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Peak oil: petrol to reach $8 a litre

Phillip Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald
PETROL could hit $8 a litre within a decade as oil production begins to dwindle and demand continues to soar, a CSIRO study to be released today says.

The study, Fuel For Thought, warns this would add up to $220 a week to the cost of running a medium-sized passenger vehicle by 2018, resulting in severe social and economic consequences.

The only way to ward off such a scenario was for “fuel and vehicle manufacturers to quickly ramp up alternative [fuel] supplies and technologies”.

… Beyond 2020 [the report said], Australia should aim to be relying more on non-conventional fuels such as hydrogen, synthetic fuels produced from coal and gas using carbon capture and storage, and biofuels that do not reduce food production by requiring valuable arable land to produce.
(11 July 2008)
The CSIRO report is online; see next entry.

Fuel for thought – CSIRO’s report on the future of transport fuels

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (Australia)
Fuel for thought – the future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities
This report articulates a range of plausible scenarios for the future of transport fuels in Australia. (43 pages)


Fuel for thought – The future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities was compiled by the Future Fuels Forum, an initiative led by the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship.

The Forum brought together 18 leading representatives from Australia’s community, industry and government to share ideas and develop a range of options for our nation’s transport fuel future, determining what could potentially get us ‘from A to B’ by the middle of the century.
(June 2008)

ASPO-Australia’s response to CSIRO report

Phil Hart, The Oil Drum: Australia/NZ
The Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil congratulates CSIRO for leading the Future Fuels Forum and thanks all the participants for the constructive dialogue that led to this final report.

… It was logical and appropriate for the Future Fuels Forum to include previous forecasts from international energy agencies among these scenarios. However, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil believes these forecasts are fundamentally flawed, and it is self evident that they failed to anticipate the beginning of this 3rd oil shock. The International Energy Agency has now signalled that its forecast to be released later this year will dramatically revise down estimates of future oil production.

We therefore believe that the peak oil scenarios in this report provide a far more useful insight into our future than the assumptions of ‘business as it used to be’. An imminent peak in global oil production is demonstrated to have serious negative impacts on the economy and society. A complementary scenario shows that with a rapid cultural and technological response, the impacts of peak oil can be minimised. However, it is a lot easier to transform society and the economy in a computer model. The transformations required in the real world are on a scale that can barely be imagined, and they need to start today if we are to successfully mitigate the impacts of peak oil.

Professor Ross Garnaut has rightly described climate change as one diabolical problem. Well, now we have two. There is no silver bullet and we must accept that we will have higher transport and energy costs in the future. This signals that conservation and efficiency must be part of our response, and this is where we can make some of the most cost effective changes. Debating five cent price reductions does nobody any good – we need to look for more courageous and honest leadership on this issue.

We must also avoid counter-productive responses which result from dealing with these two issues in isolation.
(10 July 2008)

Petrol report a wake-up call: environmentalists

ABC News (Australia)
Environmentalists say a CSIRO report predicting the price of petrol could rise to $8 a litre in 10 years should serve as a wake up call to the public and governments.

The Fuel for Thought report by the Future Fuels Forum outlines the worst case scenario if the demand for oil outstrips supply and the nation does not shift to alternative fuel supplies.

Monica Richter, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, says time is running out to address the issue.

“We have a big challenge ahead to de-carbonise our society and the sooner we start doing it the less it’s going to cost us in the future,” she said.
(11 July 2008)