Gasoline questions ...

Gasoline questions ...

I have a couple of questions ... about the future of gasoline and crude oil.

1. When Tesla (and others) have built their 10,000,000'th cars, and the world reduces its dependence on "gasoline" by say, 3 billion gallons (12 billion liters, 75m barrels?) per year, ... and climbing ...

a barrel of oil contains layers

including 19.5 gallons of gasoline, 9.2 diesel.

The oil industry will presumably still need to refine for other industries like asphalt, kerosene, etc.

What will happen to the gasoline layer? Will there be a huge glut? Forcing prices down?

The whole goal here is to stop buying barrels ... but if driving electric cars stops the production of "only" half the barrel, will OPEC not continue to pump??

2. On that list, I see no mention of plastics. Are plastics a by-product or a refined product? We'll still need plastics, so presumably refineries will still exist?

jerry3 | 21 April, 2012

We certainly won't get rid of refineries. Refineries can adjust the mix to suit conditions--they are pretty sophisticated at doing this. However, I doubt there will ever come a time when no gasoline is necessary--it just won't be used for most cars. Even if cars used zero gas and diesel, there is still home heating oil and oceanic transport. And unless the roads get electrified, large trucks won't ever be electric because every kg of weight used in a battery is a kg of weight that won't get charged for. Local delivery, like FedEx, can use electric because they never hit GVW, but almost all highway trucks are right at the GVW limit. Remember that the GVW limit is determined by the highways department (so they can't just build bigger trucks).

Mel. | 21 April, 2012

Fed ex and others are swiitching to natal gas for long haul and electric for local. Only the us government is determined to stay with gasoline.

jerry3 | 21 April, 2012

Natural gas seems to me to be a very short term solution similar to coal. Particularly once all the pollution from fracking starts showing up in the drinking water supplies.

Brian H | 22 April, 2012

Yup, through thousands of feet of de facto proven impermeable rock, or leaking out of proven sealed piping, etc. Bollocks. A witless scare tactic used by those attempting to suppress the most potent driver of economic recovery the country and planet has at the moment.

The motives of those of you who push it are not hard to guess.

jerry3 | 22 April, 2012

Yup, just like MTBE. Is this an experiment we really want to run? Especially when nuclear power has been proven to be cheap and safe.

t6lian5L | 22 April, 2012

When you refine oil, the gasoline part of the distillate does not have to remain as gasoline. For example, we get most of our ethylene (which is mainly used for making our polyethylene plastics) by cracking (heating until the molecules break apart) light oils.

The net is that the gasoline can be used for many other products rather than just burned in an ICE.

Brian H | 23 April, 2012

nuclear power provides electricity; Frack Gas provides that, plus feedstocks, plus fuels, at a small fraction of the capital cost of nuclear, much faster. The hurdles successfully placed in front of it by environmentalists mean a long delay before even beginning construction, which itself (short of small 'prefab' designs being approved, etc.) takes more years. NG power plants are so much quicker and simpler and cheaper that there will now be no money for nuke or renewables (they'd have to be built anyway, usually, for stand-by backup of renewables, so the renewables power is pure extra expense, usually about 5X as much).

Your Model S will be running on NG electricity far into the future.

Ramon123 | 24 April, 2012

It will be a long time before all the gas powered cars are put out to pasture, so gasoline will still be sold/produced for quite some time
for both cars and trucks. I think the percentage of oil used for gasoline nowadays is something around 50%. Plastics, asphalt, lubricants, fuel oil, jet fuel etc. etc account for the rest. But the prices obviously will collapse when demand drops over 20% - producers will become desperate and refuse to cut production.

olanmills | 25 April, 2012

We are living in a petroleum age. We wear it, sit on it, burn it, and even eat it. It (or more accurately its by products) is in everything from drugs and food to plastic and rubber.

And of course, we still need petroleum fuel for lots of things from aircraft and watercraft to machinery and farming.

BYT | 26 April, 2012

If profitability ever became an issue I am sure it will get government subsidized like corn.

stephen.pace | 28 April, 2012

@BYT: So says Alternative Timeline Al Gore:

"Right now in the second week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history. We have way too much gasoline! Gas is down to nineteen cents a gallon and the oil companies are hurting. I know that I am partly to blame, by insisting that cars run on trash.

I am therefore proposing a Federal bail-out to our oil companies because hey, if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us."


BYT | 3 May, 2012

A good government would do what's right. We are not in a good government so they will do what those that fund their campaigns says is right instead.

Brian H | 4 May, 2012

Kind of begs the question.

A good guide to what's "right" (true) is that what works better is truer/righter.