Friday, March 10, 2006

March 8th was the 50th anniversary of M. King Hubberts prediction that the United States would peak in oil production. We did at about the time he said we would: 1970. Since then the U.S. has produced less oil each year. Yet even though our current President stated we are "addicted to oil" no one is seriously interested in changing this. ( minus radicals like myself)

There are some 220 oil-consuming countries in the world (a few are rather small islands). If, however, you rank these by their annual oil consumption per capita, interesting insights emerge. A few, like the US and Canada are really into using oil, going through a 1000+ gallons per capita each year. Others, like many European nations, seem to get along rather well on 400-800 gallons per person each year.

As you move down the list, you find average world consumption currently is about 200 gallons per capita per year. The bottom half of the list contains nearly 100 countries that consume 100 gallons per person per year or less, one-tenth of what we each consume in the US . About 4 billion people or two-thirds of the world's population live in countries that consume less than 100 gallons per capita per year. Finally, at the absolute bottom are about 20 countries using 10 gallons per capita per year, or 1/100th of what we burn in America

We have a long ways to go to reach the lower oil consumption levels of these other nations. Quite frankly, I do not see many doing this willingly. Many will feel helpless losing their jobs, cars, homes,and plentiful food. The poverty currently gripping 1/3 of mankind will reaffirm itself on many unaccustomed and unitiated to the depth of this pain.

While I have stated repeatedly that peak oil is an opportunity, I think many will squander it. They will keep their heads in the sand and deny it all the way to the streets. Either that or they will feel helpless to do anything. I honestly cannot say I know what to do, as there are many good things going on - but not everyone will be able to be part of the positive elements. It will be like any other change in conditions, leading only a certain group to move ahead and evolve. Who knows?

I do know that I am maybe 20% "there" but that is not nearly enough. Most Americans are probably near the 5% or less mark. But things will change as oil prices go up again this summer. America will realize that cheap oil really is a thing of the past.

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