Friday, May 20, 2022

Diesel Prices Hit All-Time High, Meaning Soon So Will The Costs Of Everything You Buy

Diesel prices reached a nationwide average of $5.54 per gallon on Monday, setting a new all-time record, according to AAA travel agency’s gas tracker. In March, the cost of regular unleaded fuel remained less than half a cent from its record high of $4.33 per gallon, at $4.328 on Monday.

These high fuel costs are just the first devastating drop, the negative effects of which will ripple throughout the entire economy, with increased transportation prices adding stress to inflationary pressures already shooting up the cost of goods and services. In March, the year-over-year inflation was marked at 8.5 percent, the highest rate since 1981. Bloomberg Economics predicts that U.S. households will spend another $5,200 this year, or $433 a month, for the same basket of goods as last year.

While diesel prices might not immediately alarm many consumers who rely on regular unleaded gasoline for routine transportation, tankers, trains, trucks, farming machinery and other industrial equipment rely on diesel.

“Diesel is the fuel that powers the economy,” Patrick De Haan, the chief petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, told CNBC. These increased costs are “certainly going to translate into more expensive goods.”

Despite the price increases, the Biden administration has continued to antagonize the oil and gas industry with a cascade of new taxes and regulations that hamper production.

In April, President Joe Biden’s Department of the Interior released plans to resume oil and gas leases on federal lands in compliance with a court order following a 15-month suspension. The agency’s compulsory sales offered only 20 percent of the lands that were initially nominated and approved for leasing, complemented by a 50 percent spike in royalties from minerals extracted.

Despite moving forward, the administration has been clear about its desire to shut down the federal lease sales. These sales were only scheduled after a federal judge in Louisiana deemed the administration’s pause on them illegitimate last summer.

“We don’t feel they are needed,” explained White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, even as Psaki and the president repeatedly blame Russia’s war in Ukraine as the reason for rising prices with the motto “Putin’s price hike.”

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy has been even more explicit.

“President Biden remains absolutely committed to not moving forward with additional drilling on public lands,” McCarthy said on MSNBC.

The left’s animosity to oil and gas exploration has chilled investment in the labor- and capital-intensive industry, cooling production in the process even as prices skyrocket. To suppress gas prices ahead of the November midterms, President Biden ordered the self-proclaimed “unprecedented” release of stored crude from the nation’s emergency stockpile, with 1 million barrels put on the market daily for the next six months beginning next week.

The president has offered no plans to restock the emergency reserves.


Why Elon Musk’s war on ESG matters—and how Republicans can win it by defunding ESG

By Robert Romano

Hours before Elon Musk announced that he is joining the Republican Party on Twitter, writing the Democratic Party had “become the party of division & hate,” he had just strongly reacted to S&P’s decision to remove Tesla from its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index.

“Exxon is rated top ten best in world for environment, social & governance (ESG) by S&P 500, while Tesla didn’t make the list! ESG is a scam. It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors,” Musk wrote.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk posted a Dwayne Johnson meme asking, “What’s an ESG score?” to which his companion replies, “It determines how compliant your business is with the leftist agenda,” leaving Johnson’s character pictured shocked and agitated.

It is one of the great ironies that Musk, whose company pioneered the modern electric car industry and has perhaps benefited more from ESG investment than any other, seeing Tesla’s stock rise to as high as $1,200 a share last year before the current bear market, now suddenly poses the single greatest threat to the ESG leviathan.

It seems to have at least in part catalyzed his departure from the Democratic Party.

In March, shortly after it was clear that war in Ukraine, and resulting Western sanctions on Russian oil and gas production, would create higher inflation and energy shortages, Musk called for an increase in oil and gas production in a bid to offset Russia, writing on Twitter: “Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”

Here, Musk was taking on the E of ESG: Environmental. That is, with a world at war, domestic energy production should take priority over far-off goals to address carbon emissions globally. It was heresy.

In April, when Musk made his bid to buy Twitter, he took on the S of ESG: Social, by addressing Twitter’s terms of service. Over the years, Twitter has pursued aggressive Diversity & Inclusion goals that internally impact racial and gender hiring quotas — which afoul of federal civil rights law and diversity sensitivity training in companies — and which outwardly enforces corporate censorship policies on the public under the guise of terms of service, especially to anyone who dissents against these goals.

In 2020, Twitter’s ESG report declared that it would not “amplify” the speech of some on their platform: “Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right — but freedom to have that speech amplified by Twitter is not. Our rules exist to promote healthy conversations.” Also, “We aim to strike an appropriate balance between empowering freedom of expression and creating a safe service for participatory, public conversation.”

In other words, some users on Orwellian Twitter are more equal than others.

Instead, Musk proposes to buy Twitter and make it a free speech platform because he says it is essential to functioning democracies to have open platforms.

Already, Musk is proving that individuals against this ESG corporate state are not supposed to challenge the agenda, or it will try to destroy you. In the process he has smashed their temple into a thousand pieces for all to see. But a sedated public could soon forget who its masters really are without frequent reminders. Musk will have to follow up on this if he wants to make it stick.

In the meantime, Musk has a point about the oil companies garnering high ESG scores. Is it greenwashing? Or is something else afoot?

In 2021, ExxonMobil, the largest producer in the U.S., announced that it would produce about 3.7 million barrels of oil a day — about 18 percent of all U.S. consumption — from its facilities throughout the world, a level which would remain relatively unchanged through 2025.

This year, even with the war in Ukraine unfolding, the estimate for 2022 was up slightly to 3.8 million barrels a day, expected to rise to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2027.

Chevron, the second largest U.S.-based producer, currently produces about 3 million barrels a day, expected to rise by just 500,000 barrels per day by 2025 to 3.5 million barrels per day.

In other words, the largest oil producers in America, even with inflation running sky high and pressing security and strategic need to offset the loss of Russian oil and gas production, are sitting on production. They just don’t care.

Long term, ExxonMobil in its 2020 corporate annual report stated that it is “Positioning for a Lower-Carbon Energy Future” by “working to develop breakthrough solutions in areas such as carbon capture, biofuels, hydrogen, and energy-efficiency process technology that can help achieve the Paris Agreement objectives. In early 2021 ExxonMobil announced the creation of a new business, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, to commercialize low-carbon technologies.”

According to ExxonMobil President Neil Chapman, speaking on March 2 to investors, “we will reduce the emissions in our existing operations. We’re aiming for net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions at our operated facilities by 2050.” And in the U.S., Exxon’s net zero plans will be attained on the Permian basin by 2030.

This is no surprise at all. BlackRock, a hedge fund with more than $9 trillion of assets under management, has placed green activists onto the board of Exxon to make it a “not-oil” company, thanks to ESG.

More here:


Massive changes to plastic shopping bags in Australia with NSW set to BAN lightweight bags in days, while Woolworths has stopped selling its 15c reusable bags

And what good will this do? The claim is that it will keep plastic out of the oceans. It won't -- for the excellent reason that plastic bags used in Australia don't go there anyway. Most plastic in the oceans comes from Asia. Such waste in Australia is normally disposed of properly. All those garbage trucks running around our suburbs are actually doing something

Australian consumers face a plastic bag revolution in just days with major changes coming into effect in NSW and Western Australia in the coming weeks.

NSW will ban lightweight plastic bags from June 1, while Woolworths supermarket will stop selling its 15c reusable plastic bags across all stores in WA from July.

The supermarket giant will only be offering its paper, green fabric and Bag for Good alternatives when a statewide ban on plastic bags comes into effect from July.

'Over the next month, we'll be gradually phasing out plastic shopping bags from our stores and online orders across WA, as we move to support the WA Government's upcoming plastic bag ban,' Woolworths state general manager Karl Weber said.

'This change will see more than 30 million plastic bags removed from circulation in WA every year — which is a big win for the health of our oceans and waterways.

'While our paper bags will continue to be available, the most sustainable bag you can use is the reusable one you bring from home.'

More than 80 per cent of shoppers are bringing their own bags into the supermarkets - meaning the latest change will have an impact on a small number of customers.

'The vast majority of our customers already bring their own reusable bags to shop, which is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage customers to keep up the great work,' Mr Weber said.

'We know the change brought about by this new WA legislation may be an adjustment for some customers and we thank them in advance for their support as we all work together to grow greener.'

Customers will be reminded of the looming change by in-store advertisements.

Environment minister Reece Whitby said the state was leading the way on banning single-use plastics across Australia.

'Western Australia has a strong track record on reducing single-use plastics in the environment, and was named the top jurisdiction in the country two years in a row by WWF Australia, for the work that is being done,' he said.

'The WA community has shown overwhelming support for this — and I would like to thank everyone, including Woolworths, who have embraced these important changes.'

The paper bag will cost 20c and will be able to carry up to 6kgs of groceries.

Woolworths was the first supermarket to ditch single-use plastic bags in 2018. The reusable plastic bag was introduced for 15 cents and was sold as a cheaper alternative to its 99c fabric bags.

Plastic items will be banned in two stages across Western Australia.

The first stage includes banning thick plastic bags, plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws, takeaway polystyrene food containers and helium balloon releases.

The second stage will ban thin plastic produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, oxo‑degradable plastics, takeaway coffee cups and lids, and polystyrene cups.

This change will come into effect by the end of 2022.

Businesses disregarding the ban risk heavy fines of up to $5,000.

Meanwhile, the NSW Environment Protection Authority outlined more detail on other products facing the state's upcoming ban.

Items in the firing line include single-use plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, plates, bowls, chopsticks and sporks.

Other products being phased out are cotton buds and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items.

Plastic microbeads found in rinse-off personal care products - used for exfoliating and scrubbing - will also face a ban.

The supply of all these materials will be phased out by November 1 2022.

The NSW parliament passed the 'ground-breaking' legislation in November last year which will gradually halt the supply of problematic single-use plastic items.




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