Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back to Earth

Sometimes it is interesting to play with figures.
To reveal truth and reality.
Today we use this method to shine a light on the price of gasoline.
People in the United States complain, suffer and are disturbed because the price of gasoline has been going up so much.
Depending in which State, the price of a gallon of gas ranges from 3,85 $ in Missouri to 4,61 $ in California.

If we accept an average price of 4,00 $ a gallon, we can translate this into litres and Euros.
4,00 $ a gallon is 0,67 € per litre.
Seen from a European perspective, this is a bargain.
One litre of gasoline in Europe costs 1,68 €.
That is 0,67 € in the USA and 1,68€ in Europe.
For the convenience of our loyal and fervent American readers, a gallon of gas would cost in Europe 6,36 $.

Hence, 4,00 $ a gallon is still 59 % cheaper compared with what the Europeans pay for their gas.

Remarkable is that the European economies are doing rather well.
In spite of the higher price they pay for gasoline and diesel.

There are positive aspects to the rising price of oil.
It makes people think in a more conscious way about the way they live.
The realization will come that this lifestyle of consuming in excessive ways, as is now happening, is unsustainable.
Too many people do not want to listen to Al Gore and to become conscious of the elite position they occupy.
But now, because of what they consider a high price to pay for gas, they are waking up and are buying Hybrid cars.
Leaving the gas guzzling RV in the driveway to spend the weekend in the garden.

Once people are used to an excessive material life style they believe their happiness and wellbeing depends of it.
The idea that part of it will not be available anymore, scares them to death.
This is why no politician ever mentions to his or her electorate that more sober and simple times are needed.
This perspective will turn voters away, while it is not only very true but highly needed as well.

Because politicians are avoiding and evading this matter, the changes will come too late and in a painful and dramatic way.
Now one or two loyal and fervent blog readers may mention that yesterday Presidential hopeful John McCain plans to build 45 new nuclear power plants if he gets into the White House.
Isn’t that offering a solution to the current problems?

We must realize that nuclear technology is still not ideal.
We are left with garbage coming out of these plants that we don’t know what to do with and that is very dangerous in many ways.
The suggestion of McCain to build 45 nuclear power plants implies that the way many people live in the USA, using the highest amounts of energy in the world, is something that doesn’t need to change and can continue.

For example, houses have been visited in the USA that are having a central air-conditioning system.
Not only this system was used while the temperature outside was not that high and opening the windows would have been as effective to get coolness into the house.
But also every room of the house was cooled.
Even the rooms that were not used.
This is an expression of a mentality and an attitude.
That are very hard to change.
Except if the price of electricity would go up to realistic levels like the price of gasoline and electricity in Europe is having.
One KWH (Kilo Watt per Hour) costs in the USA on average 0,09 $ and in Europe 0,20 $.
No way a European cools all the rooms in the house with air conditioning.
That would cost a fortune and it does.
Not only having to dig into the own pocket but it costs Earth a fortune as well.

It has been calculated that one person in the United States is using on average 10.000 litres of oil annually.
A European uses less than 5.000 litres per year.
And someone in South America about 1.250 litres.

There is much to say for having gas cost in the USA over 6,00 $ a gallon.
And electricity at least 0,20 $ per KWH.
To bring everybody back to Earth.


To learn more about energy consumption worldwide, click on:



Anonymous said...

While I agree with your love of efficiency in the use of natural resources, I disagree with your opposition to McCain's idea to greatly expand the utilization of nuclear energy.

If you want to hold up Europe as a model, why not mention that France derives 76% of her electricity needs from nuclear power, while America only gets 20% from our 30+ year old plants. France did this by building 56 safe American-designed power plants -- the same designs American anti-nuclear activists succeeded in opposing.


Anonymous said...

Your hero Al Gore's own electric use went up 10 percent this past year ( even after installing solar panels and other so called energy saving devices. ) pure hypocrite !