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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 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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