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When Will The Oil Supply Run Out?

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When Will The Oil Supply Run Out?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that gasoline prices have risen to historical highs. In some parts of Southern California, gas had touched the $9 per gallon mark, albeit at remote stations where price gouging is the norm.

Generally speaking, gasoline was over $6 a gallon in most places in Southern California this month (March 2022). No matter what political party you endorse, the facts are simple: as the world recovered from the pandemic, gas prices had to go up and this actually started to happen under Trump’s waning days.

After Biden came into office, policies set in place by his administration surely had an effect.

In November 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new regulations governing methane emissions from oil and gas production, transmission, storage, and distribution that would cost more than $1 billion a year.

Last spring, Biden signed a resolution that overturned Trump administration reforms to EPA oil and gas rules. This resolution will worsen energy poverty, reestablish burdensome regulations, and have a disproportionate impact on small businesses.

One of Biden’s first actions after taking office was to halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, the Biden administration has delayed decisions on these leases  — a move that results in higher energy costs for the most vulnerable consumers.

The administration canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and New Mexico (despite opposition from the Navajo Nation). It also resurrected the “Waters of the United States” rule, which would increase barriers to energy projects.

The White House is pursuing new standards for particulate matter and ozone, likely tightening them to unachievable levels for much of the country and creating new barriers for energy project permits.

The president also has rescinded Endangered Species Act reforms, a move that will increase red tape and allow litigation to slow down energy projects.

The administration is considering potential restrictions on the export of crude oil that would increase, not decrease, energy prices.

More than one-quarter of the administration-backed Build Back Better agenda is pulled directly from the “Green New Deal.” The Build Back Better agenda includes new taxes on natural gas and home heating. It also includes new taxes on petroleum and manufacturing.

The Build Back Better agenda would spend taxpayer dollars to push utilities to adopt more costly, politically preferred forms of energy, a move that would reduce Americans’ energy choices.

Finally, through the Civilian Climate Corps, Build Back Better would fund the salaries of tens of thousands of anti-energy activists who would perpetuate high energy costs by demanding new and costly federal regulations and legislation.

It can be argued that some of these policies could have positive effects on the environment, but many of us won’t live to see it.

However, one thing is for sure: the word is out – this administration is not encouraging oil companies to invest in drilling for oil.


Now For the Bad News

Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources. They formed millions of years ago. The Earth’s heat, the pressure, and the movement of the layers decomposed plants and animals, turning them into petroleum, oil, coal, and natural gas. The deeper we dig, the more likely it is to find natural gas and oil resources.

The global demand has not reached its peak yet. Year by year, global energy consumption is getting higher, therefore the use of fossil fuels is getting higher too. We simply do not have enough renewable energy to supply our industries’ and populations’ full demand.

We’ve been told this when were in grade school going back to the 1970s at least.

How much fossil fuel is left?

Formed millions of years ago, yet only used for around 200 years, fossil fuel reserves are emptying very quickly. It is also obvious that the exact date of running out of these fuels remains unknown. It is because we continue to discover new reserves, however, the number of new reserves is low: they cannot meet our population’s needs with the current and expected future levels of usage.

Former Saudi oil minister Sheik Ahmed Zahi Yamani said: “The stone age came to an end, not for lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for lack of oil.” So when will the oil supply run out?

According to research based on 2015 data, the current statement of when our reserves will be emptied is this:

  • Oil: 51 years
  • Coal: 114 years
  • Natural gas: 53 years

So what will happen to our precious muscle cars when the oil runs out and there’s no more gasoline? Surely the collectible cars of today will survive past 50  years- cars like late-model Camaros, Mustangs, Chargers and Challengers at the very least. Gasoline and gasoline stations will surely outlast the production of new cars with gasoline engines.

As such, even if Europe and the USA are successful in ending the production of gasoline (only)-powered cars, gas stations will likely exist for another 50 years beyond that milestone, if not more.


What will happen in the Middle East?

As you can imagine, there will be great turmoil. The severity will depend upon each nation’s dependence on oil money and how their countries have diversified their economies.

The “term” Middle-East means many, many countries with different cultures, economies etc. Let’s take some sample countries and answer your question:

  • Morocco: The country is not dependent on their oil supply, but on manufacturing, mining etc. Once the oil is exhausted, they could be affected due to the high prices, but most likely will have moved on to solar and wind power – of which they have plenty of sun and wind.
  • Algeria, Libya – both are heavily dependent on their oil supply. Once oil goes, they have no backup.
  • Egypt: manufacturing, agriculture, services, tourism — they have a lot of smart people. If their government ever liberalizes the economy, it can have a great post-oil future. Right now, it looks bleak, but Egypt and Egyptians have fantastic potential
  • Turkey: this is a modern economy — little to no effect of oil gone
  • Iran: this is a diversified economy. During sanctions, they couldn’t sell oil but managed. Iran will probably thrive the post oil era.
  • Israel, Lebanon: they don’t have much oil or have no oil and are heavily diversified in electronics, computing and pharmaceutics, precious stones or tourism.
  • Bahrain, UAE: they have taken an effort to diversify their economies. They may survive post-oil, but will be poorer. The efforts to build banking centers etc. depend on them being close to the oil economy.
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar: when the oil supply will run out, they are sunk. They have made efforts to diversify, but this has not changed the work culture — for decades the ruling families gave people money to sit and do nothing (and not rebel). This has sapped the work ethic. These countries will likely regress to poverty.

So while no one knows for sure when the oil wells will dry up, it’s very possible that our kids or grandkids will be born into a world where gasoline is no longer available.

Perhaps the Mad Max movies weren’t so far-fetched after all.

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