Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where do you want to live that day when the car fuel will be sparse?

A study by researchers at UC-Davis, and quoted by AFP and Yahoo! News , predicted that oil reserves are likely to run out 100 years before effective fuel alternatives will be developed. Given that: “Nearly two-thirds of crude oil is used to produce gasoline and diesel to run vehicles”[1]. So, if this prediction is to become reality, it is really bad news for car commuters.
This prediction is based on two assumptions:
1. When considering the amount of crude oil reserves that we know of and can exploit and given a growth in oil consumption for a constant 1.3% year , these reserves will be depleted by 2041(or 2054 by the most optimistic estimates).
2. By analyzing the share prices for alternative energy companies versus oil companies we note that oil companies have a considerably larger market share than alternative energy companies. Meaning that today’s market is still an oil hungry market. And if the market share for alternative energy companies grows at a steady pace, it is estimated that there will be not a widely available alternative to oil fuels until 2140.

I can hear the critics pointing out that, as it is the case with most companies built on innovative technologies, alternative fuels may start to register sooner than expected a rapid growth leading to more investment and their ability to grab a larger share of the market. And they are correct…But, on the other side, considering the growth of car ownership in developing countries, oil consumption is not likely to grow steadily either…

The most likely scenario is neither a car-less world, nor oil depletion. But a world in which using the traditional car as our main mean of transportation is not going to be cost effective, and that is considering that we can afford to pay for fuel. And, in this scenario, the cities that are most likely to thrive are the ones providing the best transportation alternatives from buses to regional railways to bike lanes and sidewalks. And this is one of the reasons why Allegheny County Transit Council stands for a viable public transportation alternative in Pittsburgh. This is why we need you to make your voice heard. We need your support for public transportation.
[1] Zeitvogel, Karin Oil will run out 100 years before new fuels developed: study. AFP. Nov 15 2010.
Retrieved from Yahoo!News

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