Thursday, March 3

Fill 'Er Up With Technology

Crude is $101.92/bbl today. Have you checked the PSI in your bike tires yet? If you've read this blog for very long you'll know I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic science fiction. Always have been.

When I was younger those PA fantasies were in a Red Dawn or Mad Max vein. Of course with the end of the Cold War and the fading of the "ICBM" in common usage the PA visions have also faded.

At least until I began to see the reality of Peak Oil and the implications...

Oil is finite. At some point it will cost more energy to extract it from the ground or under the sea than a gallon of gas will produce. At that point there is no point. If we have twenty years before that happens then NOW is the time to begin changing our mindset, our expectations and our way of living life.

If we don't have 20 years we might just be screwed. It takes time, money and fossil fuel resources to build new nuclear power plants, to manufacture solar panels and wind turbines and to do research and development on new forms of energy. Technology isn't going to save us. You can't pull up to the gas pump and say: "Fill 'er up with technology!"

There is no equal substitute for oil. So far it has been the cheapest, easiest form of stored energy with the most return on investment humanity has ever discovered.

Hydrogen takes more energy to create than it produces. It is, in effect, an energy storage method, not a source of energy.

Hydroelectric, solar, wind and geothermal are great sources of electricity, but electricity will not replace diesel in our trucking fleet, in construction and in our military. Even if we put all of our effort into converting our existing fleets of vehicles to electricity NOW, there is no time, no money and not enough resources to effectively do that before the gas tank runs dry.

I'm seriously considering hoarding bike tires and tubes. In the post-carbon apocalypse any petroleum based products will become scarce or very expensive.


  1. Not only that, but they were saying on the news this morning that if it reaches $150 a barrel, there's a good chance we'll fall back into recession before we have a chance to recover from the last one.

  2. If we truly are on the downslope of Peak Oil there will be no recovery, just a steady decline until it takes 1.01 gallon of gas to produce 1 gallon. From that point on there is no chance to recover at all. Tar sands, shale oil and other less than conventional methods are evidence that the costs are going up, because those sources of petroleum are already low return on investment, as is ethanol.