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PostPosted: April 6th, 2013, 12:43 am 
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Re. cost of auto ownership:

"According to data from Canadian Automobile Association and Globe Drive research, the average annual cost to own and operate a vehicle is $10,452 a year. This figure is based on the cost of running a 2012 Toyota Camry, 18,000 km a year, with the cost of gas set to $1.23/litre, with regular maintenance and repair."

http://www.travelsmart.ca/en/Life-and-H ... a-Car.aspx


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2013, 8:58 am 
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Thanks for posting that Krusty. My guesstimate numbers were accurate enough. Now simply comparing income to that value gives us an idea about folks at which income level see a car as enslavement. If you make $40,000 a year, and here in the States $8000 goes to taxes (Federal, State, Property) and $10,000 goes to a car, and another $15,000 goes to housing. Everything else must come out of $7000 remaining, including retirement, post secondary education for your children. Your getting pretty close to enslavement to that car at $40,000. Surely people below that level are giving up other aspects of life to keep a car.

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2013, 10:06 am 
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Krusty wrote:
Re. cost of auto ownership:

And the flip side, savings if you take public transportation and live in 20 of the US cities with the highest public transit ridership.

http://www.publictransportation.org/too ... fault.aspx

"Individuals who switch from driving to taking public transit can save, on average $9,854 this year, and up to $821 a month."

This suits many folks fine (but not everyone, it goes without saying). If you want a car for a trip, many are choosing to rent one for $25-30/day. Studies also show a dollar spent on oil sands creates about the same economic benefit as a dollar spent on public transportation ($5 - 9 dollars). The concept of enslavement pertains when it's one choice that dictates many people's choices. We don't need one choice, we need many.

Why there is no high speed rail connecting Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison is beyond me? Oh yea, that's right, there was a proposal (it was just killed by Koch funded dollars and the likes of Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin). No wonder why job growth is so stagnant ... we'd rather build pipelines instead and prolong an expensive, high risk, and unsustainable status quo.


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PostPosted: April 6th, 2013, 11:47 am 
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Ed, Your $9854 in savings with public transportation jives well with $10452 Krusty posts as being spent on a vehicle. Obviously there are geographical differences in the costs of auto ownership, and cost of using public transportation.

I agree with you on the lack of high-speed rail. We here in the US have "talked about" high speed rail for many years. But it's still amazing to me that in the US we still don't have any train comparable with what Japan was operating in the mid 1960s. Europe and East Asia are decades ahead of the US in this arena. Our Republican governor and legislature occasionally talk of exploring high speed options here in Michigan, but we haven't moved a single footstep towards a high speed rail between Detroit (and Southern Ontario beyond that) and Chicago either. We Americans rather have our freedom at 75 mph with our hands on the wheel while spending 25% of our income rather than travel twice that speed via high speed rail.

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2013, 5:13 pm 
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idylwyld wrote:
Why there is no high speed rail connecting Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison is beyond me?


Me too. But WI doesn't have the associated infrastructure Chicago has always had. Detroit, Chicago, occasional stops in Milwaukee and Madison and up to the twins and back? The fact it doesn't already exist is pure political will.

I use to take the train from downtown Milwaukee to occasionally work (and play) in Chicago. It stopped three or four times each way but it was way better and cheaper than driving and parking.

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2013, 8:36 am 
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Idylwyld wrote:
Why there is no high speed rail connecting Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison is beyond me?


High speed rail buildouts IIRC were one of Obama's proposed initiatives to add efficiency to infrastructure... this may still be on the table but priorities could have changed.


In its 2013 report on the State of U.S. Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives rail a relatively good grade, C+, better than other critical infrastructure facilities such as dams, drinking water, energy, schools, hazardous waste, aviation and wastewater. There may be more pressing needs when making decisions on where to spend infrastructure money.

Roads were graded D, even after all that infrastructure stimulus spending during 2008 and afterwards. The public always seems to be griping about driving on poor roads. Roadbuilding does something to address those gripes, and that fix is visible to the voting public while driving, along with the jobs created... maybe bringing in enough votes for Obama's second term.

Quote:
Water & Environment
Dams D
Drinking Water D
Hazardous Waste D
Levees D-
Solid Waste B-
Wastewater D

Transportation
Aviation D
Bridges C+
Inland Waterways D-
Ports C
Rail C+
Roads D
Transit D

Public Facilities
Public Parks & Recreation C-
Schools D

Energy
Energy D+



http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2013, 8:55 am 
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Roads were graded D, even after all that infrastructure stimulus spending during 2008 and afterwards


Which was misdirected. The projects I am familiar with had deadlines attached to them that made the funds available for a very short time.Ergo there were projects that were "quick fixes and pretty ups" that did nothing for road structure over the long run.

Redesign and rehab of crumbling roads and bridges takes quite a long time between identification and implementation. And we are SO far behind.

Still not much money available for long term projects as budgets are shrunk or frozen.. and very frustrating for those engineering firms who do have projects on hold due to lack of state funding... when and if the budget situation improves, my husband will be working 100 hours a week. Now only 10 a week.


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2013, 9:41 am 
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I agree with Kim, the stimulus projects were "shovel ready projects" that were designed, met were also bid and let, and ready to build. Their purpose was a stimulus, the reality is that we should be spending that much money every year to keep all the infrastructure in good condition.

The reality is that here in the US we support the initial construction of a piece of infrastructure, but once it's built most Americans don't want to spend a penny to maitain, or rebuild it. Looking at FT's list of decrepit infrastructure illustrates how our sidelining government projects and spending on these projects is working for us.

PK


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2013, 10:10 am 
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No better example of how dumb the issue has become then Wisconsin and making rail expansion a "partisan" issue and one administration killing every deal on the books.

http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt ... 963f4.html

Article is a litany of poor planning and partisan special interests (and I really think Koch dollars played a major role here). Opposition to rail was a top issue in the campaign, and among the first acts of the new legislature (long before busting unions). Regional transit authorities were banned by Republican-controlled legislature (and decades of planning). The results have been a heap of stranded costs for the state (in excess of operating costs for the new rail proposals), lost job opportunities, lost tax revenue (property taxes increase from close proximity to mass transit), and inaction on alternatives and regional connections to neighboring States. Wisconsin went from being "a leader in passenger rail planning to a spoiler." With rail ridership and frequency of service rising each year, State Republican leaders are now pushing road construction, satellite-guided autos, and better bus service. All of which benefits fossil fuel interests, congestion, and transportation "lock-in". Article is well worth a look and gets me fuming.


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2013, 7:50 am 
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New O&G reserve estimates for the Dakotas and Montana, fracking country in the nation's most productive areas, may help boost the US lead in world production. This decreases worries of an energy crisis and adds to economic security and energy self-sufficiency.

Less pain at the pump for anybody still driving (for some reason I believe there still are plenty of those, it must be seeing those highways going non-stop). And the added supply of natural gas will help phase out coal to reduce air pollution, acid rain, mercury fallout. More NG may also help with wind power buildouts since NG generation is a good match when wind fails.

The downside for Canada, if you can call it that, is bad news for oil sands production since the primary buyer, the US, now has reduced need. The Keystone pipeline may not be needed now (although bits of news filtering through from time to time suggest it still will be built).

From the report below, it appears that the new US fracking regs will be released soon, this summer.



Quote:
US doubles oil reserve estimates at Bakken, Three Forks shale

Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:37pm EDT

By Patrick Rucker and Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) - An oil-rich region of the north-central United States holds more than twice the recoverable crude supplies estimated just five years ago, according to a government study that highlights the nation's march toward energy self-sufficiency.

The Bakken Formation and Three Forks Formation, which spans parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota together hold an estimated 7.4 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil, the U.S. Geological Survey study said, although energy experts said those estimates likely understate the region's full potential.

That total is more than double the previous estimate, from 2008, and officials said it is a building block towards energy independence.

"These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in prepared remarks.

Besides the crude reserves, the two formations hold a mean estimate of 6.7 trillion cubic feet of as-yet undiscovered natural gas and 530 million barrels of natural gas liquids that are within reach. In both cases those represent a nearly three-fold increase from the previous tally.

Officials said the overall jump in reserves was chiefly due to production now thought to be accessible in the Three Forks Formation, in the southern edge of North Dakota, which had not been tallied in the last study.

"Three Forks is up and coming," said Brenda Pierce, coordinator for the Energy Resources Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Rapid development in the Three Forks region means that recoverable reserves are higher than the USGS estimate, energy experts said.

"We agree with the range of numbers and think the high estimate of 11 billion barrels is a reasonable target as technology and exploration of the Three Forks continues," said Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, referring to the upper end of the USGS estimate.

Dr. Don Van Nieuwenhuise, head of the geosciences program at University of Houston, said the USGS numbers are conservative as they are based on looking at "sweet spots" within the formation.

"There are chances there are sweet spots they don't know about. The prospects of finding additional sweet spots in an area this size is relatively high," he said. "I'm pretty sure every drop they say you're going to find, you'll find."

New drilling technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have turned the Bakken Formation and Three Forks into one of the nation's most important sources of domestic crude.


4,000 WELLS IN THE BASIN

Since the 2008 USGS assessment more than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Williston Basin, the area that contains the formations.

Seven companies now producing oil in the region provided data to the USGS about the latest technologies and recovery rates in the region, including Marathon Oil and Sinclair Oil Corp.

The USGS considers the Bakken and Three Forks to be the largest continuous oil formation in the continental United States.

The expanded estimates came hours after Saudi Arabia's energy minister gave a speech in Washington in which he said oil supplies are "coming from everywhere." Saudi Arabia thus "has no plans" to dramatically boost oil production capacity, said the kingdom's Ali al-Naimi.

During a conference call with reporters, Jewell said that the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management would soon present long-anticipated draft rules to govern fracking on federal land.

"Certainly in a matter of weeks, not months," Jewell said, noting that Interior received over 100,000 comment letters when an unfinished draft of the rules was presented.

"There has been sufficient change to warrant another public comment period," said Jewell, just weeks into her job as the nation's chief steward for public lands.

The oil and gas industry, which already has extensive drilling on federal land, worries that new fracking rules could curtail development. Environmentalists warn that existing fracking rules are not stringent enough to curb pollution.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/ ... 6020130430

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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2013, 8:44 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
New O&G reserve estimates for the Dakotas and Montana, fracking country in the nation's most productive areas, may help boost the US lead in world production. This decreases worries of an energy crisis and adds to economic security and energy self-sufficiency.

Less pain at the pump for anybody still driving.

So explain to me with oil at $94/bbl (Brent) ... why we're still seeing high prices of gas at the pump ($4.45/gallon down the street in my area). The last time we saw prices this high, oil was at $128/bbl.


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2013, 11:48 am 
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My problem is that the new predicted total crude production from the Bakkan play will only fuel the US Crude consumption for 1-2 years. This is not the ticket to US petroleum independence by a long shot. The US would need to find future plays the size of the Bakken every couple years to keep the party going.

PK


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PostPosted: May 4th, 2013, 8:44 am 
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So explain to me with oil at $94/bbl (Brent) ... why we're still seeing high prices of gas at the pump


It must be millions and millions of drivers endlessly fueling millions and millions of vehicles, those millions doing their driving and shopping, their insatiable thirst for more fuel, a need to satisfy a lifestyle that millions around the world don't have and want, millions of new vehicles being built to satisfy their needs... Sagan could have done this millions and billions bit better than me... anyway, higher demand = higher price.

Seriously, I was talking about the new oil estimates creating less pain at the pump than if an oil crisis had taken hold. Others have tried to explain pricing of oil, including the effects of inflation, taxes, subsidies, supply and demand, price fixing, refinery capacity, infrastructure, hi-tech drilling, exploration costs, land leasing, modern equipment costs, permit costs, new environmental regs and more, into all the complexity.

Something that could lower fuel costs is switching to cheaper natural gas, along with other options, but consumers don't seem to be falling over themselves switching to alternatives which could be interpreted as fuel costs still not being high enough to force the change.

PK, I have no idea how long those reserves will last, combined with all the other energy options available (eg. natural gas). Proponents say that new fracking technology, new proppants, slickwater additives, multiple boreholes drilled from a wellhead, and on and on, will create significant supply. Critics say that the estimates are overly optimistic. The sources in the above report seemed optimistic but as with all news reports, there may have been a bias.

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PostPosted: May 6th, 2013, 1:22 pm 
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I am a retired envionmental consultant and worked in the synfuels industry a lot in the 1970s and 80s in the US. The US Govt funded r&d back in those days so that the tech is now available. North America relies on entrenched technologies to supply fuel for motor vehicles. Our best estimates of reserves and recoverable supplies continue to increase because the improving technology. Peak oil is a useful concept and clearlly puts the handwriting on the wall. Rising fleet fuel mileage has been a major contributor to the current fuel situation. Peak electrical demand in the US has already passed. As a society we need to pay more attention to the inevitable decline in petroeum, and start putting infrastructue in place to prepare for the time when it is too expensive to pump oil in all its forms. I believe in diesel technology and the future of biodiesel as a main part of the permanent solution.


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