Author Topic: $7-8 gasoline in the near future  (Read 6718 times)

ericluxury

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$7-8 gasoline in the near future
« on: April 28, 2008, 03:52:20 PM »
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.

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #1 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

Oh, good heavens. I didnít realize. I send my condolences out to the rest of the OíConnor family.

neilnumberman

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2008, 01:01:14 AM »
 :(  jeez, I'm going back to the Onion thread

yesno

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #3 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.

dave from knoxville

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #4 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!

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #5 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.


yesno

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #6 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.

erika

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #7 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!)
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ericluxury

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #8 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.

Martin

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2008, 11:05:29 AM »

Emily

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #10 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?

John Junk 2.0

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #11 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.

erika

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #12 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.
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John Junk 2.0

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #13 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:" http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/02/0079915


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.




Emily

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Re: $7-8 gasoline in the near future
« Reply #14 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...?