Forget Hybrids, Let's Go Completely Electric

I'd love to see some of the billionaire's in the electronics/software industry sponsor an annual zero emissions race with a healthy prize. I don't know if this is still a true statement today or not, but at one time NASCAR was the fastest growing sport in America. I'm sure you could market a zero emissions race to these folks, and get back some of the money invested in the event. You may say, "but Ryan, that would be a very boring race to watch." Perhaps the first year or so, but maybe not. Ian Wright's X1 prototype recently beat a Ferrari 360 Spider and a Porsche Carrera GT in drag races, and has the 2nd fastest 0-to-60 acceleration among production autos in the world. Read more here. Competition is what will bring about change the fastest. So why doesn't Bill Gates, Paul Allen, or somebody sponsor an annual race? I'm sure they could use the tax write-off!

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Prius Groupies and Smugness

Over the past week, I must have heard the same poll quoted a dozen times that found that 90% of Americans believe our government needs to do something to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It was really annoying me because based on the number SUV's I see on the road, a large number of that 90% must be hypocrites. Right? Well, maybe, but maybe not.

A friend of mine told me that I wasn't following SUV sales closely enough, and said that SUV sales were down last year. That may be true, but as of today, a Google News search reveals the following headlines:

So it is unclear whether Americans are prepared to take the action necessary to support their own desire to get off of foreign oil. Those headlines are enough for me to still consider many SUV drivers hypocrites. But an interesting thing began happening on Friday. I started getting approached by what I'm going to call "Prius Groupies". On Friday and Sunday, I had total strangers ask me a bunch of questions about my Prius. "How many miles can you go without re-filling?" or "Is it true they [overcharge] you when the battery dies?" One of them was an SUV driver.

Regardless of whether these people decide to become more conservative with their energy usage or not, at least they are thinking about it. I have to say it makes me optimistic. It is a step. It is the first sign I've seen first hand, that people might start taking our need to change our habits seriously.

It might even make me a little bit smug. But not much really. I thought the South Park episode titled "Smug Alert" was hysterical. All my friends know where I stand on oil policy, but I don't think I come across smug. I'm just really concerned. Last week, before I even knew about that South Park episode, a woman said to me "You must be laughing at all the people paying so much for gas," to which I replied, "I'm not laughing, I'm crying." Maybe I'm a little too high on my horse, but you got to stand up for what you believe in.

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End of Empire

I found an Irish website today that has a pretty graph that illustrate the looming oil shortage. In addition to that pretty graph, there is an opinion page forecasting the USA Empire to be the fastest to fall in history. Quite possible I imagine, although there isn't much fact to back up the statement and I am no scholar of empires, so I couldn't tell you which empire fell the fastest. I'm not sure if this opinion is widely held outside the USA, but I suspect it might. I have one Irish friend living in America who made the comment, "This is a fascinating time to be living in America, it isn't every day that you get to witness the sinking of the Titanic."

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Oil Shoots Over $75 per Barrel

Crude Oil climbed to over $75/barrel today. That is almost a 25% increase from what it cost a month ago! It is also 8% higher than the highs we experienced last summer blamed on hurricane Katrina. Will we see $80 oil next week?

Here are some articles in the news today...

Peak Oil Passnotes: It's All About OPEC Stupid, Not
Resource Investor - Herndon,VA,USA
[...It is true that China and India are sucking up more crude and refined product, but they are still miniscule consumers compared to the big boys, the United States and the European Union countries...]

Peak Oil And The Political Economy Of Terrorism
CounterCurrents.org - India
This is one of the more extreme views of the world ahead of us. Lately I've come to believe this probably won't be the situation in the near term, but it certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility.

Changing our habits could ease peak oil problems
South Bend Tribune - South Bend,IN,USA
[...Why are we in Iraq? Why are we building military bases in the various "stans" of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, etc.)? Why is Hugo Chavez of Venezuela becoming so important to our leaders in Washington? Because that's where the oil is...]

NZ Prime Minister out of the closet on Peak Oil
Scoop.co.nz (press release) - New Zealand
[...This week Helen Clark, New Zealand’s Prime Minister joined a rapidly growing but exclusive club, the penny has obviously dropped – she openly admitted the real reasons behind high oil prices, “because we're probably not too far short of peak production, if we're not already there”...]

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Soon We'll Be Comparison Shopping For Fuel

My father clued me into a handy page that allows you to find cheap gas near you. Unfortunately, the only browser that will load this page on my Macintosh is the now unsupported Internet Explorer, which I nearly never launch. Bummer. I know there are other sites out there that attempt to provide the same information, but I haven't found any that are as complete as this one. I suppose this one is pretty complete.

I think mapgasprices.com shows some promise, but for now it is a bit rough around the edges.

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