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June 08, 2008 01:00PM
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/US/06/05/stealing.fuel/#cnnSTCText

Diesel thieves wreak havoc on California farmers

Standing in a field of organic tomatoes, farmer Pete Belluomini says the ground-cracking drought and unrelenting insects make it difficult enough to make a living on the land.

But they are the least of his concern these days as a new menace haunts farmers in Bakersfield, California: diesel thieves.

Sgt. Walt Reed of the Kern County Sheriff's Department and a member of California's Rural Crimes Task Force said that more than $300,000 worth of diesel fuel was stolen in Kern County in the past three months.

"It's an epidemic, gigantic problem," Reed said. "In Kern County alone, we're getting reports of five to seven diesel thefts from farms a week. It's happening in other parts of the San Joaquin Valley, too."

The crooks work around the clock, searching during the daytime for irrigation pumps run by diesel engines and supply tanks filled with diesel or gasoline, police and farmers say. They return at night, with their headlights off, to steal hundreds of gallons of fuel at a time.

What are the thieves doing with the stolen diesel?

Reed suspects that they're selling the fuel to truckers who've been hit hard by skyrocketing prices. With the national average of regular unleaded gasoline at a record high of about $4.00 a gallon and more than $4.75 per gallon for diesel, according to AAA, Reed says it makes it even harder for them resist the temptation of cheap fuel................

With energy prices and availability becoming much more expensive and scarce, average people's lives in the US ( and around the world ) are beginning to experience very significant repercussions. The search for " scapegoats " to pin the blame on for our energy precicament has begun to ramp up and blame in the vast majority of cases is being attributed to erroneous causul factors. I was speaking with a person who I used to buy electrical supplies from some years ago, and we were discussing energy issues. His perspective is that if only the " environmentalist " would let the oil companies drill where ever they wanted within US territories that our energy problem would be solved. Others point to speculation as the " real " reason for our energy woes. Some blame the oil companies fraud for what we are experiencing. The fact is, a very small percentage of the public, and even a smaller percentage of the elected officials really understand that this " Long Emergency " energy crises is being driven by a world where demand for energy is outpacing supply. More ominously worldwide production looks very likely to have plateaued, and a precipitous drop off in production output will most likely ensue, probably within the next five to ten years at the most. These declines in production will only get progressively worse, and do so quite quickly, barring some dramatic and as yet unforseen developments. Hydrocarbon energy is incredibly unique in the vast array of benifits in brought to humanity in the last 100 years. There is nothing on the horizen that is in any postion to replace its oil's ( and natural gases) power to propel the modern world. So many people I meet have it within their minds that all we have to do is just wait out this most current " downturn " and then our economy will swing back to the upside, as it has over and over in recent decades. The truth is however, this time around, the abundant and cheap hydrocarbon energy that provided fuel to drive downturned economic conditions back up is now at, or very soon will be in terminal decline. The decades of generalized ongoing positive growth will be transitioning to increased retraction of the US economy. As the energy goes, so goes the endless positive growth paradigm. This time around, people looking for that " inevitable " light at the end of the economic tunnel will be left wondering why it doesn't come. They won't realize before its very far to late that Peak Oil is the overwhelming factor behind their energy woes, and the declines they are seeing in the quality of their lives.
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