"I want an iPhone too" , "I want a car" , "I want my own house" ; these ideas are resonating in the minds of billions of people who live in developing countries. The whole developing world wants to become like America and Europe.
China and India and Africa are just showing up at the Oil Development party after %5 of earths people wester people have wasted more than %50 of global crude oil resource. And people wonder why gas prices are going up?
People should be wondering why the pump price is being subsidized down to around $4/ gal. The real cost of that fuel to our economy is more like $15/ gal if you wrap in all of the hidden costs and externalities.
Oil in Everything
Oil is not just used as a source of transportation fuels... oil is used to make plastic, paint, adhesives, drugs, dyes, fertilizers, fuel cell membranes ect. Look around you and figure what % of the things in your life are made from oil/ petrochemicals.
The global economic engine that allowed humanity to tripple human population in just the last 60 years derived more than 90% of its energy from the frivolous wasteful combustion of oil derivatives. Even the most sophisticated internal combustion engines converts less than 40% of the fossil fuels chemical energy into useful work: that is a thermo-dynamic failure.... most engines in use today are less that %25 efficient... The agricultural revolution that enabled humanity to tripple food production over the last 60 years, was powered by fertilizers and machines that came from and run on oil derivatives.
Magic Oil Energy
Our whole society worships the oil.... 1 barrel of oil *(~$100USD ) can produce the equivalent amount of work in a combustion engine as a human being doing manual labor for 25,000 hours. Where can you find a person that will work for 25,000 hour for $100? You cant... that is impossible. Animals are not chemically efficient enough. The oil is so cheap at even $100 per barrel, it is almost like magic energy. Nothing else ever discovered in human history has ever had the same kind of net energy return on investment as oil.
Cheap and Easy Oil is Gone
The cheap easy oil that people first exploited was giving more than 150 unites of usable energy/ value for every 1 unit invested in extracting that oil. Today, in 2012, the net energy return on investment with oil is down to near 25 units of every for every 1 unit invested in extracting it. The net energy return on investment ration with oil will continue to decrease, meaning each unit of that energy will become more expensive. All of the easy, cheap oil has been burned. We wasted and squandered it to built urban sprawl so that a small fraction of earths people could commute in steel chariots over large distances every day.
"Suck, Squeeze, Bang & Blow"
ICE Cycles That Cheat Our Future
The history of oil provides us with a rich array of failure examples to draw from. We don't have to look hard or far for a boom town gone bankrupt after they exploited their oil resources to complete depletion.
The status quo of western consumerism can be redirected nicely if we choose to conserve finite natural resources like oil and fresh water, or our era of oil driven progress and development can end in a depression that mirrors and exceeds anything we have ever experienced historically.
In terms of scale, magnitude and duration, our failure to dramatically reduce fossil fuel use will place modern society on a trajectory that is doomed to suffer massive long term setbacks. We can choose to switch to hybrid, plug in hybrid, electric vehicles, buses, bikes and carpools: we can choose to make sustainable choices as consumers. We have a choice to charge our future to protect against a devastating and rapid collapse.
Poorly Managed Resources
The worlds oil resources are not being sustainably managed. They are being pumped out and exploited at an even increasing rate to meet global demands. The demand for oil in 'westernized' countries is actually slowly declining as more fuel efficient vehicles replace older less efficient vehicles. The dramatic increases in demand for oil are coming from developing countries, where billions of people are saying "Me Too"....
The impoverished people of the "east" see what we have in the "west" and they want it; and why should they not?
What makes us so damn special? What makes us so privileged and blessed such that we can go in and strong arm other nations to cheat them out of their natural resources so that we can waste them mindlessly. Who do we think we are? Is that what God asked of his people?
We Have Choices To Make
We can't just continue to ignore our energy crisis and expect it to improve. We each need to make changes and choices to address the fossil fuel problem. We each need to make choices to use fuel more wisely. We need to recycle our clunkers and invest in fuel miser vehicles that enable us to go farther with less fuel. We need to re-invent agriculture to produce foods without synthetic fertilizers and fossil powered farming equipment. We need to curb population growth with intelligent public policy so that there are fewer people all vying for the same rapidly dwindling supplies of oil.
My motif in writing this post about oil has to do with my desire to build God's Kingdom here on earth. I want to help people change so that they can become thoughtful, honest, loving, intelligent informed consumers who vote for a better future with fully informed choices. I want to help people understand the High Long Term Costs of Lower Short Term Pump Prices.
We can do anything we set our minds on. Our countries are made of people. Our laws are the products of our choices. Our economies are the products of our choices. Our future is the product of our choices. Show me your friends and I will show you your future... what are you doing? what are you thinking about? Are you being thoughtful? Are you making informed choices about your health, fitness and future? Are you a citizen or an apathetic pushover? Are you a real person? Do you care about energy, foreign oil, our economy or our collective future?
We Can Choose to Solve This Problem
Will a compact fluorescent light, hybrid car or local organic groceries really make any difference?
If everyone makes a small change, the total change is tremendous. For example, if everyone shaved 1 minute off of their shower time, it would conserve billions of gallons of fresh water. If everyone who drives combined two errands into one, it would save the US economy trillions of dollars in oil we would not have to pay to import. If everyone was being thoughtful, loving, honest, and reasonable, most of the problems we create for ourselves would instantly disappear, including the foreign oil problem I am talking about in this posting.
We have a choice to reject sin and build a paradise on Earth. We have a choice to make the future better then the past or present. We have choices to make, and we better make those choices carefully, for our choices become the future....
Think About It!
When Dr. M. King Hubbert was talking about global peak oil, his statement, something like ""Our ignorance is not nearly as vast as our failure to utilize what we already know" made a lot of solid sense....
Why have we failed to address the economic problem of foreign oil?
Why do consumers accept horrendous fuel economy from the auto-makers, especially in this era of highly advanced technology?
If the 1997 Toyota Prius achieves a real world 43MPGs, then what in the heck is the rest the auto-industry doing?
An $800 Billion per day Addiction
Foreign oil is costing the US economy north of $800 billion per day. With this in mind I frankly do not understand why the Level II charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is not being developed as a national security and economic stability priority. Pundits claim the problem is one of the "Chicken and the egg". They claim that there are not enough electric vehicles to justify spending money to develop the charging infrastructure; whilst prospective electric vehicle shoppers claim they are hesitant to buy an EV without a more robust charging infrastructure in place.
That pundit non-sense about the EV tax credit being a government handout is a pile of rhetorical non-sense. We should remind these pundits at FOX that the tax credit is less tax revenue for the government, not a government handout. The EV tax credit puts more money in the hands of the working people and private sector where JOBS ARE CREATED! Get your facts straightened out FOX et. al.
The high costs of low pump prices : we continue to breath in particulate, nox and voc's from the tail pipes of millions of vehicles trapped in traffic congestion near populated areas: to the tune of $2/gal worth of added cancers, asthma, copd, brain damage, and immune disease that result from breathing the tail pipe smog.....
The high cost of low pump prices:
1. We continue to publicly subsidize roads and other road related projects to the tune of $1 per gallon.
2. Noise, light, air pollution having a negative impact on life quality: who enjoys sitting in stop and go traffic congestion? In terms of human time wasted, this adds at least another $2/gal.
3. Securing foreign oil/ indirectly sponsoring terrorism and human rights violations when we import oil from unstable countries that dislike America and Europe (the west). This adds at least $2/gal. in defense/ offense/ security/ global issues.
4. Our housing infrastructure has been built out in a sprawl pattern that is inextricably dependent on cheap fuel prices: commuting these distances with $15/gal gas will make those homes less and less valuable/ less feasible to live in/ less desirable/.
When we add up all of the hidden, non-obvious, indirect costs of each gallon, we realize that every gallon of gasoline burned actually costs the US economy about $15.
People do seem to mind spending $30/gal for bottle water, coffee, tea or beer.... but they moan and complain about spending US $4/gal .... which is actually not expensive if we consider the historical price history of gasoline.
The average inflation adjusted gasoline prices for the following peak years were; 1918 was $3.75, 1938 was $3.22, 2008 was $3.39, and the average for all of 2011 was $3.48. All very close when adjusted for inflation.
Unfortunately more than half of the oil now used to make our fuels comes from foreign oil sources. This is a real long term economic and national security problem for the United States and other net oil importing countries.
7 billion people all chasing the consumer delusion that the "West" promoted as "Progress" in a system that only functions by exploiting finite natural resources in a toxic industrial wasting process that is creating preventable cancers, neurodegnerative disease and auto-immune disorders.
The High Cost of Low Pump Prices : A faustian failure.