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Energy Lessons of 2008

A year ago, I looked back on 2007 and ahead to 2008, a year that has defied the predictions of most observers. Although I can't claim to have foreseen the possibility that oil would break $140 and $40--from opposite directions--in the same year, I...

Posted December 29, 2008    

December Surprise

A month ago an old friend--in fact a former boss and mentor--hinted that the recent collapse of oil prices might lead to revisions of the oil & gas reserves that companies carry on their books. I recalled his suggestion a week ago, when the Wall...

Posted December 23, 2008    

Open Fuel Standard

One of the energy-related email lists to which I'm subscribed recently alerted me to an interesting piece of pending legislation in the US Congress, the "Open Fuel Standard Act of 2008", S.3303. The bill would require automakers to increase the...

Posted December 19, 2008    

Oil Shock II

As OPEC's members and friends meet in Algeria to agree on deeper cuts in oil output, the effectiveness of their actions will depend greatly on the nature of the demand slump to which they are responding. If it proves to be merely a dip in the long-...

Posted December 17, 2008    

Steel on the Ground

2009 is shaping up as the Year of the Stimulus. The consensus for a massive fiscal stimulus of the US economy, in the form of direct government spending and targeted tax breaks, grows daily. The biggest remaining questions focus on how much and...

Posted December 15, 2008    

Hire the Best

The apparent selection of Steven Chu, the Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to be the new Secretary of Energy looks like a good choice. Since he is already employed by the Department of Energy, he understands the organization he...

Posted December 12, 2008    

The Contango Warning

President-Elect Obama is expected to name his energy and environmental team shortly. Whoever is nominated as the next Secretary of Energy will be swamped with an array of competing priorities, including modernizing the nation's electrical grid,...

Posted December 10, 2008    

Electric Cars vs. Oil in Hawaii

Ever since last week's announcement of a deal to roll out Project Better Place's model for recharging electric cars in Hawaii, I've been curious about how it would work out, if the supplies of new renewable electricity needed to wean the Islands'...

Posted December 8, 2008    

Cheap Gas

As rapidly as it has fallen, the average pump price of unleaded regular gasoline in the US still has a ways to go, to end up lower on Barack Obama's Inaugural Day next January 20 than its inflation-adjusted level of $1.60 per gallon when Bill...

Posted December 5, 2008    

The Right Price

So OPEC has kicked the can down the road another two weeks, deferring further production cuts until at least their December 17th meeting in Algeria, when they can better assess the impact of the cuts they've already made--code for observing how...

Posted December 1, 2008    

Artificial Carbon Cycle

Part of the research for my writing and consulting involves watching for trends or common themes, and one that I've been picking up from diverse sources reflects a growing skepticism about "clean coal" and the processes for capturing and...

Posted November 26, 2008    

Sales Mix and Fuel Economy

When Detroit's CEOs return to Washington, DC in early December for further Congressional hearings on a rescue package, the industry's prospects for meeting tougher fuel economy standards are likely exert significant influence on the granting of...

Posted November 24, 2008