Petroleum vs Renewable Energy Alternatives

Topics: Petroleum, Fossil fuel, Peak oil Pages: 4 (1214 words) Published: November 26, 2007

Petroleum has been a mainstay of the United State's economy for almost a century. However, oil has now been recognized as a strong catalyst for global warming, it is becoming scarce and therefore, an expensive necessity to America's economy. In the recent years many universities and scientists have looked for alternatives to oil in the form of renewable energies. These renewable energy sources would be cheaper in the long run, more efficient and environmentally clean. America as a whole must look into these new forms of renewable energy to determine if they are a practical alternative to the use of petroleum as an energy source. If we do not try to find a clean and efficient alternative to fossil fuels, I am concerned for the future of our world.

Background Information

Petroleum oil (a type of fossil fuel) has been extracted since the early 1650's in Europe to make kerosene for use in heat and lighting. Not until 1858 in Ontario was oil discovered by James Miller Williams to be useful as an energy source for machinery. Drilling his first well in 1860, North America's first oil corporation, The Canada Oil Company, was formed [1]. Petroleum has been, for over a century, the world's primary source of energy for all manners of living. It is used in various ways such as fuel for energy, the making of plastics and the production of lubricating oils. The petroleum industry is one of, if not the largest industry in the world, and plays a strong part in modern politics. However, it seems that we are on the path to an impending oil crisis. Critics predict that by 2020 we will have insufficient oil for the growing population and by 2050 we will have a worldwide crisis, as shown in the graph below: Figure 1 [2]

"Oil Peak" – Shows the projected amounts of oil that the world will have available to it through the year 2050.

If this information comes true and there is an insufficient amount of oil in the near future, it would lead to...
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