Oil consumption "just fell off a cliff"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/04/oil-consumption-just-fell-of.html


On the one hand, there’s a deadly virus running amok, killing the very young and elderly, but on the other hand I just saved $6 at the pump!




SA has Putin over a barrel.


Gravy train is over for Big Oil, they’ve been warned for decades.


Big oil will still find a way to blame Greta…


That’s what you assume the upside of reduced oil consumption would be?

Well, username checks out at least.


My (more savvy than me) wife has speculated that this effect of the virus will, in fact, remain after the worst of it has passed. Over the next several weeks to months there will be a lot of meetings being conducted virtually rather than in-person and, probably, most of them will go just fine and have the same end result. Maybe agencies, companies, and trade associations will find out that in many cases travel isn’t actually essential and just do more collaboration remotely.

So far, traveling for work has not been canceled at my job, but I am actually hoping that it happens soon, before a scheduled meeting in May.


In all seriousness (okay, morbid seriousness to be fair), I was looking at an article that showed how drastic the reduction of smog in China was, due to the lock down of the population to contain the spread of the virus. It’s quite shocking how quickly the air has cleared up. And I had the horrible, horrible thought: what if the deaths from the virus are far less than the deaths from air pollution?

Edit: After more thought, and talking with my nurse-wife, I’ve realized that the cumulative effects of air pollution on one’s health are not going to be reversed by a small block of time wherein one is not exposed to the pollution. The damage has been done, and the Corona virus will still be of greater harm to someone who has been living in a smog environment, whether or not the smog is currently present when they contract the virus. In conclusion, I should just save myself a lot of dismay and stop thinking about things.


Sounds plausible. Kind of how the labor force was irrevocably changed by all the women who took jobs during WWII because the men were busy fighting.


Google in Dublin made 8,000 people work from home the last two days. Partly due to one person having flu like symptoms but mostly, they claim, to test their ability to do this.

My only problem with this, and in my work I take most meetings online that aren’t down the corridor, is that as with Uber externalising the cost of their employees car companies will get to use their workers’ PCs.

I’m surprised in general that so many people travel for work. I don’t think it’s necessary.


Unlikely, as corporations want to own PCs for the infosec. Leaving that to the individual employee is a disaster waiting to happen. They have a hard enough time with social engineering hacking, much less lack of security from somebody’s unsecured laptop.


At least your aware enough to note that large numbers of people dying is not in any meaningful way “an upside” to corona virus, even if a side effect is less pollution and big oil taking a hit. The only way we fix the problem caused by big oil is by hard work - protesting, voting, educating ourselves and each other, advocating, thinking, and figuring out real world alternatives. I suspect some will find this “short cut” (lots of people dying as a disease spreads globally) to be a wise assessment, which I find rather disturbing, as if the loss of human life is a mere intellectual exercise…


I’m not sure the article does a very good job of explaining the seriousness of that drop in consumption and what it means for the world economy. All that oil that didn’t get consumed means that stuff wasn’t being made because stuff wasn’t being shipped because stuff was still in the warehouse because stuff couldn’t ship or wasn’t needed because stuff wasn’t selling because businesses weren’t buying/expanding because people weren’t going out shopping because people were scared. All those things add up to some bad economic news that’s waiting to unveil itself.


I the long run, there’s going to be a lot more deaths from pollution. COVID-19 is not that deadly.

Maybe they even find out that less meetings and more undisturbed work lead to higher productivity.

Most tec I got from corporations was a disaster waiting to happen, too.

Many of those things were a waste of resources anyway. I don’t give a rat’s ass about an economy that ruins the planet, is prone to regular crises and exploits the workers.


Here’s the thing, though–that economy cares a lot about you. It determines your wages, if you have a job, how much it costs for you eat & buy stuff for your kid, how much your house costs, how (or if) you’ll retire…turns out quite a bit.

Thank goodness we’ve got a definitive answer! Whew!


Good thing America gave its biggest ISPs all that money to get areas of lower population density properly wired for…



The company I work for – a small company – has three remote workers, but everyone else is expected to be in the office every day.

The work we do can be done remotely by everyone, but the owner doesn’t trust people to work remotely; not even the three that already do. We’ve gone back and forth over it, and he flat out refuses to budge.

As far as I know, the plan is to keep on as we are.

Whenever anyone here gets sick, everyone gets sick. My guess is it has to do with the crappy ventilation in the building. My first day back from my vacation I was coughing and sneezing again.

So unless something changes, we are pretty boned.

(eta) And my wife works at a restaurant. So even if I was allowed to work from home, she can’t. And they don’t have anything like sick days for their employees. Miss a day, don’t get paid. Miss two days in a row, go pay a doctor your co-pay to get a letter saying you can come back to work.

Yep. Tip of the iceberg at the moment. I wonder if it could mean the death of Capitalism as we know it? We are in for more interesting times ahead, even if the virus vanished tomorrow. Which it won’t. And the costs and consequences will keep snowballing.

My bet is that Capitalism is going to need to adapt or perish.


I am so going to take advantage of this. Road trip!!!

/said without irony. I’ve been too poor to enjoy northern coastal California for some years now. If zombies do happen, fort Bragg would probably be a good place to wait for the end.

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Was there a missing /s tag, there?

It’ll be back to ‘normal’ as soon as this virus fades away as the spring warms up (hopefully).