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Monthly Archives: March 2013

EPA Sulfur Cutting

The EPA wants to restrict the sulfur content of gasoline by two-thirds. According to refiners this cut, from 30 to 10 parts per million, will cost $10 billion in capital improvements… a cost that will be passed down to the consumer possibly raising the cost of gasoline by 6-8 cents.

The sulfur content cut will increase the effectiveness of catalytic converters on cars.

What bothers me about this change is that it has been tabled for 15 months in order to avoid the presidential campaign and election. If they feared that the regulation couldn’t survive the scrutiny of an election then perhaps it’s not worth the economic toll it may impose. I wish there was some concrete way to means-test all the regulations that come from the EPA.

Congestion and the Economy

Analyzing freight rail shipments is frequently used to ascertain the trajectory of the economy overall. The New York Times has an article on a company that tracks GPS data from various connected devices and formulates a traffic congestion index.

“People hit the road as they return to work, and businesses ship more freight as their orders increase.” The rise in the index, he said on Friday, “shows the pulse of the economy is starting to beat faster.”

Very interesting use of shared location data.

Emirates and Qantas Partnership

This is a big deal:

…both airlines embarking on a 10-year route-sharing deal in the highly competitive market between Australia and Europe. Qantas will move the hub for its European flights to Dubai under the partnership.


Under the agreement, Qantas is to close its Singapore hub for European flights from next month and end its existing 17-year revenue-sharing agreement with British Airways on the services between Australia and Britain.

The UAE’s geography favor’s it strongly for agreements like this. Combine it’s natural geographic advantage with the significant level of government support and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of these partnerships.

Oil Shale

Springing off my last post on oil and the link to EnerGeo, I had an older post regarding oil shale bookmarked for sharing. I found the associated chart surprising:


So much of our transportation infrastructure relies heavily on fossil fuels. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is the second-most energy dense chemical (not counting nuclear) on the earth… topped only by Hydrogen. Given it’s availability, it only makes sense that we would harness that energy in as many ways as possible. The obvious downsides are it’s polluting byproducts and finite availability (it has to run our eventually).

I thought I’d share some great sites I’ve found recently exploring matters of fossil fuel energy.

The Oil Drum is curated by some seriously well-credentialed folks from the oil-and-gas industry. They discuss everything from peak-oil to means of exploration and extraction.

EnerGeo Politics is a site that explores the geopolitics of the oil-and-gas industry.

Living in the UAE for the last 4-and-a-half years has made me keenly aware of just how much of the world’s economic production hinges on the oil-and-gas industry. The continued availability of crude oil literally makes the world go round.

CAHSR Links…

A slew of older links that have been sitting in my queue on the California High Speed Rail initiative:

I’m extremely pro-train. I’m a hopeless railfan. However, California is going about this all wrong. I’d love to see a successful commuter rail line between LA and San Francisco, but I doubt we’ll see that outcome under this current plan.

Boeing News

Kai Tak Cruise Ship Terminal?

Hong Kong is turning former Kai Tak International Airport into a cruise ship terminal. Kai Tak is Hong Kong’s old airport and was famously dangerous to land at. Just follow this Youtube link to see how dangerous.

Straggling Links…

Some links I’ve had piling up to share for awhile…

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Photo by flickr user AK Ween.

I’m a sucker for the Warbonnet paint scheme and when I saw this photo I just had to share. Capitvating!