Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oil hits USD$140 a barrel. Time we got serious about alternative fuel.

As I write this. Oil is USD$140 a barrel (Tapis USD$147, Brent USD$143, West Texas Intermediate - WTI USD$140. Tapis/Malaysian crude being the determinant in our part of the world).

I write this from an Aussies perspective, but the same base prices and issues exist throughout the world, so it should cover most people and their energy needs.

First, what influences petrol (gasoline) prices. In Australia, the ACCC put out this pamphlet. It's not just crude oil prices that determine our price-at-the-pump (government taxes, and refiner/wholesaler costs are major contributors to cost), but the price we pay for crude oil is the foundation of the price structure. This piece from the AIP gives more background.

I used to hear that this and that alternative to crude oil became commercially viable at 'x' dollars a barrel, and we have long since passed the dollar value quoted where that would become the case. So where is the rush to implement the use of these alternatives (heavy crude, oil sands, shale oil, oil-from-coal, biofuels, biodiesel, oilgae, etc)?

More to come on this. 'Biofuels' can have a negative impact on food production, if plants are used for fuel rather than feed, but there are many exciting possibilities for new sources of fuels, and we need to start exploiting those possibilities real soon.
The middle east is a politically unstable region, often unfriendly to the west, so alternative fuels that free the west from any dependence on middle eastern oil has to be strategically attractive proposition, not to mention economically so.

(A barrel of oil is 42 US gallons, 35 imperial gallons or 159 liters).

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Blogger Worldman said...

You are touching a very profound thing. What makes me upset is that it seems, to speak only of cars, there are really good alternatives for fuel. But it also seems that the petrol companies are trying to prevent for such alternates to be used.

Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:22:00 pm  

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