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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, sorry to get all serious but when I read about all those other posts re gas shortages in Arizona and the like, I thought to myself....in real terms, how many more years have we got left until oil as we know it, eventually runs out?
Thousands of gallons being transported here and there, being pumped up from the earth, bleedin eck! Will we still be using our classic (or not) cars in 20 years time? Maybe with an alternative fuel? We keep taking and taking and it doesn't seem right.
I'll be honest with you, when I first went to LA in 1993 I could not believe how bad the smog and quality of air was there. I saw a programme on the telly the other day saying that the US of A uses more than 80% of the earths resources!
I'm not out to offend anyone out there, I've been to the US 15 times in the last 10 years...I love it and the people, but I wonder what all you guys and gals think out there!

Cheers, Charlie
 

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There is enough oil under Alaska to sustain the United States oil demands for many years to come. We're just not allow to drill for it right now because it's in a wildlife refuge. There's still MANY years left of oil in the middle east as well. I don't think there's anything to worry about, at least not for your great-great-great-grandchildren.
 

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As technology for drilling gets better, more oil becomes available. Recent geologic studies indicate that there are about 3,000 BILLION barrels of oil in reachable reserves! This estimate is up from 150 BILLION barrels in an earlier estimate.

Politicians are the biggest problem we face, now, NOT lack of oil!!

Glad you like it in the U.S. Keep coming, our ecomony needs the infusion of cash. ::
 

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All though this post is not political in nature, I would ask all respondants to leave the politics at home, this post could quickly deteriorate.

With that said....

What do we care ;) Oil is replenishable. We just need another cretatous period and then 2 million years and we will have another huge surplus ::
 

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Gotta love Nicks answer! ::

If we run out of oil the United States has a very large Natural Gas Reserve capable of substaining our needs for hundreds of years. We'll just all be asking our Netherland VMFers how to do the conversion. ::

I did read in Scientific America that if all the cars in the world were hydrogen fuel cell powered they would actually release MORE greenhouse gases and contribute MORE to global warming. Something to do with the leaking Hydrogen. Water Vapor is a greenhouse gas and we don't need more humdity down here! Oh, good thing Moped Boy or Mr. Ecology didn't post this or he would have been flamed for sure!

James
 

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Back in High School, in 74, teachers had said we would be out of oil within 20 years. Newspapers said so too......
Of course, they also said with robotics and computers in our workplace, we would be working 4 day work weeks, more leisure time and more pay. I told the teacher back then that she was wrong, it would be more work at less pay. I shoulda worked for the psycic hotline! ::
 

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First, several of the largest oil deposits that they have located haven't even been tapped yet. There are still places in the mid-east where it still seeps to the surface. Additionally, there are many reserves that haven't been touched yet b/c of the many fields that are simply cheaper to drill. It may get more expensive, but I doubt we run out before we can't get it for other reasons.
I'm not familiar with the gas shortages you mentioned, but usually it's due to something on the refining end not the supply end.
 

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I think we'll see alternative fuels used in a big way in our life times. There's no doubt in my mind that it's a must, not a choice. I'd much rather think about conservation and alternative fuels and INNOVATE (remember, we USED to do that) new technologies that reduce our reliance on oil. I'd like to keep Alaska as intact as we can - if for no other reason as a big 'bite us' to the rest of the world - we don't HAVE to ruin our own back yard NOR do we have to depend on you for oil.

Hydrogen fuel cells? I dunno if they're the ultimate answer but I also find that whatever Bishir read sounds like more noise from the edge of research - which any new technology is likely to have. For his one artice he found on HFC's causing more greenhouse gasses, there are probably 20 times that showing they don't. And the explosive nature of hydrogen is kinda scary, but gasoline isn't exactly the most benign substance in the world either.

The electric/hybrid cars get a lot of kudos, but most people should realize that all those cars do is move the responsibility for emissions to the power companies - probably more efficient and easier to regulate and control but doesn't eliminate emissions, that's for sure. Reduces, yes.

As far as people being doomsayers 25-30 years ago - why wouldn't they? It would be interesting to learn if we've made any advancements in conservation in those years. I know that my daily drivers have awful mileage - somewhere around 15MPG city on both. I would imagine that in the 'scare' of the mid 70's, we've not only learned more about what's really out there, but also made huge advancements in how to get to it and refine it. There is no doubt it's a limited resource though.

How much do you pay per gallon in the UK? I would wager it's a fair sum higher than we pay here. We Americans seem to believe that cheap gas is a God given right. I could understand that if we were producing all of our own stuff - but when we're importing the vast majority of it? It's not only the oil companies getting rich from the oil... keep in mind where most of our oil comes from - who profits in that region? Think any of the money we're dumping into those economies and their leaders. I don't see a lot of 'Wow! thanks America!!!! We sure do love you guys!!!' sentiment for all of our money, do you?

Our classic cars being some sort of problem? I doubt it. Even if we had to pay $5/gal (which I do already putting 110 in the Shelby sometimes) it doesn't add up to much when you only drive a few thousand or so miles per year, often times much less.

Political conversation? Probably... but hopefully it won't disintegrate completely.

-bob
 

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I agree that this borders on a political discussion, so I'll say my interest is geology.

I think that the 80% figure is a pretty gross overstatement about our (the US) resource consumption. Half that is probably more like it. That having been said, a small portion of the world's population (the US at 280 million) uses a large percentage of its resources. That is undisputable.

All who've said that the oil and gas reserves have been underestimated are correct,but there are some adjuncts that must be understood. First much of the proven reserves are in a part of the world that is perennially in chaos, and cannot be reliably counted on. It is very possible that even Saudi Arabia may not be a source to be relied upon, given the royal family's tenuous hold on power.

Another "wild card" are the emerging economies, particularly in China. The reason Americans consume so much is that we are very affluent and technologically advanced (the combination is key), and that means we use alot of stuff to maintain that lifestyle. As the Chinese become more affluent and reliant on technology, they will also begin to consume (on a per-capita basis) more and more of the world's stuff. This could be a problem, as billions in emerging economies start to buy cars and refrigerators and CD players, since all those things consume non-renewable resources.

So, IMO, there's more fossil fuel than many of the doom-and-gloom crowd would have you believe, but many more potential consumers of this stuff waiting in the wings.

Many challenges ahead, but I believe that technology and market economics will meet the problems head on and provide solutions, like synthetic fuels for our relic automobiles.
 

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I say, the quicker we burn it up...the quicker we have to come up with some "clean" alternatives and we can start saving the world.

Slade
 

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The thing that gets me is the waste. When I fly over this country and see every light turned on..... Well it is just waste. Like when my kids leave the door open with the air-conditioning or heat on. Who cares...

I looked at some other foreign news web sites (does Canada count?) and they were asking everyone to conserve energy because of the outage on the east coast. This wouldn't happen in America.

And high energy use does not follow from technology. Farmers using low tech like oxen can produce cotton for one fourth the cost of american satellite steered equipment and over fertilized and pesticided cotton.

We wouldn't need so many resources if we didn't waste them or use them inefficiently.
 

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In 1972, the College of Rome wrote a book called "The Limits to Growth" with predictible gloom and doom that basically predicted that many of our natural resources would be expended by now.

20 years later, they produced another book "Beyond the Limits" which rethought some of the original principles.

One of the original points of their research was the exponential growth of the population. Later on, they rethought their original predictions which kept doubling the population and brought in other factors that would keep the population down including economic, health and available food.

If your really interested, you can read these two books. They will show how basically, we don't know what we as human beings will do when the time comes. We will overcome and adapt. Alternative fuels will be found, but probably only when we start to really have a crisis.

As for Nicks renewable theory, I agree. Except I think the Sun will burn out in about 5 million years so we'd better figure out how to get those dinos back alive (somebody call Spielberg!!!!). We're not gonna have a planet then anyway :)
 

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Pardon my blasphemy, but electric cars have come a LOOOOONG way in just the past five years (I've got a 1996 Reader's Digest - don't ask- that talks about how electric cars will never become popular because they need a huge, expensive battery that needs to be recharged over night after less than 100 miles and they can't top 50mph).
I won't be surprised if many of the cars built in the furture rely predominately on electirc power. Of course there will still be several of us speed and power die hards out there, but how many of the folks out there (even in their SUVs) need power beyond what is offered by an electric 6 cylinder, really?
 

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one other note.
The longer we and other north american countries delay in oil drilling and exploring, the better off we will be when there is an actual crunch becasue the middle east has 'run out'.
 

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Good points all...let me tell you what I hope for.

We are never going to run out of oil. Eventually as oil gets more and more expensive, renewable sources of energy (probably solar) which are becoming cheaper and better every year, are going to reach parity in cost. Then, these sources will start seriously challenging fosil fuels for energy market share. We've got renewables like wind and solar right now...it's just that they are too expensive and we don't have enough of them. Frankly, I also see nuclear power as being an even bigger player in the future with fusion power being the biggest contributor.

So what about cars of the future?

Beats me. If we can recapture all of the crude that is currently used to make fuel for stationairy sources back into the mix to make gasoline with...that would stretch the world supply a lot. I definitely agree that the emerging third world market is going to push the world price of crude up substantially if something else doesn't give first.

As far as natural gas for running engines...it ain't all that great. Range is limited drastically because onboard storage is problamatic. Safety is a concern, because while methane is relatively safe compared to gasoline, you have to store it on the vehicle at 3000-4000 PSI, which is a tremendous amount of potential energy if the tank is ruptured. And (at least on bi-fuel vehicles) power is reduced about 20% on natural gas. Although the nation does have very large reserves of natural gas, most of them are off limits to drilling and the old source (the gulf basin) is rapidly declining in production. Natural Gas is currently trading at rough parity to crude and is really shouldering more of the nation's energy load then the supply is able of supporting without serious changes to government policy. In my view the nation would be much better off it gas use was discouraged for large scale power generation, because THAT is what is going to make us all pay twice as much for our winter heat bills then we did back in 1999.

Conservation is important...but people don't want to do it...and really won't do it unless prices are so high that it makes them change their usage habits. Sure there are a few people that conserve out of an inner felt moral duty. But for every one of them, there's someone else that's using 3 times the energy they should (and bitching about what they have to pay for it like they're being robbed or something).

If renewables don't pan out we will end up eventually devolving as a species. I'm convinced of that. Further I'm convinced that if the government took the money it takes to float a super carrier and put it into basic research and market incentives...we could push our way into a 22nd century energy infrastructure in time for the 22nd century. As much as I admire our current President (and that is a considerable amount) in my view he is much too beholden to the oil industry to ever seriously push for real change. That's really too bad because keeping the status quo is costing billions of dollars and many lives of our servicemen and women...but for right now it's all we can do. It'll take decades to wean ourselves off of the big black teat and we haven't even REALLY started yet.

We need a "Marshall Plan" for energy policy. Instead we've got Congress bickering over an energy act for three fricken years without being able to pass jack squat. Even if they do pass it...it's really all bandaid stuff.

As far a Saudia Arabia...one day they'll have an uprising over there...you wait and see. On the day it starts Crude Oil WILL hit $100 per barrel. Oh there will be much gnashing of teeth that day.

Phil
 
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