Whatever happened to Peak Oil?

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Submitted by EconProf on January 6, 2015 - 11:24am

Remember Peak Oil? A few years ago we were all told that oil prices, then over $100, would soon double and then double again, as the world's supplies became exhausted.
Then along came fracking. Good old capitalism harnessed technology to again stymie the doomsayers. Now the US will become an energy exporter to the rest of the world. In some previous years we imported about half of our oil. Soon we will produce more energy than Saudi Arabia. Once again the market system comes through.

Submitted by Coronita on January 6, 2015 - 11:46am.

I think the lesson to learn is extreme viewpoints are hazardous to one's economic health..

Submitted by spdrun on January 6, 2015 - 12:03pm.

A slowdown abroad came.

The Saudis are dumping oil in the market (possibly at our behest to hurt the Russians, Persians, and IS??, possibly for economic reasons of their own).

This isn't a healthy sign.

If we were smart and had some balls, we'd slap a 100% surtax on gasoline tomorrow and put the money in an alternative energy trust fund. Electrify and heavily automate all major freight rail lines. Get those long distance trucks off the road. Invest in medium-speed passenger rail. Invest in alternatives and nuclear energy to beef up the power grid. No more coal and natural gas power plants should be built. Encourage adoption of electric and H2 cars to create an economy of scale there. Rebuilt infrastructure.

We've been through a few energy crises, and we've always kicked the can down the road when prices fell. Now's the time to do something vs going back to buying mastodon SUVs and commuting 60 miles each way.

Cheap oil should be viewed as an opportunity to prepare for the next rise in prices and prepare to end the use of oil for energy permanently, not a permanent thing.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 6, 2015 - 12:02pm.

To be honest if it were not for the Saudi's trying to kill the electric car and the US Oil independence.
Oil would still be near 100.00

But I was saying this from the day Oil first hit 100.00

"I don't know how $100 Oil survives cars that get 50 Miles per gallon"

Heck the new F-150 gets close to 30 MPG.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 6, 2015 - 12:05pm.

spdrun wrote:

We've been through a few energy crises, and we've always kicked the can down the road when prices fell. Now's the time to do something vs going back to buying mastodon SUVs and commuting 60 miles each way.


This is exactly the Saudi's plan LOL.

Submitted by spdrun on January 6, 2015 - 12:07pm.

The 40-50 mpg cars are good enough to be driven daily by fat Americans with bad knees :) Question is: will smaller cars that get the high end of this MPG range (small Prius) and electric cars (with range and charging limits) survive $100 oil? Or $50 oil for that matter.

Submitted by outtamojo on January 6, 2015 - 12:17pm.

peak oil- ha! and I almost paid the premium price for a diesel/hybrid vehicle last year.

Submitted by spdrun on January 6, 2015 - 12:22pm.

Everyone should buy the most efficient vehicle that fits their needs -- despite years of GOP indoctrination, the environment is still important.

Submitted by harvey on January 6, 2015 - 1:05pm.

There is no doubt that we are consuming fossil fuels at a rate orders of magnitude faster than the earth ever produced them.

The market can adjust to short-term supply and demand changes, but in the long-term we will run out.

Nobody really knows how far out long-term is. It could be a few decades, it could be a few centuries.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 6, 2015 - 1:10pm.

If you count the Methane hydrates it goes into the tens of thousands of years.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 6, 2015 - 1:16pm.

Let's see... the people who predicted the peak oil are the same whacks who hoarded the incandescent light bulb. The same folks who in 2009 predicted skyrocketing interest rates.

I wouldn't worry about the return of the SUV. Energy consciousness is now well anchored in the minds of a new generation.

I'm not predicting the death of the SUV, but remember that it's the marginal growth in oil consumption that drives price. Young people don't love cars like the older generations. There are disruptive technologies like Uber and car sharing services that will hold down the need for automobile ownerships.

Also talking about energy consumption, once the transition to LED is complete, we will cut our lighting costs by 3/4 and reduce the need for air conditioning. I see LED lights all over now -- lamps posts, airports, homes etc....

Imagine replacing all those old plasma TVs with LED.

Submitted by spdrun on January 6, 2015 - 1:27pm.

Uber is a taxi dispatcher replacement, not a car replacement. Most people don't want to "share" a car with others, because it would require removal of personal stuff from the car after every trip. All of the irritation of a taxi trip without even having someone drive the cab for you.

Remember that the tail end of the "back to the land" hippie generation was the primo market for SUVs. Attitudes change with age.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 6, 2015 - 1:31pm.

I think that there will be a way to share cars in high density housing developments. It's done in Europe now.

I'm not predicting the death of the suburbs either, but I see more concentration around towncenters type developments.

Again, when marginal growth in consumption stops, prices stop rising.

Submitted by spdrun on January 6, 2015 - 1:35pm.

You're assuming that most people (absent energy costs) want to live in high-density town center type of developments. 20 and 30 somethings might, academics who value a sense of community might, but the average Joe just wants cheap, low-density, junky boxes.

And if you read about it, recent gains in auto sales have been mostly fueled by pickup trucks and EthYooVeeth.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 6, 2015 - 1:47pm.

spdrun wrote:
You're assuming that most people (absent energy costs) want to live in high-density town center type of developments. 20 and 30 somethings might, academics who value a sense of community might, but the average Joe just wants cheap, low-density, junky boxes.

Yes, absolutely.

In a new globalized world, we will have bifurcation.

The people you describe are the ones leaving California. In major California metros, I see more dense development. Mission Valley would be perfect for a car sharing service.

Same goes for NY, and the suburbs.

Look at the growth of Uber. Someone who invents a good way to share cars will be very rich. Or Uber can extend their services. Sometimes, I need a ride to the airport. If only one of the neighbors, who is on his way running errands could give me a ride for payment all arranged by Uber. Win-win!

There will always be the suburbs, but it won't be the only lifestyle people seek out. Irvine is a good example. It used to be very suburban but it's going through densification. It's a new city with good infrastructure. Perfect for a car or ride sharing service. Not to reduce the number of cars, but to stop the growth of car.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 6, 2015 - 1:47pm.

Also, people are adding solar to their homes and business.

The technologies are all out there to transition away from oil.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 6, 2015 - 2:49pm.

Thinking about ride sharing... I would love an app where I can input "need a ride to the airport at 2:00pm" with my pickup location. Someone else could accept the ride and give me price. I could then accept or reject. Eventually we will agree on the ride condition.

We meet up and go off the airport together. Uber (or whatever company) handles the payment, ID verification, etc...

Or lets say you don't have a truck, but you need to buy a large item from Home Depot. You can similarly arrange a ride.

Submitted by spdrun on January 6, 2015 - 2:52pm.

I'd prefer something like Craigslist ride share. Transaction is handled anonymously without any ID snooping and by cash. Same as a taxi. I can hail one and pay cash without being snooped upon by corporate assholes.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 6, 2015 - 3:08pm.

Maybe... with Craigslist, you won't get critical mass. I buy and sell things on Craigslist. But lots of people are afraid. Plus it take more effort to check and arrange.

But if you could enter your ride to the airport on an app, people who go the same way can bid for your business.

Or if people enter their itineraries, the system would automatically match them to other people with the similar trips. With big data, the system can even guess your itineraries and your ride share requirements.

The exchange of money and the amount are left to the transacting parties.

Submitted by CA renter on January 7, 2015 - 2:53am.

spdrun wrote:
A slowdown abroad came.

The Saudis are dumping oil in the market (possibly at our behest to hurt the Russians, Persians, and IS??, possibly for economic reasons of their own).

This isn't a healthy sign.

If we were smart and had some balls, we'd slap a 100% surtax on gasoline tomorrow and put the money in an alternative energy trust fund. Electrify and heavily automate all major freight rail lines. Get those long distance trucks off the road. Invest in medium-speed passenger rail. Invest in alternatives and nuclear energy to beef up the power grid. No more coal and natural gas power plants should be built. Encourage adoption of electric and H2 cars to create an economy of scale there. Rebuilt infrastructure.

We've been through a few energy crises, and we've always kicked the can down the road when prices fell. Now's the time to do something vs going back to buying mastodon SUVs and commuting 60 miles each way.

Cheap oil should be viewed as an opportunity to prepare for the next rise in prices and prepare to end the use of oil for energy permanently, not a permanent thing.

All that, and speculation -- for both the rise and fall (viva capitalism!).

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/201...

Submitted by harvey on January 7, 2015 - 8:08am.

CA renter wrote:

All that, and speculation -- for both the rise and fall (viva capitalism!).

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-12-03/oil-speculators-mostly-saw-the-massive-price-drop-coming

That article was written by economic simpletons, for economic simpletons.

The price drop correlates with a selloff! How insightful!

Submitted by Hatfield on January 7, 2015 - 10:49am.

spdrun wrote:
I'd prefer something like Craigslist ride share. Transaction is handled anonymously without any ID snooping and by cash.

And like any other Craigslist transaction, you'll wait around for 45 minutes wondering if the other party will even show up. No thanks.

Having used Uber and Lyft a handful of times now, this is definitely the way of the future. No more standing out on your stoop wondering when the taxi will show up. With the apps you know who's coming, what their track record is, what they're driving, and you see their location on the map in real time. Taxi companies are toast if they don't come up with something that provides a better experience than this. In more urbanized areas I could easily see ride shares like Uber, car shares like Car2Go, and the occasional use of Hertz/Avis/etc being a very viable alternative to car ownership.

One other thought on current oil prices: gee, isn't it funny how just a few years ago we were told that high oil prices were bad for Murica. Now we're being told that low oil prices are bad for Murica. They're bad for the oil industry but seems like everybody else wins out.

Submitted by carlsbadworker on January 7, 2015 - 1:24pm.

I found your view point as short sighted as "peak oil" claim. Just because there is a short-term over-supply of oil does not mean it is here to stay.

Fracking reserves basically run off in two years and are much closer to oil storage reserves than a good, traditional field that flows for 30 to 60 years. Instead of a reserve, we are using it up as fast as we can at the moment. The entire industry is also not cash flow positive, which allow for the possibility that fracking costs have been underestimated...as the bankruptcy of many firms will soon show.

Meanwhile, cheap traditional oil, in contrast, becomes increasingly difficult to find both in the U.S. and globally. Last year for example, despite spending nearly $700 billion globally – up from $250 billion in 2005 – the oil industry found just 4½ months’ worth of current oil production levels, a 50-year low.

The "market system" that you are so proud of is very short-sighted and we are still using fossil fuels that were deposited in millions years in history as quickly as we can despite all the energy conservation "mindset" people claim to have.

It is like last year, CA government boasting about that they ended fiscal year with cash for the first time in seven years. But we all know the problems didn't end there. But we are all more willing to accept happy-ending stories without much harder choices about our lifestyles.

Submitted by moneymaker on January 7, 2015 - 1:43pm.

12 years ago I bought a car that used diesel which was 50¢ a gallon cheaper and gets 40-45 MPG. Now fast forward, diesel is 50¢ a gallon more, not complaining just saying the market has a way to squeeze you a little more down the road.

Submitted by spdrun on January 7, 2015 - 3:47pm.

And like any other Craigslist transaction, you'll wait around for 45 minutes wondering if the other party will even show up. No thanks.

Having used Uber and Lyft a handful of times now, this is definitely the way of the future. No more standing out on your stoop wondering when the taxi will show up. With the apps you know who's coming, what their track record is, what they're driving, and you see their location on the map in real time

I'd rather have something like Hailo or E-hail. App summons the taxi, driver pays a commission to the app designer for each hail, passengers pay good, old-fashioned, cold, hard cash.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 7, 2015 - 4:42pm.

When car sharing, cash is not good. Riders need to prepay in advance using credit cards.

Lots of losers and crazies out there who don't have cash. It's bad enough to go to out with "friends" who don't have cash, or don't have change.... You definitely don't want to give rides to strangers who don't have money. Once people get to know each other through the apps, they can do whatever they want.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 7, 2015 - 4:53pm.

Seriously

If I had to live in a small intercity condo without a car and give up my Costco membership.

Instead of my three car garage McMansion in the burbs I think I would renounce my US citizenship and move to china, the life style would be better LOL.

Just kidding sort of

Submitted by SK in CV on January 7, 2015 - 10:09pm.

spdrun wrote:
A slowdown abroad came.

The Saudis are dumping oil in the market (possibly at our behest to hurt the Russians, Persians, and IS??, possibly for economic reasons of their own).

Kinda depends on what you mean by "dumping oil in the market". Saudi production, as a practical matter, is unchanged for the last 42 months. The Saudis haven't flooded the market. Other producers, including the US, have increased, in some cases, dramatically, their production. And the demand/supply balance is extraordinarily inelastic. There is no place to put extra oil. When there is extra (even a little extra) produced, prices drop. When there is a shortage (even a small shortage), prices rise.

I'm not saying the Saudis haven't made some calculated decisions over the last 90 days. They have. But they didn't cause the glut. And they're not the only ones that can fix it.

Submitted by spdrun on January 7, 2015 - 10:29pm.

Why fix it? Embrace deflation. And if the North American frack/shale industry crashes and burns, good riddance.

Submitted by utcsox on January 7, 2015 - 10:39pm.

The supply curve and demand curves for crude oil in short term is very steep. With oil price above $100 per barrel , fracking and oil sand is economically viable to produce crude oil. The softening global economics (China and Europe) has reduced the demand for crude oil globally. Both of these factors have contributed in a sudden sharp fall in crude oil prices in short term. Now, we will see how demand and supply adjust to price changes in long term.

Submitted by CA renter on January 8, 2015 - 6:00am.

harvey wrote:
CA renter wrote:

All that, and speculation -- for both the rise and fall (viva capitalism!).

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-12-03/oil-speculators-mostly-saw-the-massive-price-drop-coming

That article was written by economic simpletons, for economic simpletons.

The price drop correlates with a selloff! How insightful!

You seem to be missing the point, pri. These speculators are always trying to get in front of the market, going up and down. They are, more often than not, the cause of booms, bubbles, and busts. Totally unproductive, and very damaging.

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