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#176 2012-10-30 18:10:35

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,760
Website

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

Glandu:

I think you and I actually agree on point 3 above.  My point is that the correlation between economic troubles and fuel prices is not random.  From 1973,  decreasing toward 1978,  then even more strongly from 1979 to 1986,  fuel prices were well above the inflation-adjusted supply-and-demand level of 1.80 to $2.00 per gallon (American,  which is a different tax structure than Europe).  After 2001,  prices once again skyrocketed and have stayed above $3.00/gallon (American) since then,  except for a dip during the 2009 crash. 

The numbers are different in Europe,  but the trends are the same.  These two big price spikes are OPEC punitive pricing for the US and/or NATO getting crosswise with onbe or more OPEC members.  Remember,  all westerners are "infidels",  so it only takes one of us getting all of us hurt. 

The other smaller spikes are speculator bubbles. 

The different shape of the trends post-2001 relatrive to 1973-1986 suggests there might be an upward trend in supply-demand pricing buried underneath the punitive pricing spikes. 

Note that there was no punitive pricing spike after the Soviet (1980) or US (2002) invasions of Afghanistan.  Not an OPEC country,  no oil to speak of,  OPEC didn't care.  Note also that there was no spike-up (other than a small speculator bubble) after the 1991 US invasion of Iraq:  OPEC begged NATO to do that.  But the 2003 invasion of Iraq prompted a big one.  Most of OPEC and the rest of the world was against that one. 

You can get an inflation-adjusted price history of US regular-grade gasoline from about 1970 to the present at zfacts.com.  They will have some historical events on their graph,  but you have to spot most of these in this discussion on their graph yourself.  Again,  the numbers in Europe are different,  but the trends are identical.  European prices reflect the environmental and health costs of oil in product prices,  in the US we fund those out of taxes not collected in fuel prices. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#177 2012-11-03 01:22:18

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

Another resurrection.  Nearly 4-1/2 year from Stormrage’s last post, and all of a sudden it’s BAAACK.

I think GW is being a bit alarmist about oil, OPEC and the destiny of everything.

According to BP in 2011 oil accounted for 33% of world energy supply, down from about 40% in 1986 – 25 years earlier.   http://www.bp.com/assets/bp_internet/gl … t_2012.pdf

That’s certainly an encouraging trend, and we know many ways to continue and accelerate that trend by using more coal, natural gas and nuclear; and there might even be some small production from wind and solar.  We also know how to increase the ratio of economic activity to energy use through many different technologies such as time-of-day metering, LED and florescent lighting, plug-in hybrid technologies, more efficient vehicles, buildings and other machines and facilities, and probably a hunk of things I don't know about. 

As for OPEC, a monopolist will maximize profit by restricting supply, which will result in higher prices and marginal revenue higher than marginal cost.  A monopolist will also attempt to be a secure and reliable supplier, in part by stabilizing prices.  This will discourage any searches for alternative suppliers or technologies.  Of course, OPEC is not a monopolist, much as they might like to be, but only an oligopoly. Acting rationally, which OPEC mostly does, they will reduce the use of oil while maintaining a stable supply and price.  This hardly seems evil. 

Where in “The Wealth of Nations” is there any design by Adam Smith concerning cheap fuel?  In the 18th century the principle fuels were wood and coal, both of which are cheaper today than in the 18th century and neither of which are we in danger of exhausting.

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#178 2012-11-03 02:06:24

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

GW wrote about something called, “long-constant supply-and-demand value in a market not limited by supply.”  What on Earth, or space, is that?  I assume “value” means market price, and market price in a perfectly competitive market is the price at which marginal revenue equals marginal cost.  A monopolist will increase price by restricting supply to the point where the difference between total revenue and total cost is maximized. Marginal revenue will be higher than marginal cost.  That price, of course, depends on the elasticity of demand.  An oligopoly will restrict supply so that it is less than under a perfectly competitive market, but more than what a monopolist would enforce.  The price will also fall somewhere in between. 

All markets are always limited by supply at a price. 

As for the effects of oil prices on economic activity, here are the unemployment rates in the US and world oil prices for various years.

                     Oil
Year    Unemp   Price
1958    7.5%  $23.89
1961    7.1    21.91
1970    4.9    20.08
1971    5.9    20.43
1972    5.6    19.79
1973    4.9    24.39
1974    5.6    43.51
1975    8.5    52.11
1976    7.7    52.92
1977    7.1    54.58
1978    6.1    52.7
1979    5.8    78.73
1980    7.1    104.49
1981    7.6    90.49
1982    9.7    75.86
1983    9.5    67.12
1984    7.5    63.62
1985    7.2    57.51
1986    7.0    30.26
1987    6.2    35.9
1988    5.5    28.94
1989    5.3    33.97
1990    5.6    40.67
1991    6.8    34.09
1992    7.5    31.53
1993    6.9    26.66
1994    6.1    24.27
1995    5.6    25.26
1996    5.4    29.96
1997    4.9    26.69
1998    4.5    16.8
1999    4.2    22.79
2000    4.0    36.54
2001    4.7    29.86
2002    5.8    29.12
2003    6.0    34.6
2004    5.5    45.78
2005    5.1    58.83
2006    4.6    66.45
2007    4.6    71.03
2008    5.8    97.33
2009    9.3    57.18
2010    9.6    75.05
2011    9.0    88.93

Any pattern is difficult to discern and subject to differing interpretations.  For instance, could it be that cause and effect is confused, i.e., unemployment drives oil prices, not oil prices drive unemployment.

Last edited by bobunf (2012-11-03 02:08:34)

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#179 2012-11-03 14:20:43

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,760
Website

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

I have never understood how or why people will read more into what is written,  than what is actually written. 

I never,  never,  never said that cheap fuel is mentioned in any work by Adam Smith himself,  or in any other person's works.  I said that our western economies were "designed" by the "dead hand of Adam Smith".  That's a colorful way of saying nobody "designed" anything,  it was simply unconsciously "worked out" more-or-less at random,  under prevailing market forces.  All of our fuels for over 2 centuries have been cheap,  relative to even poor family incomes,  until shortly after 1973.  Nothing has been cheap since for very long,  and we had good times during the short interval that it was once again cheap.  We have had bad times otherwise,  ever since.

I didn't say "oil prices",  I said fuel prices,  specifically gasoline prices,  and I did say "inflation-adjusted prices".  Raw (unadjusted) data tells you very little.  Average people don't buy crude oil.  Most of them buy gasoline.  A very few buy diesel.  Whatever it is,  it is a finished fuel,  ready to use.  Everything about our economies depends upon transport of goods,  in turn dependent upon finished fuels.  I chose to look at gasoline prices over time,  because that's what most folks have to buy.  Plain common sense.  Nothing else is implied.

There is a second more recent problem with US diesel,  which is now around 30% more expensive than gasoline,  when it used to be about 10% cheaper.  This is also quite important for family budgets (especially poor folks),  because about 40% of the price of your box of corn flake cereal is diesel used in the transport of corn and finished product,  when the corn itself is only around 2-3%.  The food price spikes blamed on ethanol production were really caused by diesel fuel price hikes.  Sad,  but true.

To see the inflation-adjusted regular-grade gasoline price plot,  you can go to zfacts.com,  and get one for yourself.  It will not have the set of current events added to it that I used.  The most recent form of the version I used is posted at http://exrocketman.blogspot.com,  in an article dated 8 March 2012,  and titled "Iran,  Oil,  and Economies".  Go there,  scroll or navigate down,  and see for yourself what actually happened,  the same as I did.  All the political ideologies about what government policies might and might not do relative to economic good times versus depression turn out to be lies (surprise,  surprise!!!!).  Finished fuel prices has been the real driver since 1973.  OPEC formed as a price-fixing cartel in 1963.  US oil production peaked about 1970,  ceding “control” over prices to OPEC thereafter.  Simple as that.

Consumer fuel demand is "very inelastic",  by-and-large.  You'll find that term in a lot of business school and management textbooks.  Except for upper middle class to rich,  there is not a lot of “by-choice” driving going on out there in the US anymore.  Most folks just go to work,  to school,  and to the grocery store.  They go occasionally to the doctor when they can afford it.  Almost nobody drives all over the country for vacations anymore;  ask the national parks,  they'll confirm what I say. 

There still is no viable alternative product available to the public,   to gasoline made from oil.  Doesn't really matter why.  Effectively,  gasoline fuel is a monopoly cartel product,  whose price depends upon three things.  There is a base supply-and-demand signal,  which until around 2004, was about $1.80-$2.00/gal of gasoline,  I am pretty certain (from examining the graph),  as expressed in early 2012 dollars.  Superposed upon top of that since the beginning have been various speculator "bubbles" that spike and crash,  usually around 50 cents a gallon or less,  in 2012 dollars.  Also superposed on top of all those effects are the two OPEC punitive pricing spikes,  which are quite large,  and which were intended to crash our economies (they did).  One was from 1979 to 1986,  the other since 2003.  These are trivially easy to see from the graph,  once you “spot” the right current events upon it. 

The thing that bothers me is the distinct possibility that OPEC supply (the largest remaining on the planet) is peaking just as Chinese and Indian demand is spiking up for the next few decades.  That puts us western civilization folks into a supply-shortfall-at-any-price situation for the very first time in history.  Dangerous territory indeed,  for economies "designed" to run on cheap fuel. 

THAT was my point.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#180 2012-11-04 00:49:46

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

Sorry that I did not understand that “western civilization was ‘designed’ by the dead hand of Adam Smith to run on cheap fuel” did not refer to Adam Smith.  His phrase, by the way was “invisible hand.”  Maybe “dead hand” has some cleverness not discernible by someone as unschooled as myself.

The numbers I posted for oil prices are, in fact, inflation adjusted, a fact that I thought was clear and quite apparent from casual inspection.  The nominal price for a barrel of crude in 1958 was $3, a difference of almost an order of magnitude.  I suspect that fuel prices are closely related to crude oil prices.

I did ask the National Park Service about their attendance figures; here are the number of visits by year in millions.

2010 281
2009 286
2008 275
2007 276
2006 273
2005 274
2000 286
1995 270
1990 259
1975 239

These figures do not appear to support an assertion that “Almost nobody drives all over the country for vacations anymore.”  Also, there is total miles driven (in billions):

2008 2,974
2007 3,032
2006 3,014
2005 2,989
2000 2,747
1995 2,423
1900 2,144
1975 1,328

These figures do not appear to support an assertion that “there is not a lot of ‘by-choice’ driving going on out there in the US anymore.”

In addition, it is relatively easy for most US families to greatly decrease their usage of gasoline.  From 1980 to 2009 the distance per unit of fuel in the US increased by about 50%,  Small hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, more than double this distance per unit of fuel as of 2009.  Plug-in hybrids have the potential to more than triple distance traveled per unit of fuel – reducing fuel consumption per unit of distance by about 90%.  All electric, natural gas and bio-fuel vehicles will also decrease the consumption of oil.

About 60% of all vehicles are scrapped every ten years in the US; virtually the entire fleet is replaced every 20 years.  The speed of that replacement could be increased with modest expense and very little inconvenience. 

Soo – twenty years to reduce the use of oil for transportation by 90%+ with no pain, no fuss.  This does not seem like a big crisis, but, rather, a minor technical challenger.

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#181 2012-11-04 10:48:03

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,760
Website

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

Raw data is deceptive,  as I said.  US population grew by about 50% between 1975 and 2010,  from near 200 million to over 300 million.  Normalize your park visit numbers by population to get a percentage of the population visiting the parks.  You will see the recent dip with the great recession. 

Our only hope to stop exporting ever-larger amounts of cash for foreign oil is a two-pronged strategy.  We need higher-mileage vehicles,  as you say.  We also need more domestic production of fuels.  The problem with domestic production of oil is price:  we don't set it,  OPEC does.  Even if we went to all-North American sources and bought nothing from OPEC (Mexico is OPEC,  B.T.W.),  that would not affect its market price by any material amount.  The way out of that dilemma is fuels made from something other than oil.  We've been screwing around instead of doing that,  for over 40 years now.  It's a bit late to be starting.  But better late than never,  I guess. 

I know about the Prius,  we have one.  We have some far older vehicles,  too.  Everything I drive on the street (and all my lawn and garden equipment) runs totally unmodified on an E-30 to E-35 blend,  made from the E-10 that is today's regular,  and E-85 where it is available,  splash-blended in the tank at the pump.  That's about a 1/3 reduction in petroleum fuel usage by this family.  I've been doing this for 7 years now,  ever since E-85 first became available in this area. 

The 220,000-original-miles-on-it catalytic converter in my '98 Sentra shows a check-engine / cat-converter-not-working code whenever I have to drive that vehicle on plain gasoline.  That light goes out about a week after I use E-30+ blend again.  It takes about that long for the solvent action of the alcohol to clean the accumulated soot off the cat converter bed.  It's soot buildup that kills cat converters,  you know. 

My 1944 Farmall-H tractor has run on straight E-85 for 7 years now.  I did the conversions myself,  they were very simple.  That old corroded steel gas tank is now sparkling clean inside,  something the "corrosive ethanol" was not supposed to do.  All I know is that it runs cleaner,  more powerfully,  and with less degradation in its lube oil,  than it ever did on gasoline.  And its petroleum use has been reduced by 85%. 

That being said,  we need ethanol not-from-food crops.  Food vs fuel is a stupid thing to perpetuate,  although we had to start with what we knew how to do.  I have great hopes for cellulosic ethanol,  although it's "not there yet".  There is also ethanol fermented directly from spoiled grocery store produce,  something that should be about as easy and efficient as sugar cane.  Nobody seems to be doing that yet.  In fact,  Texas has a law against using spoiled produce that way.  How stupid is that?

We need the other alternatives too.  Things like "grassoline",  etc.  Biodiesel can play a role in both trucks and turbine aircraft,  too.  You just have to get away from the food-vs-fuel dilemma,  which is where we had to start. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#182 2012-11-05 01:03:27

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

From 1975 to 2010 visits to the National Parks grew by 22%.  The European-White population under the age of 80 and over the age of 4 grew 17% from 157 million to 183 million.  For many reasons, known and unknown, Blacks, Latinos (tens of millions of whom were, and in many cases still are, undocumented, a condition which does not encourage extensive travel), Native Americans, Asians, people under the age of 5 or over the age of 80 are considerably less likely to visit National Parks.

These facts may explain the relatively slow growth of National Park use.  There may be other sociological explanations which may be related to the general decline in participation in voluntary organizations such as archaeological societies and travel clubs.   

In any case population growth does not explain the huge jump in passenger miles traveled in the US; 122 % increase from 1975 to 2008 while total population grew by only 41%.

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#183 2012-11-05 12:59:50

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

GW, I think your concerns about OPEC, importing oil, and the urgency of finding a replacement for oil are all misplaced. 

Start with OPEC; they have around a 40% share of the crude oil market.  You cannot set prices with a 40% market share, but even then, there are three other issues:

1.  OPEC is not monolithic. Getting twelve countries to agree, and more importantly abide by, any strategy on a long term basis must be an unenviable, if not impossible, challenge.  Especially involving countries with such diverse and competing interests as Iran and Qatar or Algeria and Kuwait or the UAE and Venezuela. By the way, looking over OPEC roster of membership, I see twelve countries; Mexico is not included.

2.  There are substitutes for crude oil that are currently in widespread use and whose use can be, and is being, broadly expanded: natural gas, bio-fuels and electricity generated from coal, nuclear, natural gas and numerous other non-oil sources.  The 1986 to 2011 seven point decrease (from 40% to 33%) in oil’s worldwide share of energy use is a demonstration of those substitutions in the last 25 years. 

3.  The elasticity of demand for oil and its substitutes is not zero.  Increases and decreases in efficiency and conservation are all affected by price, which also means that price is affected by these factors.  The possibilities of these factors are illustrated in the US by the  50% increase in distance traveled per unit of fuel in 29 years - from 1980 to 2009 – with technologies in place to increase that distance by a factor of three in the next 20 years. 

Then there’s the issue of oil imports.  I’m always amused at the earnestness and urgency with which producing more oil domestically is advocated – the “drain America first” strategy.  Look at Japan; they have virtually no oil, but they do have the largest economy in the world after the US and China, which have populations and land areas an order or magnitude larger.  Still, US oil imports have been steadily DECLINING for years:

US oil imports in millions of barrels

2004 3,821
2005 3,755
2006 3,734
2007 3,691
2008 3,591
2009 3,315
2010 3,377
2011 3,322

Down 13% in 7 years, now at their lowest level since 1999, even with a 12% increase in population.  And more than half the oil imports are from the Western Hemisphere. 

Lastly, the urgency of replacing oil.  There are three reasons to reduce the use of oil. 

1.  Most important is the effect on the climate.  Unfortunately this applies to all fossil fuels and the problem is much broader than just oil.  Natural gas produces about half the CO2 and other pollutants compared to oil, and can play a very significant role in reducing the effects of fossil fuels.  Nuclear produces essentially no pollutants and its role really can and must be greatly expanded.  All of the wind, solar, geothermal, tides, waves, bio-fuels, etc. will not make much more than a minor contribution over the next 50 years or so; efficiency improvements and conservation will play much more significant roles.

2.  A large amount of oil is located in politically unstable regions.  The oil makes these areas more significant and provides the resources for trouble makers to make trouble. 

3.  The unstable locations of a lot of oil, rising demand for energy and stable, or, perhaps, declining production of oil may make for large price increases and instabilities.  A large violent conflict in the Middle East, for instance, could result in devastating economic problems.  Shielding strategies against these possibilities are important and necessary, and will generally rely on replacing oil with something less volatile, and, hopefully, cheaper and more environmentally friendly.  The strategic petroleum reserve is another shielding strategy. 

The world is clearly moving in the direction of less reliance on oil; perhaps slower than one would like, but definitely moving.  The technologies to greatly reduce the use of oil are widely used and expandable fairly easily, and there are many new possibilities on the horizon. 

Faster might be better.  On the other hand, we can expect technologies to continue to improve, which means that making these changes slowly will ultimately result in better technologies being deployed. 

We're making progress, so don't sweat it so much.

And, besides all that, our species has increasing amounts of food available per person, and that increase has occurred mostly in the developing countries, indicating a more equal distribution of food amongst humans. Life expectancies world wide are rising and civil liberties are improving.  These are all amazing accomplishments. 

Better nutrition, better brains, longer lives, more opportunities and potential for billions of humans. And we're working on this oil problem.

THREE CHEERS FOR US!   WE'RE DOING GREAT!

Last edited by bobunf (2012-11-05 13:03:43)

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#184 2012-11-06 16:39:40

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,760
Website

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

I thought OPEC was over 50% of the world's oil,  close to 2/3 of it not many years ago is what I remember.  Nobody truly controls prices entirely,  outside of a monopoly or oligopoly,  but he who has the lion's share of the product has the lion's share of influence over its price.  That would be true even at 40% share for OPEC oil.  I see decreasing stability throughout the middle east in perpetuity now.  I don't see much possibility for stability in Mexico or Venezuela,  not for a long,  long time.  Russia (not OPEC,  but might as well be) has a lot of oil,  but still has difficulties extracting it,  and problems with regional political instabilities (like Chechnya). 

There are only two approaches to using less oil for transportation fuel:  raise fuel mileage and use something else.  We have improvements we could still make in fuel efficiency,  but I rather doubt we'll obtain anything super dramatic,  like factor-3+ items.  As for alternatives to oil,  they are still too hung up in money politics to become mature and help a whole lot.  Where I live,  McLennan County (Texas) is a square roughly 30 miles on a side.  That's 900 square miles of territory.  In all of that,  there is but one single filling station selling E-85 from one single pump,  and nobody selling any biodiesel at all.  Availability of these things is just not very good yet.  And that's after over 30 year's effort (arbitrarily dating from the establishment of DOE-NREL about 1980). 

As for electric vehicles,  we still lack a decent battery,  although there are some promising laboratory items.  If these work at all (not a trivial question),  they usually take 20-40 years to reach a significant market share,  based on past experiences.    You can speed that up by tilting the "playing field" with subsidies and tax consequences,  but that's been rather politically unpopular in recent years,  excepting petroleum,  which still retains its massive start-up subsidies after over 150 years of existence.  The best we have with electrics right now is the series ("plug-in") hybrid,  which runs all-electric over short ranges and burns fuel over long ranges.  The Chevy Volt is the first of these that I know have hit the market.  I'm not sure Toyota yet offers a Prius like that;  mine is a parallel hybrid,  with a very small battery and no all-electric operation capability other than crossing a parking lot at walking speed.  Time will tell whether Chevy "did it right".  (It can be done right,  that series hybrid propulsion has been in diesel locomotives since 1933,  and diesel submarines since about 1919).

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#185 2012-11-07 17:59:13

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Performance and Specs

Specs
1.8-Liter 4-Cylinder ECVT Hybrid
Prius Plug-in Hybrid Advanced
1.8-Liter 4-Cylinder ECVT Hybrid

MPG and other
Mileage estimates - mpge Hybrid Mode mpg 95/50       
Maximum EV Mode 11 mi.       
Charging Time - 120V 240V ~3 hrs/~1.5 hrs           

The Prius Plug-in was at participating dealers starting March 2012 in 15 launch states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. Availability will open up to all other states in 2013.

So, we have not only the plug-in Volt, but also the plug-in Prius.

Most insurance losses are organized in what’s called a log-normal distribution, a very skewed probability distribution. Things that behave like insurance losses are hugely diverse, extraordinary and astonishing:

 signal losses of WiFi networks
 concentration of elements in the Earth’s crust
 time from infection to first symptoms of infectious diseases
 size of clouds and rainfall
 survival time after cancer diagnosis
 size of crystals in ice cream
 length of spoken words in phone conversations
 farm size

And, the distances that people drive. 

According to the 2001 National Household Travel Survey, there were about 760 billion miles of long distance vehicle trips--defined as trips of 50 miles or more from home to the farthest destination.  There were about 2298 billion vehicle miles of “daily trips” including commuting, shopping, school, restaurants, entertainment and health care. Trips of under 50 miles account for 75% of all travel in personal vehicles.
           
To break it down a little further, here’s a chart of how far people commute (according to the American Housing Survey of the Census Bureau):
   
Distance From       Percent     Cumulative
Home to Work        of Trips         Percent
Less than 1 mile      4%    4%
1 to 4 miles             21%    25%
5 to 9 miles             22%    47%
10 to 19 miles         29%    76%
20 to 29 miles         13%    89%
30 to 49 miles         9%    98%
50 miles or more     2%    100%

Other “daily trips” (for shopping, school, restaurants, entertainment, health care, etc.) follow the same kind of pattern with the difference that the average trip is shorter, and the percentage of trips over 9 miles is considerably less than the 53% for commuting to work. 

Statistics like this make the completely unrealistic assumption that people do not do multiple things (like stopping at the store on the way home from work).  Which means we can only use such numbers to get a rough idea of what’s going on. 

But a rough idea is better than none at all, and the data suggest that, even if the range of plugin hybrids were only 9 miles, 47% of the people would get to work using no gas, and a higher  percentage would use no gas for shopping, school, restaurants, entertainment and health care trips. With a 9 mile hybrid electric range and widely available plug ins, gasoline usage for  “daily trips” would be reduced by more than 69%, because 47% of commuting trips are less than 9 miles (a higher percentage for other trips), and, for longer daily trips, applying a deductible of 9 miles before gas usage starts would eliminate more than 22% (15+4+2) of the gas usage for these commuting trips and even more for other trips.

Gasoline consumption for 75% of the total personal vehicle miles driven would be reduced by more than 69%.  The other 25% of personal vehicle miles driven involve trips of more than 50 miles, but even these would be subject to the “deductible” of the first 9 miles of battery-electric operation.  Overall gas consumption would decrease by more than half  (.69*.75).  Toyotas assertion that the MPGE is 95 miles supports this calculation, and is perhaps derived from a similar assumptions.

But these vehicles in gasoline mode, running as standard hybrids, already get more than double the distance per unit of fuel as the average US automobile.  Fuel use would be reduced by half and then by half again, or about 75%. 

The Chevy Volt has a claimed range of from 25 to 50 miles on a charge. If the actual range were, say, 30 miles, the reduction in gasoline usage would approach 90%.

This seems pretty dramatic to me.

Last edited by bobunf (2012-11-08 10:06:22)

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#186 2012-11-08 10:32:19

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

GW wrote, “I don't see much possibility for stability in Mexico or Venezuela, not for a long,  long time.”

I don’t believe this statement has any relation to reality, at least with respect to Mexico, a country that has existed as a stable, peaceful, reasonably democratic state since 1921, excepting only the relatively minor clerical conflicts (the “Cristeros War”) that ended in 1929.  The current drug conflicts do not affect the stability of the government and will be resolved with new policies withdrawing support for the US’s absurd drug war.

The Economist’s political instability index for 2009-10 has Mexico at 6.1.  There are 78 countries in the world with higher instability indexes including Turkey, Russia and Greece.  The US is 5.3 and ranks number 110.

Venezuela’s index is 7.3 and ranks number 29.

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#187 2012-11-09 10:39:09

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,760
Website

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

There are bullets spraying across the border into at least 3 Texas towns across the Rio Grande from 3 big Mexican towns.  The druggies seem to be more heavily armed than the police.  If that's not a threat to at least local and regional government in Mexico,  then I don't know what is a threat to anything.  That violence drives a significant fraction of the illegal immigration.  We're still in a "main-street" economic depression up here,  and everybody around the world knows it.  It's in some large part the drug-related violence that drives the impetus to cross the border.  With a depression up here,  why else would they even want to come?

As for Venezuela,  they're at risk of the most idiotic things,  even going to war with whoever they can reach,  as long as that idiot popinjay Hugo Chavez stays in control.  He borders on the irrational,  and from the wrong side of it. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#188 2012-11-09 17:15:20

bobunf
Member
From: Phoenix, AZ
Registered: 2005-11-21
Posts: 223

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

Perhaps you could quantify the number of bullets "spraying?"  You do know that migration from Mexico into the US is now negative? 

The drug nonsense is in the gradual process of resolution as the Mexican quit helping us with our insanity, and even Americans gradually give up; there are 18 states and DC which have legal medical marijuana, and now two that have just plain legal marijuana: Colorado and Washington.  That trend will grow, expand and eventually prevail. 

As for Venezuela, I'm not aware that Venezuela has ever invaded another country since its independence in the early 19th century.  I'm not aware of any significant military conflict that it's had with any other country since independence.  Chavez may be dying of cancer, and his death or incapacity may produce some problems over succession, but a history of nearly two hundred years of peace with its neighbors means something. 

Chavez doesn't like the US and does what he can to inconvenience us, which does not make him an idiot, a popinjay or irrational.

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#189 2019-06-30 09:06:43

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,796

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

Wow seems like it was yesterday that on another forum the fuel costs for local were being tracked to see the difference in cost for the gallon of gas at the pump. Those which have a refinery in the area have the lowest while those which must have it trucked in have some of the highest.

Current pump cost for regular is $2.56 up from earlier in the spring of only $2.30 or so....

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#190 2019-12-09 20:19:18

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 17,796

Re: Current Gasoline/Petrol Price$

The pipeline has sprung a leak of 2 but its this that we do not want on the roads and rails as Canadian Pacific Crude Train Derails, Catches Fire in Saskatchewan

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