Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gas Prices in Europe, Japan and USA

From The Economist, an interactive chart on gas prices, click tabs to change:
Note: Gas in the Netherlands costs about $8 per gallon, and gas in the U.S. costs about half of the price in the next highest country - Bulgaria.

47 Comments:

At 2/23/2011 8:57 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Look at the taxes and duties. Then try to make the argument that the oil companies are greedy.

 
At 2/23/2011 9:25 PM, Blogger Rick said...

America is addicted to foreign oil.

It's an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our daily lives and ties our hands as a nation and as a people.

The addiction has worsened for decades. We wouldn't know what to do if we paid the same as most of the rest of the world. Probably just whine like little kids.

 
At 2/23/2011 10:47 PM, Blogger gadfly said...

America is capable of meeting far more of its own need for oil and natural gas . . . if the environmentalists and their allies in the government and in the press will get out of the way.

We have the oil reserves and new geological deposits are rapidly appearing as if by magic . . . now that crude prices have risen.

We need refineries, pipelines, less regulation and more drilling in the oil US patches. America is the new Saudi Arabia and it is time for the leftists in Washington to wake up.

 
At 2/23/2011 11:18 PM, Blogger uclalien said...

It looks like gas prices are nearly identical for all the countries shown in this table (with the exception of Japan)...taxes, not so much.

 
At 2/24/2011 12:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

You may like this post.

http://morganisteconomics.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-will-middle-eastern-unrest-impact.html


I think that it is an example of a terrible analysis. While freedom is desirable the idea that it will bring a supply shock is ridiculous. For one the oil companies will not invest in developing fields until there is some form of stability that would guarantee an opportunity to earn decent returns. Then there is the issue that the current national oil companies have been spending billions trying to overcome their depletion problem without any success.

 
At 2/24/2011 12:45 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

America is capable of meeting far more of its own need for oil and natural gas . . . if the environmentalists and their allies in the government and in the press will get out of the way.

No chance in hell that they will get out of the way. And no chance that if they did you could ever meet your own need unless that need collapses by 70%.

We have the oil reserves and new geological deposits are rapidly appearing as if by magic . . . now that crude prices have risen.

Nonsense. Reserves that require more energy to develop than they yield are worse than useless. Most of the shale 'reserves' fall in that category.

We need refineries, pipelines, less regulation and more drilling in the oil US patches. America is the new Saudi Arabia and it is time for the leftists in Washington to wake up.

No. The US was Saudi Arabia before Saudi Arabia was Saudi Arabia. But the US production rates peaked in 1970 and have been steadily falling ever since then.

 
At 2/24/2011 1:34 AM, Blogger Evergreen Libertarian said...

If we include the costs of two wars and a foreign policy that is based on the military what is the costs per gallon?

Secondly if we opened the urban transportation market to competition we might find we could reduce our fossil fuel usage and urban pollution at the same. Maybe with more transportation alternative we might find we can also reduce poverty and some of the social problems associated with it, thus saving tax dollars and improving lives, not to mention cleaning up the air a bit.

 
At 2/24/2011 6:52 AM, Blogger T W said...

The gas tax is often a tool to control consumption. In Europe and other countries, consumption of gasoline is widely discouraged - leading to smaller, more efficient cars, higher mileage and better public transportation as fewer residents can afford to drive their cars. On a per capita basis, US consume significantly more gas than other countries, although the quality of living is only marginally better in some case, and much worse in others.

In contrast, U.S. "encourage" gas consumption with different oil subsidies in the name of creating jobs. It is a bad policy with total disregards of environmental consequence. The cost of gasoline largely represent the cost of extraction, refinery, distribution and a relatively small amount of taxes. There is no consideration of how the fossil fuel can be replenished, which is both expensive and requiring a very long time.

 
At 2/24/2011 9:02 AM, Blogger Rand said...

The cost of the gasoline itself, seems to be fairly constant from country to country (with the exception of Japan). The major difference is the amount of money taken by greedy governments.

 
At 2/24/2011 9:14 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

If we include the costs of two wars and a foreign policy that is based on the military what is the costs per gallon?

Clearly the military is adding to the overall cost of petroleum. It is the world's biggest user.

Secondly if we opened the urban transportation market to competition we might find we could reduce our fossil fuel usage and urban pollution at the same. Maybe with more transportation alternative we might find we can also reduce poverty and some of the social problems associated with it, thus saving tax dollars and improving lives, not to mention cleaning up the air a bit.

Competition in transportation will certainly help eliminate waste in the system but it cannot create the energy needed to continue our current standard of living without massive changes in other systems.

 
At 2/24/2011 9:17 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

In contrast, U.S. "encourage" gas consumption with different oil subsidies in the name of creating jobs. It is a bad policy with total disregards of environmental consequence. The cost of gasoline largely represent the cost of extraction, refinery, distribution and a relatively small amount of taxes. There is no consideration of how the fossil fuel can be replenished, which is both expensive and requiring a very long time.

Which oil 'subsidies' does the US have in place that the EU does not? I get tired of general statements that are not supported by any facts. From what I can see the US energy companies are paying huge amounts of taxes and that anything deemed a subsidy only goes to reduce the amount paid.

 
At 2/24/2011 9:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The cost of the gasoline itself, seems to be fairly constant from country to country (with the exception of Japan). The major difference is the amount of money taken by greedy governments.

It is a world market so the cost will be very similar in most countries. The total price paid by consumers will vary depending on taxes. The problem with those that advocate high domestic taxes is that they lower the price for consumers in other countries by lowering demand at home. That may not be very wise. First, by making energy more expensive for domestic industry the policy encourages companies to move operations abroad where costs are lower. Second, once you are driving a tiny four cylinder car price hikes leave you with little room to protect yourself by choosing a wiser alternative and each barrel short will have a far greater impact on your GDP than it would in countries where efficiency improvements are possible. Had the EU governments used the high taxes to pay off debts and lower other taxes the intrusion in the market could have been justified by some of the statists that populate boards like this one. But when they were used to hike government spending and fund questionable programs there is absolutely no justification for it.

 
At 2/24/2011 10:55 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"If we include the costs of two wars and a foreign policy that is based on the military what is the costs per gallon?"

Yeah, once you factor in the higher taxes associated with the military costs of the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece and Belgium the cost of oil would be prohibitive. Remind us all again, how much oil have they discovered in Afghanistan? Maybe you and VangelV should get together and write a newsletter.

"Clearly the military is adding to the overall cost of petroleum. It is the world's biggest user."

Someone is a "big user" and after comments like this one it's not hard to figure out who.

"Reserves that require more energy to develop than they yield are worse than useless. Most of the shale 'reserves' fall in that category."

Yes, that's why all those moronic oil companies keep plowing billions into research, discovery and development; they're just not as bright as you are.

 
At 2/24/2011 11:03 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude.

Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day — more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.

This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers. ...

Oil engineers are applying what critics say is an environmentally questionable method developed in recent years to tap natural gas trapped in underground shale. They drill down and horizontally into the rock, then pump water, sand and chemicals into the hole to crack the shale and allow gas to flow up.

Because oil molecules are sticky and larger than gas molecules, engineers thought the process wouldn't work to squeeze oil out fast enough to make it economical. But drillers learned how to increase the number of cracks in the rock and use different chemicals to free up oil at low cost.

YahooNews

 
At 2/24/2011 11:17 AM, Blogger I am said...

Flawed comparison.

Benchmark the cost of fuel in countries as large as the United States where goods are transported across several thousand miles and where "public transportation" are not practicable, then it may be a more legitimate comparison.

 
At 2/24/2011 1:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"America is addicted to foreign oil.

It's an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our daily lives and ties our hands as a nation and as a people.

The addiction has worsened for decades.
"

Nice emotionally satisfying, but meaningless rhetoric, T. Boone.

As I'm sure your spokesperson Rick is aware, there are many other vital raw materials that aren't produced in the US at all, but are 100% imported. One of these is bauxite, from which aluminum is produced.

If there are reasons to be concerned about imports, perhaps we should be moaning and tearing our hair about this even more frightening dependency.

 
At 2/24/2011 1:23 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"It looks like gas prices are nearly identical for all the countries shown in this table (with the exception of Japan)...taxes, not so much."

Correct. Gasoline is a global commodity, and costs pretty much the same worldwide.

 
At 2/24/2011 1:45 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"leading to smaller, more efficient cars, higher mileage and better public transportation as fewer residents can afford to drive their cars."

Efficient wouldn't be a term I would use to describe a soda can on wheels. Europe has a lot of other reasons for higher public transportation and decreased use of cars (though undoubtedly ridiculous gas prices play a big role). But they didn't use cars so much even when their governments weren't psychotic.

Centralized compact cities build on pre-car layouts play a big role...wheres the US developed on a much more spread out model way before the car existed.

"On a per capita basis, US consume significantly more gas than other countries, although the quality of living is only marginally better in some case, and much worse in others. "

One doesn't follow the other. What does quality of life have to do with oil consumption (past a certain point anyway?) Nothing. European countries are the equivalent of states in the US and very few Europeans commute or travel outside of their cities. Its a totally different land use and lifestyle.

"In contrast, U.S. "encourage" gas consumption with different oil subsidies in the name of creating jobs."

??? Subsidies to oil amount to infinitely small amounts of no significance.

They are not there to really subsidize oil. They are there for political reasons.

 
At 2/24/2011 1:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

TW

"On a per capita basis, US consume significantly more gas than other countries, although the quality of living is only marginally better in some case, and much worse in others."

Do you have any references supporting this strange assertion?

"There is no consideration of how the fossil fuel can be replenished, which is both expensive and requiring a very long time.

Indeed, probably a longer time than any of us can afford to wait. Do you have any suggestions on how the process might be speeded up?

 
At 2/24/2011 2:51 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Remind us all again, how much oil have they discovered in Afghanistan?

You are either ill informed or deceptive. Afghanistan was courted by the Bush Administration because it wanted a pipeline that would deliver Caspian Sea oil without going through Iran or Russia. Kazakh oil would be taken through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to a Pakistani port where it would be loaded on ships. Bush was still negotiating with the Taliban in August, 2011.

A better education may be in order.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/KC26Ag01.html

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2001/07/09/010709fa_fact_hersh

Someone is a "big user" and after comments like this one it's not hard to figure out who.

You can't spin the facts because they are clear. The US military uses about as much oil per day as the entire country of Greece.

"Reserves that require more energy to develop than they yield are worse than useless. Most of the shale 'reserves' fall in that category."

Yes, that's why all those moronic oil companies keep plowing billions into research, discovery and development; they're just not as bright as you are.


But they are not plowing that much money into development. The shale energy myths are a part of a big con game because the energy companies can't make a profit selling the gas. While there are a few tiny areas that might be economic in the shale liquids sphere they are immaterial to the big picture. Why do you think that the early shale players like Chesapeake are selling off assets once touted as first class and essential to the company?

You might do better if you ignore the claims and look at the actions instead.

 
At 2/24/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day — more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.

I take it that you missed it when they said the same thing about how much money they will make from natural gas. About five years ago Aubrey McClendon was hyping up shale gas and was telling us that his company, Chesapeake Energy, was going to be a huge player with a very profitable portfolio of assets. But as time went on reality set in. Shale gas wells deplete very quickly. The Barnett Shale data shows that the production from the average well drops 60 to 65 percent in the first year and by the forth year the well is not producing any more gas. For production depletion to be replaced and for overall gas production to go up the number of wells being drilled has to grow geometrically. (Which is why Chesapeake produces around 4% of the national natural gas supply but drilled more than 9% of the new wells.)

With his dreams of profitable natural gas being dashed, McClendon seems to have found a patsy (CNOOC) to offload some of his assets to. As the link that you provide notes, "Last month China's state-owned oil company CNOOC agreed to pay Chesapeake $570 million for a one-third stake in a drilling project in the Niobrara. This followed a $1 billion deal in October between the two companies on a project in the Eagle Ford."

I have referenced the work of Arthur Berman before. From what I can see, the evidence shows that he was totally right and the cheerleaders were wrong. When you add up all of the costs you will find that you can't get enough for the gas you sell to pay for its production.

Now we have the same cheerleaders who managed to lose so much money in shale natural gas hyping up their new shale liquids prospects as they hope to get another round or two of financing before the bust takes the scam down again.

 
At 2/24/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Benchmark the cost of fuel in countries as large as the United States where goods are transported across several thousand miles and where "public transportation" are not practicable, then it may be a more legitimate comparison.

One of us is confused. The US moves most of its goods by rail. It is far more efficient at moving goods than the EU, which relies on trucks and spends most of its transportation budget on moving people, including some great trains that have few customers and will never make a profit.

 
At 2/24/2011 4:04 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Hang with me on this one:

I don't know that much about the history of automobile gas consumption in Europe...but, I have driven there and wouldn't want a car any bigger than a compact because there is no place to park and the roads in most places are EXTREMELY narrow.

Seems to me the small cars in Europe aren't forward-thinking, they're created for in an outdated system....therefore, the tax revenue per citizen is much lower....unless they tax the life out of every gallon.

Is it at all possible that the smaller, efficient cars are actually part of the cause of excessive taxation?

 
At 2/24/2011 6:43 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/24/2011 6:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Secondly if we opened the urban transportation market to competition we might find we could reduce our fossil fuel usage and urban pollution at the same. Maybe with more transportation alternative we might find we can also reduce poverty and some of the social problems associated with it, thus saving tax dollars and improving lives, not to mention cleaning up the air a bit."

I suppose I could be mistaken, but in my experience, people who use the word "we" 5 times in two sentences aren't libertarians.

Can you explain how having additional urban transportation options might reduce poverty?

Oh, and also, when you mention "cleaning up the air a bit", you're not referring to that newly discovered pollutant CO2. are you?

 
At 2/24/2011 8:21 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"You are either ill informed or deceptive. Afghanistan was courted by the Bush Administration because it wanted a pipeline ... Bush was still negotiating with the Taliban in August, 2011."

Really, was he negotiating from his home in Dallas or Crawford, since he left the presidency in 2008? And even if he were, or American firms were, negotiating a pipeline, so what? It wasn't the reason for liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban. And if putting a pipeline through Afghanistan benefits America and the West at the expense of our enemies, then all I can say is get busy. After all, we put a highway through your country without even asking permission.

"A better education may be in order."

I really don't know, or care, what marxist madrassa you attended in Canada, but reading Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn or Pepe Escobar does not constitute an education. Your conspiracy theories about U.S. "empire" are childish.

 
At 2/24/2011 8:24 PM, Blogger T J Sawyer said...

Egypt subsidizes consumer use significantly. The price was $0.92 per gallon in January for the 85 octane at the State owned stations.

 
At 2/24/2011 8:29 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I suppose I could be mistaken, but in my experience, people who uses the word "we" 5 times in two sentences aren't libertarians.

Can you explain how having additional urban transportation options might reduce poverty?

Oh, and also, when you mention "cleaning up the air a bit", you're not referring to that newly discovered pollutant CO2. are you?


While I do not have much to disagree with you about on this issue let me note that if you do open up the transportation system to competition you will get more private bus companies to run better and more profitable routes that actually service customers who may choose them over the hassle of driving, parking, etc. The more competition that we have the better the mass transit system will work and the sooner the inefficient public transport system will be run out of business.

 
At 2/24/2011 8:38 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Afghanistan was courted by the Bush Administration because it wanted a pipeline that would deliver Caspian Sea oil without going through Iran or Russia. Kazakh oil would be taken through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to a Pakistani port where it would be loaded on ships. Bush was still negotiating with the Taliban in August, 2011."

Looks like somebody has been watching Fahrenheit 9/11. I'm assuming you meant August, 2001. I don't follow your logic, Vangel. Did negotiations hit a bump and so Bush had planes flown into buildings in order to gain the upper hand? How is that pipeline coming along, anyway?

 
At 2/24/2011 10:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Really, was he negotiating from his home in Dallas or Crawford, since he left the presidency in 2008? And even if he were, or American firms were, negotiating a pipeline, so what? It wasn't the reason for liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban. And if putting a pipeline through Afghanistan benefits America and the West at the expense of our enemies, then all I can say is get busy. After all, we put a highway through your country without even asking permission.

As you are aware, it was a typo that should have read 2001.

Bush was negotiating with the Taliban in 2001. Clinton started the negotiations when he wanted to support a pipeline that bypassed both Russia and Iran.

From where I stand it looked as if the Afghan adventure had as much to do with doing favours for certain players in the energy industry as it did with national security. Only a deluded fool would argue that it is in your interest to get Americans killed and spend hundreds of billions just because you do not like the idea of Russia or Iran transporting Kazakh oil. Actually, given the trouble that it is causing the Kazakh government may simply decide to send all of its oil to China across the Xianjiang border or make a deal with Russia or Turkey.

I really don't know, or care, what marxist madrassa you attended in Canada, but reading Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn or Pepe Escobar does not constitute an education. Your conspiracy theories about U.S. "empire" are childish.

I don't read any of the people that you listed. And in my younger days I had two very pointed arguments with Chomsky about his hypocrisy and inconsistency and stated to him that he was an immoral idiot. But so is the right that he opposes. Sadly, it abandoned its past principles and adopted the liberal/activist foreign policy of the neoconservatives. The way I see it the left and the right have conspired to destroy much of the vitality that made the United States of America the greatest country in the world. It is too bad that you can't see that.

 
At 2/25/2011 2:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"While I do not have much to disagree with you about on this issue let me note that if you do open up the transportation system to competition you will get more private bus companies to run better and more profitable routes that actually service customers who may choose them over the hassle of driving, parking, etc. The more competition that we have the better the mass transit system will work and the sooner the inefficient public transport system will be run out of business."

I agree this would be a great benefit, but it isn't even mentioned in the original comment. the only benefits listed were reductions in fossil fuel use, air pollution, and poverty. I can't see any of those happening due to a more competitive transportation market.

 
At 2/25/2011 6:48 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"From where I stand it looked as if the Afghan adventure had as much to do with doing favours for certain players in the energy industry as it did with national security."

Utter garbage. Vangel, I sometimes learn from you when you discuss energy and economics. I usually laugh at you when you discuss anything else.

 
At 2/25/2011 8:21 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Looks like somebody has been watching Fahrenheit 9/11.

Sorry but I have no idea what that is.

I'm assuming you meant August, 2001.

Crrect.

I don't follow your logic, Vangel.

You have to read the thread. Che is Dead is implying that the Afghan conflict has nothing to do with the energy situation because there hasn't been any oil discovered there. I point out that Afghanistan was important to the Clinton and Bush administrations because of a desire to move Caspian oil through a pipeline in the country. Installing a regime that would make that easier and cheaper would obviously be beneficial to the United States.

Did negotiations hit a bump and so Bush had planes flown into buildings in order to gain the upper hand? How is that pipeline coming along, anyway?

Negotiations were not going very well. After 9/11 the Afghans said that they were willing to turn over the al Qaeda to a third, neutral, country if the US provided it they were provided with evidence that bin Laden was responsible for the attack. The invasion was unnecessary because Bush failed to turn over his evidence. That failure has cost several hundred billion dollars and several thousand allied troops dead and seriously wounded.

 
At 2/25/2011 8:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Utter garbage. Vangel, I sometimes learn from you when you discuss energy and economics. I usually laugh at you when you discuss anything else.

I think that you are misinformed about foreign politics and, like most people, have a naive view of why things happen. As I pointed out on many occasions, the 9/11 hijackers were mainly Saudis who made most of their plans in Europe and the United States. The importance of bin Laden was overstated, partially because he was such a good promoter and knew how to use the media to push buttons.

And as has been pointed out before, the Taliban claimed that it would allow bin Laden to be handed over to a neutral country if there was evidence provided that he was responsible for 9/11. Bush refused to provide the evidence. Given the WMD fiasco and his reliance on the false 'evidence' presented by Curveball and the forged Niger documents we have a pretty good idea why.

As with economics, it helps to pay attention to who has been accurate in his/her prediction and who hasn't. I have no idea why you have no problem rejecting the pronouncements by the frauds in the financial sector and accept the arguments made by those that have sound theory and a record of performance but refuse to do the same in the foreign policy sphere.

The US has so much trouble abroad because it has supported tyrants that have oppressed their local populations. End of story. If you want the threats to scale down you do not need to invade more countries. All you have to do is to leave them alone and limit dealings to the commercial sphere while you leave the petty politics to others.

 
At 2/25/2011 9:32 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"Installing a regime that would make that easier and cheaper would obviously be beneficial to the United States."

You're on the verge of declaring yourself a 9/11 truther, Vangel. Do you really want to make a laughingstock of yourself?


"After 9/11 the Afghans said that they were willing to turn over the al Qaeda to a third, neutral, country if the US provided it they were provided with evidence that bin Laden was responsible for the attack."

Really? The entire Al Qaeda network? How would they have done that, exactly? And what third country do you think would have been acceptable? And where is your source for that? The history as I know it is the Taliban first offered to try bin Laden in an Islamic court. Yeah, I'm sure that would have gone well for us. Then, AFTER the bombing had begun they made another offer to hand over ONLY bin Laden to some third country undisclosed if Bush offered the proof the Taliban didn't need because they already knew he was guilty. We call these move by the Taliban( who were enjoying a raining hellfire of daisy cutters at the time) stalling tactics, Vangel. You would have fallen for it giving them time to recover and adapt, wiser heads did not.

"And as has been pointed out before, the Taliban claimed that it would allow bin Laden to be handed over to a neutral country if there was evidence provided that he was responsible for 9/11."

Oh, so now it's just bin Laden they offered to turn over. Your facts are sloppy Vangel, interesting how that works in only one direction.
But as you point in your preceding paragraph, the value of bin Laden was overstated. If he had been turned over to this mysterious third country that would somehow keep him from committing more mayhem, well, that leaves the rest of the Islamic savages holed up in Afghanistan with Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or some other psychopath taking over.

"As with economics, it helps to pay attention to who has been accurate in his/her prediction and who hasn't."

It really helps to have the correct facts. That's not you, Vangel. Like I said, you should stick to opining about subjects you really know something about. US foreign policy ain't it. You may claim you don't endorse the Chomsky worldview, yet you spout the same conspiratorial inanities.

 
At 2/25/2011 11:27 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Seveal have noted that gas prices are about the same, its the taxes that are different.

We could just as well say that other countries are addicted to high taxes as say the US is addicted to oil.


If private enterprise took over most public transit, they woudl shut it down, as not profitable and not capable of being profitable (Winston and Shirley).

Why would we have reducing fuel usage as a goal, when we know that reducing fuel usage (absent reductions due to efficiency) reduces transportation, trade, and production? Even worse, increasing efficiency of usage leads to even more total use.


European cities are more compact. At leas in England this is due tot he fact that development rights were nationalized after the war. This has led to high prices, shortage of living space, and long delays in new development.

It has also allowed planners to keep greenbelts around the cities intact. This has not been without cost, because farmers and landowners are heavily subsidized in order to make their opportunity losses from lack of development more palatable.


On a per capita basis US citzens use more energy, but they are also more productive and create more GDP per person and per unit of energy used.

Also European nations mostly import refined petroleum products, so all the energy used in refining shows up as outrageous energy use per capita in the middle east, not on the euro countires accounts.

Mainly bulk goods are carried by rail, including containerized bulk goods. Otherwise only goods traveling more than 6000 miles go by rail. Since almost everything that travels by rail ALSO travels by truck at one or both ends of the journey, it is inaacurate to say most us goods travel by rail.

 
At 2/25/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

That should read 600 miles, not 6000, obviously. Trains carry more ton-miles, but trucks carry more tons, and also carry more value / more high dollar goods.

 
At 2/25/2011 4:22 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You're on the verge of declaring yourself a 9/11 truther, Vangel. Do you really want to make a laughingstock of yourself?

I am hardly a '9/11 truther' and have posted many commentaries on why their explanations of a grand conspiracy were without merit. The fact that the US meddles and supports dictators who suppress their populations is not a big secret.

http://www.susris.com/2011/02/16/eyewitness-to-the-history-of-us-saudi-relations/

It was American intelligence agencies that helped the Shah take over Iran after filed first coup attempt and his exile in Rome. It was the American government that kept sending billions to Mubarek so that its man would run Egypt. The meddling has continued even after the Cold War ended.

The US is a great nation and would be a lot better off if it stopped its meddling, brought its troops back and stopped using the American taxpayer to underwrite the defense of Germany, Egypt, Israel, South Korea, Japan, and other nations.

As Dr. Paul points out, there is no constitutional justification for all of the meddling done by the executive branch and all of the meddling has unintended consequences.

 
At 2/25/2011 4:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Really? The entire Al Qaeda network? How would they have done that, exactly? And what third country do you think would have been acceptable?...

Really. The Taliban said that all of the people responsible for the attacks would be turned over if the evidence were provided. Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, or some other country would probably been acceptable but we never had the chance to find out because Bush refused to turn over any evidence. As I wrote before, given the fake evidence used to justify the Iraqi occupation there is every reason to suspect that the incompetents in the intelligence agencies did not have their act together. After all, these are the people who refused to talk to each other and did not follow up on obvious clues that would have prevented the 9/11 tragedy.

And where is your source for that? The history as I know it is the Taliban first offered to try bin Laden in an Islamic court. Yeah, I'm sure that would have gone well for us....

Actually, we don't know anything. If there were real evidence that was convincing the Taliban would have been under pressure to find bin Laden guilty and turn him over to another, neutral, country. The problem was that Bush would rather start a war than exhaust all of the opportunities that were available. While I have profited from the massive spending that accompanied the two wars that Bush started those poor solders who lost their lives or limbs in the graveyard of empires probably do not feel happy about my gains. And I would imagine that most Americans aren't very happy about it. The debt as a percentage of GDP has gone up by 50% since 2003 and now stands at 94% while the 62% ratio in 2003 was still way too high the wars have helped push the entire economy towards the abyss and have led to reduced personal liberty for Americans who find many more restrictions on their ability to travel or move their funds around the world.

Why would you ignore the damage done by increased indebtedness and decreased liberty in order to support unconstitutional acts by the executive? If your country goes to war there should be a legal declaration of war and the funding should come out of current taxes, not piled on for future generations to deal with.

 
At 2/25/2011 5:16 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Then, AFTER the bombing had begun they made another offer to hand over ONLY bin Laden to some third country undisclosed if Bush offered the proof the Taliban didn't need because they already knew he was guilty.

That is one interpretation. Another is that if they handed him over to the Swiss the Swill legal system would have to look at the evidence that the Bush administration claimed to have. Given the lack of credibility on the WMD question the Bush administration had no interest in going in front of any court. So lots of foolish young men died and lost their limbs and your great country lost liberties, credibility, and financial security.

But as you point in your preceding paragraph, the value of bin Laden was overstated. If he had been turned over to this mysterious third country that would somehow keep him from committing more mayhem, well, that leaves the rest of the Islamic savages holed up in Afghanistan with Zawahiri, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or some other psychopath taking over.

You are missing the point. The strength of these people does not come from people making grand plans in caves in Pakistan. It comes from a decentralized system that allows many psychopaths to make their own plans. If you want to stop those psychopaths creating martyrs out of idiots will not do the trick. You have to strike at the heart of their motivation. Instead, you did the opposite and strengthened their motivation.

My neconservative teachers used to use the example of the suicide bombers in Sri Lanka as an illustration of what Plato meant when talking about the motivation of the guardians. The key was thymos. My libertarian teachers understood this very well and talked about the same thing. The irony is that many otherwise intelligent people do not understand that the neoconservatives have played them in exactly the same way as those morons who strap on explosives and blow themselves up were played by their handlers. The exact same button is being pushed in both cases. The first step towards being a truly sentient being who is in control of his emotions and intellect is to realize that the button is there and disable it.

If your intelligence agencies really wanted a workable plan to get rid of all of those idiots who pose a very real threat to American assets abroad (and possibly at home) they would hire someone like Thomas Pangle and talk to him about what his great teacher meant in his interpretative essay when he described the qualities of the guardian class in his great translation of The Republic. (If you are interested look at footnote 33 in Book II.)

You may be interested in a more direct discussion on the subject from another University of Chicago professor here or here.

 
At 2/25/2011 6:00 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

It really helps to have the correct facts. That's not you, Vangel. Like I said, you should stick to opining about subjects you really know something about. US foreign policy ain't it. You may claim you don't endorse the Chomsky worldview, yet you spout the same conspiratorial inanities.

The facts are actually quite clear. The work done by Dr. Pape was based on an empirical study. The historical facts showing American support for foreign dictators are also clear.

And I hardly support Chomsky's nonsense. My argument comes from applying praxeology in the political sphere where the analysis works just as well as it does in the economic sphere. I also found the analysis of my neoconservative teachers very persuasive because it fit with both the praxeological logic and the empirical data.

 
At 2/25/2011 6:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We could just as well say that other countries are addicted to high taxes as say the US is addicted to oil.

Politicians are the same all over. What they get away with only depends on the voters.

 
At 2/25/2011 6:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Mainly bulk goods are carried by rail, including containerized bulk goods. Otherwise only goods traveling more than 6000 miles go by rail. Since almost everything that travels by rail ALSO travels by truck at one or both ends of the journey, it is inaacurate to say most us goods travel by rail.

No, it isn't. If you look at the total miles traveled you will find that far more go by rail than by truck. I provided a link on a previous thread about this misunderstanding of European/American rail systems but I guess that you must have missed it.

I can't remember the thread but you can find similar information by looking at this figure. Everyone talks about the 'superior' EU rail system because it is centered on moving people and as such is highly visible. But in the US most of the rail system is dedicated to moving goods and is mainly invisible. That is why people are confused about the relative efficiencies of the two regions.

 
At 2/26/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

No, it isn't. If you look at the total miles traveled you will find that far more go by rail than by truck.

================================

More ton miles go by rail, primarily becaus of bulk products like coal that go direct from origin to the point of usage.

But virtually everything else gets to the train on a truck and from the train on a truck, so nearly everything that travels by train ALSO travels by truck. And in particular, valuable cargo travels by truck because you canot afford the time to have it sittinfg orund on a train, so the doallar value shipped by truck is high.

More ton-miles are shipped by train, but it is innaccurate to simply say that most goods travel by train.

 
At 2/26/2011 3:23 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You are correct that european freight moves mostly by truck because the priority for rail is passengers, but that doesn't change the situation in the US:

Trains carry 42% of ton-miles shipped and trucks carry 28% of ton miles shipped, but 44% of rail shipment is coal.

That means that, excluding coal, trains carry 19% of ton miles of everything else, including other bulk commodities, and trucks carry 28%.

 
At 2/26/2011 11:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

More ton miles go by rail, primarily becaus of bulk products like coal that go direct from origin to the point of usage.

Yes they do. Coal, wheat, corn, iron ore, are all goods that are used by producers and consumers.

But virtually everything else gets to the train on a truck and from the train on a truck, so nearly everything that travels by train ALSO travels by truck.

So? Most imports come to Western ports and are shipped to the Eastern markets by rail. Most of the distance traveled is by rail. Goods are only placed on truck after they reach the main transportation hubs.

And in particular, valuable cargo travels by truck because you canot afford the time to have it sittinfg orund on a train, so the doallar value shipped by truck is high.

This is not exactly true. Trains can and do move goods very quickly. And they do it at a lower cost than by truck.

More ton-miles are shipped by train, but it is innaccurate to simply say that most goods travel by train.

You are talking semantics. The argument is valid. Most of the distance that goods (that includes inputs in the manufacturing chain) in the US travel is by train. As I wrote, in many ways the US rail system is far better than Europe's. Of course, if it were opened to more competition and deregulated it would be even better but that is a posting for another thread.

 
At 2/26/2011 11:06 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You are correct that european freight moves mostly by truck because the priority for rail is passengers, but that doesn't change the situation in the US:

Trains carry 42% of ton-miles shipped and trucks carry 28% of ton miles shipped, but 44% of rail shipment is coal.


Coal also moves by train in the EU. And it is a part of the input that goes into the manufacturing process as well as the electricity generation process that creates the power that is used to light and operate all those shops and warehouses that are part of the retail operations.

The observation about coal should clarify to many confused people why Buffett went after Burlington Northern and paid so much for it. With alternatives failing to produce much in the way of electricity and oil being a problem Buffett knows that his position in the transportation sector will allow him to make a lot of profit while taking little in the way of risk.

 

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