Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The oil industry is undergoing a major structural change.

Lifted from comments from this post US to be leading producer of oil is Spencer England’s comment about structural change in the oil markets. Obvious to some but bears repeating for a lot of us, as we discuss environmental issues or gasoline prices in the media more than structural economic impacts: Spencer says: The development […]

Has America Lost It’s Drive? – Pt. 4

In Part 3 of this series, I wondered a couple of things.  – With the vehicle/1000 people number in the range of 825 to 845 since 2004, is the market near saturation?– Is the January sales number of 14.2 SAAR (seasonally adjusted at annual rate) enough to maintain the vehicle/1000 people number? For the first […]

Is America Losing Its Drive? – Pt. 3 Vehicles per 1000 Persons

In private communication, Roger Chittum got me thinking about the vehicle component of gasoline consumption. I’m going focus on the gross vehicle numbers, and not get too deeply into the car/truck/SUV product mix detail.   Data is from the Department of Energy TRANSPORTATION ENERGY DATA BOOK: EDITION 30—2011.   (Warning:  414 page pdf.) According to Table 3-5 […]

Has America Lost its Drive? Part 2

I made a mistake in my original post.   Graph 4 in that post was based on the wrong data set.  As Roger Chittum pointed out in comments, that graph only covers a subset of total gasoline deliveries. This is the correct graph.  (Source.)  Thanks, Roger! Graph 1 Gasoline Supplied The fall off in gasoline delivery […]

Has America Lost its Drive?

Yesterday,  Karl Smith posted on Oil and the Structural Recession.  This seems to be one of Karl’s thinking-out-loud posts, with more questions than answers, some convoluted reasoning, and a conclusion that higher gasoline prices are in our future.  If I read him right, this will be due to a demand pull. He included this graph […]

A Deeper Dive into Oil Pricing

In the previous post, I suggested that speculation is driving oil prices higher than they should be.  In this follow-up, I think I can show that oil prices are not behaving in a completely supply-demand determined way.  We’ll look at price activity, volatility, and an estimate of what rational pricing might be. First, here is […]

Speculation About Oil

Last Spring, some Democrats and liberals (Ed Schultz and Bernie Sanders spring readily to mind) who have somehow resisted the enlightenment of unfettered free markets suggested that high oil prices are due to speculation. Noah Smith took this subject on, asking the question: “Do speculators cause oil and/or gas prices to rise above their “natural” […]