While reading the following article, keep in mind the following questions:
What are proven reserves of oil and gas?
How fast are we consuming these resources?
Where are global reserves of oil and gas located?
What are the environmental effects of oil and gas use?
What are the issues of drilling for oil in the ANWR?
What is peak oil and has it been reached yet?
Running on Empty? How Economic Freedom Affects Oil Supplies
by Stephen P. A. Brown and Richard Alm
Respond to one or more of the following questions:
1. What is today’s world price for oil? Check the web, a daily newspaper, or business network.
At present rates of consumption, we can determine how long world proven reserves (1,190 billion barrels at the end of 2004) will last by simply dividing the total oil by the annual production – approximately 31 billion barrels per year. Note that when we do this the resultant number is years since “barrels” cancel out.
The number represents the total number of years from 2005 that oil could be produced at current rates before it is all gone, assuming constant production and demand. In reality, the depletion of a resource like oil does not follow such a simple pattern. Rather, oil production will gradually decline over a long period of time (oil, like coal, becomes harder to extract). It is useful for this analysis, however, to assume for the moment that it does follow this simple depletion pattern, that is, at the present rate of extraction and use.
2. In what year, starting from 2005, would the world run out of oil in the previous scenario?
3. With oil reserves still available, should the United States look for better ways to extract oil or should we look for alternatives to oil as our major energy source?
Although the following New York Times Op-ed piece is dated, it offers some insight into how the United States is viewed globally. Check it out.
4. What benefits will both the United States and other countries reap when we become less dependent on oil as our major energy source?
Think about adding Freedom From Oil by David B. Sandalow, 2007, to your summer reading list.
5. I would be interested in your opinion concerning the United State’s dependency on oil as a source of energy. What solutions are there? What choices do we have? Are these choices economically and socially feasible?
6. How have higher energy (including gasoline) prices affected you and your family? What are you doing to deal with higher energy costs?