Saturday, April 16, 2005

No oil please, we're British.

Seen the ads for BP suggesting BP stands for "Beyond Petroleum"?

Partially, this is a portent of peak oil. It's also the very early signs of a transition to ... I don't actually know.

GTL (gas to liquid)?
Electric cars charged off the grid at night from nuclear/coal/solar/wind?
Coal liquification?
All of the above?

There are those who say that none of these efforts are large enough to make a difference, won't come on fast enough, etc.

Instead, I say, we have a major problem:

The most useful energy source in the world is currently available in vast quantities at $2.251 a gallon.

There is nothing as flexible and useful that can compete with that price, and conversely, that cheap price (yes, cheap) encourages excessive and wasteful consumption. For proof, look no further than your neighbor's driveway. [I know you're being good, right?]

Unless that price goes fairly significantly higher, there is no economic incentive for these other projects to pick up meaningful marketshare.

Companies on a large scale will not magically sell oil alternatives at a loss.
Consumers in aggregate will not pay for alternatives unless there is an economic incentive.

We need to be informing ourselves about peak oil. We need to be preparing for it on a personal / community / corporate / national / global basis. But there's nothing that will encourage change like high prices.

Which is to say, peak oil is the problem, I think it's also the solution.

BP solar and wind.
ExxonMobil GTL.
ChevronTexaco solar and wind.
Current gasoline price.