The Future of Oil

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Over the last month, several newspapers have highlighted individuals who are moving away from gas-guzzling cars to more energy efficient alternatives. Some farmers are using donkeys and camels rather than tractors, others are buying smaller cars or even bicycles rather than SUVs, and others are choosing mass-transit. Ford is even changing its line-up in favour of cars with better gas mileage to better suit the market.

Oil prices have risen and fallen over the years, but due to rapid industrialisation in many developing countries, this surge will likely be permanent. Which leaves the question: are these high prices best for the long-term success of the oil companies?

Richard Fletcher doesn’t think so. Many people are making long-term lifestyle changes that are much more energy efficient. New homes have better insulation, windows block heat more effectively, and light bulbs run on less energy. Smaller vehicles are quickly becoming the norm in the United States, just as they have been for years in Europe.

Perhaps most importantly, there has never been a greater incentive than now to develop practical alternative sources of energy. In fact, £500bn will be invested in renewable energy over the next twenty years. May the force (but please, not subsidies) be with anyone who can develop cheap and clean energy.