Peak Oil is You

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Page added on August 30, 2009

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After 150 years, age of oil entering an efficiency phase

Amory Lovins, president and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, predicts the U.S. could just about eliminate its need for oil by 2040 by expanding on a number of energy efficiency efforts that have sprung up since an Arab oil embargo sparked the energy crisis of the early 1970s.

These include reducing oil’s use as a transportation fuel through lighter, fuel-efficient vehicles, shifting to a combination of natural gas and nonagricultural biofuels, improving building efficiency standards and other measures.
“It’s not going to happen because of concern for the climate but because it’s profitable. Any company that saves energy knows it saves money,” Lovins says. “The whaling industry of the 1800s didn’t die out because it ran out of whales. It ran out of customers. Whales were actually saved by profit maximizers of the oil industry.”

The energy industry certainly doesn’t widely embrace Lovins’ timeline for oil’s decline, but Pratt says the business knows a thing or two about saving energy. Refineries and drilling platforms use huge amounts, so company engineers are constantly find ways to do more with less.

“I’m a believer in that collective engineering impulse to find better ways to get oil and natural gas and maybe better ways to use it,” Pratt says. “When it comes to better and cleaner ways to use it, we’ve just touched the surface on our abilities.”

Houston Chronicle

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