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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • A senior Saudi Oil Minister once said "We didn't run out of stones before we left the stone age, and I don't expect we'll run out of oil before we leave the oil age" - or something like that.

    We don't need mineral petroleum oil to run cars and such, we could switch to oil-seed rape based bio-diesel now, there is plenty of that to go around. There would be a fairly major cost implication for the exploration and refining industry, but it's a viable option.

    A bigger problem could be the other uses we make of oil, all the plastics and speciality chemicals we make from it, that would be more complex and painful to replace. We have come to rely on dirt cheap plastics and chemicals, and going without them could be quite hard.

    The price of petrol (gas) will gradually go up, and this will hurt, as consumers have generally been use to the price of petrol falling in real terms over the last 40 years. We may complain about the price of a litre of petrol now, but it's actually cheaper than 20 years ago - in real terms, and most western governments have heavily subsidised road construction, and car ownership and use costs in real terms have fallen over the years too.

    In countries where petrol has more tax on it, cars are more efficient, and diesel and bio-diesel useage is more common. This does reduce per-capita oil usage to some extent, for example, if North Americans drove cars with the same fuel efficiency as Europeans, then the US wouldn't need to import any oil at all...

    I'm all in favour of raising the price of petrol, it's absurdly low in real terms, and bringing it up to a figure of GBP1/l (USD6.3/US Gal) may make people more careful with it. If petrol were more expensive then people may drive less, get a more efficient car, or convert to a sustainable fuel. All that it will take is the right price and we could switch to a sustainable bio-fuel, I'm more worried about the chemical industry...

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."