Petroleum is Temporary

I had a real “Ah-ha” moment a few months ago about petroleum oil and our dependency on it.

Did you know that oil is non-renewable? In other words, once we use it up it is gone.  It’s temporary.

Humans have yet to create oil.  The earth is no longer creating oil (at least at a pace we need it).

This is where my “Ah-ha” moment came: Oil has ALWAYS been TEMPORARY.  So from day 1, it is logical to believe that some day we will no longer have oil.  Now “temporary” could be 500 years or 50 — it doesn’t matter.  The point is that it WILL be used up.

So if it is indeed temporary, we need alternative fuel solutions.  It’s just that simple of a concept.

The United Arab Emirates knows this to be true.  They found tons of oil making UAE and Dubai one of the richest places on earth.  But they know they will run out of oil.  So what are they doing?  Changing their focus on tourism to sustain them.

UAE is avoiding the issue by running the other way, but at least they see it.

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  • What about synthetic oil? That’s man-made, right? I think the reason that we don’t have mass quantities of man-made “oil” is because there is still a substantial amount of oil available, so that cost to develop it doesn’t yet make sense from a macro standpoint.

    The future is something other than oil, as you correctly point out. I’m just not sure how far into the future we’re talking.

    The increase in the production of plastics eats oil reserves, so recycling is critical. The production of crops for fuel purposes is still a negative oil proposition, so that’s gotta improve.

    There are no easy answers, but I know there are some really smart people out there who are going to given the opportunity to prove just how creative they can be.

  • rob

    @Kevin : agreed. And that’s kind of the point – we don’t know when it runs out but the fact is that it will. Therefore finding other ways to power our stuff has to be on the table. I think the issues then begin to be raised about how much collateral damage does the hunt for oil create? Ie., drilling Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, dependencies on the Middle East, etc. It just came into perspective for me when it hit me that oil won’t last.