Peak Oil? What Peak Oil? US Could Be Top Oil Producer This Year

The U.S. could become the largest producer of oil this year, seven years earlier than expected, a recently published BP report predicts. In less than 20 years, it will be 99 percent self-sufficient in net energy. …

Prior to the BP report, it was thought that the U.S. would lead oil production only by 2020. The fact that we’re already there is a reflection of the rapid pace of the shale energy boom.

We are now speeding into the arms of a world that has a lot going for it compared to the old one. The American economy could soon be sitting pretty on a heap of new energy industry jobs and on the new revenues that will inevitably flow from natural gas exports.

It’s unlike me to be optimistic. However, this does sound good. Via US Could Be Top Oil Producer This Year | Via Meadia.

Whoops—’Cash for Clunkers’ Actually Hurt the Environment

Back in 2009, President Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program was supposed to be a boon for the environment and the economy. During a limited time, consumers could trade in an old gas-guzzling used car for up to $4,500 cash back towards the purchase of a fuel-efficient new car. It seemed like a win for everyone: the environment, the gasping auto industry and cash-strapped consumers.

Though almost a million people poured into car dealerships eager to exchange their old jalopies for something shiny and new, recent reports indicate the entire program may have actually hurt the environment far more than it helped.

According to E Magazine, the “Clunkers” program, which is officially known as the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS), produced tons of unnecessary waste while doing little to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

via Whoops—’Cash for Clunkers’ Actually Hurt the Environment – Yahoo! News.

CBO: Electric Cars Are A Waste Of Money

CBO concluded: The tax credits would still need to be about 50 percent higher than they are now to fully offset the higher lifetime costs of an all-electric vehicle.

I know that someone is thinking that gas prices are going up, and when they do, electric cars will prove to be a smart thing. I’m not so sure. The CBO provided a breakeven on this line of thinking. If gas prices go north of $6, electric starts to make sense. When gas goes to $10, all of the vehicles break even to conventional autos. The problem I have with this line of reasoning is that if gas were to go to $8, the US economy (and the rest of the world) would come to an economic halt. In that environment a fellow would be grinning if he had an electric car, but he would probably be out of work, and most of the stores he would want to drive to would be closed.  What good does the electric car create for him if things go very bad? Not much.

via CBO: Electric Cars Are A Waste Of Money – Business Insider.

The Disastrous Failure of Corn-Based Ethanol

In the United States, almost all ethanol is made from corn. This means that the sugars in the corn must be fermented, distilled, and dehydrated in order to produce ethanol fuel (ethyl alcohol).

A major downside of producing corn ethanol is the amount of energy required: Ethanol made from corn returns only 25% more energy than is consumed to make it. …

Basic chemistry dictates that gallon for gallon, burning ethanol produces only 2/3 as much energy as burning gasoline. …

This means that the efficiency of E15, measured in miles per gallon, can never exceed 95% of the efficiency of regular gasoline. In actuality, it tends to be far lower. …

Ethanol releases 19% more carbon dioxide than gasoline. For those who believe that human-produced carbon dioxide plays a role in global climate change, this is not a good statistic.

… Given the 21 pounds of corn required to produce one gallon of ethanol, that’s almost 2500 gallons of water used, not including water in the distillation stage. So when filling their gas tanks, most Americans now indirectly consume over 2500 gallons of water. …

A careful look into the ethanol question in the US leaves one wondering why this trillion dollar industry even exists. Is it attributable to Crony Capitalism?

“Is it attributable to corny capitalism?” Yes. Thanks, Al Gore. Via Blighted harvest: The American corn ethanol disaster | Washington Times Communities.

Rising food prices are the result of rising oil prices, not a growing market for ethanol

There may well be hunger among the world’s poorest this year, but not because of the U.S. corn ethanol program. Rather, the threat comes from high oil prices, which at $100 per barrel will place a tax on the U.S. economy of $800 billion per year, and $3,200 billion on the world economy as a whole. This will raise the price of all goods and slow down the world economy, thereby throwing millions of people out of work and leaving them without income to buy food. According to a Merrill Lynch analysis, if not for the world’s ethanol programs (of which U.S. production represents about a third), global oil prices would be 15 percent higher than they are, thereby placing an additional $480 billion impost on the world economy.

The problem is not that we are producing too much alcohol to compete against oil, but that we are not producing enough.

via Pajamas Media » Why It’s Wrong to Agree with the Malthusians about Ethanol.