The modern way of life has become increasingly dependent on fossil fuel, although surprising amounts of people take this fact for granted. Since the 1860s, geologists have discovered over 2 trillion barrels of oil, but the world has already used up about half of that.
Oil deposits used to be relatively easy to find: the first American oil well was found in 1900. However, once a well starts producing oil, it’s only a matter of time until it enters a decline; it takes about 40 years after the discovery for a well to reach its peak of production.
In 1970, American oil production peaked and entered a period of decline. From this point on, The United States has started to depend progressively on imported oil. This situation contributed to the economic mayhem of the 1973 and 1979 oil shocks.
There is enough evidence that proves that the worldwide oil production is now peaking. The rate of discovery of new oil fields reached its maximum amount in the 1960s. At that time about six barrels of oil were found for every one that was used. Now it’s almost the opposite: the world consumes between three to six barrels of oil for every one that is found. This means that even if any new wells were found, they would hardly be able to produce the amount of oil on which our world now depends.
Currently 54 of the 65 known oil-producing nations have already peaked in production and many of the others are expected to follow in the near future. This means that demand will soon exceed supply by a wide range and the economy will be affected severely.
Fossil fuels are used in more ways than most people realize. Even the production of computers, clothing, food, and entertainment equipment relies heavily on the availability of oil and other fossil fuels.
It’s quite clear that something needs to be done really quickly. Many economists believe that the free market will substitute one energy source with another, however many of the main oil substitutes are also facing their own decline rates. This means that we might be on the verge of a future in which we will become increasingly more self-reliant just like our ancestors once were.