Natural Selection Image Map

Oil Depletion

Do you know where gasoline comes from? It comes from processing oil. Where does most of the world's oil come from? The oil that we pump out of the ground today took millions of years to make.  So our oil supplies are not renewable -- once gone, gone forever.

An oil shortage is inevitable. Some analysts think that shortages may develop in 20 years or so. Then what?  Prices will go up. Oil and gas may get so scarce that people start wars. What can we do?  One option is to drill more wells. One problem is that oil wells create hazards to wildlife if there are spills from tankers or breaks in pipelines. On the other hand, if new wells only maintain our current supplies, no additional hazards are created. 

Anyway, many people are trying to stop all new drilling, especially in wildlife areas such as Prudhoe Bay and the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.   Others argue that we cannot develop alternatives to gasoline fast enough and that there are responsible ways to drill for oil in wildlife areas (click here to see their arguments). These debates influence our national energy policy and laws passed by Congress.

Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska

So what to do? Of course, we should do the research needed to develop other sources of energy. In the meanwhile, we must get new sources of oil. And in the process, we must be careful not to add a burden on the environment.

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