The oil price has surged above $US100 per barrel. Is this what Peak Oil feels like?
By Mike Jonas
Over time, I have written a few articles for WUWT on Peak Oil, the last being I think in April 2019 …
To Peak or Not to Peak? That is the question.
… when I ended with:
As I said above, Peak Oil is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be something to celebrate. By that I mean that if oil demand stops increasing because something better and cheaper comes along to replace it, or some of it, then that would be truly positive.
If, on the other hand, some nutcase tries to force the end of oil usage, or to replace it with wind, say, then … Venezuela, here we come.
Well, it looks like the world in general, and Joe Biden’s USA in particular, are going for the second option. What a shame. Or rather, what a disaster.
But first, perhaps I should recap a bit so that we all understand just what I’m talking about when I talk about “Peak Oil”.
From the 2019 article:
I defined “Peak Oil” as When the rate of oil production reaches its maximum. With this definition, Peak Oil is not when we run out of oil, and it is not when we can’t increase the rate of oil production. If you want to use one of those other definitions then different rules apply. And I’m only talking about oil, not about oil and gas, and not about fossil fuels generally.
The point is that there are other possible reasons for oil production reaching its maximum, such as something better and cheaper coming along to replace it.
We are in a strange and rather alarming situation right now, in which major political forces are at work trying to prevent oil exploration, development and production in western nations. Not just oil, though, the attack is on all fossil fuels so it includes coal and gas. Even if the attack was on just oil it would be bad enough. The oil price (both WTI and Brent) is already above $US100 per barrel, reflecting the fact that oil demand is relatively inflexible so price reacts quickly to variations in supply. (Russia’s attack on Ukraine is playing a part, too, though the fate of Ukraine is a lot more important than oil).
This article is titled “Is this what Peak Oil feels like?“, because an inability of oil producers to increase the rate of supply, no matter whether the reason was political or geological, would produce just such a high oil price. What the attack on fossil fuels has done is to bring forward the date on which the inability to keep increasing the rate of supply of oil pushes up the price of oil. The high oil price and the consequent stress on global economies is just what one would expect to happen eventually if ‘something better and cheaper‘ does not start replacing oil.
So, is the answer necessarily “Yes” to the question “Is this what Peak Oil feels like?“. Well, no, not necessarily. If we work on growing alternative sources of energy so that oil becomes less necessary for energy, then we can go through a benign “Peak Oil” when the time comes, with falling demand leading to falling production, and also leading to a stable or falling oil price.
The Shah of Iran is reputed to have said in the 1970s “Oil is too valuable to burn”. (I think the original statement was actually by a Saudi oil minister in the 1960s, but I haven’t been able to find it). The message is clear, and one that we in the west have avoided hearing. The fact is that oil and gas are a vital source of chemical feedstock for a massive range of products, including all plastics. We can use other sources for energy, but it is a lot more difficult to find alternative sources for the chemical feedstock.
The greens’ war on fossil fuels is showing us today what the pain will be like tomorrow if we don’t start seeing Peak Oil as inevitable, and if we don’t start working towards the benign option (the first of the two options I mentioned early in this article).
In order to achieve the benign option, I believe that we need to increase our use of nuclear energy, and to replace oil use with nuclear energy where possible (wind and solar have failed already). We have done it for military ships and submarines, now we need to do it for other transport and for heating. That doesn’t necessarily mean having a nuclear reactor in every car – we can power electric vehicles using nuclear-generated electricity (see my WUWT article In Defence of Plug-in Hybrids). We don’t need to get to 100% EVs, and we don’t need to get to 100% nuclear, we just need to reduce oil demand for transport and heating so that more of our oil can be used as chemical feedstock, and so that we can keep going comfortably even if oil production plateaus – as it inevitably must do at some time.
In summary, we have created an artificial and destructive “Peak Oil”, and we can learn from the pain that it causes how to avoid a painful “Peak Oil” in future.
I recall that the “too valuable to burn” came from a chemist in the late 19th century, seems like a reasonable reaction.
wind and solar have failed already
A nonsense statement. Clearly they continue to supply useful and increasing amounts of electricity.
Like during the European wind drought. 😛
A factual statement:
Clearly they supply unreliable amounts of electricity that cause serious problems in grid stability.
I published in 2002 that grid-connected wind power would not work effectively or efficiently, primarily due to intermittency, and would destabilize the electric grid.
In 2018, I published an effective solution to these problems.
Here’s an even better solution:
1. Build your wind power system.
2. Build your back-up system consisting of 100% equivalent capacity in gas turbine generators.
3. Using high explosives, blow your wind power system all to hell.
4. Run your back-up gas turbine generators 24/7.
5. To save even more money, skip steps 1 and 3.
And replacing fossil fuel power with nuclear should be done when it is economic to do so. There is NO scientific justification for retiring zillions of dollars of fossil fuel infrastructure before it’s time.
Nuclear is often touted as a solution to a non-problem. Increasing atmospheric CO2, whatever the cause, is hugely net-beneficial to humanity and the environment. – Allan MacRae
It is shear idiocy to retire an investment before it is amortized or the expected lifetime is reached. It is simply throwing money away. Government should stay out of planning, as socialist governments have shown us. There should be an orderly transition from one technology to the next, as the technologies mature.
“No turbine whine before its time.”
At what cost, Griff, … at what cost.
Seems Griff believes in “modern monetary theory” and thereby there is no cost?
Right Griff, here’s a challenge (which I’ve made several times previously) run your energy use in sync with UK wind and solar. Specifically you can only use electricity and your EV/eBike when wind and solar exceed 50% of demand. So you’re OK at the moment as they total a huge 52.22% of demand which is a typical Satuday demand of just shy of 32GW well below peak so make the most of it, it won’t last
What about all the extra pollution & dead birds your “solutions”
cause? You must really hate the environment & just love destroying
it while pretending to care!!!
There no wind today, presumably that’s your idea of success
there is here!
Basically zero wind here in California, on the other hand it’s a bright sunny day.
I predict that in less than 12 hours it will change from a “bright sunny day” to dark and dismal.
Imagine a world where all devices that emit net CO2 or radiation are disallowed but even imagine an exception for those that fly. There is simply no known technology that can make this happen while still sustaining current lifestyles and population.
Wind and Solar? Batteries can’t even cover the day/night/cloud, cycles, much less weekly or annual variations…and, there aren’t enough reserves of all the minerals required to make them even if it could be done. Just consider the steel, copper, Portland cement, lithium, silicon, neon, real estate, etc. required to make all the turbines, panels, and distribution systems
Hydrogen? That’s even worse. The production would require even more electricity, and the technology to distribute it unknown.
Pumped Hydro? Ther are not nearly enough locations with the proper elevation and surface areas for this.
Biofuels to cover the gaps?. There’s not enough arable land.
Clearly wind and solar have already failed.
Griff wants to kill 90% of world population the only way is crappy ideas might work
Might take a while for the emissions of that to subside?
Bingo! H B gets it.
I understand you, griff! You are absolutely certain that what you say is true. That is why you are packing to relocate to Kiribati.
I have never decided whether Griff is a paid renewable shill, or simply terminally naive.
When he does not let his anxieties speak about climate, he is a nice chap.
Being a pathological liar, like griffter, is one of the most anti-social behaviors, similar to stealing and bullying. Perhaps only murder and rape are worse. You can’t be a pathological liar but a “nice chap”.
I have still some remnants of christian charity…
Christian charity means one helps the poor. It doesn’t mean one ignores reality.
In the past I have strongly urged Griffy to get professional help with his delusions and other mental health problems. I think that qualifies!
… the poor of spirit included…
No doubt the energy is shared by all those HVDC inter-connectors that are going to be built you were sprouting on about … in other news unicorn numbers are on the rise 🙂
As noted, Germany has double the amount of installed generation to grid load that we in AB have, at a cost of a trillion dollars, electricity costs 4x as much and their grid is far less stable.
That is the reality of your solution, all of which will worsen if they double down on stupid with more renewables.
Let’s see what Germany actually does over the next couple years instead of fantasy statements
Wind and solar are producing more electricity, but useful it isn’t. Electricity is only useful is only useful if it can be produced when needed, which wind and solar can’t.
Griff never fails to amuse. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
It feels like the car driver who runs out of fuel and finds his spare fuel can is empty as he didn’t refill it when he previously had the opportunity.
I also get particularly annoyed by ER acquaintances who ignore the feedstock uses of oil and gas.
Truly useful idiots, and I’m not sure about the useful part. Is anyone in the XR crowd useful in any other aspect of their life?
You probably need a better or different set of aquaintances
That’s why they remain acquaintances rather than become friends.
Peak oil “when we can’t increase the rate of oil production” is quite different to a peak oil where we dont increase the rate of production because other energy sources are coming online fast enough to compensate.
Yea! Anyone can see by the level of inflation and current fuel prices that is happening! Right?
What is happening right now is any elasticity that exists is being removed. After that, it becomes a true “cant increase the rate of production” situation. There are two caveats.
Yes that is because the US demented chicken in chief fist demonizes fossil fuels and now he demand countries increase production to prop up his falling popularity 🙂
The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones…We will never run out of oil. It will simply become so impossibly expebsive that we will find alternatives, with whatever impact that has on our wealth and lifestyles.
Yes, we didn’t run out of whale oil either, or get pressured to stop using it.
We just found a better alternative.
One that gave us the best New Deal we’ve ever had.
No but if crude oil hadn’t come along we would have run out of whale oil. Crude oil was a no brainer better replacement over whale oil. It was cheap and plentiful. We don’t seem to have any replacement like that out there yet. Nuclear energy is hardly cheap and it’s slow to implement. Fusion might be plentiful but is neither cheap nor easy and isn’t even an option yet.
An important point is that no one attempted to prohibit the use of stones before bronze was invented. Once bronze was available, people voluntarily quit using stones because the superiority of bronze was obvious to even the most dense. Yet, those like griff, given the opportunity, would almost certainly ban fossil fuels, even though it is not obvious to everyone else that griff’s proposed replacements are superior. People are not dumb. They don’t have to be compelled by the force of government to make their lives better. One should, therefore, be suspicious if the government wants to force something on the public.
Coal can be used as chemical feedstock instead of oil. Coal resource is an order of magnitude greater than the oil resource.
Coal can also be used as a starting material to synthesize transportation fuels, e.g. Exxon’s Donor Solvent process in the late ’70’s.
I remember when kerosene used to be called “coal oil”.
Not in my country, it aint
China is already signalling what it intends to do
I don’t know about the rest of you but if feels to me like we’re all getting it up the backside with no KY.
Prices in LA have reached the ‘I Am Legend Level’.
About the same price as Australia.
One indication that there might be trouble is when people start bartering boxes of ammo for fuel.
You got that right H.R. My uncle used to say, when it hits the fan, liquor, ammo and cigarettes will be the best bartering items.
And TP, don’t forget TP!
But still only half the price paid in Germany, for example.
The price in Canada is already over U$ 5.00 per US gallon. This in the country with the 3rd or 4th largest reserves on Earth…but with a government that has implemented an “Impact Assessment Act” generally referred to as the “No More Pipelines Act”, carbon taxes scheduled to rise to $170 per tonne…federal administration who have publicly stated “ it must be kept in the ground”, a government run by a high school drama teacher with dreams of dictatorship.
A good chunk of the higher price in Canada comes from taxes. An average of about CAD$0.37/L, or about US$1.10/gallon. The US taxes (federal and state average) are about US$0.56/gallon.
BUT, Germany has LESS total land area than Montana and less than 20% more than Nevada, Arizona or New Mexico.
You can drive all over Germany in under 3000 miles.
Just across the US and back, with limited N and S travel was over 8000 miles the last 3 times I did it and I started in Nevada, not on the Pacific coast.
BUT, their government shouldn’t be creating the high gas prices they do.
The China Virus scare sure did save me a bundle in 2020, where I got diesel for under $2.00 for most of the trip and last summer where it was under $3.00 for most of the trip.
We decided, even before the results of Brandon’s policies became apparent, to stay closer to home this year. Lots to see in the Mountain time zone states.
That’s an insanely provincial opinion. Europe is about the same size as the US.
Not even close to being correct
Area of the contiguous US 3,120,428 sq. mi.
Area of the EU 1,707,042 sq. mi.
It may surprise you to learn the Europe consists of more countries than are part of the EU and they all have roads where one may drive to visit.
We won’t know if we’ve reached “Peak Oil” until we clearly see it in the rearview mirror. At some point we will reach a maximum production rate. That will occur approximately when we have produced half of the oil that we will ever produce.
Exactly. Then market forces will produce a gradual price rise that will change the choices that consumers make. Infrastructure must be built to accommodate the change and that takes time. Unwise “hep” from the government can only cause trouble.
All evidence suggests as soon as oil supply is in doubt, the increases are anything but gradual. And we may not have even truly hit peak oil yet but we still see volatile prices.
Think of it this way, when we reach peak oil, every day that goes by sees more and more people in the world short of energy they would otherwise have needed and suffer as a result.
And in the light of that, energy needs to be diverted away from whatever else it was doing towards building new energy infrastructure which is going to exacerbate the impact of the shortage.
It is exactly the role of governments to see these issues coming and deal with them.
Wrong, Tim. Government has no knowledge of appropriate response. They will always make a mess.
And the real function of democracy, is not to ‘represent the people’ but to sack them when its clear that they are.
Tim market forces will correct for shortages. Government is not needed at the capacity you believe.
Have you seen Willis’ analysis of the scale of the problem of converting from oil to an alternative like Nuclear?
Energy is fundamental to our lives in a way completely different to say iPhone vs Android and how the market manages those choices.
I agree that Government intervening in choices that should be market driven is wrong but energy isn’t one of those choices and government needs to make policy decisions in time to matter.
There are lots of ways Government will stuff up and enormous amounts of corruption along the way, no doubt. IMO Government should drive change by policy and stay out of the way as much as possible.
Converting to nuclear will have to occur. It is the only way. Intermittent energy is not an option for humanity to flourish. Government holds a monopoly on nuclear.
It’s not the only way. Energy storage is the solution to intermittent renewable energy but we’ve got a long way to go to get that to be viable on the large scales needed. If we don’t go down the path then we run the risk of being too late when we really need it.
The physics on energy storage are at their limits. Nuclear is the only way.
Intermittent sources of energy is a tax on the poor.
Nothing about that assertion makes any sense.
It seems to imply we’ll never have better energy storage solutions than we have now because…physics.
Yep. Only unicorn farts are left.
Nuclear with fossil fuel is the only way forward. You can put up solar panels and windmills if you want, but don’t waste tax dollars on those boondoggles.
By George! I think he’s got it!
Perhaps this is humour and I just dont get that. Its certainly not true that storage solutions today cant be improved.
By a very low % only, and almost certainly at a MUCH higher cost.
What you dream of is some situation where energy storage can increase by 1000% for lower cost, a pipe dream.
That is why Derg stated the simple fact that “the Physics on energy storage are at their limits”.
But your response “nothing about that assertion makes any sense” shows that you age just an apparently ignorant ideologue.
And since you seem to be a way far leftist, I can understand your inability to get the humor. I don’t know ANY fanatic leftists who have any sense of humor.
…and the rest.
You have no clue Drake. None.
Anyone who has more faith in government than they do in the private market is a leftist. No matter what kind of delusions they may tell themselves.
And what incentive does the private market have to spend money on developing energy sources and energy storage without a return in the foreseeable future let alone next quarter?
Your faith is in philanthropy.
But then again, you dont think there is a problem. People like Drake dont think peak oil will ever come. Perhaps you think that when peak oil does come, then the market will respond. You dont understand how fundamental energy is within that market and how the prices of EVERYTHING are underpinned by the price and availability of energy.
Simplistically, double the price of energy and you double the price of the renewables to replace it. So where does the incentive ever come from?
Unfortunately, the incentive is to pocket taxpayer money.
If it is possible to improve storage technology at an affordable price, it would already be happening. Your faith in government to find solutions where nobody else can is foolish at best.
Yes, and when the regulation nincompoops take over things slow to a crawl. They like the power.
Not only that, regulation can have have unforeseen negative impacts. Take the NY scaffolding as an example of a well meaning regulation gone horribly wrong.
Yes, batteries. But not necessarily the ones we use for transport. Lightness and energy density isn’t as important as cost per khW and longevity. So Lithium batteries aren’t good use, but because we’re very new to this, they’ve been used recently.
Also Pumped Hydro where it can be used and there are other alternatives that are being explored. The Wiki goes into much more detail
“Drive change by policy” IS getting in the way.
Government should not drive ANYTHING. That is why I mention, in the US, The Fair Tax.
It is a national sales tax. No deductions, no credits, no subsidies which are all hidden in the tax code which over 50% of US citizens HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT. In the US the tax code is how politicians manipulate people., i.e. “drive change by policy”!
Rubbish! It is the role of government to ensure than no one, no matter how ridiculous, anti-reality, or unintelligent, feels bad about themselves and is confronted by as many pointless pseudo choices as possible.
“Would you like Apple, or Android?”
“I’d like a litre of gasoline and a sack of potatoes”
…sound of teeth being sucked…
“Sir is an heiress, perhaps?”
The idea that government is ever going to be able to both accurately forecast the future and then generate plans to correctly react to that future is so ludicrous, that only someone totally disconnected from reality could ever say it with a straight face.
Government isn’t forecasting a future where fossil fuels become scarcer and more costly to produce at the rate needed. There are a lot of people who see that one coming and understand the need for as smooth a transition as possible.
If you want a smooth transition, the last group of people you want to rely on would be those who work for the government.
Which is why Government should set the policy and private enterprise companies should compete against each other to come up with the best solutions.
You finally hit 1/2 of a valid point.
No need for government to set policy, so that part is invalid.
“Private enterprise companies should compete against each other to come up with the best solutions” is correct. But that competition MUST be on a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD without all the subsidies for wind and solar such as requirements for power companies to buy their product, allowing variants from environmental requirements, actual cash subsidies for production etc. as well as requiring FF to back up the unreliables.
Good thing you’re not running the place then, isn’t it.
By analogy, using your perspective one shouldn’t plan for retirement, one should always live for now and retire by transitioning to the retirement lifestyle by magicking up the financial resources needed.
Because why would you live less of a life prior to retirement?
Speaking of planning for retirement, have you looked at the mess the government has made of Socialist Insecurity?
The absolute worst entity you want planning for the future is the government.
I live in Australia, and in 1991 our Government began to put in place a policy that forced employers and workers to save superannuation for their retirement.
Workers had to sacrifice some of their salary and employers had to add their share. The funds become available at 65 and has reduced the load on the welfare system by reducing pension payments and gives retirees a good level of security in retirement.
But the superannuation funds themselves are private companies so the people get the benefits of choice and competition.
Its not perfect but on the whole its a good system and benefits many Australians who might not be otherwise as far sighted or disciplined as they ought to be.
So “The absolute worst entity you want planning for the future is the government.”
It really is amazing how leftists actually believe that it is possible for government to put the benefit of the public ahead of whatever the political class wants.
It is amazing how a person with conflicting views to your own must somehow be leftist.
If you think the correct solution to any problem is government, you are a leftist.
Then I bow to your superior knowledge comrade.
And/or we will figure out other sources that deliver more $-value per $-invested. The first step will be tossing EROEI into the trash bin.
Its probably better to look for a measures of peak against specific sources of oil. Like, peak crude, peak oil shales and peak tar sands otherwise its difficult to understand the overall picture.
No. Oil is where you find it. No one spending money on oil & gas exploration cares about what kind of rock it comes from. We care about making money.
The oil’s origin factors heavily on its expected cost of production, EROI and therefore profit.
We absolutely don’t care about EOREI. It’s a fake metric.
Now you are just sounding like an “intellectual”. Lets make it as obtuse as possible by dividing the oil into as many different categories as possible.
So, yes, just of the left.
David Middleton: “We won’t know if we’ve reached “Peak Oil” until we clearly see it in the rearview mirror. At some point we will reach a maximum production rate. That will occur approximately when we have produced half of the oil that we will ever produce.”
David, assuming the trends we see operative today in the worldwide market for petroleum continue uninterrupted into the future, could you give us your rough guess as to when you think that Real Peak Oil (RPO) — i.e., your definition of peak oil as opposed to a definition for Virtual Peak Oil (VPO) wherein governments intervene in the marketplace to produce an artificial shortage — when will RPO will appear very clearly in the rearview mirror? Within twenty-five years? Fifty years? Seventy-five years?
Predicting peak oil is, and will always be, a fools errand. It requires accurate assessments of how much oil is in the ground. Future changes in drilling and extraction technologies. Future changes in demand for oil. Plus changes in factors we have not yet anticipated.
Here is another question which might be equally vexing when considering demand for oil and the development of future technologies, etc.
At what price point for a gallon of gas does it become profitable to convert coal into methanol and then convert the methanol into a decent grade of gasoline?
Using what technology? The ones we have today, or the ones that might be invented next year?
In a Hubbert sense, we might have hit Peak Oil in 2008.
I don’t we did. And I know I can’t predict when it will occur. Peak Oil won’t occur because we are running out of oil. It will occur because we figure out an economically superior source of energy.
It will be kind of like leaving the Stone Age. We didn’t leave because we ran out of stones, nor did we leave because prescient government officials decided it was time to move on to the Chalcolithic Age… We left because we figured out better ways of doing things… Funny thing, I think we use more rocks now than we did during the Stone Age… 😎
Sounds great in theory but in terms of energy solutions, there’s just no low hanging fruit left to pick. The physics of energy is well known and it’ll truly be a miracle if some completely new physics/technology comes along that gives us lots of cheap energy like oil did.
But according to your above comments, that miracle WILL happen in “energy” storage!!!
Oh, but you only have that opinion because it supports the transition to unreliables, correct?
What miracle? From here on out, its a hard slog weaning ourselves off fossil fuels with their increasing scarcity and ever increasing costs and hoping to make fusion work and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be easy or cheap and may never work effectively.
Sensible people plan for the future. You’re not one of those.
You sound like the guy who wanted to close the patent office because everything worth inventing had already been invented.
No wonder you want to turn over all the important decisions to government, you seem to believe that everything worth knowing has already been figured out.
Do I? Your argument is disconnected from reality.
Says the guy who insists that all problems in the future will be solved using yesterday’s technology.
Where did I say that exactly?
I can see why Willis insists on quotes.
We have not reached peak oil .
I can remember over 30 years ago that clown Gwynne Dyer who still writes rubbish in many news papers around the world ,predicted that the world had reached peak oil and was in danger of running out of many other commodities .
He was wrong then and this scare is also wrong .
Politicians in many countries have reached PEAK STUPIDITY when they could easily cover their use of oil ,gas and coal but put so many restrictions that make it to hard to produce in their own countries .
They ban exploration ,off shore drilling bans ,pipeline restrictions and straight out stupidity that many countries with ample reserves have to import fossil fuels .
Most rational leaders would at least encourage production to cover their countries use if they were able to instead of depending on other countries .
Once a countries demand for fossil fuels fell that would be the time for a few restrictions .
If a country was able to move a large fleet of their cars and trains to electricity and demand dropped for fuel that might be the time to hold back extraction . Maybe if they had invested in Nuclear ?
Peak Oil isn’t a granular concept.
The UK has oil and gas aplenty but no political will to extract it
It’s a very artificial peak
Not sure I’d agree with that – “no political will to use it” maybe. I found an article in an energy industry online magazine that stated that North Sea drilling firms were just now axeing all of their contracts to supply gas to Gazprom and selling to firms such as BP instead! How did we get to a point where the UK was selling gas to the Russian state to sell on rather than using it ourselves or selling it to the EU directly? It’s madness but are we finally waking up?
A very sensible article, however, I would go even further and state that plug-in hybrids do in fact significantly reduce CO2 emissions compared to ICE cars. I have been driving a 2021 Ford Escape PHEV for over 6 months and I have reduced my gasoline consumption by 90%. Even if the electricity is generated in part in a fossil fuel-powered plant, the “wells to wheels” fuel efficiency of a PHEV Is triple that of an ICE car. The average Canadian drives 25 miles per day so the 37 mile electric range of the Escape can easily handle that distance. The end result is that I use far less of our precious fossil fuel reserves. Using the same amount of batteries, four PHEVs can be built instead of one Tesla. It’s the sensible way to go. The car is brilliant, it’s made in North America and if we all adopted this approach, we wouldn’t need Putin’s oil.
How much do replacement batteries cost?
That is cheap…
How much do replacement batteries cost? I don’t know and I don’t care. They are guaranteed to last 8 years. They have an efficient liquid cooled battery management system to keep them operating at peak performance. The combination of an efficient Atkinson cycle ICE with a 14.4 kWh battery pack gives me the best of both worlds. Even if the battery runs out of juice, the car operates as a hybrid at 48 miles per imperial gallon.
So the biggest single cost for your car is something that doesn’t matter in the slightest to you. And you want others to take your opinion seriously?
BTW, my car gets over 50 miles to the US gallon and it probably cost half what yours did, and will probably cost me less to operate over the next 20 years as well.
Not sure on cost (probably five thousand dollars in the USA) but the warranty is eight years or 100,000 miles. Set aside $50 per month for the eventual battery replacement.
You can get a whole car for that kind of money
That’s what poorer people tend to do
I don’t know how much replacement batteries cost because the batteries are equipped with a temperature management system and they are guaranteed for eight years.
I can believe that hybrids are more energy efficient. Weight of batteries and engines are each reduced. Many of the engine’s roles are eliminated by transferring them to electric motors, regenerative braking recovers energy, etc.
Truly hybrids incorporate advantages of each technology, but also some disadvantages. Nevertheless, people who are free to choose products in the marketplace naturally tend to gravitate toward economical products that work well for them.
I find it difficult to believe the fuel efficiency is triple that of a comparative ICE vehicle when a proper accounting is performed. Perhaps this is because your definition of fuel efficiency is different from mine.
And it is because the efficiency is not that good. Particularly on a long run with little or no braking.
Many normally aspirated small diesels
can match or exceed a hybrids fuel economy.
Again, it is largely a ploy to sell more new cars.
The last gasp of a resource rich consumer society.
Especially when a regularly and properly maintained ICE engine should last well over 200,000 Miles with no engine repair.
You have a battery, electric motor, gas/diesel motor, battery control electronics. All together I doubt that is all that much lighter than either a pure ICE or pure EV.
EV enthusiasts have been trying to claim that EVs are more efficient than ICE cars for years. First they use numbers for ICE efficiency that are 40 to 50 years old. Then they use unrealistic numbers for the efficiency of power plans and completely ignore the losses in power transmission and the losses in charging and discharging the battery.
The reality is that depending on where they are in relation to the power plant, what type of power plants they are pulling from and the type of cars they are comparing the results can go around 10% in favor of either the ICE or the EV.
And when doing the analysis, don’t let them use the average solar or wind, only that “generated” WHEN they are charging their vehicles.
“The end result is that I use far less of our precious fossil fuel reserves. Using the same amount of batteries, four PHEVs can be built instead of one Tesla. It’s the sensible way to go. The car is brilliant, it’s made in North America and if we all adopted this approach, we wouldn’t need Putin’s oil.”
Good comment. I like the idea of hybrids. I think they do make sense.
I think I would prefer a Toyota hybrid because they use nickel-metal hydride batteries, which don’t spontaneously combust the way some lithium batteries do.
Mazda is testing a small rotary engine-d hybrid…the rotary is 1/2 the size and weight of a 4 cylinder piston engine but not so fuel efficient or emissions clean. Government should not susidize EV or hybrid. Ambri may have a better battery.
“ plug-in hybrids do in fact significantly reduce CO2”
I care. I want to see far MORE CO2 generated, rather than that green idiocy!
CO2 is dangerously low. Halve it and the planet dies.
An ideal climate would be around 1000ppm.
Sadly, there are insufficient fossil fuels to achieve this perfect climate.
The fallacy of the average…
The average g force encountered by an airliner is 1g.
Would you wish to fly in an aircraft that could not stand more?
The average braking force in a car is 0.01g. Would you wish to buy a car whose brakes cannot do better?
I find that I simply must provide a counterpoint to your testimony. I drive a 2003 hybrid, bought brand new, and it is now on its 4th battery pack total (the original and three replacements). The last replacement was on my dime, about 2500 US. That one replacement wiped out any fuel cost savings I could realize from the hybrid. My avg MPG was between 45-50 for most of the first 15 years, and has recently dropped to about 42.
I also find it very disingenuous that very few talk about the shortcomings of EV operations when a sudden, emergent event necessitates evacuation. The profile of the EV means that you have, at best, one charge and one possible recharge to remove oneself from the danger area. In very hot, or very cold climates, the distances able to be covered drop dramatically, even without addressing stalled/jammed traffic along evacuation routes. In the southeastern US, I would even propose that it should be illegal to have an EV as one’s only car just for this reason. Live in southern Florida, and needing to travel 500+ miles just to cross the state line to safer ground another 150-250 miles away, that is an impossible ask for EV operation.
Unless your electricity is being generated by nuclear, the electricity is almost certainly certainly almost 100% fossil fuel based. And if it is fossil fuel based, the well to wheels, the efficiency can actually be less for an electric than for a ICE. The claim that electrics are way more efficient is a lie.
They tend to pollute more too, being heavier.
“I use far less of our fossil fuel reserves” at the cost of using far more of our lithium, cobalt and other metal reserves. There is a finite amount of those as well, probably far less than of our fossil fuel reserves – switching from one finite resource to another finite resource is not much of an improvement.
The IEA say that the world could face shortages of lithium and cobalt as early as 2025.
Many countries, including the UK have set dates for the sale of hybrid EVs to be banned. In the UK that is from 2035.
> “the fate of Ukraine is a lot more important than oil”
Disagree. The invasion of Ukraine is affecting mere tens of millions. The imposition of deliberate energy starvation will impact billions with many of the same horrors as modern war.
The West doesn’t have to cancel Russian oil and gas. The prudent thing to do is get a signed agreement for neutral Ukraine.
“Peace in our time”
Are you really that naive?
It’s the best that can be done. The US is really good at peace 😉
At the end of the Soviet Union, Ukraine gave up a massive nuclear arsenal in exchange for Russian promises of non-belligerence. How did that work out?
What was Obama doing in Ukraine?
Who cares what the Ukrainian people want.
Putin wants them.
You want what Putin wants.
So that settles it.
Lol Mark. I want what is best for humanity. Now I wonder why the US funds BIO labs in China and Ukraine 🤔
I suppose you are going to blame gas prices on Putin 🤓
You will believe any lie that Putin tells you to believe.
Nope. I am pragmatic. So are you writing that the US did NOT fund labs in China and Ukraine?
Sorry Markw, but recent Senate testimony is on record that the US DOES fund bio labs, yes plural, in Ukraine.
Just remember Fauci is the one who funded Wuhan with US dollars, and now that the Ukraine labs have been exposed, Fauci has disappeared from TV.
Coincidence? I think not.
Are you sure you are not Simon?
Are you sure you’re not Putin?
No, the invasion of Ukraine is affecting the whole of Europe and indeed the entire geopolitical balance. If the west lets Russia off the hook, China will take Taiwan, and threaten Australia. Russia will take Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and start its move on Germany.
China is desperately short of resources. Russian gas and oil is getting close to running out. They will take what they need from the west.
It’s a good old fashioned resource grab.
Russia has barely tapped their oil and gas resources
Russia will take Germany…that is a good one.
Russia has been very clear on Ukraine since the Unification of Germany. Very clear.
Russia is finding it increasingly difficult to take Ukraine, I think trying to get any other countries will be beyond their capabilities.
And before MarkW says it, I will – and this from someone who thought Ukraine would just be a speed bump to the Russian advance. Well, I overestimated the Russians and underestimated the Ukrainians and I’ll admit to being wrong.
Maybe Russia has what it needs 🤔
AND that is with Ukraine’s limited air power. Russia would quickly lose the air war, and without air superiority, the tanks, artillery, etc would be just piles of scrap metal.
Russia is now asking China for both military and economic aid.
Despite trying to ban all outside sources of news, Putin has already had to jail 10’s of thousands of people for the crime of protesting his invasion of the Ukraine.
The other day I made a joke about Russia being what they used to call Northern China. I’m not quite as sure it’s a joke as I used to be.
This appears to be an argument in favor of government meddling into the energy sector, and against market forces. Government meddling, even if for supposedly the “right” reason of someday Peak Oil raising its ugly head is still dangerous. EVs are not the answer to either a fake “crisis” nor to one that perhaps looms far off in the future, nor are biofuels. By all means, we should be looking into nuclear, and we should also bring coal back, but that doesn’t do much to help oil use. And once oil prices settle back down below $100 to perhaps in the $60-$70 range, electrifying everything from home heating to transportation will make even less sense.
Electrification can only occur if we stop wasting money on renewables and pour everything into nuclear
That will save massive gas, oil and coal resources for future/other use.
No need to pour everything…it is here now …https://thorconpower.com
I am not trying to suggest that government should decide everything and do everything. In fact, we would be in a better position right now if governments had facilitated wind and solar instead of ramming them down our throats at our own very heavy expense. How many fewer wind farms would have been built if government had been happy to allow them but had not subsidised or mandated them? (“We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them.” – Warren Buffett – https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2021/01/13/iowa-wind-expansion-derailed-by-the-bridges-of-madison-county/?sh=221ec9dfa0ce).
I do think that a facilitating approach by government for nuclear energy would be a good thing. Same for wind and solar, BTW. I see government’s role here as providing an environment in which private industry and citizens can thrive, and that would include removal of the unnecessary green tape aimed at making nuclear energy less competitive. In time, private industry will fund nuclear energy, and the smart ones (yes, some of them really are smart!) will hopefully do it before it’s too late.
Our government’s job is to create an environment in which the private sector energy industry can safely deliver abundant, affordable, reliable energy to our economy. A sane government would subsidize energy sources that work and penalize energy sources that don’t work.
A sane government would treat all companies equally and not try to decide which companies “work” and which ones “don’t”.
Even if government did manage to get it right one year, the next year, with changing technology and changing market conditions, which companies are working and which ones aren’t will change, but it will take decades to change who’s being subsidized and who’s being penalized.
Heck, how long did it take to stop subsidizing the helium reserve?
PS: Subsidizing energy sources that “work” would make it that much harder for new energy sources to break into the market. Until they can prove that they “work”, they have to compete against entrenched interests that are being subsidized.
Numbers and words without meaning! Are you suggesting that oil wells “use” “land surface” in the same way that a solar farm or an open-pit mine does? Somewhat less than a wind farm, right? How does one “consume” an area of the earth? What’s left?
A sphincter says what?
There is no doubt that replacing uses of oil/gas/coal with nuclear in general is sensible; and even with small amounts of solar in limited places for very specific purposes. The issue of transportation is a gordian knot however as batteries are simply not fit for transportation of large masses, in cold weather, long distances in sparsely settled areas, construction, mining, farming, aircraft, etc.
Now, hybrids make a lot of sense for city transport, but as you will note they haven’t caught on well, and what has in fact happened is the idiots who insist on making perfect the enemy of good have pushed the whole argument toward 100% electric.
There is hope however because people often come to the best plan after they have tried all else.
There is another dimension at play here. Oil companies and oil producing nations have every reason to act as a (n unofficial) cartel to reduce the ‘flow’ rate in order to maximize the value of their asset base of reserves.
Eventually high price forces a change to some other fuel, or it forces the collapse in living standards of civilized nations. There are signs that this is already happening.
The blind alley of renewables has reached its end. It will be some sort of nuclear power. Unfortunately nuclear power and electricity does not cover all the bases.
In particular mobile power and industrial feedstocks and smelting are not well covered by simple heat or electricity.
I write this some years ago as a ‘thought experiment’ on what a low fossil futuire might entail. It is neither exhaustive, nor up to date, but it might serve to provoke thought and discussion
The problem with cartels is that they never work.
The first company/country that cheats gets huge profits, while those who don’t cheat lose everything.
So the end result is that everybody makes a big show of declaring their loyalty to the cartel, while making secret deals with customers behind the scenes.
The end result is the same amount of oil is sold after the cartel as before.
OPEC hasn’t worked? its lasted a long time for a useless organization..
After the first couple of years, OPEC has been little more than a mutual consolation society. Just read up on all the trouble they have had with countries that have completely ignored the so called production limits that OPEC has set for them.
So give up … the rest of us will party on.
Didn’t environmentalists put the kibosh on nuclear? And thus contribute to if not cause the climate catastrophe they insist is upon us?
Different groups….there are those that want nuclear instead of coal, those that don’t want either but want modern conveniences, and those who want to live in a yurt near a hot spring near coconut trees and a trout stream.
And if it turns out that CO2 is no problem they will have been responsible for forced transfer into nuclear, as it becomes apparent that renewables are useless garbage
“Can’t produce any more” is a nonsensical definition. The peak oilers thought we couldn’t produce any more prior to the fracking revolution. Yet it was proved that more could be produced when fracking came along. And even much more beyond today’s artificially limited production due to political constraints such as fracking bans and attempts to actually cut oil and gas consumption as well as production.
Are there any more potential fracking revolutions yet to come? Nobody can say, maybe yes and maybe no. Who can predict what technologies and political environments will exist even one year from now, let alone decades in the future.
It does seem likely that nuclear, both fission and fusion, offers a reliable, safe, and cost effective alternative to the other renewable sources, given the vast reserves available within the earth’s crust. As the author wrote, the available of those sources could easily reduce demands for oil and gas, but that will depend upon both technology and politics to become a reality.
Fracking is not new. I got a finger crushed on a world record sized frack job in 1981. And fracking had been around for 2-3 decades then. Horizontal drilling is also not new. The Russians pioneered the practice in the 1950s. And producing gas from shale deposits is not new. Mitchell Energy was producing shale gas from the Barnett Shale in Wise County, Texas in the 1990s. What is new is drilling horizontally into shale formations with mile plus laterals and doing massive multi stage frack jobs to complete the wells. I’m actually surprised the industry didn’t wake up to the possibilities sooner.
I would like some quantification of how much oil is needed for producing important products like fertilizers? Does one of the readers know? If no oil is drilled for how on earth will we have sufficient fertilizer?
Plants need nitrates and phosphates. Nitrates can be made via ammonia, and the Haber process. Now that currently involves hydrogen and heat from natural gas, but those can both be obtained from nuclear power via electrolysis and naturally.
“According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), about 50 percent of the global phosphorus reserves are in the Arab nations. 85% of Earth’s known reserves are in Morocco with smaller deposits in China, Russia, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Utah, and elsewhere”
So no particular shortage of phosphates. Or sulphates which are occasionally useful.
So the same countries currently getting rich from oil will continue to get rich from phosphates.
Nice for them.
5%… you slipped a couple of decimal places….
Eureka! Even Tesla mogul Elon Musk says; ““Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil and gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. Obviously, this would negatively affect Tesla, but sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil and gas exports.” He at least has the right idea, even though increased oil and gas output can’t occur “immediately”. IOW, “Drill baby, drill” is the order of the day. And meantime, we do have those oil reserves. I think those are meant for a rainy day.
It’s raining, hard.
I am not opposed to using the oil reserves but, more importantly, we need to be able to replace those reserves at a low cost.
If I remember correctly, there was an oil supply glut during the Trump administration. Tank farms were filled to the brim and there was a surcharge to store additional supply. He wanted to fill up our reserves at a tremendous price discount and it was turned down by congress.
Talking about energy resources and their sensible utilization is moot if we don’t have sensible leaders that look at all the options and the pros and cons of each option.
It’s striking how ubiquitous hydrocarbons are in the Earth’s crust.
Far from “peaking,” we keep running into oil.
You can always count on “peak” oil writers at times like this.
But our current situation is man-made from start to finish.
Politics is the controlling factor, here, not geology.
Keep that in mind.
Politics & economics.
Yes, politics & economics or as I like point out from time to time, the classical term, political economy.
I’ve been telling my oldest son for two decades that historians will one day ask how humans could have been so foolish as to have wasted a resource as valuable as oil by burning it as a ground transportation fuel. T Boone Pickins was pushing CNG for cars beginning in the 1980s because its more abundant, cheaper and results in longer engine life. Save oil for those areas where we have no alternatives such as plastic, petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and polymers.
CNG was a very popular (and cheaper) fuel for cars years ago in New Zealand. It was encouraged for political reasons, and then suddenly faded away for political reasons. The problem is not the fuel, but the politicians!
The idea that there are no alternatives to fossil fuels for plastics, petrochemicals, etc, would make just about any chemist laugh. The feedstocks for all of these can be generated. All it takes is energy.
Why impoverish ourselves now by not using the most efficient form of energy in order to preserve something that our descendants may not need anyway?
Burning natural gas instead of gasoline as a ground transportation fuel would hardly “impoverish ourselves”. Its a far cheaper alternative for a fuel source than gasoline- at least in the US in which we have abundant resources of it available.
If it were a cheaper alternative, you would see people changing over to it all over the place.
It isn’t cheaper, not when you add in the cost off all the support equipment and the many limitations and dangers associated with it.
I’m going to go out on a limb, and guess that this load of word salad made sense to you.
When efficient and long lasting nuclear power became available, a clique of powerful Greenies sprang up to oppose it in case it caused them to glow in the dark. When expensive and unreliable wind and solar became available, the same clique of Greenies leapt to embrace it. Unfortunately no one embraces the dead birds and bats that result from Plan B, or light the way for the poor that can no longer afford electricity.
Try that again, in English rather than word salad.
Probably from petroleum engineers having read:
“;in cases where oil is too valuable to burn as a fuel, it is applied more efficiently in the Diesel or semi-Diesel type of oil engine.” Lester Charles Uren, A Textbook of Petroleum Production Engineering, 1924, p 572
Or similar in 1864: “are almost assured that the time will come when petroleum will be too valuable to burn” The American Exchange and Review Volume 6 1864 p 184 https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_American_Exchange_and_Review/vMhj_pQ5HU8C?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Oil+is+too+valuable+to+burn&pg=PA184&printsec=frontcover
Why are we overlooking coal as a major source of energy? The propaganda machine has convinced many of you that coal is too polluting. Well, it isn’t. Coal and nuclear are the best long-range sources of fuel for electricity generation. Natural gas should be used for home heating and industrial purposes. Internal combustion engines are still the best for transportation. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant it is a life-giving atmospheric gas. Drop the greenhouse gas bullshit; it’s an atmospheric gas.
The price of oil is extremely elastic.
The supply of oil is incredibly inelastic.
From one day to the next, the supply of oil is inelastic. Over the course of months, the supply of oil becomes very elastic.
Have we passed Peak “keep it in the ground” yet?
A great article. I agree that fossil fuels are a precious resource that shouldn’t be wasted. They are a source of about 6,000 byproducts that make modern life possible. As for plug- in hybrids, they combine the best features of the electric motor and the internal combustion engine. I drive a Ford Escape PHEV. It is rated at 37 miles of electric range. When the electricity runs out, it runs as a hybrid at 48 mpg ( imperial). I have owned it for over 7 months, and I charge it every night. So far, I have reduced my gasoline consumption by nearly 90 percent. I live in Quebec and most of our electricity is hydro generated. The battery size is such that 4 PHEVs can be built in the place of one Tesla. Tell me which option makes a better use of the limited supply of batteries?