$1.1 billion per day

The United States spent a record $34.4 billion on foreign oil in November, according to a U.S. Commerce Department report. That’s $1,130,000,000 we’re sending overseas every single day, and is a whopping 25% increase over 2006 in nominal dollars.

World grain stocks are currently at their lowest levels in modern times. Traders are apparently “shocked” at the much lower than expected plantings of winter wheat, but when North Dakota crops rot in the field and lie fallow because farmers can’t get diesel to harvest and plant it’s not surprising news, though of course there are other factors in play.

Exports from the US up 12% from 2006.

For 2008, I predict:

  • Less driving by the American population, and perhaps some more getting around by bicycle.
  • Less high fructose corn syrup in the American diet.
  • Higher prices for all foods.
  • Dramatic price increases in Made In China bikes.
  • Maybe some more localized American industry and more locally produced food.
  • You might want to think about plowing up your yard to plant a vegetable garden.

    Here’s something for Noah — the current issue of the Journal of Public Transportation published research on U.S. Guaranteed Ride Home (or Emergency Ride Home) programs. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) looked at the characteristics, costs and utilization of 55 (out of 63) Guaranteed Ride Home programs. Bicyclists and walkers are eligible in 54% of surveyed programs, and in one (Santa Cruz!) rollerbladers are eligible.

    Another article in the same issue of the Journal surveys Employer Perceptions and Implementation of Commute Alternatives Strategies in the Atlanta area, which include things like bicycle lockers and showers. The survey shows, unfortunately, most employers perceive that non-car commuter benefits for employees provide minimal benefits for the company, that employers believe their employees lack interest in such measures, and that upper management does not provide support.

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    0 thoughts on “$1.1 billion per day”

    1. JoelGuelph says:

      I hate to be the mathematician here, but wouldn’t 34.4 billion be more like 0.11 billion per day? Actually it is more like 0.094 billion or 94 million per day, or 132 million per business day.

      Regardless, it is still alarming. Especially the whole business of growing corn for ethanol for fuel. I don’t see how it ever made sense for something that takes over 1 gallon of gasoline to produce 1 gallon of ‘eco-friendly’ fuel. Not only the negative returns but the fact that there is far less corn being grown for food! It is a bad situation.

      I personally hope gas prices go up quickly and dramatically. Hopefully it will wake people up to the fact that a paradigm shift is necessary.

    2. Fritz says:

      (34.4 billion per month) x (12 months) = $412,800,000,000

      Yes, almost half a trillion dollars annualizing November’s number, and November is a slow month in terms of gasoline consumption.

      $412,800,000,000 / 365 days = ~$1,300,000,000/day

    3. JoelGuelph says:

      I just realized that was probably a monthly figure, not yearly and just came back to correct myself. You beat me to it.

    4. “The United States spent a record $34.4 billion on foreign oil in November, according to a U.S. Commerce Department report. That’s $1,130,000,000 we’re sending overseas every single day, and is a whopping 25% increase over 2006 in nominal dollars.”

      So what. In 2006 dollars, the US GDP was $13.3 trillion. So our total “foreign” oil consumption was $412 billion if we annualize as @2 did. So we spent 3 percent of our GDP on oil imports at a time when oil was near record highs. Color me unimpressed.

    5. Fritz says:

      3% sounds like a tiny number, but the U.S. has typically spent something like half a percent of the GDP on oil imports since U.S. production peaked in 1973. In itself this is still doesn’t mean much of course, especially since the US has been above 1% GDP for energy imports for a couple of years now. But Energy growth = economic growth, so when energy consumes a greater portion of our GDP while energy use declines, the result is recession.

      I forgot to complete the thought on this in my original post, but U.S. exports are also up dramatically, so of course it’s not all bad news.

    6. Judy says:

      I don’t know that those within biking distance are necessarily the largest source of the problem among commuters. It’s those that live 30 minutes to an hour from work with the carbon footprint larger than bigfoot himself.

      I saw an interesting cost of commuting calculator on a Colorado real estate website that was quite interesting: It demonstrates how – contrary to common belief – most people would actually save money by buying a more expensive home that is closer to work.

      Check it out: http://www.AutomatedHomefinder.com

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