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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Peak Oil

Originally uploaded by joygantic.
Joygantic blogged this picture recently, and while I get the joke, in truth, I'm pretty worried about peak oil. Normally, I'm skeptical about these kinds of doomsday scenarios: I don't believe in the Rapture, I didn't stockpile water and Cheerios before Y2K, and I have calmly ignored Nostradamus. But when people like this start to argue that we're headed for trouble, well, I get nervous.

I remember having a conversation with my Dad, who worked in and amongst the petroleum industry his entire career, in which he calmly discussed the fact that the petrochemical industry was not a good place to be starting a career because the oil reserves were on the decline. And this was in the early 90s. AKA, "BH" or "Before Hummer."

Sara and I were talking not too long ago, wondering which issues our children will think we were idiots for not anticipating. Is peak oil the big one? Tell me what you think. I'm considering never moving back to the US unless y'all start building railroads.


  • It will be a crisis, and I think that one of the clearest signs that it's real is that the auto industry is investing heavily in fuel cell cars (which run on cheap and abundant hydrogen). The US will probably not get hit as hard as the developing world when the oil runs out, provided we're still affluent enough for most people to invest in the next big thing in transportation--It will suck, but I think we can get through it. I don't think that we'll follow the European model of investing in public transportation--we're not smart enough to do that, but we will look for the "different kind of car." Hydrogen-fueled Hummer anyone? For some reason, that just made me think of the Hindenburg--but I digress.

    I have concerns, however about a huge, well armed, developing China where people won't have the personal wealth to invest in new technologies and which may want to stake it's claim to the last of the oil supply (wherever that is). That's a war waiting to happen.

    By Blogger Tin Foil Hat, at 8:57 AM  

  • I've been hopeful about hydrogen in the past, but recently I read that it's not the panacea that it may at first appear to be. As I understand it, it still takes fuel of some sort to initiate and maintain the hydrogen production process, and right now, the only fuel that it cost effective is fossil fuels. So it's really just passing the buck. I know Iceland is looking into geothermal powered hydrogen processing, but that's down the road a ways still. I'm also wondering whether the "different kind of car" scenario really works, since hydrogen, or whatever, doesn't offer a solution for air transportation (that I know of) and may not offer one for trucking.

    By Blogger L&D, at 2:45 PM  

  • Bio Diesel, is really cool, and has lots of potential. It burns clean, and actually keeps engines clean, my next vehicle is going to be a diesel.

    Check out this site

    Until recently, I had no idea that biodiesel was already up and coming. 400 trucking fleets in USA use bio diesel.

    By Anonymous erik, at 12:35 AM  

  • If you don't mind a little financial analysis, this is an interesting little read on Peak Oil.

    By Anonymous erik, at 12:37 AM  

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