Oil

Making Low-Interest Auto Loans Work

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 16, 2011 |

Last week I wrote about the New England-based program More Than Wheels, which helps people get low-interest loans on new or good used cars, and allows them to save money on repairs, gas and financing. Most of the commenters — especially those who live in rural areas — liked the idea of the program, but there were a few persistent questions and issues:

Are cars necessary?

On the Road, and Out of the Red

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 11, 2011 |

In March 2010, Tammy Trahan’s 1993 Jeep Cherokee broke down on one of the New Hampshire back roads that made up her 90-mile daily commute. “I was in tears,” says Tammy, “I wanted to drive into the river.” As a single mom, the car was her lifeline, taking her to the job that kept her and her family barely afloat. But the car was also dragging her down. Because a bad divorce had left her with terrible credit, she’d paid such high interest rates that the car with a $9000 sticker price when she bought it seven years earlier ended up costing her $20,000 in payments.

Iraq's Lasting Success Will Be Measured in Barrels Per Day

June 20, 2011 |

Less than two years ago, Iraq launched one of the largest oil field auctions in the history of the petroleum industry. Amid red carpets and television cameras, top executives from the world's major energy giants - from Beijing to Houston, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur - flew to Baghdad to take their seats at the live event, hoping to win a concession. On offer were some of the richest and potentially most fertile fields in the world, in a country that could one day emerge as the largest reserves holder in the world.

Is Releasing the Strategic Oil Reserve About Strategy or Pure Politics?

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
July 7, 2011 |

For 30 years, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been more lethargic than strategic. Its roughly 700 million barrels of oil have sat in their salt caverns on the Gulf Coast, not doing anything more ambitious than providing a feeling of security.

Everything You've Heard About Fossil Fuels May Be Wrong

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
May 31, 2011 |

Are we living at the beginning of the Age of Fossil Fuels, not its final decades? The very thought goes against everything that politicians and the educated public have been taught to believe in the past generation. According to the conventional wisdom, the U.S. and other industrial nations must undertake a rapid and expensive transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy for three reasons: The imminent depletion of fossil fuels, national security and the danger of global warming.

POLITICO ARENA: Are Oil Companies the Bad Guys?

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
May 13, 2011 |

Oil companies are exactly as bad as we want them to be. They are bad enough to get a quarter of the world's oil production drilled, refined, and delivered to 169,000 US gas stations - basically every street corner in the U.S. - without fail. They do it through revolutions, hurricanes, scandals, and wild price gyrations. Who but a bunch of rick-managing spreadsheet-obsessed badasses would really want that job?

China's Energy Dragon Looks Tamer to One Forecaster

  • By
  • Christina Larson,
  • New America Foundation
May 2, 2011 |

Chinese skylines are defined by construction cranes and the din of jackhammers. China produces 50 percent of the world's cement—the next largest producer, India is responsible for just 6 percent—to build seemingly endless tracts of high rises, railroads, parking lots, highways, airports and shopping malls. But all booms end—and China's may end sooner than most people think.

POLITICO ARENA: What To Do on Gas Prices?

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
April 19, 2011 |

Neither Congress nor the Obama administration can do anything to lower gas prices. Still, that’s no excuse for the kind of nothing that politicians are engaging in now -- barking about drilling for more oil in U.S. lands, or claiming that the oil markets are run by speculators.

POLITICO ARENA: One Year After Oil Spill, Are We Safer?

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
April 15, 2011 |

I forget which culture has a saying that it takes two arrows to kill an elephant -- one to kill the elephant and the other that puts the elephant in the arrow’s path. In the case of the BP spill, the Obama administration and the oil industry have done a decent job of dealing with the first arrow (the precise operational and regulatory conditions that contributed to the accident) but almost nothing about the second -- the overall conditions that put the Gulf of Mexico in the path of a spill.

Unconventional Wisdom

Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 8:30am

Gas is above $3 a gallon; we're involved in two military campaigns in the Middle East; a quarter of our bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete; and there is little bipartisan cooperation on controlling greenhouse gases, energy policy, or funding the 2011 transportation bill. Everyone wants to change something about America's energy policy, but it's been largely static for 30 years.

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