Archive for April, 2006

From the horse’s mouth

Monday, April 10th, 2006
Terrorists know what they are doing when they target oil. In oil, as in other aspects, they take advantage of our free and open system to do us harm. From today's WSJ:

"In September 2004, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, a delta warlord whom the Nigerian government had accused of oil smuggling, declared 'all out war' on the government. Annkio Briggs, a senior aide to Mr. Asari at the time, says the warlord's comments were carefully crafted and timed to move global prices. Carried by news agencies, the remarks helped push New York futures prices above $50 a barrel for the first time.

"'We were aware of the price of oil, and we were aware that it was dependent on supply and demand, and we were aware that supplies had to be stable,' says Ms. Briggs in an interview. 'We looked around at other countries that were big producers, and we could see anytime there was a crisis the price of oil would go up, so it didn't take a lot of intelligence or mathematics to figure it out.'"

Gal Luft and Anne Korin wrote about this way back in December 2003 in the Journal of International Security Affairs: Terror's Next Target.

Venezuelans throw eggs and fruit at the U.S. ambassador

Saturday, April 8th, 2006
AP: "Venezuelans threw eggs and fruit at the U.S. ambassador's car Friday, and motorcyclists chased his convoy for miles, at times pounding on the vehicles [...] Venezuelan police escorts did not intervene as a car carrying Ambassador William Brownfield was pounded and pelted. No one was hurt.

'We're being attacked by groups of motorcyclists while we're traveling in an embassy car,' Penn said by cell phone during the chase. 'It's a very violent demonstration by a small group of people who appear to be organized by the mayor's office.'"

Venezuela is one of the top oil suppliers to the U.S.

UPDATE: BBC reports that Chavez has told the US ambassador "start packing" before he "kicks him out", saying in a nationally televised speech "I'm going to throw you out of Venezuela if you continue provoking the Venezuelan people." Chavez said Ambassador Brownfield was partially responsible for the incident because he failed to advise the local authorities or the foreign ministry of his travel plans. Mr Brownfield was visiting a low-income neighbourhood in Caracas to donate baseball equipment to underprivileged children.

Be Tire Smart – do your part!

Friday, April 7th, 2006
Pump it up
Some great tips from our neighbors up north, on how to keep your tires from draining your fuel tank. Properly inflated and aligned tires can reduce your fuel consumption by 4% - that's two weeks of driving a year!

Watch our 1-minute video clip -
Do your part: pump it up!

UPDATE: The National Academies' Transportation Research Board just issued a study titled "Tires and Passenger Vehicle Fuel Economy", conducted at the request of Congress with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Bottom line finding: better replacement tires, that reduce rolling resistance by 10%, would improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent and save about 1 billion to 2 billion gallons of fuel per year - that's equivalent to the fuel that would be saved by taking 2 million to 4 million cars and light trucks off the road. The study's bottom line recommendation: Label tires for fuel efficiency so consumers can make smart decisions.

Glad to report that critical oil savings legislation now in front of both the House and Senate includes a provision to label replacement tires so consumers can tell how they would affect gas mileage.

To read key excerpts of the report, click More.

"Each year Americans spend about $20 billion replacing the tires on their passenger cars and light trucks. Although passenger tires last far longer today than they did 30 years ago, most are replaced every 3 to 5 years because of wear. A total of about 200 million replacement passenger tires are purchased in the United States annually. Each time they replace their tires, motorists spend several hundred dollars and must choose among tires varying in price, style, and many aspects of performance. The tires they do buy will affect not only the handling, traction, ride comfort, and appearance of their vehicles but also fuel economy.

"Tires affect vehicle fuel economy mainly through rolling resistance. As a tire rolls under the vehicle?s weight, its shape changes repeatedly as it experiences recurring cycles of deformation and recovery. In the process, mechanical energy otherwise available to turn the wheels is converted into heat and dissipated from the tire. More fuel must be expended to replace this lost energy. Combinations of differences in tire dimensions, design, materials, and construction features will cause tires to differ in rolling resistance as well as in many other attributes such as traction, handling, noise, wear resistance, and appearance. Once they are placed in service, tires must be properly maintained to perform as intended with respect to all attributes. The maintenance of proper inflation pressure is especially important [...]

"Rolling resistance varies widely among replacement tires already on the market, even among tires that are comparable in price, size, traction, speed rating, and wear resistance. Consumers, if sufficiently informed and interested, could bring about a reduction in average rolling resistance by adjusting their tire purchases and by taking proper care of their tires once in service, especially by maintaining recommended inflation pressure [...] consumers now have little, if any, practical way of assessing how tire choices can affect vehicle economy.

"Tires and their rolling resistance characteristics can have a meaningful effect on vehicle fuel economy and consumption. A 10 percent reduction in average rolling resistance, if achieved for the population of passenger vehicles using replacement tires, promises a 1 to 2 percent increase in the fuel economy of these vehicles. About 80 percent of passenger cars and light trucks are equipped with replacement tires. Assuming that the number of miles traveled does not change, a 1 to 2 percent increase in the fuel economy of these vehicles would save about 1 billion to 2 billion gallons of fuel per year of the 130 billion gallons consumed by the entire passenger vehicle fleet. This fuel savings is equivalent to the fuel saved by taking 2 million to 4 million cars and light trucks off the road."

House Kudos!

Friday, April 7th, 2006
A Set America Free red white and blue cheer to Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24], Rep Kuhl, John R. "Randy", Jr. [NY-29], Rep Beauprez, Bob [CO-7], Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] and Rep Harman, Jane [CA-36] for becoming cosponsors of HR. 4409 The Fuel Choices for American Security Act!
Is your Representative on board?

Kudos to Senator Dodd…

Friday, April 7th, 2006
...who just signed on to S.2025, The Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act, based on the Set America Free blueprint for energy security. Is your Senator on board yet?

Simple Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

Friday, April 7th, 2006
About 4% of U.S. oil demand is due to home heating. These lists offer a great way to save on heating oil (and natural gas) use:
Things You Can Do to Make Your Household Energy Dollar Go Further
Home Energy Checklist

Arizona votes to allow use of ethanol as fuel in Phoenix area

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
An important step on the road to fuel choice. We encourage Florida to follow!

Plug-in Prius conversions hit the UK

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
Have a hybrid? Want the option of plugging it in? You're not the only one:

"it has the same Prius ingredients - an efficient petrol engine, automatic gearbox, electric motor and additional battery pack. However, this Prius returns in excess of 100mpg in petrol-powered mode [...] At the rear bumper of the Plug-in is a flap which covers a socket. Unlike a standard Prius, you boost the batteries overnight on cheap-rate electricity, and that is the key to its remarkable urban performance." Go forth and read it all.

EDrive Systems is doing similar conversions in the U.S.

In case you're wondering what electricity in the U.S. is generated from, click here. (Hint: almost totally not from oil.)

In case you missed it…useful resources

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
1. Weekly energy-security oped roundup

2. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute's Auto News Service

In Delaware?

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
Gal Luft will be speaking about oil dependence and national security at UD at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday as part of the Global Agenda lecture series, ?Hidden Dangers: Global Challenges Below the Radar?.

UPDATE: article about the event. Note there is one error in the article - instead of methane (a gas), it should have said methanol (a liquid fuel).