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Practical Method for Getting Oil from Oil Shale?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the save-my-pocket-book dept.

The Almighty Buck 854

ConfigurationManager writes "An article in the Rocky Mountain News describes how Shell has demonstrated a practical way to extract oil from the shale deposits in Colorado. Since it describes those deposits as "the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world," that could be a very good thing for those of us who are currently paying anywhere from $3 on up for a gallon of regular unleaded."

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854 comments

I feel so sorry for you! (3, Insightful)

dirkx (540136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475686)

3 Dollar a gallon -- how about 3 euro a Litre !

Dw

Where in the world is that? (1)

sunbeam60 (653344) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475708)

I live in the UK and I pay £0.90 (1.32/1.65) a litre. My family, living in Denmark, pay 12 DKR (1.60/2.00).

Re:I feel so sorry for you! (2, Informative)

fredistheking (464407) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475732)

For those of you who can't do two conversion in a single calculation, this comes out to over $14 a gallon in US dollars.

Re:I feel so sorry for you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475812)

For those of you who can't do two conversion in a single calculation, this comes out to over $14 a gallon in US dollars.

Yeah, and I want to know who the hell is paying that much for fuel. Because it's not anywhere I've ever heard of.

yeah we europeans have high fuel taxes (5, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475744)

which are mean to reduce use of cars. They also make it seem much less of a shock when the price of oil goes up.

but afaict most of the high fuel prices at the moment are due to catrina knocking out refining capacity not oil prices.

Re:I feel so sorry for you! (5, Insightful)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475751)

It's really hard to feel sorry for a nation that pays so much less for fuel now than we were paying before this crisis. Especially as americans are not renound for their economic cars, somehow someone using a hummer to run to the shops reallly does deserve to pay for the privilege of polluting the environment and generally making events like the past week more likely.

Personally i'd like to see the price of fuel in the states double from it's current level and the extra can go to finding clean technologies and bringing them to market. But you know we'd all like the impossible.

Re:I feel so sorry for you! (4, Interesting)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475854)

The USA is doubtlessly the source of this abysmal misuse of 4x4 vehicles, but it's certainly spreading to the UK where mothers drive huge 4x4s to drop off their single child to the school a 5 minute walk down the road.

Just make the minimum required fuel efficiency far lower than it is currently. It's possible to build a 4x4 around an efficient engine, why not make it compulsory and if you feel the need to pay 150% for the fact your car is 3' taller and makes you feel 'safer' on the road then more fool you.

Alternatively, just make SMART cars compulsory.

Too right. This is not a good thing (4, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475856)

Last week's tragic events should have demonstrated to America the foolishness of such excessive consumption of fossil fuels. That said, I doubt Pres. Bush's recent failure to enforce reasonable standards of fuel economy on all vehicles will be overturned..

Will it benefit those of us paying $7 per gallon? (1)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475698)

Most of the world outside the US has been subsidising your insanely cheap gas for decades. $5 per gallon has been the way for us for many years, but now it's $7 and beyond. Good ol' George.

Quit yer whinin' (5, Insightful)

CvD (94050) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475699)

Many people here in Europe pay over $5.60 per gallon nowadays. We wish we had $3.00 per gallon prices.

Re:Quit yer whinin' (1, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475720)

Maybe if your government didn't tax gasoline at a rate of over 100% (or in some countries, over 200%) it'd be cheaper? Of course, the US provides money for drilling and tax cuts for oil companies which may or may not be keeping the price down. Personally, I wish government would stop getting involved in both circumstances and let the market sort things out.

Re:Quit yer whinin' (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475736)

Personally I wish gas was more expensive, so people would be forced to take mass transit. With ridership up, the public transit systems would improve and everyone would leave the 1920s behind (driving is cool!) and save the environment at the same time.

Re:Quit yer whinin' (1)

MisaDaBinksX4evah (889652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475825)

Personally I wish gas was more expensive

Yeah! That way, the economy would be launched into a recession and we'd all lose our jobs!

Oh wait...

Re:Quit yer whinin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475761)

I wish that US would increase taxes too. They clearly don't have enough money to support the poor people in US so they need the money. Increasing taxes would also cut down some fun driving with increases the amount of pollution and that increases respitarory deseases giving again more problems to people. And also problems around the globe.

My Solution (5, Insightful)

skazatmebaby (110364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475700)

My solution was to get rid of my car, and get a bike!

Instead of finding a more difficult technique to the problem, I simplified the problem of purchasing gasoline for a motor vehicle almost out of existence.

Won't work for everyone, but it worked for me. Some people may need to change the way they live much more than I have had to, but then again, it's been an ongoing process that's been worked on by myself for years, not overnight.

Re:My Solution (2, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475734)

That seems really hard.

I think the easiest solution would be to just vote Democrat. Once the United States has a sane foriegn policy, as well as a sensible foreign policy, oil prices will come down.

More fossil deposits = good? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475802)

Second that. Drilling into new oil sources is a fix for a problem, not a solution. From the summary:

Since it describes those deposits as "the largest fossil fuel deposits in the world," that could be a very good thing (..)

My thoughts on that statement are, at the very least, mixed. I'm one of those few people who aren't bothered much by rising energy prices. Why? Higher energy prices are a strong drive for development of alternative energy sources. Many of which are sustainable, exhaust-free and suitable for small-scale application (read: useful for remote, under-developed areas).

When energy prices go up, it forces people and businesses to think about whether they really need to consume that much. It gives a competitive edge to businesses that do care about their energy consumption. And when high oil prices slow down economy, it makes people re-use things more, buy second-hand, or choose long-lasting quality over cheap crap when they buy things. All good for the environment we all have to share.

So an 'easy', huge new source of fossil fuel = good? Not really, just more CO2 waiting to be thrown in the atmosphere, and solving the real problems may get put on hold.

High oil prices aren't all bad, you know. They tell you that oil is a precious substance that you shouldn't be too careless with.

Re:My Solution (3, Insightful)

Shisha (145964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475831)

More to the point, many Americans could just start using cars which are more fuel efficient. And they won't neccesarily even have to be small cars. You can have a huge people carrier with a 2 litre diesel engine that does 40 to 50 mpg.

Now since most cars in America are driven by 1 person 99% of the time, you could go for a small car and get 65 mpg out of it.

So they can even reduce their fuel bill without doing anything too radical with their lifestyles.

The point is that Americans shouldn't be complaining about high fuel prices, those are here to stay, even if they can start extracting loads more oil in Colorado. There is a rising demand for oil and by the time more oil is extracted in Colorado China and India would have probably more then doubled their demand.

Btw. I cycle daily and I don't own a car, but that's my personal choice and I know very well it's not for everyone; hence I'm not even suggesting a bike to a SUV owner.

Re:My Solution (1)

lasindi (770329) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475833)

My solution was to get rid of my car, and get a bike!

Hurrah! Someone else who has seen the light! I too ride my bike in conjunction with riding the bus across town for my transportation. Sure, it might not be quite as convenient, but when you consider all of the costs of a car (the car itself, gas, insurance, etc.) it far outweighs the extra time it takes for alternative transportation (because time is money). Not to mention the healthy exercise and environmental brownie points for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. I sure hope that higher gas prices cause more people to look at ways to avoid driving, as you've done, or at least look at driving more efficient vehicles (i.e., getting rid of all of these ridiculous SUVs).

Re:My Solution - Ride a bike in -40C ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475869)

It would be nice to ride the bike but probably not in winter and not in -40 Celsius! This solution is defeniately *NOT* for everyone.
Also not everyone will ride the bike for 50 miles per day or get all those groceries....

3 dollars a gallon isn't that much... (5, Insightful)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475701)

... in many parts of the world, like Europe.

The US needs to learn to use energy more efficiently. Experts suggest that current prices are driven by growth and demand, rather than a supply shortage causing a spike as has happened in the past. This means that prices are not likely to drop quickly. Interestingly The Economist (not generally in favor of big government, taxes, or other impediments to business) says:


The best long-term solution--for America as well as the world economy--would be higher petrol taxes in the United States. Alas, there is little prospect of that happening. America, unlike Europe, has preferred fuel-economy regulations to petrol taxes. But even with those it has failed abysmally. These regulations have been so abused that the oil efficiency of its vehicles has fallen to a 20-year low. This week, the Bush administration announced proposals for changing the fuel-economy rules governing trucks and sport-utility vehicles, but failed to close loopholes that allow these gas guzzlers to use more petrol than normal cars, a shameful concession to carmakers.

America and China, in their different ways, are drunk on oil consumption. The longer they put off taking the steps needed to curb their habit, the worse the headache will be. George Bush once learned that lesson about alcohol. It is time for him to wean America off oiloholism too.


From:

http://www.economist.com/printedition/displaystory .cfm?Story_ID=4316744 [economist.com]

(You have to pay for access...sorry).

Yes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475702)

Lets do eveything we can to figure out how to keep everything working the way it is, who needs alternatives (well just throw a few 'hybrid' cars that get 10mpg better economy to make those radicals happy), as long as the gas is cheap, the drinks are fizzy, and the porn is good, ef it all!

Um, the economics... (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475704)

The reason they're talking about getting oil from shale at all is because the gas price is $3/gallon. If it was less, they wouldn't bother, so you aren't going to see the price go down when they start on the sand and shale deposits.

 

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475735)

no doubt. The timing of this article fits the current situation a little too well.

Re:Um, the economics... (1)

stoneymonster (668767) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475738)

Well, that's an interesting comment. By that logic, oil prices would have been monotonically increasing throughout history (they haven't, in 1998 it was $10 a barrel) in spite of technological developments for production and extraction. What you also neglect is that the world market, including all methods of extraction and production will absorb whatever oil comes from shale and the price will fluctuate based on supply and demand from the total market. If you RTFA, you'd also note that Shell has been working on this since 1981.

wrong (4, Informative)

benna (614220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475790)

The article says this would be profitable even if oil cost $30 a barral. It is near $70 now.

Re:wrong (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475855)

In 2003 the price of a barrel of oil was below $30. The only reason they're considering it now is that it's $70/barrel.

 

climate and pollution (4, Insightful)

free2 (851653) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475705)

I am not sure we need more fossil fuels for our climate and our lungs.

You insensitive (american) clods... (1, Redundant)

TERdON (862570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475713)

... $3 for a gallon is nothing.

In Europe, the prices are twice as high. [www.spi.se]

(Here [google.com] is the Google conversion between units and currencies.)

Re:You insensitive (american) clods... (1)

Ann Elk (668880) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475750)

It's actually much worse than that. Here in Poland, auto gas is about 4.5 Zloty/liter. This works out to about $5/gallon.

Note, however, the cost of living is much lower here. A family of four can live comfortably on the equivilent of $9,000/year.

$5/gallon here is a much higher percentage of gross annual income than $3/gallon in the U.S.

Re:You insensitive (american) clods... (1)

hexi (716384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475783)

In Finland gas is at about 1.5 euro per litre. Which is about 7.1 dollars per gallon. This is the first time that I remember, when people are actually starting to think whether it is wise to drive a car everywhere.

Re:You insensitive (american) clods... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475870)

And some countries sensibly slap road taxes and engine size taxes on top of that. Which is perhaps why people in Europe tend to buy smaller cars and / or use public transportation.

Oh my God (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475714)

I was thinking this the other day... I read a story on CNN that said people in New Orleans were paying "as much as" $5/gallon. As if that was a major disaster. Now people are whinging about paying $3 / gallon?

Everyday UK price = Very near GBP 1 / litre = GBP 3.78 /gallon = $6.96.

When is the US going to wake up to just how much oil COSTS, and top subsidising their country's SUV's?

Every country in the EU pays prices near the UK ones (maybe not quite as much). Nobody really moans (except a little if they go up even further), because that's what it always has cost. What does the EU know that America doesn't? Or, more likely, what is America choosing to ignore in case whoever changes prices gets lynched?

Re:Oh my God (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475767)

Every country in the EU pays prices near the UK ones (maybe not quite as much). Nobody really moans (except a little if they go up even further), because that's what it always has cost. What does the EU know that America doesn't?

They know that they can gouge as much for gas as they want and no one in the EU will moan. Not really something you should be bragging about.

Re:Oh my God (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475791)

How can it be gouging when most of the cost is in tax? The price of petrol is heavily regulated in Europe by the government to reduce demand. It's almost as if we're trying to not destroy the earth...

Re:Oh my God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475828)

> It's almost as if we're trying to not destroy the earth...

It's interesting you see consuming oil == destroying the Earth. You may well be correct, but given how European industry is on its last legs under fire from China and the Far East I take a grim satisfaction in knowing that the probability that Green-driven artificial energy prices (and socialist labor policies) will destroy Europe is much, much higher than the fact that fossil fuels will 'destroy us all'.

Re:Oh my God (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475862)

It's interesting you see consuming oil == destroying the Earth. You may well be correct, but given how European industry is on its last legs under fire from China and the Far East I take a grim satisfaction in knowing that the probability that Green-driven artificial energy prices (and socialist labor policies) will destroy Europe is much, much higher than the fact that fossil fuels will 'destroy us all'.
By all means please continue living in your dreamworld.

Re:Oh my God (1)

elvum (9344) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475811)

On the contrary, people moan [bbc.co.uk] . (That example is from back in 2000, so it's not like we're suddenly waking up to the realisation of high fuel prices.) European governments "get away with it" because the people selfishly insisting on their right to burn as much fuel as they like are countered by those who believe in alternative sources of energy and means of transport to a much greater extent than in the USA.

Re:Oh my God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475900)

People do moan, complain, throw hissy fits and whathaveyou, but the prices rise and people pay. It's exactly the same as on the other side of the pond.

Yes, we do pay high taxes on fossil fuels, but as a result the total oil consumption of Europe has decreased, the efficiency of our production and transportation systems keeps increasing and our dependency on oil and the oil price is lower than ever. Amplifying the oil price fluctuations hurts, but it also shows us where we need to become stronger. It's a sparring session for the future.

Re:Oh my God (1)

hapoo (607664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475768)

Yes but realize the fact that most countries in the UK are the size of STATES here in america! In europe everything is close and most people can get by just walking or if need be, by using the expansive public transportation system. The layout of most American cities is far different. Our houses are far from our places of work. The only solution to this is either tearing down and rebuilding cities, which isn't likely, or setting up decent public transit which hasn't been very successful.

Re:Oh my God (1)

pagaman (729335) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475792)

Our houses are far from our places of work. The only solution to this is either tearing down and rebuilding cities, which isn't likely,
I disagree. I think it is likely (sort of). When I got a new job I decided to move close to where I work. Specifically so I can cycle to work.
As time goes on, and as oil prices increase more Americans will do the same.
or setting up decent public transit which hasn't been very successful.
In Europe they are successfull. Given time and demand, there will be more public transport, and more people will use it.

Re:Oh my God (5, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475798)

> When is the US going to wake up to just how much oil COSTS

Except that the US is not 'subsidising' oil, and oil does not 'cost' $6.96/gallon even in the UK. The British public pay that much because their government imposes a tax on them.

Ask someone from British rural areas what he thinks of the oil tax. One of the primary uses of the oil tax is to build public transport systems, but most rural taxpayers see very little of that benefit, making it more sensible to live closer to town. Unsurprisingly European city centres are more densely packed than similarly sized American cities.

Maybe if you said the US should tax oil to reduce demand (like the Economist said), that'd be fairer. However, the 'city spread' I mentioned above, coupled with the fact that there's more to this country that the urban centres (exurbs, thinly populated states in the Midwest) for whom an oil tax would be very bad news make an oil tax highly unlikely -- especially for an economy that wants to grow at about 4-5% a year *and* a respectably growing population (as against Europe, which grows at 1-2% (if at all) and has a slightly declining population).

I am not saying being fuel efficient is a bad thing, but I wonder how much of the 'cut oil consumption' brigade are aware of the second-order effects of their tax-driven (some may call it 'artificial') energy-prices regime.

Re:Oh my God (1)

mattite (526549) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475844)

I sympathize with the plight of european motorists, but you guys pay a lot more in gasoline taxes [csmonitor.com] than we do. If your respective governments lowered taxes, you would pay closer to what we pay.

Re:Oh my God (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475857)

What does the EU know that America doesn't?

Er... that Europeans don't mind paying much higher gas taxes than Americans will tolerate?

Re:Oh my God (1)

MisaDaBinksX4evah (889652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475873)

The EU puts extraordinary taxes on its petrol. Thus, much of the money that pays for fuel is then reinvested in things like public transit.

In the US, all of the money for petrol goes straight into the pocket of some monopolistic oil magnate.

So, that's the basic difference.

Hurrah! (1, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475718)

Hurrah! I was worried I'd have to get rid of the Hummer H2 I use to drive to the office every day!

Anyone who likes economic disincentives towards buying peniscars is Un-American!

Google Calculator is Awesome (2, Informative)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475726)

Type in "1.30 aud per litre in usd per gallon" and get "1.30 (Australian dollars per litre) = 3.76065521 U.S. dollars per US gallon".

Re:Google Calculator is Awesome (1)

Freexe (717562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475867)

YAY:
1 (British pound per litre) = 6.95304439 U.S. dollars per US gallon

Thank god I use public transport!

Re:Google Calculator is Awesome (1)

jdub_dub (874345) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475891)

Currently here it's NZ$1.529 per litre = 4.08509604 U.S. dollars per US gallon here in New Zealand :(!

Just when prices go high enough (4, Interesting)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475740)

To make re-useable energy sources more and more attractive, we find a way to just heat this planet just a bit more.

Just place solar energy/wind energy systems on these shale places instead. It will yield more than oil in the long run (Break even point wind power: 6 years at current US energy prices).

High energy cost (3, Informative)

martian67 (892569) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475745)

The problem with oil shale is the same problem that the tar sands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_sands [wikipedia.org] ) have, they require enormous amounts of energy to extract effectivly.

Where a conventional extraction of oil through drilling into the ground yeilds about a 1:80 energy ratio (1 barrel of oil worth of energy expended gets you 80 barrels of oil out of the ground) on average, the average energy ratio for tar sands is about 1:5 (or 16x less return). I do not imagine that the energy ratio for the extraction of oil from oil shale will be much better.

This poses the same fundamental problem that alternative energy supplies pose, the energy extracted vs the energy spent is MUCH lower then conventional oil drilledout of the ground, and even if such a system where today instantly implemented, where most of americas oil was from tar sands/oil shale, there would still be a MASSIVE jump in price, due to the expense of production.

Re:High energy cost (1)

martian67 (892569) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475775)

Hmm, upon greater scrutiny of the article, its turns out that the return on oil shale is inface 1:3.5, making it about x20 more expensive to produce then conventional drilled crude, Sound practicle to you?

Re:High energy cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475796)

There is a process to convert coal to gasoline but it would cost $4.00 to $5.00 a gallon to do so. Considering they are predicting the cost of gasoline to be above $5.00 sometime next year, these alternative methods will likely be worth it now. Currently the wholesale cost of gas is above $3.00 a gallon so retail gas prices in the US are expected to increase to $4.00 a gallon soon. For you Europeans who think that is cheap, keep in mind that in Europe, a 100% to 200% tax on the price of gasoline so you Europeans can expect to pay $8.00 to $12.00 per gallon of gas by sometime next year.

Re:High energy cost (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475814)

Where a conventional extraction of oil through drilling into the ground yeilds about a 1:80 energy ratio

Where did you get that figure from? In the 'fifties and early 'sixties, the energy ratio was around 1:50, now it's closer to 1:5. Given that TFA states;
The energy balance is favorable; under a conservative life-cycle analysis, it should yield 3.5 units of energy for every 1 unit used in production.

you'd have to say extracting from tar sands will be ballpark with existing or near future conventional supplies.

Re:High energy cost (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475824)

Is this figuring in transport? (Colorado vs foreign countries).

Though I could see ways of how Colorado to East Coast by truck would still be more expensive than Mid-east/Norway/etcetera to East Coast USA by boat.

energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475746)

and how much energy does it take to freeze and then heat the ground to 750F for half a year?
doesn't sound all that effecient to me

Ice Wall (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475749)

Protecting the ground water by pumping refrigerants around the site to great an ice wall. What's safe to pump into ground water? hydrocarbon? This is the part the sounds unreal to me.

Sounds like a fairly destructive process... (1, Funny)

mattkime (8466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475753)

If i'm understanding the process correctly, it involves drilling a lot (A LOT) of holes from the surface. Kind of makes oil wells sound like environmentally friendly devices.

(Are you listening Captain Planet?? We need your help!)

Distance is Important (5, Insightful)

bacon55 (853395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475756)

In Europe, you won't have to commute more than a few kilometers on average, and there is very good or at least present public transport. Ammentities are scattered and close rather than centralized and far.


In North America, people need personal vehicles due to the design of the infastructure, and the placement of essential services. This is particularly true for rural areas, and small cities to a lesser extent.


Gas prices have a greater direct effect on the average American or Canadian consumer than their counterparts in Europe.

Re:Distance is Important (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475801)

sounds like you've been reading the brochures my friend.
My commute (until recently) was 50 miles (80km) each way. It took 2-1/2 hours every day. All by car as the "public transport" only works in large metropolitan areas.Now I've cut it down to only 25 miles each way - still takes 1-1/2 hours a day :-(

So far as gas (petrol) prices having a gretaer effect. It cost me £250 per month for my long commute.

Re:Distance is Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475843)

That still doesn't explain why North American's can't drive smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. I bet the majority of people who drive a SUV don't actually need them and could easily use less fuel-hungry vehicles.

I think what some posters here are trying to put across is that higher gas/petrol prices act as a disincentive against purchasing gas-guzzling cars.

Re:Distance is Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475868)

In the US, and increasingly in the UK also the infrastucture is designed around the car rather than the people.
Until modern society can overcome this willingness to kneel before the power of the almighty automobile nothing will change.

And, as has been said before, until the largest consumer of energy in the world (yes, I'm looking at you USA) becomes more world aware and realises that the conspicuous consumption cannot go on the world is in serious trouble.

$3/Gallon, Huzzah! (0, Troll)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475760)

I figure that we're getting what we deserve. After all, anyone stupid enough to bring back 70's colors and fashions deserves to get it's fuel supply woes as well. Seriously. I was in Target the other day (unfortunately enough) and almost lost my lunch because of the crap they're selling.

What brought this to mind though was a drive past Costco the other day when fuel prices began to rise. I'd just passed a Chevron advertising $2.95/gal for regular unleaded and $3/gal at Sinclair when I see a huge line of cars (we're talking about 150-200) waiting to use the pumps Costco's gas station. The price there was $2.50/gal. At the time I figured it would be a convenient time to get rid of all the nut jobs in the city (how much gas are they wasting sitting there idling?) but I also recalled all those pictures I've seen of gas stations in the 70's.

3 dollars a gallon STOP WHINGEING ... (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475764)

... and realise that the other 95% of the world is paying _way_ more than that.

Re:3 dollars a gallon STOP WHINGEING ... (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475866)


How is "whingeing" actually pronounced? Is it like "winging" but sounds like wine-ging? "Whining" is what I always see this as.

But, tut-tut, mate, no need to make up pet words. It tends to isolate you as being insecure with your language. Yo.

Re:3 dollars a gallon STOP WHINGEING ... (1)

slim (1652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475901)

How is "whingeing" actually pronounced? Is it like "winging" but sounds like wine-ging? "Whining" is what I always see this as.

But, tut-tut, mate, no need to make up pet words. It tends to isolate you as being insecure with your language. Yo.


Dictionary entry for "whinge" [reference.com] , including a pronunciation guide.

To convert "whinge" to "whinging", simply say "whinge" then "ing". It's a perfectly cromulent word. Admittedly the OP kept in an extraneous "e".

$3.. (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475769)

$3 per gallon is still nothing compared to european fuel prices. On teh otehr hand it appears the rising prices speed up invention a bit more in the US than in Europe? (yes, where shall we put that experimental fusion reactor? takes ages...)

Is that really a "good thing"? (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475773)

Suppose the high prices were not only caused by stock speculators, but mostly by a factual shortage of fossil fuels, peak oil [wikipedia.org] . It would be the best chance to (globally!) switch to alternative fuels and modernizing our way of thinking about energy and its consumption. Everybody is - or should be - aware that oil reserves are neither infinite nor inexhaustible.

If we want to sustain our living standards, we have to look at oil as a starting budget, a one-time loan (pollution being the interest) from pre-historic times, to help us developing a sustainable way of living. Some higher being knows that has been taking us pretty long already.

It always confuses me when; (1, Informative)

Biotech9 (704202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475777)

Americans I know cry bloody murder as gas prices inch up to 4 USD a gallon.

Here in Europe, we're between 5 and 7 USD a gallon, and we've never had gas prices so low as they are in the US. And averages wages in most EU countries are less than they are in the USA, so how in the hell can Americans find 3 or 4 USD a gallon as impossibly high prices?

Even the difference in Fuel economy of US and European cars can't be that much of a factor! So what gives?

Re:It always confuses me when; (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475827)

We drive about 10x more than you guys. It's not uncommon to work in a completely different city than where you live, driving for an hour on a highway to get to work. I know a guy who commutes every day from another state, at least two hours away. In Europe, that'd be like commuting from another country.

"gas in europe..." myth/misunderstanding (5, Informative)

gonk (20202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475778)

Lot of folks want to throw out the "gas in Europe costs more than gas in the USA, so don't cry about your 'high gas prices'" line. What you need to look at, though, is where this cost comes from. The answer is taxes. From http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0826/p01s03-woeu.htm l [csmonitor.com] :

In Britain, the government takes 75 percent, and raises taxes by 5 percent above inflation every year (though it has forgone this year's rise in view of rocketing oil prices, and the French government has promised tax rebates this year to taxi drivers, truckers, fishermen, and others who depend heavily on gasoline.) On August 8, for example, the price of gas in the US, without taxes, would be $2.17, instead of $2.56; in Britain, it would be $1.97, instead of $6.06.

Given that, I'm not sure it's a fair comparison to make: Europe has decided to tax the hell out of gasoline, a decision the government can undo should there be a need, while the USA is paying higher prices to the oil companies, which can't be controlled as easily.

Not really sure what my point is, really,

robert

Re:"gas in europe..." myth/misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475820)

Mod parent up, please.

Re:"gas in europe..." myth/misunderstanding (2, Interesting)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475832)

You're right. It's their own choice to keep gas that expensive. But it's a choice that is serving them well right now, as it has pushed their economies towards more consolidated land use, more mass transit, and smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. It's as though they've been preparing for this for decades.

Damn. I need to make a tin foil hat now, but all they sell is aluminum these days. Something veeeeeerrrrrrrry suspicious about that....

Re:"gas in europe..." myth/misunderstanding (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475841)

Not really sure what my point is, really,
 
Usefull comparison. Current exchange rates make these figures a little missleading though, pound is highly overvalued against the dollar.

why sit around and moan about the price (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475781)

when we could do something constructive, like planning alternative energy sources?

Hydrogen is considered slightly dangerous in gas form to be used in cars. How about using it in water form then?
I'm not a chemist, and I'm too lazy to calculate the energy values, but in theory something like this could work:

You need small tank of hydrogen to act like a starter engine, just enough to burn to heat the chamber surroundings, then use the excess heat from the turbine to boil the water stored in tank(perhaps under pressure), and separate water from hydrogen using that excess heat.
As you burn the hydrogen, reaction should create water again, and the system is almost closed loop.

Re:why sit around and moan about the price (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475895)

You Fucking Fool..

Don't complain... (2, Interesting)

CaraCalla (219718) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475784)

Don't complain about 3 Dollars. In order to have some decent effect agains global warming it should be IMHO closer to 20 Dollars!

Why don't the big networks talk about that in the long term it could be cheaper do seriously do something about global warming than give up a third of the northamerican continent due to increasingly hostile climat?

When are you going to realize.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475793)

that oil source, availability, and extraction have NOTHING to do with CURRENT gas prices. Do you actually think gas MUST cost $3.00+ per gallon based on these factors? $2.50? $2.00? The answer is NO. Sure, you can use terms like "supply" and "demand", but let's face it; realistically, you can replace "demand" with "requirement". The oil companies replaced "demand" long ago and started making billions instead of millions. WAKE UP.

50 comments in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475810)

and they're all about how ignorant this American is to complain 'bout the gas prices in the US. And the next logical step? Critique America's dependency on oil.

Yawn!!! Move on. Broken record.

The article itself is exceptionally light on details on the process of getting oil from oil shale. Perhaps we can stay on target and discuss *that* rather than another bloody comment like "$3 a gallon?? Try $3 a litre!!" Or "boo hoo!! The Economist, the end all and be all of all things, believes that the US needs to be like Europe! Oiloholism! Down with Bush!"

Wow (1)

scavok (810313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475813)

If this is true, this pretty much gauruntees America's primacy into the 22nd century. As for all the people comparing Europes gas prices with the US, well, complain to your politicians. The gas prices are pretty much the same before taxes.

What? Only $3 per gallon? (1)

arcade (16638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475818)

Considering that I pay $2 per litre, $3 per gallon seems dirt cheap.

Stop whining, you've still got dirt cheap fuel.

Bye!! (2, Interesting)

Lucky Tony (608908) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475819)

Bye Planet Earth, it was nice knowing you. The last thing we need is another hundred years of oil. Even normal oil will last another 50-100 years, as technology enables us to retrieve it more efficiently and new supplies are found.

prices (1)

DiarmuidBourke (910868) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475849)

Your paying $1.26 a liter, which is 1.06 a liter. The current price of petrol here is 1.16 a liter and is set to keep rising. So ye actually fare quite well.

But tbh, driving cars with 7liter engines around doesn't help the costs. Maybe ye should try hybrid cars? As seen as they can do 60-70 miles to the gallon now.

Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475858)

*is reminded, somehow, of Atlas Shrugged*

Yes, but we will have to buy the oil from China (2, Insightful)

beefomw (912423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475861)

This shale extraction technique doesn't do us much good. There is a Chinese company that already has mineral rights in Colorado, and they are trying to bring Chinese equipment and workers to Colorado. They claim that the U.S. doesn't have enough experienced oil workers to perform the work.

Since we will be buying Colorado-extracted oil from the Chinese, will this shale extraction technique benefit us? Are the Chinese going to sell this oil to us cheaper than the Arabs? I guess they will be able to since the oil is coming from the U.S. and won't have to be shipped.

See this Rocky Mountain News article from 8/23/05. http://www.insidedenver.com/drmn/business/article/ 0,1299,DRMN_4_4022438,00.html [insidedenver.com]

taxes / services (1)

opencity (582224) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475872)

US fuel tax is much lower, but does the US fuel tax cover the highway / road repair / construction / administration? Don't have the numbers but my guess is no.

So the EU subsidizes health care and the US subsidizes automobile culture. Europe has been around longer than the automobile, American suburbia was designed around the automobile. Without cheap transportation, much of America doesn't work as layed out.

I want rolling roads. (excuse me, flying cars)

punish SUVs (2, Insightful)

jtangen (861406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475879)

I'm happy to pay a bit more to keep SUVs off the roads. I just moved from Canada (where petrol guzzlers are on the rise) to Australia (where there are very few SUVs). If paying an extra dollar or so at the pumps every couple weeks keeps them off the road, I'm more than willing. I honestly can't believe people still choose to drive those things.

Don't bet everything on this... (2, Informative)

Chris Snook (872473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475882)

They're estimating the energy cost alone to be 28% of the total energy extracted. Given all the other overhead involved, that's not going to turn into a gigantic profit margin. The most significant thing about this discovery is the potential to tap as much as a trillion barrels of oil from within the United States.

What scares me about this idea is the environmental impact. Anything growing in the ground in (or near) the affected region will die. How much "gunk" does the steam-cleaning process generate, and what will we do with it? How much is the targeted plot of land permanently altered by the process, and in what ways? There are all kinds of ways this could go wrong.

Still, I very much like the idea of the U.S. not depending on foreign sources of oil. Economic entanglement turns into political entanglement, and political entanglement has a nasty habit of turning into military entanglement. Maybe someday we'll have enough troops rested, trained, equipped, and ready to stop genocides and maintain order during natural disasters, like we used to.

Heaven forbid,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475896)

...we should actually do something about our near exclusive dependance on oil for our energy needs. So what if we are heavily dependant on one of the more [politically, chemically, economically, etc.] volatile resources in the world. So what if we have spent 100's of billions of dollars in Iraq to help save a region that happend to produce oil?

Oh, and a little thought experiment:
You are an oil company. Demand for your product is near constant with respect to price. You collect about 30% profit per gallon. Would you rather be charging $2 a gallon, or $4?
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