--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "shempmcgurk" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> 
> Sadly, your last few lines are correct: when we do find 
> alternatives, their use will bring down the price of oil (of which 
> there is about 600 years at current consumption rates left at known 
> reserves) and people will continue to use oil.

How Much Oil?  Peak Oil  

The world has approximately 1 trillion barrels of conventional oil 
left in the ground, and the nations of the world consume about 85 
million barrels of that oil every day.

Here's a way to think about those numbers. 1 trillion barrels (at 42 
gallons per barrel) works out to about 38 cubic miles, which is the 
volume of a cube about 3.4 miles on a side. That's enough to cover 
New York City's 300 sq. mi. land area to a depth of an eighth of a 
mile (a little more than the length of two football fields). That's 
it. That's what's left. In the world.

At present, the world's consuming almost 1.2 cubic miles per year, 
and demand is growing by several percent a year.

If all of that 38 cubic miles of oil could be pumped out of the 
ground at today's rate, and if consumption stayed constant at today's 
rate, the very last drop of conventional oil would be consumed 32 
years from now. (If consumption were to continue to grow at current 
rates, the last drop of conventional oil would be consumed roughly a 
decade sooner.)

But 32 years from now isn't the only date that matters. Other dates 
that matter are 1) when the world runs out of spare oil production 
capacity, and 2) when world oil production passes its peak and begins 
its inevitable and irreversible decline. The first of those dates has 
already arrived, as signalled by rising prices. Many analysts believe 
the second date, peak oil, is either already here, too, or is 

When it becomes clear that production has peaked and is on an 
irreversible downhill slope, when people wake up to the fact that 
each year the world's going to produce less oil than it did the year 
before — forever — it's suddenly going to feel like a very different 


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