How will the End of Oil arrive?

Will it be by stealth in increments or will it be over night?

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The answer is not an easy one for it could be either or the two or both.

We have already gone past “Peak Oil”; at least according to most of he experts, and we must, therefore, anticipate the end of cheap oil to be upon us very soon indeed.

The way we may be feeling it initially will be via ever increasing fuel prices at the pumps which the governments will be blaming on the greed of the oil companies and while there is some truth in that – they are running out of the stuff so they want to make as much profit before they have to change what they do – most of the increases will be due to the fact that they are running out of the easily extractable oil.

The BP Deep Water Horizon rig disaster in late May 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico is also due, in part, to this.

They were in a hurry to bring that well, just recently opened, on stream and tried to save – for reasons as much as costs – and left out the second blowout preventer, which would have been the norm.

This action points to the fact that we are already in trouble as far as oil supplies are concerned.

The cost of extracting oil from the Tar Sands, which is a case of expending about half a barrel of oil to gain one, also points to the desperate situation and the oil company geologists and the governments know full well that the “normal” oil wells are running dry and that many of them have basically done so already.

As both the oil companies and our governments are fully aware of the fact that cheap oil, at least, is running out and will soon be history, and all the oils that can still be extracted at a reasonable costs, initially everything will happen incrementally, I should think, in that fuel prices will rise to such an extent that the ordinary punter will no longer be able to afford to drive and the ordinary farmer no longer be able to afford to run his machines.

But the other possibility also remains and that it is going to happen with a quiet bang, overnight, without a warning.

Overnight, literally, without a warning, the gas stations will be shut and that those still left open will be for use by government vehicles only and will be guarded, with the use of deadly force authorized.

The ordinary you and I will find ourselves high and dry and will find that those guards, who will have, as said, authority to shoot to kill, will keep everyone away from the still existing gas supplies.

This means that, either way, the ordinary driver – of which I am not one, as I do not drive – will not be able to get any gas, aside from the fact that most of us would not be able to afford it.

Five dollars a gallon will then appear cheap to the Americans and fifteen Pounds a gallon for the British, who always were used to high prices, really, due to the high fuel taxes in the United Kingdom.

While the incremental will happen I am more convinced that we will get faced with the event of “zero gas” in an overnight action.

We will find that from one day to the next most gas stations will have no longer any gas, and the gas that they had will have been transferred to elsewhere and the ones that will be open still will be left open for use by government vehicles only. The ordinary person will no longer have access to gasoline or diesel and, more than likely, even heating oil.

Without gas most people will be stuck where they are and many cars may, in fact, fail on the road for lack of fuel while their owners are driving around looking for open gas stations that will serve them.

Being unable to drive their cars will mean that getting to and from work will be a little on the difficult side, to say the very least. It is not easy commuting by bicycle from Hayward's Heath to London, and such.

The lack of suddenly not being able to drive, considering the kind of car-oriented culture that we are in most of Europe and North America (and Australia), could mean serious problems indeed, especially in that some people, believing that they are “entitled” to gas for their cars might get rather angry, to put it mildly.

When we suddenly find ourselves in this situation, a Mad Max scenario is easily imaginable. A scenario of riots in the streets with people demanding fuel for cars and homes where there is none – to some degree – and armed police and the military being used to suppress such demonstrations and riots.

Let me once again say that I am surmising here as I neither have a working crystal ball nor a direct line to the heavenly rulers, and neither do the governments or the so-called faith leaders, by the way.

This does sound, I know, all more than a little doom and gloom but what I am trying to do is issue a warning that these are possibilities and probabilities that might soon be upon us. Then again it could all be a smooth and easy transition.

The governments are trying the damnedest to get people out of their cars, and have been trying to do this ever since the 1970s, employing various ploys and reasons, and into walking, onto their bikes and into pubic transport. So far with very little result.

Taking the hint and transitioning to a more-or-less car-free world would help a great deal and some people are already doing it and it will be those that are best equipped for it when it all goes pear shaped. Those that do not will be in for rather a rude awakening.

To try to change from a dependence of the car virtually overnight to walking or using just a bicycle is not going to be easy for those that have really know no other way but the car and who are not prepared for it on a mental and physical level; and that is just on a personal transportation level.

It could all be a slow process and people may have time preparing for it and getting used to it or it could be a case of the powers-that-be turning the tap off overnight, and in a way I believe it will be a mix of the two.

Initially, my guess is that the tap will be gradually turned off, so to speak, by increments in that fuel prices will rise more and more on an almost daily basis until gas becomes too expensive to afford for most ordinary people, this is then, as the final act, I believe, going to be followed by the tap being turned off entirely for all mere mortals.

Without having, obviously, a direct wire to the future and the oracle I suggest we prepare for the worst and that is end of gas or diesel for personal motorcar use overnight and hope for an easier transition to a no-fuel event.

© 2010

This is an extract from the book “The End of Oil” by this author. The book can be purchased on