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Author Topic: interesting gas cost graph  (Read 4163 times)
kathyp
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« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2008, 02:52:56 PM »

speculators.  they will buy oil at, say, 120 a barrel when it currently sells at 110, on the belief that it will go up to 125.  speculation tends to feed on itself, as it did with the housing market.  eventually, they take it to far, and there is a pull back.  those who bet late, lose lots of money and the price of the product usually takes a dump.  one of the reasons the housing market took a relatively big dump, was the amount of supply on the market.  builders overbuilt in certain markets.  people over bought in some markets.  the dump with oil may  not be a big one.  one of the reasons OPEC does not want to increase supply is that they don't want an excess on the market when the price drops.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2008, 05:51:10 PM »

speculators.  they will buy oil at, say, 120 a barrel when it currently sells at 110, on the belief that it will go up to 125.  speculation tends to feed on itself, as it did with the housing market.  eventually, they take it to far, and there is a pull back.  those who bet late, lose lots of money and the price of the product usually takes a dump.  one of the reasons the housing market took a relatively big dump, was the amount of supply on the market.  builders overbuilt in certain markets.  people over bought in some markets.  the dump with oil may  not be a big one.  one of the reasons OPEC does not want to increase supply is that they don't want an excess on the market when the price drops.

Yeah, I know a guy who bought some beach front property in Florida and now is stuck paying a high mortgage. He sought the advice of a mutual real estate friend who told him he was too late getting "in"  but he didn't listen, poor guy is paying through his butt now.


...JP
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2008, 06:37:34 PM »

one obvious reason is also the fact, OPEC has a monopole, so they rise prices because...well simply because they can, there's no more to it. ok, there are a few oil companies (or countries?) not in the OPEC but they present what? maybe 10%? plus...they benefit from higher OPEC prices as well so they re just as well a part of this monopole (it's an oligopoly, which is SLIGHTLY better, but not in this case)

well, don't we all prefer to buy something today if we know it's going to go up tomorrow? yeah we do, and if the price rises 99,9% of the time, there a slim chance we'll mess up isn't there, the only difference is, we're operating at what? say 100$ and the big-shots are at 100.000$

i've been tracking the price of gold lately, as i have some surplus money i want to invest and the price has been sooooo volatile i just can't decide, for me, maybe buying dollars would be a good idea since dollar is at all-time-low, or very close..what goes up must come down, and what's going down must come up, right?
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kathyp
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2008, 07:59:50 PM »

mici, you are young so make long term investments.  gold is almost always a good buy, but at the moment it's pretty high.  in part it's high because the dollar is so low.  two things could mess up the gold prices.  1. if/when the dollar comes back up....and i think it will because i think we have intentionally kept it down to stimulate investment.  and 2.  if the dollar is no longer used as primary international currency.  if, for instance, the currency of choice became the euro.

because you are young, you might be better off investing in a fund that includes gold.  these funds are higher risk, but for the long term they are worth looking at.  you can also continue to add as you get more money.  if you have enough, i'd split money between some higher risk funds and some medium risk.  look for reputable fund mangers that do not require  lot of money up front and do not have a lot of fees.  some companies have programs for younger and college age investors.

keep an eye on gold and other precious metals so that if they take a dump, you can buy some.  at the moment, gold might be a bit like oil.  driven up more by speculation and reality.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
JP
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« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2008, 08:08:28 PM »

Wow Kathy, what great advice!! You never cease to amaze me,


...JP
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« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2008, 08:17:20 PM »

Just remember gold goes high when we (USA) are at war we will probably elect a president who will bring the troops home, this will invite an attack on the US within a few years. So, what you need to do is hold off until America withdraws her troops then invests as soon as she is attacked. Then the price will be driven up and U will make money off of our sacrifices. IMHO
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kathyp
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« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2008, 09:18:32 PM »

remember JP, i am the person with, at any given time, 4 or 5 coffee cups lost in the bathroom, microwave, barn....or who knows where!  once a teacher wrote to my parents that i "had a mind like a sponge".  my father noted that sponges tend to drip and rot if not tended to.  i don't know if his point was that i was drippy, rotten, or needed to tend to my mind  grin

keith13, not only an attack on the US, but any major instability.  Iran following through on it's threat to attack Israel, etc.  coffee can investments are always a hedge against disaster.  most paper money is backed by nothing more than the good name of the country that prints it.  with gold, silver, diamonds,etc. you actually hold something of value.  something that grandpa could bury in the back field in a coffee can  smiley
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2008, 07:50:03 AM »

An interesting fact that America is almost completely unaware of: much of the increased price of gas is linked to the falling dollar.  Oil is priced in dollars.  If your currency (Euro, Yen, Pound Sterling, Loon, etc) increased against the dollar by 40-50% while the price of oil doubled from $60 a barrel to $120, you are paying about the same for oil. 

Yes, world wide demand for oil has an effect. Yes, commodity speculation and manipulation and geopolitical tension has an effect. But the biggest factor for the American consumer is the fall of the American dollar.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2008, 04:15:16 PM »

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20080516/cm_usatoday/oilprices

Oil prices

Fri May 16, 12:22 AM ET

So who's to blame for record high oil prices?

In public opinion polls, oil companies get fingered as Public Enemy No. 1 by one-third to one-half of respondents. The other leading culprits include the OPEC cartel, President Bush, environmentalists and speculators.

(Photo - Shelling it out: A Shell customer eyes what gasoline costs him / Paul Sakuma, AP)

Not one of them is as culpable as their critics claim. More important, none is capable of solving the problem, making the finger-pointing a destructive distraction. Before we get to some of the things the nation could have done, and should do now, to ease the crisis, let's assess the usual suspects:

•

* Oil companies.
Blaming Big Oil for higher prices is kind of like blaming bankruptcy lawyers for home foreclosures. Without doubt, oil companies benefit when shortages drive up prices, but they don't cause the problem, nor do they gain much leverage to increase profit margins when prices rise.

Take ExxonMobil, for instance. Last year, the world's largest petroleum company made an eye-popping $41 billion in profits. That's serious money, but it's a profit margin of about 10% on sales, a middle-of-the road level for major corporations. It's also the same margin ExxonMobil had when oil was cheap. In 2003, it made $21.5 billion on $213 billion in sales. Repeated federal investigations have shown no evidence of oil company conspiracies to drive up prices.

•

* Oil producing nations.
Producing nations can affect prices by limiting production. But that's a fact the United States can't do much about, other than trying to exert diplomatic pressure, as Bush will attempt to do on his visit today to Saudi Arabia. The United States can't really blame foreign countries for deciding how much of their oil to sell.

What's more, the fact that the Saudis and others aren't pumping more oil already — to prevent their customers from falling into recession or deter them from developing alternative energy sources — suggests they might not have a lot of excess capacity, a theory put forth years ago by people who predicted the current price run-up to near-universal skepticism. Further, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the demon behind the first oil crisis three decades ago, no longer has such control. It now pumps only about 40% of the world's petroleum.

•

* Speculators.
Oil traders are without doubt adding some cost to the price of oil. Some analysts say it's $10 a barrel. Some say more. Speculation, however, is a normal byproduct of tight supplies and actual or potential turmoil in oil-producing nations.

•

* Environmentalists.
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could produce about 600,000 barrels of oil per day. Although it's worth doing as a way to increase domestic supply, it's no panacea. It would still increase world oil production by only a fraction of 1%. Opposition to drilling there, as well as in offshore sites currently under moratorium, affects prices only at the margins.

•

Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
To judge by the debate in Congress, you'd think that the diversion of 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the Louisiana salt domes is a major reason behind the price surge. This week, in a laughable piece of political sleight of hand, the House voted 385-25 and the Senate voted 97-1 to suspend deposits into the reserve. Considering that daily world demand is about 84 million barrels, suspending SPR purchases increases the world's oil supply by less than one-tenth of 1%.

As gratifying as it is to point fingers elsewhere, the mirror is the main place to look for the reasons that oil prices are hovering around $125 a barrel. The nation decided to let the laws of supply and demand work. It was rewarded with two decades of low prices that led to larger cars, bigger homes and longer commutes. Meanwhile, with the Cold War's end, Third World countries suddenly saw the benefits of capitalism, fueling robust growth in places such as China and India. As in the West, oil fuels that growth, first for industry, then for consumers who, naturally enough, use rising incomes to buy cars. That trend more than anything else is behind rising prices. And it has just begun.

A keep-energy-cheap approach would have worked if supplies were unlimited and prices didn't tend to lurch forward, as in the 1970s and now, rather than to rise gradually.

An alternative would have been energy policies that discouraged consumption with gas taxes and subsidized alternative sources. But doing this would have required voters to be willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain. It would have required leadership, vision and political courage — the very same qualities needed now to stave off menacing crises in health care and Social Security.

Ominously for the nation, those characteristics seem in even shorter supply than oil.
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kathyp
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« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2008, 04:46:50 PM »

Quote
A keep-energy-cheap approach would have worked if supplies were unlimited and prices didn't tend to lurch forward, as in the 1970s and now, rather than to rise gradually.

An alternative would have been energy policies that discouraged consumption with gas taxes and subsidized alternative sources. But doing this would have required voters to be willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain. It would have required leadership, vision and political courage — the very same qualities needed now to stave off menacing crises in health care and Social Security.

Ominously for the nation, those characteristics seem in even shorter supply than oil.
 

was with the article right up to this point. 

whenever the government tries to fix things, they almost always fail.  worse, there are often nasty unintended consequences.  taxes to change behavior rarely work.  they tend to hurt people who can least afford the extra burden, and they give the government more of our money to wast.

 subsidizing alternative research is a better bet than subsidizing or mandating alternative sources.  look what happened as soon as bio-fuel mandates were talked about.  starving kids in Mexico are missing out on their corn tortillas because we are putting a basic food source in our gas tanks.  other food prices are going up not only because corn is diverted to fuel, but because there is an added demand on other feeds. also farmers are cashing in on the high cost of corn by planting it, rather than other crops.  the cost of bio-fuels is high. 

the best bet is to let market forces work.  if there is a demand for alternative fuel, and if there is a way to make that fuel cost effective, companies will do it.  they will spend money to make money and they will do a better job of it than the government can.

we do not know how much oil is left in many of these OPEC countries.  we do know that we and other will need oil for the foreseeable future.  we know that we have oil reserves untapped.  we know that other countries are drilling off our coasts while our own companies are not allowed to drill.  we can be reasonably certain that an alternative source of fuel will be needed.  all of these issue need to be addressed, but not by the government.  the fact that they created programs that they can't manage ought to be a warning to us that we don't want them anywhere near what we put in our fuel tanks!

if nothing else, being able to pull our own oil out is a matter of national security.   
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Keith13
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« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2008, 05:06:10 PM »

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20080516/cm_usatoday/oilprices

Oil prices

Fri May 16, 12:22 AM ET

So who's to blame for record high oil prices?

In public opinion polls, oil companies get fingered as Public Enemy No. 1 by one-third to one-half of respondents. The other leading culprits include the OPEC cartel, President Bush, environmentalists and speculators.

(Photo - Shelling it out: A Shell customer eyes what gasoline costs him / Paul Sakuma, AP)

Not one of them is as culpable as their critics claim. More important, none is capable of solving the problem, making the finger-pointing a destructive distraction. Before we get to some of the things the nation could have done, and should do now, to ease the crisis, let's assess the usual suspects:

•

* Oil companies.
Blaming Big Oil for higher prices is kind of like blaming bankruptcy lawyers for home foreclosures. Without doubt, oil companies benefit when shortages drive up prices, but they don't cause the problem, nor do they gain much leverage to increase profit margins when prices rise.

Take ExxonMobil, for instance. Last year, the world's largest petroleum company made an eye-popping $41 billion in profits. That's serious money, but it's a profit margin of about 10% on sales, a middle-of-the road level for major corporations. It's also the same margin ExxonMobil had when oil was cheap. In 2003, it made $21.5 billion on $213 billion in sales. Repeated federal investigations have shown no evidence of oil company conspiracies to drive up prices.

•

* Oil producing nations.
Producing nations can affect prices by limiting production. But that's a fact the United States can't do much about, other than trying to exert diplomatic pressure, as Bush will attempt to do on his visit today to Saudi Arabia. The United States can't really blame foreign countries for deciding how much of their oil to sell.

What's more, the fact that the Saudis and others aren't pumping more oil already — to prevent their customers from falling into recession or deter them from developing alternative energy sources — suggests they might not have a lot of excess capacity, a theory put forth years ago by people who predicted the current price run-up to near-universal skepticism. Further, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the demon behind the first oil crisis three decades ago, no longer has such control. It now pumps only about 40% of the world's petroleum.

•

* Speculators.
Oil traders are without doubt adding some cost to the price of oil. Some analysts say it's $10 a barrel. Some say more. Speculation, however, is a normal byproduct of tight supplies and actual or potential turmoil in oil-producing nations.

•

* Environmentalists.
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could produce about 600,000 barrels of oil per day. Although it's worth doing as a way to increase domestic supply, it's no panacea. It would still increase world oil production by only a fraction of 1%. Opposition to drilling there, as well as in offshore sites currently under moratorium, affects prices only at the margins.

•

Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
To judge by the debate in Congress, you'd think that the diversion of 70,000 barrels of oil a day into the Louisiana salt domes is a major reason behind the price surge. This week, in a laughable piece of political sleight of hand, the House voted 385-25 and the Senate voted 97-1 to suspend deposits into the reserve. Considering that daily world demand is about 84 million barrels, suspending SPR purchases increases the world's oil supply by less than one-tenth of 1%.

As gratifying as it is to point fingers elsewhere, the mirror is the main place to look for the reasons that oil prices are hovering around $125 a barrel. The nation decided to let the laws of supply and demand work. It was rewarded with two decades of low prices that led to larger cars, bigger homes and longer commutes. Meanwhile, with the Cold War's end, Third World countries suddenly saw the benefits of capitalism, fueling robust growth in places such as China and India. As in the West, oil fuels that growth, first for industry, then for consumers who, naturally enough, use rising incomes to buy cars. That trend more than anything else is behind rising prices. And it has just begun.

A keep-energy-cheap approach would have worked if supplies were unlimited and prices didn't tend to lurch forward, as in the 1970s and now, rather than to rise gradually.

An alternative would have been energy policies that discouraged consumption with gas taxes and subsidized alternative sources. But doing this would have required voters to be willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain. It would have required leadership, vision and political courage — the very same qualities needed now to stave off menacing crises in health care and Social Security.

Ominously for the nation, those characteristics seem in even shorter supply than oil.

Well put!
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Vetch
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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2008, 06:00:50 AM »


... the best bet is to let market forces work. 


That brings to mind something Winston Churchill said: "The people can be counted on to do the right thing - once they have exhausted all other options."  We had oil shocks in 1973 and 1979, and yet 'the market' said more inefficient cars, more sprawl, less mass transit, no need to seriously invest in alternatives. Because the market was driven by spendthrifts on a binge, by grasshoppers that made fun of ants that wanted to be thrifty and save.

I do agree with the idea that research is better than increased taxes and regulation at this point. People now have an economic incentive to pay attention and change their behavior. But if prices drop, people would be be quick to forget. As one oilman and US President once said, "We have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."  A serious problem like that requires a serious solution.   

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kathyp
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« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2008, 09:47:55 AM »

 
Quote
inefficient cars, more sprawl, less mass transit, no need to seriously invest in alternatives

no, in the 70's and early 80's, we went to smaller and more fuel efficient cars.  we changed the speed limit to 55.  Honda and Nissan became names that everyone knew, because the US auto makers (unions) couldn't manage to turn out anything better than the Pinto.  before then, everyone drove 8 cylinder cars that were like tanks.  i drove a 65 Chevy impala that got about 8 miles to the gallon smiley 

if you live and work in most cities, mass transit is an option. even where i live, i could sacrifice a couple of hours of the day to make a convoluted trip by mass transit into town.  i choose not to.  should i be forced to use it?  urban sprawl is a problem, but again, markets tend to help.  i know people who are in real estate.  the number one concern for people looking at place out our way, is the distance to work.  they don't want to drive it.  newer places out here are not selling as well.

 
Quote
The people can be counted on to do the right thing - once they have exhausted all other options

"the right thing"?  who would define it?  people act on the state of their pocket books.  the government can legislate and regulate until he## freezes over.  it will have less effect, and cost more, than letting people come to the realization that they need to change their own behavior.

Quote
A serious problem like that requires a serious solution

agreed, but name for me the last serious problem that was solved well by the government?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2008, 05:44:11 PM »

as much as everyone like to agree with the fact market knows how to best take care of itself, ALL markets tend to deplete themselves at the fastest rate possible, only because it's the most efficient thing for a market to do Smiley and this is not what we need, especially when it comes to energy source.

kathy, i've already invested into some funds, a year ago and now i want to invest into something else, if i invested last year into gold, i'd be what? 20% richer man? Smiley but i guess i made a bit of a mistake, so yeah...basically i'm going after the "spread your investments" idea, any economist would recommend it.

just tonight prices of our fuels have gone up! a staggering 7c per liter for diesel shocked shocked, prices of diesel have gone up for more than 17% in less than 5 months!
and at the moment we're trying something to improve our MPG, adding acetone, so far it seems it's working, if anyone is interested i can post info about it later in a month so far it looks like a 5% saving Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2008, 08:21:09 PM »

watch adding acetone to your fuel I believe i saw where it may eat away at the seals in the engine. I am no mechanic maybe one on the forums can weigh in
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« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2008, 07:19:30 PM »

This is an interesting graph. What's more interesting is that no one is really commenting on what is shows: that adjusted for inflation, gas is not a whole lot more expensive now that it was in the past. (The problem is that we are just too dependent on it now. When Harding was President, we weren't)

It would be interesting to plot the adjusted gas price using statistical process control methodology to see what the actual variability is. That would tell us whether the current bump in prices is a special cause variation or normal variation around the mean. I'm not sure, though, if adjusting the price contaminates the data too much. Maybe there's someone on the forum who does this kind of analysis who could say.

kev
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« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2008, 07:57:24 PM »

You are partly right, Kev, but there is another factor... the increase is sudden, and history has shown that such sudden increases are enough to cause painful recessions. Also, that graph is a day old, and the average price of gasoline in the US is not $3.22 - it is $3.80 and rising (they use weekly averages to smooth the graph, ok I understand that, but the nominal price today is much higher than the graph shows).

In the past 50 years, when the price has declined or been low, the economy has typically been good. If the average inflation adjusted cost of gas is around $2 and we could easily hit $4 soon, that is a bad omen in terms of the real cost and the rate of change.

Gut feeling: special cause variation.
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