Tag Archives: oil

Map of coal and oil-fired power plants in the United States

In 2010, coal-fired power plants represented 45% of the electricity generated in the United States and oil a smaller amount, 1%. Combined together they are the dominant air polluters and facing tough new restrictions from the EPA.

Unfortunately, they have a few years to clean-up and that doesn’t help if you live in one of the toxic twenty states. Visit the previous link to see how your state compares, or scan this map to see if any of the polluting power plants are close to you.

 

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Why do experts always lowball clean energy projections?

Last month, Michael Noble of Fresh Energy put up a fascinating list of projections made by energy experts around 2000 or so. Suffice to say, the projections did not fare well. They were badly wrong…

What should we take from this?

The projections weren’t just off, they were way off. You can find similarly poor projections from the ’70s that underestimate the spread of energy efficiency and other demand-side technology solutions (They thought they were going to need hundreds of nuclear plants). Similarly terrible projections were also common in the early years of cell phones.

What do cell phones, energy efficiency, and renewable energy have in common? One, they are dynamic areas of technology development and market competition, which makes straight-line projections pretty useless. And two, they are distributed, with millions of loosely networked people and organizations working on them in parallel. Distributed, human-scale technologies come in small increments. They replicate quickly, so there’s more variation and competitive selection, and thus more evolution.

 

Keep reading: Grist - Why do ‘experts’ always lowball clean-energy projections?

 

 

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Gas prices have peaked – $3.70+ is the new normal

This year’s surge in gasoline prices appears over, falling short of the record highs some had feared heading into peak summer driving season.

Prices have held at a national average of $3.92 a gallon the past week, below 2011′s $3.99 high and July 2008′s record $4.11.

“By the behavior of the market, things are just running out of steam,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for price tracker gasbuddy.com. “Barring any major event — refinery problems, Iran — I think prices have peaked.”

DeHaan said the national average could dip to $3.70 a gallon by early May.

via USA Today

 

High in national average each year.

Debate over oil subsidies – Senators voting to protect them received on average 4x more contributions

The debate goes much deeper than who received money, but these numbers are still important:

In a 51-47 vote, 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil. Although a majority voted for Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill, it fell short of the 60 needed. The only two Republicans to break rank were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

A Think Progress Green analysis shows:

  • The 47 senators voting against the bill have received $23,582,500 in career contributions from oil and gas. The 51 senators voting to repeal oil tax breaks have received $5,873,600.

Democrats who joined the Republicans in defeating the bill include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Jim Webb (D-VA).

The oil industry also spent over $146,000,000 on lobbying last year.

55 percent of Americans want to see the subsidies stopped.

via Think Progress Green

 

Thx to Justin Bacon

Oil fact – 99% of U.S. electricity generation does NOT come from oil

Transportation, not electricity, is the source of oil’s importance: since the 1970s, the U.S. has weaned its power sector off of oil. Today only one percent of U.S. electricity is generated from oil and only one percent of U.S. oil demand is due to electricity generation. Thus expansion of electricity generation from solar, wind, nuclear, and other power sources will not serve to displace oil in any perceptible manner. Plug in an electric vehicle today and 99% of the electricity its battery is charged with will not be generated from oil.

via United States Energy Security Council

 

Thx to Steven Witt

 

Keep reading - California launches a statewide network of charging stations for electric vehicles

You want lower gas prices – here is what it takes

The U.S. Navy is upgrading its defensive and offensive capabilities in the Persian Gulf to counter threats from Iran to seize the Strait of Hormuz and block the flow of oil, the chief of naval operations said Friday.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert told reporters in Washington that the Navy will add four more mine-sweeping ships and four more CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters with mine-detection capability. The Navy is also sending more underwater unmanned mine-neutralization units to the region.

Greenert said he plans to assign more  patrol craft to the gulf, possibly armed with Mark 38 Gatling guns.

The narrow Strait of Hormuz is a key transit way for oil tankers. Any closure of the strait could send oil prices skyrocketing, officials say.

via World Now – LA Times

 

Makes riding a bike for those “70 percent of Americans’ car trips are less than two miles long,” seem like a better idea.

Gasoline use drops to 2001 levels – recent data shows

The following chart shows U.S. petroleum and gasoline usage for the same three-month period (Dec-Feb) going back to 1992.

Note that petroleum usage is back to 1995 levels, and gasoline usage is back to 2001.

Chart via Global Economic Analysis - (thx to Steven Witt for the tip)

 

This graph highlights a continuing U.S. trend where oil imports have also dropped to 13 year lows, and we are importing less than half of our oil.

The Oil Industry – the most developed world industry, twice the size of the food industry

In 1950, the United States was the only country with a well developed oil industry. Today, the energy sector as a whole is the largest industry in the world and accounts for over $3 trillion dollars in annual sales. The second largest global industry, food, accounts for $1.7 trillion. Between 1950 and 1973 the world oil industry grew 9-fold – a rate of increase of 10% per year, sustained over a period of 20 years. During that time period, the world produced over 2.5 billion new motor vehicles, half of which in the United States.

The world demand for oil has multiplied from 11 million barrels per day (mbd) in 1950, to 57 mbd in 1970, to almost 80 mbd today. The United States consumes 20.7 mbd, which is the most of any nation and equals the consumption of the next 5 largest national consumers (China, Japan, Germany, Russia and India). World demand has recently grown as the economies of China (6.5 mbd) and India (2.3 mbd) have developed, but the United States remains the largest consumer.

The five largest producers of oil are Saudi Arabia (10.37 mbd), Russia (9.27), United States (8.69), Iran (4.09) and Mexico (3.86). Proven oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East (60%).

via Joseph Coton Wright at Berkeley