Energy Security, the Infographic

The Congressional Budget Office is out with another fine infographic, this time on energy security.

The entire infographic is too big to post here, but here’s how Andrew Stocking and Maureen Costantino portray America’s energy sources and uses:

One of the most notable features is the absence of any link from natural gas to transportation (some natural gas is used in transportation, of course, but not enough to make the cut for this image). Given the ever-growing divergence between oil and natural gas prices, I wonder whether that will still be true a decade from now? Or will someone finally crack the natural gas to transportation fuel market in a big way?

14 thoughts on “Energy Security, the Infographic”

  1. “Given the ever-growing divergence between oil and natural gas prices, I wonder whether that will still be true a decade from now? Or will someone finally crack the natural gas to transportation fuel market in a big way?”

    It is amazing that with the US natural gas resources, an effort has not been made to convert vehicles to natural gas. The technology already exists— European autos have been running on natural gas for decades. The main obstacle is fitting out filling stations, but this should not be a problem with mass transit vehicles. It makes much more sense economically and environmentally today to convert vehicles (and filling stations) to natural gas than it does to convert them to electricity.

    For an idea of the scope of natural gas vehicle use in Europe, there is an informative web site maintained by the Natural Gas Vehicle Association, Europe:

    http://www.ngvaeurope.eu/

  2. What the graphic does not show is how dependent nat-gas, coal, nuclear and ‘renewable’ are on petroleum. A reduction in the amount of available petroleum will produce equal or greater reductions in the amounts of the other fuels available.

    Natural gas flows from new wells drilled with diesel fuel-powered equipment and diesel train-loads of petro-based fracking fluids, Nuclear reactors and coal furnaces require diesel-powered mining equipment and railroads, ships and barges to gain and ship the fuels and build/repair facilities; home heating oil delivery- and power company maintenance vehicles run on diesel. Windmills and solar panels are dependent on diesel trucks, cranes and railroads for installation and maintenance as well as a giant system of infrastructure to run these things on.

    For decoupling to take place would require an comprehensive allocation plan that would make sure trucking companies, farmers, maintenance men, delivery drivers, heavy-equipment/mining companies, railroads, utilities and other interests have fuel priority over government(s) and ordinary motorists. To do so would require the US government to publicly acknowledge peak oil, admit that it has already happened, and that the public will have to make permanent adjustments. None of these things have happened.

    When fuel shortages arrive, the public, utilities and other interests (grocery stores) will be left to fend for themselves while the military allocates available petroleum to itself. The entire mess will be offered as a ‘black swan’ that ‘nobody could possibly have predicted’.

    This ‘self-fending’ has taken place after hurricanes in the Gulf, leaving cities and entire regions without services This will happen again, the difference is depletion-driven shortages are permanent.

  3. Seems the best and/or easiest way to lower the volatility in transportation fuel is to promote battery powered/plug-in vehicles. This would help transfer the load onto the electric grid, which is a much more flexible source of energy.

  4. Natural Gas does not have the energy density to make it a viable fuel for personal vehicles due to the size of a pressurized fuel tank in a car. A bus or a truck is much larger and can accommadate lower energy resources such as nat gas.

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