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Current price of oil

Post in 'The Green Room' started by elkimmeg, Jul 17, 2007.

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  1. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    This thread has gone to the dogs :-(

    ;-)

    Ken

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, the little one (thin face) is my Rosie and the other belongs to my daughter - Rocky.

    They are good friends! And, if the shoe fits (a little dog)- I highly recommend them! They differ greatly in size and temperament, so be sure to look at the other dogs by the same mom and dad.

    Sad story on the oil thing today. The Bejing auto show is ok, and GM and others are showing their BIG SUV's, which have a fast growing market there. The government in China is keeping gas prices relatively low, and also there is a lot of "new" money.

    I guess it is too much to expect that these companies would take some responsibility for the overall condition of things.
  3. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    You mean by having the companies dictate what the customer is allowed to purchase rather than providing what the customer may want?

    Let's face it, GM doesn't make much money on small cars and there would be nothing to distinguish their product if they were pushing small cars in a country that makes millions of them.

    What GM does have that differentiates them from the competition is the larger vehicles. Let's face it, "one size does NOT fit all". We would be in a heap of trouble trying to haul 7 tons of hay, a half ton of grain, or our horse trailer with a little Honda Civic.

    I know that a lot of people bash those who don't conform to the politically correct "small car". Well guess, what? Those little mini cars don't fit a lot of people's needs. That's why people want larger vehicles that do fit their needs. You can't cram a family with teens in them and they can be downright uncomfortable. We had a Chevy Lumina and it was painful for my wife and I to get in and out of it. At our age and height, we aren't contorshonists.

    Ken
  4. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Face this... I just filled up my car, $4.00 per gallon. Yep... four dollar gasoline is here.
    60 bucks to fill up a car tank... not for nothing, but we've been at war for five years, and apparently, we still haven't hit the right tent.

    -- Mike
  5. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    I've never heard of a #### Zu. Some new breed that you can order online?

    -- Mike
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly - fit a business within the constraints of what is sustainable and practical and provides good stewardship of our common resources. That allows for a lot of normal differential, such as trucks and larger vans for those who need them, but at the same time keep in mind that we must leave some for our children.

    It would be very hard for you to convince me that we need vast amounts of Escalades with 500HP. If these things were benign, then it is another story. But they are not benign...
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I saw the Escalades on display at the China show today too. I thought wow, here I am trying to downsize my fuel consumption overall while these guys are bumping it up. Makes me question reality. Is it really that bad? I can handle 4$ gas, but if it hits 14$ I worry that I will need to change. I am worried about the if. The ifs and not the whens.
  8. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    I also saw the story about the wealthy Chinese love affair with huge SUVs. China's government subsidizes gasoline to keep it at about $3 per gallon - way out of reach for most of the country.

    From my reading, China will be the place where real ecological disaster occurs first. I know they are only following the American example, but the kind of free wheeling hypercapitalism taking place is simply not sustainable in the 21st century, especially when it is coupled with a general disregard for any and all environmental consequences. Free market extremists have in China the best possible example of where such policies can lead.
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Communist China is an example of the failure of the free market? In your first paragraph, you admit that the Chinese government is tampering in the market by keeping gasoline at $3 per gallon.

    Tampering by the government is the exact opposite of a free market.

    Joe
  10. fraxinus

    fraxinus Feeling the Heat

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    You're right Joe. China is an odd hybrid of central planning and free market capitalism. Both parts, however, actively encourage rapid and often thoughtless industrial and other development. What the British economist whose name I can't remember characterized as the greatest market failure in history - the ability to defer the actual costs of decisions in the present to generations in the future - is taking place at an astonishing pace.
  11. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Free market capitalism is about the only system that does anything except "encourage rapid and often thoughtless industrial and other development."

    There is no ability to defer your costs in a free market. You must pay all the internalities and externalities.

    Only controlled economic systems allow you to avoid that inherent part of the free market. The ability to avoid paying the externalities is what businesses incorporate and pay taxes for. They pay a fee for the privilege of having the rest of us take care of their externalities.

    That option does not exist in a free market situation.

    Joe
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Joe, honestly...that is the biggest bunch of hogwash I have EVER heard. Of course, you will be unable to point to a system anywhere in the world that meets this criteria, but for instance.....

    Ok, so we sell something into the "free market" today. We honestly don't know that it causes hundreds of birth defects or other future problems....science just has not caught up. Then we find out. Well, it would seem to me that this represents deferred costs! Ones that were never paid by the producers and sellers of this product. With a products like asbestos, it would be virtually impossible for any trust fund or set-aside to pay the future costs....but yet our system allows this 100%. Just run a couple companies out of business and your exposure is reduced.

    China is a lot closer to a Free Market (in terms of less regulated) than we are, that's for sure. And, to be honest, a lot of parts of their economy do work better than ours. But neither system is responsible for the true deferred costs.

    I wrote a small article about the Real Cost of oil 20 years ago - I think it still rings true today:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/stories/articles/the_real_price/

    The only difference between my example and reality is that today WE KNOW what the deferred costs are going to be, and yet we continue to do anything that is legal.....even if it is "wrong".

    Since when was "consumer choice" part of the constitution? (see Kens post above about choice of cars). Would he want to allow a car that is 20 feet tall and takes up two lanes? Why not? Oh, because it does not fit into "regulation" car lanes! Well, I can't see over that giant SUV, and it endangers my life on the road more than it should.
  13. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    You still seem to have trouble seeing what a free market actually is, Craig. You're inserting limited liability (an aspect of socialistic control of the market) into the mix.

    There is no limitation of liability in a free market. You are 100% responsible for your actions, and if you release a dangerous product, you are fully responsible for the costs of the damage.

    Of course, you're going to claim (as usual) that the owners have limited resources, so even if we seize all their property, we can't pay for all the damage. That's why in a "real world" free market, you would carry liability insurance, because no one in their right mind would buy from you if you weren't insured sufficiently to repair any damage your product might cause. If you want to pay insurance premiums that are even vaguely reasonable, something tells me that your insurance company will require you to put systems in place to do things safely. Since it's their profit margin on the line, and they can't just go running to the taxpayers for a bailout, they will make very certain that your testing standards are good enough to guarantee that they won't be paying claims on your products.

    The current system doesn't allow for that. If you meet government regulations, you are protected from the consequences of your actions. The government not only doesn't care about consumer safety, but actually benefits from a certain level of damage. If consumers weren't being occasionally injured/maimed/poisoned/killed by products, they might forget that they "need" the government to protect them. So not only won't the government do an adequate job of protection, but they actually will make certain to have a certain level of damage, just like they maintain a certain level of unemployment (that's not a conspiracy theory, by the way - it's a standard component of Keynesian economics).

    In a free market, when a dangerous product gets released, the ones who released it and the ones who insured them against liability are the ones who have to pay, rather than the guy walking down the street who didn't have anything to do with it, except now he's being taxed to make up for some CEO's greed.

    Asbestos is a good example, by the way, since it is mostly government hype. "Ooh! Evil stuff! Must Ban" Of course, it was a necessary component in many applications, so what happens? We develop "refractory ceramic fiber," which is simply artificial asbestos, and can cause the same health danger if you don't treat it with respect.

    In a free market, asbestos wouldn't be banned, but your liability insurance company would require you to get training and proper safety equipment before handling it. Instead, I can walk into any wholesaler and buy RCF and install it with no training and no safety equipment, if I wanted to. Because it meets "regulatory" standards.

    Tenth Amendment.

    Joe
  14. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    After reading this I thought I was back in the old USSR. Share holders find it very difficult do any thing to limit the income, benefits , stock options , or any thing else connected to a CEO in the USA. Its way to silly to think any CEO would all of a sudden become responsive to any thing you have in mind short of a Federal intervention. Thats not going to happen as the power industry payed for the election of those making the law in Washington.
  15. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    If they needed to enough to cover projected 30 year growths, they would. Right now though, oil is scarce and expensive, why damp it down with large announcements of huge discoveries?

    Sadly, BMW just came out with a new 5 series sedan that gets better mileage than a Prius, and it's not a hybrid. Just a new diesel engine. I'd much rather have a regular looking car with enough room for my 6ft 4, 240lb butt, and my two kids who are almost as tall as I am (the wife's a little shorty at 5ft3) than a little tiny Prius. Hybrids just aren't the way to me as they have battery packs which must be dealt with later, AND try making two different power systems run the car at the same time. What I want to see is an AC traction motor driving a car down the road with a 0.5 liter turbodiesel driving a generator, with no direct connection to the wheels. This would just need a couple of batteries to keep the power flow smooth, and should net some 100+MPG while performing as well (or better) than a conventional gasser. This would be more efficient because the ICE would be optimized to operate the generator which runs best at a set RPM, and not across a wider powerband as is needed to turn wheels on a car. This is the same technology used by diesel electric locomotives. Finding the traction motor in a size to fit a regular car is a challenge though.
  16. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Federal intervention is what lets them get away with doing the things they do. In a free market, they'd be paying reparations to their victims for the rest of their lives.

    Joe
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Who would make them pay the reparations? Sounds like there would have to be some of that Federal intervention you are so fond of. :coolsmirk:
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Have you sat in a new Prius? It's classified a mid-sized car and has surprisingly good legroom, even in the back seat. As compared to the BMW 528 the Prius is roomier. Front legroom 1/2" longer, rearlegroom 2.6" longer, front headroom 2" higher. And as far as systems coordinating, believe me, Toyota has this down. It's virtually transparent.
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    If oil keeps up, they are going to be selling a LOT of Priuses. My neighbors, who are quite well off (and work at home), are now carpooling up to the local golf course (5 miles away), and when they are ready to do somewhere, they ask their spouses "would you like to take a $10 ride in the car?". We are close to the tipping point in gas prices, which is probably about $4 - where behavior will have to change somewhat. It may take awhile, because if people can't afford the gas they also cannot afford to get a new car before the old one is completely worn.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Diesel is selling locally here for $4.27 a gallon. At least as of a few days ago. The sign is wearing out from the frequent updates.
  21. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Many of the stations around here have installed electronic signs to make price changes faster and easier! A lot of them are changing twice a day. Glad all the cars are full...

    Chris
  22. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Um, their victims?

    Judged by a neutral mediator, not a Federal judge who is part of the system that is designed to protect the CEO from liability and, therefore, not even vaguely unbiased.

    Or would you rather a SWAT team, who would end up getting the wrong address and killing some innocent family? "Oops!"

    Somehow, I tend to prefer nonviolent solutions, when possible.

    Joe
  23. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Rarely have I ever met a "neutral" mediator. I do, however, hold federal court judges in fairly high esteem. They are some of the most straight individuals you will ever meet, period.

    -- Mike
  24. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Since the mediator is chosen by the participants, if they all agree to a biased mediator, that would be pretty silly for whomever agreed to have the situation judged by someone who was biased against them...

    I take it you've never read the rulings of the Ninth Circuit?

    Joe
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    When you consider that all judges got there by being BIG players in one political machine or the other, it becomes tough to get really fair ones - BUT, as Mike suggests, the fact that they have a job for LIFE and can't be taken down does give them a fair amount of say. For federals judges, it is often a chance to actually put their ideals to work...after a LIFETIME of pandering to pols.

    Sure would be nice if there was a better way to rise to judgeships other than doing the parties bidding. My daughter thought about being a judge at one time, but after she found out she would have to trade in her ethics before starting (the rise within the party), she declined.

    Funny story - when Martha ran for council one of the local Dems was the WORST possible person and lawyer you could imagine...a real snake, sell-out and just about every other bad name you want to think of (alcoholic, cheater on his wife, etc. etc). For numerous reasons, Martha refused to have him on her campaign committee - even though he was in some big party position. She ended up winning that battle.....BUT

    next thing we know, the dude is appointed as Superior Court Judge (they try murders, among other things!)......AND, he was appointed by the OTHER PARTY (GOP). Turned out that he had made some deals with them about some high $$$ projects, contracts, etc.....and as a reward for going their way, he was appointed judge for life.

    Unlike the Presidency, though, I do have some respect for the position of a judge - more for the idea than the implementation. Done right, it is about the best possible ideals of our system of laws.
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