Filed under: Etc.
It has now been 150 years since Edwin Drake first successfully struck oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania and, while it certainly wasn’t the first well created (the earliest known dates back to 347 AD in China), that discovery is marked by many as the beginning of the oil age. As that original production of 25 barrels a day has grown to 85 million worldwide, the end of the oil age is being urged for in a piece published in the Houston Chronicle, the paper of record for the city referred to by some as the energy/oil capitol of the world. Written by Gal Luft, the executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), it looks back over the history of the black stuff and notes its ties with major conflicts in the past, as well as its uncertain future supply and price volatility. As we read it, the piece argues that more domestic drilling and increases in fuel economy can not offer relief of energy uncertainty except for in the very near term. It’s interesting to note that environmental concerns don’t really even come up in the piece.
To reach the desired end of the oil age, the author notes the need to stop making the vehicles which burn black gold and replace them with those that rely on different technology, offering up two of the usual suspects – biofuels and electricity – as the most likely candidates. Of course, we can only concur but, barring a significant scientific breakthrough, fear that the oil will continue to flow much longer than we would wish and are saddened that the political and popular will to make it stop will likely only arise from the tragedy of oil-funded or motivated attacks, economy-crumbling price shocks and/or environmental catastrophes.