• Feb 1st 2009 at 2:58PM
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For the last several years, as the economies of countries like India, China and Brazil have boomed, projections of worldwide energy demand have indicated an increase of 70 percent over the next two decades. That demand curve hit a big speed bump in the United States in 2008 as prices for oil spiked, and were then followed by the global economy tanking in the second half of the year. Demand for petroleum products in particular had the biggest drop since 1980, falling six percent to just 19.4 million barrels a day. That's the lowest demand in this country since 2003. Domestic oil production also hit its lowest level since 1946, as Gulf of Mexico supplies were disrupted by hurricanes and Alaskan production declined as well. Imports of both crude oil and finished products like gasoline also dropped by 2.2 and 10.6 percent respectively. This downward trend is likely to continue for at least the next year or two as global trade declines. Once the economy recovers, the upward trend will probably resume - at least for the next decade when alternatives (should) really start to take hold.

[Source: American Petroleum Institute]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Groo, you sound just like Gorr. Any relation?

      I'm not opposed to "green algae fuels", they show great promise, but they are still under development and won't be on the market for a few years. Methane from sewage is wonderful, a natural source of natural gas, but there isn't enough sewage available for all our energy needs.

      As for hydrogen, its physical properties make it a very poor automotive fuel even if we ignored the high costs involved. Electricity is just as clean as H2, and batteries are much less expensive and 3x more efficient than using H2 fuels. Why choose the more expensive less efficient option?

      Here in California, less than 40% of our electricity comes from coal, and that percentage is dropping as more solar/wind/geothermal/hydro power comes on line.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Just wait until everyone loses their jobs, our demand will be way down when we don't have to drive to work anymore.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Big Oil has done such a good job convincing us that we are running out of oil, that I'm not sure what their next move is? Tell us there is plenty now? Remember Big Oil, we are running out of oil, so we have no choice but to start using something else ... expensive or not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here at hydrogenuk.com we have just patented a Bio-reactor that can produce Hydrogen cost effectively, and we will not be silenced by the big Oil companies. Regards GAS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      regardless of what the majority of bloggers think, the real economy will change over to the energy sources you mentioned as they become available and economical. That is the way the market works.
      The sky high prices we were paying last spring had a real effect. It was more the result of oil futures speculation than a real shortage. We got ripped off, and fortunately many of the speculators were bankrupted when the bubble broke. The good thing about it was it woke us up.
      We all want to go to a renewable energy economy. It can't be done in a day. It will seem like a slow process, but it will happen quickly. It will happen because the costs of developing renewable energies are going down, while the costs of developing petroleum reserves is going up. It's an economic no brainer. We will do it not because it is the right thing to do, we will do it because it will become the economic thing to do.
      As far as petroleum demand goes, though it tends to follow the economy, in the future it will be moderated by ever increasing use of renewables.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Damn, jharlan, I hate it when people post using common sense and logic! Can't you at least call Exxon a fascist organization hellbent at obscene profits regardless of their rape of Mother Earth, or call environmentalists everywhere a bunch of marxist whacko nutjobs?
      • 6 Years Ago
      As long as the majority of bloggers here oppose hydrogen, green algae fuels, methane from sewage then we will be struck by polluting petrol and coal electricity for the richs.
        • 6 Years Ago
        As mentioned by others, it doesn't matter what bloggers think, ultimately the market will decide which one succeeds.

        I haven't seen people here opposing green algae & methane fuels so I don't know where you got that.

        We (the frequent commenters) have been quite critical of hydrogen. I'm not going to go over all the stuff again, but hydrogen can be summarized as a less efficient, drastically more expensive, quick refueling battery (fuel cell case, since it's what most people refer to as hydrogen) that requires completely new fueling infrastructure. With electrolysis being currently probably the cheapest/easiest way to build a hydrogen station, hydrogen won't change the coal situation you referred to. Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Petroleum, are all common sources which can produce both hydrogen & electricity. The only way hydrogen will be a drastic (better) change from electricity is if a source is developed which can produce hydrogen drastically more efficiently than electricity (or a source where you can readily make hydrogen but can't produce electricity using the same source). The only possible one I'm aware of is possibly biological hydrogen production (algae), but so far there isn't a commercially viable example yet.
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