A Life Without Oil
|It took 300 million years to form
all global oil reserves in the world, and yet within one-hundred and
twenty-five years, we have already managed to use up nearly half it.
"The world now consumes 85 million barrels of oil per day, or 40,000 gallons per second, and demand is growing exponentially” (Kuhlman, 2007). When we talk about global oil depletion, or more specifically Peak Oil Theory, it is important to note that we are not declaring that the world is running out of oil, but rather the high quality, easily extractable oil is becoming more and more difficult to obtain. It a nutshell, the idea of peak oil is the moment when the maximum oil production rate, which typically occurs after roughly half of the recoverable oil in an oil field has been produced, begins to decline (Hirsh, 2005); as a result of this peak “the production of easily accessible oil and gas will not match the projected rate of demand growth” (Ross, 2011); estimates of when peak oil production occurred or will occur range anywhere from 2005 to 2020. The United States is a country that relies on oil and fossil fuels in such a way that as prices continue to rise and supply continues to decrease, life as we know it will be altered in many fundamental ways.
In the United States, over half the population lives in the suburbs, and as a result over 200 million adults spend an average of an hour and a half a day
|in their cars during their commute
to and from work (Langer, 2005). As gas prices continue to rise, traveling
to work is becoming an increasingly costly endeavor. When gas prices rise,
the cost of almost everything
rises, due to the fact that much of our economy is driven by oil. The price
of food goes up when oil prices increase, as gasoline is needed for
transportation and oil is needed for pesticides and fertilizers.
The cost of producing energy obviously increases when the cost of petroleum goes up, making it more and more difficult for individuals to pay for electricity, as well as heat for their homes. The economy also suffers when fuel prices increase, as it is a fundamental necessity to spurring industry and producing goods. Giving what we already know about the inevitability of skyrocketing oil prices, as well as an increased demand for fossil fuels as the population continues to grow, the time to develop new forms of energy is now. Diverting more resources towards renewable energy is a must. And while there has been considerable growth in the renewable energy sector, many policy makers are focusing their energy on trying to figure out the best way to extract the remaining fossil fuel that are still left, in the form of methane hydrate crystals and oil shale reserves. Although it would be foolish not consider how to use what remaining fossil fuels that still exist, we must also take into consideration the environmental toll that further extraction takes on the environment.
CNN. (2006, October 17). U.S. population now 300 million and growing - CNN. Featured Articles from CNN. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://articles.cnn.com/2006-10-17/us/300.million.over_1_total-population-households-census-bureau?_s=PM:US
Hirsch, R. (2005). The Inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production. The Atlantic Council of The United States,16(3), 1-10. Retrieved February 12, 2012, from http://www.acus.org/docs/051007-Hirsch_World_Oil_Production.pdf
Kuhlman, A. (2007). :: Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age | Essential Reading::. :: Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age ::. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://www.oildecline.com/contact.htm
Langer, G. (2005, February 12). Poll: Traffic in the United States - ABC News. ABCNews.com - Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News - ABC News. Retrieved March 7, 2012, from http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Traffic/story?id=485098&page=1