A Free Man and Boring Pigs

First a note: Tommy Robinson is out on bail, to be retried at a later date. It’s a victory worth celebrating, but not a complete one. The court said this:

In the ruling, the lord chief justice quashed the Leeds finding of contempt. That court hearing should not have proceeded immediately but waited to hear the case on a “fully informed basis”, he said.

The judgment added: “It was unclear what conduct was said to comprise a breach of that order and the appellant was sentenced on the basis of conduct which fell outside the scope of that order.

“… The decision at Leeds crown court to proceed to committal to prison so promptly and without due regard for [part] of the rules gave rise to unfairness.

“… The judge might have referred the matter to the attorney general to consider whether to institute proceedings. That course would have avoided the risk of sacrificing fairness on the altar of celerity.”

Gee! Ya think? Still, a win is a win is a win.


Boring Pigs

This caught my attention at The American Spectator yesterday.

But how do you deal with cars that are pigs?

Which is all new cars.

Even hybrid cars.

The 2018 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid I just finished reviewing (here) averaged just over 42 MPG… right there with a 1984 Chrysler K-car. Which didn’t need an electric motor and batteries to achieve 40-plus MPG.

The K-car also cost about half what the Niro costs, in inflation-adjusted dollars — but that’s another rant.

The 2019 Subaru Ascent I test drove the week prior averaged a truly dismal 22.4 MPG — despite being powered by the very latest in fuel-saving high-tech: a 2.4 liter direct-injected/turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the works bolted to a fuel-saving continuously variable (CVT) automatic and geared for maximum MPGs.

All that… and 22.4 MPG.

My ancient (1976) Pontiac Trans-Am, a muscle car with an engine more than three times as large (7.5 liter V8) as the Soobie’s and which doesn’t have a computer, direct injection, or a turbocharger but does have a big four-barrel carburetor and burnout-enhancing 3:90 gears is only slightly less thirsty.

It is capable of averaging in the high teens.

The question arises — in view of all the “efficient” and “fuel saving” technologies new cars boast: Why are they so fuel-inefficient?

It is because they are grotesque fatties.

The average 2018 model car is on the order of 500-800 pounds heavier than its 1990 equivalent.

Here are some for-instances:

  • 1990 Ford Escort, curb weight 2,242 lbs. vs. 2018 Ford Focus (the current Escort equivalent) which weighs 2,974 lbs. — a gain of 732 lbs.
  • 1990 Toyota Camry, curb weight 2,811 lbs. vs. 2018 Camry, 3,340 lbs. — a gain of 529 lbs.
  • 1990 Dodge Caravan, curb weight 2,910 lbs. vs. 2018 Caravan, 4,510 lbs. — a gain of 1,600 lbs.!
  • The 2018 Kia Niro hybrid I test drove — ostensibly an “economy” car and a “compact” by modern car standards — weighs almost 3,400 pounds. Which is just a couple of hundred pounds less than my 1976 Trans-Am — which has a heavy steel frame and a massively heavy cast-iron V8 engine.

And the Subaru Ascent weighs several hundred pounds more than my 42-year-old muscle car, despite the Pontiac’s huge cast-iron V8, cast iron rear axle and a bolt-on steel subframe just like a truck’s.

So why is the Trans-Am so relatively svelte?

It is because the Trans-Am’s designers didn’t have to cope with the numerous weight-adding saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafetyfatwas which have made new cars so obese.

I never heard anyone call a Trans Am svelte before, it was one of the most space inefficient cars ever designed. But he’s right, it was fairly light, especially if you ordered it without all the “comfort and convenience” junk that ate fuel and made it heavier.

When I was in high school, my dad after he retired, drove a 63 Chevy Bel Air, with a 230 ci 6, Powerglide transmission, with ps and brakes. 0-60 was about a day and a half, and it got around 20 mpg. By today’s standards, it was a huge car, six passengers, and luggage for six weeks. He used it like a pickup, and it did its role well. By the way, he paid $500 for it, because it was in excellent, clean condition, book was about $300. Those really were the days. 🙂

Mom had a 68 Fleetwood Brougham, with every bell and whistle that Cadillac could dream up, and they were good dreamers, including the 472 ci V8. I found out one night, in a mile it could keep up with a 427 Vette. If one drove reasonably, it got 18 mpg on the highway. Yeah, it was even bigger than the Chevy, the footrests in the backseat actually were useful, as were the four power vent windows. Nobody ever made a better car for driving 12 hours a day on the Interstate. It was, indeed, a great date car.

Me? I had a 64 Riviera with the old 401 Nailhead engine, the very first (in 63) personal luxury car. It didn’t have all the toys of the Caddy, but it moved pretty good. It could even corner, although it was rather dramatic about it. How fast? I don’t know, it was still accelerating fine when the rear end started lifting at 110. A friend of mine had the one with the big engine, including the dual quads, and a rear spoiler, he said he had buried the 140 mph speedometer and I believed him. It too could be nursed to about 18 (on premium fuel), I usually got around 15. Hey, I was young and invincible in those days. Still the best vehicle I ever owned.

All of those cars were built with good solid American steel, they were downright sturdy as a Mack truck, not the beer cans you find now, and like the author’s Trans Am you were expected to pay attention and not hit things – if you don’t hit nothing, all that safety junk is just that – junk. And you know, for the most part, we didn’t. Maybe because we weren’t texting and putting on our makeup while we drove, cause driving was fun, not the chore it is today. Chicago to Philadelphia in one day – sure why not? Did it many times. Chicago to LA to Seattle visit relatives in Minnesota and home in two weeks, with a camper – been there done that, but dad drove, I was in Junior high. Easy peasy.

And the thing about those cars, there was almost nothing on them that I (or dad) couldn’t fix in the driveway, sure sometimes we needed a machine shop, but other than that we could do anything.

The safety idiots and the emission idiots ruined the American car with their various mandates. Americans did what Americans always do – Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome. That’s why we drive SUVs and pickups now, but they are going the same way.

Let’s give Eric the last word (and you should read all of his link).

If they lacked the power to issue (and enforce) such fatwas, we’d have lighter and more economical cars that would almost certainly be quicker and cheaper, too.

It might be worth looking into.

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Severing the Future from the Past

There is a really good piece from Scot S. Powell up at The American Spectator, and you really should read it. Some excerpts:

[…] The Reformation and Renaissance set in motion a cultural awakening as well as an unusual concentration of human genius and extraordinary wisdom that culminated in the birth of a new nation, the United States — dedicated to the rule of law, separation of powers and limited government, and accountability to its citizens whose rights were God-given and thus unalienable and not subject to infringement by the state — a truly revolutionary model that subsequently influenced other nations worldwide well into the 20thcentury.

Copernicus, followed by Kepler, Galileo, Bacon, Newton, and more were key figures in the scientific revolution that expanded the frontiers of understanding the physical universe. Collectively, they gave birth to the scientific method, which became the most reliable and powerful means of pushing the envelope of discovery and invention through hypothesis testing that involved compiling and rationally evaluating empirical evidence and results to arrive at facts.

What is striking about the modern age compared with all previous ages is the speed at which progress was made. Coming on the heels of the Dark Ages, which encompassed nearly a millennium of relative stagnation and punctuated with the Bubonic Plague in the mid-14thcentury, the modern age made rapid progress applying science and harnessing innovation and discovery, reviving and pursuing cultural excellence, and addressing and solving people’s common needs and problems.

That’s worth thinking about. When the US was founded, a Roman farmer would have been completely at ease on an American farm, very little had changed, but before the Civil War, pretty much everything had, it would again before the Spanish-American War, and again before World War II, and still again now.

These successive waves of revolutionary change have transformed the world, they are the reason why the world’s population has multiplied, and all those people are living better than ever.

It’s a logarithmic rate of increase because it has built on itself. Tractors and electricity before World War II begat telephones and computers, which begat the internet. Building on the shoulders of what came before.

[…] We are told that our culture and the way we live is now post-Christian and that the need for redemption by God has been replaced by the imperatives of a secular redemption defined by political correctness. That new framework is largely based on the one-two approach of promoting guilt among largely successful white males for their alleged biases and misdeeds, past and present, and then providing them a solution in the form of relief and good feelings through making amends and accommodation to new groups and minorities.

In short the path of the new P.C. redemption has nothing to do with character improvement and everything to do with identity politics — races, classes, gender and sexual identity — and also the relationship that man has with the environment. And there is simply no end to atonement, role reversals, and reparations to fix things. As a result, we have come to a point where seemingly endless manufactured injustices are crowding out the joy of everyday life, stripping people of their spontaneity and their humor.

And that is the perniciousness of the PC culture, it tries to make us feel guilty for our positive accomplishments. It’s not my place to tell you what to do, but as for me, I simply refuse to play their game. I recognize that white men in concert with all the other colors, and yes, with women as well, who are essential in our culture, have improved our common world by orders of magnitude, in my lifetime certainly, but also in my father’s, and his father’s and so on for about 500 years. There is nothing, nothing in that record of which I am ashamed.

Have mistakes been rectified, wrongs righted, all that stuff along the way? Sure, that’s the point. Everything has gotten better for everyone.

And that’s why the regressive left has to try to destroy history so they can destroy freedom which is our greatest legacy.

RAF Centenary 1918–2018

This came to me from The Churchill Centre, as it may have to some of you, by Robert Courts

The Mall leading from Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch is alive with red, white, and blue. Union Jacks combined with sky-blue RAF ensigns hang from every lamppost. The centenary celebration of the first air force to become a fully independent branch of any nation’s military is underway in London.

On the roof terrace above the House of Commons, the first aircraft appear: a lumbering phalanx of Chinooks, the distinctive rumble from their double rotors beating off the office blocks below. Next come the big stars passing the London Eye, roaring behind the scaffold-clad Elizabeth Tower, and zipping around the Foreign Office and Treasury buildings with their proudly displayed RAF station flags. The audience audibly gasps at the music of nine Rolls-Royce Merlin and Griffon engines powering the Lancaster, Spitfires, and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The national DNA stirs within every watching person.

The flypast slowly speeds up. The heavy transports from West Oxfordshire’s RAF Brize Norton lead the secretive intelligence aircraft from the old Bomber County of Lincolnshire before the brand new Anglo-American F-35s roar in to lead the centrepiece: twenty-two Typhoons—the backbone of the RAF’s modern fleet—forming a “100” figure in the sky. And as a finale, the world-famous Red Arrows slide in effortless formation across the grey sky, trailing red, white, and blue smoke as they go.

In Parliament Square, Whitehall, and Trafalgar Square, tens of thousands of people wear RAF roundel rosettes while their eyes search skyward. They clutch the augmented reality app to “collect” aircraft types as they appear. The iPhone app illustrates how far the RAF’s aviation has come. On Horseguards Parade, the RAF have brought a selection of their most famous aircraft for public display. The first—the BE2c, a canvas and wood contraption—is a world away from the digitally inter-connected, supersonic F-35s and Typhoons. Yet these radically different types of machine are separated by only 100 years.

For the RAF personnel of today, flying the plane is a basic skill compared with operating the mission systems on their complicated aircraft and that more akin to operating their iPhones than the “seat of the pants,” stick-and-rudder flight of the First World War.

In just a century, the Royal Air Force has gone from experimental novelty to the heart of British national identity. It has policed an Empire, taken help to the victims of natural disasters worldwide, flown a nuclear deterrent, fought for victory above the trenches, taken the fight to the enemy when no-one else could, and, in the long, hot summer of 1940, saved a nation and the free world before being justly immortalised by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Few may be fewer now than once they were, but they still lead the world, and have a richly-deserved place in the centre of Britain’s national life.

Robert Courts is Member of Parliament for Whitney.

I would have given much to be standing in, say, Trafalgar Square that day. Not least because the music of the Merlin speaks at a very deep level to one’s soul. Think of that, standing in the square honoring one of the greatest heroes of the English Speaking people, while honoring some of the bravest of them, the renowned “Few”.

Mr. Courts gives an accurate, albeit short history of the RAF, little point to adding to it in a general post. But the RAF (especially, but not only) epitomizes the toughness, the doughtiness, dare I say the pluck, of the British forces. It is one of the base causes of the modern world and needs to be more honored.

Part of the reason that this came through to us from The Churchill Centre is, of course, his speech which memorialized the RAF in the Battle of Britain:

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day, but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate, careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain…

All true, and perhaps understated, here was the first check on Hitler’s designs, which led him in his hubris to take on the Soviet Union, thus leading to his regimes ignominious end.

The last paragraph of that speech spoke of another matter, one that foretold the future

…Some months ago we came to the conclusion that the interests of the United States and of the British Empire both required that the United States should have facilities for the naval and air defence of the Western Hemisphere against the attack of a Nazi power… We had therefore decided spontaneously, and without being asked or offered any inducement, to inform the Government of the United States that we would be glad to place such defence facilities at their disposal by leasing suitable sites in our Transatlantic possessions for their greater security against the unmeasured dangers of the future.… His Majesty’s Government are entirely willing to accord defence facilities to the United States on a 99 years’ leasehold basis… Undoubtedly this process means that these two great organisations of the English-speaking democracies, the British Empire and the United States, will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs for mutual and general advantage. For my own part, looking out upon the future, I do not view the process with any misgivings. I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days

So it has proved, to the benefit of all the world, and that too was on display as the RAF flew over London the other day. Leading the current day warriors in their Typhoons, was the future, in the Anglo-American F35, the aircraft that is the future of air power in all the English speaking world. Unless I miss my guess, the F-35s were from the first squadron of Lightning IIs in the RAF, No 617 Squadron, the justly famed Dambusters. It is fitting that it should make its first ceremonial appearance leading the oldest air force in the world.

Horsepower and the Police

Things that can’t go on, don’t. We all know that, but we don’t have to like it. In my lifetime, America has had two types of car guys, normal guys that like to go fast, and cops that like to go fast – sometimes chasing the first group. When I was young, it was reasonably good natured on both sides, as long as it didn’t get too crazy.

But I come from an age when engine sizes were measured in cubic inches, and the ones you really wanted started with a 4 followed by two more numbers. 401, 409, 425, 440, and above all 426 followed by Hemi, the elephant itself, If you liked to be both comfortable and fast, you could add 472 and 500. The ones starting with 3 were ok, and you could get to the second gas station, but they weren’t the same. Note that there isn’t anything new about it, either, Packard had a 473 cubic inch V-12 in the late 30s. Yes, I still want one of those, and you can buy one for less than $200K, a bargain!

The guys with the bubble gum machines on top were not very different. America’s a big place, so are were American cars, there was a lot of ground to cover, and it needed to be done real quick.

What brought this on? Ford has announced the end of the Taurus, their last reasonable sized, rear wheel drive car, in other words: suitable for police use. That leaves the Dodge Charger, and its days are probably numbered as well. Why? Well, there is a story in that.

Back in the early seventies, civilians were driving cars with names like Camaro, Firebird, Charger, Challenger, Cutlass, Mustang, and some others. Most were pretty crude, with maybe an AM radio, but a proper gauge package, four-speed transmission, limited slip differential, and serious horsepower. The only thing they couldn’t pass was a gas station, but who really cared when we were paying 50¢ or so a gallon for gas.

But then we resupplied Israel during and after the Yom Kippur war, and the Arabs got irritated and started raising the price of crude oil, and the insurance companies decided they’d had enough of teenagers with powerful cars, and insurance became unaffordable. At that point, Uncle stepped in and mandated fuel mileage standards, and the party was over. For us and for Detroit too.

Essentially that triple whammy killed the American car industry, poor quality control didn’t help, but there wasn’t anything new about that. The knock on effects had much to do with the death of American steel as well. And so the rust belt became the rust belt. I lived there, I watched it happen. The rust belt was caused by the US government, never forget it.

So, what did we do? We soldiered on for a few years with pretenders, like Malibus with 305 2 bbl engines, but Detroit still had some marketing savvy, and soon the workaday American pickup got comfortable, and got most of the toys we had in the sixties, including the big engines, eventually things like Cummins Turbo Diesels (a transplant from an industrial engine) with anything up to somewhere around 750 horsepower. At that point most of us car guys became truck guys.

That set off the sourpusses at the EPA so they’ve been trying to rein that in as well, but they’re having trouble managing that, Americans aren’t as docile as we used to be, and the country hasn’t gotten any smaller, and our motto is still, “Real quick” just as d Tocqueville noticed way back when. And in truth when the Kabuki theater of TSA got going, driving became even more attractive.

The Police are doing the exact same thing we did, more and more they are driving SUVs and Pickups, because if anything they’re carrying more stuff around with them, and it ain’t gonna fit in a smart car, and a Prius ain’t gonna catch many bank robbers.

Unintended consequences, damned near killed America, but we’re still here, bitchin’, moanin’, and getting on with it. And that is how we got both Donald Trump, and Scot Pruitt.

More on this at The American Spectator.

Of Cars and Definitions of Efficiency

Yesterday, I was reading an article at PA Pundits, that highlighted that CAFE mileage standards, which were implemented during the oil crisis during the seventies, have rather severely distorted the market, not to mention killed Americans.

A good example is corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) standards on vehicles. Originally enacted in 1975 to offset the impacts of the OPEC oil embargo and US oil price controls, and slow the rapid depletion of oil reserves, the mileage standards grew increasingly stringent. During the Obama years, the earlier justifications were replaced with claims that a vastly tougher 54.5 mpg standard would somehow help prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.”

However, EPA’s own analysis showed that the new mileage standard would have brought emission reductions of a barely perceptible 3 billion tons of CO2 over the lifetime of vehicles covered by the new standards – out of an estimated two trillion tons of CO2 emitted worldwide during the same period.

That meaningless 0.15% savings was fraudulent enough. But as Competitive Enterprise Institute general counsel Sam Kazman, other analysts and I have often pointed out, the real impact of these rules has always been on people. CAFÉ standards kill, maim and paralyze drivers and passengers – because they force auto makers to downsize and plasticize cars and light trucks, making them less crashworthy.

Insurance industry and other studies found that the earlier 27.5 mpg standard resulted in 2,200 to 3,900 additional fatalities every year, and hundreds of thousands of additional serious injuries, in collisions with cars, trucks, buses, trees and other objects. Minority and other poor families suffer disproportionate injuries and deaths, because they can least afford the higher priced cars and light trucks with advanced safety features. One can only imagine the extra tolls that would be associated with the 54.5 mpg rule.

I’d say it exacerbated the trend, but he certainly is right, but competition was making American cars lighter already, not to mention shorter lived. An example, someplace around 1968 or so my dad acquired a 1961 Dodge Pioneer, it was supposed to be my high school car when we got it fixed up. We started on the bodywork, the previous owner had apparently been in few accidents with it. Then we made a discovery, the engine was pretty much wrecked, (he also ran it out of oil) it could be fixed, but it was going to take considerable money. It didn’t help that this was the old polysphere 318, good engine but even then uncommon. Eventually, we abandoned the project and pulled it out behind the shed. I wasn’t too sad, the 61 Dodge may have been the ugliest car ever made in America. On the other hand, this one had been my dad’s company car when it was new. I rode in it one winter from Indiana to Dallas, to Tuscon, to the Grand Canyon, and home in two weeks and three days of that was a convention dad had to go to. It was also the last unairconditioned car he had. 🙂

So it sat out there, bare metal and all. Eventually, in the mid-seventies, I ended up with a 1970 Polara, a stupidly practical car for a young man, I didn’t love it exactly, but it sure worked well. Late in the decade, I bought something else, mostly because I was tired of the Polara, and the gas tank was rusting on the inside to the point that it stalled the car, for the second time. It only had about 375,000 miles on it, so it was kind of a shame. It was also starting to rust rather badly. It ended up out back next to the 61, and dad and I both commented that the 61 had less rust than the 70, after standing with bare metal for a decade. They didn’t make them that way anymore.

The thing about both of them was that if you took care of them (and didn’t live in country where they salted the roads) there was little reason you couldn’t drive them a half million miles, or more if you maintained them. Try that with a new car. To start with, the systems are too complex for most technicians to understand, they’ve been turned into part changers directed by a computer. Cars have become disposable, good for just a hair over what the warranty says, boring too, I think.

And that is pretty much the case with a lot of things. They are considerably more efficient, use less energy, steel, whatever. Sadly the tradeoff is that you’ll end up buying a new just a few years down the road, probably before you’ve paid it off. To me, that’s a false efficiency, buy it once and maintain it is my definition of efficiency. I could use a new car, by the way. What am I looking at? A 1960 Dodge, of course. Real American steel and should last the rest of my life. What could be better? Mileage should be about 15-20 mpg, I think, and there are things I can do to make it better if necessary. Looks something like this:

The Triumph of American Oil

If you remember the cold war, America won it when we buckled down, built up the military threatening the Soviets when technological change they couldn’t deal with, and simply outproducing them into bankruptcy and defeat. It was even good for our economy.

In spite of the last administration, we’ve done it again. We have routed OPEC, the middle east, with the exception of Israel, is beginning to recede into the medieval meaninglessness that it had until the Great War. How did we do this? The Spectator knows.

[T]here are a couple of articles, one at the New York Times and the other at Reuters, which are required reading for anyone who isn’t aware of perhaps the greatest American economic victory in recent times.

There was a War for Oil, for the benefit of our friends who remember fondly the protests from the previous decade, and we won — without firing a shot.

We’ll borrow a bit from the Times to offer the gist

A substantial rise in oil prices in recent months has led to a resurgence in American oil production, enabling the country to challenge the dominance of Saudi Arabia and dampen price pressures at the pump.

The success has come in the face of efforts by Saudi Arabia and its oil allies to undercut the shale drilling spree in the United States. Those strategies backfired and ultimately ended up benefiting the oil industry.

Overcoming three years of slumping prices proved the resiliency of the shale boom. Energy companies and their financial backers were able to weather market turmoil — and the maneuvers of the global oil cartel — by adjusting exploration and extraction techniques.

After a painful shakeout in the industry that included scores of bankruptcies and a significant loss of jobs, a steadier shale-drilling industry is arising, anchored by better-financed companies.

With the price of West Texas intermediate crude above $65 a barrel, a level not seen in almost three years, the United States is becoming a dominant producer. It is able to outflank competitors in supplying growing global markets, particularly China and India, while slashing imports from the Middle East and North Africa.

A few years ago, the U.S. oil patch came under attack by OPEC, the international cartel of state-owned Third World oil companies from places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Iraq, Nigeria, and several others. OPEC decided to ramp up production despite a relatively soft global demand in an attempt to drive the myriad of independent companies which make up a huge chunk of the American shale production sector out of business.

It was a war. There isn’t really a better way to describe it. And there were casualties. Lots of them. Tens of thousands of Americans lost their jobs, and a large number of those independent oil producers got introduced to the bankruptcy laws.

And unlike those cartel companies run by flunkies of the local potentate, the U.S. oil industry couldn’t run to the government for sovereign wealth fund investment or some other bailout. Instead, they had to find a way to survive.

They did. U.S. shale won the great global oil price war, because eventually the Saudis and the others couldn’t afford to lose money on oil they were dumping at garage sale prices when selling that oil was the major means of funding their welfare states.

Production went down. Prices went up — a little. But the old dynamic, in which OPEC could set its own prices by a vote of the oil ministers, was broken. Back to the Times

“OPEC missed the point,” said René Ortiz, a former OPEC secretary general and former Ecuadorean energy minister. “They thought they could recover the U.S. market by bringing the prices down. Now the U.S. has gained the leading position in the world oil market regardless of what OPEC does.”

“This displacement of Saudi oil, Nigerian oil, Libyan oil and Venezuelan oil,” Mr. Ortiz concluded, “was never anticipated.”

A week ago, OPEC leaders met in Oman to discuss a probable extension of production cuts into 2019 to support prices. Their biggest obstacle is the United States.

Shale plays are much different animals to the gigantic prospects which used to dominate the exploration of oil. A relatively small, independent oil company can drill and produce using modern hydraulic fracturing methods in a short period of time and for a lot less initial investment than in the old days. What that means is when the price of oil ticks up, the shale players in places like the Eagle Ford, Permian Basin or Bakken fields can execute very quickly to get production on line. So while the old dynamic used hold that OPEC would turn their spigot on and off at will, this time turning the spigot off ultimately resulted in losing market share to American oil.

This year it’s projected the United States will produce more oil than ever. We’re likely, by the year’s end, to be churning out more than 10 million barrels a day (the Energy Department thinks it’ll be as much as 11 million barrels a day) — which could put us in a position to surpass the Saudis as the second-largest oil producer on earth. The Russians still lead the world, for now, in that number, at about 10.9 million barrels a day.

In 2010, U.S. oil production was 5.5 million barrels a day.

Quite a lot more at the link, but the key thing is. Never, ever bet against free men who want to make a buck, or ten. It’s one of the ways we’ve built the modern world, and also part of the reason it’s more peaceful (overall) than before. Prosperous people tend to not want to break the china in a bar fight.

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