More good energy news

Back on this post, I mentioned one tidbit of evidence that was encouraging in Energy Party terms, in that at least one guy had decided to go with mass transit.

Since then, there have been a couple of news items that are, shall we say, a tad more substantial in statistical terms.

First, there was the story about Americans driving 30 billion fewer miles in a six-month period.

Now, we see more folks turning to rail travel.

As a market-oriented guy like Charles Krauthammer would put it, we’re just reacting rationally to $4-a-gallon gas.

But any way you look at it, it does make us look smarter, doesn’t it? Up to a point, anyway.

Wouldn’t it be great if we started doing such things on purpose, because we wanted to reduce our dependence on petrodictators? Is that too much to hope for?

7 thoughts on “More good energy news

  1. Lee Muller

    Economic reasons are ON PURPOSE, are much more rational, more targeted, and more effective than blindly doing things to make yourself feel good or important.

  2. Richard L. Wolfe

    Brad, Everyone wants to end our reliance on petrodictators. The problem is getting beyond the politics and getting a concensus plan. The higher the price gets the greater the chance is that we will do something comprehensive and long term for a change. The pain at the pump may turn out to be a blessing in the long run. I hope so anyway.

  3. Karen McLeod

    When I was a financially stressed undergraduate in New Orleans (long ago, far away), one of the saving graces of that city was its public transit system. It was cheap, reliable, and got you where you wanted to go. If a city as small as N.O. could do that, why can’t Cola? Our system, which while not expensive in today’s terms, is uncoordinated, so transfers eat up a lot of time, and usually doesn’t go where you had in mind. It waste’s the would be user’s time, and makes it difficult to get anything accomplished. Can’t we do better? Why not?

  4. Steve Gordy

    “…Blindly doing things to make yourself feel good or important.” Huh? My wife and I make economic decisions every year for both economic reasons and because we like feeling good. Things like cutting back on dining out (we are well off enough to dine out 7 days a week for the rest of our lives)both to save money and because we don’t need to stuff our faces; cutting back on driving because we habitually try to do a better job in planning how to go places; cutting back on indoor lighting during the summer because it lowers the indoor heat load. I suspect most people are like us, making lots of decisions for a variety of reasons.

  5. Lee Muller

    I recycle bags as a by-product of a trip to the store. It doesn’t cost me anything to do that.
    Driving to the a recycling center would make no economic sense, and no enviromental sense, but some people do it, to feel good.

  6. Steven Hales

    Brad you say “Wouldn’t it be great if we started doing such things on purpose, because we wanted to reduce our dependence on petrodictators? Is that too much to hope for?”
    Oil is a fungible commodity it doesn’t matter if we purchase it from a petrodictator or from Norway or Mexico. Someone else would purchase it from OPEC. If we “conserve” purchases of oil we free up disposable income for some other purchase that has an energy content be it from oil or gas or coal or nuclear. This counterintuitive result of conservation has always made reductions in energy use from conservation very difficult. Remember that a maximum of 50% of a barrel of oil can be refined into gasoline. The other uncrackable hydrocarbons for transportation use are used for plastics, fertilizers, chemicals, etc. So, reduction in driving only dampens crude oil demand by some fraction.
    In the current environment of quickly rising oil prices it will take some years for incomes to catch up to actually see energy consumption rise from this forced conservation but it will happen. Other things will also occur, higher mileage cars will come to market and miles driven will begin to increase as the cost of driving declines. We’ve seen this before in the 1980s (1980-1982) energy consumption declined and then, as prices rationalized with higher mileage vehicles and actual reductions in the cost of energy and as incomes rose, we saw energy consumption begin to grow again.
    There are many energy substitutes for gasoline, like natural gas liquids, corn or sugar cane ethanol or biodiesel. We could displace a good portion of our crude oil imports. But being energy independent is a bit silly its a bit like saying we should be tennis shoe independent and forego imports from Vietnam or the Phillipines. I can hear the rallying cry now “No Foreign Tennis Shoes” Its your patriotic duty to go barefoot.


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