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  1. #1
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    The Silver Lining to $123/barrel oil prices

    What is that you ask? Stupid oil prices will spur alternative energy implementation. Here in the Pcad household we will have a geothermal heat pump system installed in our residence by November. $25-$30K layout in capital which will pay for itself immediately by lowering our oil consumption for heating and hot water by 70% or so. That's about 1000 less gallons of imported oil annually, from just one household. Do the math, $4000 in savings in fuel = $350 per month in savings, the loan payments on the capital improvement will be less than that, and I'll be putting money into a capital improvement on my home that will be paid for in 10-12 years instead of paying for a consumable. My two neighbors recently switched from 10-15mpg SUVs to 23mph + Honda CR-Vs, and I don't exactly live in a coupon clipper zone.

    So it's happening. Economics will drive an increasing reduction in the demand for oil in the USA. The scary part isn't $4 gallon gas today. It's $6 gas in two years. But that gets much more frightening when your home uses 1500 gallons of heating oil every year. And when we moved here in 1997, it was <90 cents per gallon. Nearly FOUR BUCKS today.

    F that action. We're going green. And the beauty part is that it will make us greener financially. F OPEC.

    You know what the real beauty part is? I predict you'll see a Silicon Valley approach to energy conservation fueled by the brilliant minds in this country and the wads of venture capital. Stay tuned. Within a decade we'll have 100mpg cars and widespread alternative energy solutions from the industrial to the grass roots residential level. Like the one we're installing here this summer for example. There you go.

    You can wring your hands about carbon footprints until your friggin Birkenstocks fall off and nothing big will happen. But as always, MONEY TALKS.

  2. #2
    Senior Member hos13's Avatar
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    What kind of tax breaks or write offs can you get with that? There are a few things I'm considering doing to my home such as radiant barrier in my attic and an inline hot water on demand heater.
    "Don't give up, don't ever give up" jimmyv

  3. #3
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hos13 View Post
    What kind of tax breaks or write offs can you get with that? There are a few things I'm considering doing to my home such as radiant barrier in my attic and an inline hot water on demand heater.
    Looking into that now. There are major tax breaks for solar electric panel systems, but I don't think there are for geo thermal heat pump applications. Even with the tax breaks I can't make the solar electric thing make economic sense. But I'm sure within 5 years it may start to work.

  4. #4
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    I like the Pcad approach much more than that of the "we want $10/gallon gas, now!" crowd's approach.

    I do have a concern though, and I've had it since 9/11, long before $2/gal. gas, much less $3/gal. gas. We seem to have very short memories. In the early 70s we had this little oil embargo thing going on. Scientists and back yard tinkerers worked on all sorts of highly publicized ideas.

    There was a rush on solar and electric powered cars, as well as interesting carbeuration systems that vaporized fuel before it hit the carb. My old man built one for his Land Cruiser that took it from 12 MPG to over 20 MPG, although power was down.

    Solar panels popped up on roofs of homes for both electricity production and heating water. We had that too. There we geodesic homes built, and other odd looking thing going on.

    A lot of advancements were made, and some of it hung around on small scale. But for the most part, Americans lost interest when the prices dropped again. Many believe that the oil companies and car companies conspired to kill these ideas through various nefarious means.

    I've never been a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that if, through circumstance or design, oil prices decrease again, Americans will happily run right back to that teet and start sucking on it as if it will never dry up. I'm afraid that it's already happened. Imagine what today's homes would consume in energy if they didn't have double paned windows and good insulation. Do we save that money? No. We build bigger homes to consume the same energy, and park a Hummer or two out front.

    We have short memories, and it's got us on a leash.
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  5. #5
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    There is a MASSIVE difference between 1973 and 2008: the emerging economies of China and India. That's like 2 BILLION people and they all want cars. In 1973 they were riding bicycles and walking. Increasingly they are becoming more like us. I don't want $10 per gallon gas, I don't want to do this stupid massive construction project at my house (it's like excavating for an office building). But I don't see this as a choice, it's imperative. And necessity is the mother of invention.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hos13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    There is a MASSIVE difference between 1973 and 2008: the emerging economies of China and India. That's like 2 BILLION people and they all want cars. In 1973 they were riding bicycles and walking. Increasingly they are becoming more like us. I don't want $10 per gallon gas, I don't want to do this stupid massive construction project at my house (it's like excavating for an office building). But I don't see this as a choice, it's imperative. And necessity is the mother of invention.
    You bring up an interesting point and that is can the rest of the worlds population consume like Americas, I think the answer is no. If they try supply will not keep up with demand and the prices will continue to rise.
    "Don't give up, don't ever give up" jimmyv

  7. #7
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hos13 View Post
    You bring up an interesting point and that is can the rest of the worlds population consume like Americas, I think the answer is no. If they try supply will not keep up with demand and the prices will continue to rise.
    They will certainly give it the old Third World College Try. By the way, an analyst at Goldman Sachs predicted $150-$200 per barrel oil within 18 months.

    Enjoy!

  8. #8
    Support JDRF b_young's Avatar
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    Time to buy oil stock.
    "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift that is why it is called the present." - Kung Fu Panda

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  9. #9
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    They will certainly give it the old Third World College Try. By the way, an analyst at Goldman Sachs predicted $150-$200 per barrel oil within 18 months.

    Enjoy!
    Can you say commodity speculation?

    Okay, we know there's unrest in Nigeria threatening supplies, declining Russian production, and ever increasing demand, but the fact that suits on wall st have just as much power to raise the price through speculation really ticks me off.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
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  10. #10
    ReMember trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hos13 View Post
    You bring up an interesting point and that is can the rest of the worlds population consume like Americas, I think the answer is no. If they try supply will not keep up with demand and the prices will continue to rise.
    I read somewhere that the earth can sustain about 2 billion people at the american standard of living. We are at 6 and counting.

    I do not know what all this was based on, but it certainly seems reasonable. Oil is not being created at the same pace we are using it, if at all. It cannot be an indefinite supply.

    Using food stocks for energy is clearly unworkable. Something has to be done.

    Things are likely to get kinda messy.

    Edit: The current price spike is clearly speculation. But, the above still applies. Cheap oil is gone.
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    And Jseis said, "Let him that isn't stoned commit the first sin."

  11. #11
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Is the price of the barrel figured into total cost? If so, it seems we are getting a bargain on barrels now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  12. #12
    ReMember trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    And Jseis said, "Let him that isn't stoned commit the first sin."

  13. #13
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    I've been riding to work almost everyday. It's 20 miles each way. Sometimes I stop and do a group ride on the way home for an additional 20 to 30 miles at near race pace. I figure I'm on pace to race this years Tour if I can just get my pro card.

    Seriously, this has altered the way I think and do things. I simply can't afford the huge extra chunk of change in gas. As a by product I'm burning much less fossil fuel, I get my workout in going to/from work, and I don't have as much maintenance on my car - really the rising gas prices has been a win/win for me. Also, I've noticed more bike lanes going up around here....excellent!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member 66aldo's Avatar
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    I don't know what the facts and figures are but for North America, I think that we could really be self-sufficient if we really wanted to be. Back to the OP with "MONEY TALKS" ... this is sad but true. We probably make more money selling our own resources to other countries and then buying them back from others. Maybe it's time that we worried about ourselves for a change?

    It would be great if all this helped technology advance and I think it will. Some stuff just makes sense. Do you live in a sunny desert climate? A solar setup will generate "free" energy. The same goes for windy areas ... why NOT have a portable wind generator? If we can get the prices of this type of technology down so that it's affordable to the common man, I think a lot more people will jump on the renewable bandwagon.
    The light at the end of the tunnel IS the front of an oncoming train!

  15. #15
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl View Post
    I like the Pcad approach much more than that of the "we want $10/gallon gas, now!" crowd's approach.
    <liberal rant>Pcad's approach is brought about by higher prices. The higher the price, the more conservation and effeciency we'll see. $6/gal. gas can't get here soon enough. It's the only thing that will get us to do what we should have been doing these last 35 years.<rant off>

  16. #16
    smorenivore colorider's Avatar
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    There’s an interesting article in this month’s Bicycling that touches on much of this. It’s basically comparing the bicycling culture in the Holland to that of the US. The mayor of one of the town’s in Holland said that to get Americans to really embrace bicycle commuting as a way of live we should eliminate free parking. He said $25-30 a day ought to do it. Once it starts really hurting financially then more Americans will be interested in it. From another article there it does sound like more and more cities are looking into it. The scary juxtaposition as mentioned earlier is what’s happening in China where they’re rapidly moving from a bicycle commuter nation to automobile.

  17. #17
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Nobody does what the should do. They do what works for them.

  18. #18
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    Nobody does what the should do. They do what works for them.
    Oh My GOD! Pcad said something I actually agree with!
    BTW...good on ya with the conservation steps.

  19. #19
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    The silver lining here in Norway is quite easy to see. We get rich. 80 000 000 000 $ this year alone in net national profits to be shared among us Norwegians. However we choose to pay nearly 10$ a gallon at the pumps anyway. It is a bit weird but we like it this way. 7 out of 10 Norwegians pay their very high income taxes with a smile. We grunt about the gas prices but continue to elect those who uphold them.

  20. #20
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Second Mouse View Post
    <liberal rant>Pcad's approach is brought about by higher prices. The higher the price, the more conservation and effeciency we'll see. $6/gal. gas can't get here soon enough. It's the only thing that will get us to do what we should have been doing these last 35 years.<rant off>
    The problem with the liberal rant methodology is that you are telling me what to do in order to "save the earth" or "feed the children." This methodology rings true for the people whose need it is that is being fed. Those that preach this and can meet the need on their own like to pull the old NIMBY trick; they are above driving fuel efficient cars. They are above using public transportation. They are above public health care services. They want to get in my pocket to fill yours.

    Pcad's approach is a realistic look at how things can be done by individuals, and how they will be done when the price is right.

    The prayers for $6 gas fail to take into account that the people that are most impacted are those that can least afford it. Of course, the govenrment will step in and pull some out of my pocket to make sure you get your food that you can no longer afford, pay for your health care that you can no longer afford, pay your mortgage that you can no longer afford, etc.

    Pcad's approach is a self-reliant reaction to a market driven problem, while yours is an enforced reaction to an artificially inflated problem.

    The end result either way is more energy efficiency and more environmentally friendly use of resources. The difference is that one takes away the incentive to be productive human beings, and the other allows people to make their own decisions when the economic environment makes it attractive for them to take positive actions. It's really a classic example of how liberal thinking and conservative thinking differs in solving problems.
    Tom

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  21. #21
    Villainous huerro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl View Post

    Pcad's approach is a realistic look at how things can be done by individuals, and how they will be done when the price is right.

    ...

    Pcad's approach is a self-reliant reaction to a market driven problem, while yours is an enforced reaction to an artificially inflated problem.

    Here's hoping this thread won't get bumped to P&R.


    The problem with Pcad's approach is that it requires capital or access to credit. It is a realistic look at how things can be done by some individuals but not the ones who are having to decide between fuel bills and food bills this month. This is especially true as credit markets tighten.

    At a certain point, if you want to make a switch to greener energy you will need someone to step up and subsidize it for the people who don't have that access to credit or capital. It is mind boggling to me that the federal government will subsidize a converter for my TV, but not solar panels or a geothermal heat pump. We will either need directly subsidized consumer equipment, government guaranteed low interest loans for upgrades to green technology, or subsidies for large scale green public utilities.

    Highlight below for the more political response if you want.


    This is the problem with the free market orthodoxy that you seem to be promoting Twahl. It leaves behind those who do not have the capital (be it social, monetary, whatever) or flexibility to adapt. In a purely theoretical sense, this is the most efficient way to move forward, but in real world where real human beings are effected, lots of us believe there is a moral imperative to help those people and we believe government is the way we've organized our society to do just that.

    It also doesn't help that our federal government has been subsidizing the auto and coal industries for the past 50+ years. Shifting those subsidies to green industry would be a great start in my opinion.

    I'll just close by saying that those who favor $6 gas, or whatever number, believe that the price of gas doesn't accurately reflect the cost of gas, that defense spending to ensure supply, environmental impact, etc are costs that are being paid out of general tax revenue (or borrowing) and that those costs should be passed on to consumers through higher gas taxes. You can agree or disagree with this analysis, but for the most part they aren't saying that government should raise taxes just to curb consumption.

    Hooray for keeping it civil

  22. #22
    Senior Member Ted Danson's Avatar
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    Buy oil transporting stocks. I made $300 bucks in the past week of ioc
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  23. #23
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerseysbest View Post
    Can you say commodity speculation?

    Okay, we know there's unrest in Nigeria threatening supplies, declining Russian production, and ever increasing demand, but the fact that suits on wall st have just as much power to raise the price through speculation really ticks me off.
    Should be a capital offense IMO.

    Good on you pcad. I can't wait till the nest empties and I can move somewhere to get 70%-80% off the grid.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  24. #24
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I'm just trying to not pay $4/gallon for heating oil next season. That's just stupid. And while I do understand that people with some financial wherewithal and access to credit have advantages that many in this economy do not, that's not my problem. Or yours. That's an individual matter, and whether the government will do anything to stop banks from hammering credit card holders and making idiot mortgage loans (the current crisis seems to have accomplished that in the shorter term) remains to be seen.

    My point is this: for me it's not about carbon footprints, being green, saving the planet or any of that. It's the fact that the economics of modern energy have moved me in a direction that happens to be greener, for my wallet and for the Earth. There's the silver lining. People in the USA will drive dopey dimply little Euro style pod cars with 89 HP motors that get 50mpg as soon as gas hits $5 gallon, and it's already shifting that way, hard.

    Higher oil prices are a self-resolving 'crisis' in my view. There will be an extended and very painful transition to far more efficient methods of transportation and HVAC, demand here in the USA will drop, and demand growth in emerging markets will eventually slow as those same stupid prices force change globally. And that's when oil prices will stabilize again. Which could take 7 years, and could be @ $250/barrel. At that point many of us will be driving plug in Toyotas that get 100+ mpg.

    In the meantime the roadside will be littered with all those who can't make that transition. It will get ugly, it won't be easy.

  25. #25
    Mr. Maximan1 maximan1's Avatar
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    Gas prices will go down.

    Because all the green people are gonna be buying green materials. The market for those is gonna be higher, so I can just be on my merry way in an oil fueled car.

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