By the year 2080, the world’s supply of oil will be in steep decline. It is not likely that petroleum supplies will run out any time in the near future, but the oil reserves that are still economically viable to recover will not be there. It will take more energy to take the petroleum out of the ground than can be gained from the use of the produced oil. This would mean gasoline prices would skyrocket as countries would get low in their reserves of oil. Consumers, when they have to pay more, usually become discontent.
Likely, previously peaceful nations will become more malevolent with dwindling and more expensive sources of fuel energy. A lack of petroleum could easily destabilize world-wide relations and lead to a major war. Also, large oil reliant suppliers of such goods as plastics, heating oil, kerosene, and construction material would be at a loss for the necessary raw materials. Petroleum reliant power plants would be out of production, and the transportation industry would have no gasoline for its vehicles.
Our society will not necessarily fall into the stone age or into world war, however, as there are a large number of alternative, sources of energy. The supply of coal will last hundreds of years to maintain our electricity needs.
Transportation, which accounts for 35% of energy used, will however need to be steered toward non-petroleum based materials as sources of energy. Non fossil fuels, or ones that can be made to last a lot longer, are called renewable sources of energy.
To use solar power means to harness the energy in the sun’s rays via any sort of solar energy collector. This energy can be used to run a heat engine or can be directly converted to electricity to provide for power needs. Several prototypes of vehicles have been designed which use solar power as a means of transportation. However, solar energy is not evenly disbursed throughout the earth (cities close to the arctic and antarctic circles will have much too little daylight). Solar power plants can also use solar collectors as a means of collecting energy. Solar paneling collects the sun’s energy to run heat engines, heat homes, and generate electricity.
As oil supplies diminish, the price of oil will increase. Simply supply and demand. As oil prices increase and increase and increase, it will become in the best interests of the private sector to develop alternative energies, since now they will be cost competitive. Once the cost of energy from alternative energy is less than the cost of energy from oil, we will abandon fossil fuels entirely. And the remaining, extremely high priced oil will go unused because cars, factories, and houses will not be able to run on it anymore.