can build a hybrid with the styling and Power of a typical sedan in the US, then people will buy them.
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Shamalama 
Posted: 18-Mar-2005, 03:24 PM
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The Governator gets it right . . . again.

California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger is working to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism once and for all ? by ending our dependence on foreign oil and stopping the worldwide economic and climatic distortions that global oil usage causes.

He's doing it by providing aggressive state leadership to open the way for hydrogen fuel cell cars. While President Bush speaks of the advent of these vehicles in the indefinite future, Gov. Schwarzenegger is bringing them to the here and now by converting gas stations along California's interstate highways to provide hydrogen fuel as well as gasoline.

With financing projected to come one-third each from federal, state and private sources, California will offer hydrogen fuel every few miles in urban areas and at least every 20 miles along the highway system by 2010. Eventually, he and the leaders of Washington, Oregon, Baja California and British Columbia will work together to create a "hydrogen highway" that will run from British Columbia to Baja California.

The Schwarzenegger plan calls for state-subsidized production of hydrogen and for tax incentives for those who purchase hydrogen cars.

Replacing gasoline engines with hydrogen-fuel cells would eliminate two-thirds of America's need for oil ? a demand that we could meet entirely with domestically produced oil.

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolu...nists/22496.htm

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If Arnold can pull this off, then he just might get my vote (write-in or not) for President in 2008.

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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 18-Mar-2005, 06:17 PM
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Not arguing one way or the other, just showing this "close to record" price and being glad I don't live in California where picture was taken.

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Monarchs Own 
Posted: 18-Mar-2005, 08:51 PM
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Can't agree with anything more.

My husband was the same way - always traded up to a bigger car until he realized that the gas just ran right through them like water through a skeleton.

Now he buys cheap cars with a good miliage per gallon and also a good warranty than the big good for nothing SUV's.

He is now in the "downtrading". I guess if he could he would take the bus to save the miliage on his cars but hence the bus system is not evolved enough here in this country like in so many others countries in Europe I guess a lot of people will not leave theirs cars standing at home and take the bus.

Also with the weird workschedule my husband is confined to the car to get to work and back. I wish I could travel more by bus and get around town like going to the library and such. I would save so much more gas for the short trips which are to far to walk and to dangerous for bikeriding.

We really need to get to work on better looking hybrid cars too - they look like they drove out of Lego-Land instead of the carfactory. You sell a better looking car much easier. But also they should give maybe some taxbreaks for the hybrid buyers, or do they do that here in this country? I know in germany you get some kind of taxbreak if you buy a car which is above the standard requirements.

But here in Military country as I call our town - you see those young soldiers buying big cars because they get them easy. They buy them slightly used so they get approved for them since no reputable dealer would sell them such a high maintnance car because they can't afford it. So they go to "Hook and Crook at the corner of Cheat and Lies" so they get approved no matter what - wheter you have good credit or bad credit or no credit at all. And that's when the fun starts. They drive because they can buy them right now because of all the extra money they got from serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. But in the end all that money the got for risking their lives goes right back to the terrorists which will kill their comrades instead. So actually they kill their own buddies with buying these big gas guzzlers.




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EmeraldStar 
Posted: 31-Mar-2005, 01:45 PM
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I heard that they are getting rid of the tax break on gas-electric hybrids here in the US, by 2006. I am in the process of getting a Honda Insight at this moment in fact-the hybrid with the best gas mileage in the country (honda has 3 hybrid cars on the market right now, the accord hybrid, civic hybrid and the insight). Right now I drive a 'regular' Honda Civic and get over 40mpg with it, which still isn't enough! I commute 70 miles a day Monday thru Friday to and from school and work (and being a poor college student, its hard to fill up with the local gas prices being $2.60+). I'm so happy to see that more companies are coming out with hybrids. I heard at the International Auto show that the car companies are usually 2 years behind when it comes to trends, and that is why there are still so many big cars/trucks/etc. being introduced. Since there is such a growing trend towards caring about gas mileage, we should start to see many more cars with great mileage in the coming few years. thumbs_up.gif
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Monarchs Own 
Posted: 31-Mar-2005, 05:03 PM
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yeah hybrids will be thing to go for in the future.

Gas prices down here in Fayetteville $2.15 per gallon as of today.
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MDF3530 
  Posted: 31-Mar-2005, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE (EmeraldStar @ 31-Mar-2005, 12:45 PM)
I heard that they are getting rid of the tax break on gas-electric hybrids here in the US, by 2006.

Is that a big suprise, considering the fact that Shrub, the Oil Baron-in-Chief, is in the Oval Office?
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