PDA

View Full Version : A number I'd like to know...


Sheldon Brown
September 29th 04, 04:45 PM
I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.

Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.

How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
then be consumed?

Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
+----------------------------------------+
| Cyclists fare best when they act and |
| are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
| -- John Forester |
| http://www.johnforester.com/ |
+----------------------------------------+
Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
http://harriscyclery.com
Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com

Pete Rissler
September 29th 04, 04:56 PM
"Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
...
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> Sheldon "Numbers" Brown


I would think you would need to remove "training" and "racing" miles. I
don't think most people will replace training on a bike with training in a
car. Maybe the number of commuter miles on a bicycle is more appropriate?

--
Pete Rissler
http://web1.greatbasin.net/~rissler/
http://www.tccycling.com

psycholist
September 29th 04, 05:01 PM
"Pete Rissler" > wrote in message
...
> "Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
> ...
> > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> > a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
> >
> > Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> > bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> >
> > How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> > then be consumed?
> >
> > Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
> >
> > Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
>
>
> I would think you would need to remove "training" and "racing" miles. I
> don't think most people will replace training on a bike with training in a
> car. Maybe the number of commuter miles on a bicycle is more appropriate?
>
> --
> Pete Rissler
> http://web1.greatbasin.net/~rissler/
> http://www.tccycling.com
>
>
Pete,
I had the same immediate reaction (I'm sure most folks will). Wouldn't it
be great if training in a car would work! If you could count that, then
Robin Williams has climbed Alpe de Huez as fast as Lance has! ;-)

Bob C.

Roger Zoul
September 29th 04, 05:42 PM
Sheldon Brown wrote:
:: I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
:: advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
:: a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
::
:: Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
:: bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
::
:: How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
:: then be consumed?
::
:: Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

In my case, zero. I don't ride my bike as a replacement for driving my car.
Bike riding, for me, is for fun and fitness.

So, likely, to get reasonable numbers, you'd have to look at those who
commute by bike, not recreational folks are racers.

Claire Petersky
September 29th 04, 05:48 PM
"Pete Rissler" > wrote in message
...
> "Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
> ...
> > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> > a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
> >
> > Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> > bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> >
> > How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> > then be consumed?
> >
> > Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> I would think you would need to remove "training" and "racing" miles. I
> don't think most people will replace training on a bike with training in a
> car. Maybe the number of commuter miles on a bicycle is more appropriate?

Or general utility miles -- not just commuting, but running errands,
shopping, etc.

My first thought is that bicycle miles might not be replaced with automobile
miles. Before I took up bicycle commuting, I rode the bus to work. When I
don't ride, I still take the bus to work. It's just not a pleasant trip in a
car, and it costs $25 a day to park in my building. Similarly, if I weren't
riding to places like the post office or the drug store, I'd probably be
walking there -- so again, these are not replaced with automobile miles.

Another thought -- if I weren't riding my bike, then I might be driving to
the health club in the evenings. So maybe there'd be additional automobile
miles to get the same exercise? This would be true even for the training,
recreational, and event miles. Or would we all take up running instead?


Warm Regards,

Claire Petersky
please substitute yahoo for mousepotato to reply
Home of the meditative cyclist:
http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
See the books I've set free at: http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky

Max
September 29th 04, 05:49 PM
In article >,
Sheldon Brown > wrote:

> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?

.... an interesting question. I have, here on the shelf above me,
several USDOT, Census and DOE publications relating to transportation
issues, very up to date stuff.

I tried to synthesize the value:
#cyclecommutes X ave.cyclecommute.distance X ave.car.milage


It turns out to be difficult to get the cycle values. In fact, cycling
doesn't even show up, except as "fatalities: other".

from memory.

..max

--
the part of >
was played by maxwell monningh 8-p

Max
September 29th 04, 06:14 PM
In article >,
Max > wrote:

> I tried to synthesize the value:
> #cyclecommutes X ave.cyclecommute.distance X ave.car.milage

ahem.

#cyclecommutes X ave.cyclecommute.distance / ave.car.milage


..max
too little coffee+too little sleep = stupid.

--
the part of >
was played by maxwell monningh 8-p

David Damerell
September 29th 04, 06:15 PM
Pete Rissler > wrote:
>"Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
>>Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
>>bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>>How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
>>then be consumed?
>I would think you would need to remove "training" and "racing" miles.

Not necessarily; some of those might be replaced by driving to the gym.

I think "mile for mile" is a fair exchange; it also, frex, doesn't take
into account the tendency for cagers to choose to live further from work.
--
David Damerell > flcl?

Mark Heiple
September 29th 04, 07:08 PM
In article >,
Sheldon Brown > wrote:

> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
> +----------------------------------------+
> | Cyclists fare best when they act and |
> | are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
> | -- John Forester |
> | http://www.johnforester.com/ |
> +----------------------------------------+
> Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
> Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
> http://harriscyclery.com
> Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
> http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com

In my case, my gas consumption would go down. I live in a lousy
location for biking, and have to drive if I want a decent ride.

Overall, my estimate is overall change in gas consumption would be
insignificant.

Jim Smith
September 29th 04, 07:35 PM
Mark Heiple > writes:

> In article >,
> Sheldon Brown > wrote:
>
> > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> > a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
> >
> > Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> > bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> >
> > How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> > then be consumed?
> >
> > Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
> >
> > Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
> > +----------------------------------------+
> > | Cyclists fare best when they act and |
> > | are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
> > | -- John Forester |
> > | http://www.johnforester.com/ |
> > +----------------------------------------+
> > Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
> > Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
> > http://harriscyclery.com
> > Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
> > http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
>
> In my case, my gas consumption would go down. I live in a lousy
> location for biking, and have to drive if I want a decent ride.

What about it makes it unsuitable for biking?

Pat Lamb
September 29th 04, 07:51 PM
Sheldon Brown wrote:
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

It's really only tangentially related, but I've noticed that I use 1/2
to 2/3 as much gas when I'm commuting by bike semi-regularly. That
comes out to saving 1/3 - 1/2 gallons of gas per day, or 120-180 gallons
per year.

Pat "Obviously YMMV" Lamb

Frank Miles
September 29th 04, 08:05 PM
In article >,
Sheldon Brown > wrote:
>I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
>advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
>a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
>Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
>bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
>How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
>then be consumed?
>
>Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

Probably not. And it's even messier -- at least in areas where auto
traffic exceeds the rated carrying capacity of the roads. If all those
bike commuting/shopping trips were replaced by car trips, there would
probably be even more extensive & prolonged traffic tie-ups on roads.
Even with the present cost of gas, the waste of people's time -- along
with the attendant blood pressure increase -- would probably be more
costly to many drivers. Especially to (current) bike riders!

It would also cost 'way more to those who would have to buy, insure, and
maintain another motor vehicle.

So it would be an interesting and partially useful statistic to have,
but it would be incomplete.

-frank
--

Zoot Katz
September 29th 04, 08:14 PM
29 Sep 2004 13:35:07 -0500, >,
Jim Smith > wrote:
>
>> In my case, my gas consumption would go down. I live in a lousy
>> location for biking, and have to drive if I want a decent ride.
>
>What about it makes it unsuitable for biking?

I suspect it's a loose bladder or weak sphincter.
Any ride is decent compared to being caged.
--
zk

Terry Morse
September 29th 04, 08:59 PM
Sheldon Brown wrote:

> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

I have an estimate, reasonable or not. For the USA:

- Estimated annual cycling distance: 15-21 billion/year
- Estimated vehicle fuel consumption: 20.5 miles/vehicle-gallon
- Estimated vehicle occupancy: 1.6 (passengers/vehicle)

So high estimate for gallons of gasoline required to replace cycling:

(21 billion miles/year) / [ (20.5 mph) * (1.6 passengers) ]

640 million gallons per year

--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://bike.terrymorse.com/

Peter Cole
September 29th 04, 09:14 PM
"Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
...
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/survey/commuter.htm
http://www.ti.org/commutingnumbers.html
http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/presentations/bicyclesbythenumbers.ppt
http://www.bikeleague.org/educenter/hr1265.htm
http://www.reddirtpedalers.com/WheelIssues/DisplayReprint.asp?id=182
http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-33.pdf

The 2000 census estimates about half a million bike commuters (.4%), they
don't give distance, only commute time. If you take their numbers, and
estimate 5 miles each way, that's 5M mi/day, at say 18 mpg, you'd have a
little less than 300K gal/day. The US consumes around 400M gal/day.

Auto commuters probably travel perhaps twice the distance, with about 100M
commuting vehicles/day, so that's 2B mi/day, which says commuting burns
about 1/4 the total gasoline consumption, which agrees pretty well with the
bike non-consumption estimate. The net is, that if all bike commuters
started driving, gas consumption would go up 0.1% perhaps.

qtq
September 29th 04, 11:07 PM
Sheldon Brown > wrote in news:415AD8A2.2050200
@sheldonbrown.com:

> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?

do cyclists drive SUVs, or would they be riding motorbikes (I'm thinking of
a certain lugged stem-builder here) instead?

--
to email me, run my email address through /usr/bin/caesar
(or rotate by -4)

John Forrest Tomlinson
September 29th 04, 11:18 PM
On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 11:45:38 -0400, Sheldon Brown
> wrote:


>Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
>bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
>How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
>then be consumed?

Why do you hate America so much?

JT

PS - I'm joking.

****************************
Remove "remove" to reply
Visit http://www.jt10000.com
****************************

Ted
September 29th 04, 11:29 PM
In article >,
John Forrest Tomlinson > wrote:

> On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 11:45:38 -0400, Sheldon Brown
> > wrote:
>
>
> >Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> >bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> >
> >How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> >then be consumed?
>
> Why do you hate America so much?
>
> JT
>
> PS - I'm joking.


No you're not, you Neanderthal. (:

Mark Heiple
September 30th 04, 12:00 AM
In article >,
Jim Smith > wrote:

> Mark Heiple > writes:
>
> > In article >,
> > Sheldon Brown > wrote:
> >
> > > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > > advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> > > a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
> > >
> > > Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> > > bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> > >
> > > How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> > > then be consumed?
> > >
> > > Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
> > >
> > > Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
> > > +----------------------------------------+
> > > | Cyclists fare best when they act and |
> > > | are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
> > > | -- John Forester |
> > > | http://www.johnforester.com/ |
> > > +----------------------------------------+
> > > Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
> > > Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
> > > http://harriscyclery.com
> > > Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
> > > http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
> >
> > In my case, my gas consumption would go down. I live in a lousy
> > location for biking, and have to drive if I want a decent ride.
>
> What about it makes it unsuitable for biking?

Lousy, urban, narrow, broken up roads, with heavy traffic.

Zoot Katz
September 30th 04, 12:30 AM
Wed, 29 Sep 2004 19:00:07 -0400,
>,
Mark Heiple > wrote:

>> > In my case, my gas consumption would go down. I live in a lousy
>> > location for biking, and have to drive if I want a decent ride.
>>
>> What about it makes it unsuitable for biking?
>
>Lousy, urban, narrow, broken up roads, with heavy traffic.

Urban riding generally implies that there are equally practical
alternate routes available that will have less traffic.

Broken road surfaces means you need heavier tires and more solidly
built wheels for a "decent" ride.

The hardest thing about city cycling is learning to stop thinking like
a car driver. Use the inherent superiority of bicycles to expand your
vistas.
--
zk

Rich Clark
September 30th 04, 12:42 AM
"Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
...

> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.

I rather expect the increase in oil consumption would be unnoticeable.

Using myself as an example (as we all seem to be doing), I would drive an
additional 4000 miles a year or so (accepting your stipulation; in real life
I would take the train).

Now, I work in a place with an above-average number of bike commuters (it's
an urban natural history museum). But we are still less than 10% of the
employees, and I ride the most commuting miles of anyone there. My estimate
is that if all of our bike commuters drove instead, we would have to buy
perhaps 1500 gallons of gas per year.

There are, I daresay, millions of car owners who buy that much gas in a year
for one or two cars.

So if replacing all of my museum's bike commuters with drivers would have no
more impact than adding two suburban car owners to the general population
would, I rather doubt that bike commuting is saving all that much oil.

Here's an attempt at some numbers:

One source says that US gas consumption is 375.3 million gallons per day.
(My co-workers and I would add maybe 5 gallons a day to that.)

Let's say the average bike commuter rides 10 miles a day. Let's say that
represents one gallon of gas (they would all replace their bikes with Chevy
Avalanches). These figures are both exaggerated, IMO (most cars get better
mileage; most bike commutes are shorter) but they're easy to work with: one
gallon per day per rider.

To raise the total by one tenth of one percent -- 375,300 gallons -- would
take the same number of bike commuters switching. So how many bike commuters
are there?

The late Ken Kifer quotes the 2000 US Census as saying there are "between
411,000 and 750,000 people over the age of 16 who ride bicycles more miles
than any other vehicle to get to work during an average week." That would
translate to a bump of between one-tenth and two-tenths of a percent
increase in gas consumption if they all drove.

Other sources give figures as high as 5 million cycling commuters. If true,
that would yield a 1.3% increase in total gas consumption.

That's a big range -- .1% to 1.3% -- and if I had to bet, I'd bet in the low
end of that range.

But that's not why we ride, is it? When I drive, gas is only 20% of the cost
of the trip, and it takes just as long, and I don't have to go to the gym.

RichC

Pete
September 30th 04, 12:43 AM
"Mark Heiple" > wrote

> > What about it makes it unsuitable for biking?
>
> Lousy, urban, narrow, broken up roads, with heavy traffic.

Move a block or two off the main road. The streets are much smoother and
quieter.

Pete

Pete
September 30th 04, 12:46 AM
"Terry Morse" > wrote

>
> I have an estimate, reasonable or not. For the USA:
>
> - Estimated annual cycling distance: 15-21 billion/year
> - Estimated vehicle fuel consumption: 20.5 miles/vehicle-gallon
> - Estimated vehicle occupancy: 1.6 (passengers/vehicle)
>
> So high estimate for gallons of gasoline required to replace cycling:
>
> (21 billion miles/year) / [ (20.5 mph) * (1.6 passengers) ]
>
> 640 million gallons per year

How many of those are strictly recreational/training/racing miles?

I think we need to count only utility (errands and commuting) miles

Pete

David Reuteler
September 30th 04, 01:07 AM
In rec.bicycles.misc Pete > wrote:
> I think we need to count only utility (errands and commuting) miles

why? people don't drive their cars recreationally? if i weren't riding
recreationally and i didn't bike i'd likely be driving somewhere to
recreate. the correlation won't be 1:1 (it isn't anyway) but it's not 0.
--
david reuteler

Andrew Martin
September 30th 04, 01:31 AM
Sheldon Brown > wrote in message >...
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>

I read a stat a few years back:

A _good_ fuel economy car gets ~50mi/gallon
If you take the energy in 1 gallon in gasoline, and translate it into
food energy...the average bike rider would get ~12500mi/"gallon".


So - it doesn't help solve your question since we as riders don't
"burn" gasoline today, but it's certainly interesting if you ask me.

-a

Andre
September 30th 04, 01:59 AM
Well, in North America, I doubt you'd see a significant difference. The
cycling population is dwarfed by the driving population.
In the third world \ Asia, I think all hell would break loose. When you
think of the population density, I would forsee gridlock.

--
--------------------------
Andre Charlebois
AGC-PC support
http://agc-pc.tripod.com
BPE, MCSE4.0, CNA, A+

"Sheldon Brown" > wrote in message
...
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
> +----------------------------------------+
> | Cyclists fare best when they act and |
> | are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
> | -- John Forester |
> | http://www.johnforester.com/ |
> +----------------------------------------+
> Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
> Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
> http://harriscyclery.com
> Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
> http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
>

Mark Hickey
September 30th 04, 02:20 AM
(Andrew Martin) wrote:

>I read a stat a few years back:
>
>A _good_ fuel economy car gets ~50mi/gallon
>If you take the energy in 1 gallon in gasoline, and translate it into
>food energy...the average bike rider would get ~12500mi/"gallon".

Yeah, but the taste... blech!

Mark Hickey
Habanero Cycles
http://www.habcycles.com
Home of the $695 ti frame

Mike Schwab
September 30th 04, 04:27 AM
http://www.kenkifer.com
http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/survey/index.htm
Ken noted just how unreliable and unreasonable these statistics are.

Sheldon Brown wrote:
>
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
> +----------------------------------------+
> | Cyclists fare best when they act and |
> | are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
> | -- John Forester |
> | http://www.johnforester.com/ |
> +----------------------------------------+
> Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
> Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
> http://harriscyclery.com
> Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
> http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com

Sheldon Brown
September 30th 04, 04:28 AM
qtq wrote:

> do cyclists drive SUVs,

Well...last weekend I went for a delightful 40 mile ride on my Quickbeam
fixed gear, in the countryside west of Boston...Lexington, Concord,
Carlisle, Sudbury, Weston then back home to Newton.

It was a gorgeous day, some of the leaves are just beginning to turn. I
was on beautiful winding roads, well paved with rolling terrain,
listening to Das Rheingold on my iPod and having an absolutely
delightful time...but, as I was riding along in this cheerful mode, I
couldn't help but be surprised at how many big SUVs drove past me with
shiny clean high-end mountain bikes on them...they didn't know what they
were missing.

Sheldon "Bemused" Brown
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
| I rise only to say I do not intend to say anything. |
| I thank you for your kind words and your hearty welcome. |
| --Ulysses S. Grant |
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
http://harriscyclery.com
Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com

Frank Krygowski
September 30th 04, 05:38 AM
Terry Morse wrote:

>
>
> I have an estimate, reasonable or not. For the USA:
>
> - Estimated annual cycling distance: 15-21 billion/year

Do you have a source for that estimate, or an explanation? It's a
difficult number to find.

--
--------------------+
Frank Krygowski [To reply, remove rodent and vegetable dot com,
replace with cc.ysu dot edu]

Bill Z.
September 30th 04, 05:50 AM
Frank Krygowski > writes:

> Terry Morse wrote:
>
> > I have an estimate, reasonable or not. For the USA:
> > - Estimated annual cycling distance: 15-21 billion/year
>
> Do you have a source for that estimate, or an explanation? It's a
> difficult number to find.

If you assume 10% of the population use bicycles regularly (and
this includes children), then 15 billion miles for 10% of our
approximately 300,000,000 people comes out to 500 miles per year,
or 1.4 miles per day on the average - a figure that is not
implausible (allow for more mileage on nice days and none when it
is raining.)

--
My real name backwards: nemuaZ lliB

Terry Morse
September 30th 04, 05:53 AM
Frank Krygowski wrote:

> Terry Morse wrote:
> >
> > - Estimated annual cycling distance: 15-21 billion/year
>
> Do you have a source for that estimate, or an explanation? It's a
> difficult number to find.

Kenn Kifer has (had, sadly) a few estimates here:

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/health/risks.htm

--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://bile.terrymorse.com/

A Muzi
September 30th 04, 06:37 AM
Sheldon Brown wrote:
-snip-
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

I can't help with that, but there was an article in Bicycle
Guide once about how many extra car miles ( driving to the
event) recreational cycling adds.

--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971

Mark Wolfe
September 30th 04, 06:45 AM
I'd use an extra 8 gallons a week in fuel myself. Of course, I drive a
n 89 Honda Civic Si, and/or a 90 CRX, both will pull between 30-35mpg.
This last week has seen an increase in fuel consumption since my
shiny POS right Dura Ace brifter decided it doesn't want to upshift
anymore. :( Can you say Campy conversion? :)

Sheldon Brown wrote:
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> Sheldon "Numbers" Brown

Ivar Hesselager
September 30th 04, 11:41 AM
"Sheldon Brown" > skrev i en meddelelse
...
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>

Here are some numbers to work with!

In Denmark we have a naional office that registers these things. It's my
impression Danes use the bicycle fortheir daily transport (commuting) more
often than Americans do - but how much more, I don't know.




The National Danish Statistic Department has made a telephone survey of the
transport work of the Danish population in 1999. This leaves out training
and recreational riding.

Of the total transport "work"




bicycling covers 3,3 pct.

walking 1,1 pct.

trains 6,4 pct.

buses 5,9

cars 79,1 pct.

*others 4,2 pct.

* motorcycles, mopedes, ferries, airplanes

The average transport work per day per person is 35,9 km

Thus the average cycling work/ per day /per person is 1,2 km

So, the consequense of banning bicycling in Denmark would increase car
traffic with less than 4,1 pct. That's logic. How much less is debateable.




Ivar of Denmark

Mike Kruger
September 30th 04, 11:44 AM
"Peter Cole" > wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s02...
> >
> > Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/survey/commuter.htm
> http://www.ti.org/commutingnumbers.html
> http://www.bicyclecoalition.org/presentations/bicyclesbythenumbers.ppt
> http://www.bikeleague.org/educenter/hr1265.htm
> http://www.reddirtpedalers.com/WheelIssues/DisplayReprint.asp?id=182
> http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-33.pdf
>
> The 2000 census estimates about half a million bike commuters (.4%), they
> don't give distance, only commute time. If you take their numbers, and
> estimate 5 miles each way, that's 5M mi/day, at say 18 mpg, you'd have a
> little less than 300K gal/day. The US consumes around 400M gal/day.
>
> Auto commuters probably travel perhaps twice the distance, with about 100M
> commuting vehicles/day, so that's 2B mi/day, which says commuting burns
> about 1/4 the total gasoline consumption, which agrees pretty well with
the
> bike non-consumption estimate. The net is, that if all bike commuters
> started driving, gas consumption would go up 0.1% perhaps.

I'm purposely tagging this onto Peter's, because I think his numbers are
better than mine below.

There's another way to look at this:

1. Determine the percentage of trips by bicycle. (should be available from
the transportation studies done every few years). Just for the moment,
assume it's 1%.

2. Use the 1% estimate. So that's 1% of the oil.

This assumes that trips are the same size. Clearly bike trips are shorter,
on average.
BUT, if we replace a bike trip with an auto trip, the auto trip is likely to
be longer.
* If a kid bikes 2 miles to school, the kid goes 2 miles. If a parent
drives him, they drive 4 miles. Plus, they idle in the parking lot waiting
for the kid at the end of the day.
* Rides for exercise would, in some cases, be replaced by rides to the
gym -- or by non-exercise activities that would involve driving.
* Short drives tend to use more oil in startup, and are more
stop-and-go.
* A bike shopping trip is more likely to be to a closer local grocery or
hardware store rather than the Wal-mart Supercenter or Home Depot that's
farther away.
* People who commute by car don't necessarily have shorter commutes to
work. They may just move farther away.

qtq
September 30th 04, 12:50 PM
(James Cassatt) wrote in
om:
> Finding slacks with waistlines smaller than
> 32 inches is not easy.

Eh? If you're a woman, finding slacks with waistlines larger than 32
inches can sometimes be a problem.


--
to email me, run my email address through /usr/bin/caesar
(or rotate by -4)

H
September 30th 04, 01:53 PM
Sheldon Brown > wrote in message
>
> [...]
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>


In China?
A whole lot.

In the United States?
The amount of gas expended would decrease because then people would
not be driving their bikes to trails.

James Cassatt
September 30th 04, 02:24 PM
Interesting question!

Since April, I have been commuting on average 3 out of 5 days a week.
Round trip bike ride 38 miles, compared to 24 miles by car. At 24 mpg
(actually my Integra gets a bit better mileage than that) That is 3
gallons a week or about 89 gallons for the seven months when I
commute. At two bucks a gallon that is about $180.00 saved. Have I
saved any money? Probably not. One set of new tires, new chain and
cassette, etc. If I have the bike overhauled by the local lbs that is
$200.00 right there. I do it myself and save money, but don't forget,
time is money. Minor tune-ups, I also do myself; but last night it
took me an hour to clean the chain, adjust the brakes, and clean the
crap off the bike. I have lost 20 pounds since April. That is a good
thing. Think of all the money I saved on health club dues. But I
don't want to lose more. Finding slacks with waistlines smaller than
32 inches is not easy. So add to the cost of cummuting the doughnut I
need to eat in the morning when I get in and the extra food I need
during the day to fuel the body instead of the engine. Turns out the
extra food is more expensive than gas.

Have I saved money? Probably not. Do I feel great? You bet.

Jim

Sheldon Brown > wrote in message >...
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?
>
> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
> +----------------------------------------+
> | Cyclists fare best when they act and |
> | are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
> | -- John Forester |
> | http://www.johnforester.com/ |
> +----------------------------------------+
> Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
> Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
> http://harriscyclery.com
> Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
> http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com

Jack Dingler
September 30th 04, 03:32 PM
Mark Heiple wrote:

>In article >,
> Sheldon Brown > wrote:
>
>
>
>>I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
>>advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
>>a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>>
>>Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
>>bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>>
>>How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
>>then be consumed?
>>
>>Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>>
>>Sheldon "Numbers" Brown
>>+----------------------------------------+
>>| Cyclists fare best when they act and |
>>| are treated as drivers of vehicles. |
>>| -- John Forester |
>>| http://www.johnforester.com/ |
>>+----------------------------------------+
>> Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
>> Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
>> http://harriscyclery.com
>> Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
>>http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
>>
>>
>
>In my case, my gas consumption would go down. I live in a lousy
>location for biking, and have to drive if I want a decent ride.
>
>Overall, my estimate is overall change in gas consumption would be
>insignificant.
>
>

In Mexico alone that would be a tremendous number of new drivers
consuming gasoline. I wouldn't be surprised if such a change wouldn't
create a worldwide need for 4 times our current gasoline consumption.

Jack Dingler

Rich Clark
September 30th 04, 03:33 PM
"Peter Cole" > wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s02...

[snippage]

>The net is, that if all bike commuters
> started driving, gas consumption would go up 0.1% perhaps.

I got there by a somewhat different route, but in my earlier post I arrived
at a similar number. One- or two-tenths of a percent using the 2000 Census
numbers; as much as 1.3% if you used the most optimistic numbers offered by
cycling advocacy groups.

It would be grand if we could claim to be reducing US oil demand by an
entire percentage point or more. That's a lot of oil. But I doubt it's that
high.

It's also disheartening to realize that if the 0.1% figure is accurate, it
would take a tenfold increase in US bike commuting just to reach a 1%
reduction in oil consumption. Seems impossible without a radical change in
the availability/cost of gas.

In the US, given the distances, weather extremes, and realistic assessment
of people's physical capabilities, I think bikes can only augment the
adoption of mass transit as the chief means of reducing car use for
commuting.

RichC

David Damerell
September 30th 04, 05:09 PM
Jack Dingler > wrote:
>>Sheldon Brown > wrote:
>>>Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
>>>bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>In Mexico alone that would be a tremendous number of new drivers
>consuming gasoline. I wouldn't be surprised if such a change wouldn't
>create a worldwide need for 4 times our current gasoline consumption.

Mexico, nothing; 1.3 billion Chinese people, and a similar number on the
Indian subcontinent, now need cars.
--
David Damerell > flcl?

Ryan Cousineau
September 30th 04, 05:16 PM
In article >,
Mark Hickey > wrote:

> (Andrew Martin) wrote:
>
> >I read a stat a few years back:
> >
> >A _good_ fuel economy car gets ~50mi/gallon
> >If you take the energy in 1 gallon in gasoline, and translate it into
> >food energy...the average bike rider would get ~12500mi/"gallon".
>
> Yeah, but the taste... blech!

And there's one other problem. Compared to any foodstuff, gasoline is
really cheap and energy-dense (which is, after all, why we keep
converting it into energy...).

In one anecdote I can recall only so faintly as to render it an urban
legend, a serious cyclist went on a multi-day tour, accompanied by his
non-serious friend riding a small motorscooter.

At the end of the tour, the cyclist had spent more on energy bars and
other extra food than the scootist had spent on gasoline.

Granted, it's more fun to eat than to pump gas,
--
Ryan Cousineau, http://www.wiredcola.com
Verus de parvis; verus de magnis.

Max
September 30th 04, 05:19 PM
speaking strictly for me, if i quit biking, my gasoline consumption
would rise by approx. 68~83%, based on 5 years of cycling and gasoline
purchasing data. there are some seasonal effects, and i moved 30% closer
(7.5 vs. 11 miles), which reduces the savings factor. It adds up...

..max

--
the part of >
was played by maxwell monningh 8-p

Max
September 30th 04, 05:26 PM
In article >,
Ryan Cousineau > wrote:

> In one anecdote I can recall only so faintly as to render it an urban
> legend, a serious cyclist went on a multi-day tour, accompanied by his
> non-serious friend riding a small motorscooter.
>
> At the end of the tour, the cyclist had spent more on energy bars and
> other extra food than the scootist had spent on gasoline.

well... even the scootee spent more on food than he did on fuel. It's a
cheap, misleading anecdote.

--
the part of >
was played by maxwell monningh 8-p

LioNiNoiL_a t_Y a h 0 0_d 0 t_c 0 m
September 30th 04, 05:31 PM
Sheldon Brown wrote:

> Well...last weekend I went for a delightful 40 mile ride on my
> Quickbeam fixed gear, in the countryside west of Boston...
> Lexington, Concord, Carlisle, Sudbury, Weston then back home
> to Newton.
>
> It was a gorgeous day, some of the leaves are just beginning to
> turn. I was on beautiful winding roads, well paved with rolling
> terrain, listening to Das Rheingold on my iPod and having an
> absolutely delightful time...but, as I was riding along in this
> cheerful mode, I couldn't help but be surprised at how many big
> SUVs drove past me with shiny clean high-end mountain bikes
> on them...

Some years ago, my tandem stoker made a similar observation, and laughed
uproariously at my sarcastic response: "they're taking their bikes for a
ride."

--
"Bicycling is a healthy and manly pursuit with much
to recommend it, and, unlike other foolish crazes,
it has not died out." -- The Daily Telegraph (1877)

David Reuteler
September 30th 04, 05:43 PM
In rec.bicycles.misc Ryan Cousineau > wrote:
> At the end of the tour, the cyclist had spent more on energy bars and
> other extra food than the scootist had spent on gasoline.

that is not hard to believe. i spend more money on food than i do on lodging
on most of my tours.

> Granted, it's more fun to eat than to pump gas,

sigh. it sure is. it's one of the best perks of touring.
--
david reuteler

Mitch Haley
September 30th 04, 05:50 PM
Ryan Cousineau wrote:
> In one anecdote I can recall only so faintly as to render it an urban
> legend, a serious cyclist went on a multi-day tour, accompanied by his
> non-serious friend riding a small motorscooter.
>
> At the end of the tour, the cyclist had spent more on energy bars and
> other extra food than the scootist had spent on gasoline.

Are you saying that if they rode 100 miles and the scooter pilot bought
a gallon of gas, the cyclist would spend more than a gallon's worth
of cash on food the scooter rider didn't buy? At today's prices, that
gallon costs less than two Powerbars. I used to wish I could drink
gasoline and use it for fuel, my food budget would drop to nothing.
Mitch.

LioNiNoiL_a t_Y a h 0 0_d 0 t_c 0 m
September 30th 04, 06:02 PM
qtq wrote:

> do cyclists drive SUVs

Well... I ride the bike to work every day, but occasionally on a weekend
I'll drive my old jacked-up, full-size, 4600-lb, 10mpg '73 Jeep Wagoneer
[the "White Rhino"]; and I have a 31-foot RV built on a Ford E-450
chassis with a Triton V-10 that cost me over $200 in gas for the
800-mile round-trip to the Reno Air Races two weeks ago. I left it
parked in front of the house for a week afterward, just to **** off the
Homeowners Association. Even with these two gas-hogs, though, I spend
less than $1000 per year on fuel, because I use the bike for commuting,
light shopping, and other short trips; but I don't ride the bike to save
money.

--
"Bicycling is a healthy and manly pursuit with much
to recommend it, and, unlike other foolish crazes,
it has not died out." -- The Daily Telegraph (1877)

g.daniels
September 30th 04, 06:11 PM
the area i live in is bicycle accomadated by State Codes governing the
building of new cities on frontier soil. For example, the dump ahs
boulevards from square one not two lanes, then they rip up the parking
lots for 3 lanes, ad nauseum.
Result! we got bike paths. yawl can go anywhere on a bile quickly,
beating the bus by 50-75% and mostly equal to car transit times within
the town's grid.

Condiderabble bike traffic. during tourist season, yawl can set down
on the road(4 lanes, a smooth amacite bike path 12(plus 25 0r 35 0r 65
in variation) miles x 6'wide) to sanibel island and watch $5-6 thou
bikes go past.

and people bike to work. poor people. of 25 thousand
'permanent'residents i estimate 35-50 people bike to work. off course
one of the larger questions here is how many people work but that
doesn't weigh the factor for cycling.

question: how many people ride to the store? not more than 20-30.

g.daniels
September 30th 04, 06:12 PM
i'll trade my cost in power bars for a frame!

g.daniels
September 30th 04, 06:18 PM
The 2000 census estimates about half a million bike commuters (.4%),
so at 25,000 residents .4 gives 10 commuters-that's ball park.

Dennis Ferguson
September 30th 04, 06:33 PM
(Andrew Martin) wrote in message >...
>
> I read a stat a few years back:
>
> A _good_ fuel economy car gets ~50mi/gallon
> If you take the energy in 1 gallon in gasoline, and translate it into
> food energy...the average bike rider would get ~12500mi/"gallon".

Your memory of the statistic seems to be inflated, however.

The thermal energy content of gasoline is 115,000 BTU/gallon, or about
29,000 kcal. Even if the cyclist managed to burn only 30 kcal/mile (this
would be a fairly small person and/or a not-too-high speed) he'd be getting
less than 1000 miles on 29,000 kcal.

This in fact indicates what an incredible deal gasoline at $2 per gallon
is on an energy basis. The cyclist's cost for 29,000 kcal of fuel would be
several orders of magnitude higher even if it were all bought at McDonalds.
The fuel cost for a 50 mile trip on a bicycle would very probably be higher
than the fuel cost of doing the same trip in your 50 mile/gallon car.

Then again, I enjoy riding my bike and I enjoy eating so that's all right.

Dennis Ferguson

Max
September 30th 04, 07:15 PM
In article >,
(g.daniels) wrote:

> The 2000 census estimates about half a million bike commuters (.4%),
> so at 25,000 residents .4 gives 10 commuters-that's ball park.

i got that far. Now. Who can document the "average" cycle commute.

..max

--
the part of >
was played by maxwell monningh 8-p

Rich Clark
September 30th 04, 07:24 PM
"Max" > wrote in message
...
> In article >,
> (g.daniels) wrote:
>
>> The 2000 census estimates about half a million bike commuters (.4%),
>> so at 25,000 residents .4 gives 10 commuters-that's ball park.
>
> i got that far. Now. Who can document the "average" cycle commute.

I don't know, but I bet it's somewhere in the vicinity of 2-3 miles. Most of
the commuters I see in Philadelphia are wearing their street clothes. Of the
other 25 or so commuters who work in my building, I ride the farthest (26
miles RT) with most others living in the surrounding neighborhoods that
encircle the downtown area.

One common type of bike commuter is the college student, and again I'd guess
that living no more than 2-3 miles off-campus is typical.

Guesswork, based on observation and conversation.

RichC

gwhite
September 30th 04, 07:43 PM
Sheldon Brown wrote:
>
> I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> advocates,...

In what way? *Most* folks have mistaken ideas about energy conservation, if
that is the concern. It is an economic fallacy that local conservation leads to
conservation in the whole (aggregate). Many people presume that a microeconomic
truth leads to a macroeconomic truth. This presumption cannot be made, and when
it does turn out to be non-translatable, it is called a "fallacy of
composition."

Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy consumption
than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
"energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that greater
efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
result! (Maybe like wheels standing on spokes.)

http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm

> ...but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
> a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.
>
> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
>
> How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> then be consumed?

Instead of just being concerned with "gasoline," it is probably more general,
and really more important, to consider how much more *energy* is consumed.

The answer is (for energy), all other things equal, NONE. If anything, the
evidence is that *more* energy will be consumed as a result of the tendency
towards increased efficiency. W.S.Jevons demonstrated this 150 (or so) years
ago, although he did turn out to be wrong on "the coal question." (Britain
didn't run out of coal.)

> Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

Sorry, but I suspect the direction as a whole is mistaken. We need to take
Doctor Phil's advice and "get real." Humans, as some sort of aggregate on the
planet, will increase their energy use. Holding it constant probably means
recession/depression. Lowering it probably means death to billions. Policy
makers are not smart enough to know "the right thing to do" anyway -- accounting
for all information and then making a "rational" decision is an item of
religious faith, not something that could actually be accomplished.

I'm all for biking, I do it all the time, including commuting. But I make no
conclusion that the "world is better off for it." I think this is something
bike advocates hope to be true. I would simply put advocacy straight towards
simply having a safe place to ride along the roadway, and maybe even concern
about clean air too. Energy concerns, as presented by "bike advocates," are
invariably wrong. It is myth and lore.


When someone makes simplistic assumptions and utilizes simple arithmetic to
demonstrate "how much energy gets saved," ask them what happens to the 20 bucks
that was "saved" from the gas tank. Unless they bury it in the back yard or
stuff it into a mattress, that 20 bucks gets spent on some other energy
somewhere in the world. This is inescapable. Mass is neither created nor
destroyed. It is simply reformed and moved around with _energy_. When I "save"
$5 from my gas tank, I instead buy a nice coffee cup made with $5 of Chinese
coal (sort of). Get it? Save gas because it makes you richer (you get your
transportation *and* your new coffee cup), not because it does squat for world
energy consumption.

Ryan Cousineau
September 30th 04, 08:09 PM
In article >,
Max > wrote:

> In article >,
> Ryan Cousineau > wrote:
>
> > In one anecdote I can recall only so faintly as to render it an urban
> > legend, a serious cyclist went on a multi-day tour, accompanied by his
> > non-serious friend riding a small motorscooter.
> >
> > At the end of the tour, the cyclist had spent more on energy bars and
> > other extra food than the scootist had spent on gasoline.
>
> well... even the scootee spent more on food than he did on fuel. It's a
> cheap, misleading anecdote.

No. The question is how much more did the cyclist spend on food than the
scooter rider.

And the up-thread example of a 100 mile ride makes the point well:

a briskly paced ride will burn something like a thousand calories per
hour for a 155 lb. rider. That's for roughly a 5-hour century (given the
nature of aerodynamics, a faster ride would burn more calories over the
100 mile distance). The scooter rider should have no trouble getting at
least 100 mpg, assuming a 50 cc scooter (Honda Jazz, for example). The
gallon of gas will cost, oh, I don't know how much in your country, but
in Canada I paid about US$2.50 for the last gallon I bought. The cyclist
used up 5000 calories (note that is over and above normal metabolic
exertion for the day, but disregarding any metabolic upticks that would
otherwise cause; we're just assuming its 5000 calories the scootist
doesn't have to buy or eat).

http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist.htm

About the cheapest, but not necessarily the best, way to buy calories is
probably by the loaf. A good-sized loaf of bread will give you 1500
calories and cost, oh, $1-2? But you'll need 3.5 loaves of bread, plus a
very small amount of peanut butter (maybe just a juice instead) to get
5000 calories. That is, above what you have to eat to stay alive, a mere
further 2000 calories or so for the day, as I'm assuming the scootist
also consumes. Your total bread budget for the day will be at least
$3.50.

If your scooter friend is considerate and motorpaces you, the exertion
and calorie consumption would go down by 20-40%, but that still leaves
you needing to eat 3000-4000 extra calories.

But all this makes some notable tilting assumptions: the cost for gas is
cheaper in the US. The cyclist cannot live on bread alone, and will
likely go for Gatorade and Powerbars, which are considerably more
expensive per calorie (think of the cyclist's mouth as having a "PREMIUM
FUEL ONLY" sticker beside it, and also think of the results if you
actually tried to eat 3.5 loaves of bread in one day).

One counter-assumption would be a slower bike ride. If you dropped your
speed to 10 mph, you would burn less than one third the calories.
Moreover, your poor scooter-friend would probably find his scooter was
less efficient in terms of mpg at such a dreadful pace. I don't think a
10 mph 100-mile ride is a real-world example, or at least it's a world I
don't want to live in. How many cyclists do you know in such a state
that a 10-hour ride at 10 mph would make sense?

Now, scooters do not live on gas alone. There is the matter of wear and
tear, oil consumption, insurance, and such. But some of these costs
accrue for cyclists too (tire wear is one place where cyclists pay and
pay, especially if they like nice racy tires). And as much as I like
scooters and motorcycles, I'd rather ride my bicycle for 5 hours,
especially if I had a friend along on a scooter to carry supplies.

The practical question one may wish to ask (though it wasn't explicitly
raised by my anecdote) is whether it is more efficient to travel by
scooter or bicycle. The answer is complicated. But I think the simplest
response is that over the short distances which best suit scooters and
bicycles, a cheap bicycle will be a little slower, but cost much less
than the cheapest of scooters. At longer distances, the considerable
speed advantage of the scooter will probably outweigh any other
consideration if you just want to get there, and you'll have to eat a
lot if you use a bicycle.

In terms of outright cost, the cheapest functional bicycles are
essentially free, and at worst far cheaper than any working scooter. But
fancy bicycles (say, one good for a 100-mile ride) start at about the
price of a cheap used scooter, and even non-extreme bicycles have MSRPs
well in excess of that of a new scooter (locally, C$2200 will get you a
new Honda Jazz or a good bicycle with 105 or Ultegra). A year's
insurance on the scooter will cost about the same as a good lock.

Questions?
--
Ryan Cousineau, http://www.wiredcola.com
Verus de parvis; verus de magnis.

Terry Morse
September 30th 04, 10:05 PM
Ryan Cousineau wrote:

> About the cheapest, but not necessarily the best, way to buy calories is
> probably by the loaf. A good-sized loaf of bread will give you 1500
> calories and cost, oh, $1-2? But you'll need 3.5 loaves of bread, plus a
> very small amount of peanut butter (maybe just a juice instead) to get
> 5000 calories. That is, above what you have to eat to stay alive, a mere
> further 2000 calories or so for the day, as I'm assuming the scootist
> also consumes. Your total bread budget for the day will be at least
> $3.50.

Maltodextrin is cheaper than bread, and it can be taken as a gel or
mixed in a drink. Bulk maltodextrin costs 20 cents for 50 grams.
Even the pros don't consume much more than 50 grams of carbs per
hour while riding. They'll have a calorie deficit by the end of the
ride, which is made up with a high-carb dinner.

On last Sunday's Everest Challenge, I rode for about 6 hours. I ate
4 gels (100 gm) and drank 5 sports drings (120 gm), or about 220 gm
of carbs (900 kcal). I felt fine throughout, but I was ready for a
pasta feast at the end.
--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://bike.terrymorse.com/

Just zis Guy, you know?
September 30th 04, 10:24 PM
On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 23:28:34 -0400, Sheldon Brown
> wrote in message
>:

>as I was riding along in this cheerful mode, I
>couldn't help but be surprised at how many big SUVs drove past me with
>shiny clean high-end mountain bikes on them...they didn't know what they
>were missing.

Amen, brother. One of the two doesn't "get" it, and I reckon it's
them :-)

Guy
--
May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University

Michael
September 30th 04, 10:52 PM
Sheldon Brown wrote:
>
> qtq wrote:
>
> > do cyclists drive SUVs,
>
> Well...last weekend I went for a delightful 40 mile ride on my Quickbeam
> fixed gear, in the countryside west of Boston...Lexington, Concord,
> Carlisle, Sudbury, Weston then back home to Newton.
>
> It was a gorgeous day, some of the leaves are just beginning to turn. I
> was on beautiful winding roads, well paved with rolling terrain,
> listening to Das Rheingold on my iPod and having an absolutely
> delightful time...but, as I was riding along in this cheerful mode, I
> couldn't help but be surprised at how many big SUVs drove past me with
> shiny clean high-end mountain bikes on them...they didn't know what they
> were missing.
>
> Sheldon "Bemused" Brown

So you circled home well before reaching the hill on Rt 111 just east of
Harvard, MA.
In the 70's, before I owned a bike, I lived below that hill and always
wondered how long I'd have to train before I'd be able to climb it
without stopping.

I bet your ride _was_ gorgeous; I used to enjoy driving through Sudbury
and points south when taking the scenic route to Rt. 9 from Boxboro.

Michael

qtq
September 30th 04, 11:53 PM
Ryan Cousineau > wrote in
:
> But all this makes some notable tilting assumptions: the cost for gas
> is cheaper in the US. The cyclist cannot live on bread alone, and will
> likely go for Gatorade and Powerbars, which are considerably more
> expensive per calorie (think of the cyclist's mouth as having a
> "PREMIUM FUEL ONLY" sticker beside it, and also think of the results
> if you actually tried to eat 3.5 loaves of bread in one day).

The cheapest way to get calories is probably bulk sugar; sugar is in the
order of a dollar a kilo, which will supply 18 MJ of energy (4000
calories). Mixing sugar and salt into say a 4%/0.2% solution will make it
taste vaguely like gatorade (add some flavoring too, maybe), and keep you
well hydrated.

What I should do is mix up weighed sachets of the stuff, calibrated so that
I can drop one into a water bottle and fill it up, shake, and have it come
out fine. Work out how many calories you're burning (each litre should
supply 160 kcal or so) and drink/pee to your heart's content.


--
to email me, run my email address through /usr/bin/caesar
(or rotate by -4)

qtq
September 30th 04, 11:54 PM
Ryan Cousineau > wrote in news:rcousine-
:

> In article >,
> Mark Hickey > wrote:
>
>> (Andrew Martin) wrote:
>>
>> >I read a stat a few years back:
>> >
>> >A _good_ fuel economy car gets ~50mi/gallon
>> >If you take the energy in 1 gallon in gasoline, and translate it into
>> >food energy...the average bike rider would get ~12500mi/"gallon".
>> Yeah, but the taste... blech!
> And there's one other problem. Compared to any foodstuff, gasoline is
> really cheap and energy-dense (which is, after all, why we keep
> converting it into energy...).

In addition, if you're in Australia, the petrol is cheaper than the beer
and contains more ethanol.

--
to email me, run my email address through /usr/bin/caesar
(or rotate by -4)

Tom Keats
September 30th 04, 11:57 PM
In article >,
Sheldon Brown > writes:

> Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.

I'd take the bus, or walk. I'd get a wheelbarrow if I had to.
Anything but take up driving.


cheers,
Tom

--
-- Nothing is safe from me.
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Chalo
October 1st 04, 01:25 AM
gwhite > wrote:
>
> Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
> energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy consumption
> than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
> "energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that greater
> efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
> result!
>
> http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm

I see that you have graduated from a tinfoil beanie to a tinfoil
mortarboard.

Fossil fuels are a finite and non-replenishable commodity. All
prospective replacement sources of energy amount to a smaller total
than is currently consumed as fossil fuels. So we are presented with
one of two options:

1) increase our energy-efficiency, thereby fitting a given amount of
economic activity into a smaller amount of total energy consumption,
or

2) suffer an irretrievable economic collapse when the cheaply
accessible fossil fuels are burned up.

You seem to be in favor of speeding directly towards option #2. Or
maybe, like former Interior Secretary James Watt, you reckon Jesus is
gonna come back soon, so we'd better pump all the oil and strip-mine
all the coal on the double.

Growth in the rate of energy use is a result of a capitalistic focus
on continuously accelerating econimic growth, not a result of people's
efforts to reduce consumption.

Chalo Colina

Brent Hugh
October 1st 04, 03:43 AM
"Roger Zoul" > wrote in message >...
> Sheldon Brown wrote:
> :: Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
> :: bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
> ::
> :: How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
> :: then be consumed?
> ::
> :: Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
>
> In my case, zero. I don't ride my bike as a replacement for driving my car.
> Bike riding, for me, is for fun and fitness.
>
> So, likely, to get reasonable numbers, you'd have to look at those who
> commute by bike, not recreational folks are racers.

I don't think most people have thought this through very carefully.

Take yourself for instance. If you were not riding your bike for that
amount of time every day, you would be doing SOMETHING for that same
amount of time.

As others have mentioned, you might go to the gym as a replacement.
But let's say you decide to give up exercising altogether. So now
what are you doing during that time? Shopping, running errands,
visiting friends or family, taking kids to soccer or music lessons,
watching TV, gardening, ... ?

Notice how many of those activities are likely to involve driving.
It's just a fact that the average American's free time includes a lot
of automobile driving. So on average, less recreational bicycling
equals more free time equals more driving.

Of course, *how much* more driving, and whether on average additional
driving mileage would equal the bicycling mileage is a more difficult
question.

--Brent

bhugh [at] mwsc.edu

Mike Kruger
October 1st 04, 04:34 AM
"James Cassatt" > wrote in message
om...
> Interesting question!
>
> Since April, I have been commuting on average 3 out of 5 days a week.
..... At two bucks a gallon that is about $180.00 saved. Have I
> saved any money? Probably not. One set of new tires, new chain and
> cassette, etc. If I have the bike overhauled by the local lbs that is
> $200.00 right there. ...
>
> Have I saved money? Probably not. Do I feel great? You bet.
>
The big bucks kick in when you can avoid a vehicle entirely.
Going from 2 cars to 1 starts saving appreciable money.
$400 a month in car payments = $4800
$800 a year in insurance
4 oil changes = $120
That's over $5500 right there, even without parking, maintenance repairs,
and the cost of bumper stickers.
Of course, everybody will have a different version of this calculation (this
thread has come up before!)

On a more local level, my daughter was taking the city bus to high school, 2
* $1.75 = $3.50 a day, $17.50 a week.
This money was, of course, paid by her parents.
She started biking, and while this didn't do much for her social status she
was "scamming" us for $3.50 a day.
(I pretended not to notice, and she's picked up a pretty decent bike habit
for a suburban17 year old, when social pressure is pretty severe.)

gwhite
October 1st 04, 06:35 PM
Chalo wrote:
>
> gwhite > wrote:
> >
> > Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
> > energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy consumption
> > than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
> > "energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that greater
> > efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
> > result!
> >
> > http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm
>
> I see that you have graduated from a tinfoil beanie to a tinfoil
> mortarboard.

Another way of saying this is that you have no argument of substance.

> Fossil fuels are a finite and non-replenishable commodity.

So? So were stone hand axes in the stone age.

> All
> prospective replacement sources of energy amount to a smaller total
> than is currently consumed as fossil fuels.

This is a false statement. I suspect you know it is false, which in that case
would make you a liar.

Breeder reactors could produce plenty of energy -- till the sun turns into a
little red dot. You ignore it because you don't like radioactivity. No one
does, but when it comes to a choice between surviving and "burying" radioactive
waste, I think the choice people make will be clear. Fusion may be made to work
someday, and could then supplant breeder reactors. The sooner a greater
percentage of energy is produced by nuclear reactions, the sooner we diminish
the burn rate of fossil fuels. You know, the same fossil fuels accused of
contributing to global warming when burned. You have a fantasy that there is "a
solution" to the energy problem. There is no solution, there is only tradeoffs.

> So we are presented with
> one of two options:
>
> 1) increase our energy-efficiency, thereby fitting a given amount of
> economic activity into a smaller amount of total energy consumption,
> or

Of course, you ignore the basic empirical truth: increased energy efficiency has
led to more energy use, not less. You goal is fundamentally to *force* people
to be poor, or even to deny them coming into existance in the first place. You
are an arrogant wannabe dictator.

> 2) suffer an irretrievable economic collapse when the cheaply
> accessible fossil fuels are burned up.

This is based on your previous false statement.

> You seem to be in favor of speeding directly towards option #2.

"If you don't have an argument, make one up." I never said/wrote any such
thing. I simply presented the facts, referenced an academic paper which itself
provided a list of citations, and made no comment regarding "intent." Intent is
in the domain of your arrogance.

> Or
> maybe, like former Interior Secretary James Watt, you reckon Jesus is
> gonna come back soon, so we'd better pump all the oil and strip-mine
> all the coal on the double.

This is rambling nonsense that likely has something to do with some goofy
partisan beliefs of your own, not mine.

> Growth in the rate of energy use is a result of a capitalistic focus
> on continuously accelerating econimic growth, not a result of people's
> efforts to reduce consumption.

You live in a fantasy land and continue to ignore the basic macroeconomic
argument because it is impossible to resolve the truth with your wishful
thinking. You ignore reality and simply put your hopes (sophistry) about how
you wish the world would be, in place of how it actually is. You have a
religious belief that you (and other elites) can design the intent, purpose, and
results of some ethereal "human society." There is no such thing. There is
simply a lot of people, that is all. You are so arrogant -- you think you know
what is "right" for all the people of the world, and thus to *dictate* how
"things" should be done. Another petty tyrant is born.

Chalo
October 2nd 04, 12:28 AM
gwhite > wrote:
>
> Chalo wrote:
> >
> > All
> > prospective replacement sources of energy amount to a smaller total
> > than is currently consumed as fossil fuels.
>
> This is a false statement. I suspect you know it is false, which in that case
> would make you a liar.
>
> Breeder reactors could produce plenty of energy -- till the sun turns into a
> little red dot. You ignore it because you don't like radioactivity.

I hardly think that nuclear reactors could replace _all_ fossil-fueled
power plants, while adding enough extra generating capacity to power
all transportation. In theory it might be possible, but in practice I
don't think having such a density of nuke plants would be feasible
without tolerating many horrible accidents and subsequent permanent
loss of usable land.

I don't think anybody would want to live in a land that consumes as
much energy as ours but generates it all with nukes. Even if we were
to switch from fossil fuels to 100% nuclear energy sources, it would
be much more tenable to make that energy work harder for us (through
increased efficiency), so we wouldn't have to make as much.

> Of course, you ignore the basic empirical truth: increased energy efficiency has
> led to more energy use, not less. You goal is fundamentally to *force* people
> to be poor, or even to deny them coming into existance in the first place. You
> are an arrogant wannabe dictator.

You are assigning a false cause (energy efficiency) to the observed
effect (increased gross energy usage). The real cause of increasing
energy usage is growing population and a growing overall level of
economic activity. Energy conservation measures can only offset these
effects, not exaggerate them.

You obviously see this issue from an irrational quasi-religious
standpoint, and I expect that there is no point discussing the matter
any further with you. Less is not more, and saving something is not
the same as wasting it, no matter what pseudoscientific claptrap you
can point to.

Chalo Colina

Jay Beattie
October 2nd 04, 01:34 AM
"Chalo" > wrote in message
m...
> gwhite > wrote:
> >
> > Chalo wrote:
> > >
> > > All
> > > prospective replacement sources of energy amount to a
smaller total
> > > than is currently consumed as fossil fuels.
> >
> > This is a false statement. I suspect you know it is false,
which in that case
> > would make you a liar.
> >
> > Breeder reactors could produce plenty of energy -- till the
sun turns into a
> > little red dot. You ignore it because you don't like
radioactivity.
>
> I hardly think that nuclear reactors could replace _all_
fossil-fueled
> power plants, while adding enough extra generating capacity to
power
> all transportation. In theory it might be possible, but in
practice I
> don't think having such a density of nuke plants would be
feasible
> without tolerating many horrible accidents and subsequent
permanent
> loss of usable land.
>
> I don't think anybody would want to live in a land that
consumes as
> much energy as ours but generates it all with nukes. Even if
we were
> to switch from fossil fuels to 100% nuclear energy sources, it
would
> be much more tenable to make that energy work harder for us
(through
> increased efficiency), so we wouldn't have to make as much.
>
> > Of course, you ignore the basic empirical truth: increased
energy efficiency has
> > led to more energy use, not less. You goal is fundamentally
to *force* people
> > to be poor, or even to deny them coming into existance in the
first place. You
> > are an arrogant wannabe dictator.
>
> You are assigning a false cause (energy efficiency) to the
observed
> effect (increased gross energy usage). The real cause of
increasing
> energy usage is growing population and a growing overall level
of
> economic activity. Energy conservation measures can only
offset these
> effects, not exaggerate them.

China is the best example of this. It is true that second and
third-world countries typically generate electricity with some of
the dirtiest methods, like '40s designed graphite block reactors
and smokey coal and oil fired plants. But when you take those
things away, you crush their economy. And it is not as though
these people are living large. Americans can tighten their belts
and conserve more, but I see no way we can ask a few million
Chinese to suck it up and turn out their one light bulb. And if
we did that, how could they see well enough to weld-up Habanero
frames for us. -- Jay Beattie.

gwhite
October 2nd 04, 01:54 AM
Chalo wrote:
>

> You are assigning a false cause (energy efficiency) to the observed
> effect (increased gross energy usage). The real cause of increasing
> energy usage is growing population and a growing overall level of
> economic activity.

You speak vaguely, make claims, and have no citations. Indeed, I would agree
that increased population would tend to use more energy in a modern civilization
(really, any civilization). That alone does not change the macroeconomic
reality. Moreover, you can't simply make a claim that some arbitrary population
and and associated "economic activity" is somehow "right." In short, you seek
to control something you know nothing about. "Better efficiency" simply calls
more people into being, as they can thus be supported. You still have your
chicken-egg problem.

People will continue to push towards improving their living conditions (and that
includes what they "enjoy" rather than some cockeyed notion of "need"), despite
prescriptions by petty dictators. That means using more energy. Deal with it.

> Energy conservation measures can only offset these
> effects, not exaggerate them.

You still don't get it, and have zero argument against the macroeconomic
contention. You think by ignoring it, it will go away.

> You obviously see this issue from an irrational quasi-religious
> standpoint, and I expect that there is no point discussing the matter
> any further with you.

Why do you have such trouble elucidating the material details of that, if it is
indeed true? You have no argument, but beliefs to be upheld, so you attack the
individual rather than the argument itself.

> Less is not more, and saving something is not
> the same as wasting it,...

I brought up no value judgements ("wasting it") about energy use -- you did.
The value judgement has zero effect on the material idea, since it makes no
value judgement about particular usage. Moreover, no statement was made that
energy shouldn't be "saved" or "conserved" locally. In fact, I wrote that it
was a good idea. The question is whether it "saves" in the aggregate: it
doesn't, all other things equal.

> ...no matter what pseudoscientific claptrap you
> can point to.

It shouldn't be hard to debunk then. But you can't.



A more fuel efficient car allows someone to commute further to work.

Riding a bike to work gives someone the extra cash to buy a vacation and plane
ticket to Acapulco, or take a longer vacation in their car, or buy a train
ticket.

A more energy efficient air conditioner allows someone to buy another air
conditioner and more energy to power it.

Riding a small motor bike rather than driving an SUV saves the driver money for
which he/she can make donations to poor people, who in turn spend the money on
some form of energy, since that is all there is to spend money on.

$10 saved in the gas tank allows someone to buy a bottle of wine, which is
produced and transported with nothing but energy.

A $1000 saved in the gas tank is deposited into the bank, where it is lent out
to some new car buyer.

A $1000 saved in the gas tank is deposited into a venture capital account, which
invests into a new company, which in turn _turns the lights on_.



You cannot escape it. Energy is everything. All money "does" is buy energy.
Nothing moves without energy. Mass is neither created or destroyed. It is
simply reformed and transported -- all via energy. No one with any sense stuffs
money into the mattress unless they predict deflation. Even then, the days of
putting it to use purchasing energy are numbered. At most, usage can be delayed
a little bit. But note the correlation between deflation and delay. When was
the last time the US experienced deflation in a significant way? Is that what
you wish for? I think you do.


There may someday be a saturation of worldwide energy usage. We are a long way
from that.

gwhite
October 2nd 04, 02:17 AM
Jay Beattie wrote:
>

> China is the best example of this.

It isn't just because you say it is. They increased their industrialization.
That, not really growing numbers but industrialization, accounts for increased
energy usage. A more distant history of this can be observed with the
industrialization of England, and its profound expansion of the use of coal.
That's what drove the fear of Jevons: he feared England would run out of coal.
Jevons observed that increasing efficiency was associated with increasing energy
use, rather than the opposite!

> It is true that second and
> third-world countries typically generate electricity with some of
> the dirtiest methods, like '40s designed graphite block reactors
> and smokey coal and oil fired plants. But when you take those
> things away, you crush their economy.

Never mind that. Think that when an American "saves" x joules of energy by
replacing all his incandescents with compact fluorescents, that energy saved
would have been generated in a relatively clean burning US plant.

Now say that American has $20 in his pocket due to the use of the compact
fluorescents, since his energy bill will be lower. He spends that $20 on a bike
widget made in China so he can get a bike on the road for the purpose of
commuting. The bike widget cannot be produced without the relatively "dirty"
energy coming from the Chinese coal plant (would it matter if it was steam via
wood? no), plus it must be transported across the ocean (never mind for a moment
all the energy that was spent collecting and reforming the raw materials.) Is
the world better off in the sense of energy consumption or pollution? The
answer is no. But the guy with the house full of compact fluorescents is better
off. He got his house lit up *and* a new bike widget.

This is an example of how good intentions are not followed by the expected
results.

> And it is not as though
> these people are living large. Americans can tighten their belts
> and conserve more, but I see no way we can ask a few million
> Chinese to suck it up and turn out their one light bulb. And if
> we did that, how could they see well enough to weld-up Habanero
> frames for us.

You completely ignore the main point, as if it does not exist. "Hear no evil
see no evil." I don't know if you mean to do that, but I think it is
important. I think energy is a critical issue. Therefore, we need to be
realistic regarding what we can and cannot accomplish. We cannot speak
reasonably about energy policy if the macroeconomic aspect is ignored. We would
be doomed to failure otherwise.

Peter Cole
October 2nd 04, 05:59 PM
"gwhite" > wrote

> I brought up no value judgements ("wasting it") about energy use -- you
did.
> The value judgement has zero effect on the material idea, since it makes
no
> value judgement about particular usage. Moreover, no statement was made
that
> energy shouldn't be "saved" or "conserved" locally. In fact, I wrote
that it
> was a good idea. The question is whether it "saves" in the aggregate: it
> doesn't, all other things equal.

> A more fuel efficient car allows someone to commute further to work.

Etc., etc.

Supply and demand can be regulated by pricing. If energy is conserved, it
becomes less of a factor in overall costs, so it may stimulate that
particular activity, true. But (and this is a very important yet very
simple "but"), the government can control price via taxes, in effect
offsetting the otherwise increased demand. This is common policy in Europe.
It's then possible (at least in theory) for the government to stabilize
prices in the face of production fluctuations by modulating the tax. This
is really what our government does with certain agricultural commodities.
Additionally, the taxes can be used to ameliorate side effects of the
activity where social costs wouldn't normally be captured by the market
valuations. Obviously, government market regulation is mostly local in
effect (excluding tariffs), although there are global ripples. To the
extent we all live on the same planet, impacts of some activities cannot be
limited to local scope. Fairness would argue for some global policies for
resource conservation, allocation, and pricing. Conservation need not be a
zero sum (or worse) game. It's all a matter of policy. To argue that all
conservation is pointless, or counter-productive, is simplistic and wrong.

Putting value judgments on conservation is tricky only because there is no
universal set of values. Reasonable people may well disagree on how much
open space, clean air, or rain forest we really need. Likewise, some may be
less risk-averse than others when it comes to short-term market
fluctuations. When it comes to energy use however, conservation would help
stability, particularly if coupled with government price controls. There's
no free lunch, though. Those stabilizing factors would have an economic
cost. Without market controls, you're right, an individual farmer choosing
to plant fewer soybeans just allows another farmer to plant more; a cyclist
not burning gas, just allows another citizen to burn more. Although this is
not quite the "efficiency" argument you cite (so it can't be worse than
zero sum), it does show that conservation without market intervention would
be ineffective. Market regulation has always been about trading off
fairness and risk against the costs of doing so. The goal is finding the
happy balance. Nothing new here.

Eric S. Sande
October 2nd 04, 06:22 PM
>I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
>advocates, but I don't have the data to calculate it or even to make
>a reasonable estimate...but maybe someone on the list does.

I'll take a shot.

>Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
>bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.

Are you talking USA or worldwide? It would be under one percent in
the USA.

>How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
>then be consumed?

Assuming you gave every bicyclist in the world a fuel efficient car
it would likely come close to doubling oil demand.

>Anybody have a reasonable estimate?

Yeah, about a fraction of a day's production per year for the USA.

Strictly back of the envelope.


--

_______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________
------------------"Buddy Holly, the Texas Elvis"------------------

Jack Dingler
October 2nd 04, 07:39 PM
gwhite wrote:

>Chalo wrote:
>
>
>>gwhite > wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
>>>energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy consumption
>>>than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
>>>"energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that greater
>>>efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
>>>result!
>>>
>>>http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm
>>>
>>>
>>I see that you have graduated from a tinfoil beanie to a tinfoil
>>mortarboard.
>>
>>
>
>Another way of saying this is that you have no argument of substance.
>
>
>
>>Fossil fuels are a finite and non-replenishable commodity.
>>
>>
>
>So? So were stone hand axes in the stone age.
>
>
Ever tried to cook a meal by burning flint instead of wood, gas,
charcoal etc...

>
>
>>All
>>prospective replacement sources of energy amount to a smaller total
>>than is currently consumed as fossil fuels.
>>
>>
>
>This is a false statement. I suspect you know it is false, which in that case
>would make you a liar.
>
>Breeder reactors could produce plenty of energy -- till the sun turns into a
>little red dot. You ignore it because you don't like radioactivity. No one
>does, but when it comes to a choice between surviving and "burying" radioactive
>waste, I think the choice people make will be clear. Fusion may be made to work
>someday, and could then supplant breeder reactors. The sooner a greater
>percentage of energy is produced by nuclear reactions, the sooner we diminish
>the burn rate of fossil fuels. You know, the same fossil fuels accused of
>contributing to global warming when burned. You have a fantasy that there is "a
>solution" to the energy problem. There is no solution, there is only tradeoffs.
>
>

Show me these commercial breeder reactors, providing electricity. We
need dozens of them going online RIGHT NOW. Where are they? Are they in
the future, after the downturn? Do they exist now? Are they just a
dream? Where are they?

>>So we are presented with
>>one of two options:
>>
>>1) increase our energy-efficiency, thereby fitting a given amount of
>>economic activity into a smaller amount of total energy consumption,
>>or
>>
>>
>
>Of course, you ignore the basic empirical truth: increased energy efficiency has
>led to more energy use, not less. You goal is fundamentally to *force* people
>to be poor, or even to deny them coming into existance in the first place. You
>are an arrogant wannabe dictator.
>
>

If you point out that trains kill people who park on railroad tracks,
then you're promoting this activity, right? If you point out that auto
accidents kill people, then you're promoting auto accidents, right? If a
newspaper publishes an article on a serial killer, then the newspaper is
promoting serial murders, right?

Then by discussing this issue, you're promoting these deaths yourself.

>>2) suffer an irretrievable economic collapse when the cheaply
>>accessible fossil fuels are burned up.
>>
>>
>
>This is based on your previous false statement.
>
>
You provided proof that commercial breeder reactors are going online now
to shoulder the burdern.

>>You seem to be in favor of speeding directly towards option #2.
>>
>>

Option #2 will come unless we go back in time and build your breeder
reactors. It's your fault for not promoting them earlier I think.

>"If you don't have an argument, make one up." I never said/wrote any such
>thing. I simply presented the facts, referenced an academic paper which itself
>provided a list of citations, and made no comment regarding "intent." Intent is
>in the domain of your arrogance.
>
>
>
>>Or
>>maybe, like former Interior Secretary James Watt, you reckon Jesus is
>>gonna come back soon, so we'd better pump all the oil and strip-mine
>>all the coal on the double.
>>
>>
>
>This is rambling nonsense that likely has something to do with some goofy
>partisan beliefs of your own, not mine.
>
>
>
>>Growth in the rate of energy use is a result of a capitalistic focus
>>on continuously accelerating econimic growth, not a result of people's
>>efforts to reduce consumption.
>>
>>
>
>You live in a fantasy land and continue to ignore the basic macroeconomic
>argument because it is impossible to resolve the truth with your wishful
>thinking. You ignore reality and simply put your hopes (sophistry) about how
>you wish the world would be, in place of how it actually is. You have a
>religious belief that you (and other elites) can design the intent, purpose, and
>results of some ethereal "human society." There is no such thing. There is
>simply a lot of people, that is all. You are so arrogant -- you think you know
>what is "right" for all the people of the world, and thus to *dictate* how
>"things" should be done. Another petty tyrant is born.
>
And you're promoting a fanatastic Sci-Fi solution that no one has had
success in making work yet.

Jack Dingler

Kyle.B.H
October 3rd 04, 01:26 AM
"LioNiNoiL_a t_Y a h 0 0_d 0 t_c 0 m" > wrote in
message news:[email protected]
> Sheldon Brown wrote:
>
> > Well...last weekend I went for a delightful 40 mile ride on my
> > Quickbeam fixed gear, in the countryside west of Boston...
> > Lexington, Concord, Carlisle, Sudbury, Weston then back home
> > to Newton.
> >
> > It was a gorgeous day, some of the leaves are just beginning to
> > turn. I was on beautiful winding roads, well paved with rolling
> > terrain, listening to Das Rheingold on my iPod and having an
> > absolutely delightful time...but, as I was riding along in this
> > cheerful mode, I couldn't help but be surprised at how many big
> > SUVs drove past me with shiny clean high-end mountain bikes
> > on them...
>
> Some years ago, my tandem stoker made a similar observation, and laughed
> uproariously at my sarcastic response: "they're taking their bikes for a
> ride."

I always have to shake my head at the holier-than-thou attitude expressed
regarding bikes on car roofs. Perhaps that person would rather not battle
city traffic in order to get out into the countryside? If the car you saw
was already in the countryside, perhaps they were not to their riding
destination/start yet? Perhaps they ultimately rode twice the miles you did
today?

Tom Keats
October 3rd 04, 04:10 AM
In article <[email protected]_s01>,
"Kyle.B.H" > writes:

> I always have to shake my head at the holier-than-thou attitude expressed
> regarding bikes on car roofs. Perhaps that person would rather not battle
> city traffic in order to get out into the countryside?

A lot of the trick to dealing with city traffic is to /not/
do battle with it; just co-exist and cooperate, and smoothly
flow along with it.

I dunno why so many people think riding in the city is tantamount
to a Knight Errant picking up sword & shield and sallying forth.

If anyone /really/ wants to ride, they won't feel exiled to the
extra-urban Forbidden Wasteland to do so -- they'll just get on
their bikes and ride, without seeking excuses not to. Wherever
they are.

> If the car you saw
> was already in the countryside, perhaps they were not to their riding
> destination/start yet? Perhaps they ultimately rode twice the miles you did
> today?

Maybe the weather didn't look conducive, so they turned around
and drove back home.


cheers,
Tom

--
-- Nothing is safe from me.
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Mark Hickey
October 3rd 04, 03:15 PM
"Kyle.B.H" > wrote:

>I always have to shake my head at the holier-than-thou attitude expressed
>regarding bikes on car roofs. Perhaps that person would rather not battle
>city traffic in order to get out into the countryside? If the car you saw
>was already in the countryside, perhaps they were not to their riding
>destination/start yet? Perhaps they ultimately rode twice the miles you did
>today?

I think most of the "attitude" you've seen is more akin to irony than
scorn. We've probably all (OK, OK... ALMOST all...) at one point or
another tossed our beloved bikes into a vehicle propelled by
petrochemicals and transported it to a place we want to ride. Just a
couple weekends ago, I did the same thing with my tandem. Thing is,
had I ridden it the 150 hilly miles to the race, I doubt I would have
done well (not that I did all that well anyway - sigh).

Other times, I've driven my MTB to very "reachable-by-bike" locations
since the road tears up the knobby tires I ride... just 20-30 miles of
asphalt will significantly round the knobs.

But it's true that there are a lot of riders who will miss the obvious
opportunity to ride to their ride.

Mark Hickey
Habanero Cycles
http://www.habcycles.com
Home of the $695 ti frame

Tom Keats
October 4th 04, 12:34 AM
In article >,
Mark Hickey > writes:

> Other times, I've driven my MTB to very "reachable-by-bike" locations
> since the road tears up the knobby tires I ride... just 20-30 miles of
> asphalt will significantly round the knobs.
>
> But it's true that there are a lot of riders who will miss the obvious
> opportunity to ride to their ride.

I suppose there are those who just don't feel comfortable riding
in any more traffic'd situation than a MUP, and have to venture
far afield (by car) to reach such a place.

But I also suspect there are those who bought cars with an
ornamental bike or two stuck on 'em as part of the deal,
and they just never bothered to take them off. Sooner or
later an underground parking lot or other low clearance will
take care of that for 'em.


cheers,
Tom

--
-- Nothing is safe from me.
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca

Brent Hugh
October 4th 04, 06:22 AM
gwhite > wrote in message >...
> Sheldon Brown wrote:
> >
> > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > advocates,...
>
> In what way? *Most* folks have mistaken ideas about energy conservation, if
> that is the concern. It is an economic fallacy that local conservation leads to
> conservation in the whole (aggregate).

Well then, let's try asking a question that an economist would love .
.. .

Nobody seriously argues that the driver is actually paying all of the
direct and indirect costs of driving an automobile.

If all the true costs of automobile driving were borne directly by the
driver, leading to a greatly increased direct cost of driving and no
"subsidy", how much would bicycling increase in the U.S.?

Or, putting it the other way around, how many miles per year of
bicycle travel in the U.S. are being discouraged because automobile
driving is subsidized?

I'll leave it to others to try and crank some hard numbers. But I
would guess, based on the amount of bicycling in countries that are
physically & socially similar to the U.S. but in which gasoline costs
a few times more, that bicycling would increase as much as 10-20 times
if gasoline were, say, $10/gallon.

Walking and mass transit use would increase dramatically,
too--probably even more in absolute terms than bicycling would.

A couple of specific facts to justify my guestimate: Some recent
figures indicate that in Europe, "35-45% of all utilitarian trips were
made by walking or cycling while in the U.S., cycling made up only 1%
of all trips and 5% were on foot." And this rather dramatic increase
in walking and bicycling is brought about by a price of gasoline only
3-4 times as high as the U.S.: in February of this year the price of
gasoline in the U.S. was $1.65 while in France it was $4.81, Germany
$5.14, and Italy $5.08.

Notes & references:

See some estimates of how much gasoline would cost if the price were
raised to include the "true cost" of driving:

http://www.preservenet.com/ATAutoWelfare.html

A similar study:

http://www.icta.org/projects/trans/

Source for 35-45% walking & bicycling for utilitarian trips in Europe:

http://www.cfsc.ottawa.on.ca/BetterBicycling/2004Autumn/a-pucher.shtml

The article also notes that "Eighty percent of cycling trips in the
U.S. are recreational while in Europe, 80% of cycling trips are
utilitarian." This implies that the vast majority of the additional
bicycle trips in Europe are utilitarian; that is to say, as gasoline
prices rise, the amount of recreational bicycle trips rises slightly
but the number of utilitarian bicycle trips rises dramatically.

Source for gasoline prices, February 2004:

http://www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/statistics/world_gasoline_prices.html

--Brent
bhugh [at] mwsc.edu
www.MoBikeFed.org

Roger Zoul
October 4th 04, 05:31 PM
Brent Hugh wrote:
:: "Roger Zoul" > wrote in message
:: >...
::: Sheldon Brown wrote:
::::: Suppose that bicycles were totally banned, and that every mile of
::::: bicycle travel was then replaced by an automobile trip.
:::::
::::: How many additional gallons of gasoline per day or per year would
::::: then be consumed?
:::::
::::: Anybody have a reasonable estimate?
:::
::: In my case, zero. I don't ride my bike as a replacement for
::: driving my car. Bike riding, for me, is for fun and fitness.
:::
::: So, likely, to get reasonable numbers, you'd have to look at those
::: who commute by bike, not recreational folks are racers.
::
:: I don't think most people have thought this through very carefully.
::
:: Take yourself for instance. If you were not riding your bike for that
:: amount of time every day, you would be doing SOMETHING for that same
:: amount of time.

Yes, probably so. For example, my attendance at the movies has dropped off.
Lots of movies that would have normally seen at the theater I now see at
home on DVD - if I see them at all.

::
:: As others have mentioned, you might go to the gym as a replacement.
:: But let's say you decide to give up exercising altogether. So now
:: what are you doing during that time? Shopping, running errands,
:: visiting friends or family, taking kids to soccer or music lessons,
:: watching TV, gardening, ... ?

I don't cut my grass anymore, and I don't do my deck gardening anymore.
Also, I don't make as many trips to Walmart and other places in search of
stuff for the deck and lawn. All of that time has gone into bicycling...So,
at least in my case, you're right. My driving would go up if I didn't
devote so much time to riding the bike.

::
:: Notice how many of those activities are likely to involve driving.
:: It's just a fact that the average American's free time includes a lot
:: of automobile driving. So on average, less recreational bicycling
:: equals more free time equals more driving.

Right.

::
:: Of course, *how much* more driving, and whether on average additional
:: driving mileage would equal the bicycling mileage is a more difficult
:: question.
::
:: --Brent
::
:: bhugh [at] mwsc.edu

gwhite
October 4th 04, 05:38 PM
Peter Cole wrote:
>
> "gwhite" > wrote
>
> > I brought up no value judgements ("wasting it") about energy use -- you
> did.
> > The value judgement has zero effect on the material idea, since it makes
> no
> > value judgement about particular usage. Moreover, no statement was made
> that
> > energy shouldn't be "saved" or "conserved" locally. In fact, I wrote
> that it
> > was a good idea. The question is whether it "saves" in the aggregate: it
> > doesn't, all other things equal.
>
> > A more fuel efficient car allows someone to commute further to work.
>
> Etc., etc.
>
> Supply and demand can be regulated by pricing. If energy is conserved, it
> becomes less of a factor in overall costs, so it may stimulate that
> particular activity, true. But (and this is a very important yet very
> simple "but"), the government can control price via taxes, in effect
> offsetting the otherwise increased demand. This is common policy in Europe.
> It's then possible (at least in theory) for the government to stabilize
> prices in the face of production fluctuations by modulating the tax. This
> is really what our government does with certain agricultural commodities.
> Additionally, the taxes can be used to ameliorate side effects of the
> activity where social costs wouldn't normally be captured by the market
> valuations. Obviously, government market regulation is mostly local in
> effect (excluding tariffs), although there are global ripples. To the
> extent we all live on the same planet, impacts of some activities cannot be
> limited to local scope. Fairness would argue for some global policies for
> resource conservation, allocation, and pricing. Conservation need not be a
> zero sum (or worse) game. It's all a matter of policy. To argue that all
> conservation is pointless, or counter-productive, is simplistic and wrong.

Uhhmm, I wrote nothing of the kind -- actually I wrote that local conservation
is good. I practice what I preach: I ride my bike to work; my car gets 50 mpg;
my domicile is loaded with compact fluorescents. Please do not grossly distort
what I wrote.

Local conservation != global conservation

That's all.

> Putting value judgments on conservation is tricky only because there is no
> universal set of values. Reasonable people may well disagree on how much
> open space, clean air, or rain forest we really need. Likewise, some may be
> less risk-averse than others when it comes to short-term market
> fluctuations. When it comes to energy use however, conservation would help
> stability, particularly if coupled with government price controls. There's
> no free lunch, though. Those stabilizing factors would have an economic
> cost. Without market controls, you're right, an individual farmer choosing
> to plant fewer soybeans just allows another farmer to plant more; a cyclist
> not burning gas, just allows another citizen to burn more. Although this is
> not quite the "efficiency" argument you cite (so it can't be worse than
> zero sum), it does show that conservation without market intervention would
> be ineffective. Market regulation has always been about trading off
> fairness and risk against the costs of doing so. The goal is finding the
> happy balance. Nothing new here.

What is not new is you completely missed the point and the argument -- just like
every other responder to date. You went off on a tangent. How tax dollars
lighting up a government office space (or fill in the blank) can "save" more
energy that buring it up in my car or a Chinese coal plant remains unexplained
and basically ignored, because to consider it would force a change of beliefs.
Just because a politician (or bureaucrat with vested interest) states that a
policy has "such and such intent/goal," does not mean the goal is achieved.

gwhite
October 4th 04, 05:42 PM
Brent Hugh wrote:
>
> gwhite > wrote in message >...
> > Sheldon Brown wrote:
> > >
> > > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > > advocates,...
> >
> > In what way? *Most* folks have mistaken ideas about energy conservation, if
> > that is the concern. It is an economic fallacy that local conservation leads to
> > conservation in the whole (aggregate).
>
> Well then, let's try asking a question that an economist would love .

<snip>

That was all irrelevent junk. I made no statements about "discouragement" of
bicycling or "unfairness" of tax dollar allocation. I would tend to agree with
you. But it as zero to do with what I wrote.

gwhite
October 4th 04, 06:08 PM
Jack Dingler wrote:
>
> gwhite wrote:

> Show me these commercial breeder reactors, providing electricity. We
> need dozens of them going online RIGHT NOW. Where are they? Are they in
> the future, after the downturn? Do they exist now? Are they just a
> dream? Where are they?

There is a widespread knee jerk reaction to fission power -- so *politically* it
remains untenable in the USA. We can't even get any new conventional reactors
online, so naturally breeder reactors are out of the question until people
become aware of what the true costs of their political ideals regarding energy
are costing them.


"Most nuclear power plants today use enriched uranium in which the concentration
of U-235 is increased from 0.7 percent U-235 to (nowadays) about 4 to 5 percent
U-235. This is done in an expensive separation plant of which there are several
kinds. The U-238 "tails" are left over for eventual use in "breeder reactors".
The Canadian CANDU reactors don't require enriched fuel, but since they use
expensive heavy water instead of ordinary water, their energy cost is about the
same....

For how long will nuclear power be available? Present reactors that use only the
U-235 in natural uranium are very likely good for some hundreds of years.
Bernard Cohen has shown that with breeder reactors, we can have plenty of energy
for some billions of year....


Q. What about breeder reactors?

A. If the reactor design is much more economical of neutrons, enough U-238 can
be converted to plutonium so that after a fuel cycle there is more fissionable
material than there was in the original fuel rods in the reactor. Such a design
is called a breeder reactor. Breeder reactors essentially use U-238 as fuel, and
there is 140 times as much of it as there is U-235. The billion year estimates
for fuel resources depend on breeder reactors. The French built two of them, the
U.S. has a small one, the British built one, the Russians built one and the
Japanese are building one.

Breeder reactors seem to be a resource rather than a reserve. They are more
expensive than present reactors and maybe will wait for large scale deployment
until uranium gets more expensive. This is unlikely to be soon, because large
uranium reserves have been discovered in recent years."

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-faq.html


So we don't really "need" them yet, but they are available. We could put more
conventional reactors online. Whatever... it doesn't really matter. More
nuclear power is going online sooner or later. It is a matter of how much pain
(and for how long) the public is willing to accept before they take Doctor
Phil's advice and "get real." The sooner the plants go online is the sooner all
that oil and coal gets left in the ground, and the atmosphere does not have to
absorb greenhouse gases.


> And you're promoting a fanatastic Sci-Fi solution that no one has had
> success in making work yet.

Hardly. I'm not the one who starts with the Sci-Fi doomsday scenarios -- that
is the domain of those who start their Malthusian public policy discussion with
the "depletion of fossil fuels" argument. My concerns are based on reality --
that's why people hate it and react viscerally.

Not one responder has yet dealt with the macroeconomic argument I put forth. If
you all just close your eyes, maybe it will go away and all your dreams will
come true. This "number Sheldon would like to know" is a mirage. I can
appreciate the interest and concern, but know that if rbr posters can't come an
answer to the "Air Pressure" post, how can they propose to come up with an
answer to a question that is many orders of magnitude more difficult, if even
possible at all. Know that any answers presented here will invariably be wrong,
and quite badly at that.

Jack Dingler
October 4th 04, 11:36 PM
gwhite wrote:

>Jack Dingler wrote:
>
>
>>gwhite wrote:
>>
>>
>
>
>
>>Show me these commercial breeder reactors, providing electricity. We
>>need dozens of them going online RIGHT NOW. Where are they? Are they in
>>the future, after the downturn? Do they exist now? Are they just a
>>dream? Where are they?
>>
>>
>
>There is a widespread knee jerk reaction to fission power -- so *politically* it
>remains untenable in the USA. We can't even get any new conventional reactors
>online, so naturally breeder reactors are out of the question until people
>become aware of what the true costs of their political ideals regarding energy
>are costing them.
>
>
>"Most nuclear power plants today use enriched uranium in which the concentration
>of U-235 is increased from 0.7 percent U-235 to (nowadays) about 4 to 5 percent
>U-235. This is done in an expensive separation plant of which there are several
>kinds. The U-238 "tails" are left over for eventual use in "breeder reactors".
>The Canadian CANDU reactors don't require enriched fuel, but since they use
>expensive heavy water instead of ordinary water, their energy cost is about the
>same....
>
>For how long will nuclear power be available? Present reactors that use only the
>U-235 in natural uranium are very likely good for some hundreds of years.
>Bernard Cohen has shown that with breeder reactors, we can have plenty of energy
>for some billions of year....
>
>
>Q. What about breeder reactors?
>
>A. If the reactor design is much more economical of neutrons, enough U-238 can
>be converted to plutonium so that after a fuel cycle there is more fissionable
>material than there was in the original fuel rods in the reactor. Such a design
>is called a breeder reactor. Breeder reactors essentially use U-238 as fuel, and
>there is 140 times as much of it as there is U-235. The billion year estimates
>for fuel resources depend on breeder reactors. The French built two of them, the
>U.S. has a small one, the British built one, the Russians built one and the
>Japanese are building one.
>
>Breeder reactors seem to be a resource rather than a reserve. They are more
>expensive than present reactors and maybe will wait for large scale deployment
>until uranium gets more expensive. This is unlikely to be soon, because large
>uranium reserves have been discovered in recent years."
>
>http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-faq.html
>
>
>So we don't really "need" them yet, but they are available. We could put more
>conventional reactors online. Whatever... it doesn't really matter. More
>nuclear power is going online sooner or later. It is a matter of how much pain
>(and for how long) the public is willing to accept before they take Doctor
>Phil's advice and "get real." The sooner the plants go online is the sooner all
>that oil and coal gets left in the ground, and the atmosphere does not have to
>absorb greenhouse gases.
>
>
>
>
>>And you're promoting a fanatastic Sci-Fi solution that no one has had
>>success in making work yet.
>>
>>
>
>Hardly. I'm not the one who starts with the Sci-Fi doomsday scenarios -- that
>is the domain of those who start their Malthusian public policy discussion with
>the "depletion of fossil fuels" argument. My concerns are based on reality --
>that's why people hate it and react viscerally.
>
>Not one responder has yet dealt with the macroeconomic argument I put forth. If
>you all just close your eyes, maybe it will go away and all your dreams will
>come true. This "number Sheldon would like to know" is a mirage. I can
>appreciate the interest and concern, but know that if rbr posters can't come an
>answer to the "Air Pressure" post, how can they propose to come up with an
>answer to a question that is many orders of magnitude more difficult, if even
>possible at all. Know that any answers presented here will invariably be wrong,
>and quite badly at that.
>

Well, where are they? Show me a few. We need them now. What's the hold
up to getting dozens of these into production this year? And if not this
year when?

Jack Dingler

gwhite
October 5th 04, 12:14 AM
Jack Dingler wrote:
>
> gwhite wrote:
>

> >The French built two of them, the
> >U.S. has a small one, the British built one, the Russians built one and the
> >Japanese are building one.

> >http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-faq.html

> Well, where are they? Show me a few. We need them now. What's the hold
> up to getting dozens of these into production this year? And if not this
> year when?

So you didn't read the quote or the link. What more needs to be said?
Conventional reactors are, of course, available too. Again, the problem is
political, not technical.

Mitch Haley
October 5th 04, 12:24 AM
Jack Dingler wrote:
>
>
> Well, where are they? Show me a few. We need them now. What's the hold
> up to getting dozens of these into production this year? And if not this
> year when?

When people stop protesting and blockading nuclear facilities?

Brent Hugh
October 5th 04, 03:41 AM
gwhite > wrote in message >...
> Brent Hugh wrote:
> > gwhite > wrote in message >...
> > > Sheldon Brown wrote:
> > > > I'm thinking there is a number that might be useful to cycling
> > > > advocates,...
> > > In what way? *Most* folks have mistaken ideas about energy conservation, if
> > > that is the concern. It is an economic fallacy that local conservation leads to
> > > conservation in the whole (aggregate).
> > Well then, let's try asking a question that an economist would love .
> <snip>
> That was all irrelevent junk. I made no statements about "discouragement" of
> bicycling or "unfairness" of tax dollar allocation. I would tend to agree with
> you. But it as zero to do with what I wrote.

I'm sorry to discover that you are full of facts but sadly lacking in
imagination, Mr. White. Maybe you need to get out and ride more?
Give your mind some free play time?

You objected to the premise of Mr. Brown's original question (how much
gas/oil is saved by bicycle riding) because conservation doesn't save
energy, it wastes it blahblahblah economic fallacy blahblahblah.

So I responded by rephrasing Mr. Brown's question in terms that ought
to be more familiar to a grand macroeconomic thinker like yourself.
That is to say, instead of asking how much oil is SAVED by the present
amount of bicycling in the U.S., I asked the converse:

How much oil is WASTED by the present policies that artificially make
driving seem inexpensive to the end user and thus encourage driving
and discourage bicycling, walking, transit use, and other
alternatives?

I'm sorry that I didn't tackle breeder reactors and all the other
blahblahblah that is such an important part of this thread now, but in
fact this new question goes right to the heart of Mr. Brown's original
question and, specifically, your objection to it.

In fact thinking about it this way shows very clearly that bicycling
(and walking, transit, etc.) could indeed save a *substantial*
percentage of the energy the U.S. presently uses for transportation,
if only we would abandon the present muddle-headed economic policies
that prevent these modes from assuming their rightful place.

Right now the average American drives 39 miles per day in short
utility trips--commuting, store, park, library, school, visiting
friends, etc. Assuming that there are 1.4 drivers per vehicle, that
the average vehicle gets 20 MPG, and that by letting gasoline reach
its "real" price, bicycling/walking mode share would increase from 6%
to 35%, we find that allowing gasoline to reach its "real" price would
save about 46 billion gallons of gasoline per year in the U.S.

Since you think like an economist, Mr. White, I presume that you would
not say that bicycling and walking has saved this 46 billion gallons.
Rather, you would say that allowing gasoline/transportation to reach
its natural ("real") price has saved the 46 billion gallons.

But we bicycle and pedestrian advocates would, very gently, point out
that it is exactly bicycling and walking that are there to pick up the
slack.

And that they pick up the slack precisely because they are
economically viable and sensible in an important segment of the market
where automobile driving is not (once muddle-headed automobile
subsidies are removed).

--Brent
bhugh[at]mwsc.edu
www.MoBikeFed.org


For 39 miles per day figure, see
http://www.sdi.gov/Curtis/Trans_Trends.html

Please note that the 46 billion gallon figure is a back-of-an-envelope
calculation based on ballpark estimates. But still, it gives a
general idea of the possible scope of change possible.

The figure of 35% of utility trips by bicycling and walking is a
lowball estimate of the percentage of European bicycling and walking
on such utility trips. Note that the price of gasoline is much higher
in Europe than in the U.S. but even in Europe probably still is not
high enough to represent the "true" and complete cost of oil-based
transportation.

gwhite
October 5th 04, 05:29 AM
Brent Hugh wrote:
>

> That is to say, instead of asking how much oil is SAVED by the present
> amount of bicycling in the U.S., I asked the converse:.....
>
> How much oil is WASTED by the present policies that artificially make
> driving seem inexpensive to the end user and thus encourage driving
> and discourage bicycling, walking, transit use, and other
> alternatives?

I think you'll rarely find me defending the government and its policies. It is
I who am regularly excoriated for criticizing government distortion of
marketplaces -- what you now seem to suggest I am supporting ("present
policies")! Preposterous! It is others who regularly *tell me* that government
intervention via monopoly, regulation, and taxation is the solution to all our
problems. As I already wrote in response to you: "I would tend to agree with
you." Moreover, your "oil is wasted" statement is a value judgement, not an
economic argument. I am making zero statements about value. In fact, until we
get real about the tradeoffs, we cannot intelligently discuss "value" -- this is
my main concern here. "Nuts and bolts economics" does not pretend to make value
judgements. It is only a tool for *us* to weigh value.

Re-read my initial post. I never said "oil" specifically could not be saved on
the global marketplace -- it is simply one form of energy among others. Indeed,
I re-directed immediately to the question of *energy in general*. That is, no
"favorites" regarding energy sources as a beginning point for discussion. My
point is that all other things equal, you can "save" oil, only at the expense of
something else, coal, nuclear, wind, etcetera. Indeed I pointed out that the
oil/coal could be left in the ground if substitutes are used (I referred to
nuclear since it is fundamentally capable of producing huge amounts of energy).
So at least implicitly I am saying "oil can be saved" as a *specific* form of
energy. What I am saying is that it cannot be saved without a cost arising
somewhere else.

In fact, if other things are not equal, for example if coal energy is cheaper
than gas, then a further increase in gas prices will only promote the switching
to a substitute like coal. Or simply, a more economical car supplies the
"excess" funds to purchase cheaper coal energy with the net result of *higher*
joule consumption (to keep things *simple*, I normally try to avoid this with
the "all other things equal" caveat)! (Or just purchase more gas -- like for
example going on a auto vacation, or a train trip, or a plane trip, etcetera.)
Commuting by bike does the same thing. That is, if the transportation utility
of a person is met equally by biking or driving, and the individual chooses
biking with the lower energy and dollar cost, that individual now has funds
available to purchase more energy, since all that is ever purchased *is* energy
(mass is neither created or destroyed). The same thing happens if the saved
money is invested in a venture capital firm, since the company they invest in
requires energy to turn the lights on and computers on.

Why is this so difficult for some to understand? You guys still don't get it.

Jack Dingler
October 5th 04, 05:35 AM
Mitch Haley wrote:

>Jack Dingler wrote:
>
>
>>Well, where are they? Show me a few. We need them now. What's the hold
>>up to getting dozens of these into production this year? And if not this
>>year when?
>>
>>
>
>When people stop protesting and blockading nuclear facilities?
>

Do you honestly believe that makes a difference? That just sounds like
and poor excuse and at best naive.

Maybe they just cost so much, no one wants to put the money up? May they
know they won't get a positive return on them. And from a politcal
point of view there's better porkbarrel projects out there?

The Camanche Peak Nuclear Facility cost ten times it's estimated cost
and had to be underwritten by the US Gov to keep Ft Worth's utility
prices from going sky high. The extra $540,000,000 it cost was
attributed to their having to hire a dozen more security guards for six
months.

Jack Dingler

gwhite
October 5th 04, 09:54 AM
Jack Dingler wrote:
>
> Mitch Haley wrote:
>
> >Jack Dingler wrote:
> >
> >
> >>Well, where are they? Show me a few. We need them now. What's the hold
> >>up to getting dozens of these into production this year? And if not this
> >>year when?
> >>
> >>
> >
> >When people stop protesting and blockading nuclear facilities?
> >
>
> Do you honestly believe that makes a difference?

Well it is certainly reasonable to believe that it has some effect, athough the
particular "blockading" example might be intentionally trite.

"U.S.: The U.S. has the most reactors and generates the most electricity from
nuclear energy. However, the anti-nuclear movement succeeded in stalling new
commitments to nuclear plants. There is only one reactor currently under
construction. [2003: probably finished by now.] Nuclear energy generates about
20 percent of U.S. electricity. Early problems with reliability have been mainly
overcome, and nuclear plants have reached an average of 75 percent availability.
Republicans generally favor resuming construction, and Democrats generally
oppose it. 2003: Reliability is now over 90 percent.

There is plenty of coal in the U.S., so decisions can be long delayed without
serious consequences - provided global warming and the contribution of coal
burning to respiratory problems can be ignored. The utilities have made their
peace with the environmental organizations and the activist, lawyer dominated
regulatory commissions and will use whatever technology the regulators approve
regardless of costs.


Conclusion
The politics of nuclear energy is unlikely to change rapidly. When the cost of
petroleum goes up a lot, the countries that have had nuclear programs will have
a competitive advantage that will put pressure on the backward countries. The
danger that anti-nuclear politics would succeed in suppressing nuclear energy
everywhere seems to have passed.

1999: The politics of nuclear energy has improved slightly in the U.S. Congress
has mandated that the Government take the nuclear waste that it has been
charging the companies for taking. There is still stalling on the repository.
The repository for Government low level waste has finally opened in New Mexico.
There is a one stop law on licensing plants. The undamaged Three Mile Island
power plant has been sold to an energy supply company. With all that, a company
proposing to build a new nuclear power plant might still face expensive delays
from lawsuits.

Most of the new power plants in the US have used natural gas. The CEO of
Entergy, an operator of nuclear plants bought from utilities, said that a
natural gas price of $5.00 per million BTU should trigger the construction of
new nuclear plants. It's above that in late 2003.

2003: Congress passed a bill, and President Bush signed it specifying that a
waste site in Nevada will be used. With the expected lawsuits 2010 is the
earliest that waste will be stored. The energy bill that almost passed in Fall
2003 provided for a Government subsidy to construct a nuclear plant to produce
hydrogen. The delays in passing the bill have involved conflicts over subsidies
for ethanol, MTBE, etc. and have not involved the nuclear part. So far as I
know, the opponents of the bill have not raised anti-nuclear issues."
http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-politics.html


"Economical.
Nuclear power plants are one of the most economical forms of energy production.
Fuel costs for an equivalent amount of power run from 1/3rd to 1/6th the cost
for fossil production, and capital and non-fuel operating costs are roughly
equivalent, resulting in the overall cost of nuclear generation of electricity
running 50% to 80% that of other sources. This is in spite of the fact that
capital costs have been hugely inflated due to lawsuits, court injunctions, and
other delaying tactics used by individuals and organizations opposed to nuclear
power."
http://pw1.netcom.com/~res95/energy/nuclear.html

"The root cause of the troubles and frustrations, moreover, is commonly thought
to be more political than economic. The promise of nuclear power in the United
States is said to have been dimmed primarily by an eccentrically risk-averse
public and an unusually hostile regulatory climate. Practically nowhere else, it
is said, have political and legal institutions been so uncooperative. Supposedly
the central governments of most other advanced countries have lent far more
support to their nuclear industries. And because those governments are assumed
to be more aggressive in combating pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions
from burning fossil fuels, surely "the rest of the world'' has been doing much
more than America to level the playing field for the development of nuclear
energy. But just how valid is this conventional picture?"
http://www.brookings.edu/comm/policybriefs/pb138.htm


No firm needs that headache -- so they just build coal or gas plants which emit
greenhouse gases and radioactivity.

http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

> That just sounds like
> and poor excuse and at best naive.
>
> Maybe they just cost so much, no one wants to put the money up? May they
> know they won't get a positive return on them. And from a politcal
> point of view there's better porkbarrel projects out there?

http://www.nei.org/documents/US_Nuclear_Power_Plant_Ownership.pdf
http://www.nei.org/documents/World_Plants_Under_Construction.pdf

Actually, the private firms that own the plants (and their customers) can pay
the costs themselves. The spent fuel rods are a problem because radioactivity
is so hazardous. The government *wants* the waste because it is, for one thing,
a national security issue. I have no problem of the users paying the cost of
the federal storage. Yes, nukes should compete based on actual costs. Nuke
costs may be higher, or may appear to be so, depending upon how costs are
accounted for.

Also, the basic argument about greenhouse gases is that the costs are not fully
accounted for. It is difficult to account for greenhouse gas costs, because no
one really knows what the cost is. Nukes don't make greenhouse gases. None of
these fundamentally "big sources" of energy are perfect -- so the decision is
about tradeoffs, not perfection.

> The Camanche Peak Nuclear Facility cost ten times it's estimated cost
> and had to be underwritten by the US Gov to keep Ft Worth's utility
> prices from going sky high. The extra $540,000,000 it cost was
> attributed to their having to hire a dozen more security guards for six
> months.

Those are some expensive security guards! ;-) Are they hiring?

In any case, if nukes aren't competitive today, they will be someday. The
initial capital costs of a nuke are quite high, for whatever reason. The world
will increase its energy consumption. This means there will be increasing
competition for fossil fuels and other forms of energy. On that you can count
on 100%.



http://www.nei.org/documents/Status_Report_Competitive_Outlook.pdf
http://www.nei.org/documents/Status_Report_Events.pdf

Max
October 5th 04, 11:54 AM
In article >,
gwhite > wrote:

> hat is, if the transportation utility
> of a person is met equally by biking or driving, and the individual chooses
> biking with the lower energy and dollar cost, that individual now has funds
> available to purchase more energy, since all that is ever purchased *is*
> energy

wait, wait -- you just palmed a card. You said "individual now has
funds available" and then you go on to treat it as though the individual
actually _spends_ those funds. Not proven.

And you palm another card when you write "all that is ever purchased
*is* energy" because you imply all goods/services to be energetically
equivalent. clearly wrong.


we're not all stupid, y'know.

cletus.

--
the part of >
was played by maxwell monningh 8-p

gwhite
October 5th 04, 05:25 PM
Max wrote:
>
> In article >,
> gwhite > wrote:
>
> > hat is, if the transportation utility
> > of a person is met equally by biking or driving, and the individual chooses
> > biking with the lower energy and dollar cost, that individual now has funds
> > available to purchase more energy, since all that is ever purchased *is*
> > energy
>
> wait, wait -- you just palmed a card. You said "individual now has
> funds available" and then you go on to treat it as though the individual
> actually _spends_ those funds. Not proven.


"Unless they bury it in the back yard or stuff it into a mattress, that 20 bucks
gets spent on some other energy somewhere in the world."

"No one with any sense stuffs money into the mattress unless they predict
deflation. Even then, the days of putting it to use purchasing energy are
numbered. At most, usage can be delayed a little bit."


> And you palm another card when you write "all that is ever purchased
> *is* energy" because you imply all goods/services to be energetically
> equivalent. clearly wrong.


"In fact, if other things are not equal, for example if coal energy is cheaper
than gas, then a further increase in gas prices will only promote the switching
to a substitute like coal. Or simply, a more economical car supplies the
'excess' funds to purchase cheaper coal energy with the net result of *higher*
joule consumption (to keep things *simple*, I normally try to avoid this with
the 'all other things equal' caveat)!"


> we're not all stupid, y'know.


LOL. Don't "misoverestimate" yourself. I think it has been covered. Funny how
you can say I "palmed" cards, when I explicitly addressed the exact concerns you
point out; one in the post you directly responded to! Wow.

B.B.
October 5th 04, 06:28 PM
In article >,
gwhite > wrote:

[...]

>Re-read my initial post. I never said "oil" specifically could not be saved
>on
>the global marketplace -- it is simply one form of energy among others.
>Indeed,
>I re-directed immediately to the question of *energy in general*. That is, no
>"favorites" regarding energy sources as a beginning point for discussion. My
>point is that all other things equal, you can "save" oil, only at the expense
>of
>something else, coal, nuclear, wind, etcetera. Indeed I pointed out that the
>oil/coal could be left in the ground if substitutes are used (I referred to
>nuclear since it is fundamentally capable of producing huge amounts of
>energy).
>So at least implicitly I am saying "oil can be saved" as a *specific* form of
>energy. What I am saying is that it cannot be saved without a cost arising
>somewhere else.

You're omitting one really big element: indirect energy savings.
While someone is biking around, they're not at home, running appliances.
Those appliances are generally quite wasteful and more time spent away
from them saves energy on the whole.
Also, cycling doesn't incur the secondary costs associated with
driving. ie, bikes don't tear up the roads as quickly as cars do, so
repaves become rarer. Accidents are cheaper to clean up, traffic
signals are unneeded on bike trails....
And, with a healthier population (with the assistance of cycling)
health care needs drop--good since health care wastes scads of energy.
So you can make the argument that the energy immediately saved by
biking around wouldn't amount to squat at best, or even winds up getting
used elsewhere, but it's harder to disregard the secondary benefits.

--
B.B. --I am not a goat! thegoat4 at airmail.net

dgk
October 5th 04, 08:19 PM
> And, with a healthier population (with the assistance of cycling)
>health care needs drop--good since health care wastes scads of energy.


This is a key point. I may suffer a few scratches or bruises but since
I've started commuting by bike I've dropped 30 pounds and my HDL is
way up and the LDL is down. I think we can say that the risk of
expensive circulatory problems is way down.

On the other hand, I'll likely live longer and thus use more energy
than if I died young.

gwhite
October 5th 04, 08:41 PM
"B.B." wrote:
>

> You're omitting one really big element: indirect energy savings.

I am not "omitting" anything. Sheesh!!! Why can't you guys address the
*argument*, instead repeatedly ignoring it.

> So you can make the argument that the energy immediately saved...

Whoa there. Sure, as a "time of habit change," there might be a *momentary*
delay/lag -- no one is saying otherwise.

But as the new habits are formed by the user, and their "expectations" become
clear, those delays evaporate.

The main crux proposed by conservationists is to lower the burn rate
*permanently*. Unfortunately, the delays can only be temporary at best.

> ... by
> biking around wouldn't amount to squat at best, or even winds up getting
> used elsewhere, but it's harder to disregard the secondary benefits.

All other things equal, any secondary benefits do not amount to global
conservation, even if local conservation is acheived. By all means, conserve
locally: it is a good thing. Don't delude yourself into thinking you are
conserving globally. You aren't.

Peter Cole
October 5th 04, 08:44 PM
"gwhite" > wrote >
> Peter Cole wrote:
> >
> > Obviously, government market regulation is mostly local in
> > effect (excluding tariffs), although there are global ripples. To the
> > extent we all live on the same planet, impacts of some activities
cannot be
> > limited to local scope. Fairness would argue for some global policies
for
> > resource conservation, allocation, and pricing. Conservation need not
be a
> > zero sum (or worse) game. It's all a matter of policy. To argue that
all
> > conservation is pointless, or counter-productive, is simplistic and
wrong.
>
> Uhhmm, I wrote nothing of the kind -- actually I wrote that local
conservation
> is good. I practice what I preach: I ride my bike to work; my car gets
50 mpg;
> my domicile is loaded with compact fluorescents. Please do not grossly
distort
> what I wrote.
>
> Local conservation != global conservation
>
> That's all.

But, global conservation == local conservation, & we have to start
somewhere.


> What is not new is you completely missed the point and the argument --
just like
> every other responder to date. You went off on a tangent. How tax
dollars
> lighting up a government office space (or fill in the blank) can "save"
more
> energy that buring it up in my car or a Chinese coal plant remains
unexplained
> and basically ignored, because to consider it would force a change of
beliefs.
> Just because a politician (or bureaucrat with vested interest) states
that a
> policy has "such and such intent/goal," does not mean the goal is
achieved.

Uhm, now you're putting words in my mouth. I think your point is either too
convoluted for me to follow or vanishingly subtle. In any case, I didn't
say anything like that.

qtq
October 6th 04, 12:38 AM
gwhite > wrote in
:

> The empirical evidence shows
> that world energy consumption will grow, and always has as
> productivity grows. The macroeconomic argument helps shed light on
> why this is so, and helps us get real. Why not just think about it
> for awhile?

The obvious explanation for why world energy consumption grows as
productivity grows is that the extra energy is fueling the productivity.

--
to email me, run my email address through /usr/bin/caesar
(or rotate by -4)

gwhite
October 6th 04, 12:52 AM
Peter Cole wrote:
>

> > Local conservation != global conservation
> >
> > That's all.
>
> But, global conservation == local conservation,...

No. Unfortunately the evidence counters you -- consumption is growing.


> ... & we have to start somewhere.

I pointed out that the place to start out with concerns about energy is to get
real about what we can or cannot accomplish. Also, the idea that "we must
conserve energy" is another point that is not necessarily a "given" in the
strength that some *believe* it should be. As I've pointed out, there are
enormous amounts of energy available -- doomsday projections aren't enough
without the substance to back them up. The argument put forth by so-called
conservationists about needing to conserve energy (in a way beyond what one
would tend to "conserve" simply paying market costs) mostly stems from a refusal
to acknowledge nuclear power and focus on fossil fuels as the only substantial
source in the forseeable future. My *guess* is that nuclear will be used in the
future much more that it is today (sooner or later). Time will tell. Plants
are being built today. That is a fact.



> > Just because a politician (or bureaucrat with
> > vested interest) states that a policy has
> > "such and such intent/goal," does not mean the goal is
> > achieved.
>
> Uhm, now you're putting words in my mouth. I think your point is either too
> convoluted for me to follow or vanishingly subtle. In any case, I didn't
> say anything like that.

I'm not claiming you "said it." However, where you would "start" is where
"they" would start (and "they" say so, as do you). That is, with what I
consider to be a false premise regarding what can and cannot be accomplished.
You can't just will something to be true and hope that good intentions are
enough -- they aren't. Recall it is you that entered the thread by supplying a
post filled with notes about government intervention (government policy).

The phrase "Law of Unintended Consequences" was created by economists to
describe political policies that do not produce the intended results, despite
glorious and wonderful goals on which everyone agrees, and which invoked the
policy. The empirical evidence shows that world energy consumption will grow,
and always has as productivity grows. The macroeconomic argument helps shed
light on why this is so, and helps us get real. Why not just think about it for
awhile?

cycommuter
October 6th 04, 06:37 AM
gwhite > wrote in message >...
> "B.B." wrote:
> >
>
> > You're omitting one really big element: indirect energy savings.
>
> I am not "omitting" anything. Sheesh!!! Why can't you guys address the
> *argument*, instead repeatedly ignoring it.

Is the rebound effect necessarily 100%? If, for instance, I purchase
a more efficient refrigerator, I won't always buy two, just because
I'm saving so much money. In other words, no. It's not 100% always.

According to: http://www.ncseonline.org/nle/crsreports/energy/eng-80.cfm?&CFID=11262148&CFTOKEN=7028302

"Under certain circumstances, the rebound effect could actually turn
an increase in efficiency into an increase in demand. However this has
only happened in very special cases such as in some developing
countries or in new markets such as the coal market in the mid 1800s
or the electricity market in the early 1900s. For mature markets, it
is generally accepted that although real the rebound effect is
limited."

Further, while you suggest that if I save $5 worth of gasoline, I will
purchase some good that requires the consumption of a similar amount
of energy (the theoretical $5 of dirty Chinese coal to process and
transport a cup of coffee). Interesting, but most of the cost of the
Starbucks coffee isn't energy, indeed, it's a small fraction of the
cost. Sure, you could treat energy as the economic equivalent of heat
in thermodynamics - the ultimate sink, but that's bending reality
pretty hard. What is $5 of coal, really? I mean, it's like asking a
physicist when something happened - it's all relative. How much do
you pay for the actual coal, REALLY, and how much do you pay for the
costs of extraction, transportation, buying off the local politicians,
security of the location, etc etc. The value of goods is pretty
cheap, and not that easy to determine. What you pay actually is what
you and the seller are willing to comprimse at.

It's also amusing that a nuclear power advocate would repeatedly use
the phrase "mass is neither created nor destroyed", but I digress.

Also, it seems that more and more of the dollar value of a purchase
(that cup of Starbucks, for instance) isn't actually about any
physical element, but it's paying for the IP. What's the cost of a
DVD? $1? $2? I'm not sure what the going price for polycarbonate
is, but it's not much. So why does it cost me $30? Intellectual
property. Marketing. Management. Sure, eventually that money will
be spent on some tranformative energy. But if you talk in circles
long enough, you can convince yourself of anything.

> All other things equal, any secondary benefits do not amount to global
> conservation, even if local conservation is acheived. By all means, conserve
> locally: it is a good thing. Don't delude yourself into thinking you are
> conserving globally. You aren't.

If we all live by your theories, you're right, we're not saving energy
in the net. On the other hand, the world is much more complicated
than the musings of an 19th century logician. Certainly, if you make
enough simplifying assumptions, you can wrap your mind around it. But
that doesn't mean you understand the world, just your model, which
may, or may not, be accurate. Jevons was wrong about the coal, after
all.

Earlier you had said that if we decrease the global energy
consumption, billions would die. Given that the US is by far the
largest consumer of energy in the world, would a curtailment of our
energy consumption, even to the point of a recession/depression here,
actually cause death to Billions, with a "B"? That's a pretty bold
assertion. I mean, if you waved a magic wand and all US residents
simply disappeared, the global energy consumption would drop fairly
dramatically, at the cost of less than half a billion souls. Sure
there would be ripple effects but...

Okay. So, Jevons was wrong about the coal, you've apparently
dramatically overstated the power of the rebound effect that Jevons
proposed and I don't think anyone has switched sides on the need for
breeder reactors. I don't know if you feel better about things, but I
do. I'll continue riding in the belief that if I live more simply,
others may simply live.

Instead of buying more coffees at Starbucks, I'll set my goals of
letting traffic run more free without my automotive presence, of
strengthening my heart, lungs and legs by cycling, of saving my little
corner of the world by stepping lighter on it. Perhaps, with the
money I save by living simply, I can let someone else take over my job
a couple years earlier - decreasing unemployment and the whole hassle.

gwhite
October 6th 04, 05:41 PM
qtq wrote:
>
> gwhite > wrote in
> :
>
> > The empirical evidence shows
> > that world energy consumption will grow, and always has as
> > productivity grows. The macroeconomic argument helps shed light on
> > why this is so, and helps us get real. Why not just think about it
> > for awhile?
>
> The obvious explanation for why world energy consumption grows as
> productivity grows is that the extra energy is fueling the productivity.


Yes, exactly. And it will continue. The only way government intervention can
really "do something" is to take a bite out of productivity (or contract the
money supply), which more or less will mean recession/depression. This is not
politically possible. As a note, it is also outside my "all other things equal"
simplification.

gwhite
October 6th 04, 06:07 PM
cycommuter wrote:
>
> gwhite > wrote in message >...
> > "B.B." wrote:
> > >
> >
> > > You're omitting one really big element: indirect energy savings.
> >
> > I am not "omitting" anything. Sheesh!!! Why can't you guys address the
> > *argument*, instead repeatedly ignoring it.
>
> Is the rebound effect necessarily 100%? If, for instance, I purchase
> a more efficient refrigerator, I won't always buy two, just because
> I'm saving so much money. In other words, no. It's not 100% always.
>
> According to: http://www.ncseonline.org/nle/crsreports/energy/eng-80.cfm?&CFID=11262148&CFTOKEN=7028302

I've already read that article long ago. The rebound effect is an incomplete
picture, as noted in the article I posted long ago.

> Interesting, but most of the cost of the
> Starbucks coffee isn't energy, indeed, it's a small fraction of the
> cost.

No. It is 100% of the cost. Mass is neither created or destroyed, it is only
reformed and moved, which is *all* energy. That is why energy is unlike any
other good on the marketplace.

> It's also amusing that a nuclear power advocate would repeatedly use
> the phrase "mass is neither created nor destroyed", but I digress.

Yes, you digress. It is not important in any way we care about here.

> > All other things equal, any secondary benefits do not amount to global
> > conservation, even if local conservation is acheived. By all means, conserve
> > locally: it is a good thing. Don't delude yourself into thinking you are
> > conserving globally. You aren't.
>
> If we all live by your theories, you're right, we're not saving energy
> in the net. On the other hand, the world is much more complicated
> than the musings of an 19th century logician.

LOL. I was only saying that this concept isn't "news."

> Certainly, if you make
> enough simplifying assumptions, you can wrap your mind around it.

The simplification I've used, is simply for *beginning* to think about the
problem in a macroeconomic way. It is in part for didactic purposes. Obviously
it gets more complicated when one realizes not every energy does not have some
homogeneous (across time, place, and source) cost. To the extent people begin
to think about the problem more expansively, I've had a measure of success.

> Jevons was wrong about the coal, after all.

You are confused about what he was right about and what he was wrong about. He
was *wrong* in saying that England would run out of coal (or just energy). I
already said he was wrong about this -- England obvoiusly did not run out of
coal and those who would side with Jevons' fear might want to take note of
that. For the key part of this thread, he was *right* in his observation that
increased efficiency simply led to more energy usage. Of course, this
*observation* (it was empirical, not theoretical), is what drove his fear of
running out of coal!

> Okay. So, Jevons was wrong about the coal, you've apparently
> dramatically overstated the power of the rebound effect that Jevons
> proposed...

No, rebound is only part of the problem. But even then, it is good someone even
acknowledges that. Because to do so recognizes that simplistic arithmetic
computations presented here could only be wrong. This is a good start.

> ... and I don't think anyone has switched sides on the need for
> breeder reactors.

Please do not distort what I wrote. I am not "promoting" that form of energy or
trying to convince others of its "correctness." I simply believe that humans
will increase their use of nuclear energy and it will happen sooner or later. I
am pointing out that it represents huge reserves of energy, so claims that the
world will be out of energy when the fossil fuels become prohibitively expensive
is factually incorrect. I do not see how this fact can be seriously argued.

Brent Hugh
October 6th 04, 08:12 PM
gwhite > wrote in message >...
> Brent Hugh wrote:
> > That is to say, instead of asking how much oil is SAVED by the present
> > amount of bicycling in the U.S., I asked the converse:.....
> >
> > How much oil is WASTED by the present policies that artificially make
> > driving seem inexpensive to the end user and thus encourage driving
> > and discourage bicycling, walking, transit use, and other
> > alternatives?
<<<Snippety-snip . . . >>>
> you." Moreover, your "oil is wasted" statement is a value judgement, not an
> economic argument.

Some of us take as our major premise the idea that our culture has
some serious problems and should be changed in some very fundamental
ways (yes, this IS a value judgment, thank you). When you change the
culture, you actually change the underlying economic realities--how
people spend their time, money, and energy (both literal and
figurative). When you do this you change the economy in ways that
cannot be predicted via the usual economic theories and tools (though
I'm not quite sure that your arguments fall under the category of "the
usual economic theories and tools").

Now I am going to list 6 numbers that blow your entire theory right
out of the water:

2002 Per Capita Total Primary Energy Consumption, in million BTU:
United States: 391
Germany: 173
Denmark: 156
France: 184
Japan: 172
Australia: 286

These countries are all industrialized first-world nations, they have
the same types of economies, similar per-capita GNP, similar economic
productivity rates, similar standard of living (in fact some of these
countries rate higher in standard of living than the U.S.), similar
temperate climates, and so on. Of course, you can tease out a few
economic differences, but none of them explains the huge difference in
energy usage in the way you want to.

I'm not cherry-picking my countries to make my point, either. There
are only two or three large industrialized countries that use more
energy per capita than the U.S. (Canada, Iceland, Singapore, . . . ).
And the average annual per capita energy usage in 27 of the larger
industrialized countries is 227 million BTU.

That's about 60% of the U.S. per capita energy usage.

(So they're maintaining equal quality of life and equivalent economies
while using 60% the energy. So much for your argument.)

How do they manage to get by on only 60% of the energy the U.S. uses?
Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that their tax
structures, their economies, their land-use planning, and their
cultures are set up to encourage, far more than the U.S. does, all the
things that we ordinarily associate with "energy conservation":
smaller dwellings, more compact land use, closer proximity of
dwellings and destinations (ie, less "suburbia"), less use of the
personal automobile and far greater percentages of walking, bicycling,
and mass transit use, smaller and more efficient automobiles, less use
of air conditioning and heating, and on and on and on.

Not coincidentally, the average life span in many of these countries
is longer than in the U.S.

Returning to the original question--how much energy does bicycling
save in the U.S.?

This line of argument doesn't give a simple or definitive answer but
it shows VERY clearly that countries that are otherwise similar to the
U.S. but which have policies in place that encourage "conservation",
including such measures as more walking, bicycling, and mass transit
use, save a whole lot of energy as compared to the U.S. while
maintaining similarly strong economies and high standards of living.

--Brent
bhugh [at] mwsc.edu
www.MoBikeFed.org

Notes:

You can find total energy use and per capita use for the entire world,
and for specific regions, and countries at

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/total.html

The specific per capita energy use figures I noted above came from
this Excel file:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/tablee1c.xls

World life expectancy figures:

http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa042000b.htm

gwhite
October 6th 04, 09:15 PM
Jack Dingler wrote:
>
> gwhite wrote:
>
> >Jack Dingler wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >>As these sources are either unknown or merely unrealized projections of
> >>established theory, I would think the onus on the proof would be on
> >>those that insist these supplies are available, when we are not
> >>currently tapping them.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >You were already provided a link regarding actual breeder reactors. You were
> >already provided a link regarding existing and under construction conventional
> >nukes.
> >
> >
> You didn't make your case that a rapid ramping up to the numbers needed
> is practical or possible. You agreed that the political climate is
> difficult. I find such admissions to be supportive of my arguments, not
> yours.

I think you have a static view of the world. Political views and technology
change over time. They particularly change when the costs become more apparent
which is perhaps another way of saying "more painful." I mean cost in a very
broad sense, although it probably will come right down to dollars in some way.

I don't really need to cover any "rapid ramping" argument. *You* are the one
claiming this, with no specifics whatsoever.

> >>Remember also, that it's not only the quantity of untapped reserves that
> >>is important but more importantly, the rate they can become available
> >>that is important. The case has not been made that these sources will be
> >>ramped up to cover the imminent shortfall in oil production.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >They won't when and where coal and other sources of energy are cheaper. They'll
> >get ramped up quicker if the costs of other forms become more expensive. This
> >is a simple subsitution effect. I don't get your problem.
> >
> >
>
> Once oil, coal and natural gas become more expensive, where will the
> energy come from to make the materials to build the nukes? If the
> materials needed to make the nukes become more expensive (and they are
> now), won't construction of the nukes become more expensive? And doesn't
> this effect the bottom line, meaning that as the price of energy goes
> up, so does the difficulty in investing in nukes?
>
> Consider also that most of the stages of uranium mining and processing
> is highly dependent on oil and natural gas. Though in theory, these
> steps could be performed with the electricity from nukes, such an
> infrastructure doesn't exist now. In fact, it will require a substantial
> investment to build new facilities and convert existing ones.

You are really going off on a tangent. To the extent costs of energy go up,
economic activity and growth will slow, stall, etc. I suspect that most people
won't favor that. Sure, it might be "cheaper" in some sense to build nukes
today rather than tommorrow. It might be smart, maybe not. I don't know and am
not even attempting to make that sort of judgement. I said I believe increasing
use will be made of nuclear energy. Nothing you said changes that. You are
only making vague statements about difficilties. So what? Sure it's
"difficult." If you compared today's highway system or power grid to that which
existed 100 years ago, you'd (100 years ago) say "gee, building all that 'stuff'
is going to be hard." No ****. Life is hard, it always has been.

> >And all this is relevent to.... what?
> >
> >
> I thought I was clear. It means we need these investments start soon so
> they can go into production soon.

There has already *been* investment. There *is* investment. I not clear on why
you want to ignore it, and you aren't calling it out. If you have an agenda,
just say so.

> >>Nukes for instance need to demonstrate a lot of scaleability right now.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >Umm, they already have. Look at France. I think we have over 200 nukes here
> >right now (20% of energy), and that is with no new plants built in over 20
> >years.
> >
> >
> 20% of the electricity, but only 6.3% of the total energy. You've argued
> that nukes will replace oil. This means that nukes will power the
> current uses that oil current powers including long haul trucking and
> freighters.

Yeah, so what? What makes you think that transportation tommorrow will "look
like" transportation today? Where does this static world view come from?
Gas/diesel trucks obsoleted horse and cart. Hay are horses are gone. Diesel
trucks will probably dissappear someday. Sure, the machine and the energy will
match. What's the big deal?

We don't use gas/oil lamps anymore either. They were "good" for awhile though.

> You're only looking at a slim sliver of the overall picture. Oil is
> hardly even a component in the total electricity picture.

Well that only makes oil *less* important, not more.

> Your argument is that nukes can take over most
> electricity production and expand to
> replace oil and coal.

Well they certainly could, at least technically in the raw output sense. Nukes
need to compete on price though. I don't see much purpose in overinvestment any
more than I would pay $1500 for a bike where I could get a $1200 bike that met
my needs just as well. If there is "forward looking" that makes the $1500
dollar bike look better, maybe I'll consider. As ever, "it depends," just like
any assessment.

> That's a tall order and you've just made it clear
> that you don't understand the full scope of this issue.
>
> >>If we can't build them en-masse in the best of times, I have trouble
> >>believe we can build them en-masse in the worst of times.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >Oh, that's exactly when they'll get built. Remember, a nuke has high capital
> >costs; coal and coal plants are still *relatively* cheap, politically and
> >actually.
> >
> >
> >
> >>Consider that nukes produce only about 6.3% of the world's total energy
> >>(not electricity), and that's with about 440 operating nukes. This means
> >>that to rely on nukes for only our current power needs, we'd need 6984
> >>of them. This ignore the fact that a growing population and capitalism
> >>requires growth. Once oil goes into it's expect 3% per year decline, we
> >>need to have have a program already in place building approximately 350
> >>of them a year, worldwide. I'd like to see you meet the burden of proof
> >>demonstrating that this is likely.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >If they are a bit more expensive than coal, for example, then for sure it will
> >be a drag on growth. Humans know how to build nukes. When the balance of costs
> >tilts more towards their favor, I see no reason why they will not get built, as
> >deemed "necessary." The coal/oil spigot is not going to get turned off all of
> >the sudden. It will happen over time, and there is no reason to believe that as
> >the cost of these sources creeps upwards (when?), then wind, solar, nuclear, and
> >other forms will be ramped up. In this sense, it is just like anything else.
> >
>
> As I argued, oil, coal and natural gas are consumed to make virtually
> everything needed to construct a nuclear power station. As the prices of
> these energy sources rise, the cost of building nukes will rise with
> them. You seem to be arguing that construction costs will be frozen for
> nukes while the cost for everything else will rise. That is clearly a
> bad assumption.

I made *no* such statement. I don't know if you are suggesting that "they could
not be afforded," but I don't know how you could make such a supposition.

> Doesn't it make sense to begin investing in building these thousands of
> needed nukes throughout the world now, while energy and materials prices
> are lower, rather than wait until we have a declining store of energy to
> build them with? Won't it be worse to wait, as the energy and materials
> diverted to build nukes will have to come as a sacrifice from other
> industries and life sustaining endeavors?
>
> Doesn't it make sense to make investments when you can afford to, rather
> than waiting until you need to benefit? You wouldn't wait to invest in a
> retirement plan, after you retire would you? Yet you argue that we
> should wait until we're past needing the benefits of the nukes, before
> building them. Sort of like waiting until it rains to fix a leaky roof.

You are apparently arguing something I have not claimed one way or another.
Maybe more should be built now. It isn't up to me, and I don't really know.
This is because I make no claim to intimately know the precise costs, or more
importantly how they balance by location, by time, and by specific design (which
invariably will improve thus lowering cost). Some nukes (and a tiny number of
breeders) have been built so *someone* seemed to think it was worth doing. Some
are under construction now, so *some* seem to think the balance of costs is
indeed tilted in favor of nukes. I do know that nukes are capable of producing
enormous amounts of energy. This is indisputable. What that means is claims of
energy doom due to fossil fuel depletion are factually incorrect.

gwhite
October 6th 04, 10:07 PM
Brent Hugh wrote:
>
> gwhite > wrote in message >...
> > Brent Hugh wrote:
> > > That is to say, instead of asking how much oil is SAVED by the present
> > > amount of bicycling in the U.S., I asked the converse:.....
> > >
> > > How much oil is WASTED by the present policies that artificially make
> > > driving seem inexpensive to the end user and thus encourage driving
> > > and discourage bicycling, walking, transit use, and other
> > > alternatives?
> <<<Snippety-snip . . . >>>
> > you." Moreover, your "oil is wasted" statement is a value judgement, not an
> > economic argument.
>
> Some of us take as our major premise the idea that our culture has
> some serious problems and should be changed in some very fundamental
> ways (yes, this IS a value judgment, thank you). When you change the
> culture,...

Talk about pipe dreams.

>... you actually change the underlying economic realities--how
> people spend their time, money, and energy (both literal and
> figurative). When you do this you change the economy in ways that
> cannot be predicted via the usual economic theories and tools (though
> I'm not quite sure that your arguments fall under the category of "the
> usual economic theories and tools").
>
> Now I am going to list 6 numbers that blow your entire theory right
> out of the water:
>
> 2002 Per Capita Total Primary Energy Consumption, in million BTU:
> United States: 391
> Germany: 173
> Denmark: 156
> France: 184
> Japan: 172
> Australia: 286
>
> These countries are all industrialized first-world nations, they have
> the same types of economies, similar per-capita GNP, similar economic
> productivity rates, similar standard of living (in fact some of these
> countries rate higher in standard of living than the U.S.), similar
> temperate climates, and so on. Of course, you can tease out a few
> economic differences, but none of them explains the huge difference in
> energy usage in the way you want to.

No, what your problem is is that this is *all value judgement*. The precept is
that there is some "equivalence" between all these countries and purportedly
something "wrong" with the US. Sorry, but that is entirely a value judgement
since that is what "standards of living" is all about. To force a nation to
adopt some other nations culture, though some arbitrary set of value judgements
is a tyrannical point of view. The Board of the Rightly Thinking Elite always
judge themselves correct though, of course!

> I'm not cherry-picking my countries to make my point, either. There
> are only two or three large industrialized countries that use more
> energy per capita than the U.S. (Canada, Iceland, Singapore, . . . ).
> And the average annual per capita energy usage in 27 of the larger
> industrialized countries is 227 million BTU.
>
> That's about 60% of the U.S. per capita energy usage.

So your goal is to have those energy guzzling Americans off-shore their energy
use by purchasing goods from.... oh let's say China (fueled by dirty coal
plants), so the bottom line US energy consumption "looks better on paper." Your
basic goal seems to be to avoid spending that dollar such that the energy
associated is expended somewhere other than the US. That way it will simply
look like material (mass) rather than energy. What a pointless interfering
exercise.

But to the extent the interfering policies *cause* economic inefficiencies, and
doubtless they will to some extent, economic activity will be slowed and permit
less energy usage due to lower wealth. Congratulations, you just made the world
poorer.

> (So they're maintaining equal quality of life and equivalent economies
> while using 60% the energy. So much for your argument.)

LOL.

> How do they manage to get by on only 60% of the energy the U.S. uses?
> Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that their tax
> structures, their economies, their land-use planning, and their
> cultures are set up to encourage, far more than the U.S. does, all the
> things that we ordinarily associate with "energy conservation":
> smaller dwellings,...

Gee, what were you saying about "equivalent" standards of living? The ability
to afford a larger dwelling -- and power it -- shows that someone is richer than
someone else. The same goes for the ability to afford and power a larger
vehicle. Someone is richer than someone else. So much for "equivalency." The
standards have a measure of *arbitrary value* and selectively chosen according
to political beliefs. That groupthink about "standards" may be common does not
presume its correctness.

> more compact land use, closer proximity of
> dwellings and destinations (ie, less "suburbia"), less use of the
> personal automobile and far greater percentages of walking, bicycling,
> and mass transit use, smaller and more efficient automobiles, less use
> of air conditioning and heating, and on and on and on.
>
> Not coincidentally, the average life span in many of these countries
> is longer than in the U.S.
>
> Returning to the original question--how much energy does bicycling
> save in the U.S.?

Ah, here we go again. One thing I learned in Thermodynamics was that you can
really make a "system" look very good if you are very selective about how you
draw the dotted line around the "system." Sure, we can lower US energy
consumption as a matter of policy. That would come at a cost of off-shoring
energy consumption (my "aggregate" argument) or by lowering economic activity
within the borders of the US (effectively lowering wealth -- try that one
politically).

Just note that I *never* wrote that energy consumption in the *US*, as a paper
(accounting) or real change, could not be lowered. What I have said is that it
would come at a cost. For the *global* energy consumption concern, there is
little point in drawing some arbitrary line around the US. It is particularly
foolish if policy simply shifts consumption to another local that produces the
energy with dirtier plants. The motor vehicles and plants (on a piecemeal
basis) in the US are among the "cleanest" in the world, if not the cleanest.
Pick your poison: Economic contraction or shifting burn locality or both. Make
it happen politically! Good luck. You might want to take Doctor Phil's advice
and "get real."

> This line of argument doesn't give a simple or definitive answer but
> it shows VERY clearly that countries that are otherwise similar to the
> U.S. but which have policies in place that encourage "conservation",
> including such measures as more walking, bicycling, and mass transit
> use, save a whole lot of energy as compared to the U.S. while
> maintaining similarly strong economies and high standards of living.
>
> --Brent
> bhugh [at] mwsc.edu
> www.MoBikeFed.org
>
> Notes:
>
> You can find total energy use and per capita use for the entire world,
> and for specific regions, and countries at
>
> http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/total.html
>
> The specific per capita energy use figures I noted above came from
> this Excel file:
>
> http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/tablee1c.xls
>
> World life expectancy figures:
>
> http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa042000b.htm


Amusing links, and thanks for them, but you are dodging the point. I'm all for
biking -- I wouldn't do it if I didn't value it. I suspect concentration of
funds for motor vehicles (and the roadways they travel over) has at least some
special interest distortions. If this distortion was removed, there might be
safer and better biking. I'm all for that.

But removing economic distortions (from special interests) won't save one joule
of energy. If anything, those distortions lower aggregate wealth in the world.
Once removed, aggregate wealth *goes up*. That means aggregate energy
consumption will *go up*! That is what has empirically happened thoughout human
history. This is an empirical fact and it is not going to change. Think of it
as the 2nd Law: you cannot win, you cannot break even, but you must play the
game.

By all means, ride your bike and advocate for safe and decent highways and
byways. But don't delude yourself about energy. Get real.

B.B.
October 6th 04, 10:32 PM
In article >,
gwhite > wrote:

>"B.B." wrote:
>>
>
>> You're omitting one really big element: indirect energy savings.
>
>I am not "omitting" anything. Sheesh!!! Why can't you guys address the
>*argument*, instead repeatedly ignoring it.

Well, when you kicked this thread off (well, your subthread of this
thread) you changed the question. Quote: "Indeed, I re-directed
immediately to the question of *energy in general*."
So I'm dealing with energy in general. OTOH, if your argument is
that no one person can make a difference on a global level, OK, I agree
somewhat--depending on your frame of reference.

>> So you can make the argument that the energy immediately saved...
>
>Whoa there. Sure, as a "time of habit change," there might be a *momentary*
>delay/lag -- no one is saying otherwise.
>
>But as the new habits are formed by the user, and their "expectations" become
>clear, those delays evaporate.
>
>The main crux proposed by conservationists is to lower the burn rate
>*permanently*. Unfortunately, the delays can only be temporary at best.

I have not seen you reason that out in this thread. You are stating
here that any reduction in individual energy consumption will be undone
without exception--that is not necessarily true. While I was riding
yesterday I wasn't running the radio, TV, or any lights--I won't somehow
increase my use of the TV later on to make up the difference.
That's why I brought up indirect energy savings--they do happen and
have an appreciable effect. If you choose to completely disregard them
your argument doesn't hold much water.

>> ... by
>> biking around wouldn't amount to squat at best, or even winds up getting
>> used elsewhere, but it's harder to disregard the secondary benefits.
>
>All other things equal, any secondary benefits do not amount to global
>conservation, even if local conservation is acheived. By all means, conserve
>locally: it is a good thing. Don't delude yourself into thinking you are
>conserving globally. You aren't.

OK. Is that your point? I thought you were arguing that energy
isn't actually conserved, not that the conservation doesn't matter. I
was going off this bit from >:

>Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
>energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy consumption
>than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
>"energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that
>greater
>efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
>result! (Maybe like wheels standing on spokes.)

The article you referenced in that post
<http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm> only applies
when you get to a pathological extreme of trying to increase efficiency.
Sort of like spending $4,000 extra dollars to shave another 20 grams off
a bike--an argument of diminishing returns. While it's valid I think
you're misapplying it. After all, Sheldon was just asking how much gas
is saved by cyclists--not proposing the outlaw of automobiles.
Also, as long as we're veering off towards economics--industries tend
toward energy efficiency all on their own as it leads to increased
profits. The trucking industry gets giddy over an extra 1/10 MPG in a
truck engine. Carnegie was so successful in part because he'd take the
time to examine efficiency.
Arguing that improvements on an individual level would hold if only
very few people were in question. However, there are quite a few
cyclists out there and a slight improvement averaged out over many of
them will be perceptible. At one point or another it'll come down to
your definition of "globally." If you define it sufficiently far out,
it's impossible for even the entire human race to make a difference.
OTOH, too small a definition would make a single rider matter too much
and be kind of useless.

--
B.B. --I am not a goat! thegoat4 at airmail.net

qtq
October 6th 04, 11:28 PM
gwhite > wrote in
:

>
>
> qtq wrote:
>>
>> gwhite > wrote in
>> :
>>
>> > The empirical evidence shows
>> > that world energy consumption will grow, and always has as
>> > productivity grows. The macroeconomic argument helps shed light on
>> > why this is so, and helps us get real. Why not just think about it
>> > for awhile?
>> The obvious explanation for why world energy consumption grows as
>> productivity grows is that the extra energy is fueling the
>> productivity.
> Yes, exactly. And it will continue. The only way government
> intervention can really "do something" is to take a bite out of
> productivity (or contract the money supply), which more or less will
> mean recession/depression. This is not politically possible. As a
> note, it is also outside my "all other things equal" simplification.

That doesn't follow.

Labour productivity has been increasing through the application of
technology and energy - by having a machine harvest the grain, I have
exploited the IP in the harvester as well as the energy in its petroleum
to make one person (the driver) more productive than the army of people
who previously harvested the grain.

Energy productivity can increase through the application of technology in
the same way - by having a more efficient engine, the same harvester
(well, a very similar harvester which has a more efficient engine) can,
for the same labour and energy input, harvest more grain.

Government intervention can do several (among many) things:

1. It can drive the cost of energy up to the point where only highly
productive uses of energy are feasible. This is equivalent to setting
the minimum wage at a point where only semi-skilled or skilled workers
need enter the workforce. It can fail in the same way as labour market
regulation - in a globalised economy, industry can move to a place where
the energy (labour) cost is not artificially raised. It can succeed
because the higher cost of energy drives the development of more
productive uses for that energy.

2. It can directly invest in research and development of productivity
improvement for energy, just as it directly invests in productivity
improvement for labour.

--
to email me, run my email address through /usr/bin/caesar
(or rotate by -4)

gwhite
October 7th 04, 02:28 AM
"B.B." wrote:
>

> You are stating here that any reduction
> in individual energy consumption will be undone
> without exception...

No. What I said was "all other things equal" it won't change. You are correct
in thinking the problem is multi-dimensional, so as a didactic starting point, I
"stuck" things at equal. Obviously the issue has all sorts of complexity. For
one, different forms of energy in different places have different costs, and
even these will change with time. *No one* controls costs of all forms globally
and across every local; to think it can be done is an illusion.

I'm trying to get people to start thinking about what we face realistically
(macroeconomically), not "solve" intimate and complex details. That is pretty
much it. Of course there is no such thing as "all other things equal" in any
strict sense. But it is like those supply/demand curves in your econ text.
They are symbols to get you thinking about things in a certain way, not an
absolute and static truth. They could, more or less, be accurate models at some
given place and time. The idea's purpose to get one's feet on the ground in a
symbolic way, not to write a bible. We can't even ask the right questions if we
have no foundations (or at least we'll be lucky if we do).

> --that is not necessarily true. While I was riding
> yesterday I wasn't running the radio, TV, or any lights--I won't somehow
> increase my use of the TV later on to make up the difference.

So? Say you saved a buck on your energy bill. Are you going to stuff the buck
into the mattress? Some people might, but let's not let a few deviants corrupt
our thinking. What happens to the buck?

> That's why I brought up indirect energy savings--they do happen and
> have an appreciable effect. If you choose to completely disregard them
> your argument doesn't hold much water.

Just because you "saved" (conserved) some energy exactly where your butt is
sitting, doesn't mean it got saved (conserved) in the aggregate.

> >All other things equal, any secondary benefits do not amount to global
> >conservation, even if local conservation is acheived. By all means, conserve
> >locally: it is a good thing. Don't delude yourself into thinking you are
> >conserving globally. You aren't.
>
> OK. Is that your point?

Yes.

> I thought you were arguing that energy
> isn't actually conserved, ...

It is saved locally. It is not saved globally (aggregate), all other things
equal. "Something happens" to/with the buck you saved.

> ...not that the conservation doesn't matter.

As I've wrote, I think it is a good idea, but not because it saves in the
aggregate, which it does not, as a general concept.

> I was going off this bit from >:
>
> >Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
> >energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy consumption
> >than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
> >"energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that
> >greater
> >efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
> >result! (Maybe like wheels standing on spokes.)

In the aggregate, yes. Of course.

> The article you referenced in that post
> <http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm> only applies
> when you get to a pathological extreme of trying to increase efficiency.
> Sort of like spending $4,000 extra dollars to shave another 20 grams off
> a bike--an argument of diminishing returns. While it's valid I think
> you're misapplying it. After all, Sheldon was just asking how much gas
> is saved by cyclists--not proposing the outlaw of automobiles.

I have not argued (at all) that "gas" as a specific form of energy could not be
saved. As you noted, I changed to a more expansive topic immediately and made
it clear I was doing so. As you may have seen, I have argued that other forms
of energy are substitutes, or at least could be.

> Also, as long as we're veering off towards economics...

No one is veering off. We behave as economic creatures everyday, regardless if
we acknowledge we are doing so in any formal way. We make hundreds of decisions
daily about what is worth doing and what is not worth doing (for right or
wrong). Sure economics, as a field of study, gives this the formal name of
"opportunity cost," but it is what we do, not the nomenclature and symbolism of
a profession that is important.

> ...--industries tend
> toward energy efficiency all on their own as it leads to increased
> profits. The trucking industry gets giddy over an extra 1/10 MPG in a
> truck engine. Carnegie was so successful in part because he'd take the
> time to examine efficiency.

Yes, I like how you are thinking there. The crux here is that increased
efficiency by Carnegie, did not result in lower aggregate energy usage. Indeed,
the lower costs due to better efficiency effectively *increased* aggregate
wealth, which led to *more* energy usage (but not necessarily at Carnegie's
steel plant). It is a bitter pill to swallow if you truly hope for something
different. You can look it up.

> Arguing that improvements on an individual level would hold if only
> very few people were in question. However, there are quite a few
> cyclists out there and a slight improvement averaged out over many of
> them will be perceptible. At one point or another it'll come down to
> your definition of "globally."

Dude, how many definitions are there? If there is no cost to cycling (no
reduced productivity) then the aggregate energy use will not go down, all other
things equal. I fact, if there is zero productivity lost, then wealth is
effectively increased (because transportation utility is equally met, but more
efficiently), which will likely lead to increased usage "somewhere else" -- that
is exactly what has been happening since the dawn of time. If there is in fact
lost productivity, then it is possible that energy use could be reduced. So you
see, the only reasonable methodolgy for reducing energy use treads on the thin
ice of diminishing wealth. Politically that's a tough sell. However, if you
avoid telling people you don't want to diminish their wealth, but instead say
you are simply saving the world from overconsumption (whatever that is), then
the deception has a chance politically. Depression/recession will stall energy
use. Probably quite effectively.

There is no value judgement here regarding "rightness of choice." What is put
forward is there is a cost associated with decisions. A rather famous economist
borrowed a phrase (from Heinlein I believe) that "there is no such thing as a
free lunch." Those are very true words.

> If you define it sufficiently far out,
> it's impossible for even the entire human race to make a difference.

What "difference" are you hoping to acheive? It seems that the presumption is
that "energy usage is bad." It isn't. The richness of today's world is due in
the largest part to the energy we've harnessed. It is representative of our
wealth. It is what makes things move, in the figurative and literal sense.
We'd be living in caves and eating uncooked roots and liver if it wasn't for all
the energy. None of this says we shouldn't try to be more efficient, we
should. But costs alone will tend to drive us to do so, as you noted about a
couple of industries.

As I observe, I see the tendency of humans is pretty much to improve their lot
in life. What more "difference" could anyone reasonably care about?

> OTOH, too small a definition would make a single rider matter too much
> and be kind of useless.

This single rider is about to turn off to his house. This ride is about over.

gwhite
October 7th 04, 02:38 AM
qtq wrote:
>

> Labour productivity has been increasing through the application of
> technology and energy - by having a machine harvest the grain,...

What has precisely accompanied all industrialization and increasingly efficient
technology to date is *increasing* energy usage. This is the empirical fact.
Those folks that exited the fields and threw their scythes into the garbage
didn't just dissappear into thin air. They were employed in some other ways --
ways which *consume* energy and provided them with the functional wealth to
consume *more* energy.

Of course, if the government could just get everyone to sit still, like the good
nanny that it is.... LOL

B.B.
October 7th 04, 05:00 AM
In article >,
gwhite > wrote:

[...brevity snippage...]

>I'm trying to get people to start thinking about what we face realistically
>(macroeconomically), not "solve" intimate and complex details. That is pretty
>much it. Of course there is no such thing as "all other things equal" in any
>strict sense. But it is like those supply/demand curves in your econ text.
>They are symbols to get you thinking about things in a certain way, not an
>absolute and static truth. They could, more or less, be accurate models at
>some
>given place and time. The idea's purpose to get one's feet on the ground in a
>symbolic way, not to write a bible. We can't even ask the right questions if
>we
>have no foundations (or at least we'll be lucky if we do).

OK, I can stick with that.

>> --that is not necessarily true. While I was riding
>> yesterday I wasn't running the radio, TV, or any lights--I won't somehow
>> increase my use of the TV later on to make up the difference.
>
>So? Say you saved a buck on your energy bill. Are you going to stuff the
>buck
>into the mattress? Some people might, but let's not let a few deviants
>corrupt
>our thinking. What happens to the buck?

It's unknown what happens to the buck. I might go spend it on some
candy (probably a high energy investment) or I might spend it on a
stripper (low energy investment) or maybe a book (low energy investment
that also causes me to sit and not consume much energy while reading it
as a secondary form of conservation) or.... In any event, there's no
model available to predict where that dollar will go or what it'll cost
in terms of energy.
The best way to get a ball-park estimate is to look at
personality--folks who bike regularly tend to consciously or
sub-consciously conserve energy in other places as well.
So my best wild-assed guess at what happens to that buck--it will get
spent on something that has a fairly low energy consumption to produce
when compared to the average.

>> That's why I brought up indirect energy savings--they do happen and
>> have an appreciable effect. If you choose to completely disregard them
>> your argument doesn't hold much water.
>
>Just because you "saved" (conserved) some energy exactly where your butt is
>sitting, doesn't mean it got saved (conserved) in the aggregate.

Doesn't mean it'll get spent either. As I mentioned elsewhere,
conservation is often achieved by efficiency improvements. On the
aggregate an economy tends towards efficiency improvements simply
because it saves time and leaves more room for cheap fun stuff like sex.
The US economy is wildly wasteful of energy because it has been quite
cheap to become that way as a nice side-effect of a strong US economy--a
buck was worth a bunch of dinars, pesos, franks, yes, or whatever else.
It's becoming more expensive because the US's economy is crapping out.
When you have less buying power you can either keep spending at your
current rate and fall behind as a result, or cut back so you break even.
"Saving" energy in the US just means reducing your energy usage enough
that your expenditure (as a fraction of your wealth) on energy remains
constant over time. Nothing is really saved, just less is spent.
So, my best guess as to what happens to that buck I save on my
electric bill--it evaporates as the US economy shrinks and prices in
general inflate. That would leave me to believe that there won't be
much rebound energy usage if I conserve since my "saved" buck isn't
worth a buck anymore.

>> I thought you were arguing that energy
>> isn't actually conserved, ...
>
>It is saved locally. It is not saved globally (aggregate), all other things
>equal. "Something happens" to/with the buck you saved.
>
>> ...not that the conservation doesn't matter.
>
>As I've wrote, I think it is a good idea, but not because it saves in the
>aggregate, which it does not, as a general concept.

Well, I really don't see where you've made a firm proof that any
energy savings on a local level can't influence on the global level with
enough people involved.

>> I was going off this bit from >:
>>
>> >Talk of "energy conservation" is often also associated with the concept of
>> >energy efficiency. That is, if some task is done with less energy
>> >consumption
>> >than it had previously required, then the process is considered to be more
>> >"energy efficient." Unfortunately, all evidence points to the fact that
>> >greater
>> >efficiency leads to greater energy consumption, an entirely non-intuitive
>> >result! (Maybe like wheels standing on spokes.)
>
>In the aggregate, yes. Of course.
>
>> The article you referenced in that post
>> <http://technology.open.ac.uk/eeru/staff/horace/kbpotl.htm> only applies
>> when you get to a pathological extreme of trying to increase efficiency.
>> Sort of like spending $4,000 extra dollars to shave another 20 grams off
>> a bike--an argument of diminishing returns. While it's valid I think
>> you're misapplying it. After all, Sheldon was just asking how much gas
>> is saved by cyclists--not proposing the outlaw of automobiles.
>
>I have not argued (at all) that "gas" as a specific form of energy could not
>be
>saved. As you noted, I changed to a more expansive topic immediately and made
>it clear I was doing so. As you may have seen, I have argued that other forms
>of energy are substitutes, or at least could be.

Yeah, but my point with that paragraph was that the situation we're
discussing isn't building the sort of circumstances where the KB
(Khazzoom-Brookes) postulate applies. It's an incidental "what's the
net passive effect of this" question instead of a "what if we started
changing rules" question.
See, that really only applies when the conservation in question is in
the form of a reduction in quality of life rather than an increase in
efficiency that keeps quality of life constant.
IOW, KB doesn't prove that my saving a gallon of gas in Texas leads
to an extra gallon of gas worth of energy spent elsewhere. That may
actually happen, but KB doesn't support it.

>> Also, as long as we're veering off towards economics...
>
>No one is veering off. We behave as economic creatures everyday, regardless
>if
>we acknowledge we are doing so in any formal way. We make hundreds of
>decisions
>daily about what is worth doing and what is not worth doing (for right or
>wrong). Sure economics, as a field of study, gives this the formal name of
>"opportunity cost," but it is what we do, not the nomenclature and symbolism
>of
>a profession that is important.
>
>> ...--industries tend
>> toward energy efficiency all on their own as it leads to increased
>> profits. The trucking industry gets giddy over an extra 1/10 MPG in a
>> truck engine. Carnegie was so successful in part because he'd take the
>> time to examine efficiency.
>
>Yes, I like how you are thinking there. The crux here is that increased
>efficiency by Carnegie, did not result in lower aggregate energy usage.
>Indeed,
>the lower costs due to better efficiency effectively *increased* aggregate
>wealth, which led to *more* energy usage (but not necessarily at Carnegie's
>steel plant). It is a bitter pill to swallow if you truly hope for something
>different. You can look it up.

There really is no economic model that shows Carnegie's improved
efficiency promoted economic growth--more available steel did that, but
the same could have been accomplished with poor efficiency.
Now, an increase in efficiency CAN lead to economic stimulus, like
the improved refinement of aluminum made what was a precious metal into
a commodity--effectively creating a whole new market. However, that's
not really comparable to riding a bike to save a bit of gas.
In most cases increased efficiency is just a cost savings--either
taken home as extra pay, or left in the bank to absorb economic
downturns. You see this in truck fleet maintenance where shaving off a
few minutes per job, or increasing mileage slightly typically ends up as
a pay increase for the unions. What happens to that money when the
workers go home is mostly unknown. But any inflation will make a
certain percentage vanish--which is the case today.

>> Arguing that improvements on an individual level would hold if only
>> very few people were in question. However, there are quite a few
>> cyclists out there and a slight improvement averaged out over many of
>> them will be perceptible. At one point or another it'll come down to
>> your definition of "globally."
>
>Dude, how many definitions are there? If there is no cost to cycling (no
>reduced productivity) then the aggregate energy use will not go down, all
>other
>things equal. I fact, if there is zero productivity lost, then wealth is
>effectively increased (because transportation utility is equally met, but more
>efficiently), which will likely lead to increased usage "somewhere else" --
>that
>is exactly what has been happening since the dawn of time. If there is in
>fact
>lost productivity, then it is possible that energy use could be reduced. So
>you
>see, the only reasonable methodolgy for reducing energy use treads on the thin
>ice of diminishing wealth. Politically that's a tough sell. However, if you
>avoid telling people you don't want to diminish their wealth, but instead say
>you are simply saving the world from overconsumption (whatever that is), then
>the deception has a chance politically. Depression/recession will stall
>energy
>use. Probably quite effectively.
>
>There is no value judgement here regarding "rightness of choice." What is put
>forward is there is a cost associated with decisions. A rather famous
>economist
>borrowed a phrase (from Heinlein I believe) that "there is no such thing as a
>free lunch." Those are very true words.

True, there's no free lunch, but you can make a sandwich by
discarding the remainder of the loaf, or you can save that loaf and put
it to better use. Either way you still have a sandwich of equal
quality, but one is more cost-effective.

>> If you define it sufficiently far out,
>> it's impossible for even the entire human race to make a difference.
>
>What "difference" are you hoping to acheive? It seems that the presumption is
>that "energy usage is bad." It isn't.

Energy use by itself is not bad, but energy waste and the byproducts
of our current energy sources are bad. When I talk about reducing
energy consumption, I refer to the "waste" portion of it. Compare
cars--modern car engines produce more power, need less maintenance, and
have far better fuel economy than engines of 20 years ago. Waste has
been greatly reduced and quality didn't suffer--in fact it managed to
increase at the same time.
And as other have pointed out, there is not a direct correlation
between more energy used and better life. Evidence such as someone's
mention of life span and energy consumption in Europe. You mentioned
that their homes are smaller, but that's a value judgment since some
people are perfectly happy with small homes or apartments.

>The richness of today's world is due
>in
>the largest part to the energy we've harnessed. It is representative of our
>wealth. It is what makes things move, in the figurative and literal sense.
>We'd be living in caves and eating uncooked roots and liver if it wasn't for
>all
>the energy. None of this says we shouldn't try to be more efficient, we
>should. But costs alone will tend to drive us to do so, as you noted about a
>couple of industries.
>
>As I observe, I see the tendency of humans is pretty much to improve their lot
>in life. What more "difference" could anyone reasonably care about?

I believe we're thinking of the same "difference" but different ways
of achieving it. I think we can reduce energy consumption without
changing quality of life, but you appear to draw a direct correlation
between quality of life and energy consumption.

>> OTOH, too small a definition would make a single rider matter too much
>> and be kind of useless.
>
>This single rider is about to turn off to his house. This ride is about over.

--
B.B. --I am not a goat! thegoat4 at airmail.net

Jack Dingler
October 7th 04, 05:14 PM
gwhite wrote:

>Jack Dingler wrote:
>
>
>>gwhite wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>>Jack Dingler wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>As these sources are either unknown or merely unrealized projections of
>>>>established theory, I would think the onus on the proof would be on
>>>>those that insist these supplies are available, when we are not
>>>>currently tapping them.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>You were already provided a link regarding actual breeder reactors. You were
>>>already provided a link regarding existing and under construction conventional
>>>nukes.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>You didn't make your case that a rapid ramping up to the numbers needed
>>is practical or possible. You agreed that the political climate is
>>difficult. I find such admissions to be supportive of my arguments, not
>>yours.
>>
>>
>
>I think you have a static view of the world. Political views and technology
>change over time. They particularly change when the costs become more apparent
>which is perhaps another way of saying "more painful." I mean cost in a very
>broad sense, although it probably will come right down to dollars in some way.
>
>I don't really need to cover any "rapid ramping" argument. *You* are the one
>claiming this, with no specifics whatsoever.
>
>
>
>>>>Remember also, that it's not only the quantity of untapped reserves that
>>>>is important but more importantly, the rate they can become available
>>>>that is important. The case has not been made that these sources will be
>>>>ramped up to cover the imminent shortfall in oil production.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>They won't when and where coal and other sources of energy are cheaper. They'll
>>>get ramped up quicker if the costs of other forms become more expensive. This
>>>is a simple subsitution effect. I don't get your problem.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>Once oil, coal and natural gas become more expensive, where will the
>>energy come from to make the materials to build the nukes? If the
>>materials needed to make the nukes become more expensive (and they are
>>now), won't construction of the nukes become more expensive? And doesn't
>>this effect the bottom line, meaning that as the price of energy goes
>>up, so does the difficulty in investing in nukes?
>>
>>Consider also that most of the stages of uranium mining and processing
>>is highly dependent on oil and natural gas. Though in theory, these
>>steps could be performed with the electricity from nukes, such an
>>infrastructure doesn't exist now. In fact, it will require a substantial
>>investment to build new facilities and convert existing ones.
>>
>>
>
>You are really going off on a tangent. To the extent costs of energy go up,
>economic activity and growth will slow, stall, etc. I suspect that most people
>won't favor that. Sure, it might be "cheaper" in some sense to build nukes
>today rather than tommorrow. It might be smart, maybe not. I don't know and am
>not even attempting to make that sort of judgement. I said I believe increasing
>use will be made of nuclear energy. Nothing you said changes that. You are
>only making vague statements about difficilties. So what? Sure it's
>"difficult." If you compared today's highway system or power grid to that which
>existed 100 years ago, you'd (100 years ago) say "gee, building all that 'stuff'
>is going to be hard." No ****. Life is hard, it always has been.
>
>
Actually building that stuff is relatively easy in an industrial climate
where energy supplies are growing.

It takes a lot of natural gas to make the lime to produce that much
concrete.

In terms of cheaper, what I am arguing is that taking these huge chunks
of energy and labor out of the current industrial market would be
something we may be able to recover from at this time. Later it may be
impossible to do this because the energy decline will make the political
climate for such sacrifices harder. Once we go into decline diverting
that much natural gas, oil and coal from life sustaining activities will
mean throwing more people of work and raising food prices.

Check this article out:
http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/direct/1,3523,1721058-6078-0,00.html

This focus on Africa as one of the last great places to drill for oil,
tells me that the oil companies have given up on the big fields and are
now looking for sofa pickings and ever smaller and more difficult
prospects to keep themselves in business. Look at the amount of money
they plan to invest to get a mere one million barrels a day out. These
fields, producing a fraction of the quantity of their declining bigger
brothers are now the cream of the crop.

And a final note on this argument.
The pat argument has always been that when oil reaches some dollar value
$20, $25, $30, $35, $40, $45, $50, $55, $60, $65, ..., the alternative
energy sources will be competitive. As these alternatives are supported
by fossil fuels, this argument has a flaw. The fact that oil is now at
$50/barrel and yet these still can't be made profitable enough for huge
investments, tell that they never will be suitable for a mass expansion
and use as primary energy sources. They'll continue to provide a limited
solution.

So far, I don't think I've been vague. Every industrial operation
requires some amount of energy to do work. Energy is accountable and we
capture and convert a measurable quantity of it every year. Where money
is intangible and can the quantities can be changed by simply writing
different numbers or running up a deficit, energy is a physical item
that works by rules that we can't cheat. All of our technology has been
in a drive to consume energy to sustain ourselves and build our numbers.
Once you start in the argument of waiting until there's an energy
decline and thus a decline in the world's ability to support it's human
population, you're in fact arguing that it will even be possible to
trade lives and economies in exchange for building nukes. Even arguing
that it's reasonable to do so.

I agree it will be hard. As everything in our modern lives depends on
virtually unlimited cheap energy, I believe it's going to be a lot
harder than you think it will be. By arguing to wait until we're in a
decline before investing nukes, you're making a recovery from this
situation even more difficult. It could take more than a generation on a
declining energy budget to begin to turn that decline around.

>>I thought I was clear. It means we need these investments start soon so
>>they can go into production soon.
>>
>>
>
>There has already *been* investment. There *is* investment. I not clear on why
>you want to ignore it, and you aren't calling it out. If you have an agenda,
>just say so.
>
>
Sure, Texas has a number of nukes, France has nukes. But you're
confusing the investment I argued that we need with investments made.
I'm arguing that we need to be investing a tremendous sum of energy and
resources, far beyond the investments that are being made now. I call it
too little too late.

>>>>Nukes for instance need to demonstrate a lot of scaleability right now.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>Umm, they already have. Look at France. I think we have over 200 nukes here
>>>right now (20% of energy), and that is with no new plants built in over 20
>>>years.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>20% of the electricity, but only 6.3% of the total energy. You've argued
>>that nukes will replace oil. This means that nukes will power the
>>current uses that oil current powers including long haul trucking and
>>freighters.
>>
>>
>
>Yeah, so what? What makes you think that transportation tommorrow will "look
>like" transportation today? Where does this static world view come from?
>Gas/diesel trucks obsoleted horse and cart. Hay are horses are gone. Diesel
>trucks will probably dissappear someday. Sure, the machine and the energy will
>match. What's the big deal?
>
>We don't use gas/oil lamps anymore either. They were "good" for awhile though.
>
>
If we don't build nukes until world oil production hit's the 4% / year
decline, then these current systems will be breaking down. Without
transportation systems, how will you build your nukes, to power the
development of a new paradigm in transportation? And a likely less
efficient one at that?

Perhaps the lime for concrete can be made in the fashion the Romans did
it? Big bonfires of hardwood forests and lot's of labor with shovels and
earth? Then the concrete and water could be trucked to the sites using
mule teams and wagons? At least the wagons could be build using parts
scavenged from junkyards.

My view of the world isn't static at all unfortunately. But I think
you're trying to cling to an idea as a matter of faith, not as a matter
of reason. You've argued that there's a lot about this topic you don't
know. Perhaps that's something you can look into and come back to this
discussion with?

>>You're only looking at a slim sliver of the overall picture. Oil is
>>hardly even a component in the total electricity picture.
>>
>>
>
>Well that only makes oil *less* important, not more.
>
>

Oil makes up the dominant source of energy that we consume. Only by
wrongly assuming that electricity has a civilization sustaining capacity
that trumps all other sources can you make this argument.

Electricity is likely the most visible component in our daily lives, but
transportation driven by oil makes the need for electricity possible.

>>Your argument is that nukes can take over most
>>electricity production and expand to
>>replace oil and coal.
>>
>>
>
>Well they certainly could, at least technically in the raw output sense. Nukes
>need to compete on price though. I don't see much purpose in overinvestment any
>more than I would pay $1500 for a bike where I could get a $1200 bike that met
>my needs just as well. If there is "forward looking" that makes the $1500
>dollar bike look better, maybe I'll consider. As ever, "it depends," just like
>any assessment.
>
>
No, they need to compete on the basis of Energy Returned on Energy
Invested. Money is an invention who's value is not based on any physical
quantity. In fact it has a declining value over time. Each barrel of oil
has a fixed BTU content. The quantity of work that can be derived from a
barrel of oil is relatively fixed. Efficiency place some role, but not a
huge one. Therefore as the price of oil continues to rise, the quantity
of dollars needed to purchase a fixed quantity of work, keeps rising.
Meaning the price of building a nuke plant keeps rising.

What is more important is the quantity of energy needed to build the
nuke, what percentage of our available BTUs this will consume and then
the ratio of energy returned over these quantities.

Oil is 'cheap' as an energy source because it once required a very small
investment in energy to get big returns. In the 1930s in Texas, using
mule teams and human labor, you could drill a well, lay down pipe and
pump oil. The oil kept flowing under positive pressure and only
maintenance work need be performed to keep large quantities of oil
moving through the pipes. The EROEI was likely better than 50 to 1. Now
typical new oil fields are under 5 to 1, representing the increased
investment in energy and materials needed to get the oil out. Fields no
longer are under positive pressure, so sea water has to be pumped in to
push the oil out. Then the oil comes up mixed with sea water and an
additional amount of energy has to be invested to separate the oil from
the sea water.

Where nukes are in the EROEI scale is in debate. I've seen several
studies that give us figures from 2 to 1 up to 5 to 1. As the work to
produce these numbers isn't published, who knows which answer is correct?

>>>>Consider that nukes produce only about 6.3% of the world's total energy
>>>>(not electricity), and that's with about 440 operating nukes. This means
>>>>that to rely on nukes for only our current power needs, we'd need 6984
>>>>of them. This ignore the fact that a growing population and capitalism
>>>>requires growth. Once oil goes into it's expect 3% per year decline, we
>>>>need to have have a program already in place building approximately 350
>>>>of them a year, worldwide. I'd like to see you meet the burden of proof
>>>>demonstrating that this is likely.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>If they are a bit more expensive than coal, for example, then for sure it will
>>>be a drag on growth. Humans know how to build nukes. When the balance of costs
>>>tilts more towards their favor, I see no reason why they will not get built, as
>>>deemed "necessary." The coal/oil spigot is not going to get turned off all of
>>>the sudden. It will happen over time, and there is no reason to believe that as
>>>the cost of these sources creeps upwards (when?), then wind, solar, nuclear, and
>>>other forms will be ramped up. In this sense, it is just like anything else.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>As I argued, oil, coal and natural gas are consumed to make virtually
>>everything needed to construct a nuclear power station. As the prices of
>>these energy sources rise, the cost of building nukes will rise with
>>them. You seem to be arguing that construction costs will be frozen for
>>nukes while the cost for everything else will rise. That is clearly a
>>bad assumption.
>>
>>
>
>I made *no* such statement. I don't know if you are suggesting that "they could
>not be afforded," but I don't know how you could make such a supposition.
>
>
That is the underlying assumption in the economic argument that a high
price of oil will make alternatives more attractive.

That's because cost studies are done assuming a certain price of energy
and materials and then is compared against oil at some higher price. The
problem with this thinking is that energy coasts and materials costs
don't stay fixed at the prices assumed by the study, but rise with the
price of oil.

For instance a DOE study on nukes found that nukes would be very
competitive with oil, once the price of oil passed $20 / barrel. One of
the first statements in the study was that they were assuming a diesel
price of fifty cents a gallon, when building the theoretical nuke.

This is how these studies are put together, and this methodology
provides the basis for the economic arguments that you have repeated
here. Though you didn't come out and say those words, you've repeated
economic arguments that make this assumption.

>>Doesn't it make sense to begin investing in building these thousands of
>>needed nukes throughout the world now, while energy and materials prices
>>are lower, rather than wait until we have a declining store of energy to
>>build them with? Won't it be worse to wait, as the energy and materials
>>diverted to build nukes will have to come as a sacrifice from other
>>industries and life sustaining endeavors?
>>
>>Doesn't it make sense to make investments when you can afford to, rather
>>than waiting until you need to benefit? You wouldn't wait to invest in a
>>retirement plan, after you retire would you? Yet you argue that we
>>should wait until we're past needing the benefits of the nukes, before
>>building them. Sort of like waiting until it rains to fix a leaky roof.
>>
>>
>
>You are apparently arguing something I have not claimed one way or another.
>Maybe more should be built now. It isn't up to me, and I don't really know.
>This is because I make no claim to intimately know the precise costs, or more
>importantly how they balance by location, by time, and by specific design (which
>invariably will improve thus lowering cost). Some nukes (and a tiny number of
>breeders) have been built so *someone* seemed to think it was worth doing. Some
>are under construction now, so *some* seem to think the balance of costs is
>indeed tilted in favor of nukes. I do know that nukes are capable of producing
>enormous amounts of energy. This is indisputable. What that means is claims of
>energy doom due to fossil fuel depletion are factually incorrect.
>

The number of new nukes being built is discouraging. The quantity
proposed makes me think that they are being built because they are
worthwhile, but because it's the limit that pork barrel politics will
support. I've seen recent articles even about France and it's aging
program. They can't afford to decommission some of their aging nukes and
can't afford to repair them either. Their current program is in trouble.
I would argue that France will probably not build more than a couple of
new nukes this century.

The 'energy doom' scenario as you put it is unraveling now in the form
of $50 / barrel oil. The thing you argue is impossible is occurring
right now. But the option of choice right now seems to be to wait until
things are really bad before attempting the investments. In your
arguments you make the case that nukes will pick up in the midst of an
energy doom and gloom scenario, then use this as an argument that the
doom and gloom scenario won't happen. How can you argue that nukes will
be built once world energy production goes into decline and then argue
this will prevent world energy production from going into decline?
There's a chicken and egg flaw in your argument.

I'm not arguing hard or easy. I'm arguing that in the late 1980s through
the 1990s, such an endeavor might have been possible, but if we wait
until we're in full blown crisis mode, then it will be impossible. Not
hard, impossible.

Jack Dingler

Jack Dingler
October 7th 04, 05:26 PM
qtq wrote:

>gwhite > wrote in
:
>
>
>
>>qtq wrote:
>>
>>
>>>gwhite > wrote in
:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>The empirical evidence shows
>>>>that world energy consumption will grow, and always has as
>>>>productivity grows. The macroeconomic argument helps shed light on
>>>>why this is so, and helps us get real. Why not just think about it
>>>>for awhile?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>The obvious explanation for why world energy consumption grows as
>>>productivity grows is that the extra energy is fueling the
>>>productivity.
>>>
>>>
>>Yes, exactly. And it will continue. The only way government
>>intervention can really "do something" is to take a bite out of
>>productivity (or contract the money supply), which more or less will
>>mean recession/depression. This is not politically possible. As a
>>note, it is also outside my "all other things equal" simplification.
>>
>>
>
>That doesn't follow.
>
>Labor productivity has been increasing through the application of
>technology and energy - by having a machine harvest the grain, I have
>exploited the IP in the harvester as well as the energy in its petroleum
>to make one person (the driver) more productive than the army of people
>who previously harvested the grain.
>
>Energy productivity can increase through the application of technology in
>the same way - by having a more efficient engine, the same harvester
>(well, a very similar harvester which has a more efficient engine) can,
>for the same labour and energy input, harvest more grain.
>
>Government intervention can do several (among many) things:
>
>1. It can drive the cost of energy up to the point where only highly
>productive uses of energy are feasible. This is equivalent to setting
>the minimum wage at a point where only semi-skilled or skilled workers
>need enter the workforce. It can fail in the same way as labour market
>regulation - in a globalised economy, industry can move to a place where
>the energy (labour) cost is not artificially raised. It can succeed
>because the higher cost of energy drives the development of more
>productive uses for that energy.
>
>2. It can directly invest in research and development of productivity
>improvement for energy, just as it directly invests in productivity
>improvement for labour.
>
>

Your answers are partially correct.

1. We've gone from investing one calorie of energy invested to get ten
calories back, to using fossil fuels to investing ten calories of energy
to get one calorie back. Technology has increased the scale at which we
can do things, but only by consuming orders of magnitude more energy
than we used to require. And in doing so, we've degraded the quality of
soil and water, making a return to a one to ten relationship likely
impossible on a large scale.
2. Efficiency isn't the measure of our ability to use 100% energy of the
energy available to convert to 100% work, but instead is how close we
come to a theoretical limit in how much work we get from the energy. So
big changes in efficiency can mean very small changes in actual energy
consumption.
3. A fixed quantity of energy provides us with a relatively fixed
quantity of work. A barrel of oil for instance provides a fixed BTU
quantity, which provides a relatively fixed quantity of work. So the
rising price of a barrel of oil represents that fact that purchasing the
same fixed quantity of work is becoming ever more expensive. A drop in
oil production and consumption will mean that there is a declining
quantity of work available to a rising population.

Making cars more fuel efficient is one argument proposed to solve our
energy problem. But the quantity of fuel saved will only delay the peak
in world oil production by months or a few years. As has been pointed
out, cars are much more efficient than they were in the 1970s. But
thanks to Jevon's Paradox, we just became more dependent on them and
drove consumption up along the predicted path anyway.


Jack Dingler

Tom Sherman
October 9th 04, 06:50 AM
gwhite wrote:

> ...
> Actually, the private firms that own the plants (and their customers) can pay
> the costs themselves. The spent fuel rods are a problem because radioactivity
> is so hazardous. The government *wants* the waste because it is, for one thing,
> a national security issue. I have no problem of the users paying the cost of
> the federal storage. Yes, nukes should compete based on actual costs. Nuke
> costs may be higher, or may appear to be so, depending upon how costs are
> accounted for....

Mr. White,

As a libertarian, do you agree that Price-Anderson should be revoked and
nuclear power generators should cover their full liability by purchasing
insurance on the open market?

--
Tom Sherman

Google

Home - Home - Home - Home - Home