[permaculture] Ethanol fuel, gas prices, food prices, deforestation

Robert Waldrop bwaldrop at cox.net
Sun Jun 17 19:47:14 EDT 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lawrence F. London, Jr." <lfl at intrex.net>
> Where did you get this information

Among other things I do, I moderate 
runningonempty2 at yahoogroups.com which has been 
discussing peak oil and its related energy issues 
since 2001.  We have about 7200 members and 55,000 
messages in our archive.  The idea that the dearth 
in refinery construction is due to peak oil is a 
very common topic of the discussion there and 
elsewhere (e.g. Association for the Study of Peak 
Oil, http://www.peakoil.net/ ).  Corporations are 
in business to make money.  Under US law, they 
have no other purpose than making money for their 
shareholders (I don't agree with that, but I think 
it is an accurate description of the present 
situation).  Thus, it makes no sense for them to 
expand refinery production because future world 
oil production won't support an expanded refinery 

> Do you regard that source as credible?


> Do you believe that theory as opposed to
> that of "keeping gas prices artificially high
> while they invest in ethanol production (or corn 
> commodity
> or stocks in gmo's, ethanol distribution and 
> sales, etc.)"

I don't think gasoline prices are artificially 
high.  I think they are artificially low, and I 
think that that concept, besides being a peak oil 
axiom, is also a permaculture idea.  The net 
effect of the combination of oil corporation and 
government action throughout the 20th century has 
been to shift the costs of petroleum production 
and consumption off of those doing the producing 
and onto the general public and the environment. 
If all the externalities of a gallon of oil could 
be allocated to the price of that gallon, it would 
surely be at least $10-$15/gallon.  That would be 
a minimum "fair permaculture price" for a gallon 
of gasoline.

Rising gasoline prices are not a bad thing from 
the viewpoint of the permaculture, it seems to me. 
Rising gasoline prices are not only a good thing, 
they are a necessary thing.  If we want petroleum 
consumption to decline, then the price must 

At $3.20/gallon, the price of gasoline is only 20 
cents per cup.  Coca-Cola is more expensive in the 
United States than gasoline.

>> The refinery shortage is going to
>> resolve itself in the near term by being 
>> exposed
>> as a "crude oil shortage".  World oil 
>> production
>> peaked in May 2005, and it has been all 
>> downhill
> Is that from a reliable source?

The May 2005 peak data is from US Department of 
Energy, Energy Information Administration, Monthly 
Energy Report, go to 
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/inter.html and 
click on the link to world oil production.  It was 
74.151 Million Barrels per Day in May 2005, and 
Feb 2007 production, the most recent available at 
this site, was 73.195 million barrels.

Bob Waldrop, OKC

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