The Death of Fossil Fuel

With the unrest in the Middle East comes the inevitable rise of fuel.  With unleaded fuel reaching £1.40 per litre (approximately £6.30 per imperial gallon which is 4.5 litres) and diesel becoming even more expensive, the austere times and the continuing price rise in a dieing product is causing problems throughout the UK.  The cost of fuel isn’t helped by the taxes.  The UK government takes over 50% in taxes on a litre of petrol; that’s more than the actual cost of the product, with the retailer making pennies in profit.  To top it all off, there will be an inevitable feathering of prices when the price of crude drops; that is fuel prices will drop much more slowly than they increased.

This surely must be the deathknell for fossil fuel.

The price of fuel has reached the stage where it is bankrupting businesses and crippling the man on the street.  The government, afraid of a similar blockade that we had several years ago, has promised to intervene, possibly lowering the tax on fuel, but more likely freezing the planned increase on the litre.  Either way, with our pitiful public transport system and our complete reliance on our cars, things will need to change.

It’s times like these I curse California.  Not because I dislike Californians, quite the opposite.  Many years ago they passed a bill that ensured car manufacturers made electric vehicles.  These vehicles were never sold but leased and people loved them.  They were clean, efficient and worked perfectly.  That was until the oil barons managed to regain influence over the powers that be and the electric cars were removed from the roads.  The bill that had created them had been removed, the result of typical political corruption.  The owners of the cars wanted to buy them, but the manufacturers refused and they were all destroyed.

Imagine if the politicians hadn’t caved to the oil barons.  Imagine how the electric engine would have evolved faster due to public demand.  Imagine how we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

Vehicles that are powered without the use of petrol have been around for a long time.  There is the popular myth of one car manufacturer creating an evolutionary new propulsion system that did not use fossil fuels which was immediately bought and hidden by a prominent oil company.  No matter how true or false the story is, the truth is that it is the oil companies are responsible for the lack of serious research into alternative fuel sources.  It’s only recently, when we knew that there is only a limited supply of oil left, that alternate fuel vehicles have made a come-back.

With the big car manufacturers making both electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars and their increased appearance in the car showrooms, there is no doubt that people are seriously considering a change.  Obviously there are those that can afford the current fuel prices and have the supercars that need it.  As yet, there is no replacement for the oil driven supercars.  Eventually, as research progresses, there will be.  There is the Tesla, which (to me) looks like a Lotus.  Reviews on it are mixed, but with it’s limited top speed and the fact that it’s range is severely limited, it’s not a serious replacement for the Aston Martins and Ferrari’s out there.

I’ve never been an environmentalist or even really cared for it.  I love the beauty of nature and I hate seeing rain forests being destroyed, but I have always been of the opinion that I am on this Earth for about 70 years (if I’m lucky) and then I’ll be gone.  What happens after that wont affect me.  I have, however, been vehemently against the hold the oil companies have had over our transportation system.  The executives of these companies have been making millions off us while at the same time doing their bit in polluting our planet.  It’s well past time that ended.

We are surely witnessing the final throes of fossil fuel as it’s repugnant shackles are slowly pried off us.  The emergence of viable, cleaner and cheaper alternatives are slowly changing our mindsets and dependence on the black cancer that is fossil fuel.  It’s going to take time, but the price of petrol will only speed things up.  I can’t wait to get rid of my current car and buy a new hydrogen powered one.  I look forward to that day and hope it arrives quickly.  I hope that our infrastructure to support these fuels becomes more established and we can all move forward.

This century may not see man land on Mars or realise world peace but it will see the death of our reliance on fossil fuel.  It’s well past time.

Obviously I am angry about how the fuel prices are affecting us all and hence this rant.  For those that know me, I am a petrol-head.  I love fast cars and fast bikes but I have grown sick and tired over the amount we pay for this privilege.  For me to rant like this means I have reached the end of patience and even I want to see change.  Sorry.

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