MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

How Cartels and Political Uncertainty Cause Rising Oil and Gas Prices

Rising U.S. oil production will moderate future price increases.

OilWellsSunsetWarenemyDreamstimeWarenemy/DreamstimeThe price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose from just over $30 per barrel in February 2015 to fluctuate around $50 per barrel over the next few years. Since last September the price has increased from $50 to around $70 per barrel. Politics is at the heart of the recent increase.

First, 18 months ago the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) orchestrated a production cutback among both its members and major non-OPEC producers seeking to boost oil prices. Most cartel member governments are eager to boost oil prices since their economies are highly dependent on oil revenues. For example, oil production accounts for more than 50 percent of the GDP of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The initial cutback agreement was to withhold about 1.7 million barrels of daily oil production. In March the cartel actually managed to withhold about 2.4 million barrels per day. Part of the "success" of these cutbacks is the result of economic and political instability in many oil producing countries. As the result of the ongoing economic horror of Venezuela's economy under the Bolivarian leadership of Nicolas Maduro, oil production in that country has fallen from 2.4 million to nearly 1.4 million barrels per day. Oil production in post-Arab Spring Libya is only 400,000 barrels per day, down from 1.6 million before the fall of Qaddafi. South Sudan oil production has fallen from 500,000 to 130,000 barrels per day.

In addition, President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has heightened the political uncertainty about the trajectory of that country's oil production. Iran is hoping that foreign investment will help the country boost its daily oil production from 3.8 million to 5.5 million barrels.

Even as the short term global supply outlook has become somewhat unsettled, world daily oil consumption is projected this year to increase from 97 million to 98.5 million barrels. Uncertain supply meeting increasing demand is a surefire recipe for rising prices, at least in the short run.

Rising prices, however, have another effect: They call forth efforts to find more supplies. In this case, U.S. drillers are already mobilizing to supply the markets with more crude. The number of oil drilling rigs being deployed is rising. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest short term energy outlook report estimates that U.S. crude oil production will rise from a 2018 average of 10.7 million barrels to 11.9 million barrels per day in 2019. The agency forecasts U.S. crude oil production will reach more than 12 million barrels per day by the end of 2019. This domestic production increase will have a significant moderating influence on future oil prices. Consequently, the agency forecasts that WTI prices will fall back to an average of around $60 per barrel in 2019.

If the political prospects improve in countries like Venezuela, Libya, South Sudan, and Iran, prices will fall even lower.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If the political prospects improve in countries like Venezuela, Libya, South Sudan, and Iran, prices will fall even lower.

    I've been told by almost every news outlet that low oil prices caused Venezuela's economic hiccup. I expect the sun will be rising again on the beleaguered nation.

    Also, Vice news reports that the media is lying about Venezuela. Everyone loves the government there and it's all a big corporate media coverup.

  • John||

    The scary part is that Vice actually believes that. That kind of ignorance and delusion is really terrifying. There is literally no lie leftists won't believe if the party tells them to believe it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Here's the thing, I have no doubt that there are really bad people in the anti-government protests. That's how things work. When you squeeze people to the breaking point, the people who resist are... the kinds of people who are willing to do awful things most people won't.

    What I think is funny about what she said is that setting up flaming road blocks is now a taboo tactic of protests. Sooo... I'm going back to the WTO protests of the 90s where all my scruffy cohorts set up... flaming roadblocks

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's very, very hard to do analysis during a nations collapse.

  • Tony||

    Says the third leg of the Hannity-Trump-John information closed loop.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    So, simple question [just answer it, don't deflect, bring in tangential grievances, etc.]; are things great in Venezuela, yes or no?

  • Tony||

    No. Why do you ask?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    That seemed to be the topic of the post at the beginning, but it somehow devolved into posters being discredited [by you, "third leg closed information loop"], I ass-u-me'd because you did not agree with them regarding Venezuela and wanted to dismiss their statements. Or maybe it was just a random insult, I don't know.

  • Tony||

    John is so in the Republican bubble he posts Tucker Carlson links here as evidence for his nonsense and isn't even embarrassed.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Oh ok; this has nothing to do with Venezuela, but your personal dislike for and characterization of anyone who does not agree with you, Got it. I will not waste my time on further inquiries.

  • John||

    I have never once linked to Tucker Carlson and am not even sure who he is.

  • Tony||

    You are so shameless a liar it's almost impressive.

  • Tony||

    Is it perhaps because you're one of the illiterate simpletons who actually thinks that anyone in the civilized world who favors a universal healthcare scheme has to defend a specific petrostate dictatorship for some reason that rightly eludes people with half a brain?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    You really like unfounded random insults, don't you? And what has this to do with a universal health care scheme?

  • Tony||

    Are you sure you don't want to explain to me how Nazis were socialists too?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    No. Do you always engage in non sequitur in order to diverge from a discussion you are not comfortable with?

    I believe the discussion concerns Venezuela as a failed experiment in socialism. But you continually try to go somewhere else, presumably because it is more comfortable for you than directly addressing a specific issue.

    Ok, next argumetum ad baculum. It seems to be your stock in trade.

  • Tony||

    That's the discussion you wanted to have, I take it

    What seems to elude you guys is that there's a reason dictators often attempt to apply socialism at least nominally--because it's fucking popular. They have to justify themselves somehow, and free shit is a classic.

    What Venezuela is, like other similar countries and even certain US states, is a failed experiment in an economy relying on a single commodity.

    So to recap: I do not favor being a petrostate or a dictatorship, even if I do favor a strong social safety net. What is it you favor again? A bunch of brutal, unworkable nonsense that inevitably ends up in oligarchy?

  • damikesc||

    What seems to elude you guys is that there's a reason dictators often attempt to apply socialism at least nominally--because it's fucking popular.

    "Give me free shit that somebody else pays for" is popular? Get the fuck outta town!

    What Venezuela is, like other similar countries and even certain US states, is a failed experiment in an economy relying on a single commodity.

    Funny, OTHER oil-heavy countries haven't had the absolute obliteration of their economy as Weimar Venezuela is having. Cannot be the Communism, which is what they have --- even though this seems to happen a lot to Communist states.

    So to recap: I do not favor being a petrostate or a dictatorship, even if I do favor a strong social safety net. What is it you favor again? A bunch of brutal, unworkable nonsense that inevitably ends up in oligarchy?

    Tony, your preferences lead to the same oligarchy. Except it is the government officials who are the oligarchs.

  • BYODB||

    It's because you implied that John was lying about Venezuela and Vox, when those are factually true positions.

    Always amusing to watch someone dispute world events based on who mentions them. Very 'woke' of you.

  • sarcasmic||

    Anyone in any world who favors universally provided anything fits this quote from Thomas Sowell:

    "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

    You've got the first lesson of politics down pat. Economics? Not so much.

  • Tony||

    Somehow universal property rights is exempt.

  • sarcasmic||

    Ah yes. The idea that property is force. We've been over this. For you to have property all that is required is that no one takes a positive action to steal or harm it. No action is required. For you to have free health care someone must pay for it, or do it for free. Action is required.

    But you've already said that you see no difference between a right that requires someone to do something, and a right that only requires that others do nothing.

  • BYODB||

    Tony doesn't seem to have an issue with slavery, he just objects to private slavery.

    So, par for the course?

  • Tony||

    Cough horseshit cough. Someone has to pay cops to enforce your domain over your property. Someone has to write up and certify the paperwork. You're just making up absurdities in order to justify a positive right that you happen to favor. But as you said, we've been over this, and it never seems to get through.

  • sarcasmic||

    Someone has to pay cops to enforce your domain over your property.

    Only if someone takes action to violate it. If nobody attempts to steal or trespass, no action is taken. Not only that, but I could protect my property myself if I so chose. However in a civilized society we cede that power to government.

    Property rights are purely reactive.

    Whereas your right to universal healthcare means you get a service whenever you want at the expense of everyone else. It's not something you could do on your own without robbing your neighbors or enslaving your doctor. What you want to do is give government the power to do something that would be unjust if done by an individual.

    Yes, it never seems to get through to you. I draw distinctions and you don't get them, or wave them away.

  • Tony||

    Even if your distinction were real, which it isn't (we pay cops whether someone burgles us or not), you have never explained why it matters. Where does the moral difference between reactive and proactive come from? Sounds like something someone just pulled from his ass.

    I base my moral judgments of social policy on whether they life better for human beings or not.

  • sarcasmic||

    Where does the moral difference between reactive and proactive come from?

    It's logic. You can't be both free from the initiation of force and allow people to initiate force on others. Can't have it both ways. Can't have property rights and allow theft. Doesn't work logically.

    I base my moral judgments of social policy on whether they life better for human beings or not.

    Ah yes. The magical power of good intentions. Thing is, good intentions don't always have the desired results. Everything is a trade off. You want universal health care, well then that means resources must be taken to provide this. What is the opportunity cost? Do-gooders never think of opportunity cost.

  • Tony||

    But you willy-nilly define someone as walking on your property as the initiation of force and not the shooting of that person in the head. I don't have to accept that just because you think it makes your argument logical.

    Are you suggesting that your political scheme comes from bad intentions? Or are you just using vocab words you sort of understand because you can't actually win the argument?

  • sarcasmic||

    But you willy-nilly define someone as walking on your property as the initiation of force and not the shooting of that person in the head.

    It's not willy-nilly. Which happened first? Who did something first? You're saying that if you punch me in the nose I'm initiating force when I kick you in the stomach.

  • Tony||

    So now all actions are force? What if I don't think walking on your lawn is force. What if you're just saying it is to try to make property into a negative right, when in reality it's among the bigger impositions on other people that exist in a society.

  • sarcasmic||

    What if I don't think walking on your lawn is force.

    Then you are someone who lacks respect of property rights. Your parents failed you and you need a good lecture, ass-whoopin, or killin'.

  • sarcasmic||

    (we pay cops whether someone burgles us or not)

    Only because they are tasked with enforcing a host of unjust laws that create crimes without victims. If the laws were just, the cops would be bored.

  • Sevo||

    "Someone has to pay cops to enforce your domain over your property. Someone has to write up and certify the paperwork. You're just making up absurdities in order to justify a positive right that you happen to favor."

    Is it possible that someone is actually stupid enough to believe that pile of horseshit?

  • sarcasmic||

    Is it possible that someone is actually stupid enough to believe that pile of horseshit?

    Sadly, yes. Tony really sees no difference between action and inaction. If you don't steal from someone you're being forced to not steal. If you steal from someone, anyone who tries to stop you is initiating force on you. If you're government and you take less, you are actually giving. Not only that, but by taking less you are actually stealing from those that the taken goods would have been delivered to. No not taking is giving, and not giving is taking. Inaction is action, and action is inaction.

  • Tony||

    Try to do absolutely nothing. Go ahead, try. Now how is the universe any different than how it would be if you were acting? It's not. Not at all. You're just breathing in one place instead of another. You think "not acting" in the trolley problem gets you off the hook for all the deaths?

    I am not even talking about the obligation we may or may not have to other human beings. I'm just talking about the nonexistence of inaction. And the logical consequence of believing that all tax cuts are always a return of wrongfully taken property--only anarchy is thus possible, and anarchy is dumb, so the claim itself is to be discarded.

  • sarcasmic||

    That reminded me of conversations I had when I was carpooling with a philosophy major. Once we were done carpooling I never spoke to him again.

  • Tony||

    And then you took your hand off the wheel and ran down 5 people, but nobody thought you were at fault because you simply let things happen and didn't "act"?

  • sarcasmic||

    And then you took your hand off the wheel and ran down 5 people, but nobody thought you were at fault because you simply let things happen and didn't "act"?

    If a man is speaking in a forest and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?

    Sorry, but the red herring has nothing to do with this.

  • Tony||

    I just gave you an example where doing nothing by your definition is actually rather consequential, and that you would be duty-bound by any ethical system to instead "do something." So the distinction isn't as clear as you would like.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Was he magically transported into the moving vehicle? Hint: no.

  • Libertymike||

    Yes, Maduro's marauders.

  • BYODB||

    In Tony's universe, property rights didn't exist prior to 1838 since there were no police, and even then there were only property rights in in Boston. Right, Tony?

  • Tony||

    Property is literally an entitlement by government to force other people to do things.

  • sarcasmic||

    Property is literally an entitlement by government to force other people to do things.

    Even in the Stone Age people had property. You make a kill then the meat is yours to do as you wish. That cave is yours because you claimed it. You improved it with a hearth and a well. Whatever.

    Property existed long before government.

    Even animals understand property. Try stealing a dog's favorite toy.

  • Tony||

    Property before modern government was whatever you could secure with force. It is force. Always has been, as you ably explain in this post. So stop trying to tell me it's not.

  • sarcasmic||

    Property before modern government was whatever you could secure with force. It is force. Always has been, as you ably explain in this post. So stop trying to tell me it's not.

    Right. I'm not telling you it is not. It doesn't impose anything on anyone. Leave me alone and I leave you alone. Initiate on my property and it will be responded to with force.

    You seem to miss the difference between initiation and response.

  • Tony||

    What I'm missing is an explanation for how you justify a system that depends on everyone never behaving improperly on their own volition.

  • sarcasmic||

    If by "forcing other people to do things" you mean "don't steal, don't trespass, don't vandalize" then your head is totally warped. Forcing people to not do something is not forcing someone to do something.

    You seriously see no difference between "Do this or I'll kill you" and "If you do this I will kill you"?

    One clearly makes you do something, while the other cautions you to not.

  • Tony||

    Forcing someone not to step on your lawn is exactly the same as forcing them to go around your lawn.

    But the real problem comes when you extend this to its logical conclusion: government is permitted to spare no expense to protect the luxuries of the rich from the poor, but it must not spend a dime to cater to the basic interests of the poor.

    One rejects this system because it is monumentally unjust, and I wonder why you'd even bother trying to squeeze such a farcically unjust system into a couple flimsy axioms.

  • sarcasmic||

    Forcing someone not to step on your lawn is exactly the same as forcing them to go around your lawn.

    No one forces anyone to not trespass. That isn't force. Trespass is force, because it is using property that is not yours without permission. And yes it is enforced with force. But only reactive force. Not proactive.

  • sarcasmic||

    One rejects this system because it is monumentally unjust

    It is perfectly just. Poverty is the default state of man. We are born with nothing. The emphasis should not be on the causes of poverty. That's like saying darkness has a cause. It doesn't. Darkness is default. Light makes it change. Wealth makes poverty change. The emphasis should be on what causes wealth. What causes light. Part of what allows for wealth is property rights. Why bother when the results of your labor will be taken from you?

  • Tony||

    Lol do what? Donald Trump was not born with nothing. And the wealth he was born into he did not labor to achieve, it goes without saying.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lol do what? Donald Trump was not born with nothing. And the wealth he was born into he did not labor to achieve, it goes without saying.

    Good for him. I don't agree with his politics for the most part, and what he does with his wealth is none of my business.

    I would say the same thing about Soros or anyone else.

  • Juice||

    government is permitted to spare no expense to protect the luxuries of the rich from the poor, but it must not spend a dime to cater to the basic interests of the poor.

    Government is permitted to do nothing. It does what it wants whether you permit it or not and there's nothing you can do about it. FYTW

  • BYODB||

    You'll need to expound on that since it's utter gibberish. If property was an entitlement, we would be a communist state.

  • Juice||

    Someone has to pay cops to enforce your domain over your property.

    For the 100th time, cops do not have to exist for private property to exist.

  • sarcasmic||

    For the 100th time, cops do not have to exist for private property to exist.

    Try stealing a fresh kill from a dog. Tell me about government needing to enforce property rights.

  • Tony||

    So defend anarchy on its supposed merits, i.e., why is it good for human beings generally, and stop trying to platitude the argument to death.

  • Juice||

    So defend anarchy on its supposed merits

    Does this means you concede that property does not require a government/state?

  • Tony||

    Sure, the same way unicorns can exist as long as we simply start calling horses unicorns.

    Property without a state is simply whatever a person can grab and defend, right? Making someone with a bigger arsenal the one with the better claim to it.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm not an anarchist

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony, you have a hard time with distinctions.

    Perhaps "all or nothing" is one of them.

    I want something in between.

    You seem to want all, and accuse me of wanting nothing.

    It's getting old.

  • Tony||

    I want something in between too. So stop saying taxation is theft and only negative rights are permissible. We both want an activist government, you just want it to do a lot less.

    So just defend that system on its merits and stop telling me I have to believe in it, because I don't.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    A police force meant to keep the peace is not an activist government. Quite the opposite. In your mind the government exists to punish success and socialize failure.

  • Tony||

    Okay, so do you think a nightwatchman state is the best possible society for humans, or do you think that no other form is permissible, even if they were objectively better for human beings?

    There is no stone etched with the right answer to "What form of government should we have?"

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Except you have no evidence that they are better. And you'll find that blanket appeals to utilitarianism don't carry much weight, but you can continue to advocate for slavery as much as you want.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Except you have no evidence that they are better. And you'll find that blanket appeals to utilitarianism don't carry much weight, but you can continue to advocate for slavery as much as you want.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Except you have no evidence that they are better. And you'll find that blanket appeals to utilitarianism don't carry much weight, but you can continue to advocate for slavery as much as you want.

  • Tony||

    Everyone is a utilitarian. Presumably via some highly warped sense of morality you think a nightwatchman state is better for human beings, otherwise why are you advocating for it? Surely even more ludicrous is the deontological route. Which deity are you saying forces us into a minimalist state?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And yet you just transfer your worship to the collective, certain that the mob and envy will leave to good decisions. History certainly agrees with you, oh wait...

  • sarcasmic||

    So stop saying taxation is theft and only negative rights are permissible.

    They are illogical.

    We both want an activist government, you just want it to do a lot less.

    No. I want a government that reacts. Reacts to theft. To trespass. To assault. To rape. To murder.

    I do not want an activist government. No fucking way no fucking how.

  • sarcasmic||

    Rather what you want is illogical.

  • Tony||

    I want a government that only reacts to. To theft, trespass, assault, rape, murder, poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of education....

    So we stumble upon another essential libertarian fallacy: that the only harm that it is legitimate for governments to respond to is that caused by human agents.

    This definitely needs to be explained, because from where I sit there is nothing to justify it.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So your answer, as always, is to steal in order to feel better about yourself.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Tony or any prog counting: One, two, many, mine.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tony, I am the person here who is most friendly to you. I try to not be a jerk. Please reciprocate.

  • Tony||

    You're all right with me. But I'm never going to agree that it's more immoral to tax a billionaire 1% than it is to refrain from feeding a starving child.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Funny how your marginal rates never start at 1BB. Also funny how yoi don't advocate for redistribution of your wealth to the global poor. The median income in the US places you in the top 1% globally. Why do you hate children, Tony?

  • Tony||

    Like anyone else I'm for maximizing my own wealth and happiness. I do however endorse the global system of governments getting their shit together and raising everyone's standard of living. Altruism has little or nothing to do with it. It's in my personal best interest not to have a world full of Ebola factories.

  • sarcasmic||

    I do however endorse the global system of governments getting their shit together and raising everyone's standard of living.

    All governments do is take. They don't create. They take. You want to raise living standards? Allow freedom. It's not equal. Some get really rich. But only by making everyone else a little bit richer. As they make the pie bigger, we all benefit. Government grabs the pie and slices it out.

    It make us all poorer.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    By taking from one to give to another you are not raising everyone's standard of living, by definition.

  • sarcasmic||

    But I'm never going to agree that it's more immoral to tax a billionaire 1% than it is to refrain from feeding a starving child.

    Intentions are great. They really are. I'm about principles.

  • Tony||

    I just stated a principle: better for a billionaire to go without a few bucks than for a child to starve.

  • sarcasmic||

    I just stated a principle: better for a billionaire to go without a few bucks than for a child to starve.

    Translation: Theft is OK if someone judges it as such.

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't know the what a millionaire or billionaire means. It means they own assets. Property. They don't have piles of cash they can use to feed a child.

  • Tony||

    But you've been saying this whole time that theft is OK when it's paying goons to escort people off your property.

  • sarcasmic||

    No. I've been saying that we can't avoid death and taxes. So I'm not an anarchist.

    Best to limit what is done to some kind of logical principles.

    Principles other than "What do I want." Because that has always led to tyranny.

    I want tyranny of the "Do what you want. I don't give a fuck as long as you don't mess with my day."

    And that makes me a bad person.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    In Tony's world literal theft isn't theft, but inconvenience IS theft. It's like a string theory compass.

  • sarcasmic||

    In Tony's world literal theft isn't theft, but inconvenience IS theft.

    I believe your are correct. His hostility towards property rights and love of free shit makes me think he doesn't think we should have property at all.

  • sarcasmic||

    But you've been saying this whole time that theft is OK when it's paying goons to escort people off your property.

    Stone Age men would escort trespasser off their property. Property existed long before government.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    What tony doesn't understand is that property rights enforced by the government protect the weak. His forced redistribution actively exploits them because the collective is stronger than any individual regardless of their wealth. He can't be honest about it because it directly contradicts his stated goals.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Oh for Christ's sake. Now it's about starving children. Kafka himself could not have come up with a more obfuscated and circular round of nonsensical palaver. Take your "global system of governments" and put it in a dark place, while you're at it. Socialism is a failed form of communism light. It does not work.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    "Also, Vice news reports that the media is lying about Venezuela. Everyone loves the government there and it's all a big corporate media coverup."

    Wow, not THAT is some fake news!

    I know a bunch of people from Venezuela who fled and are doing their best to get any remaining relatives out of there. They actually HEAR from people there and it keeps getting worse. There are regular anti-government demonstrations in which the troops don't hesitate to shoot unless they recognize a family member among the protesters (that has happened).

    In addition, I also work with a guy originally from Colombia who assures me that massive numbers of Venezuelans regularly come across the border to get things like food, medicine, and baby diapers that are not available in Venezuela anymore.

    The ex-pats I know also tell me that at least 80% of the remaining population is anti-Madura, and the remaining 20% are too dumb to question when he tells them that it's not his government but the US that is causing their misery. Apparently, Maduro has even told them that the CIA killed Simon Bolivar! (This would mean the CIA has perfected a working time machine.)

    Just like it has been reported in Reason, that country was indeed prosperous at one time, and had a large middle class. All of those middle class professionals have fled by now. They are under no delusions about Chavez and his even more idiotic successor being behind the ongoing disaster.

  • Sevo||

    Synfuels were originally developed in Germany in the late '30s, since 'the world was running out of oil!!!', and prices were expected to get high enough to support them.
    Which prices also prompted prospecting in east Texas, and (insert boring cliche').

  • John||

    The world will run out of oils at some point, but it is going to be long past our lifetimes.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nope. At some point the cost of producing petroleum products will become more expensive than the alternatives, at which point people will transition. There will still be lots of crude left underground at that point.

    In the mean time when prices go up it become economical to drill in places where production costs are high, which in turn raises supply and lowers the price. Then production stops where it isn't economical which lowers supply and raises the price.... Back and forth, back and forth.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    So Peak Oil will transpire at some time [due either to scarcity of the resource] or we will have availability of as yet unknown alternatives. Meanwhile the law of supply and demand rules.

  • sarcasmic||

    There are plenty of alternatives. They just aren't economically viable. Just as petroleum replaced whale oil because it was cheaper, something will replace petroleum when the price is right.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    That may never happen, or at least using some form of hydrocarbon fuel for transportation. There's nothing on the horizon with the energy density, stable STP properties, and ease of use. Even if we were to crack fusion tomorrow we still might manufacture hydrocarbon fuels as the best option.

  • sarcasmic||

    Whale hydrocarbon. Petroleum hydrocarbon. Maybe some plant based hydrocarbon?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Probably. I would guess pyrolysis of corn stover and municipal waste. If you have unlimited electricity or thermal output it's a pretty simple process.

  • sarcasmic||

    I have no idea of what that means, but I will agree anyway. Like you said "we still might manufacture hydrocarbon fuels." It is the best way to store potential energy at this point. Unless someone comes up with something better.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    It means cook biomass until it becomes fuel. It still takes input energy in the form of heat, but you get fuel in the end. It's analogous to making charcoal from wood.

  • Sevo||

    "Nope. At some point the cost of producing petroleum products will become more expensive than the alternatives, at which point people will transition."

    Yeah. To steal a comment, we didn't quit the stone age because we ran out of stones.

  • John||

    Good point sarcasmic. And I am totally stealing that Stone Age line Sevo

  • sarcasmic||

    And I am totally stealing that Stone Age line Sevo

    Me too. Good one.

  • Sevo||

    Both you guys are now the recipients of stolen goods. Wish I could remember who gets credit...

  • sarcasmic||

    I've created plenty of memes myself that have been stolen. "Red Tony," "Principals > Principles," "John likes fatties," and who knows what else.

    Sorry John. I couldn't resist.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I thought John's preference for Rubensesque ladies came out during a fight he had with Episiarch back in the Before Times.

  • sarcasmic||

    I thought John's preference for Rubensesque ladies came out during a fight he had with Episiarch back in the Before Times.

    It was back when I'd do my list of Daily Fails on the Mourning Lynx, which would include pictures of svelte ladies. John would say I like boys, so I said he liked fatties. What he said was forgotten, and what I said stuck.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Saudi oil minister.

  • sarcasmic||

    Alright, but what about Queens of the Stone Age?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Well germany certainly was, or rather they never had mich oil to begin with. Coal on the other hand...

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, Hitler's desire for autarky meant he HAD to finance syn-fuels.

  • Don't look at me.||

    So, fracking is good?

  • Inigo Montoya||

    It depends who you ask. The Saudis absolutely hate it.

    There's also some wingnuts who think fracking is earth-rape or something, because their leaders told them it's bad while wearing a white lab coat. And you know, they believe in science, which to them means don't question anything a guy in a lab coat tells you.

  • damikesc||

    Those same wingnuts are also funded HEAVILY by Russia, which means, according to them, they are traitors or something.

  • John B. Egan||

    BofA was the first analyst to state that blowing off the Iran deal and sanctioning both Iran and Venezuela will cause oil to run up over $100 a barrel by 2019. You can go to online calculators and plug in today's oil price (about $70 a barrel) and do the math. You'll come up with a 75 cent a gallon increase when it hits $100 a barrel.. and higher if it exceeds that. We're already paying a premium due to the illogical policies of Trump, who famously tweeted that oil prices under Obama in 2012 were outrageous.... Oopsie! So, just take whatever today's gasoline price is, add 75 cents to it and you'll have an idea of what you'll be paying in a few months. #MAGA

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online