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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Fossil Fuel Prices - The new reality or A temporary anomaly

Fossil Fuel Prices - The new reality or A temporary anomaly

Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 406
Just a quick question for the group...the people you have contact with from day to day are, of course, trying to make sense out of what the price of petroleum means for their daily lives.

However, my husband and I are hearing people say things like "when the price of gas comes back down..." and "when we get back to $2/gallon heating oil..." This worries me but I realize there is a big process involved in helping to a) communicate that we are entering the end of the [cheap] oil age and b) do so in a way that supports people in moving through denial/anger/etc toward a positive and productive approach.

Where are you on this? How about the people you are surrounded by? Do people think these high prices are just a temporary blip?


Sue M.
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 32
I hear everything from "It's a conspiracy of the current administration"; to, "we still have plenty of oil, we don't have to worry". It is fruitless with some people to even try to talk about Peak Oil. I have noticed the media is starting to cover it tho. I saw a series of interviews w/ Michael Pollan on the national news.
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 49
Hi Lisa,

Noone I communicate with thinks this is a temporary blip. We All think the prices are going to continue rising. For me and my friends, also, this is not a bad thing as the cheap oil has driven 'economic expansion' which basically entails destroying the planet's Biosphere.

I agree it's fruitless to try to talk with some people about peak oil, so I don't, LOL, and therefore I do talk to a certain unique segment of the population.

At this point I've long given up trying to warn the mass of people about peak oil and Life-support degredation...i'll let the facts speak for themselves and focus on people like the good folks here who are aware of what may be coming. The best guess consensus we've arrived at figures we've got about 4 years to prepare ...nothing will be done on a National level, and the best way to focus our energy and limited time is on local efforts such as this one.

Thank you all,
Tree
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 192
One reality that people seem to ignore is the emerging nations are consuming a higher and higher percentage of the oil produced now. chine this past year surpassed the US in overall oil use. India is following suit behind China. This has played a big part in the current high price of oil on the world market. I don't foresee China's or India's oil use decreasing. I see their use of oil increasing, further squeezing oil supplies and increasing oil commodity prices.

Per capita, the US is still one of the biggest oil consuming countries and that also likely will not change soon.
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 408
So I asked our babysitter what her peers think is going on. She said that they think it's a temporary situation caused by the war. When the war is over "everything will go back to normal." Hmmm....
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 194
It's the law of supply and demand.

As long as supply is constrained and demand increases, price will also increase. While it is true that the Iraq debacle has put some pressure on the oil supply, demand is outpacing even that by a substantial margin. 10 years ago China used about 1/2 the oil the US consumes. Now China uses MORE than the US. Supply simply cannot increase fast enough to meet demand and also keep prices low. I do think the Iraq mess does have some impact, but we're talking 10-20% MAX...hardly a blip in the overall price of oil. Some suggest that the Iraq war was timed so that it would take advantage of the spike in oil demand to the benefit of the oil companies. That may be true, but now it has its own momentum, regardless of Iraq.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 176
There are those that say there will be a tumble in prices. My guess is that would be temporary and we would be best to assume that high prices are here to stay.

The toothpaste is out of the tube. If they know we will pay it, they will charge it.
Penelope
user 5846522
Portland, ME
Post #: 14
Folks I talk with do not think that we are in a temporary situation.

In regard to retro-fitting I think we all want to do it now however it is already an expensive proposition and the main reason why more of us have not converted yet. My question is will the cost of retro-fitting get more affordable with increased conversions or will the "Law of Supply and Demand" also result in the cost of retro-fitting for years to come?

I prefer to think of this a modicum of hope and not naivety, but in the above referenced question I hope that one year soon and not based on disaster that our federal, state, and local governments will support and employ sustainable methods; wherein new affordable widespread applications of solar and other technologies and permaculture will free us from the industrial age and usher in a new era of human enlightenment. smile

Anotherwords I think it will take government committment (like going to the moon) for real change to happen and we all know what it takes for such changes to occur.
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 50
"the newly benchmarked July crude contract got past $131 a barrel for the first time. Oil futures were climbing from the outset, then shot even higher after the government's weekly crude-stockpile report showed a decline of 5.4 million barrels. Recently, crude was up $2.83 at $131.81."
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 412
Penny, I think you nailed it regarding supply and demand on retrofit equipment...for example people have been saying for 20 years that solar will get cheaper and, now that demand is going through the roof, I just don't see price decreases coming to fruition. Cheap energy in any format is not to be expected, I don't think. The cost of all energy will track with petroleum...BTUs are BTUs in some sense. Buy a couple of years of firewood now if applicable.

Regarding goverment....well, there is a role for government to play but I am not a) expecting a leadership role from government (and I guess I no longer see that as their strength or responsibility...) on this nor b) making my future plans around the hope that "they" will fix it or faciliate positive change. They are all completely mired in how to even run the services they have today (unlikely) since absolutely everything is going to cost more now. It's a pretty hackneyed cliche at this point, but it's true that "we are the ones we've been waiting for."

We are entering an age of energy descent. Conservation is no longer "optional." The opportunity here is to strengthen and nurture the wonderful aspects of human culture that are not fossil fuel dependent and carry those threads forward into a world that is human-scale, human-paced and abundant in a myriad of other non-petroleum ways.
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