The Truth About Cars » Big Oil http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 23 May 2015 15:11:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Big Oil http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/big-oil/ OPEC Doubles Down Against Shale, Fuel Prices Continue Downward Spiral http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071690 OPEC is doubling down on shoving shale off a cliff, continuing the trend of low fuel prices through the fall in so doing, Memorial Day Weekend aside. Thirty-three out of 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stay the course of 30 million barrels produced daily when […]

The post OPEC Doubles Down Against Shale, Fuel Prices Continue Downward Spiral appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ford Mustang Receiving Gas Circa April 2015

OPEC is doubling down on shoving shale off a cliff, continuing the trend of low fuel prices through the fall in so doing, Memorial Day Weekend aside.

Thirty-three out of 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stay the course of 30 million barrels produced daily when the group meets in Vienna next month, the publication reports.

The reason to continue down this road is to ensure victory for Saudi Arabia’s strategy of putting shale oil producers and other competitive suppliers — notably those in Canada and the United States — in their place. Thus far, the plan is working: half of the drilling rigs in the U.S. have been idled since October, while production fell 1.2 percent last week to 9.3 million barrels/day. Global investment in production is expected to fall $100 billion in 2015, while demand growth for oil is projected to climb to 1.4 million per day over the same period.

In the meantime, fuel prices will continue on their own course. University of Purdue Wally Tyner predicts prices in all but California and Hawaii will remain below $3 throughout the summer, Forbes says. This is, of course, due to the ongoing supply glut, hovering around 485 million barrels compared to the 350 million barrels normally available.

Meanwhile, Oil Price Information Service Tom Kloza believes fuel prices will stop at $2.50 this summer before dropping down between $2 and $2.25 this fall. Tyner adds Iranian oil could cut prices at the pump by 30 cents in 2016 should a nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran lead to a lift in sanctions.

Before the prices can fall, however, they must climb a bit for Memorial Day Weekend. AAA says prices rose 5 cents a gallon within the last week, with the current average national price hitting $2.71/gallon Tuesday, The Detroit Bureau notes. The group adds motorists are paying an average of 26 cents more for a gallon of regular in May than in April.

Causes behind the rise include regional production issues in the Midwest and West Coast, as well as a rally in crude prices; West Texas Intermediate and Brent are trading for around $60 and $66 respectively as of this writing.

Despite the price hike, motorists hitting the road this holiday are paying 94 cents less for each gallon dispensed compared to last year, the lowest average since 2009.

[Source: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

The post OPEC Doubles Down Against Shale, Fuel Prices Continue Downward Spiral appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-doubles-down-against-shale-fuel-prices-continue-downward-spiral/feed/ 54
OPEC: Oil To Remain Below $100 Per Barrel Through 2020s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070218 Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s. A report by the group forecasts oil will trade for around $76/barrel in 2025 under optimistic conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports, with $40/barrel under […]

The post OPEC: Oil To Remain Below $100 Per Barrel Through 2020s appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Entrance_OPEC_Headquarter_Vienna

Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s.

A report by the group forecasts oil will trade for around $76/barrel in 2025 under optimistic conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports, with $40/barrel under more dire straits. The forecasts take into account the group’s competitors in the United States coping through low prices amid increased production.

To combat this, the report recommends OPEC return to the production-quota system it ditched in 2011 amid conflict over how much each member state would be allowed to produce. Members are reluctant to go back, preferring to attract new business instead of being tied down by quotas most ignored already. However, the proposal would grant poorer members, like Algeria and Venezuela, the right to produce more oil, and would come into force if OPEC’s share of the global oil market fell below 32 percent, the size of the share it holds now.

The report comes amid worries among the members about their ability to balance their respective budgets with oil money. According to the International Monetary Fund, only Qatar and Kuwait can weather trading at $76/barrel, while most need trading to be as much as $130/barrel for a properly balanced budget.

[Photo credit: Vincent Eisfeld/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0]

The post OPEC: Oil To Remain Below $100 Per Barrel Through 2020s appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/feed/ 58
Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067698 Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time. During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in […]

The post Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
PetroChina-Station

Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time.

During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in the nation has slowed by half of what it was in the previous decade, following global trends of decreased consumption.

Global demand is expected to grow 1.3 million barrels/day to 94.58 million in 2016 according to the Energy Information Administration, with China taking 11.34 million barrels/day; the U.S. will use 19.44 million/day, lower than what was used in 2008. The figure is an increase of 3.1 percent over this year, yet pales when compared to the 11-percent jump in 2010. The spike delivered a boost to oil prices of 15 percent.

Combined with rising oil production pushing toward a glut in supply — to the tune of 1.8 million barrels/day in inventory currently, and 900,000/day during H2 2015 — China’s economic power faltering despite the government’s best efforts, and technological advancements reducing overall oil consumption, the global demand for oil will remain low for some time to come.

[Photo credit: Otebig/Wikimedia Commons/CC PD 1.0]

The post Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/feed/ 7
Biggest Supplier of U.S. Foreign Oil Elects Democratic Socialist Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/biggest-supplier-u-s-foreign-oil-elects-democratic-socialist-government/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/biggest-supplier-u-s-foreign-oil-elects-democratic-socialist-government/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 13:27:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062762 Last night, it became official: Alberta, the largest producer of oil in Canada, ended the 40 year reign of the Progressive Conservatives in favor of the New Democratic Party (NDP), a democratic socialist party. This could mean big changes in the energy sector, from oil patch to gas pump. The Alberta NDP, under the leadership of […]

The post Biggest Supplier of U.S. Foreign Oil Elects Democratic Socialist Government appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Rachel Notley, Alberta NDP Leader

Last night, it became official: Alberta, the largest producer of oil in Canada, ended the 40 year reign of the Progressive Conservatives in favor of the New Democratic Party (NDP), a democratic socialist party.

This could mean big changes in the energy sector, from oil patch to gas pump.

The Alberta NDP, under the leadership of new premier Rachel Notley, campaigned on a promise to review energy royalties. With the previous government known for charging royalties far below average, it’s likely a review will find an increase favorable for Albertans. And, as is the case, customers will be footing the bill and the energy lobby has already come out swinging.

From CBC:

Altacorp Capital, a Calgary investment bank that is partly owned by the provincial government, expressed a similar view in a report earlier this week, before the election.

The report pointed out that energy investors, especially those based outside of Canada, have lots of options when it comes to investing.

“Unfortunately, with Alberta possibly heading for a third royalty change in eight years now, we believe global investors will add a degree of caution with the province’s ability to maintain a stable investable environment.”

Other platform promises including raising corporate income tax rates from 10 to 12 percent, increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018, more tax brackets and higher taxes for making over $125,000 per year, and a ban on corporate and union political donations.

Canada is the largest outside supplier of petroleum to the United States at 3.39 million barrels per day, 37 percent of gross imports, more than all OPEC countries combined in 2014.

[Image source: Rachel Notley Facebook Page]

The post Biggest Supplier of U.S. Foreign Oil Elects Democratic Socialist Government appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/biggest-supplier-u-s-foreign-oil-elects-democratic-socialist-government/feed/ 111
Al-Naimi: Only Allah Knows Where Oil Prices Will Go http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 17:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062274 How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer. Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi told CNBC as much when asked about where oil prices were heading amid speculation as to how long the country would maintain the status quo […]

The post Al-Naimi: Only Allah Knows Where Oil Prices Will Go appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ali Al-Naimi

How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer.

Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi told CNBC as much when asked about where oil prices were heading amid speculation as to how long the country would maintain the status quo before cutting production. Al-Naimi added he wasn’t worried about the possibility of Iranian crude entering the mix as sanctions were lifted as part of Iran’s international nuclear deal, even though it would likely add to the growing glut and prompt lower prices still upon introduction.

The ongoing decline in oil prices began last year when OPEC kept production at 30 million barrels a day in order to maintain its share of the market against the likes of Canadian shale and U.S. crude from North Dakota.

Currently, Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude are trading for around $68/barrel and $60/barrel, respectively, helped by protests in Libya hampering exports, and possible disruptions linked to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

[Photo credit: UNCTAD/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

The post Al-Naimi: Only Allah Knows Where Oil Prices Will Go appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/feed/ 17
Gas Prices Rising Again Behind Crude Oil Pricing Climb http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gas-prices-rising-behind-crude-oil-pricing-climb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gas-prices-rising-behind-crude-oil-pricing-climb/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050201 After a slight decline during Easter, gas prices are once again climbing back up as crude oil does the same. The national average stands at $2.46 for a gallon of regular, the lowest price since 2009 at around this time, reports The Detroit Bureau. The price is a 7-cent increase over the past week, thanks […]

The post Gas Prices Rising Again Behind Crude Oil Pricing Climb appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Fuel Price Circa Mid-December 2014

After a slight decline during Easter, gas prices are once again climbing back up as crude oil does the same.

The national average stands at $2.46 for a gallon of regular, the lowest price since 2009 at around this time, reports The Detroit Bureau. The price is a 7-cent increase over the past week, thanks to crude oil prices climbing 17 percent since the start of April due to a combination of decreased U.S. output, ongoing refinery issues, and possible new geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Heading into the summer, speculation points to an oil glut as Cushing, Okla.’s storage hub quickly climbs to capacity, though a recent drop in oil levels reported by commodity intelligence company Genscape has allayed those concerns for now. The aforementioned refinery issues are another factor in pricing with the West Coast remaining on the high end of the scale.

Currently, California holds the highest average at $3.15/gallon while Alabama and Mississippi are neck-and-neck for the lowest average at $2.24 and $2.23 per gallon, respectively.

[Photo credit: Cameron Aubernon/Instagram]

The post Gas Prices Rising Again Behind Crude Oil Pricing Climb appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/gas-prices-rising-behind-crude-oil-pricing-climb/feed/ 35
Fuel Prices To Hit $2.55 By Christmas With Help From OPEC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954473 Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC. CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend […]

The post Fuel Prices To Hit $2.55 By Christmas With Help From OPEC appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Gas Prices Circa December 2014

Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC.

CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend its piece of the petroleum pie from shale drillers in the United States, whose efforts added 1 million barrels/day to the nation’s oil production in less than a year.

In turn, prices for West Texas Intermediate fell to $66.15/barrel, while fuel prices averaged $2.79/gallon over Thanksgiving, the lowest average since the same time in 2009. The price is expected to fall further, per Lipow Oil Associates president Andrew Lipow, who expects the average to hit between $2.55 and $2.60 per gallon nationwide by Christmas.

However, if OPEC hoped to thwart U.S. production — currently at 9 million barrels per day, a rate not seen since 1986 — the organization may be in for a shock. Lipow explains:

I expect oil production is going to continue to increase in the U.S. over the next three to four months as shale oil and Gulf of Mexico projects that are underway get completed.

Meanwhile, production at existing wells would be cut back as exploration and production companies look to refocus their budgets toward the most productive sites.

The post Fuel Prices To Hit $2.55 By Christmas With Help From OPEC appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/feed/ 28
Ethanol Advocates Conduct Pre-Election Ad Campaign Blitz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936970 In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years. Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken. AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the […]

The post Ethanol Advocates Conduct Pre-Election Ad Campaign Blitz appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ethanol Pump

In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years.

Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken.

AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency not to make cuts into the Renewable Fuels Standard, the mandate that makes E85, E10 and every other blend possible.

The blitz — which kicked-off last week — is being carried through Beltway media such as Politico, RollCall and WTOP-FM, and will continue until November 5.

The post Ethanol Advocates Conduct Pre-Election Ad Campaign Blitz appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/feed/ 149
Keystone Vote Looms Amid Iraq Implosion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/keystone-vote-looms-amid-iraq-implosion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/keystone-vote-looms-amid-iraq-implosion/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:22:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844745 Global oil prices are on the rise as the crisis in Iraq contributes to market instability. Large chunks of Iraq’s oil production infrastructure have fallen under militant control, leading to a sharp drop in output. Meanwhile, Canadian officials are upset with the Obama administration’s handling of the Keystone pipeline. They contend that the inaction on […]

The post Keystone Vote Looms Amid Iraq Implosion appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
photo2-505x600

Global oil prices are on the rise as the crisis in Iraq contributes to market instability. Large chunks of Iraq’s oil production infrastructure have fallen under militant control, leading to a sharp drop in output. Meanwhile, Canadian officials are upset with the Obama administration’s handling of the Keystone pipeline. They contend that the inaction on Keystone is keeping millions of barrels of Alberta crude from reaching more profitable markets.

Bloomberg reports that market analysts are divided on how much the Iraq crisis will influence crude prices in the future. This isn’t particularly surprising, given the number of variables in that still-developing situation. However, all observers expect that the price will only go up. The price of Brent crude on the London exchange has already crested $113 a barrel as of June 13; this is the highest level since last September. In the United States, West Texas crude is near $107, also the highest price since the previous September. Most forecasters expect oil to reach around $120 a barrel by the fourth quarter, when rising demand will also drive up prices. Longtime oilman T. Boone Pickens told CNBC that a complete shutdown of Iraqi production could drive oil into the $150-200 range by destabilizing world markets.

Part of the problem is attributable to the OPEC oil cartel’s difficulties in increasing supply. Since the Libyan revolution, oil production in that key OPEC member has declined precipitously to barely 10% of previous output. Meanwhile, fluctuating production in Nigeria and other OPEC members has introduced more volatility into the supply and demand curve. A report issued by the International Energy Agency last week states that Iraq could provide up to 45% of all growth in global oil output through 2020. As militants from the hyper-violent Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) group overrun ever-larger swaths of the country and curb down production, that future is looking cloudy.

The latest Iraq crisis comes just as negotiations surrounding the embattled Keystone XL pipeline are finally coming to a head. The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will likely vote this week to approve the pipeline. The bill under consideration is an attempt to sidestep the regulatory approval process, which critics say the Obama Administration has intentionally drawn out. The bill is unlikely to make it far in the Senate, due to general gridlock as well as the opposition of several key Senators.

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is displeased with the Obama administration’s perceived stalling on the pipeline. Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford have both criticized Obama, stating that continued delay of the pipeline is hurting the Canadian economy. Currently, crude from the Alberta oil sands is undervalued due to a transportation bottleneck, leading to lower prices. The Canadian Chamber of Congress estimates that this bottleneck is costing the Canadian economy as much as $50 million a day in lost revenue. Therein lies the contradiction at the heart of the dispute.

Environmental concerns and global warming have long been cited as the Obama administration’s reasons for drawing out the Keystone approval process. In reality, the economics of the pipeline are heavily skewed in Canada’s favor, to the possible detriment U.S. consumers. Keystone is the most visible manifestation of the long-term goal of Canadian energy companies to find markets outside the U.S. As the Wall Street Journal explains, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Harper government freely admit, Keystone’s biggest benefit will be to Canadian oil producers, not American consumers. Keystone will enable them to export oil outside of the low-priced American market to higher-priced markets in Asia, Europe, and the developing world. Keeping Canadian crude from hitting world markets is in the best interests of the U.S., but not the Canadians. Of course, it’s not exactly kosher to say that out loud, considering that the United States is still getting about half its oil imports from Canada.

Given that, the “solution” to the Canadian oil price problem is probably going to be built entirely on Canadian soil. Oil companies are already developing a “Plan B” system of trans-Canada pipelines, should Keystone not be approved. Even so, the long-term viability of the Alberta oil sands depends on a relatively high minimum price floor. The highly adulterated quality of that oil, and the resulting expense of processing and refining it, means that Albertan production can only be profitable when the price of oil is relatively high.  This reason combined with new technology is the explanation for why Canadian tar sands haven’t been highly productive until recently. A worldwide decline in the price of oil, such as what happened in the 1980s and 1990s, could still be devastating to tar sands production.

The post Keystone Vote Looms Amid Iraq Implosion appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/keystone-vote-looms-amid-iraq-implosion/feed/ 170
Gasoline Power To Dominate U.S. Highways Through 2040 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/gasoline-power-to-dominate-u-s-highways-through-2040/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/gasoline-power-to-dominate-u-s-highways-through-2040/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 13:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=684682 The green warriors who hoped EVs and hybrids would be the dominate force on the highways of America may need to wait a bit longer: the United States Department of Energy predicts gasoline will be the fuel of a generation until at least 2040. In fact, the DOE’s Energy Information Administration states in a report […]

The post Gasoline Power To Dominate U.S. Highways Through 2040 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The green warriors who hoped EVs and hybrids would be the dominate force on the highways of America may need to wait a bit longer: the United States Department of Energy predicts gasoline will be the fuel of a generation until at least 2040.

In fact, the DOE’s Energy Information Administration states in a report issued earlier this week that 78 percent of all vehicles on the road in 2040 will still burn fossil fuels, though more efficiently; the EIA predicts an average of 37.2 mpg at that point in time. While 42 percent of all vehicles will use some form of advanced fuel-saving technology, plug-in hybrids and full EVs will each account for only 1 percent of sales.

As for the pump, the EIA believes a gallon of gas will rise to the equivalent of $3.90, with diesel tagged for $4.73. The agency also predicts 30 percent increase in miles traveled from 2012 through 2040, and overall fuel consumption in the nation’s transportation sector to fall by 4 percent.

The post Gasoline Power To Dominate U.S. Highways Through 2040 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/gasoline-power-to-dominate-u-s-highways-through-2040/feed/ 48
The 1973 Oil Crisis: 40 Years Later http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-1973-oil-crisis-40-years-later/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-1973-oil-crisis-40-years-later/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 16:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=630010 Forty years ago this month, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (consisting of OPEC’s Arab members plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) began an oil embargo that would last through March of 1974. The cause of the embargo: Intervention. During the Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Syria versus Israel, other Arab nations had lent […]

The post The 1973 Oil Crisis: 40 Years Later appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Landscape

Forty years ago this month, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (consisting of OPEC’s Arab members plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) began an oil embargo that would last through March of 1974.

The cause of the embargo: Intervention. During the Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Syria versus Israel, other Arab nations had lent their support to their brothers in northern Africa (as well as the Soviet Union, who supplied weapons). In turn, the United States helped their ally (who had gone on full nuclear alert) by supplying arms and other goods through President Richard Nixon’s authorization of Operation Nickle Grass. This prompted OAPEC to respond by beginning an oil embargo whose effects still linger to this day.

In the United States — the main target of the embargo –this led to long lines at the pumps during the weekdays (after a suggestion by Nixon that gas station owners voluntarily not sell fuel on Saturday night and Sunday; 90 percent complied with the suggestion), odd-even fuel rationing, three-color flag systems denoting availability (or lack thereof) of any fuel, and the passing of the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, better known as the act that would set the national speed limit at 55 mph for the next two decades.

Though the first oil crisis would end when OAPEC accepted the promise of a settlement negotiated between Syria and Israel through the United States, the effects of the five-month-long embargo would linger for the rest of the decade and beyond.

Prior to the embargo, the most popular cars sold were large and in charge with big V8s to pull them along the highway. After the shock, however, most motorists sought out smaller, more fuel efficient offerings from Europe and Japan. The shock also gave birth to compact trucks, such as the Chevrolet LUV and Toyota Hilux, and prompted the Big Three to offer their own import fighters prior to downsizing their entire lineup of cars by the end of the 1970s, and the switch to front-wheel drive that would come to dominate the 1980s.

The shock also affected motorsports, with the cancellation of both the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1974, and NASCAR reducing all race distances by 10 percent.

And of course, the 1973 oil crisis set off the movement to find as many energy sources as possible (and ways to conserve said energy) to reduce if not outright eliminate dependence on foreign oil, as any Albertan or North Dakotan could explain in detail today to anyone who will listen.

The post The 1973 Oil Crisis: 40 Years Later appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-1973-oil-crisis-40-years-later/feed/ 149
Gas Will Get Cheap And Plentiful – That Other Gas Causes A Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/gas-will-get-cheap-and-plentiful-that-other-gas-causes-a-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/gas-will-get-cheap-and-plentiful-that-other-gas-causes-a-glut/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2013 19:28:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475093 Reuters has a highly interesting oil and gasoline story. If you are one of the “peak oil” types , you may not want to hear it. As a matter of fact, it could shake your belief system so much that you scream “BIASSSSSSSS.” As a service to all our readers, we give you a chance […]

The post Gas Will Get Cheap And Plentiful – That Other Gas Causes A Glut appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Reuters has a highly interesting oil and gasoline story. If you are one of the “peak oil” types
, you may not want to hear it. As a matter of fact, it could shake your belief system so much that you scream “BIASSSSSSSS.” As a service to all our readers, we give you a chance to stop before it gets ugly.

So much money is made to convert crude oil in to motor fuels, that power and industry can’t afford it, making power and industry switch to other fuels, mostly gas. Motor fuels however is a low growth industry. What’s more, it could also easily switch to natural gas. The effect is an oil glut.

  • BP predicts a worldwide oil demand growth of just 0.8 percent a year up to 2030 – slower than for any other energy type and only half the projected total energy demand growth rate over the same period.
  • Transport is slow growing as cars are getting more efficient. BP’s Outlook 2030 study shows the fuel economy of new cars in the United States and China falling well below 5 liters per 100 kilometer by 2030 from between 7 and 8 now.
  • In OECD countries, transport fuel demand is set to actually fall as weak economies, a shift to smaller cars, and a move onto public transport in congested urban areas take a further toll.
  • Worldwide, gas, biofuels and other alternatives are expected to steal almost a third of what growth there might be.

Gas is already approaching a similar overall market share to oil in the world’s energy mix. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) already is a viable transport fuel, and oil executives are starting to see a point at which familiarity and availability could tip the balance away from diesel and gasoline.  Big oil players are already heavily invested in LNG.

LNG is expected to replace diesel in trucks and buses, ships, even airplanes first, before it makes a difference in private cars some decades away.

LNG-powered ships are already a reality. The first commercial gas-powered civil aircraft flight left Doha for London on Jan. 9 this year, fueled by jet fuel made from gas.

 

The post Gas Will Get Cheap And Plentiful – That Other Gas Causes A Glut appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/gas-will-get-cheap-and-plentiful-that-other-gas-causes-a-glut/feed/ 65
Oregon Considers Per-Mile Tax On Fuel-Efficient Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/oregon-considers-per-mile-tax-on-fuel-efficient-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/oregon-considers-per-mile-tax-on-fuel-efficient-vehicles/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 15:51:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=472333 “Everybody uses the road and if some pay and some don’t then that’s an unfair situation that’s got to be resolved,” said Jim Whitty, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding. Ah, yes. As with any number of current governmental activities, the rationale for per-mile taxation will be […]

The post Oregon Considers Per-Mile Tax On Fuel-Efficient Vehicles appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

“Everybody uses the road and if some pay and some don’t then that’s an unfair situation that’s got to be resolved,” said Jim Whitty, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding.

Ah, yes. As with any number of current governmental activities, the rationale for per-mile taxation will be fairness.

With the recent American election safely delivered into the appropriate hands, there’s no longer any need to sugar-coat the facts of life in the United States, is there? So let’s not. The unemployment rate is dipping because many people have simply given up and have either stopped looking for work or have dropped off the five-year cliff beyond which the Bureau of Labor no longer considers people unemployed – as if being unable to find a job for five years and one day was somehow equivalent to swanning one’s way off to Sun City, AZ. Meanwhile, we’re reassured that the middle class hasn’t disappeared — it just looks like the lower class now.

This modern life, this grey parade of single mothers and hopeless, underemployed men listlessly piloting the oldest automotive fleet in the country’s history between 29-hour-a-week “part-time” jobs, dismal food, and lonely evenings lit only by the constant flickering of the Internet as the one-percenters and rich kids of Instagram breeze past in an ever more obscene panoply of tasteless, pumped-up hyper-SUVs and bluff-faced, BMW-based Rolls-Royces. It’s not just bad for morale. It’s bad for taxes. And if some of the nation’s proles have the nerve to swing a loan for a more fuel-efficient car in the hopes of simultaneously preserving scarce resources and making a long-term positive economic impact in their own lives… well, something will have to be done.

The Statesman-Journal reports that Oregon has started a pilot program to study the implementation of a per-mile travel charge. This was apparently done in response to stricter CAFE standards and concerns that a smaller fleet of more fuel-efficient vehicles would impact gas taxes, which are already declining as more and more people just stay home.

Under the pilot, about 50 participants in Oregon paid 1.56 cents per mile and received a credit for the gas tax they paid at the pump. Participants, which mainly included transportation officials and lawmakers, chose from five plans with different ways to track miles driven and pay their bill.

They could report miles driven using a smartphone application, a geographic positioning system device or a reporting device without GPS.

Participants could also pay a flat annual charge or opt out of using a gadget in the vehicle to record miles.

The existing state gas tax is thirty cents per gallon, so this program would effectively return revenues to the days when the notoriously thirsty Ford Explorer was simultaneously doing 400,000 units or more a year and punishing the buyer of each one with real-world fuel mileage in the 15-mpg range. If you’re wearing a tinfoil hat right now, you’ve no doubt considered a likely implementation scenario where the flat fee will be based on a very high annual mileage and payable in a high-three-figure lump sum, while the privacy-eroding GPS-tracking device will be easy to use and the most affordable choice.

Insofar as this program deliberately encourages people to hold on to older, less fuel-efficient vehicles, the Obama administration will surely have an opinion on Oregon’s antics. The state’s famously liberal urban residents might also have a strong opinion about a program that seems targeted at electric and plug-in vehicles. One question perhaps not covered in the pilot program is this: If a young man lets a pair of valets put two hundred miles on his father’s vintage Ferrari, will running it in reverse on a pair of jackstands result in a tax refund?

The post Oregon Considers Per-Mile Tax On Fuel-Efficient Vehicles appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/oregon-considers-per-mile-tax-on-fuel-efficient-vehicles/feed/ 146
Peak Oil, Meet Plateauing Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/peak-oil-meet-plateauing-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/peak-oil-meet-plateauing-demand/#comments Mon, 08 Oct 2012 15:17:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=462998 TTAC is no stranger to the topic of Peak Oil, but the theory has fallen by the wayside with the recent explosion in unconventional oil and gas. A study by the British think tank Chatham House argues that the biggest issue facing oil and gas producers in the coming century isn’t Peak Oil, but Peak […]

The post Peak Oil, Meet Plateauing Demand appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

TTAC is no stranger to the topic of Peak Oil, but the theory has fallen by the wayside with the recent explosion in unconventional oil and gas. A study by the British think tank Chatham House argues that the biggest issue facing oil and gas producers in the coming century isn’t Peak Oil, but Peak Demand (summary here).

The crux of Chatham House’s argument rests on the reformation of the transportation industry – a desire for fuel-efficient automobiles, the expanding use of biofuels and government regulation mandating reduced carbon emissions has all led to a slackening demand for oil.

Those factors, combined with the rise in “unconventional” supplies, like shale gas could have drastic effects on the oil and gas industry. In 2009, 95 percent of energy used in the global transportation sector came from petroleum. In 2030, Chatham House estimates this number could be as low as 60 percent. One interesting component of this actually comes from China. Chatham House argues that because their fueling infrastructure isn’t so tied into “legacy” fuels like gasoline, there is significant potential for them to be on the leading edge of alternative fuel adoption.

The report cites the increasing adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles like hybrids, Generation Y’s reluctance to drive cars and the potential for CNG powered automobiles as some of the largest drivers of peak demand phenomenon. Among the unintended consequences of reduced driving would be a significant drop off in tax revenues for municipalities that levy a gas tax. Reduced sales of fuel would naturally reduce revenues.

The post Peak Oil, Meet Plateauing Demand appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/peak-oil-meet-plateauing-demand/feed/ 36
Ask An Engineer: Natural Gas For Dummies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ask-an-engineer-natural-gas-for-dummies/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ask-an-engineer-natural-gas-for-dummies/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:49:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450553 Westport Innovations has just signed a second deal with General Motors to produce light duty natural gas engines, and it’s probably not the last time we’ll be seeing these kind of partnerships forming. Natural gas vehicles have been explored previously on TTAC, but the technology hasn’t been fully explored in-depth, aside from some well-informed comments […]

The post Ask An Engineer: Natural Gas For Dummies appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Westport Innovations has just signed a second deal with General Motors to produce light duty natural gas engines, and it’s probably not the last time we’ll be seeing these kind of partnerships forming. Natural gas vehicles have been explored previously on TTAC, but the technology hasn’t been fully explored in-depth, aside from some well-informed comments in various articles.

As a fuel for vehicles (light duty as well as commercial vehicles), natural gas has a number of attributes which fit well with our current political narratives and economic realities

  1. Natural gas is 30-50% cheaper than diesel per unit of energy
  2. Abundant domestic supply
  3. Environmental benefits (lower GHG and tailpipe emissions)
  4. Significant reduction in CO2, CO, UHC, NOx, SOx and PM emissions versus conventional gasoline and diesel engines.

Natural gas can be used across the full spectrum of spark ignition (gasoline type) and compression ignition (diesel type) engines with the appropriate enabling technologies. While spark ignition natural gas engines have been available for quite some time (such as the NG powered Honda Civic), compression ignition natural gas engines have required further development. The difficulty is that while natural gas burns cleanly, it is less likely to auto-ignite (octane rating of 120-130), unlike diesel, which has a lower octane number. This quality of natural gas is advantageous for a spark ignition engine as it prevents detonation and allows for higher compression ratios, but makes it detrimental for a compression ignition engine.

Westport has devised a dual-fuel direct injection system to enable natural gas substitution in a compression ignition engine. The fuel injector at the heart of this system is able to inject both liquid diesel and gaseous natural gas in precisely metered quantities directly into the cylinder. In this system, the diesel fuel ignites as a result of compression as it would in a regular diesel engine. The combusting diesel fuel initiates the natural gas combustion. 93-95% diesel substitution is achievable according to public documentation. This innovation is directed at the heavy-duty diesel market which includes everything from transport trucks to locomotives.

One of the main criticisms is the lack of infrastructure surrounding natural gas. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is easier to store and transport than liquefied natural gas (LNG) so it is the optimal choice for light duty applications. LNG has a greater volumetric energy density but is more expensive to store, transport and ultimately use in a vehicle as it must be kept cold and pressurized to remain a liquid.

Vehicles like the Civic Natural Gas have a reduced range relative to a gasoline Civic, but commercial vehicles, like transport trucks, are emerging as one of the prime candidates for natural gas engines. Large transport trucks are a significant contributor to green house gas emissions and are on the road enough to make the conversion cost effective – though LNG, rather than CNG, would be the fuel of choice. A relatively small number of LNG filling stations placed along major transport corridors could meet their fueling needs and present a great way to thoroughly evaluate the technology. Less complex CNG stations could be added if the decision was made to target light duty vehicles.

Going “all in” on CNG/LNG is a little premature at this point, but the adoption of natural gas as a transport fuel is a good first step in reducing our emissions while other alternative technologies reach maturity. More in-depth discussion is always welcome in the comments.

“Ask an Engineer” is hosted by Andrew Bell, a mechanical engineer and car enthusiast. Andrew has his MASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto, and has worked on Formula SAE teams, as well as alternative fuel technologies in Denmark and Canada. Andrew’s column will explore engineering topics in the most accessible manner possible.

The post Ask An Engineer: Natural Gas For Dummies appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/ask-an-engineer-natural-gas-for-dummies/feed/ 38
Hertz To Rent CNG Vehicles, Pilot Program Begins In May http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/hertz-to-rent-cng-vehicles-pilot-program-begins-in-may/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/hertz-to-rent-cng-vehicles-pilot-program-begins-in-may/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2012 12:09:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439551   If you’re traveling to Oklahoma City any time soon, Herz will give you the option of renting a Honda Civic or GMC Yukon that runs on Compressed Natural Gas. Renters will be able to select from one of eight Honda Civics or two GMC Yukons that use CNG. The vehicles will have a Hertz […]

The post Hertz To Rent CNG Vehicles, Pilot Program Begins In May appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

If you’re traveling to Oklahoma City any time soon, Herz will give you the option of renting a Honda Civic or GMC Yukon that runs on Compressed Natural Gas.

Renters will be able to select from one of eight Honda Civics or two GMC Yukons that use CNG. The vehicles will have a Hertz Neverlost GPS System on-board that will assist with locating a CNG refueling station.

Oklahoma may be “flyover country” for coastal greenie types, but OKC is home to big natural gas producers, including Chesapeake Energy Corporation. The state also has 70 CNG stations that are already in use or about to come online. Launching a pilot project here is akin to launching an all-E85 fleet in Iowa. Hertz is, of course, playing up both the green angle and the fact that CNG is a domestically produced fuel.

Hertz already rents CNG vehicles in Italy and the UK, and CNG cars can be rented at a Hertz outlet at Oklahoma State University, but this marks the first time that the company has offered CNG cars at an airport location.

The post Hertz To Rent CNG Vehicles, Pilot Program Begins In May appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/hertz-to-rent-cng-vehicles-pilot-program-begins-in-may/feed/ 4
Shell Can’t Pay Billion Dollar Oil Bill To Iran http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/shell-cant-pay-billion-dollar-oil-bill-to-iran/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/shell-cant-pay-billion-dollar-oil-bill-to-iran/#comments Sun, 25 Mar 2012 16:08:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=436418   In the nice problem to have department, Shell is doing its very best (or so they say) to settle a $1 billion bill for about four large tanker loads of Iranian crude. The problem: Sanctions make payments to Iran hard if not impossible. “Shell is working hard to figure out a way to pay. […]

The post Shell Can’t Pay Billion Dollar Oil Bill To Iran appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

 

In the nice problem to have department, Shell is doing its very best (or so they say) to settle a $1 billion bill for about four large tanker loads of Iranian crude. The problem: Sanctions make payments to Iran hard if not impossible.

“Shell is working hard to figure out a way to pay. It’s very sensitive and very difficult. They want to stay on good terms with Iran, while abiding by sanctions,” a source told Reuters.

Shell was one of Iran’s top clients, along with France’s Total and Turkey’s Tupras. After sanctions on Iranian oil were declared, companies have until July 1 to take last deliveries of oil. Payment however is a whole different matter.

“It is now nearly impossible to use the banking system,” an oilman told Reuters. Payments had been hard for a while. Dubai banks used to be able to facilitate payment in and out of Iran, but this has stopped following pressure from Washington.

Isn’t this a problem we all would like to have?

The post Shell Can’t Pay Billion Dollar Oil Bill To Iran appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/shell-cant-pay-billion-dollar-oil-bill-to-iran/feed/ 9
Will Natural Gas Prevent Us From Reaching A Better Place? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/will-natural-gas-prevent-us-from-reaching-a-better-place/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/will-natural-gas-prevent-us-from-reaching-a-better-place/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 16:56:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=434384 A brief piece in the Wall Street Journal’s “Dealbook” discussed the potential of natural gas powered vehicles, largely as a way to stop falling prices for natural gas. One hope for many natural gas producers reeling from collapsing prices is wider adoption of natural-gas-powered cars. The biggest hurdle so far: lack of infrastructure to refuel […]

The post Will Natural Gas Prevent Us From Reaching A Better Place? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

A brief piece in the Wall Street Journal’s “Dealbook” discussed the potential of natural gas powered vehicles, largely as a way to stop falling prices for natural gas.

One hope for many natural gas producers reeling from collapsing prices is wider adoption of natural-gas-powered cars.

The biggest hurdle so far: lack of infrastructure to refuel them.

But Steven Mueller, CEO of Southwestern Energy, says if 10% of passenger cars were powered by natural gas, gasoline prices would fall by $1.60/gallon and gas producers would get 4 billion cubic feet/day in demand.

The global supply of natural gas is way up, thanks to shale deposits in the United States and other locales. Currently, the Honda Civic GX is the best-known CNG vehicle on sale currently. Buses, taxis and other commercial vehicles have been running on CNG for years, but Dodge is set to introduce a Ram Tradesman that can run on CNG – other work trucks have been converted to run on natural gas by their owners (at significant expense), but this looks to be one of the first OEM-engineered work trucks with this capability.

An NPR report (sponsored by a natural gas lobby group) touched on President Obama’s visit to a big rig factory, some of which were powered by natural gas. Obama proposed – you guessed it – tax incentives for alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas. Natural gas vehicles aren’t that popular around the world, but have a certain following – Brazilian Fiat Siena taxicabs, LPG powered Volvos and the famous Panther platform Crown Vics and Town Cars that serve as taxi and livery cars in Toronto all exist, albeit in very small numbers.

Natural gas could potentially be a “black swan event” for the auto industry, a cheap, clean-burning fuel that could allow for both domestic energy independence and the continued hegemony of the internal combustion engine. Drivers wouldn’t have to worry about foreign oil, range anxiety or battery bricking.

The obvious problem is the lack of infrastructure. Natural gas filling stations are scant, to put it mildly. But there are rumblings (so far unsubstantiated – but keep watching TTAC for more info) that building filling stations, be it for hydrogen or other fuels, is easier and cheaper than trying to develop serious long-range, quick charging, sustainable and affordable battery technology. If this turns out to be true, then it suggests that electric cars will be forever relegated to “second car/commuter car” status.

A final note: Israel, home of Better Place and their battery swapping stations, is said to have enormous shale oil and gas deposits (so much for the joke about the Israelites wandering for 40 years and finding no oil). Aside from the obvious geopolitical implications, what kind of future would that leave for the Better Place program?

 

The post Will Natural Gas Prevent Us From Reaching A Better Place? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/will-natural-gas-prevent-us-from-reaching-a-better-place/feed/ 105
Big Oil In The Crosshairs Of The German Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/big-oil-in-the-crosshairs-of-the-german-government/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/big-oil-in-the-crosshairs-of-the-german-government/#comments Tue, 24 May 2011 16:09:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395966 If you are a large company in Germany, there is no government agency that you fear more than the Bundeskartellamt. It’s the anti-monopoly police. Being audited by the Finanzamt, the German equivalent of the IRS, is considered paradise compared to being in the cross-hairs of the Monopol-Polizei. Europe’s large oil companies are in the cross […]

The post Big Oil In The Crosshairs Of The German Government appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

If you are a large company in Germany, there is no government agency that you fear more than the Bundeskartellamt. It’s the anti-monopoly police. Being audited by the Finanzamt, the German equivalent of the IRS, is considered paradise compared to being in the cross-hairs of the Monopol-Polizei. Europe’s large oil companies are in the cross hairs and are just about to be shot.

According to a three year study conducted by the agency, five large oil companies dictate the gasoline prices in Germany: Aral/BP, Shell, Jet, Esso and Total. Together, they hold 70 percent of the market and form a „market dominating oligopoly.”

Kay Weidner, speaker of the Kartellamt, confirmed to Auto Bild that the result of the study confirms “that there is such an oligopoly.”

The government agency does not allege price fixing – yet : „That is a different project,“ Weidner says ominously. According to the study, the big five have a price monitoring system. It makes price fixing superfluous. „Price fixing is against the law, copying prices is not,” said a manager of the oil industry.

Last month, a liter of super did cost €1.62, that’s $8.62 a gallon. There is pressure on the government to intervene, and the government seems to want to intervene.

Intervention begins at home: 57 percent of the price, that would be $4.91 a gallon, goes into the pockets of the German government as taxes.

Predictably, that was the answer of Big Oil: If the government wants lower prices, it should lower taxes, said Klaus Picard, Managing Director of the German Association of Mineral Oil Producers.

 

The post Big Oil In The Crosshairs Of The German Government appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/big-oil-in-the-crosshairs-of-the-german-government/feed/ 32
German Buyer Strike Stops Ethanol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/german-buyer-strike-stops-ethanol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/german-buyer-strike-stops-ethanol/#comments Fri, 04 Mar 2011 08:51:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=386232 German motorists won an important battle against ethanol. They used a downright un-German tactic: Widespread insurrection. They simply won’t buy the stuff. An edict handed down from Brussels ordered that Super has to contain 10 percent of ethanol. An alliance from Germany’s ADAC autoclub to Greenpeace said the new gasoline is a work of the […]

The post German Buyer Strike Stops Ethanol appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

German motorists won an important battle against ethanol. They used a downright un-German tactic: Widespread insurrection. They simply won’t buy the stuff. An edict handed down from Brussels ordered that Super has to contain 10 percent of ethanol. An alliance from Germany’s ADAC autoclub to Greenpeace said the new gasoline is a work of the devil, it is liable to ruin cars, and the environment. That didn’t impress Brussels.  But then, a buyer strike did set in.

Motorists in Germany shun the ethyl with ethanol and buy 98 Super Plus high-test instead, reports Das Autohaus from Germany. Refiners and gas stations are sitting on full tanks of unsold Super E10. On the other hand, there already are shortages of the more expensive, but also more energy-laden Super Plus.

Yesterday, gasoline companies pulled the emergency brake and declared that they would stop the roll-out of Super E10 in Germany. The pathetic petrol is only available in less than half of Germany’s gas stations.

Economy Minister Brüderle joined the fray and does what he does best: Run down the clock. He announced a “gasoline summit” where stakeholders should explain their position. No date has been set. At the summit, pretty much everybody will be against the bio-benzene: Customers don’t want it, auto clubs warn against it, environmentalists such as Greenpeace warn that the fuel will increase CO2 production. “E10 can ruin cars and the environment,” says Greenpeace.

The European Auto Maker Association ACEA is pouring gasoline in the fire by publishing compatibility lists that add to the widespread confusion.

Says the list: “It is important to note that the compatibility of vehicle with petrol depends both on the petrol octane rating and its ethanol content. The vehicle’s octane requirement must be met and the ethanol content of the petrol may not exceed the compatibility limit. In case of doubt, drivers are advised to contact their dealer.”

No wonder everybody avoids it like the devil the holy water.

The post German Buyer Strike Stops Ethanol appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/german-buyer-strike-stops-ethanol/feed/ 32
Alberta: EVs Could Kill Canada’s Oil Sand Mines, And Jobs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/alberta-evs-could-kill-canada%e2%80%99s-oil-sand-mines-and-jobs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/alberta-evs-could-kill-canada%e2%80%99s-oil-sand-mines-and-jobs/#comments Sat, 05 Feb 2011 12:57:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=382998 Alberta is a province in Canada. A lot is agricultural, but what is much more important are the treasures beneath the soil. Alberta sits on more than 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen, better known as oil sand. That’s about equal to the world’s total proven reserves of conventional petroleum. Canadians are troubled that EVs might ruin […]

The post Alberta: EVs Could Kill Canada’s Oil Sand Mines, And Jobs appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Alberta is a province in Canada. A lot is agricultural, but what is much more important are the treasures beneath the soil. Alberta sits on more than 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen, better known as oil sand. That’s about equal to the world’s total proven reserves of conventional petroleum. Canadians are troubled that EVs might ruin these riches.

Oil sand competes with electric vehicles in insidious ways: Electric vehicles are expensive. They only make sense when the oil price goes up. It costs money to extract the oil from the sands. The higher the price of oil, the more sense it makes to harvest the sands. At 2006 prices, 170 billion barrels were considered economically recoverable from the sticky sands. That put Canada’s oil reserves in second place behind Saudi Arabia. However, it represents only 10 percent of what’s there. The people of Alberta should be as interested in higher oil prices as the proponents of EVs, one would think: The higher the price, the more sand can be turned into oil. Instead, the people of Alberta are getting very nervous.

“Electric cars could make driving cheaper and cleaner, but also could put some Albertans out of work,” worries the St. Albert Gazette. “Cars are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Electric cars could take care of those emissions, but what would that do to the demand for Alberta oil?”

The Albertans are one step ahead of us. Instead of getting anxious about vanishing oil reserves, they get apprehensive about a sinking demand by a wide adoption of EVs. Which would put Alberta out of business. They still remember the 80s when oil became cheap and most of their mines closed. They became rich again by the middle of the last decade. Now, Canada is the largest foreign source of oil for the United States, supplying nearly a million barrels a day from oil sand, says the Gazette. Checking data by the U.S. Department of Energy, the number makes sense. However, it also makes sense to say that Canada only supplied 22 percent of the imported oil in one of the last months of 2010.

Be it as it may, reading the papers about the success of EVs, Albertans are worried about a bust cycle. People did what people do when they don’t know what to do: They assembled a panel of experts.  The panel will first meet next Tuesday in Edmonton.

Talk organizer and St. Albert resident Perry Kinkaide already sees a new boom ahead for Alberta: It could mean a new auto industry in Alberta, he suggests, as oil companies shift from using oil as fuel to oil as a starting product for lightweight electric car parts. “In the old days you needed to be near steel. In the new days, you may need to be where the oil is.” Comforting thoughts – for Albertans.

Axel Meisen, chair of foresight at Albert Innovates Technology Futures, toots in the same vuvuzela: “Alberta should think of other uses for petroleum than for fuel, such as carbon fiber. This light, strong material will be popular in electric cars, and could see use in bridges and other buildings.”

Al Cormier, the talk’s facilitator and executive director of Electric Mobility Canada, a national industry group that promotes electric vehicles, also sees no reason for alarm. EVs surely are the wave of the future and will lower the demand for oil, but “assembling an electric vehicle probably takes just as long as assembling a regular vehicle,” Cormier says, and he does not expect any job losses there. If the cars are assembled in Alberta.

The proceedings of the panel’s meetings will be available at www.abctech.ca.

Now here comes an heretic thought: If EVs  indeed become wildly successful and kill the demand for oil so much that Alberta will have to close oil sand mines and take to assembling electric motors and plastic parts, does that mean that us Luddites can drive down to the gas station and say “Fill ‘er up” for, say, $1.80 a gallon?

The post Alberta: EVs Could Kill Canada’s Oil Sand Mines, And Jobs appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/alberta-evs-could-kill-canada%e2%80%99s-oil-sand-mines-and-jobs/feed/ 46
Reduced Ethanol Blender’s Credit Headed For Senate Vote http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/reduced-ethanol-blenders-credit-headed-for-senate-vote/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/reduced-ethanol-blenders-credit-headed-for-senate-vote/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 18:38:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=375647 It seems that yesterday’s optimism about a possible end to the ethanol “Blender’s Credit” may have been somewhat premature, as Senate Budget Committee chair Max Baucus has now proposed extending the 45 cents per gallon tax credit at the lower rate of 36 cents per gallon. The ethanol industry has expressed disappointment, but says it […]

The post Reduced Ethanol Blender’s Credit Headed For Senate Vote appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

It seems that yesterday’s optimism about a possible end to the ethanol “Blender’s Credit” may have been somewhat premature, as Senate Budget Committee chair Max Baucus has now proposed extending the 45 cents per gallon tax credit at the lower rate of 36 cents per gallon. The ethanol industry has expressed disappointment, but says it will accept the proposal. Which, given the fact that the Blender’s Credit is opposed by groups as diverse as Friends Of The Earth and FreedomWorks, seems like the reasonable step. And because the 36 cent per gallon extension is only good for a year, even if it is approved, this battle will rage on.

The post Reduced Ethanol Blender’s Credit Headed For Senate Vote appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/reduced-ethanol-blenders-credit-headed-for-senate-vote/feed/ 7
Japan Trades Wastewater For Oil http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/japan-trades-wastewater-for-oil/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/japan-trades-wastewater-for-oil/#comments Sun, 19 Sep 2010 11:09:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=366147 Oil and water supposedly don’t mix. Like a lot of conventional wisdom, this one is totally bogus. Without water, we wouldn’t have any oil. What do you think is in a supertanker when it goes back empty to Saudi Arabia or Prudhoe Bay? Water. It’s needed for ballast. Without it, the tanker would just pop […]

The post Japan Trades Wastewater For Oil appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Oil and water supposedly don’t mix. Like a lot of conventional wisdom, this one is totally bogus. Without water, we wouldn’t have any oil. What do you think is in a supertanker when it goes back empty to Saudi Arabia or Prudhoe Bay? Water. It’s needed for ballast. Without it, the tanker would just pop out of the — water. About 60 million barrels of ballast water is shipped around the globe and is thrown away each day. Now, the Japanese have a better idea: They want to ship waste-water to oil-producing countries in the Middle East, and exchange it for crude oil. Say what?

Currently, sea water is being used as ballast. According to The Nikkei [sub], Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry wants to load waste-water on empty tankers and then bring back crude oil on the return trips. They are in talks with Qatar about that.

Why ship waste-water around the globe? While we are worried about peak oil, water shortages are becoming serious in the Middle East. Japan exported freshwater on trial base to Qatar from last summer to the beginning of this year. But at $0.16 to $0.31 per barrel of fresh water, the matter became too expensive. Now shipping something the Japanese would have had to clean and process anyway is a whole different matter. What’s more, there is a whole ballast water science. Can’t just fill the oil tank with it and pump it back  in the sea. You need to be careful about infesting other seas with critters at home abroad. The ballast water science is getting so complicated that one might as well use the water for something else than dumping it in the sea.

The Nikkei is quiet about what Qatar will do with the dirty water. They could use it for industrial production. Or they could process it in Qatar with cheaper energy and – yuck – drink it.

The post Japan Trades Wastewater For Oil appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/09/japan-trades-wastewater-for-oil/feed/ 11
The Truth About EVs: They Will Be Nuclear Powered http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-truth-about-evs-they-will-be-nuclear-powered/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-truth-about-evs-they-will-be-nuclear-powered/#comments Wed, 09 Jun 2010 12:57:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=358500 “I want to make nuclear power generation ‘visible’ through electric vehicles,” says Takafumi Anegawa, a former nuclear engineer who works for Tokyo Electric Power Co.  He thinks that “electric cars are the best tool to help people understand the importance of nuclear power,” reports The Nikkei [sub]. Anegawa heads up  the CHAdeMo Association. With 236 […]

The post The Truth About EVs: They Will Be Nuclear Powered appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

“I want to make nuclear power generation ‘visible’ through electric vehicles,” says Takafumi Anegawa, a former nuclear engineer who works for Tokyo Electric Power Co.  He thinks that “electric cars are the best tool to help people understand the importance of nuclear power,” reports The Nikkei [sub].

Anegawa heads up  the CHAdeMo Association. With 236 member firms and organizations, the group aims to promote the installation of electric vehicle chargers. The group’s suggestions stand a good chance to make a method of electrical charging developed in Japan the global standard via the ECE.

Anegawa was one of the first promoters of electrical cars – to promote nuclear energy.

“Every time there is a problem at a nuclear power plant, people see nuclear power generation as something bad,” Anegawa said. He thought electric vehicles could change people’s perceptions.

People with green leanings may not want to hear it, but pretty much the only sensible way to produce the power needed to charge masses of electric vehicles would be nuclear. Burning fossil fuels simply moves the exhaust from the car to power plant chimneys. Hydro-electric, solar, or wind powered? Dream on.

In many countries of the world, there had been a moratorium on nuclear power. No new nuclear power plants had been built in the U.S.A. since the 1970s. In February 2010, the two new nuclear power plants had been approved, the first in 30 years. In Germany, building of new nuclear plants had been against the law for years, and Germany wanted to be nuclear-free by 2021. Now, nuclear power looks more and more like it’s here to stay.

Broad acceptance of electric cars, combined with what is happening off the coast of Louisiana, could very well become the impetus for a resurgence of nuclear power.

The post The Truth About EVs: They Will Be Nuclear Powered appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/the-truth-about-evs-they-will-be-nuclear-powered/feed/ 19
Peugeot Goes Dddde Extra Kilometre http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/peugeot-goes-dddde-extra-kilometer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/peugeot-goes-dddde-extra-kilometer/#comments Wed, 10 Mar 2010 12:40:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=348412 The U.S. has its hypermiling. Europe has its hyperkilometreing. In a European orderly fashion, of course. Germany has its Sprit-Spar-Meisterschaft, formerly sponsored and dominated by Volkswagen, now sponsored and dominated by Toyota. France has the Peugeot Eco Cup. This is a competition in which different Peugeot (surprise, surprise) models are driven by everyday drivers to […]

The post Peugeot Goes Dddde Extra Kilometre appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

The U.S. has its hypermiling. Europe has its hyperkilometreing. In a European orderly fashion, of course. Germany has its Sprit-Spar-Meisterschaft, formerly sponsored and dominated by Volkswagen, now sponsored and dominated by Toyota. France has the Peugeot Eco Cup.

This is a competition in which different Peugeot (surprise, surprise) models are driven by everyday drivers to see if they can meet or beat official fuel consumption figures. The cars were driven 1000km on French and Swiss roads in wintery conditions (that must have been a picturesque drive). The results of the 2010 Peugeot Eco Cup are in (via The Auto Channel).

The Peugeot 308 (which is the size of a Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla) achieved an impressive 89.95mpg. In close second was the model down from the 308, the 207 which got 87.10mpg. The third and fourth positions were the biggest surprises. The Peugeot 5008 (which came third) 84.77mpg and the Peugeot 3008 (which came fourth) got 79.10mpg. Both of these cars are big CUV’s. But these figures are small in comparison to the mpg figures which John and Helen Taylor from the UK got in their Peugeot 308. They achieved a world record breaking 126mpg.

Naturally, Peugeot wanted to extol the virtues of these figures, and Jon Goodman, MD of Peugeot UK did just that by saying “This project has proven two things; that there are a lot of people out there interested in doing their bit for the planet by stretching fuel economy to the max; and that this can be achieved in standard Peugeot … cars”

You may notice I’ve deleted a certain word from the quote. In case you are wondering, it starts with a “D” and ends in an “iesel.” All of these cars which achieved very good mpg figures all ran on diesel, that fuel which the U.S. isn’t overly keen on. And now that PSA and Mitsubishi aren’t tying up, there’s probably very little chance of them going stateside. For the history buffs: During the VW regime, the Sprit-Spar-Meisterschaft was always won in a Diesel. After Toyota took over in 2009, the winner’s car remained a closely guarded secret. All we know is that Klaus Wolter, the 2009 Sprit-Spar-Champ, received a Prius as a first prize. How he won it seems to be under NDA.

The post Peugeot Goes Dddde Extra Kilometre appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/peugeot-goes-dddde-extra-kilometer/feed/ 7