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Study ranks states’ vulnerability to oil prices

Shelby Lin Erdma, CNN
Americans are still far too dependent on foreign oil, and states aren’t doing enough to change that, according to a study by an environmental group ranking states on an “oil vulnerability” scale.

The annual index compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council measures the effect of oil and gas price increases on people’s incomes. The survey also ranks the states that are doing the most to promote alternative energy sources.

The council’s “Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States Oil Vulnerability and Solutions For Change” survey finds, for the third year in a row, that Mississippi tops the list as the most vulnerable state when it comes to a spike in gas prices. The study ranks states based on a simple income-to-gas-price ratio — how much a family makes compared with what they’re spending on fuel every year.

“This is very relevant right now. We’ve seen, in spite of the economy being down, prices rebounding because of the summer driving season,” according to Deron Lovaas, the council’s transportation policy director…
(X August 2009)

‘Peak Oil’ Is a Waste of Energy

Michael Lynch, The New York Times
REMEMBER “peak oil”? It’s the theory that geological scarcity will at some point make it impossible for global petroleum production to avoid falling, heralding the end of the oil age and, potentially, economic catastrophe. Well, just when we thought that the collapse in oil prices since last summer had put an end to such talk, along comes Fatih Birol, the top economist at the International Energy Agency, to insist that we’ll reach the peak moment in 10 years, a decade sooner than most previous predictions (although a few ardent pessimists believe the moment of no return has already come and gone).

Like many Malthusian beliefs, peak oil theory has been promoted by a motivated group of scientists and laymen who base their conclusions on poor analyses of data and misinterpretations of technical material. But because the news media and prominent figures like James Schlesinger, a former secretary of energy, and the oilman T. Boone Pickens have taken peak oil seriously, the public is understandably alarmed.

A careful examination of the facts shows that most arguments about peak oil are based on anecdotal information, vague references and ignorance of how the oil industry goes about finding fields and extracting petroleum. And this has been demonstrated over and over again: the founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil first claimed in 1989 that the peak had already been reached, and Mr. Schlesinger argued a decade earlier that production was unlikely to ever go much higher…
(24 August 2009)
Comments on this article at the Oil Drum.

Opec’s greed will herald the end of the oil age

Bill Emmot, Times Online
Proclamations of economic recovery in the past week in Japan, France and Germany, and soon in Britain and America too, may signal the end of the Great Recession of 2007-09, albeit bumpily. As things stand, though, this month may also signal the beginning of the end of something far more historic and significant: the age of oil.

Given how bleak the world looked as this year began, it feels remarkable to be seeing growth again so soon. But it is even more remarkable that the world is emerging from such a severe financial shock and slump with its most basic fuel, crude oil, priced at close to $70 a barrel, seven times its price of a little over a decade ago and double the level it was as recently as March.

…This point in the analysis is where the planetary gloomsters start citing a concept called “peak oil” (or, to the real oil nerds, “Hubbert’s peak”). This is the idea that the planet’s oil reserves are nearing (or, in some eyes, are past) a time at which the output from oilfields starts to decline. Don’t pay them any attention. The world is not running out of oil. What it is short of has been investment in oilfields and production. And the reason for that can be found in a different four-letter word: Opec…
(20 August 2009)