California Screaming Gas Prices

OK, I went to buy Gasoline yesterday and it was about $1/2 per gallon higher than the last time I’d bought any. European folks will think this price very low, but for the USA it’s in the “nearly unheard of” range. It cost me $4.79 / gallon. Typically at about $5 a gallon we’re looking at some kind of natural disaster (quakes / hurricanes) and folks start talking about “price gouging” laws and arresting someone…

I’d not seen anything in the news, but then again I rarely watch “local” news. The impending war between Turkey and Syria and even the Iranian Bluster was unlikely to be moving international oil prices. But a quick check of some of “the usual” sources was enlightening. IMHO it all comes down to CARB (California Air Resources Board) rules and some refinery issues. CARB demands “special” gas here in California, and on very particular schedules. So we can’t ship gas in from out of state locations if something “goes bump in the night”. It also demands a swap from “summer” gas to “winter” gas on a particular schedule. This means ALL the refineries must swap on the same schedule AND that if one goes down unexpectedly, you can’t just keep running another one a few weeks longer. It MUST shut down on schedule and swap over production on schedule. The clues are in this article:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-03/california-gas-stations-begin-to-shut-on-record-high-spot-prices.html

California Gas Stations Shut as Oil Refiners Ration Supplies
By Lynn Doan and Joshua Falk – Oct 4, 2012 2:48 PM PT

Gasoline station owners in the Los Angeles area including Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) are beginning to shut pumps as the state’s oil refiners started rationing supplies and spot prices surged to a record.

Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) stopped selling gasoline on the spot, or wholesale, market in Southern California and is allocating deliveries to customers. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is also rationing fuel to U.S. West Coast terminal customers. Costco’s outlet in Simi Valley, 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles, ran out of regular gasoline yesterday and was selling premium fuel at the price of regular.

OK, we’ve low inventory of gasoline going into this, now we’ve got refineries “rationing”. That implies a local refinery problem (as we don’t import ‘foreign’ gasoline from outside the State much). It’s not price driven via crude, it’s availability driven via refining capacity.

The gasoline shortage “feels like a hurricane to me, but it’s the West Coast,” Jeff Cole, Costco’s vice president of gasoline, said by telephone yesterday. “We’re obviously extremely disheartened that we are unable to do this, and we’re pulling fuel from all corners of California to fix this.”

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles has surged $1 a gallon this week to a record $1.45 a gallon premium versus gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange,
data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the highest level for the fuel since at least November 2007, when Bloomberg began publishing prices there. On an outright basis, the fuel has jumped to $4.3929 a gallon.
Prices Jump

Again we’ve got “Special Circumstances” in California vs the rest of the county. (During hurricanes in the south, refineries will be shut while everyone wants to buy gas to ‘get out of town’, often leading to price spikes near $5 / gallon.)

Gasoline at the pump gained 8.3 cents to $4.315 a gallon in California yesterday, according to AAA.com, 53.1 cents more than the national average of $3.784. In Los Angeles the price was $4.347. Gasoline futures for November delivery on the Nymex rose 14.34 cents to settle at $2.9429 a gallon, after falling yesterday to a 10-week low. Retail price movements tend to lag behind those of futures.

Nymex is under $3 while California is jumping… But why?


“Product supply in California has tightened, especially in Southern California, due to refinery outages,” Bill Day, a Valero spokesman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail.

Exxon’s Torrance refinery is restoring operations after losing power Oct. 1. Phillips 66 (PSX) is scheduled to perform work on gasoline-making units at its two California refineries this month, two people with knowledge of the schedules said. A Chevron Corp. (CVX) pipeline that delivers crude to Northern California refineries was also shut last month due to elevated levels of chloride in the oil.

So here we start to “get clue”. First off, looks like a large electric failure took down an Exxon refinery. It takes time to restart a refinery, especially one that crash-shutdown during a power fail. We’ve got a government that is increasingly pushing us toward an unstable electric supply and here is an example of why stable electricity matters. I don’t know what caused that outage, but regardless of cause, it shows why stability matters.

We’ve got Phillips 66 with scheduled maintenance to be done. Can’t just keep running the units (as they will be making “Summer Gas”). Then the very curious one. Chevron has some salt in the oil? THAT shuts down a pipeline? Really? I have no idea what “rule” that comes under. You’d also think someone would be monitoring salt in the oil at the input end and only letting sweet stuff in. While the “consumer” in me wonders if maybe it wouldn’t be remarkably easy to dump a little salt in the oil and cause a dramatic price spike in California (there was demonstrated price manipulation by Standard / Chevron in years past with planned differences in prices based on ‘ability to pay’ in different California sub markets. So we have precedent for price manipulative behaviour.) Still, people “screw up” and it’s possible someone just unloaded a boat load of oil somewhere that wasn’t what they expected. That will be an interesting detail to explore (if it ever comes out).

[…]
Low-P, a gasoline station in Calabasas, California, 30 miles west of Los Angeles, stopped selling unleaded gasoline Oct. 2 and ran out of high-octane and medium-octane fuel yesterday, John Ravi, the station’s owner, said by phone yesterday. Ravi said he posted an “Out of Gasoline” sign on each pump and took down the prices outside his shop.

“I can get gas, but it’s going to cost me $4.90 a gallon, and I can’t sell it here for $5,” Ravi said. “If you come here right now, I’ve got some diesel left. That’s all. My market is open, but no gas.”

Looks like it’s going to get worse. So almost $5 at the wholesale spot. That’s “regular”, so add 40 cents or so for premium.

[…]
“The squeeze is on, and people are doing desperate things,” Bob van der Valk, an independent petroleum industry analyst in Terry, Montana, said by e-mail yesterday. “The mom- and-pop gas stations are having to close down from either not being able to obtain gasoline from their regular distributor or cannot afford the break-even price of almost $5 per gallon.”
[…]
Van der Valk called the price surge a “a short-term problem.” Wholesale costs should start falling as Exxon’s refinery returns to normal operations and other plants finish maintenance.

Even a major outlet like Costco (a large “big box discounter” membership store with outlets all over the place) can’t get gas. They see the Exxon refinery as the key, and it may well be in Southern California. Northern California is more likely being impacted by the Chevron Pipeline (a guess on my part, but Chevron has always been a big player in the N.Cal. refining market)

The California Independent Oil Marketers Association, a Sacramento-based group that represents wholesale and retail fuel marketers, asked the state yesterday to expedite a waiver that would allow refiners to produce and sell winter-grade fuel, Jay McKeeman, a spokesman for the association, said by telephone yesterday.

“Everybody is concerned about what might happen,” he said. “The real question is: How long is this going to last and what can the state do?”

California’s summer-blend fuel requirements are in effect in Southern California until Oct. 31. The Reid Vapor Pressure, or RVP, limits are lifted in other areas of the state as early as Sept. 30.

The state Air Resources Board and Energy Commission are evaluating fuel supplies and haven’t decided on the waiver, Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the air board in Sacramento, said by e- mail.

So here we have the regulatory impact point. SoCal refinery schedules require them to keep running the Summer Blend for another month, but that means they ought to be shut down for conversion “soon” AND it means they can not import “winter blend” from other parts of the State (or out of State). Here in N.Cal we can start selling the winter stuff now, in selected places (like Tahoe up in Ski Country). That tends to “fix” refinery maintenance schedules and it tends to prevent the import of gasoline from other areas. In a free market, large trucks would be filling up with gasoline in Dallas and unloading here, taking advantage of the price differential (and limiting it).

In a Government Regulated Market, well, when shit happens you wait for the bureaucrat to read his email, have a coffee break, finish his meetings with the boss, plan that Rio Junket, and ask around about what would be most politically correct…

A brittle mandated schedule for refinery swap of fuel type runs head long into a power failure driven refinery shutdown, nobody can take any “corrective action” as the “allowed” actions are set by law and regulation. The ‘salty oil’ angle is a new one for me, and has interesting possibilities. Who sets the limits for chloride in oil? Which end of the pipeline? A “dig here” that I’m unlikely to be able to explore ( too many things to do…).

The State of California wants to run its own little empire, unique and isolated from the rest of the Country. Special rules. Special fuels. Government calling the shots. The end result is an inflexible brittle system that costs more and can’t take a local power failure. We have also begun to operate our own version of “Cap and Tax”, and I’m sure that too has an impact on the ability to do things like ship in oil products from other locations. Businesses were already “leaving in droves”. People have been leaving too, though at slower rates. Now I’m wondering if there will be enough gas to do that leaving…

I’d also suggest that anyone thinking of visiting California in the next month, don’t bother. Not going to be pleasant. Anyone planning conventions? Probably best to plan them for a State where they have reliable electricity and gasoline is less prone to going “offline”. Chicago has good facilities and is centrally located. Dallas too. Heck, even Las Vegas has good air and taxi services and lower costs. Need a beach? The entire Gulf Coast and Florida has great beaches and a whole lot less oppressive regulation of them (Santa Cruz tosses you off the beach at 10 pm, and more… oh, and it’s a 20 minute walk from the beach to the parking, so if you leave the beach AT 10, you get to the car in time to find a team of ticket writers started writing parking tickets AT 10…) Besides, that southern water is warm and has great fishing. Our water is cold and fishing regulations are a small novel… In short: We’re having “issues”, could you come back some other time?…

Me? I’m thinking about this weekend. Maybe a six pack in the back yard will be a better weekend plan than that trip to the beach, or driving up to San Francisco… Then the same political establishment wonders why tourism is down and why restaurant sales are down and why folks just aren’t spending. Well, if you can’t GET to the store or show you can’t spend there. When I can walk to the grocery store and buy a bottle of wine for less than the cost of ONE gallon of gas (and it takes about 5 for a round trip to San Francisco) just how interested am I in driving to San Francisco for ANY event or night out?

So I’m likely to be “Going Green” this weekend and NOT using the car. (That means I’ll be not buying a Red wine, but getting a German Style White as they are made with greenish colored grapes ;-) and having it with a BBQ chicken instead of beef…) I’m sure a large number of folks will be looking at the “price at the pump” and shifting travel (and spending) plans. So as we become a bunch of “shut-ins” this weekend, just remember that a pretty good Box Wine is about the same price as two gallons of gas. That’s about 5 bottles of wine in a box. Enough for a decent “going nowhere neighborhood party”. Maybe I’ll start a trend… The “Going Nowhere Weekend” block party ;-) Hey, maybe the cops will run out of gas too and we can make it a real blow out! /sarcoff>;

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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42 Responses to California Screaming Gas Prices

  1. Petrossa says:

    Paying about 10$ a gallon here so….

  2. adolfogiurfa says:

    Just don´t complain about it and wait for the US$6.85 per gallon as we pay in Peru South America. That will fix your debt in 24 hrs.

  3. BobN says:

    The sheer over reach of the California regulatory commission goes beyond belief. I think its time for one of the famous California propositions that takes these issues out of their hands and gives some sanity to the whole energy issue. It looks like you may need several of them.

  4. Robin Pittwood says:

    In NZ it is $2.14NZ per litre. Given 3.8L per US gal, and 0.8 exchange rate that comes to about $6.50US per US gallon. And yes, the fuel companies are loving it.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @BobN:

    Unfortunately, there are two things working against an initiative “fixing it”.

    1) The majority of folks (left) here are largely in the tank for left wing notions. Remember that S.F. keeps electing Pelosi, so she has seniority…

    2) When a ‘non-loony-left’ propositions passes (such as Prop. 8) it gets set aside by the courts or just ignored by the administration. It’s a “one way ratchet” racket.

    We’ll see, though. Some times the state surprises me. Like when they voted for Prop 8 (that says a marriage takes two people of different gender; holding to the notion that marriage is about having families and procreation) and when San Jose voted to do something sane about out of control pensions and pay for “civil servants”…

    BTW, on a grocery run today, prices were running $4.89+ so we’ll see how soon $5 is on the nightly news. I was driving in the ‘cheap gas’ area, so it’s likely already over $5 in the expensive seats. This weekend ought to be a high water mark, so I’ll likely look for a photo op then.

    The kid is flying in from his new job in Chicago, so I expect it to be fun to watch his ‘sticker shock’ as he’s planning to drive around seeing some friends ;-)

    I filled the car already, and plan to say “Just fill it up when you are done” and then watch :-0

    No, I won’t require him to fill it…

    Stockton and even down to Modesto were “bedroom communities” to Silicon Valley. Folks would drive in (and even from Los baÑos from the south east). So folks were doing about 2 to even 3 hours each way. 60 to 90 miles. (Yes, at ‘rush hour’ the average rate could be down at 20 mph). Home prices “out there” started ramping up, but were still far lower than in Silicon Valley ( $200k vs $800k). Then we had the “Dot Com Bubble” and a bunch of attempts implement a more “green and left” agenda.

    At about that time, I noticed a big drop off in new startups, and a very large emphasis on “What is your China Strategy?” in folks asking for seed cash from Venture Capitalists. (I was at such a company then and “folks talk”.) Pretty soon the “incubator offices” were empty and contracts shifted from “set up a shop and computer room” to “shutdowns”. Now those buildings are largely still empty.

    Fast forward…

    We get a “housing collapse” as the folks who were driving in from “out there” had little opportunities for jobs. So the demand for housing fell in as many of them left the State. Traffic is “way down”. (Heck, an local onramp where in 2000 I had to get their prior to 6:30 AM or it would be ‘locked up’ until 9 AM is now clear at 8 AM. Prime Commute time, and I can just get on the Freeway and go…)

    So Stockton (thinking the good times would roll forever) has now filed bankruptcy. Home prices ‘out there’ are way down (here they dropped a little, but many folks from ‘out there’ would move in here if they could, setting a lower bound).

    With gas prices at $5 / gallon, we’re talking 4 gallons even with an econo-box car DAILY from those “bedroom communities”. That’s $20 / day. As most of those folks were in lower priced jobs ( i.e. ‘minimum wage’) that’s 2 hours out of an 8 hour work day. NOT counting tires, repairs, insurance, lunch…

    Essentially, it kills the “commuter economy”. And Stockton goes even more bankrupt.

    Folks who were still “hanging in there” will find it pays better to get a 1/2 time job locally and not do the commute. Or pack up and move to Texas afterall.

    Gasbuddy Texas says in Amarillo it’s about $3.40 / gallon:

    http://www.gasbuddy.com/Gas_Prices/Texas/index.aspx
    http://www.amarillogasprices.com/

    $3.17 / gallon in Houston:

    http://www.houstongasprices.com/

    Oh, and a house that costs $400,000 here is about $100,000 (or less…) there. Heck, houses in Silicon Valley that are about $600,000 even now, have an equivalent there in the $100,000 range. (50 year old track house about 1000 sq ft.)

    Doesn’t take long to figure out the economics of that, pack up, and leave. Young couples and singles first, whole families second, old folks last… I’ll turn off the lights as I leave…

    I’m fairly certain that the folks in charge WANT prices for gas to go high. I think they also had no clue that this is the inevitable result ( though the working stiffs here knew it).

    Gasbuddy California: http://gasbuddy.com/Gas_Prices/California/index.aspx
    shows San Francisco still has some prices a bit lower than I paid (but likely to go up ‘soon’) while others in town have already gone up: http://www.sanfrangasprices.com/

    Shell 125 Sharon Park Dr & Sand Hill Menlo Park
    $5.05 Regular 4 hours ago

    Kwik Serv 1 Westborough Blvd & El Camino Real South San Francisco
    $4.99 Regular 1 hour ago

    BTW, there are not a lot of workable mass transit options here… so the notion that this will ‘get folks out of their cars’ and onto mass transit is just broken. Some small substitution can happen, but not much. Not enough population density to support frequent buses, nor trains. So folks have to DRIVE to get to the train stations and then DRIVE from the other end to where they are going. (Or pay a taxi or wait for the bus that comes ‘someday’). I’ve spent 20+ years trying to use mass transit here. Best I could do was drive 40 miles to a BART station and use it for the cheap parking and last 10 miles into a contract in SF Downtown. That lasted all of about 2 years.

    We are built on a ‘many to many’ matrix, so there’s just not a lot of concentrated travel to “mass”. Then the “end distribution” is pretty much useless outside a couple of downtown high density places. (Downtown San Franciso, for example).

    That means a gas price of $4 and above has significant and direct impact on the ability of the local economy to function, and strongly disrupts some housing markets. Similar things happen in the Los Angeles Basin where the further you go to the east, the cheaper the seats (generally) so there’s a general commute flush from the periphery inbound every day. Spike prices for fuel: jobs and housing both take a hit. Periphery first.

    One hopes our “leaders” figure this out and stop screwing around with the electrical supply and gasoline “regulations”. Then again, they have shown no ability to comprehend the results of their actions to date…

  6. Make sure it’s not a Virtual Box Wine.

  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    I paid $3.94 per gallon today (regular; economart in Ellensburg, WA).

    I’ve read that gas taxes have not gone up along with the costs of building and maintaining highways over the last 20 years (labor, materials, lawsuits, and such). Also, gradually more money has been taken from highways to support other people movers (transit, bike lanes, ?). Haven’t documented this.

    Ethanol is less energy dense than gasoline but at the pump you pay tax on volume, not effectiveness. Additional ethanol (from 10% to 15%) amounts to a hidden tax.

    Grid energy cars (batteries) are another issue and are prompting state governments to consider a mileage tax. [Someone proposed a yearly fee based on motor size. That’s unfair as some large-engine vehicles are used infrequently (think of one pulling a camper trailer or a horse trailer).]

    I’ll bet taxes go up in several forms – states need the money. It won’t matter too much whether or not CA folks get a bit more rational.

    On another topic – marijuana:
    http://www.newapproachwa.org/content/initiative

    This is following along the lines of:
    “How government greed, not individual rights, ended America’s ban on alcohol.”
    http://reason.com/archives/2007/07/31/the-politics-of-prohibition

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Robin Pitwood:

    You have my sympathies… OTOH, the whole nation of New Zealand is about the size of California and you just can’t drive far before you hit water ;-)

    I did drive around the entire North Island once, though. Beautiful place. Almost emigrated (back when they wanted me… young computer geek during the heyday…) sometimes wish I had…

    Doubt there are very many folks in New Zealand with a 90 mile commute to work… one way…

    @Tim Churchill:

    OK! ;-)

    @John F. Hultquist:

    I’ve seen proposals to put monitors in every car (like for toll roads – transponders). My answer is “Put them in ELECTRIC cars and leave the rest of us alone – and PRIVATE.”

    I expect we’ll get assigned the spy devices…

    California is already instituting toll roads where they assure the toll part flows and once it slows, chop more lanes from the “free but not moving” and move it to the “pay up twice” lanes. Soon I expect we will be paying three times (Gas tax, mileage transponder, toll road transponder).

  9. Sera says:

    It’s about $3.50 a gallon here in Georgia. Perhaps the granola eating eco-freaks in Cali should be looking into one of these… http://www.bluevelo.com/strada.html. Btw- we have toll road transponders here in ATL (PeachPass) and HOV lanes, yet the only reason roads have become less congested is the high price of gas.

  10. Verity Jones says:

    Great map here: http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/152814/ of gas prices by county – colour-coded. San Jose mentioned.

  11. Les Johnson says:

    The chlorides, if too high, “poison” the catalysts in the refineries. It sometimes happens that a failure in the water seperation process occurs, and allows salt water into pipelines. The chloride level needs to be very close to zero, as even low ppm ranges poison the catyalysts, and cause embrittlement of the piping and pressure vessels.

    I don’t see this as conducive to profits though, as the pipeline company is responsible for the product. If they have to shut down the line, and send the oil for treatment, they will not be making any money. Nor will the producer whose oil has the chlorides.

  12. Peter Dunford says:

    We’re on about $8.20 / us gallon in the UK, and 2/3 of that is tax.

  13. Pascvaks says:

    Thoughts –

    “Kalifornia Screaming On A Winter’s Day…”;-)

    Global Oil prices are pretty much, kind’a, sort’a, about, almost, in-the-ball-park equal, it’s the Bleeding TAXES that Kill Ya’… Want cheaper Gas? Call Guy Falk’s 01-800-555-1212 Ext. “BOOM” (2666 ;-)

    I’m sure someone has already put out a chart on the various ‘steps’ from new and vigorous to old and dying in social, corporate, and government systems, but I have thought for many a year that Kalifornia was sucking more and more of its people’s blood and vigor and was fast approaching the terminal phases of the chart. As EM has described the latest convulsion, I’m expecting to hear of huge ‘Watts’ style uprisings all over the Golden State soon, not this year but ‘soon’. As the Greeks today, so too the Kalifornians tomorrow. Idiot politicians like Brown and his socialist herd of morons have no earthly idea of what’s happening all around them (they’re in total denial), and not knowing what the problem is they have no capability (nor the slightest intention) of finding an appropriate solution. Things are nearing the Chaos Phase, which precedes the Watts Phase. Can it be avoided? Yes! Will it be avoided? I don’t think so. It has nothing to do with national politics –though Obama has thrown a lot of… ahh.. let’s say White Phosphorus on everything and everyone the past four years. Kalifornia’s biggest problems are of Kalifornia’s making; it’s internal. How long does it take to bulldoze and rebuild and clean-up, and repaint a Kalifornia into a California? Good question, right? My bet is that it’ll take as long or longer than it did the first time, so about 50 years. And hard… oh yes, very hard; especially on the people of Kalifornia.

    The US Problem is very much like Kalifornia’s. Hard to undo all the damage, not just to the system but to the people who have only known the recent past as well. Since the system says that it is built of, by, and for We The People, the very hardest problem is getting the vast majority (let’s say 2/3’s?) of We The People in each State to agree to a State housecleaning, once they agree the rest is nothing but back breaking, ass kicking work, and that’s easy, right? The National Government is actually the easiest part to fix; seriously, it only takes an election of a President and Congress who know who they work for and what the states want them to do. Easy! (Of course it would help if they repealed everything that had been passed and signed into law since.. ahhhh.. 1912?;-)

    Easy? No way Jose!
    All this is about as easy as building a new Mormon Tabernacle Choir from scratch and getting them to sing the Alleluia Chorus of Handle’s “Messiah”, as well as the current Salt Lake City Chorus, in a New Tabernacle, in Peking, with Chinese farmers, over the age of 80, by Christmas.

    And you always wondered why folks did the “Watts” Thing, and threw perfectly good tea in Boston harbor, and froze to death at Valley Forge, and had Civil Wars because millions loved pushing and millions hated being pushed. People just prefer short term solutions. They’re so much easier, for some. Sooooooooo… what’s the chance of Kalifornia and the other 53 or 54 (I’ve lost track;-) States getting their act together and putting the Federal Government of a balanced budget and paying off the National Debt? That’s right! Zero! Next Stage is “Chaos”. After that is “National Watts Riots ”. (I’m sure the anarchists and commies just can’t wait.)

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    In the last years it have been discovered “seas” of oil everywhere, so the barrel price should be not more than US$20, but……………..the good guys we know…
    A good way to solve this problem would be to own a Diesel car and make one´s own biodiesel:

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    All this trouble can be solved by preparing one´s own fuel: Bio-fuel

  16. tckev says:

    “CARB demands “special” gas here in California, and on very particular schedules. So we can’t ship gas in from out of state locations if something “goes bump in the night”. It also demands a swap from “summer” gas to “winter” gas on a particular schedule. This means ALL the refineries must swap on the same schedule AND that if one goes down unexpectedly, you can’t just keep running another one a few weeks longer.”

    Surely this alone would attract market manipulators’ to join in anytime there is a hint of a shortage. After-all, open and free markets rely on there being many suppliers and buyers being in the game for the market to function correctly and keep prices low.
    Hopefully the laws to prevent a ‘Western U.S. Energy Crisis’ style manipulations (Enron comes to mind) from being effected by the refiners or their agents are robust enough.

  17. Petrossa says:

    By law in most EU countries it’s forbidden to store more then a few liters of fuel on site within city limits for obvious reasons. I guess that works only if you have a farm.

  18. Larry Geiger says:

    Orlando has a large, well staffe, beautiful convention center. Cocoa Beach nearby. Disney/Universal Studios. Lots and lots of nice blue swimming pools. Come on down!

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    @Verity Jones:

    Very nice map of the country in that link. Like the way it shows up California as Bright Red (and New York, too…) Texas a deep green. So folks are moving out of California, and folks are moving in to Texas in droves…. Wonder why… ;-)

    @Adolfo:

    I’ve made my own bio-diesel. It’s not hard at all. 1% lye (as a catalyst), 19% Methanol (other alcohols if heated), 80% “fat” or vegetable oil. “Warm room temperature” is enough, but warmer goes faster. Blend and wait. Let stand to separate. Fuel comes off the top.

    Glycerine can be extracted from the waste layer and used to make soaps, for skin care, or even just to keep dust down on dirt roads…

    @Larry Geiger:

    I would if I had a job. The last one didn’t last long enough to get over the hump and localized. Anyone down there needs a Unix / Linux admin, or a tech teacher, or a manager; well, I’m available…

    @Sera: We have a variety of folks on “odd” recumbent bikes already…

    @Petrossa:

    Part of why I like a Diesel car (especially the old ones). Mine runs on straight vegetable oil on a hot day… or biodiesel on cold ones…

    “No officer, I just make a lot of french fries!” ;-)

    @Les Johnson:

    Ah, nice to know. So more likely “screw up”…

    @Peter Dunford:

    Then again, you can’t go anywhere far away anyway being a small island… and the roads are all full anyhow… Like a Yogi Beara moment: “Nobody drives anywhere, the roads are all too crowded!” ;-)

    @Pascvaks:

    A large part of the Kalifornia problem is that those who oppose it are mostly moving to Texas, so the politics are skewing ever more toward Hollyweird Loony…

    @Tckev:

    I’ve seen no evidence of anyone enforcing ‘lack of market manipulation’… but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence…

  20. philjourdan says:

    Regardless of your fuel situation, I would stay away from the German White Wines!

    California is the glutton that did not realize he was eating his seed corn. Your situation is unsustainable, as is evidenced by your chronic budget shortfalls, and the tricks being used to get them in line. When California was growing at double digits per year, it was easy to be slothful and wasteful and “noble” about causes. The problem is, when that growth stopped, the spending and stupid laws did not. So the chickens are coming home to roost.

    The rolling blackouts that cost Davis his job, and this latest are not one off situations. They are merely the onset of continuous crises that will befall California. While I am sure there are “some” there that want to deal with the issue head on, most are willing and eager to be lied to by the liberals of California, and will do nothing, until there is nothing left to do.

  21. Pascvaks says:

    @philjourdan – so true! But as EM noted to my last, the pot continues to boil, the ‘water’ is evaporating more and more, the mix is getting thicker and hotter and changing in other ways as well from what it once was. Once all the water has evaporated it will continue to cook, reach a ‘flash point’, flame and burn, and form a black powder on the bottom of the pan and discolor the metal and make the pot a little used back shelf relic. All that is necessary is to remove the pot from the burner, or greatly reduce the heat from the burner or shut off the burner completely or form two states where there was once one and start from scratch again, but it’s going to take some heavy handed outside force to do it –the pot cannot trun off the heat, the heat cannot turn off the heat, and the mix in the pot cannot turn off the heat, and there’s no one in the kitchen that’s paying attention, and everyone else in the house is otherwise off doing their own thing. (PS: The smoke detectors don’t have batteries, they were taken and used for something else years ago, and no ones thought to buy more;-)

  22. philjourdan says:

    @Pascvaks – And here I thought you were agreeing with my summation of German white wine. ;-)

  23. Pascvaks says:

    @philjourdan-
    I’ve always had a thing for Liebfraumilch, something in the name got me started many years ago, or maybe it was the pic’s on the bottles, then –overthere– I learned to appreciate Rhines and Mosels all the more. When I came home I gravitated toward Californias, I think it had something to do with the price of the taste, or maybe it was the taste of the price. Since Walmart came out with their $2.75 bottles of something from somewhere I’ve moved on to lower vieyards. During my first tour in the Vaterland I drank so much gasthous “this-and-that” that I absolutely swore off any pretense of caring about where it came from and who made it, though my excursions into S.America and Austrailian ‘waters’ via the Class VI stores I frequented did tell me there was some little difference due to climate, etc. To me wine was water, something to wash and wash down the meal. I guess I’m hopeless. Anyway, as long as Walmart keeps selling their Old “275 Label” Vintage Reds and Whites I’m satisfied. Sure will be a shame when the Chinese repossess Kaliforniastan and raise the prices, got a feeling Walmart will do the same; I think there’s a connection.

    PS: Is it true the Chinese plan to change the name of “SAM’S” to “SAN’s” and Walmart to Wangmart?;-)

  24. Petrossa says:

    EM
    In that case another law applies: Biodiesel, selfmade or not, is taxed just as regular diesel. So if you put biodiesel in your car without paying taxes you are defrauding.
    Don’t worry. It’s hammered shut over here. :-)

  25. Earle Williams says:

    Am reminded of this song by The Kinks …

    http://www.amazon.com/A-Gallon-Of-Gas/dp/B000V9EWFY

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @All:

    Ah, the Kinks! Now I’ll have to run off and look for it on YouTube!

    German STYLE Whites… made in California… They can be low cost and good quality here… nobody will waste the time and money to export a $3 bottle, even a good one,…

    The SHTF moment comes in November. Either we have a budgetary crash and burn due to voters NOT raising taxes even more; or we have an economic crash and burn when they do. We’ll see if the Government has to fall on the sword of the population, and then react accordingly.

    @Petrossa;

    Well, I can run straight vegetable oil at about 40% without trouble… at the 50% level it works better cut with 10% gasoline, but I’m not willing to do that now that they have put alcohol in the gasoline…

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    Another of my favorites…. in some ways “it formed me”… in what I chose not to do:

  28. E.M.Smith says:

    Sometimes…. So I listen to an ELO Electric Light Orchestra song… and then the ‘suggestions’ includes Santanna Black Magic Woman… so I click it… Has a Ukranian Belly Dancer who can isolate and move things I didn’t know could move… Don’t know which was more “impactful”, hearing Black Magic Woman again (a song with fond memories), trying to analys the biomechanics of what she was doing (no, I can’t shut off the analytical engine, it just always runs…), or the way that It was just impossible to even think of not watching her, and her smiling all the time and knowing she’s that good…

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    I fear I’ve gone down the YouTube Rathole again… I’m in the land of impossible acts… Here’s a video with a german introduction to a Slavic performer doing thihgs with the Amercian Hula Hoop that are just not possible, IMHO. At one point she has two going on one foot that’s at 90 degrees to the other foot… and more. Looks to me like she may have had some formal ballet training, given the precision of where she can put here feet. (One goes STRAIGHT up over her head…)

    I think I need to just step away from the YouTube before somebody gets hurt ;-)

  30. Petrossa says:

    EM
    Let me rephrase, according to law ANY fuel you use in a motor-vehicle is considered to be taxable, LPG, Hydrogen, Methanol, Alcohol, vegetable oil, peanut oil, anything that makes the engine run.
    And you pay a tax on a tax on a tax . First the fuel is taxed with a regular tax, then over that amount an ‘eco’ tax, and over the total you have to pay VAT.
    Don’t worry, you’ll have such a law anytime real soon too. :-(
    Pretty stiff fines too, btw.

  31. Pascvaks says:

    Re: Taxes
    There is a point when a hand on your back becomes more than a hand on your back and you begin to sense something is about to go wrong, perhaps terribly so. At that point things happen, or begin to happen, and nothing is ever the same again. The “Tea Party” is not a political party, it’s people who sense the hand on their back more and more and think that something is wrong, some of them think things have gone terribly wrong. The existance of the ‘Tea Party’ in this day and age is a happening for a big reason, a growing big happening for a reason, and nothing is ever going to be the same again because of a big reason. (Well not for a while, once born these things take time to die;-) Are the Tea Party types going to turn everything around, restore normalcy and a sense of balance and proportion? I really doubt it. They’re more than likely going to pull the whole china cabinet down on someone’s head, as well as their own. A ‘Tea Party’ is a very emotional happening. It’s a big group that can easily go quite ape at the snap of a finger and become an angry mob. Politicians who have not lost their minds entirely recognize Tea Parties as proof positive someone in government has made a very big boo-boo and it’s time to retire and go fishing somewhere far, far away. Politicians who have lost their mind keep drawing successive lines in the sand and taking giant steps backward toward the brick wall behind them. The difference between Tea Parties, Riots, and Revolutions? Taxes (real and not).

  32. philjourdan says:

    @Pascvaks says: 8 October 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Californiastan? LOL!

    I guess it is a matter of taste. I love wine – grew up on dry reds (we always had a Chianti with holiday meals as a kid). But the German whites turned me off to Whites in General (I had to learn to relove the California and French Whites). German Reds are Ok. But then unless it is a formal meal, I prefer Bier. My wife though always goes for the Whites or Rose wines. Women!

  33. Pascvaks says:

    @PhilJourdan-
    Ahhhh yes.. wine is like water, once you get a taste for it ya’ can’t live without it; of course I can go a lot longer without wine than I can without water. Funny thing about water too, sometimes it’s better and safer to drink the wine no mater what it tastes like than to risk drinking the water. But… it does take a lot less time to clean up bad drinking water than it does to make even a bad glass of wine. There’s something cyclic going on here. Am I on YouTube?;-)

  34. p.g.sharrow says:

    It appears that “Moonbeam” signed a waver to the CARB rules, so “winter blend” gasoline can now be shipped to retailers. I think that the refiners stood up and the governor blinked. Paying $20 for $5 worth of gas is just too much! pg

  35. Pascvaks says:

    PG- ‘the refiners’? Not the chinese, mexicans, and iranian jihadists? Dang! I sure guessed wrong on that one. Over here, in what’s left of the USA, we’ve been seeing the newsclips that FoxNews has been able to smuggle out via the Mojave Desert Escape Hatch (the “Modeesha”;-). Is anything burning yet, or is it just too expensive to get angry and do anything these days?;-)

  36. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Pascvaks; Real Californians are tough. We kicked the Mexican government out and settled the desert / swamp that the Spaniards avoided for 200 years and turned it into a Garden of Eden. Unfortunately HORDES of Easterners discovered this and moved in bringing their stupid East coast ideas of government control, that we thought we had escaped, with them. Ruining everything. Turned our garden into a cesspool. Now they are leaving and heading to other states to ruin them. Soon the Republic of California may need to bring this statehood experiment to an end and return to independence and kick out the rest of those east coast carpetbaggers.. ;-) pg

  37. Pascvaks says:

    PG-
    I’ll bet you could find a little space on all those outbound SUV’s, Pickups, Trucks, Semi’s and HET’s for Moonbeam and his friends; especially the Hollywood mob. But have you thought about making y’self a little money to help pay off y’er debts and selling them to outbound freighters heading for Shanghi? Understand there’s still a market. Shame about the Colorado River though; understand y’all have gotten a’might hooked on its frogy water. Well hell, it’s just another one of those habits y’ll have to break; we, on the other hand, are sho’ gon’a miss those fruits and veggies (the kind that grow in the ground a’course;-). Have y’all given any thought to annexing Oregon and Washington? I don’t think anyone outside New England would mind, and I’m really not sure why they would. We on the other hand have been looking North and Texas has been coveting some land to the South, they say is’t half-empty now. Y’hep, time to get back to coveting and conquering. Eeeee-tie, Mushie-mushie! Here we go again!

    What? China? Nahaaaa.. we told them they could have Russia and Europe.. they’re going to be a bit busy for a couple weeks; and the Middle East and Africa, we gave that to the Indians;-)

  38. p.g.sharrow says:

    Nah! Don’t want Washington and Oregon. They are controlled by Progressive nut cases even MORE insane then then the ones in control here. If a progressive is unable to make it in California then they move north.
    No problem with the loss of Colorado River water for most of California. That water is needed by L.A. and regions south. They were never supposed to be part of the California Republic anyway.
    For those that don’t know, The California Republic still exists. pg

  39. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: How is it your saucer going?, Any tests already?

  40. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Adolfo; Not yet. I have been working on the bottom story of the warehouse/ shop and taking care of the crops. I wanted to let the FRP totally cure out before I heated the dielectric with 100,000 volts of stress. You and Simon convinced me I needed to add a safety before I powered up the coils. Soon. 8-) pg

  41. Jim Brock says:

    About sixty years ago when I worked in a Phillips refinery we had onsite power generators to use in case of power failure from the provided. Is this no longer standard practice? I do not understand the XOM refinery’s being shut down because of a power failure. Anybody know the facts on this?

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