Peak Oil News: Peak Oil means era of cheap gas is over

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Peak Oil means era of cheap gas is over

Desoto Sun Herald

“My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel.”
-- popular saying in Saudi Arabia

If a former Shell Oil researcher and Princeton professor named Kenneth Deffeyes is correct, this Thanksgiving will be a momentous date in history.

No, not because it marks the centennial of downtown Arcadia burning down.

In the bigger picture, Nov. 25, according to Deffeyes, is the date that we reach what is called Peak Oil. On that date, half of the oil ever available -- 2 trillion barrels -- will have been used up. Supply will never again be able to meet demand.

For us, Thanksgiving is the end of the inexpensive ride we have enjoyed since oil became the lubricant for our economy.

Ahead, we face a choice: Experience a collapse of the global economy; or find a way to wean ourselves of an oil addiction where 5 percent of the world's population consumes one-fourth of this finite resource.

That's us. We're fossil fuel hogs.

We drive gas-guzzling SUVs, build ever bigger houses requiring more electricity to heat and cool, fly and boat for fun, and push aside concerns that the remaining oil might be better used for pharmaceuticals, making computers, or helping create alternative energy infrastructures.

Our attitudes must change with Peak Oil. Or our lifestyles will.

See, when demand outstrips supply, a commodity's scarcity inflates its price. That will happen with gasoline and fuel oil. And soon, most predict. The day of cheap oil is over. Forever.

There could even be panic at the pumps. A 1973 crimp in oil supply from the Middle East created lines and shortages at gas stations. That was a 5-percent crimp. That exact crimp, according to Vice President Dick Cheney in a speech, will be the shortfall in the first year after Peak Oil.

The pessimists on this subject foresaw our war with Iraq. They called it Oil War I. Iran will be the location of Oil War II, they predict. We must have that oil on the marketplace. We'll kill for it. Die for it. We'll draft our sons and daughters just to quench our oil thirst. We'll trade blood for oil.

Do you see a government in place that is preparing alternative energy sources as the oil supply wanes? Have you taken steps to become more energy independent?

If we do nothing, examples of our Peak Oil future are close at hand. They're the Mennonite communities in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Nice folks. Don't use much oil.

* * *

"The solution is to pray. Under the best of circumstances, if all prayers are answered, there will be no crisis for maybe two years. After that, it's a certainty."

-- Matthew Simmons, energy investment banker and adviser to George W. Bush


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