Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gasoline gone Wild

Forget girls going wild, the hot subject of the week is the spike in gasoline prices. The President had to defend his “energy policy” this week against a republican attack. Not that any of the fabulous four seeking the nomination for their party’s candidate for president has the slightest clue what to do. The President as predicted by the Green Machine invented fracking and took credit for the increase in domestic energy production. Even the Clinton News Network (CNN) has their ace reporter Anderson Mini Cooper working on the subject with two completely moronic experts on his show last night. These point and counterpoint experts were about as clueless as the previous five secretaries of energy as to what needs to be done.

The US has curtailed use of gasoline and this used to be a lever to lower crude oil prices, but with China and other developing countries needing more petroleum and with Iran simply wanting to cause trouble the President and his four challengers cannot change the fact that West Texas Intermediate is trading near $110 a barrel and mid-grade gasoline in my neighborhood is selling for $4.35 a gallon. I am doing my part to use less gasoline. I checked my odometer yesterday as I had last changed my oil on February 22, 2011 and it has been a year since that oil change and I will change the oil this coming week. My old C280 Mercedes uses 8.5 US Quarts of fully synthetic oil and an oil change with new filter costs about $100. Bloody expensive as they say in the old country!!! Well in the year and 2 days since my last oil change I only put 6,196 miles on the car. I patted myself on the back on how little I have driven over the last year. You all may say well Mr. Green Machine dives another car much more. Our second car is driven even less and in a year we put less than 6,000 miles on that vehicle. I have to thank Skype and my working out of my house for the small amount of driving we do. In the early 1990s I put 30,000 miles a year on my car and thought nothing of driving to my job 60 miles away from my home. My car then was a Datsun 280Z and I really think that car was the best vehicle I have ever owned. I simply loved that T Top Babe.

No doubt going forward folks will drive less and will buy more fuel efficient vehicles. Also no doubt barring some crazy mishap or completely stupid government policy the US and Canada will produce significant amounts of shale sourced hydrocarbons. Chevron just announced the beginning of their shale exploration and production in China. South Africa will likely lift their moratorium on shale exploration and production. But even with all this exploration and production activity prices of gasoline and diesel will head higher provided China does not have a hard landing. Germany has all but given up on paying high feed in tariff pricing for solar power. Germany generates 3% of the electricity with solar sources but spends over 15% of their total electricity costs for this minor source. To supply 3% of Germany’s electricity the country had to spend over $100 billion for the solar installations. The world is learning what the Green Machine has known for quite some time that alternate energy is expensive and that conservation is more of an immediate solution. Of course the candidates for President have to promote green jobs and economic expansion and no matter who wins in November we will have another four years of talk but little action. Of course there may be action if the wild ones were let loose. But Sir Isaac told us there will always be an “equal and opposite reaction”. Old Newt, Isaac that is, also described bodies at rest. That my friends is the solution. Stay at home, drive less and be a spud on the divan instead of being a stud in the sedan.