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Shale oil during the Carter administration

I remember a brief flurry of interest in extracting oil from shale in the Carter administration. I think I remember Rifle, Colorado, booming then busting when Raygun canceled it. Does anyone else remember? Have inside info?

There has been a booming business in extracting natural gas from shale in Pennsylvania for the past few years

I recall some controversies about strip mining coal in the western USA, but shale oil extraction? Don’t remember anything about that myself.

It is economically feasible when the price is up, but not so much right now.

Price not up? I paid $3.50 per gallon yesterday. That’s pretty “up” in comparison to what it has been on average over the past 5 years here in San Jose, at least for my budget.

It was difficult to extract until recently, new methods of horizontal drilling made shale extraction economically worth while.

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Shale oil was used for hundreds of years for light and heat. Liquid crude oil discoveries provided a cheaper alternative.

President Ford promoted shale oil development in a State of the Union address in 1975. Carter initiated a program during the Arab oil embargo to jump start shale oil production with gummint subsididies. The last of those programs, a Unocal plant, ground to a halt in 1991 because oil cost $10 a barrel. The Unocal shale oil plant never made a profit.

Reagan deregulated the oil industry once in office. He did not cancel the Carter-era project. It died a natural death on its own. The first patent for fracking methods was granted in 1866. Less sophisticated techniques were using in the 19th and 20th century. Modern methods for fracking and extracting shale oil ramped up around 2004 as the price of oil went up. It peaked in 2008 and fell back a bit as the price of oil dropped.

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All correct, except the part about falling back. Shale oil production has been rising continuously. The number of rigs have dropped a bit because they are more efficient. A big issue now is that many shale operators lose money at $55/barrel, several have gone bankrupt.

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The article I found showed a peak shale oil output in mid '08. Not doubting, especially after the charts you posted.

Articles on business news said shale oil wasn’t profitable below $65 a bbl. Some producers claimed they could make money at $45-49 a bbl. I think OPEC wants their members’ taps wide open to keep the price down to keep shale oil at bay, either way.

US shale oil has turned the world oil market upside down (shale gas is now doing the same thing to the world’s gas (LNG) market, as export terminals are built). That’s why gasoline prices have been relatively low and stable. (Bringing it back to cars)


I paid $2.30/gallon yesterday. State taxes probably have a lot to do with the discrepancy.

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Florida gas tax is 10th highest out of 50 states. I’m OK with that. The road users are paying for road repairs…and the money is actually being used for road repairs!

67% of road expenditures come from local taxes and tolls. The federal gas taxes pay the rest. 2nd highest behind NY state. California has the highest gas tax but only funds their roads to 61.8% Interesting. Where is the rest of that money going?

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Florida doesn’t have taxes; we have user fees. We fund most of our expenditures by taxing the heck out of the tourists, and taxing fuel is one small part of that.

Is fracking used in a shale oil type strata? I know SD is pumping 1 million barrels a day now due to fracking. Or is it ND?

Yes, fracking is used in shale oil and gas wells. Without it those wells would not have been drilled.

Uhm, a gas tax IS a tax (and essentially a user fee as well), as is sales tax, as is property tax. Florida just doesn’t have a personal income tax. We have business income tax, however, but that tax is passed on to those who use the businesses services in the price just like any other business tax.

I have known a few people who retired from NJ to NC, because of their perception–albeit incorrect–that NC was a lower-cost state for retirees. Surprise! It isn’t!

Yes, FL does have a beneficial tax structure for retirees, but a lot of other states are decidedly NOT retiree-friendly, despite the common (incorrect…) wisdom.

That was meant to be tongue in cheek, but in a sense, what I said is true. It’s why so many rich people homestead in Florida after their accountants insist that they do.

The amount you pay the state of Florida in taxes is directly proportional to how much of the state you use, and anytime you want to lower your tax burden, all you have to do is use less of the state’s resources.

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Is not a user fee just a tax under a different name?

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