Sunday, August 09, 2009

How will we manage with less oil?

I’ve been thinking about this for some months. A time will come
when our current oil supplies will dwindle. I’ve looked at
erudite articles on current oil supply on Wikipedia, and where
our all oil comes from, but they all evade the question of how
long will our currents reserves last?

I’ve read speculation that we’ve got another 20-30 years left
before oil supplies will be badly hit, so we’ve got this amount
of time to lessen our reliance on oil and to step research and
provision of alternative sources of energy … this means
harnessing wind, water and sun power to produce electricity for

I’m not a devotee of nuclear power … I think that nuclear power
stations are hazardous – these are future Chernobyls waiting to
happen on our doorstep, and also I don’t believe there are safe
ways of long-term storage of nuclear waste. However, I do accept
that we may need some nuclear power stations to back-up and
stabilise our electricity supply, but the fewer the better.

So have a think about what our future transport will be like,
when the oil starts to run out.

We will electrify our entire railway network, and we’ll have more
high-speed trains to be able to nip around the country, and to
link up with our European neighbours via the Chunnel. So that’s
good news.

We will be using electric cars to get around, to do our shopping
and to visit family & friends. Instead of petrol stations, we’ll
have electric battery exchange points, especially on our motorways
… a bit like the old days, when we used to change the teams of
horses for stage-coaches, at staging posts. At night time, those
of us with garages will be able to charge up our car batteries
with our home-produced electricity from wind turbines and solar

Electric shopping trolleys will become more fashionable, not just
for use by the elderly and disabled. At our local Victoria Centre
car park, I asked the chap who looks after the fleet of ESTs,
whether these could be “suped up” to run at higher speeds
(faster than 8 miles per hour). He said that they could, but
owing to the fixed amount of battery charge, the distance they’d
cover would be shorter. So if you think about using electric cars
for long-distance journeys - you will have to travel around much
more slowly, say about 30 mph, so as to conserve battery power
and to be able to travel longer distances.

So, our motorways will become havens of peace, as we all tootle
along at about 30 mph. Gone will be the huge lorries, blocking
two motorway lanes as they try to overtake each other. Wonderful!
In future, our hauliers will have to use the railways or use the
canals again, which will breathe new life into our waterways.

The military and the emergency services will have access to the
remaining supplies of oil, so that ambulance crew and
fire-fighters can dash off to help folk. So if you like to travel
at speed, then sign up for work in these services.

Electric trams will become the norm again in all our cities, as
these will be the fastest way of getting into work. Inner cities
will regenerate, as people move back into them to live, rather
than live miles outside them, in the countryside or in distant

And what about commercial and holiday air travel? This will be
phased out gradually. Air space will be reserved for military and
rescue use only. Our Royal Navy will be nuclear-powered, and all
other shipping will be wind-powered. So, it will take 6 weeks to
visit our relatives in New Zealand, as in the old days. Package
holidays will be taken either by train, or by wind-powered boats.

Let’s give some thought to Jeremy Clarkson and his colleagues,
the presenters of fast car TV shows. There won’t be much fun in
presenting car shows, with cars that run like electric milk floats.

So, I’ve thought of a new role for Jeremy and his co-presenters
~ chariot-racing ~ Ben-Hur style.

What fun that would be, seeing a bronzed half-naked Jeremy, with
his long hair streaming in the wind, charging round on a chariot
in competition with his mates. Now that would be a real spectacle.


Blogger Max said...

Liking the bit about the Top Gear presenters. LOL!

Did make me think of the three off them transported to the Australian outback in black leathers, each in an Interceptor, racing for fuel in a post-apocalyptic world.

Mad Jeremy
Mad Hamster
Mad Slow

Hee hee.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous lom said...

Nice ideas. But long journeys in electric cars would take forever so a quick visit to see friend and family miles away would have to go out of the window, likewise holidays.

Moving food etc by rail or waterways would be very expensive and slow and would still need some road travel.

Everything being run by electricity would put a big strain on the power stations, as gas is also running out anything running on gas will also need to use electric.

However I do agree with you, I would have solar panels and a windmill on my house if I could afford it.

3:34 PM  

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