Over a Barrel: A Simple Guide to the Oil Shortage is meant as a concise summary of the urgent oil shortage issue, written to be read by everyone of high school age or older. It provides a balanced and factual picture of the medium-to-long range role of oil in supplying the world’s energy needs, as well as an understanding of the many technical and social implications of the alternatives to oil.
A foundation in understanding energy is provided by the early chapters on energy concepts, history, uses, and sources. Emphasis is given to the special energy requirements of the transportation industries that are 97% dependent on oil-based fuels.
Then, the focus shifts to understanding oil. World supply and demand for oil is carefully explained, showing that we have used about half the oil that nature took over 100 million years to create and that oil production will begin to decline soon. These chapters show that the rising world demand will create a permanent and increasing shortage of oil and that the Middle East has over 60% of the oil reserves.
Oil alternatives are reviewed with the alarming conclusion that we don’t know which of them can overcome their many technical and social issues to fill some of the gap that will be created by declining oil production. The case for more and better organized research and development of alternatives to oil is made.
The book explores life in a world with declining oil and no alternatives – an unpleasant life. Suggestions are then given for actions to be taken by the reader to support R&D efforts and for fuel conservation to extend the time we have to accomplish the identification and building of industries for alternatives to oil.