Kicking The Gasoline & Petro-Diesel Habit

Background On The Petroleum Situation

July 29, 2008

  • A large body of geological evidence indicates that worldwide petroleum production is now peaking, or will be peaking in a few years. Meanwhile the world’s demand for petroleum continues to grow at approximately 2% per year. In even the best of scenarios, the result will be significantly escalating prices and supply shortages. [Notes 1, 2 & 3]
  • Disputes about oil are now the cause of not only military skirmishes but resource wars. Assuring a continued supply of petroleum is essential to continuing business expansion, maintaining economic stability, and encouraging consumer consumption patterns. Businesses that can unhook their internal operations from the unstable and increasingly politicized petroleum supply situation, will markedly improve their ability to continue to provide products and services to their customers. [Notes 1, 4, 5 & 6]
  • Global warming is now generally acknowledged to be largely the result of burning fossil fuels such as petroleum. Burning fossil fuels for transportation purposes is estimated to contribute 26% of the worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. Recent research in the area of global warming indicates that the world has, at most, thirty years to get the gasoline out of cars, and to otherwise stop burning fossil fuels. [Notes 7, 8 & 9]
  • Exhaust from gasoline and petro-diesel engines is toxic and carcinogenic. The refinement process used to manufacture these fuels also involves the generation of toxic waste by-products, which themselves have been shown to be carcinogenic. The process of exploring for, and drilling for, oil causes serious environmental damage including poisoning local flora and fauna. The transportation of oil to refineries, often by tanker boat, and then from refineries to retail gasoline and petro-diesel stations, often by truck, is also dangerous. Spillage of these fuels can poison water, contaminate soil, and otherwise seriously damage the affected areas. [Notes 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14]
  • 40% of the world’s energy is currently provided by oil. In 2003, the world consumed over 80 million barrels per day of oil. The United States consumed almost 20 million of these barrels, and some two-thirds of that consumption was devoted to the transportation sector. Worldwide, according to an estimate by the Royal Swedish Academy Of Sciences, 57% of the world’s oil is used in the transportation sector. [Notes 15, 16, 17 & 18]
  • In the United States, there are 210 million automobiles and light trucks, including vans, pickups, and sport utility vehicles. The average age of US automobiles is nine years, and for US light trucks the average age is seven years. Under normal conditions, replacement of only one half of these vehicles would take 9-14 years. This replacement rate is way too slow to adjust to the new reality regarding petroleum. An emergency transition away from petroleum is now necessary. [Notes 15 & 19]
  • Kicking The Gasoline & Petro-Diesel Habit is a practical hands-on report that guides those managers leading an emergency transition away from petroleum. It prevents managers from having to research the alternatives to petroleum, and having to assess which of these technologies are practical. It also prevents managers from having to determine which of these alternative technologies can be supported by currently available products and services. Likewise, it prevents managers from having to brainstorm action steps about the best ways to immediately move away from petroleum. With this compendium of grounded management advice, managers can immediately get into action because the necessary background research has already been done for them. [Note 20]

    Notes: For additional information about the points made above, see the following references and links:

    [1] Klare, Michael T., Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict, Henry Holt and Company, 2001

    [2] Heinberg, Richard, The Party’s Over Ð Oil, War And The Fate Of Industrial Societies, New Society Publishers, 2003

    [3] Simmons, Matthew R., Twilight In The Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock And The World Economy, John Wiley & Sons, 2005

    [4] Klare, Michael T., Blood And Oil: The Dangers And Consequences Of America’s Growing Dependency On Imported Petroleum, Metropolitan Books, 2004

    [5] Diamond, Jared, Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed, Penguin Group Publishers, 2005

    [6] Senator Lugar (US), “Energy Security IS National Security,” undated, but apparently written in 2006, posted at, accessed on 14 July 2007

    [7] Finley, Russ, “Biodiesel: it’s what you make it out of,” Grist: Environmental News & Commentary, 19 August 2005, posted at, accessed on 22 March 2007

    [8] Galbraith, James K., “Market Meltdown,” Mother Jones, July/August 2007, pp. 16-17

    [9] Fenderson, Adam, and Bart Anderson, “US Army: Peak Oil and the Army’s Future,” Energy Bulletin, 12 March 2006, posted at, accessed on 15 July 2007

    [10] Agarwal, Anil, “Engines of the Devil Ð Why Dieselisation of Private Automobile Fleet Should Be Banned Ð The Case of Delhi,” Center for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India, May 1999, posted at, accessed on 22 March 2007

    [11] Environmental Protection Agency (US), “EPA List of Hazardous Wastes from Non-Specific Sources,” undated, posted at, accessed on 22 March 2007

    [12] Environmental Protection Agency (US), “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Regulatory Impact Analysis,” 14 September 1989; posted at, accessed on 22 March 2007

    [13] Dabbs, W. Corbett, “Oil Production and Environmental Damage,” Oil Production Cases, TED Case Studies, Research Paper 15, December 1996, posted at, accessed on 22 March 2007

    [14] Patin, Stanislav (translated by Elena Cascio), “Accidents during the offshore oil and gas development,” a chapter appearing in Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry (a book), undated, posted at, accessed on 22 March 2007

    [15] Hirsch, Robert L., Peaking of World Oil Production – Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management, a report prepared for the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the US Department of Energy, February 2005

    [16] Mouawad, Jad, “Oil tanker shortages add to price squeeze,” 30 October 2004, International Herald Tribune, posted at, accessed on 17 July 2007

    [17] Simmons, Matthew R., “Energy In A Post-Peak World,” 25 April 2007, a presentation given at the National Association of Industrial Office Properties conference in Houston, Texas, posted at, accessed on 23 July 2007

    [18] Aleklett, Kjell, “Aleklett: Testimony On Peak Oil To US Congress,” reflecting testimony given 7 December 2005 to the Committee On Energy And Commerce, in a hearing entitled Understanding Peak Oil Theory in the US House Of Representatives; posted at, and accessed on 23 January 2007

    [19] Hirsch, Robert L., “The Inevitable Peaking Of World Oil Production,” appearing in The Atlantic Council Of The United States Bulletin, October 2005, Vol. XVI, No. 3, available online at, accessed on 23 January 2007

    [20] For further information on this topic, see Kicking The Gasoline & Petro-Diesel Habit: A Business Manager’s Blueprint For Action, by Charles Cresson Wood. This new research report is discussed at

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