Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tough Times... for Everyone but the Oil Companies.

It's hard to miss mentions of oil company profits in the news these days, every quarter it's worse.

Read into the California energy crisis, the same thing is going on today as it was then, now, it's just a different form of energy. Then, money making middle men played strobe light with the power plants, turning them on and off to be able to sell the most energy for the best price on the free market, until it got to the point where they were making more and more money on less and less energy until there was none for people to use and therefore had to be shut off at times.

The difference now is that the energy supply really is dwindling, we can't exactly build more oil refineries, we actually need more oil, of which there isn't any. But what there is, supply is being restricted to jack up the price, and since demand isn't being reduced, a very few people are making a vary large amount of money.

I'm not into making a lot of predictions, but I predict $200 per barrel of oil inside of five years, and $300 before my son learns to drive. I will enter one exception, that is if there is a radical change in where our energy comes from, that being electric cars. Unfortunately, there are a few restrictions on that too, number one being that there is just not enough time for the new energy technology to catch up with the dwindling energy that we have. One good chance, for drivers and producers is if a good battery technology is released to the public so that we can make our own electric cars. But, Lithium won't be available to the public for a while because the car companies will be using it, and the NiMH large format patents won't expire until 2015, and Chevron is not letting anyone use them. Thier loss inevitably.

The fuel is running out, read my post on Peak Oil. In fact, more than the concept of peak supply of oil is peak oil per capita which happened some time back in the 80's.

The solution: Plugin series hybrid electric cars and shorter range plugin electric cars with diversification of the power producing infrastructure, and further extensive efficiency gains in all parts of society. I've not been a big global warming theorist, but I do appreciate the effect the subject has had on people, even if they need to be more worried about real pollution rather than CO2. If we eliminate CO2, other pollutants will follow. A car that uses less gas creates less of all types of pollution. The technology is here to mitigate coming problems, and there will be a time when we must live on drastically less gasoline.

With the current technology, most people can do it. Most people can do it on an inexpensive electric bicycle. I live six miles from anything I need to get to.

Think about this, if gasoline were to virtually disappear tomorrow, the electrical grid would still be up, unless there were riots and it got destroyed, but other than that, it would be there. Lifestyles would change, look at what happened to Cuba when the USSR fell. Big cities with electric busses would still be working, though likely completely overloaded. Things would change and quickly, but I'm not preaching the apocalypse here.

What can you do? Not much, just be aware. You can't hoard gas, it spoils. Maybe look into electric cars, education is really the key to alot of things. But don't freak out.


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