Top six tips for surviving post-peak oil gas-archy
By Owen B. Ray
The debate continues to rage as to the exact date when “peak oil” production will occur, and some of the doomsayers claim that oil production may peak during our lifetimes. The resulting decline in reserves will supposedly cause massive shortages, and the world will generally burst into flames and fall into a state of Mad Max-style apocalyptic anarchy. In case you haven’t been watching the Discovery Channel lately, “the term peak oil refers to the maximum rate of the production of oil…recognizing that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion," says Colin Campbell, founder of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. The day we start to suck the wells dry is open to debate, but there is no doubt that we’ll be bent over again by OPEC and the oil companies as they extract money from our pockets as fast as they pull oil from the ground.
When we have to get all Thunderdome-y to get gas, what are V-8 loving horsepower junkies like ourselves supposed to do? Doing anything with batteries other than using one to start the car is like putting a steak in the microwave, and even thinking about it is cause to be backhanded. (I’m lookin’ at you Neil Young.) The solution has to be loud, go fast, burn something and preferably retain the internal combustion engine. I have come up with the top six totally unscientific and completely non-reality based solutions to get us through dryer times.
6. Bio-ethanol: The only reason that bio-eth is on the list is because standard gasoline engines can be converted to run on it with relative ease. However, that is the end of the appeal to ethanol. Producing fuel from anything that simultaneously jacks the price of food and booze is endlessly stupid no matter how you shake it, and producing ethanol results in a massive net energy loss. Overall ethanol sucks, but it is kind of like drinking Budweiser: you’d do it if it were the only way to get by.
5. Used veggie oil diesel: The veggie oil diesel engine seems like decent idea, and heavily turbocharged, it could even be a little smoke-belching fun. Twin-turbo Powerstoke diesel in a 1966 Lincoln Conti, anyone? Don’t mind if I do. But once everyone catches on and starts pouring yesterday’s tallow in their tanks you won’t be able to get your greasy hands on the stuff no matter how many times a week you try wearing out the fry oil at your neighborhood McDonalds.
4. Drill baby, drill: Peak oil, what peak oil? Drill up the ocean, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon, hell put some wells at 16th and Mission and one in my living room if that is what it takes. Just keep on suckin’ till the world shrivels up like an octogenarian’s butt cheeks. OK, I don’t really approve of this tactic but I really, really love cheap gasoline, but I also really, really think Sarah Palin is Satan’s bastard love child.
3. Hobo-diesel: The most controversial but likely the best local solution to an oil shortage in cities like San Francisco is to make fuel out of the homeless. They are naturally high in alcohol and have a decent 89.4 octane rating, but there are some problems with noxious exhaust before and after refining. Hobo-diesel experts say that we can solve chronic homelessness and a fuel shortage in one fell swoop. However, those pesky “human rights” groups will likely whine about this until we get tired of the smell of patchouli and have to give up.
2. Hoarding: Hoard now and hoard hard. The 100,000 gallon above-ground fuel tank in your backyard will have the landlord and your neighbors up in arms, but give them a ride to Ikea every once and a while and they will pipe down. The big problem here is the initial investment required to start the hoarding, but get some friends together, have a couple of bake sales and prostitute yourself a little bit and you can make it happen. Be sure to have some heavy weaponry to keep the masses away from your stash when all hell breaks loose.
1. Wishful thinking: Gas is going to get more expensive? Dude, how about you put down the crack pipe! This stuff is going to be around forever and it is just going to get cheaper. Mad Max was cool and everything, but we don’t need to get all Al Gore about it. The stuff literally comes out of the freakin’ ground! How much can they possibly charge for it?