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Scott Rosen
06-16-2010, 11:25 AM
"Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men . . . ."

Those words, by JFK in 1962 were the lead up to his promise to devote all possible resources toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

That may have been one of the greatest peace-time partnerships between government and private industry. From 1962 to 1969, the brightest minds in this country went into science and engineering. The moon landings are distant history, but the technology that was developed in the process is still being used today.

Obama could go a ways toward redeeming himself if he set as a national goal the development of a domestic energy source that would replace fossil fuels.

I was talking with one of those 1960's engineers the other day. He was very blunt. He said, "If the government had told us to figure out a way to turn water into energy and then back to water, we would have done it. We had the resources."

It's not too late. But it takes leadership, of which there is none.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 11:57 AM
I was talking with one of those 1960's engineers the other day. He was very blunt. He said, "If the government had told us to figure out a way to turn water into energy and then back to water, we would have done it. We had the resources."

First, it's not like that is hard. Electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen, then burn the hydrogen to get back to water.

Second, I'm inclined to call BS on that engineer. The history of mankind is full of people inventing stuff out of greed, laziness, and other shortcomings :D while inventions by government fiat are... not that common.

Kaa

LeeG
06-16-2010, 12:10 PM
That may have been one of the greatest peace-time partnerships between government and private industry. From 1962 to 1969, the brightest minds in this country went into science and engineering. The moon landings are distant history, but the technology that was developed in the process is still being used today.

Obama could go a ways toward redeeming himself if he set as a national goal the development of a domestic energy source that would replace fossil fuels.



The moon shot wasn't necessary for our economy , it was a fantastic hard-on for a country in the middle of an insane ICBM arms race where the ability to anihillate countries many times over seemed like a good idea.

Scott, there isn't a replacement for fossil fuels. Our entire civilization grew on them and there isn't a replacement. There aren't dilithium crystals or room temperature fusion ready to save us from this fact. The alternatives have lower EROI than oil on the market. The only way those alternatives look good is massive subsidies, we might as well tax the hell out of a barrel of oil and do two things, force greater efficiency in the use of oil and make the alternatives look good. Doing one without the other is an exercise in futility.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 12:17 PM
Scott, there isn't a replacement for fossil fuels.

There isn't. It's a pretty good bet there will be. The question is when.

Kaa

LeeG
06-16-2010, 12:28 PM
There isn't. It's a pretty good bet there will be. The question is when.

Kaa



You mean a replacement level of BTUs?

http://edro.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/us-energy-flow-trends.gif

as the input of oil declines are you saying an equal level of BTU will come out of those other inputs or float in on a third axis from another galaxy?

TomF
06-16-2010, 12:31 PM
You mean a replacement level of BTUs?I suspect a series of replacement products, energy reduced technologies, and a shift to less energy-intensive lifestyles.

And I suspect the latter will come more often via compulsion than an individual's looked-for choice.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 12:35 PM
I suspect a series of replacement products, energy reduced technologies, and a shift to less energy-intensive lifestyles.

And I suspect the latter will come more often via compulsion than an individual's looked-for choice.

That is my hope, more $/BTU but I'd prefer we didn't wait around for the magic hand of world supply and demand to force it. And you're right, folks won't do it voluntarily. The dual path the gov't took regarding protection of SUV/light truck exemptions created a huge loophole and the silliest flip flop in vehicle mix as we entered into the 2003 energy war.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/images/facts/fotw553.jpg

I suppose it's possible that we became a nation of contractors between 1980 and 2003 but I don't think so.

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 12:38 PM
That may have been one of the greatest peace-time partnerships between government and private industry. peace-time eh?

elf
06-16-2010, 12:42 PM
So, Scott, if you were President of the United States, how would you get the wholehearted and enthusiastic cooperation of the oppposing party?

If you can produce a viable process which will lead towards the society-wide approval of financial arrangments likely to produce oil, coal and gas independence in the next 5 years, I will entertain your compalints about lack of "leadership".

LeeG
06-16-2010, 12:45 PM
If you can produce a viable process which will lead towards the society-wide approval of financial arrangments likely to produce oil, coal and gas independence in the next 5 years, I will entertain your compalints about lack of "leadership".

but make sure it doesn't cost us anything or involve calculating the total cost of those sources of energy. We just want more.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 12:46 PM
You mean a replacement level of BTUs?

Replacement and beyond. Yes, I do.


as the input of oil declines are you saying an equal level of BTU will come out of those other inputs or float in on a third axis from another galaxy?

Yep.

I am not sure why do you think this is such an outlandish idea. Here, let me show you a chart:

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a315/lalov/FranceElectricityEvolution.jpg

...and that's using *existing* technology.

Kaa

P.S. A bigger and more readable version of the same chart is at http://mdsolarpower.com/FRELEC-1.jpg

LeeG
06-16-2010, 12:49 PM
so how many electric cars does France have?

Kaa
06-16-2010, 12:51 PM
so how many electric cars does France have?

I am not sure what your point is. Care to make it?

Kaa

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 12:54 PM
So, Scott, if you were President of the United States, how would you get the wholehearted and enthusiastic cooperation of the oppposing party?this will never happen so I guess our dear leader should just give up

elf
06-16-2010, 12:56 PM
I guess he should continue fighting the fight which will reveal where the opposition stands, and every few days a few more thousands of Americans will start to notice.

elf
06-16-2010, 12:56 PM
so how many electric cars does France have?

And where is all that waste going to for storage?

LeeG
06-16-2010, 01:02 PM
I am not sure what your point is. Care to make it?

Kaa

we use oil to meet 95% of our transportation needs. Just curious if France is running their cars on nuclear power.

Imagine the battery pack you're going to need for a 18wheeler, and how far it will travel through the Rockies before it needs a recharge.

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 01:04 PM
And where is all that waste going to for storage?The French do a good job, better than anybody else certainly, at recycling spent fuel, what can't be reused they form into relatively stable glass. France is currently constructing a deep earth repository for what can't be re-used.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 01:05 PM
we use oil to meet 95% of our transportation needs. Just curious if France is running their cars on nuclear power.

Imagine the battery pack you're going to need for a 18wheeler, and how far it will travel through the Rockies before it needs a recharge.

Sigh. Let's revisit my original post to which you took umbrage:


There isn't. It's a pretty good bet there will be. The question is when.

So are you saying that never ever, not in a hundred, not in a thousand years humanity will be able to run transportation on anything else other than fossil fuels..?

Kaa

LeeG
06-16-2010, 01:22 PM
Sigh. Let's revisit my original post to which you took umbrage:



So are you saying that never ever, not in a hundred, not in a thousand years humanity will be able to run transportation on anything else other than fossil fuels..?

Kaa

sigh, humanity might be one million living it up on a hydrogen economy in a world of one billion where the TOTAL BTU supply is a fraction of what it is now.

Hey, maybe after 200yrs fusion technology has been figured out and the entire country of the US can afford one or two of them and we're all riding bicycles because the oil, coal and gas are too valuable for burning.

See, it kind of matters whether the EXISTING technology you spoke of, nuclear, can run the system we HAVE. We already produce more electricity from nuclear power than France, what do we run on electricity for transportation? fork lifts, golf carts and a few trains/streetcars. It's ALL OIL after that.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 01:29 PM
See, it kind of matters whether the EXISTING technology you spoke of, nuclear, can run the system we HAVE.

I am a bit confused why the future is constrained by existing technologies.

Re-read my post. I am not saying anything about the viability of entirely eliminating oil as an energy source in the near future -- which, it seems, is the strawman you're trying to build.


...what do we run on electricity for transportation?

It would be helpful for you to distinguish present tense from future tense.

My point, yet again, is that the switch from fossil fuels as an energy source to something else will happen -- in the future. Not today, not tomorrow, not this year, but it will. Looks like you're set on arguing it won't happen tomorrow. Well, duh...

Kaa

elf
06-16-2010, 01:30 PM
The entire conversation is moot. In 30 years climate change will have brought so many more life threatening problems that this will be irrelevant.

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 01:35 PM
The entire conversation is moot. In 30 years climate change will have brought so many more life threatening problems that this will be irrelevant.i agree... sorta

your probably right that some natural cataclyscism is what's gonna end it for us all, maybe not in 30 years though

Kaa
06-16-2010, 01:39 PM
your probably right that some natural cataclyscism is what's gonna end it for us all, maybe not in 30 years though

May I suggest as that natural cataclysm the sun burning out? Gonna be pretty nasty, that. And there seems to be good scientific consensus that this will actually happen :D

Kaa

LeeG
06-16-2010, 01:45 PM
I am a bit confused why the future is constrained by existing technologies.

Re-read my post. I am not saying anything about the viability of entirely eliminating oil as an energy source in the near future -- which, it seems, is the strawman you're trying to build.



It would be helpful for you to distinguish present tense from future tense.

My point, yet again, is that the switch from fossil fuels as an energy source to something else will happen -- in the future. Not today, not tomorrow, not this year, but it will. Looks like you're set on arguing it won't happen tomorrow. Well, duh...

Kaa

it wasn't my intention to build a strawman, you offered up nuclear power as an example of an expanding input to compensate for a decreasing input of oil in even greater quantities.

LeeG :
You mean a replacement level of BTUs?
Kaa:
Replacement and beyond. Yes, I do.

LeeG :
as the input of oil declines are you saying an equal level of BTU will come out of those other inputs or float in on a third axis from another galaxy?
Kaa:
Yep. I am not sure why do you think this is such an outlandish idea. Here, let me show you a chart

You appear to me to be dealing in the present tense to near future, not 100 to 1000yrs. given the example of Frances expansion of nuclear power generation. That's why I asked about electric cars in France.

So my question is WHAT is this energy source that will provide REPLACEMENT AND BEYOND for oil? My vague understanding is that there's less than a centuries worth of uranium at present rate of consumption. If we expand our uranium consumption to replace (as implied by the example of France) how effing long do you do think world supplies will last?

World oil supplies are going to be peaking in our lifetime. What's the replacement?

LeeG
06-16-2010, 01:46 PM
The entire conversation is moot. In 30 years climate change will have brought so many more life threatening problems that this will be irrelevant.

I disagree.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 01:46 PM
i agree... sorta

your probably right that some natural cataclyscism is what's gonna end it for us all, maybe not in 30 years though

Maybe not in 30 years. Maybe not in 300.

The thing that so often gets overlooked is that we have built a system, a 'way of life', that is extremely fragile.

Any heretofore 'ordinary disaster' could quickly become a cataclysm.

Just recently, the Iceland volcano paralyzed travel in Europe, sending their airline industry hurtling toward bankruptcy! I think they've recovered, for the most part, but...

Then there are the man-made disasters where somebody sees his bonus disappearing and creates conditions for the destruction of an ecosystem.

My take on this is that, if a natural disaster doesn't reduce the human population by 2/3 soon, we'll do it to ourselves.

paladin
06-16-2010, 01:50 PM
Atypical trailer for use on over the road systems is 48 feet long (up to 53 ft in some states and rocky mountain areas) and limited to 102 inches wide....that's enough room for 28 each 205 watt Kyocera solar panels....so that is roughly 3600 watts per hour in nice sunlight (reliably 4 hours a day in most places.....

A typical tractor/over the road truck has a 400-460 hp diesel engine...at 746 watts per horsepower, that equals roughly 340 kwatts of energy. The tractor uses less than 200 hp when cruising. The rest only during accelleration in town or up a hill. If you replace the sleeper cab with batteries (exide comes to mind) of the type used in the new diesel electric subs, you have a bout 4 hours running time plus whatever is replaced by the solar panels....with a periodic 240 volt charger alongside the road, at truck rest stops, you could recharge in an hour, the driver could get his rest and proceed on. Light loads would require less hp.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 01:59 PM
You appear to me to be dealing in the present tense to near future, not 100 to 1000yrs. given the example of Frances expansion of nuclear power generation.

That's a misperceived appearance :D

I am NOT dealing in "present tense to near future" and France was just an example to show that it's not hard at all to expand energy generation while lowering or keeping constant oil consumption. This was a reply to what I saw as your disbelief at such a possibility.


So my question is WHAT is this energy source that will provide REPLACEMENT AND BEYOND for oil?

I don't know. Forecasting scientific breakthroughs is notoriously hard :D

There are a few candidates on the horizon. Fusion is one. Radical increase in the efficiency of the solar panels is another one. Geothermal is yet another one. None of them is ready yet for prime time, but, say, in 40-50 years..?


My vague understanding is that there's less than a centuries worth of uranium at present rate of consumption. If we expand our uranium consumption to replace (as implied by the example of France) how effing long do you do think world supplies will last?

Nuclear reactors run on different kinds of fissionables, not only uranium. Besides, there are breeder reactors and such -- I strongly doubt that running out of fuel for nuclear reactors is going to be a problem during this century and my crystal ball isn't all that good more than a hundred years out... :-)


World oil supplies are going to be peaking in our lifetime. What's the replacement?

A mix of energy sources. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. As oil runs out, it becomes more expensive, which promotes replacement fuels and alternatives. As long as this process isn't too abrupt, it should work fairly well -- why shouldn't it?

Kaa

TomF
06-16-2010, 02:07 PM
In all likelyhood, the former is more probable.Yep. "Do nothing" allows the Big Guys to continue to make money as fast as they can ... provides incentives for entrepreneurs to develop great ideas in start-up companies ... which can be acquired by the Big Guys and rolled out gradually as profit streams shift.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 02:13 PM
A mix of energy sources. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. As oil runs out, it becomes more expensive, which promotes replacement fuels and alternatives. As long as this process isn't too abrupt, it should work fairly well -- why shouldn't it?

Kaa

Let me get this right. Someday there will be an equal energy replacement for oil, a little of this, a little of that, you don't know, you have hopes for fusion. You're not talking near term.

I think you're misinterpeting the graph of electrical generation in France, it shows a decline of oil for electrical generation. Pretty sure they use oil to run their cars.

The reason why the process might not work "fairly well" is that a replacement for oil AT THE PRICE WE CAN AFFORD may not appear out of the inputs or from benevolent aliens from Alpha Centauri. If you try and get it all from nuclear how do you get that to replace oil? If you try and get it from ethanol how do you feed the world? The thing is that these "alternatives" won't come in with a higher EROI than oil. When we're burning three barrels of oil to get one barrel of oil, the "alternatives" aren't going to be any better.

A "little of this, a little of that" is as good as magic fairy dust.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 02:21 PM
I don't think that anyone disagrees that the nature of our energy usage is going to change, in the decades to come. The only question is how we will adapt to the change. As I see it, there are two choices:

1) Do nothing. Leave it up to the market. Some forward thinking entrepeneurs will work hard at alternative energy projects, but the rise in fossil fuel costs will come faster and sooner than replacement technologies become available. The 'market' only bothers to invest in alternative energy when its profitability becomes more significant than the profitability of fossil fuels... but by then, it's too late. The country's economy takes a massive hit.

.

It's the free lunch to the rescue. Somehow as oil bounces back up in price and it forces economies to slow down the magic alternative will show up cheaper than oil. Maybe the 150mpg carbeurator.

Or, as oil bounces back up and the economy slows down the cost of implementing alternatives is prohibitive so the only choice is, walk to the store or carpool.

I think we're at scenario 1.

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

Oil peaking presents a unique challenge.

Without massive mitigation, the problem will be pervasive and long-term.

Previous energy transitions (wood to coal and coal to oil) were gradual and evolutionary.

Oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary

Three scenarios

1.Waiting until world oil production peaks before taking crash program action leaves the world with a significant liquid fuel deficit for more than two decades.

2.Initiating a mitigation crash program 10 years before world oil peaking helps considerably but still leaves a liquid fuels shortfall roughly a decade after the time that oil would have peaked.

3.Initiating a mitigation crash program 20 years before peaking appears to offer the possibility of avoiding a world liquid fuels shortfall for the forecast period.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 02:22 PM
Let me get this right. Someday there will be an equal energy replacement for oil, a little of this, a little of that, you don't know, you have hopes for fusion. You're not talking near term.

You're still not getting this right :D

Someday there will be replacement for oil, yes, and I'm not talking near term.

But "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" does refer to near term.


The reason why the process might not work "fairly well" is that a replacement for oil AT THE PRICE WE CAN AFFORD may not appear out of the inputs or from benevolent aliens from Alpha Centauri.

That would have sounded better have I not heard all that (and with much more feeling :D) in mid-70s...


The thing is that these "alternatives" won't come in with a higher EROI than oil.

You're just handwaving. How do you know? Since you're talking about the future, you're making a forecast -- please show on on which basis do you make your prediction and have your crystal ball on hand ready for inspection ;-)


A "little of this, a little of that" is as good as magic fairy dust.

Ah, well, sorry to disagree with that, too. Magic fairy dust is much better :-P

Kaa

ishmael
06-16-2010, 02:23 PM
Making fuel out of whatever isn't nearly as sexy as going to the moon, and for that matter Barack hasn't the same zip as Jack. Close, and it's still early in his presidency.

For those who weren't aware, everyone with a TV was glued to it. Fuzzy images, a weird little pod, and two guys, Aldrin and Armstrong, jumped out of it for a stroll. I was thirteen that summer, the age of majority in some cultures.

Everyone was in a bit of awe. How do you make new energy that sexy? I'll agree, it's at least as important as going to the moon.

Dan McCosh
06-16-2010, 02:31 PM
I don't think any new source of energy has replaced any older source. What has happened is that new sources have been developed that are superior in terms of cost, energy density, etc., and the lower cost has resulted in increased consumption of the newer alternative. Arguabley the only way to reverse this process--i.e., going to a higher cost, less energy dense source would likely take direct rationing, which seems unlikely to happen on a world scale.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 02:39 PM
Kaa, I'm concerned with the near term in which oil will peak and decline. The next 30 yrs. I don't understand what the smiley faces communicate. I'd use them if I knew their meaning.

What EXACTLY is "a little of this, a little of that" since you are speaking of the near term and not "someday".

Yes, the 70's were 40yrs ago. That's been a lot of exploration, a lot of oil has been used in that time, a lot of countries besides the US peaked in oil production in those 40yrs, and not enough oil has been discovered to change the forecast for peak oil.

No, I'm not handwaving, the "alternatives" aren't cheaper than oil. Fossil fuels are a free lunch. We only had to get it out of the ground. The volume of it is tremendous but so is our consumption. Try and get ethanol/methanol to run 150million vehicles in the US. Aint gonna happen. Try and run 150million vehicles on electricity. Aint gonna happen.

Garret
06-16-2010, 02:44 PM
The thing about invention is that it is unpredictable.

Who predicted trains, cars, radio? OK maybe Verne or some others, but the fact is that we simply can't predict what will happen.

Obviously we can't depend on it happening, so (to my little brain) the only thing we can do is to a) conserve, b) develop known sources (other than oil) wherever possible & c) support creativity in developing new sources of mobile power.

The problem with all 3 is lack of will. Energy companies fight new sources/technologies that they don't control, many so-called "environmentalists" want us to move freight with bicycles & power companies with a half dozen solar panels, no one wants any of the solutions in their back yard, & politicians are too busy arguing & blaming to build for the future.

There are a lot of really bright people on this forum. Why don't we all agree to work towards something? Oughta be fun watching the fight about what that "something" is.:D

LeeG
06-16-2010, 02:46 PM
Everyone was in a bit of awe. How do you make new energy that sexy? I'll agree, it's at least as important as going to the moon.

I guess you could dress it up like a latex phallus, make 10,000's of them because you're afraid another country will beat you around the face with them.

Jack, going to the moon wasn't important but having the capability to rain death on 1/2 the world was. For the other 99.99% of time people aren't screwing or thinking of screwing they actually have to think and reason. Making it sexy won't do it.

A war in Iraq didn't, a third price spike in 30yrs didn't do it, a few oil spills won't do it. I'm guessing $5/gal gas or seeing China build our windmills and solar panels might.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 02:49 PM
Kaa, I'm concerned with the near term in which oil will peak and decline. The next 30 yrs.

It would be useful if you didn't assume automatically that other people are concerned with the same things as you. My post #4 was not concerned with the near term at all.


I don't understand what the smiley faces communicate. I'd use them if I knew their meaning.

I heartily recommend you find out :-)


What EXACTLY is "a little of this, a little of that" since you are speaking of the near term and not "someday".

As I said, a mix. Some natural gas, some coal, some hydro, some nuclear, some sun/wind, etc. etc. Knowing what EXACTLY would happen to that mix (remember, we're taking about the future) would enable one, among other things, to become very very rich :-)


No, I'm not handwaving, the "alternatives" aren't cheaper than oil.

For many posts here I've been trying to get you to understand the difference between "aren't" and "will not be". I'm failing so far.


Try and run 150million vehicles on electricity. Aint gonna happen.

Never ever..? Really? :-)

Kaa

elf
06-16-2010, 02:49 PM
China's already building our windmills. They're years ahead of us in this part. Read Tom Friedman.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 02:50 PM
The thing about invention is that it is unpredictable.

Who predicted trains, cars, radio? OK maybe Verne or some others, but the fact is that we simply can't predict what will happen.

Obviously we can't depend on it happening, so (to my little brain) the only thing we can do is to a) conserve, b) develop known sources (other than oil) wherever possible & c) support creativity in developing new sources of mobile power.

The problem with all 3 is lack of will. Energy companies fight new sources/technologies that they don't control, many so-called "environmentalists" want us to move freight with bicycles & power companies with a half dozen solar panels, no one wants any of the solutions in their back yard, & politicians are too busy arguing & blaming to build for the future.

There are a lot of really bright people on this forum. Why don't we all agree to work towards something? Oughta be fun watching the fight about what that "something" is.:D

That is why I don't refer to them as 'energy companies'. They aren't. They're oil companies, coal companies, power companies, etc., but they are not energy companies. If they were, they would be spending a lot of money on R&D for alternatives to fossil fuels.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 02:50 PM
For the other 99.99% of time people aren't screwing or thinking of screwing...

:eek:

:D

You need to radically improve your sex life :-P

Kaa

paladin
06-16-2010, 02:56 PM
For those that have visited Japan, you see apartment buildings where the occupants have pooled their resources and made massive solar installations on the roofs, and areas in the country where communities have windmill and solar installations. I had solar on my RV in West Virginia and it did everything that I needed. Nephew purchased gear that I recommended and when I was there a few years ago we did a solar array to run the fridge etc in emergencies, the windmill pumps water for the house and stock...so...it can be done if people decide to do it and not wait for someone to do it for them.

Garret
06-16-2010, 03:04 PM
That is why I don't refer to them as 'energy companies'. They aren't. They're oil companies, coal companies, power companies, etc., but they are not energy companies. If they were, they would be spending a lot of money on R&D for alternatives to fossil fuels.

Good point.

Dan McCosh
06-16-2010, 03:05 PM
Might note that France already has a "mini-car" category that includes both some petrol-powered vehicles at about 500 cc., as well as electric cars as you describe. An additional incentive is that they do not require a driver's license, on top of not needing to meet crash standards. They are popular with the elderly who have had their driver's licenses revoked, which also helps out the financial problems with the growing population of those quailfying for old-age pensions.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 03:09 PM
As I said, a mix. Some natural gas, some coal, some hydro, some nuclear, some sun/wind, etc. etc. Knowing what EXACTLY would happen to that mix (remember, we're taking about the future) would enable one, among other things, to become very very rich :-)


Kaa

Coal doesn't fit in cars, hydro doesn't fit in cars, nuclear or nuclear doesn't fit in cars. Gas has limited application in vehicles given the number cars/trucks on the road and lack of distribution. It has a place in some markets but the majority of our transportation is committed to oil for decades.

I understand you don't want to talk about the near term but that's what is about to happen. You know, the time we're "securing oil in the Persian Gulf" while the middle east goes through it's next manifestation of instability.

We are committed to vehicles that run on oil for the next few decades. There ISN"T a replacement for oil in the next few decades. "a little of this, a little of that"
is meaningless to 100's millions of vehicles/ships/planes in the world.

Are the smiley faces like "what me worry?". I'm not asking you to feel anything, just curious if you have any handle on what will go in the tanks of these vehicles in the near future.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 03:09 PM
so...it can be done if people decide to do it and not wait for someone to do it for them.

HERESY!!!

Only the government can do it!

Nothing but the benevolent hand of the munificent government giving out solar panels and wind generators can save us from utter destruction at the hands of rapacious corporations!!

:D

Kaa

LeeG
06-16-2010, 03:11 PM
Dan, what is the weight of those micro 500cc cars?

Garret
06-16-2010, 03:13 PM
OK, I'll volunteer something that I've proposed before...

We need a new class of vehicles so that we're not using our 4,000lb gasoline-drinking behemoths to drive to the convenient store for a quart of milk.

There was a well-intentioned but nonetheless failed effort to promote this, some years back, with the introduction of the 'Neighborhood Electric Vehicle' (NEV). It was supposed to be a small, limited range and capacity vehicle that could be electric (but didn't have to be), which would serve as short range transport at a far lower petroleum impact than a standard car. The feds provided a waiver for much of the expensive safety requirements for these cars.

Unfortunately, they got the spec wrong... and they didn't back it up with meaningful incentives. The NEV is limited to 25mph in most states, and prohibited from using limited access highways. The the only vehicles produced under the spec were, for all intents and purposes, glorified golf carts, with limited weatherproofing and price levels approaching that of very small conventional cars.

What's needed is a more realistic spec, and a more aggressive incentive. For the spec, it's my observation that a 40mph top speed would make the car practical in urban and suburban settings. At 25mph, you're slowing down the prevailing traffic.

I believe that a 40mph NEV with a 40 mile range could be built using ordinary conventional lead-acid battery technology... no exotics needed.

The price, however, MUST be substantially lower than even a cheap conventional car, in order to make it feasible as a 'third vehicle' for a family that needs conventional cars for capacity or commuting needs. How cheap? $7,000 tops.... $5,000 would be better. Needless to say, low prices require volume, which require sales interest... and it's hard to bootstrap that feedback loop... but it could be a lot easier with gov't incentives. Yes, that's right, gov't spending BEFORE the crisis hits, not WHEN it hits.

Does it make a contribution to energy efficiency? Admittedly, not a huge one... but you've got to start somewhere. An NEV would be charged at night, helping to level the load, and the energy efficiency of electric power sources, on the overall, are a lot better than that of a gasoline engine.

If you accept the premise that the energy problem is unlikely to be solved by any single technological advance, then you must accept the idea that it will take a combination of smaller ideas.

I could get behind that. But.... Damn, I hate to say that! 1) Gov't spending before the absolute emergency? In the US? I guess I'm a cynic. 2) Crash safety. By the time we got it to pass current crash tests it'd have a range of 12 miles & cost 15,000. Oh, there I go being a cynic again.

How 'bout this: a fuel guzzler tax (one that hurts) paired with a fuel efficiency payment. That way those who wanna drive urban assault vehicles can, they just have to help pay for those who choose to be efficient. Then you have to open US doors to small, light cars with small, efficient turbo-diesels. Heck a Mini with a TD has decent performance (up to well over our current speed limits) & gets over 60 mpg. That's not new technology - it's what one can buy right now in Europe.

I'll posit that small urban cars with efficient engines could be built right now that push 80 mpg - probably more. Might not meet crash tests though.

Y Bar Ranch
06-16-2010, 03:14 PM
...rapacious corporations!!
Those guys' stock form the foundation of my 401K. May they live long and prosper, so I can too. Or may I be in on the IPO for their replacements.

Garret
06-16-2010, 03:16 PM
I'm a bit cynical about small gasoline powered cars. I notice that the best I can do on my 750cc motorcycle is about 47 mpg... and that's not much better than a number of smaller conventional cars. I am presuming that there are limits to gasoline engine efficiency that we've been approaching assymptotically for many years now, and the '100 mpg car' might just be either impossible, or irrelevant, if a better energy source is found first.

My older (1970) 750 does about 50-55 mpg. And - they are built to maximize power, not efficiency.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 03:17 PM
I'm a bit cynical about small gasoline powered cars. I notice that the best I can do on my 750cc motorcycle is about 47 mpg... and that's not much better than a number of smaller conventional cars. I am presuming that there are limits to gasoline engine efficiency that we've been approaching assymptotically for many years now, and the '100 mpg car' might just be either impossible, or irrelevant, if a better energy source is found first.

but the 500cc city car isn't commuting 70miles/day. It's total footprint physically and resource wise is pretty small. 12" wheels instead of 16", smaller brakes, etc. If all you're doing is going to the store then 1000lbs of vehicle makes a lot more sense than 4000lbs.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 03:18 PM
Coal doesn't fit in cars

Really? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_liquefaction


hydro doesn't fit in cars, nuclear or nuclear doesn't fit in cars.Lots of people who put lots of money into developing electric cars think otherwise.


Gas has limited application in vehicles given the number cars/trucks on the road and lack of distribution.Really? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer-Tropsch_process

Not to mention that it's trivial to convert a gasoline car engine to run on natural gas for local driving.


I understand you don't want to talk about the near term but that's what is about to happen.*What* is about to happen?


We are committed to vehicles that run on oil for the next few decades. There ISN"T a replacement for oil in the next few decades. "a little of this, a little of that"
is meaningless to 100's millions of vehicles/ships/planes in the world.I disagree. It would be nice if you were to provide some data to support you naked assertions.


Are the smiley faces like "what me worry?". I'm not asking you to feel anything, just curious if you have any handle on what will go in the tanks of these vehicles in the near future.I really recommend you figure out what smileys mean. It would enhance your internet experience :D

Kaa

Kaa
06-16-2010, 03:19 PM
I notice that the best I can do on my 750cc motorcycle is about 47 mpg...

For "going to the convenience store for a quart of milk" try a 50cc scooter.

Kaa

Y Bar Ranch
06-16-2010, 03:22 PM
How 'bout this: a fuel guzzler tax (one that hurts) paired with a fuel efficiency payment.
One thing the government could do is NOT spend money, or reduce it. Build smaller roads restricted to smaller cars, make parking spots at government locations far favorable to smaller vehicles, restrict larger vehicles by size from city centers, and basically create additional friction to owning the gas guzzlers. Special privileges for hybrids in HOV lanes was an example. Attack the size and weight issue, and the fuel economy will follow. People don't care about gas costs, they do care about convenience. A lot.

peb
06-16-2010, 03:24 PM
"Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men . . . ."

Those words, by JFK in 1962 were the lead up to his promise to devote all possible resources toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

That may have been one of the greatest peace-time partnerships between government and private industry. From 1962 to 1969, the brightest minds in this country went into science and engineering. The moon landings are distant history, but the technology that was developed in the process is still being used today.

Obama could go a ways toward redeeming himself if he set as a national goal the development of a domestic energy source that would replace fossil fuels.

I was talking with one of those 1960's engineers the other day. He was very blunt. He said, "If the government had told us to figure out a way to turn water into energy and then back to water, we would have done it. We had the resources."

It's not too late. But it takes leadership, of which there is none.

JFK, for all his faults, was an very inspiring leader. Who else could set the goal of going to the moon in a decade , die 2 and 1/2 years later, and almost no one questioned the goal (Mondale aside) until it was accomplished.

But to be an inspiring leader, you need more than just being able to make a good speech. I don't think Obama is even close to that category. And that is not a slam on Obama, besides Reagan, I can't think of any other president since maybe FDR who was that type of leader.

Dan McCosh
06-16-2010, 03:27 PM
Dan, what is the weight of those micro 500cc cars? Not sure, but there is a maximum weight limit--I think about 1,000 lbs. There a few French cities that have restricted access to their centers to these micro electrics. They are pretty scary to drive in traffic, however. They are also popular among those who have had their licenses revoked for DUI.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 03:40 PM
Really? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_liquefaction

Lots of people who put lots of money into developing electric cars think otherwise.

Really? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer-Tropsch_process

Not to mention that it's trivial to convert a gasoline car engine to run on natural gas for local driving.

*What* is about to happen?

I disagree. It would be nice if you were to provide some data to support you naked assertions.

I really recommend you figure out what smileys mean. It would enhance your internet experience :D

Kaa

Kaa, remember we need coal to make electricity. Once you divert it to coal liquification you raise the price of electricity. What is the price of liquid from coal compared to oil on the world market?

A lot of people put a lot of money into a lot of things, so what.

It's technologically trivial to convert a car to natural gas, it's not economically trivial. The cost of distribution isn't trivial. The capital required to develop distribution isn't trivial.

The peaking of oil production/demand is near term. It's between now and 2030. Many experts think it's happened.

There was this thing called the Iraq war, financial bubble, oil price shock. Oil went from $40 to $147. Oil isn't at the price it was when SUV sales were at their peak and the US auto industry was churning out F150 trucks like crazy. So what is happening in the near term is a crunch of oil supply and an infrastructure built on $20-$40 oil. Do you not get it? There is no replacement, no "little of this, little of that" for all the cars being made in the USofA, China and Europe. All the vehicles in the works run on OIL and will be for decades.
They don't run on "a little of this, a little of that".

Just for kicks and giggles what do you think will happen if a few terrorists do to a few major oil installations in Saudi Arabia like they did in the US to a few buildings.

Let's say it happens in ten years when 90% of the vehicles are pretty much the same as they are now. What "little of this, little of that" will make the difference?

This isn't the 70's, there isn't a whole new bunch of oil discoveries in the works. Supply and demand are neck and neck.

what's the "this and that"?

Garret
06-16-2010, 03:45 PM
One thing the government could do is NOT spend money, or reduce it. Build smaller roads restricted to smaller cars, make parking spots at government locations far favorable to smaller vehicles, restrict larger vehicles by size from city centers, and basically create additional friction to owning the gas guzzlers. Special privileges for hybrids in HOV lanes was an example. Attack the size and weight issue, and the fuel economy will follow. People don't care about gas costs, they do care about convenience. A lot.

I wasn't talking about the gov't spending $, but about inefficient vehicles supporting efficient ones. Problem I see with smaller roads restricted to smaller cars is that you'll get lawsuits. "I've got a right to burn 4 car's worth of fuel" kinda thing....

Dan McCosh
06-16-2010, 03:49 PM
I'm a bit cynical about small gasoline powered cars. I notice that the best I can do on my 750cc motorcycle is about 47 mpg... and that's not much better than a number of smaller conventional cars. I am presuming that there are limits to gasoline engine efficiency that we've been approaching assymptotically for many years now, and the '100 mpg car' might just be either impossible, or irrelevant, if a better energy source is found first.

Gasoline-powered cars get between 2,000 and 3,000 mpg in the SAE supermileage competition. This in a closed-body, three-wheel vehicle with a 2 hp. engine. Gasoline has a lot of energy, and when performance demands (i.e., mass and accleration) are minimal, mileage can be quite high.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 03:51 PM
Kaa, remember we need coal to make electricity.

No, we don't. Did you already forget that French chart?


What is the price of liquid from coal compared to oil on the world market?

Once again, you're missing the difference between "is" and "will be".


It's technologically trivial to convert a car to natural gas, it's not economically trivial. The cost of distribution isn't trivial.

It *is* economically trivial -- lots of experience in the third-world countries :D

As to distribution, that's why I said "local driving". But gas pipelines lead to an awful lot of places already...


Do you not get it?

No, I don't. You're replicating, almost exactly, the panic of the mid-70s. Somehow the human civilization survived.

But hey! If you like to pretend we're all going to live in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Mad Max style, "in the near future", that's fine by me.

Kaa

LeeG
06-16-2010, 03:55 PM
Gasoline-powered cars get between 2,000 and 3,000 mpg in the SAE supermileage competition. This in a closed-body, three-wheel vehicle with a 2 hp. engine. Gasoline has a lot of energy, and when performance demands (i.e., mass and accleration) are minimal, mileage can be quite high.

yea but the practicality of those vehicles is zip compared to a bicycle or moped. The day hypermileage vehicles make sense is after the crash and the entire rulebook for vehicular traffic is out the window.

Y Bar Ranch
06-16-2010, 04:02 PM
I wasn't talking about the gov't spending $, but about inefficient vehicles supporting efficient ones. Problem I see with smaller roads restricted to smaller cars is that you'll get lawsuits. "I've got a right to burn 4 car's worth of fuel" kinda thing....
Yea, I know you weren't, but I don't think charging more will keep them off the street, which is really where we want them. People already pay a premium for the SUVs.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 04:06 PM
Kaa, you conveniently ignore the difference between a specific case and the general case.

That electricity can be made from nuclear fuel doesn't mean it fuels petrol cars.

That liquid fuel can be made from coal doesn't mean it can be economical for 100's millions of vehicles.

That third world countries run a million CNG cars doesn't mean the US with 150million can unless you're advocating a third world energy consumption.

MadMax is a movie. The 1970's were 40yrs ago. Whatever you were doing then I'm not asking you to revisit it, smoke it or screw it.

Kaa
06-16-2010, 04:18 PM
The point of the NEV is that it would be suitable for local commuting and minor shopping in virtually ANY weather condition, without the need to wear leathers and a helmet, could carry a passenger and/or the groceries, etc. Namely, it would be suitable for a great majority of the driving MOST people do every day.

Oh, I like the idea of NEVs. Unfortunately, they are stupidly priced.

I don't see why something like this:

http://www.gekgo.com/images/3-wheel_utility_redrick_shaw.jpg


should cost more than, say, $2000 or so.

Kaa

Kaa
06-16-2010, 04:19 PM
Whatever you were doing then I'm not asking you to revisit it, smoke it or screw it.

Hmm... now that's an idea! :D

Kaa

Matt J.
06-16-2010, 04:21 PM
I'm with Kaa on this; there will be changes, and those changes will occur as required. Everyone is so focused on 'we drive C A R S' that they fail to see that we used to ride horses; what's next? Who knows, look to science fiction, they provide the visual for the techies to build to.

Norman, the scooters sold today will operate in the rain and -20F conditions, and scooters can be built with canopies for weather protection (BMW made a cool one, I forget what it was called City something or Commuter something?).

Maybe some day we'll start mining the landfills for methane or some other thing like fermented paper for fuels... you can't see the future, and maybe it'll be too late, but maybe it won't. People tend to adapt to survive.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 04:24 PM
because something like this costs $2000

http://egovehicles.com/fileadmin/user_upload/press/Special_Edition_Vehicle_final.jpg

LeeG
06-16-2010, 04:29 PM
MattJ, of course folks will adapt. Not sure how 300million people will house and feed all those horses or deliver all that frozen food but we'll adapt.

Scott Rosen
06-16-2010, 04:30 PM
So, Scott, if you were President of the United States, how would you get the wholehearted and enthusiastic cooperation of the oppposing party?

That's easy: Money. Propose large spending for R&D in their states and districts.

elf
06-16-2010, 04:32 PM
Where are you going to get the money?

LeeG
06-16-2010, 04:37 PM
That's easy: Money. Propose large spending for R&D in their states and districts.


money won't create priorities, lack of it will. There is no replacement for oil.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 04:48 PM
Scooters don't qualify; you're not going to get a matronly housewife to drive one.... and the capacity limitation makes them impractical. You can't do a weeks worth of food shopping for a family of four, and carry it home in a handlebar basket.

Norman, I think you're hitting on the infrastructure we're committed to. There really isn't a practical way to mix 25mph neighborhood vehicles with 6,000lb SUVs and 4,000lb sedans with 260hp. It just isn't going to happen unless the neighborhood/shopping center is totally clamped down to 25mph and no one is getting on 35-45mph streets. I could see it in small towns were there are no speeds above 25mph and all the vehicles are used to it but most small towns are fed by a 55mph road and most people live in urban areas intersected by 35mph+streets. This is American GDamnit and we don't need no effin' sissy cars!

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 04:51 PM
money won't create priorities, lack of it will. There is no replacement for oil.

I agree with you on both counts.

'Replacing' oil, as energy, would require finding an energy-dense liquid that burns in atmosphere.

There are other possibilities, though.

I think the ultimate barrier to producing millions of cars and light trucks with the speed, acceleration and carrying capacity we've grown accustomed to will be the amount of Copper needed to wind all those motors.

Someone up-thread was talking about moving freight with bicycles, and I want to say that I was very impressed the other day, to see a dude on a bike towing a half-dozen 2X4X8s and a couple of bags of concrete mix on a trailer!

Scott Rosen
06-16-2010, 04:53 PM
money won't create priorities, lack of it will. There is no replacement for oil.

Lee, we may be using oil for transportation for the next 200 years. But that doesn't mean we can't find ways to use a lot less of it, and also develop alternatives.

Finding a way to break our dependence on foreign oil is as much a matter of national security as winning the cold war was. Every dollar we spend and every life we lose in the Middle East is attributable to our thirst for oil. If it weren't for the oil, we'd be treating the M.E. the same way we treat Africa -- we ignore it and don't spend our resources on it.

How many billions have we spent in Iraq and Iran? How many billions have we given to Israel, Egypt and Jordan? It would have cost us a lot less to wean ourselves from foreign oil, and we'd be much better off for it now.

Significant long distance shipping should be done by rail. The government should impose drastic reductions in passenger vehicle horsepower and size, and should massively tax low-efficiency vehicles. You don't have a constitutional right to a Hummer or a triple-engine Cigarette boat. Public transportation works, where people have bothered to spend the money on building it. Busses can run on fuel cells. Chuck has the right idea. The problem is, we need to force people to make the changes one way or the other.

Where do we get the money? The same place we get it for the rest of our deficit spending. We print it and borrow it from the Chinese. Hell, if we're going to mortgage our future, we might as well get something worth passing on to our grandchildren for all the money we're spending.

The present system is ruled by greed for big and fast profits, and corruption. If we don't change the system, we'll be faced with the kind of crisis that Lee wrote of.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 04:54 PM
Scooters don't qualify; you're not going to get a matronly housewife to drive one.... and the capacity limitation makes them impractical. You can't do a weeks worth of food shopping for a family of four, and carry it home in a handlebar basket.

Handle bar basket?

If the scooter is rated to carry two, there's a whole lot of ways to carry a week's groceries for four, there.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 05:01 PM
Norman, I think you're hitting on the infrastructure we're committed to. There really isn't a practical way to mix 25mph neighborhood vehicles with 6,000lb SUVs and 4,000lb sedans with 260hp. It just isn't going to happen unless the neighborhood/shopping center is totally clamped down to 25mph and no one is getting on 35-45mph streets. I could see it in small towns were there are no speeds above 25mph and all the vehicles are used to it but most small towns are fed by a 55mph road and most people live in urban areas intersected by 35mph+streets. This is American GDamnit and we don't need no effin' sissy cars!

Norm has already pointed out that the speed of those NEVs makes them impractical and unsafe.

You're right that we have built infrastructure that is totally dependent on petroleum fuels. For one example, the death of the neighborhood grocery and local hardware store is directly attributable to the use of cars. Well... And WalMart!

It used to be that most residential areas had a little grocery store every 5 blocks, or so, with houses next door. Not a strip-mall or a supermarket, just a market within easy walking distance of your home.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 05:02 PM
Handle bar basket?

If the scooter is rated to carry two, there's a whole lot of ways to carry a week's groceries for four, there.

or

http://thelazyrando.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/bd2.jpg

John Smith
06-16-2010, 05:06 PM
"Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men . . . ."

Those words, by JFK in 1962 were the lead up to his promise to devote all possible resources toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

That may have been one of the greatest peace-time partnerships between government and private industry. From 1962 to 1969, the brightest minds in this country went into science and engineering. The moon landings are distant history, but the technology that was developed in the process is still being used today.

Obama could go a ways toward redeeming himself if he set as a national goal the development of a domestic energy source that would replace fossil fuels.

I was talking with one of those 1960's engineers the other day. He was very blunt. He said, "If the government had told us to figure out a way to turn water into energy and then back to water, we would have done it. We had the resources."

It's not too late. But it takes leadership, of which there is none.
I had an uncle I never met. He was in prison over all the years I could have known him. He had fraudulenty sold a product that let cars run on water.

Having given that notion much though, I wondered how much water would cost if we were running our cars on it.

I have suggested, and hope some here will support me and write their reps, the following.

Coordinate with ALL levels of governments as to what jobs they are doing with purchased vehicles where all electric plug-ins would work. Cover the meter maid to the letter carrier.

These agencies are buying vehicles anyway, so coordinate contract with GM/Ford/Chrysler to each build one style. This woud put many Americans to work building the vehicles, and the government use of them, alone, would save a substantial amount of gas.

Once available, I'm sure, pizza parlors, pharmacies, florists, plumbers, electricians, etc. would guy them for their needs. I'd buy one, if price wasn't prohibitive, for local errands which make up 90% of my driving, leaving my wagon in the driveway.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 05:08 PM
or

http://thelazyrando.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/bd2.jpg

Yeah! :D

LeeG
06-16-2010, 05:14 PM
Lee, we may be using oil for transportation for the next 200 years. But that doesn't mean we can't find ways to use a lot less of it, and also develop alternatives.

Finding a way to break our dependence on foreign oil is as much a matter of national security as winning the cold war was. Every dollar we spend and every life we lose in the Middle East is attributable to our thirst for oil. If it weren't for the oil, we'd be treating the M.E. the same way we treat Africa -- we ignore it and don't spend our resources on it.



Scott, I don't think we'll be independent of foreign oil anymore than we'll be independent of international trade. Given our level of consumption and size of reserves relative to the rest of the world it is inevitable we will be importing MORE of it relative to what we extract domestically.

What we can do is develop more resiliency to price spikes and and later supply shortage. Kind of hybridize our energy use.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 05:27 PM
...independent of foreign oil ...

There is no 'domestic' oil.

All oil goes on the commodities market, if I understand it correctly.

The thing that makes it domestic is our willingness to buy it.

Now, granted, countries which have nationalized oil companies that produce a surplus to their needs are a different kettle of fish, but we don't fall into that category.

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 05:29 PM
There is no 'domestic' oil.

All oil goes on the commodities market, if I understand it correctly.you don't understand it correctly

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 05:31 PM
you don't understand it correctly

I would be grateful for a brief lesson.:)

LeeG
06-16-2010, 05:31 PM
gotta say everytime my sweetheart fills up her Explorer I wonder how many gallons of that foreign Canadian oil is in there mixing around with my American oil.

AnalogKid
06-16-2010, 06:07 PM
What's so hard to see about electrical power produced by nuclear (hopefully fusion in the near future) being used to electrolyze hydrogen out of water for hydrogen powered IC engines.

There have to be increases in efficiency, smaller, leaner, fitter vehicles, less road transportation, etc. because there is absolutely no point in trying to fulfill a demand that is so hugely wasteful as current petroleum consumption for transport with a new technology like for like.

to draw a parallel, my business is implementing business software and the first stage is always finding out what the business does to ensure the software can do the job. We often come across staff (not whole companies) where there take is "this is what I do now, I don't care what the new system can do, I just want it do do exactly what I can do now." It's entirely missing the point of putting a new system in place. You've got to look at what is good and what is bad about the current system, and what opportunities exist to do things better with the new system.

I understand there is a cultural issue here. European urban areas tend to much older, often having been established prior to motorised transport. That means compact centres and places to shop that are in walking distance. It's also why the cars are smaller, everywhere is closer by and in some cases of mediaeval town centres, the road width is severely limited. In the US, Canada, Australia, and to a certain extent NZ, more development was post-automobile adoption, and so the out of town shopping centre rules. I've tried walking around cities in Australia and the US, and it's a horrible experience because the infrastructure expects you to drive, not walk. So for Europe, a post-oil economy is going to be easier to adopt and adapt to than for the new world.

Garret
06-16-2010, 07:19 PM
What's so hard to see about electrical power produced by nuclear (hopefully fusion in the near future) being used to electrolyze hydrogen out of water for hydrogen powered IC engines.

There have to be increases in efficiency, smaller, leaner, fitter vehicles, less road transportation, etc. because there is absolutely no point in trying to fulfill a demand that is so hugely wasteful as current petroleum consumption for transport with a new technology like for like.

to draw a parallel, my business is implementing business software and the first stage is always finding out what the business does to ensure the software can do the job. We often come across staff (not whole companies) where there take is "this is what I do now, I don't care what the new system can do, I just want it do do exactly what I can do now." It's entirely missing the point of putting a new system in place. You've got to look at what is good and what is bad about the current system, and what opportunities exist to do things better with the new system.

I understand there is a cultural issue here. European urban areas tend to much older, often having been established prior to motorised transport. That means compact centres and places to shop that are in walking distance. It's also why the cars are smaller, everywhere is closer by and in some cases of mediaeval town centres, the road width is severely limited. In the US, Canada, Australia, and to a certain extent NZ, more development was post-automobile adoption, and so the out of town shopping centre rules. I've tried walking around cities in Australia and the US, and it's a horrible experience because the infrastructure expects you to drive, not walk. So for Europe, a post-oil economy is going to be easier to adopt and adapt to than for the new world.

Bingo on all your points (including speaking as a business software developer) - but particularly the comparison of old-world vs. new-world transportation models.

Try doing anything in Florida without a car! Friends bought a condo right next to a shopping center. One big reason they did was that they could walk to the grocery, etc. After a bit they were informed that they were not allowed to walk to the center & because others had started doing it as well, they put up a fence to prevent it. Now they have to either a) walk on busy/dangerous streets with no sidewalks or b) drive their car. Sheesh.

BTW - I bet you must be the son of Digital Dad! ;)

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 07:21 PM
After a bit they were informed that they were not allowed to walk to the center & because others had started doing it as well, they put up a fence to prevent it.what was the logic behind this?

Garret
06-16-2010, 07:26 PM
what was the logic behind this?

Logic? Surely you jest.... It was deemed by the majority of residents that having people walking across the parking lot & lawn carrying groceries looked "low rent".

Motorcycles & pickups with any lettering are banned as well, as are boats of any sort.

Yes, they have it up for sale, but the bottom has dropped out of real estate, so....

Paul Pless
06-16-2010, 07:30 PM
was this fence put up by the store or by the housing association?

Garret
06-16-2010, 07:32 PM
was this fence put up by the store or by the housing association?

Condo assoc.

oznabrag
06-16-2010, 07:36 PM
Logic? Surely you jest.... It was deemed by the majority of residents that having people walking across the parking lot & lawn carrying groceries looked "low rent".

Motorcycles & pickups with any lettering are banned as well, as are boats of any sort.

Yes, they have it up for sale, but the bottom has dropped out of real estate, so....

So... You can live in Florida, but you can't keep a boat?

paladin
06-16-2010, 07:37 PM
Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
Dan, what is the weight of those micro 500cc cars?

about 600 pounds...

Garret
06-16-2010, 07:40 PM
So... You can live in Florida, but you can't keep a boat?

You can keep a boat, just not anywhere on the condo grounds. No RV's either I forgot to add...

C'mon, this is Florida* we're talking about! You want things to make sense to someone not from there?

* Fort Meyers in case inquiring minds were wondering.

LeeG
06-16-2010, 07:42 PM
In 1982 I drove across the country in a 1974 Honda Civic that weighed about 1500lbs. In 4th gear going 4000rpm we got about 28mpg. We were loaded down.

TomF
06-17-2010, 06:47 AM
The various options of scooters, very light 3-wheeled NEVs etc. might work just fine in many parts of the world, but wouldn't work in my part of Canada 6 months of the year.

Personally, I'd rather we returned to horses for local trips. Except that my wife and son would die from their allergies.

Y Bar Ranch
06-17-2010, 08:04 AM
It used to be that most residential areas had a little grocery store every 5 blocks, or so, with houses next door. Not a strip-mall or a supermarket, just a market within easy walking distance of your home.
Are you saying this isn't your idea of heaven?

http://www.tfigblog.com/.a/6a01053647073b970c01156e3b61f6970c-pi

LeeG
06-17-2010, 08:08 AM
except for closed communities I don't see it happening on a large scale until we're clearly on the downhill slide of production and fuel costs compete with food and housing. There's a legacy system of transportation that simply can't tolerate such different size and speed vehicles.

TomF
06-17-2010, 08:12 AM
...I don't think scooters could make any impact at all: your average 55 year old housewife wouldn't dream of using one. But a 4 wheel NEV, closed to the weather, with a 40mph top speed, would make a great deal of sense, even in New England.I agree.

But I think a decent pair of walking shoes, a pull-behind shopping cart, and a network of local markets and grocery stores would make even more sense. Especially for your average 55 year old housewife (and her husband) who frankly would be a helluva lot healthier for walking to and from the store a couple of times each week.

Would cut down on health costs too.

LeeG
06-17-2010, 08:25 AM
Are you saying this isn't your idea of heaven?

http://www.tfigblog.com/.a/6a01053647073b970c01156e3b61f6970c-pi

that's the problem. The curvy neighborhood streets are probably 25mph but the wider two lane street to the right is probably 35mph and it feeds to a strip mall where cars and trucks are coming off a 45-65mph highway. Where the neighborhood vehicle needs to go is exactly the place where the larger faster vehicles are transiting and that's not a good mix.
Given that those neighborhoods are built for individual vehicles that can zoom from house to mall to work over a range that exceeds neighborhood vehicles I'm thinking it'll make more economic sense for people to retain their 30mpg sedans and 20mpg trucks given the sunk personal cost in them and the sunk cost in the development and use them only for essentials with the mall/neighborhood association/gov't grants paying for feeder bus lines/jitneys just as you would at the airport going a couple miles from parking lot to terminal.

I don't see folks having the extra $10k for a neighborhood vehicle when fuel costs go up. That money is going to be needed for driving the main commuter vehicle or housing energy costs. While there are some technologies that can make energy use more efficient, smart grid stuff, it doesn't take fancy technology to cut down on non-essentials when the budget can't afford it. You simply do it. We won't do it until it's necessary. The issue for some folks is that they don't think it'll be necessary. Maybe when the fourth oil price spike hits , I have my doubts.

LeeG
06-17-2010, 08:31 AM
I agree.

But I think a decent pair of walking shoes, a pull-behind shopping cart, and a network of local markets and grocery stores would make even more sense. Especially for your average 55 year old housewife (and her husband) who frankly would be a helluva lot healthier for walking to and from the store a couple of times each week.

Would cut down on health costs too.

how in the heck can a local market compete with a Walmart, Sams Club or Safeway that's one mile away? The roads are built, there's no sidewalk to those stores but the $savings for that one mile trip might be 10% of the foodbill. Folks will drive to pick up a 20-60lb purchase. For folks without cars they'll walk but the expense of driving two miles will be less than the higher cost local store.

Milo Christensen
06-17-2010, 08:46 AM
If there won't be any viable alternatives ready in time, what's the alternative?

oznabrag
06-17-2010, 09:41 AM
how in the heck can a local market compete with a Walmart, Sams Club or Safeway that's one mile away? The roads are built, there's no sidewalk to those stores but the $savings for that one mile trip might be 10% of the foodbill. Folks will drive to pick up a 20-60lb purchase. For folks without cars they'll walk but the expense of driving two miles will be less than the higher cost local store.

I don't know, but we're gonna find out!

oznabrag
06-17-2010, 09:42 AM
If there won't be any viable alternatives ready in time, what's the alternative?

I gotta say, Milo... That reads like a Koan!:D

What is the sound of one hand clapping? ;)

oznabrag
06-17-2010, 09:45 AM
Are you saying this isn't your idea of heaven?



That's what I'm saying.

If they'd left the houses off a couple of cul-de-sacs and made them into community garden space instead, and allowed a couple of lots to build a small grocery/hardware/pub...;)

TomF
06-17-2010, 09:48 AM
how in the heck can a local market compete with a Walmart, Sams Club or Safeway that's one mile away? The roads are built, there's no sidewalk to those stores but the $savings for that one mile trip might be 10% of the foodbill. Folks will drive to pick up a 20-60lb purchase. For folks without cars they'll walk but the expense of driving two miles will be less than the higher cost local store.I hear what you're saying - I'm simply aware of 2 supermarkets within walking distance of my door. One's 10 minutes away, the other 20 minutes. When I walk to either, I'm aware that I'm among the only ones there without a car.

I only walk when I'm picking up a few things too ... maybe milk and fruit twice/week. It gets the dog out too - I tie her leash to the bike rack at the store, when I pop in to get the milk. I'd walk more often if I used a pull-behind cart for the heavy stuff. It would work for about half the year here.

Fredericton isn't like much of North America, but I was a similar distance from a decent market when I lived in various parts of Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. Despite those cities (Edmonton especially) being built 'round the car.

LeeG
06-17-2010, 09:49 AM
If there won't be any viable alternatives ready in time, what's the alternative?

drive less. Like this is rocket science?


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HyyDHyAwI6k/S6lNNpFOjXI/AAAAAAAAIjI/ztzL_x3aTj8/s400/baker+figure+1.gif

something is happenin' here

Milo Christensen
06-17-2010, 09:54 AM
drive less. Like this is rocket science?

Everything you've posted to this thread indicates that there isn't going to be a viable alternative to a liquid hydrocarbon based transportation system ready in time. Driving less only prolongs the agony. I ask again, when there isn't a viable alternative, what's the alternative?

TomF
06-17-2010, 09:58 AM
Everything you've posted to this thread indicates that there isn't going to be a viable alternative to a liquid hydrocarbon based transportation system ready in time. Driving less only prolongs the agony. I ask again, when there isn't a viable alternative, what's the alternative?As a supervisor of mine back in my Child Welfare days used to say, pain is a great motivator.

Institute a carbon tax. It will punish usage, and reward the development of alternatives.

LeeG
06-17-2010, 10:11 AM
Everything you've posted to this thread indicates that there isn't going to be a viable alternative to a liquid hydrocarbon based transportation system ready in time. Driving less only prolongs the agony. I ask again, when there isn't a viable alternative, what's the alternative?

driving less. That doesn't mean not driving at all. It simply means driving less. That's not hard to figure out. Look at the graph above, I put in another one that went to 2009. I doubt the efficiency of vehicles changed from 2004 to 2009, people simply drove less.

Driving less doesn't prolong anything, it's a choice to use money for something other than driving. Pretty sure the average personal vehicle is used for things other than commuting and essential transportation. I'm not sure where the cut off point is where people have to car pool or choose between medical expenses and fuel costs but in the big picture fuel is still pretty cheap as a personal expense compared to housing and medical costs. It's not cheap to some businesses but I'm talking about personal vehicles. Look at Andrew, he's commuting long distances, his car is medium pricey, the fuel is expensive but he doesn't appear to be living in a cave and scratching for grubs.

you mean what's the alternative when folks have paired down non-essential driving? Doing without and rationing sounds like what people prefer because I don't see any willingness to institute changes BEFORE that point. It may not happen but I wouldn't be surprised if the supply/demand squeeze that folks are saying will happen in a couple years coincides with some other oil related issue and we're up to $4/gal. That's not the end of the world. Maybe it would drop down and bounce up because someone thinks it's a great idea to attack Iran and we're at $6. Then again maybe it won't and we're on a gentle undulating plateau of prices bouncing between $2.75 and $4.00. That's not the end of the world.

Dan McCosh
06-17-2010, 10:36 AM
drive less. Like this is rocket science?


http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HyyDHyAwI6k/S6lNNpFOjXI/AAAAAAAAIjI/ztzL_x3aTj8/s400/baker+figure+1.gif

something is happenin' here

It's called unemployment.

LeeG
06-17-2010, 10:43 AM
Dan, has the auto industry taken the largest hit in unemployment? I googled, it's construction.

Milo Christensen
06-17-2010, 12:01 PM
Lee: Let's look at the global driving/liquid hydrocarbon for transportation picture, shall we? The whole idea of American exceptionalism is dead, thanks be. We may be only 5% of the world's population, we may consume 20% of the fuel, but as of recently, we only buy 20% of the world's new cars and trucks. What's happened to driving habits in the Eurozone and Asia ? How about a global oil consumption graph over time? Still on track to double in about 20 years as I recall the last time I wasn't imitating Ish and actually bothered to look something up for myself.

You know it isn't sustainable. You know there will be a massive shock to the global economy.

LeeG
06-17-2010, 12:15 PM
You know it isn't sustainable. You know there will be a massive shock to the global economy.

maybe it's happening now? Unsustainable financial practices, unsustainable military ventures, unsustainable energy consumption. We go for the short term reward and when the consequences hit down the line we correct. We may be hitting a peak of oil demand where we don't have the resources to pay for more oil and when we have the money the demand goes up and we start hitting geological limits.
Heck I don't know, the crazy spike in gas prices about the time things were going crappy in Iraq seemed awfully coincidental.

Captain Blight
06-17-2010, 12:16 PM
Are you saying this isn't your idea of heaven?

http://www.tfigblog.com/.a/6a01053647073b970c01156e3b61f6970c-piIz that Barefoot Bay? I built a lot of carports and screenporches there.

Milo Christensen
06-17-2010, 12:20 PM
Well, lately the global equities market reacts nearly instantly to changes of a dollar or two a barrel. $74 to $76, we go down, $76 to $74 we go up. Doubling overnight is far too certain a scenario to be ignored.