Saturday, June 25, 2016

Poll: US Market Share For EVs -- June 25, 2016

Quick, without looking, what is the US market share for plug-in EVs, rounded to nearest full percent, 2015?
  • 0%
  • 1%
  • 2%
  • 3%
  • 4%
  • 5%
Even I was surprised, considering all that is being written about EVs. The answer can be found at this post.

When you look up the answer, note that market share peaked in 2014, and then fell in 2015. 

The reason I bring this up is because there are folks who feel that "we" need to levy taxes/fees on miles driven rather than on gasoline consumed. Assuming those taxes/fees would not be an increase in gasoline taxes already paid, I was curious to what extent EVs contributed to highway traffic.

GOP: Run, Don't Walk, Away From The ObamaCare Debacle
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Calls It Quits; Cites Huge Losses

Remember "MNsure"? If not, see this post. LOL. It looks like things just got worse. The AP is reporting:
Minnesota's largest health insurer will pull the bulk of its plans off the individual market due to heavy financial losses.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota said late Thursday will affect approximately 103,000 residents who buy coverage through MNsure, with an agent or directly from the company.
The company cited heavy losses in the individual market for their exit, though it will continue offering a smaller number of plans through a subsidiary.
Governor Mark Dayton says his administration will work with people affected by the decision to ensure they can transition to new coverage for 2017 when their current plans expire.
It's the second major shakeup in Minnesota's individual health care market. PreferredOne stopped selling its plan on MNsure in 2015.
I don't know why Governor Dayton doesn't simply use other people's money (OPM) to provide insurance for these 103,000 residents. The state has a population of 5.5 million. 103,000 represents only 2% of the entire population. If everyone in Minnesota kicked in $1,000/year, these 103,000 residents would be adequately covered, one would assume. That would work out to about $54,000/newly uninsured -- that should be more than enough for annual health care insurance in Minnesota.

In addition, giving those folks a check for $54,000 up-front would be like winning the lottery. Many of the recipients would probably vote to re-elect Governor Dayton and isn't this what it's all about in the first place, anyway?

iPad may auto-correct "MNsure" to "Manure." The latter may be the preferred spelling for all I know in St Paul. 

I track the ObamaCare debacle over at the "Doomsday Chronicles."

Reason #341 Why I Love To Blog -- June 25, 2016

Okay, on the telly right now: the Blu-Ray "Ultimate Collector's Edition, Woodstock, 3 Days of Peace and Music, The Director's Cut." It's the first time I've seen this particular cut. I have watched the "original" DVD many, many times, but that was years ago. I just got the Blu-Ray "ultimate collector's edition" a few weeks ago. I waited until I had the evening entirely free before opening it.

I am not a bit disappointed. So much more than the DVD.

Anyway, back to the 341st reason why I love to blog.

This past week I read the following in the London Review of Books:
The last time a painting from the Hudson River School – the loose grouping of 19th-century American artists who evoked the placid rural villages and forested tourist destinations upriver from New York City – made the news was in 2005, when the New York Public Library, strapped for cash, sold Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits (1849), for $35 million, to the Walmart heiress Alice Walton for her Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas. The controversy surrounding the sale, with the usual hand-wringing about cultural patrimony versus institutional needs, obscured the fact that few members of the general public had heard of Durand, or, indeed, of the two ‘kindred spirits’ – the British-born painter Thomas Cole and the Romantic poet and newspaper editor William Cullen Bryant – whom he depicted contemplating a lushly idealised Catskills landscape of bluffs and waterfalls, their names inscribed like those of lovers on a nearby birch tree.
Cole and Durand are reunited in an intimate exhibition of 25 Hudson River School paintings at the Driscoll Babcock Galleries on West 25th Street in Chelsea (until 25 June). Cole’s miniature, sepia-hued View of the Thames (1845) looks back nostalgically to his native country, contrasting – by implication – riparian England with the sublimely rugged Hudson he had begun to paint in 1825, the year the Erie Canal opened in upstate New York to the seemingly opposed interests of commercial development and nature-seeking tourists. Durand’s small and intense Catskill Mountains near Shandaken (c.1856) seems to say – a little hopefully – that this blue-tinged range, river and majestic tree will always be there for us.
Read it again: see if you can see what caught my eye.

Yup, because of the blog I learned a new word some years ago: riparian. I've posted several notes about that word, but this is the post that has generated the most hits:

Had it not been for the blog, I doubt I ever would have "discovered" the word. I mentioned that to my older granddaughter tonight, on the way home from the water polo tournament, and although we haven't talked about that particular biome for a year or so, our granddaughter remembered the word.

By the way, there's another word in that "cut and paste" above that I've discussed with our older granddaughter: sublimely. Heavenly.

An Eagle-Eyed Reader Just Noted: A New Gasoline Production Record For The US -- June 25, 2016

Here's the link:

Here's the screenshot (thousand of bbls/day):

Not only is this a record, but:
  • it happened in June, not necessarily the peak driving month in the western world; and,
  • look how few weeks production actually goes over 10 million bbls/day
See this link also, record-setting gasoline consumption.

And this link, US gasoline demand setting new records as Americans appetite for SUVs grow.

By the way, note this from the EIA:
U.S. exports of petroleum products from the Gulf Coast to the west coast of South America, with destinations for Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, likely transit the Panama Canal.
With South American refining capacity trailing regional demand (which has expanded in countries such as Chile and Peru because of commodity-led economic growth), U.S. Gulf Coast refineries have increased exports of diesel and gasoline to these markets.
In 2015, the U.S. Gulf Coast exported a combined 159,000 barrels per day (b/d) of distillate to Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, an increase of 32,000 b/d compared with 2014.
The U.S. Gulf Coast also exported 63,000 b/d of motor gasoline to these three nations in 2015, an increase of 21,000 b/d over 2014. However, lower commodity prices in recent years could reduce economic growth in these countries and lessen demand for petroleum products from the U.S. Gulf Coast.
To what extent the French refinery strike affected US gasoline production, I have no idea, but I mentioned that it would be interesting to look at US gasoline production when the refinery strike was announced in France; the refinery strike shut down all eight (8) refineries in France, and they are not all back to full production yet, as far as I know.

Saudi's Crude Oil Inventories Dropping -- Bloomberg -- June 25, 2016; The Tea Leaves Are Swirling


June 26, 2016: The tea leaves suggest that Saudi Arabia is making a huge bet taking a new tack. [The third definition of "tack": change course by turning a boat's head into and through the wind.] The price of oil will be affected by the plummeting pound, the surging dollar following Brexit.
Original Post

Bloomberg headline: oil glut is fading where you would least expect it -- Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week it was reported that Saudi said it will not increase crude oil production.

Now let's see what the Bloomberg article is all about.
Saudi Arabia, a country nearly synonymous with plentiful crude supplies, is offering one of the strongest signs yet that the glut that has plagued the oil market since 2014 is coming to an end.

Despite near record production, the kingdom’s oil inventories have declined for six consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Joint Organisations Data Initiative started tracking Saudi supply levels nearly 15 years ago.

“The drop in Saudi crude stocks signals the rebalancing has started,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consulting firm Energy Aspects Ltd. in London. “Crude stocks are coming off in places where either the data is opaque or the market isn’t paying as much attention.”

With oil traders focusing on supply changes in the U.S. and to a lesser extent in Europe and Japan, the drop in Saudi inventories has gone largely unnoticed. Since October, when Saudi supplies reached a record high, stocks have fallen by 38.6 million barrels as the kingdom provided more crude to the market than it pumped from its oilfields. Over the same period, U.S. crude stocks increased by nearly 61 million barrels.

“Saudi Arabia cannot continue to draw down stocks forever," said Olivier Jakob at consulting firm Petromatrix GmbH in Switzerland. With inventories down, Riyadh “will contribute to the rebalancing” of the oil market in the second half of the year and in 2017, he said.
Much more at the link. The article is archived.

Remember: the Saudis use oil to generate electricity, and they need a lot of electricity for air conditioning and for desalination plants. Recently Saudi Arabia "postponed" plans for major solar farms to relieve the oil sector. The "postponement" was for eight years which suggests Saudi has significant financial problems (this was going to be a very, very expensive project) or there are technological issues with solar panels where the fine dust storms are legendary. 

Data points from the article:
  • Saudi crude oil inventories have been tracked by an independent agency for 15 years
  • Saudi's oil inventories have declined for six consecutive months -- longest stretch in 15 years
  • Saudi's declining inventory has been largely unnoticed
  • October, 2015: Saudi's inventory at record levels; have since fallen almost 40 million bbls
  • over same period, US crude oil inventories have increased by slightly over 60 million bbls
  • Saudi energy minister: "We may have started inventory drawdowns that will continue for the foreseeable future."
  • current Saudi storage: 290 million bbls; lowest level since April, 2014
  • Saudi's current export, domestic burn: 10.5 million bbls/day
  • Saudi's current production: 10.2 million bbls/day
  • May, 2016: preliminary data: the seventh consecutive monthly drop in crude oil inventories; stocks could be down almost another 6 million bbls
  • Saudi uses significantly more crude between June and September: air conditioning
  • within the last year, Saudi has also increased its own refining capacity
  • April, 2016: KSA burned 500,000 bopd at its power stations, the most for that month since 2009
  • traditionally: peak burn in July to August at around double the April rate
  • even if KSA raises its oil production this summer to the all-time high of 10.56 million bopd set in June, 2015, stocks may fall further
The tea leaves are swirling. First observation: I thought Saudi said they could easily get to 12 million bopd.

This graph has been posted many, many times. It's one of my favorites. For all the talk, day in and day out, about Saudi's production capabilities, the graph certainly doesn't confirm that.  Note: US crude oil production practically matches the entire Saudi Arabian "boe" (crude oil + natural gas). The US then doubles its "boe" with natural gas.

Saudi Arabia uses crude oil where the rest of the world generally uses natural gas to generate electricity.

There may be a couple of ways to interpret the Saudi drop in crude oil inventories. I can think of three ways to interpret that data about Saudi inventories decreasing:
  • it's simply re-balancing (the prevailing view, and what the Saudis would have us believe)
  • they can't increase production to the degree that would be necessary to continue the present course of action (perhaps)
  • they have decided that the present course of action is not working, and they will now move to something completely different (a "stealth" unilateral embargo?), Inshallah. 
Remember: the announcement that Saudi was appointing a new minister of energy was made on Saturday, May 7, 2016.
I can hardly wait for the production data over the next six months. I think it may be very, very fascinating.

From an earlier post, June, 2015, one year ago, some data points regarding Saudi Arabia -- some of the data points -- may no longer be valid:
  • Saudi embarked on a $35 billion, 5-year program back in 2012 to sustain oil production
  • Saudi's oil production has hardly moved since 2012
  • Saudi's budget is based on $100 oil
  • domestic consumption of oil and natural gas is increasing in Saudi Arabia
  • apparently the Saudi quest to find natural gas in Rub al Khali failed; one of many links; a better link;
  • Saudi Arabia is embarking on a huge refinery program (see the linked post above)
  • the water situation in the Mideast is getting more and more challenging, and the amount of energy needed for desalination is beyond one's imagination (see the linked post above)
  • Saudi has a huge new terrorist organization to worry about
  • Saudi is engaged in a fairly expensive shooting war
  • President Obama has made it very clear that Saudi is on their own when it comes to security
  • the Saudi oil minister is making some bizarre statements about the end of fossil fuel (bizarre or disingenuous)

Saturday Morning Musings -- If You Skip This Post You Won't Miss Anything On The Bakken -- June 25, 2016

It's interesting how tweaking the layout of a blog can make such a big difference. I am thrilled to have moved the "Featured Blogs" up to the top of the sidebar at the right. There are some incredible blogs out there. I could easily list more than five or six, but I have to set limits. I do list additional blog sites farther down in the sidebar.

I am also thrilled to see the the top ten popular posts on this website -- also linked at the sidebar at the right. The list suggests to me that there is still a lot of interest in the "Bakken."

Weekend Reading


July 9, 2016: I think the post at Coyote Blog today says is all about wine -- in Napa, a playground for the rich and the elitists. For many wine has become a hobby farm, a sign of prestige. But certainly not a business in any normal sense of the word. 

Original Post
The highlight of the weekend is always the "Review" section in The Wall Street Journal. There might not be as much in it today that interests me, but surprisingly the other special section "Off Duty" appears to have some great articles. At one time I did not care for "Off Duty" and seldom looked at it, but ever since I started cooking (again), it's been fun to read.

Today there's another Japanese recipe by the chef I wrote about a few weeks ago. I have to laugh -- again, dashi -- the Japanese version of chicken bouillon  -- seems to be a key ingredient. It looks like this chef's "secret" is adding mirin and sake to the bouillon dashi.

On my severely caloric restricted diet, I've given up beer. I may have to reconsider. LOL. I have definitely given up wine at home. I would have wine at the appropriate at a nice dinner out, but I won't have wine at home. I've lost interest. For now. There are just too many wine choices. [The likelihood of me going to a fine restaurant where one might have wine with steak is somewhere between slim and none, and slim just left town.] I think the last time I had a beer was up on the hill overlooking Williston, Fuddrucker's where I had one of the drafts, probably Shock Top, without the orange slice. I was reminded of that with "Bitter Truths" in "Off Duty." William Bostwick talks about IPAs. Here are the five he features today, three of which I am very familiar:
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Hop Hunter
  • Lagunitas Brewing Co. Hop Special
  • Russian River Brewing Co. Pliny the Elder
  • Mikkeller Aps 1000 IBU 
  • Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By IPA
I hadn't seen the "IBU" reference in a long, long time. In fact, until just now, I had completely forgotten the hoppy ranking system. From Beer Connoisseur:
Flying Monkeys Brewery of Ontario currently leads the pack with “Alpha Fornication,” which clocks in at 2500 IBUs, blowing runner-up Mikkeller’s “Hop Juice X 2007 IBU” out of the water.
What none of these breweries explicitly state is that the human palate can only distinguish up to around 110 IBUs before it tucks into its shell and retreats down the esophagus.
It could be argued that IBUs have become as much a marketing ploy as a tool for understanding beer. So if IBUs aren’t entirely useful to the common drinker, is there a better scale?
So, there you have it.

From The New Great Northern Food Hall 
At Grand Central Station

From the article, the following words and phrases that might remind some of you of the old country:
  • smørrebrød 
  • kanelsnurre
  • Danish butter
  • smoked slamon from the Faroe Island
  • ymer parfaits
  • light-roast brew
  • aged Danish Havgus cheese
  • shrimp-and-egg smørrebrød

It looks like we're back to a Hemingway phase. A couple of days ago there was a book review of Hemingway and The Sun Also Rises in the WSJ. It (the book, not the book review) was written when Hemingway was married to his first wife (Hadley); during his/their Paris years. The review fits perfectly with the movie Midnight in Paris which I never get tired of watching.

Today, in the WSJ there is a short essay on Hemingway's home in Cuba. I've long forgotten the story but technically it was his third wife's home, to be honest, who found the Cuban house, Finca Vigia, where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea, Islands in the Stream, and A Moveable Feast. At least that's what I recall from Martha Gellhorn's memoir. I could be wrong.

And finally, coincidentally, I'm reading a book my daughter brought back from Key West: Papa: Hemingway in Key West, James McLendon, c. 2006, soft cover. It covers the "lost years" as the author calls that period or something to that effect, from 1928 to 1940. I don't have the book in front of me, so I have to verify some of that, because obviously the Spanish Civil War -- mid-1936 to early 1939 was certainly a part of those 12 years; it wasn't all in Key West. 

 The home in Cuba, the Finca Vigia, by the way, was restored and is maintained under the leadership of William Dupont, a professor of architecture at the University of Texas San Antonio.

Gasoline Demand Setting New Records -- Now, Why Would That Be? -- June 25, 2016


June 25, 2016: it seems like the NYT article in the original post had trouble providing the bottom line. Here is the bottom line, from wiki, easy to understand:
The U.S. market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% in 2011 through 0.37% in 2012 to 0.62% in 2013.
The segment reached a market share of 0.75% in 2014 and fell to 0.66% of new car sales in 2015.
That pretty much says it all.

Original Post
From Casablanca: "I'm shocked. I'm shocked."

The New York Times seems surprised at the reality that "American drivers regain appetite for gas guzzlers."
The single most effective action that most Americans can take to help reduce the dangerous emissions that cause climate change? Buy a more fuel-efficient car.
But consumers are heading in the opposite direction. They have rekindled their love of bigger cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, favoring them over small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles, which are considered crucial to helping slow global warming.
So far this year, nearly 75 percent of the people who have traded in a hybrid or electric car to a dealer have replaced it with an all-gas car, an 18 percent jump from 2015, according to, a car shopping and research site.
In 2008, President Obama set a goal of a million electric cars on the road by 2015 in the United States, but the total is now around 442,000, including plug-in hybrids. This year, electric and hybrid sales have dropped to 2.4 percent of new-car purchases.
By the way, I think this was true in earlier years and had been previously posted: the vast majority of folks who trade in their hybrids or EVs, trade them in for an ICE.

As I've said before, once President Obama leaves office, the global warming scam will need a new cheerleader-in-chief.  Some data points from above:
  • goal: 1 million EVs on the road by 2015; including hybrids, less than 500,000 (despite all the incentives; all the advocacy)
  • EV/hybrid owners: 75% trade "up" to an ICE -- that an 18% jump from the previous year -- it suggests that for some reason, folks are NOT happy with the EVs (range? cost?)
  • EV/hybrid sales have dropped this year
Cost? It would be interesting to see what EV/hybrid owners are trading "up" to? Their new ICE cars may not be more expensive, but they probably get "more bang for their buck."

More from the article:
A preference for big cars is not going to help the country reach the goals outlined in the Paris climate accord, reached in December. To help reach those goals, average fuel economy would need to soar to at least 100 miles per gallon — most likely achievable only through widespread adoption of electric and other zero-emission cars.
President Obama has pushed for stronger federal fuel-economy rules that call for cars to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025; the current average is 25.4 miles per gallon.
Though electric cars may be somewhat out of favor for now, that may change. Many are hoping that the Tesla could transform Americans’ views on electric cars, much the way the iPhone did with mobile technology.
"Widespread adoption of electric and other zero-emission cars." To the best of my knowledge there is no such thing: most electric cars worldwide would get their electricity from coal. In the US, from coal and/or natural gas.

Flashback, from April 22, 2015:

Daily Caller is reporting:
President Barack Obama promised to put a million more hybrid and electric cars on the road during his tenure, but new research shows drivers are trading them in to buy sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
The auto-research group found that “22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.”
This number is higher than the 18.8 percent that did the same last year, but it’s double the number that traded in their electric car for an SUV just three years ago.
Only “45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012.”
“Never before have loyalty rates for alt-fuel vehicles fallen below 50 percent."
Several story lines:
  • EVs may not be as "loved" as owners say
  • flipping EVs for the tax credit
  • getting rid of an EV before the battery gets any older
  • some argue that Saudi Arabia cut price of oil to $50 to stop the EV movement; if so, it's working
  • not enough charging stations
  • cargo space taken up by battery
  • early adopters bought the EVs; mainstream was to follow; never happened ... for whatever reason 
The most surprising thing: I thought folks loved their EVs so much, they would be "replacing" them with newer EV models; not trading them in for SUVs. So we go from EVs to perhaps the poster child for all that is bad for the environment: gas-guzzling SUVs. 

Week 25: June 19, 2016 -- June 25, 2016

Everything this past week was overshadowed by the "Brexit." It will take years to unwind this .. with five more countries -- including France -- considering an exit -- this may be just the start. One wonders how far back one can trace the history of the "Brexit" -- I don't think it's hyperbole to say that one might be able to trace it back to the Bakken revolution. It sounds preposterous, but when one reads The Oil Kings by Andrew Scott Cooper, finished in 2010, and copyright in 2011, one can connect some interesting dots.

Perhaps more on that later.

The second big story, of course, was the announcement that the Panama Canal expansion, completed, is now ready to be tested. A lot rides on the first neo-Panamanian vessel to transit the canal. There are indications that things may not go all that smoothly. I'm eager to see how this plays out. This is the EIA's assessment.

The other big news is that Saudi Arabia quietly announced that it will not increase production. The announcement was so anti-climactic that one can hardly find a story reporting that announcement, what it means, and any analysis.

The most amazing thing is that for all the talk -- and it's really been not much more than talk since October, 2014 -- OPEC production / Saudi production really hasn't changed that much. After that announcement and the weekly crude oil data, the price of oil was moving up nicely ... and then the Brexit vote.

The other big news in energy was the announcement that the last two nuclear plants in California will be shut down within the decade. Maybe that was news from the previous week; things seem to be moving quickly. I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the global warming scam.

And finally one more note -- and then I will get on with the Bakken -- MuskMelon is probably thrilled with the Brexit. That story finally took the Tesla / SolarCity debacle off the front page of every newspaper in the country. 

A laundry list of several energy stories this past week
Is CLR "up to something" in the Rattlesnake Point oil field?
Meandering thoughts o choked back wells, inactive wells, and DUCs in the Bakken
Mike Filloon's update -- June 22, 2016
Although not all rigs are the "big" rigs, the official active rig count in North Dakota got back up to 30 this past week

Wyoming judge rules that Obam's attempt to ban fracking was illegal; an AP "Big Story"

Officials allow Dakota Access Pipeline access under tribal lands in Iowa

Minor update  

Natural gas
Surprisingly, natural gas prices have catapulted well above prices for coal; dispatchable energy is the name of the game now
GE gets into Guinness Book of World Records with its new natural gas turbine; and, here
Electricity grid in California in emergency mode

US gasoline demand continues to set records
With gasoline demand continuing to set records, Warren Buffett buys more PSX
GOP has interesting ticket for North Dakota governor/lieutenant governor