Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Way It Has "Always" Been is Outrageous

When something outrageous has been around for generations, it is difficult to feel an appropriate outrage. We've gotten so accustomed to having no choice with the fuel we put in our cars, almost none of us recognize how ridiculous that is in a free society.

One of the things people from developing countries most remark about when they move to America is how much choice we have in everything. Did you know there are 487 different kinds of breakfast cereal? If you've grown up here, you're used to it. But people who move here from poor countries often wander around supermarkets completely astonished, sometimes walking down the isles with tears running down their faces, overwhelmed at the abundance and choice available to them in a free society.

We're used to it. But we're also used to having no choice in fuel. If all of a sudden there was only one kind of breakfast cereal, you would be outraged. And if every store you went to had the same, single kind of breakfast cereal, you would feel that something must be done about this! You'd be writing to your Members of Congress. You'd be talking to all your friends about it. You'd be writing letters to the editor.

And that's not even a good enough analogy, because of course you can eat other things besides breakfast cereal. What if you walked into a supermarket and the only food available in the supermarket was shredded wheat? What if that was the only food in the whole store? There might be ten different brands of shredded wheat available, but that's all. And all of it outrageously expensive.

That's more like our situation.

People would completely freak out. That's an appropriate response to an artificially-induced limit (and artificially-raised price) on a vital commodity.

As soon as enough people see that the emperor has no clothes — as soon as they recognize the outrageousness of the condition of our fuel market — they are highly motivated to do something about it.

You and I need to do everything we can to get the word out. We need to help people see how ridiculous, but more importantly, how dangerous it is for us to remain in a one-fuel economy. People need to awaken. But when someone is asleep, they can't wake themselves up. They must be awakened by someone who is already awake. That's you. It is your responsibility (and your privilege) to awaken others and — let's call a spade a spade — to save the world.

Monday, July 27, 2015


John Brackett, the engineer who shows you how to hack your car's computer in the movie PUMP, has created an interesting web site loaded with great information. Check it out: Fuelverine.

On the web site, Brackett writes:
I created this site to give you a choice, because your government and the car manufacturers keep pretending you don’t have one. With the latest EPA regulations, $5,000-15,000 per vehicle is added just in emissions control systems to keep that dirty gasoline from polluting our atmosphere. With alternative fuels, most of these components wouldn’t be needed. There are half a dozen other fuel choices that could be made locally, burn cleaner, create local jobs, improve infrastructure and provide true energy independence. But why are we not allowed to use them? Is it a chicken vs the egg problem? Yes. Is it a technical problem? Not in the slightest. Is this your problem even if you don’t have a car? Yes. Everything in our economy is tied to the cost of oil and transportation, which is controlled by a monopoly, lobbyists, and your government. Do you realize every taxpayer spends $5,700 per year in subsidies for the oil companies… who are making record profits while our country goes more in debt. In whose interest is it that we don’t have fuel choice?

Everything on a car will break, and if it doesn’t, the bolt next to it will. Then you have to heat, cut, grind, lather, repeat. It’s an endless cycle and if you don’t do your own car work, will usually cost you a grand per visit for what used to be simple tasks. This story is only going to get worse over the upcoming years. So much so, that I don’t believe people will be able to afford a vehicle at current trends, especially when gas goes back to $5/gallon, which it will.

So who am I to tell you what to do? My education is in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration on Automotive Engineering. With the guidance of some brilliant minds, I’ve been able to run engines on a dozen fuels cleanly and reliably. Now it’s your turn to learn what you can do to enable your own fuel choice and start demanding a change.

Check it out: Fuelverine.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981 – but it funded deniers for 27 more years

"ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.

"The email from Exxon’s in-house climate expert provides evidence the company was aware of the connection between fossil fuels and climate change, and the potential for carbon-cutting regulations that could hurt its bottom line, over a generation ago – factoring that knowledge into its decision about an enormous gas field in south-east Asia. The field, off the coast of Indonesia, would have been the single largest source of global warming pollution at the time.

"'Exxon first got interested in climate change in 1981 because it was seeking to develop the Natuna gas field off Indonesia,' Lenny Bernstein, a 30-year industry veteran and Exxon’s former in-house climate expert, wrote in the email. 'This is an immense reserve of natural gas, but it is 70% CO2,' or carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change.

"However, Exxon’s public position was marked by continued refusal to acknowledge the dangers of climate change, even in response to appeals from the Rockefellers, its founding family, and its continued financial support for climate denial."

Read the whole article: Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years.

Oil company funds dozens of front groups and researchers trying to discredit links between fossil fuels and climate change – or denying climate change was occurring at all

"Members of the Rockefeller family tried to get ExxonMobil to acknowledge the dangers of climate change a decade ago – but failed in their efforts to reform the oil giant.

"In letters, lunch meetings, and shareholder resolutions, the descendants of John D Rockefeller, founder of the oil empire that eventually became Exxon, sought repeatedly to persuade the company to abandon climate denial and begin shifting their business towards clean energy.

"'The head of investor relations was really surprised to find we didn’t love Exxon as it was but thought changes might be a good idea,' said Neva Rockefeller Goodwin.

"Over the next few years, Goodwin and about a dozen other Rockefellers launched three separate shareholder resolutions pressing Exxon to recognise climate change and invest in renewable energy. The cousins also sought an independent chairman, believing it would make the company more responsive.

"At the time the oil company was the main funder of dozens of front groups and researchers rubbishing any link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change – or denying climate change was occurring at all."

Read the whole article: Rockefeller family tried and failed to get ExxonMobil to accept climate change.

Needless to say, this is not fuel competition. This is not fuels competing with each other in a competitive marketplace. This is deceptive, monopolistic non-competition.

US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies

"The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers...

"A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry."

Read the rest: US taxpayers subsidising world's biggest fossil fuel companies.

Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry

"A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show.

"Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers..."

Read the rest: Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry.

This is not fuel competition. This is deception.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fuel Competition in California

Reporter and editor Landon Hall, writing for Fuel Freedom, says:

If you were to build a gas station today, from the ground up, you’d scribble out a list of the types of fuel you’d want to offer your customers. At the top, of course, would be regular 87-octane unleaded gasoline, which contains 10 percent ethanol. But next on the list likely would be E85 ethanol blend.

That’s right: Cheaper, cleaner-burning E85 might just be a hot seller, if you did it right. Mike Lewis, co-founder of Pearson Fuels in San Diego, has been selling it for 12 years, and he knows there’s a customer base out there for it. Last month he sold more than 34,000 gallons of E85 at his flagship station, accounting for 20.7 percent of his overall fuel sales.

Customers consistently buy more E85 at the station than mid-grade gas (89 octane), premium (91) or diesel combined.

“The reality is that there are flex-fuel vehicles everywhere, all over California, roughly 5 percent of the vehicles,” Lewis said. “So if you have a gas station, and you’re selling a lot of gasoline, then you can sell a lot of E85.”

Pearson supplies about 60 fueling stations with E85 and is partnering with station-retailer G&M Oil to put the fuel in 13 new stations in Southern California over the next year. The expansion is part of a national trend: Since 2007 the number of stations selling E85 has more than doubled, to about 3,000 today, roughly 2 percent of the nation’s total stations. E15 ethanol blend also is spreading across the country: Georgia got its first pumps Friday, and retailer Kum & Go added the fuel at its station in Windsor Heights, Iowa, and plans to introduce it at 60-some more over the next two years.

There are ample vehicles on the road that are ready to take the fuel: more than 17 million flex-fuel vehicles that can run on ethanol blends up to E85, including 1 million in California. And more customers are taking advantage of the many benefits of ethanol, including lower emissions and the fact that it’s made in the U.S.

Read the rest: Gas Stations Are Adding Ethanol Because It's Good For Business.

What is the difference between robust and feeble fuel competition? Find out here.