Gas Prices
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10255) 15 years ago
So how are gas prices treating all y'all down there in the southland? ;-)

I saw a news item this morning that made it sound like prices had hit crisis levels in Montana. I couldn't find quotes for Miles, but I see prices in Montana are running from $2.95 to $3.19. That doesn't seem all that outrageous.
http://www.montanagasprices.com/

How are prices in other parts of the country?

In the urban areas up here prices range from $2.97 to $3.40. The further you get out in the bush, the more expensive it is. Some places where it's flown by the individual drum/barrel it gets really spendy. But then once you get off the road grid, you (maybe) don't drive that much.

We're paying $4.70 now . . . that's down about 20ยข from this summer. The price here will hold now until May when a new shipment of fuel comes in.

I'm thinking heating fuel prices are what's going to hurt here this winter.
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Posted by David Schott (+18207) 15 years ago
Two nights ago I paid $3.159 for the lowest grade unleaded here in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area.

- Dave
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
I want to know who's holding the prices down when oil is at all time highs? What the heck is going on? With every other little bump or scare the price has shot through the roof the next day; now with oil up as high as it has ever been, the price of gas is holding fairly steady.

My conspiracy theory friends say its conservative (Republican) cronies trying to keep the economy together for the current administration and other Republicans trying to get elected. That sounds to far out for those greedy old geezers considering their track record.

Anyone got any real insight into why we're not getting screwed by Exxon/BP/Shell and all the others lately.

I will add, as I have in other posts, that we get more oil from Canada and Mexico than we've ever gotten from the Middle East and the North Sea. Thus for everyone to spike prices when a tsunami takes out a platform in the Indian Ocean is a shear ripoff of consumers.
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Posted by Steve Allison (+983) 15 years ago
I saw a report that said the gas companies were cutting into their profit margin to keep prices down. I am sure they will tell you it is just their generous nature coming through. I suspect that last year after turning in history breaking profits, there was hints of Wind Fall Profit Taxes blowing in the winds in Washington, and the oil companies are afraid if that happens two years in a row, hints may become reality. Just my feelings you understand, nothing openly being said to that effect.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10021) 15 years ago
Chad said:

> My conspiracy theory friends say its conservative (Republican) cronies trying to keep the economy together for the current administration and other Republicans trying to get elected.

IMO, in the year leading up to a major election, the party in power (whoever it may be) attempts to do exactly that -- they try to improve the economy, even if only temporary, as much as possible. However, I have no idea if the current gas prices have any correlation towards such an effort.
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Posted by Liz Weimer (+42) 15 years ago
About $2.89/gallon in southwestern WY.
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Posted by Cory Cutting (+1274) 15 years ago
Yeah, they're cutting into their profits to keep profits down. Poor multi-billionares! It's time the oil industry is regulated! We have incredible prices and yet they have profits of billions. Someone's getting screwed here!
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Posted by Kyle L. Varnell (+3747) 15 years ago
1973 Oil Crisis
http://en.wikipedia.org/w..._rationing

Cory,

I belive they've already tried Government Regulation of "Big Oil" with much success.

Kyle
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Posted by Scott (+256) 15 years ago
Well....I gassed up in Jordan Thursday morning on my way hunting and gas was $3.299/gal. It really made for an expensive (non-successful) hunting trip. The only thing we killed was a lot of gas.
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Posted by Eric Brandt (+846) 15 years ago
The price of oil is not really changing that much in the global scheme. We are still paying much less for fuel than most other countries.

The real problem with the oil process is the fact that it is a commodity traded using the U.S. Dollar. Since our Dollar is rapidly losing ground in the international markets, it appears to increase the price of oil. The actual change in value of oil in terms of EU is very small relatively speaking.

I would not be in favor of government regulated oil prices. I would be in favor of it only if they would immediately double the cost of gas. I cheer rising fuel costs. Maybe, one day, when we are paying as much for fuel as every one else, we will get off our duff and develop alternative portable fuels, nuclear electricity and viable public transportation.

I think we should be more concerned about the value of the dollar than the cost of gas. That actually has a more significant impact on our economy, I think.
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Posted by Tammy (+71) 15 years ago
$3.19 in Ohio
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Posted by Shu (+1796) 15 years ago
Twin Cities area: $3.01 to $3.12 or so, depending on the suburb.
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Posted by Linda Morgan (+582) 15 years ago
this article sorta addresses what is happening all over the world with oil prices, etc....
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21718926/
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
It's important to remember that fall has traditionally been when gas prices fall pretty steeply from their summer highs. The fact that they're not this year is effectively your rise in gas prices.

Not looking forward to next summer though

But like Eric said. This is what's necessary to reduce consumption, and fund alternatives.

Should be a dream scenario for the manmade global warming believers.

Unfortunately it may take a global recession to make oil markets rational again.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 15 years ago
$3.45 for 77 octane here in Kalifornia. Luckily I have only had to drive my car about 10 miles total in the last 2 weeks and pedaling a bicycle is still free . I have to agree though, that although the high prices are painful, they will be a good thing in the long run, convincing people to buy smaller cars, live closer to work, and walk/bike more and use public transportation where it's available. It also makes a lot of alternative energy more feasible and makes spending money on research more worthwhile.
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Posted by JLB (+212) 15 years ago
I disagree, I do not think higher gas prices are good in the long run. Though I agree that we need to be wiser with our enviromental choices, I don't think we should be punished for driving freely. The days of weekend trips and driving to grandma's for the holidays will soon be a thing of the past for most families trying to watch their pennies. Most of us drive to work and we shouldn't be pressured to sell our homes ( especially in a declining market) so we can afford to go to work by living closer, what if we absoulutely love where we live??? Yes thank goodness for bicycles, however it isn't always feesable (sp) to ride to work. A 30 minute drive time, can be hazordous (sp) on the roadway due to traffic and weather conditions, not to mention precious time away from family. There is no need for higher gas prices in my oppinion, when every year has been more profitable than the last for the oil companies. They know we want to continue to drive and unless we want to have another car payment and buy a smaller (that can't fit all the family) car, most of us will stick with our paid for vehicles ( as long as they meet emission (sp) qualifications) and get less mileage to avoid busting the finances. The hybrids aren't that cheap!! I really don't think that the enviromental problems are caused by all of us driving. Lets SERIOUSLY regulate the huge companies that are dumping toxins into the earth, the multi million dollar homes that use 400,000gal water per month and the big wig businesses that waste electricity If they really stick with the rules instead of being bought maybe we can see a difference. We can do our share by recycling, water conservation, and a million other things but let's not punish everyone by raising prices then adding enviromental taxes on top of it at the gas pump!
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 15 years ago
If you weren't spending so much money on gas getting to work every day, those trips to grandma's house wouldn't be sugh a problem. By choosing to live a long ways from work and commute daily, you are not only polluting the air, but clogging traffic, causing a disproportionate amount of damage to the roads, and it's not just in your home town, but for everyone who lives in between you and your job. I'm not saying you can't live in an area you "absolutely love", but there is a cost to society for your choice to spend so much time in your car, and that price should be passed on to you as much as possible. If you are willing to pay the price then you can continue to commute but it's not a right and in most cases you wouldn't have to do it if you really didn't want to. If you ask me, discouraging commuting is a good thing.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10255) 15 years ago
Yeah, I wonder what the magic price will be that will change gasoline consumption habits/choices?

When gas was right at five bucks here this summer, it was kind of an eye opener to watch those dollars clicking away on the pump register.

We don't drive that much; we estimated that on average we spent $2 a day for gas this summer, so it wasn't like it was costing us an arm & leg at the pump. But even so, we've made a conscious effort to burn less fuel - every time I hit the ignition I hear the ding - ding of that pump :-)

But I can sure see that for folks who live someplace were they can or have to drive a lot, the effects of $5 a gallon gasoline would add up fast.

The fuel surcharge on freight and the energy costs that are added to the price of consumer goods - - now that is something that's hit home for us far more so than pump prices for gas. I don't if or how much folks are feeling energy inflation in the rest of the country, but it's quite noticeable here.
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Has anyone been following developments in Germany, Sweden and some of the other industrial nations in Europe as they shift away from carbon-based energy?

I've been surprised to see the boost it's giving to their economies. I assumed that there would be a down turn for at least a short time as they made the shift, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
= = = = = = = =

I've heard that Germany has made what appears to be a real break though in solar energy technology too. A company there has developed some kind of new panel technology that hold great promise. Someone was telling me that one of the applications they're experimenting with is siding and roofing that are actually a type of solar panel. If what I'm told is correct, the panels are made from some kind of a silicon product. And I remember that sometime back that a German company bought the two largest industrial-grade silicon "mines" in North America, so maybe there is something to it.
= = = = = = = =

As for the global warming "controversy" - it seems to me that it's a pointless debate now.

It doesn't matter whether you or I believe it's a reality or not. Enough consumers in the global market place believe it to be true that major corporations are responding to market demand. When BP Amoco, GM, and the like jump on the bandwagon because there are profits to be made . . . it's a reality. When the major carbon energy companies are actually spending serious money developing alternatives . . . it's a reality ;-)
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So what's gas going for in Miles?
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Posted by Peggy (+29) 15 years ago
Gas in Miles City is
$3.149 lowest octane
$3.219 mid grade
$3.289 high grade
Diesel
$3.659
as of today!
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10255) 15 years ago
Thanks Peggy.
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Posted by Eric Brandt (+846) 15 years ago
Levi,

I could not agree with you more! Well Said!
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
The big problem though is that more than 2/3rds of our energy consumption is related to transportation. Energy breakthroughs that relate to production of electricity aren't really going to help that any, unless a new development coincides to allow electricity to be used more practically for transportation.

Hydrogen is probably the best solution. Transporting hydrogen is very difficult though, but there are a few different developments that may make transporting hydrogen unneccessary some day.

http://www.boston.com/new...alt_water/


http://news.uns.pur...rogen.html


Nobody would take this stuff very seriously if gas were still $1.50.
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Posted by Cheryl Pieters (+476) 15 years ago
I paid $3.02/gal 2 weeks ago, and doubt I can find anything under $3.45 this week. Bad times for long haul truckers (and the people they haul food to). Anybody ever hear of the term "Peak Oil"? Might as well get used to the term......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
***********************************************************
......Simmons explained that in order for demand to be appropriately controlled, the price of oil would have to reach $182 per barrel. Simmons explained that with oil prices at $182 per barrel, gas prices would likely rise to $7.00 per gallon.

If you want to ponder just how devastating oil prices in the $200/barrel range will be for the US economy, consider the fact that one of Osama Bin-Laden's primary goals has been to force oil prices into the $200 range.

Oil prices that far north of $100/barrel would almost certainly trigger massive, last-ditch global resource wars as the industrialized nations of the world scramble to grab whatever oil is remaining. This may explain why the director of the Selective Service recently recommended the military draft be expanded to include both genders, ages 18-to-35.

A March 2005 report prepared for the US Department of Energy confirmed the dire warnings of the investment banking community. Entitled "The Mitigation of the Peaking of World Oil Production," the report observed:
Without timely mitigation, world supply/demand balance will be achieved through massive demand destruction (shortages), accompanied by huge oil price increases, both of which would create a long period of significant economic hardship worldwide. Waiting until world conventional oil production peaks before initiating crash program mitigation leaves the world with a significant liquid fuel deficit for two decades or longer.
The report went on to say, emphasis added:
The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past 'energy crisis' experience will provide relatively little guidance. The challenge of oil peaking deserves immediate, serious attention, if risks are to be fully understood and mitigation begun on a timely basis. . . the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions were gradual and evolutionary. Oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary..
As one commentator recently observed, the reason our leaders are acting like desperados is because we have a desperate situation on our hands.

If you've been wondering why the Bush administration has been spending money, cutting social programs, and starting wars like there's no tomorrow, now you have your answer: as far as they are concerned, there is no tomorrow.

In 2003, the BBC filmed a three-part, relatively apolitical, documentary entitled "War for Oil" about the role the Bush administration's knowledge of Peak Oil played in their decision to invade and occupy Iraq. As the documentary explains, in private the Bush administration sees the war in Iraq as "a fight for survival." From a purely Machiavellian standpoint, they are probably correct in their thinking.

For what it's worth, Bush's Crawford ranch is completely off-the-grid and equipped with the latest in energy saving and renewable power systems. It has been described as an "environmentalist's dream home." The fact a man as steeped in the petroleum industry as Bush would own such a home should tell you something.

On a similar note, Dick Cheny's personal investments indicate he (or more accurately, whoever handles his money) is expecting economic collapse:

Neither Bush or Cheney (or really, any administration) can be honest with the American people about the severity of what is unfolding. If they were honest with the country, half the nation would refuse to believe them while the other half would likely panic.

[This message has been edited by Cheryl Pieters (edited 11/12/2007).]
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Posted by Eric Brandt (+846) 15 years ago
Indeed they cannot be "honest" with the public. Or rather, in fact "they" have been honest for many decades. We simply played the ostrich. The Peak Oil graphs have been around for many many many years. It is interesting to see that 20 years ago, 2008 was predicted as the global peak oil. Note also that the US peaked a long time ago. Then note that we are in fact peaking as predicted.

So, if we were told 40 years ago that we were heading for catastrophe, then what good would it do to remind us again now? Obviously we cannot handle the information, since we have not handled it for two generations. And so, they simply take action with a "hidden" agenda.

So JLB says "I don't think we should be punished for driving freely."
I say, "Yes we should; and in fact, we will."

We should have been paying $5.00 a gallon like every one else in the world for the past 20 years. WE HAVE BEEN paying $5.00 a gallon, we just borrowed the rest from the future. Now it's time to pay off that outstanding principle, and the high interest that naturally goes with it.

The free market, sadly, has proven incapable of regulating this. Considering the FACT that 50% of the population is below average intelligence, this is really no surprise. We can never expect above average performance when everyone truly has a voice. There will certainly be economic collapse. There will certainly be war.

The wars will be over more than just Oil; consider the impact of Water! Phoenix cannot grow enough food. This will raise water demands. LA can't grow enough food either. They will divert water back to themselves from Phoenix. How is Phoenix going to keep those people alive?

They won't. They will move. Where? Denver. They will move too. Where? Canada? How will they get there? Highway 59 through Miles City. Good for us! More people, more business! Nope, they will steal and plunder every resource we have along their way.

Naturally, no one will take the doomsday scenario seriously; we haven't for 40 years. Which is precisely why we deserve our fate.

I feel cheery - I'm going to drive the long way to work today!
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Posted by Eric Brandt (+846) 15 years ago
On a lighter note (pun intended)...

Seriously, I'm not just blowing off steam! LOL

Ok, Ok...
Hydrogen Fuel Cells. VERY old technology, finally ready for market.

http://www.ballard.com/

I bought a very small amount of stock in this company back in the 90's when it was like 145 bucks a share. It's now like 5 bucks a share, and not worth the paperwork to cash in the small number of shares I have.

BUT, It might be worth looking at this again. They have maintained their goals despite low stock prices. They are actually producing a commercial product now, and they are finishing up some domestic transportation research programs at this time.

NOW might be a really good time to invest in the technology. The only real issues with Hydrogen are effective portability and distribution infrastructure. The first problem is being overcome, and the second will naturally follow demand.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 15 years ago
The problem with Hydrogen is that it's not a naturally occurring substance on earth. It has to be made through electrolysis, or by various other methods, but the result is a net energy loss (it takes more energy to produce the hydrogen than you get out of it). Until an efficient method for large-scale hydrogen production is found, hydrogen cars are nice toys but not actually helping the energy crisis much. True the production does not (necessarily) depend on oil, which is a definite advantage, but hydrogen is still inefficient and expensive and converting to hydrogen cars would not necessarily reduce pollution by a large amount depending on how the electricity used to produce the hydrogen is produced. Burning fossil fuels to make electricity and then using electricity to produce hydrogen, with very significant inefficiency at each step, is not really a net gain over just burning the fossil fuel in cars directly.

One thing that I have recently become aware of is "clean" or ultra low sulphur diesel. They are using this stuff in Europe and in modern engines they claim they are getting better mileage with lower emissions than hybrid cars, and using much older and more robust technology. Infrastructure for this also exists already, unlike hydrogen or electric. The downside is of course that we're back to good old oil.

http://www.clean-diesel.org/
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10255) 15 years ago
Levi, you beat me to it with the link to clean-diesel.org ;-)
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The last year or so that I was in Missoula I went to some interesting seminars, meetings and the like about energy-related topics.

As someone with an interest in history, one speaker caught my attention when he suggested that history may prove that there will be parallels between the Industrial Revolution and what he referred to as "the coming Alternative Energy Revolution". He suggested that those nations and economies that got in on the ground floor of the Industrial Revolution (which in many ways could rightly be called the Fossil Fuels Revolution) came to (literally) dominate the world (and still do to a great extent). He suggested that those economies that don't make the shift away from fossil carbon in a timely manner are not going to fare well in the century to come. Drawing parallels between what has already happened and what might happen, is always an iffy proposition . . . but common sense seems to indicate to me that those economies that are developing alternatives to $200 per barrel oil are likely to have a competitive edge over those that don't. And that completive edge will probably involve more than just energy/fuel; it will likely include technological dominance, dynamic domestic economies, global clout, etc.
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I'm glad to see that awareness is growing that biofuels do NOT have to be produced from food crops. I'm seeing more bits and pieces in the news and the web indicating that people are beginning to realize that you can distill alcohol for fuel out of just about anything that will ferment. There are a couple small research/tech firms in Montana that are having some success at developing new strains of yeasts and enzymes to tap into this - I'm hoping they succeed and prosper at it.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 15 years ago
Hmm, little did we know, but there was actually an important development on hydrogen announced on Monday.

http://technology.newscie...boost.html

Hydrogen brewing gets an electrical boost
* 22:00 12 November 2007
* NewScientist.com news service
* Mason Inman

A new microbe-powered device can extract up to 99% of the available hydrogen from biological compounds that have stumped previous attempts to ferment fuel from plant waste. The secret is to give the bugs a helping hand with a kick of electric charge.

...

In tests, the system produced hydrogen that, if fed into a hydrogen fuel cell that was 50% efficient, could generate between 1.2 and 3.4 times as much electricity as was fed into the system. By comparison, hydrogen extracted from water can only pay back about 25 to 30% of the energy used to extract it.

"It is surprising that such high hydrogen yields can so readily be obtained," says Patrick Hallenbeck of the University of Montreal in Canada. "The net energy yield appears much higher than what people are getting in other biofuel production processes - bioethanol, for example," he adds.

But the process is still much too slow to be practical, Hallenbeck adds. Logan and colleagues are currently working on improving the speed. The performance of the MECs exceeded the expectations of Lars Angenent, of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, US, who is also interested in using microbes to make fuel. "This is great news," he says.


Not ready for prime time yet, but it's exciting to see a big advancement in technology for this, because if hydrogen generation could be done practically, it has the potential to solve both the pollution problems and the dependence on foreign oil simultaneously.

[This message has been edited by Levi Forman (edited 11/14/2007).]
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