The Real Oil Crisis You Haven’t Thought of Yet

Even if all forms of fossil fuel were no longer used and we switched entirely over to sustainable energy, we would STILL have an oil crisis on our hands, and here’s why:

Over the past year, automobile drivers all over the country have seen gasoline prices plummet. Gasoline that had been over $4 a gallon is now in the $2 range and motorists across the country have  rejoiced in new found savings.  No one knows how long this dip in prices will last, but it raises the question about the longevity of gasoline and diesel in cars. What happens when we use it all up?

What is The Real Oil Crisis?

What most people don’t realize is that no matter the fate of gasoline at this point, we will still be completely dependent on oil for the continuation of our modern society.

Let’s think for a moment about the future (whether near or distant). There will be a day when we are no longer able to fill our cars with petroleum. That’s just a given. Now let’s think about all the products that also use petroleum: medicine, food additives, preservatives, pesticides, plastics, personal care products, tar, and countless other chemicals that enlist petroleum in their ingredient list. It could take hours to list them all.

A World Without Gasoline

Now, if we were to get rid of gasoline completely, using solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear energy, we would have a bigger issue at hand. What would we do with all this gasoline?

Gasoline is essentially a waste product. Back in the day, people used refined petroleum products, like kerosene,  to power oil lamps, and gasoline was the by product. It wasn’t until the invention of automobiles that this waste product found a use. Imagine if someone  had found a way to power the world with garbage; suddenly we  would have a near limitless source of energy that’s produced just by living our lives.One day there will be no more oil to use and alternative fuels will have to take over.

So that brings us back to the real problem; plastics and petroleum chemicals. The modern world is completely dependent on these products for our continued existence. Even if we were to stop using gasoline, we would still need oil to make our chemicals and plastics. How are we going to move forward as a society and stop using these non-renewable resources at the same time?

Before I explain my solution, please watch this video called “The Story of Stuff” which explains planned obsolescence in our economic model.

[youtube]Planned obsolescence is a concept keeping our consumerist world from sustainability and efficiency. In order to get over our dependence on oil, we not only  need to look into alternative forms of energy, but also alternative replacements for the petroleum used in a  product’s ingredient list.

In order to solve the real oil crisis, we need to:

  • Find a substitute for plastic that is both durable and renewable
  • Develop a system to recycle plastics repeatedly
  • Invest in alternative forms of chemicals that were once petroleum based
  • Cut down our use of both household and industrial chemicals in general
  • Invest in petroleum-free medicine

I encourage you to take any of these steps within your ability, for the health of yourself and the Earth. The less petroleum being used in the world, the more likely we are to have a sustainable society that can support clean, healthy life.

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