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How will your life change without oil products, gasoline, heating oil, lubricant, or jet fuel?

The Sunoco refinery in Philadelphia may shut down this summer as a result of limited ability to produce a profit. The unique aspect is that the refinery is the supply point for the pipeline that provides wholesale petroleum products to Pennsylvania and western New York. If the refinery closes, there is no easy way for a new source to be connected to the supply point. Initially, the new oil supply may be from trucks from Ohio, but that infra structure may take some time to set up. Turning off the supply of oil products to a region as large as PA and western NY may have significant adverse impact on people in those states, and on people that depend on rail and trucking crossing that region.

It is possible that some aspects of the current problem will be mitigated in a timely manner, but there appears increased risk that there will be other occurrences of oil shortages either due to economic or supply challenges. So, while this summer may not be the initial evaluation of "living without oil", the reality may not be far off in the future. And, quite possibly, given the current higher costs of gasoline, higher unemployment, and reduced wage increases, a number of people are already experiencing life with reduced access to oil.

How do you think "life without easy access to low cost oil products" will effect your life; your community; your employment; and your ability to purchase things like food,clothing, or heat? And, what steps can you take to be prepared for living without oil? And, what do you think the people in PA and NY should do?

Information on the closing

EIA Article, Potential Impacts of Reductions in Refinery Activity on Northeast Petroleum Product Markets

Map showing Reading/Pittsburg and Reading/Buffalo pipelines

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    Mar 12 2012: I'll probably walk or ride my bike more.
    There will be alternatives, just not so cheap.
    Access to cheap energy is an economic driver.
    Expect on average, we'll or be a bit poorer than we would otherwise.
  • Mar 10 2012: You could always refill with Joe...
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    Mar 10 2012: It means i'll have to relearn how to throw a clay cup Damn!
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      Mar 11 2012: Yes you can sit on your wooden stool wearing your cotton and woollen clothes while you spin the wheel wlth your leather shoes. I suppose on the up side we will have to grow a lot of trees which will remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The post plastics age will have a bit of a Gilligan's Island vibe to it. I'm typing on a keybourd carved from oak as we speak.:) I wonder if one day the most expensive item in the jewellery store will be made of plastic. Aluminium jewellery was very high class until they invented electroloytic reduction of aluminium oxide, then it went from precious to pedestrian. Plastic may do the reverse!
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        Mar 12 2012: I'm hoping that in the next 20 years that silk technology will be available to the average user as it's uses are tremendous and that catalitic co2 scrubbers will be everywhere,inside your house,the rooms,dangling from trees,these scrubbers will have a litmus style strip that will colour change when it is full so as to take to old qaurries to be dumped.I haven't worn a woolly jersey in years and i live in a land of 40 million sheep hehe.

        My grand nieces just broke the last piece of an old spinning wheel their grandmother was trying to save for them when they got older...bloody kids.
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    Mar 8 2012: Look into compressed air engines. Google it up. This can replace a lot of our dependency on oil, etc.
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      Mar 8 2012: Unfortunately the air needs be compressed. This would be done using electricity that was probably generated using fossil fuels. This is speaking from an Australian point of view. We have no real snow fields to generate hydro and everyone is anti nuclear now so fossil fuel is what we've got.
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        Mar 12 2012: Wind farm the juice. Soak up the juice from solar panels. Take the juice to run a compression system that generates air a large scale. Use advertising revenue (creative) from "sponsors" to off-set costs to provide air at a very, very cheap price.
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          Mar 12 2012: I suppose in effect youare replacing a battery bank with a compressed air reservoir. It could be done on a local scale for isolated communities but in town the electricity infrastructure is already there so why not just use elctricity. Modern electric motors are the most efficient converters of potential to kinetic energy.
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    Mar 8 2012: You're missing the big picture. Look around your house and find everything that is made out of plastic. This includes polyester and nylon clothing. This all comes from oil. You won't need to worry about the cost of fuel because without oil you can't make the plastic to build a car or an airbus a380. Carbon fibre comes from oil as well. You'll need a horse to pull your wooden cart. We can substitute ethanol for fuel but the more complex monomers like styrene or terephthalate will be worth more than gold without oil.
    • Mar 8 2012: Peter,
      Yes, a lot of things are made from oil. Plus oil enables the food. transportation, and industrial capabilities.
      I was interested in signals that the situation is getting close to unsustainable. The plot of price vs production is one indicator. But then I thought I would look at the distribution system in US, and was surprised to read about the planned closing of the Philadelphia refinery. I don't know if it will close, but it is the feed to the pipeline that supplies petroleum products to PA and NY. If it does close, it may result in a temporary supply disruption of oil products. Also, I don't know if this was a unique example, or we will be seeing more occurrences of potential disruption of the oil supply system due to economic reasons.
      Thanks for the thoughts. Life will be different without those oil products.

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    Mar 7 2012: In the UK we don't have access to low cost fuel - it's all very expensive! Currently, one litre of petrol costs £1.36 with one litre of diesel costing £1.39. 60% of this cost is a government green tax, plus 20% VAT! It's a huge government take which impacts costs across the board as transport for all goods have doubles over the past 10 years. Recently, I came across an old fuel receipt for the year 2002, one litre was 68p!

    I used to fill my car every week - now I fill it once a month. My average daily car use is now down to approx 7 miles. I walk locally, car share more and I think twice about making longer distance journeys by car. I think before using my car and do multiple tasks in one round trip instead of multiple trips.
    • Mar 8 2012: Heather,
      I started riding a van pool about 10 years ago, for my 20 mi commute to work. I regret days that I have to drive and spend the five dollars on gas. So, I know what you mean when you are trying to cut back on driving. Also, it is amazing how much gas has gone up recently. I don't understand the price of oil / gas going up due to concerns about Iran. How long can this go on, and when will the prices come back down?