The End is Nigh...

... or so it seems if you believe all the hype about the world's oil reserves coming to an end. Still, after constantly dismissing all the facts into rumors, even I started to think there must be some truth behind all this commotion. I looked carefully into a bunch of online sources (by the way, EVERYBODY has an opinion about this subject nowadays), and at first glance there seems to be some truth behind it.

At least until recent years, these silly theories seemed to be proclaimed only by either a doomsday sect, chronic believers in conspiracy theories or some Amish-like cult promoting the apocalypse of cars. That no longer seems to be the case since more and more scientific papers about the subject of oil are pouring in. And these aren't made by some no-name blogger with a fetish for green activism either. No, I'm talking about an entire pack of scientists consisting of physicists and geologists all over the world.

The number one conclusion on everyone's mind about this is pretty grim. Almost everybody in the know is saying that we're approaching the so-called "Peak Oil", while others are saying that we have already passed it. For those who aren't familiarized with the term, "Peak Oil" specifies a moment in history when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached. After this moment is reached the rate of oil production enters into a so-called terminal decline.

I perfectly understand everybody's fear about this subject, especially when the world oil consumption is quite steadily on the rise. Plus, as most you most definitely already know, cars aren't the only major user of oil products. We use petroleum for fuels (everything from gasoline to diesel via Kerosene or even liquefied petroleum gas is based on the extraction of oil), plastics and other derivatives including clothing, food packaging, asphalt and even dry cells or electrodes. In other words, we kind of really need those oil fields for more than just for pouring a by-product of the thing in our gas tanks.

Obviously, this being a car site, what I mostly care about from all the aforementioned oil-uses are the fuels. So there's something that bothers me about this whole "Peak Oil is coming! The end is nigh!" thing. The general consensus among most scientists I've read about is that it all goes downhill from when "Hubbert's peak" is reached. Oh RLY?

Thing is, many people don't realize oil will not actually run out like a fire in the rain because of a simple explanation the scientists are giving themselves: it follows a bell curve. This made me think of something. What if the world oil won't miraculously disappear like a card following a magician's sleight of hand?

Just think about it! Following this infamous bell curve idea, oil will not only NOT run out but it will remain available for quite a number of years, maybe even more than a century. Sure, you'll immediately jump to point out how stupid I am for not thinking about the world's proportionate rise in the need for oil while the resource is being drained.

Well, I thought of that too. And so did most of the major car manufacturers. This is why more and more fuel-efficient cars are coming in the next decades. Not to mention plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, fuel-cells or hydrogen cars. Of course, most of them are doing this not thanks to an enhanced civic spirit but because of increasingly-pressing environmental laws, but that's beside the point.

OK, so oil will not exactly "run out" any time soon, but the oil-dependent industries will probably increase their need for it. Things become pretty simple from this point, since like any other supply-and-demand business prices will most likely sky-rocket once again. And by "sky-rocket" I'm not talking a little over 100 US dollars a barrel, like it happened about two years ago. No, I'm talking about prices so high that comparing the following decades with the 1970s oil crisis would be like comparing a featherweight boxing match to a bear-fist illegal brawl in the back of an alley. I would go as far as to say that resource wars might crumble entire nations. Not "US in Iraq"-like operations, I'm talking "World War III".

Does this mean that I should burn my car for insurance and start saving for a Prius because of this? Somewhat echoing my colleague Charles Darveight's ideas about a perfect transportation system, I pretty much give you a similar advice. If you fear that driving your car is contributing to a future engulfed in resource wars, why don't you go ahead and travel by bus, subway, train or whatever? Why not even walk for a change?

Thing is, nobody wants to let go of the comfort of owning a car. Not even people who drive cars like the Dacia Sandero for example. And I completely understand you guys perfectly. It's your car and it takes your almost everywhere you like while at the same time shielding you from the elements. One of Darveight's thoughts is that keeping your current econobox or buying a crappy new one will eventually lead to the disappearance of cars altogether (but especially the cool ones, ed).

The only advice I can give you after letting it all sink in during a few pint-consuming moments with Charles is not even completely related to this editorial: keep your stupid car or buy a new one, it doesn't matter since everything is ending anyway. Be it a Kia or even a Tata, drive it less but drive it like you mean it and on curved roads you've never been on before. Become a real driver and most of all a car fan, because you might lose this opportunity in a couple of decades or even less.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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