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  • Oil and the American way of life

    Hopefully this issue isn't anything new to any of you as it has been around for some time, but do you feel a positive future for America sucking up so much oil? What are the implications of needing vast amounts of oil when supplies start to drop?

    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
    http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/presents/

    I'll admit it is a serious problem, but are normal everyday americans used to living the good life really ready to give into a mass conservation program or drastically different lifestyles? Should alternative energies like hydrogen or switchgrass really be expected to eradicate the need for oil entirely? Will there be enough time\resources after an oil crisis to develop these alternatives?

    Do you believe the US (and the post-industrialized world) are headed for a major oil crisis, resulting in eventual resource wars? How will it affect our military and economic operations around the world and our status as the only world superpower?

    Or is the whole issue more hollow alarmism like the garbage crisis of the 1980s, or the nuclear waste question? What about the predictions about Y2k, they turned out to be nothing since many corporations made it a priority to address the problem when everybody was screaming about it? Could it be said this is the same type of thing as Y2K, or a much more ominous problem that's been brewing in the background for decades?
    Last edited by aeroripper; 03-18-2006, 08:01 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: Oil and the American way of life

    I hope we can switch before the crisis, but massive change is NEVER easy, and very rarely is it fast. For quick change to happen, the goverment would have to force companies in the US to use alternative sources, block the import of gas-based foriegn cars, and issue a militarily or at least police enforced recall of all current gas-based cars.

    The thing is, we will run out of oil, and when it happens it wont be pretty. But there are other things that we can use oil for, like plastics. And afaik, we need oil for plastics. We don't need it for cars, yet we use it for them anyway, and in that process we burn it in mass quantities. At least with plastics, we can recycle.

    In short, I think our dependance on it as a fuel needs to stop.

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    • #3
      Re: Oil and the American way of life

      Originally posted by Karkianman101
      I hope we can switch before the crisis, but massive change is NEVER easy, and very rarely is it fast. For quick change to happen, the goverment would have to force companies in the US to use alternative sources, block the import of gas-based foriegn cars, and issue a militarily or at least police enforced recall of all current gas-based cars.

      The thing is, we will run out of oil, and when it happens it wont be pretty. But there are other things that we can use oil for, like plastics. And afaik, we need oil for plastics. We don't need it for cars, yet we use it for them anyway, and in that process we burn it in mass quantities. At least with plastics, we can recycle.

      In short, I think our dependance on it as a fuel needs to stop.
      It's really not that easy though, petrochemicals are used in just about everything. TVs, computers, plastics, food manufacturing. To recycle things you use gasoline powered vehicles and manufacturing processes.

      We don't need oil for cars? Gasoline comes from crude oil, and the combustion engine runs on gas. It isn't feasible at this moment to switch all the cars on the planet and retrofit them with another energy source. The closest one we have is hydrogen and even then it can't hold enough energy per unit to make it an effective energy unless its turned into liquid hydrogen. But at the moment it has to be very very cold and makes its transportation difficult and expensive.

      If the military or a giant police force came to every city, county, and town and start rounding up cars, there would be mass social unrest. In all honesty, I wouldn't want the government coming and taking my car. Not to mention what a HUGE endeavor this would be, 6.4 million cars in the US alone. What in the world would they do with them all?

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      • #4
        Re: Oil and the American way of life

        I know. Thats why it sucks :P

        Though in terms of recycling, there are alternate forms of energy for the required power. And all in all, I really doubt we'll soon find an energy source as efficient as refined oil. But the simple fact of the matter is that we don't need it for energy, where it's burned up and unrecoverable, yet afaik we need it for plastics, which are recoverable.

        As for alternate energy, I've heard of several options besides Hydrogen. Bio-diesel I don't know the details of, though I do know that someone invented a flexible, durable cloth essentially made out of sand (like silicon) that converts sunlight into electricity. Unfortunately, it is currently extremely expensive to make. Another source of energy is Zero point, which from what I understand is an energy that all atoms and molecules emit, even at absolute 0. I've seen videos of it being used to hover monitors and jellify aluminum bars in half, but I don't know how it actually works (the wiki on it will make your head hurt about 5 links in), nor how it could be used.

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        • #5
          Re: Oil and the American way of life

          I'm confident that this situation will play itself out sans dire consequences. As oil becomes more expensive, other energy sources will become more popular. As these alternate sources become more popular, corporations will pay more attention to them and develop more efficient means of providing them. Once one corporation makes some money, or at least looks like it will in the future, more corporations will follow suit, leading to competition and lower prices. Will these alternatives ultimately be similarly priced to oil? Maybe. Maybe they'll be far more expensive. Or maybe they'll be cheaper. Nobody knows for sure, but I suspect that we'll turn out fine.
          A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

          "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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          • #6
            Re: Oil and the American way of life

            There are other ways to get oil rather tha njust pumping it from the ground. Tar sands are a great reserve....they just aren't cost effective as pumping it out of the ground.

            http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.07/oil.html
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_sands
            http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/...n1225184.shtml


            99. A smiley face is not used to mark a minefield.
            100. Claymore mines are not filled with yummy candy, and it is wrong to tell new soldiers that they are.
            101. I am not allowed to mount a bayonet on a crew-served weapon.

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            • #7
              Re: Oil and the American way of life

              Another interesting article on the petrodollar\euro issue in the mideast:

              http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/17450

              ^
              This partly involves other intentions invading iraq and afghanistan, to establish military bases before global peak oil.

              If I had to choose between being a global superpower and having a tactical nuclear war with Iran over them dealing oil in euros, I would most definitely open up a dual-currency trading oil market and live with it. It doesn't seem like US dominance of global oil trade in dollars was meant to last forever anyways.
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              • #8
                Re: Oil and the American way of life

                As Tybalt says, it's about price. Once the price of oil rises enough, something else will replace it. That's the way every market works, and it's a very responsive mechanism, far better than regulation.

                I would hypothesize that the price of oil is artificially suppressed through subsidies, particularly military subsidies that protect foreign sources. Remove those subsidies and the price will rise high enough to make alternatives viable. The oil companies have a natural ceiling on their price, the price of those alternatives, and they have to work hard to keep their price under that ceiling. Because once those alternatives receive wide use, the cat's out of the bag and we won't go back easily. The buggy whip makers will once again be out of business.
                Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

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                • #9
                  Re: Oil and the American way of life

                  Originally posted by xTYBALTx
                  I'm confident that this situation will play itself out sans dire consequences. As oil becomes more expensive, other energy sources will become more popular. As these alternate sources become more popular, corporations will pay more attention to them and develop more efficient means of providing them. Once one corporation makes some money, or at least looks like it will in the future, more corporations will follow suit, leading to competition and lower prices. Will these alternatives ultimately be similarly priced to oil? Maybe. Maybe they'll be far more expensive. Or maybe they'll be cheaper. Nobody knows for sure, but I suspect that we'll turn out fine.


                  Good post. I was initally concerned with peak oil and the "looming crisis", and now I don't worry at all about it. There will be a shortage, and we may need to make some quick technology jumps but in the end I'm fairly sure the world will keep turning.

                  They never had to take drastic measures to stop the use of coal to heat homes and the use of the horse and buggy for transportation, the transition was relatively crisis-free.

                  I don't see why it will be any different with oil in the future. The market will drive new solutions. Alternate energy sources will hit a breakpoint, where oil is more expensive to utilise than the alternatives and society will take off in this new direction. Probably in 200 years people will be complaining about the price of hydrogen, or dilithium fusion crystals. (JK.)
                  Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Oil and the American way of life

                    Originally posted by aeroripper
                    I What in the world would they do with them all?
                    Same thing they did with obsolete tanks after WWII.

                    Dump them off the coast of New Jersey and California as unnatural corral reefs.

                    I think the whole crisis thing is overplayed. Much like the terror alerts.

                    [volun][drill]
                    I'm cannon fodder.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Oil and the American way of life

                      OMG is there a new terror alert? :icon_eek:
                      Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Oil and the American way of life

                        aero, I've just read through some Wikipedia articles on the petrodollar, and haven't found anything persuasive about it's importance to American interests. What's the story with the petrodollar issue, and why would a switch to euros be unpleasant for the US?


                        Here's what I've read:

                        Petrodollar
                        Petrodollar Warfare
                        Dollar Hegemony
                        A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                        "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

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                        • #13
                          Re: Oil and the American way of life

                          Originally posted by icky
                          OMG is there a new terror alert? :icon_eek:
                          I wouldn't doubt it. I stopped paying attention to them. Theres always someone with a Correlian Death Ray pointed at the Earth.;)

                          [volun][drill]
                          I'm cannon fodder.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Oil and the American way of life

                            Would you be happier is a few thousand people died each time they did one of these alerts?

                            I'd like to see the rave reviews this administration would get if it announced that it was suspending the terror alerts. "The most secretive white house in decades" shares a little info and all people can do it bitch about THAT too.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Oil and the American way of life

                              You do have a point.

                              WHile I do think the alerts in of themselves are good the panic they incite is rediculous.

                              [volun][drill]
                              I'm cannon fodder.

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