Oil is a fossil fuel. It is usually found deep beneath the sea and is formed from the bodies of dead plants and animals. Oil has lots of different uses. For example, it is used to make plastic and as a fuel for powering cars and generating electricity. This means that oil is very valuable. It is sold for large sums of money on the international market.
Saudi Arabia produces more oil than any other country, but is not the biggest consumer of oil by any means. The USA is completely oil dependant, and is by far the world’s largest consumer, every year it consumes over 6.87 billion barrels of the so called black gold for use in transport, generating electricity, and cooking their disgusting foods. However, the USA isn’t the only country which consumes more electricity than it produces however, China consumes over 3.56 billion barrels a year which it uses primarily for manufacturing, which you could argue is actually the consumption of the countries which buy China’s goods.
Peak oil is when the demand for oil outstrips supply. It is not known when we will reach peak oil, and it is not a fixed point in time, we can reach peak oil multiple times, for example if our demand fluctuates or we find more available oil. However many experts believe we are at peak oil at the moment. Reaching peak oil can mean disaster for some countries. It means that much of it’s infrastructure which relies so heavily on oil will have to change, and this can be a very uncomfortable transition.
However peak oil will not necessarily be a disaster, there are many things that we can do to make sure that we never reach peak oil. For example, cutting down on our use of plastic which is created using oil will mean that less oil is needed, recycling products made with oil will mean that we can effectively use that oil again, and will not have to use more. Using renewable energy is one of the key ways to cut down, nuclear power especially by fusion when that becomes a reality, is a very effective way of creating energy.
It uses minimal oil, is cheap and statistically the safest way to produce electricity. Encouraging people to drive less, and use public transport or cycle is also a key way to cut down on oil consumption as if we are using our cars less, we don’t need to fill them us so often. And finally switching to hydrogen cars or electric cars (if they run on sustainable energy) is a very effective way of cutting down on oil consumption as the cars then don’t need oil to run.
I don’t think that a future without oil will be a terrible one because there are already many alternatives to oil which we could use, and will have to. However, I do think that the transition to alternatives to oil will be very difficult and involve war and a lot of reluctancy. This is because of people’s stubbornness and difficulty in looking to the future.