What Happens When We Run Out of Fossil Fuels?

There are many consequences if we run out of fossil fuels.  Optimistic estimates for how long fossil fuels will last include about 42 years for oil, 59 years for natural gas, and 115 years for coal (Antoniazzo, 2012).  Fossil fuels are used for many things in our daily lives.  For example, they fuel cars, planes, trucks, and other automobiles; they heat houses and other buildings; they are used in the production of “medicines, cosmetics, plastics, synthetic fabrics, and lubricants” (New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, n.d.); shoes, sunglasses, tires, computers, and TVs are all made with the help of fossil fuels (New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, n.d.).  Fossil fuels are also used to create energy used for electricity, heat, and other functions in our own homes.  We would need to quickly and cheaply find a way to replace our source of energy when we can no longer rely on fossil fuels.

Major economic problems will arise when we run out of fossil fuels.  “The prices of all of these things will rise causing a depression” (BigPimpin, 2005).  This has already started to happen, for example, a bottle of soda costs more now than five years ago (BigPimpin, 2005), which could be because of the cost of producing the bottles and also in the production of the beverage.  Oil companies will no longer be necessary, as there will be no more oil, which will lead to less money in our economy (BigPimpin, 2005).  However, investing in converting to alternative, renewable source of energy would be more efficient while we can still use our power made from fossil fuels during the conversion process (BigPimpin, 2005).  While this conversion will be costly to do, the overall consequences make up for that initial sacrifice.

These initial changes can be big or small differences to current times.  We should focus on planning cities and towns so that they will consume as little energy as possible (Kyriakides, 2008).  Along the lines of living arrangements, we should also consider making communities smaller so that travel times and distances will be shorter (Kyriakides, 2008).  This means driving less, or not at all, to the places you would normally go every day.  Public transportation can help with this (Kyriakides, 2008).  Many places all over the world have based more cities around public transportation, such as buses, subways, and railways.  Carpooling reduces the amount of cars on streets, and therefore reduces the amount of fossil fuels being used.  Designing appliances so that they use less energy is also an important step.  Many companies have already started on making more energy efficient items, but more companies will have to join in on this initiative faster for this change to be truly effective (Kyriakides, 2008).  However, the most important energy saving change is to invest in the research and implementation of the use of renewable sources of energy (Kyriakides, 2008).


Works Cited

Antoniazzo, Erika. (2012). When will we run out of fossil fuels? Retrieved from: http://www.eco-info.net/fossil-fuel-depletion.html

BigPimpin. (2005). When and what happens when oil runs out: The answer. Retrieved from: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread151333/pg1

Kyriakides, Robert. (2008). Fighting nature- what will happen when the fossil fuel and uranium runs out? Retrieved from: http://robertkyriakides.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/fighting-nature-what-will-happen-when-the-fossil-fuel-and-uranium-runs-out/

New Mexico Oil & Gas Association. (n.d.). What are fossil fuels used for? Retrieved from: http://www.nmoga.org/what-are-fossil-fuels-used-for


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