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American Dependence On Oil

Guest Casey Aden-Wansbury

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Guest Casey Aden-Wansbury

Senator Joe Lieberman unveiled a package of legislative proposals to help America break its dangerous dependence on foreign oil that threatens the nation’s security, economy and environment. Before an audience of professors, students and academics, Lieberman delivered Georgetown’s Loewy Memorial Lecture in Science, Technology and International Affairs at Georgetown University.


“What we are seeing is more than just a temporary drain on our budgets – a passing inconvenience and temporary increase in costs” Lieberman said. “I fear that we are literally watching the slow but steady erosion of America’s power and independence as a nation – our economic and military power and our political independence. We’re burning it up in our engines and spewing it from our tailpipes because of our absolute dependence on oil to fuel our cars and trucks.”


“The bill I will propose puts our nation’s transportation system on a new road where the tanks are filled with more home-grown fuel …We will push harder for more and quicker production and commercialization of biomass based fuels…The bill would also create a program to guarantee that filling stations had the pumps to provide the fuel to keep pace with the growing alternative-fuel fleet produced by the mandate.”


Lieberman’s proposal will mandate 10 million barrels in oil-savings in 20 years and will also mandate the mass-production of cars that can burn any combination of gasoline and alternative fuels or, alternatively, cars powered by efficient hybrid engines. In addition, the bill will include:


• An aggressive strategy for pushing the development and mass marketing of hybrid technologies, including hybrids that give drivers the option to plug them in at night;


• A program to ensure an adequate number of alternative fuel retail outlets;


• For the first time, fuel-efficiency standards for trucks;


• Standards to ensure fuel efficient replacement tires are offered for cars and trucks;


• Financial support for retooling manufacturing facilities for advanced technology and alternative fuel cars and trucks.


“Our present energy and transportation systems were born at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Centuries with the twin discoveries of oil extraction and the internal combustion engine,” Lieberman said. “Those systems have served us well – bringing growth to our nation and the world. But it is now the 21st Century and its time to move on. The era of big oil is over. It’s time to kick start our entire infrastructure – from the refinery to the tailpipe – and build this new era of energy independence.”

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Guest Red White and Blue

I really do not think we need a bill. I think old fashioned American Capitalism will

correct the situation by itself. The market is already doing it.


On the supply side, six million vehicles in the U.S. already rely mostly on ethanol, and our new-found ability to produce ethanol from plant material at low cost can enable us to largely replace the oil we import for passenger vehicles.


On the demand side, we can use oil more wisely by relying more on fuel-efficient vehicles. Diesel engines get better gas mileage than regular engines. Gasoline-electric hybrids use much less fuel than gasoline-powered cars. Lightweight vehicles also increase fuel efficiency.

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Guest Susan Webb

The day after President Bush advised Americans to deal with skyrocketing gas prices by avoiding unnecessary driving, he flew to New Orleans for a photo-op, burning up about 11,437 gallons of jet fuel, worth over $24,000. Apparently, it all depends on what you consider “necessary.”

Singing the same tune, the American Petroleum Institute ran a full-page ad in The New York Times Oct. 4, piously calling on Americans to “work together to use energy wisely and efficiently.” It offered tips like “plan trips carefully” and “use energy wisely at home.” Two days later the industry group ran another ad emoting, “We all can do our part.”




ExxonMobil CEO Larry Raymond’s total compensation last year was $38 million. Meanwhile, in Chicago, 250 people a week flock to Affordable Power to the People seeking help with heating bills that are “not just bigger than the rent or mortgage, but bigger than their whole income,” said organizer Curly Cohen.


The Petroleum Institute ads offer no suggestions on what to do when the gas company shuts off your service because you’ve fallen behind on payments and you can’t afford the $250 reconnect fee. Cohen said 52,000 households are shut off in Chicago today.


Gasoline is about $1 a gallon higher than a year ago. Home heating oil and gas prices have rocketed to record highs. Americans are facing what the San Francisco Chronicle called “a painfully expensive home heating season,” with utilities across the country “bracing their customers for increases ranging from 55 to 75 percent.”


Ordinary Americans did not need advice from multimillionaire oil execs or their Oval Office crony to know they had to try to save on their fuel bills.


In central North Dakota, just digging out from a blizzard, Dave Kemnitz and his wife turn the thermostat down to 60-64 degrees at night and leave it there if no one is home during the day. But as to avoiding “unnecessary driving,” he said, “it’s virtually impossible to hold a job if you don’t drive.” Like much of the country, there is next to no public transportation. “It doesn’t matter where you live, it’s a commute.” The commute for his son David, a construction worker, is 37 miles each way.


Kemnitz, an electrician, is president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO. “We have people who, because of the ruralness of the manufacturing, drive 50 miles one way” to get to work, he said.


And there is no such thing as a neighborhood grocery store anymore, he added. “It’s all super-centers. You go out of your way to a chain.”


Fuel costs will be a “budget wrecking ball” for working-class families this winter, said Kemnitz. “How do people conserve when what they have now is inadequate? How can this government condone making the already comfortable and wealthy more comfortable and more wealthy when the lowest, low and middle class are sliding into an economic abyss?”


“Everyone’s angered over this,” he said.


That anger spurred Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) to introduce a bill to impose a windfall profits tax on major U.S. oil companies and use the revenue to give consumers an energy rebate.


Cash gusher for oil companies


Dorgan’s web site has an electronic counter where numbers flash upward quicker than you can blink. Below it is this message: “Since you have been viewing this page, the big oil companies have collected this much money in windfall profits.”


Fuel prices, and oil company profits, were skyrocketing well before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. The week before Katrina, gasoline prices were up 39 percent from the year before.


For the second quarter of this year, before the hurricanes, ExxonMobil’s profits topped $7.5 billion, a 32 percent increase and the highest ever for the corporation. ConocoPhillips netted $3.1 billion, a 51 percent jump.


“By just about any measure, the past three years have produced one of the biggest cash gushers in the oil industry’s history,” MSNBC’s John Schoen wrote in July. He quoted Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit: “This is the mother of all booms. They have so much profit, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. They don’t know what to do with it.”


Oil price spikes have been a feature of the last five years, Tyson Slocum, research director for Public Citizen’s energy program, said in a pre-Katrina interview. “It has nothing to do with actual events,” domestic or international, he said. “It’s about how much the oil companies want to make.”


Refineries’ big role in oil company profits


The hurricanes knocked a sizeable chunk of the nation’s oil refineries and natural gas facilities out of service, and much attention has been focused on the impact on prices. But Kemnitz was particularly outraged over a report that on Sept. 1, as Katrina was pounding the Gulf Coast, oil refinery profits hit record highs. The Denver Post editorialized, “The increase in refining [profit] margins that day was 434 percent over the same day a year earlier. Those numbers smack of avarice.”


The refineries are the biggest source of price gouging, Slocum said. But the refinery industry is directly owned or indirectly controlled by the same handful of oil corporations who control every phase of the oil and gas industry.


The oil giants like ExxonMobil have their “downstream” sector — refining and distribution, and their “upstream” sector — exploration and production, Steelworkers union spokesperson Lynne Baker explained. “ExxonMobil basically sells oil to itself.” Each sector boosts the price and takes in profits. The sectors have separate executives, “but they both report to the same CEO.” It’s not a conspiracy, she said, it’s just the way the system works. In addition, she noted, Wall Street speculators “trade up” oil prices. “Everybody’s part of the food chain.”


Baker comes out of the former Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, which later became PACE. The Steelworkers, following a merger with PACE earlier this year, now represent 30,000 oil workers.


Dave Campbell is a 31-year refinery worker. For the last 10, he has been on leave as secretary-treasurer of USW Local 675. He’s also a vice president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.


“There is no doubt, from internal company documents,” the oil companies’ strategy “starting I would say in the 1980s, has been to decrease refinery capacity,” including closing or forcing out many small refineries, Campbell said. From the workers’ point of view, the companies’ strategy amounts to pushing more productivity out of fewer refineries, and less maintenance, he said.


There’s very little preventive maintenance now – “it’s more ‘operate till something goes wrong,’” Campbell said.


“If you’re a multinational integrated oil company and have more than one refinery, if one goes down it decreases the supply, prices go up, and your other refineries make money.”


“Public policy should be revamped to emphasize things like mass transit and better urban planning,” said Campbell. Workers face the brunt of dirty industries in their communities and on the job, he noted. “We would like to make what we call a just transition, from dirty, polluting industries to clean industries.”




A winter heating emergency is looming for many families. Some consumer groups say gas reconnect fees should be waived. Funding for the federal Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has not been increased since it started a decade ago. Increased funding is critical.


But it’s not a solution, said Curly Cohen of Affordable Power to the People. When people get energy aid, “who gets the cash? The gas company. It becomes a taxpayer subsidy to private monopolies.”


“We need a national energy policy,” he said.


The Steelworkers have joined with environmental groups in the Apollo Alliance. It has issued a 10-point program based on the “imperatives” of “staunching the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs,” “moving to diverse, sustainable and renewable energy sources” and “reconstructing our communities for the benefit of all.”


A host of environmental, rural, consumer, public transportation and other advocacy groups are saying it’s time to challenge the rule of big oil. Solutions being proposed include:


Windfall profits tax. In addition to Dorgan’s windfall profits bill, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has a bill, the Gas Price Spike Act, that would tax windfall profits and promote public mass transit initiatives.


Investigate oil and gas pricing and profits. It has to be an independent investigation and has to go back further than Katrina, Steelworker spokesperson Baker emphasizes. “It’s not just the hurricane.”


Former California public utilities commissioner Carl Wood says the energy corporations deliberately “obfuscate” the actual costs of oil and gas, because they “don’t want people to understand it.” Wadi’h Halabi of the Communist Party USA economics commission says the monopolies’ cost of producing oil is such a small part of their price that revelation of this alone would be “explosive.”


Strong regulation that links prices to the real cost of production and controls the level of profits oil companies can make. California state Sen. Joe Dunn took a step in this direction last month, saying, if the oil industry “can’t fix their market behavior, we’ll fix it for them.” He introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow the state Public Utilities Commission to require mandatory fuel reserves, set profit limits for oil and gas companies, order construction of new pipelines, and forbid agreements between companies that reduce competition. Similar legislation passed in Hawaii in 2002 allowed that state to set price caps on gasoline.


National energy conservation program. “We need a massive WPA-type approach,” said Wood. It should include overhauling the nation’s housing stock to make it more energy efficient. “It’s part of addressing our housing crisis,” said Wood. “Poor people tend to live in old houses that are not energy efficient.”


High quality public mass transit to reduce dependence on oil, cut pollution and promote planned development and green space. Require the auto industry to produce fuel-efficient cars, trucks and buses.


Massive public investment in renewable, nonpolluting, nondestructive energy sources.


Public ownership and control of energy resources, production and distribution. Produce energy to meet people’s needs and protect the environment. Use the revenue to benefit the people, as Venezuela is doing today.


None of this will happen without a mass grassroots movement, of course.


And any such measures will have trouble getting far with the current makeup of Congress. Rep. Sherrod Brown, a progressive Democrat from Ohio, told the Washington Post, “In this Congress, if it’s an issue that the oil companies don’t like, it’s defeated.”


It underscores the importance of the 2006 congressional elections in the battle to put people before oil company profits.

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  • 6 months later...

President Bush, under pressure about high gas prices, has ordered an investigation into possible cheating in the markets. During the last few days, Bush asked his Energy and Justice departments to open inquiries into whether gas prices are being illegally manipulated, said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

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Guest DCDriver

Here is the Lowest Regular Gas Prices in the Last 48 Hours


$2.90 Shell Washington - NE Mon

6201 New Hampshire Ave


$2.96 Shell Washington - NW Mon

4000 Georgia Ave NW


$2.99 Lowest Price (cash) Washington - NW Mon

Connecticut & Van Ness


$2.99 BP Washington - NE Mon

South Dakota Ave & 10 St


$2.99 King Washington - NE Mon

New York Ave & 16th St


$2.99 Lowest Price Washington - NE Mon

New York Ave & Fairview Ave


$2.99 Lowest Price Washington - NW Sun

1576 Wisconsin Ave


$3.05 BP Washington - SE Tue

S. Capitol & N St


$3.05 Exxon Washington - NE Mon

10 St & Michigan Ave


$3.05 Sunoco Washington - SE Sun

1248 Pennsylvania Ave SE


$3.05 Shell Washington - NW Sun

Connecticut & Fesseden


$3.05 Exxon Washington - NW Sun

1601 Wisconsin Ave


$3.06 Sunoco Washington - SE Mon

M and Half Street


$3.06 Exxon Washington - SE Sun

1201 Pennsylvania Ave SE


$3.09 Exxon Washington - NW Tue

M St at Whitehurst Freeway (Georgetown)


$3.09 BP Washington - NE Mon

New York Ave & Fairview Ave


$3.09 BP Washington - SE Sun

823 Pennsylvania Ave SE


$3.09 Chevron Washington - NW Sun

2450 Wisconsin Ave


$3.13 Exxon Washington - SW Tue

S. Capitol & K St.


$3.13 Exxon Washington - SE Tue

S. Capitol & I St


$3.16 Exxon Washington - NW Mon

Connecticut & Porter (Cleveland Park)


$3.16 Exxon Washington - NW Sun

4812 MacArthur Blvd


$3.19 Mobil Washington - NW Mon

22nd & P St.

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The price of standard crude oil on NYMEX was under $25/barrel in September 2003. By August 11, 2005, the price had been above $60/barrel for over a week and a half. A record price of $75.35 per barrel was reached, due in part to Iran's nuclear crisis, on April 21, 2006.[2] While oil prices are considerably higher than a year ago, they are still roughly $14 from exceeding the inflation-adjusted "peak of the 1980 shock, when prices were over $90 a barrel in today’s prices"


The U.S. economy currently accounts for one-quarter of all demand. New demand is also coming from emerging industry in third world nations, including India and especially China which is developing a western-style car culture and whose manufacturing bases have grown very rapidly in recent years.


Gas is a commodity. Commodity markets work on the law of supply and demand. When supply is higher than demand, sellers lower the price until the two factors equalize again. When demand is higher than supply, sellers raise the price to curb use and stretch supplies until, once again, the two factors equalize.


Oil supply is largely controlled by the national oil companies of nations with significant reserves of cheap oil, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Norway and Kuwait. Many of these countries have formed a cartel known as OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). Since OPEC controls a large proportion of oil output, it exerts a strong influence on the global price of oil. When OPEC decides to reduce the output quotas of its member countries, this will tend to drive up the price of oil as the supply diminishes. Similarly, OPEC can boost oil production in order to increase supplies and drive down the price.


There are however limits on the actions of OPEC. If OPEC raises the price of oil too high, demand decreases and production of oil from less productive fields or unconventional sources such as tar sands becomes profitable

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Guest Cliff

Hey Liberal phonies look what the White House is saying.


Americans Will Not Accept Fraud Or Manipulation Of The Market, And The President Will Not Tolerate It. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether the price of gasoline has been unfairly manipulated since last year's hurricanes. The President is also directing the Department of Justice to work with the FTC and the Department of Energy to conduct inquiries into cheating or illegal manipulation related to current gasoline prices. The FTC and Attorney General are contacting all 50 state attorneys general to offer technical assistance and to urge them to aggressively investigate illegal price manipulation within their jurisdictions.


The President Calls On Congress To Repeal Certain Tax Breaks That Are Unnecessary For Energy Companies. With oil prices at record levels, energy companies have large cash flows - and energy companies should reinvest their profits into expanding refining capacity, researching alternative energy sources, developing new technologies, and expanding production. Record oil prices and large cash flows also mean that energy companies do not need unnecessary tax breaks like the "geological and geophysical expenditure" depreciation acceleration provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This unnecessary tax break allows energy companies to rapidly depreciate costs related to oil exploration. The President also calls on Congress to repeal the Energy Policy Act provision subsidizing energy companies' research into deepwater drilling. The President is looking forward to Congress taking about $2 billion of these tax breaks out of the budget over a 10-year period of time.


The President Calls On Congress To Make All Hybrid And Clean Diesel Vehicles Sold This Year Eligible For Federal Tax Credits. An immediate way for drivers to get more miles out of each gallon is to choose a highly efficient hybrid or clean diesel vehicle. Hybrid vehicles run on the combination of a traditional engine and an electric battery. These twin sources of power allow hybrid cars and trucks to travel about twice as far on a gallon of fuel as gasoline-only vehicles. Clean diesel vehicles take advantage of advances in diesel technology to run on 30 percent less fuel than gasoline vehicles. More than 200,000 hybrid and clean diesel vehicles were sold in the United States last year - the highest sales in history. The Energy Policy Act President Bush signed into law expanded the tax credit for purchasers of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles to as much as $3,400, but these tax credits apply to only a limited number of hybrid and clean diesel vehicles for each manufacturer.


The President Is Also Directing Administrator Johnson To Bring Together Governors To Form A New Task Force To Confront The Larger Problem Of Too Many Localized Fuel Blends (Boutique Fuels). America's uncoordinated and overly complex set of fuel mixes raises the risk of painful local price increases, even during only minor supply disruptions.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Congressman John Murtha

When this happened in 1962 in the steel industry, President Kennedy called in the steel executives and told them that even though we have a free-market economy, we also have a responsibility to the American people. I couldn’t agree more. Congress should rescind the $2 billion in tax breaks the oil companies receive, and President Bush should call in the oil-company executives and tell them that these prices are unacceptable. They need to live up to their responsibility to the American people.

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Guest Joe Costello

The American public is dangerously ignorant of how many of the natural resources used in its hyper-consumptive economy have been secured by the barrel of the gun or the threat of splitting atoms. Calculating from their small offices, the priests of industrialism never place the price of violence in their economic equations.


The amount of global resources militarily secured to maintain the industrial American lifestyle is rarely raised in the political discourse. For example, it is the empire that allows the US to "inexpensively" import 60% of its oil using a quarter of the world's petroleum with only 5% of the world's population. Many of the current myths of industrial capitalism would take a severe hit in the United States if we were forced to live using just the resources available in the fifty states, thus leading to the biggest myth and reality of industrialism – that the hyper-consumptive American lifestyle is not only sustainable, it's exportable. The rest of the world can't live like us.

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Guest human_*

It's not the technology that we lack to become independent as Brazil has.


It's the infrastructer that we really have to invest in in order to get ethanol mass produced in this country,

as well as sold in every gas station.


Brazil did it, we have no excuse for not matching them.

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Guest Rob Sawicki

Remarks of Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) (As Prepared for Delivery)


First, the structure of the global oil market deeply affects – and distorts – our foreign policy. Our broader interests and aspirations must compete with our own need for oil and the growing thirst for it in the rest of the world – especially by China and India.


As a recent study in the journal Foreign Affairs makes clear, China is moving aggressively to compete for the world’s limited supplies of oil not just with its growing economic power, but with its growing military and diplomatic power as well.


History tells us that wars have been fought over such competition for natural resources. Our growing dependence on foreign oil makes that competition much more ominous.


Second, today we must depend for our oil on a global gallery of nations that are politically unstable, unreliable, or just plain hostile to us. We are now one well-orchestrated terrorist attack or political upheaval away from a $100-a-barrel oil price spike almost overnight.


The Middle East is being roiled by Islamist terrorism, Nigeria by instability, Venezuela by hostility, Russia by resurgent state power.


All that and much more should make us worry because if we don’t change – it is within their borders and under their earth and waters that our economic and national security lies.


Third, it is worth asking whether we are nearing a point at which global oil production will peak, forcing ever higher prices, chronic shortages and more aggressive competition for supplies. Most experts believe that peak production is still decades away, but of 12 studies released in the past two years, half say the peak will occur by 2010; three predict by 2016, and three project the peak to occur after 2020.


The only question is when.


At the same time, American own oil reserves are declining. Doing nothing about our oil dependency will make us a pitiful giant – like Gulliver in Lilliput – tied down by smaller nations and subject to their whims. And we will have given them the ropes and helped them tie the knots.


We can take on this problem now and stand tall as the free and independent giant we are by moving our nation – and the world – on to energy independence, by setting America free from its dependence on oil.


There is only one way to do this. We need to transform our total transportation infrastructure from the refinery to the tailpipe and each step in between because transportation is the key to energy independence. Barely 2 percent of our electricity comes from oil.


Ninety six percent of the energy used to power our cars comes from oil – about 20 million barrels of oil per day.


This is unsustainable and dangerous. With imagination and leadership we can change. Our progeny have every right to judge us harshly if we do not.

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Guest gobirds_*

It's not the technology that we lack to become independent as Brazil has.


It's the infrastructer that we really have to invest in in order to get ethanol mass produced in this country,

as well as sold in every gas station.


Brazil did it, we have no excuse for not matching them.



The largest single use of ethanol is as a motor fuel and fuel additive. The largest national fuel ethanol industries exist in Brazil. The Brazilian ethanol industry is based on sugarcane; as of 2004, Brazil produces 14 billion liters annually, enough to replace about 40% of its gasoline demand. Also as a result, they announced their independence from Middle East oil in April 2006. Most new cars sold in Brazil are flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on ethanol, gasoline, or any blend of the two. In addition, all fuel sold in Brazil contains at least 25% ethanol.


The United States fuel ethanol industry is based largely on corn. As of 2005, its capacity is 15 billion liters annually. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires U.S. fuel ethanol production to increase to 28 billion liters (7.5 billion gallons) by 2012. In the United States, ethanol is most commonly blended with gasoline as a blend of up to 10% ethanol, known as E10 and nicknamed "gasohol". This blend is widely sold throughout the U.S. Midwest, which contains the nation's chief corn-growing centers.


At low concentrations and amounts, ethanol is rapidly metabolised without apparent harm. At high concentrations, such as in leaks or spills, ethanol can have substantial acute effects on a wide range of biota, while it can cause death to many microbes (ethanol is used as a disinfectant).

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Guest Jennifer Crider

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in opposition to H.R. 5429, House Republicans’ latest attempt to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, which the House approved this afternoon:


"In the five years since the Bush-Cheney energy plan was negotiated in secret, with Big Oil at the table, energy prices have skyrocketed, and our nation has become more dependent on foreign oil. It’s time for new ideas and solutions to our energy problems.


“Instead, like a broken record, the Republicans keep replaying the same old, tired ideas on energy – such as opening the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. We should not sacrifice the Arctic coastal plain, one of America’s last truly wild places, for the sake of a small amount of oil.


“Democrats are stepping forward with new ideas and new solutions. We can’t drill our way to energy independence – but we can grow our way to energy independence. America’s farmers are ready to grow energy crops that will end our dependence on oil from unstable regions.


“We can make the most of American natural resources and American ingenuity to solve our energy challenges, without depriving our children and grandchildren of the magnificent wild lands that are their birthright.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Ford Motor Company



Chicago, San Francisco and New York are the first cities to formally approve vehicles like the Escape Hybrid for taxi use to help meet clean air targets.

Over the course of 100,000 miles, an Escape Hybrid Taxi will save approximately 1,666 gallons of gas or 32,000 lbs of carbon emissions over a conventional cab.

Cabs in San Francisco have accumulated more than 125,000 miles with no major mechanical problems, attesting to the durability and reliability of the Escape Hybrid.

Escape Hybrid taxi drivers say they may save more than $6,000 on gas per year.


Chicago June 8, 2006 - Ford is undertaking an 8-city, cross-country tour to promote hybrid technology. The tour starts today in Chicago, where Ford officials will present the city with a Ford Escape Hybrid taxi for demonstration and evaluation. The goal of such evaluations by high-profile city taxi fleets – and grueling taxi duty – is to create awareness of Ford’s hybrid leadership, and underscore the durability of the technology.


“The Escape Hybrid taxi program is an exciting collaboration between car makers, policy makers and fuel providers,” says Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. “It’s this type of collaboration that will help us meet our goal of reducing oil consumption, reducing smog and improving fuel economy.”


Currently, there are approximately 40 Escape Hybrid taxis in San Francisco, some with more than 125,000 miles on the odometer. There are another 22 Escape Hybrids in New York City, with almost 50,000 miles logged on the streets of Manhattan. The fleets have been such a success that additional Escape Hybrid taxis are on order in both cities.


EPA rated at 36 miles per gallon in city driving, the front-wheel drive Escape Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient SUV on earth, and can provide drivers 500 miles to a tank.


According to San Francisco cab driver Paul Gillespie, driving an Escape Hybrid saves him up to $30 per shift. Working four shifts a week for a year could equal more than $6,000.


“The fuel economy of the Escape Hybrid puts thousands of dollars back in drivers’ pockets, and helps decrease emissions,” says Gillespie. Gillespie has been driving an Escape Hybrid since November 2004. His cab has traveled 125,000 miles, without any major mechanical repairs.


The reliability of Gillespie’s vehicle is the rule, rather than the exception. For taxi owners, the Escape Hybrid is proving to be remarkably durable, capable of surviving around-the-clock use in one of the most severe driving conditions any vehicle will face. This durability is backed by a standard 8-year / 100,000-mile limited warranty for unique hybrid components, including the battery pack.


For city officials, Escape Hybrid taxis are helping meet clean-air targets. Over 100,000 miles the Escape Hybrid will conserve approximately 1,666 gallons of gas over a traditional cab, effectively preventing 32,000 pounds of carbon emissions.


In addition, the Escape Hybrid dramatically reduces smog-forming emissions, as it meets the cleanest emissions standard available for a vehicle that uses fossil fuels – California’s AT-PZEV standard.


“The Escape Hybrid taxi fleet is an extreme but real-world testament to the economic advantages, environmental benefits and reliability of Ford’s hybrid technology,” says Gioia. “We’re taking the Escape Hybrid taxi presentation to other progressive cities across the country to help increase awareness of the benefits the Escape Hybrid has to offer cities, taxi drivers and consumers.”


Ford Motor Company remains committed to creating a better world as a key element in our strategy for the future. Last fall, Ford Motor Company chairman and CEO, Bill Ford laid out his blueprint for the company’s future – focusing every aspect of the business on innovation as its core strategy going forward.


His vision is to offer transportation that is affordable in every sense of the word – socially and environmentally, as well as economically.


To realize that vision, Ford continues to invest in hybrid technology. And in 2008, Ford will have five hybrids on the road, including hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan mid-size sedans. Ford has also announced hybrid versions of the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego, which are build here in Chicago.


Ford also continues to research and develop hydrogen vehicles, including hydrogen internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel-cells in Ford Focus and Explorers and is working with strategic partners, such as BP, on research into alternative fuels such as clean diesels, ethanol and hydrogen. Our BP partnership also extends to consumer education initiatives, including their support on the Escape Hybrid evaluation tour.



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I do not know if the last post was a representative of Ford or not, but it looks like the company is thinking about electric cars. But, from what I have read is they pulled the plug on the electric car project. Partial pun intended.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Earthfirst for Hillary

With Gas Prices Averaging $3 Per Gallon, Clinton Calls for Action to Provide Consumers with Relief and to Prevent High Oil & Gas Prices


Senator releases analysis showing New Yorkers will spend nearly $9 billion more on gasoline this year than they did in 2001


Washington, DC – With reports that the nationwide average price for gas is now more than $3 per gallon, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today released an analysis showing the county-by-county impact on New Yorkers of skyrocketing gas prices. Senator Clinton reiterated her call on the Bush Administration to take immediate action to provide consumers with much-needed relief from skyrocketing gas prices.


According to Department of Energy statistics, the nationwide average price for a gallon of gasoline is now more than $3, and the average price in New York State is $3.13. In the New York City metro area, gas is selling for more than $3.60 in some places. At the same time, oil company profits are exploding. Yesterday, BP announced second quarter profits of $7.3 billion, up 30% from a year ago and profit announcements from the other major oil companies are expected to be even higher. Today, ConocoPhillips announced that its profits for the second quarter soared 65% from $3.14 billion to $5.19 billion. A recent poll of industry analysts revealed that they expect the five largest oil companies will report $33.6 billion of second quarter income, up 32% from last year—a year in which those companies totaled $110 billion of profits.


“Our current energy policy is a failure, and there is no surer sign of that failure than our spiraling gas prices. Gas prices have more than doubled since President Bush took office. At these prices, New Yorkers will spend nearly $9 billion more on gas in the coming year than they did in 2001,” Senator Clinton said. “Consumers are getting squeezed at the same time that the oil companies are recording the largest profits in corporate history. New Yorkers cannot take this any more. We need a real energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”


Senator Clinton has introduced legislation to create a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund that would eliminate oil company tax breaks and use that money to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by investing in biofuels and more efficient vehicles.


Senator Clinton has worked tirelessly to advance legislation to make gas price gouging a federal crime, successfully helped to pass legislation requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether oil companies are engaging in anti-competitive practices, and has pressed the President to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and pressure our OPEC allies to increase production.

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Guest Center for American Progress

"We are addicted to oil, and the oil is coming from the most dangerous places in the world,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at a panel today, hosted by the Center for American Progress. Emphasizing the importance of energy security in U.S. foreign policy, the event coincided with the release of a new report titled “Energy Security In the 21st Century.”


The report was produced by the National Security Task Force on Energy, a diverse group of politicians, policy experts, and academics. John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress, introduced the report and joined Albright on the panel. Joining them on the panel were former EPA Administrator Carol Browner and former Congressman Tom Downey.


Podesta’s opening remarks highlighted the growing threat that a mismanaged energy security strategy poses. Pointing out that the U.S. addiction to oil has increased even as oil has become more expensive, he said that the U.S. is compromising its foreign policy objectives by funding unstable and hostile regimes. Podesta also called climate change “a profound national security problem” that could cause significant instability in many parts of the world. Proliferation associated with nuclear energy and a vulnerable global energy infrastructure were also cited as threats.


Reinforcing Podesta’s assessment, Albright observed that countries with oil are gaining influence while those without it are losing leverage. This drives countries that need oil and have trouble affording it deeper into poverty. Oil importing countries are vulnerable, she said, to “energy producers who are more cooperators than competitors.” Dependence on oil limits our policy options, according to Albright, and forces us to accommodate problematic governments.


Short-sighted and short-term solutions to the energy security problem will not be enough. “There is no magic wand. We have to develop a comprehensive approach,” Albright urged. The released report details elements of a comprehensive solution, including a substantial commitment to reducing dependency on foreign oil. According to Podesta, “cellulosic ethanol is the most promising path forward for getting us off our addiction to oil.”


Browner, in addition to improving our biofuels capacity, called for pragmatic approaches to nuclear and coal power, emphasizing safety, and working in concert with a national carbon trading system. “The idea that we are going to drill our way out of the problem,” she stressed, “is wrong.”


Downey added that “the tools to solve this problem are at hand. The question is whether we have the political will to solve the problem.” Bipartisan support and strong presidential leadership were regarded by the panelists as crucial to any meaningful progress. “One party is not going to impose their will on the other when it comes to this issue,” Downey said.


The potential positive impacts of an improved energy security policy are significant. Observing that “the people least responsible for the problem are the one most devastated,” Podesta said that “there’s a great benefit globally from moving off an oil-based energy system.” Reduced dependence on oil would reduce the economic and environmental vulnerabilities of the world’s poorest countries. Podesta emphasized the importance of U.S. leadership in making alternative energy sources economically viable: “The whole world economy turns on what the U.S. does.”


While acknowledging the scale of the problem and the long-term policy commitment, the panelists agreed that a comprehensive approach is needed if any progress is to be made. The report represents an important step in tackling the broad scope of U.S. energy security, a blueprint for positive change. The time for rethinking energy security is now, urges Albright, because “current trends are really not helping U.S. foreign policy.”

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Guest Myron (Mike) Stagma, PhD

Exxon-Mobil-Chevron (USA — all are Rockefeller family-dominated; Condoleezza Rice a former director of Chevron) and the minor partner in the firm, BP and Shell (UK). All of them have long, ugly track records.

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  • 4 weeks later...

What about Natural Gas? It is clean burning and produces significantly fewer harmful emissions than reformulated gasoline or diesel when used in natural gas vehicles. In addition, commercially available medium- and heavy-duty natural gas engines have demonstrated over 90% reductions of carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter and more than 50% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) relative to commercial diesel engines. Natural gas can either be stored onboard a vehicle as compressed natural gas (CNG) at 3,000 or 3,600 psi or as liquefied natural gas (LNG) at typically 20-150 psi.


Natural gas is mostly made up of methane. The other 5 percent is made up of various gases along with small amounts of water vapor. These other gases include butane, propane, ethane and other trace gases. Methane is a hydrocarbon, meaning its molecules are made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Its simple, one carbon, molecular structure (CH4) makes possible its nearly complete combustion.


FirmGreen Energy (FGE). of Newport Beach, California has finalized a $4.8 million agreement with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) to design, build and operate the first phase of its Green Energy Center (GEC) sited near Grove City, Ohio. The project was first announced last year (see earlier NGV Global story).


FGE will use its patented CO2 Wash™ technology to clean and process SWACO’s landfill gas (LFG) for green electrical generation and production of renewable compressed natural gas (CNG). SWACO’s fleet, now being retrofitted for dual-fuel capability, will use CNG along with biodiesel from existing non-renewable sources initially, and transition to FGE’s renewable fuels produced from the landfill as the various project phases come online.


Installation of a landfill gas-powered Ingersoll Rand micro turbine will generate green electricity for FGE’s CNG plant, the CNG fueling station, and SWACO’s administrative and maintenance buildings. FGE’s Green Energy Center project will significantly reduce SWACO’s energy consumption, emissions, and fleet operating costs.


The next phase of the project will produce clean renewable methanol and biodiesel. Earlier this year the Ohio EPA approved installation of all phases of FirmGreen’s LFG processing facilities, which are permitted to produce up to 20 million gallons of methanol annually — enough methanol to convert 235 million bushels of Ohio grown soybeans into biodiesel fuel.


Several vehicles are available today (such as the Honda Civic CGX and the Ford Crown Victoria) that operate on compressed natural gas. Some run on natural gas only and others can run on natural gas or gasoline (called bi-fuel vehicles).

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Guest human_*



Growth in Ethanol Industry Makes National Mandate Moot

August 30, 2006


The ethanol fuel industry is growing so rapidly that a national Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), passed as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, is already moot. The RFS requires 4 billion gallons of biofuels production in 2006 and 4.7 billion gallons in 2007, increasing gradually to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. But according to the latest press release from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), there are currently 101 ethanol facilities nationwide with the capacity to produce more than 4.8 billion gallons of ethanol per year, an amount that already exceeds the requirement for next year. With an additional 41 ethanol facilities under construction and 7 expansions underway, the industry is in the process of adding nearly 2.8 billion gallons of new capacity. That will provide enough capacity for the industry to produce 7.6 billion gallons of ethanol per year, which already exceeds the goal for 2012. Unless the industry experiences a downturn and some production capacity goes uncompleted or unused, the ethanol fuel industry should easily exceed the RFS requirements. See the summary of the RFS and the latest press release on the RFA Web site.


While most of the new ethanol facilities are being built in the Corn Belt, a number of facilities are planned or under construction in other parts of the country. BioEnergy International, LLC, for instance, started preparations in May for building an ethanol plant able to produce 108 million gallons per year (mgy) in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, and announced plans on August 21st to build an equally large facility in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Both plants will produce ethanol from corn, but the company plans to introduce technology to produce some of the ethanol from agricultural wastes. In addition, Agri-Ethanol Products, LLC (AEP), plans to build 20 ethanol plants on the East Coast, including three in North Carolina. The company's first ethanol plant is slated for Aurora, North Carolina. Meanwhile, Pacific Ethanol has completed a 40 mgy ethanol plant in Windsor, Colorado, and is building plants in California and Oregon. See the press releases from AEP, Pacific Ethanol, and BioEnergy (PDF 14 KB and PDF 15 KB). Download Adobe Reader.


And while Ohio is in the Corn Belt, it currently lacks an ethanol fuel plant. The Andersons, Inc. intends to correct that oversight and has applied for an air permit for an ethanol facility in Greenville, located in west-central Ohio. The company is working with the Marathon Oil Company in a joint venture to build and operate ethanol plants. See the July 10th press releases from The Andersons, Inc.

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It is not quite a windfall at the pumps for area motorists, but gasoline prices dropped six cents over the weekend, lowering the average price for self-serve regular to $2.89 in the Washington area.


That appears to be fueling the desire of some 452,000 Washington area residents to take car trips of 50 miles or more during summer’s last official holiday weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates.


“While $2.89 is certainly not cheap it looks and feels a lot better than the $3.08 we were suffering just one month ago,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Government and Public Affairs.


“In fact, the number of auto travelers is on par with the number of Washington area residents who traveled by vehicle last Labor Day weekend, when the price of a gallon of unleaded regular was 21 cents cheaper,” noted Townsend.


Remarkably, because gasoline prices have fallen 20 cents since last month and ten cents since last week the prices feel much better, thus encouraging the major holiday weekend exodus on our highways that’s on parity with last year’s.


“The recent drop in local gasoline prices is encouraging news to motorists and all consumers alike, who have been pinched all summer long by the second highest gasoline prices in history,” Townsend noted.


"And there could be even better news. Traditionally, gasoline prices begin dropping after Labor Day, when the summer driving season comes to a screeching halt, so we are hopeful that this early trend downward will continue through the fall.”


“Because of the historically high gasoline prices in recent months, research shows that Washingtonians who are traveling by auto this summer are probably venturing to vacation sites closer to home,” Townsend said.


“Chances are, like their counterparts across the nation, they will do the same this upcoming weekend.”


In fact, a survey by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) showed that higher gasoline prices have been a persistent thorn in the sides of motorists all summer long.


Even so, “twenty-six percent of those who said they would travel less - or not at all - this summer cited gas prices as the reason, versus 18 percent last summer,” found the TIA, which does special research for AAA.


Overall, this summer Americans took 325.6 million leisure trips during June, July and August, estimated AAA and the TIA.


“Moreover, during the 101-day period of summer, Americans were forecast to drive more than 800 billion miles across the nation, consuming more than 36 billion gallons of fuel,” Townsend noted. “That translates into 8.6 billion miles a day this summer.”


Last month, U.S. gasoline demand rose in July compared to year-earlier levels despite higher pump prices, according to data compiled by the American Petroleum Institute (API).


According to oil industry analysts, the recent drop in pump prices is “the biggest two-week decline since a 20-cent fall on September 23, 2005, when refineries were coming back online after Hurricane Katrina.”


It appears that a goodly number of Washingtonians who are traveling by car this weekend will be heading to the beach, a traditional haunt of area residents.


Last year, American families made over 54 million trips to the beach, according to a study by the TIA. In spite of historically higher prices, the race to the seashore apparently has not lessened this year, nor has the obsession with the oceanfront, which is all the rage among Washingtonians.


Area beachcombers and buffs will find cheaper prices in the resort areas this Labor Day. Pump prices in Virginia Beach are averaging $2.63 compared to the statewide Virginia average of $2.71.


Along one stretch of Virginia Beach Boulevard, for instance, gas prices range from a low of $2.40 to an average of $2.47 per gallon, according to the AAA Fuel Price Finder.


Vacationers taking advantage of the sun, sand and the surf in Ocean City this Labor Day holiday weekend will find gasoline prices averaging $2.72 or less at filling stations along the Coastal Highway, the AAA Fuel Price Finder shows, compared to Maryland’s statewide average of $2.88.


That’s a real difference of 16 cents in pump prices.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is a little fuel for your thoughts. I don't know why I do not post on these boards more.


America needs a national policy that understands we are threatened not just by gun barrels, but by oil barrels. The great treasury of jihadist terrorism is mideast oil. We fund both sides in the war on terror every time we fill up our gas tanks. We know how dependent we are on oil, but it's not just us. We must liberate the Middle East itself from the tyranny of dependence on petroleum so that the region no longer feeds restive and rising populations of unemployed young people a diet of illusions and rationalizations paid for by our oil money.


Nothing will change if autocratic regimes keep pumping prosperity out of the ground to pay off a new generation with petrodollar welfare checks. We cannot change this if our oil money is sustaining the status quo. We must end the Empire of Oil.


We can't allow Energy independence to be used as a mere slogan, it has to be a solution. We need a revolutionary set of new policies to promote alternative fuels on a crash basis. This is essential if we are to reverse the tide towards catastrophic global climate change; it is essential to making the United States a leader in vast new opportunities to develop and market clean energy technologies-but most importantly, energy independence is essential to defeating jihadist terrorism and liberating our country from our bondage to tyrannical, hostile, and unstable regimes.

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