Tag: oil

By on August 17, 2020

Ever since the first major oil fields were discovered at the start of the 20th century, the world has been on a never-ending hunt to see where else black gold might be hiding. Monetizing seepage areas goes back even further. But with global oil demand having dissipated on account of the pandemic, there’s little reason to spend cash on additional procurement.

Combine that with the green movement doing everything it can to convince governments there’s only one ethical way to handle energy, and we’re likely to be moving into an era where fossil fuels sell for less but cost more to harvest/utilize thanks to carbon emission regulations.

This has left oil companies pondering the true value of seeking new sources of oil, with some having already decided there’s no point. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2020

While OPEC member states and other oil-producing counties have signed a pact to stem the flow of crude by 10 million barrels a day and hopefully rein in the current price-crashing glut, the situation remains bleak for oil producers around the world. On Monday, May futures for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped to the floor, with prices hitting $5 per barrel.

That number shifted into the negative* as the above paragraph was being written. We’re guessing that’s because the end of the May contract forces physical receipts at a time when storage capacities are basically nonexistent. June WTI prices are still riding just below $23 per barrel.

Meanwhile, Brent Crude is hovering around $26 bbl as the OPEC Basket hangs onto $17.73 bbl on a 4-day delay. The assumption is that both will come down, though perhaps not as dramatically as WTI did.  (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2020

Looking for an added dose of bad news, recently laid-off, pandemic-sheltering readers? Gas prices should be heading northward before long, now that Russia and OPEC member countries have reached a pact to curtail oil production, thus inflating the near-worthless value of a barrel of crude.

That means prices at the pumps won’t be quite as enjoyable in the coming weeks. Maybe it’s time to brave the outside world tonight and fill up that tank — and any other safe, sealable vessel you can get your hands on. (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2020

The world’s largest oil producers are meeting this week for negotiations aimed at saving the energy sector a lot of hardship further down the road. That includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has been at odds with itself more than usual of late. Hampered by dwindling demand, member countries are suffering and aren’t sure what’s to be done about last month’s price plunge and surplus of crude.

During the cartel’s last meeting, Russia declined to collaborate with OPEC’s planned production cuts. This sent Saudi Arabia into a furious tizzy; it quickly attempted to flood the market with bargain oil in an attempt to drive out lesser players. Like everything else, this was further complicated by the global pandemic. The coronavirus has suppressed oil use to a point where suppliers are growing concerned about storage capacity running out.  (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2020

With the coronavirus keeping people indoors and shale drilling keeping U.S. oil prices relatively stable, you’ve probably noticed gasoline bills being quite reasonable of late. Well, don’t get used to the sums you’re paying now, as analysts project fuel prices will drop even lower as 2020 progresses. While you might think this is due to national quarantines and lessened demand, you’d only be half right.

Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to strike a deal that would have enacted production cuts to better stabilize the market. Instead of slashing output, Saudi Arabia started slashing prices as it sought ways to ramp up production. Russia immediately responded by promising to increase its own output, leading to what looks like an all-out price war.  (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2019

2013 Scion FRS navy winter - Image: © Timothy CainV writes:

Here are two questions from a regular, and grateful, Piston Slap reader:

  1. How long is best to idle a gasoline engine after starting & before driving off: [A] a few minutes? [B] one minute? [C] until the revs settle down? [D] no need, just drive right off? Assume ambient temperature well above freezing; a shifting style on the sedate side; and a car made in the past 15 years so engine has EFI and EGR and all that. Current ride’s engine is naturally-aspirated and direct-injected, but I sure would appreciate knowing the proper protocol for other combinations too, if different. Several sources over the past years have all agreed on [D] for modern engines, but then just a few months back a Car & Driver column said [A], so now I’m unsure again.
  2. Leaving a car (stick shift *of course*) parked: best in gear, best in neutral, or doesn’t matter? Assume the parking space is either not sloped at all, or is sloped and I know enough to turn a front wheel into the curb toward the down slope. (Read More…)
By on May 30, 2018

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

As governments across the globe push for the proliferation of electric vehicles, they’re creating a new problem for themselves. While EVs may be helpful in mitigating pollution in and around city centers, they’re not going to be nearly as friendly on the infrastructure.

A report from the International Energy Agency suggests the ramp-up of battery powered automobiles could result in a $92 billion tax shortfall by 2030, assuming everything goes according to plan. But even if global governments only manage to get halfway to their intended electrification goals, they’re still missing out on an estimated $47 billion in fuel duties.  (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2018

global fuel prices 2018

You’ve no doubt noticed that gas prices have been creeping up while 2018 progresses. But North America still has it pretty good, especially the United States. Despite fuel prices creeping up to almost $3.00 per gallon, the U.S. still enjoys cheaper gasoline than most of the Western world. Even Canada, which is currently coasting around $4.45 per gallon, manages to undercut the nightmare that is Europe by a wide margin.

North America as a whole spends more on gas per person then practically everywhere else on the globe, though. An affinity for larger vehicles, combined with more time spent behind the wheel, translates into burning more fuel overall. I suppose one could make the argument that we need cheaper petroleum since we use so much of it — just be ready to have someone call you selfish.

For example, the United Kingdom has prices set around $6.59 for a gallon of that good stuff but the average citizen only uses 69.67 gallons a year. However, the average American turns 429 gallons of gasoline into forward motion.  (Read More…)

By on September 29, 2017

2006_ford_explorer_cologne v6 4.0, Image: Ford

Erik writes:

This morning I pulled in to work and a friend stopped me to ask about his 2006 Ford Explorer. A week ago he performed an oil change on his 4.0-liter V6. When he was changing the filter, the old oil filter’s gasket stuck on, but he didn’t see it and double gasketed it. When he fired up the engine oil spewed everywhere. The oil level ran low before he discovered it and shut off the engine. He kitty-littered the driveway, re-installed the filter, and topped the oil back up. He started the engine and his lifters started ticking. As I stood there talking with him, I could hear multiple lifters ticking. Is there a safe and reliable way to get the lifters pumped back up without disassembling the top end?

I googled “Ford 4.0 lifters ticking” and apparently the engine family has issues with lifters ticking when they get old, but I can’t find anything pertaining to lifters ticking after running the oil level low. The recommendations I see are to run thicker oil, Marvel Mystery Oil, STP oil treatment, Lucas oil stabilizer, ATF, etc. Are any of these a reasonable solution for his problem?

I’ve also read to just drive the truck as normal and the ticking will go away. This is what I’m inclined to recommend. Do you have any better info?

Please let me insert a tip I learned as a technician: when you change your oil filter, always wipe off the filter sealing surface and you will never have this problem. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2017

2008 Acura TSX

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William writes:

Sajeev,

It is good to have another reason to contact the great and gracious Sajeev with a question that is more vexing than choosing the wrong flavor of Crest toothpaste at Walmart. (Not. Worthy. – SM) 

I recently had my 2008 Acura TSX in for a filter and oil change at my local Oregon Honda dealer. 

I requested that the oil being put into the car not exceed the maximum mark on the dipstick after the car had sat long enough to get an accurate reading. This occurred during the previous oil and filter change, leading to a most amazing conversation with the Honda Service Deptartment supervisor types. 

(Read More…)

By on September 13, 2016

pumping gas

Automakers can expect a favorable environment for lucrative truck and SUV sales well into next year, as the right conditions come together for a continued oil glut. That heralds lower prices at the pump, less painful driving, and less scrutiny of EPA mileage figures on Monroney stickers.

Oil supply and inventories are rising, even as demand falls off sharply, while overseas interests are conspiring to keep prices down — and in their favor. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2016

Occupied Norwegian TV Show, Image: Yellow Bird

Elon Musk tweeted his joy when a Norwegian paper announced a proposed ban of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles in the nordic country by 2025.

The proposal itself is built upon good intentions. By eliminating sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, tailpipe emissions will slowly reduce. The country is famously energy independent, thanks to massive offshore oil reserves, which can be converted into hydrogen or used to generate electricity. And electric vehicles are increasingly popular in the country thanks to massive incentives funded by oil exports.

The proposal has me wondering about something else entirely: could the fossil-fuel-vehicle ban have serious political ramifications in Europe? Norwegian serial drama Okkupert — Occupied in English — might have some answers.

(Read More…)

By on May 9, 2016

Gas pump evolution Source: Tesla Motors

What a difference a few years make.

Perhaps you’re old enough to remember when scientists warned us about an impending ice age. Today, climate change concerns have to do with global warming.

Just a few years ago, “peak oil” — the theory of terminal decline once we’ve reached the maximum extraction rate from known petroleum reserves — was popular. A couple of recent perspectives, however, indicate that we may not hit peak oil production and consumption for the foreseeable future — and that the price of oil may actually go down long-term. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2016

Autodesk VRED Professional 2016 SP1

Started in New York City in 1967 as an offshoot of the Chicago Music Show, the Consumer Electronics Show has grown to capture the interest and intrigue of automakers. Las Vegas now has two auto shows.

That, Volkswagen’s unending stream of German-accented apologies, why Ford might not be hitching itself to Google and how you can become an automotive journalist* … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2015

64003a

The Jewish festival of Chanukah, pronounced Hanukkah by those who can’t handle guttural phonemes, starts on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, which corresponds this year to the evening of December 6th. Chanukah is an event that should resonate with car enthusiasts — after all, it celebrates a miracle involving oil (well, that and a victory in a military/cultural/civil war with the Seleucid Greeks and Hellenistic Jews).

After defeating the Seleucids and reclaiming Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the Hasmonean Jews (aka Maccabees) found that there was only sufficient consecrated oil to light the Temple’s seven branched menorah, which was supposed to burn continuously, for just one day. It took about a week to prepare and purify new consecrated oil and, as the story goes, that one small jar of oil miraculously burned for eight days, till there was sufficient new oil.

(Read More…)

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