Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

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Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

The EIA’s recent publication of the Annual Energy Review for 2009 (AER 2009: http://www.eia.gov/emeu/aer/contents.html), and some other recent publications, have prompted me to resume a long-standing project of mine to consider the prospects for civilian gasoline rationing if there were to be a near-term, sudden disruption of USA’s ability to import its current amounts of oil. 

Perhaps this will be of general interest to some in the CM community.  

(Of course, there maybe some in the CM community that no longer worried about such things because they no longer use gasoline in any capacity.  If you fall into this category, then this article is not for you, and I suggest that you just ignore this. )

Okay, everyone still here?  Let's begin.

 The "Disruption Event:"

 A disruption of oil imports from outside the Western Hemisphere (i.e., from outside of North and South America) is what I am considering here—perhaps due to a conflict in the middle-east involving the USA, Iran, Israel, and others?? 

 Beyond this, I am not going to speculate about what would cause such a conflict and what nations would be directly involved. I will note in passing, however, that the Joint Operating Environment report of 2010(JOE 2010: http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2010/JOE_2010_o.pdf)  nicely shows the chokepoints in the middle east:

Fig 1

As stated in the JOE 2010 report:

OPEC nations will remain a focal point of great-power interest. These nations may have a vested interest in inhibiting production increases, both to conserve finite supplies and to keep prices high. Should one of the consumer nations choose to intervene forcefully, the “arc of instability” running from North Africa through to Southeast Asia easily could become an “arc of chaos,” involving the military forces of several nations.

 So, for the sake of this exercise, I am simply going to assume here that there will be a military conflict which causes substantially no flow of oil into the USA from outside of the Western Hemisphere for an extended period of time (i.e., at least several months, if not years). 

 My main objective is to estimate what effect this would have on gasoline availability and what steps one could take to prepare for this.

How much gasoline does the USA use now?—think mega gallons per day (MG/d)

 The AER 2009 provides the following information:

 Total USA Crude Oil Production 2009 (Table 5.1):  7.2 million barrels of oil per day (MB oil/d)

 Total USA crude oil imports 2009 (Table 5.4):  11.7 MB oil/d

 The total of these two numbers (18.9 MB oil/d) are in pretty good agreement with the EIA’s report that the USA’s total crude and petroleum product consumption in 2009 was 18.8 MB oil/d (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_mbblpd_a.htm). 

 We can use this number, plus knowing what a barrel of crude oil makes (http://www.txoga.org/articles/308/1/WHAT-A-BARREL-OF-CRUDE-OIL-MAKES), to estimate the total number of Gallons of gas available per day:

 18.9 MB oil/d x 19.5 G gas / 1 B of oil = 368 million gallons gas per d (MG gas/d)

 Again, this in pretty good agreement with one EIA report that the USA’s total gasoline consumption in 2009 was 8.997 MB oil/d (377 MG gas/d) (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_mbblpd_a.htm), and, the AER 2009 report (Table 5.13c) that motor gasoline consumption in 2009 was 8.8 MB oil/d (370 MG gas/d). 

 How much gasoline does the USA presently use per household?

 In the USA, there are about 105 million households (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html), and, there are about 2 cars per household (http://www.autospies.com/news/study-finds-americans-own-2-28-vehicles-per-household-26437/). 

 From this I can estimate that the present use of gas per household per day equals:

 (368 million gallons gas per day)/ (105 million households) = 3.5 gallons of gas per day per household (G/d·hh).

 However, this estimated use per household is too high, because it does not account for uses by the government (federal state, county and city), for commercial transport, and for other commercial and industrial uses.  So-called, “critical uses” (we can debate how critical some of these uses really are, but my feeling is that the government would consider them to be more important than our mere “civilian” uses).  I corrected for this as follows:

 Gaines et al. estimated that commercial trucks use 14 billion G of gasoline per year (slide 4; http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/374.pdf). This translates into about 38 MG/d, or about 10% of my estimated total daily use of gasoline of 368 million gallons gas per day.

 The AER 2009 reported that commercial sector and industrial sector use of motor gasoline in 2009 was 46 trillion Btu (Table 5.14a) and 249 trillion Btu (Table 5.14b) respectively.  There are 124,262 Btu/gallon of gasoline (http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/infosheets/apples.html) and 365 d in a year, so this converts into 1 MG/d and 5.5 MG/d, or combined total of about 1.8% of the total daily use of gasoline.

 The AER 2009 reports that the federal government (including the DoD) use of motor gasoline in 2009 was 49 trillion Btu (Table 1.3), which converts into about 1.1 MG/d, or about 0.3% of the total daily use of gasoline 

 I could not find good summary statistics on state and city gasoline use.  But I did I find information on the number of fleet vehicles operated by the state and local governments.  The total number of state, county and local, and police. fleet cars and a trucks in the USA equals about 4.9 million vehicles (http://www.government-fleet.com/Statistics/StatsViewer.aspx?file=http%3a%2f%2fwww.government-fleet.com%2ffc_resources%2fstats%2fAUTOF-9.pdf&channel=) which is about 1.9% of the total number of 255 million registered vehicles in the USA (http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_11.html).    I have assumed that these government vehicles would on average use the same proportion (1.9%) of gasoline per day as other vehicles.  This would correspond to about 7 MG gas/day. 

 Now to tally up the gasoline for these critical uses, on a percentage basis:

commercial trucks: 10%

commercial and industrial: 1.8%

government (total federal, state, county and local): 2.2%

 Therefore, I estimate a total of about 14% of the gasoline supply, or about 52 MG gas/d is needed for these critical uses, and is not used by, or available to, households.  This leaves the total amount of gasoline for “civilian” use at about 316 MG/d (i.e., 368 – 52 MG gas/d). 

 The revised present use of gas per household per day therefore equals:

 (316 million gallons gas per day)/ (105 million households) = 3 gallons of gas per day per household (G/d·hh).

 Assuming an average vehicle efficiency of about 20 miles per gallon (see e.g., Table 2.8 of the AER 2009; cars and trucks average about 22 and 18 mpg, respectively) , that would give the average household an average daily driving range of about 60 miles (3 G x 20 mi/G).  

 This range is just slightly less than a one-way average commuter distance of 16 miles per vehicle reported in a 2005 poll (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Traffic/story?id=485098&page=1).  That is, a two-car household each commuting a round trip of 32 miles, would travel 64 miles per day.  However, this might balance out because commuting would probably only be for 5 work days a week. 

 This range also is slightly less than the EPA's estimate that number of miles driven per year is assumed to be 12,000 miles for all passenger vehicles (http://www.epa.gov/oms/climate/420f05004.htm), which gives an average of 32 miles per day per vehicle, or about 64 miles per day for the average 2-vehicle household.

 How much gasoline would the USA have during the Disruption?

 The AER 2009 gives a break-down of the USA’s oil imports by country (Fig. 5.4; Table 5.4):

Fig 2

I'm assuming that during the Disruption, oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Russia, Iraq, UK, are off the table, simply because shipping oil through the choke-points is not possible, or, because the oil-producing countries have stopped producing or exporting. 

 So let’s tally up what potentially could be available post-disruption from the USA and from the remaining imports from the Western Hemisphere, and convert barrels of oil to gallon of gasoline:

 USA:  7.2 MB oil/d

 CAN:  2.5 MB oil/d

 MEX: 1.2 MB oil/d

 VEZ:  1.1 MB oil/d

 BRZ:  0.3 MB oil/d

________________

Total: 12.3 MB oil/d

 This gives 12.3 MB oil/d x 19.5 G gas / 1 B of oil = 240 MG gas/d, or a 35% shortfall.

 From this total, I am going to take off the top the 52 MG gas/d that I estimated as being for the critical uses as described above.  This leaves about 188 MG/d available for “civilian use.”  Let’s now recalculate the amount of gasoline available per house hold:

 (240 million gallons gas per day)/ (105 million households) = 2.2 G gas/d·hh. 

 Now the total average driving distance is 44 miles per house hold, assuming 20 mi/G. 

 This is far below the present average commuter distance of 64 miles for a two-car household (e.g., each car commuting a round trip of 32 miles would travel 64 miles per day). 

 Perhaps it is too optimistic to think that USA would continue to get 5.1 MB oil/d from its near-neighbors in the Western Hemisphere?

 If we only consider USA production (7.2 MB oil/d), and convert this to MG gas/d, and then take away the gasoline for critical uses, gives only 88 MG gas/d, or about 0.83 G gas/d·hh. 

 Now, the total average driving distance is down to 17 miles per day per household.

But what about the SPR—will that save us?

 The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is an emergency fuel store of oil maintained by the United States Department of Energy .... As of August 31, 2009, the current inventory was 724 million barrels.... ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Petroleum_Reserve). 

 An inventory of 724 M B oil is convertible to 14118 MG gas, which at the USA’s present use of 368 MG/d would only last about 40 days.  Coupled with on-going production from the USA and from Western Hemisphere imports (240 MG gas/d), the SPR could extend the USA’s present usage of 368 MG/d for 110 days.

 So the answer is no, unless we considering a very short disruption, the SPR will not save us. 

 Rather than squander the SPR in this manner during a Disruption, I expect that the SPR would likely be held in reserve for the critical uses—the SPR could provide for the critical uses (52 MG gas/d) for 271 days. 

Fig 3

(A gasoline rationing coupon page from WWII http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/11/1201world-war-2-gasoline-rationing/)

Federally mandated gasoline rationing in the USA in the past

 During WWII gas rationing (actually imposed to reduce domestic rubber use) was done according to a classification scheme:

Drivers who used their cars for work that was deemed essential to the war effort were classified differently and received additional stamps. There were five classifications:

  • Class A drivers were allowed only 3 gallons of gasoline per week.
  • Class B drivers (factory workers, traveling salesmen) received 8 gallons per week.
  • Class C drivers included essential war workers, police, doctors and letter carriers.
  • Class T included all truck drivers.
  • Class X was reserved for politicians and other “important people.”

The last three classifications were not subject to the restrictions.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/11/1201world-war-2-gasoline-rationing/

(ahhh, the benefits of being a traveling salesman...)

 Gasoline rationing briefly occurred in 1974:

 And everyone knew the last number of their vehicle license plate. You had to. The oil embargo slapped on the United States and Holland in late 1973 by several OPEC nations in the Middle East had gas pumps running dry by January 1974. Mandatory gas rationing was the order of the day. When stations had gas, they followed a rationing plan that allowed cars with even-numbered license plates to buy gas on certain days. On other days, only plates ending in odd numbers were served.

 The embargo was political payback for the U.S. and other Western allies supporting Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Although the embargo lasted only six months, it rumbled through the American economy like nothing since World War II.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_454893.html

In 1980, following the Iranian hostage crisis, and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the government contemplated the standby motor fuel rationing plan:

The hostage situation in Tehran and the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan have continued to provoke further turmoil and unrest in the Middle East, an area which supplies over 60 percent of the petroleum consumed by the Western industrial nations. The beginning of the 1980's, therefore, is characterized by insecure foreign sources of petroleum and a potential threat of gasoline shortages, underscoring the need for the government to have in place a Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan as soon as possible so as to be prepared to manage a severe gasoline shortfall.

 ....an approved plan would remain in standby status and could be imposed only if the President found that putting the plan into effect is required by a severe energy supply interruption or is necessary to comply with obligations of the United States under the international energy program. EPCA sec. 201(d) defines a severe energy supply interruption as a national energy supply shortage which the President determines has resulted or is likely to result in a 20 percent shortfall, with respect to projected normal demand, of gasoline and middle distillate fuels for a period of at least 30 days. ...

 http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/12000/12200/12291/12291.pdf

 Of course, these past instances occurred at times when the USA’s gasoline use was lower than today and/or the USA’s domestic oil production was higher than today.

 What would gas rationing look like today?

 After doing this exercise, it is clear to me that gasoline rationing would have to start quickly after a Disruption of the type that I have hypothesized here. 

 You can see from the above calculations what the civilian quota would have to average about 1-2 gallons of gas per household per day, depending upon the amount of continued Western Hemisphere imports.

 I don't care to speculate exactly how the gasoline would get divvied up, and who gets priority.  I would direct you to the standby motor fuel rationing plan for an example of how it might work.  I expect that there is already a plan in place.

 Preparing for gasoline rationing

Maybe it is too obvious: Increase your transportation resilience to mitigate the consequences of gas rationing. 

 I think that there are several actions that one could take to towards this goal.  I have presented some simple, ideas below, roughly in order of increasing difficulty or expense:

 1. Assess your current gasoline dependence

 a. This week, have everyone in your household track their total miles driven—or do it yourself; just take a week-to-week odometer reading of each vehicle.  Is the household at or above some of the driving ranges presented above?  Above the present average household commuter distance of 64 miles?  This should raise a red flag.  Above a driving range of 44 miles?  You could still be in trouble during the Disruption. 

 b. Also try to get a good estimate of many miles per gallon each of your household's vehicles are getting right now.  And, no I don't mean looking up the manufacturer's or the EPA's estimate mpg.   I mean actually fill your tank up, measure the miles driven this week and then fill the tank up again noting how much gas was used.  You may be surprised and disappointed.  Do you have vehicles getting less than the average of 20 mph?  A lot less? 

 Ideally, the above two steps can been done at the same this.  Take it upon yourself to just get it done for every car.  For example, next weekend take each vehicle to the gas station fill them up and note their odometer readings. Then repeat the exercise next weekend, or shorter period, if necessary. 

 After this exercise you should have a pretty good idea of what your gasoline dependence and risks are.

 2.  Get every mile you can per gallon out your existing vehicles

 a. Maintain your vehicles.

Get your vehicle tuned-up, inflate the tires to their proper pressure, change the air pressure, keep the outside clean and waxed, and stop lugging around excess weight in your trunk, flat-bed or on your roof (including that unused rack).   Altogether, these actions could improve your fuel economy by 10 to 20 percent. (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.shtml; http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/103164/article.html

 b. Stop driving like a maniac!

I don't think that you have to become a hyper-miler fanatic like this guy (http://motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/guy-can-get-59-mpg-plain-old-accord-beat-punk), just reduce your breaking and quick acceleration, and stop speeding.  It could gain you another 10 to 20 percent in fuel economy.

 c. Pick your travel times and routes wisely. 

Idling in traffic is essentially 0 mpg.  For an average 1-way commute time of 26 minutes (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Traffic/story?id=485098&page=1) just avoiding idling for 2.5 minutes would be a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy.  With a little bit of adjustment, can you travel during non-peak hours?  For instance, what impact would driving to work have if you left half-an-hour earlier or later?  Is there an alternative route you can take that has less stops and starts?

 After this doing these three steps, go ahead and repeat (1).  I'm predicting that you will get at least a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy. 

 (Imagine what impact this could have if the USA did this as a whole—368 MG gas/d could potentially be reduced to 294 MG gas/d.  The difference (74 MG gas/d) would correspond to 3.8 MB oil/d, or, about 1/3 of the USA's present oil imports.)

 3.  Avoid or reduce your driving  

 a. Combining errands can improve your gas mileage because your engine will be warm for more of the trip, and, can reduce the total miles traveled. (http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/103164/article.html)

 b. Can you work from home at least 1 day a week?  I think is a good idea to get this set-up and working now, if possible, even if only as an experiment.  Get your employer's approval and make sure you have secure on-line access to any data bases etc... that you might need.

 c. Take public transit, car pool, bike, or walk.  Again, at least as an experiment, you should look into how you could commute to work by one or more of these means, if possible.

 4.  Get rid of, or trade-in, your least efficient vehicle.   

 If you are a multi-car family, could you make do with one less car?  As an experiment, put away the keys for the least fuel-efficient vehicle for a week or so, and see how your family adjusts.  Did this actually save you enough gasoline to be a worthwhile strategy in a gas-rationing situation?  If you try this at least then, if you had to do this in the future, you would know if it's worthwhile or not, and, you would have a routine worked out. 

 I am not too keen on recommending buying a new fuel efficient vehicle at this stage, especially if it meant taking on additional debt.  However, if after trying all of the above, and you still feel that you wouldn't be able to tolerate fuel rationing, it's an option.

 5.  Live closer to your job (or vice-versa)

 It's an option for some, but again, I am not too keen on recommending relocating to be closer to your current workplace or school if it meant taking on additional debt.   If your employment situation changed for example, would the new location put you farther away from potential new employers?

 Renters have the advantage of greater mobility here over homeowners. 

 Also, to be worthwhile, the move should result in the household's dependence on gasoline on gasoline being reduced as a whole.   For instance, if moving means that you can walk to public transit but your spouse has to drive a bit farther, then maybe it's worthwhile.  For instance, if moving means that you and your spouse have longer commutes but now you can car pool together, then maybe it's worthwhile. 

 Likewise, moving your business to be closer to your home could be an expensive proposition, and may not help, if it meant that key employees would then have to travel farther to your business.

 As an exercise, however, trying consider places where you might want to move to and then consider what impact this would have on your household's overall gasoline dependence.

 Some Final thoughts: 

 Although my scenario hypothesized a near-term disruption in the importation of oil to the USA, such a disruption on a slightly longer time scale also seems likely to me. 

 For instance, here's a nice discussion of the "export-land model" from 2008 by Jeff Brown: http://www.financialsensearchive.com/fsu/editorials/brown/2008/0108.html, which basically predicts a steeper and accelerating decline in net oil exports than expected from the decline in oil production alone, because of expanding oil use within the exporting country itself.  Brown concludes:

 Extrapolating from year to date 2007 data, it appears likely that the top five will show an average aggregate net export decline of about one mbpd per year in both 2006 and 2007, putting them on track to go from about 23 mbpd in net exports in 2005 to close to zero in the 2030 time frame.

 Smaller oil exporters like Angola can and will increase their net exports, but smaller exporters, just like smaller oil fields, tend to have sharper production peaks and more rapid net export declines than do the larger net exporters. And offsetting many of the gains by some smaller exporters will be sharp declines in net exports from other smaller exporters like Mexico, the #2 source of imported crude oil into the US, which will probably approach zero net oil exports by 2014.

 Don't expect that you have until 2030 for this to impact the USA, however.  A composite graph of the expected decline in the top 5 exporters (Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the UAE) predicts a decline rate of over 6% per year.

Fig 4

(from: http://www.financialsensearchive.com/fsu/editorials/brown/2008/0108.html)  

If the USA's imports were to decline at this rate on average, then we would get to my predicted disruption-event level supply of 240 MB gas/d in about 14 years or by 2024 (i.e., imports going from 11.7 to 5.1 MB oil/d), and that's assuming that USA production stays constant.  If I assume a modest 2% decline in USA production, we get to 240 MB gas/d in about 10 years or by 2020.  This will be worsened if Brown is right, and Mexico stop exporting in 2014.  Where will the USA make up for this 6% shortfall from?

 My disruption event is predicted to cause a 35% shortfall in gasoline—which is very severe.  For instance, as quoted above, the government's standby motor fuel rationing plan of 1980 proposed gasoline rationing if there was a sustained 20% shortfall.  Assuming the same import and USA production decline rates as above, we should hit that shortfall in 5 years or by 2015. 

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Petrol rationing was enforced in Australia in the '70's due to strikes by workers in the country's refineries.  Essential services were guaranteed unlimited fuel.  My Dad owned a large milk delivery business and this was considered essential so we never went without.  I have heard that funeral directors/ morticians will be guaranteed fuel.  Anyone care to change their business with this in mind?

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Interesting post CW!  It gives one something to ponder and act upon now, instead of reacting when it takes place.  And IMO, it's just a bit of time before we see this for real!  Sucks!

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

CW

thanks for the post.  It'll take me a little bit of time to digest it.  I think it is a good idea to think through hypothetical situations and how you are going to prepare and deal with it. 

Brian

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

loriscott

Petrol rationing was enforced in Australia in the '70's due to strikes by workers in the country's refineries.

 Now I’m curious to know—how long did the rationing go on for?  

 Also, I am interested to know, where does Australia get it’s oil from presently?   My recollection is that there is basically no domestic production—is that correct?

 LogansRun & bluestone

 It gives one something to ponder and act upon now, instead of reacting when it takes place. 

 I think it is a good idea to think through hypothetical situations

I suspect that this is probably not what most people want to think about—even (most of) those that visit this forum.

 bluestone

It'll take me a little bit of time to digest it.

It turned out a bit longer than I expected—maybe too much detail, and, perhaps not the right forum venue.  

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

CW

I read your post more thoroughly and give it the thumbs up.  This day is coming and this time the rationing may never end.  Losing our normal and expected access to gasoline will likely be our first real taste of peak oil.  Everybody needs to consider this scenario. 

I'd like to suggest that one should store gasoline at home in gas cans and use stabilizer.   This could be a life saver in an emergency.  I store about 20 gallons at all times and try to keep the tanks in my car at least half full.  

thanks

Brian

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA
bluestone wrote:

 

I'd like to suggest that one should store gasoline at home in gas cans and use stabilizer.   This could be a life saver in an emergency.  I store about 20 gallons at all times and try to keep the tanks in my car at least half full.  

 

I agree.   One of the long term goals I set many years ago was a fuel storage program.  Liquid fuel on hand right now is:

8- 55gal drums of gasoline and 8 of diesel.  These get rotated every so often thru a 250 gallon gasoline tank on a stand ( gravity fed thru a hose/nozzle ) and a 180 gallon diesel tank also on a stand.  Then the drums are refilled, and put back into storage.  Preservative is PRI-G and PRI-D.   Also couple drums of kerosene plus about 30 5gal metal cans simply because Home Depot had their kero on closeout ( nomally about 4bucks/gal) one spring day when I walked in for 97 cents'gal.....I took the whole pile at that price.

Propane is now ( just got two more 500gal tanks connected in ) 3 -500gal tanks.  We use about 3/4 of one tank a year for water heating and cooking, plus dozen of the 100lb  bottle/tanks (24gal), plus bunch of the 20lb gas grill size tanks.

House is heated with wood, and have two years worth already cut and in the dry.  We can also cook with wood if required, wood stove in an auxiliary "summer" kitchen setup.  Also built a wood fired water heater using a stainless steel tank as a backup to propane.

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

I work from home...definitely cuts down on driving and much less stressful.

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

bluestone

This day is coming and this time the rationing may never end.  Losing our normal and expected access to gasoline will likely be our first real taste of peak oil.

 If there is a war for any length of time, then yes, I expect that rationing would probably be indefinite, because we would run into the cessation of exports that I discussed at the end of the article.  Of course, along the way, a massive drop in the stock market and/or another step up in unemployment could cause a temporary increase in supply over demand, but not for long.

 I store about 20 gallons at all times and try to keep the tanks in my car at least half full.  

 I wonder if you have any recommendation as to a model or size of storage container—do you have it all in one big container or do you spilt it up?  20 Gs, plus the container, would be pretty heavy.

 TNdancer

 8- 55gal drums of gasoline and 8 of diesel.  These get rotated every so often thru a 250 gallon gasoline tank on a stand

 Wow, it sounds like you have your own private SPR.  I hope it’s well hidden and well guarded!

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Yes to both questions.

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

What is the estimated shelf life of diesel and gas if treated with biocide and stabil?

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

mooselick7

What is the estimated shelf life of diesel and gas if treated with biocide and stabil?

I have sta-bil: the back of the bottle says something like: keeps gas fresh for up to 12 months, more than doubling the shelf life of gasoline.  This stuff is readily available at home depot, lowes, etc....

I don't know about biocide-the stabilizer that TNdancer mentioned is PRI http://www.priproducts.com/consumer_products.cfm which I haven't used. 

The PRI-G (gasoline treatment) claims "extending freshness to two years and more!"   http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/PRI-G%20&%20FUEL%20STABILITY.pdf  and that "PRI-G also has three-year shelf life" http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/Flyer%20-%20PRI-G%20-%20CONSUMER.pdf

The manufacturer does not appear to give the same kind of "freshness extending time" for PRI-D, the diesel treatment:

In recent years more and more refineries are adding nitrate-based cetane improvement additives, now proven to accelerate degradation. Many diesel fuel streams are also blended with small amounts of light cycle oil (LCO), which also contributes to degradation. The result? Degraded fuel with poor ignition quality and a tendency to foul fuel systems and engines with damaging carbon deposits.

 

http://www.priproducts.com/pdfs/PRI-D%20&%20FUEL%20STABILITY.pdf  

The minute diesel fuel exits the pipeline from the refinery, it begins to age and deteriorate. Depending on a variety of factors, the extent to which a diesel degrades is highly variable.

Although I agree that having some fuel extender around is a good idea, I think that rotating your fuel stock every 2-3 month would be the best course for most people, unless your thinking of storing very large amounts.  For instance, I'm considering buying four 5G containers and just sequentially rotating the fuel in each container every 1-2 weeks.    

 

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Here is my personal experience:

"Stabil" brand ( which is the most common available) is good for no more than a year.  I've used it in sealed 55 gal drums and find after than lenght of time, the gasoline smells like varnish.  I have never used it on diesel, nor do I think it is recommended for diesel.

PRI products, I have stored both gasoline and diesel for up to 4 years.  Smelled fine, ran fine in vehicles and small engines.  The gasoline was regular grade, some with and some without ethanol blend.  The PRI-biocide I only use when I transfer drum fuel to tank on stand.  That tank is vented, and could develope water condensation/mildew in it, though it rarely has....Have a filter on the outlet with a water drain on the bottom of the filter and it never has any water in it.....so the biocide may be overkill for here.  YMMV.

By the way, this is how I handle 55gal drums.  Built some special pallets to sit them on, and move with tractor.

 

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

 Do you all think they will ration gas to the farmers ?    There are so few  farmers out here that I can not see how food will be raised to feed people and animals if  more people are not returning to work in the dirt  or if  the gas is not there.   I am not saying one job is more important than another but  average size farm in our area  is over 1000 acres  some 2000.     Even when they go to no till  it  takes  Fuel .

 FM

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

TNdancer

YMMV

Absolutely.  For instance, if you are storing gas in a container that's in a garage that, e.g., gets into the 100s°F for half the year, then the fuel will not last as long as compared to fuel stored in a cooler location. 

FullMoon

Do you all think they will ration gas to the farmers ?

No, I don’t think that rationing would be applied to farmers—that truly would be national suicide. 

My calculations in the first post, set aside 52MG gas/d for critical uses,  hopefully that covers farmers under “commercial and industrial” uses.

 Additionally, this wasn’t done in WWII:

The elaborate system of gasoline rationing caused more headaches for consumers. Each driver was assigned a windshield sticker with a letter of priority ranging from A to E. Cars used only for pleasure driving wore an A sticker worth one stamp redeemable for three to five gallons a week, depending on the region and the period. Commuters were assigned B stickers worth a varying amount of gas depending on their distance from work. E sticker holders received as many gallons as needed but this designation was reserved for policemen, clergymen, and similar professions. Farmers were also granted as much gas as needed but faced a daunting amount of paperwork to claim it.(5) Additional systems developed for other rationed products such as car tires and tubes.

http://www.sos.state.or.us/archives/exhibits/ww2/services/ration.htm

 And, the 1980 gas rationing plan (cited in my first post) carves out a provision for agriculture:

The plan provides that eligibility for ration allotments will be determined primarily on the basis of motor vehicle registrations, taking into account historical differences in the use of gasoline among States. The regulations also provide authority for supplemental allotments to firms so that their allotment will equal a specified percentage of gasoline use during a base period. A priority classification, including, for example, national security, newspaper distribution, rental vehicles, agriculture and for hire mail and small parcel transportation and delivery, is established to assure adequate gasoline supplies for designated essential services.

....

These ration rights will be distributed generally as follows: (1) A small percentage of these rights will be reserved for distribution for a National Ration Reserve. (2) The total number of ration rights to be distributed to classes of end-users within each State will be determined on a State-by-State basis that takes into account historical use of gasoline by those classes in that State. With the exception of agriculture, allotments for firms and priority activities in each State will be taken from that State's share of total allotments. Agriculture priority allotments will be distributed before distributions are made to individual States to avoid distortions that might otherwise be caused to other classes of end-users because of the size of this priority category. Under this procedure, each class of end-user in one State would share any shortfall equally (as measured against historical use) with the corresponding class of end-user in other States.

 

Of course, we don’t know exactly what the government’s rationing plan is today.  And, in addition to the red-tape Farmers would probably have problems on their hands—like price controls.

 

fair share

(WWII poster, from: http://www.sos.state.or.us/archives/exhibits/ww2/services/ration.htm)

 

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Crash Watcher:

 

Absolutely....fuel, like food, needs to be kept as cool as possible.  I store mine in a shed built back into the mountain, and the front insulated with foam panels.  100 degree garage won't cut it, nor is is a good idea to store fuel close to where you sleep !  My storage, and fuel tanks on gravity stands, are WELL away from the house.  Either of them could "go" and the fireworks would be spectacular, but the damage limited to that particular shed.

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Would I be better off with a diesel-fueled vehicle?

If I have a diesel-fueled vehicle, would I be better off during rationing than gas-vehicle owners?  

On its face, this may sound reasonable.  After all, diesel cars are thought to get superior mpg.  Plus, there are a lot less diesel cars on the road, so there might be less competition in a rationing situation, such as outline in the first post of this thread. 

My calculations really surprised me as to how wrong this is, and, at how the USA’s critical infrastructure uses are more dependent on diesel than on gasoline.

Okay, let’s rev-up the calculator, dive back into that 447 page anneal energy report (AER 2009), and see what we can find out:

Present diesel use in the USA

Diesel is refined from crude oil (http://www.txoga.org/articles/308/1/WHAT-A-BARREL-OF-CRUDE-OIL-MAKES) as distillate fuel oil (“dfo”) which can be used for diesel fuel or heating oil—the multiple uses of dfo turns out to be an important difference compared to gasoline, as we will soon see.

Distillate Fuel Oil: A general classification for one of the petroleum fractions produced in conventional distillation operations. It includes diesel fuels and fuel oils. Products known as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 diesel fuel are used in on-highway diesel engines, such as those found in cars and trucks, as well as off-highway engines, such as those in railroad locomotives and agricultural machinery. Products known as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 fuel oils are used primarily for space heating and electricity generation. (AER 2009, page, 392)

The AER 2009 (Table 5.11) estimated that the total dfo supply is 3.63 million barrels per day (MB dfo/d) or 152 million gallons per day (MG dfo/d).

The AER 2009 also provides estimates of the sector-by-sector dfo use:

Non-Transportation Uses:

Residential use (table 5.13a):                          286 kB dfo/d = 12 MG dfo/d

Commercial use (table 5.13a):                      159 kB dfo/d = 6.7 MG dfo/d

Industrial use (table 5.13b):                            547 kB dfo/d = 23 MG dfo/d

Electric power generation (table 5.13):             31 kB dfo/d = 1.3 MG dfo/d

                                                                                    total:    43 MG dfo/d

(Notice that the Non-transport sectors amount to 28% of the daily use of dfo.  This is much more than the non-transport uses for gasoline which only amounted to a few percent.)

Transportation Uses:

Transport (table 5.13c):                               2605 kB dfo/d = 109 MG dfo/d                        

(Parsimony check: The total dfo for non-transport and transport uses equals 152 MG dfo/d, which agrees pretty well with that dfo supply number from table 5.11 of 152 MG dfo/d).

I can further break down the transport sector, based on Gaines’s estimated that commercial trucks use 24 billion G of diesel per year (slide 4; http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/TA/374.pdf). This translates into about 66 MG dfo/d, which is 43% of the daily use of dfo, and over 60% of the daily transportation use.  Again, this is much more than the trucking uses for gasoline, which I estimated to be 10% of the total daily use of gasoline.

Additionally, I took the 2008 figures for dfo sales for railroad and vessel bunkering use (Table 5.15; 6.6% of the total dfo for 2008) and applied this on a percentage basis to the 2009 total dfo use:

 railroad and vessel bunkering uses: 0.066 x 152 MG dfo/d = 10 MG dfo/d

Government Uses

The AER 2009 estimated that the federal government (including the DoD) use of dfo in 2009 was 169 trillion Btu (Table 1.12), which converts into about 3.4 MG dfo/d, or about 2.2% of the total daily use of dfo.  Again, this is a larger percentage than the federal government’s daily use of gasoline, which I estimated to be about 0.3%. 

Absent any statistics on state and local government dfo use, I’m going to make the same estimate as I did for gasoline:  the total number of state, county and local, and police, fleet cars and trucks corresponds to 1.9% of the vehicles in the USA and would on average use the same proportion (1.9%) of dfo per day as other vehicles, or about 1.6 MG dfo/day. (This may be an underestimate if the state and local government’s use of dfo trends in the same direction as the federal government’s.)

This gives the estimated total government daily use of dfo to be about 7 MG dfo/d or about 4.5% of the total daily use.

Diesel use during the disruption

Okay, now let’s consider the same “disruption” event that I hypothesized before: a disruption of oil imports from outside the Western Hemisphere, which I estimated to cause an about 35% shortfall in gasoline. 

The shortfall in imported oil should cause the same proportionate fall in dfo, because dfo is a refinery product from oil (http://www.txoga.org/articles/308/1/WHAT-A-BARREL-OF-CRUDE-OIL-MAKES)

Similar to my analysis for gasoline, I am going to set aside the dfo that is needed for critical uses:

Non-transport:                             43 MG dfo/d

Truck, Rail, Vessel transport:    76 MG dfo/d

Government:                                   7 MG dfo/d 

Total:                                            126 MG dfo/d

 Do you start to sense the problems in store for non-critical uses by “civilians”? 

 This graph, comparing dfo and gasoline use, might help make the problem clearer:

Fig 1

The last column labeled, “civilian” corresponds to the amount of dfo (26 MG dfo/d), or, gasoline (316 MG gas/d), left over, after subtracting out the “critical uses.” 

There are a few points worth noting here:

 1) There is a lot less diesel (152 MG dfo/f) than gasoline (368 MG gas/d); this just follows from the fact that less diesel than gasoline is refined per barrel of oil.

 2) Despite there being less diesel than gasoline, truck transportation uses more diesel than gasoline, plus, there are substantial uses under the headings of railroad and bunker vessel transportation.

 3) There are substantially more non-transportation uses for diesel than gasoline.

 4) Consequently, my estimated critical uses of diesel are a much larger proportion of the total (83%) than for gasoline (14%). 

Alright, so what happens during an oil import disruption that causes a 35% shortfall in diesel?

The total amount of diesel produced and available in the USA would go from 152 MG dfo/d to 99 MB dfo/d.

                                                  Oh-oh

In this scenario, we do not even have enough dfo available for the critical uses, which I estimate amounts to 126 MG dfo/d. 

I suppose that some of this critical use shortfall (27 MG dfo/d !!) could be at least partially made up by shifting truck transportation, and maybe some government uses, from diesel to gasoline.  Still, the prospects do not look good here.   

There would have to be some hard choices made about which, and how much, of the critical uses would have to be cut back.  If it was done evenly, that would be a 21% cut across-the-board.  That would include residential users of dfo.  In my opinion, a 21% cut would not go over very well in the NE states for residents who rely on dfo for their home heating needs during the winter months.

As for “civilian” uses of diesel for transportation under these circumstances?—forget about it. 

Additionally, if some of the critical transportation uses were shifted from diesel to gasoline, that in turn, would reduce the total amount of gasoline that I estimated would still be available for “civilian” use.  That is, the gasoline ration would be even smaller than what I estimated in my first post.

Implications and Conclusions

From this analysis, I want to drive home (excuse the pun) the following points:

 1) The USA’s critical infrastructure uses are more precariously dependent on diesel than gasoline.    If there was a sudden disruption of oil imports, I predict that the shortfall would impact the critical uses of diesel more severely than the critical gasoline uses. 

 2) Even if there is no sudden disruption of oil imports, I predict that the USA will feel the impact of diesel shortfalls to a greater extent, and sooner, than gasoline shortfalls, because the USA’s critical infrastructure uses are more dependent on diesel than gasoline.  

 For instance, to go from the USA’s present use of 152 MB dfo/d to my estimate of 126 MB dfo/d for critical uses, requires only a 17% shortfall.  If I make the same assumption of a 6.2%/yr decline in imports (as predicted by Jeff Brown’s "export-land model") and assume a modest 2%/yr decline in domestic production, we get to a 17% shortfall in about 5 years, or by 2015.   Civilian rationing would start before this, in my opinion.

 For instance, if Jeff Brown is right, and Mexico stop exporting oil by 2014, there will be a 6% shortfall in USA imports.  Unless this was made up from some other source, the 6% shortfall will have a relatively bigger impact on the amount of diesel available for “civilian” transportation uses than gasoline availability.  I would not be surprised that a 6% shortfall in diesel would cause some form of civilian diesel rationing.   

 3) To answer the original question posed, I predict that you would not be better off owning a diesel vehicle, at least if you are going to rely on conventional supplies of diesel.  The rationing of diesel from conventional sources for civilian use would likely be more severe, and maybe non-existent, if the USA were to experience a sudden disruption of the type that I’ve hypothesized in this thread. 

 Maybe this is not the case if you plan on producing all of your own bio-diesel fuel.  But, most people are just not going to do that.   And, maybe, the production of bio-diesel would be an interesting small business opportunity—provided that that there will be no government confiscation or price controls installed.

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Just a quick note: diesel fuel and home heating oil are the same, chemically. All that differentiates them is a dye, and that is added to make certain the portion used as vehicle fuel is taxed.

However, in the scenario you describe there would be a shortge of home heating oil, too, so this is merely FYI.

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

'round here, all diesel is dyed, unless the OTR tax is paid then its just good 'ole #2 yeller

 

robie

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

 We have farm diesel ... no tax .  Road diesel taxed .     Most farmers are totally no till  but it still takes a lot of fuel .    If we have to do it by  horse  many will starve .     Very few know Gee from Haw  nor  to drive a team of two .  Let alone have harness and plow .   My team would take a while to get into shape as we go out in the cart   very little  .    Even the Amish use tractors !  Oh boy  better pray we are not out of oil anytime soon .    We  have a blasted time trying to keep the propane tractor running . 

  Someone may get rich figuring out the alternate  fuel situation  because I can not even think an electric tractor would be doable  and people will NOT give up their cars until they have to .  

 FM

     

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

heating oil,no tax...Ag.diesel,slite tax...OTR diesel,alota tax

 

robie.

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

safewrite

diesel fuel and home heating oil are the same, chemically. All that differentiates them is a dye, and that is added to make certain the portion used as vehicle fuel is taxed.

However, in the scenario you describe there would be a shortge of home heating oil, too, so this is merely FYI.

Yes, thanks, that's why I used the generic term "dfo" to make clear that these are chemically interchangeable—but for the government's proclamation.

red fuel

robie robinson and Full Moon

We have a blasted time trying to keep the propane tractor running ... I can not even think an electric tractor would be doable. 

Given a long enough disruption, I would expect that the oil refineries could, to some extent, adjust their processes to produce relatively more diesel and less gasoline.  I'm not sure exactly how far this can be shifted in favor of diesel, and, whether or not all refineries in the USA can readily do this. It's probably a matter of cost/benefit ratio and the expectation of an extended need.  So it might take some time before this was done. In the short term, however, diesel would be in high demand if there was an import disruption, I expect.

I wonder, do either of you know if there significant numbers of farm equipment vehicles out there that run off gasoline, propane or something else, instead of diesel?

Propane is interesting in that, in addition to oil, it is also produced from natural gas. That could make it a more robust fuel in the face of an import disruption.  I might write about this more in the future...

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

 CW  ,   

   Sorry not much help from me .  My husband was a heavy equipment diesel Mechanic his whole AF career .  But we do not own one diesel vehicle .   He much prefers to work on gas powered engines  ( i am suspicious that it is because it is what he taught himself on as a kid )  He even has his preference of  certain engines he knows are good for 300,000 miles  or more .      He will drive these cars and always has his eye open for any  up for sale .    He is picky on his lawn mower and chainsaws as well . 

 The propane tractor we inherited .  It is a beautiful 1949  but something is just not keeping it fired over right .  It would be great if he finds time to getting running well ... the price of propane only $1.40   !       Since we only have 100 acres to work  a small gas fired tractor is all we have need for .      All the farmers I know are faithful to one make .   The huge tractors my son-in-law runs  you only make the outside cutting then the tractor can run on auto pilot .

 Hope Robie is more help .

FM

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Dont forget there are alternatives to the alternatives. Britain ran on wood in WW 2. Yes, dump trucks, taxis and tractors.

Wood gas. Simple, effective, renewable. ALomst anyone can make a wood gas system. Do an internet search for it and you will see some good examples of how to run everything from a lawnmower engineattached to a generator to a pickup truck on wood gas.

Mother Earth News sells a fairly complex, but efficient plan for a stratified downdraft gasifier. It can run up to a 400 cubic inch motor. On wood chips.

 

Anyone know if the Lister 6/1 can be run on wood gas too? That would be the perfect generator set, a motor than runs for 20 years without interruption and have it powered by wood and charcoal.

 

Jager

 

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

 Jager ,   

    Exactly what my husband said !   It is in his plan to get on it this fall and winter .     I am wondering how high the Listers will go with Supply and demand .    My husband was hoping to find one at a farm auction  but so far  ( 0   )   no one is getting rid of them .

  

  FM

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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Jager06

Do an internet search for it and you will see some good examples of how to run everything from a lawnmower engineattached to a generator to a pickup truck on wood gas.

Thanks,  I found some pretty neat ideas here for wood gas applications, including powering motor vehicles:  http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_woodgas.html

Dont forget there are alternatives to the alternatives. Britain ran on wood in WW 2.

It’s a good point; as the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.”  If there is one thing Americans hates, its rationing (see. e.g., http://www.gallup.com/poll/107542/majority-americans-support-price-controls-gas.aspx), so I imagine that many people will come up with creative ways to try and “get around,” including applying old ideas to produce fuel, and, inventing new ones.  

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RE: Would I be better off with a diesel-fueled vehicle?

In an earlier post, I said:

Given a long enough disruption, I would expect that the oil refineries could, to some extent, adjust their processes to produce relatively more diesel and less gasoline.  I'm not sure exactly how far this can be shifted in favor of diesel, and, whether or not all refineries in the USA can readily do this. It's probably a matter of cost/benefit ratio and the expectation of an extended need.  So it might take some time before this was done. In the short term, however, diesel would be in high demand if there was an import disruption, I expect.

A portion of Csere’s 2008 article sheds some light onto this: (http://www.caranddriver.com/features/08q2/should_american_vehicles_go_diesel_just_when_the_world_is_running_short_of_it_-column)

Al Mannato, a fuel-issues manager at API, explains that oil refineries tend to fall into two categories: catalytic cracking and hydrocracking. Most U.S. refineries are set up for catalytic cracking, which turns each barrel of crude oil into about 50-percent gasoline, 15-percent diesel, and the remainder into jet fuel, home heating oil, heavy fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gas, asphalt, and various other products. In Europe and most of the rest of the world, refineries use a hydrocracking process, which produces more like 25-percent gasoline and 25-percent diesel from that barrel of oil. So the rest of the world is already maximizing diesel production. In fact, despite using a refining strategy that minimizes the production of gasoline, Europe still ends up with too much of the stuff, so it exports it to America—about one of every eight gallons of gasoline that we consume.

Meanwhile, Americans are already using most of the diesel fuel that our refineries produce, so if sales of diesel cars take off, keeping the diesel flowing here will put further demands on tight worldwide diesel supplies and probably cause the price to rise even more. Our oil industry could, of course, start converting its refineries from catalytic to hydrocracking and start producing more diesel and less gasoline.

Doing so—and here’s the Catch-22—would reduce the output of gasoline and likely increase its price. Moreover, such a switch, Mannato explains, amounts to a major refinery change that would take 5 to 10 years to accomplish. Building some new hydrocracking refineries would add diesel capacity without squeezing gasoline supplies, but due to their nearly universal unpopularity, there hasn’t been a new refinery built in America since 1979.

Despite the merits of modern diesels, anyone who expects them to solve our energy problems stands to be disappointed.

Mannato’s explanation gives some insight into what extent of diesel production USA refineries might, in theory, be capable of if they all shifted from gasoline-centric catalytic cracking, to diesel-centric hydrocracking. 

This is might be done, for example, to meet the short fall in critical diesel uses that I predicted in post # 16 of this thread, in the context of considering a “disruption” in oil imports to USA from outside of the west hemisphere, and, resulting in a 35% shortfall in the total amount of oil available to the USA. 

In summary, Mannato estimates that shifting from catalytic cracking to hydrocracking of oil would:

 1) decrease gasoline production by 50% (i.e., “50-percent gasoline” to “more like 25-percent gasoline”

 2) increase dfo production by 166% (i.e., “15-percent diesel” to “25-percent diesel”)

(An important point to note here is that the increased amount of diesel produced is relatively less than the decrease in the amount of gasoline produced)

I have applied these percentages to my previous estimates of gasoline and dfo usage in the USA based on the numbers I extracted from the AER 2009 report and for my hypothesized “disruption” event, to calculate the maximum changes in proportions of gasoline versus dfo that might be attainable in the USA:

usage per AER 2009  report levels:

gasoline: 368 MG gas/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 184 MG gas/d (hydro-cracking)

diesel: 152 MG dfo/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 253 MG dfo/d (hydro-cracking)

predicted usage during the disruption (i.e., a 35% shortfall in oil):

gasoline: 240 MG gas/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 120 MG gas/d (hydro-cracking)

diesel: 99 MG dfo/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 164 MG dfo/d (hydro-cracking)

The good news is that now we are making enough dfo to meet the USA’s critical dfo requirements, which I estimated to be about 126 MG dfo/d.  We are also still making enough gasoline to meet the USA’s critical dfo requirements, which I estimated to be about 52 MG gas/d.

The bad news is that this has been done at the cost of producing much less gasoline (i.e., whooping 120 MG gas/d less) for the relatively smaller amount of diesel gained (i.e., 65 MG dfo/d more).  That would mean a much more severe gasoline ration than I originally calculated in the first post, which assumed no change from catalytic cracking to hydro-cracking.

For instance, after setting aside the gas needed for critical uses, I get:

120 MG gas/d – 52 MG gas/d = 68 MG gas/d 

Per USA household, that leaves: (68 MG gas/d) / 105 M hh = 0.65 G gas/d·hh

This is a lot less than the 2.2 G gas/d·hh ration that I originally estimated (in post #1), when I assumed no change from catalytic cracking to hydro-cracking.  I don’t think that many households in the USA would be able to function very well on 2/3 of a Gallon of gasoline per day!

More likely, there would be a partial conversion from catalytic cracking to hydro-cracking, to provide just enough diesel to meet the critical dfo needs and mitigate the severity of the civilian gasoline ration.

For instance, consider the case where we only convert one-half of the refineries over to hydro-cracking (that is, a “combo” of the two cracking processes):

usage per AER 2009  report levels:

gasoline: 368 MG gas/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 276 MG gas/d (combo-cracking)

diesel: 152 MG dfo/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 202 MG dfo/d (combo-cracking)

predicted usage rates during the disruption (i.e., a 35% shortfall in oil):

gasoline: 240 MG gas/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 179 MG gas/d (combo-cracking)

diesel: 99 MG dfo/d (catalytic cracking) ===> 131 MG dfo/d (combo-cracking)

Now we have just enough to meet the critical uses for diesel (126 MG dfo/d), and, we have gained back about 59 MG gas/d over that meager 120 MG gas/d amount available from an all hydro-cracking process. 

Again, after setting aside the gas needed for critical uses, I get:

179 MG gas/d – 52 MG gas/d = 127 MG gas/d 

Per US household, that leaves: (127 MG gas/d) / 105 M hh = 1.2 G gas/d·hh

This is still a lot less than the 2.2 G gas/d·hh ration that I originally estimated, assuming all catalytic cracking, but it is substantial higher than 0.65 gas/d·hh, assuming all hydro-cracking.  A ration of 1.2 gallons per household per day, gives a total average daily driving distance of only 24 miles per house hold, assuming 20 mi/G.  That’s 20 miles less than the total average daily driving distance that I originally estimated, but at least the critical infrastructure needs for both gasoline and diesel are met.

Okay, that was the bad news, here’s the really bad news, quoting again from the Csere article:

Moreover, such a switch, Mannato explains, amounts to a major refinery change that would take 5 to 10 years to accomplish. Building some new hydrocracking refineries would add diesel capacity without squeezing gasoline supplies, but due to their nearly universal unpopularity, there hasn’t been a new refinery built in America since 1979.

I think it’s safe to assume that, in the present economy and political climate, no new oil refineries have been built since Csere’s 2008 article was written.  And even if it took half the time, e.g., to convert only half the refineries, we are still looking at a 2½ to 5 year period.  And of course, as Mannato pointed out, during the change-over period, the lack of output from that refinery would squeeze the gasoline supply even more.

Based on this analysis, I would not change any of my predictions:

1) A sudden disruption of oil import would still impact the critical infrastructure uses of diesel more severely than the critical infrastructure gasoline uses, because the conversion of significant numbers of existing refineries to perform hydrocracking would take at least 2½ to 5 years. 

 2) A more gradual decline in oil imports, such as predicted by the export land model, will still cause diesel shortfalls sooner than gasoline shortfalls, unless there was a concerted effort on the part of oil refining company’s to convert their plants to hydrocracking refineries.  In the present economy and political climate I don’t see this as very likely.

 3) Even if there were to be a steady movements towards producing increased amounts of diesel (and I have not seen evidence to support this), I still would not recommend owning a diesel vehicle, at least if you are going to rely on conventional supplies of diesel, because the competition for diesel for mostly critical uses, will always jeopardize your access to conventional supplies.

 And now, I can add a fourth point:

 4) If there is an extented shortage of diesel due to an oil import disruption, the effort to convert USA refineries to produce more diesel for critical infrastructure uses, will take to long to prevent shortage in diesel, and, that conversion will directly, and almost doubly, cut into the amount of gasoline being produced, thereby making civilian rationing more severe.

 

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crash_watcher
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The Shape of Oil Decline

Today’s (9/4/2010) daily digest featured two articles which I highly recommend:

Dmitry Orlov’s  Peak Oil is History http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/674/66/

And Jim Quinn’s PEAK DENIAL ABOUT PEAK OIL http://theburningplatform.com/blog/2010/09/03/peak-denial-about-peak-oil/

Orlov argues that proponents of peak oil often present what Orlov calls a "Rosy Scenario" view of the decline in oil production following peak oil:

If climbing up to the peak must have required mountaineering techniques, the downward slope looks like it could be negotiated in bathroom slippers.... This, you must agree, is extremely suspicious....And so I like to call this generic and widely accepted Peak Oil case the Rosy Scenario. http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/674/66/

Orlov goes on to discuss four factors that are often not considered and are the reasons why he thinks the Rosy Scenario is flawed.  One of the four factors is the export-land model, which I discussed in the first post in this thread.  

By chance, Quinn’s article presents a graph that I think Orlov would agree would be representative of the Rosy Scenario: 

 

Based on some rough calculations from this graph, I estimate that from about 2005 to 2025, the rate of decline would be only about 0.5% per year.  For example, according to this scenario, oil production might be expected to decline from 2010 to 2020 by about 5%.

While this is not in anyway a criticism of Quinn’s excellent article (or Quinn himself), I think this graph could give one false sense of time in which to prepare for the effects of peak oil, or, to cause one to delay in such preparations in these hard economic times.  

I can illustrate how mistaken that false sense of time might be, by using my recent calculations which I ran when considering the effect that the export-land model would have on hastening gas/diesel rationing in the USA.    

Briefly, Jeff Brown’s export-land model predicts that oil producing countries will stop exporting at a much faster rate than the rate of decline in oil production in order to service their own domestic needs.

Here is a graph of the percentage of decline in oil available in the USA if I assume that imports to the USA decline at 6.2%/y (Brown’s expected decline for the top 5 exporters) and domestic product declines at a more modest 2%/y (my assumption).

Notice that at present, the percentage of the USA’s oil from foreign imports is over 60 percent, but then this rapidly declines, and eventual the majority of the USA's oil comes from what’s left domestically.

To illustrate how much steeper the shortfall could be (likely will be?) for this scenario as compared to the "Rosy Scenario," I overlaid the portion of the "Rosy scenario" that corresponds to the 2010-2055 period that I ran my calculations for.  

 

Alternatively, here are the foreign and domestic oil decline curves overlaid on the "Rosy Scenario" curve:

This illustrates that those disruption events that Quinn’s graph identifies: “Shortages and Rationing, Financial Market Collapse, Crime & Civil Disorder, etc..,” would all occur much sooner than expected,  About ten years earlier, I estimate.  Of course, this may mainly apply to large oil importing countries, like the USA.  This also assumes that the events Quinn put in the graph are mainly driven by a certain percentage decline in oil.

(Orlov would probably still be grumpy that these nice smooth decline curves ignore the other three factors he discussed, but I think that this is good enough to illustrate the point that I wanted to make.)  

 

redshirt's picture
redshirt
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Re: The Shape of Oil Decline

I recall there is an abiotic origin of oil theory out there, which seems hard to bluntly refute since we are finding hydrocarbons all over the place in the solar system. That said, I am betting that inflationary monetary policy makes prices rise faster than any production costs/shortage issues do.

crash_watcher's picture
crash_watcher
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Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

I recall there is an abiotic origin of oil theory out there, which seems hard to bluntly refute since we are finding hydrocarbons all over the place in the solar system.

Welcome to the site redshirt!

I just don’t see creditable evidence to support the abiotic oil theory. 

Alternatively, think of it this way: even if there was a source of abiotic oil, it would likely be even harder and more expensive to extract than the deep drilling operations off of the Gulf, or, off of the coast of Brazil, or, the strip-mining operations in northern Alberta.  These operations already have a diminishing energy return on energy invested (EROEI) as the crash course explained. The EROEI for recovering abiotic oil would likely be so low as to make its extraction a non-starter.  (That would include importing hydrocarbons from other planets in the solar system as well!)

Abiotic oil, and other PO denial theories were discussed at length (and maybe to death?) in 2008 in another thread here: http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/peak-oil-hoax/7976 and briefly commented on by Chris more recently here:  http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/debunking-post-cftc-precious-metals-fear-mongering-campaign/38388?page=2).   If you work through that first thread, you will see that there are some who will cling hard to the hope that PO is just some big mistake, or hoax, or at least is a long ways off.     

Anyway, I think that we should not make plans based on the hopes of getting oil from an abiotic oil source, or, that the effects of PO are a long ways off.   

As to “inflationary monetary policy makes prices rise faster than any production costs/shortage issues do,” I don’t think that government monetary policy can have much long-term impact on the availability of oil in the USA regardless of the market price.    In the face of diminishing oil, I think that the government will step in with price controls and rationing sooner or later (more likely sooner for the reasons I’ve already stated in this thread).  See also Eric T’s post on this subject here: http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/why-%E2%80%9Cpeak-oil%E2%80%9D-will-never-lead-500bbl-crude-oil/38983

Some of goals of this thread was to try and make a reasonable estimate what that ration would initially look like, and, when it may occur.

 

 

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: Pondering Civilian Gas Rationing in the USA

Redshirt,

This is worthy of a watch ...

~ VF ~

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