“The short answer is that almost all forecasters expect that the era of gasoline fueled autos is growing to a close.”
I believe that the right answer is that’s not happening anytime soon.
So, knowing that we are going to have a hydrocarbon-based economy for some time, what can we do to make it cheaper and cleaner?
Pumping and refining more oil will help make it cheaper in one major respect-- the automotive and freight world runs on gasoline, and will run on gasoline for decades to come, so increasing the supply helps. Windmills, nuclear power, solar power, etc. won’t run cars, trucks, trains or shipping without massive increases in the efficiency and effectiveness of battery storage and recharging abilities.
We’ve talked about those efficiencies for decades. People have invested billions worldwide to get those efficiences. After all that effort. . . we’ve got a Prius. Which still uses gas, just less of it.
Changing the transportation infrastructure to adapt to anything other than fossil fuels will take more effort than anyone, including either candidate for U.S. president, is pleased to admit. Cars don’t run on wind. It’s not going to happen in ten years, and it probably won’t happen in twenty. It will happen, of course, but almost certainly not as the result of a government-run “Manhattan Project”-- it will instead require scientific advances and engineering progress that will rival those necessary to solve other “unsolvable” issues out there.
After all, we’ve had a War on Cancer for decades-- it’s made cancer more survivable, but it hasn’t cured it. Cure for AIDS? Not there yet. We’ve spent billions developing fusion power-- still not there yet. I expect the same fitful progress in transitioning from fossil fuels. And again, it’s not like we’re just starting to do this-- worldwide people, companies, and governments been making this effort for decades now.
Bottom line? You can’t legislate scientific discovery, or else we’d all be riding unicorns to work. Our energy needs to come from somewhere, and it’s prudent to plan for our need for hydrocarbons, and specifically oil, for decades to come. I’d argue that it’s irresponsible to assume otherwise.