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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Commenter Larry at Economists View has a hypothesis

I google to check. It is closer to true than I thought, or true if by significantly you mean not "economically significantly" but "we can be sure of the sign of the difference given the huge point estimate"

I have not seen a quantitative comparison of how much oil CAFE would have saved versus how much (Democrat-and-the-public-blocked) greater drilling would have produced, but I bet the amounts aren't significantly different.

Larry your comparison makes no sense. The reason is that the effect of Cafe would depend on the mileage standard. Requiring the kind of average mileage residents of Europe get would reduce US oil demand by ... I'll google (time now 3:47 pm here)

This is an edf pdf but it says that "moreover a focus on auto efficiency has been effective historically with a net 33 percent reduction in fuel use per mile yielding nearly 3 million barrels per day of oil savings." From context this seems to be US.

OK drilling


1.45 million barrels a day in 2028

Off shore

The 574 million acres of federal coastal water that are off-limits are believed to hold nearly 18 billion barrels of undiscovered, recoverable oil.,2933,368221,00.html

That would be equivalent to 6000 days of fuel efficiency improvement so far spread out over who knows how long. The ANWR number is the peak, not the average over so long as we drive cars.

Now possible future fuel efficiency gains which seem reasonable to me would be to get the US fleet like European cars. That means (see below) doubling economy standards so a gain equal to that so far (1 to 2/3 is like 2/3 to 1/3). However, as population and miles driven increase (miles per capita too I'd bet) the gain from economy grows.

The numbers are roughly similar only if you count peak ANWR production as average ANWR production and equate oil which has not been found or extracted with existing technology.

A fair comparison would be feasible cafe standards vs feasible oil drilling. and 60 miles per gallon are certainly feasible (that's what a Prius gets).

More importantly, if we don't drill in ANWR we will have the oil in ANWR. That is banning drilling now leaves open the optino of drilling later. Burning gas now does not leave the option of unburning it later. Only if you adopt an outlook which is both short term and "what if" are they comparable.

Given choices to date, ANWR and off shore won't help us for decades, then they will help us for decades, then the oil will be gone.

Below some quotes and links on what I think is easily doable by imitating Europe and getting rid of light trucks.

"The average combined MPG for all US cars and light trucks on the road today is 19.8 MPG. (Source: 2005 Highway Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Division)."

Some mess with calculations from this

European cars today average around 163 grams per kilometer, and the European Union is already shooting for a target of 130 grams per kilometer across all cars by 2012. In today’s mainstream market, the greenest cars achieve something like 28 kilometers per liter (65 mpg) and 100-120 grams of carbon per kilometer, says Nature.

65 mgp/1.6 > 40 mpg

So going from US mix of cars and light trucks to European cars, which seems feasible to me, would double mileage.

time now 4:13 pm elapsed time (including writing and believe it or not thinking) 26 minutes.
Use the google.


Anonymous said...

60 miles per gallon are certainly feasible (that's what a Prius gets)

Where do you get this figure? I have a year old prius, live in northern New England. Without thinking about the mileage impact, I put the rack for thule luggage stuff on it late last fall, and that probably reduces my mileage some since then. Last winter, with snow tires, I got 35-40 mpg. Last summer, w/o snow tires and before the rack, I was getting 45-50 around town and including state highways where you rarely go faster than 50s mph (say 60 as a ceiling). When I do a lot of interstate driving (75-80 mph), again without snows, I get 40-45 mpg. Much better than most cars, but 60 mpg is dreaming. These figures involve a lot of use of the cruise control which keeps me from making jack rabbit accelerations, etc.

Robert said...

Sorry my mistake.

I should have typed "Prius pluggin" not "Prius". The figure is from the same link that gave me US car and light truck average
also "rounded" down from 66 to 60. I was typing from memory of that page.