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Conis
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject: Tired of getting took? Reply with quote

A year ago spring, gas prices bumped two bucks. I went nuts. Now we are headed for $4.00 and up. I look at my check book, gas bills, fuel bills. How much of a "pay check cut" can I take? How long before even getting to BBI is a REAL question. Feel free to answer it , next election.

I don't know about you. I am tired of being screwed and lame "because-of" excuses.

From www.michigangasprices.com

READ THIS WHEN YOU HAVE TIME OR ARE INTO THIS!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Quote:
High gas prices a slick trick?

WHILE almost everyone else is picking through couch cushions to scrape together enough change to fill up with regular this summer, oil company executives and shareholders are lining their pockets.

Exxon-Mobil posted $10.4billion in second-quarter profits, 36 percent higher than last year. Other oil companies did almost as well, with Shell pulling in $7.32 billion and BP $7.3 billion.

This latest quarter of outrageous profits leaves consumers wondering if high prices at the pump are really just the free market or if something else is afoot.

It would seem that even as crude oil prices skyrocket, the cost of refining that crude is the same. The price of gasoline should then rise in proportion to the price of crude and profits should stay relatively consistent or increase moderately.

Look at it this way: If the price of silicon rose so that it cost $40 more to make a computer, a $50 increase in the price of a personal computer might be reasonable. But what if retail prices rose $150 instead?

Whatever the elusive truth behind high gasoline prices may be, the fact is big oil companies are gorging themselves on exorbitant pump prices while their customers are hung out to dry.

Price controls rarely work, and the so-called windfall profits taxes that have been suggested are little more than election year pandering. The only surefire way customers can make their voices heard is by cutting consumption.

Using less gasoline can save customers at the pump not only because they're using less gas, but because they're helping lower the price point through supply-and-demand. That's one of those immutable laws of economics that not even the oil companies are above.

And it's the only feasible way consumers will see a change in their gas bills this summer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Found some more. EGADS! who does not understand the high fuel prices affect the cost of services and goods-delivered? Why do the regulate the cost of booze but not gasolene?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quote:



Wholesalers: Don't blame us for high gas prices


By MATTHEW WILDE, Courier Staff Writer
JESUP --- Local fuel wholesalers know exactly who to blame for high gas prices.

It is certainly not them. Profit margins range from fractions of a cent to a few cents a gallon, wholesalers say, depending on the end customer.

"It's a fight every day to not lose money," said Denny Donlea, managing partner with Consolidated Energy Company, based in Jesup.

And it isn't the gas stations. Industry analysts say retail margins for fuel aren't much better. Sometimes, gas is considered a loss leader just to get people into the store to buy other higher-profit items.

"Retailers don't make money on gas. It's the pop and food," said Tami Foster, Iowa Department of Natural Resources energy analyst.

So, who is it?

Fuel wholesalers and their advocacy group, the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, believe it is the fund managers and traders on Wall Street. Speculative trading is as much to blame for $3 per gallon gas as unrest in the Middle East and high demand.

"People blame the oil companies or they blame the Middle East. It's people that trade that jack up the price. It's our own people," said Perry Steinmeyer, owner of Waterloo Oil Co.

The public still doesn't understand how gas is priced, he said. People see the price at the pump and instinctively start blaming the last links in the supply chain instead of the beginning. Wholesalers say they're the least to blame.

It is no secret major oil companies are making record profits as of late.

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday it earned $10.36 billion in the April-June period, the second largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. The earnings figure was 36 percent above the profit it reported a year ago.

BP PLC announced Thursday its second-quarter profit rose 30 percent to $7.3 billion, while ConocoPhillips reported a 65 percent increase to $5.18 billion. Royal Dutch Shell PLC, said its second-quarter earnings jumped 40 percent as net profit rose to $7.32 billion.

But Steinmeyer said many people don't realize it is the nervous, profit-driven traders bidding up the price of gas at commodity exchanges. Using turmoil in the Middle East as an excuse, they've pushed gas prices as much as 60 cents per gallon higher in recent months, he estimates.

Donlea agrees speculative trading is driving prices higher than demand and supply dictate. He realizes the war in Iraq and the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah impacts oil prices, but not this much.

Government figures show crude oil stocks in the United States totaled 277.3 million barrels on July 25, 2003. Retail gas prices at the time averaged about $1.50 per gallon. A barrel of crude was just under $30.

Worldwide oil demand four years ago was 78.15 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration. It has since risen by 6 million barrels a day.

The country's latest crude oil stock report on June 9 shows 345.7 million barrels on hand. Yet, gas is nearly $2.90 per gallon at local stations.

"Now, investors are getting in there, driving it (gas prices) up and down," Donlea said.

Twenty years ago, he said a half-cent move a day was big. Now, a several cent swing in a matter of minutes isn't unusual. It is harder to determine when to buy fuel.

"The things we traditionally looked at --- inventory and weather --- are out the door," Donlea added. "Now if inventories are up, prices can go up as well. It should be the opposite."

Donlea and other Consolidated employees continually keep tabs on live gasoline trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Customers regularly call to get the latest quotes. Though the futures price isn't directly related to the current price at the pump, it indirectly impacts customers.

The change in the market from day to day will often reflect the change in what gasoline and diesel costs at the Magellan Pipeline terminal in Waterloo, where many wholesalers, or jobbers as they are called, fill up. Prices at the terminal sometimes change during the day, but are often good for a 24-hour period starting at 6 p.m.

"If we can get it (an 8,000-gallon tanker) loaded before 6, and save them 2 or 3 cents, that's about $250. (That) could be their margin," Donlea said.

Northeast Iowa fuel wholesalers are merely conduits for getting petroleum from major oil companies to gas stations, farmers and commercial customers, like construction crews.

Consolidated Energy is Northeast Iowa's largest jobber, and one of the larger ones in the Midwest. Several oil companies in Jesup, Independence, Winthrop, Manchester, La Porte City and Hudson merged starting seven years ago. It has since expanded into 13 states.

Donlea said selling fuel is a high volume, low margin business. The profit margin needed, while not disclosed for proprietary reasons, depends on how much handling and work is required. If a semi tanker loads fuel at a pipeline terminal and delivers it straight to a gas station, Donlea said, the profit is a fraction of a percent of the total bill. If fuel is delivered to the farm or construction site, it is handled several times. Area tank farms are needed, along with more equipment, so a higher price is required.

Consolidated buys from about two dozen major gasoline suppliers. The pipeline charge is already added into the price when the wholesaler purchases the fuel.

Donlea said the initial upward retail price movement is more based on the refined product and the downward movement is more based on competition. Wholesalers usually have a set profit margin. Steinmeyer said his margin hasn't changed in 15 years.

To prove the wholesalers' point on gas pricing, Donlea showed how much gas cost at the Waterloo terminal on July 21, ranging from $2.35 to $2.45 a gallon. That's without 40 cents per gallon in taxes and markup by distributors and retailers. At that time, local retailers were charging anywhere from $2.83 to $2.89 per gallon.

"We're the one constant (in the industry)," Donlea said.

Contact Matthew Wilde at (319) 291-1579 or matt.wilde@wcfcourier.com.
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Kevin Gibbons
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think the oil company's are ripping us off. A long with insurance and drog companies. There is no compatition for them. As much as I don't like caps I think they would be better then what we have here. I think everyone should be able to make a proffit but this is nuts. They are running the country and they are the only ones making a big proffit.
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Bruce Lord
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What we need to do is simple, figuring out how to do it is much more difficult.All we need to do is each cut our oil and gas usage by 25%. If we don't do that soon we are doomed from the build up of green house gasses. I have cut my fossil fuel usage by more than that and guess what, not impacting the environment (as much) and loads of extra money in my pocket. Seems so simple. How can that not be easy to understand. And worst of all, how can we stand by and let our government act like it isn't a problem. I am truly disgusted. This is the biggest issue that we will have to deal with in our life, if we don't take it seriously... lets do sometning great. If we all could just stop using one light bulb (incandescent)or at least substitute one for a flourescent that alone would make a world of difference. OK Thanks for listening



Part of my savings was cutting my trips to the island in half.

Another great have to stay longer if I can't go as often. To cool! Idea
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Conis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce Lord wrote:

Part of my savings was cutting my trips to the island in half.
Another great have to stay longer if I can't go as often. To cool! Idea


Interesting you bring this up. Been my strategy this year. Half as many trips and stay longer. I simply can't afford to run up for a couple days. I drive a 24mpg pickup. 300 miles round trip to straits frm central mi area. Even worse for those traveling from down state without the ability to "stay longer"

I am into those efficient light bulbs 7 watts versus 60 watts for the same light output? 1/7th the consumption. They used to be expensive. Now 6 for $20 at Home Depot. Pay for them selves in a month, and huge savings after that.

I have done all that stuff. Replaced my energy sucking water heater. Taken a good look at where the Kilowatts and Propane gallons are being wasted. And fixed all I could see. Now I am about out of ideas. I pity those who haven't tightened their energy use belts.

I guess the next step is to ride a bike, live in a cardboard box and start gathering twigs for either fuel or food. Personal efforts, as dedicated as they may be, can only go so far. We all need to do that. It would help, big time.

Whats killing me is the exponentially increasing cost of living. Wonder why everything costs so much? Cost of farming, trucking, mining, lumbering, heating factories... All fuel consuming overhead. The potatoe is free. How much fuel did it take to put it on the dinner table?

A friend who works as a geologist in the Michigans Oil/gas fields goes ballistic on this subject once you press his start button. If anyone had his thumb on the pulse of things, he would. As he puts it "every time they jack up fuel prices more, it is just like taking a pay cut" AMEN.

I recall he said the actual cost of extracting a barrel of oil in Michgan was around $22. Refining it about $10. Much less than that in the south having high volume wells and refineries where everything is pipelined. Price of crude is now $70-$75 barrel. Do the math on profits.

I suppose this is what happens when politicians with vested oil interests are voted into office. Or did big oil business buy (or cheat) their way in. Or however you care to shake it. This country has NO energy policy. The only policy there is, is that of the oil companies: "As long as we can make them pay, we will". The government seems to have their fingers into regulating just about everything BUT fuel costs.

All I can see is that this economy may simply implode. Bled dry from the inside out. I have never seen things as bad as they are in Michigan. Other states faring better?

Excuse me. I have to quit typing now. Getting dark and I have to go gather twigs. I am afraid my neighbor might see me yelling at the sticks.
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Spartan-1
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Joined: 19 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WHOA THERE DR. CONIS!!!

Aren't you supposed to be working on the decoding of DNR handbook???
What's all this rubish about increasing fuel costs%#!&:*

Unleaded fuel is almost Free here in Kalamazoo, ONLY PAID 2.89.9 a gallon this A.M. on my way to the woodstove place!!! Thought if cut all the 50ft. maples in my front yard I would save about 65.00 a month this winter to heat the homestead!!! Who cares about the shade they provide. It will be much too tough to get the firewood I need back home on my bike, pulling my daughter's wagon behind me, just so I don't have to pay 4 bucks a gallon for fuel!!!
Best of luck to all and burn it if you got it. (Alternativefuelcornmaybe)
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Conis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartan-1 wrote:
WHOA THERE DR. CONIS!!!

Aren't you supposed to be working on the decoding of DNR handbook???
What's all this rubish about increasing fuel costs%#!&:*

Unleaded fuel is almost Free here in Kalamazoo, ONLY PAID 2.89.9 a gallon this A.M. on my way to the woodstove place!!! Thought if cut all the 50ft. maples in my front yard I would save about 65.00 a month this winter to heat the homestead!!! Who cares about the shade they provide. It will be much too tough to get the firewood I need back home on my bike, pulling my daughter's wagon behind me, just so I don't have to pay 4 bucks a gallon for fuel!!!
Best of luck to all and burn it if you got it. (Alternativefuelcornmaybe)


I am way ahead of you on all this. The hand book is on hold.

I am too busy logging off the back yard for firewood. I was making good progress until I ran out of chain saw gas. So I drove 13 miles (on my bike) to get it for $2.97 and bought 444 gallons while it was on sale.. I'll get it all back here after another 100 trips on my bike to haul 4.4 gal. per run.

By the time I get it all here, it will be $6.00 a gallon so I can resell it at a profit and start using my pick up again. At least once.

And you think I haven't got this all figured out?

Next pickup I get gonna be steam power
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Spartan-1
Pines Paramour
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That my friend, is where I messed up!!!
My wife is a CPA and I tried to pull rank and run the numbers on the wood burning profits for the family.

You have done a great deal of homework here to put the Exxon MOBILES out of work!!! YOUR transporting of cheap full to sell at a much higher cost is unheard of in this country. George, Jennifer and the rest of our very straight political leaders would cringe at any type of your tomfoolery!!!
Please keep that information to youself, others are always watching!!!
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Conis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Please keep that information to youself, others are always watching!!!


Have your wife run the numbers. At the 10% weekly increase in cost of living. I am not sure if I will make any money or not.
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Kevin Gibbons
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we should just drive 4 wheelers ORV's on the roads they can't get less then 60 mpg or go more then 60 mph. Get rid of all cars and trucks. Heat: No gas back to coal the clean stuff. And we can use wood that is natural, but how do we get the wood without cutting a tree. Is there a new way of growing fire wood out there. Does it come in 16 or 18" pieces. Or maybe we need pellet stoves with corn as fuel. Or maybe we need to cut the politicians pay and beniffits until they get the cost of living down. And put the carboch on high cost gasses. And workers back to work. And jobs out there for the worker to work at. It is not good there is people all around me that is hurting for work. And a number of business in Cheboygan that are on the brink of folding. If we aren't careful main street will look pretty bare.
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NJean
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone on the island have a solar run cabin/home? Too bad the government dropped the ball on that one 30 years ago. I remember reading an article about a man that has built several all solar powered homes for under $100,000 each. The entire utility bill on these homes runs about $25 per month. He is working on getting it down to zero. These homes range from 950-1200 sq ft. If you put in what they call a grid system you can sell any extra electricity back to the power company. We've been looking into solar for our cabin, considering electricity is not financially practical in our location (too expensive-too far away). We're presently running lights and TV off marine batteries right now and that seems to work pretty well.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the government did drop the ball. I suppose because they haven't figured out a way to sell/tax the sun and wind?. I am sure they are working on it.

I am going to be positive here.

The good news is there have been tremendous technological advances over the past 30 years, especially in solar>electric. The cost of solar panels is now a fraction of what it was even 10 years ago, and they produce several times the power for the same size and are guaranteed for decades..

Anyone hear about the Electrolux (vaccume cleaner) plant in Greenville michigan? Closed doors and moved to mexico. Doom and gloom, 300 out of work and par for the course in Michgan. A couple years ago. The upside is that some high tech solar panel company has moved in. They manufacture panels for residential use. Maybe 1000 new jobs once they get totally up to speed. This is the sort of manufacturing Michigan needs! Look forward! I think it is time to forget about the auto industry propping up Michigan.

Some friends from downstate built a camp (more like a 3500' lodge) in the UP around Rudyard. About a mile in. $50 grand to run in power. So for about $10k, they went totally self contained. Solar> electric with panel arrays on the roof, banks of batteries. 12v to 110v inverters for small appliances. They have 110v lighting inside, but all those high efficiency "curly" lights. Run ten of those versus 1-2 incandescent.

They still use propane although minimally. Propane fridge ( they bought as converted standard electric from the amish). They have a propane generator if they need big AC power, say for power tools. They have a 12 volt, deep well water pump, gravity flow water system.

Very slick and not all that pricy even going first class as they have. Always tuning and tweaking "the system" and making improvements. All the conveniences. It works as well as any home wired for line power.

Most interesting is the "control room" in the back with the batteries inverters and control panels. Still pretty straight forward "plug and play" equipment. I recall they had this system designed by someone selling the equipment.

The technology is there NOW and is becoming an attractive alternative to "hooking up". No outages, no lightning damage, Best of all no monthly bills.

If I were off the line... I would look at this. In fact it is becoming a worth while alternative, power available or not.

There is a fellow on island, a builder who I got into a conversation with about all this stuff. He is INTO it and seems to know what's out there.PM or EM and I will tell you how to find him.
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Bruce Lord
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Corn stove is the way to go, one acre of corn will heat most any home (insulated correctly)for a season. Burning no fossil fuel. SCREWING EXXON
Unplug your TV, when your not watching it of course, 25% of energy used when not even on. Same with a lot of entertainment products. Our better yet do something instead of even having it on at all. Wind Wind Wind.
Carpool, that we might get to know our neighbors a little more. I hate it when I see all those cars with one person in them. Talk your local shopping center into turning off half their lights at night. Some of those big chains could up their business if they advertised how much energy they were saving..... or does anyone understand the seriousness of this.
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Conis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce, your preaching to the choir as far as I am concerned.

I saw a Global warming documentary on Discovery the other night. Chilling and got scary after that.

I am looking at corn burners. Going to have to do something. At $1.50 gal for propane, I have about had it. Screw exon is exactly right. Give the local farmers a reason to stay in business. Corn is near pure starch/sugar. Burns way cleaner than wood.
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Bruce Lord
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just imagine we've been paying over that for 5 years. This year their trying to get me to lock in for $2.04. HAH!
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Ron Petersen
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Word of caution - Do your research an any model of corn burner you are looking at - I have a close friend that bought a Corn Burner - It wouldn't burn corn, even with the moisture content as low a 13% - which is hard to find
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Conis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce Lord wrote:
Just imagine we've been paying over that for 5 years. This year their trying to get me to lock in for $2.04. HAH!


You have to be kidding me? Propane was a good deal at $0.40, not so long ago.

At two bucks, take a C note and break it into ONES. Burn those. More BTUS.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ron.

Hearing +/- on the corn burners. Neighbor had a (wood) pellet stove and thought that was too cool until the price of wood pellets (from Canada) went stupid. Then switched to cherry pits ( hauled from Traverse City) Those went stupid.

Converted his pellet stove auger to a "corn burner" last winter and claims it took some "dialing in" but worked well overall.

So now, we will see an emerging corn-fuel market with hyper dry corn?
That may go stupid too but at least some room for competition between local elevators. Price will settle itself? At least the money stays at home.

How much petro fuel to dry say 2000 bushels of corn? And they aint using corn to dry corn.

Back to plan A? log off the yard.
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Jim Krouse
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to be kidding me? Propane was a good deal at $0.40, not so long ago.

At two bucks, take a C note and break it into ONES. Burn those. More
BTUS. e]

Guys I have been in the propane business for 26 years and when I started propane sold fo .60 per gallon. Now conis if you are talking .40 cents per pound you would be close. $2.04 a gallon is a good price if you can lock in for a complete year. The only way you can beat this price is to switch companies and take advantage of their come on price deals. You can bet your bottom dollar that their established customers are pay almost the same as anybody else is charging. no matter what, of the main fuel sources other than natural gas propane is the cheapest way to heat.

There are over 96,000 BTU's in a gallon of propane I bet I can get more BTU's out of my gallon than you can from your c note even if it is turned into one's.

Propane dealers work on a margin that pays the bills with a little left for reinvestment in the business. when the wholesale price goes up so does the selling price just enough to meet the margin target. there is to much competion out there for anyone to get away with gouging the public. in our area alone people have the choice of 25 to 30 competitors. Again the only cheaper prices are come on deals but if you are willing to switch suppliers every year you can save a lot.[/quote]
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Conis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JIM,

I didn't want to PO anyone.

$.40 was when we paid when I gave up woodburing and did the math which was wood+insurance surcharge, versus propane/ no surcharge. Many moons ago. Early 90's. Propane has gone up 10-20% a year since 99. From the sounds of things, $1.50 a gal is a bargain compared to elsewhere.

To get this ($1.50), we have to buy a seasons worth up front. Might as well. Gonna spend it anyway. In 05, it was $1.30. $1.10 in 04, $.95 in 03. It stayed at $.40-$.60 for a decade, up and down. Doubled in 5 years. Same jam as every one else, I guess.

We don't have a lot of propane dealers. Cost more going west, less east? I understand our propane comes from Sarnia, Ont. Maybe we get a "deal" because we are reasonably close?

What has set the bench mark is the Coop Power company getting into the act with metered services. All the independents have to compete with this, I guess. And Tri County Electric (coop) has thousands of propane customers. Near a monopoly in the area, but fortunately not. The independent dealers are a few cents less. If they are a few cents more? Guess what. Customer bails and goes to Tri County.

Natural gas is no deal these days, either.

Jim, sounds like the same jam as gasolene wholesalers/ dealers. Tight profits. All I have to say is I am looking at alternatives, even if only the coldest mos of the year. Looking forward considering the trend since 2000.

TD/C
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Jim Krouse
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conis

That's the problem with e-mails they are very easy to take the wrong way. you did not PO me Very Happy I had to reply, you touched an area I know something about Idea !

The propane inventories are 2.6 million b higher then normal for this time of year. There is know supply problem but prices are still going up.

3 years ago we were part of the Great Lakes Energy co-op. That arrangement did not work as well as people Think. there is to much diffeence between the electric and propane business for them to work well together. The biggest is one is for profit and one is not. People think we had an unfair advantage. We did not. The MPSC was all over the co-ops about keeping things seperate. We paid 1.5 times more then the going rate for goods and services purchased from the co-op because they did not want the MPSC to find any hint of favoritism.

I could go on for hours about this business. I have seen a lot in the last 25 years.

again I was not PO'd, far from it.

Later

Hooray Beer :cheers:

Jim
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Mini
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conis, I don't know where you got your info on the Eletrolux plant but being from Montcalm county, and in the Propane business this site has been very interesting.
We lost around 3500 jobs just from that company alone. The small companies that worked with them are leaving as well. The people who lost their jobs have some concessions such as, drawing unemployment for 18 months, going back to school for 2 years (part of the nafta agreement) Cobra insurance and a wage match for I think it's 2 years. Eletrolux paid and average wage of $15.00 per hour, no education, not bad with benefits, a good share of these people ore around 48-50 and have worked there all their lives.
The Solar plant coming in thanks to Jennifer, will have 300 hundred by fall of 07 and maybe several hundred later.
Montcalm county is now one of the poorest in the country.
Now for the propane business. We have around 1200 customers, a small mom and pop business. We are trying to help by getting the cheapest pre-buy possible and thanks to a terrific guy in the office are able to offer it at $1.52 this year. Regular ones are going to be $1.65.
The whole thing is more of a gamble than going to the Casinos. This price flashed to us for 2 days last winter. When we signed the contract, we didn't know if that was the lowest it would go or not. We signed and as it turned out it has done nothing but go higher since then.
If you want real estate come to Montcalm county. The joke is the last one out can shut the lights out!
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Ron Petersen
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was in the grain dryer business for many years - when LP was around $.70 a gallon it usually cost around 3 to 5 cents per bushel to dry corn - Use that as a starter and you're probably looking at 2-3 times more now - gas is higher, but at the same time many dryers became more efficient.

I just booked my LP for the winter (not prepaid) for a $1.41 and get a 4 cent discount if I pay it in 10 days.

The Corn Dryer I mentioned that a friend bought also has a homemade corn burner that works great, and never did get the new one to work right - can't think of the name of it, but he mentioned he has talked to several others with the same model and they are having the same problems - He thinks they are not getting enough air to the burner for good combustion.
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47 years in a row driving 600 miles to get here!!!
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Conis
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mini,

I got my information from a displaced Electrolux employee who operated a drill press for 30 years, and had started taking computer classes at MCC so as to be employable, somewhere.

Sounds like I had my Electrolux facts partially straight? All I know is was a major hit to Greenville. 3500 jobs lost ( Thought 350 but my memory is shot) kind of puts s different twist into things. Lets hope the solar panel plant helps turn things around.

I live in Mecosta county, three miles north of Montcalm line. You think things are bad down there? Can't give real estate away. No jobs. Hitachi closed, Edmore turning into a Ghost town. Lakeview on the ropes. All thriving little communities 5-10 years back, as it was. Those further south are closer to Grand Rapids which I understand is about the only stabil sector in michigans job economy? Mount pleasant and Big rapids are growing. I am kind of out here in east nowhere. 25 miles worth in all directions.

PROPANE: I guess the good news is last winter was so mild, that there is a surplus this year. Same for NG. I can see some conflict of interest with REA electric coops getting into the LP business. They have certainly dampered competition, at least around here. I prefer doing business with a smaller independent that has always treated me well and come in below the coop. The coop has meterered service, pay as you go, with price locks built in for coop members. A big attraction for folks "close to the edge" nad maybe an unfair advantage over independants playing the market and trying to make a profit?

All the futures trading. Just nuts. Some squirrel drops an acorn. WHOA! Buy it up and jack up the price. Hard winter coming! And then squirrel pickes up acorn= mild winter and price crashes. Insane. How is it that something as important as fuel, being the underpinnings of a stabil enconomy, can be played like Texas Holdem? I am sure there is more to it than that... but it certainly doesn't seem to be supply/demand economics.

I am old school I guess. I know what it used to cost and how much it has increased % wise... which comes as a "pay cut" right out of my pocket.

A pencil can only be sharpened so many times. When we (re)built in 97, went all LP appliances, super energy efficient construction... looking forward. I am looking forward some more. I am estimating the LPwater heater and gas dryer =40% of annual usage. rest is heating (zone). Sharpen the pencil again with an eye on the dryer and water heater.

I guess start a corn fire on the basement floor and hang my underware over it to dry. All problems solved.
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Rich
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

high energy costs are a blessing in disguise. the reason ethanol never took off in the past was simply the fact that they couldn't compete with the cheap price of gasoline. this has now changed and ethanol plants will be big business in the very near future. most car companies are already producing flexible fuel vehicles that run e85. the big oil companies are being foolish with their greed and will pay dearly for this mistake. once ethanol is available at most stations the competition should keep its price well below gasoline. this will greatly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and also drastically reduce emissions. the key is to locate these ethanol plants near landfills and utilize the methane gas to run the boilers. we also need to keep the oil companies out of the ethanol business. the future in automobile manufacturing will be hybrids that run e85 and diesel hybrids that run biodiesel.
as far as the high cost of utilities, the same rules apply, screw over your customers with unjustified pricing and alternatives will be created. solar panels and wind mill generaters will become commonplace.
for those of you who have vehicles that run e85 visit dogwoodenergy.com. they will sell you a still and the products necessary to produe your own ethanol for approx. $.75 per gallon and a conversion kit that will allow your car to run on pure ethanol (the ultmate "screw you" to OPEC.
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doug miller
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My truism for the day is, "There's no such thing as a free cup of coffee." In my humble opinion, the problem in the U.S. at least is that we over package, overconsume, overeat and pretty much over-everything. I don't think any of the various energy sources are "the answer" because all of them will have a high cost.

Re: solar, I wonder if there is enough sunshine in MI to ever allow it to be more than a minor source of energy.

Re: ethanol, my understanding is that it takes almost as much petroleum (including farm inplement gas and oil, fertilizer, etc.) to produce the ethanol as the amount of ethanol produced. Someone I heard on NPR actually argues that we will consume a bit more than a gallon of oil to produce a gallon of ethanol. If so, ethanol is not the answer (and in fact might be considered a problem itself).

Re: wind, while there appear to be parts of the state that are windy enough to make energy, according to a wind map of MI, it appears to be only a small part of the state. And more importantly, I have heard those large wind generators are quite loud, harm wildlife, and may be a bit unsightly if they are right next to your home or cottage.

Nuclear, Coal, oil, wood, etc., they all have their costs. The long-term solution is to consume less. Every time I drive my subcompact car to work and back--carrying just me, I think about the inefficiency of using 3,000 pounds of plastic and metal to carry one (relatively small) human body from place to place. And the packaging you see on everything--but especially on little candy treats that are eaten in 30 seconds, is a terrible waste. Not to mention the built-in obsolescence of so many of the larger things we buy like appliances, vacuum cleaners, stereo equipment, etc.

And then the real kicker is, all that stuff just fills our houses, uses up our weekends and other "free" time as we move it around the house from place to place trying to keep the house looking neat, costs us when we buy storage containers to keep it in, and ultimately costs more money to get rid of (or the time and energy of having a garage sale!). In short, the kidker is, all this stuff that we thought would make us happy doesn't. I know that is an old lesson, but it seems like a lot of us (myself absolutely included) just keep having to learn it for ourselves.

Last thought--back to the "no free cup of coffee" truism. I think the reason I so often think of it and why it applies to so many situations is because its really just another way of describing "cause and effect" or "karma" or that "what you sow, you reap" or that "actions have consequences."
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Charlie Trie
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

he house prices in my neighborhood have tripled over the last 5 years; why should I be surprised that energy prices have done the same? That's inflation, dudes.

Biggest profits in oil are being made by countries outside the USA. (Most of whom don't like us.) Oil producers inside the USA are simply riding with the world market prices. Is it unfair for them to sell their product at market price simply because you think it's too expensive?

Biggest profits in a gallon of gasoline are being made by our government via various sales and excise taxes. I haven't noticed governments giving you a tax break at the pump. (In fact, taxes on oil should be going up alot to pay for these wars we've been running. We wouldn't be interested at all in the Middle East if it weren't for the fact that they own half the world's oil supply.)

Problem with ethanol is that the energy you get from corn-based ETOH is about the same as what you put into it to create the product. It's almost like that Saturday Night Live spoof - The United Change Bank - whose business model is to make change; How do they do it? = VOLUME

Brazil does ethanol for vehicles because they grow sugar cane which is much more efficient than corn. Biotech may solve the problems of converting bio-mass to ETOH, but that's a way off. For right now, the only way ethanol fuel is cheaper than petroleum based fuel is via government subsidy (which, of course, means higher taxes).

Methane from landfills is a cool idea, but look at the reality: its often unreliable and is a tiny fraction of what's needed.

Biodiesel makes sense to a point. Current diesels are dirty. They are a bigger health risk than cigarettes. Cancer, emphysema, asthma, etc. That's a cost, a real cost, but one that's not reflected in the pump price. (Oops, higher taxes to pay for Medicare and Medicaid.) So long as biodiesel is using waste vegetable oil for feed stock, it's OK. Once you start raising crops to make vegetable oil, the economics start looking like ethanol.)

Utility rates (electricity) are set by the Public Utility Commission; ie, you, the voters. They guarantee the companies a certain return on their asset base. It's the only business in the world where you make money redecorating your office. Stupid you say? But regulated utilities are still way more reliable and efficient than government-run utilities.

Solar panels are still the stuff of kooks. Yes, they work. No, they aren't cost effective for general use. They cost alot to manufacture, and they remain very inefficient. (Sure, satellites have panels that get ~23-27% conversion efficiency. These are ungodly expensive, but how you gonna string a wire to outer space?) Solar remains the domain of malibu lights, rural call boxes, and hobbyists. (BTW, Big Oil - Exxon and British Petroleum lost big trying to develop the technology a generation ago.)

Wind energy seems nice. It's still more expensive than burning oil, natural gas, and way more than coal. Wind blows reliably in inconvenient places, at inconvenient times, is unsightly, noisey, uses large amounts of open space, and kills birds. How do you store wind energy that is made when you don't need it?

From an economic viewpoint: coal makes sense, nukes make sense, hydro makes sense.

From an environmental viewpoint: none of it makes sense.

CONSERVATION MAKES SENSE

If the USA had spent the kind of money on energy research that it's spending on war, we might be looking at solutions. But the USA didn't. So get used to high prices.

Some smart person in India, Japan, or China will figure this out while we drink Bud and build Bombs.

The back-to-the-hills approach of building stills and rooftop solar panels is quaint, but won't solve the problem for most Americans. Time to cross that bridge to the 21st century. Complaining is cheap. Solving the problem will take hard work, intelligence, and lots of capital.

This is a serious problem for our country because we've been sending 3-5% of our accumulated wealth every year to other countries to pay for our energy addiction. If this keeps up, your children will be working for OPEC folks who have purchased your country with the money you've sent them to run your SUV's, Ford 150's, dirt bikes, Skidoo's, etc.


But like I say: my house has appreciated 3X, so WHAT ME WORRY?


Very Happy



Coda: News it that BP is shutting part of the Alaskan Pipeline because of corrosion. There's goes another 8% of our oil supply. More for OPEC. And less for your kids.

Or just let it blow and there go the caribou.

Sad
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