Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Energy Pledge

Whereas the world uses 978 barrels of oil every second

In 2006, industry estimates of worldwide consumption show 84.5 million barrels of oil per day. There are 86,400 seconds in a day: 24 x 60 x 60. So the world uses 978 barrels of oil every SECOND. That's 41,100 gallons. Every SECOND.

Whereas world oil consumers have largely used up the world's supply of clean, cheap crude oil

Oil reserves are still large, but the supply of "easy oil" is basically gone or dwindling and new wells are in deep seas and land formations in obscure, complicated locations.

Whereas reduced energy usage will help conserve the global climate regardless of whether current climate change conditions are due to human activity or not

The environmental policy debate about government-imposed caps on CO2 emissions or prohibitive energy taxes has hinged on the scientific proof that our use of energy has harmed the environment. But even now, without a clear resolution of that debate, businesses have started to take action themselves and to raise the environmental issue with government. We can work to reduce emissions, which will help the environment. Meantime, the issues here are sometimes very sticky and some policymakers need listen to their own speeches: for example, the President of the European Commission, who is a strong advocate for CO2 caps, actually drives a Volkswagen Touareg, a vehicle that gets only 14 mpg in city driving and 18 on the highway, well below the average for light trucks (see below), giving it one of the EPA's lowest emissions ratings.

Whereas political tensions within and among many countries relate to energy supplies

And some major producers, such as Russia and Venezuela, are in the process of nationalizing their industries. No major producer outside North America has a very stable government or culture.
Whereas expensive energy hurts the poor most of all and retards efforts to strengthen developing nations

This circumstance needs no elaboration and should be especially important to supporters of the MDGs.
Whereas the United States uses almost 25% of the oil used throughout the world

More specifically, in 2006, 20.7 million barrels of oil a day or 24.5%.
Whereas automobiles are by far the largest single sponge of energy resources

US gasoline demand alone was 9.3 million barrels a day last year, 44.5% of US oil demand and 11% of total world oil demand
Whereas fuel usage increases proportionately to vehicle weight

A simple relationship, this can be summarized by fuel economy measures for 2005: the US cars on the road ran at 22.9 miles per gallon, while "light" trucks got 16.2 mpg.
Whereas fuel usage increases exponentially with driving speed

Mileage decreases 10% for every 5 miles per hour above 60 mph. The worst fuel efficiency is among those drivers who use aggressive speeding and abrupt braking, also known as "road rage".

Whereas vehicles are more efficient when they are properly maintained.

With tune-ups, oil changes and other service according to the manufacturers' prescribed timetables

By driving more evenly and modestly more slowly (to say nothing of safely) and keeping up our vehicles according to their designated schedules, we ourselves can make a visible dent in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This simple result doesn't even involve driving less or trading in our gas guzzler on something else.

Clearly, the job is much bigger than that. More saving can be
achieved by taking more substantive steps. But we can begin, here, today.

Consider it for your Lenten discipline.

Next time, we'll talk about the exciting developments in alternative fuels and hybrids. They are even neater than we had understood. And we'll elaborate on actions by industry and other businesses. For instance, do you know that there is a brand new energy-efficient Wal-Mart store in Kansas City?!

Sources we've used here include the Federal Highway Administration, the US Department of Energy & Environmental Protection Agency, the International Energy Agency and a private consulting service called Energy Intelligence. An especially helpful website is The information about the vehicle owned by the EC President comes from the Wall Street Journal of January 20-21, 2007, page 1.

That book we keep mentioning with the catchy title, A Thousand Barrels a Second, is by Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist of ARC Financial Corporation, a private investment firm that specializes in energy. It was published in 2006 by McGraw-Hill. Mr. Tertzakian bemoans the fact that new technologies will take too long to become commercially viable. While this is true, we rather see the "tank" as "half full" and note the rapid progress that is already being made.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.