Sunday, April 8, 2012


Time to break a lance for gas guzzlers. A curse affects most oil producers and many oil consumers, and if gas guzzlers hasten the end of our "Oil Age" they are welcome. Walking is the wrong metaphor here but I walk the walk by feeding a 3.5L engine for as long as I can.

Given Sheikh Yamani's mantra "The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil" does conservation delay the end of the Oil Age as I suggest?

GM folks are doing high fives since the Chevy Volt earned multiple Green Awards in 2011. Not earth shattering to have a plug-in-hybrid in 2011 when GM had a fully electric vehicle in 1996, the EV1. And really old news when Ferdinand Porsche made Lohner-Porsche mixed gasoline electric cars (aka hybrids) around 1901. The same 1901 year the Oil Age arguably started at the Spindletop oil field in Texas.

I want to witness the end of the Oil Age. Electric cars are long overdue, but I do not have another hundred years to wait for them. And it is not clear conservation is always welcome. Riding a bike and using solar energy are great, but more efficient gasoline cars can have unintended consequences.

Doubling fuel efficiency, for example, means oil supplies will last twice as long. Is that good?

Actually with double car gasoline efficiency producers could raise fuel prices with no impact to consumers. That is what I would do in their place, and cartels are smarter than me. Producers would get twice as much per unit of production, instantly making them twice as rich either on revenues or reserves. A higher sustainable oil price also adds production capacity that would not be viable at lower prices, along with the environmental impact of production, emissions, and the prolongation of the Oil Age.

Granted, one can dig deeper than my facetious plot does. Me, I find no heros in the story worth a curtains call when it ends, preferably sooner rather than later.

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