posted on Jan, 29 2012 @ 01:54 PM
Introduction from an Average Joe...
Oil is a finite commodity. We all know this, there is no argument, no dispute. All those prehistoric animals and plants, decaying into that slimy
substance we call crude oil – well, there have only been so many of them walking and growing on the planet through the ages, right? How many dead
dinosaurs do you think it takes to make a barrel of oil? One day the black gold will run out. It has to. Simple math. As the wells stop pumping and it
gets harder to find new repositories – those underground lakes of raw material - it will not be economically viable to get it out of the Earth and
then, for the Average Joe, oil will have effectively run dry.
No. More. Oil.
"Whoop-de-do, what is new?" we ask, and why not? Hasn't this message been barked out by wild-haired environmentalists and green activists smelling
of vegetables for the last 30 years? Perhaps even longer. Yet, there are ever greater numbers of Sports Utility Vehicles, gas guzzling cruisers and
fume belching trucks rumbling over our roads. It can't be running out. Can it? Same old, same old, right? Even when it does run out, they'll have
come up with something else in the mean time, us humans are smart monkeys. Aren't we?
Unfortunately, those conscientious people who care about the environment never seem to get the right message across. Their 'green' ideas seem to
translate to higher taxes and restrictions on freedom – they want to make 'us' like them don't they? They talk of holes in the atmosphere,
pollution, melting ice-caps. They may want to live in tree-houses and subsist on lentils and root vegetables, but we have mortgages to pay and
children to feed, not to mention jobs that we have to hang on to in these economically volatile times. Right? We need our cars and carbon dioxide
quotas don't we?
All of the warnings are just noise. The economic machine still has to keep running, doesn't it? Even if there are holes in the atmosphere, people
with skin-cancer caused by too much sun-exposure still turn up for work. We struggle on, making ends meet. If the activists had proper jobs, they
would know that life has to go on whatever.
We'll, without wanting to sound like a doom-mongerer, those so-called tree-huggers, scroungers, flakes, whatever you want to call them, well, they
are about to have the last laugh and guess what, the average Joe in the street is about to be the butt of the biggest joke since the Industrial
Revolution began in the late 18th century. Yup, after just over 200 years, the consumer oriented lifestyle is over halfway to becoming extinct, or at
least dormant for the foreseeable future.
The problem is, although the warnings about the changing environment may well be noise, the truth is that the economic machine, - 'our' economic
machine – runs on oil. Just like your SUV. What happens when it runs out of gas – petroleum refined from oil.? If you're lucky, the next gas-stop
is 200 yards down the road, but if there are no more gas-stops, what then?
The Turkey Dinner
Oil is not just a fuel. Obviously, the most visible aspect of oil in our daily lives is petroleum – gas!We visit the gas-stations, fill-up and then
feel the price of oil in our pockets as another few cents are periodically added to the price.
You think that is expensive? Have you ever tried to fill-up the tank of a jet-aircraft? They use various forms of Kerosene which, of course, is still
refined from oil. Oh, and don't forget the lubricants, Have you ever had to have an engine rebuilt because it seized up? Then there are the
plastics, The vast majority of plastic are made from oil so just take a look around and count how many plastic items you can see.
Okay, so the price of oil may rise and they'll want the shirt off your back to pay for it, but if you're wearing synthetics you could be in trouble.
For example, Nylon and Polyester are manufactured from oil. Never mind though, just keep smiling through it, as long as you don't expect to use
toothpaste to keep your smile white. Yes, many toothpastes contain glycerine which is also derived from oil.
The list of oil-derived products is mind-boggling and even when 'natural' products are used (e.g. wood) you have to consider how they transported
the timber from the forests to the sawmill to the manufacturers in order to make the product in the first place. Those timber trucks and trains don't
run on tree bark.
Oil is as oil does in our modern society. It fuels and lubricates every aspect of our lives. It keeps us living in the fashion we have become
accustomed to over the last 200 odd years. Without it available in large quantities, we end up stuffed more than a well-fed turkey at Thanksgiving.
How much is a large quantity? Well, estimates vary, but you are probably looking at around 20 million barrels a day in the US alone, give or take a
million barrels. That is around the same as the next top 4 consumers combined - China, Japan, India and Russia.
"What the heck is a barrel?" you may ask. To make it easier, think of it as 42 US gallons. So, all those barrels equate to around 840 million
gallons per day, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the total oil consumption of the entire planet per day. In a year, around 1,000 gallons of
oil are consumed for every man woman and child in the US.
That doesn't sound too much actually, does it? Some folks have to commute in and out of the city and easily burn a couple of gallons a day, 5 days a
week, 50 weeks a year. That is easily 500 gallons there. Yeah, but now consider everyone doing it. Every single citizen of the US. Husbands, wives,
children, even retired folks who should be relaxing and playing shuffle-board. Imagine all of them doing that in their own car if you can, all
commuting and burning not just 500 gallons per year but twice that amount. That long road of imagination is very busy with over 307 million cars on it
and they're using a lot of oil!
If that sounds unreasonable, consider that there were around 254 million passenger vehicles registered in the US in 2007. The bad lands of imagination
are in fact a reality.
"I hear you, but so what?"
Did you ever go to get a cup of coffee to then find that you're really low on instant or even beans? You don't want to go out to the store to get
more but you've got the rest of the evening to get through. You might manage to get one more cup out of it but you'd probably normally drink three,
maybe even four. What do you do?
Well, you could go and get some more, but consider that the store is shut, or that it is raining and cold and you don't feel like going out. Do you
take the hit and glug it back? Enjoy that last cup of coffee of the evening and to hell with the rest of it? Or, do you ration it, make smaller cups,
enjoy the last of it bit by bit?
We have the same decision with oil, although some of the coffee I have been drinking lately tastes and looks just like oil!
OP Continued ...