Where Would We Be if Oil Was Never Discovered

(edited)

Just to touch on a recent post regarding When Oil Runs Out, I’m interested to see how far we would have progressed without oil? Just throwing this out there for some interesting opinions.

Do these two fossil makers know something?

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Edited by James Regan
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I was researching lignite a few years back and I found a special report done for the state geologist of Texas back in 1892 concerning the great supplies of lignite that Texas has.  The state was hoping that lignite would be the key to economic growth in Texas.  The geologist had sent someone to Germany to understand how they processed and used brown coal over there.  It was a long report of about 200 pages and was very optimistic about the new future of Texas based on the new brown coal as fuel. 

Less than 10 years later the first oil was discovered in Texas and lignite has never been more than an afterthought.

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9 hours ago, wrs said:

Less than 10 years later the first oil was discovered in Texas and lignite has never been more than an afterthought.

Keyword search 'San Miguel Power Plant'. Maybe not as much an afterthought as one might think.

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Henry Ford had planned to power his cars with ethanol - he converted his engines to gasoline when it was clear gasoline was going to be a very cheap fuel for a very long time. An ethanol based economy would not have had anything like the market penetration of gasoline cars.

We would still have transit systems and railroads, mostly powered by electricity. Steam engines are grossly inefficient, so it would make more sense to electrify the railroad and run the trains on electricity.

We wouldn't have much in the way of aviation. It's possible we would make aviation fuel from coal, but air travel would, in such circumstances, be far more expensive.

Work on nuclear power would probably have continued unabated, since that was principally driven by original research. WW II wouldn't have been possible or likely without a petroleum based global economy. The early 1950's would have seen nuclear reactors for power, ships, and submarines.

Progressively more work would have been done on biomass-to-liquid fuels. We might be 30 years ahead of where we are now, but only after computers became commonplace.

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