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Even though the Vampire Slayer has a funny name, it has a serious goal

The Vampire Slayer Act of 2006 has been approved by the California Assembly.  AB1970, a bill proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, would force companies to put labels on devices that tell consumers how much energy is being used while the device is in standby mode.  AB1970 supporters claim that the average household will pay an additional $200 per year due to electronics on standby.  However, not everyone is pleased with the Vampire Slayer Act -- the Consumer Electronics Association, Electronic Industries Alliance and the American Electronic Association believe the bill will ultimately confuse consumers.

With the popularity of electronic gadgets increasing in the United States, it may not be surprising to hear future stories that discuss wasted power due to items on standby.     

California is no stranger to power problems.  In fact, the power situation in California is so dire that PG&E is thinking about implementing a "smart meter" in businesses around the state.  The smart meter system is designed to allow PG&E to charge more for electricity that is being used during the middle of the day, which is when the least amount of power is available.


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Good
By probedb on 6/15/2006 9:34:31 AM , Rating: 2
Although it doesn't affect us over here yet it's a good thing.

I turn everything off at the wall socket now...unless I've left my server on for downloading or something similar. No point wasting power!! People should stop taking electricity for granted.




RE: Good
By bob661 on 6/15/2006 10:04:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
People should stop taking electricity for granted.
Why? Is there a shortage?


RE: Good
By 8steve8 on 6/15/2006 11:51:07 AM , Rating: 2
um no as long as u dont mind more coal plants putting more soot and co2 into the air.

for thousands of years and multiple ice ages the co2 content in the atmosphere has been on the order of 1-5, 1 being ice age, 5 being warm climate.... now its 25.

so no , there is no shortage, lets just all keep plugging the atmosphere with co2 and soot which are lungs just love.


RE: Good
By 8steve8 on 6/15/2006 11:52:00 AM , Rating: 2
54% of our electricity comes from coal.


RE: Good
By Motley on 6/15/2006 12:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Build more nuclear power plants, duh.


RE: Good
By Xavian on 6/15/2006 3:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
If you take readings from the beginning of the industrial revolution, to present day im pretty sure you will see an exponetial increase in CO2 emissions and sea water levels and an exponetial decrease in the polar ice caps.

The fact is that ever since the Industrial Revolution we have been pumping more CO2 into the environment then the planets CO2 processors can stand. Causing the Greenhouse effect, its all well and good saying in Biblical times this was such and such, but we could have been heading towards an ice age, before the industrial revolution occured.

We are changing the climate of our planet, dont put your fingers in your ears and say "lalalala i cant hear you!".

For every 1 paper thats against the climate change theory, theres atleast 10 that is for it.


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 4:05:07 PM , Rating: 3
> "If you take readings from the beginning of the industrial revolution..."

The majority of global warming we've experienced has been from the *beginning* of the industrial revolution, when CO2 levels were lower than they were today. Since then, we've seen both warming and cooling, depending on the decade and the area in question. And even the levels of day (or those predicted 100 years from now) are still much lower than they've been many times in the past history of the planet.

> "you will see an exponetial increase in...ea water levels and an exponetial decrease in the polar ice caps."

Oops. Sea levels are not rising, however. And the Antarctic (the only cap that matters to sea levels) is actually gaining ice mass recently, not losing it.

> "but we could have been heading towards an ice age, before the industrial revolution occured."

Whew! Good thing we pumped out all that CO2 then eh?



RE: Good
By Xavian on 6/15/2006 4:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
First, sea levels ARE rising:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4651876.stm

Second, the ice caps ARE melting (antartic and artic):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4228411.stm

please masher check your sources before stating falsehoods.

Finally, sure its a good thing we pumped out the CO2, however its pushing the earths climate towards warming, and its slowly going out of control in the opposite direction. How about the recent incredibly powerful hurricanes battering the coast of florida and new orleans? The hurricanes from the last season were the strongest on record and it seems equally strong hurricanes are coming this season too.

Maybe if you looked at unbiased sources instead of the oil-companies (and thus G.W Bush) propoganda, you would see that we are slowing heading towards uncontrollable global warming, causing storms and weather phenomena of unparalleled porportions.


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 6:22:31 PM , Rating: 3
> "the ice caps ARE melting..."

Here's a recent article from Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 8 (2006). It demonstrates an overall increase in Antarctic mass balance:

http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU06/08427/EGU06-J...

Here's another, from Science, Nov 2005 (reprinted):

quote:
A Norwegian-led team used the ERS data to measure elevation changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003, finding recent growth in the interior sections estimated at around six centimetres per year during the study period


http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-11/esa...

Another from Science:

quote:
Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice-sheet interior north of 81.6°S increased in mass by 45 ± 7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003


http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308...

One from Nature last year, showing growth in the East Antarctic:

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050516/full/050516...

An earlier one, showing similar growth in the West Antarctic:

quote:
The West Antarctic ice sheet has been retreating for several thousand years, so to look now and see that it is growing is staggering to me ," [Professor] Tulaczyk said.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/02013...

Another, this one back in 2002:

quote:
We find strong evidence for ice-sheet growth (+26.8 gigatons per year), in contrast to earlier estimates indicating a mass deficit (20.9 gigatons per year).


http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/295...


RE: Good
By Xavian on 6/15/2006 8:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
so now we have sources both proving its both growing and melting.

I wonder which is true and which is false?

However the point is moot, since sea levels are rising (which i noticed you didn't refute), which means the water must be coming from somewhere, i believe in overall, accumilation of mass is less then the melting of the ice in other parts of the antartic.

I could provide more sources proving the ice caps are melting, but as with most things scientific a lot of theory is placed within such findings. Depending on the scientists personal bias which could sway theories either way.


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 8:41:41 PM , Rating: 2
> "so now we have sources both proving its both growing and melting."

No, what you have to realize is that nothing is *ever* proven in science. What I've demonstrated is there exists a huge amount of research which indicates Antarctica is increasing, not decreasing.

Part of the problem is the media. A hundred scientists can publish research countering the hysterical "sky-is-falling" view of climate change...and those papers NEVER get reported. Not even once. But any paper which supports their viewpoint instantly makes headlines, and gets reprinted countless times. Its no wonder laymen are confused about the real state of things.

But let's stick to facts. We don't know incontrovertibly whether or not Antarctica is growing. What we do know is this. 1. It has definitely both shrunk AND grown at various times in the past few decades.

Furthermore, we know its been shrinking for several thousand years in the past....since long before humans began producing CO2. Therefore even if it IS still shrinking today, it cannot be said to be due solely to human activity.

Finally, we know that its not changing at a large or accelerating rate. It may be growing or shrinking...but in neither case is it doing so at an alarming pace. One may believe it may do so in the future...but there is no hard evidence of that.

So, in other words, the sky is not falling. Research indicates no great looming catastrophe.


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 9:09:38 PM , Rating: 2
> "since sea levels are rising (which i noticed you didn't refute)"

Glad to do so now. Let's look at the data, shall we? Sea level rose from 1991 to 1993, fell from 1994 to 1996, rose from 1997 to 1998, fell from 1998-1999, then rose 2000-2001. If global warming is getting worse all the time, why do we have these periods were the sea keeps going *down* ?

Furthermore, some of the largest increases in sea level came at the early part of the 19th century...long before we started driving SUVs. The largest decreases occurred AFTER that (the late 40s-early 50s). Compared to those periods, the changes of the past twenty years have been miniscule.

So now, let's look at the SIZE of the changes. Depending on the year, the levels changed by anywhere from 0.08mm/year to 4mm/year. There is zero evidence in the data to support any acceleration of the rate of change. Extrapolating out the maximum change over the next 100 years you get-- a 40 cm change. 15 inches. The only way you get any alarmist trend is to sneak in a "modeling factor" that accelerates any trend we've yet seen. You can prove anything with the right model....too bad those models can't even accurately predict past changes, much less future ones.

Let's also look at some historical changes in sea level. 20,000 years ago, the level was some 125 METERS lower than they were today. 10,000 years later, they were some 40 meters higher than they are today. Those are incredible changes.

Think about that. Not only does it mean sea levels CAN change dramatically without human action, it means that-- even if we do nothing whatsoever-- that they WILL change. And dramatically so. In either direction.

Therefore, we can conclude the following. A) no problem may even exist. B) a problem exists, but we're not causing it...and therefore our "stopping" any action won't help whatsoever. C) Our actions are having an effect, but they're actually working to reduce the natural change, and mitigate the problem. Or D) A problem does exist, and our actions are increasing the natural rate of change.

Only in the fourth case is there justification for taking action...and there is more scientific evidence against that case than there is for it. So, you want to spending a trillions of dollars on this "problem"? If so, you're more of a gambling man than I.

Let's face it. There is no "natural" sea level. If we really want to help mankind, we should forget trying to return to some mythical state, and start thinking about ways to *control* a naturally ever-changing sea level.


RE: Good
By ksuWildcat on 6/20/2006 2:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
The planet has experienced natural environmental changes (such as temperature increases/decreases and rising/lowering water levels) since its formation. Although humans may not have initially caused the recent (in geological terms, recent being 10,000 years) trend in global warming, to say that we are not contributing to the problem is ludicrous.

There exists far more evidence to suggest that humans are in fact exacerbating global warming than not. Scientists have reconstructed environmental data to determine the mean surface (air and water) temperatures on Earth during the past 500,000 years. Never during that time period has the temperature changed by more than 0.5 degrees Farenheit per 100 years, with the exception of the last century, when the mean temperature increased by 1.44 degrees Farenheit. It is not coincidence that the mean temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels are so drastically higher now than in the past.

The north pole ice cap is melting faster than ever, the six hottest years on record have occurred in the last eight years, and CO2 levels have more than doubled since the end of the last ice age.

The Earth may have been in a natural warming cycle, but human actions over the last 150 years have rapidly accelerated the process (and perhaps caused a permanent imbalance). Only a fool would turn a blind eye toward our actions and the effects on global warming.

Sources:

http://www.earth-policy.org/Indicators/Temp/2006.h...
http://www.giss.nasa.gov/
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming. nsf/content/Climate.html
http://www.politicalphysics.com/node/511
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ content/article/2005/10/12/AR2005101202498.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

...and about 11 million others


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 10:11:20 AM , Rating: 2
> "to say that we are not contributing to the problem is ludicrous"

There is probably (but not definitely) an anthropomorphic signal in the warming. But there is no proof (nor even hard evidence) that human action constitutes the majority of that.

Furthermore-- and most importantly-- you err in framing the warming as "a problem". Is it? A wide body of evidence exists to say otherwise. Global warming will certainly exert benefits both good and bad. The coldest regions of the earth are warming the most..the tropics aren't warming at all, many of them are even cooling. Growing seasons increase. Hurricane intensity may actually decrease.

The Hollywood myth you have of a planet covered with nothing but deserts, storms, and flooded cities is just that. A myth.





RE: Good
By ksuWildcat on 6/21/2006 5:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is probably (but not definitely) an anthropomorphic signal in the warming. But there is no proof (nor even hard evidence) that human action constitutes the majority of that.


Are you kidding me? There is a great deal of hard evidence showing humans' effect on the environment and global warming. You site no sources, but claim that there is a wide body of evidence supporting your point of view. Just look at the mean surface temperatures for the last 500,000 years. Very cyclical, and consistent, until about the late 1800s on, where the mean temperature increased dramatically. You are entitled to your opinion, but state it as so if you don't provide real evidence. I am a scientist and engineer...so I am cynical by nature. But looking at the data, there is only one conclusion, we are contributing greatly to global warming.

quote:
Hurricane intensity may actually decrease.


That's not what the top climatologists are saying. Evidence and data suggest intensifying storms, which is obvious because there is much more energy in our atmosphere now than during the last 50,000 years or more. Even the chief scientist at the Goddard Institute says that we are causing problems for the environment, and GWB has been trying to quiet him for quite some time.

quote:
The Hollywood myth you have of a planet covered with nothing but deserts, storms, and flooded cities is just that. A myth.


Maybe. Maybe not. But we probably won't be around to know for sure. In a thousand years, humans may look back and wonder how we could be so stupid.


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 5:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
> "You site no sources,"

Are YOU kidding ME? I've cited dozens of sources on this site...several within this very thread. Look for my post on 6/15 6:22 pm, with links to research papers in Science, Nature, Geophysical Review Letters, and a few others.

They all back up my points.

> "Evidence and data suggest intensifying storms, which is obvious because there is much more energy in our atmosphere "

It's very simple. If you truly are an engineer, you should understand basic thermodynamics. Hurricanes are simple heat engines...as such, they're not driven by raw temperature, but by temperature differentials. The larger the differential, the more energy available to the engine. With me so far?

Now, global warming increases temperatures in the polar and temperate zones, but leaves them unchanged (or lowers them) in the tropics. Net result...in the critical band where hurricanes form, temperature differentials are lower.

Don't believe me? This is from the World Meteorological Organization:
quote:


Reliable data from the North Atlantic since the 1940s indicate that the peak strength of the strongest hurricanes has not changed, and the mean maximum intensity of all hurricanes has decreased ...There is little consensus about how global warming will affect the intensity and frequency of these storms in the future.


Yes. Decreased.

There is little consensus about how global warming will affect the intensity and frequency of these storms in the future.


RE: Good
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 10:18:18 AM , Rating: 2
> "It is not coincidence that the mean temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels are so drastically higher now than in the past. "

Oops...450 million years ago, CO2 levels were ten TIMES higher than they are today. And yet the planet was then in the coldest period its yet since seen.


RE: Good
By Xavian on 6/15/2006 4:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
this was supposed to answer the post below this one


RE: Good
By dgingeri on 6/15/2006 12:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
um no as long as u dont mind more coal plants putting more soot and co2 into the air.

for thousands of years and multiple ice ages the co2 content in the atmosphere has been on the order of 1-5, 1 being ice age, 5 being warm climate.... now its 25.

so no , there is no shortage, lets just all keep plugging the atmosphere with co2 and soot which are lungs just love.


Woah! Where did you hear this? If you go back to samples taken from Antarctica, the CO2 levels have been as high and higher than they are today dating back as far as 90 million years ago. The fact that coral has been taking CO2 out of our atmosphere and depositing it as the coral structures we know today has been the main reducing agent for CO2. 90 million years ago, CO2 was as high as 75 parts per million, and today's amount is about 8 parts per million, not 25 as you stated. Sure, if you take readings over a coal plant smoke stack, it might be that high.

Here's your likely source:
http://news.mongabay.com/2005/1124-climate.html

and here is where it's reduced to the rubbish it is:
http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/

On top of this, the soot you tout as getting into our air simply isn't there. the current coal plants produce less soot than a single deisel truck per year. Granted, it produces much more CO2, but as I stated before, that doesn't really matter as much as you think.

The fact of the matter is that it used to be a lot warmer than it is today, and life survived, even thrived, even with that. If you look at maps from Bible times, you'll notice that sea levels were as much as 25 feet higher than they are today. That equates to about 3 times the 'glacial melting' than what we've seen today. People survived just fine then.

This is so much horse hockey pucks that it makes me sick.

You shouldn't breed. You have proven your stupidity and willingness to be lead by anyone who draws you in.


RE: Good
By namechamps on 6/15/2006 11:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm except in the real world that hasn't happened.

Recent core drilling in antartica shows HIGHEST CO concentratoin EVERY (about 10X todays) amounts occured about 450 million years ago. So by your (and other global warming THEORISTS) the temp should have been insanely hot right? Funny thing the temp was coldest ever recorded in middle of an ice age.

Also little more recent earth was warmer about 200 years ago (despite lower CO2 and industry) than it is now.

GLOBAL WARMING IS A JOKE.

Now I don't disagree there are enviromental problems but global warming is not one of them. Scientist havent been able to make an accurate model of where temp should be over next 5 years much less next 500. We simply do not know if or why the earth is getting warmer.


RE: Good
By ytsejam02 on 6/15/2006 11:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
Overall I agree it's a good thing.

The bad thing is the electronics themselves. Many systems don't have a full power down feature, eg - it seems like your turning it off, but you're really putting it into standby mode. To make matters worse, even if your electronics don't have a standby mode, they still draw current, albeit very small. The only thing left to do is unplug it.

If you don't want to get charged at all, you have to go through your entire house and unplug everything, which is a bit ridiculous. It sux to get charged more for something out of your control.


RE: Good
By Motley on 6/15/2006 12:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you don't want to get charged at all, you have to go through your entire house and unplug everything


quote:
charged more for something out of your control

Ok, that's pretty silly. It's in your control, and you even said exactly how. The FACT is you are lazy. You don't WANT to do it. You have a choice, do it, or pay not to. Seems you've chosen to pay, and now just want to whine.


RE: Good
By ytsejam02 on 6/15/2006 4:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you must be one those guys that just goes through forums and TRIES to cause problems.

I won't be paying for it either cause I don't live in California. What I am, is realistic, and am presenting pros and cons, which you seem to mistake as a display of character traits. How about you go through your house everyday and unplug everything and plug them all back in. Then you can climb on your high horse and pass off people for lazy. Like I said, I'm realistic. I UNDERSTAND the majority of people will not want to do this, as opposed to you, who does not understand much of anything outside of your own opinion.

Go bother other people with your asinine assumptions and leave the people who actually want to share information alone.


RE: Good
By dgingeri on 6/15/2006 12:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Although it doesn't affect us over here yet it's a good thing.

I turn everything off at the wall socket now...unless I've left my server on for downloading or something similar. No point wasting power!! People should stop taking electricity for granted.


I never turn anything off, for good reason. My system does updates overnight and backups and virus scans during the day. My DVR/ cable box records the shows I always miss because I work too much. I don't have a TV or VCR, so I don't have to worry about that. My monitors go into standby on their own after limited non-use, but to try to turn them off at the socket would be horrible. I'd have to climb under the desk constantly.

You guys have heard me post about this repeatedly, but I will keep doing it. The problem isn't that there isn't enough power, it's that there are too many people. We need to start instituting some sort of enforced birth control in this country, and around the world. There are too many stupid people that just procreate since they don't have anything else to do, then others, the ones who work, have to pay to take care of their kids. There are over 2 million kids given up for adoption and over 1.5 million kids aborted in this country every year. There are also over 8 million kids that are being supported solely by welfare. That's just horrible. Yes, the adoptions allow those who can't have kids to raise someone else's, which helps both people involved, but those kids still have their parent's bad genes. I'm not talking race, per se, but general lazyness and stupidity. That isn't restricted by race. Yes, I have a prejudice against the stupid. I have had too much that I have worked for taken away just because someone was too stupid to think while driving and ran into me. We need to reduce the number of people in this world in order to make things like our energy and food resources, let alone space on this little planet, last long enough for there to be a future. As long as we are reducing the population, let's make sure that it's the smarter ones that are breeding, and prevent stupidity from spreading as rampantly as it is.


Blah
By Furen on 6/15/2006 9:00:01 AM , Rating: 2
California's "power problems" started as soon as Pete Wilson (Arnold's "advisor"/puppetmaster) got his prized Energy Deregulation passed. We got a chance to repeal it but intense propaganda by the energy companies convinced the public not to (then again, re-regulating electricity would have probably been a mess).

PG&E's scheme is just a way to rack up more profits. Most businesses don't use electricity just for the hell of it and can't curb their energy use too much unless they suddenly decide to have their "work day" in the middle of the night, so all these meters will do is make electricity sold during peak times have an even higher profit margin than it currently does (prices are already adjusted to compensate for this). You can expect that, instead of investing these increased profits into better infrastructure/generation we'll just see nicer dividends given to stockholders, after all, people will consume the same amount of power regardless of how much they're charged for it, and having a "shortage" allows energy companies to raise the price "in order to lessen demand."




RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 9:47:09 AM , Rating: 2
> "California's "power problems" started as soon as Pete Wilson...got his prized Energy Deregulation passed."

Wilson didn't deregulate the industry...he simply deregulated wholesale costs, while keeping the nation's tightest level of regulation on the retail prices the industry was allowed to charge. A recipe for disaster. Even before it was passed, many in the industry (including power companies) were predicting the obvious effects. You can't short-circuit the law of supply and demand, no matter how hard you try.

> "after all, people will consume the same amount of power regardless of how much they're charged for it..."

Anyone with even the slightest bit of knowledge of the industry knows this is untrue. Although electricity has a relatively inelastic price curve in the short term, over the long term, price affects consumption dramatically, especially in the commercial and industrial sector...by far the largest consumers.




RE: Blah
By Furen on 6/15/2006 12:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
Wilson and his army of utility lobbyist pushed hard for deregulation. When they got it the utilities sold their power plants to their own subsidiaries and then (after Wilson was not reelected) raised the price and threw their distribution divisions DEEP in the red (with debt to their own companies). They, then, used the money the state paid to bail them out to build cheap, environmentally unfriendly, plants outside of California and to finance ventures outside the US. A 1000% increase wholesale price was not due to power shortage (CA's peak consumption during this time was 33 million gigawatts, it's production was 40 million gigawatts) but due to the fact that the market was manipulated by these wholesalers. The fact that Bush's FERC refused to cap wholesale prices (Gray Davis was basically begging for this) until we were bleed dry by these corporations. After this Republicans launched a massive campaign to blame Davis for the mess Wilson's deregulation allowed and ultimately got us to fire him because he wanted to raise the price of FREAKING vehicle registrations...

Energy consumption is EXTREMELY inelastic, even in the long run, because there it is a necessity and it has no replacement. Just look at how Oil prices have affected our consumption. Prices have been going up for the past 5 years and we still consume more than we did before. Yes, the industrial sector has invested heavily in ways to better utilize the resource but the natural growth the industries usually offset this. The same happens with electricity. If prices are doubled will consumption drop to half? Certianly not. Industries will no doubt lower their power consumption through the use of more efficient equipment and the like but this will still result in energy companies getting paid more or the same for less energy and, like I said, this increase in profits will be used to finance whatever pet projects they have.

I suppose I got too political in this post but I'm still pissed off about Ted freaking Stevens asking Oil companies if drilling in Alaska's wild life refuges would ease the supply of oil like he doesn't know that it doesn't matter where Oil companies get their oil from, we still pay the same price, they just get better profits since they dont have to pay as much for it (this, by the way, is how they make the insane amounts of profit they do... they sell us the oil they extract from lands they lease/buy from the government at the market price, which is 70 bucks thanks to Bush' throwing an army into the middle-east).


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 3:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
> "Wilson and his army of utility lobbyist pushed hard for deregulation"

The state utility companies weren't pushing hard for this plan. (let's not call it "deregulation", as it was nothing such). San Diego Gas and Electric filed comments against the Wilson plan. The California Municipal Utilities Association warned it would lead quickly to electric shortfalls. Even the California PUC cautioned against it...until political pressure made them change their tune.

But voters-- especially California voters, it seems-- tend to believe the laws of nature don't apply to them. They felt they could simply "pass a low" that would keep consumer electric prices artificially low (and thus guaranteeing increased demand), never build any new generating capacity, and still somehow save money simply by "floating the market" on the wholesale side.

The original plan for full deregulation never got off the ground. Utilites were banned from buying power on the freemarket. Instead, they were forced to buy from a highly regulated (and easily manipulatable) "pool". Utilities were also forced to sell most of their generating plants, to artificially create "competition".

The utilities didn't begin to support to plan until California agreed to let them bill customers for $16 billion in "stranded costs". They still didn't want this crazy attempt of "deregulation"...but faced with billions in free money giveaways, they became avid supporters.

So the plan eventually passed, and the results were predictible. Initially, it worked wonderfully. Bidding soon dropped prices so much that, briefly, some utilities even gave electricity away for free certain hours of the day.

But the state's rising population and artificially low prices ensured demand would rise quickly. And the state refused to even think of building new generating capacity...."dirty our wonderful state with producing power? No Thanks, we'll just buy it all". Very smart.

But the Wilson plan didn't allow utilities to freely buy power. They had to buy it from the secretive and heavily controlled CPE and the even worse ISO. Worse, utilities were legally barred from buying long-term power contracts...they were FORCED to buy on the spot. The whole concept of a futures market-- so neccesary to guaranteeing low, stable prices on other commodities, was made ILLEGAL in California.

The results were predictable. But they weren't do to "deregulation". They were due to replacing a heavily-regulated system that worked, with another regulated system that didn't work whatsoever.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 3:37:04 PM , Rating: 1
> "...if drilling in Alaska's wild life refuges would ease the supply of oil like he doesn't know that it doesn't matter where Oil companies get their oil from, we still pay the same price..."

Lol, are you seriously suggesting that a large new source of oil production wouldn't lower prices dramatically? Please respond quickly....I'm laughing so hard my health my health may be in danger.


RE: Blah
By Furen on 6/15/2006 6:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
The domestic supply will increase when oil begins to be extracted (in 5-10 years or so), no question about it. The price, on the other hand, may not. Why? Simply because there's too much manipulation of the oil supply at various stages (OPEC being the big one here, if we get 1m barrels a day from Alaska and OPEC drops its production by 1m barrels a day are we better off?) and there are no measures to stop the demand from increasing. Enacting legislation requiring more efficient use of the oil would have a bigger effect, faster. Perhaps we'll still need to drill more in the end, but we should try increasing efficiency first. Even if you dont believe the ice caps are melting I'm sure you know that our insatiable use of oil causes pollution.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/15/2006 7:06:03 PM , Rating: 1
> "if we get 1m barrels a day from Alaska and OPEC drops its production by 1m barrels a day are we better off?) "

Sure we are. One, that spare capacity still exists, and acts to cushion against shortfalls and price spikes. And two, we're buying that oil from ourselves...rather than a third-world nation.

> "The domestic supply will increase when oil begins to be extracted (in 5-10 years or so), no question about it. "

Glad to see you agree.

> "Enacting legislation requiring more efficient use of the oil would have a bigger effect, faster"

We could solve our oil problem overnight...just make it illegal for people to live more than five miles from where they work. Don't want to move? Then get a new job.

Alternatively, we could solve the problem simply by creating our own oil chemically...its a fairly simple process. Of course, that would result in gas prices five times higher than we're currently paying, and no one wants that either.

I could name a hundred other solutions....but all of them suffer from the same problem. We have to lower either our freedom and/or our standard of living in some manner.

If you're willing to go that far, solutions to any problem are easy. We could eliminate crime overnight....suspected of anything, even shoplifting? The death penalty for you! No appeal, and forget this "reasonable doubt" crap.

Personally, I want an energy solution that doesn't mean less freedom or a lower standard of living for me and my children. And that means making more energy available.









RE: Blah
By Furen on 6/15/2006 10:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
We're buying from the oil industry, at the same price. You can call it "buying from ourselves" if you want but considering that most of these profits will become dividends for stockholders of these companies or be invested into projects outside the US I dont see much benefit from that. The so-called "energy independence" that politicians keep touting is unattainable unless the market is regulated (I'm not suggesting that we should do so, by the way) simply because our price will always be dependant on the international price of oil. If we produce lots of Oil and suddenly China decides that it is willing to pay more we're willing for oil you can bet we'll become an oil exporter, even if it means shortages at home.

Yes, I agree that supply will increase but I disagree with the point about it affecting the international price of oil "dramatically." Keeping larger inventories would protect us from price spikes just as well.

Thanks for blowing things out of proportion. Requiring more efficient use of the fuel could be achieved by, for example, giving incentives for development and use of less power-hungry engines both for industrial use and in automobiles. Seriously supporting alternative fuels would also help a lot. Investing a fraction of what we've spent freeing Iraqi oil from Saddam we could have truly created a viable alternative to gasoline (and no, asking the oil companies to research alternative fuels is not the only answer. Instead of helping other firms with this research we're paying oil companies to keep their deathgrip on current AND future energy sources). I'm not suggesting we stop using oil right now or anything of the sort, we just need to think ahead and start reducing our consumption, since we'll have to do this eventually.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/16/2006 9:21:42 AM , Rating: 2
> "can call it "buying from ourselves" if you want but considering that most of these profits will become dividends for stockholders of these companies... "

You forget the stockholders of US companies are, by and large, US citizens. Not 100% so...but a far higher ratio than the 0% we receive from purchasing oil from the Sultan of Brunei. Also, you forget US firms employ US workers, and pay taxes upon them....meaning even more of the money comes back to us.

> "... or be invested into projects outside the US."

Oops, you forget what we're talking about. A massive investment project INSIDE the US. Alaska is part of the US still, remember.

> "The so-called "energy independence" that politicians keep touting is unattainable...because our price will always be dependant on the international price of oil."

Oops again, you don't understand what is meant by "energy independence". It means we control-- at least somewhat-- the production of the energy...not the market price.

Right now, third-world despots control not only the price...but they have their hands on the spigot as well. Turn that spigot, and they have us at their mercy. If the US produced the bulk of its energy needs domestically, this would no longer be true.

> "Yes, I agree that supply will increase but I disagree with the point about it affecting the international price of oil "dramatically." "

Wrong once again. Oil has a relatively inelastic price curve. Thats why small drops in supply cause huge price spikes...you saw proof of this during last year's hurricane season.

What you don't realize, though, is that price inelasticity implies the converse, as well. Small increases in supply cause large price drops. Why? Because short-term demand is relatively fixed. If you dump more oil on the market, the only way it gets bought is if the price drops sharply enough to stimulate increased demand.

This is very basic to the petroleum industry, and proven by reams of historical data. Trust me, you don't even want to try to dispute it.


RE: Blah
By Sabalo on 6/16/2006 6:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
I could name a hundred other solutions....but all of them suffer from the same problem. We have to lower either our freedom and/or our standard of living in some manner.

Not really. Biodiesel, for example, uses resources we already have, an infrastructure we already have, and technologies we already have. We're not using it right now because our government subsidizes our oil.

You want more freedom? Drop the social engineering that we undertake to finance oil. You want a better quality of life for you and your children? Move them to a renewable resource fuel that could be produced WHOLLY by the United States. I'm all about freedom and quality of life... and because of oil, I've seen myself lose a little bit of both.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/16/2006 8:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
> "Not really. Biodiesel, for example, uses resources we already have, an infrastructure we already have, and technologies we already have"

I alluded to Biodiesel earlier...sure, its easy to make. The only problem is, if you're making out of anything but waste cooking oil (a *very* limited oil) its going to be several times more expensive than standard diesel.

People need to face facts. Oil is just too incredibly cheap to compete with at the moment. Take away all the state and federal taxes, and most people are paying around $2/gallon....for gasoline refined in multi-billion dollar facilties, from oil pumped up from thousands of feet below ground, and shipped halfway around the world. And its STILL cheaper than milk pumped out of your local cow. Truly amazing.

We've got a dozen or more alternative to gasoline already on the table. None of them can compete on price. Oil is just too damn cheap.


RE: Blah
By ksuWildcat on 6/20/2006 1:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We've got a dozen or more alternative to gasoline already on the table. None of them can compete on price. Oil is just too damn cheap.


But, this won't always be true. Light crude will almost certainly cost us over $100/barrel by next summer, resulting in $4-5/gallon in the U.S. Certainly not an unfair price by world market standards, but people forget that our economy is totally dependent upon gasoline and lower to middle class workers/consumers. Some people will have to give up other things (perhaps even food) in order to get to work. Of course, GWB would have us believe that tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% is going to solve these problems. Trickle down economics is the biggest load of BS ever conceived.

With just 5 years time & money invested into alternative fuels and methods (bio-diesel, Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis, hydrogen, etc.), we could save ourselves (and the environment) from a huge disaster later this century. Alternative fuels will become affordable as the infrastructure is developed. Of course, oil companies don't want this to happen, and they have lobbyists that are constantly trying (and succeeding) to kill spending on alternative fuels research and development.

To a certain extent, crude prices are subject to the laws of supply and demand. The problem is that oil companies are getting huge tax breaks, and they are seeing record profits because when they refine their own crude (which costs them maybe $30/barrel to produce), they still get to sell it at artificially high prices. It's no secret that big oil profit margins are up 300% during the last 2.5 years. Ever notice how gas prices jump up quickly when supply is tight, but the prices drop rather slowly when supplies are in surplus. Oil companies are constantly manipulating the prices consumers pay, in a manner that best increases profits.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 9:52:57 AM , Rating: 2
> "Light crude will almost certainly cost us over $100/barrel by next summer..."

The only thing that'll give us $100/barrel oil by next year is a major event in the Iraniun nuclear issue, or something of similar seriousness. I'll bet even odds it won't reach that level by then though....if you're interested in a wager, I'm sure Dailytech will hold the stakes for us.

In any case, oil at $100/barrel is still cheaper than milk from the corner supermarket. It will take oil at the $150-$250/barrel level to enable serious alternatives.

> "resulting in $4-5/gallon".

$100/barrel oil doesn't result in $5/gallon gasoline, my friend. The price of crude is a little more than half the total cost of gas. $100/barrrel oil is a 40% increase, meaning about a 25% increase in gas prices.

> "Alternative fuels will become affordable as the infrastructure is developed"

Let me give you some basic physics. First of all, hydrogen isn't an energy source at all. Its a transport mechanism...the energy has to come from elsewhere. In biofuels, the energy comes from solar power, through the process of photosynthesis. That means growing plants...and modern agriculture depends heavily on petroleum. Furthermore, sunlight is extremely diffuse, compared to the energy density already collected in petroleum.

In short, there is no way biofuels can ever compete with oil at the $100/barrel or less level. Not without massive government subsidies...which just hides the cost so we don't realize how much we're actually paying per gallon.

When I was in middle school in the mid-1970s, we were regularly taught that the world had "30 years of oil left". By 2005, we'd be out of oil totally. Period. And yet today, we have reserves for 50 years at least...they'd be higher still, but exploration has slowed down drastically in most areas. After all, why look for oil you're not going to burn for another half-century?

What I was taught in the 1970s was little different than in the 1960s...or even further back. As far back as 1917, the US government convened an emergency board to handle the problem of "dwindling petroleum resources, which would be exhausted in as little as a decade".

People have been selling sky-is-falling scare tactics for an entire century. The reality is different. There is no great catastrophe looming. We'll eventually run out of oil...perhaps in 100 years or so. But its scarcity will cause costs to gradually rise...and NATURALLY enable alternatives due to that very fact. Its happened dozens of past times with other resources. And it'll happen again.


RE: Blah
By ksuWildcat on 6/21/2006 3:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing that'll give us $100/barrel oil by next year is a major event in the Iraniun nuclear issue, or something of similar seriousness. I'll bet even odds it won't reach that level by then though....if you're interested in a wager, I'm sure Dailytech will hold the stakes for us.


You're probably wrong here. Oil prices will jump to over $100/barrel this year if Iran becomes a serious problem. You forget that China needs oil, and they are willing to pay for it, and that their needs are increasing far more rapidly than the world can produce it. This alone will result in much higher prices for oil next year as the demand pinches refining capacity. Short of some remarkable discovery that will enable us to refine 20% more oil (by using heavier hydrocarbons...unlikely), gas prices will continue to rise more quickly over time.

Besides, our government has been subsidizing oil for decades. Gas probably costs us $4-5/gallon when you think about where your taxes are going (how much did Iraq cost...about $100 billion and 2,500 US lives...and counting). There are no more unknown huge oil deposits in the world. We have already found them all. Look at the trend over the last 2 years. Gas prices are up nearly $1.50/gallon. Do you really think that is going to stop?

quote:
$100/barrel oil doesn't result in $5/gallon gasoline, my friend. The price of crude is a little more than half the total cost of gas. $100/barrrel oil is a 40% increase, meaning about a 25% increase in gas prices.


I pay $2.89/gallon right now for 87 octane. Assuming that you're right, that means I will be paying about $3.66 or so should light crude cost $100/barrel. So we're already approaching $4.00/gallon, assuming that the oil companies don't try to increase their margins any more (I find this notion very unlikely...oil companies profit margins are up 300% because they have their own light crude and refine it for much less, then sell it at artificially high prices.) Continuing on your arithmetic, at about $125/barrel for crude, refined gasoline will cost us $5/gallon. So, my math isn't very far off afterall.

$125/$72 (current crude price) * $2.89 (current gas price in my locale) ~= $5.02 <- Looks pretty simple to me, at least as an estimate

quote:
Let me give you some basic physics. First of all, hydrogen isn't an energy source at all. Its a transport mechanism...the energy has to come from elsewhere.


This statement isn't very accurate. Hydrogen is the ideal fuel...we have an inexhaustible supply of it, and when you burn it you get H2O. The reason we aren't using hydrogen is because it is unstable in a gaseous form. But we're working on solid hydrogen fuel systems that would be safe for transportation.

Contrary to what you say, a crisis is looming. We may very well have 50 years of petroleum, but not nearly enough for people making minimum wage to fill up their cars over that time frame. Only the upper SES families will be able to afford gasoline in 10-20 years. Now think about how many people are making $5-6/hour as compared to the people making $40+/hour. Gas prices will really hurt those who don't even make a living wage.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 5:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "Oil prices will jump to over $100/barrel this year if Iran becomes a serious problem."

And if the Iran situation is resolved, prices will DROP. And remain low for a few years. As I said...without any development on the Iran front, we will NOT have $100/barrel oil next year. And I'm willing to bet on it. Are you? If so, just ask Kris Kubecki to hold the stakes for us.

> "There are no more unknown huge oil deposits in the world. We have already found them all"

You know, people have been saying just that every decade for the last 100 years. No matter how many times you prove them wrong, they just don't learn.

> "Continuing on your arithmetic, at about $125/barrel for crude, refined gasoline will cost us $5/gallon. So, my math isn't very far off afterall."

Um, your math is still a bit off there, pardner. $125/barrel oil is a 78% increase over current $70 levels. Given slightly over half the cost of refining is crude costs, that works out about a 40-45% increase in gas prices. That puts gas at $4-$4.20 a gallon. Your claim that $100/barrel oil gives us $5/gallon gas was just plain wrong. Accept it, and move on.

> "Look at the trend over the last 2 years. Gas prices are up nearly $1.50/gallon. Do you really think that is going to stop? "

Lol, people never learn. Learn from history. Yes of course, the rising trend will stop. It not only stopped, but went down for ten years straight in the late 80s, early 90s. Then it went back up again. The pattern is cyclical.

Over the REALLY long term, the price will continue to rise. Of course. But that's not a problem for us...or our children for that matter.


RE: Blah
By ksuWildcat on 6/21/2006 6:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. We have nothing better to do than this? So sad for us both.

Never did I say that $100/barrel would cost us exactly $5/gallon gasoline. I merely stated that $100/barrel is not unfathomable by next summer (and very likely), and prices over $100/barrel will definitely translate into $4-5/gallon.

When crude cost $35/barrel, I was paying about $1.35/gallon of gasoline. Now it costs roughly $70/barrel and I am paying $2.89/gallon at the pump. So, the price of crude went up by a factor of 2.0 while the price of gas went up by a factor of 2.14. Interesting. So if your line of reasoning is correct, I should only be paying maybe $2.00-2.15/gallon. Afterall, the price of crude is only about half of the oil companies' cost to refine oil. Yet, I can see in the numbers that I am getting screwed. Not to mention, that not all of the oil costs them $70/barrel. Oil pumped from a well here costs them maybe $25/barrel to produce (this figure is high, it is often much lower). And the oil pumped from wells in the U.S. accounts for about 5% of our oil. Yet, we pay the same price for gas from our wells as we do from that made with foreign oil. That's a good business...if you're an oil company.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 7:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "So, the price of crude went up by a factor of 2.0 while the price of gas went up by a factor of 2.14. Interesting"

Yes it is. It tells you there is another factor at work. That factor is refining capacity. All the oil in the world is useless if we can't turn it into gasoline. And recent high demand, coupled with the lack of any new refining plants since the 1970s, coupled further with the EPA's requirement to phase out MTBE, has caused a supply crimp in gasoline. Quite frankly, the high price of gasoline is the only thing preventing the pumps from running dry. We're trying to burn more than we can refine.

I can show you the exact proofs in the EIA pricing data if you want. Its actually quite a fascinating subject.

> "Yet, we pay the same price for gas from our wells as we do from that made with foreign oil"

That's how the market works, my friend. For ANY global commodity, not just oil. You buy and sell on the open market. Saudi Oil that costs just a couple bucks/barrel in lifting costs is sold for the same price as high-cost oil pumped in billion-dollar rigs from deep under the ocean floor.

The same goes for gasoline. The market doesn't care how much you PAID to refine that oil. Gas future buyers want the cheapest possible price...and Gas future sellers want the best possible price. The price floats, based on bidding...which is itself based on the ratio of buyers vs. sellers at any given time.




RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 5:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "This statement isn't very accurate. Hydrogen is the ideal fuel"

Whew, I really can't believe people have such a poor understanding of hydrogen.

My statement is accurate. Hydrogen is not a source of energy. Its a means to *transport* energy from one location to another. It's an energy carrier...it doesn't SUPPLY us with energy.

Hydrogen is produced via catalysis (of some sort) from water. A process that requires vast amounts of energy. When you burn that hydrogen, you get most of that energy back (minus losses). But the energy didn't come from the hydrogen...it came from whatever energy source you used to make it. That contrasts with petroleum or natural gas...which comes with the energy "already inside".

Personally, I'm a big fan of the hydrogen economy. But you have to realize what "hydrogen" really means. Its only viable if we supplant the lost energy from petroleum with another source. For instance, a few dozen new nuclear power plants would do the trick handily...and cut pollution sharply as well.

> "We have an inexhaustible supply of [hydrogen]"

Sure..if we have enough energy to make it. We also have an infinite supply of petroleum, for that matter. Or did you not know that it can be easily synthesized directly out of hydrogen and carbon? The only problem is getting the energy to do it.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 10:01:26 AM , Rating: 2
> "Ever notice how gas prices jump up quickly when supply is tight, but the prices drop rather slowly when supplies are in surplus"

Ever wonder why a bone can break in a second...but take weeks to heal? Ever wonder why a house can take months to construct...but burn down in hours? Same principle.

Bad news works faster than good. A single rumor can cause an immediate price spike...a spike that can take weeks to dissipate. People take time to calm down.

By the way, oil and gas prices aren't set by the oil companies. They're set by the commodities market. Traders...each of them betting their own cash about future trends of supply and demand.

Prices are high now for one simple reason. We're trying to burn more gas than we can refine. The US hasn't allowed a single new refinery in over 30 years. So we have two choices. Either prices rise high enough to force us to drive a bit less...or the pumps run dry, and we all walk to work.

Take your pick.


RE: Blah
By ksuWildcat on 6/21/2006 3:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ever wonder why a bone can break in a second...but take weeks to heal? Ever wonder why a house can take months to construct...but burn down in hours? Same principle.


A poor analogy. Gas prices jump quickly and fall slowly because oil companies profit very greatly during these situations by hiking prices immediately and lowering prices very slowly. If you don't believe this, than you are either really naive or you work for Exxon-Mobil. Around these parts, the state attorney keeps having to take the oil companies and their distributors to court for price-fixing and gouging. And the oil companies keep settling the cases, which indicates to me that they are in fact guilty of these crimes. Right after 9/11, and again after the U.S. invaded Iraq, the oil companies jacked prices to $4.00/gallon. But there was no shortage of gas, no runs on supply, nothing. As a result, the oil companies were sued, and they ended up refunding everyone. So...obviously prices are not purely based on the commodities market, because oil did not jump up more than a couple of dollars a barrel.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 5:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
> "Gas prices jump quickly and fall slowly because oil companies profit very greatly during these situations by hiking prices immediately..."

Such statements reveal a childlike misunderstanding of the market itself. First of all, oil companies don't set oil prices. The commodities market does. Via open bidding.

The fast price hikes you see on bad news, followed by slow declines are a neccesary (and valuable, to the consumer) part of of the futures market. And they occur not just for oil, but for EVERY commodity bought and sold on them. Simple, historical fact, easily verified.

To easily disprove your belief, ask yourself this. If oil companies controlled prices, then why even wait for bad news to jack them up? Just raise them regardless...and keep them there.

> "But there was no shortage of gas, no runs on supply, nothing..."

Look, its really not that hard to understand the futures market. Let me give you an example, happening right now. Iran. Let's say Iran makes a statement indicating it will definitely produce nuclear weapons, and the US responds that "all options are on the table" to stop it. That convinces many traders that-- sometime in the FUTURE-- a conflict may occur. And, if it does, oil shortages will definitely occur.

So those traders start bidding MORE for futures they buy TODAY. Futures whose delivery won't come for months. So the price goes up. Immediately...even though no shortages have yet occurred...and no shortage may EVER occur.

How is this valuable to you and me, the average consumer? Lets look at both situations, where the US actually does attack Iran (the traders guesed right) and where the US doesn't (The traders guessed wrong). The first case is easy. Without a futures market, oil prices don't get 'signalled' in advance. You wake up to news of a US attack, and oil prices up 1,000% in a few hours time. Seriously. Such price spikes for commodities were common in the days before future trading took hold. With a market, though, that price rise comes much more gradually. The price spike is "smoothed out", by the action of the marketplace. And, those higher prices acting over the long term, have curtailed demand somewhat, and higher prices have worked to convince other suppliers (outside of Iran) to increase their own production levels...possibly to begin entirely new exploration or production operations somewhere.

So the maximum level of the price spike is also less. Possibly far less, if the price signal precedes the event far enough. All in all, far less damaging for the economy.

Now, lets look at the other case. The traders guessed wrong. First of all, they receive a stiff punishment for their failure. If they've raised the price outside of actual market conditions, the resulting correction can cost them, cumulatively, tens of billions of dollars or more. Anyone who severely guessed wrong is now in the poorhouse, and won't be guessing at all anymore.

Higher prices have curtailed demand. So reserve stocks are higher. And those oil producers who began new projects are already invested...even though the price is going back down, they're committed. Meaning supply is going to increase. So prices not only drop down to their earlier level, they drop *lower*. Possibly much more, if inflated prices were held for a lengthy period of time.

Look at historical gas prices following the price spikes fo following the Iranian hostage crisis. and Israel's attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor. Political tensions caused prices to stay high for several years. What was the end result? US citizens bought smaller cars, and demand dropped. And the US offshore drilling industry kicked into high gear...it was suddenly profitable to pump oil from under the ocean.

Net result. After a few years of high prices, gas prices fell. And fell. And fell. For ten years...down to inflation-adjusted levels that were far below anything we saw since the 1960s.

Of course, actions like that have their own reactions. Super-low gas prices spurred the SUV craze, and people moving ever-further from their workplace. So demand went back up. Worse, we stopped building new refining capacity at all. So demand began to outstrip production and, predictably, we began to see shortages and price hikes again.


RE: Blah
By ksuWildcat on 6/21/2006 5:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
I never said that gas prices were solely set by the oil companies. I merely said that gas prices do not always reflect what is actually going on in the world market. As I said before, crude prices didn't jump a large amount after 9/11. Yet, gas prices did surge by 200%, and not because of commodities trading. The oil companies and their distributors tried to gouge people, and the result was they had to refund our money. You are making it seem like traders are somehow responsible for the unethical actions of oil companies. Shame on you! Look at the CEO of Exxon, and how much he is making. Tell me that what the oil companies are doing isn't tantamount to stealing. You can't do it, at least not if you're honest. Oil companies' net profits are up 300% over the last 2 years. That is proof enough that we are getting screwed.


RE: Blah
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2006 7:48:19 PM , Rating: 3
> "As I said before, crude prices didn't jump a large amount after 9/11. Yet, gas prices did surge by 200%"

Because gasoline prices depend on far more factors than the cost of crude.

> ", and not because of commodities trading."

Yes, because of commodity trading. More gas future contracts were trying to be purchased than were being sold. Bidding ran up the price.

This is basic to the market...I'm surprised you even attempt to argue it. Oil companies have no direct influence on the price of gas. The only way they can raise the price is to cut their production...which helps their competitors, not them.

And-- before you leap to conclusions-- production wasn't cut following 9/11 (except from the post-Katrina damage aftermath). Supply didn't decrease. Demand INCREASED. Simple fact.

> "Oil companies' net profits are up 300% over the last 2 years. That is proof enough that we are getting screwed. "

Its proof of one thing...which you should have learned in high school economics. When you operate on a fixed-percentage margin, as the price goes up, so do your absolute profits...even as your margin remains the same.

Gas prices went up. They HAD to, to force us to drive less. As a result, oil company profits rose sharply. If you want to fix the problem, there's only one solution. Build more refining capacity.

The refining industry would love to do so. Unfortunately, state and federal regulators have prevented a single new plant from being approved since the late 1970s.

Well, actually, one new plant (near Yuma Arizona) was recently approved. It took five years and $25 million dollars just to push the federal permits through...but its approved. Too bad its help up in court right now, as a "citizens action group" has challenged the process.


RE: Blah
By namechamps on 6/15/2006 10:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
Prices DO affect consumption.

Our company recently bought 3 new 8P Opteron Servers with low voltage chips for DB work. New hardware consumes about 1/2 of our old hardware. A major part of the decision to go with Opteron platform was a comparison of energy costs (and cooling costs) over next 5 years when comparing our current system to offerings by Intel, SUN, AMD. The low energy opteron chips cost about 50% more than their high wattage cousins but they pay for themselves within 18 months due to reduced energy consumption.


RE: Blah
By Furen on 6/15/2006 12:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
Of course they do. What happened to your old hardware? Did you guys just trash it? 'Cause if you didn't then you didnt really drop your power consumption but actually INCREASED it.


$200 per year OH NO
By tacorly on 6/19/2006 9:09:28 PM , Rating: 1
I'm 17 years old and a busboy. I make $1000 a month working 2 days a week for 5-7 hours. $200 a year is not a big deal. End of story. Those with less money...have less things sucking energy I'm sure.




RE: $200 per year OH NO
By RandomFool on 6/20/2006 10:09:06 AM , Rating: 2
Well aren't you a fancy pants. Try moving out of your parents house and see if you still like wasting money. Seems to me if I could have 200 dollars in my pocket or give it to the electric company, I’d probably choose to keep the 200. No matter how much money I’m making a month.


RE: $200 per year OH NO
By rc71 on 6/21/2006 2:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. At my work computer speakers cost us $1,700 a year. Who turns them off? So they run 24/7.


RE: $200 per year OH NO
By mechwarrior1989 on 6/20/2006 10:53:49 AM , Rating: 2
Dang, $17.85 an hour and that's 14 hours a week. 10 hours a week means $25 an hour. That's pretty crazy man.

And yea, $200 a year is a big deal. Seeing as how you make what? $12,000 a year at that rate, could you live off $12,00, you know, assuming you bought everything for yourself, paid for insurance, did all that? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure you'd be happy if you could scrap together all the money you could get. People who think that they can just toss money around no matter how much are the people who eventually reach retirement and look at their bank account and realize they're going to have to keep working. That's a problem with American Society, everyone thinks that the social safety net will be there to save them if they ever have problems and never really try and prepare themselves.


RE: $200 per year OH NO
By williambmilner on 6/22/2006 10:06:09 AM , Rating: 2
Mate in all honesty your not earning enough or have enough responsibility to comment. You probly live at home and your parents pay for your food and electricity so you can make those ignorent comments on your pc. Im 19 live in the Uk and im on about £18,500 a year which is about $34,000 dollars and i struggle to get by with my insurance, tax, bills, food, rent. i sure as hell could with an extra $10 let alone $200 so count your self lucky that you have it soo easy and stop being an ignorant s**t


Silly
By Tupolev22m on 6/15/2006 8:59:50 AM , Rating: 2
Not a bad idea, but it seems a stupid thing to legislate.




RE: Silly
By Spadge on 6/15/2006 9:36:39 AM , Rating: 3
Expediency rules ... when it's convenient.

People won't do a damned thing unless it is in their interest to do it. If this means changing existing behaviour, then it really needs to be something pretty major to make them change. And in a country where people sue each other over pretty much anything that isn't covered by a disclaimer, electronics companies had probably better add "uses 25wt on standby" to the TV if they don't want to be sued for, oh, something or other. Aliens, probably.

And the electronics companies won't change a thing unless they are forced to, by law. Especially not when it's something that could show them in a bad light.

So all in all, I applaud the act, and wish we'd have something like it here. And everywhere.

Well, that turned out to be a little more ranty than I at first intended. :)


RE: Silly
By Kuroyama on 6/15/2006 10:06:16 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing like this would get done without legislation. And without a standard set by law the numbers would also be meaningless. Consider how EPA mileage numbers are so off base, but at least since all cars are measured in roughly the same way then they are a starting point for comparing mileage.

Personally I think putting a sticker with annual cost of operation would be good for most things. For instance, imagine if the 40mpg car has a sticker saying it will cost $750 to drive 10000 miles a year (@$3/gal), but that 25 mpg small SUV will cost $1200 to drive the same distance, and the 18mpg SUV will cost $1666. I think people would be much more likely to downgrade when they see how much more money this will cost. Not to mention extra cost of insurance, repairs, etc.


Heh
By Xenoid on 6/15/2006 7:20:46 AM , Rating: 2
I started thinking of Buffy and her crew in Sunnydale...otherwise, not a bad idea. Wasting electricity is kind of a silly thing, but here in BC, CA, we have basically unlimited electricity so long as there is water on the planet.




RE: Heh
By UsernameX on 6/15/2006 1:47:55 PM , Rating: 2
lol, yah I was thinking the same when I saw the title at first. "Sweet our own personal vampire militia, where do I sign up!?!?"


RE: Heh
By Googer on 6/15/2006 4:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
I would not mind joining the Vampire SWAT Team, that would be a great job and you would get paid big bucks to do nothing.


a good thing
By jmke on 6/15/2006 8:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
Since most PCs and monitor use up quite a bit of Watts even when "turned off"




RE: a good thing
By marvdmartian on 6/15/2006 8:53:24 AM , Rating: 2
Check your printer out, too. That's one vampire that could definitely be slain.....or at least, turned off!!


RE: a good thing
By xKelemvor on 6/15/2006 2:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
I always go turn of fmy wife's COlor Laser printer when she's not using it. Of course she turns it back on to print one page and leaves it on for days...

Of course our B&W laser doesn't have an on/off button but at least has Sleep Mode...

I still want to get a Kill-A-Watt, Thsoe things are fun to play with to see how much energy something uses.


two amps?
By mikeblas on 6/15/2006 10:39:01 AM , Rating: 2
$200 per year, at $0.07 per kilowatt hour, is 2857 kilowatt hours per year... or 326 watts continuously.

Do devices on standby really take a total of 2.7 amps in the "average" home? That seems very high to me.

My HP Photosmart Inkjet takes only 10 milliamps on standby. My DVD player uses 75 mA. I have plenty of gadgets an computers, but getting to 2700 mA is going to take lots of stuff, and I believe I've got far more equipment than the "average home".





RE: two amps?
By Furen on 6/15/2006 12:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
Depends. Remember Intel's Instant off? It blanks the screen and shuts down the fans/leds but still draws lots of power. I think this legislation is meant to stop lazy implementations of standby. If there's a device out there that draws 1W in standby and one that draws 10W shouldn't you be allowed to know this?


RE: two amps?
By Furen on 6/15/2006 10:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
Replied to the wrong post, lol...


Bad Idea
By srue on 6/15/2006 11:46:57 AM , Rating: 2
Standby mode saves electricity compared to leaving the device on all the time. Power use goes down when standby is introduced in a device prone to being left on: consumer electronics (DVD players, stereos, receivers, etc), computers, printers, scanners.

This legislation makes it seem like people shouldn't use standby mode. A better solution is to focus on getting people to use standby rather than leaving a device on all the time, and to work at reducing the power a device uses while in standby.




RE: Bad Idea
By fic2 on 6/15/2006 4:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Standby mode saves electricity" - not necessarily. I recently did some software for a cable set top box that when you turn if "off" the only thing it did was change the light from green to red. Throughout the code we had to check to see if it was "off" or not to allow certain functions.

What this does it force companies to disclose how much power is being used when on and when in standby. Obviously, this particular STB will have the same power usage in both modes. I suspect that this is probably fairly common and why the CE manufacturers are against it. Otherwise why wouldn't they want to disclose how much power is used in standby?


Vampire Slayer Act ??
By kattanna on 6/15/2006 10:35:50 AM , Rating: 2
while i applaud the work..yes there should be the info given about power usage when in standby mode...

did they have to give the bill such a lame dorky name

and PG&E thing..just another way to make MORE money





Effect?
By android1st on 6/15/2006 9:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
It will be interesting to see what effect this legislation has on buying habits and energy consumption.




Power usage
By rc71 on 6/21/2006 2:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Even things that we don't think about suck juice. If you don't turn off your speakers there's 10, 20 or 30 bucks each year, depending on your set up.




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