Sunday, May 04, 2014

Life After Oil

oil well photo: Highway 71 Oil Well hwy-71-oil-well-ana-villaronga.jpg


One day, the world is going to run out of oil. That is an incontrovertible fact and the only real thing left to debate is when it will happen. Some experts believe we will reach peak oil production in 2020. This means it’s the beginning of the end for this critical resource and it could arrive in less than a decade.

Does this mean we can expect the downfall of our civilization soon? Well, if you look to the Book of Revelations for the answers, it doesn’t directly address the oil crisis. It does mention, though, that during the end, the sun will darken and the rivers will stop flowing. Such things would only be problematic if we didn’t have any oil to keep the lights on, so maybe the apocalypse can only occur once we run out and begin relying on renewable energy like water, wind and solar power.

Of course, there are those who would be happy if we had to go cold turkey on gasoline. "Dear future generations,” the late Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “Please accept our apologies. We were roaring drunk on petroleum. Love, 2006 A.D.”

Whether or not you think we’ll be better off without oil, there is no denying that if we get cut off without any viable alternatives, the world would suddenly be a much different place. Just a quick glance at this informative site reveals how high the stakes are surrounding oil. It should be worthwhile to consider what exactly would change when the time comes that it’s gone, assuming no other energy sources are found.

Cars and Airplanes Are Relics of a Bygone Era

This is probably the most obvious difference in the gas-less dystopia universe we’re considering here. Unless you’ve already have the money for a Tesla roadster, you should consider investing in a bicycle. Ideally, you’d live in a town where driving everywhere isn’t necessary. Most of America is set up in such a way that presupposes you have your own gas-powered vehicle to drive everywhere.

If you want to travel great distances, I’d recommend your destination be accessible by water because no one has figured out a practical and cheap way of flying an airplane that doesn’t involve jet fuel.

No More Plastic

One thing you might not consider about a world without oil is that plastics could not be produced. Plastics, which are made from oil, are used for many products nowadays that it’s easy to take them for granted. There has been plenty of plastic made, so recycling should be a viable option for a long time; but if you want to make any new containers, it’s going to have to be made from clay or glass. Glassblowing and pottery may seem like niche talents now, but in a world without oil, they could be in high demand.

Roads Won’t Be Made With Asphalt

The production of asphalt involves oil, so I suggest making sure the bike you purchase when your car becomes useless is a mountain bike. Roads will suddenly be that much more difficult to maintain.

Horses were also used with great success on less than ideal road conditions for the thousands of years people managed to get around without cars. Having a horse would also give you the added bonus of being able to carry more than what you could fit in a backpack or a basket, not to mention their ability to pull wagons all over the country. If you find yourself out in the suburbs or country when the oil wells run dry, a horse might be a better option.

Be Prepared

All of the world’s oil won’t disappear overnight, so you should have plenty of time to realize when you should begin preparing for the above possibilities. Oil won’t even have to disappear completely for these scenarios to become reality. Once there is a sufficiently small amount left, it will become way too expensive for practical use anyway.

Whether that means the four horsemen of the apocalypse have arrived or just that it’s become really expensive to drive your car, there’s no denying the world will be very different.


Ali grew up in Alaska where she earned her hunter and wilderness safety license at age 13. She now works as a content coordinator for a CAT company and blogs in her free time at Homey Improvements.

1 comment:

  1. People wont travel as far without oil either. Just a hundred years ago some people had literally never been out of the state they were born in!

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