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Attention Energy Analysts

how high do oil prices have to go . . .

     
11:18 am on Jun 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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. . . before alternative energy sources become significant contributors to energy market?
11:26 am on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It just passed 1 $ a litre here. I dont know when people will adopt hydrogen, but they sure think twice about the size of their replacement car. ;)
11:52 am on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Many countries already offer substantial tax breaks to users of alternative fuel sources (especially environmentally friendly ones like hydrogen).

If you factor that into cost, I suspect crude oil is actually more expensive than $1 a litre...

TJ

3:56 pm on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Opinion: I wish they'd just burn up all the fossil fuels. Just use it up and be done with it. That's the only thing that's going to force the new age of alternative energy into place. It will change almost everything.
4:33 pm on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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hear hear.

The hydrogen economy is waiting on advances in technology. Many companies are working on it; the major problem with hydrogen is storage. Hydrogen cars can't go very far without running out of H.

Solar is going to be the interim solution. Right now there is a worldwide shortage of solar-grade silicon, which keeps the price of high-grade solar panels high. But in the next few years we'll see more manufacturers moving into the market of refining silcon (which is cheap. it's SAND) and the availability of cheaper high-grade solar panels will take over with residential PV.

This transition into an oil-free future will require us all to make the alt-fuel industry profitable and popular.

5:32 pm on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It just passed 1 $ a litre here.

And it's still not even half the price you pay in Europe, but it hasn't stopped car usage over there... Transport is the key, but it will take a shift in attitude as much as a shift in fuel technology. People are too wedded to their cars, and no matter how good public transport gets, they won't shift over unless coerced to do so. Most people prefer to stay in their air-conditioned, smog-filtered bubble stuck in a traffic jam rather than share space with others.

6:53 pm on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It just passed 1 $ a litre here.

Yesterday, gas was $0.83. This morning, it was $0.94.

And I've got a 1/8 tank left, gotta fill up on the way home. grrrr

The only way oil will get cheaper is if we stop using so much of it.
This approach has two advantages: 1) oil becomes more plentiful for those who need it and can pay the $, and 2) you aren't using as much so who cares about the price?

One product you can consider is Solar Thermal [windandsun.com]. These heat your home and hot water tank, and with enough solar exposure they will replace or decrease your dependence on an oil furnace - they work like a reverse fridge, with a compressor and heat exchanger, so they work even in a -40C Canadian winter. Best of all, they are so energy efficient they will often pay for themselves in 2-3 years.

It's sad how slowly these changes are happening in North America. In Europe, renewable energy (solar/wind/geo) is much more common. <snip>

[edited by: lawman at 7:27 pm (utc) on June 21, 2005]
[edit reason] no political or nationalistic discussion per foo charter [/edit]

7:29 pm on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Europeans are paying big bucks for oil because it's not political suicide to put up oil taxes over here the way that it is in the States.

And don't assume that prices will drive people away from driving their own automobiles. The BBC broadcast an interview this morning (Today programme, Radio 4) in which it was suggested that, if more people used trains instead of cars, rail fares would go up. The reason for this is that trains are currently running close to capacity, or even over capacity, on some lines at the moment. The railway companies therefore need to drive passengers away, presumably back to their cars.

Oh the joys of a privatised rail system.

7:35 pm on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I saw a story running that the London Underground is trying to discourage people from using its services and walking instead.