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By Robert Rapier on Jan 8, 2007 with no responses

GM Revives the Electric Car

Years after GM killed the electric car, they are bringing it back. They introduced a new electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this weekend. Here is what the car looks like: GM’s New Chevrolet Volt The only problem is that they still haven’t invented the battery that will run it. This is expected to come in 2010 or 2012. Forbes recently wrote an article on the car. Some excerpts, explaining why this is an improvement over GM’s earlier efforts: The Chevy Volt is driven by electric motors powered by lithium-ion batteries that are charged by plugging the vehicle into a standard 110-volt socket. But the vehicle has a small gasoline-powered generator on… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 4, 2007 with no responses

Distillery Demand for Grain To Fuel Cars Vastly Understated

Earth Policy InstituteEco-Economy UpdateEmbargoed for Release12 pm EST, January 4, 2007 DISTILLERY DEMAND FOR GRAIN TO FUEL CARS VASTLY UNDERSTATED World May Be Facing Highest Grain Prices in History Lester R. Brown Investment in fuel ethanol distilleries has soared since the late-2005 oil price hikes, but data collection in this fast-changing sector has fallen behind. Because of inadequate data collection on the number of new plants under construction, the quantity of grain that will be needed for fuel ethanol distilleries has been vastly understated. Farmers, feeders, food processors, ethanol investors, and grain-importing countries are basing decisions on incomplete data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects that distilleries will require only 60 million tons of corn from the 2008… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 3, 2007 with no responses

My Energy Resolutions for 2007

I will be moving to Scotland by the end of January, and as a result we will be selling our house in the U.S. (as well as both vehicles). This gives me an opportunity to make some positive changes in 2007. Here are my resolutions: 1). I resolve to get the most fuel-efficient car I can find in Scotland.2). I resolve to search for a house that allows me to take public transport or my bike to work.3). I resolve to place a very high priority on energy efficiency as I search for a new house.4). I resolve to reduce the meat in my diet (it takes much more energy to produce meat than to produce vegetables).5). I resolve to… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 21, 2006 with no responses

Book Review: Peak Oil Prep

Peak Oil Prep by Mick Winter For some reason I especially like to read books on Peak Oil, sustainability, and energy issues while traveling. Part of the reason is that traveling always makes me reflective. Part of the reason is that these books are often an ice-breaker that allows me to talk about energy with other travelers. On previous trips I read Jared Diamond’s Collapse and John Howe’s The End of Fossil Energy (reviewed here). On my latest trip I read Mick Winter’s Peak Oil Prep and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I started reading Peak Oil Prep during my first flight, and while the man sitting across the aisle from me reading the National Enquirer didn’t show much interest… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 19, 2006 with 1 response

A Conversation on Energy Issues

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my friend and first real Peak Oil influence, Dr. Jerry Unruh. Jerry and I did a bit of mountain climbing, some snowshoeing, watched An Inconvenient Truth (I also read the book while I was there) and spent a lot of time talking about Peak Oil, Global Warming, sustainability, and many other topics. I took a lot of notes as we talked, because we hit on many topics that are often discussed here and at The Oil Drum. First of all, let me introduce Jerry. He is a Ph.D. chemist that I met 11 years ago when we both worked on butanol research and technical support for Celanese Chemicals. While I was certainly… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 14, 2006 with no responses

Out of the Office

I am going to be traveling over the next 5 days and probably unable to respond to comments. I plan on producing 2 essays from my travels. One will be to interview my friend, earth ship owner, and solar energy advocate Jerry Unruh, who was my first major Peak Oil influence and is an advocate on environmental issues. The other will be to review Mick Winter’s Peak Oil Prep, which I plan to read during the trip (between mountain climbing and visiting with Jerry).

By Robert Rapier on Dec 12, 2006 with no responses

Fortune’s 10 Stocks to Buy Now

Fortune has just published their Investor’s Guide 2007. One section of the guide is 10 stocks to buy now. I have made no secret of the fact that I think energy stocks will outperform the market for quite some time. And in fact, there are two energy stocks on their list of ten. One of them is near and dear to my heart , but I will highlight both of them: ConocoPhillips (COP) With oil and natural-gas prices easing from their 2006 peaks, buying into a big energy company might seem dangerous. But barring an unforeseen collapse in commodity prices, ConocoPhillips should turn in a solid performance. Formed by the 2002 merger of midsized oil firms Conoco and Phillips Petroleum,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 11, 2006 with no responses

Debate on Oil Exports – Part II

Note: This post will be going up at The Oil Drum in the morning. For viewers of this blog, you get to see it first. This is my response to geologist Jeffrey Brown’s (alias westexas) post on whether world oil export numbers signal that world oil production has peaked. First of all, while I kept the title consistent with Jeffrey’s original, I consider it to be a misnomer. I do not intend to debate the timing of Peak Oil. Some have misunderstood my long-running debate with Jeffrey to be a quibble about the timing of the peak. That is not the case. Yes, in my opinion Peak Oil is at least 3 years out. But that opinion is based on… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 8, 2006 with no responses

Amazing U.S. Oil Production Statistic

While preparing my response to Jeffrey Brown on the exports debate, I read as much as I could on Saudi Arabia, their exports, and their reserves. It is pretty common knowledge that the entire world is at the mercy of Saudi’s reserves, so it is important that we know the size of their reserves. The “official” number (from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy) is 262 billion barrels remaining. If this was in fact true, then Peak Oil is very distant (although Peak Lite would still be a threat). However, many are skeptical of this number. The case for a much lower reserve number was argued by Matthew R. Simmons in Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 6, 2006 with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 12-06-06

I have a challenge for the conspiracy theorists out there who think oil companies purposely dropped the price of gas leading up to the recent elections. Here is the gasoline inventory graph for the past year, which the EIA just updated today at This Week in Petroleum: Note that gasoline has dropped below the bottom range of where inventories typically run at this time of year. We are one pipeline or major refinery issue away from having a serious gasoline supply crunch. So, what do you do? If prices increase, people cry foul. Yet demand hit an all time record for this week of the year (despite this, prices fell today). Personally, I think prices need to come up (as… Continue»