We all know how insane the price of oil, and fuel at the pumps, has been lately. In Victoria it’s currently 93.9c/L. That means it costs me almost $40 just to fill up my very frugal little Toyota Echo hatchback.
Today, we’ve heard that OPEC wants the US to use its’ reserves to bring down prices.
Why? Aside from the hope that it would reduce the global cost of oil (though only temporarily because the US of course only has a limited reserve, and it will have to be replenished afterward..)
Many OPEC members now say that prices are beyond their control and worry that sustained higher costs could eat into future demand growth by spurring use of alternative fuels.
Alternative Fuels!? God forbid!
Could this spike in prices be the signal of the beginning of the end? OPEC is reportedly pumping full out, 100% capacity. And that oil is being gobbled up as fast as it can be produced.
Unlike the 70s when the price of oil jumped mainly because of political forces around the world, this time it’s far more simple. Demand is outstripping supply. Chinas’ economy is growing at a phenomenal rate (something between 5% and 9% in recent years!) and India is also consuming more and more of the black gold. We simply don’t have the capacity to feed all these young, hungry nations.
So now, more than ever, we are seeing the growth of alternative fuels and energy. Wind, sun, sea. Hydrogen, ethanol from grain, and good, old fashioned, water are all being considered as alternatives to our current dependance on oil.
Remember, oil isn’t just about powering and lubricating your transportation needs. Look around you. What items around you do *not* have some sort of plastic/petroleum product in them? I bet you can count them on your fingers.
Nearly everything that we associate with our modern lives is made from petroleum of some sort. If we want to continue to have those products, we’re going to have to make sure we have enough petroleum to make it with.
It is, and will be difficult, but finding an alternative to the oil based economy will be crucial to the continuation of our standard of living.
The fear of OPEC officials that is now coming to the surface is proof that we are succeeding and making progress towards a world that is not prisoner to the wishes of one cartel.