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Why are We Running Out of Fossil Fuels

Why are We Running Out of Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are getting depleted at an alarming rate. This article points out the reasons behind the decline, and its possible effects.
Parashar Joshi
Is it true that we are on the verge of running out of fossil fuels in the next 20-odd years? Yes indeed. We are running out of them, and yes, unless we do something about it, they running out in the next couple of decades, will no longer remain a distant improbability. Here is a sneak-peek at the exhaustion of fossil fuels, the consequences of which can be grave, if we do not take an initiative towards conserving them.

Why are We Exhausting Fossil Fuels?
The answer to this question lies in the classic economics principle of 'demand versus supply'. Simply put, the demand is extremely high, and the supply is comparatively less, or to be more accurate, it is limited (which is even worse). 'Fossil fuels' is the term that is commonly used for three major sources of energy:
  1. Coal
  2. Crude oil
  3. Natural gas
Coal has been used as a major source of energy all over the world, for well over a hundred years. Crude oil is the basic raw material from which many petroleum products, such as gas (petrol), diesel, kerosene, aircraft fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), etc., are produced. Natural gas is widely used for a multitude of residential, domestic, commercial, as well as industrial applications, all over the world. There are three major reasons, why these are in danger of running out in the near future.
  1. Per capita income
  2. Population
  3. Limited resources
Now, the per capita income in most countries is increasing, or should I say, getting better. This means that consequently, the standard of living of more people all over the world is getting better. Purchase of new cars, bikes, and other fossil fuel-consuming goods, is one of the outcomes of a higher standard of living. This inadvertently has a direct impact on the demand. Population is something that is increasing in nearly all the nations of the world. More people means more demand, and more demand will mean faster consumption of the existing reserves. The formation of fossil fuels is a process, which takes millions of years to complete. Therefore, from our point of view, it is as good as saying that the resources are limited. Limited resources obviously, will run out at some or the other point of time. Some experts say it will happen in 17 years, others have placed their finger on a figure of 25 years, a few others think it's 50, whereas some say it could be 70 years at the most. However, the basic point remains the same, that fossil fuels, sooner or later, are surely going to run out.

Other Reasons
Why are oil and gas running out much faster than thought? Well, on a slightly lighter but nevertheless, equally important note, here are some other valid reasons:
  • When all we need is six eggs and a loaf of bread, we prefer to drive down two blocks to the supermarket, rather than exercise our legs and burn some much-needed calories.
  • When we spot a hot chick next to us at a traffic light, we keep on gunning the engine endlessly, till the time she glances in our direction.
  • After a night of binge drinking, we doze off on the couch leaving the television turned on, not to mention the computer, the home theater system, and all the lights and fans in the neighboring room.
  • We insist on buying gas guzzling vehicles, like the latest SUVs, sports cars, luxury sedans, etc.
  • Many of us shun public transport and opt for using private vehicles instead.
This was a brief explanation with regard to the many reasons that we have no option but to bring fossil fuels into use. I hope it has clarified your doubts and answered most of your queries. Remember, it is renewable energy that the world will inevitably have to turn to, sooner or later.
Coins in a jam jar
Pile of coal isolated on white