Over at The Oil Drum, Colonel Drake quotes the NYT:
According the the NY Times today in the business section "To increase output from the current 9 million barrels a day, to 10.5 million in 2030, Russia will need to invest $900 billion in oil field technology".
That's a good chunk of change, roughly $600,000 to get one barrel per day of additional output*. It made me wonder how it compared to the investment required to save a barrel per day? So, since I'm writing this piece as a stream-of-consciousness, I'll crunch the numbers as I go.
Suppose that our current vehicle fleet is comparable to Toyota Camrys at ~25 MPG, and we have a choice of new ones, Prius-equivalents at 46 MPG, or Prius+ equivalents at 120 MPG (plus electricity). All cars travel the average of 13,000 miles per year. The Prius-equivalent costs $2000 over the Camry-equivalent, and the PHEV costs $6000 more (assuming cheaper batteries and volume discounts). Further, each car lasts 12 years so you need to pay the premium twice.
The fuel consumption of each vehicle is as follows:
|Vehicle||Gallons/year|| Savings over
|bbl/day saved||$/bbl/day|| Savings over
It appears that a nation full of Priuses takes less than 40% of the investment required of the equivalent in Camrys plus the additional oil production to feed them. The Prius+ would be somewhat less economic at about 75% of the required investment, but still better than drilling. Further, the improvements in balance of trade, air quality and national security from the reduced oil demand are not measured as savings in this analysis. (The utter folly of cancelling the PNGV five years ago is now glaringly obvious.)
This is a hypothetical. Our true situation is considerably better than this:
If we are really interested in saving money on fuel, one of our best options appears to be to make our vehicle fleet more efficient. It's far cheaper than going out to drill for more oil right now, and if it turns out that we need that oil after 2030... it would still be there!
* Maybe not that much, because much of that investment would probably be required just to keep production level at 9 mmbbl/day. But that's the quote.
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