Lightbulb ban, how about a oil fuel ban? Thought experiment

In the same line that the government moved to extinguish the threat posed by the common lightbulb, lets say that having so many forms combustion tied to oil was seen as globally unstable. So new law, in 20 years you will not be able to buy petroleum fuels. You can still buy them for lubrication and other purposes but gone will be the gas station gas pumps and home heating oil tanks, gone also are the white gas camping stove fuels. Even military vehicles must run primarily on non-oil fuels (but can if it is a emergency with mulitfuel engines).

20 years seems like the time frame to make this conversion, primarily to build new power plants, perhaps nuke ones to pick up the slack once more electric vehicles will be hitting the road. Natural gas also expected to be a major player. Bio-fuels will pick up the stragglers still looking for some liquid fuel to burn, and might make some major breakthru’s.

Cars in the near future, well gas will still work as that is 20 years down the road till you can’t get that anymore, and conversion to flex fuels, to be able to use bio fuels in case the car you buy today lasts the 20 years and still be able to fuel it seem like a cheap fix for today.

How would such a thing play out? Does it go smoothly? Does carbon intense coal add much more CO2 to the air melt the icecaps and give penguins the best real estate on the planet?

The most plausible reaction, IMHO, is a nationwide collective “Yeah, right”, and everyone goes on doing exactly what they’re doing now.

There simply are no viable alternatives right now - not for a complete replacement of ALL petroleum-based fuels in the US.

On a more personal note, may I presume that the government will therefore pay to have my house’s oil tank removed, disposed of, and an alternate heat source installed? Because I sure as hell can’t afford it.

Actually yes as I forsee it, they would have to do that. It is that level of commitment that I am talking about.

All the government needs to do is implement a serious carbon tax (combined with appropriate subsidies for vehicle conversion, insulation, etc). Petroleum, coal and natural gas all produce the carbon dioxide which causes climate change and all need to be discouraged.

While I understand your logic that is not the issue here, what is is oil is found to be not a stable basis for energy and a new more stable source is in national interest. That alone.

And what is different is that the old light bulb was phased out after the new bulbs became established. If you want to use this “light bulb” scenario as an example, give us a viable source of energy that already works, is better, and is cheaper over the long run now for us to phase into.

Go check out the MPG equivalent of electric vehicles today, come back, bring pie.

Not to mention the CNG options that are in use today.

Go check out the cost of battery replacement, distance limitations and overall cost, come back, bring facts.

Try to find electric trucks of any size, or electric semis to haul our freight.

CNG?
and PIE? :smiley:

Did you miss the 20 year grace period to build infrastructure and overcome such limitations such as hot swapping batteries and perhaps even on highway recharging?

Did you miss your own OP, in which you compared your hypothetical to the phasing out of conventional light bulb? I’m just pointing out the big flaw in that comparison.

[quote=“Czarcasm, post:12, topic:681717”]

Did you miss your own OP, in which you compared your hypothetical to the phasing out of conventional light bulb? I’m just pointing out the big flaw in that comparison.
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Ok what about CNG trucks already available then? http://www.freightlinertrucks.com/Trucks/Alternative-Power-Trucks/Natural-Gas/

It’s a step in the right direction, but a small step. Those trucks a day cabs, intended for regional hauling not long haul. As can be seen at the bottom of this page, the tanks for natural gas are many times larger than the diesel tanks they replace. The tanks that would be needed for long haul would be many times larger and would present major safety problems.

edited to add: Before asking someone to step out of a leaky boat, it’s nice if you have another boat to step into, and nicer still if its in better shape than the one you’re leaving.

Are you talking about a law only in the US? Because that would have the *initial *effect of making our manufacturing capability fall even FURTHER behind in productivity and economic viability in the world market. And the *long term *effect would be essentially ZERO for the environment, because the rest of the world would go on chugging along with oil. Including all the oil that we didn’t use and thought we were saving.

Or are you talking about a One World Government doing this on a planet-wide basis? Because in that case, I’ll get on my hoverboard and go to my villa on the moon to think about it awhile.

Czarcasm my point being we are at a time and place where we have the answers to do this, if not CGN then LNG, or multimode rail for long haul which can use grid powered electric (given 20 years to make it happen). So it is very much like the lightbulb, we have answers that work already, they promise more in the future, so where are the stumbling blocks?

We barely know what questions to ask and, once again, the new types of lightbulbs weren’t just good idea that we were heading towards when we phased out the conventional bulb-they were a reality. How we wean ourselves off of petroleum depends entirely on what is immediately available to take its place, not what may be promised down the road.

IIRC when we made the ban on the lightbulb way back then we had only incomplete solutions, namely CF which does not work for everyone, yes halogen which should, and LED which was a unknown future technology.

As such I state that electric power is the CF - Not perfect, actually sucks, but some people will love it, NG in it’s transportate stated (CNG and LNG) are the halogen, they are direct replacements, and we have the idea that some sort of biofeul will emerge.

So with EV and NG alone I do feel that a 20 yr timeline is reasonable. Especially if you look at NG reserves that are already expected to last far beyond oil reserves.

Ah. Well, if we’re in such lofty realms of pure fantasy, then can I have a pony while we’re at it?

Whatever happened to the lightbulb ban? Last I checked, we can still buy incandescent bulbs in every store, they’re just a lower wattage now.

Anyway, an outright ban on fuel oil could never happen, anywhere. The oil companies run the government (along with the banks) and they make the laws to suit themselves, not the other way around. But even without that, there’s NO alternative energy source that could fill the economic void left behind by Big Oil, let alone one that’s available at a reasonable price.