Saturday, March 23, 2013

California Gasoline Consumption

I don't have a great deal of confidence in the IEA, EIA, or OPEC for accuracy. I think they are kind of close, but not spot on. I do have a great deal of confidence in net taxable gallon data from California. I also think that California is a pretty good proxy for the U.S., considering that it is 1/8 of the U.S. population.

Here is what California says about Peak Oil in the U.S.

An 8.2% decline in Gasoline usage/supplies over 6 years is not the kind of rate of change that will drop a country to its knees. This kind of decline pales in comparison to Spain, or (gag) Greece, where the year over year declines have been in the 5% to 10% and total decline is on the order of 30+%.

But that's history. What are the odds that the U.S. will see that kind of rate of change in consumption (supply) decline? Pretty high, actually. Crude & Condensate, the stuff that can actually be refined into gasoline and diesel, production has been essentially flat (it is reported to have grown .2% per year or so. Maybe. Maybe not. As I mentioned above, the data collection methods are far from perfect). What happens to the U.S. when World Crude & Condensate production actually declines?

That depends on a number of inputs - particularly from Solar & Wind - but my back of the napkin personal sense of it all says that the rate of the decline in gasoline consumption in the U.S. is likely to accelerate at some point in the relatively near future. When that comes to pass, demand from the private sector is going to go down like a rock in a pond irrespective of how many new Armored Personnel Carriers our peace loving Feds buy our local police forces (ostensibly to stimulate the economy).

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At the micro level all of the above does not matter even a little bit for average young Americans from average families living in flyover land. The system, as presently constructed, does not work for them. Yea, some kid that can throw a ball 100 mph, or sing on American Idol, or run the 40 in 4.3 seconds might do very, very well... but for the 99.99% of young kids the college/corporate job life plan is a suicide mission.

I was having breakfast at a hotel restaurant recently. There was some kind of corporate event/retreat going on at the hotel and I noticed a bunch of the twenty somethings to early thirty somethings running about bright eyed and bushy tailed. I wanted to stand on a soap box and share with them an observation I made to my desk partner at Bear Stearns when I was in my early 30's:

"Hey, Sam. Look around the floor (hundreds of guys staring intently at bytes on a screen with a phone in their ear). Where are all the guys that were sitting in these seats 10 years ago? How come nobody here has grey hair?"

I didn't see very many 40 somethings at this corporate shindig. Absolutely no 50 somethings. I wonder how many of the those young corporate servants noticed anything Logan's Run-like about their circumstances.

I wanted to stand up at my table and say "Hey kids! This corporation is going to put you out to pasture around age 40! Unlike your parents you will not get a gold watch, a pension, or even a  thank you. You will get whatever you saved in your 401k (which might cover your lifetime toilet paper bill) and 6 months of severance. You will have given up family, children, your health, and your youth. You will be scrambling to figure out what went wrong for the final 25 years of your work life, and you will be broke."

Of course there is a certain elite that gets all kinds of goodies from the corporate lifestyle. And that's the hook. That's what brings them in - and leads them to their doom.

I felt particularly badly for the young women. The men in that group will, for the most part, find wives and have children. The women in that group will, for the most part, not have children or become single parents of an only child. Hey, "Lien In"!!








74 comments:

DaShui said...

I go to a martial arts school that has 100 adult students at any time. All social classes are represented. Really the only people doing well are doctors, the military and law enforcement.
Everyone else working for a company is a step away, just an accident or sickness, from living under a bridge. and they realize it. Last week I discovered a young man who was working as an accountant has not been around, he joined the Air Force its the only way he could have enough stability to start a family. Another Student there is doing the same thing he is trying to reenlist in the army after being out for a few years and not having much success .

PioneerPreppy said...

Hey the recession is over. We have job growth and GDP growth and the stock market is booming.

The stores all have items on the shelves and the gas is flowing.

I had to channel Bureaucrat there. Sorry.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

DaShui:

Would that be ATT?

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Pioneer:

ROFL!!

tweell said...

Paper over the cracks, kick the can down the road and keep on keeping on, hoping for something better to show. Not much of a strategy, but one that's increasingly adopted right now.

Early this morning I sent my brother off and finished cleaning the business he has as a second job. He's killing himself holding down a job and trying to keep his wife's business afloat, along with taking care of their family. I find myself using that Princess Bride quote often: "Get some rest. If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." way too often lately.

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