In today’s world, oil is truly ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. It’s in our clothes, our shoes, our homes, almost all of our common household products, fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides and medicine. It makes our machinery spin, not to mention it heats our homes and fuels transportation. It is, in fact, an infrastructure. Our country was built on oil.
So it is not going away any time soon!
Oil was discovered in the United States in 1627 in New York at Seneca Oil Springs, just outside of Cuba. The natives of the area had known about it for hundreds of years earlier. In 1825, Fredonia was the first city to have street lighting using natural gas. In the 1850s, gasoline distillation from oil was discovered, and it was used for lighting. Later oil became the standard fuel of the day. Oil was initially processed in Pennsylvania and New York with abandon. Oil became a geopolitical force. It was oil, or the lack of it, that brought the World War II German war machine to a halt. Oil is what made America invincible.
The voyage of discovery today is to determine the future of oil. Will electric cars, a return to mass transit and next-day shipping bring to an end the use of oil? Definitely not, at least not any time soon!
Keep in mind that less than half a barrel of oil can be made into gasoline. The remainder is used for diesel fuel and derivative products. Plastics may, in the future, be the dominant material in the construction industry. Before long, plastics will be as strong as titanium.
But oil as an energy product in the future may not be so bright. Electric cars are on the rise. China is moving to make two-thirds of the cars produced in China electric. They are easier to build and maintain.
However, it will be a long time before another fuel replaces oil distillates for air transportation and freight hauling. However, a…