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Old 05-10-05, 10:28 AM   #1
Jeffery
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Will you be happy when gas runs out ?

I know by then they will have a solution for cars, at least I would think but I could be wrong, but still maybe less cars on the road ?
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Old 05-10-05, 10:34 AM   #2
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I doubt it will mean less cars on the road, since those working on alternative energy solutions (which I agree wholeheartedly that we depserately need) are looking for a different way to power the same type of vehicles. They may be mandated to have lower speed capabilities, or they may be autonomous, but I doubt there will be fewer. The only thing that will make any serious dent in the number of vehicles travelling daily is some serious infrastructure changes made to accomidate a serious change in the way that we look at "going to work."
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Old 05-10-05, 10:34 AM   #3
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Something else will take its place, there are already several technologies waiting in the wings that will easily meet demand. Yes, there will be some difficult years and people will walk a little more and buy smaller vehicles, but supply and demand can't change a culture, we are far too inventive for our own good.

It'll be an interesting day, and I'm sure we'll run out of 'easy' oil in the next 10 years, after which we'll have another 50 or 60 years at least of mining 'difficult' oil at great expense.

I'm already enjoying that I spend very little on fuel (my car runs on homebrewed biodiesel, so even my long trips don't cost much), and I'll continue to enjoy that as the cost of transportation goes up. Of course, products will cost a lot more too, including bikes, because they have to be transported as well. Food will cost more, and won't be quite as available, and that will disproportionally affect the poor. Joe upper-middle-class will complain and refinance his giant house, and Sally fixed-income will just eat one less meal a day.

So no, I won't be glad when we run out of gas, because it won't hurt the people who caused the problem, it'll hurt everyone else. I just wish we were a little more proactive about changing our dependence on it.

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Old 05-10-05, 10:57 AM   #4
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Old 05-10-05, 10:58 AM   #5
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I think that there will indeed be less cars on the road, as the alternative energy sources will not be as cheap as oil.
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Old 05-10-05, 10:59 AM   #6
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It's hard to comprehend what a world with no more gas would look like. That would also mean no more airplanes. No more trains. No more cheap groceries, because no more farm vehicles or delivery trucks. No more plastic, or any other petroleum products. When you really think about how dependent our society and infrastructure are on petroleum, it's pretty staggering.
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Old 05-10-05, 11:06 AM   #7
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Trains can run on electricity if the railroads can make enough money to pay for the infrastructure. Automobiles can run on propane, hydrogen, natural gas, electric with todays technology. With incentive, they would get more practical and less expensive.

Don't expect self propelled vehicles to go away or be reduced by any large percentage in the event that gasoline eventually becomes scarce. In any event, most of us are likely to be either long gone or so old as to be dependant on motorized transportation by then.
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Old 05-10-05, 11:21 AM   #8
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I think we will not completely run out soon. We will have to divert the large consumers - planes, cars and trucks - to other products.
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Old 05-10-05, 11:43 AM   #9
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According to this website, everything could be run on biofuel......

http://www.ybiofuels.org/bio_fuels/history_diesel.html
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Old 05-10-05, 11:47 AM   #10
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There are no alternatives to petroleum "in the wings." And besides petroleum, we are also running out of natural gas. Most of our electricity in the US is produced from natural gas, so it will also become more expensive. Hydrogen is still unproven, and it is also produced from natural gas. Coal is too dirty. Nuclear power is too dangerous, and can't be brought on line fast enough anyway. Solar and wind are nowhere near ready for widescale use. Bio-energy is largely untried, and currently requires large amounts of petroleum for its production.

The 21st century does not look bright, thanks to our foolish addiction to petroleum. We will soon pass peak petroleum extraction, if we have not already. I think we may end up fighting more bloody wars to secure the dwindling supplies of petroleum. If so, we will soon pass through the Muslim countries and run up against India and China--emerging superpowers who want oil as much as we do. War in central and southern Asia could devastate the entire world.

We must cut our dependence on oil immediately--and it may already be too late. It seems obvious that the first place to reduce oil use is in transportation, rationing dwindling supplies for agriculture and production of raw materials (carbon fiber!). Bicycles will probably form a small but significant role in this. At the very least, we are role models for the rest of society. Our imaginative use of alternative transportation modes may inspire society in the difficult years ahead.
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Old 05-10-05, 11:59 AM   #11
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They're always going to find something. Maybe they'll find a way to run things using hydrogen cells or something, but when the gas runs out, they'll already have something else in place.

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Old 05-10-05, 12:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Most of our electricity in the US is produced from natural gas,
Wrong............Coal.

Most of our electricity (70% ish) is produced by Fossil Fuels.

The greatest of which is coal, by a long shot.
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Old 05-10-05, 12:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
when the gas runs out, they'll already have something else in place.

Koffee

No offense, but that sounds like blind faith. I don't share your optimism in our elected leaders and automakers, if that's what you mean by "they." They weren't ready for the oil crises of the 1970s, despite decades of warning.

I rely on gas-powered vehicles to deliver food to my neighborhood grocery (not to mention to harvest the food in the first place), to deliver bicycle parts to my house and my LBS, and I'm sure many other things. My job probably would be eliminated if fuel costs skyrocketed or became in short supply. My bicycle has many parts that rely on petroleum for their manufacture.

I will be glad if there are fewer cars on the road and more people on bicycles, but I am not looking forward to the economic and social upheaval that many people believe will result.
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Old 05-10-05, 12:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unsuspended
Wrong............Coal.

Most of our electricity (70% ish) is produced by Fossil Fuels.

The greatest of which is coal, by a long shot.
80% of power plants built in the last 30 years are fuelled by natural gas. All plants currently in construction will be powered by natural gas. Natrual gas IS a fossil fuel. We have already passed peak production--US production is declining by 5% a year.
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Old 05-10-05, 12:40 PM   #15
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Since energy is over-consumed, it's quite easy to reduce the consumption.
But people don't want to, because they equate lowering energy consumption with going back to the Stone Age.
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Old 05-10-05, 12:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Natrual gas IS a fossil fuel.
I never said it wasn't

Your original quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Most of our electricity in the US is produced from natural gas
is incorrect.

70% of our electricity is produced by fossil fuels (Coal, Nat.Gas, Oil, Propane, Etc. )

Of that 70%, 71% comes from Coal powered plants. So, how does that leave Natural Gas as the main electricity source in the US?

In the future, Possibly. In present day USA it is not so.
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Old 05-10-05, 12:44 PM   #17
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We won't be running out of gas any time in anyone here's lifetime. We will have a declining supply, but when the real crunch comes, it won't be pleasant for anyone. Personal vehicles are only one thing that will be affected. All the products and services we use rely on fossil fuels. Our employers, our leisure activities, the rubber in bike tires, our clothes, today they all require fossil fuels.
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Old 05-10-05, 01:24 PM   #18
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Bio-energy is largely untried, and currently requires large amounts of petroleum for its production.
You are probably thinking about ethanol, which has been long criticized for its poor energy balance. Biodiesel has a much higher energy balance, and is not dependent on fossil fuels for its production, since it can divert its own output back into itself as an input. This is already being done in fairly large scales in a few parts of the world, including a local vegetable oil fired power substation/biodiesel production facility going up in North Carolina.

Depending on the study you look at, biodiesel tends to have an energy balance of about 3:1, compared to the energy balance of ethanol, which is somewhere between 1.1:1 and 2:1 depending on who you ask.

Large scale biodiesel production uses existing infrastructure, existing vehicles, and existing crops, it just doesn't have the financial impetus to dive ahead of petroleum since petroleum costs are still artificially low. However, in some places, including Hawaii, the prices have already begun to switch, as biodiesel becomes cheaper, and petroleum becomes more expensive. Of course Hawaii has some special circumstances, but it is a sign of things to come elsewhere.

I'd say, pretty conclusively, that biodiesel is 'waiting in the wings' to become a large scale alternative fuel in the US, and is already making waves in Europe as countries like France have begun to add up to 5% biodiesel to all their diesel pumps. 5% doesn't sound like much, but in a country with more than half diesels, its a lot of fuel, and those percentages are on their way up.

California is switching to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel soon, which lowers the lubricity of the fuel. Biodiesel's high lubricity makes it a natural match to ULSD, and many feel (and it may actually happen) that california will move to a state-wide biodiesel blend in the next year or two.

There is a lot that can happen, that people just don't feel like putting too much thought into right now, because even 3$ a gallon isn't 'that bad' according to the market.

peace,
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Old 05-10-05, 01:25 PM   #19
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"Running out" won't be a problem for a long, long time. The problem in our lifetimes will be that prices will get high enough to slow economic growth. This wouldn't be a big deal if we had substinence economies, but world finance is hubristically organized around the assumption of continuous economic growth. This is why "leaders" don't encourage reduced energy consumption, it would slow growth and wreack havoc on finance systems.

There are no alternative energy sources that produce anything near the energy needed for current consumption. Not even close. If we increased alternative energy output by 1000% percent we'd still only produce 40% of what the world now consumes. You are welcome to place your faith in the priesthood of modernity--scientists and technologists. More than likely we'll have to relearn austere living. The idea that we'll just "figure something out" amounts to the idea that you can keep borrowing money that you don't have indefinitely. Think of energy as a bank account against which we've been writing postdated checks so we can live the high life in the present. It is amazingly naive and historically ignorant to think this can continue in perpetuity.
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Old 05-10-05, 02:02 PM   #20
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Energy efficiency doesn't need to entail any sacrifice. If anything ,higher energy prices will encourage the quick adoption, production scaling or more energy efficient technologies. When I first switched to compact fluorescent light-bulbs in the late 80's they were quite expensive and hard to find. These days they are much cheaper and available in almost every hardware store. Saving energy can mean big dollars if you have the right products.
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Old 05-10-05, 02:02 PM   #21
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We won't wake up one morning and No More Gas, our system is too large, too diverse, and too robust for it to be that simple.

#1 Cars can run on a lot of stuff! Biomass, waste cooking oil, Soichiro Honda built little bikes and carts that ran on turpentine when Japan was rebuilding after WWII, you get the idea.

#2 Gas and oil are not going to run out suddenly, no, that would be too easy! It will be a long, slow, drawn-out, downward spiral, with an upward spiral in price.

I do look forward to "non-driving days" whether imposed or as a voluntary movement, because a day without cars might be a real wake-up to the general population, I've mentioned elsewhere that the affluent love to vacation in places without cars, whether Catalina island, Corsica, or simply remote ski or fishing lodges. Face it, cars are not all that likeable most of the time! They're loveable when you're slogging along through pouring rain, like one little old lady I rescued with my car once, but most of the the time they're a pain. A car-free day and the resulting "Ahhhhhhh..." by the general populace would win over a ton of people.

One possible scenario though, is gas rationing because "we" enlarge the war in Iraq to include Iran, Syria, etc. The biggest danger of that is their leaders denominating their oil in euros instead of dollars, which is the mistake Saddam made. That will result in an instant crash in oil imports to the US (and we import something like 75% of our oil, imagine that cut in half) and instant rationing to keep the infrastructure and military running. Also an instant crash in the dollar, bumpy times ahead!
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Old 05-10-05, 04:30 PM   #22
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Since people are arguing about it:

Quote:
In 2003, the United States generated 3,848 billion kilowatthours (Kwh) of electricity, including 3,691 billion Kwh from the electric power sector plus an additional 157 billion Kwh coming from combined heat and power (CHP) facilities in the commercial and industrial sectors. For the electric power sector, coal-fired plants accounted for 53% of generation, nuclear 21%, natural gas 15%, hydroelectricity 7%, oil 3%, geothermal and "other" 1%. During the first eight months of 2004, electric power generation rose about 2.2% year-over-year.
from http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/usa.html#elec
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Old 05-10-05, 06:17 PM   #23
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Pure unadulterated rubbish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
There are no alternatives to petroleum "in the wings."
There are plenty of alternates to pretroleum as an energy source. Petroleum is widely used because it is inexpensive and easily distributed for a wide variety of applications.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Hydrogen is still unproven, and it is also produced from natural gas.
Hydrogen is certainly a fuel for vehicles. There are already pilot programs designed to develop distribution and handling methods. These are well beyond basic technology research stages. Hydrogen can be made from water if you have another energy source to do so. It's not efficient, but it would provide a portable energy storage. Most likely there are other more efficient profuction methods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Coal is too dirty.[
That's why we use it extensively. Coal can be clean if you install the equipment to make it so. It's a cost issue that becomes easier as the price of oil rises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Nuclear power is too dangerous, and can't be brought on line fast enough anyway.
Nuclear power is used already used safely throughout much of the world. Nuclear power is a well developed technology and plants can be designed and built in reasonable time. In the United States, nuclear power is not hampered by technical difficulties, only legal ones. In the event that nuclear were deemed neccessary, the legal process to approve nuclear power plant construction and operation would be greatly streamlined. Since oil is not about to run out, there is no way to conclude that nuclear power plants could not be bulit 'in time'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Solar and wind are nowhere near ready for widescale use.
There are large commercial wind power sites in west Texas and Oklahoma. These are huge windmills generating tremendous amounts of power. With the current price of energy, only the windiest locations are profitable. However, as the cost of energy rises, more locations in the US become feasible for wind power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
The 21st century does not look bright, thanks to our foolish addiction to petroleum. We will soon pass peak petroleum extraction, if we have not already. I think we may end up fighting more bloody wars to secure the dwindling supplies of petroleum. If so, we will soon pass through the Muslim countries and run up against India and China--emerging superpowers who want oil as much as we do. War in central and southern Asia could devastate the entire world.
History has not been kind to doomsayers - whether they be religious, social, or economic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
We must cut our dependence on oil immediately--and it may already be too late.
I doubt it. There are many years of plentiful oil remaining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
It seems obvious that the first place to reduce oil use is in transportation, rationing dwindling supplies for agriculture and production of raw materials (carbon fiber!).
Oils is in no way 'dwindling'. Any mention of rationing oil is silly talk. Convenient how you want to save oil for carbon fiber use considering that carbon fiber is used a great deal to replace aluminum which is plentiful in the earth's crust and can be very cost effectively recycled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Bicycles will probably form a small but significant role in this.
Bicycles are unlikely to play a significant role in anything more than the health and enjoyment of certain individuals. As much as I enjoy cycling, I am pragmatic enough to know that cycling is not going to become a major transportation system in the US.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
At the very least, we are role models for the rest of society. Our imaginative use of alternative transportation modes may inspire society in the difficult years ahead.
See above regarding doomsayers. Accuracy has not been a hallmark of the trade.
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Old 05-10-05, 06:42 PM   #24
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What all of you are fearing has already happened. In World War 2, many countries either were on severe rationing or were too poor, bombed out, or taken over by hostile forces to get supplies of basic living. Gasoline/Petrol was either hard to get or not available for the average person. So what did these people do? They came up with various ways of dealing with it by: 1. Converting regular cars into coal or other combustable fuel powered engines. 2. Using bicycles as serious transportation. 3. Changing the way they conducted business or enertainment by rearrainging times to fit daylight hours and transit schedules. Sounds familiar? These means were done over 60 years age!
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Old 05-10-05, 06:46 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
Pure unadulterated rubbish.



There are plenty of alternates to pretroleum as an energy source. Petroleum is widely used because it is inexpensive and easily distributed for a wide variety of applications.



Hydrogen is certainly a fuel for vehicles. There are already pilot programs designed to develop distribution and handling methods. These are well beyond basic technology research stages. Hydrogen can be made from water if you have another energy source to do so. It's not efficient, but it would provide a portable energy storage. Most likely there are other more efficient profuction methods.



That's why we use it extensively. Coal can be clean if you install the equipment to make it so. It's a cost issue that becomes easier as the price of oil rises.



Nuclear power is used already used safely throughout much of the world. Nuclear power is a well developed technology and plants can be designed and built in reasonable time. In the United States, nuclear power is not hampered by technical difficulties, only legal ones. In the event that nuclear were deemed neccessary, the legal process to approve nuclear power plant construction and operation would be greatly streamlined. Since oil is not about to run out, there is no way to conclude that nuclear power plants could not be bulit 'in time'.



There are large commercial wind power sites in west Texas and Oklahoma. These are huge windmills generating tremendous amounts of power. With the current price of energy, only the windiest locations are profitable. However, as the cost of energy rises, more locations in the US become feasible for wind power.



History has not been kind to doomsayers - whether they be religious, social, or economic.



I doubt it. There are many years of plentiful oil remaining.



Oils is in no way 'dwindling'. Any mention of rationing oil is silly talk. Convenient how you want to save oil for carbon fiber use considering that carbon fiber is used a great deal to replace aluminum which is plentiful in the earth's crust and can be very cost effectively recycled.



Bicycles are unlikely to play a significant role in anything more than the health and enjoyment of certain individuals. As much as I enjoy cycling, I am pragmatic enough to know that cycling is not going to become a major transportation system in the US.



See above regarding doomsayers. Accuracy has not been a hallmark of the trade.
while there are alternative sources of energy "waiting in the wings" they are far and away too underfunded to be able to provide the energy needed when the tim comes. even if you dont beleive in peak oil a lot more "important" people are taking the idea seriously. there is not plenty of oil left and peak oil will hit within our lifetimes. a british study(i forget which energy institute) said that it wouldtake 25 years for the united states to transition from its current energy economy to a completely sustainable one. and thats presupposing full governmental support, no oil shortage, and alternative energy at its current developemental stage. theres nothing apocalyptic about pragmatism
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