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I was eating some canned peaches tonight when

Steve Ebels_3
Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
I was eating some peaches the wife brought home from the store and happened to read the label. They were Dole brand but I'm sure any of the other major packing companies do the same thing. What I noticed was that the label said "peaches from Greece". I looked at the price, $1.99. Then I remembered that she had brought home some pineapple packaged in the same way so I looked at the label on that jar. "Pineapple from Thailand" it said. Price was the same for both.

So you're wondering what on earth this has to do with a heating forum?

Energy prices people, energy prices.

When some fruit can be grown and shipped 12,000 miles from Thailand to Falmouth, Michigan.......for a buck 99, it makes me think that (A) fruit is really cheap and (B) so is fuel. It made me wonder just how much fuel is used for transportation around the world. From what I read in an article published by IEA, nearly 60% of the fuel used on a given day is consumed by transportation of all types. That is up from only 42% in the late 70's early 80's. Fuel consumed by industry has dropped over 15% in the same time frame.

Those facts made me think that some hard choices are on the horizon in a few years when the reserves and supply no longer meet the demand. ( www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19677734/ )
I'm not saying the world as we know it will come to an end but we will have to face the fact that a 25 mile commute to work may not be practical. Consuming peaches that sell for $1.99 imported versus maybe $2.29 for home grown may not be viable. Living in a 5,000 sq ft house that has a heat loss of over 30 BTU's per sq ft may not be affordable or even right. We really need to invest in efficiency at all levels, be that home heating, insulation, transportation, where and how we work and make plans for a world economy that may possibly begin to shrink. As was said at the 25th anniversary bash at Viessmann last year, "The only thing that grows continually, using all available resources, is cancer."

Not meant to be depressing or gloom and doom, I just think that some things that we now consider to be fundamental to our lives may soon change or cease to be possible. Plan accordingly when making 10-20 year decisions.

Comments

  • singh
    singh Member Posts: 866
    The perfect apple.

    I found this article interesting reading also.

    Question:
    Would you buy peaches locally grown in Michigan if they only were available six weeks out of the year, and were grown with fertilizers and pesticides , or organic natural peaches grown year round in a country like Greece?

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1595245,00.html

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  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 552
    Well Said Brother!!

    Believe it or not, the Dole family baught a WHOLE island in the Hawaii chain back in the 1800's just to grow and sell pineapples. What's more unbeleivable is I think they still technically own it besides a few trusts and such.

    Global positioning for profit is nothing new. How much sugar cane comes from the carribean anymore...probably not much. Fruit from exotic locations at a decent price doesn't surprise me. Selling scrap iron to be shipped to China, where it can be re refined to a finished product back here sold cheaper than home grown...that defies logic.

    My rant for the night. Many more out there understand the nuances of this type of economics than me.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    The common thread

    The one thing that makes the exportation and/or purchasing of both peaches and scrap metal feasible is cheap transportation. If energy costs for transportation were reflected accurately in the prices of these products I'd wager that we'd recycle our own steel and process peaches right here.

    The issue I am raising is that our energy prices are so low that companies can afford to ship goods enormous distances and still bring them to market at a reasonable cost. Something about that is not right.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    And why are they so low?

    Subsidies!

    Energy companies probably get the most "corporate welfare" in the USA, according to this article (same link I posted a few weeks ago, for those who didn't see it).....

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/15051506/global_warming_a_real_solution

    Trouble is, what we don't pay in direct energy costs, we pay in increased federal taxes. And a lot of this goes into the energy companies' CEOs' and board members' wildly inflated compensation packages.

    This picture is screwed up big-time, and energy companies buy up politicians to keep it that way.

    Steve, that cancer line is priceless.

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  • singh
    singh Member Posts: 866
    I think

    Cheap labor also has to do with it more than energy costs.
    1.99 for a can of peaches? Somebody was on the losing end on that deal.
    The energy usage to grow and harvest the fruit, package the fruit ,in a can or plastic cup these days, ship it to a ditribution center, then transport it to a supermarket, that market needs to stay lit and climate controlled, until the consumer comes along. Some body did not make money, probably the guy that picked it.
    Then again, at least in some way we are supporting an economy in a far away country, and that fruit picker/ scrap iron worker, whatever, can feed his family.
    What about imported boilers and such in our own industry, pretty much the same thing. Scrap iron, steel, aluminum (depending on the boiler) ship to European foundries, then making its way over here.
    Good question Steve, but I don't think anything will change in 10-20 years, as long as a consumer is willing to consume, the product will be there, regardless of origin, and price.

    P.S. I like peaches too, both locally grown and in a can ; )


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  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    More than that

    I think the days of quick, long distance delivery of goods via heavy truck are numbered. Ever stop to calculate the subsidies the over the road trucking industry gets? Our highway system is excellent but in constant need of repair and expansion. Most of those two items are due to the number of semi's carrying 80,000# of freight coast to coast in a matter of 3-4 days time. What I'm saying is that the way we ship our stuff around has been totally predicated on the fact that we have cheap energy. This will not be the case in the near (10-20 yr) future. Why do you think Warren Buffet is buying railroad stock? He understands what energy prices are going to do to the way we move ourselves and our stuff around.

    Ps for Frank: That cancer analogy was from Dr. David Suzuki during his keynote speech.
  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746
    Doom and Gloom

    Steve, what you say is correct, but I gotta stir the pot.

    Linda and I have a friend, a Registered Nurse. She had been at the same job for 3-4 years and was getting tired of it, so like all of us would, she went looking. Her current job was on a rapid transit line, so she could drive to the rail station and go to work. The job she finally accepted was not on any easy rapid transit line (Rail, bus, transfer to another bus) so she drives. What I'm getting at is that at her old job, she was leaving at 6:30 AM and returning home at 6PM(or later), the new one is nearly 90 minutes additional total time away from home! She drives the entire way now for 3K more a year. I tried to convince her that she could take a small pay cut and stay in her town, leaving for work at 7:30 for an 8AM start time and being home at 5:30 PM. "No, that's making less money." She won't add up the time away from her family and the 25K miles per year she's putting on her 'new' car.

    We can preach efficiency until we're blue, but efficiency isn't cheap. Too many people in my area want the cheapest they can get away with and stay warm/cool. People look at cheap. That $1.99 can of peaches is inexpensive even with the shipping, would your wife had bought it if it was $2.29 and local?

    We can plan all we want and shout out to all that the end of 'cheap' energy is coming, but will people listen? Not until they HAVE to.

    Sorry about the rant...
  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746
    Heavy truck

    And rail. When I was in college, I worked for a temp service at a food warehouse. As I recall, 90% of the deliveries came in on rail cars and went out on trucks for delivery.
  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 552
    I

    have to disagree. The appetite of the American consumer is continually growing and will be fed by all means necessary.After 9/11 many thought the consumer was dead,the stock market in a shambles,no more Hummers and McMansions.What happened? People tapped the equity in their homes to buy more Hummers and McMansions with granite countertops.
    An oldtimer once told "Whatever you do don't sell short the American consumer it's always been a losing trade" For consumption to drop will require a complete disruption in the economy as we know it.Fuel costs 3 or 4X what they are now,a severe recession,some type of huge dislocation.

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  • Bill W@Honeywell
    Bill W@Honeywell Member Posts: 164
    Pound for pound...

    The most expensive thing to transport is bottled water! It also produces lots of empty containers but they are at least recyclable. Each gallon of water weighs a little over 7 pounds, so the stuff is heavy! Ever wonder how much gas/diesel is burned to move all that around? Ever ponder how much energy is used to recycle those bottles into winter fleece jackets? We're hooked on convenience! We don't eat fast food because it's good, or good for us, we eat it because it's convenient, right there on every corner!

    Steve et al are absolutely correct that efficiency is the key to intelligent use of energy, no matter how it is used.

    Getting back to transportation, those of you who know me also know that I am a railroader in my "other life", and I can assure you that all those great songs about "the railroads are dying" are way off the mark. Today the railroads are doing better than ever, lots of old names have disappeared into mergers, but watch those doublestack containers move across the west & midwest at 90+ mph behind 18,000 hp worth of low-emission diesel electrics, and you can see the future, not just for goods but for people, too.

    We can and do help the "big picture" by promoting, selling, making and installing efficient, low emission heating & cooling products, and keeping it all running well.

    End of personal rant!
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    Your disagreement is right on

    You said--"The appetite of the American consumer is continually growing and will be fed by all means necessary."

    And--"People tapped the equity in their homes to buy more Hummers and McMansions with granite countertops."

    And then---"For consumption to drop will require a complete disruption in the economy as we know it."

    The first two statements have set the stage for the third statement to happen.

    Consumers in this country and in many parts of the world have never been as far in debt as they are right now. Greed, lack of patience and easy credit have made it possible. Our economy and indeed the world economy revolves around cheap energy. That cheap energy is being paid for by $$.$$ of decreasing value at a rate that is nearly inconceivable. How long before OPEC won't accept nearly worthless $$ as payment? The last time I calculated OPEC's annual income from the USA it was around 1 TRILLION a year. I'm no economist but I doubt that we can sustain that.

    Such happy thoughts so early in the day. :)
  • Maine Doug_65
    Maine Doug_65 Member Posts: 24
    The tug and barge

    business is also doing well. Shipyards are behind in orders for tugs and barges of all sizes. New LPG and LNG and container ships are being built. Billions of M&M's are still being produced.

    I think that the control of energy will become more of an issue also. Russia just forced BP to sell at a fraction of its value their largest gas field to the Russian partner. It is estimated that this field is one of the worlds largest. Russia is slowly manouvering to have more control over production and distribution of energy to their part of the world. China and India et al are making long term deals with countries with energy reserves.
    Metals will also be more tightly controlled as the countries that have these mineral resources make deals with countries that are developing their own industries.

    The Times will sure be interesting....

    >>>Today the railroads are doing better than ever, lots of old names have disappeared into mergers, but watch those doublestack containers move across the west & midwest at 90+ mph behind 18,000 hp worth of low-emission diesel electrics<<<
  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    Rather obviously...

    Container cargo ships, refridgeration and a huge ship traveling at 18 knots day and night with a crew of 30 helps a lot. The reefer car is thrown on a tractor in the Gulf and you get 'em a few days later.

    Scales of economy are at play here, not some ominous dark the sky is falling mentality.

    The business of America is business. Fuel is extremely cheap for a 1,000 foot long container ship with a few million tons of dispacement.

    Let free markets work. Cheap fruit is good. It is a sign the system continues to work; and work well.

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  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718
    apricots

    I love dried apricots, but I don't buy them because all of the large ones are imported from turkey. Some small ones are from California

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  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    Given the ...

    political and immigrant climate of California, Turkey could be the lesser of two evils(;-o)

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  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
    Costs

    I agree that the transportation costs are probably very low on a per-can basis. My guess is that the primary costs occur before the fruit is in the can, and those costs are kept low on the back of low-wage foreign labor.
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    the alternatives are already there...

    they are just too pricey, but when gas hits 20 dollars per gal, then all the alternatives will be cheaper by virtue of mass production

    Only aircraft should be using fossil fuel, ships should be using windmills and tow miles of floating photovoltaic’s, cars should be on battery locally, and have induction coils on superhighways, all rails should be solar electric, this is not rocket science – just too expensive to startup

    The EPA sur-charged 9 dollars per lb for refrigerant 12 in 96, now there are alternatives for 1/3 the price

    It will take a huge push to overcome the energy change inertia, but once through, it wont be so bad – there is lots of electro-hydronics and solar hydronics in our future – I already started using electric water heaters as storage or buffer tanks – cause the electric elements are always there as a backup should the boiler fail – and they come with a built-in aquastat – I use the aquastat to run the buffer loop pump – but with the flip of a switch I can kick in the heating element also – or I run the pump from an external control and leave the element live and set the aquastat for 130F as a second stage heat source in case the load gets out of hand or the pri-boiler fails – by the time the new condensing boiler we are putting in start to fail – we may very well be replacing them with electrics – I try to get people to run serious electric feeds to the boiler room for the future

    I still recommend hydronic radiant as opposed to electric radiant – as I can use any heat source with hydronics (electric, solar, geothermal, or wood chips) – electric radiant though, makes sense in bathrooms instead of the infrared heat lamp, since you would want to use it in the summertime while the central air is going to dry the air, yet take the chill out with the radiant, so I recommend the electric radiant in baths right under the tiles – even it if you already have hydronic radiant there for the regular heating season, – this also makes the “heating” water temp control easier, as you would run the baths with the same water temp as the rest of the house – but kick in the electric just when taking a bath/shower – it’s way better than the infrared light customarily used for this purpose – as it’s under foot, like hunters say, “don’t give a darn about the cold if my feet are warm and dry”
  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    Dude, That's Deep

    "Only aircraft should be using fossil fuel, ships should be using windmills and tow miles of floating photovoltaic’s, cars should be on battery locally, and have induction coils on superhighways, all rails should be solar electric, this is not rocket science – just too expensive to startup"

    I'd kill for peace, I'm going to go eat a peach and think about all this...

    Rick
  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718
    well

    Ken you may have a point. I don't have a problem with Turkey because they are a secular (Islamic) nation. It has to do with their treatment of their people and their neighbors. Not to meantion they are on stolen land and try to move further west constantly.

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  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    no politics ever, cause dan will simply delete the thread...

    and we will loose the otherwise good info -
    we keep sex, religion, and politics off the wall, it doesn’t "HELP" the people that come to heatingHELP, and is a very slippery slope, dan usually allows good stories, humor, and some idle chit-chat, or collections and prayers for fellow humans in need – but the site is primarily for people that need help on HVAC issues or professionals bouncing ideas off each other – a professional may think they know it all, but a quick critique of their work by peers will be very educational to all, makes this site invaluable – I have an engineering background and I cant begin to tell you how much I have gained from the wall and dan’s books – even simple basic things I should have known, in fact I am taking dan’s and siggi’s seminar coming up in a few weeks even though I have taken many of them, but it never hurts to hear something you already now from someone who knows what they are talking about, not to mention the info gleaned from the open discussion of the professionals present,

    this site is also an open product feedback forum to manufactures, so we don’t ever want to loose this site - thanks
  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    It never ceases to amaze me...

    How we suggest foreigners making 50-cents an hour are the result of some government we abhor - never realizing we were at that very same position - which was the catalyst for our own revoluation, back in the late 1700's. Thus, spawned the greatest nation on earth!

    We also fail to realize the 50-cents an hour is probabl;y 100% more than the 25-cents an hour they made before we bought their peaches. We double their income because they are comptetive, than we turn around and condemn the fact they had nothing but total abject poverty for the last 1,000 years, but now all of a sudden 50-cents an hour - compared with nothing is "immoral"?

    Pah-lease.

    It took us 300 years to be what we are. We have no obligation to make the rest of the world rich overnight.

    If they survived at 25-cents an hour, imagine what paying them double that can and will do to their lives!

    Soap box is still open...

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  • Maine Doug_65
    Maine Doug_65 Member Posts: 24
    The same can be said

    in response to the complaints that the US environmental laws prevent everything and that all the foreign countries can do whatever. Those countries are where the US was (and in some cases still is) not very long ago.

    Eventually, poisoning the people catches up and these developing countries will find that they must change their ways as well.

    Here is some new news on Honeywell




    http://tinyurl.com/247gzb
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    If gas

    were to hit $10.00 a gallon:
    terry
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