In The Pipeline 6/27/11

With the Obama Admin studying and restudying and restudying whether a plain and simple pipeline to bring the world’s most important substance…oil….to the U.S., the Chinese are circling, circling, circling Anchorage Daily News (6/27/11) reports: In the northern reaches of Alberta lies a vast reserve of oil that the U.S. views as a pillar of its future energy needs.. China, with a growing appetite for oil that may one day surpass that of the U.S., is ready to spend the money for a big piece of it…The oil sands of this Canadian province are so big that they will be able to serve both of the world’s largest economies as production expands in the coming years. But that will mean building at least two pipelines, one south to the Texas Gulf Coast and another west toward the Pacific, and that in turn means fresh environmental battles on top of those already raging over the costly and energy-intensive method of extracting oil from sand…Most believe that both pipelines will eventually be built. But if the U.S. doesn’t approve its pipeline promptly, Canada might increasingly look to China, thinking America doesn’t want a big-stake share in what environmentalists call “dirty oil,” which they say increases greenhouse gas emissions.

I can’t tell if this article is satire or blind love. The Chevy Volt only gets 30 MPG and takes 10 hours to charge, which is apparently just fine if you only need to run to the Hamptons from Manhattan. Also, the car runs on electricity from coal or natural gas and gasoline New York Times (6/25/11) reports: The moment I realized that driving the new Chevrolet Volt was fundamentally a new experience was not when I first turned it on and went around the block. Yes, it was whisper-quiet, powered by its 16 kilowatt-hour, 400-pound battery, but it still felt like a “normal” automobile. And it wasn’t when I drove the 100 or so miles from Manhattan to Southampton, N.Y., either. Although the battery’s range is only about 40 miles, the car kept going even after the battery was drained; it just switched to its gasoline engine, in a transition so seamless I barely noticed it. It wasn’t even when I arrived in Southampton that evening and plugged a special cord into an electrical outlet in the garage, to recharge the battery overnight…No, what made the experience truly different — and what got me thinking about the Volt’s potential to change the way we think about gas consumption — was what happened after that…You know the story of the Volt, don’t you? As the General Motors entry in the race to build a viable electric car — a race that includes the all-electric Nissan Leaf, a raft of Fords in various stages of development and an electric sedan that Tesla will soon begin selling — it may well be the most hyped American automobile since Lee Iacocca rolled out the Chrysler minivan. Begun four years ago, and championed by the legendary auto executive Bob Lutz, the Volt project managed to survive G.M.’s descent into bankruptcy, and emerge as the company’s great, shining hope, a symbol of what American car manufacturers could accomplish. Or so it’s been claimed.

If you want to see Obama’s transportation policy in action, look to Europe New York Times (6/27/11) reports: While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation…Cities including Vienna to Munich and Copenhagen have closed vast swaths of streets to car traffic. Barcelona and Paris have had car lanes eroded by popular bike-sharing programs. Drivers in London and Stockholm pay hefty congestion charges just for entering the heart of the city. And over the past two years, dozens of German cities have joined a national network of “environmental zones” where only cars with low carbon dioxide emissions may enter.

Crony Capitalism: you make a donation to a politician and then the politician gives you taxpayer money Washington Post (6/26/11) reports: A few months later, Celgard won more praise. In July, Obama lauded its technology in a Kansas City speech, and days later, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis showed up at Celgard to signal more good news: Since Obama’s visit, the company had added 40 workers…Amid this flurry of White House interest, some competitors questioned why Celgard warranted so much attention…During the official visits, federal regulators were pursuing a case against Celgard’s parent company, Polypore. The Federal Trade Commission had charged the company with trying to monopolize several battery markets and control prices by buying one of its few U.S. competitors. Obama’s visit came a month after an administrative judge agreed that Polypore’s purchase created an illegal monopoly and that it must sell the competitor. The case is under appeal…“Generally, we’re concerned with what kind of due diligence the administration did before throwing out that kind of money and attention,” said Bryan Godber, vice president of Trojan Battery, which faced the prospect of higher prices for Polypore products. “They are giving some companies massive advantages over others.”

In case you needed more reasons to dislike the Obama Administration’s energy policy Human Events (6/26/11) reports: You may have noticed that gas prices are sky-high as Recovery Summer II begins, and wondered why the cost for a fill-up has more than doubled since President Obama took office, even as the economy remains in the tank.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, as Obama has made it clear all along that higher gas prices can help usher in his green utopia of windmills, solar panels and unicorns—all for the sake of his environmental backers.  Here are the Top 10 Examples Proving Obama Wants High Energy Prices: 1.  Energy dollars wasted on pricey green jobs:  During his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama promised that if elected President, he would “invest $150 billion over the next decade in renewable energy—an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs.”  Nearly a quarter of the way into that dream, Obama’s own Council of Economic Advisers says that only 225,000 green energy jobs were created or “saved” after an $80 billion down payment from the stimulus package—an astounding $335,000 per job.  The President has consistently called for funding his green job plans with measures that would increase the cost of using fossil-fuel energy for everyone.

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing again and again, but expecting different results. The Obama Administration doubles down on planning the economy from the White House with the release of oil from SPR National Journal (6/27/11) reports: Market manipulation for political purposes is never a good thing and in this case is likely to have unintended consequences greater than the intended ones. If this sounds cynical, the Obama Administration has provided reasons for cynicism…So, let’s get this straight. The conflict in Libya has been underway since February and the Obama Administration is just deciding that the loss of 1.5 million barrels a day is a problem. Why wasn’t it a problem sooner. The Secretary of Energy claims that the release is to “relieve pressure on oil markets”. Since prices were declining before the announcement, you have to ask, what pressure? And, to make matters worse, this decision came shortly after the Saudi’s pledged to increase their production. Strained relations won’t get any better from this decision…Libyan oil is sweet–low sulfur– crude that is used primarily by european refineries. Nigeria is also a source of sweet crude and the problems there could exacerbate the loss of Libyan crude but all of that is primarily a european problem; not a US or global one. Is the oil being dumped on the market low sulfur sweet crude? If it isn’t, how does it compensate for the loss of Libyan crude?


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