Today’s world civilization, with over seven billion people, is facing the early end
of a short epoch dependant in all ways, directly or indirectly, on finite fossil fuels.
The primary energy source, including the context for all other energy systems, as
well as nearly all modern transportation and food supplies, is oil. At the present
rate of one billion barrels extracted and consumed every eleven days, there cannot
be more than forty years left in the oil age as it has been in the last eighty years.
Starting with this premise that the world is facing the imminent decline of oil,
we can now understand in hindsight why this geological limitation underlies and
transcends all of today’s urgent news concerns including: climate change, world
geopolitical unrest, U.S. military presence, terrorism aimed at the U.S., stagnated
economic growth, food stamps, and especially, growing income/wealth inequality.
The U.S. public is especially implicated in this morass of related issues because
we consume one-fourth of the world’s oil with only four-percent of the population.
This egregious anomaly equates, per capita, to twenty-two barrels of oil for each
American per year, versus the world average of four barrels per person per year.
In fact, American gasoline consumption at ten barrels (or four hundred gallons)
per person per year, just for gasoline (!!), is the number one consumer bloc in the
world equal to all of China’s, or all of Eurozone’s, total oil consumption.
This explains why oil extraction did not “peak” and begin to decline in 2005 as
predicted. Instead, higher gasoline prices temporarily supported the higher costs
required for increased production from “non-conventional” sources like hydraulic
fracturing, deep off shore, polar, tar sands, and natural gas condensates.
In this same time frame, U.S. gasoline consumption did concurrently level off
despite increasing population. Our government and most Americans went into
ever-increasing debt to perpetuate our profligate lifestyle. Much of American
gasoline consumption is for frivolous and inefficient travel while we quickly
consume our most precious finite resource. The oil we use today will not be there
for near-term future requirements for food, for our kids, and to support a smooth
transition to other lower-energy sources, all with a seadily-increasing population.
The only meaningful response (“solution”) to the terminal oil crisis we now face
is nation-wide gasoline rationing. An electronic-coupon, tradable, fuel allotment to
each registered driver would extend what’s left of the oil age and mitigate all the
other related issues mentioned above. All Americans would share equally and the
surplus income and wealth would divert to revitalizing the rest of our economy.
For detailed engineering analyses and supporting data, see the following:
John Howe a retired engineer, farmer, speaker, and author who has focused on every aspect of the beginning of the end of the short fossil-fuel industrial age, especially searching for quantitative facts and possible solutions. He has built and tested solar-powered cars and tractors as examples of successors for the petroleum-fueled machines we take for granted today, and now attempts to educate the main-stream public about all issues related to our urgent need for action. This is one of his presentations: