Key Media Articles Reveal Major Energy & Gas Price Manipulations
Below are highly revealing one-paragraph excerpts of important major media articles revealing significant manipulations involving energy and gas prices. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Note: For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here.
Feds miss energy standards by up to 15 years
2007-03-01, MSNBC/Associated Press
The government for decades has failed to meet legal deadlines for tougher energy efficiency standards for appliances and other equipment, costing consumers and industry tens of billions of dollars in electric costs, a congressional study said Thursday. The Government Accountability Office reported that over several decades the Energy Department has "missed all 34 congressional deadlines for setting efficiency standards," with delays ranging from several months to as long as 15 years. The standards approved by Congress seek to reduce energy use from a broad range of products from refrigerators and home heating systems to electricity grid transformers and electric motors in factories. If the deadlines had been met on only four widely used consumer products - refrigerators, freezers, central air conditioners and heat pumps - consumers would have saved $28 billion in accumulated energy costs by 2030 - because more energy efficient products would have been on the market sooner. Andy Karsner, the department's assistant secretary in charge of energy efficiency programs, acknowledged the department has had "a simply abysmal" record on meeting efficiency standard deadlines set by Congress.
Note: Could it be that the powerful energy lobby didn't want these policies instituted? For more, click here.
A Faith-Based Fuel Initiative
2007-01-30, New York Times
In 1975, after the oil embargo, Congress approved the most successful energy-saving measure this country has ever seen: the Corporate Average Fuel Economy system, known as CAFE, which set minimum mileage standards for cars. Within 10 years, automobile efficiency had virtually doubled, to 27.5 miles per gallon in 1985 from just over 14 miles per gallon in 1976. The mileage standards are still 27.5 m.p.g. Except for minor tweaks, Congress has refused to raise fuel efficiency requirements or close a gaping loophole that lets S.U.V.'s and pickups be measured by a more lenient standard.
Note: Thank you New York Times for pointing out what so few have bothered to mention. In the U.S., it is not the automotive industry that determines fuel mileage standards, but rather Congress. Whenever Congress has rasied the mileage standard, industry complies and average mileage increases. When the standards are not raised, average car mileage for new cars stays the same. Yet Congress has refused to significantly raise the standards since 1985, despite the increasing talk of an energy crisis. Why? If you really want to know, click here and here.
Car achieves almost 10,000 miles per gallon
1999-07-16, BBC News
A car driven by a 10-year-old and built at a French school has set a new world record for fuel efficiency. The Microjoule team managed the equivalent of 9,845 miles per gallon while driving for 10 miles around Silverstone race track in the UK. More than 100 teams competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon. Their one goal was to see how far they can get these amazing machines to travel on a minuscule amount of fuel. While we might be delirious if we managed 40 miles (64 kilometres) to the gallon (4.5 litres) pottering about town in our super minis, these people are not happy until they have seen the mileometer click through the thousands. The teams have a choice of petrol or diesel, with solar assistance permitted for the first time this year. A car is allowed three 40-minute runs. It must average at least 15 mph (24 kph) after which the stewards at the meeting calculate the machine's fuel efficiency. "The top fuel teams do about 10 miles, which is six laps on the club circuit at Silverstone," says the event's fuel manager Geoff Houlbrook. "They do that on less than 10 millilitres which is just two teaspoons of fuel." The entries come from all over Europe. Some teams use advanced materials like titanium and carbon fibre. Some of the machines built by schoolchildren are made from parts of old sewing and washing machines. "It's fun but it's also science," says BBC Top Gear presenter and racing driver Tiff Needell. "It's like an experiment with people learning how to save energy."
Note: Some of these amazing vehicles built in 1999 were "built by schoolchildren," yet the auto industry still can't come up with a car that get's 100 mpg? Granted these cars are slow and small, but if they can get almost 10,000 mpg, don't you think similar technology could be used to get at least several hundred mpg in regular cars? For why car mileage hasn't increased much since the 1908 Model T got 25 mpg, click here and here.
Enron Schemes Caught On Tape
2005-02-03, CBS News
During the West Coast Power crisis homes went dark and streetlights were out ... causing injuries and accidents. But the danger didn't stop Enron's energy traders from having a good laugh. CBS ... reports on the Enron scheme, as caught on new audio tape. The traders and plant operator laugh and plot in a display that seems to prove the theory that years before the energy crisis, Enron manipulated markets. "They had to do a rolling blackout through the town and there was a red light there he didn't see," one Enron trader says on tape. "That's beautiful," a second voice responds. The new tapes ... confirm what CBS News has been reporting for four years: That Enron secretly shut power plants down so they could cause, and then cash in on, the crisis. "We want you guys to get a little creative..." one voice says on the tape, "and come up with a reason to go down." Plant operators were coached on how to lie to officials. "Just call 'em, Hey guys...we're coming down," one Enron trader says. The plant operator replies, "OK, so we're just comin' down for some maintenance?" "Right," the trader says. "And that's cool?" the plant operator asks. "Hopefully," the trader responds, to which the men are heard laughing. Enron also pulled power out of states like California, causing emergency conditions to worsen. The "shut downs" and "pull outs" triggered sky high power prices. "We're just making money hand over fist!" one voice is heard saying on the tape. And when states complained, the guys at Enron seemed to have a response. "Get a f****** clue," one says. "Yeah," another chimes in. "Leave us alone. Let us make a little bit of money."
Refiners Maintain a Firm but Legal Grip on Supplies
2005-06-18, Los Angeles Times
California refiners are simply cashing in on a system that allows a handful of players to keep prices high by carefully controlling supplies. The result is a kind of miracle market in which profits abound, outsiders can't compete and a dwindling cadre of gas station operators has little choice but go along. Refiners "not only control how much supply is in the marketplace, they control who gets it and at what price," said Dennis DeCota, executive director of the California Service Station and Automotive Repair Assn. The recent history of California's fuel industry is a textbook case of how a once-competitive business can become skewed to the advantage of a few, all with the federal government's blessing. Refiners acknowledge their California businesses have become the most profitable in the nation. The rest of the country isn't far behind. Characteristics once unique to California – specialty fuels, a refinery shortage, the growing dominance of a few companies – have begun to plague other gasoline markets.
Kids Build Soybean-Fueled Car
2006-02-17, CBS News
The star at last week's Philadelphia Auto Show wasn't a sports car or an economy car. It was a sports-economy car – one that combines performance and practicality under one hood. But as CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week's Assignment America, the car that buyers have been waiting decades [for] comes from an unexpected source and runs on soybean bio-diesel fuel to boot. A car that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds and get more than 50 miles to the gallon would be enough to pique any driver's interest. So who do we have to thank for it. Ford? GM? Toyota? No – just Victor, David, Cheeseborough, Bruce, and Kosi, five kids from the auto shop program at West Philadelphia High School. The five kids ... built the soybean-fueled car as an after-school project. It took them more than a year – rummaging for parts, configuring wires and learning as they went. As teacher Simon Hauger notes, these kids weren't exactly the cream of the academic crop. "If you give kids that have been stereotyped as not being able to do anything an opportunity to do something great, they'll step up," he says. Stepping up is something the big automakers have yet to do. They're still in the early stages of marketing hybrid cars while playing catch-up to the Bad News Bears of auto shop. "We made this work," says Hauger. "We're not geniuses. So why aren't they doing it?" Kosi thinks he knows why. The answer, he says, is the big oil companies.
Note: So why isn't this remarkable engine design breakthrough making front page headlines in all major media? Why aren't the many other major energy breakthroughs that have been reported given the headlines they deserve? Could it be that those who are reaping huge profits from oil sales have much more political and media influence than you might imagine? For lots more reliable information on this, click here.
Advanced vehicles demonstrate zero oil-consumption, reduced emissions
2005-05-18, Boston Globe
Carmakers such as Toyota and Honda can't seem to make hybrid vehicles fast enough to keep up with public interest. Interest in this new technology is growing, and one group is highlighting these technical marvels in a yearly event called the Tour de Sol. Top prize for the Monte-Carlo Rally went to a modified Honda Insight driven by Brian Hardegen, of Pepperell, who broke the 100-mile-per-gallon barrier over a 150-mile range. The car actually got 107 miles-per gallon. St. Mark's High School in Southboro, and North Haven Community School, North Haven, ME, demonstrated true zero-oil consumption and true zero climate-change emissions with their modified electric Ford pick-up and Volkswagen bus. More than 60 hybrid, electric and biofueled vehicles from throughout the US and Canada demonstrated that we have the technology today to power our transportation system with zero-oil consumption and zero climate-change emissions.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. If high school students can do it, why aren't the car companies seriously developing these technologies? And why are car manufacturers not able to keep up with demand on hybrid vehicles? For more, click here.
Bribes offered to scientists
2007-02-03, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine the UN climate change report. Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute, an ExxonMobil-funded think tank with close links to the Bush Administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of the report. Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered. The institute has received more than $1.6 million from ExxonMobil - which yesterday announced a $50 billion annual profit, the biggest ever by a US company - and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush Administration. A former head of ExxonMobil, Lee Raymond, is the vice-chairman of the institute's board of trustees.
The Prophet of Garbage
2007-03-00, Popular Science - March 2007 Issue
The Plasma Converter ... can consume nearly any type of waste–from dirty diapers to chemical weapons–by annihilating toxic materials in a process ... called plasma gasification. A 650-volt current passing between two electrodes rips electrons from the air, converting the gas into plasma. The plasma arc is so powerful, it disintegrates trash into its constituent elements by tearing apart molecular bonds. The system is capable of breaking down pretty much anything except nuclear waste. The only by-products are an obsidian-like glass [and] a mixture of primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide that can be converted into a variety of marketable fuels, including ethanol, natural gas and hydrogen. Perhaps the most amazing part of the process is that it's self-sustaining. Once the cycle is under way, the 2,200°F syngas is fed into a cooling system, generating steam that drives turbines to produce electricity. About two thirds of the power is siphoned off to run the converter; the rest can be used on-site for heating or electricity, or sold back to the utility grid. Even a blackout would not stop the operation of the facility. New York City is already paying an astronomical $90 a ton to get rid of its trash. According to Startech, a few 2,000-ton-per-day plasma-gasification plants could do it for $36. Sell the syngas and surplus electricity, and you'd actually net $15 a ton. But the decision-making bureaucracy can be slow, and it is hamstrung by the politically well-connected waste-disposal industry. Startech isn't the only company using plasma to turn waste into a source of clean energy. A handful of start-ups–Geoplasma, Recovered Energy, PyroGenesis, EnviroArc and Plasco Energy, among others–have entered the market in the past decade.
Note: Why isn't this amazing, proven machine and technology making front page headlines? Read this exciting article to find how it is already being used. For why you don't know about it, click here. And for another amazing new energy source not yet reported in the major media, click here.
Vehicle mileage estimates get real
2006-12-12, Los Angeles Times
That 55-mile-per-gallon hybrid car you've been eyeing may end up being a 44-mpg hybrid. The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a new system Monday for evaluating fuel economy that will lower mileage estimates for most vehicles. On average, vehicles rated under the 2008 method will post a 12% drop in city gasoline mileage and an 8% decline in highway mileage. With the new testing requirements, the EPA is attempting to come up with estimates that more closely reflect the real-world mileage motorists can expect when they purchase a vehicle. Under the current system ... actual mileage is often far lower than the posted EPA ratings. Hybrids will be hit harder because the new test eliminates some of the all-electric driving that helped them produce impressive results. A recent study ... found that the average mileage for passenger cars and light trucks was about 14% less than EPA estimates. The mileage for gas-electric hybrids probably will be 20% to 30% lower than present estimates for city driving and 10% to 20% lower on the highway. These vehicles quickly lose their all-electric advantage when operated in cold weather or quickly accelerated. The new EPA mileage estimates won't harm automakers' ability to meet federal rules requiring an industrywide average fuel economy of 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 21 mpg for sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans.
Note: The government could easily mandate higher gas mileage, but has not significantly raised the bar in almost 20 years. Why? The current average mileage for all cars is less than the mileage of the 1908 Model T. With all of the incredibly technological advances in other fields, how is this possible? For more on this vital topic, click here and here. Toyota came out with a hybrid that got 100 mpg in 2002. For what happened to it, click here. And to learn how a Toyota Prius can be converted to get 100 miles per gallon, click here.
Loremo: The 'Low Resistance Mobile'
The idea is deceptively simple. Forget about fancy batteries, regenerative braking, and alternative fuels. Instead, make a car that's elegant in its minimalism and efficiency. The Loremo's German designers revisited the basics – engine efficiency, low weight, and minimal drag – to create a car that offers fuel-efficiency in the neighborhood of 130 to 150 miles per gallon. The Loremo is likely to dazzle drivers not with its acceleration, but with its ability to drive from New York to L.A. with only three stops at the pump. Loremo stands for low resistance mobile, and its engineers have stuck obsessively to this idea. By building the car around a 2-cylinder turbodiesel engine, and cutting back on weight, drag, and other excess fat such as side-opening doors, the Loremo puffs out a mere 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. This is about 40 grams less per kilometer than the tiny diesel smart. According to its creators, this will make the Loremo the most efficient production car ever sold. If the Loremo showed up as a concept on an auto show pedestal, it would certainly garner some attention. But the Loremo is not a car for dreamers; not only will it enter mass production next year, it will sport a base price attainable by mortal motorists: 15,000 euros (about U.S. $22,000). After its 2009 release in Europe, the Loremo will be redesigned to reach the North American market the following year. A $30,000, 3-cylinder GT model will also become available, offering better acceleration (0-60 in roughly 10 seconds, vs. 16 for the base model). Both hybrid and fully electric versions are also in the works.
Note: For many exciting, reliable reports on new energy and automobile technologies, click here.
Toyota smashes fuel economy record
2002-10-20, London Times
Tucked away on the Toyota stand you will find a cheeky little coupé that looks sporty but whose raison d'être is fuel economy, the lowest exhaust emissions and ease of recycling. The ES3 – the initials stand for Eco Spirit – achieves 104mpg in the official European fuel consumption tests, a record for a four-seat car. Some months ago I drove this prototype and not only is it even more economical than the special "3 litre" (three litres of fuel for every 100km travelled, or 94mpg) versions of the Audi A2 and VW Lupo that sell in Germany, but the Toyota is more lively and responsive and would be very acceptable as an everyday car. The ES3 has a 1.4 litre turbocharged diesel engine and CVT (continuously variable transmission). The engine cuts out when the car stops, automatically and instantly restarting when you touch the accelerator to move off again. Energy that would be lost from braking is used to charge the car's battery, and the body panels are made from biodegradable plastics. You will see more of these things in future Toyotas.
Note: If this article is no longer available at the link above, click here. So what happened to this amazing car? Why haven't we heard anything about it since the article was published in 2002? For an excellent essay which provides key information on this topic, including a detailed list of inventions which greatly improve gasoline mileage reported over the years in respected magazines, click here.
Cars that make hybrids look like gas guzzlers
2007-03-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Toyota Prius owners tend to be a proud lot since they drive the fuel-efficient hybrid gas-electric car that's ... one of the hottest-selling vehicles in America. A few, however, felt that good was not good enough. They've made "improvements" even though the modifications voided parts of their warranties. Why? Five words: one hundred miles per gallon. "We took the hybrid car to its logical conclusion," [Felix] Kramer says, by adding more batteries and the ability to recharge by plugging into a regular electrical socket at night. Compared with the Prius' fuel efficiency of 50 mpg, plug-in hybrids use half as much gasoline by running more on cleaner, cheaper, domestic electricity. These trendsetters monkeyed with the car ... to make a point: If they could make a plug-in hybrid, the major car companies could, too. Kramer ... and a cadre of volunteers formed the California Cars Initiative (online at calcars.org). They added inexpensive lead-acid batteries ... giving the car over 100 mpg in local driving and 50 to 80 mpg on the highway. The cost of conversion is about $5,000 for a do-it-yourselfer. Several small companies like EnergyCS ... started doing small numbers of conversions for fleets and government agencies using longer-lasting, more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries. Kramer hired EnergyCS to convert his Prius and reported on a typical day of driving. Compared with driving his Prius before the conversion, he ... spewed out two-thirds less greenhouse gases at a total cost of $1.76 for electricity and gasoline, instead of the $3.17 it would have required on gasoline alone. People want plug-in hybrids but can't get them. Dealers don't sell them yet, and the few conversion services cater to fleets.
Note: For a video and educational package to guide those who want to build a 100 mpg car, see www.eaa-phev.org. For why the car companies with their massive budgets haven't developed cars like this, click here.
Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half
2007-02-18, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Within five years, solar power will be cheap enough to compete with carbon-generated electricity. In a decade, the cost may have fallen so dramatically that solar cells could undercut oil, gas, coal and nuclear power by up to half. Anil Sethi, the chief executive of the Swiss start-up company Flisom, says he looks forward to the day - not so far off - when entire cities in America and Europe generate their heating, lighting and air-conditioning needs from solar films on buildings with enough left over to feed a surplus back into the grid. The secret? A piece of dark polymer foil, as thin a sheet of paper. It is so light it can be stuck to the sides of buildings. It can be mass-produced in cheap rolls like packaging - in any colour. The "tipping point" will arrive when the capital cost of solar power falls below $1 (51p) per watt, roughly the cost of carbon power. The best options today vary from $3 to $4 per watt - down from $100 in the late 1970s. Mr Sethi believes his product will cut the cost to 80 cents per watt within five years, and 50 cents in a decade. "We don't need subsidies, we just need governments to get out of the way and do no harm," he said. Solar use [has] increased dramatically in Japan and above all Germany, where Berlin's green energy law passed in 2004 forces the grid to buy surplus electricity from households at a fat premium. The tipping point in Germany and Japan came once households [understood] that they could undercut their unloved utilities. Credit Lyonnais believes the rest of the world will soon join the stampede. Needless to say, electricity utilities are watching the solar revolution with horror.
Note: Why is this inspiring, important news getting so little press coverage? And why not more solar subsidies? For a possible answer, click here. For an amazing new energy source not yet reported in the major media which could make even solar energy obsolete, click here.
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Energy Manipulations, Gas Price Manipulations