Letter: Oil price continues to go up
Back in the 1930s when I was in grade school, we were told that at the current rate of consumption, the world was likely to exhaust its known reserves of accessible petroleum in approximately 20 years. Of course, 20 years came and went and we were assured of another 30-years supply, and so forth. It was a situation that had long ago resembled the tale of the boy who cried wolf. The day of a petroleum shortage always seemed a situation for a generation far into the future to have to cope with. Now, with terrific suddenness, the days of perennial short supplies of petroleum appear to be upon us with a vengeance.
Already there is a search for alternate fuel supplies to supplement petroleum and alleviate the shortage. So far, only ethanol produced from corn has been produced in significant quantity, but it is expensive, requiring a subsidy to make it feasible. In addition, it has generated another problem. So much corn has been grown for the production of ethanol that the world's supply of food has been impacted.
There has been some success with wind turbine generation as long as the wind blows, and solar panel are successful as long as it isn't too cloudy, but they are initially expensive. Perhaps a combination of the two would be useful. Another possibility to consider is oil sand in Canada and oil shale in Colorado and Wyoming. There's more than a hundred-year supply of this resource, and petroleum companies are already experimenting to make the production of liquid fuel from these resources practical.
In the meantime, we can all sit back and watch the price of oil go higher and higher and higher.