Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson Blows $20,000 on Self Portrait.
The good mayor of Salt Lake City found it in heart to waste $20,000 in taxpayer funds to have his portrait done. Many of Salt Lake's mayors have commissioned paintings in their final year. Former Mayor Deedee Corradini plunked down $15,000. I guess this is a way to justify that $4.6 million dollar property-tax hike that everyone is oh so pleased with. Read All About It.
I just hope it is a portrait of Rocky with his look of just home from his trip to the Taliban Summer Training Camp. Thanks for wasting the money..
Monday, May 08, 2006
Do You Ever Feel Like Oil Companies Aren't Telling Us the Truth?
I recently hit a new high mark for anger when I filled up my jeep with gas and the pump read $50 for 15 gallons of gas. Are you serious? $50 for one tank? Can't anything be done? Nothing if we listen to big oil and their paid staff of Congress. That all sounds good but Brazil is now free from the bonds of Big Oil Profits and have provided a blueprint map how the US of A could become self-sufficient. Unfortunately Big Oil Profits are trying to keep ethanol in the closet.
According to American Petroleum Institute: API.org
"Ten of the 12 largest oil companies in the world are controlled by foreign governments, and only one of the two investor-owned companies in that top 12 - ExxonMobil - is American. Based on potential oil and gas reserves - resources essential for future operations - only one of the 16 largest oil companies in the world is American. Most of the others are national oil companies owned by foreign governments. Nearly 80 percent of the world's reserves are owned by these national oil companies and a mere 6 percent are owned by investor-owned companies."
Translation: Exxon Mobile is a Monopoly in America.
The Ethanol Solution by Dan Rather 60 Minutes
"You might have noticed at your local gas station that ethanol is already in the fuel. In some places, it's 10 percent ethanol. Oil companies add some ethanol to gas because it boosts octane. But using ethanol as an additive won't replace much foreign oil, unless Americans switch to what's called "E85" - 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas."
Yes it is true that not all cars are equiped to use E85 but 5 million are designed to run as dual fuel meaning they will run on anything from pure gasoline to E85 and are designed to auto detect. Many more are easily converted for several hundred dollars.
"And ethanol isn't new to the auto business: the first Model T's ran on it."
"'I think what we like about ethanol, in this case is that there are things that we can really do right now. It doesn't require massive technology breakthroughs, and it does legitimately reduce the amount of oil the country has to import,' says Rick Wagoner President of General Motors and who was head of GM in Brazil during the transition. "
What about the Ability to produce E85
Ethanol is produced by corn or it can be produced by celios or plant fiber so any agriculture waste, prairie grass or wood chips can produce it.
"From New Jersey to California, about 300 ethanol plants are in operation, or on the drawing boards. By 2012, the government expects processors to make 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol a year. That's only drop in the American oil bucket, since the country uses 140 billion gallons of gasoline a year. "
"But Professor Kammen at Berkeley says it's a good first step. "Ethanol provides a wonderful short-term option because we can use corn today to make it, and have significant savings in terms of off-setting gasoline, and modest savings on a greenhouse gas level," he says. "The big plus is it's available today, so we could make this transition starting tomorrow, if we wanted."
"Oil industry executives, taking heat from Congress over their multi-billion-dollar record profits, favor a different approach. They want to spend billions find to new sources of oil, which is more expensive to produce, instead of switching over to E85."
"Red Cavaney, the head of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry's trade association, says it's not the oil and gas companies who are going to make the investment in order to sell E85."
"He estimates it will cost up to $200,000 to bring E-85 to each station - and the people who own the stations, he says, would have to foot the bill."
"But, while oil companies own only a fraction of the nation's gas stations, they have a huge influence over what's sold at most of them - and for how much."
Check this Crap Out
"It's my understanding that the petroleum industry in general says "ethanol - fine," but not in favor or E85. Is that true?" Rather asked.
"No, that's not correct," Cavaney replied. "The six largest refiners said that they support the E85 in their facilities as long as the mixture arrives and meets the government specifications for that. But we must understand that the market is exceptionally limited."
Nice marketing touch...
"Why shouldn't I think, well, this is just a way for the oil companies to slow or snuff out the growth of ethanol, and other alternatives?" Rather asked.
"We think we've shown that we're strong supporters for ethanol where it's appropriate," Cavaney answered.
"But what the oil industry considers "appropriate" is limiting ethanol to an additive and not moving quickly to something like E-85. "
I like this limit the alternative. We demand a free market economy but if the free market will remove huge record profits we don't want it.
"What we don't wanna do is over-promise to the American public what can be done with these alternative fuels, and then under-deliver," says Cavaney. This is why you should tell the truth. I am pretty sure that America would vote for a change from outrageous oil to ethanol.
API wrote all of Congress a little letter blaming ethanol for a spike in price. But maybe that isn't the truth. because Oil companies are not being forced to abandon MTBE - they are doing so by choice.
"MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) is a gasoline additive produced by the oil industry to increase octane and help fuel burn more cleanly. Because MTBE makers were not granted the liability protection they wanted in the energy bill (Energy Policy Act of 2005), they are abandoning MTBE sooner rather than later." From Ethanol.org What the. big oil is already making the switch?
"But some states, like California, are already moving to deliver E-85 to more gas stations by helping pay the cost of adding the E-85 pumps. Professor Kammen from Berkeley says the process would be a lot less expensive than the oil industry's estimate of $200,000 per station, and wouldn't take that long."
"The transition is pretty easy. It looks like its $30,000 to $40,000 per gas station to change over and have ethanol-dedicated pumps," he says.
"Are we talking three years? Five years? 20 years?" Rather asked.
"I think it's less than that, actually." Kammen replied. "I would bet that we will have enough ethanol stations within two to three years' time, at most. The reason is that the transition is so easy. That doing the retrofit to have ethanol pumps available can be done in a matter of weeks."
Move Over, Gasoline: Here Come Biofuels by the National Resource Defense Fund. Ok they are usually commie bastards but maybe they are right on this issue.
Clean-burning biofuels, made from plant materials, will power the cars of the future.
"Biofuels can slash global warming pollution. By 2050, biofuels -- especially those known as cellulosic biofuels -- could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 billion tons per year. That's equal to more than 80 percent of current transportation-related emissions.
Biofuels can be cost competitive with gasoline and diesel. By 2015, we could produce biofuels at costs equal to between $0.59 and $0.91 per gallon of gasoline, and $0.86 per gallon of diesel. These prices are competitive with average wholesale prices over the last four years -- $0.91 per gallon for gasoline and $0.85 per gallon for diesel.
Biofuels will provide a major new source of revenue for farmers. At $40 per dry ton, farmers growing 200 million tons of biomass in 2025 would make a profit of $5.1 billion per year. And that's just the beginning. Experts believe that farmers could produce six times that amount by 2050.
Biofuels can provide major air quality benefits. Biofuels contain no sulfur and produce low carbon monoxide, particulate and toxic emissions. Using biofuels should make it easier to reach air pollution reduction targets than using petroleum-based fuels.
Biofuels offer major land-use benefits. Switchgrass, a promising source of cellulosic biofuel, is a native, perennial prairie grass that has low nitrogen runoff, very low erosion, and increased soil carbon, and also provides good wildlife habitat."
New Gasoline Study Shows Profits, Not Crude Oil Prices Or Ethanol, Are Driving Pump Price Spike by The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
Increases in the "spot" market price of crude oil -- which is the highest price a major oil company would pay for crude oil -- accounted for only 12 cents per gallon. California's percentage sales tax increased fuel prices by another four cents per gallon. More than 40 cents of the 60-cent increase in gasoline prices over 3 1/2 months is attributable to increased refinery and marketing profit margins for the oil companies;
Neither the MTBE phase-out nor the substitution of ethanol is a serious part of the increase. If the MTBE phase-out or ethanol blending specifically increased costs for oil companies in California, other states in the West using conventional unblended gasoline should be much less affected. Yet Washington State, which uses only conventional gasoline and has similar refinery capacity and crude oil sources, mirrored California's increase;
The profit increase of 42 cents, on top of record profits last year, means California gasoline will cost consumers approximately $546 million more in April 2006 than in April of last year.
"While oil companies continue to blame crude oil prices and ethanol additives for the recent gasoline price spikes in California, the chief cause is increased profiteering by oil companies that have previously posted world record profits," said Hamilton.
"Oil companies are opportunistically using the rising world price for crude oil as an excuse to excessively raise gasoline prices and pump up their profits, even though the spot market price for crude has gone up far more slowly than gasoline prices," said FTCR President Jamie Court. "In addition, the spot price is higher than most oil companies pay, since they either harvest their own crude or pay more stable and often much lower contract prices."
Here is an interesting quote from Dateline NBC
Stone Phillips speaking with Ethanol Evangelist Vinod Khosla the founder of Sun Microsystems.
"He may be man of vision but Khosla's under no illusions about the resistance ethanol faces back home from big oil.
Some oil companies have complained that putting ethanol at their stations would require costly and complicated changes to their trucks, tanks and pumps.
Phillips: How much of a burden will that put on oil companies to start distributing ethanol? To dedicate a pump to ethanol? I mean what about trucks? What about their holding tanks?
Khosla: In most cases, the same holding tanks can be used. The same trucks can be used to transport the ethanol. There are logistics problems to be solved, to be sure, but it's not a difficult transition. I've looked at all the issues they raise. In fact, most of them are bogus.
As for the expense, Khosla estimates it would cost about $15 to 20 million to offer ethanol pumps at a thousand gas stations in California.
Khosla: $15 to 20 million dollars. Exxon alone made 36 billion dollars last year.
But Khosla, who's invested millions of his own money in companies working on ethanol technology, says government must play a role as well, by requiring that gas stations everywhere offer ethanol, that all new cars be flex-fuel, and that oil companies play fair.
Khosla: We need to make sure that the major oil companies don't manipulate the price of oil enough to drive ethanol out of business.
Phillips: Do you believe oil companies would deliberately drop the price of oil?
Khosla: Absolutely. A senior executive of a major oil company came up to me and said, "Be careful." In a very warning tone he said, "Be careful, we can drop the price of gasoline."
The battle to bring ethanol to your neighborhood pump is just beginning, but Vinod Khosla is confident that time and technology are on his side.
Phillips: What do you say to skeptics, who say, you're a money maker, you're an investor and what you're trying to do here is to drum up support and governmental help to make sure your investment pays off?
Khosla: Well, I am in the business of investing. But in fact, this has become a mission for me: to get the message out of how simple it is to get independent of petroleum. In fact, my mission now is to put the fossil in fossil fuels. "
Is Ethanol the panacea of all are problems? Maybe but it sure looks promisign and it definitely could spell relief for consumers who have had enough of record breaking profits and $3.00+ a gallon price at the pump. Competition drives innovation and the lowering of costs. These are basic free market principles at work some how everyone but the angry public has forgotten this principle
I am not a conspircy fanatic but it seems that the oil industry has found a way to manipulate prices by restricting the production of gas. Big oil has driven up prices through speculation on the free market and also have limited production on the refining side to boost profits. If this isn't price fixing I am not sure what it is.
So what about a nice windfall tax that we could reinvest into the Ethanol industry?