FOT Forum

FOT Community => Links => Topic started by: ericluxury on April 28, 2008, 03:52:20 PM

Title: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: ericluxury on April 28, 2008, 03:52:20 PM
http://www2.nysun.com/article/75363 (http://www2.nysun.com/article/75363)

Just a prediction but if it happens, with it's non-car based transportation options. New York wins! New Jersey and the entire US economy loses! The planet wins? Though maybe not.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Shaggy 2 Grote on April 29, 2008, 12:47:17 AM
I'm really worried about the food supply.  I'm sure everybody's noticed the increase in food prices.  The news says that this is about ethanol subsidies (i.e., incentives for farmers to grow grain for fuel instead of food) and the increased demand for meat (which is more food-intensive, as livestock is usually grain-fed) in developing economies like China and India.  But the truly scary thing is that the planet is about 5-6 times past its natural carrying capacity.  Every other point in human history that a particular population has run out of arable land, there's been a famine, usually followed by a migration.  this happened globally in 1960, but instead of mass famine, food production actually increased, due to the "green revolution" in industrial agriculture (in the form of machines and irrigation and also petroleum-based chemical fertilizers).  Today, it takes something like 8-10 calories of energy to make every calorie of the food we eat.  I'm as happy as anyone to see our fattened, spoiled, Western form of life have to dial it down (anything to get me off this damn computer) but I'm pretty fucking nervous.

Sorry if I'm depressing everybody, but if you're dread junkies, you can read more about this in Richard Manning's Against The Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilization, and his Harper's article "The Oil We Eat:" http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/02/0079915

Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: neilnumberman on April 29, 2008, 01:01:14 AM
 :(  jeez, I'm going back to the Onion thread
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: yesno on April 29, 2008, 01:20:54 AM
I'm fairly sure that in the US at least, less land is under cultivation today than was the case 50 years ago, owing largely to the green revolution jg mentioned. I agree that our food system-particularly with regard to subsidization of some crops and the overreliance on meat- is pretty fucked, and that there may be some weird times ahead owing to increased demand for and subsidy of biofuels-- but long-term food shortages seem unlikely.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: dave from knoxville on April 29, 2008, 02:05:56 AM
I will tell you what hacks me off; it's the lack of foresight for the need for public transport here in town. In order for me to ride a bus for work, I would have to drive a car 3.5 miles to the nearest pick-up point, catch the bus and transfer twice, finally arriving as close to my school as the bus gets, 6 miles away, where I would have to take my bike off the bus's bike rack and pedal the rest of the way. The whole thing would take me about 80 minutes for 24 miles, and if I miss the bus to get back at 3:30PM, the next run's at 7:00.

Thank you, civic leaders!
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Sarah on April 29, 2008, 07:59:50 AM
I'm with you, Jasong.  What's happening to food prices is scaring the hell out of me.  Really, though, it seems to me that over the last year the rush toward disaster has accelerated across the board, past the point of no return.  I now think it's possible that things are going to collapse in my lifetime.  The thought of what sheltered, coddled, self-indulgent Americans are going to do when they can no longer get what they want whenever they want it scares the bejesus out of me.  I'll be better off where I am than you city folk will be--we might be at the end of the supply line here, but a lot of people are a hell of a lot more used to subsistence living--but it'll still be mighty ugly.

Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: yesno on April 29, 2008, 09:11:52 AM
I still think it's more complicated than a simple lack of food.  For instance, there is no actual shortage of rice, just structural problems that prevent it from getting where it needs to go.  It is not the case that less food is being grown than is needed.  It is the case that the food distribution system is distorted by dumb government policies.  There is also some hoarding by speculators.

Most famines are caused by distribution problems, not production problems.

Here's a less alarmist approach: http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/apr2008/gb20080428_894449.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_global+business

We are probably physically able to grow about twice as much food as we currently do, if not more, barring energy and political considerations.  By the way, current population projections see the Earth peaking in about 2050.  (One reason is that urban areas only see population growth due to influx from rural areas, and as more of the earth's population becomes urban, this acts as a natural check on growth.  And wealthy countries have less population growth, and more third world countries are becoming wealthier.)



We *are* fucked, though, to the extent that even farm production relies on fossil fuels.

On the fossil fuels vs. biofuels point, it is a bit strange that some people think that biofuels could be a replacement for fossil fuels.  With fossil fuels, it's like you're just walking around, gathering up energy sources nice and pre-made.  Like nature's AA batteries.  Of course, you can just build your own AA batteries, but that takes energy itself and will never be cheaper until nature's AAs are all gone.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: erika on April 29, 2008, 10:18:23 AM
How's about just wasting a little less food? There's an idea!

Or, um, eating less. (fatties!)
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: ericluxury on April 29, 2008, 10:53:35 AM
Or how about driving less and carpooling?
These food riots have been happening for like a month, but the rise of gas prices and idea that this level of fossil fuels are not going to last forever has been known for 30 years (at least!). So rather than helping the matter by practical solutions, Americans decide to get into SUVs and a more thoughtless luxury lifestyle.

Also the food shortages aren't caused entirely by biofuels. In the last 15 years hundreds of millions (possibly billions) of people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. When people start to get closer to a middle class lifestyle, sustinence-level nutrition and food intake no longer is enough.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Martin on April 29, 2008, 11:05:29 AM
(http://img177.imageshack.us/img177/2323/humongousc215f7dml3.jpg)
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Emily on April 29, 2008, 11:19:52 AM
How about moving to upstate NY and working your own farm in your what's-the-opposite-of-ironic Carharts?
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: John Junk 2.0 on April 29, 2008, 01:15:20 PM
Or how about driving less and carpooling?
These food riots have been happening for like a month, but the rise of gas prices and idea that this level of fossil fuels are not going to last forever has been known for 30 years (at least!). So rather than helping the matter by practical solutions, Americans decide to get into SUVs and a more thoughtless luxury lifestyle.

Time to change your name to ericpragmatism!

I guess it's bad that I drive 60 miles roundtrip to work everyday, then?  I carpool 3 out of 5 days, though!  I could take a train but it would take me two hours to get to work and cost at least ten bucks a day.  right now driving is cheaper. But I don't know, in a month it may not be.  It's an option.  I should definitely buy a bike.  It would be cool if people were driving bikes all over L.A.  That's going to be the upshot of this--a lot more bikes in L.A.!  And a lot more muggings and robberies too! 


whatever, some day in the distant future people will look back at this shitstorm and romanticize it just like they did with shithole NYC of the '70's and '80's.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: erika on April 29, 2008, 01:33:56 PM
I go through a tank of gas every week to two weeks so I don't feel so bad about my car. But I also drive a teeny little hatchback that weighs about 4lbs.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: John Junk 2.0 on April 29, 2008, 01:41:16 PM

Sorry if I'm depressing everybody, but if you're dread junkies, you can read more about this in Richard Manning's Against The Grain: How Agriculture Hijacked Civilization, and his Harper's article "The Oil We Eat:" [url]http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/02/0079915[/url]


Okay, I'll admit I didn't read this article, first off, but anyway...

Harper's is awesome and they produce some of the best dread-porn out there, but I think it's important to note that 3 years ago they had me convinced that the country was going to literally be run by Christian Fascists within a year.  Though that's disturbingly close to the truth, it's not the actual truth, and I think the same holds true for a lot of what they put out there.  Most of their articles are very well written, researched, etc., but there's like a curmudgeonly New Englander tone throughout that reads every digression from the path of elbow-patch-liberalism (different from limousine) as the end of our civilization.  I like this term "dread-porn" and am now going to legalzone.com to trademark it.



Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Emily on April 29, 2008, 02:09:53 PM
I go through a tank of gas every week to two weeks so I don't feel so bad about my car. But I also drive a teeny little hatchback that weighs about 4lbs.

why don't you just carry your car then...?
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: erika on April 29, 2008, 02:20:19 PM
Oh Emily. You make such an excellent point.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: ericluxury on April 29, 2008, 05:02:25 PM
I guess it's bad that I drive 60 miles roundtrip to work everyday, then?  I carpool 3 out of 5 days, though!  I could take a train but it would take me two hours to get to work and cost at least ten bucks a day.  right now driving is cheaper. But I don't know, in a month it may not be.  It's an option.  I should definitely buy a bike.  It would be cool if people were driving bikes all over L.A.  That's going to be the upshot of this--a lot more bikes in L.A.!  And a lot more muggings and robberies too! 

I've always been a bike commuter. Most non-bike commuters have this weird idea that its the most dangerous or physically taxing thing to do, but it's really not. I'm an semi-overweight smoker (quitting, hopefully) with anxiety issues and if I can do it, anyone (who doesn't have to pass through a freeway to get to work) can. However I've never lived 30 miles from my workplace (that's insane by the way).
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: masterofsparks on April 29, 2008, 05:19:20 PM
I've thought about biking to work but doing so would require me to ride on a state highway in semi-darkness where the speed limit is 50, which seems kinda dangerous to me. If it was feasible, I'd do it in a second. If I lived in a city with better public transit, I would get rid of my car this very instant.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: John Junk 2.0 on April 29, 2008, 05:46:43 PM
have to pass through a freeway to get to work) can. However I've never lived 30 miles from my workplace (that's insane by the way).

Yeah, I know, but so actually living in Valencia, CA would be more insane.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: scotttsss on April 29, 2008, 06:41:51 PM
I've been bike commuting for about three years now.  My wife and I are both lucky enough to work within a mile of our house.  On the other hand, I was going to school at a university which as ten miles away, though, and had to ride on 50-mph roads in a state where people are used to driving a mile or more between stoplights (Oklahoma).  On my bike rides to school I've had everything from threats to spare change thrown at me, and it's been a real challenge to stay calm under pressure.  All the roads I ride on are 4 lanes wide, everyone has a whole extra lane to pass me, so I don't feel sorry for drivers.  But what's been increasingly interesting this year is that the honking and the anger has given way to curiosity and positivity.  Usually when spring hits people start honking and screaming at me, I guess they think I'm riding for recreation--but this year, not at all (yet...)...  today a guy at the stoplight started talking about gas prices and how he should ride a bike too, which has NEVER happened before.  I wish they were more concerned with global warning, but if gas prices are changing people's attitudes about their use of cars and SUVs (SUV's.....Sarah?), let gas go to $7 or $8 bucks a gallon.  A five or ten-mile commute on a bike isn't beyond the reach of anyone who's not physically disabled in some way.  Like Ericluxury, I'm not going into male-modeling anytime soon...  I've ridden over 4,000 miles, commuting, since I bought an odometer for my bike in 06.  It's a personal commitment more than anything.  Anyone thinking about doing it, I say, DO IT!  You'll love it. 
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: dania on April 29, 2008, 06:55:53 PM
I heard today that it might go up drastically more to reach as much as $10 per gallon. 
Even though I bike most everywhere (about 60% of the time), and I buy as much locally produced stuff as I can, I'm still kind of afraid
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Shaggy 2 Grote on April 29, 2008, 08:43:12 PM
Yesno, the fossil fuel thing is pretty much the point of the Harper's article.

Harper's is awesome and they produce some of the best dread-porn out there, but I think it's important to note that 3 years ago they had me convinced that the country was going to literally be run by Christian Fascists within a year.  Though that's disturbingly close to the truth, it's not the actual truth, and I think the same holds true for a lot of what they put out there.  Most of their articles are very well written, researched, etc., but there's like a curmudgeonly New Englander tone throughout that reads every digression from the path of elbow-patch-liberalism (different from limousine) as the end of our civilization.  I like this term "dread-porn" and am now going to legalzone.com to trademark it.

You are pretty much right (in fact, that's one of the best descriptions of Harper's I've ever heard), but at the same time, a lot what they said really has happened, in this weird way that doesn't really affect anyone who actually reads the magazine.  I mean, there are food riots happening, but they're in Africa and Asia.  The US government has been growing steadily authoritarian, but educated white people aren't really feeling it.  You know?
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: buffcoat on April 29, 2008, 10:32:01 PM
Just walk away!
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: John Junk 2.0 on April 30, 2008, 12:41:19 AM
Yesno, the fossil fuel thing is pretty much the point of the Harper's article.

Harper's is awesome and they produce some of the best dread-porn out there, but I think it's important to note that 3 years ago they had me convinced that the country was going to literally be run by Christian Fascists within a year.  Though that's disturbingly close to the truth, it's not the actual truth, and I think the same holds true for a lot of what they put out there.  Most of their articles are very well written, researched, etc., but there's like a curmudgeonly New Englander tone throughout that reads every digression from the path of elbow-patch-liberalism (different from limousine) as the end of our civilization.  I like this term "dread-porn" and am now going to legalzone.com to trademark it.

You are pretty much right (in fact, that's one of the best descriptions of Harper's I've ever heard), but at the same time, a lot what they said really has happened, in this weird way that doesn't really affect anyone who actually reads the magazine.  I mean, there are food riots happening, but they're in Africa and Asia.  The US government has been growing steadily authoritarian, but educated white people aren't really feeling it.  You know?

Yes!

I guess a lot of this speculation is "scary" but after being scared shitless of terrorism for 3 years in NYC, I'm just not up for being scared shitless of having to eat PB&J instead of goat cheese or whatever. 

That's all, I swear!

Sorry, Buffcoat.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: ericluxury on April 30, 2008, 10:28:06 AM
While I agree that
I guess a lot of this speculation is "scary" but after being scared shitless of terrorism for 3 years in NYC, I'm just not up for being scared shitless of having to eat PB&J instead of goat cheese or whatever. 

That's all, I swear!

Sorry, Buffcoat.

While I agree with you, I would say that maybe we should be more empathetic.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: buffcoat on April 30, 2008, 11:06:17 AM
Sorry, Buffcoat.

Oh, John Junk, I could never be mad at an FOT.

I was just quoting "The Humongous" from Road Warrior, who was pictured earlier in the thread.

He tells the people of the town that they can "Just Walk Away" and leave the gas (he's lying).  I didn't have any comment on the larger thread.  Feel free to vent to your heart's content!
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: John Junk 2.0 on April 30, 2008, 11:10:33 AM
While I agree that
I guess a lot of this speculation is "scary" but after being scared shitless of terrorism for 3 years in NYC, I'm just not up for being scared shitless of having to eat PB&J instead of goat cheese or whatever. 

That's all, I swear!

Sorry, Buffcoat.

While I agree with you, I would say that maybe we should be more empathetic.

Oh I definitely agree.  I guess I'm trying to say that this is not an occasion to be scared, because being scared when you're not in immediate for-real danger doesn't do anything except make you make irrational decisions.  There are policies our government holds that are Macchiavelan(sp?) and despicable at home and positively evil abroad.  We should be aware of this and do what we can to fight it.  I just don't feel like panicking is all.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Shaggy 2 Grote on April 30, 2008, 11:13:05 AM
Buffcoat, I just typed this whole elaborate apology for being a long-winded downer.  Good thing for that "new reply" alert!

Anyway, I think that we've all come to expect this disaster-movie version of events (probably because we've all grown up in the shadow of nuclear panic), when really, even the worst moments in human history have probably seemed like ordinary life to some degree.  A lot of people managed to get through the Great Depression and WW2 intact.  Bruno Bettelheim said (get ready for some good times here) that the feeling of the Holocaust was just like the feeling of a broken heart.  Any one of us who's known what it's like not to have the next month's rent, or had to  scrounge for change in the cushions to buy ramen, already knows what scarcity is like.  It's irrelevant whether or not that feeling coincides with a hot stock market, that being the primary way the media reports on the economy.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that nobody needs to panic, but somebody should probably be doing something about all this shit before it gets really bad.  How's that for problem-solving!
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Sarah on April 30, 2008, 11:31:09 AM
Recognizing that a problem exists and being perturbed by it do not equal panic, in any case.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: senorcorazon on April 30, 2008, 12:11:58 PM
"dread-porn"

AWESOME. I canceled my subscription to that magazine because I didn't need to spend my subway rides considering how messed up everything is going to be.
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: John Junk 2.0 on April 30, 2008, 12:39:35 PM
Recognizing that a problem exists and being perturbed by it do not equal panic, in any case.


In all honesty, my instinct is to panic and I'm sort of just talking myself out of it on this board.  In real life I'm kind of like andy richter in this comic by jixby phillips:

(http://www.novirginsallowed.com/comics/earlyconan11.jpg)

Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Shaggy 2 Grote on April 30, 2008, 01:32:35 PM
Can I just weigh in again that Jixby's comics are awesome?
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: Emily on April 30, 2008, 02:28:47 PM
Recognizing that a problem exists and being perturbed by it do not equal panic, in any case.


In all honesty, my instinct is to panic and I'm sort of just talking myself out of it on this board.  In real life I'm kind of like andy richter in this comic by jixby phillips:

([url]http://www.novirginsallowed.com/comics/earlyconan11.jpg[/url])




world war three ... in the year two-thousand...in the year two-thou-sand
Title: Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
Post by: dave from knoxville on May 06, 2008, 05:58:11 PM
My wife and I are unfortunate enough to work at schools that are 30 miles from one another.