The fuel oil crisis. Winners and losers.

Friday, 20 January 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 3 By  Dr. Iain Corness

Our fossil fuel is coming to an end, so we are told.  As stocks dwindle with our need for oil unabated, the principle of supply and demand continues.  As demand goes up, so does the price.  Soothsayers claim we will see oil back at $150 per barrel by the end of the year, and they are probably correct.  The price at the pumps is also going up, but is it going up proportionally?

If you want to know the ‘real’ facts in this world, read the financial pages of your newspapers.  “Follow the money” should be everyone’s motto.  Did you know, for example, that the poor oil companies who are scratching around, trying to get us motorists enough gasoline to last for the rest of the decade, because they are really nice guys, and who so reluctantly have had to increase the price of their product, are recording the greatest profits in their history?  Read the financial pages and follow the money!  The price went up, and so did the profits.  Somebody is making a killing here, and it isn’t the motorist.  We are the losers.  No prizes for guessing who are the winners!

However, we are stuck with the situation, and I believe that market forces will see the motoring world adopt different energy sources, because they will be cheaper.  Hydrogen will eventually be cheaper than gasoline, while hybrids and diesels already are already more cost efficient than the current crop of purple petrol eaters.

For many industrial operators, biodiesel is seen as the path to follow, and many governments are legislating to make this a favored option.  Even in Thailand, there are government moves towards assisting in the planting of oil palms as forerunners of a biodiesel push, while up in the north of Thailand in Chiang Mai, the university there is running small waste oil recycling plants to produce biodiesel from discarded cooking oil.  It seems that we can be more efficient, if not self-sufficient.

It should also not be forgotten that Rudolf Diesel’s first successful variant of his engine ran on peanut oil!  We are not dealing with some new technology.  The idea of putting pure, natural vegetable oil - like the oil we fry chips in - into the fuel tanks of diesel vehicles is as old as diesel technology itself.  Natural vegetable oils such as canola oil are CO2-neutral, sulfur-free and non-toxic and research shows that fuel consumption and engine performance are the same as in conventional diesel operations.

It really is time for us to break the hold over us exerted by the pimps at the pumps.

Last modified on Friday, 20 January 2012 11:32
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